I remembered to take some photos this time so here are our latest baking creations [recipes follow for those so inclined]:
First up, the apricot cake:
All the apricots in the cake came from our own harvest, which was quite spectacular. These are photos of what we picked five days ago:
The total haul has probably been twice that much, all of it with a sweetness you have to taste to believe. We literally have apricots coming out of our ears. This is a pic of the compote we preserved:
The instrument of torture in the foreground is for removing boiling hot bottles from the sterilizing water. Worth every penny!
And finally the biscuits [cookies to my US friends]:
The odd lumps in the middle are whole pieces of chocolate [some dark some dairy milk] that bake with the biscuits. Like my chocolate mousse cake, this is something we don’t make often because it, too, is death-by-chocolate. If you scroll down to the recipe you’ll see why. I may have to go on a starvation diet once the last of the indulgences are eaten. 🙂
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C [165 C if using fan forced] or 360 F.
- Lightly grease a 10″ [ 25 cm] diameter ringform cake tin and line the bottom with grease proof baking paper.
- Separate four large eggs. Place the yolks into a small bowl and the whites into a mixing bowl.
- Add 75 gm of caster sugar to the egg whites, plus a tiny pinch of salt, and beat on high until shiny and very stiff. Set aside in a cool place but not the fridge. You do not need to wash the beaters.
- In a second mixing bowl, place 200 gm of room temperature, unsalted butter and another 75 gm of caster sugar.
- Cream the butter and sugar until it’s pale and creamy.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Gently fold the stiff egg whites into the creamed butter. Do not over mix.
- Sift 200 gm of self raising flour and fold into the butter/egg mix. The cake mix will be quite firm. Only fold until it’s just combined.
- Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and gently press to the edges.
- Lightly press fresh apricot halves all over the top of the cake mix. [I used about 3/4 of a kilo of fruit. If you want to use less, reduce the baking time a little to compensate].
- Place the cake in the middle of a preheated oven and bake for approx. 45 – 50 minutes. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking.
- As the cake cooks it will rise up around the fruit. The cake is cooked when it shrinks slightly from the sides of the baking dish and/or a skewer pressed into the middle comes out clean [i.e. not sticky-gooey].
- Take the cake out of the over and allow to stand, in the baking dish, for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the outer ringform and place the cake [still on the bottom of the pan] onto a wire rack.
- Using the baking paper, gentle ease the cake off the bottom of the pan and onto the rack.
- When the cake is a bit cooler, and firmer, you can finally ease it off the baking paper as well. I wait until the cake is cool and then ease it straight onto the serving platter I intend to use.
- Dust the top of the cake with a little icing sugar [optional] and serve on its own or with cream. Bon appetit!
Triple Choc Biscuits
The main ingredient of this recipe is chocolate. I kid you not, a total of 500 gms of chocolate! 😀
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C [375 F] or about 175 C if using fan forced.
- Prepare the baking trays you will use to bake the biscuits. We used an Avanti biscuit press to make the smaller biscuits and discovered it does NOT work on baking paper; the biscuit dough has to be pressed directly onto the baking tray. We also made large, manual ‘balls’ of dough. These we placed on baking paper.
- Chop approx. 450 gm of dark cooking chocolate or a mix of dark and milk chocolate. We used 1/2 and 1/2 of Plaistowe Dark and Dairy Milk Chocolate. Reserve approx. 50 gm for the choc chip ‘dots’.
- Gently melt the 450 gms of chocolate with 125 gms of unsalted butter. [In the past, I’ve also use Slightly Salted Butter and simply omitted the salt later on]. You can use a microwave or simply use a bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water on the stove.
- Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in 1/2 a cup of caster sugar. It will look quite granular.
- Next, stir in 3 large, whole eggs, one at a time.
- Finally, sift 1 1/4 cups of plain flour with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a good pinch of salt. [If using slightly salted butter, omit the pinch of salt].
- Add the flour mix to the chocolate mix and stir until just combined.
- Cover the dough with cling wrap and place in the fridge for up to 1 hour [minimum of 10 minutes].
- Remove the dough from the the fridge and use a biscuit press to mould the biscuits.
- If you don’t have a biscuit press, scoop out a spoonful of dough with a spoon, very lightly roll into a ball and place the ball on the baking paper covered tray.
- Leave enough room on the tray for the biscuits to expand as they bake.
- When all the biscuits have been formed, gently press a small knob of chocolate into the middle of each biscuit and bake.
- For the Avanti biscuits, baking time should be no more that 6 minutes.
- For the hand-rolled balls, baking time should be around 10 minutes.
- The biscuits will still be a little soft when you take them out of the oven. Leave them on the baking tray until they firm up.
- Place biscuits on wire racks to finish cooling. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days [if they last that long]. 🙂