Cakes & Bakes: Rhubarb and custard tart

Home-made rhubarb and custard tart | H is for Home

One of the things that Todmorden is famous for is Incredible Edible, a group of local people who have started something of a revolution, growing food in public places in & around the town centre.

Incredible Edible rhubarb, peas, onions and chives growing in Todmorden Train Station car park

There are vegetables outside the police station and local community college, herbs along the canal tow-path and in the train station and an apothecary garden in the grounds of the health centre.

Stalks of rhubarb with metal colander

Everything is free for anyone to come along and help themselves – or even do a little weeding and clearing if the fancy takes them!

Measuring jug with eggs, custard powder and vanilla essence

The train station is on one of our daily dog-walking routes and it’s been lovely watching the progress of the peas, red onions, chives and the like.

Making custard

This week, along with the dog, I left the house with a pair of scissors and a carrier bag and cut a few stems of rhubarb – to use in a rhubarb and custard tart.

Pouring custard on tart pastry base

Rhubarb & custard is a classic British combination as is baked custard tart. I’ve put them together and come up with a delicious dessert.

Sticks of rhubarb in custard

I used the same pastry recipe as last week’s pear tart and made sure to add a tad more sugar than normal to the custard recipe… and a tablespoonful of Bird’s Custard Powder.

Home-made rhubarb and custard tart | H is for Home

The sweetness of the custard and the tartness of the rhubarb worked incredibly well – I’ll be making this one again before the end of the rhubarb season.

Rhubarb and custard tart
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the pastry base
  1. 200g/7oz plain flour
  2. 60g/2oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 125g/4½oz very cold butter
  5. 1 egg yolk
For the custard
  1. 400ml/14 fl oz double cream
  2. 100ml/3½ fl oz creamy milk
  3. 2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
  4. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  5. 1tbsp custard powder
  6. 1tsp vanilla essence
  7.  
  8. Home-made fat rascals ingredients
  9.  
For the pastry base
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the tart tin and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the pastry case to a cooling rack; keeping it in its tin
For the custard
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, slowly bring the cream and milk to a simmer
  2. In a large, heat-proof measuring jug, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, custard powder and vanilla essence
  3. Pour the hot cream & milk mixture into the bowl, whisking continuously
  4. Carefully strain the custard on to the cooked pastry base (don't overfill)
  5. Slice the rhubarb into lengths and place into a pattern in the custard
  6. Carefully put the tart tin into the oven (rearrange the rhubarb lengths if they drift in the liquid during the move!)
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top begins to brown
  8. Remove from the oven, sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the top and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Fat rascals

Home-made fat rascals and mug of tea | H is for Home

We were in Ilkley today – collecting items from auction and having a mooch around the charity shops.

flour and cubes of butter in a mixing bowl

We wandered passed Betty’s Tea Rooms, but didn’t go in – the breads and cakes in the window certainly looked good though.

Adding milk to fat rascal dough | H is for Home

Fat rascals are a famous offering from this establishment – and I decided to rustle up a batch when we got home. They’re quick and easy, so a perfect bake if you’re pushed for time (which I was if I wanted to get my Thursday recipe made, baked, photographed and written up in a couple of hours before posting in the evening.

fat rascals dough rolled and sliced | H is for Home

I used a traditional fat rascals recipe from Old Yorkshire Recipes by Joan Poulson (which you can get on Amazon for a penny!). It contained very sketchy instructions, so I checked some of my other recipe books. I found the exact recipe, with the exact, same instructions in Mary Hanson Moore’s A Yorkshire Cookbook. Even though Betty’s and Taylors of Harrogate trademarked the name ‘Fat Rascal’ in the 1980s, the pastries have actually been in existence since the 18th century at the latest.

Uncooked fat rascals on a baking sheet | H is for Home

We love this humble little bake – a bit soft biscuit, a bit rock cake, a bit scone. The Betty’s version is bigger and fancier with its cherry and almond decoration. My fat rascals have a simple sprinkle of sugar.

Home-made fat rascals cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

They’re absolutely perfect with a cup of tea – we found that eating them just very slightly warm with cold butter was our absolute favourite, but all manner of preserves would work well too.

Fat rascals
Yields 24
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g/10½oz plain flour
  2. 150g/5¼oz butter, chilled
  3. 75g/2⅔oz currants
  4. 37g/1⅓oz brown sugar
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 100ml/3½ fl oz milk
  7.  
  8. Home-made fat rascals ingredients
  9.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  2. In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour
  3. Add the currants, sugar and salt
  4. Mix in the milk, enough to make a slack dough
  5. Roll out to ½" thick, cut into rounds and dust with icing sugar (I think caster sugar worked better)
  6. Put on to the greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned
Notes
  1. Gorgeous served still warm with butter and fruit jam!
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Custard Cream cupcakes

Custard Cream cupcakes | H is for Home

I saw a photo of Custard Cream cupcakes on Pinterest last week and just had to try them out. I found the recipe on the Jane’s Patisserie blog.

