Week Ninety Six – Mary Berry’s Doughnuts & Austrian Apricot & Almond Tart

Week 96 and only a little late in being published! I delved with relish into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible having been inspired by The Great British Bake Off‘s doughnut episode. In the children’s section of the bible, there is a recipe for Mary’s basic doughnuts which I was happy to begin with and found the Austrian tart recipe as my second bake.

Mary Berry's Doughnuts

I set off by making the dough for the doughnuts, as it contains yeast, I had to then leave it to prove for quite a long while. Luckily my kitchen was warm and it rose as it should. Mary then asks you to knock it back and knead it again. Then divide the dough into approximately 16 balls and – this was the weird part- add a spoon of strawberry jam to the centre of each ball and fold in and then leave to prove again. Finally after the last prove, you are asked to deep fry them- this had posed a question, I do not own a deep fat fryer and didn’t want to buy one just to complete this challenge so I bought a basket and used one of my saucepans. this worked well but you can’t control the temperature of the fat as accurately as a fryer. I fried my doughnuts two at a time and then rolled them in the sugar/cinnamon mix and left them to cool.  I then sent a food parcel to my chief tasters and we delved into the rest!

Kim's Doughnuts

For my first foray into doughnuts, I didn’t think they were too bad!

The second recipe, the Austrian apricot and almond tart involved making Mary’s pastry first and then rolling it out to fit in my flan tin. I grated the marzipan and put this in the pastry case first followed by halved apricots. Mary doesn’t really tell you how to lay these in but I made circles of them. Finally you have to roll out a circle of pastry for the top and press it down and it creates a landscape of rolling hills with the apricots. the last step was to put it in the oven.

Mary Berry's Austrian Apricot & Almond Tart

I had to bake the tart for a little longer than Mary suggested but it was definitely worth it, I had a tart that was very tasty – the apricots and melted marzipan flavours definitely complimented each other and there wasn’t a soggy bottom in sight!

Kim's Austrian apricot & almond tart

Austrian apricot & almond tart

The Bake Off has nearly reached it’s conclusion now- the final is this week- I would now like Richard to win but am looking forward to the episode with bated breath!

Week Ninety Five – Mary Berry’s Crown Loaf and Griddle Scones

Week ninety five here already and after the excitement of last week, I browsed through Mary Berry’s Baking Bible looking for some more savoury recipes after the richness of last week’s recipes and I was wiped out by a migraine which set all my usual housework jobs back by a day. I settle on Mary’s crown loaf and griddle scones.

Mary Berry's Crown Loaf

I began the dough this morning , mixing all the ingredients together for the crown loaf and then spending five minutes kneading it before setting it into an oiled bowl to prove for 1 1/2 hours. After this time, the dough was nicely risen and I had to then knock it back and knead again, divide into 12 balls and set these inside a springfold tin and cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for another half an hour.

Finally , once the last prove is done, bake in a hot over for 25 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack. The crown loaf looked lovely and the smell of freshly baked bread is a winner in our house.

Kim's Crown Loaf

The second recipe was Mary’s griddle scones, these are thicker than drop scones and I followed Mary’s recipe carefully to make the dough, I then rolled it into a circle and cut into segments. I heated a heavy based pan and cooked the segments for about five minutes each side and left them to cool on a rack.


Mary suggests eating them fresh with butter but we ate some of the crown loaf first for lunch and look forward to these for supper. Sorry chief tasters, no sharing with you guys this week- but I am guessing that you are still wading through your dobaz torte from Thursday.

Kim's Griddle Scones

The Great British Bake Off is coming up to quarter finals now and the three contestants I initially named are still in it so far- lets see how they do this week and if Mary has any more recipes I have yet to do?

Countdown now reaches 78.

