Thursday, 24 March 2016

Easter Baking

Today we a whole day of Easter baking:

First was Easter Biscuits:


  • 100g butter 
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, separated
  • 1 small lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g  currants
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • caster sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven 180C. Line 3 baking trays with non-stick paper.
  2. Measure the butter and sugar into a bowl and cream until well combined and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and lemon zest. Sift in the flour and mix well to combine. Stir in the currants and enough milk to make a fairly soft dough.
  3. Knead the dough on a floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough until about 5mm/¼in thick. Using Easter cutters, cut out biscuits. Transfer to the baking trays using a palette knife.
  4. Bake the biscuits for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg white using a fork.
  5. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush the tops with beaten egg white. Sprinkle over the caster sugar and return to the oven for further 5 minutes, or until pale golden-brown and cooked though. Leave to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then carefully lift on to a wire rack to cool completely.

 Then we made Italian Easter Bread

• 125ml whole milk
• 10g dried active yeast
• 500g strong bread flour
• A pinch of salt
• 50g golden caster sugar
• A pinch of ground star anise
• Zest and juice of 1 orange
• Vegetable oil, for greasing the cling film
• 100g butter, melted
• Icing sugar
 • Coloured sprinkles
 Coloured eggs
• 6 hard-boiled white or pale eggs, plus one extra for brushing
• Natural food colouring
• 1 tsp white wine vinegar


1. Gently warm the milk through in a pan and whisk in the yeast. Set aside for 5–10 minutes, until it begins to froth.
2. Meanwhile, add the flour, salt, sugar, star anise and orange zest to a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
3. Whisk half of the orange juice, the melted butter and eggs into the yeasty milk, then pour this into the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until combined.
4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Pop the dough in a bowl, cover with oiled cling film and place in a warm, draught-free place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
5. Meanwhile, dye your eggs. Place 2 tablespoons of your food colouring in a jar with the vinegar and 250ml of hot water. Pop in your boiled eggs, one or two at a time, and leave for 5 minutes, or longer, depending on the colour. (Alternatively, cover your egg carefully with edible gold leaf.) Remove the eggs with a spoon and carefully place on a cooling rack to dry.
6. Preheat the oven to 190C. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each one into 2.5cm-thick rope.
7. Take two pieces of dough and pinch the ends together. Twist them over each other to form a braid, then pinch the other ends to seal.
8. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover with more oiled cling film and leave to prove for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
9. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden, then leave on a rack to cool to room temperature.
10.  Cover with glace icing and sprinkles.  

We made Mary Berry's Simnel cake:


  • 100g glacĂ© cherries
  • 225g butter
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 225g  sultanas
  • 100g  currants
  • 50g chopped candied peel
  • 2 lemons, grated zest only
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 450g marzipan
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/280F/Gas 2. Grease and line a 20cm/ 8in cake tin.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper.
  3. Place the cherries in a bowl with the butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest and mixed spice and beat well until thoroughly mixed. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin.
  4. Take one-third of the marzipan and roll it out to a circle the size of the tin and then place on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 2½ hours, or until well risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch. Cover with aluminium foil after one hour if the top is browning too quickly. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  6. When the cake is cool, brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam and roll out half the remaining marzipan to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the marzipan with a sharp knife. Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls.
  7. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg and then carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the top is lightly toasted.

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