Custard Cream cupcake dough | H is for Home

I haven’t made cupcakes in absolute ages, so they made a lovely change this week.

Custard Cream cupcakes before putting them in to cook | H is for Home

The addition of Bird’s Custard Powder to the batter mix instead of vanilla essence made it taste like a Custard Cream in cupcake form! They’re perfect for an afternoon snack with a tea or coffee – and great for kids’ parties too.

Custard Cream cupcakes before topping with buttercream | H is for Home

I think I may try a similar thing soon, next time with Chocolate Bourbons or Oreos – they’re just such fun!

Custard Cream cupcakes
Yields 30
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Cook Time
18 min
Cook Time
18 min
For the cake
  1. 225g/8oz butter
  2. 225g/8oz caster sugar
  3. 4 eggs, beaten
  4. 200g/7oz self raising flour
  5. ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  6. 100g/3½oz custard powder
  7. 50ml/2fl oz milk
For the buttercream
  1. 200g/7oz butter, softened
  2. 400g/14oz icing sugar, sieved
  3. ½tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1-3tbsp milk
To decorate
  1. chocolate sprinkles
  2. Custard Creams
  3.  
  4. Home-made Custard Cream cupcake ingredients
  5.  
For the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/ºF/ Gas mark
  2. Line a muffin tray with 12-15 cupcake/muffin cases
  3. With a food processor or hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy Slowly add the beaten eggs, mixing continuously
  4. Sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and custard powder before adding to the butter/sugar/egg mixture
  5. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes smooth
  6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases evenly (about ⅔ full) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  7. Remove from the muffin tray and leave to cool on a wire rack
  8. If you have leftover cake batter, repeat instructions 6 & 7
For the buttercream
  1. Beat the butter until smooth and gradually add the icing sugar stirring all the time
  2. Add the vanilla extract and the milk until your desired consistency
  3. Whisk again for 3-4 minutes until light & fluffy
  4. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag, affix a piping tip, and decorate each cupcake with a swirl
  5. Scatter a little chocolate sprinkles
  6. Top each with a Custard Cream at a jaunty angle!
Notes
  1. Best eaten on the day. You can bake the cupcakes in advance, only decorating with buttercream and Custard Creams at the last minute.
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Coconut loaf cake

Home-made coconut loaf cake | H is for Home

If you remember, for last week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe, I was meant to bake a coconut loaf cake but I didn’t have any of the main ingredient.

Creamed sugar & butter

Justin enjoyed the resulting almond loaf so much that I had to make good on last week’s previously planned bake.

Coconut loaf cake batter in a loaf tin

Once again, this was a quick and easy cake to make. Cream the sugar & butter, mix together the wet ingredients, add together. Mix together the dry ingredients, add together. Bake. That’s it!

Cooked coconut loaf cake in its tin | H is for Home

Nothing quite beats the aroma of coconut cake baking in the oven… and if we thought the last loaf cake was delicious, this one raised the bar even further – coco-nutty (of course!), moist, sweet – just scrumptious!

Coconut loaf cake
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 150g/5oz butter, softened
  2. 150g/5oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1tsp vanilla extract
  5. 6tbsp milk
  6. 150g/5oz plain flour
  7. 2tsp baking powder
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 100g/3½oz dessicated coconut
  10.  
  11. Home-made coconut loaf cake ingredients
  12.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas mark 2
  2. Grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
  3. Using a food processor or electric whisk, cream the sugar and butter
  4. In a measuring jug, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla extract
  5. With the processor/whisk still going, mix the wet mixture into the creamed butter & sugar a little at a time
  6. In another mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients well (flour, baking powder, salt, dessicated coconut)
  7. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in 3 stages, mixing after each addition
  8. Spoon into the greased loaf tin and level out using a spatula or back of a spoon
  9. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown on the top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Almond loaf cake

Home-made almond loaf cake | H is for Home

Today’s almond loaf cake wasn’t meant to happen; Justin requested a coconut cake that he could have with an afternoon cup of tea. We didn’t have any dessicated coconut in the store cupboard and it was out of stock when I went to by some from the supermarket.

Almond loaf cake batter in a a tin

A snap decision in Morrison’s saw me pick up a bag of ground almonds instead… and what a good decision that turned out to be.

Cooked almond loaf cake in its tin | H is for Home

A last-minute, quick, basic wet & dry recipe that turned out to be taste triumph!

