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Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade; light, luscious, sweet and sharp

My best friend loves lemon, particularly lemon curd. For our pre-Christmas get-together I decided to make a dessert with some lemon curd; something a bit sharp and zingy to liven up the taste buds when all around is super-stodgy, rich and spicy. I decided on roulade as, though it’s filled with cream, the sweet meringue is light and fluffy inside and the perfect foil to the tart lemon and raspberries. I was incredibly pleased with how this turned out – it’s easily as good as any luxury dessert you’d get at a supermarket – it’d be a brilliant centrepiece pud for a New Year’s celebration.

If you wanted, you could use ready made lemon curd, but make sure it’s the best quality you can afford, made with real lemons, eggs and butter and not full of additives and setting agents. However, making the curd is actually quite simple, gives you a great sense of satisfaction, and there’s plenty left over for toast (or give it as a gift in a pretty jar).

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

For the lemon curd: (I followed a Nigel Slater recipe)

  • 4 lemons, preferably unwaxed
  • 200g sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 3 eggs and 1 yolk (save the spare white for your meringue)

In a heat proof bowl, over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) combine the finely grated zest and juice of the lemons with the sugar and butter, stirring until everything has melted.

Give the eggs and extra yolk a little whisk to mix, then add to the lemon mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or whisk frequently until the mixture thickens. It’ll feel heavier and be the consistency of custard. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for several hours or overnight (if you’re planning on giving some as gifts then put it in sterilised jam jars at this stage, whilst it’s still hot –  you’ll get a couple of small jars worth with enough left over to make the roulade)

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
  • a little icing sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 150C and grease and line a Swiss roll tin or high sided baking sheet (approx 23 x 33cm) with greaseproof paper. Now, to make your meringue it’s really important your bowl is scrupulously clean – if possible use a glass or metal bowl and wipe round the inside with the cut side of half a lemon or a paper towel with a little vinegar on; this should get rid of any grease. Put your egg whites in the bowl and whisk until you get to the stiff peaks stage. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Sprinkle over the corn flour and vinegar and give one last short whisk until everything is combined and glossy. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared tin, smoothing into the corners with a spatula and trying to get a flat, even surface. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the surface of the meringue is just firm. Remove from the oven, let it cool for about ten minutes. Lay a sheet of greaseproof on a board and dust with icing sugar. Once the meringue has cooled a little turn it out onto the board and carefully remove the greaseproof from the base and leave to cool while you assemble the filling.

For the filling:

  • Approx 200ml lemon curd
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 150g raspberries

In a large bowl, whip the cream with the icing sugar until thick – it should cling to the whisk but drop off easily if the whisk is tapped on the side of the bowl. It’s easy to over-whisk cream if you do it with an electric whisk or stand mixer so keep a close eye on it if you use a machine. It doesn’t take long to do with a balloon whisk and a few minutes whisking shouldn’t be too much work for most people. Once it’s the desired consistency, add six tablespoons of the lemon curd and mix well.

Use a spatula to smooth the cream mixture over the cooled meringue, trying to make an even layer and leaving a border of about 1 cm around the edge. Slather with the remaining lemon curd and then scatter with the raspberries. Now for the roll!

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

With the shortest end of the meringue facing you, roll it away, folding over and using the greaseproof paper to try and keep the roll compact. Once it’s fully rolled, place on a serving plate with the fold underneath. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving as this will help it firm up before you slice into it. It looks beautiful when cut, with swirls of snowy white interspersed with sunny yellow curd and ruby red raspberries. Luscious!

If you love a roulade, take a look at another recipe here, or if lemon meringue pushes all the right buttons how about some blondies or cupcakes?

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Lemon and Lime Tray Bake

Lemon and Lime Tray Bake

Lemon and Lime Tray Bake, fragrant with the zest of citrus

This week was the final of Great British Bake Off. I bloody love that programme (not exactly alone in that, eh?) and often watch with another addicted friend. We watched this last episode together so I baked us something (it’s safer that way!) to keep us satisfied whilst watching all the spectacular goodies on-screen. I had been undecided as to what I should bake, but in the end, time constraints and an abundance of citrus fruit in my kitchen lead me to knock up a nifty little all-in-one tray bake – with the added bonus of getting to use my Kenwood Chef which is my favourite new toy!

Lemon and Lime Tray Bake

For the cake:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • zest 2 lemons
  • zest 2 limes and juice of one
  • 2 tbsp whole milk

Heat the oven to 180C and line a tin (approx 25x20cm) with foil. If using a food processor or stand mixer, put all the ingredients in the bowl and mix, starting off slowly and increasing speed until well mixed. If making with an electric hand whisk or by hand, cream the butter and sugar, then beat in 2 of the eggs followed by half the dry ingredients, then the remaining eggs and dry ingredients, finishing with the zests, juice and milk. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch, springing back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before icing.

