ArchiveJune 20, 2021

Father’s Day

The second Father’s Day with a difference is coming up.  At least this year there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s been such a crazy time for so many families and frazzled parents trying to adjust to both dad’s and mum’s working from home. This scenario has certainly brought its challenges.

In virtually every household, there have been highs and lows… tempers have flared from time to time as we all scrambled to adjust to the new reality and tried to seem, in control in the midst of the all the uncertainty and seemingly endless lockdown confusion.  It’s been a serious learning curve for each and every one of us.  Almost everything has changed in our COVID parallel universe.  Many dads have been confronted for the first time with what was hitherto the hidden labour of childcare and housekeeping.

It’s been an eye-opener and a serious behavioural challenge.

During lockdown, some dads had very little access to their children others had a lot more than they bargained for and for the first time discovered the highs and lows of parenting.  The joy of the first smile, first tooth, first steps, potty training…and having to let go of many firmly held parenting resolutions re: online access…it’s been quite the rollercoaster.  In desperation anything to keep them quiet! 

Today we celebrate dads who together with mums have had to rise to the gargantuan challenges of the past year and because we’re only human there were good days and bad days.  I chatted to lots of dads and asked what special treat they would love for Father’s Day.  It was so funny because they all complained that their partners hardly ever made them puddings nowadays.  It was so sweet, each hankered after the nursery puddings of their childhood.  Even though it is June, several wanted steamed puddings, particularly spotted dick and custard. Another wanted a jammy Bakewell tart.  Bread and butter pudding, old-fashioned rice pudding came up too as did queen of puddings, treacle tart and jelly and cream.  A new one on me was something called Manchester tart, which I had never heard of before, apparently a school meals favourite.  Jam and custard featured a lot and of course rhubarb and apple pies.  This apple and custard pie ticks several boxes and Bumble’s ginger roll is an all-time favourite.  

So give Dad a big ‘well-done’ hug and make his day by cooking his absolute favourite pud – the way to everyone’s heart…  

Happy Father’s Day.

Manchester Tart

A delicious ‘new’ discovery for me.  Apparently, it was a favourite school pudding based on an original Mrs. Beeton recipe – it’s delicious.

Serves 8-10

Pastry

175g (6oz) plain white flour

50g (2oz) icing sugar

90g (scant 3 1/2oz) butter, cubed

1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water or 1 small egg

Custard Filling

4 large organic free-range eggs

75g (3oz) caster sugar

75g (3oz) custard powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

750ml (1 1/3 pints approx.) whole milk

180g (6 1/4oz) raspberry jam (approx.)

50g (2oz) desiccated coconut

1x 23cm (9 inch) tart tin with pop-up base

First make the pastry in the usual way.  Alternatively, put the sieved flour and icing sugar into a food processor.  Add the diced butter. Pulse until it resembles fine-ish breadcrumbs.  Add the beaten egg yolk and water or egg and pulse again for a few seconds until it begins to come together.  Turn out onto the work top and knead lightly to form a smooth pastry.  Cover and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.  Roll out thinly, line the flan ring and chill for a further 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Line the pastry case with parchment and baking beans.  Cook for 25 minutes or until pale golden brown.  Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.  By then the pastry case should be crisp and fully cooked.

Cool in the tin on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the custard.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar, custard powder, vanilla extract and 50ml (2fl oz) of milk.

Heat the remainder of the milk to the shivery stage.  Whisk into the custard base.  Return to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick and smooth.

Spread a layer of jam over the base of the cold tart.  Pour the custard evenly over the top.  Sprinkle with desiccated coconut.  Transfer the tart onto a serving plate.  Chill and serve with softly whipped cream.

Apple Custard Pie

The most delicious apple tart with a ‘built in’ custard topping.

Serves 4

900g (2lbs) Bramley cooking apples

2 or 3 cloves

110g (4oz) caster sugar

350g (12oz) approx. flaky pastry or shortcrust pastry (note different cooking temperatures)

Custard

1 large egg, preferably free range

1 tablespoon sugar

150ml (5fl oz) cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pie dish, 900ml (1 1/2 pint) capacity

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Peel and core the apples and chop into chunks put into a pie dish and add sugar and the cloves.

Roll the pastry into a sheet 1/8 inch (3mm) thick, cut several thin strips to fit onto the lip of the pie dish. Brush the ‘lip’ with cold water and press the strips of pastry firmly onto the dish. Brush the pastry strips with cold water and then press the lid of pastry firmly down onto the edges, trim off the excess pastry. Flute the edges and scallop with the back of a knife, cut some pastry leaves from the excess pastry, egg wash the pie, decorate with the pastry leaves. Make a hole in the centre and egg wash again.

For flaky pastry.

Bake in a preheated oven 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 for 15-20 minutes, then turn down the heat to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.  Whisk the egg and sugar together then mix in the cream and vanilla extract. Make a hole in the centre of the pie and pour in the custard, put back into the oven for a further 20-30 minutes or until the custard sets and the apple is fully cooked.

For shortcrust pastry.

Bake in a preheated oven 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. When the apple is almost cooked (test with a skewer). Whisk the egg and sugar together then mix in the cream and vanilla extract. Make a hole in the centre of the pie and pour in the custard, put back into the oven for a further 20-30 minutes or until the custard sets and the apple is fully cooked.

Sprinkle the pastry with a little caster sugar and serve.

Bumble’s Ginger Roulade

I spent a fun-filled weekend at Strathgarry House in Scotland doing a cooking class with Bumble and her sisters Jeannie Chesterton and Henrietta Thews.  Bumble demonstrated this recipe which we’ve been delighting our guests with ever since.

