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Lime, Lemon and Basil Tart

This deliciously refreshing tart is simpler to bake than you’d think, and it rounds off a summer lunch perfectly. A classic lemon and lime filling encased in sweet short pastry is always a crowd pleaser, but the basil added to this one balances the sharp citrus with a sweet aromatic flavour; a great twist on a much loved warm weather dessert.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 185g plain flour
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 90g cold, cubed butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch salt

For the filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 150ml lime juice
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • zest 3 limes
  • zest 3 lemons
  • 125ml double cream
  • large bunch basil

Decoration (optional):

  • basil leaves
  • edible flowers
  • lemon and lime zest (fresh or candied)

 

Method:

  1. First off, make the pastry (you could buy shortcrust pastry instead of making this special sweet variety yourself- if you do, just follow from step 2). The easiest way to do this is to place the flour, sugar, butter and salt in a food processor and blitz together until a breadcrumb-like consistency is achieved (or rub together with your fingertips, handling as little as possible). Once you reach this stage, add in the egg yolks and blitz again, very briefly, until the mix just comes together to form large lumps. Tip the pastry out onto a clean surface and shape (again handling as little as possible) into a thin disc. Now wrap this pastry disc in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190c. Very lightly grease a 22-24cm tart tin with butter. Take your pastry and roll out on a floured surface to a little under 3mm thick. Line your tart case, using a ball of spare pastry to push right down into the corners. Run a knife around the top of the case to neaten the edges. Chill for 20 minutes.
  3. Fill your pastry-lined tart case with non-stick baking paper and baking beans then blind bake for 10-15 minutes (until the walls are set). Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and the base is sandy and dry but not overly golden.
  4. Now it’s time to make your filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 150c. Place your eggs, sugar, zest, juice, cream and whole bunch of basil in a saucepan and leave off the heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes some scum will have formed on the surface; skim this off with a spoon then place the saucepan on a gentle heat. Warm until hot to the touch (not boiling), then sieve to remove the basil leaves and zest. Pour this filling into the prepared pastry case and bake for 15-25 minutes until the middle has a uniform and slight wobble when gently shaken.
  5. Cool completely in the tin to allow the filling to fully set (this will take an hour or so) then remove carefully, slice up and serve. Decorate as desired and keep refrigerated once cool.

Enjoy!

Lemon Melting Moments

I’ve made a chocolate and orange blossom variation of these biscuits before and they were so popular I thought I’d experiment with another flavour. This time I’ve gone for lightly flavoured lemon biscuits (which are super crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth) sandwiched together with lemon buttercream and a really zingy lemon curd; the end result is (unsurprisingly) zesty and really delicious- give them a try.

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Ingredients (makes 8-10 sandwiches):

  • 175g soft butter
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 60g corn flour
  • 185g plain flour
  • zest 1 lemon

For the lemon curd: 100g caster sugar, 2 lemons (juice and zest), 50g butter, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk

For the lemon buttercream: 65g soft butter, 175g icing sugar, juice and zest 1 lemon

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160c. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cream together the butter, icing sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Sift in the corn flour and plain flour then briefly mix until a dough forms (don’t over mix or you won’t achieve that melty texture you’re after in the final biscuit).
  3. Take the dough a tablespoon at a time and roll into balls. Line onto the prepared baking trays and press down with the back of a fork to create a lined texture. Chill for half an hour.
  4. While the biscuits are chilling make the lemon curd. To do this place the sugar, lemon juice, zest and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally, allowing the butter to melt. Once the butter has melted allow to cool slightly then add in the egg and egg yolk. Whisk together.
  5. Set the bowl back over the pan and gently mix for about 10 minutes until the heat thickens the curd. Remove from the heat and cool.
  6. Once your biscuits have chilled and are firm, bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the trays.
  7. While the biscuits are cooling, make the buttercream. Whisk the butter up to lighten then gradually add the icing sugar and beat until you have a fluffy texture. Add in the lemon juice and zest then briefly whisk to combine.
  8. When the biscuits are cooled, pair them up. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one and spoon some lemon curd into the middle. Sandwich together with the other biscuit.

 

Enjoy!

