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Tarte au Citron Vert – GBBO Challenge Week 5 (Pies & Tarts Week)

tarte au citron vert

 

Everybody knows the classic tarte au citron, the beautiful French tart – a buttery pastry, filled with a zesty lemon custard. It’s a classic and some may say it’s perfect as it is and shouldn’t be changed. To them I say “pah!”. I’m a huge lover of lime and filling this tart with a smooth lime custard just sounded so much more appealing to my palate. Besides, I’m not one to stick to tradition! 

tarte au citron vert

This sweet and tart dessert is perfect for a sunny picnic, a celebratory barbecue or even a fancy dinner party. It’s versatile and gorgeous, a perfect choice for pies and tarts week of my Great British Bake Off challenge. I really enjoyed baking this and it was a lot simpler that I thought it would be, I normally associate French with tricky! The trickiest part was baking it just the right amount, you want to bake it until it is just set. You don’t want it to be under baked and runny, but you don’t want to dry it out either. So you have to keep a close eye on it.

tarte au citron vert

I had a fancy French week this week, baking fancy French patisserie classics and eating fancy French food. I fulfilled a bucket list item of mine on Tuesday (well, I don’t have a bucket list but if I did this would have been on it). I ate at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay! I’m a big, big fan of Gordon – I love his recipes, the way he cooks and I think he is just a great person all round. I think if you don’t watch his shows often you’d get the wrong idea about him, because yes he can be very hot tempered and brash but if he can see you are putting effort in and taking care in what you do, he is extremely encouraging and actually very nice. It’s when you’re half-assing something or being intentionally stupid that he loses his temper! I was also super excited to eat at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay because the head chef there is a woman called Clare Smyth and she is the first British woman to receive and keep 3 Michelin stars – and if there’s one thing I love it’s successful ladies! The food was absolutely amazing, we had three courses but they also brought out appetisers and extra desserts. I’ve honestly never tasted anything that good before, there’s definitely a good reason it’s so pricey! If you want to see photos of the gorgeous food I ate, check out my instagram, I posted photos on it on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

tarte au citron vert

 

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Monkey Bread – GBBO Challenge Week 3 (Bread week)

Monkey Bread Aka pull apart brown sugar cinnamon bread! monkey bread

If you’ve never had monkey bread before, it’s gooey sticky balls of sweet, cinnamon bread topped with a sweet vanilla glaze. It’s basically like a mountain of cinnamon buns! And if that doesn’t make you drool, I don’t know what will. The dough is made from scratch and it’s definitely worth doing that way, it doesn’t take all that long and you won’t get fluffy, yummy results as good as this without it!  monkey bread

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Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake

This Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake is a delicious twist on the classic British cake. Fluffy, moist and full of flavour – it’s a total star bake!

Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake - a delicious twist on the classic British cake! Moist, light, and full of flavour, it's a real star bake!

I am starting off my Great British Bake Off challenge with a real kicker, lemon and cardamom drizzle cake! The theme for last week’s GBBO was cake of course and I knew I wanted to make a British classic and decided on lemon drizzle cake. I wanted to give it a little depth though and make it a little more interesting and I thought cardamom would do just that, so this Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake was born!

Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake - a delicious twist on the classic British cake! Moist, light, and full of flavour, it's a real star bake!

The cake is moist and crumbly with a sharp, tart lemon flavour, just like a lemon drizzle cake should be. Then the cardamom brings in a subtle undertone that really gives depth to the flavour without taking away any of the tartness from the lemon. Lemon and cardamom really do compliment each other, it’s definitely a flavour profile I’ll be using more often. 

Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake - a delicious twist on the classic British cake! Moist, light, and full of flavour, it's a real star bake!

 

Pancake Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting and Lemon Syrup

Are you a Lemon Lover? Check out these Pancake Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

This is a really simple recipe to do, as you want the sponge to be nice and light you start with creaming the butter and sugar together and then beating the eggs and zest. You fold in the flours by hand so you don’t over mix it, then you stir in the juices and cardamom and you’re ready to bake. The cardamom comes in pods that you have to split open to get the seeds, then you have to grind the seeds into a powder before you put them into the cake. This was a great excuse for me to buy a mortar and pestle since I didn’t already own one and have always wanted one! While the cake is baking you make up the simple syrup of sugar, lemon juice and a little more cardamom so it’s ready to pour onto the warm cake when it comes out of the oven! And thus, a Lemon Cardamom Drizzle Cake is born!

