Almond Slices

IMG_3267My love for almonds is no secret and I have adored Almond Slices since I was a little girl…..they were usually a treat reserved for when I visited my grandma and granddad (which was ALL the time). I was a lucky girl 🙂

I had a go at making some last week….it was both disastrous and triumphant!

I did quite a lot of baking last weekend and these were last on the list for Saturday. We had plans in the evening to go out with some friends and as usual my horrendous ability to keep time came in to play. I was so convinced that I had time to shower, get ready, bake and get some tea on the go that I ploughed ahead with it all anyway……I didn’t have time. I really didn’t.

It really wouldn’t be so bad if it was for the fact that I am a terrible faff! Im distracted so easily! Before I know it, we are meant to be meeting said friends in 20 minutes and I’m still stood in the lounge in my towel with soaking wet hair watching snippets of Desperate Housewives and wondering where Susan is going to get her replacement kidney from……

‘Beep beep beep. Beep beep beep. Beep beep beep’. The timer on my oven. Great – I’ll just whip them out…yeah, they look good and smell amazing. I’ll stick them on the side to cool whilst I dry my hair……

So, im drying my hair, eating my tea, finishing off my make up, getting my outfit sorted and viola! From PJ party to dancing the night away ready before I know it!

By this point 20 minutes has past and I decide to remove my almond slices from the tin, they look great…..until disaster strikes! Realising that its not just my eyes playing tricks and that sides of the bake are actually ‘slipping’ away from the cake, I start shrieking and flapping whilst Dave in a very concerned manner, rushes to my aid to see what’s wrong…..this is what was wrong…….

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Ha!! Oh dear, it may have looked amazing and smelt super yummy but in my haste to get ready I had skipped the testing of my bake. It was SO uncooked in the middle that I couldn’t help but laugh! Turns out id put the timer on 20 mins instead of 50…..don’t ask, no idea….that will teach me for next time…..

Anyway, we went out and had a lovely night with lots of friends and the next day, I started again! Luckily they turned out perfectly this time and the recipe is below 🙂 The recipe is a bit of a hybrid one (as usual) half BBC recipes and half my own variations 😉

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Ingredients:

For the pastry

  • 300g plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 30g sugar
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the filling

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 225g ground almonds
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 1 lemon, grated zest only
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 jar of good quality raspberry jam
  • flaked almonds, for decoration

Recipe:

1. For the pastry, place the flour, butter and sugar into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add one of the eggs and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a rough dough. If the dough is too dry, add a bit of milk. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

2. Unwrap the dough and discard the cling film. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll out until large enough to line a 30x20cm/12x8in cake tin. Line the tin with the pastry, then place into the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes.

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3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

4. Line the chilled tart case with a sheet of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden-brown.

Tip: Make sure you definitely use the baking beans to weigh your pastry down otherwise you will end up with lumpy pastry!

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5. Remove the paper and beans and brush the pastry all over with the remaining beaten egg. Return the pastry to the oven for a further five minutes, until golden-brown. Remove the pastry from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 180C/365F/Gas 4.

6. For the filling, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
Mix in the ground almonds, then crack in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition until smooth and creamy. Fold in the lemon zest and the flour.

7. Spread some of the raspberry jam generously across the base of the pastry, leaving a 2.5cm/1in gap around the edge.

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8. Pour the filling mixture over the jam, spread for an even surface and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

9. Bake the tart for 50 minutes (check after 40 mins), or until the filling is set and golden-brown. Allow to cool in the tin before serving.

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10. Slice ‘n’ serve!

Love S & P x

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Lovely, yummy, jammy cookies!

IMG_3097It’s that time of the week again when I get my bake on! 🙂 

As you already know I’ve gone down the valentines route a little already with my Jammy Dodger Cupcakes but I’m not done with the romantic notion of valentines yet! Its so easy to make and bake things with a theme and when love is in the air its really fun to play around with different ideas and ways of decorating…!

 

I’ve decided to keep it simple this time around and have opted for jammy hearts!

They are sweet and tasty and pretty to look at!

Tip: With this recipe it’s important to buy a really good quality jam as it will be doing most of the ‘talking’ for these bakes! 🙂

I have lots more ideas in the pipeline so will try to bake and blog as much as my work and social life permit 😉

Enjoy!

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Ingredients: 

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Jar of quality strawberry or raspberry jam

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy.

3. Add the egg and beat in to the mixture until well combined.

4. Connect the dough hook to your stand mixer and sift the flour and baking powder in to the butter mixture. Add the milk and mix until combined.

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Tip: This dough can seem like it takes a long time to come together but it will get there eventually! If it sees like it is too sticky you and add another tablespoon of flour and perhaps try kneading with your hands to help bring it together.

5. Turn your dough out on a light floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/2 and inch in thickness.

6. Take the larger of your heart shaped cutters and cut out as many heart shape as you can.

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7. Gently place your dough hearts on the prepared baking tray. You might not be able to fit them all on at once.

 

Tip: It will be easier if you have a spatular to help lift the dough hearts off the surface – but be careful with them.

8. Now that your dough hearts are on a baking tray it will be easier to cut out the middles. Take the smaller heart shaped cutter and carefully cut out hearts from the middle of half of the cookies on your baking tray.

Remember: You will only need to cut small hearts out of the middle of HALF of your cookies. You need to make sure that they other half are left as whole hearts.

9. Place your baking tray in the oven and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

10. Once your cookies have finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring on to a wire rack to cool completely.

11. Take the heart shaped cookies with the holes in the middle and careful use a sieve to cover them in icing sugar.

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12. Next, take a whole heart cookies and using a teaspoon, place a small dollop of raspberry or strawberry in the middle of the biscuit.

13. Take the other half of the cookies with holes in the middle and place them over the whole cookies so that the jam is visible from the middle of the heart.

14. Enjoy!

Love S & P x

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