Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

            I finished my last jar of plum and vanilla jam smothered onto hot buttered toast, it added a nice little hit of luxury first thing in the morning.  But the regret was colossal and as I savored the last little morsel of my toast I wondered what next?  That was followed quickly by ah...... what do I have handy?  You see I made myself a promise that over the next month I would use up as many of my pantry stores as possible so that I could replace with fresh of course there will be exceptions but I'm liking the challenge and when my pantry contains things like rose water, orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses it's hard to complain.  Then there are those other ingredients bought  for dishes that never quite got made but one day soon........and so the emptying of my larder continues.  I can't quite see this jam smeared on hot buttered toast but it's gorgeous dolloped on a scone with some fresh cream, it makes a tasty addition to apple crumble and stars in a Rhubarb Gallette.  (And if you made a lemon meringue pie recently you may just have some pastry left over just enough to make a this quick rustic tart.  Roll out the pastry into a rough circle place dough on a tray, smear the pastry with the jam leaving approximately an inch on the outside.  Top with thinly sliced rhubarb that has been tossed in a little sugar fold the edges up and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 200c or until golden brown)

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam.

500grams roughly chopped rhubarb
2 1/2 cups sugar
100 grams crystallized ginger
1 orange zest and juice and or 1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Soften the rhubarb and ginger over a low heat with the orange juice and zest.  Warm the sugar and add to the rhubarb bring to the boil, simmer on a low heat stirring often.  The jam is ready when a small amount sets in a saucer of cold water.  Makes 4 x 200ml jars.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lemon Meringue Goodness

             The new year has come and gone I've steadfastly refused to make any New Years resolutions especially ones that involve food which is why I have NO guilt what so ever about posting up this rich and heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie.  Make it, love it and share it.  If you don't want to make your own pastry don't but I have to say that this sweet paste is easy to make and as long as you don't fuss (and let it get warm) it is easy to handle.  Try rolling it out on a piece of no-stick paper or silicon mat so that if it does begin to get too warm you can easily put it back into the fridge for five minutes.  The following recipe will be more than enough to line your tin freeze extra for use another time or double the recipe for the express purpose of having it there for when you need a quick easy sweet.  I'll be posting a couple of other uses for this pastry soon.... so watch this space.

Sweet Paste

250grams butter (cold diced)
150grams icing sugar
4 egg yolks lightly beaten
500 grams plain flour
salt pinch
lemon or orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor blend butter, flour and icing sugar together until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
(Or by hand if you like my preference is to use the food processor as the heat in your hands is the pastry's enemy)  Add the beaten eggs, zest and vanilla and pulse until the dough just starts to come together.  Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball.  Flatten the pastry and wrap in cling-film refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out this allows the gluten's in the pastry to relax and will result in less shrinkage. 

For the pie shell roll out to roughly 3mm thick line a 26cm flan (or whatever size your using if your using a smaller size your flan will need to be deeper to accommodate the amount of filling).  Allow the pastry to rest again in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Prick the pastry base with a fork.  Line with a piece of baking paper and fill with baking beans (rice or lentils work as well the idea is for the beans to hold up the sides and weigh down the base)  Bake in a pre-heated  (200c)  oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until pastry is golden.

Lemon Meringue Pie

6 lemons juice and rind
40 grams butter
100 grams sugar (castor is better as it dissolves faster than regular but it's not essential)
1 tin sweetened condensed milk 400g
40 grams cornflour
4 eggs (large)

26cm pie crust
4 egg whites
200 grams sugar (see above note)

For the filling bring to the boil lemon juice and zest with the first measure of sugar and the butter.  Whisk eggs, the condensed milk and the cornflour together.  Pour over the boiling juices and whisk.  Return to the stove an bring back to the boil stirring constantly until thick.  Cool slightly before pouring into pastry case.

Warm the second measure of sugar in the microwave or oven.  Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form slowly beat in the sugar a little at a time beat continuously for 10 minutes until firm and shiny.  (who needs a gym work out)  (For successful meringue you need to remember to keep it clean a little grease or egg yolk and your egg whites won't beat up)

Top the pie with meringue and return to oven until meringue is lightly coloured (or use a blowtorch!)
Refrigerate before cutting.