Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter one and all!

I know, I know, it’s been an age since you last heard from us, and I’m sorry! Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. Hope you missed us all, we did you!

We just wanted to check in, see everything’s all right, wish you a lovely and relaxing Easter and suggest a couple of crafty recipes to change up the normal routine of hot cross buns and rapidly-disappearing chocolate eggs.

First off, chocolate hot cross bun and butter pudding. A decadent twist on the traditional bread-based dessert, this one will be a fantastic way to use up any spare or stale hot cross buns, once they finally lose their appeal!

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Chocolate hot cross bun pudding

6 chocolate hot cross buns (or whichever variety are to hand!)
30g unsalted butter, softened
125g roughly chopped good-quality dark chocolate
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
600ml thin cream
600ml thickened cream, plus extra to serve (optional)
Zest of 1 orange
4 eggs
170g caster sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) brandy (optional)
Icing sugar, to dust
Select all ingredients

Split the hot cross buns and butter each half. Lay the bases in a 2-litre (8-cup) baking dish, sprinkle with the chopped dark chocolate, then place the bun tops on the bases.

Place the vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan with the creams and zest, and heat over low heat until just simmering. Remove from the heat.

Beat the eggs, sugar and brandy until just combined, then pour into the warm cream, stirring continuously. Strain the custard evenly over the buns and set the pudding aside for 30 minutes for the buns to soak up some of the custard. (The pudding can be prepared to this stage several hours in advance and refrigerated – just bring to room temperature before baking.)

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 170°C.

Place the pudding dish in a large roasting pan and pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding dish. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the custard is set. Dust with icing sugar and serve with extra cream if desired.

Reproduced with thanks from www.taste.com/au; originally from ‘delicious.’ magazine.

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Next, toasted marzipan ice cream, for those occasions when you just have too many Simnel cakes.

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Toasted marzipan ice-cream

300g marzipan (this was my yield from an 8in cake)
350ml double cream
350ml milk
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
50g caster sugar

Crumble the marzipan into roughly pea-sized pieces, spreading two thirds on a lightly oiled baking sheet and reserving the last third. Place the baking tray under a hot grill to toast the marzipan nuggets, letting them darken but being careful not to let them burn. Remove and allow to cool and harden slightly before transferring to a bowl and reserving for later.

In a saucepan, gently warm the cream, milk, salt, and remaining crumbed marzipan. Heat the mixture until it almost comes to the boil, stirring to prevent the marzipan sticking to the bottom, then remove and allow to infuse for 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened and pale yellow. Returning to the pan, whisk the milk and cream to make sure all of the marzipan pieces have melted into the liquid, then gently reheat for a minute before pouring the warmed liquid over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and return to a low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for between five and 10 minutes. When the custard has thickened, leave to cool with a piece of clingfilm against its surface to stop a skin from forming.

When cool, you can either freeze the ice-cream in an ice-cream maker, or in a plastic container in the freezer. If you do the latter, you should remove it from the freezer after an hour and process it again. Repeat this several times.

When the ice-cream has almost frozen, transfer to a tub or loaf tin, layering toasted marzipan nuggets with the ice-cream, and gently swirling the mix. Top with more toasted marzipan and return to the freezer. Serve alone, or with a spoonful of salted chocolate fudge sauce.

Reproduced with thanks from the Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog.

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Finally, for those who are feeling a bit nostalgic (it’s a rather Cath Kidston time of year after all), a simple and satisfying lardy cake recipe. There are several variants; this one contains currants and milk, which makes it a Northumberland version – or possibly a Wiltshire one, on account of the fruit and spices. In any case, it’s not a Hampshire lardy cake, which contains no fruit at all. Enjoy!

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Northumbriwiltshire Lardy cake

Serves 8

250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
150ml warm water
5g powdered dried yeast
5g salt
160g lard
50g sultanas
50g currants
50g chopped candied peel
50g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon (ideally freshly ground in a spice mill)

Greased, deep, 20cm square baking tin

Put the flour, water, yeast and salt into a bowl and mix to a soft dough. Melt 10g of the lard and incorporate it into the dough, then turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Put into a clean bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
In a separate bowl, toss the dried fruit and candied peel together with the sugar and cinnamon. Cut the rest of the lard into small dice. Tip the dough out on to a clean work surface and press all over with your fingertips to deflate. Roll out to a rectangle, about 1cm thick. Scatter over half of the dried fruit mixture and lard pieces, then roll up from a short side to enclose the filling.

Give the dough a quarter-turn and roll it out again to a rectangle, as before. Scatter over the remaining fruit and lard and roll up again. Now roll out the dough to a 20cm square and place in the prepared baking tin. Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Bake the lardy cake for 30–40 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool slightly in the tin for 10–15 minutes, then invert on to a wire rack to finish cooling. Placing the lardy cake upside down will allow the melted lard to be reabsorbed into the dough as it cools. Serve sliced, warm or cold.

Reproduced with thanks from The Telegraph Food and Drink; originally from River Cottage.

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We hope you have a go at a couple of the recipes; we’d love to see how they turn out! Have a very happy Easter.

Capital Cooking

Capital Cooking

capitalcooking.co.uk
020 8244 3039
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