Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Lemon Tart

With Christmas just around the corner we wanted to give you some excellent dessert choices for Christmas Day if you're not too fond of the traditional Christmas pudding on offer. You dont have to feel left out, this lemon tart is quick and simple to prepare and keeps great for a few days in the fridge, perfect for the busy Christmas season.

The Ingredients:
80g butter
125g Plain Flour
4tbsp Icing Sugar
2tbsp Water

Lemon Filling:
200g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
30g Plain Flour
70ml Lemon Juice
1tbsp Fresh Lemon Zest
2tbsp Icing Sugar

Recommended Equiptment:
Pyrex Mising Bowls
Wooden Spoon
Tart Dish

The How-To:
First we need to make the pastry. Rub the flour, butter and icing sugar together in a large bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Bring this together into a dough by adding the 2tbsp of water. 

Handle the pastry dough as little as possible working it only enough to combine all the ingredients.
Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 180c.
Unwrap the pastry and gently push this into a tart dish (between 20-30cm is perfect size).
No need to roll out the dough, this creates a wonderful rustic look to your tart.

Place a round piece of baking paper on top of the pastry and fill with baking beans / coins or similar.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 mins until golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to safely remove the baking beans / coins.
In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients. The order is not important.
Beat these together with a hand whisk until evenly combined.
Pour the lemon filling into the warm pastry tart.
Place back into the oven and bake in the centre for 20 mins.
Remove and allow to cool completely before removing carefully from the tart dish and dusting with icing sugar or decorate how you wish.
Store in an airtight tin or box in the fridge.

You're Done!


Saturday, 22 November 2014

M&S Mince Pies Christmas 2014

If you're a regular reader of ours you will know of our love of Marks and Spencer's however we feel the need to tell you about a story which makes us proud of a local family run bakery in Northern Ireland.

McErlain's bakery in Magherafelt County Derry is run by six brothers, who are all bakers. They produce a range of bread and cakes under the brand called Genesis Crafty. They also supply "own brand" goods to major supermarkets. The business was established by their parents in 1968 and thrived ever since. All six brothers are involved in the day to day running of the bakery which we feel is especially great.

It wasn't always a big operation..... You can see in the image we obtained from the brothers, the original bakery shop. Then a small bakery in the town of Magherafelt. The brothers have all had a love of baking from a very young age as you can see from the image of them enjoying some time in the family kitchen.

The original bakery 
The McErlain brothers enjoying some time in the family kitchen
McErlain's now boasts a staff of over 230 people to produce their delicious baked treats for nationwide distribution.

The bakery has been producing bread and cake products nationally for Marks and Spencer's stores in the UK and Ireland from 2010 which include a range of handcrafted Mince Pies.

This Christmas the bakery will supply:

- Marks and Spencer's Café Ultimate Mince Pie (now served in stores).

- Ultimate 4 pack Mince Pies (In store 30th November.)

- Collection Mini Selection Cranberry and Clementine Mince Pies 12 pack (In store 30th November.)

- Customer Food to Order Mini Selection Cranberry and Clementine Mince Pies 36 pack. (Available to order in store and on line.)

We have tried the Cranberry and Clementine mince pies to order. Their flavours are mouthwatering and a great alternative to the traditional mince pie. We can see these being a firm favourite in many family homes this Christmas.

A cranberry topped mince pie from the Mini Mince Pie Selection

In store the Marks and Spencer's Ultimate 4 pack of Mince Pies will be available from 30th Nov. Keep your eyes open for thee and give them a try for yourself.

Cornflake Tarts

Many of you will recognise these sweet treats from school days, some of you have probably forgotten about them until now. But we have put together a recipe which makes cornflake tarts taste exactly how they did back then. Cornflake Tarts are shortcrust pastry shells with a layer of jam and syrupy cornflakes.

The top tip with this recipe is to use shop bought ready rolled shortcrust pastry. It takes pastry chefs years of training to make the perfect pastry, and we don't have that time to spend making cornflake tarts. It's ok to use ready made pastry in some instances, in others it tastes so much better to make your own.

This recipe is to make 6 mini tarts.

The Ingredients:
1 Sheet Ready Rolled Shortcrust Pastry
60g Golden Syrup
25g Butter
45g Cornflakes Breakfast Cereal
20g Billingtons Dark Brown Sugar
50g Strawberry Jam

Recommended Equipment:
Small Saucepan (preferably non stick)
The Pampered Chef Mini Tart Pans
Ceramic Baking Beans
Roul'Pat Non Stick Work Surface

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 180c.
On a non stick surface spread out the ready rolled shortcrust pastry. Using the mini tart pans as a guide cut out circles of pastry a little larger than the pans themselves.

Lightly grease the pans and gently push the pastry into the pans gently pushing the edges against the sides of the pans. Prick the bottom of the tarts with a fork. Place a small circle of baking paper in the bottom of the pans and cover in ceramic baking beans or dried peas.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 mins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 mins before removing the baking paper and baking beans. Remove the tarts from their cases to cool.

Now we need to make the filling of the tarts.
In a small saucepan melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together and stir until combined.

Slowly add the cornflakes and stir until evenly coated in the mixture.

Before we add the cornflake filling we need to spread some strawberry jam on the bases of the tart shells.

Spoon some of the cornflake filling into the tart shells until flush with the surface.

To help the tarts stick together and become nice and sticky place them back in the oven for 5 mins at 150c.
Remove and allow to cool slightly before enjoying. Can be kept in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

You're Done!