Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart

This, was rather an easy make, and I am VERY impressed with how it turned out.  For one full tart, it cost me about £3 to make…  I suppose you can say that this was a frugal make, because the richness of the chocolate and caramel meant that you can only have a small piece!  Ha ha.

I had my little Gning help me make this…  He broke up the chocolate for me, and because the final result had lots of chocolate, he loved eating it afterwards!

Pastry Ingredients

225g plain flour

100g butter

pinch salt

2-3 tbsp water

Caramel Ingredients

210g caster sugar

112.5ml (or there abouts) water

112.5ml (or there abouts) double cream

70g butter

1tsp salt

Chocolate Ingredients

112.5ml (or there abouts) double cream

120g dark or milk chocolate (dark works best, but it’s up to you)

Sea salt crystals

Method

  1. Make your pastry by sifting the flour in to a large bowl.  Add the butter, and rub in with your fingertips, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Stir in the salt, then add a little water at a time to mix in to a firm dough.
  3. Knead the dough slightly, on a floured board, wrap in cling film, and place in the fridge for half an hour or so.
  4. Roll out the dough to a size to fit your tart tin, and about a pound coin thickness.  Place in your greased tin, with a slight overhang on the sides…  Don’t bother to trim, as the pastry will shrink a little when in the oven.
  5. Lightly prick all over the bottom of the dough with a fork, and line with baking / greaseproof paper.  Add baking beans, and “blind bake” on 170C (fan assisted) for 20 minutes.  After this time, remove from the oven, remove the beans and paper, then return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is a golden colour.
  6. Wait until the pastry has completely cooled before turning it out on to a serving plate.  Place this out the way…  You won’t need it for a little while now.
  7. To make the caramel, add the caster sugar and water to a heavy-bottomed pan, and slowly bring to the boil – WITHOUT STIRRING.  When the sugar water has started to boil, turn the temperature down a little, and “swirl” the pan around – still without stirring.
  8. Now it is time for a fair amount of patience…  You have to wait for the sugar water to turn in to a caramel colour…  This can take 10-15 minutes.  Do not stir!
  9. When the sugar water has turned in to a lovely golden colour, remove from the heat, and stir in the cream.  Return to the heat for a further 2 minutes, constantly stirring.  Be careful at this point, as the mixture will bubble up and may “spit” when you add the cream.
  10. Remove from the heat again, and stir in the butter until fully melted.
  11. Allow to cool slightly (about 5 minutes), before pouring in to the pastry that you made earlier.
  12. Place the caramel tart in the fridge for about 3-5 hours, or so, until the caramel has ‘set’.
  13. When your caramel has set, it’s time to make the chocolate!  Break the chocolate up in to a bowl, and leave to one side.
  14. Place the cream in a heavy-bottomed pan, and slowly bring to the boil.  Allow to simmer gently for about 2 minutes or so…  You don’t really want to ‘cook’ the cream, so don’t have a high temperature.
  15. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and leave for about a minute.  After a minute, stir the cream and chocolate together…
  16. Allow to settle slightly, then pour over the top of the caramel tart.  You may need to scrape, and smooth out the chocolate.
  17. Return to the fridge for a further 1-2 hours, or until set.  Please be aware that the chocolate will NOT fully set.
  18. Before serving, sprinkle a small amount of coarse sea salt on the top of the tart, and serve any which way you like.  Good enough to eat on its’ own, or with a strawberry and mint leaf!

Enjoy!

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Homemade Honeycomb / Sponge / Cinder Toffee – Pic heavy

I have never in my life had a recipe so tasty, yet so easy (and quick!) to make.  This takes approximately 10 minutes from gathering the ingredients, weighing, making, and pouring.  The only thing that takes the time is after it has been poured in to the tin, as it can take 1 to 1 and a half hours to ‘set’ before you’re able to snap it up to enjoy.  Anyway…

Ingredients:

Butter (for greasing)

200g caster sugar

5 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp bicarb soda

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Method:

1.  Grease a 20cm square tin (or line with greaseproof / baking paper).

2.  Put the sugar and syrup in to a deep pan, and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Try not to let the mixture bubble.

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3.  Once the sugar crystals have melted, turn up the heat and allow to boil (whilst stirring continuously) until the mixture becomes an amber colour.

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4.  Remove the pan from the heat, and using a wooden spoon, QUICKY beat in the bicarb soda until you can no longer see the powder.  Be careful, as the mixture will start to foam, and will burn you if it touches you.

5.  Scrape the mixture in to your greased / lined tin and allow time for it to harden (around 1 to 1 and a half hours or so).  Do NOT put it in the fridge.

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6.  When the mixture has set fully, you’ll be able to tip it out of the tin, and break / snap it up to serve as a treat, bag up as a gift, or to scoff the lot yourself 🙂

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I turn around for 2 seconds, whilst I go and find my gift bags, only to find this little Gning running off with the honeycomb..!!

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Ready to give as gifts…

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Lemon Meringue Pie

This is the first time I have made a lemon meringue pie from scratch…

Being 37 weeks pregnant, I found this quite hard going to make, as the constant standing, and the heat in the kitchen got to me, so this whole recipe took MUCH longer than it was supposed to, but I have to sa it was worth the effort.  Not only does it look good, it also tastes good.  Just ask the hubby!!

With the ingredients in this recipe, I managed to make two whole lemon meringue pies.

