Thursday, 25 September 2014

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart has to be one of the most well known traditional British desserts dating back well into the 1800's. Variants of the recipe have appeared in countless recipe books and articles over the centuries and this is our version passed down my family from my grandmother. A deliciously crisp shortcrust pastry case filled with a moist and delicious almond filling coated in crisp toasted slithered almonds. Is your mouth watering yet?

Don't be afraid to buy shop bought shortcrust pastry, as we have said countless times before it takes professional pastry chefs many many years to perfect the art of pastry so why not leave this part to the experts unless you have a tried and tested recipe.

The Ingredients:
1 Pack of Shop Bought Shortcrust Pastry
4tbsp Strawberry Jam
160g Butter
170g Silver Spoon® Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
120g Ground Almonds
125g NEILL'S® Self Raising Flour
2tsp Lemon Zest
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Nielsen Massey Almond Extract
0.5tsp Nielsen Massey Vanilla Extract/Paste
Slithered Almonds for Sprinkling

Recommended Equipment:
Food Mixer (Recommended Bosch MUM46A1)
Pyrex Mixing Bowls
Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform Precision Scale
Tart Dish

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 180c.
Roll out the shortcrust pastry so that it is larger than the tart dish you are using for the tart.

Gently lay the pastry over the dish and working around the edges gently press the pastry into place ensuring there are no gaps. Be careful not to rip the pastry. If you do a wet finger can make any small repairs.

Place a round circle of baking paper on top of the pastry. A top tip here is to crumple up the paper as this will sit the tart dish better. 
Fill the tart dish with baking beans or coins if you dont have any.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 mins until the edges are golden.
Remove and allow to cool in the tart dish.
When almost cool spread the strawberry jam over the base ensuring it is evenly covered.

Now to make the filling.
Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer by beating them for 5 mins.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Beat in the almond and vanilla extract.
Beat in the ground almonds.

Sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold together.
Mix in the lemon zest.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 mins.
Remove and scatter some slithered almonds on the top.

Return to the oven for a further 15 mins.
Remove and allow to cool before slicing.

You're Done!


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Food marketing: Three ways to make your products stand out

Even if you have created a truly sensational food product, you may never reap the financial rewards if you fail to attract enough interest among consumers. The fact is, it doesn’t matter how delicious or nutritious your food is if you can’t get anyone to give it a go. Here are three top tips to help ensure your company’s tasty treats really stand out.

Creating a stir

Always bear in mind that a little savvy marketing can go a long way when you are launching new products. Whether shopping online, in supermarkets or at artisan markets, when it comes to food, people are usually confronted with row after row of products all vying for their attention, not to mention their money. Often, they will stick to brands they know, not paying much attention to new items that appear on the shelves. This means you’ll have to do something a little different if you want your product to end up in consumers’ shopping baskets.

One way to get noticed is to launch your product with introductory or online special offers. Everyone loves a bargain, especially now when many household budgets are squeezed.
If you are selling your products in shops, you may also want to ensure that they feature on special promotional stands so that consumers can’t miss them. This may require a little effort and expenditure, but it should help to put your brand on people’s radars.

Effective packaging

Your items must look the part too. If your packaging isn’t up-to-scratch, shoppers will doubt the quality of its contents. As well as looking professional, packaging should be visually appealing. Highlighting the importance of this issue, research conducted earlier this year by the MeadWestvaco Corporation revealed that, among the people it polled, 64 per cent had tried new products because the packaging caught their eye. Meanwhile, 41 per cent noted that they had purchased a product again because of the packaging.

As well as being functional, your packaging must appeal to consumers’ imaginations. Bold colours and unusual shapes can help your food items to stand out. Using atypical designs in this way may raise the cost of packaging, but it will also increase the impact your goods make.

A standout label

A crucial part of your packaging will be your labels. Indeed, an effective label can be one of the most important assets that a food brand has. This item should contain all the relevant information and it must grab consumers’ attention. When you’re designing your label, think about your target audience. Decide exactly who are you trying to appeal to and make sure that the language, colours, images and general look of your labels reflects this.

These items should have a distinctive appearance and this is especially important if you plan to release different product lines. From a marketing perspective, it is vital that all of your goods are instantly recognisable. Your labels should also give people a clear idea of what is inside the packaging. Shoppers are often strapped for time, so you don’t want to leave them guessing as to what your products are.

Firms such as Labels Plus offer a host of different labels and should have the perfect solutions for you. The best thing is, despite the importance of labels in terms of branding, these items are inexpensive.

Meanwhile, if packaging and label design are distinctly out of your comfort zone, there’s no need to panic. You can always turn to the experts for help. Paying a little extra to benefit from professional design services can prove to be a savvy long-term investment and it may help ensure that when your products hit the shelves, people really sit up and take notice.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Apple Crumble

With the cold evenings beginning to creep in we start moving from summer desserts to warm comforting desserts like this recipe for apple crumble. My most fond memory of apple crumble is from my grandmothers house where it was always served warm with custard, straight from the oven. On special occasions served with ice cream. This recipe is simple to follow and always produces impressive crowd pleasing results.

The Ingredients:
380g Granny Smith Apples (This can be tinned if apples if you dont have fresh)
210g Silver Spoon® Caster Sugar
30g Neills® Plain Flour
210g Light Brown Sugar
150g Butter
220g Neills® Plain Flour
80g Rolled Oats
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tsp Ground Vanilla Pods (Optional)

Recommended Equipment:
Pyrex Mixing Bowls
Pyrex Cake Dish with Handles
Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform Precision Scale

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 190c.
Mix together the apple pieces, 210g caster sugar, ground cinnamon and 30g plain flour until just combined. If you are using tinned apples mix very gently so you do not break up the apple too much. Tinned apples are completely fine to use and is very flavourful if you do not have access to fresh. Set this mixture aside.

In a separate large bowl mix together the butter, oats, 210g light brown sugar some ground vanilla pods if you have any (Dr Oetker do a great vanilla grinder so keep an eye out for this!) and 220g plain flour.
Rub this mixture together until a chunky breadcrumb consistency is achieved.

If the crumble mixture is too wet (this can happen if the kitchen is very warm when the butter and sugar are softer than normal) add 1tbsp of flour at a time until the mixture crumbles into chunky breadcrumb consistency.
Evenly spread the apple mixture into a shallow baking dish, we use the Pyrex cake dish with handles as its absolutely perfect for crumbles.
Top the apple with the crumble mixture and spread out evenly, being careful not to upset the rhubarb mixture below too much.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins until the crumble is nice and golden.

Allow to cool for 5-10 mins before serving.
Our recommended serving method is with warm custard.