Friends with recipes
Aunt Peggy's powder puffs. Photo: Vanessa Levis
I love it when a friend serves something delectable and then offers the recipe, too! Each of these treats came from a dear friend, with one from the friend's Aunt Peggy.
Aunt Peggy's powder puffs
This recipe had instructions to "take the phone off the hook before starting". Today that also means "ignore your mobile".
Mrs Atkins' fruit slice.
75g plain flour
David's custard tart.
¾ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 free-range eggs, separated
¾ cup caster sugar
Firmly whipped cream
Preheat oven to 210˚C. Line 4 baking trays with baking paper. Adjust oven shelves to accommodate if necessary.
Sift dry ingredients, except sugar, 3 times. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually beat in sugar until mixture forms a glossy, stiff meringue. Add yolks 1 at a time. Sift dry ingredients over mixture, then fold in gently and thoroughly. Do not stir mixture after this point. It should be firm and when spooned onto trays and should not flatten or run.
Quickly spoon heaped teaspoons of mixture onto prepared trays, allowing for spreading. Cook for 5-7 minutes until "sponge-coloured". Rest cakes on trays for 1 minute, then use a spatula to slip them onto a wire rack. When cakes are completely cold, store in pairs in an airtight tin for at least 3 hours. Fill each pair with cream 3 hours before serving. They will take about 30 minutes to soften. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
Mrs Atkins' fruit slice
I spent several happy holidays staying with Mrs Atkins and her son Ian outside Bath in England. A batch of this slice was always in the biscuit tin for my arrival.
MAKES ABOUT 20 PIECES
125g unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
225g mixed dried
150g self-raising flour
Preheat oven to 200˚C. Melt butter in a saucepan large enough to hold all ingredients. Use a little butter to grease a 28cm x 18cm baking tray. Add brown sugar to saucepan and stir over low heat until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool a few minutes. Stir in egg, add fruit and sift in flour. Stir well.
Press into tray and bake for 22 minutes. The slice should have a caramel crust and still move slightly when you rest your hand on the centre. If it is all liquid, cook for a further 3 minutes. Cool and mark into squares. Allow to cool completely in tray, then cut into squares and store in an airtight tin.
David's custard tart
This tart is scented with bay leaves rather than the more familiar vanilla. David would have used the eggs from his own hens and bay leaves from his own tree.
1 free-range egg white, lightly whisked
250g flour, sifted with
A pinch of salt
1 small free-range egg, lightly beaten
4 free-range eggs
2 free-range egg yolks
3 bay leaves (fresh, if possible)
For the pastry: in a food processor, pulse butter into flour and salt. Mix in 40ml water and egg and pulse quickly into a dough. Turn onto bench, knead quickly and flatten into a disc. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220˚C.
For the filling: beat eggs and yolks together and set aside. Place cream, milk, sugar and bay leaves in a saucepan over a low heat. Bring to simmering point. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for about 15 minutes. Pour onto beaten egg mixture and strain into a jug.
Roll out pastry and line a 24cm loose-bottomed cake tin, 4cm deep. Line with foil and fill with baking weights, dried beans or chickpeas. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Brush base of tart with egg white. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 175˚C.
Gently pour custard mixture into still-warm shell and bake for 15 minutes or until set. There should be a faint wobble in centre of tart. Cool completely before releasing spring and cutting tart.
Photography by Vanessa Levis. Styling by Bhavani Konings. Food preparation by Andrew De Sousa. Wheel-thrown stoneware side plate (custard tart shot) Golden Brown Fox, goldenbrownfox.com. All other props stylist's own. Stephanie Alexander's memoir A Cook's Life ($40, Lantern) is out now
From: Sunday Life