Raspberry, Hazelnut and Pine Nut Tart

Have been having another sort out in my baking cupboard to find what needed using up. I found some pine nuts and ground hazelnuts, both very near their 'use by' date, so decided to use them in a tart. 
What would go well with them?  I always have some frozen raspberries ready to use, as they're one of my favourite fruits and thought these would work well with the nuts. For the filling I'd use creme fraîche instead of cream, not to make the tart too rich.

My loose-bottomed tart tin is 23cm. Preheat oven 200C/gas6

You need 300g of shortcrust pastry, bought or home made [ I added a little sugar to it].
Roll out the pastry to fit the greased tin, and put in the fridge.

Break 3 eggs into a bowl and add another yolk, 120g caster sugar and 60g ground hazelnuts. Whisk together , then add 100cl creme fraîche  and 1 tspn vanilla extract and mix together well.

Put 200g of raspberries on top of the pastry and pour over the egg mixture. Sprinkle 80g of pine nuts on top and bake for 35-40 mins till the top is golden. Leave the tart in the tin to get cold before removing.

I really liked the different textures in the tart - the pastry, the creamy filling, the soft tart raspberries and the crunch of the pine nuts. The flavours worked well together. A nice easy summer dessert.


Litle Rhubarb Meringue Tartlets

I made these a while ago when there was rhubarb in my local market. As well as rhubarb and meringue, there's an almond cream in the tartlets.
I cheated and bought a block of short crust pastry, but of course you can make it yourself.

You need: 320g shortcrust pastry, 400g rhubarb and 80g caster sugar, 125g ground almonds, 80g butter, 125g caster sugar and 3eggs, 3 egg whites and 75g caster sugar.

Preheat oven 180C           You need a 12 hole bun or tartlet tin.

Peel and chop the rhubarb then cover it with the 80g caster sugar and leave for 1 hour.

Roll out the pastry and use a cutter to cut out circles to fit your tin. Line these with baking beans and bake for 10 mins; take the beans out and bake for a further 5 mins. Take tin out of the oven and let the tartlet cases cool.

Cream : beat the butter and 125g caster sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, then the ground almonds - beat the mixture well.

Turn the oven down to 120C.

Meringue: beat the egg whites into peaks; add half the sugar and beat in ,then fold in the rest.

Put some cream into the bottom of the pastry cases, add some rhubarb then top with some meringue - I piped mine on.

Bake again for 15 mins till golden.

Lovely mixture of textures - crunchy pastry, soft cream, tangy rhubarb, then the meringue.

Think I've said before that I don't bake just for me, but these were for friends I'd invited for tea. Made a nice change from scones and cakes.


Peach Loaf Cake

Sometimes you just want a simple piece of cake with your cuppa, and this loaf cake is just what you need. I had a medium sized tin of peaches reaching its 'Use by' date, so decided to add them to a basic loaf cake mixture.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                      Grease a 900g loaf tin

Beat together 150g butter and 150g caster sugar. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time.

Fold in 150g flour with 1 tspn baking powder.

Drain the syrup from the tin of peaches and cut them into dice. Add to the batter and stir in.

Spoon into cake tin and bake for about 40 mins.

This is my attempt and prettying up my photo of the cake! I kept back a couple of peach slices and added some flowers that were hanging round in the cupboard!
The cake was nice and moist, with a soft crumb. Good contrast between the soft cake and the fruit. I'll certainly make it again, but with a different fruit, such as pears or pineapple or raspberries. Maybe add a bit of spice. A good standby recipe.


Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

I like brownies, and my friend gave me this recipe which is a bit different from your usual one. It has cream cheese added to the batter.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4               Grease and line a 18x24cm tin

Put 125g butter, 125g dark chocolate and 200g light brown sugar in a pan; stir over medium heat till melted. Take pan off the heat and beat in 3 eggs.
Add 50g sr flour, 50g cocoa and stir into the mixture.
Pour into the tin.
Beat 200g cream cheese [use full fat not low fat] with 50g icing sugar till smooth. Spoon into the batter then swirl with the tip of a knife to get a marbled effect.
Bake the brownies for 35-40 mins.

I liked these - you get the taste of the traditional brownie with the added texture of a cheesecake. They mix together well. Do I prefer it to the normal brownie - no, I don't think so, but it makes a change! I thought cooking them for so long would make them hard, but the crumb was moist.