For the icing:

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • juice of half a lime

Mix together and then drizzle artfully (or not) over the cooled cake. Cut cake into portions. Eat.

Lemon & Lime Tray Bake

Artistic decoration optional!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes – a lovely cakey version of the classic dessert

I wouldn’t normally post two cupcake recipes back-to-back, but as it’s been National Cupcake Week I asked people on my Facebook page to tell me what their favourite flavour of cupcake is. I got some great responses but the one that really sparked my imagination was lemon meringue flavour. I already had some egg whites in the freezer, left over from making my Apple Pie with Orange Pastry so I decided to give these a go and try making Italian Meringue for the first time. I’m really pleased with how these turned out, and although making the meringue does mean you need a food thermometer, it was actually much easier than I thought.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • half tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 170C and line a muffin pan with paper cases. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and beat again until well combined. Add the flour and baking powder and give it a good mix, then add the finely grated zest of both lemons and juice of just one, plus the vanilla and milk; mix it all together and then use a couple of spoons (or an ice cream scoop for perfectly portioned cupcakes) to dollop the mix into the cases until about two thirds full (I got 10 well-filled cupcakes from this amount, but you could certainly make a dozen, slightly smaller ones). Bake for about 20 minutes – they’re done when they’re golden, spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip or a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and take them out of the tray as soon as possible to prevent the cupcake cases peeling away as they cool.

For the filling/meringue topping:

  • about 4 tbsp lemon curd
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 35/40ml water

Once the cupcake are cooled, make little holes in the centre to about half way down the cake; this can be easily done with a teaspoon and doesn’t need to be neat and tidy, but you can buy things called cupcake corers from baking shops if you feel so inclined! Set to one side.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes – pre-meringue

Naked Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, filled with lemon curd and awaiting their meringue topping

To make the Italian meringue (a meringue made with hot sugar syrup so that it doesn’t need baking), whisk the egg whites in a large (scrupulously clean) bowl until they form soft peaks. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil until it reaches 121C. Now quickly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream, whisking all the time. Continue to whisk the meringue until it becomes quite cool – this will take a little time. Once cooled, you can either pipe the meringue onto the cake with a piping bag, or mound it on with a palatte knife and then make little peaks with it. If you’re a fancy pants, you may have a little blow torch that I should think you can brown the meringue with, being careful not to set light to the paper cases. If you’re not in the habit of buying all kinds of kitchen gadgetry, just whack your grill on to a high heat and put the cupcakes under the grill for a few minutes until the meringue looks toasted. Whatever you do, don’t wander off! It only takes a few minutes from start to finish, but the difference between lightly browned and burned takes a few seconds so keep and eye on them at all times. Let them cool completely again before serving. A lovely little cakey version of a classic dessert.

Lemon Meringue Cupcake

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes – light, sweet and tangy

These are best the day they’re made, purely because them meringue becomes less stable after a while. You could always make the cupcakes a day ahead and finish them off with the meringue the day you need them.

Cold Oven Lemon Drizzle Cake

Cold Oven Lemon Drizzle Cake

Sticky, sharp and sweet Cold Oven Lemon Drizzle Cake

There’s been a bit of a gap in posting any recipes here, mostly because I’ve either been baking other people’s recipes, or because I’m experimenting with new recipes and they’re not quite ready yet. To make sure you got your regular dose of Lip Smackin’ Treats I thought I’d post one of my tried and tested recipes that I call Cold Oven Lemon Drizzle Cake. Most recipes require you to heat the oven first but, unusually, this recipe calls for you to turn the heat on only once the cake mixture goes in to the oven, hence the name. If you have a food processor, you can make this as an all-in-one cake, but it’s still incredibly easy to make without any fancy gadgets, as long as your butter is good and soft.

Cold Oven Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients:

  • 115g butter, softened
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 2 lemons
  • 85g icing sugar

DON’T turn on your oven! Grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well, then tip in the flour and give another good mix. Add the milk and finely grated rind of both lemons and give a good stir until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin, put it in the oven and turn on the heat to 175C. Cook for 50-60 minutes (make the syrup as per the instructions given below at about 45 minutes into the cooking time – that way it will still be warm when the cake is ready). The cake is done when risen, golden and firm to the touch – a skewer inserted will come out clean.

To make the syrup, juice the lemons (making sure you dispose of any pips) and place the juice in a small saucepan with the icing sugar. Bring to the boil and turn off the heat.

