The Bakes

Peach Frangipane Tart


Here are some doughnuts in a tart. Doughnut peaches that is.


These delicious little fruits also go by the name of flat peach, saturn peach, saucer peach, belly-up peach or sometimes bagel peach. Sliced in half, they sit in a moist almondy frangipane that is spread over a sweet shortcrust pastry.


There’s almost all of the juice and zest of an orange in the frangipane, the rest giving a sharpness to the mascarpone and greek yoghurt that is spooned over to serve.


Blackberry Crumble


The first of our freshly foraged blackberries have gone into two slight crumble variations.

Both toppings are made with plain flour, flax seed, butter and granulated sugar. For added texture, the topping on the right also has ground almonds and sunflower seeds. Both are finished with a sprinkling of nibbed sugar.


Served with a little double cream.



Maybe a pie for the next hedgerow harvest?


Cranberry Chelsea Buns


Originally made famous almost three centuries ago by the Chelsea Bun House in London (where the hot cross bun was also claimed to have been invented).

I’ve found a number of recipe variations, although all seem to agree on the basic dough ingredients of strong white flour, sugar, yeast, milk and an egg. Here I have also included some grated nutmeg.


Recipe differences tend to be mainly to do with the filling, although most go for sultanas, currants or raisins in varying proportions. Also mixed peel is usually on the list. I found one recipe suggesting chopped dried apricots. Here I’ve just gone for a filling of dried cranberries, together with sugar and cinnamon.


Glazing can vary too. From a sticky mixture of brown sugar, butter, milk and honey (poured over before baking). To an apricot glaze and a zesty icing drizzle. To my chosen post-baking finish which is simply a stock syrup and a sprinkling of nibbed sugar.





To be specific, this is Rosemary Focaccia. (There are numerous variations, some include chopped olives, maybe garlic, or perhaps red onion.)

The proving is done at room temperate, fairly long to begin with, then the dough is knocked back and shaped (in this case to fit a roasting tin, but could have been to fit a round tin) and left to rise again, then dimpled with fingers and left for a final rise before introducing rosemary sprigs.

The crumb is light and moist. The crust is thin and fairly crisp thanks to a steamy oven during the bake.

The focaccia dough can also be used as a deep-pan pizza base.


Homity Pies


Very simple. Very humble.

Popularised by Cranks, the vegetarian restaurant founded in the 1960’s, some say it was first made by land girls during the second world war. Well the two main ingredients for these frugal bundles, potatoes and onions, came from the land that is my allotment.


My plain shortcrust pastry is enhanced with a little English mustard. It is roughly rolled out, not to a neat circle but just to a shape that is big enough to pinch and fold around the filling.

Too tempting to allow to cool completely, it’s a handful of a meal in itself.

The look of it reminds me of a galette, satisfyingly rustic and homely.


Plum Galette


Making this felt like back-to-basics baking. No bowls, no electric mixers.


The pastry is Pate Brisee. Plain flour, a little salt, butter, an egg yolk, a little caster sugar and cold water. Worked together by hand on the worktop for a supple and pliable dough. The pastry bakes to a crisper texture than shortcrust.


The pastry is rolled to a roughly round shape, then folded and pleated to encase the mound of fruit. Tarts don’t come much more rustic than this.