I bought a copy of Mary Berry’s Baking Bible recently and one of the first recipes I tried out was Bakewell Slices – they’re absolutely delicious. Apparently as the pastry contains a lot of fat and no sugar there’s no need to line the tin with baking parchment. Mine didn’t stick anyway.
For the shortcrust pastry
175g (6 oz) plain flour
75g (3oz) butter
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
For the filling
about four tablespoons of raspberry jam (I used half a jar of jam)
For the sponge mixture
100g (4oz) softened butter
100g (4oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
half a teaspoon of almond extract
1. To make the pastry, measure the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add the water and mix to form a soft dough.
2. Roll out the dough and use to line a 30×23 cm (12×9 inches) baking tray. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/Fan 160 C/Gas 4
3. Measure all the sponge ingredients into a bowl and beat until well blended. Spread the raspberry jam onto the pastry, then top it with the sponge mixture. Sprinkle with flaked almonds.
4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until the cake has shrunk back from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut in the slices.
I used margarine instead of butter and I can’t imagine it could taste any better with butter.
For the past couple of days we’ve been back in my beloved west of Scotland, visiting a couple of National Trust properties – amongst other things. A trip to Byres Road in Glasgow’s west end is always on the itinerary and I was lucky to find four modern paperbacks and Mary Berry’s Baking Bible at some secondhand bookshops there. I now have regrets that I passed up the chance to buy a few rare old books that I thought were hideously expensive, because I now know that they were in fact absolute bargains. So annoying – but that’s life.
Anyway, as you can see I also bought:
Lucia in Wartime by Tom Holt
The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith
Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs
Lots of people seem to be reading George Bellairs books at the moment but I haven’t read any yet. It’s a fair wee while since I read anything by Rosamunde Pilcher, this one is set in Cornwall, she seems to veer between Scotland and Cornwall for her settings, I like a Cornish setting – always have since way back in my Malory Towers reading days, and it’s an awful lot easier for me to go there via books than to travel the 500 miles or so from here.
I like Dodie Smith although – as I recall – I Capture the Castle isn’t my favourite. Controversial? What do you think? And lastly Lucia in Wartime is of course not by E.F. Benson, but Tom Holt is quite good at writing in Benson’s style and as I adore the Mapp and Lucia books and just about any domestic fiction set in World War 2 it is right up my street, so I’m really looking forward to reading that one. In fact it has jumped straight to the top of my TBR queue, unfair on the many that have languished there – sometimes for years, but a few days back in Tilling with Mapp and Lucia is just what I need now.
The recipes in the Mary Berry Baking Bible look sumptuous although with her lemon meringue pie featuring a large tin of condensed milk as part of the filling ingredients it’s fair to say that none of the recipes are for the calorie counters among us. I’m going to have to work my way very slowly through the 250 recipes in the book!
Have you read any of these books?