Posts Tagged ‘Dan Lepard’

Christina’s brother James is one of the nicest, most interesting people you’re ever likely to meet.

While we were chatting at Christina’s birthday party (themed 1970’s, so James was in a Luke Skywalker t-shirt and I was in a bright orange kaftan), he mentioned that he was planning to make blackberry jam for his wedding.  As a present. For every one of the sixty guests.

And James isn’t one to do things by half measures – first he was going to make pectin from scratch (using his dad’s homegrown apples), and then he was planning to spend a weekend blackberry picking to gather enough fruit for the jam.  His ever patient bride-to-be Suzanne just smiled as we discussed the intricacies of jar sizes and hot water processing.

A week or so later, Chris’ hubby Steve dropped around a jar of the  aforementioned blackberry jam.  I was both excited and somewhat surprised at  how quickly the whole plan had been put into action –  when James sets his mind to something, he clearly doesn’t procrastinate!

Serendipitously, the following day, Diana gave me frozen blackberries from her farm.  I couldn’t resist combining the two into a sweet weekend treat.

Inspired by the Blackcurrant Crown recipe in Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf, I made a version using our pain viennois dough (the step by step instructions are here), Di’s frozen blackberries, and James’ blackberry jam. It was an absolute treat – buttery, briochey and filled with oozing fruit.

  • 1 batch pain viennois dough
  • blackberry jam
  • 100g fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 100g brown sugar (I used rapadura sugar)

1.  Prepare the dough and allow it to rise in the mixing  bowl until doubled in size.  In the meantime, grease a 10 cup bundt pan well.

2. In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar and blackberries.

3. Turn the risen dough out onto an oiled bench and divide it into 18 x 50g pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball.

4.  Turn each ball seam-side up, and flatten it out.  Spoon a scant teaspoon of blackberry jam into the middle of the circle…

…and then gather the edges together to enclose the jam completely.

5. Layer the filled balls into the bundt pan, sprinkling with the blackberries and sugar as you go.  Don’t squash them in too tightly.

6. Once all the balls are layered into the pan, cover and allow to rise in a warm spot until puffed up (Dan’s recipe specifies letting the dough rise until doubled in size, but mine didn’t rise that much).  Preheat the oven to 200C with fan.

7. Bake the crown in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes at 200C with fan, then reduce the heat and bake for a further 20 – 30 minutes at 175C with fan.  The top of the crown went very brown in my oven, so I dropped the heat after 10 minutes.  Do keep an eye on this – particularly if you’re using a cast aluminium bundt pan as I was – as it can colour up very quickly.  I let mine cook an extra few minutes to dry up the berry juices.

Edit: Living Delilah made this recipe, and found that the brown sugar burnt during baking.  Do watch out for that and if your oven runs hot or you’re using cast aluminium, you might want to lower the starting temperature by 10 degrees or so, or reduce the initial baking time at the higher temp.

8. Rest the pan for five minutes before carefully turning it onto a plate (watch out for the hot syrup).  Serve the crown warm, with a hot cup of tea!

Click here for step by step instructions for the pain viennois dough.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

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If you’d like to do an In My Kitchen post on your own blog, please feel free to do so!  You’re most welcome to use the same format as I do, and to leave a comment on my monthly IMK post linking back to your blog.   I’d love to see what’s happening in your kitchen every month!

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In my kitchen…

…is a copy of Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens, a gift from my lovely friend Becca, the InTolerant Chef

In my kitchen…

…is a bag of dark malt flour, a recent discovery from Harkola.  I used a teaspoon in yesterday’s sourdough – it gave the white bakers’ flour a creamy grey tone and added a delicious nuttiness to the finished loaf…

In my kitchen…

…are cornmeal English muffins, made to a modified Dan Lepard recipe.  On Joanna’s advice, I reduced the water in the recipe from 425ml to 300ml.  The slightly drier dough cut well and held its shape in the frying pan…

We ate them with Joy’s delicious plum jam…

…which she made with plums harvested from her dad’s farm…

In my kitchen…

…are treasures from Chefs’ Warehouse.  These 10cm/4″ crumpet rings were calling to me…

…as were these absolutely gorgeous terracotta dishes.  I already had the larger version, and wanted a couple of smaller ones to complete the set.  The little one measures 15cm/6″ in diameter and cost just $5.95.  The dishes are oven safe and clean up perfectly in the dishwasher…

In my kitchen…

…are pots of green apples, being turned into pectin for this year’s jam making.  The apples are from Christina’s dad Lloyd, who was kind enough to give us enough for dozens of jars of pectin, along with several kilos of gorgeous crabapples for jelly!

In my kitchen…

…is a tin of Turkish apple tea.  I’ve been drinking this sweet tangy tea at Turkish restaurants over the past few months, and couldn’t resist buying some for home…

In my kitchen…

…is a basket of green figs from our new neighbour Marco, whose trees are laden and groaning with fruit!

Tell me, what’s happening in your kitchen this month?

