Biscuits & Cookies

Strawberry & Raspberry Shortcakes

Strawberry & Raspberry Shortcakes

For the Shortbreadadapted from James Martin
130g Butter, cold
200g Plain Flour
50g Cornflour
65g Caster Sugar
1 Small Egg, whisked

1. To make the shortbread rub the cold butter in the flours using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar – I did this using a round bladed knife. Add in the egg, again using a round bladed knife, once the crumbs start to stick together use your hands to form the dough. Chill the dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Roll the mixture out to a thickness of 3mm and cut out 18 circles (about 8cm in diameter) – I also did some square shortcakes, the choice is yours. Then carefully lay these onto the baking tray.

3. Before baking the biscuits, let them rest in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. Then bake for minutes (mine took 15 minutes), they should be pale in colour. Transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool.

 

For the Filling
250ml Double Cream
2 tablespoons Icing Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Strawberries & Raspberries (or any other berries)

1. Pour the double cream into a small glass bowl and whisk using an electric hand mixer, until it starts to thicken.

2. Add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until firm peaks start to form, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle.

To Assemble

Now to start stacking your shortcakes…
1. Place the first shortcake onto your plate, then get your piping bag of whipped cream andpipe small stars of the cream around the edge and then a bigger one in the middle (as shown below) then place 6 small raspberries around the outside then in the middle place3 strawberry slices.

The first layer of the Shortcake2
First shortcake layer: cream and raspberries
First shortcake layer, with strawberry slices added
First shortcake layer, with strawberry slices added

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. After the strawberries place another shortcake on top and repeat with the cream, raspberries and strawberry slice and top with the final biscuit. On the top layer add a swirl of cream and a strawberry… I decide to fan my strawberry, I cut a strawberry in half then making small slits into the strawberry going at an angle.

The final layer of the Shortcake with Strawberry added
Top the biscuit with a fanned strawberry

 

To make the strawberry fan for the garnish on top of the Shortcake Stacks.
Firstly cut the strawberry in half.
Place the strawberry half flat side down on a chopping board and make small slices at an angle a few millimetres away from the top, so that it is still intact.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Serve with extra fruit and cream if desired. I served with more strawberries. raspberries and some redcurrants.

Square Strawberry and Raspberry Shortcakes

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Biscuits & Cookies

Fresh Berry Scones

 

Flower Presented Fresh Berry Scones

So it been a while seen I made some scones and I love to eat them when they are still slightly warm from the oven, so much better than store bought. This fresh berry scone recipe is from The Great British Bake Off: 100 Foolproof Recipes, the only thing that I changed was instead of blueberries I used strawberries.

Makes 8-9
250g Self Raising Flour
60g Caster Sugar
50g Unsalted Butter, chilled and diced
1 Medium Egg, at room temperature
100ml Buttermilk, at room temperature
50g Raspberries
40g Strawberries
a little Buttermilk or Milk, for brushing
Demerara Sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7, line a baking try with greaseproof paper.

2. Sift the flour and caster sugar into a mixing bowl. Add in the pieces of chill butter and rub them into the flour using your fingertips. The mixture show look like fine crumbs and no lumps of butter should remain.

3. In a small bowl put the egg and 100ml buttermilk and beat with a fork, just to mix. Pour this into the crumbs and mix with a round-bladed knife to make a rough looking dough. Add the berries and using your hands to bring the mixture together to make a ball of slightly soft dough, with the berries evenly distributed – try not to squash the berries to much as you mix. If there are any dry crumbs at the bottom of bowl work in a little more buttermilk.

4. Lightly dust your worktop and hands with flour. Turn out the scone dough onto the worktop and gently pat it out to about 3cm thick. Dust a plain round 6cm cutter in flour and then stamp out your scones, re-flour when it starts to get sticky. Press together the scone off cuts, pat out again and cut out the remaining scones.

5. Place the scones on the baking, spacing them slightly apart – to allow for spreading. Lightly brush the tops of each scone with buttermilk or milk the sprinkle over the Demerara sugar.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes until they are a nice golden brown, on the underside too – these fresh berry scones will take slightly longer to bake than regular or dried fruit scones.

7. Once the scones are out of the oven transfer them immediately to a wire rack and leave to cool slightly, then eat warm. These are best eaten on the same day.

Fresh Berry Scones

Spread your scones with butter, jam and/or clotted cream – I served mine with fresh raspberries and strawberries

Fresh Berry Scones with Jam, Clotted Cream & Fresh Fruit
Scones with Jam, Clotted Cream & Fresh Fruit
Fresh Berry Scones with Jam and Fresh Fruit
Scones with Jam & Fresh Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first time that I have used buttermilk to make scones, it is certainly something that I will be doing again as they were softer than any that I have made or even had before.

