New Year; New Baking

Bakewell Tart 2

I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and New Year. It’s been a bit quiet here at The Monday Baker as I haven’t been doing much baking in the last few weeks – I’ve been busy and the only baking I’ve been doing has been a white milk loaf for LSH’s packed lunches. And whilst it’s a good loaf (it’s a Dan Lepard recipe after all) it’s not an exciting “blog worthy” bread.

Finally though I’ve got round to baking something more interesting than a white sliced with my first go at baking a traditional Bakewell Tart. This is a bit of nostalgia for me as childhood weekend teas would often have a slice of a Mr Kipling cake for afters. Mr Kipling is still going but it’s been years since I’ve bought any. Instead any Bakewell fix has come from coffee shops.

This weekend though we had our regular “kitchen cupboard audit” and I discovered that I had loans of flaked almonds that needed using. So what better way than a homemade Bakewell Tart. Oddly none of my baking books had a recipe for one, at least not the old fashioned one I was after. Thankfully the Guardian came up trumps with this version. This is a straightforward version with a buttery flaky shortcrust pastry, jam and frangipane filling. The Guardian version suggests you make a fruit compote but as I had a jar of strawberry jam lurking at the back of the fridge I used this mixed with 1/8 tsp of rose water.

Bakewell Tart 2

I made sure that I chilled the pastry case before blind baking and trimmed it before popping it back into the oven to colour. The only issue that I had was with the cooking times and temperatures – it seemed to take longer to go golden than the recipe said and I ended up turning the oven up to try and get some colour on the almonds. Next time I may toast them before scattering them on top.

It certainly hit the spot though. LSH polished off two slices within minutes of coming home and I think that the rest of it is on borrowed time. Hopefully it won’t take me quite as long to bake its replacement.


Baking in Even Hotter Weather

Picnic Pie - finished product

This is definitely not weather for baking – hot and sticky with little breeze to cool it all down. The cat is flopping around the house trying to get cool – even his usual technique of hiding under the current bushes in the shady fruit cage aren’t working today. Thankfully I baked this last night.

I don’t usually get Olive magazine but a long train journey meant I needed something to read and the sticky BBQ ribs on the cover looked appealing. And inside was their monthly challenge recipe – a picnic pie. Lots of porky goodness squashed round hard boiled eggs and contained in shortcrust pastry. I’d never tried making anything like this so gave it a go.
Picnic Pie - filling unmixed

The meat filling is a mix of pork sausages, pork mince and thick cut back bacon. The recipe suggested herbed sausages but I used just normal good quality ones instead. Given the range of flavoured sausages it might be interesting to use something like pork and apple next time and add a bit of diced apple to the mix.

The worst bit was trying to slice the tops off the eggs to get them to the right length and with plenty of yolk (which to me is the whole point of this pie – just a white centre isn’t anyway near as attractive!)

Picnic Pie - uncooked

Once the eggs and pork had been packed into the shortcrust pastry, I then added a puff pastry lid. I carefully scored and crimped the pastries together, finishing with an egg wash. It takes an hour to bake and you have to chill it overnight so it was an ideal Friday evening bake which would then be ready for lunch on Saturday.
 Picnic Pie - cooked

 I gave it an extra 10 mins on a slightly higher temperature as it looked a lot paler than the photo, but it still came out much more golden than the Olive version. It was left overnight in its tin and then the following morning I removed it – or rather attempted to! Despite having greaseproof paper underneath it, no amount of tugging was going to get this out of the tin.


So I had to use a knife to try and gentry prise it out and this was the result. Clearly you need to line the entire tin with greaseproof and not just the bottom and long sides.Picnic Pie - edge It was worth it though. It’s one of those bakes that looks more impressive than the amount of effort needed. It was certainly eaten quickly enough. I’d hoped it would see us through a couple of days of our holiday, it all got gobbled up on the Saturday. I’d definitely make this one again, but with more greaseproof paper!

If you want to try this yourself its in August’s Olive magazine. They tend to put all their recipes on the BBC Good Food site so I suspect that you’ll find it here in a couple of months time.

Picnic Pie - slice