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British style pancakes, but not as you know them! Fluffy pancake batter baked into pancake cupcakes, topped with mini pancakes, zesty lemon buttercream frosting and a thick lemon sugar syrup. A new and delicious way to enjoy pancakes this Pancake Day!
Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras… whatever you call it, it’s a day celebrated and marked across the world. It comes the day before Ash Wednesday, the day that Lent starts, and this year it falls in February 28th – this coming Tuesday. Traditionally it’s the day you get ready for fasting by using up all your staples in your kitchen and one last chance to gorge on what you will be giving up for Lent. In the UK, we traditionally have pancakes because it’s a simple way to use up eggs, flour and sugar – hence why we call it “Pancake Day”. Of course, it’s not entirely necessary these days as most people don’t fully fast for Lent, rather we just give up one of our vices, but traditions are still fun to have right?
A traditional Welsh tea time treat. Little cakes filled with dried fruit, cooked on a griddle and sprinkled with sugar. With a less traditional addition of delicious lemon, served warm with Honey Ginger Whipped Butter.
I love Wales, it’s a beautiful country full of pretty awesome people (unless the rugby is on, then they’re my enemy!). I lived in Wales for four years, the beautiful sea-side town of Aberystwyth, I miss it a lot. One of the many amazing things to come out of Wales is Welsh cakes – they’re so simple, but oh so delicious. They’re thin, flat cakes that you cook on a griddle, full of dried fruit (usually raisins/sultanas) and mixed spices. I hate to think how many Welsh Cakes I got through in my four years in Aber, probably far too many. I’ve never made them myself though, I was always a bit intimidated by them – they’re a well loved, traditional treat in Wales, if you get them wrong you’re not forgiven!
I started my last post talking about how time seems to slip me by and it looks like I’m starting this one off the same way, at least I’m consistent! This post almost didn’t happen, because I did not realise how late into the week we are – it’s Friday apparently?! Did everybody realise this?! Has somebody alerted the PM? (On second thoughts don’t, he’ll probably impose a time tax) It’s actually currently Thursday as I write this, 11:30pm on Thursday – oops! I’ve been baking all evening in the kitchen (where else would you be baking, Michelle?!) and I finally sat down, ready to catch up on some blog reading before I go to bed when it hit me that tomorrow (now today) would be Friday and I hadn’t even started on a post! Luckily I had at least edited the photos, so it’s just the actual writing I have to do. Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds themselves this unorganised on a frequent basis? Lie to me if you have to!
Does this happen to anybody else ever? You have left over egg yolks so you make pudding, but then you end up needing more egg yolks than you had so you end up with left over egg whites. Now you’re just stuck in an endless cycle of using up leftover parts of eggs! It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it means you end up with super yummy meringue nests you wouldn’t have made otherwise! And aren’t unintended desserts the best kind? I’m sure they don’t have as many calories in either 😉
When I have egg whites to use up my first thought is always meringue, it’s one of my all time favourite sweets. There’s just something about the way it crunches and melts in your mouth all at the same time that is just irresistible to me. I thought about making some meringue to crush up and put in an Eton Mess, but then I decided I should make the meringue a dessert all by itself, it deserves to be the star of the show after all!
As a baker I always like to make sure I at least have lemons and cream in the fridge and a well stocked spice cupboard, there are few things you can’t spruce up with the right citrus and spice (plus lemons are insanely useful for so many things around the house) and cream makes everything better and more decadent. As luck would have it, I also had some oranges in the fridge. Orange and cinnamon are natural partners, their familiar dance on your tongue is traditional but still exciting as the first time. Lemon and cardamom may not be as familiar to some, but when they take to the dance floor it’s clear they were always meant to be. And that has to get an award for the weirdest metaphor I’ve written… this week anyway! So I’m no shakespeare, but I think I got my point across – these are flavour combinations made in heaven!
So with those strange metaphors swimming around my head, I added lemon zest to half of the meringue and orange zest to the other half. Baked them and filled the lemon ones with cardamom cream and the orange ones with cinnamon cream. The food colouring added the meringue is technically optional, but I really do think it’s what makes this dessert look so fun and inviting! So unless you have an allergy or an aversion to food colourings, I would definitely keep them in!
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!
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.
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.