The scones were soft and moist and the added fruit baked in them very well after having trouble with the dough itself and the sprinkling of Demerara sugar on top of the scones gave it a nice crunchy top.

The next time that I make these I will not be putting the strawberries in as I think the extra juice from them made the scone dough quite sloppy and hard to work with, so will be doing the blueberries next time.

Cakes

Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cake - White Border

A couple of weeks ago my cousin invited my mom, dad and me round for dinner so I thought that I would make a cake to take with us. I was looking for a cake that would hopefully please everyone; so something that contained no nuts and no dark chocolate as my dad isn’t a very big chocolate cake fan… Shocking I know!

So after looking through many baking books and on the internet for a recipe that had no nuts nor dark chocolate that I thought everyone would enjoy, I decided to go with this recipe from The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake Book – Strawberry and White Chocolate Cake.

To me this cake gave you the feeling of summer with all the fresh strawberries and the sponges flavoured with orange zest, so I thought best get it in before all the nice weather goes, and Autumn comes.

I found that when I got my sponges out of the oven they were a little thin, unless I was just expecting them to be a bit thicker. As I was going to be taking this to have after dinner at my cousins house I wanted it to look quite fancy, maybe its just me being a perfectionist. So I decided to half the recipe and bake another sponge and have a three layer sponge cake, but actually when stacking and decorating the cake my mom said that I would of gotten away with just doing the two, but hey now I have an extra special cake.

 

I adapted the recipe slightly from the Great British Bake Off: How to Bake Book 
I had 3 layers of sponge, 2 layers of strawberries and white chocolate flavoured cream.

For the Cake
These measurements are just for the 2 layer cake – I halved the recipe again for the third sponge layer.
150g Good Quality White Chocolate, broken up
200g Unsalted Butter, diced and softened
3 Large Eggs, at room temperature (I used 2 Small Eggs for the third sponge)
150g Caster Sugar
Finely grated zest of ½ Unwaxed Orange
200g Self Raising Flour

For the Filling & Topping
400g Strawberries
Finely grated zest and juice of ½ unwaxed Orange
A Sprinkle of Caster Sugar
250ml Double Cream, well chilled
75g Good Quality White Chocolate
White Chocolate, finely grated, to decorate – but you can use chocolate curls or sprinkles the choice is yours

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4. Grease and base line 3 x 20cm (8 inch) round sandwich tins with baking paper.

2. Put the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl, set over a pan of simmering water, hot BUT not boiling water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the hot water) and melt very gently, stirring often. Remove the bowl from the heat I suggest using a tea towel due to the steam, and stir until smooth. Add the butter in pieces and stir until it has melted.

3. Put the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the sugar and orange zest, then whisk again on high speed until the mixture is very thick and mousse-like, and when the whisk is lifted from the bowl it leaves a ribbon-like trail. This should take about 4 minutes.

4. Give the chocolate and butter mixture a quick  stir, then add this to the egg mixture and stir briefly – this should be just combined. Sift the flour into the bowl and gently fold in using a large metal spoon.

5. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and spread evenly using a knife. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 30-35 minutes) or until the sponges are a light golden brown and springy to the touch when pressed. Leave them in the tin for a few minutes then run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tins just to loosen the sponges, then turn them out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

6. When ready to assemble the cake, wash and hull the strawberries – I did this the night before to save myself some time on the day, saving one-third (the good-looking ones) for decoration. Set aside a few of the pretty looking strawberries into a small bowl and thinly slice the rest and place into a medium-large bowl (just so that you are able to mix everything together. Add in the orange zest and juice and a sprinkle of caster sugar and mix gently. Leave for 10 to 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

7. Meanwhile, whip the double cream until thick, then melt the 75g white chocolate and stir this into the whipped cream.

White Chocolate Swirled into Whipped Cream
Melted white chocolate swirled into the whipped cream.

8. Set one sponge, browned top down, on a serving plate. Spoon the sliced strawberries and juice onto the sponge to cover it evenly. Spread just over a third of the whipped cream on top of the strawberries. Set the second sponge, browned top down again, onto the cream. Add another layer of the strawberries and juice, then cover again with the cream – leaving some in the bowl just to cover the top layer. Carefully spread the rest of the cream over the top, then decorate with the reserved strawberries, leaving some whole and cutting some into halves. Decorate with the grated white chocolate.

