Baking for Mama.

12 May

I loathe doing uni work and will do almost anything to avoid it. Facebook, re-ordering the pantry, scrubbing the shower… You name it, I’ll do it.

But my most preferred method of procrastination? Baking.

The bonus here is that not only does it keep me from doing what I hate, I also really, really enjoy it. To be honest I’m no fan of moving the rice over to the right and relocating the sultanas to the top shelf, but baking? It’s the most enjoyable way to ensure that no work gets done.

This particular baking day, I also had a legitimate excuse to spend time in the kitchen. It was Mother’s Day, which, to me, screams out for a bevy of baked goods.

Originally I had envisaged about four or five different things for my Mother’s Day morning tea, spending the day prior whipping up muffins, scones, slices and the like. But absolutely shocking time management (well, prioritisation skills) on my part meant I was forced to forgo an elaborate sugar-butter-carb-filled feast and instead limit it to two choices. I was, however, amazed I managed to devise recipes, buy ingredients and produce two things within the space of an hour and a half on Mother’s Day morning – and appalled that I couldn’t even apply this kind of determination to my work.

The first recipe comes from my baking bible: The Australian Women’s Weekly mega-tome, Bake. For all you language purists out there, no, I don’t think ‘mega-tome’ is an acceptable English word, but neither are ‘tweet’ nor ‘Yogalates’. And if they’re good enough for Oxford, ‘mega-tome’ is good enough for me.

Anyway, the recipe was for chocolate lace crisps, criminally rich chocolate biscuits that don’t really live up to their name. They’re not crisp at all – ‘crisp’ biscuits seem to imply light taste and texture, a small indulgence that won’t do much to your waistline. A wafer, perhaps.

But these ones were instead loaded with chocolate, butter and sugar, with a dense fudgey texture that seemed more like, well, fudge than anything else.

That’s not to say they weren’t good though, because dayum, they certainly were. They had the most intense flavour and gooey-like-a-pudding centres. I clearly have a penchant for food writing, judging by my fantastic skill with adjectives here.

The second thing I made was chocolate custard and raspberry tarts – a recipe I invented that kind of builds on my previous peach torte idea. These were equally as good, if I may say so myself, but admittedly somewhat pricey due to the raspberries. We were lucky enough to have some (which we didn’t pay for) but I suppose you could make do with any other fruit that goes well with chocolate – banana, strawberries and so on. To make them uber-cheap, you could even just go without.

Again, I made my own pastry and again, you could just use shortcrust. Cut rounds using a cup as a guide and press them into a muffin tray.

This time around I cheated by using bottled custard – which ended up making the whole thing a lot cheaper.

Chocolate lace crisps

Chocolate Lace Crisps

Makes 24 (I managed to scrape together 12)

100g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
80g butter, chopped coarsely
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup (150g) plain flour
2 TBSP cocoa powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking powder)
¼ cup (40g) icing sugar

1. Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat
2. Transfer chocolate mixture to medium bowl
3. Stir in caster sugar, egg and sifted flour, cocoa and soda
4. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until mixture is firm enough to handle
5. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced
6. Grease oven trays and line with baking paper. If you have non-stick trays, just butter should be A-OK
7. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. I think this is where I went wrong – my estimation skills are appalling
8. Roll each ball in sifted icing sugar and place about 8cm apart on trays. Yes, round balls. Not flattened balls. It confused me too
9. Bake about 15 minutes and cool on trays

Chocolate custard raspberry tarts

Chocolate Custard and Raspberry Tarts

Makes 12

For the pastry:
1 ¼ cup plain flour
2 TBSP corn flour
2 TBSP icing sugar
125g cold butter, chopped coarsely
2 TBSP cold water, approximately

For the custard:
500ml bottled custard
100g dark eating chocolate, roughly chopped
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBSP cornflour

Plus raspberries (fresh or frozen) to decorate – how many you use (or whether you use them at all) depends on how stingy you are.

For the pastry:
1. Sift flours and sugar into a medium bowl
2. Rub in the butter with your fingers
3. Add enough water so that the ingredients come together
4. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth
5. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes
6. Meanwhile, make custard

For the custard:
1. Place custard in a saucepan over medium heat
2. Once warmed through, add chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted and well combined with the custard
3. Sift cocoa and cornflour into the custard mixture and beat well to combine. And I mean beat well – cornflour makes lumps of the worst kind
4. Cool completely

Back to the pastry:
1. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced
2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin
3. Remove from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap
4. Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized balls
5. Roll each ball with a rolling pin (I don’t have one – a wine bottle is perfect, as any self-respecting student would know)
6. Place each disc into the muffin tin and mould a little to fit
7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is just golden. They may shrink a bit (mine shrank a lot) but don’t fear – they’ll still work.

To assemble:
1. Fill pastry shells with custard mixture
2. Top with raspberries… or nothing
3. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour so the custard firms up a little
4. Serve

Both of these are even better a few days later, after being kept in the fridge.


2 Responses to “Baking for Mama.”

  1. Tess May 14, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    i love this blog -you’ve come up with some amazing recipes and they’re so fun and easy to make and the kids love helping out:) We made these cookies a few days ago and they have definately been a hit!
    Keep up the good work and I’ll be sure to keep checking in!


  1. Bake Away Your Blues. « The Cheap Glut - August 16, 2010

    […] know I’ve harped on about it before but I’ll torture you all and do so again.To me the best way to distract myself from all […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: