My corner of England has been pummelled by storm Alex. We needed some rain, or so the gardener in me believes, but couldn’t it be a spread a little more evenly?
The great indoors called and while I always have something to write – I’m enjoying working on my comic fantasy/magic/fairy story, Pearl Barley and the Surge of the Spirits – sometimes the kitchen calls me to bake.
Yesterday it was a Kiwi Coconut Lime tart
That involved me making a sweet pastry with four egg yolks and icing sugar – it was one of those creations when the raw ingredients tasted pretty good …
There were more eggs in the filling. If you can’t eat or stand eggs this ain’t for you.
One of the joys of my recent baking has been the belated discovery of the pastry blade in my food processor. Just bung the 500 gms of flour, the 140 gms of icing sugar and 250 gms of unsalted butter into the machine and blitz until bread crumby. My machine was a bit small for so much flour so I did it in two batches. Seemed ok. Then bung in the four egg yolks, a bit at a time and blitz each time and maybe a scrape down the sides.
Make a ball, then a round patty about a cm thick and fridge it for an hour. Then roll it for a 23cm flan and insert. The good thing is the pastry is forgiving so if it splits a bit, just repair by pushing it together. It’s what being egg bound means…
Let the pastry overhang a bit – it will shrink in the cooking – and, having pricked the base, fridge again for another hour.
Cook, baking blind – no, that doesn’t mean keep your eyes closed or ignoring the recipe, but bung in some greaseproof paper and if you have them, baking beans – porcelain balls, like small rabbit droppings – to keep the paper down. Mine were stolen by a certain daughter so these days I empty my small change jar. Works fine, though remember the coins are bloody hot when they come out – if not you’ll end up with Her Maj seared into your thumb. No, of course that’s never happened to me.
Ten minutes only, at 140C, then remove coins or whatever and paper and put back for another twenty minutes. The bits you let overhang may fall off. They make scrummy biscuit bits – just saying. If they don’t fall off leave them for now.
Time for the filling. Basically put 5 eggs, 120 gms caster sugar, 150ml double cream, zest and juice of 4 limes and 30 gms desiccated coconut in a bowl and beat together. Oh yes, hot tip. If you want to get the most juice out of a lime, skip the halfing and pressing into a juicer. Nope, slice off the sides and squeeze the whole things with your fingers. I guarantee you’ll get more out.
Right ho, you’ve made the goo – no, class you can’t eat it – so pop it into the shell and bake for 35 mins. Mine took a bit longer. It’ll look set but wobble in the middle – sort of old school belly-dancer wobble , if you remember them..
Cool for twenty mins, use a bread saw to tidy the edges, eat them with a cup of tea and slice between 4 and 8 kiwis depending how covered you want the top. I had some mascarpone and, with the spare double cream I had and a little sugar I made a creamy topping as a sandwich between the kiwi and the lime/coconut filling. Just thought it was a good use of ingredients…
Today, we have a friend visiting. Not sure if that’s allowed, but bugger it. Sorry, but I’m getting a touch fed up with our incoherent nannying that passes for Government policy these days. Anyway, she asked for a madeira cake.
Meah, bit dull, so I’ve made a fruit and nut madeira.
Looks okay, but I’ve not cut it yet…
The recipe’s simple enough. First it’s that tedious bit I detest about cake making when you have to cream butter and sugar. Unless the butter is soft enough, my beater pebbledashes my kitchen with bits of Tesco’s finest. 240 gms unsalted butter to 200 gms of sugar – actually I did 150 gms of sugar, as this is a Nigella recipe and, frankly, that woman is a couple of sweeteners short of an obesity crisis with some of her recipes. When beaten, oh soz, you also need to add the zest and juice of a lemon first, you add 3 eggs and a little of the 210 gms of self raising flour you’ll need. Then 90 gms of plain flour. That’s what she says so who am I to argue?
Still with me?
Preheat the oven to 170C, stick the gooey yumminess in a lined and buttered 23x13x17cm bread tin, smooth the top, sprinkler with more sugar.. groan.. and bake.
Unless of course you’re like me and add some fruit and nuts first. I had sultanas and apricots which I merrily boiled in apple juice until nicely swollen. I chopped some brazil nuts and almonds too and stirred them all in before the tin bit.
Then bake. With the extra ingredients, mine took about an hour and ten to cook, but her recipe says one hour. You just need to keep a watchful eye.
Let’s hope our friend enjoys it…
And the rain? It’s eased, and Dog seems happy enough, contemplating a corner of cake maybe?