Lemon Viennese Whirls

Annual leave, yay! The weather has been properly disappointing in parts (rain rain, go away) but it’s so wonderful having the luxury of time to potter around doing very little, with the odd bake thrown in here or there.

I wasn’t sure whether to blog about these viennese whirls as they were a bit disappointing. Whilst I love watching Bake Off, the downside is there’s nothing like watching a couple of showstoppers to make me feel a little inadequate in the kitchen when things don’t work out! I also didn’t have my proper camera (making do with phone pics) but hey ho. Sometimes it’s worthwhile mentioning when things didn’t go right.

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So I had baked a batch of really luscious viennese whirls earlier, and filled them with cherry jam and vanilla buttercream. As I was eating them, I thought they would be great in a lemon incarnation too, but it was those of the lemon variety that didn’t turn out quite as planned.

They were far too crumbly, breaking up into powder on just gently being touched. The biscuit also tasted strange, not quite lemony enough, but a hint that reminded me a little bit of citrus washing up liquid.
IMG_1581The homemade curd was delicious though, very tangy, with a strong lemon flavour that would probably work very well in another bake. I used Nigel Slater’s recipe found here.

I packed the viennese whirls into an airtight container, and they firmed up considerably overnight. You could eat them without ending up with a pile of sandy crumbs all over the floor, hooray. They just didn’t taste particularly great. The original recipe is fantastic, so I think it’s mainly a case of tweaking my alternative flavourings a bit more, and potentially doubling the lemon zest.

I might use up the remaining curd in some macarons. I’ve been baking a plenty of macarons, but they’ve been causing me a more trouble too, hmm!

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Toad-in-the-Hole

I have a bad track record with making toad-in-the-hole. For some reason, I always end up with something more claggy and floury than I’d like, and I never get this tremendously billowy rise that I always see elsewhere. This time I followed this Nigel Slater recipe to the letter, and whilst I still didn’t get pillows of batter, it looks pretty similar to the photo by the recipe, which is always reassuring. Even more so, from the eating, it went down very well.

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It’s fancied up by wrapping each sausage in a slice of cured ham, and throwing in a tablespoon of mustard into the batter to liven it up. There’s a rather joyous contrast between the crisp exterior of the batter, and the fluffy texture within. Sadly, your arteries won’t thank you.

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Toad-in-the-hole is decidedly comfort food in the much-loved-but-definitely-stodge department. For me, it comes with a good dollop of childhood nostalgia. I do wonder how people who had never grown up with something like this percieve a dish with such an odd name. Does it also seem strange to find out it’s actually not got anything to do with toads, but is an arrangement of sausages baked in batter?

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Toad-in-the-Hole

Adapted from Nigel Slater on BBC Food

  • 2 eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 150ml milk
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tbsp grain mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 Lincolnshire/Cumberland sausages
  • 6 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp oil

Whisk the eggs, flour, milk, water, mustard and salt and pepper together until smooth. Then set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220˚C. Take the skin off each sausage, and wrap around a piece of prosciutto instead.

Lightly grease a roasting tin with 1 tbsp oil and arrange the sausages in the tin. Heat until the oil starts to sizzle. Pour out some of the excess fat (I forgot to do this step hence even more artery badness, oops) then pour over the batter. Return to the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden and risen. Serve hot.

Peach and Blackberry Crumble

Brr, it definitely feels like Autumn is on the way. The evenings are getting cooler and darker, the bathtub is populated with giant spiders, and the summer dresses are disappearing in favour of big woolly jumpers and novelty socks. I just want to cuddle up with a pillow and watch girly films, with a big spoonful of hot crumble at the ready.

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Interestingly, crumble is one English pud that’s really taken off round the globe. My French patisserie books all feature le crumble in gussied-up versions featuring pineapples, grapes, ground almonds, and a seriously heartstopping volume of butter.

With the sky overhead charcoally grey, heavy with rain, and the dim light filtering through the windows, I cut a glut of summer bounty. Juicily ripe peaches, tiny tart blackberries, a sprinkling of brown sugar. Then with the scatter of the topping, and this crumble, in all its simplicity was ready to be baked.

The rain paused, just as we tucked into the crumble. It was still hot, vivid deep purple-red juice bubbling up from its golden crust. There was pouring cream to drizzle on top too.

A simple, very seasonal, and delicious delight.

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Peach and Blackberry Crumble

Adapted from Nigel Slater on BBC Food

  • 1kg fruit
  • sprinkling of sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 75g butter
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 100g brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Core and slice the peaches. Toss in a little sugar if they aren’t very sweet, and pop into a shallow ceramic dish with the blackberries.

Rub the flour and butter together until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the oats and brown sugar, and sprinkle over the cooked aples. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until crisp and golden-brown on top.

Serve with lashings of custard, or pouring cream.