If anyone can think of a catchier name for this then I would love to hear it. It is a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended. I’ve met quite a few Americans who find the fact that we Brits often refer to dessert as […]
When I was little a battle would be waged every summer in our garden between my mum and the resident blackbirds over who was going to get to the blackcurrants first once they reached peak ripeness. On the occasions when my mum won the war […]
I’ve told you before about how much I love cherries. I’ve probably mentioned the tears that ensued when I swallowed a cherry stone as a child and my dad told me a cherry tree would grow out of my head.
Ordinarily cherries are far too expensive to buy too often. It seems that this year though cherry growing conditions in the UK have been pretty perfect and we have quite a glut! In other circumstances cherry jam would seem like such an extravagant thing to make but I was given a sackful (an actual sackful!) last time we visited Mr Colonial Cravings family.
Turning the fruit into jam not only means that I’ve preserved all that cherry joy to enjoy for a little bit longer but it also gives me some scope for a few more cherry based recipes. Watch this space…
makes about 2 medium jars
850g sour cherries, pitted
600g jam sugar (sugar with added pectin)
juice of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
knob of butter (optional)
Put a small saucer in the freezer to test the jam later for setting point.
Stir together the fruit and sugar in a very, very large pan. Add the cinnamon stick and set it over a moderate heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle rolling boil and leave it to bubble for around 30 minutes. If you have a jam/sugar thermometer then you want the mixture to reach around 105°c.
Test the jam to see if it’s reached setting point by dropping a spoonful of it onto the saucer that you put in the freezer earlier. Leave it to cool for a moment then push your finger through it, if the surface wrinkles then it’s ready. If it’s not quite there then let it bubble for a little longer. Once it has reached setting point turn off the heat, remove the cinnamon and stir in the lemon juice. If the jam has a lot of foam on the surface then stir in a knob of butter to disperse it.
Pour the jam into warm sterilised jars, label, seal and leave to cool.
‘What’s a Cornish split?’ I hear you ask. Splits are a wonderfully soft, sweetened roll made from an enriched dough, a little bit like an iced bun. It’s also the most traditional way of serving a Cornish cream tea. Yup, that’s right, splits not scones. They’re slightly more dense than something like brioche and make a nice change to serving scones with your afternoon indulgence.
Obviously I’m an advocate for topping them with jam and clotted cream (and yes, in that order, they are Cornish splits after all) but they are equally delicious smothered in chocolate spread or just butter and good jam. (Full disclosure: There is also a chance that I ate the last one stuffed with a scoop of cranachan ice cream – it was really good!)
This recipe only makes six splits because they really are best eaten on the day they’re baked, but you can easily double it up if you want to make more.
1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
115ml warm milk
40g butter (melted)
200g bread flour
1/4 tsp salt
In a small bowl mix together the yeast, sugar and 25ml of the milk, this will give the yeast a bit of a head start. Combine the flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Mix the melted butter with 50ml of the milk and add this into the flour. Next, mix in the yeast blend and enough of the remaining milk to bring everything together to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead this dough for five minutes or so by hand until it becomes soft and springy.
Wash and dry the mixing bowl so that it is nice and warm and then lightly grease it. Pop the dough in it, cover it and leave it in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Gently knock back the dough and give it a very brief knead. Divide the dough into six equal pieces and roll each into a nice round ball. Put the rolls onto a lightly greased baking sheet, spaced a little apart (you want them to join up when they have re-risen but not lose they’re shape) and cover them with a piece of oiled cling film. Put it back in its warm place for a further hour. Pre-heat your oven to 220°c.
Once the rolls have risen for a second time uncover them and bake them for 15 minutes. You want them to be a little golden but still have a soft exterior. To keep the crust soft you need to wrap the splits up in a clean tea towel as soon as they come out of the oven and leave them to cool like that.
Splits are best eaten on the day they are baked, preferably smothered in jam and clotted cream.
An embarrassingly long time ago my lovely friend Lexi (she who bakes the really good muffins) asked me if I could make Sachertorte on here. She told me that she’d never had it but thought that it sounded pretty delicious. I have also never had it. This means I don’t really feel qualified to make a convincing version of it. I’ve done a fair bit of research into it and I have largely found that no two recipes are the same. Some say use almonds, some say don’t. Some use two layers of apricot jam and others just one. It’s a minefield! Apparently there have even been legal battles over it.
I realise that I could make umpteen different versions of it and pick my favourite but (rather perversely, considering the nature of this blog) I hate to follow a recipe to the letter. My kitchen is very much a place for free-styling – I try to tell myself that it’s creativity but more often than not it’s laziness!
So I have decided to make a cake specially for Lexi (yes, I know you live about 3500 miles away in Cheltenham but it’s the thought that counts…and I promise to make another one for you when I move back) She has acute Germanophilia so I have taken the liberty of giving this a lebkuchen twist (I bloomin’ love lebkuchen) and used gingerbread instead of chocolate sponge but I’ve kept the combination of apricot and rich chocolate glaze from her original sachertorte request.
The sponge is just the recipe from my gingerbread latte cupcakes, baked in a couple of standard cake tins for 30-35 minutes. The only small addition I made was to add a splash of booze at the end of the mixing. I couldn’t help myself.
Swiss buttercream does require a bit more effort than normal frosting but it’s really quite a different beast. It has a much smoother, creamier texture and isn’t nearly as sickly. It’s more luxurious and sophisticated and worth the extra effort.
1 quantity gingerbread sponge mixture (https://coriandercooks.com/2014/12/15/gingerbread-latte-cupcakes/)
1 tbsp brandy/dark rum/whisky
1 egg white
70g butter (room temperature and cut into small pieces)
3 tbsp apricot jam
200g good quality dark chocolate
2tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp cream
Bake the sponge in a couple of sandwich tins and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the jam layers simply warm the jam a little and mix it with the booze. Brush this onto both sides of the sponge that will touch the buttercream. Don’t feel obliged to use all of this mixture if you think that the jam layer will be too thick (I had about 1 tablespoon left over)
Now it’s time to get started on the Swiss buttercream. Put the egg white and sugar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Gently whisk it together whilst it heats, it needs to be quite warm and the sugar needs to have dissolved into the egg white. Just rub a little between your fingers to check the temperature and that it isn’t grainy. Remove the pan from the heat and then whisk the egg white until it is stiff (like meringue) and cool. Once you’re at this point you can slowly beat in the butter, one small piece at a time. Continue to whip the buttercream until it has emulsified and become smooth and creamy. Mix in the apricot jam.
Spread the buttercream onto the base of the cake, going as close to the edges as you can without it squidging out when you place on the top layer.
Finally you need to glaze the whole thing. Melt together the chocolate and butter in a small pan, stirring constantly over a very low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the syrup and cream.
Leave the glaze to cool and thicken slightly for a few minutes. Place the assembled cake on a wire rack set over a large plate (to catch any drips.) Pour the glaze over the cake and spread it out with a palate knife so that it drips down the sides to cover them too. Try to make the top as smooth as possible. If the glaze becomes too thick to spread smoothly then simply re-warm it a little.
This will keep for several days in an airtight container.
Tip: If you think that you might end up with a gap where the filling is then take a few tablespoons of the glaze and put them in the fridge to thicken to a ganache-type consistency. You can then use this to fill in any gaps before you pour on the final shiny top coat.