Serves 8-10

75g (3oz) butter

225g (8oz) golden syrup or treacle

50g (2oz) caster sugar (soft dark if you like)

110ml (4fl oz) hot water

110g (4oz) plain white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 egg, preferably free-range and organic

300ml (10fl oz) pint softly whipped cream

50g (2oz) chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

icing sugar

Large Swiss roll tin 25.5cm (10 inch) x 38cm (15 inch) lined with silicone paper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Barely melt the butter, golden syrup or treacle and sugar with the water.  Mix flour and baking powder and spice together in a bowl.  When the liquids have melted and cooled, add the flour, spice and egg yolk.  Lastly whisk the egg white until they reach a stiff peak and fold gently into the other ingredients.  Pour into the lined Swiss roll tin and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes (12 minutes works in our ovens).  Remove from the oven, cover with a damp cloth and leave to cool. 

Turn out onto a sheet of silicone paper which has been dredged with icing sugar.  Fill with softly whipped cream and crystalized ginger and roll up.  Transfer to a serving plate, decorate with a few rosettes of whipped cream and crystallized ginger.

Frosted Ginger Roulade

Bumble’ Top Tip

Bumble discovered quite by accident that the ginger roulade freezes really well. You can pull it out when required and cut into thick slices and put into a gratin dish, sprinkle with Demerara sugar and heat through in a very hot oven for 8-10 minutes – try it, it’s super!

Spotted Dick

Oh my goodness, does this bring back memories or what?!  Serve a steamed pud for an Autumn or Winter dinner party and everyone of ‘our’ age will dissolve into a sepia tinted haze of nostalgia!

Serves 4

75g (3oz) fat yellow sultanas or 75g (3oz) stoned Valencia, Lexia or Muscatel raisins or fat yellow sultanas

110g (4oz) butter, at room temperature

110g (4oz) caster sugar

grated rind of 1/2 unwaxed and organic lemon

2 eggs, preferably free-range and organic

175g (6oz) plain white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1-2 tablespoons milk

15g (1/2 oz) butter for greasing the pudding bowl

Homemade Custard

1/2 vanilla pod or a few drops pure vanilla extract

300ml (10fl oz) rich milk

2 egg yolks, preferably free-range and organic

1 tablespoon caster sugar

Scant 1 litre /2 pint (6 inch) pudding bowl

Brush the pudding bowl with melted butter.  Press some of the sultanas or seeded and split raisins around the sides.  Cream the butter, add the sugar and lemon rind and beat until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour and baking powder and enough milk to make the mixture just loose enough to drop from a spoon, add the remainder of the fruit.  Spoon into the pudding bowl.  Cover with a pleated piece of double greaseproof paper or foil and tie down.  (The paper is pleated to allow for expansion.)  Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, put in the pudding bowl, the water should come halfway up the sides.  Cover and steam for 2 hours. 

(Check the water level regularly to make sure the water doesn’t boil off).

Meanwhile make the homemade custard.

Put the vanilla pod (if available) into the cold milk and bring slowly to the boil.   Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl.   Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and pour the milk onto the yolks, whisking all the time, (add the pure vanilla extract if using), return to the saucepan.   Stir over a gentle heat until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon, careful it must not boil.  Pour into a cold bowl and stir occasionally as it cools.

Treacle Tart

An all-time favourite.  The pastry lattice can be optional for a simpler version.

Serves 8

Shortcrust pastry made with:

225g (8oz) white flour

110g (4oz) butter

1 egg or water or a combination of both

Filling

400g (14oz) golden syrup

150g (5oz) fine fresh white breadcrumbs

2 organic lemons, zest and juice

1 free-range egg, beaten, to use as egg wash

1 x 18cm (7 inch) round tart tin with removable base

First make the pastry.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour, rub in with the fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg with 2 teaspoons of cold water and add enough to bind the mixture. But do not make the pastry too wet – it should come away cleanly from the bowl. Flatten into a round and wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Using 150g (5oz) of the pastry (save the rest for the lattice top, cover and chill until needed).  Roll out thinly on a lightly floured worktop and use it to line a 23cm (9 inch) flan tin. Line with kitchen or greaseproof paper and fill to the top with dried beans. Rest for 15 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.

Bake the tart base blind for about 25 minutes or until pale and golden, remove the beans and paper.  Brush the pre-baked tart shell with a little beaten egg and pop back into the oven for 3-4 minutes or until almost cooked. Cool.

Be careful not to overcook because if this pastry gets too brown, it will be bitter, hard and unappetizing.

Place the reserved pastry for the lattice top on cling film and roll out thinly. Egg wash the pastry and set aside to chill in the fridge (the cling film makes it easier to move later). Do not cut into strips at this stage. Do not egg wash the strips once they are on the tart as it will dribble into the treacle mixture.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  Heat the syrup gently in a sauté pan.

When the syrup has melted, add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice and the finely grated zest to the syrup. If the mixture looks too runny, add a few more breadcrumbs.  Cool for a few minutes. 

Pour the syrup mixture into the lined tin and level the surface.

Take the reserved pastry from the fridge and cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) wide strips.  Make them longer than the edges of the tart tin. 

Egg wash the edge of the pastry in the tin, lattice the top of the tart pressing each strip down at the edge to create a neat finish.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 – 40 minutes until the pastry is a deep golden and the filling is set.

Remove the tart from the oven and allow leave to firm up in the tin. Serve warm or cold.

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