Week One Hundred & Twenty Nine – Mary Berry’s Chocolatines, Mokatines & Apricot & Almond Gateau

Week 129 and my ever shrinking Mary Berry‘s baking bible and came out with three recipes this week, the chocolatines and mokatines were so similar for the recipe base that I could combine the two and then chose the apricot & almond gateau too.

I started with the chocolatines & mokatines recipe which both started with a genoese sponge. I made this sponge mix which was quite a list of instructions in itself.

Mary Berry's Chocolatines Mary Berry's Mokatines

I then halved the ingredients for both toppings so I could make both cakes without any waste. The genoese sponge came out well, I allowed it to cool and then cut it into squares and sandwiched some with the chocolate icing and some with the coffee icing. I then coated the chocolate ones with more chocolate icing, rolled them in crushed nuts and piped little rosettes on the top.

Kim's chocolatines

I did the same with the coffee ones and thought they looked rather smart.

Kim's mokatines

The second recipe was Mary’s apricot & almond gateau. This recipe involved making the meringue mix with whisked egg whites and the monotonous task of adding the sugar a teaspoon at a time until stiff. Mary then asks you to fold in some ground almonds and then spread into 2 20cm circles and bake.

Mary Berry's Apricot & Almond Meringue Gateau

Once the meringue is made, add the apricots and some water to a pan and heat gently until tender and put into a blender to puree. Mix the puree with some of the whipped cream and sandwich the meringues together. Decorate the top with a dusting of icing sugar and swirls of whpped cream. This was a crunchy, gooey tasty pudding.

Kim's apricot & almond meringue gateau

I was really excited to begin to see adverts for The Great British Bake Off 2015, I can’t wait, it’s the highlight of the year and hopefully the end of the challenge for me while the program is on….as my countdown because of 3 recipes this week has reached…

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Week One Hundred & Twenty Eight – Mary Berry’s Sachertorte & Coffee & Banana Vacherin

Week 128 and I dipped my toe into Mary Berry‘s Baking bible– it’s about all that will fit into what is left to bake and I came out with Mary’s Sachertorte and Coffee & Banana Vacherin.

I began with the sachertorte. This has oodles of dark chocolate in it and you know I really don’t like dark chocolate so I compromised and had 3/4 dark chocolate and 1/4 milk chocolate to take away some of the bitterness. Mary asks you to melt the first amount of chocolate and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile beat the butter and then add the sugar, beating well still and then add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract, then the egg yolks then fold in the dry ingredients. Mary advises you that by this point the mixture will be quite thick- she fails to mention about the gut busting amount of calories already in this and we haven’t finished yet! In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and add to the chocolate mix. Pour into the tin and bake for about 50 minutes until well risen. Mary Berry's sachertorte

Remove from the tin and allow to cool. To make the slimline(!) topping, melt the chocolate gently and add the double cream, allow to cool slightly and pour over the cake spreading it gently. Finally when set, write “Sacher” on the top. The icing came out nice and glossy especially considering mine had some milk chocolate in it too.

Kim's Sachertorte

The second recipe was Mary’s coffee and banana vacherin. I had no idea what a vacherin was so I looked it up and it says it is a meringue dessert filled with cream. This recipe caused me a great headache as I thought I had done all the banana desserts while visiting my family but this one popped up !! So I followed the principle of the recipe- a meringue filled with cream and made mine a fresh cream and raspberry vacherin instead as this house is a banana free zone because of hubby’s allergy- don’t want to kill him with my baking!

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Mary Berry's Coffee & Banana Vacherin

Mary asks you to whisk 4 egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar-225g of it-one TEASPOON at a time ..zzzzzzZZZZZZ. Once all the sugar is mixed in, the meringue mixture will be very stiff. Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe 2 20cm circles and bake. Once baked, allow to cool in the oven . This is where Mary and I parted company , I whisked the cream and used fresh raspberries to create my vacherin and thought it was very tasty!Kim's fresh cream & raspberry vacherin

The countdown reaches 18

Week One Hundred & Twenty Seven – Mary Berry’s Continental Cheesecake & Frosted Walnut Layer Cake

Week 127 and the old Mary Berry Baking Bible is now looking well used and “lived in” and there are few recipes left to choose from but I delved in with a bit more vigor than last week and came out with the last cheesecake recipe from that section and a frosted walnut layer cake.

