Strawberry, raspberry vol au vent
This recipe is perfect for a posh dinner party, high tea or just as a treat to share with your family and friends. Vol au vent more often used for savoury dishes literally means “blow in the wind” possibly to describe the little hollow puff pastry. So we are going a bit against the norm here with this strawberry, raspberry vol au vent.
One roll of puff pastry ( please go for a pastry made with butter)
3 egg yolks
100 g sugar
500 ml milk
47 g of corn flour
A drop of vanilla paste
A punnet of raspberries
A punnet of strawberries
3 ginger nut biscuits
A few mint leaves for decoration
Vanilla pastry cream:
In a pan, bring your milk to the boil, in the meantime whisk your egg yolks and sugar to a white consistency, then add your corn flour and whisk again until completely incorporated. Once your milk has boiled, pour a 1/3 of it into your egg yolk/sugar mixture and whisk as you pour, once mixed, pour the rest of the milk and pour the entire mixture back into the pan, on the lowest heat possible and whisk until your mixture thickens. Once thickened, pour into a container and add the vanilla drop, mix and cover the top of your pastry cream with a cling film and put it in the fridge to set for a good 2 hours.
To make the pastry cases:
Pre-heat your oven to 180° C, cover a tray with parchment paper. Using a 10 cm pastry cutter cut 6 to 8 circles, place them on your baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 mns until golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack.
Crush your ginger nut biscuits. Once the pastry cases have cooled, carefully remove the centre, spoon a good dollop of pastry cream inside and fill the top with strawberries and raspberries, sprinkle with the ginger nut biscuits and add the mint.
Et voilà! Enjoy with a glass of rosé or a delicious cup of tea.
Madeleines: a French classic
These little morsels will always take me back to my childhood. They were the kind of things we used to have after school. Madeleines are easy to make and the mixture itself can keep for a week in the fridge. So you can bake them fresh everyday. At this time of year, they are the perfect comfort treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
125 g melted butter
125 g flour
A pinch of salt
4 g baking powder
3 small eggs
125 g sugar
You will need a mould for madeleines, if you don’t have one you can use, a traditional cupcake tray, both need to be well buttered.
This recipe should allow you to make 20 to 24 madeleines.
- Melt the butter
- Sift flour, salt and baking powder
- Whisk eggs and sugar for a minute or two, until your mixture is nice and fluffy, then slowly fold the sifted flour and slowly add the melted butter.
- Once all is mixed, cover with cling film and leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. After that time, you will see some little bubbles on top of your mixture. This mixture will actually keep in the fridge for a week, so you can bake the madeleines fresh everyday.
- Butter your madeleines tray and fill them with a teaspoon of your mixture. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190ºC for 10 minutes until golden brown.
- Turn them out of the tray as soon as they come out of the oven
You can enjoy them warm or cold. To keep them fresh store them in a tupperware box, best to eat them within two to three days.
Chef’s tip: to your sifted flour add the zest of a lemon and orange. Once the madeleines have cooled, dip them into dark chocolate or white chocolate if you prefer.
Caramelised apple cake: gateau aux pommes caramélisées
Although, I confess, I was hoping for a bit of Indian Summer, autumn seems to be here already. And that time of year for me calls for comfort food and above all easy recipes. This delicious ” Gateau aux pommes caramélisées” (caramelised apple cake) just fits the brief perfectly, warm and comforting!
You will need a 9″ tin for this recipe
300 g ground almonds
3 table spoons of flour (if you are gluten intolerant you can skip the flour and have only the ground almonds)
300 g sugar (granulated or caster)
250 g unsalted butter (softened)
A table spoon of flaked almonds
For the caramelised apples:
6 to 8 golden delicious (or another type)
40 g salted butter
80 g sugar
A vanilla pod
1 – Pre-heat your oven at 180° C, butter your tin and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
2 – Slice your apples, I don’t bother pealing them, I only take the pip out then make the caramel. In a pan, dissolve your sugar with 3 tsp of water then bring it to the boil without stirring. Let it cook until the sugar turns golden brown, it will start smelling like caramel, add the butter at this point, stir quickly, add the vanilla pod and then stir in the apples and let them cook in the caramel for 3 minutes.
3 – In a large bowl, mix the softened butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, and eggs until you get a smooth mixture. This is my kind of recipe, no messing about, all in and stir!
4- Pour this mixture into your tin, arrange the top of your cake with the caramelised apples and sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
5 – In the oven for an hour
6 – Serve warm with a dollop of cream or even a delicious vanilla ice cream.
Chefs tip: you can replace the apples with pears or even Victoria plums at this time of year. Sometimes, I even add a table spoon or two of rum.
The lovely plate on the picture above has been provided by, Roneford Catering , they have a lovely selection of crockery, so do check them out.
Planning a party? Here is a simple doughnut recipe for you to try
I am warning you though, this is a diet buster, guaranteed to please both adults and kids, so what it’s not to like?
40g butter (cubed)
75g granulated sugar
7g fast acting yeast
2 egg yolks
200g caster sugar mixed with 2tsp of ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
In a bowl, mix the flour and salt together, then using your fingertips, rub the butter into the mixture, until you get a breadcrumb consistency.
In a pan, warm-up your milk, don’t boil it, you have to be able to touch it with your fingers without burning them. Then mix in the sugar and the yeast and then add the whisked egg yolks.
Pour your mixed flour into a food processor and pour in the yeast mixture and using the bread paddle, let it knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mix is shinny and elastic. (By the way, you can of course knead with your hands). Cover the bowl with cling film and put it in a warm spot for a good hour or more, until the dough has doubled in size.
Then knock back your dough and knead for a minute or 2. Roll it to 1 cm thickness, use a small cookie cutter (5 cm one) and cut out some rounds and use the handle of a wooden spoon to cut the hole in the middle. Then roll them around with your thumb to increase the size of the hole.
Prepare at least 2 baking trays, with baking paper and dust them with flour, place your doughnuts and cover with oiled cling film. Let them rise for another 30 minutes to an hour depending on how hot your room is. (until they’ve doubled in size.)
Meanwhile heat the oil in a deep fryer if you’ve got one or like me use a deep saucepan with at least 5 cm of vegetable oil. Once your doughnuts are ready, deep them in the oil and cook them on each side until golden brown. Watch out as they’ll brown really quickly!
Remove from the oil and toss straight away in the sugar, et voilà!
Tip: if you’re having a ladies night in, these with a glass of Prosecco are just heaven!