March 2014

March 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nutella and Coconut Palmiers

Like it, or loathe it, I was amazed recently to find a 5 kilo jar of Nutella being sold on Amazon. 

I just couldn’t imagine the need to buy such a large, almost £50 in cost, jar but the Italian makers certainly produce it in this gigantic size, so I suppose someone must buy it!

Very occasionally, over the years, a small jar of this sweet hazelnut and chocolate paste has somehow, miraculously - despite a little voice inside my head saying ‘no’ - made its way into my shopping basket - particularly when my daughter was young when a chocolate sandwich was high on the ‘favourite’ list.

And so to last Christmas, when I was given a book shaped like a Nutella jar, which contained many delicious recipes for using Nutella and also included colourful photos of Nutella-produced items in all their resplendent glory. Damn it, I could almost smell the Nutella oozing from the pages! Now this, for me, was something new – cooking with Nutella.

Unsurprising, it didn’t take me long to nip to the supermarket, returning with a large sized jar – well, there are so many recipes to try – and I made some Nutella and Coconut Palmiers. Such a simple idea and I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before but the ease of the task will now make it a favourite for future afternoon tea bakes.

Further Nutella ‘trials’ will follow!

Roll out puff pastry, spread Nutella liberally.
Roll long sides to centre and then chill.

Cut and place on baking parchment covered sheet.
Sprinkle, if liked, with dessicated coconut. Bake.

When cooled, they didn't last long!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Left-over marzipan

Apricot and marzipan tart served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
If, like me, you haven’t been able to resist buying a pack of much-reduced marzipan from the supermarket after Christmas or, indeed, have some left over from covering your festive cake, then now is the time to use it up.

Searching the internet, I found quite a few recipes that I could use but I decided to opt for one that I had seen Mary Berry demonstrate at the last Good Food Show Winter in Birmingham - Apricot and Marzipan tart.  However, as her recipe serves 8-10, I halved the filling quantities for our small household and put half the sweet pastry in the freezer for later use – not realising I had inadvertently made yet more left-overs, ah well!!
Apricots placed on top of marzipan

Many fruits could be used – fresh (when in season) cooking apples, plums, etc. – but in this instance Mary suggested using canned apricots. A quantity of sweet pastry was produced and chilled before cutting in half and rolling out two large circles. The grated marzipan was scattered centrally on one pastry circle and then the apricots were placed cut side down on top. Finally, the second pastry circle was placed on top and the edges sealed and trimmed.
Baked until golden brown

The tart was cooked on a hot baking sheet (to avoid a soggy bottom!) at 220C, 200C fan or gas 7 until golden brown on top and underneath for 25 minutes or so. Dusted with icing sugar it looked, and tasted, a treat!