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Cherry, peach and almond galette

July 9, 2014


Don’t die of a heart attack, but a new post is here. Although, knowing current productivity this is probably the last one for another two years.

California is really spoiled for its plethora of ripe fruit – this time cherries. One had an urge to bake something fruity and luckily, CA stepped up. This was a galette (which turns out can be translated as anything from cookie, King’s cake to crepe). Despite the slight stress of working with a strange dough (it has – wait for it – yoghurt in it. Who knows why), a strange shape, and random filling choices (made up), this was actually fun, and the pastry very likeable. I would do again, and attempt a savoury version (people have even made top 10 lists online). So, onwards…

This recipe is a mixture of smitten kitchen’s inspirational galettes, and making up a filling to include fruits that would go a) with some sort of alcohol and b) would go with frangipane* (*heaven). So see here for a more fruity, neater, less almondy version.

This makes enough for 1 galette – as large as you can roll out the dough…


Galette pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 stick (4oz) cold butter, cut into pieces (add salt if unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream (yoghurt should be plain. I only had strawberry. Luckily no-one noticed)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water


  • 3 oz butter
  • 3 oz golden caster sugar
  • 3 oz ground almonds
  • 1/2-1 tsp almond essence
  • 1 egg (plus one extra – to save for the glaze)


  • 2 ish cups of stoned fruit (I used pitted, halved cherries and one peach, thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup alcohol of choice (I used cherry vodka, amazing). NB if you use more alcohol here, you just get to drink more at the end.
  • sugar, if needed, depending on the sourness of the fruit


First, make the galette pastry, which takes time to firm up. Sift the dry ingredients together, and separately mix the yoghurt/sour cream with water. Add the wet to dry, mix with a spoon, then bring together into a dough with your hands, quickly. Don’t overwork. Cover in cling film, flatten into a disc, and then chill for an hour or more in the fridge.

Next, preheat the oven to 400F (it’s sad that I don’t even know what that is in gas marks or oC anymore). Whilst the pastry is napping, pit/peel the fruit, pour over the alcohol and sugar if using, and leave to soak up all the flavours. At this point you can add a little cinnamon to your fruit if appropriate, one can seldom go wrong with cinnamon and fruit, I feel. Also make up the frangipane and chill (see here for more frangipaney-info).

When the dough is ready, roll out onto a floured surface in as big a disc as possible, fairly thin. I roll out onto non-stick paper towards the end, to make it easy to transfer. You then need to cut out a pentagon shape to make this starred galette (or stick to a circle if you like) – I would use the very handy template Deb made on  Smitten Kitchen. Make 1 inch notches as instructed, which will allow folding. It should look like the left hand picture:


Once that’s done, transfer the pentagon to a greased baking tray. Use the template and a knife to very gently score, joining up the inner notches to make a second pentagon: this is where you spread the filling. I added the frangipane first in a thick layer then piled up cherries on top before finishing with a fan of peach slices. Finally, close the galette by folding up the pastry edges as shown in the right hand picture (above). Whisk up the spare egg with a little water and paint the pastry, finishing by scattering course brown/white sugar on top.

Bake for 30 mins or so, until the filling looks set and the pastry is  golden. Serve however you like, although I think it goes well with creme fraiche – particularly if the fruit is sweet. Parfait. And it looks like a star, oh…

[Other serving tip – don’t bring to work to share, there will be too many of them and they will complain about portion sizes]




June 14, 2013

I keep making things and not writing down the recipe / where it was from / what I altered / putting it on this blog. And then these things are forever lost, with just a picture to stare mournfully at.


As a scientist, I should know better….

Caramelised red onion chutney

May 19, 2013


One joy of living in the sunshine state is that the light is oh so much better for photography. I lose track of the number of times I discarded writing a post because a) I’d finished the recipe at 1am and was too tired to do anything but fall into a sugar-induced coma, or b) even at 6pm, it was cloudy, rainy, and definitely not conducive conditions for food photography (even amateur-level photos). If there is anyone in existence who can make food look good under fluorescent lighting, well…they deserve some sort of award. In San Francisco, such an award could even stretch to near sanctification, since every other person at a restaurant seems to pause at least once during their meal, phone in hand, snapping their food for future reference. I’m sure they’d welcome a way to make their food look good even in tasty but unnatractive diners like Pearl’s burgers.

This recipe is nice and easy (it has to be, given that I completely made it up), but does take a while. The result is worth it though, since I get the feeling that in SF, this relish doesn’t exist so readily. You might hesitate to try back home, given that ASDA doesn’t do a bad job and sells some for £1.50. The strong flavours are good for cheese, bread, as well as comfort dinners like sausage and mash…

Makes: 2 jars


  • 3 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp brown/raw cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper

The key to this recipe is not to burn the onions, so patience is a virtue. First, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan, then when a piece of onion sizzles, add all the onion, and stir to coat evenly in the oil. Cook the onions on low heat until soft and translucent, adding a little more oil if needed. It’ll take around 15 mins in total, try not to cry too much in the meantime from all the fumes (especially if one’s kitchen doesn’t have an extractor fan. Why would you have an oven without a fan? Crazy americans).