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Profiteroles with Warm Chocolate Sauce

Light and airy choux pastry buns filled with crème pâtissière and smothered in warm chocolate sauce. Simple enough for a treat after a family dinner, elegant enough for a dinner party dessert! 

profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

 

profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

When I think profiteroles I think dessert at my nan’s house, so they bring up lots of good childhood memories. Even without the attached memories, I LOVE profiteroles. But for some reason it’s taken me until the ripe old age of 27 to try making them myself. I’m not a big pastry maker, I’m firmly in the “you don’t need to make your own pastry” cop out camp. Choux pastry is a different matter though, I can’t store buy that (I don’t think I’d want to either). I was a little intimated by the idea but after being assured it was a lot easier than it looked I took the jump!

profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

I used Gordon Ramsay’s profiterole recipe because he gives me heart eyes and when I stumbled across his recipe, how could I not give that one a go? You can find his original recipe here, I however didn’t fill mine with chantilly cream because creme patissiere is always better let’s be honest. When I told my mum I was using creme patissiere (which is literally pastry cream in English btw) instead of fresh cream she was disappointed, but after trying my profiteroles she saw the light! And the warm chocolate sauce is beautifully rich, I recommend making a big batch up and using it for everything (I still have some I’m trying to find an excuse to use!). Gordon’s recipe wasn’t too helpful with baking time either, it wasn’t until my 3rd tray that I got them to bake properly all the way through!

profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

This bake was actually part of my belated Great British Bake Off challenge for pastry week. Yes, it’s taken me this long to make this post! The Great British Bake Off is over now and although my favourite didn’t win, I enjoyed this series a lot, it’s around this time I’m tempted to apply (by the time the next series comes around I’m always glad I didn’t!) The profiteroles were my last bake along, it was a very short lived challenge, although I am tempted to give Charlotte Royale a go after French week!

profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

Let’s get down to business shall we?

profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

Ingredients

For the choux pastry:

  • 125ml milk
  • 200ml cold water
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

For the creme patissiere:

  • 500ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 medium egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 25g plain flour
  • 20g cornflour

For the warm chocolate sauce:

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids)
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 125ml whole milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6. A properly preheated oven is very important to get your pastry to bake properly. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

To make the choux buns, sift the flour into a bowl and set aside. Pour the milk, water, salt and sugar into a pan and gently heat on low, once the sugar and salt has all dissolved add the butter. Once all the butter has melted, bring the mixture to a rolling boil and remove from heat. Pour in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon, when the mixture starts to come away from the side of the pan, stop beating and tip onto a plate cool. Your mixture will probably look a bit like mashed potato at this point!

Once it’s cool (make sure it’s completely cool or your mixture will be too runny) return the mixture to the pan and gradually beat in the eggs a little at time, mixing well between each addition until you have a smooth paste.

Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle. If you don’t have any nozzles, buy some they’ll come in handy, but for not you can just snip off the end of the bag to get a circle hole, you need the hole to be about 1.5cm in diameter. Pipe a small blob of pastry under each corner of the greaseproof paper on your baking sheet, this will help keep it in place while you pipe the buns. Pipe balls onto the baking sheet, about 3cm in diameter, spaced well apart. Level the tops slightly with the tip of your finger, wet your finger a little first to stop the pastry sticking to you! Bake at 200C/390F/Gas 6 for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 175C/350F/Gas 4 and bake for 20 more minutes until well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke a small hole in each bun (this will let any steam out and stop your buns going soggy), transfer to wire rack and leave to cool completely.

To make the creme patissiere, put the milk and vanilla in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil (make sure you have a large pan, milk increases A LOT in size when it boils) and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until they turn a pale yellow. Then whisk in both flours. Pour on the milk, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Make sure you always pour the hot milk/cream into cold eggs when making pastry creams, if you do it the other way you’re in danger of scrambling the eggs!

Whisking constantly to avoid lumps, bring back to the boil over a medium heat and cook for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle the surface with a light dusting of caster sugar to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool completely.

Spoon the crem pat into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle (this is where you really do need a nozzle or you’re gonna have to fiddle around with poking a hole in the bottom of the buns separately!). Poke the nozzle gently into the bottom of one of the buns and pipe in the cream until it is filled. Repeat for all buns. If your cream is thick enough (and it should be) it will stay in the bun just fine.

To make the warm chocolate sauce,  break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat. Add the butter and honey, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth sauce and warm through. Drizzle the sauce of the cream filled profiteroles, serve and be the most popular person at the party/dinner/night alone in your pjs/mother in the office.

Don’t let me even worse than usual photography skills put you off attempting these, they barely take any time at all and people will think you’ve spent hours in the kitchen slaving away!

profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

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profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce

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