Recipe of the week………coffee & pastries

Chocolate, almond and cinnamon spirals with French-style café au lait

If you love pain au chocolate then this easy breakfast pastry is a must. Simple and quick to make they are the perfect accompaniment to café au lait.

Chocoalte Almond Swirls

Serves: 4

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

30 g butter, melted

100 g dark chocolate, finely chopped

50 g ground almonds

1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tbs milk

2 tsp cinnamon sugar, plus extra fir dusting

cafe au lait

strong coffee

milk

Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Unroll pastry sheets and lay side by side on a second piece of baking paper, overlapping them by 1 cm. Press gently to help stick together.

Brush the surface of the pastry with melted butter and then scatter over the chocolate and ground almonds. Carefully roll up from one of the short sides as tightly as you can to form a log.

Take a sharp knife and cut the log into 12 x 1 cm slices. Place cut side down on the prepared baking tray. Brush over the remaining butter, then the beaten egg mixture and finally sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed slightly and golden. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm dusted with a little extra sugar and a large bowl of milky coffee.

For café au lait. Make your coffee as strong as you like and pour into a latte bowl, heat and froth some milk, add to the coffee and serve.

Tip: These are best served either whilst still warm or they can be prepared ahead of time and chilled. Prepare to the end of step 2, cover with cling film and chill for up to 2 hours, then bake as above.

 

 

Seasonal delights………..Rhubarb

Next on my seasonal hit list is rhubarb, actually a vegetable that we treat like a fruit (the opposite of the tomato, the fruit we tend to use as a vegetable) and a part of the sorrel family, hence perhaps the sharpness of it’s stem. It is this long red/green stems that we cook down to a deliciously tart sauce, that once sweetened can be added to cream and yogurt for a fruit fool or diced and roasted in the oven with cinnamon, sugar and a hint of orange. My favourite way to cook with rhubarb though is in a crumble, and here it is combined with a simple sponge cake, strawberries and almonds to provide the most satisfying combination of dishes.

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Rhubarb, strawberry and almond crumble cake

Serves: 10

125g softened butter

125g caster sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

125g self-raising flour

500g trimmed rhubarb, sliced into 2 cm peices

150g strawberries, hulled and halved

crumble topping

150g plain flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g chilled butter, diced

100g caster sugar

25g porridge oats

100g nibbed or flaked almonds

icing sugar, to dust

crème fraiche or Greek yogurt, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan-forced and grease and line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper. Start by making the crumble. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture forms crumbs. Stir the in the sugar, oats and almonds and set to one side.

Make the sponge. Place the butter, sugar, eggs and flour into a food mixer or processor and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Spoon the sponge mix into the prepared cake tin and smooth flat.

Scatter the rhubarb and the strawberries over the sponge mix and then cover with the crumble mixture so you can still see a little of the fruit. Bake for 11/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve still slightly warm, dusted with icing sugar, and some crème fraiche or Greek yogurt.

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