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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Berry’

We like the occasional Hot Cross Bun … warm with a wedge of butter on it, but often find the shop-bought ones too sweet. This version, however, has all the flavour and texture but eases up on the sugar. Best eaten on the day you make them as they lose a bit of freshness that toasting will fix. Not a problem though as we suspect the warm buns will tempt even the most jaded HCB eaters out there. It’s a pretty easy recipe too, though Jono reckons he’ll get the crosses better next time.

Hot Cross Buns, makes 12 buns

  • 450g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 20g fresh yeast, or 7g fast-action dried yeast
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 150ml tepid milk
  • 5 tbsp tepid water
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 75g currants
  • 50g chopped mixed peel

For the cross:

  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g soft butter

To Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Measure the flour, salt, spices, sugar and dried yeast (if using), into a large bowl and stir to mix and then make a well in the centre.

If using fresh yeast, mix this with the milk and water until combined. Pour the butter, the beaten egg, milk and water into the well followed by the currants and mixed peel. Mix to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm. Keep in a warm room and leave to rise for 1.5 hours and until it has doubled in size.

Lightly grease 2 baking trays.

When the dough has risen turn out onto a lightly floured work surface again and knead for 2-3 minutes. Divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into round buns.

Make a cross in the top of each bun with a knife then place on the prepared baking trays and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes. Pre-heat an oven to 220C/200C fan.

While the buns are rising make the pastry for the crosses by mixing the flour and butter with a little water and roll out. Cut into thin strips and place into the cuts on the top of the buns.

Bake the buns for about 15 minutes until brown and hollow sounding when the base is tapped.

While the buns are baking make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the water over a gentle heat. As soon as the buns come out of the oven brush them all over with the glaze.

It may be hard to resist, so don’t … cut one open and spread with butter before eating.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, BBC Books, 2009.)

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Jono has taken to baking in lockdown, not something we do much of normally. You can’t beat the smell of this baking in the oven. The recipe makes loads so you may not get through it all straight away, but don’t worry, gently warm in an oven for 5 minutes and serve with a dollop of cream and it’ll last a week or more.

Gingerbread Traybake 

  • 275g golden syrup
  • 275g black treacle
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 225g softened butter
  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 160C/Fan 140C/Gas 3. 

Grease a 30 x 23cm traybake or roasting tin and line with baking parchment. 

Put the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter in a large pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and spices. Add the beaten eggs and milk, and beat until smooth, then pour into the prepared tin. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. 

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, BBC Book, 1993.)

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We don’t do much baking but we’ve managed more than usual with all of these lockdowns. This old-fashioned coffee and walnut cake is a favourite of Jules’ and was really straightforward to make – even for us baking novices. 

Coffee & Walnut Cake

  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp coffee extract (or 2 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1 tbsp hot water. Use a bit more in the cake mix than in the icing)

FOR THE ICING: 

  • 75g softened butter
  • 225g sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp coffee extract
  • 8 walnut halves, to decorate

Heat the oven to 160C/Gas 4.

Grease two 18cm sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking paper. 

Put all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat until well blended and smooth. 

Divide the cake mix between the sandwich tins and level the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and the top springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack. 

To make the icing, beat the butter, sifted icing sugar, milk and coffee essence in a bowl until smooth. 

When the cakes are completely cold sandwich them together with half the icing and use the rest for the top. Decorate with the walnuts. 

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, BBC Books, 2009.)

 

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We have a 7 year old at home who is usually very good at eating pretty much anything we put in front of her. Recently though, she’s gone a bit fussy and very plain in her requests. We’re remaining calm and trying to cook some kid-friendly food to coax her back to her adventurous self. Served with salad and garlic bread, the dish was scraped clean.

Wine Suggestion: Youthful, Italian reds are the order of the day, be it a Sangiovese or Montepulciano, or tonight’s choice of Barbera from Pico Maccario in the Piedmont.

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni – serves 6

  • butter for greasing the dish
  • 18 cannelloni tubes (you can use a few more if you have extra filling and enough room in your dish)
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 300ml chicken stock or veg stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 60g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 500g spinach leaves, chopped
  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg

Make the tomato sauce first by heating the oil in a saucepan, then adding the celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Cook gently for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the stock, tomatoes and tomato purée, then season well with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer, stirring now and then, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by heating the oil in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the spinach and cook over a high heat for a couple of minute until completely wilted. Cool slightly, then stir in the ricotta, nutmeg and plenty of seasoning.

Purée the tomato sauce in a food processor, then stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

Grease a large ovenproof dish in which the cannelloni tubes can lie in a single layer.

Spoon the filling into the cannelloni tubes. Two teaspoons works best for this; 1 to spoon the filling into the tube, and use the opposite end of the other spoon to push the filling down into the tube.

Arrange the filled cannelloni in the dish, then cover with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, then serve with extra Parmesan on top.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook, DK, 1995.)

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