When your cake is done, take it out of the oven and put it, still in its tin, on a board or cooling rack. Prick the cake all over with a skewer (if you haven’t got a skewer or cake tester use a fork) and pour over the syrup over the still warm cake, making sure you get it over the whole surface. You may find it pools in the corners so you can use a teaspoon to guide it over the rest of the cake. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out and removing the greaseproof paper. Cut into slices and serve.

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Lemon Meringue Blondies

I know, I know; I’ve been using lemon in my bakes a lot recently. But it’s so gloriously hot and they lend such sunshine bright flavour that I just can’t help myself. So here’s my latest lemony lip-smacker – a spongy, gooey, chewy delight that isn’t too heavy in this heat.

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter (plus a little for greasing)
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 lemons
  • 40g ready made meringue (I used shop bought mini meringues)
  • 3 tbsp lemon curd

Heat the oven to 170C and butter and line a tin (approx 25x22cm) with greaseproof paper. Gently melt the butter in medium saucepan (you don’t want it to brown, just to become liquid). Turn off the heat and add 100g of the white chocolate and stir until melted.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour and the melted butter/chocolate and fold in until well combined. Add the vanilla and finely grated zest and juice of the lemons and stir through. Chop the remaining 100g white chocolate into chunks, crumble the meringue and scatter both over the batter, giving a final stir before tipping the whole mixture into the prepared tin. Dollop the lemon curd on top in a few places then ripple through the uncooked blondie with a skewer or the end of a teaspoon.

I baked this for 50 minutes, but I covered it with foil after half an hour to stop it from browning too far. The top should crack, like a brownie does, and it should feel firm but with a little give as it should be very moist inside – a skewer inserted should come out mostly clean with just a little goo. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, uncovered, before cutting into portions to serve.

Cherry Bakewell Loaf Cake

Cherry Bakewell Loaf Cake

Cherry Bakerwell Loaf Cake

Personally I’m not a fan of the well-known pastry this cake is inspired by, but my best friend is a bit of a cherry bakewell junkie (she ate them almost every day of her pregnancy – I reckon Mr Kipling was working round the clock to feed her habit). This recipe is what I’ve come up with for her birthday cake; a little nicer than the overly sweet treats consumed during her pregnancy, I’d like to think!

Cherry Bakewell Loaf Cake

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 65g self-raising flour, plus 1 tbsp for dusting cherries
  • 65g ground almonds
  • half tsp almond extract or essence
  • half tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 150g glace cherries
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 15g flaked almonds, toasted

Heat the oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg, then add the flour, mix again, add the second egg and beat again. Add the ground almonds, almond extract and baking powder and give a good mix, then stir in the milk. Put 100g of the glace cherries in a small bowl with the additional tablespoon of flour (reserving the remaining 50g of cherries for the top of the cake) and toss them around so they’re coated. Tip them into the cake batter and fold in so they’re evenly dispersed. Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin, smoothing into the corners and levelling off the top with a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes; it’s done when golden brown, springs back when lightly pressed or a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

If your flaked almonds aren’t toasted already, take advantage of your already hot oven and spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer, baking for about 5 minutes until golden brown; leave to cool. In a bowl mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together to form a thick paste. Once the cake is cooled, remove from the tin and smooth the icing over the top; it’s fine if it runs down the sides a little as it adds to the lovely homemade look. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds and add the remaining glace cherries. Let the icing set for half an hour or so before slicing and serving.

Little Lemon Shortbread Biscuits with Blueberry Jam

Little Lemon Shortbread Biscuits with Blueberry Jam

Little Lemon Shortbread Biscuits with Blueberry Jam

These are simple little two-bite morsels – great with a cuppa or pop a few in a pretty bag or box to give as gifts when visiting friends. You can use whatever jam you like – raspberry is always a winner when paired with lemon. I always use a bit of cornflour in shortbread as it makes them tender and crumbly, but you can make these with just plain flour. You can also make them gluten-free by using any plain gluten-free flour you wish.

Little Lemon Shortbread Biscuits with Blueberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 190g butter, softened
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 70g cornflour
  • 1 lemon
  • half tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp blueberry jam

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the flours, finely grated zest of the lemon and 2 teaspoons of the juice, and the vanilla extract. Stir until well combined. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and put them on an un-greased baking tray then use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a little well in the biscuits. Loosely cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to chill for about an hour.

Heat the oven to 175C. Remove the tray of uncooked biscuits from the fridge. Arrange them so they’re about an inch apart – you’ll probably need two baking trays or to cook in two batches as you need to have the biscuits spaced out as they’ll spread a little on cooking; if you make two batches leave the second batch in the fridge until ready to cook. Use a teaspoon to fill the holes in the biscuits with jam; you may not need all of it so don’t be tempted to overfill them. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until pale golden. Take them out of the oven and allow them to firm up on the tray for a few minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.