Tag Archives: puff pastry

Rainbow Vegetable Puff Pastry Tart

Vegetarian tarts are some of my favourite savoury bakes to make. It’s very easy to create a delicious vegetarian meal without feeling as if you’re missing the meat using puff pastry. And this Rainbow Vegetable Tart is an easy and delicious vegetarian puff pastry tart that can be ready in just 45 minutes!

There’s no shame in using ready made puff pastry, especially when it’s so readily available, cheap and good quality from many supermarkets. The tart has flaky and delicate buttery puff pastry with a layer of smooth cream cheese and lots of good vegetables which are tasty and texturally all different; the cucumber provides a soft mellow base, the carrots add slight sweetness as well as a tiny amount of crunch, the tomato adds moisture and sweetness as it roasts on the surface and the red onions cook down and become crisp. The tart is finished off with melted brie and gorgonzola.


1 x 375g block of shop bought puff pastry

75g full fat cream cheese

Ground black pepper

20ml lemon juice

Pinch of salt

½ a cucumber, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler, seeds removed

½ a carrot, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler

3 tomatoes, sliced

½ a red onion, sliced thinly

50g brie, cubed

25g gorgonzola, cubed

Beaten egg, to glaze


Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Cut a piece of parchment to fit a square baking tray.

Roll out the puff pastry into a square on a lightly floured surface measuring 23cm by 23cm. Use a knife to lightly score a mark 2cm in from each side.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with the black pepper, salt and lemon juice until it has a spreadable consistency. Spread the cream cheese on top of the puff pastry up to the marked edge.

Arrange the cucumber and carrot ribbons over the pastry so that the cream cheese is concealed, again reaching up to the border. Place 16 tomato slices on the tart in a 4×4 grid as in the picture and scatter over the thinly sliced red onions and the brie and gorgonzola. Finish with a crack of black pepper and brush the top of the puff pastry with egg wash.

Bake the tart for around 25 minutes or until the pastry is well-risen, golden and crisp and cooked all the way through to the base. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before slicing into 4 pieces and serving hot with a lightly dressed side salad.

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Apple and Plum Turnovers

There’s nothing homelier and comforting than a pie especially when you add a filling with lots of autumnal flavours and warming spices and my Apple and Plum Turnovers are fitting with the change of weather.

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This is a fantastic way to use up those apples that you just don’t know what to do with and the plums which are a bit too overripe for my liking. I like to keep the skin on both the apples and plums as both fruits are high in pectin, a water-soluble fibre that forms a gel when combined with water. This helps to set the compote up slightly so that there isn’t too much liquid which could give you a soggy bottom! I like to place a layer of rolled oats underneath the compote filling which helps to absorb some of the moisture and prevent that dreaded soggy bottom.

I roll out the pastry slightly to make the rectangle larger so it can hold more filling and also the pastry is thinner which is the perfect ratio of pastry to filling. Before I bake the turnovers, I finish with a brush of egg wash to glaze the pastry and sprinkle over some flaked almonds and crunchy Demerara sugar.


2 apples, I used Pink Lady

3 plums

2 tbsp sugar – you can use brown sugar

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp mixed spice

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

50g sultanas

2 tbsp water

2 tsp flour

1 pack of ready-rolled puff pastry

Rolled oats

Demerara sugar

Flaked almonds

Icing sugar


Decore the apples and chop them into 1cm cubes. Halve the plums, twist to separate them into two halves, destone, and chop the plums into 1cm cubes. Add the sugar and all of the spices to the pan. Put the pan on a medium heat for 10 minutes until the fruit begins to soften.

Add in the sultanas and water and stir. Place on the lid and allow the compote to bubble away for a further 10 minutes until the fruit has softened. Check the liquid, it should be thick and syrupy. You can add some flour to thicken it up. Transfer the compote to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

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Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Cut the puff pastry into 6 rectangles and on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry slightly thinner and larger. Onto one side of the pastry and leaving a 1cm border on that side, sprinkle over a layer of the rolled oats. Spoon over around 2 tablespoons of the filling onto the oats and sprinkle over some more on top.

Cut a diagonal line in the centre of the other half of the pastry and fold the pastry over the filling, pressing around the compote and the 2 sides together lightly. Crimp the edges of the turnover using a fork and place onto the baking tray. Repeat for the other turnovers. Brush the turnovers with some beaten egg and then sprinkle over the Demerara sugar and flaked almonds.

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Bake the turnovers for around 25 – 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, risen in layers and when you lift them up from the tray, the bases are cooked through. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

While they cool, make your icing by mixing together icing sugar with either water or milk to form a thick icing that is runny enough to pipe; 2 teaspoons of liquid usually works for 40g icing sugar. Place into a piping bag and drizzle over the turnovers, or you can randomly drizzle it with a spoon.

Mince Pie Pinwheels

I love a good mince pie but sometimes you just need something a bit different. Replacing the normal sweet shortcrust with puff pastry instead gives a different texture as well as rich butteriness and flakiness. Change the shape from a round pie into a pinwheel and you end up with my Mince Pie Pinwheels.

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If you want to spend your Christmas making your own puff pastry, then you can read my recipe for making rough puff pastry by hand here.

