Saturday, 21 January 2012

Traditional Shortbread

I love to bake and most of the time it works out ok. But there has been one thing I have not been able to get the hang of.....until now.
Last night my friend Judith sent me an old family recipe for traditional shortbread and of course I had to try it out. The below measures are imperial, but I think it will work with any quantities as long as the 1, 2, 3 method is used: 1 measure of sugar, 2 measures of butter, 3 measures of plain flour.


4oz caster sugar (+ a bit extra for sprinkling on the top)
8 oz butter
12 oz flour


Preheat the oven to 170C (fan oven 160C)/325F
Cream together sugar and butter.
Put this in the fridge for about half an hour so the butter is nice and cold before rubbing in the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Add about a tablespoon of liquid to help it combine together and spread out onto a baking tray.
Prick all over with a fork and sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until cooked but hardly coloured.
Cut into squares or fingers and enjoy with a nice cup of tea

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Treacle Tart

After finally getting through all the goodies baked before Christmas I could at last indulge in a spot of baking again. This treacle tart is fantastic. If you are on a New Years diet, look away now. If not, enjoy!!

For the sweet shortcrust pastry (from the at home magazine - Christmas with James Martin)

115 gr cold unsalted butter, cubed
225 gr plain white flour
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 free- range egg, lightly beaten

Place butter, flour, salt, sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until you have a fine breadcrumb texture. Don't overwork it. Add the egg and half ann eggshell full of cold water. Mix well, using the pulse mode until the pastry balls. Again, don't overwork it.

Take the pastry out of the processor and knead very gently , just to bring it together.
Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

For the treacle tart (from James Martin - The collection)

Batch of sweet shortcrust pastry
butter, for greasing
plain flour, for rolling


400 gr golden syrup
125 gr fresh breadcrumbs
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and butter a loose bottomed tart tin.
Roll out the pastry thinly and roll it up over the rolling pin and then gently placing it in the tin leaving it to go over the sides . Prick the base wit a fork, line with a disc of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans.
Bake in the oven for 10 -12 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Remove the paper & the beans.

In a bowl, mix together the golden syrup, breadcrumbs, eggs, lemon zest & juice. Once combined, spoon into the pastry case and baked at the reduced temperature for 50 - 60 minutes.

Trim off the edges of the pastry and allow the tart to cool slightly before serving with a spoonful of whipped cream.