Once cooked, you’re ready to caramelise (excuse the photo, this wasn’t daytime lighting). Simply add in the sugar, balsamic vinegar, paprika and chilli flakes and stir to coat. Return to heat, probably for the next 20 mins or so, during which time the onions will cook down further, becoming sticky and a dark golden brown red colour. Taste and season with salt and pepper. You may also want to add more balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, to get the right balance of sweet / tart; bear in mind it changes as the onions cook. Add a tiny bit of water if the mixture looks to be drying too much.


When soft, sticky and fully caramelised, leave the onions to cool. Once ready, either take half of the mixture and blend in a food processor, or transfer all the contents to a bowl and use a hand blender to process the relish to a more-spreadable consistency. In either case, leave enough of the mixture un-blended to add texture (or you end up with onion jelly, which is a bit odd). Re-season if necessary, and when fully cold, package up into sterilised jars for safekeeping.


I have no idea how long this would store for, but like most jams and relishes, the sugar should make it fairly durable. They’re called preserves for a reason, don’t you know….


(Also: hopefully the relish is good enough to be finished off long before one worries about expiry dates)



Hibernation ends…

February 20, 2013

Right. This is just a post to say that thebakescape aintn’t dead, and will be returning. Soon. One has both a sweet and savoury recipe up one’s sleeve, and given an upcoming move to the sunshine state and perhaps the foodie capital of the world (can you guess?) there really is no excuse NOT to blog…

Meanwhile, some un-recipe’d food porn from the summer. The ones that got away…


1. Plum sourdough cake with coconut buttercream:


2. The pirate chocolate birthday cake:


(including the little treasure chest made of icing + own doubloons):


3. And…the apple cinnamon streusel cake:


See you soon…..

Parsnip, camembert and caramelised onion tart

April 19, 2012

I was lovingly given the smelliest Camembert ever very recently. I lovingly crafted around half of it into a slightly-less-pungent-yet-still-as-tasty tart. And upped the score to Michelle 2:0 Pastry. Credit also due to the amazing and famous Michel Roux. Although I did wimp out slightly. He offers two pastry recipes for tarts, either pâte brisée or flan pastry. I used the latter, which he cites as being a bit more sturdy and thus handy for less, er, confident, hands.

PS, I know, instagram has crept in. I promise not to do it all the time. Monsieur Roux, forgive me…


  • 1 amount of flan pastry (see below)
  • 2-3 parsnips
  • 100-200g camembert (about half of one boxed camembert)
  • 2 red onions, plus some red wine or balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked with 100ml of milk
Flan pastry:
  • 125g softened butter, cubed
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 40ml cold water
Preheat the oven to 200 oC/gas 6. First get the parsnips roasting. Peel them and cut into small cubes. Drizzle over a tbsp olive oil, season lightly, and toss to be evenly coated. Roast in the oven for 30-45 mins, checking every 15-20 mins to turn them over. Leave to cool when done. Lower the oven to gas mark 5.
Ok for the pastry, we do what I haven’t tried before. It looks posh, feels messy, but overall requires 1 fewer bowl to wash (and does feel a bit well, french. Well, un peut). The idea is basically to make a mess:

Heap the flour onto the work surface, and make a hole in the centre. Put the cubed butter, egg, sugar and salt into the well. Use your finger tips to mix the wet ingredients together. Then, bit by bit bring in the flour, until it starts to form a dough, using cold water until it comes together. Using the palm of your hand, knead 5 times until it’s smooth, but don’t overwork. Wrap in cling film and chill until ready.

To make the pastry flan case, roll out the chilled dough on a floured worksurface. Turn frequently, and also flip onto the reverse, to prevent it sticking, creating a round that is thin and several inches larger than the pie tin. Grease the pie/flan tin well and line the bottom with paper. Roll up the dough loosely onto your floured rolling pin to pick it up, then unroll over the dish. See the middle picture. Press very gently into the sides, and roll the pin over the top to cut off any extra pastry. If you’re petrified of picking up the pastry (as is normal), you can also roll out the pastry onto baking paper. Then simply pick up the pastry using the paper to transfer.

Now to bake the case. Prick all over and leave to chill for 15 mins (you can chop the onion whilst waiting), to let the dough shrink at all. When ready, line the case with paper and baking beans / lentils, and blind bake for 15-20 mins. Remove from oven, remove the beans, and pop back in for another 5-10 mins to brown the pastry. Voila! Whilst that’s happening you can make the caramelised onions. Lightly fry in butter, adding a teaspoon or so of sugar, and some balsamic way through (or a little red wine vinegar), and cook until sticky and sweet.

Finally, you can put it all together. Mix the caramelised onions and now-roasted parsnips together and pile into the pastry case. Cube the camembert and dot the tart with as much as you dare / can fit in. Finally pour over the beaten egg and milk mixture  and bake for 20 mins until the cheese is bubbling and the filling set. Yes it’s a lot of effort for a tart, but it does look (and taste) neat. Homemade pastry is so worth the trouble.