You can use shopbought mincemeat, you can use your own recipe or you can try my no-alcohol mincemeat recipe here.

I suggest you use ready-rolled puff pastry. It costs ever so slightly more but it really does save you the trouble of rolling it to the correct thickness and then cutting out squares of the pastry. And it also reduces the amount you waste as you can very easily split your roll of pastry into squares with some calculations. And the leftover pastry you can create a mincemeat plait.

This is a great twist on the traditional mince pie but it is so simple and pleasurable to make. I love how the puff pastry compliments the flavours of the mincemeat and how you get some in each bite. A final drizzle of icing takes these pinwheels to the next level. What’s more, you can freeze them just as you would freeze normal mince pies. Whereas you would normally glaze the pastry with egg wash, I mix in some of the syrup with either a jar of stem ginger or glace cherries with some milk which adds another flavour dimension.


300g ready rolled puff pastry, or 300g homemade rough puff pastry

160g homemade mincemeat, or shopbought if you prefer

4 glace cherries, cut in half

2 tbsp milk mixed with 1 tsp stem ginger syrup or glace cherry syrup

50g icing sugar

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 2 baking trays with 2 sheets of baking parchment.

Unroll your puff pastry and using a ruler and a table knife, mark out 8 10cm x 10cm squares and using a sharp knife, cut out the 8 squares, placing 4 on each baking tray.

Cut about 3cm in from each of the corners of each square of puff pastry. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling into the centre of each square. Bring together alternating triangles into the centre and press the ends of the pastry together with your finger. Top with half a glace cherry.

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Brush over the milk, making sure all of the pastry is coated. Bake for 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the bottom is not soggy. Allow to cool briefly on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar and orange juice. It should be quite a thick icing that falls off the spoon. Place the icing into a piping bag and cutting off the smallest hole, drizzle over the icing liberally onto the pinwheels.

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My Thoughts on Pastry Week

Pastry Week of Bake Off is always my favourite because I love making pastry and I always get inspired by their bakes. Despite some foul smelling spices and a few soggy bottoms, it was Mat’s turn to be Star Baker and the tent said goodbye to Alvin.

The Signature Challenge was a Frangipane Tart, a relatively simple sounding challenge but as the bakers found, timing and soggy bottoms were the enemies. Alvin fell behind after his pastry stuck to the bench and left him with raw plums and soggy bottoms, not a good combination! Nadiya got the first soggy bottom of the series but amongst these soggy bottoms, Ian and Paul managed to make attractive frangipane tarts with Pear and Raspberry and Christmas flavours respectively. Flora was also criticised for doing more than was required of her, adding Amaretti biscuits around her tart.

Alvin Blind Baking Ian Signature Paul Signature

The Technical Challenge was to make 12 Flaounes, a Cypriot cheese-filled pastry which featured mastic and mahlepi, two unknown spices to the bakers, as well as a yeasted pastry. I would love to attempt these at home but the addition of the mastic and mahlepi has put me off. Although for Flora and Nadiya, it was the smell that put them off and we got another Nadiya face. Yay! Despite joking that he’d made them before, Mat managed to grab first on this Technical with Flora taking second. Tamal unfortunately struggled with the shaping of the flaouna and came last for the first time.

Flaounes Nadiya Technical

The Showstopper tested the bakers on their puff pastry skills with 48 vol-au-vents. I have to say I don’t make it often but I really love making puff pastry because seeing the layers rising up is incredibly rewarding. Flora challenged herself to make 2 different puff pastries, one for her savoury Asparagus and Parma Ham Vol-au-Vents, and a chocolate puff pastry for her Praline and Chocolate Vol-au-Vents. The flakes on her pastry are absolutely heavenly and I can imagine that Flora is proud!

Flora Chocolate Puff

Nadiya was unhappy with her first batch of pastry as the butter was still in large chunks so ran out of time as she made a second batch and was forced to serve her pastry separate to her filling and despite how delicious the fillings were, she couldn’t hold back the tears.

Nadiya Showstopper

Unfortunately Alvin’s vol-au-vents were raw and left the judges with almost no choice to send him home, after raw plums and a soggy bottom in the Signature and a 6th place in the Flaounes Technical. Twitter went crazy over Alvin’s elimination and he will be sorely missed.

But Mat was the 4th individual baker to claim Star Baker and having marked him as a favourite early on, it’s encouraging to see that finally a baker that I like is doing well.

Mat

We had the 1970s inspired Showstopper and next week we’re going even further back in time, all the way back to the Victorian era as the bakers tackle a Signature Game Pie, a Technical Fruit Cake decorated like a tennis court and Showstopping Charlotte Russe. I know I said it before but I’m not baking along with next week!

Mary Face

And with just 6 bakers left in the competition, it’s time to cast your vote for your favourite:

Food on Youtube : W/b 22nd June 2014

Youtube is a hub for food channels and they are incredibly popular.

With some channels having 2 million subscribers and many British foodies showing recipes on Youtube, I’d thought I’d find some of the foodie gems to share here with links. I’m subscribed to many food channels and they always post cracking recipes. It is a space to find almost everything you need with great passionate people behind the channels posting regularly so it’s time to celebrate the best of the best.

Here are some of this week’s foodie gems: