Sunday, 1 January 2012

Mary Berry's Tarte Au Citron

What better excuse than New Years Eve to attempt Mary Berry's Tarte Au Citron from my new Great British Bake Off book (courtesy of my lovely Sis!).  Always wise though to make sure you have all your ingredients before the shops shut on New Years Eve.  Totally forgetting I had used eggs the night before, I found out I was one egg short of a Tarte Au Citron.  No sniggers please.  Thank cripes for the local shop!  Disaster averted, preparation could proceed.

Pastry is always so quick and easy in a food processor and avoids warm hands warming the butter too much.  Once I had chilled the pastry in the fridge for a bit, I used a new trick suggested by Mrs Berry to ensure you have the right sized pastry for your tart tin.  Simple really but effective.  Lay a sheet of baking paper on the worktop and place the base of your tart tin on the paper.  Draw a circle around the outside of the tin base 4cm bigger than the base of the tin.  You then dust the tin base with a little flour, pop the ball of chilled pastry in the centre and start rolling out the pastry, turning the paper sheet after each roll, so you get a nice even circle.  Continue until you have reached your pencil mark.  Fold the overlapped pastry back onto the base section of the tin, gently lift the tin base off the paper and into the tin case.  Then you can proceed with pressing the pastry into the corners.  Like I said simple, but saves playing around with the pastry too much. 

Part-baked tart

I definitely need to invest in a shallower pastry tin.  Mine is more for quiches (any excuse to purchase more baking equipment......), hence the pastry stood quite proud above the filling and when baking blind the edges coloured up quite quickly, so I didn't bake the pastry for as long as I should.

Just out the oven

It all tasted lovely, but my slightly soggy bottom wouldn't have won the Great British Bake Off technical challenge.  The filling is delectably tart with a hint of sweetness.  We decided we wouldn't be suffering from Scurvy anytime soon with all that Vitamin C.  It was my first attempt at sweet pastry, so certainly one to try mastering again.

Cracked the filling transferring to the stand!

I confess not my first, but second attempt at making ciabatta also got included in our New Years Eve food consumption.  Using a recipe from River Cottage's Bread book, it was a loaf I learnt on my Bread course at River Cottage.  A very sticky dough with a higher than usual ratio of water to flour, it requires time to make, but is incredibly satisfying to make your own.  You need to keep "lifting" the dough every 1/2 hour for 3 hours and then allow it to double in size before baking, but the recipe makes 6 decent size loaves.

Lifting the dough

Every time you lift and turn the dough it becomes silkier and starts to blister.  Blisters are good.  More air-holes are what you want in a ciabatta.  A liberal dusting of coarse semolina flour and you have a very authentic and super tasty home-made ciabatta.

3 of the 6 ciabattas

Its worth making the full amount as the loaves freeze really well, so handy to go with home-made soup perhaps.  I urge you, if you have the book, to give it a go, just set aside a Saturday morning to make them.
One thing I did think off whilst making the ciabatta is every 1/2 hourly turning left me with gooey fingers.  I must look out for some of those catering gloves that I can slip on each time, to save on sticky hands.

To a productive baked and crafted 2012............enjoy

Served with a snifter of Limoncello

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