Cakes & Bakes: Apricot dartois

Slice of home-made apricot dartois | H is for Home

I’ve been looking at a tin of apricots in our store cupboard for about 2 years. Every time I opened the door it said, “use me, use me”, but I always reached for something else. But not this week – it was finally the apricots’ time!

Frangipane ingredients | H is for Home Home-made frangipane | H is for Home

I decided on a recipe from Michel Roux’s Desserts: A Lifelong Passion and made an apricot dartois.

Ready-made puff pastry | H is for Home

Dartois is traditionally two layers of puff pastry with a sandwiched layer of frangipane or jam. It can occasionally contain a savoury filling.

Making an apricot dartois base | H is for Home

It’s quite a simple recipe – especially if you’re using ready-made puff pastry – and the pastry cutting is very straightforward too. Don’t be put off by the precision! The amount of frangipane made in the given recipe is HUGE! I halved the recipe (what’s half of 5 eggs? I just used 3 medium-sized ones) it still made half a kilo of the stuff. I set aside the 150 grams needed for the recipe then portioned up the rest into small lidded tubs and froze it all for use at a later date.

Making an apricot dartois pastry lid | H is for Home

The resulting dartois is very attractive and very delicious. I don’t think it would look out of place in a French patisserie’s shop window!

Uncooked apricot dartois | H is for Home

I used tinned apricots, but peaches, pears, plums or figs also work really well. If you’ve got fresh fruit, you can easily poach it beforehand in syrup.

Cooked home-made apricot dartois | H is for Home

Serve warm or cold with a fruit coulis, cream or ice cream.

Apricot dartois
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For the frangipane [Makes 1.15kg/2lbs 10oz. I halved the recipe and still had enough for 3 portions]
  1. 250g/9oz butter, at room temperature
  2. 500g/1lb 2oz 'tant pour tant' (equal quantities of ground almonds and icing sugar sifted together)
  3. 50g/2oz plain flour
  4. 5 eggs
  5. 50ml/2 fl oz rum (optional)
For the dartois
  1. 1 500g pack of ready-made puff pastry (or you could make your own)
  2. 150g/5oz frangipane
  3. eggwash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 soup spoon of milk and a pinch of salt)
  4. 1 tin apricot halves, drained (or you could poach your own)
  5. Icing sugar for dusting
  6.  
  7. Home-made apricot dartois ingredients
  8.  
To make the frangipane
  1. Beat the butter until very soft
  2. Still beating, add the tant pour tant and flour
  3. Add the eggs - one at a time - beating well between each addition until the frangipane is light an homogeneous
  4. Stir in the rum
To make the dartois
  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll 225g/8oz of the pastry into a 27cm x 12cm/11" x 5" rectangle
  2. Roll this pastry around the rolling pin, then unroll it on to a baking sheet lightly dampened with cold water. Prick the pastry with a fork
  3. Using a spoon, spread the frangipane along the length of the pastry leaving a clear 2cm/¾" border on either side
  4. Brush these pastry borders with eggwash
  5. Pat dry the apricots and arrange them on the frangipane
  6. Roll out the remaining pastry into a 27cm x 13cm/11" x 5½" rectangle
  7. Fold the pastry in half lengthways without applying pressure
  8. Make incisions down the length of the pastry about every 4mm/⅙" with the heel of a chef's knife, leaving a 2cm/¾" strip intact on the two outside edges
  9. Unfold the pastry into its original shape and drape it over the rolling pin and unroll it on to the apricot-filled rectangle
  10. Lightly press the edges together with your fingertips and refrigerate the dartois for 30 minutes
  11. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/345ºF/gas mark 4
  12. Using a chef's knife, trim off about 3mm/⅛" in pastry along the length of the rectangle
  13. Delicately and sparingly brush the top of the pastry with egg wash
  14. Liberally brush the sides with more egg wash
  15. With the tip of a small, sharp knife, make light, diagonal incisions in the borders, then along the edges
  16. Bake for 25 minutes. Increase the temperature to 195ºC/380ºF/gas mark 6, dust the dartois with icing sugar and return it to the oven for 1-2 minutes, or place it under a hot salamander/grill for a few seconds until beautifully glazed
Notes
  1. Roux recommends serving it with a little jug of red fruit coulis. I prefer it with pouring cream.
Adapted from Desserts: A Lifelong Passion
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Get their look: Mid-century Modern-inspired crash pad

Mid-century Modern-inspired crash padcredit

We’ve chosen this Mid-century Modern-inspired crash pad for our Get their look post this week.

Lots of work went into transforming a rather staid 2 bedroom flat into this cool place which the owner uses 3 or 4 nights a week whilst working in Dublin. The whole family descends to stay from time to time too.

There’s a main open living, cooking, dining space – with separate bedrooms and bathroom. A small office/work area has also been incorporated into a recess. It’s quite masculine in style – pared back, clean lines, uncluttered. The colour scheme consists of layers of grey, black and walnut wood shades with pops of brighter colour.

It’s very functional, yet retains a relaxed feel – warm, secure & cosy too. We think that there’s quite a boutique hotel vibe going on. Ideal for a home away from home maybe.