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Last weekend, I baked a batch of David Lebovitz’ chocolate biscotti.  Actually, I attempted two batches, but owing to a bad case of brain fog, I omitted the sugar the first time and then burnt the almonds.  Attempt #2 was more successful. As these are one of my favourite cookies, it was well worth the effort!

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I also tried this new recipe by Dan Lepard for red Leicester cheese biscuits (cookies).  They were very easy to make and as my boys aren’t fans of caraway, I rolled them in poppy seeds. The entire batch was eaten that evening!

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Finally, I made Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Gingerbread – appealing because I was making shortbread cookies as a gift, and had a half batch of dough leftover.  The recipe appears in his book Cook with Jamie, and suggests using either homemade or shopbought shortbread as a starting point.  Here’s my take on the recipe…

  • 400g shortbread (I used cookies made with our shortbread freezer dough)
  • 170g raw or demerara sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 40g mixed peel (I used some Italian cedro)
  • 40g crystallised ginger
  • 70g plain (AP)  flour
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 40g treacle
  • 40g date molasses (original recipe specified golden syrup)
  • 70g unsalted butter

1. I began by baking a batch of unsugared shortbead cookies, although shop bought or other homemade shortbread should also work fine in this recipe.  Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) or 160C (320F) with fan.  Line a tray with parchment paper – I used my 23cm x 33cm (9″ x 13″) baking pan.

2. Blitz the cookies in a food processor with the sugar and two teaspoons of the ground ginger to form crumbs.  Remove 100g of the crumbs for later use.

3. Chop the peel and crystallised ginger, then add them to the food processor with the flour, baking powder and the remaining teaspoon of ground ginger.  Pulse the mixture until well combined.

4.  In a big stock pot (it needs to be large enough to hold all the mixture), melt together the butter, treacle and date molasses (or golden syrup) and then add all the ingredients from the food processor (excluding the reserved crumbs) and stir really well to combine.

5. Scrape the gingerbread mixture into the lined baking pan and spread it out  evenly with a spatula or clean hands. It will be very flat and dense.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top.  Press down firmly on the crumbs with a spatula to stick them to the hot gingerbread.  Cut the gingerbread into serving size slices, then leave to cool completely in the pan before serving.

This recipe isn’t for everyone, but for true ginger aficionados, it’s a great treat with a cup of hot tea or coffee!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe



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Over the weekend, I baked a couple of Dan Lepard’s irresistible treats, including this most recent recipe from his Guardian column.

It’s made with baby potatoes, a mix of green and black olives, and bakers’ flour – and baked in a large parchment-lined roasting tray.  The perfect accompaniment to an all vegetarian dinner party!

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It’s not apple season here at the moment, and most of the available fruit is coming out of cold storage.  It’s not the best for eating raw, but wonderful for cooking.

We turned five large Pink Lady apples into Dan’s upper-crust apple pie – the fruit was tossed in a hot butter caramel, then topped with a delicious pastry laced with Calvados.  Small Man, our apple pie aficianado, declared it to be most fine…

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Spelt is one of the so called “ancient grains”, grown in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It’s related to modern day wheat, but with a noticeably different flavour and some purported health benefits.  These include a broader nutritional profile, and a more easily digestible protein structure, which makes spelt accessible to some people with wheat intolerances.  However, it does contain gluten, which means it’s not suitable for coeliacs.

Spelt flour is very expensive – a kilo costs six times as much as regular bakers’ flour, and twice as much as organic bakers’ flour.  Having said that, it makes little difference when you compare the cost of using it at home to the price of purchasing ready made – an organic spelt loaf might cost $2.50 in raw materials, but a loaf of sourdough (made with regular bakers flour) from a reputable bakery could set you back $8 or more.

As we were delighted with the results of our 100% white spelt loaves, I thought it might be fun to experiment with organic wholemeal spelt.

The 100% spelt sourdough loaves I made were slow to prove, and despite a surprising amount of oven spring, the wholemeal crumb didn’t display the huge holes of the white spelt.  That didn’t detract from the bread though, which was deliciously nutty and, as Pete put it, wholesome.  The rising dough and  baking loaves exuded the most gorgeous aromas and our sons, who don’t usually like anything other than white bread, ate an entire loaf between them for lunch, smothered in peanut butter and jam.  The spelt baguettes formed the backbone of a vegetarian dinner we had on the weekend, and went perfectly with Pete’s beetroot dip and guacamole.

Emboldened by this success, I tried using the wholemeal spelt in Dan Lepard’s Guardian cookie recipe.  I substituted cranberries for the dried blueberries (which are prohibitively expensive here) and omitted the almond essence.  Dan’s recipe was written for regular wholemeal flour, and the essence was included in part to mask any bitterness in the flour.  As the spelt has a nutty, sweet flavour, I didn’t think it was necessary here.

The end result were these chewy, moreish treats, reminiscent of old-fashioned oatmeal cookies. I’ve already eaten two this morning!

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