8 GREAT TIPS ON BAKING PASTRY…

For the flakiest upper pie crust, brush the top lightly with cold water before baking.

To avoid your pie crust from becoming too soggy, sprinkle it with equal parts of sugar and flour before adding filling.

If you haven’t got a pastry cutter for your pies then improvise with an aerosol lid instead.

To stop pastry sticking to your rolling pin, put the pin in the freezer or fridge so that it’s cold before you use it.

Buy a Silicon Pastry Brush – non stick and heat resistant to 315C so you can baste with hot oils.

A common mistake when rolling out pastry is to change the direction of the pin rather than the pastry which then encourages the pastry to stick. To prevent this, give the pastry a quarter turn every few seconds while rolling with the pin in the same position and lightly dust the surface frequently with flour.

A back pain baking tip – to avoid hurting your back, don’t turn your body at an angle when rolling pastry. Turn the pastry around instead.

Always let pie pastry dry throughout before adding filling as it will prevent it from seeping while cooking.

APPLE AND CLOTTED CREAM LOAF CAKE RECIPE…

As I am sure you know by now that I have a love of loaf cakes. I find them a perfect size for just the two of us and most like the recipe below from Woman & Home and easy to bake. We had this at the weekend and it was delicious.

APPLE AND CLOTTED CREAM LOAF CAKE…

Ingredients

5 small bramley apples (peeled and cored) 1 tsp lemon juice 300g plain flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 200g softened unsalted butter or margarine 175g caster sugar 3 large eggs ( lightly beaten) 1 tsp vanilla extract 150g clotted cream 3 tbsp apricot jam

Method

Line or grease a 2lb loaf tin Preheat oven to 170C/Gas 3

Thinly slice enough apple to cover the top of the cake Pop in the lemon juice

Chop remaining apples and heat in a heavy based saucepan with 1 tbsp water for 5 mins until soft.

Leave to cool. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until all combined.

Fold in the sifted flour mixture and when almost combined add the cooked apple and clotted cream and mix well.

Pour into the tin and level Arrange the other apple slices evenly on top of the cake Bake for 1 hour 10 mins or until cooked through.

After cake has cooled, heat jam in a small saucepan and brush over the top.