  1. Edison Industrial Minaret Modern pendant light – amber
  2. Anthology Seri wallpaper, 110767
  3. Walnut and black faux leather barstools – Texas
  4. Chicago floor lamp, antique copper and gold
  5. The Cushion Factory pink & grey cushion 45×45
  6. Luigi sofa
  7. Chiva functional coffee table with storage

Get their look: Mid-century Modern-inspired crash pad | H is for Home

Kitchen storage tins

Vintage cream & green kitchen storage tins | H is for Home

We picked up some lovely kitchen storage tins this week – classic cream with green lids.

'biscuits' and 'cake' cream & green kitchen storage tins | H is for Home

It’s not often we find them in this quantity – a tin for every job!

'bread' cream & green kitchen storage tin | H is for Home

They’re very good quality with a nice weight to them.

4 large cream & green kitchen storage tins | H is for Home

There are two different types with differences in shade of green and lettering style. We’re not exactly sure of their age – we’ve had these tins dating anywhere from the 1920s to the present day. They have a timeless look and appeal that never goes out of fashion really.

'flour' and 'pasta' cream & green kitchen storage tins | H is for Home

They’ve just gone into our antiques centre space yesterday – this kind of item always looks good in there amongst the country furniture and other vintage kitchenalia… and it certainly makes an eye-catching display.

'cake decorating' cream & green kitchen storage tin | H is for Home

They’re easily packaged up & posted though, so drop us a line if you see anything you fancy – and we’ll go and intercept it before it sells in the shop.

'tea' 'coffee' and 'sugar' cream & green kitchen storage tins | H is for Home

Prices range from £10 to £30.

Designer Desire: Ann Wynn-Reeves

Collage of Ann Wynn-Reeves ceramic works | H is for Home

Ann Wynn-Reeves, in our opinion, is one of the most gifted, distinctive British ceramic designers of the 20th century.

Not much is known about her as an individual, we couldn’t even find a photograph of her on the internet. She’s the wife of the late Kenneth Clark who is much more well-known than Wynn-Reeves. They spent a lifetime working together – she created the designs and he translated them into ceramic form, especially tiles.

Some of her tile designs are currently being reproduced by Robert Opie. It has even been made in miniature form for dolls’ houses (see the image right, 3rd from the top)!

Image credits:

Mallams | Pinterest | Etsy | eBay | Flickr | Planet Utopia

Price Points: Sheila maids

Three different Sheila maids / clothes dryers | H is for Home

With this recent lovely summer weather, there’s been lots of washing being done – it hangs outside in the warm breeze and dries in minutes. Winter is a different matter in the Pennines. Hang something outside in January and it will remain wet for days – or even freeze solid!

It’s at times like this that we turn to our Sheila maid (also known as a kitchen maid, creel or pulley). It hangs from the ceiling out of the way above the fire in our kitchen, so doesn’t stop heat reaching you at floor level, but benefits from all the rising hot air.

Sheila maids can accommodate a full load of washing so there’s often no need for an energy-sapping tumble dryer. We’ve always liked the look of them too – there’s something very homely about them.

You might find a vintage example in an antiques centre or at auction – alternatively, you can buy new. Here are three of our favourites. There’s something we like about the traditional style versions but the modern metal example above is useful in that it can expand or contract depending on the size of your room or amount of laundry to hang.

  1. Modern extendible ceiling airer: £49.99, Lakeland
  2. The Original SHEILA MAID ® airer 57″ 6-rail, extra wide – black: £72, Amazon
  3. 8-Lath wooden hanging clothes drying rack or pot rack: £72, Etsy

Redcurrant ice cream

Home-made redcurrant ice cream | H is for Home

This week, Justin spent a few hours on our allotment picking kilos of redcurrants. When he got home, they immediately got decanted into plastic tubs and put into the freezer until I decided what I was going to do with them. In past years, our redcurrant haul has been turned into tarts, jelly, cordial and relish.

Redcurrant juice concentrate being added to caster sugar | H is for Home

Seeing as the UK is in the midst of a mini-heatwave, there was only one thing for it – redcurrant ice cream.

Whipped cream and redcurrant juice | H is for Home

Redcurrants make the most bright, beautiful pink swirly ripple ice cream with a sweet, tangy taste.

Home-made redcurrant ice cream before putting it into the freezer | H is for Home

And best of all, you don’t need an ice cream maker and it’s only 3 ingredients! If you don’t have access to redcurrants, most other berries can be used in their place – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants… or a mixture of all of the above. The recipe below makes about 1 litre.

Redcurrant ice cream
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Ingredients
  1. 500g/17½oz redcurrants
  2. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  3. 300ml/10½fl oz whipping cream
  4.  
  5. Home-made redcurrant ice cream ingredients
  6.  
Instructions
  1. Pre-chill a clean, dry plastic container in the freezer
  2. Put the redcurrants in a colander/strainer, rinse under water and pat dry
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan on a medium heat, cook the redcurrants until they have burst (about 5-10 minutes)
  4. Strain the redcurrants through a fine sieve and combine with sugar to taste. Refrigerate
  5. Whisk the whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks
  6. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled redcurrant concentrate trying not to loose too much of the air
  7. Pour into the pre-chilled container, cover and freeze until firm
Adapted from Allrecipies
Adapted from Allrecipies
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/