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Posted by James McIntosh Monday, 9th March 2015
As the old saying goes, March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. I don’t know about you, but I do love when March arrives as the winter is nearly over. It could still snow and get cold, but it’s getting there. So to change the season (ahead of time) I thought we could do a Spring inspired cake for Mother’s Day.
Mums are really important. I recently wrote a paper about how food is the new confidence of my native Northern Ireland, post our sad history www.jamesmcintosh.co.uk/ni. In case you had not realised, Northern Ireland is winning more food awards than any other part of the UK. Many, many cottage industries have popped up and are producing amazing food products. In my paper, I wrote about how food is a sense of self, and a deeply personal one at that. How the food that our Mothers fed us through love is a deeply personal emotion and one that we never forget. It’s so true. For that reason, I’m going to use the butter in today’s recipe from a Mum in Northern Ireland who makes her own butter and it’s so good that many Michelin restaurants including Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner even use it www.abernethybuttercompany.com .
Parents are a blessing. Annoying at times, usually always correct, too similar to ourselves whether we admit it or not. Mums are one in a million, just as we celebrated the 1 millionth Rangemaster coming off the production line last week in the factory in Leamington Spa. We know all too well how important Rangemaster is to Mums.
To our Mum’s who have spent many hours with Rangemaster, to feed us, provide for us and love us, Happy Mother’s Day.
Cuts into 8 slices
50g icing sugar
125g plain flour and some for dusting
75g ground almonds
1 pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 egg yolk
1 vanilla pod, cut in half and deseeded
40g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornflour
2 punnets strawberries, cut in half
4 tbsp apricot jam, gently heated and sieved
Mix the butter and icing sugar together using an electric mixer until combined. Chill for 20 minutes.
Add the flour and ground almonds to the butter mixture and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix through the salt if using unsalted butter.
Add the egg yolk and mix together to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 2 hours.
Preheat the Rangemaster oven to 180C / Fan oven 160C / Gas Mark 4.
Lightly dust the worktop with flour and roll the pastry to 1/2cm thick. Line an 8” tart tin. Place baking parchment on to cover the pastry and fill with rice or baking beans. Cook for 10 minutes, remove the parchment and beans or rice and cook for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
To make the filling, place the milk, vanilla pod and seeds into a pan and gently bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Leave to cool slightly for a few moments.
Meanwhile, mix the sugar and egg yolk together until creamy and smooth. Add the corn flour and whisk though the mixture. Pour half of the milk into the bowl with the eggs and whisk thoroughly. Add the rest of the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Pour back into the pan and whisk over a gentle heat until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool.
Place the filling into the pastry case and allow to set. Cover with strawberries and paint all over with apricot jam that has been heated and sieved.
Chill and serve.
Tip: If making pastry is not your thing, why not buy some sweet dessert pastry instead!