Hummingbird Cake

Until recently, I thought that a Hummingbird Cake was the same thing as a Carrot Cake! On one of my afternoon tea visits [I'm trying to find all the little tea shops in Northants!] I saw this cake and decided to try it, liked it so much that I had to make one. I need to take a cake for a retirement party tomorrow, so decided this was the time to make it.
It's based on a recipe from an old 'Living' cookbook.

preheat oven 180C/gas4                  Grease a 3x23cm sandwich tins and line bases.

In a bowl sift together 250g plain flour, 250g caster sugar, 1 tspn cinnamon and 1 tspn bicarb. To this add 3 beaten eggs, 200ml sunflower oil, 100g chopped pecan nuts [you need a few more to decorate the top], 3 ripe and mashed bananas and 85g tinned pineapple, chopped, and 4 tbspn of its juice from the tin. Beat this all together with a wooden spoon till its mixed well.
Divide the batter between the 3 tins then bake for 25-30 mins till golden and firm.
Leave cakes to cool in tins for 10 mins then turn onto wire racks.

Filling and topping: In a large bowl beat together - 175 full fat cream cheese [Philly], 55g butter and 1 tspn vanilla extract till smooth. Sift in 400g icing sugar and beat till smooth.

Use half the filling to sandwich the cakes together, then spread the rest on the top. Decorate with some more chopped pecans.

I'm sorry that the photo is a bit blurry. I really do need a new camera or a better photographer!

It's quite a large cake. I loved the mixture of textures - the crunchy nuts, soft fruit and the creamy topping. I'm still not a convert to pineapple, but it's not really a strong element in the cake. The cake itself is soft and moist. I still prefer Carrot Cake, but this runs a close second!


Banana and Caramel Cake

A quick post. It's the usual story - what to do with 3 very ripe bananas in the fruit bowl. I also had a tin of Carnation Caramel coming to its 'use by' date, so decided to make a cake combining both of them.

The Caramel is very sweet so there's only a small amount of sugar in the cake. I wanted an easy cake to cut, so made it in a loaf tin,

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                     Grease a 900g/2 lb loaf tin

Cream together 75g butter and 25g soft brown sugar till fluffy. Beat in 1 egg then add the caramel and mix well. Sift together 225g plain flour and 2 tspn baking powder then fold these into the mixture.
Stir in 3 ripe and mashed bananas. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for an hour. I covered the top with foil for the last 15mins as it was getting very brown.
Cool in tin for a few mins then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

I really expected it to be very sweet, but it isn't. The crumb is soft and I liked the bits of banana. The caramel flavour is there, but not strong. It's quite a dark colour, but then the caramel is too!
It's an OK cake, but nothing special.


Caribbean Coconut Cake

Coconut seems to be one of the 'in' things as you see coconut oil, creamed coconut  etc. My late husband hated coconut, so not wanting to eat a whole cake on my own, I rarely made one.
This is a recipe given to me by my neighbour, so I promised to make it. I suppose it's called a Caribbean cake because of the coconut and pineapple jam in it?

Preheat oven 180C/gas4           Grease 2x20cm sandwich tins and base line.

Cake: In a large bowl put 175g butter, 175g caster sugar and 3 eggs. In another bowl, sift together 175g sr flour, 11/2 tspn baking powder and 1/2 tspn freshly grated nutmeg.
Beat the butter, eggs and sugar then fold in the flour mixture plus 55g desiccated coconut and 2 tbpsn creamed coconut. Mix well.
Divide the batter between the tins then bake for 25 mins till golden. Cool in tins for 5 mins then turn onto a wire rack.

Filling:  Sift 280g icing sugar into a large bowl. Add 115g butter and 3 tbspn creamed coconut and beat together till smooth.

Spread 3 tbspn pineapple jam [I found some in a local Caribbean shop] over one of the cakes and spread half of the butter cream on top. put the other cake on top and spread the rest of the buttercream over it. Toast some desiccated coconut [ carefully or it will burn!] and sprinkle over the top.

The cake had a nice soft crumb and the coconut flavour was strong, but not too strong. I'm not sure if I liked the pineapple jam, but that may be because I'm not a great fan of pineapples!
The topping was a good creamy contrast to the soft cake, and I liked the toasted coconut which gave a bit of a crunch. A nice addition to my 'cakes with tea' recipe list.