Mary Berry's continental cheesecake

I began with the cheesecake as this a cooked cheesecake which involves several stages. I made the base first and I know Mary is quite lean on the biscuit and butter for her cheesecakes so I doubled the biscuit and butter amounts and melted the butter while crushing the biscuit for the base. I thought this gave a nice base to the cheescake with no gaps or holes. I put it in the fridge to set. Once it was set, I then set off to make the filling. This involved enormous amounts of ricotta cheese, with butter , sugar, flour, lemon and egg yolks all whisked together. Then fold in whipped cream and whisked egg whites and pour onto the biscuit base and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for a further hour. Finally remove the cheesecake from the tin and decorate with cream and summer fruits.

Kim's continental cheesecake

The recipe actually called for cooking some redcurrants, blackcurrants and blackberries in 2 tablespoons of water and sweeten to taste and then blend some arrowroot with some cold water and add the fruit and allow to thicken. I chose to keep mine simple with cream, strawberries and raspberries. We haven’t been overly keen on baked fruit cakes but this one was quite nice and would be nice possibly to do again.

Mary Berry's walnut layer cake

The second recipe was the frosted walnut layer cake. The initial sponge cake was one of Mary’s easy throw everything in a bowl and mix cakes – one of my favourites! Pour into the sandwich tins and bake. Once cooled prepare the frosting. This is where is got a little more complex!  Mary asks you to put all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and whisk over a pan of hot water – FOR 10-12 MINUTES!! My poor hand mixer was definately pushed to it’s limits of endurance, as was my wrist! Once the mix forms little peaks, sandwich the layers together with the frosting and then cover the top and sides with it, putting little peaks on the top and decorate with walnuts. Mary tells you to work quickly as the icing sets rapidly.

Kim's walnut layer cake

Leave the cake to set in a cool place and enjoy! This was a yummy cake and definately one I would make again.

The countdown has now reached another milestone now …… so near and yet……

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Week One Hundred & Twenty Six – Mary Berry’s Boozy Fruit Cake & Sponge Christening Cake

Week 126 and my usual dive into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible saw me surface with these two recipes. A boozy fruitcake and a sponge christening cake. I am so close to finishing this challenge but found I have hit the “proverbial wall” in terms of flagging so near the finish! I gave myself a verbal “kick” and dug out the bowls, mixer and ingredients and off I
set.

hitting the wall

finishing line

The boozy fruitcake was an interesting recipe. I had to weigh out all the fruits and add them to the butter, syrup, milk & nuts and heat gently until the better melts. I realised to my dismay that I had run out of golden syrup so I substituted maple syrup which I think gave this cake a tasty twist. Meanwhile weigh out the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly, pour into the prepared tin and bake.

Mary Berry's boozy fruit cake

Once the timer had pinged, the cake was done, I removed it and when it was cool, I had the fun job of adding some alcohol to the cake. My alcohol of choice was some dark rum and then the cake was wrapped in parchment and put in a tin for a few days. When it was time to eat it, it was lovely and moist.

Kim's boozy fruit cake

The second cake was Mary’s sponge christening cake. I didn’t know anyone who was being christened so this became a father’s day cake for the chief taster.

Mary Berry's sponge christening cake

This was an unusual recipe to do for a sponge.  Mary asks you to melt the butter- so far, not unusual, then measure the eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk over hot water until it is pale and creamy and leaves a trail then remove from the heat and continue to whisk until cold. This was unusual and I was a little afraid that my trusty hand mixer would burn out but it managed it-just! That isn’t the end by any means- next sieve the flours into a bowl, fold half the flour into the egg mixture, then pour half the melted butter around the edge-(getting weirder). Then repeat the other half of the flour and then the butter again- this is just strange now! Finally pour into the tin and bake.The cake rose beautifully and then when cool, Mary asks you you to cut the cake in half and sandwich with a lemon cream and put this over the top and sides then cover the cake in icing and decorate.This is the way I chose to decorate it and gave it to the chief taster on father’s day.

Kim's sponge fathers day cake

Father’s day is always a bittersweet day for me since I lost my Dad on Father’s Day. This photo is from 2005, the last Father’s Day I had with my Dad before we lost him.

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Oh and the countdown……

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Week One Hundred & Twenty Five – Mary Berry’s Coffee & Walnut Sponge Cake & American Apple & Apricot Cake

Week 125 and my ever shrinking Mary Berry Baking Bible suggested these recipes to me to take to a friends house for a b-b-q!

