Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Recipes for Gracie and Mrs Nesbitt

Gracie asked for the recipe for cheese and onion tarts, it comes from a little book called Teatime Favourites which I bought from Sainsburys in the early 1980s.

250gm (8oz) shortcrust pastry
150gm (5oz) onion, chopped small
6 tablespoons milk
salt & pepper
275gm (9oz) Lancashire cheese, grated
1 small egg, beaten

I often use mature Cheddar cheese rather than Lancashire - though Lancashire is best if you can get it, it's a wonderful cooking cheese.

Roll out the pastry and use it to line about 20 tartlet tins.
Put the onion in a saucepan, add the milk and season to taste. Bring it to the boil then simmer for 1 minute. Take off the heat and stir in the egg and cheese - I always put the cheese in first so that the hot mixture doesn't start cooking the egg. Leave the mixture until it is cold then spoon into the pastry cases.
Bake in a pre-heated oven 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for about 15 minutes until they are golden brown. They are equally good served warm or cold and freeze well.

For Mrs Nesbitt we have Delia Smith's Truffle Torte.

5 tablespoons liquid glucose
5 tablespoons rum
1lb (45-gm) plain dessert chocolate. This needs to be good quality not just cooking chocolate.
1 pint (570ml) double cream
3oz (75gm) Amaretti biscuits crushed finely

I use a 9in loose bottomed cake tin to make this. Brush bottom and sides lightly with oil (Delia says groundnut oil, I'm afraid I use ordinary vegetable oil) and line the base with a circle of silicone paper. Sprinkle the crushed Amaretti biscuits evenly over the base of the tin.
Break the chocolate into sections and put them in a heatproof bowl along with the rum and liquid glucose. Fit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave the chocolate to melt stirring occasionally to help things along. When all the chocolate is melted give it a final stir, take it off the heat and leave it to cool for 5 minutes or so until it is just warm.
Now in another bowl whip the cream until it is slightly thickened. It's hard to describe the right consistency, it's something you learn from experience. A rule of thumb is to run a fork through it, if there is resistence and you can feel that it has thickened then it's about right. What you do NOT want is whipped cream! On the other hand you don't want it too thin either. Anyway, when you think it's about right fold half of it into the chocolate mixture and then fold this mixture into the rest of the cream until it is smoothly blended - no streaks of cream should be left in it. Spoon or pour it into the prepared tin and tap the tin gently to even the mixture out. Actually I use a broad bladed knife to make sure it's reasonably even. It doesn't matter if it leaves a few marks or swirls as the top will be the bottom when you serve it:) At this point I freeze it still in the tin. Delia's instructions are to cover it with clingfilm and chill overnight in the fridge. You do need to make it the day before you want to use it if you aren't freezing it.
Just before serving run a palette knife round the edge to loosen the torte, put a serving plate on top of the tin (having defrosted it if it's frozen of course)and turn it upside down so that it comes out with the Amareti biscuits on top. Gently remove the silicone paper then serve it with chilled single cream - and serve small portions, it's very,very rich! Those with large appetites and a sweet tooth can always have seconds:) My elder DIL's two brothers absolutely love this and appear to be able to consume unbelievable amounts of it!

Any US readers who want to try either recipe please remember that I am using Imperial measures and US tablespoons are not the same as British ones nor are US pints the same as British pints. Enjoy!


WOL said...

While we are sharing recipes, ran across this one involving lentils that sounds delish:

I think I gained 5 lbs reading the torte recipe. . . . sigh!

Janet said...

Yum! They both sound delicious but since I'm "allergic" to kitchens I probably won't be trying them. I'll save my husband the torture of eating my cooking.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful snowy photos in the other posts! I too have that book, it was a great little find many years ago. I've made these tarts numerous times and can highly recommend them, but I always give the onions a few more minutes cooking in the milk otherwise they stay very firm. Try the Creamy Leek Pasties in there too, they're divine! Love the pastry recipes in the back also, I made one Crispy Butter and two Sweet Pastries from there yesterday, for the freezer, for Christmas Eve baking!


Bovey Belle said...

Thank you for sharing those wonderful recipes. My middle daughter would LOVE the Chocolate Torte!!

Derrick said...

I can see you're determined to get us all baking, Rowan! I think I must have Delia's recipe as I have most of her books. They always make enjoyable reading even if that's only as far as it goes!

Gracie said...

Thank you for sharing, I will try the tarts right away.....

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious, Rowan!

Wishing you all the best this Christmas season and in 2011!