Ingredients

For the pastry
  • 225g/8oz plain flour

  • 175g/6oz butter

  • 45g/1¾oz icing sugar (really!)

  • 1 large egg, beaten

For the lemon filling
  • 6 lemons, zest and juice

  • 65g/2¼oz cornflour

  • 250g/9oz caster sugar

  • 6 egg yolks

For the meringue topping
  • 4 egg whites

  • 225g/8oz caster sugar

  • 2 tsp cornflour (helps to ‘thicken’ the finished result)

Preparation method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted)
  2. First make the pastry. Measure the flour and butter into a food processor and blend together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and whizz again until combined to a ball.
  3. Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a 3mm thickness. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry up and transfer it to line 2x9in loose-bottomed flan tins OR foil pie/flan trays. Be careful not to stretch the pastry as you tuck it into the corners. Cover in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Take the pastry-lined tins out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry. Press the top edge of the pastry so that it stands slightly higher than the top of the tins.
  5. Line the pastry cases with parchment and fill with baking beans OR you can use a fork to prick all over the bases (if you don’t have any baking beans). If you have used the beans, bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes.  Otherwise, bake the pastry for 20 minutes, until a lovely golden colour.
  6. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C (150C for fan assisted ovens)
  7. For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste. Measure 450ml/16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.
  8. In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks and carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.

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    9.  For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.

    10.  Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling. Then create a        swirl on the top of the meringue.

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    11.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.

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Serve warm with a blob of vanilla ice cream, or cold on its’ own…  No matter how you end up serving the finished result, enjoy!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes – Revisited

Ingredients for the cupcakes

8oz softened butter

8oz caster sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

4 eggs

8oz self raising flour

Method for the cupcakes

1.  Preheat your oven to 170C / 160C for fan assisted ovens.

2.  Line a cupcake tin with cases.

3.  Using an electric whisk, cream the butter until really soft and creamy.  Add the sugar and lemon juice, and continue using the electric whisk.

4.  Add the eggs, and continue beating.  Don’t worry if your mixture starts to look “curdled”.

5.  Gently fold the flour in to the mixture, using a large metal spoon, one spoon full at a time.

6.  Add two heaped teaspoons in to each paper cupcake case.  I managed to make 33 cupcakes with this quantity of mixture!!

7.  Bake in the oven for approx 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Don’t forget to do the skewer test at the end…  The skewer should come out clean.

8.  Once the cupcakes look golden, remove from the oven, and allow to cool fully in the tin before turning them out on to a wire cooling rack.

Ingredients for the Meringues

4 egg whites

4oz caster sugar

4oz icing sugar

Method for the Meringues

1.  Preheat your oven to 130C / 120C for fan assisted ovens.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2.  Add the egg whites to a large bowl, and using an electric whisk, beat on a slow speed for approximately 3 minutes.  When the whites start to look like they are “forming together”, turn the speed up to maximum, and beat for a further while (could take up to 10 minutes) until the egg whites start to “peak”.

3.  Gently add the sugar combination, one spoon at a time, and fold in to the egg whites using a large metal spoon.  This allows the air to remain in the mixture.

4.  Once all the sugar has been combined, scoop the mixture in to a piping bag, and “pipe” the required quantity of meringues on to the baking / greaseproof paper.  I always ensure to make more meringues than I need because some often break when they are cooked.

5.  Pop them in the oven, and allow to bake for 45 minutes.  Once the time is up, turn off the oven, but leave the meringues in there to cool fully.

Meanwhile, whilst waiting for the meringues to cool…

1.  Cut a hole in to the centre of each cupcake.  Any excess cake can be eaten 😀

2.  Scoop in a good dollop of lemon curd (Asda’s own is yummy!!).

3.  Once the meringues are cool, pop one on the top of each cake, using the lemon curd as “glue”.

Enjoy!!!

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Coffee Sponge Cake with Bailey’s Butter Frosting

This was made for my dad’s birthday.  It is a recipe that I’ve used before, but previously it was only used in a large batch of cupcakes.  The larger cake, however, has turned out wonderfully.

Ingredients – Cake

8oz butter

8oz soft light brown sugar

4 large eggs

50ml strong coffee

8oz self-raising flour

Ingredients – Frosting

15oz icing sugar

10oz butter

4 tbsp Bailey’s

Method – Cake

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens) and grease 2x20cm baking tins.

2.  Cream the sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl.

3.  Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each is fully blended before adding the next.

4.  Add the coffee (I used 4 tsp coffee to 50ml boiling water) and mix throroughly.

5.  Sieve the flour in, holding the sieve as high as possible to allow a lot of air to join the mixture.

6.  Spoon the mixture evenly into the two greased baking tins.

7.  Bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes (or until cooked).  A trick I have learned here is not to open the oven door until at least 30 minutes in to the cooking time.  This ensures a thorough cooking right the way through the cake without disturbing it too much.

8.  Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for approx. 5-10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling wire.

Method – Frosting

1.  Cream the butter in a mixing bowl.

2.  Add the icing sugar gradually.  I took 7 ‘helpings’.  Ensure each ‘helping’ is mixed thoroughly before adding the next part.

3.  Add the Bailey’s (don’t forget to pour a glass for yourself!).

Method – Putting it together

1.  On one of the cakes, cover the top with some frosting.

2.  Add the second cake on top.

3.  Use the rest of the Bailey’s butter frosting to completely cover the cake.

Enjoy!

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