Guilt Free Baking

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Not everyone can afford to eat full fat, full sugar baked goods every day of the week, however that’s not to say we don’t crave a sweet hit once in a while… this is where my two new recipes come in. I have been experimenting with flavours and substitutions for a couple of weeks and have come to the conclusion that these are the best concoctions (so far)  if you’re after a healthier baked alternative. So, without further ado, here are the recipes.

First up are my skinny blueberry, banana and lemon muffins (pictured above). This recipe is great as it contains very low sugar levels- instead of tonnes of white caster sugar, apple sauce, bananas and blueberries add sweetness in a healthy and natural way. This muffin is also low in fat with only 2 tbsp oil per 12 muffins! Give these a try as they taste delicious (you wouldn’t guess they contained no butter or refined sugar) and are moist and fluffy.

Ingredients

180g self raising flour, 50g plain flour, 3tsp baking powder, pinch salt, tbsp cinnamon, tsp ginger, 2 tbsp brown sugar.

1 egg, 180 ml milk, zest of 3 lemons, 1 mashed banana, 3 tbsp natural honey, 4 tbsp apple sauce, 2tbsp vegetable oil, 2 handfuls of blueberries.

Method

1) Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2) Whisk up the wet ingredients in a jug, then pour into the dry.

3) Mix lightly until just combined (overmixing will result in close, heavy muffins!)

4) Fold in the blueberries and spoon into muffin cases. Bake at 190 for 25 minutes, cool and enjoy!

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My second recipe is for these new and improved trail mix protein bars. They are full of healthy ingredients but also provide a great energy boost due to the high protein levels and slow releasing carbohydrates.

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats, 1 handful sunflower seeds, 1 handful pumpkin seeds, 1 handful dried cranberries, handful raisins, handful dried prunes (chopped), 1 1/2 cups of mixed chopped nuts (I use walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews), chia seeds (for topping).

5tbsp peanut butter, 3tbsp honey, 200ml water.

Method

1) In a pan, melt together the honey, peanut butter and water. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

2) Combine all fruits, nuts and oats in a large bowl. Pour cooled liquid into the bowl and mix well to ensure no dryness remains in the rolled oats (if there is too little liquid, add a squirt more honey or a dash or water).

3) Line a baking tin with greaseproof paper and pack the ingredients tightly in, pushing down with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle generously with chia seeds.

4) Place in the freezer for at least 40 minutes then chop up and enjoy as a breakfast bar or snack. Store in the fridge.

Blueberry and Banana Muffins

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I combined a few muffin recipes to create these delicious treats! Packed full of blueberries and mashed banana, these muffins are ideal for a healthy pudding or even a satisfying breakfast. I’ve topped them with a cinnamon streusel crumble for extra crunch and grated the zest of a lemon into the mix to add even more flavour. The key to any muffin recipe is not to over mix- you want to bring the dry and wet together until it is only just combined. I usually allow it to sit for about half an hour so bubbles form before baking too to make them extra light and fluffy. Why don’t you create your own recipes today, don’t be afraid of experimenting!

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Skinny (not really) Blueberry Muffins

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These blueberry and lemon muffins are my own concoction. After browsing countless recipes looking for a slightly (not completely) healthier alternative to the buttery super-sweet muffins we see in Costa and Starbucks, I couldn’t find  a happy medium between the ultimate sugar overdose and the oaty, no-sugar, no-calories, no-taste variety littered all over the web. So, instead of using a single recipe, I used a few components of classic muffins combined with some health-concious replacement ingredients. In place of butter, these are made with vegetable oil and a dash of buttermilk and instead of tonnes of white caster sugar small amounts of brown sugar with lemon zest and vanilla seeds are substituted to add taste without the calories. I also added a whole punnet of blueberries to the batter so these bakes are bursting with anti-oxidant super fruits; perhaps they could stretch to one of my five a day (one can dream)? I hope these muffins encourage you to bake a little leaner (if only sometimes) as you can create delicious treats by making small substitutions to full fat recipes- you don’t have to go completely mad on the ‘detox’ hype to be a bit healthier, it’s small changes that make a difference.

Although this post is really to draw attention to my bakes of the day, I also wanted to give my regards to my loyal (and new) readers. I passed the 2000 follower mark this week and am thrilled this completely amateur blog is of interest to so many people, thankyou!

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