Chocolate caramel cake with chocolate ganache

April 10, 2012

It’s been a while…(I have that Staind song in my head from my somewhat grungier youth, hopefully you won’t know what I’m talking about). But following several weeks in another country, another several weeks with little sleep/proper meals/sanity/definitely no baking, a few cakes have been produced. And even something else pastry-based, stay tuned…

Also some education: I found out that I Appreciate Ganache. Not because of the taste (yuck too creamy), but the inner aesthete notes that it does look quite fancy as a decoration. One cannot wait to do something with white chocolate ganache; one reckons that it would be tasty AND pretty. Any good cake flavours to try with, suggestions welcome…

This recipe is adapted from bbcgoodfood. Their original cake does look fun, but I wanted to make something smaller, and with fewer layers. You need 3 sandwich tins (the baby ones, 7″ I believe).


  • 225g very soft butter or margarine
  • 225g brown sugar (or muscovado, I have yet to bother trying out if you can taste the difference)
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml pot natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
For the filling and ganache:
  • half a tin of Carnation caramel (or if you’re intimidatingly domestic, make it from condensed milk)
  • 100g dark and 100g milk chocolate
  • 200ml double cream (save the rest of the pot if you buy 284 ml)

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (/180 oC. Soon when I am USA-ensconced, that number will be in Farenheit. But since a) I don’t understand oF and b) I’m determined to stay English until I go, its centigrade all the way). How can you argue with oC when freezing is zero oC? Makes much more sense thatn 3o-something. Meh.

I digress. Line all the tins and grease well. Cream together the butter and sugars, then simply tip everything else in APART from the cocoa at once and mix quickly until smooth. Now you can either be super arty, or just a bit arty (I was the latter, but in retrospect, I would have been the former). For super artiness, split the cake mix into three. Add nothing to one, 1/2 tbsp cocoa to the other, and 1 1/2 to the third, and mix. Or the other option – remove just 1/3 mix into another bowl, and add all the cocoa to the remainder. Three or two-tone cake, you can choose. Pour the cake mixes into their pans, and bake for not very long, the sandwich tins cook mixtures quickly. Around 15-20 mins. When done, cool in the tins, and only try to remove when cold and shrunken a little (they don’t come out so easily).

Whilst cooling, make the ganache. Either do the fancy thing of melting the broken chocolate in a bain-marie, or just microwave (make sure you know how not to burn chocolate though). When molten, stir in the leftover cream. The mixture may cool and stiffen quite rapidly, so be careful. If by the time you come to ice, it’s too stiff, then microwave in short bursts till more liquid. To assemble, take the caramel and dilute with cream until it is an easy spreading consistency, and use to sandwich the 3 cake layers together. If you have any leftover and your ganache isn’t too runny, add some caramel to the ganache too (nom). Spread the ganache all over and use a palette knife to make professional swirls. Serve at room temperature, not cold: your ganache will thank you for it.

Oat and raisin GF soda bread

November 16, 2011

This isn’t pastry. Where’s the pastry? What? Oh wait, you’re right. I know. I keep making these grandiose statements about upcoming baking themes and then not sticking to them. But look! This bread fed me after a long autumn run and for the following day in lieu of any actual other foodstuffs! And it’s gluten free! (and even dairy-free if you wish). It sounds so much more wholesome to scoff on homemade bread all day versus homemade puff pastry, now doesn’t it?

I thieved this recipe from the extensive GuFfblog , and then altered it a lot. I wanted to add some more sweetness, which is achieved with raisins, honey, and the curious addition of a vanilla yoghurt. Sorry about the adulteration of your recipe madam GuFf. Please also come back to your blog, it misses you.

Makes a 6″ ish round loaf


  • 200ml  milk*
  • 100g vanilla yoghurt**
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 cups gluten-free flour blend***
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum***
  • 1 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp honey

 * substitute for soya milk and ** soya yoghurt it you want to be dairy free also.

*** for non-gluten free, just swap for plain flour, and omit the xanthan gum. You may need to use less liquid when mixing.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Dust a large baking sheet with gf flour. In a jug, add the lemon juice to the milk and let sit for 10 mins so the milk curdles. You can also buy buttermilk from the shops if it tickles your fancy or you have a lemon allergy or other hazardous disease. To make oat flour from the oats, blend the oats in a processor until fine and mainly in dust, with a few pieces still remaining here and there. Then add to a large bowl with the sieved GF flour, salt, bicarb, raisins and xanthan gum. Drizzle over the honey. Make a hole in the centre of the mix and pour in most of the milk. Use your hand to bring everything togehter; it will be messy and sticky. Keep adding the buttermilk until the dough is a solid mass which will still be pretty sticky/wet (it’s ok). Transfer to the baking sheet in the shape of a round loaf. Score with a sharp knife, scatter over some more oats, and pop in the oven for 50 mins or so. Test to see the bread is done by tapping the underside with your knuckles. It’ll sound hollow when it’s at the ready (eat-me stage).

Let it cool a little just so you don’t actually burn your tongue and the butter you spread on a slice doesn’t erm, clarify…