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I began with the coffee & walnut sponge …which ended up being a coffee and pecan sponge- I could swear I had walnuts in the store cupboard but they turned out to be pecans- oh well, still tasted nice and my twist on Mary’s recipe. Luckily this recipe was one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in together and mix, divide between two sandwich tins and bake.

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Once the sponges are cooked and cool, mix together the buttercream and sandwich the two sponges together and put some more on the top and decorate with some more nuts!

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The second recipe was Mary’s american apple & apricot cake. This recipe used raw baking apple and dried apricots in it , a deep cake tin and a vague baking time from Mary of “between an hour and an hour and a half”… I made one cake and baked it for about an hour, tested it, not done, gave it another ten minutes, it looked done and bounced back to the touch test so I took it out of the oven, only to go back to it about half an hour later and DISASTER! It had caved in and was cooked around the edges but raw in the middle! This hit the bin- no photos allowed and I began again.

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This time I allowed the whole cooking time – an hour & a half and this time it worked – YIPPEE!! I now had two cakes to take to the b-b-q.

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It was lovely catching up with our friends and the cakes went down well. The added bonus was that one of their dogs has just had puppies and they are currently three weeks old so puppy cuddles were an added bonus – and out two hairy hoolies went mad when I got home!

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The countdown is ticking on and is now……

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Week One Hundred & Twenty Four – Mary Berry’s Lemon Griestorte & Petits Fours Aux Amandes

Week 124 and my Mary Berry Baking Bible is shrinking rapidly in terms of what recipes are left to bake! I dived into it and surfaced clutching her lemon griestorte and the petits fours aux amandes.

I began with the lemon griestorte. Mary tells you that it’s made with semolina and ground almonds instead of flour and it has a light but short texture- whatever that means!! I separated the three eggs that the recipe asks for and put the yolks and the sugar in one bowl and whisked them together, then added the lemon juice and finally the lemon rind, semolina and ground almonds. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the mixture and pour into the tin . Pop in the oven for 35 minutes and then once golden brown, allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and turn out. Once cool, cut the cake in half.Mary Berry's lemon gristorte

Whisk the cream until it holds its shape and fold in the lemon curd and sandwich the cake together with it and dust the top with icing sugar. Try to use a good quality lemon curd to give it that lovely lemon tang! I usually shop at my local Morrisons and brought their Signature Sicilian Lemon curd which is really yummy!

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The second recipe was Mary’s petits fours aux amandes. Mary says they make very special presents, I wasn’t that keen but another recipe under my belt.

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The recipe was simple enough, I had to whisk some egg whites, fold in ground almonds, sugar and almond extract and put the mix into a piping bag. Pipe rosettes onto a baking tray and top with a small piece of cherry and bake. When golden, mix some sugar and milk together and lightly brush over the petits fours.

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The countdown continues and has now reached….

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One of the chief tasters brought me a little gift recently, some beautiful measuring spoons. Mine are the usual plastic ones but these are rather special, so thank you and much love xIMG_0588 IMG_0589

Week One Hundred & Twenty Three – Mary Berry’s Strawberry Dessert Cake & Crunchy Top Lemon Cake

Week 123, and my usual dip into Mary berry‘s Baking Bible proved troublesome. I decided on the recipes but divided the bake over the week so that we were not inundated with a mass of cakes that might end up stale and in the food recycling bin.

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I chose Mary’s strawberry dessert cake as my first bake . I followed Mary’s recipe carefully and mixed the sponge up carefully. I poured half the mixture into the tin and then sliced and put strawberries on to of this and then poured the rest of the mix on top and levelled the cake. I sprinkled flaked almonds on the top and then baked it for about 1 1/2 hours and then left it to cool a while before turning it out.

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Mary suggests that you serve it warm with cream and who am I to disappoint ?!

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The second recipe later in the week was Mary’s crunchy top lemon cake. Luckily this is one of Mary’s all in one cakes and so it was an easy bake to put together. I baked it in the oven and then once it was cooked, I poured the crunchy lemony sugary topping on and left it to cool.

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It seemed aged before it was cool enough to turn the cake out and the lemony smell was tantalising!Kim's crunchy top lemon cake

I have been following Mary’s new series ” Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites” , it has given me some great ideas for general cooking and some new twists on some old favourite recipes. I have also enjoyed watching her first fly fishing adventure.

The countdown continues and I have broken the 30 barrier now and it has reached…..

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