Monday, 24 September 2012

Apricot Mascarpone Tart

I think it’s time to face up to the fact that summer is ending. It probably already ended a while ago to be fair. Looking back at my blog posts for the summer months, it may not massively look like I’ve been embracing the bounty of fruit summer offers. The truth is like I’ve said before, my family generally just eats the fruit really simply rather than baking with it. There’s also things I never got round to photographing and blogging, such as my first attempt at jam making with Apricot and Almond Jam: one little tester jar that was delicious (if very sweet) and eaten quickly, like all the best things are. But as the nights get darker, the final raspberries on the garden cane ripen and my final (!) school year is well underway, I get a little nostalgic about the summer that has just passed. So to celebrate the end of Summer 2012, I made a sunshine filled Apricot and Mascarpone Tart. DSCF9137My Mum is not the biggest fan of rich cheesecake type things, so I was looking forward to being able to use mascarpone for once in this tart. As expected, it gave the tart an extra creaminess and richness, but you couldn’t really taste it in a sense that you would be able to identify what it was if you didn’t know. The combination of apricots and almonds is a classic and so was delicious, and I particularly liked the slightly tart roasted apricots offsetting the sweetness of the rest of the dish. The pastry was a method I hadn't seen before – creaming the butter and sugar together before beating in the flour – and I think this resulted in a slightly different texture to normal sweet shortcrust but it was equally as tasty! The recipe came from Lucas Hollweg's recipe section in the Sunday Times Style magazine a few weeks back, which is behind the paywall currently but visible at the weekends. Enjoy :) Apologies for the photo quality – dark rainy nights aren’t the easiest conditions, especially with a hungry family waiting!DSCF9134

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Coffee Break Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for the people in my office on my last day of my internship at the start of August, as I had wanted to make something a little bit more special than muffins for my last bake. I had found these on the always perfect blog, raspberri cupcakes, a few weeks before and bookmarked them on the off chance I would find a situation where they would be suitable. With a few adaptations they became the perfect treat.DSCF9124Originally, I stayed pretty faithful to the recipe on raspberri cupcakes. I made both the condensed milk icing and the cookie dough…and used neither. The condensed milk icing was gorgeous, but insanely sweet. Properly sweet. I don’t normally find things too sweet, but even I could only manage a miniscule spoonful. It was probably as close to eating pure butter as you can get! It still tasted good, but I thought it would be pretty over powerful to pile it on top of a chocolate chip cupcake. Bearing this extreme sweetness in mind, I also chose not to stuff the middle with cookie dough and baked this into cookies another day instead. So in the end I had: coffee cupcakes with dark and milk chocolate chips, coffee buttercream, mini HobNobs and milk bottles. I couldn’t find mini chocolate chip cookies, and the HobNobs seemed appropriate after an embarrassing day at the office when the the rest of the team noticed how I ate a ridiculously large amount in one day… These are fun to personalise too: I swapped in cola bottle sweets on one cake for my boss with the Diet Coke habit, and added an extra shot of coffee to the cake of the boss who drank copious amounts of black coffee throughout the day. They went down a treat at the office – I hope you like them too :) DSCF9125