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WHITE PEACH GALETTE

11 May 2019

Hello! How's your May going? It's been pretty drizzly and cold in London although - as wedding cake season is now underway - I'm secretly quite enjoying the unseasonably cool weather. I know, I know - but it does make transporting and building buttercream wedding cakes much less stressful!

As those of you who follow me over on Instagram will know (and side note that I'm a little more active over there - so follow along!), wedding season has started, which means I get to make beautiful (I hope!) wedding cakes most weekends from now through to September. I adore this side-hustle of mine and am so excited to be back in the thick of it.

This recipe feels a little pre-emptive, but I know that my very favourite flat white peaches are just around the corner, so I couldn't wait to share this with you. It's a recipe I developed last summer and never got around to posting here. This is so simple to throw together, and as it's meant to be rustic, you don't need to fuss over the finish too much. Just roll out your pastry, top with a sprinkling of ground almonds and juicy handfuls of macerated peach slices and bake. The simplest but most delicious of summer desserts.
  THE INGREDIENTS
Pastry (Alice Waters recipe)
140g plain flour
85g unsalted butter, cold
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
cold water (around 2 tbsp)
Filling
4 ripe flat white peaches
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
30g ground almonds

THE RECIPE
To make the pastry, whisk the flour, sugar and salt together. Cut the butter into cubes, then add to the pastry. Using two table knives, toss the butter until it is well coated in flour, then quickly cut the butter into the flour. Continue until it is roughly incorporated - you should still be able to see some small chunks of butter within the flour. 

Add 2 tbsp of cold water, and quickly mix to combine. Bring it all together with your hands working as quickly as possible. If the pastry feels a little dry, add 1/2 tbsp more, continuing as needed. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until needed.

Stone the peaches and slice, then place in a bowl with the lemon juice, sugar and vanilla. Stir to coat, then allow to macerate for 30 minutes, or up to two hours. 

When you are ready to make the galette, heat your oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment. Roll the pastry out into a large disc directly onto the baking paper (if your tray has high edges, you can place the paper onto your work surface, and transfer back onto the tray once the pastry is rolled.

Dust the pastry with the ground almonds, leaving a 2 inch margin around the edge almond-free. Top with the peaches, retaining any macerating juices for later. 

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is starting to look cooked and golden, and the peaches are soft and just starting to caramelise. Remove from the oven and brush the peaches and pastry with the reserved macerating juices, then return to the oven to bake for a further 5-10 minutes until bronzed and cooked. Slice up and serve immediately, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature with cream. 

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Meringue Bark

31 March 2019

I'm not usually a lover of pastel baking. Pale pinks and yellows can quite easily teeter over into Cath Kidston and bunting territory and, while there's certainly a time and a place for both of those things, I try where possible to keep away from the twee when it comes to baking. What can I say - I prefer the Paris patisserie look to the village fete version, which is why I'm usually reticent to go too pastel in my approach. 

But as Easter approaches - intrinsically light, fresh and hopeful - I'm more prepared to let a glimmer of pastel into my kitchen. A touch of colour in meringue is somehow so much chicer than in a cake; with its cloud-like texture, there's something of the ethereal here which I can definitely get on board with. 

You guys shared so much kind feedback about my homemade Christmas gift guide series, which got me thinking about what you might like to make for loved ones come the four-day weekend. Meringue  calls for just two base ingredients and, once you've mastered the basic recipe, where you take things from there with decoration and colour is entirely down to you. For me, part of the joy of these shards is their irregularity, so don't get too het up on the slicing - pack them up in cellophane, or use to top your Easter pavlova. 
THE INGREDIENTS
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
Gel food colouring
Edible decorations - try dried flowers, rainbow sprinkles or chopped candied peel

THE RECIPE
Heat your oven to 120°C, and line three large trays with baking paper. In a squeaky clean bowl (you can lightly rub it with a slice of lemon first to ensure it is dust free), whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. With the beater still running, add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time, whisking for ten seconds or so after each addition. This is to ensure the sugar is completely absorbed (which will prevent the meringue from weeping when it bakes).

Divide the meringue into three bowls, and add a dab of gel colouring to each. Mix to fully distribute the colouring. Spoon each batch of meringue onto separate baking sheets, and use a palette knife or offset spatula to spread the mixture thinly and evenly over the tray - you want the meringue to be about 1/2 a cm thick. Sprinkle with your chosen toppings. 

Place in the oven to bake for 25-40 minutes, until the centre feels only very slightly soft to the touch. Remove from the oven and lift the paper carefully onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Break into shards and serve.  



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Grapefruit granita

16 March 2019

It's mid-March and I can feel spring around the corner - phew! I don't know about you, but I've struggled this winter. The lack of daylight and sunshine has really got to me this year, and I find myself daydreaming about long weekends and warmer climates more and more as I battle my way onto the tube every morning and evening. 

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