Layering up the second layer of the White Chocolate & Strawberry Cake
2 sponge layers, strawberries & cream
Layering up the White Chocolate & Strawberry Cake
The third layer is now stacked
Strawberry and White Chocolate Cake - Top view
The final sponge layer decorated with cream, strawberries & grated white chocolate & just a little orange zest.

Keep the cake chilled, in an airtight container, until ready to serve (up to 12 hours). Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

I asked everyone what they thought of the cake and each of them had different responses, I mean everyone has their own personal taste after all.

Personally even though I like strawberries, white chocolate and orange on there own or even in other bakes maybe next time not have all three together, as there could of been to many flavours going on in the cake to really enjoy it.

Both my dad and cousin said that they probably would of preferred it without the orange zest in the sponge, and just had it like a plain Victoria Sponge with strawberries and cream, which actually sounds just as nice.

My cousins daughter and my mom would of preferred less or no white chocolate in the sponge and cream, mind you my mom doesn’t really like white chocolate. They did like the orange zest flavouring the sponges and the strawberries being soaked in the orange juice syrup.

I think baking a Victoria Sandwich would be a good idea and keeping everything else the same, this would give the cake a more fluffy texture as I think the white chocolate altered the texture of the sponge.

So really overall it was a nice cake and everyone enjoyed it, but I think if I was to make it again I would be making a few alterations. I have taken note of everyone’s feedback and I found it really helpful for future references on what people do and don’t like, especially when it comes to the time to bake them something again.

So if you try this cake recipe I hope you enjoy it or you can alter the recipe to suit your own personal tastes.Strawberry and White Chocolate cake

Desserts

Quick Summer Desserts

The weather is hot, your probably having salads for tea as it is too hot to cook, do the same with your desserts!
You want something quick with minimal effort to enjoy this summer. Use store brought ingredients and stay away from that oven in this heat, but still have an indulgent dessert.

I have been doing a lot of desserts using fresh seasonal fruit. Went ‘strawberry and raspberry picking’.

RaspberriesStrawberries

Raspberries ready for freezing

If you find that you have any leftover raspberries you can freeze them, ready to use when you are baking. I did freeze some strawberry slices but they don’t defrost that well so I will just be using them when baking.

 

Strawberry & Raspberry Flan

One of this things that we like to make when we have lots of strawberries is a fruit sponge flan. I love strawberry flan, to me it is the taste of summer – me and my brother have always made it with my mom ever since we were little.

Serves 6-8 (depending on how big you want your slice) 

1 Large Flan Case – store bought
1 Sachet of Quick Jel – I got ‘Greens Red Quick Jel’
Strawberries – enough to fill you flan
Raspberries

Put your flan case on to a plate, wash and cut your strawberries, sliced or halved depending on there size. Place these on the sponge flan case along with the raspberries – I’m always fussing around making it look pretty.

Follow the instructions on the back of your Quick Jel, let it cool before pour it over your fruit as it will make your sponge go soggy – no one likes a soggy bottom. Then place in the fridge, it takes about 20-minutes for the Jel to set.

Serve with double or spray cream.

Note: You don’t have to stick to these fruits you can choose your own.

Strawberry, Raspberry & Blueberry Flan
Strawberry & Raspberry Flan I also dotted some defrosted Blueberries to add a contrasting colour… Pretty!

Strawberry & Raspberry Meringue Nests

When I did this for the first time, me, my mom and dad we were like ‘the three little bears’, for dad there was enough cream, my mom wanted a bit more and for me (the fussy one) there was too much… It was still very delicious with the fresh berries!
So it is personal choice it you like lots of cream pile it on, but if you are like me then just a bit.

Serving 3Strawberry and Raspberry Meringue Nests
6 Meringue Nests, 2 each – Store bought
Strawberries
Raspberries
250ml Double Cream
Raspberry Sauce, to drizzle – Store bought

“Add as much or little as you like it is personal taste,
I pile the raspberries up because I love them”.

Place two meringue nests on each plate. Wash and dry the strawberries and raspberries, slice, halve or diced the strawberries depending on their size.

Pour the double cream into a small glass bowl and using a hand held mixer beat the cream until soft-firm peaks form. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a open star nozzle then pipe onto the meringue nests – pipe the amount that you desire. If you don’t want to be fussy like me you can use a teaspoon to put the cream on the meringues.

Now decorate your cream topped meringues with the raspberries and strawberry slices and placing some of the larger pieces on the side of the plate as a garnish, just before serving drizzle over the raspberry sauce.