Week Seventy – Mary Berry’s Irish Soda Bread & Bath Buns

Week Seventy and I am ahead of myself this week. As it was half term, I managed to get a few days holiday at the end of the week and decided to devote Friday to baking and was super excited about it too! I sat with my usual cup of coffee and browsed Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and settled on her Irish soda bread recipe and the bath buns.

Mary Berry's Bath Buns

I began with the bath buns recipe as it involves yeast and therefore rising time. I made the dough as per Mary’s instructions and left the dough in an oiled bowl covered in cling film.  My kitchen wasn’t overly warm but I hoped for the best.

After an hour, the dough had barely risen at all. I wasn’t sure if it was because my kitchen was too cool or the yeast pack past it’s best. I pondered for a while and turned the oven on low. I left the bowl on the oven door with the remnants of the oven heat coming out for another half hour. It didn’t really change. I kneaded it again and divided it into buns and put cling film over them and left them on the oven door which was still slightly warm. At this point I was rummaging through my cupboard. I found a newer pack of yeast and decided to make a second batch. I made the dough again and left it to rise. This time, it did rise but still didn’t double in size. I then divided the dough into buns and covered them with cling film and they did rise slightly again. I decided to bake both batches to see how they came out.

Kim's Bath Buns

The bun on the left is the second batch and the lighter smaller bun on the right is the first batch. Actually they both tasted okay but the second batch was better. I think I will ensure that I have really fresh yeast next time and ensure that the kitchen is warmer but I enjoyed making them and will probably make them again.

The irish soda bread in comparison was an easier bake. The dough was easy to make and no yeast or rising time to contend with. Mary tells you to shape the dough into a round and bake for about half an hour in the oven and then turn it upside down for about 10 minutes to ensure the bottom is baked- no soggy bottoms here!

Mary Berry's Irish Soda Bread

The result was a round rough looking loaf of bread. The weight of it compared to a normal loaf is astounding- really heavy. You could use this recipe to make bricks I think!

Kim's Irish Soda Bread

Anyhow, as my other dad isn’t supposed to eat anything with yeast in it, he got the whole loaf to eat. I did leave him some bath buns too!

Week 26 – Mary Berry’s Hot Cross Buns

As promised, the Easter recipes begin here, and with hot cross buns. Yes I know it’s technically not the right time to make and eat them but any excuse for a bake! This bake has taken the longest of all my bakes so far, because it involved yeast and rising time so it took most of the day to do.

Mary Berry's Hot Cross Buns Recipe

The dough itself seemed easy enough to mix together and the 10 minutes of kneading it seemed to fly by and it’s very therapeutic taking out your frustrations on a piece of dough! I then needed to leave the dough to rise in a warm room – in our house, that’s not so easy but after looking on the internet, it recommended putting your oven on low, with the door open and rest the bowl on the open door which is what I did, and the kitchen felt cosy too. After an hour and a half, the dough had doubled in size and was ready for the next step. Mary then asks that you knead it again for several minutes then divide into 12 and place on a tray, and cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again for half an hour.Usually at this point, I find that Mary’s estimate of how many can be made out of a batch are often optimistic but on this occasion, I found that I had 16 hot cross buns!

Kim's buns final rising!

While the buns were rising again, I made the small amount of pastry needed to add the cross to the top of the buns, as I felt that just marking the top of the bun with a cross was not traditional enough. I then rolled the pastry out and cut it into strips ready to go on the buns.

the cross strips for the buns

Finally, the buns were ready to have their cross, and then into the oven they went for 15 minutes. I set the timer and five minutes before they were rady, I made the glaze by dissolving sugar into water and when the buns came out, they had a liberal coating of the glaze.

Kim's uncooked hot cross buns

For my first foray into making buns with yeast, I was quite pleased with the way they turned out!

Kim's finished hot cross buns

As you can see, my usual two baking fans were in their usual spot waiting to see if there were any left overs or anything dropped , but sorry guys, no dried fruit for you too, it’s like chocolate, very dangerous for dogs , so you can have a doggy treat instead today!

The Hairy Hoolies