Preparing to pipe chocolate on to almond loaf cake

A little drizzle of chocolate finished it off nicely.

Home-made almond loaf cake | H is for Home

A new one for my afternoon cake repertoire!

Almond loaf cake
Serves 8
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz + 1tbsp golden caster sugar
  2. 150g/5oz butter, softened
  3. 2 eggs
  4. ½ tsp almond essence
  5. 4 tbsp milk
  6. 125g/4½oz plain flour
  7. 1½ tsp baking powder
  8. ¼ tsp salt
  9. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  10. 50g/2oz dark chocolate
  11.  
  12. Home-made almond loaf cake ingredients
  13.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/325°F/Gas mark
  2. Grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined
  5. Stir in the almond essence and the milk
  6. In another mixing bowl, sieve together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt
  7. Stir this into the wet ingredients in three batches, stirring well after each addition
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin, levelling out using a spatula or back of the spoon
  9. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  11. Allow to cool in the tin for at least half an hour
  12. Break up the chocolate into a small heat-proof bowl
  13. Melt in a bain-marie or in 10-second bursts in a microwave
  14. Make a piping bag out of a triangle of parchment paper, fill with the melted chocolate and zig-zag over the top of the cake
  15. Serve
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Peanut butter baked cheesecake

Home-made peanut butter baked cheesecake | H is for Home

It’s Justin’s 50th birthday today so, of course, I had to make him a birthday cake.

Crushed plain chocolate digestive biscuits for peanut butter baked cheesecake base | H is for Home

I made a peanut butter baked cheesecake – seeing as cheesecake is his favourite kind of cake, and he’s quite partial to peanut butter too.

Cheesecake cake tin wrapped with wet tea towel

I also wanted to try out a tip that I found on the internet this week. Apparently, instead of using a Wilton Bake Even Strip (which helps keep your cake level and prevent a cracked top), you can wrap the sides of the tin with a wet cloth or tea towel.

Peanut butter baked cheesecake batter ingredients | H is for Home

It worked pretty well, there was a slight bulge to one side of the top which I put down to the overlap of the cloth. Next time I’ll use a cloth cut down to fit the circumference exactly. So long as the cloth is very wet, it won’t burn in the oven. Elasticated cloth, or nylon/polyester fabric probably wouldn’t work very well in the heat of an oven; stick with cotton or linen.

Pouring peanut cheesecake batter on to biscuit base

The plain chocolate digestive biscuits gave just that bit of extra depth of flavour over plain digestives, and baking the base for 10 minutes gave it a ‘biscuity’ taste and texture.

Chocolate topping ingredients for peanut butter baked cheesecake

I used mascarpone, but you can use Philadelphia or any other plain full-fat cream cheese.

Smooting chocolate topping on peanut butter baked chesecake | H is for Home

Results were delicious – a rich, indulgent treat.

Home-make peanut butter baked cheesecake with toasted mixed nut sprinkles | H is for Home

There’s only one slice left – that must mean that the birthday boy approves!

Peanut butter baked cheesecake
Serves 6
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For the base
  1. 150g/5oz plain chocolate digestive biscuits
  2. 30g/1oz butter, melted
For the filling
  1. 250g/9oz mascarpone cheese
  2. 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  3. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  4. 150g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
  5. 60ml/2fl oz soured cream
  6. ½tbsp cornflour
For the topping
  1. 125g/4½oz soured cream
  2. 50g/2oz dark chocolate
  3. 15g/½oz caster sugar
  4. 3tbsp mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
  5.  
  6. Home-made peanut butter baked cheesecake ingredients
  7.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/as mark 3
  2. Grease & line and 22cm diameter spring form tin
For the base
  1. Using a food processor, grind the plain chocolate digestives into fine crumbs
  2. Add in the melted butter and combine well
  3. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin pressing down firmly & evenly using a cold metal spoon to form a level base
  4. Put the base into the oven for 10 minutes, when cool put it into the fridge to set
For the filling
  1. After washing out the processor bowl, use it to combine the mascarpone, eggs, yolk, sugar, peanut butter, soured cream and cornflour to a smooth consistency
  2. Pour the mixture into the over the base and bake for 30-40 minutes until just set
  3. Allow to cool for half an hour on a wire rack before putting the tin into the fridge to chill
For the topping
  1. In a small saucepan, gently warm the soured cream, chocolate and sugar stirring to form a smooth sauce
  2. Pour the mixture on top of the cold cheesecake and allow it to set in the fridge
  3. When cooled & set, run a sharp knife around the edge of the tin before easing the cake carefully
  4. Finish with a sprinkling of mixed chopped toasted nuts (optional)
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/