Strawberry and Raspberry Meringue Nests2

Fruity Meringue Nests with Pistachio

I really did enjoy this dessert the sweet meringue, double cream and with all the fruit, balancing the slightly unhealthy with the healthy. The crushed pistachios sprinkled on top just finished it off.

Serving 3Fruity Meringues sprinkled with Pistachio
6 Meringue Nests, 2 each – Store bought
Raspberries
Strawberries
2-3 Apricots
2-3 Peaches – I had the doughnut type
Handful of shelled Pistachios
250ml Double Cream
Raspberry Sauce, for drizzling – Store bought

“Add as much or little as you like it is personal taste,
I pile the raspberries up because I love them”.

Place two meringue nests on each plate. Prepare the fruit and cut them up, slice or halve the strawberries depending on their size, de-stone the apricots and peaches – dice the apricot to sprinkle on top of the nests and slice the peaches to serve on the side.

Put the pistachios into a food bag and smash with a rolling pin (take out any of your aggression), so there are still some large pieces – set aside.

In a small glass bowl pour the double cream in and using a hand held mixer beat the cream until you have soft-firm peaks forming. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a open star nozzle and pipe swirls onto the meringue nests – pipe the desired amount.
If you don’t want to fuss around to much then you can use a teaspoon to put the cream on the meringue nests.

Next decorate with the chopped fruit, placing the larger pieces such as the peaches on the side of the plate as a garnish.

Just before serving drizzle over some raspberry sauce and sprinkle over the pistachio pieces.

Fruity Meringue Nests with Pistachio

Blackberry, Apricot & Kiwi Meringue Nest

Serving 3
6 Meringue Nests, 2 each – Store boughtBlackberry, Apricot and Kiwi meringue Nests
2 Kiwi Fruits
A handful of Blackberries, plus extra for garnish & decoration
2-3 Apricots
250ml Double Cream
Raspberry Sauce

Place two meringue nests on each plate. Peel the kiwi fruit and slice them up, leaving 6 of the slices whole to serve on the side of the plate as a garnish, then dice the rest up. De-stone the apricots then dice them, then set aside.

Pour the cream into a small glass bowl and beat it using a hand held mixer until you have soft-firm peaks. Wash and dry the blackberries; reserve a third of them and set aside. Then cut the rest of them up in halve or quartered depending on the size, add to the cream and stir to combine.

Spoon 2 teaspoons of the blackberry swirled cream onto the meringue nests, decorate with the diced kiwi and apricot pieces and cut some of the reserved blackberries in half for decoration.

Put 2 kiwi slices on each plate, a few whole blackberries and any diced apricot and kiwi that you have used to decorate the meringue nests on the side as a garnish.

Just before serving drizzle over some raspberry sauce if desired.

Kiwi, Blackberry and Apricot meringue nests

 

I hope that you enjoy these, you can create some of the things that I have made or you can get creative and do something of your own. I would love to see pictures of the dessert you have made so feel free to email or tweet me.

Desserts

Lemon Sorbet with Strawberries

Lemon Sorbet with Strawberries x3
For the past couple of weeks we have had a summer “heatwave” (well its what the UK call a heatwave – for all the other countries it is most likely the norm). The loud thunderstorms in the early hours of the morning – haven’t had ones like that for years!
I actually found the rain and thunder quite soothing to be honest, it was nice listening to it. Both of my dogs slept through it, they were to busy snoring.

So due to the “heatwave” I have not wanted to go near the oven with it being so stupidly hot, didn’t really want to add any extra heat, so I have been doing more chilled desserts using all the fresh fruit that is in season especially… Raspberries YUMMY!

Sorbet and Strawberries

Some of the things that I have been using to create the desserts over the past couple of weeks are; strawberries, raspberries, apricots, meringue nests, double cream and ICE CREAM!! I will post some of the other things that I have made soon.

Super easy desserts that are nice and refreshing in the summer heat and that require hardly any work at all, like using store brought meringue nest for quickness, plus no need for the oven.

Tonight I decided to do something so quick it needed no effort at all ‘Lemon Sorbet with Strawberries’… can you guess what you need.

Lemon Sorbet & StrawberriesLemon Sorbert with Strawberries CollageEasy as 1, 2, 3

So I thought that this would be a nice refreshing dessert for my mom and dad, as he had been working out in the sun all day building a shed in the garden. I really wish that I had gotten a chance to take a picture of his face, as he screwed it up so much when he had some of the sorbet, it was so funny – So he won’t be wanting that again – I don’t think he likes sour things.

So dad had…
Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream & Strawberries

Dad's Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream & Strawberries
Dad’s Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream & Strawberries