Hot Cross Buns Part 2

April 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Eating and Drinking | 3 Comments
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This is the third year of hot cross bun baking in the FFS kitchen. I’ve been trying different recipes each year in my quest for perfection. Last year it was Delia’s; the year before I actually can’t remember although I do remember burning them slightly (the buns were hot, I was cross).

Baking guru Dan Lepard’s hot cross buns have an exciting addition of cider, so perhaps I’ll try these next year. He also has a more complex recipe involving making a dough and a sponge – definitely one to work up to I think. Anyway, Hot Cross Buns Twenty Twelve were courtesy of Edd Kimber and Waitrose Kitchen magazine (the recipe is also available online here).

They were easy to make and were spicy and orange-zesty with a nice soft crumb and a sticky golden syrup glaze. The cross method (a quite runny mix of water and flour) produced a better cross shape than Delia’s method which involved rolling out pieces of dough and laying them on top of the buns (too hard when baked). This year I got to use a piping bag and nozzle – hooray! I hope Joan the Cook would be proud of me. Now I must resist eating any more…at least until breakfast time tomorrow.

Mince Pies and Festive Cheer

December 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Eating and Drinking, Joan the Cook | 1 Comment
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Another year, another mince pie recipe. I’m officially in love with Dan Lepard’s new book, Short and Sweet. Lots of detail on how to make the perfect loaf of bread but also many wondrous and unusual cake and biscuit recipes. I wonder what Joan the Cook would make of peach & saffron cake or banana blondies?

For a small festive shindig today I made mince pies, using Dan’s almond pastry, plus some dairy and wheat-free walnut, cranberry and chocolate biscuits (for a vegan guest). Both were delicious, if I do say so myself (Dan takes all the credit, not me – I was just following his sterling advice).

Clementines or some other small orange citrus fruit are also essential foodstuffs at this time of year. My local greengrocers was selling boxes of clementines, leaves and all, for a mere £2.50 so I couldn’t resist a box of these too. It was a tiny bit of a challenge to get them home on my bike but I did manage it. Eating a couple of these made me feel a tad less guilty about wolfing huge quantities of biscuits and pies. Short and Sweet also contains a recipe for clementine and oat muffins so perhaps I’ll try these next…

I hope everyone is getting as excited about Christmas as I am! x

Lashings of ginger beer… scones

March 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Aunt Fanny, Eating and Drinking, Joan the Cook | 2 Comments
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Like Sherlock Holmes’ “Elementary my dear Watson”, the phrase “lashings of ginger beer” is never actually used in the stories it’s so synonymous with. As previously noted, the Famous Five only ever enjoy lashings of treacle and of hard-boiled eggs (although not together; that particular combination would challenge even their relatively open-minded tastebuds). There are no ‘lashings’ per se of ginger beer – just vast amounts of the stuff, taken at any time of day [‘Lashings of’ is such a great phrase I’m afraid I overuse it a little, but let’s think of posts with this heading as a loosely thematic series rather than a sign of my lack of imagination].

Taking the cousins’ GB fetish one step further is Dan Lepard’s recipe for ginger beer scones, published in the Guardian magazine a few weeks ago. This uses ginger beer in the dough mix, as well as ground ginger and sweet stem ginger. I felt it my duty to try it out and report the results to any aspiring Aunt Fannys or Joanna the Cooks out there, so last week I whipped up a batch and forcefed them to my housemate and work colleagues.

Here is the recipe:

It makes around 16 scones.

425g plain flour
50g icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2½ tsp baking powder
200g crème fraîche
1 large egg
100g chopped glacé or stem ginger (and a little bit more than this would not be a bad thing)
150ml ginger beer
Milk, for brushing the tops

Put the flour, icing sugar, ground ginger and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl or jug, beat the crème fraîche, egg and glacé ­or stem ­ginger with a fork, then stir in the ginger beer. Pour this into the ­dry ingredients and ­gently combine. You should now have ­a very soft and extremely sticky dough.

Generously flour your work surface and tip the dough on to it. Sprinkle plenty of flour on the top and pat it out with your hands to 2-3cm thick. Using a pastry cutter, cut the flattened dough into circles and drop onto a tray lined with a sheet of baking parchment. Brush a little milk onto the tops of the scones to help them go brown.

Put into an oven pre-heated to 220°C (200°C fan-assisted)/425°F/gas mark 7 and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the scones are brown on top. Leave to cool on a rack.

The scones are best eaten warm from the oven. After they cooled down they took on a slightly odd texture that I wasn’t really in to – not quite scone, not quite bun. They also seemed to be the tiniest bit rubbery. Verdict? I would prefer to eat real scones or sticky ginger buns a’la Mrs Sanders but these are worth trying once for their novelty value. Wash down with tea or, if you are a true devotee, a glass of ginger beer.

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