Pear and Dark Chocolate Frangipane Tart

Crisp pasty encasing a sweet almond frangipane, studded with thinly sliced pear, drizzled in dark chocolate.

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This is my fourth bake-off themed post inspired by pastry week! On that episode the bakers had to make frangipane tart, and they all looked amazing! I have made them in the past, but Ive never paid much attention to making them look that pretty, so I wanted to have a go!

I decided to do pear and dark chocolate because I love the flavour combination. It was also really easy to make it look pretty with pears, its amazing how much difference arranging the fruit can make! When I’ve made a fruit tart before i haven’t paid much attention to the arrangement to the fruit, and it has never looked as good as this!

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This actually a really easy tart to make, my pastry recipe is super easy as it doesn’t need chilling in the fridge (as long as you use very cold butter!), or weighing down with baking beans during the blind bake, and making a frangipane is really simple.

I have seen some recipes that recommend poaching the pears before baking them in the frangipane, but I added mine raw and they cooked beautifully in the frangipane so there is no need! so really tis is a minimum effort tart that looks like a lot more impressive than it really is, perfect if you want to impress!

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I will be bring this along to share at Fiesta Friday#86, hosted by Angie. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different fruit in this tart, I’m sure raspberries would taste lovely, or maybe some plums.

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Ingredients: Serves 8

The Pastry Case:

  • 150g butter
  • 270g flour
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp cold water

The Frangipane Filling:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g ground Almonds
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • Flaked almonds (for scattering)
  • 150g dark chocolate

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To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a loose bottomed tart tin.

Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar, until it forms a fine bread crumb-like consistency. Then stir in the flour 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough.

Turn out onto a floured work surface, and roll out until half a centimeter thick. place into the tart tin, and press into the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside.

The Frangipane Filling:

Peel the pears, then cut them in half lengthways, and cut out the cores. Slice them into thin strips horizontally.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then fold in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the ground almonds, flour and baking powder. Finally, mix through the milk.

Spoon the frangipane into the blind baked pastry case and sooth out. Arrange the pears on top, and scatter with some flaked almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the frangipane is cooked through and has turned golden brown on top.

Remove from the tin and leave to cool, then drizzle with some melted dark chocolate. Cut into 8 slices and serve! Delicious with a dollop of mascarpone cream.

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Chai Spiced Creme Brulee

Thick creamy egg custard flavoured with chai spiced tea, and dark chocolate, topped with a crunchy layer of caramel. 

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This is my Fourth (belated) Bake-Off post! In the 4th bake-off episode the bakers made desserts and one of the challenges was creme brulee. I absolutely LOVE creme brulee but I’ve never been brave enough to try making it myself, so I thought it would be a good excuse to be brave and give it a go!

I made these for my family when I was at home for the weekend, and they just wanted an original creme brulee, so that’s what I did for most of mine. But I wanted to try a different flavour, so I made a dark chocolate chai creme brulee as well, which was really delicious, so I definitely recommend it!

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I think these were actually  quite easy to make! Mine took a long time in the oven, but I think that is because I filled the tray with cold water rather than hot. My first attempt at the caramel topping didn’t go to well either, as I just tried sprinkling caster sugar over and doing all the caramelisation under the grill, but the finish was very uneven.

On the bake off, one of the contestants caramelised the sugar first, then blended it back into a sugar like consistency and only then sprinkled it over the creme brulee and cooked it under the grill, I tried this and it worked SO much better, so I recommend you do the same if you try these out!

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I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#84 this week hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Steffi @ Ginger & Bread. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: There are so many different flavor combinations you could do with a creme brulee, I would like to try a fruit version, like a passion fruit curd at the bottom.

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Ingredients: Makes Eight 150ml Pots

  • 500ml double cream
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 7 large eggs
  • vanilla essence
  • chai tea bags (optional)
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 175g caster sugar

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to fan 160C. Sit eight 150ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin and pour in hot water, until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.

Combine the milk and cream in a large pan, and heat gently until bubbles just begin to appear at the side. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Very slowly, pour the yolk mixture into the hot cream, mixing continuously, stir in the vanilla essence.

Pour the custard into the ramekins, and bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes. The creme brulees will be ready when there is a very slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and chill down in the fridge.

Chai: Make a dark chocolate ganache by meting the dark chocolate in 100ml of double cream. Pour this into the bottom of the ramekins. While the milk is heating up, infuse with one teabag/pot.

The Topping:

Weigh out 100g caster sugar in a small pan, and heat until it forms a caramel. pour onto a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper and leave to cool.

Break up the cooled caramel and place in a small blender and blitz to a fine powder.

Pour 1tsp of the blended caramel on top of each creme brulee and smooth out, covering the entire surface. Cook under the grill until the caramel has turned dark brown and bubbly. Remove from the grill and chill in the fridge before serving.

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Orange, Ginger & Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Crisp almond biscotti flavoured with fragrant orange zest, fiery stem ginger, and dipped in bittersweet dark chocolate.

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This is my second Bake-Off themed bake! The signature bake in the second episode was Biscotti. I have only ever made biscotti once before, and I stuck to the classic almond flavour, so I was really keen to try making them again with some more adventurous flavours!

This recipe was from my Delia Cakes recipe book, which has a recipe for almond biscotti, But I have added orange zest and stem ginger into the biscuits, and dipped them in dark chocolate.

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I really enjoyed making biscotti, I thought it was surprisingly quick and easy, so I will definitely try them again with some different flavour combinations.

These would be a great treat to bring round to a friends house, so I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#82, hosted by Angie, and cohosted by Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Sarah @ Sarah’s Little Kitchen. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: The possibilities with biscotti are almost endless! I think I might try an almond biscotti, flavoured with lemon, and dipped in white chocolate.

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Ingredients: Makes 10-12 Biscuits

  • 110g self raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 3 pieces of stem ginger
  • 1 orange
  • 150g dark chocolate

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Combine the flour, ground and whole almonds, sugar, orange zest and finely chopped stem ginger in a large bowl and give it a good mix. Then add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix it together first with a wooden spoon and then using your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough.

Now place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put it on the lined baking sheet and bake it near the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 150C.

Cut the log into 10-12 slices, around 1cm thick, on the diagonal. Then place back onto the baking tray, and bake in the oven for a further 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled dip the biscotti in melted dark chocolate and leave to set.

Serve and enjoy!

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Orange & Passion Fruit Madeira Cake

Rich madeira sponge flavoured with orange and topped with a sweet passion fruit glaze.

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This my first Bake-Off inspired post from the new series! In the first episode the signature bake was a madeira cake, and all the cakes they made looked delicious, so I thought I’d give it a try myself!

I had never actually tried a madeira cake before, but I love citrusy flavours –  I don’t know why I’ve never tried to make one before! I got my recipe from my Delia Smith Cake cookbook.

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The recipe is for a classic madeira cake, but I have used orange rather than lemon, and I’ve added a passionfruit glaze to make it a bit more special.

I am delighted with how this cake has turned out, I even managed to get a big crack of the surface, which is supposed to be the sign of a good madeira cake!

Now that I have made a madeira cake, I realise how versatile this cake is, and I will definitely be trying some different flavour combinations, especially some of the amazing ones I saw on bake-off!

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Variations: You could use lemon or lime instead of the orange and passionfruit.

Ingredients: Serves 6-8

The Madeira Sponge:

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 175g spreadable butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 oranges

The Passion Fruit Glaze:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 2 passion fruits

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To Make:

The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a circular cake tin with grease-proof paper.

Combine the flour, butter, eggs, sugar and grated zest in a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, combine them for about 1 minute until you have a smooth consistency.

Then squeeze in the juice of 1 orange  – you need enough to make a creamy consistency that drops off a spoon easily when tapped on the side of the bowl. Be careful not to add too much juice – it needs to be a little stiffer than a sponge cake mix.

Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level out. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked though – hopefully a big crack will appear on the top!

Transfer to a wore rack and leave to cool before icing.

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The Icing:

In a small bowl combine the inside of one passion fruit and the strained juice of the other. Then stir in the icing sugar, to from a smooth paste.

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Pour over the top of the cooled madeira cake and leave to set.

Cut into 6-8 generous slices and serve! This would be delicious with a dollop of mascarpone or creme fraiche.

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Lemon and Thyme Shortbread, Dipped in White Chocolate

Buttery, crumbly shortbread, flavoured with citrus lemon and floral thyme, dipped in sweet, creamy white chocolate. 

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Yesterday was the Comic Relief Bake Off at work, and the challenge was biscuits! I couldn’t turn down the excuse to do yet more baking and raise some money for a good cause, so of course, I made a batch of biscuits to give in!

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Shortbread is one of my favourite types of biscuit, because I love the buttery and crumbly texture it has. But, while it is delicious just in its original form, I wanted to bake something a little bit more exciting for the bake-off.

I decided to use lemon and thyme to flavour my shortbread, because I thought the combination would make a really light and refreshing biscuit. But just to add a little extra indulgence and sweetness, I’ve dipped them in white chocolate.

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I don’t make biscuits very often, so I was a little bit worried about how these would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised! The biscuits have a lovely texture, the flavours work well and they really catch peoples interest!

Variations: The Lemon could be swapped for orange or lime, and the thyme could be changed to mint.

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Ingredients: Makes 40 Shortbread

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 200g Butter
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • Zest and Juice of 2 Lemons
  • A Handful of Lemon Thyme Leaves
  • 200g White Chocolate

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To Make:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease some baking trays.

Rub the butter into the flour and sugar, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Mix in the lemon zest and thyme leaves.

Squeeze in the lemon juice, then mix through, and form into a ball.

Turn out onto a floured work surface, and roll out until 1cm thick.

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Cut out the biscuits in flower and heart shapes (or whatever shaped cutters you have!), and transfer to the prepared baking trays.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl.

Spoon some melted chocolate over one half of each biscuit and smooth out into a thin layer.

Leave the chocolate to set, then serve and enjoy!

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