Blogging Jubliee Baking Competition & Vintage Union Jack Flag Biscuits

Hands up who got excited about the Royal Wedding last year and all the baking that happened as a result?  My hand goes straight up because I certainly did. We hosted a party at our house and I was in my element planning for it and baking lots of gorgeous treats to serve my guests.  Luckily, for us keen bakers there is the Queen’s Jubilee to celebrate this year which means more street parties and family gatherings to bake for. Hip, hip hooray!

In preparation for the Jubilee I started to scan the internet to see what recipes I could find to inspire me and I have to say, I have been disappointed. All I could really find was red, white and blue cupcakes or crown shaped biscuits. That’s all fine, but I was looking for something a bit more original.  So I was thrilled when Appliances Online agreed to sponsor a Jubilee Baking Competition on my blog.

I am looking for any bloggers out there to make their best Jubilee themed cakes and bakes and enter them into my competition so I can create a real treasure trove of inspirational ideas.  I want you to be as creative and unique as you possibly can.  Anything goes!  I shall do a round up post of all the entries when I announce the winner.

The judge for this competition is fellow blogger Vanessa Kimbell.  Vanessa is quite an inspiration to me. Her first cookbook ‘Prepped‘ was published 6 months ago, she has her own Sunday morning radio show on BBC Northamptonshire, she runs a ‘pop up’ bakery in her front garden each Saturday with her children and she writes popular blog, ‘ Goddess on a Budget‘.  I know that Vanessa has the perfect eye for judging this kind of competition and I’ve no doubt that she will pick a worthy winner.

The deadline for entries is 3rd June 2012 and one lucky winner will get £100 of Amazon vouchers, provided by Appliances Online. Think of all the lovely baking accessories or cook books you could buy for that!

Competition Rules of Entry 

Main Entry  – Blog post

  • Your Jubilee cake or bake needs to be featured on one of your posts.  Tell your readers that it is for the Homemade by Fleur, Blogging Jubilee Baking Competition with a link to this post  (http://wp.me/p1UMex-o3) which tells them all about it
  • You also need to mention that Appliances Online are sponsoring the competition and include this link (http://www.appliancesonline.co.uk/cookers/cookers.aspx) within the post
  • Copy and paste the competition badge below and include in your blog post

  • Add Homemade by Fleur as a tag on your post / page that you are submitting
  • I would love you to sign up to follow my blog to find out the results and of course to see the entrants and winner, but this is not compulsory

Facebook

  • Feel free to like the Homemade By Fleur page and share it with others to get into the Jubilee spirit

Twitter

  • Follow me on twitter for competition updates @homemadebyfleur
  • Post your entry on twitter mentioning me @homemadebyfleur and adding #jubileebakingcompetition
  • I will retweet you and your post when I see it

General Rules

  • Make anything bake or cake that you wish as long as you feel it links to the Jubilee theme and have explained this in your post
  • Please email your photographs (no more than 2) and a link to your post to homemadebyfleur@gmail.com
  • In that email please also include your name, although I will be listing entries by blog name on the round up
  • The deadline is 3rd June 2012 
  • The winner will be announced a few days after the deadline, so keep you eye out!
  • The judges decision is final

Vintage Jubilee Flag Biscuits

To get you all in the mood, I have come up with a Jubilee themed bake of my own.  I had a lot of fun making these but the best bit was taking the photos of them on Hove beach in Sussex.  I was down there last weekend and along with all the paraphernalia needed for 3 children when planning a day trip to the beach, I packed my biscuits, the mini bucket and spade (pre-filled with sand from our sandpit as I knew Hove beach had pebbles) and my camera.  My husband rolled his eyes more than once as I took ages to find the right box to transport the biscuits as we were trying to get out of the door.  I’m sure you can picture the scene.  But it was all worth it as I love the pictures and the weather was amazing.  It has turned out to be the only sunny day in the last 2 weeks, so I was very lucky.  It’s a reminder in amongst all the rain that we do have some beautiful days here in England.

I used the Irresistible Chocolate Biscuit recipe from pg 183 of my new aptly named ‘Biscuit’ cookbook written by GBBO finalist from series 1 Miranda Gore Browne.  It’s a great book by the way, and if you are partial to the odd biscuit or two this is definitely one to put on your birthday list. But there are plenty of other cookbooks and online recipes for a basic chocolate biscuit.  You will probably find one in a book you already have.  What you are looking for is one that creates a biscuit dough that you can roll out and use cutter on.

What you will need:

  • 8-10 rectangle chocolate biscuits
  • Some royal icing (I used  250g (half a pack) of the royal icing sugar mixed with water and it was enough)
  • Approx 100g white fondant icing
  • Red and blue food colour (I used my new India Tree natural food colouring for these and thought they were great)
  • Pencil (not too sharp) ruler and greaseproof paper
  • 4 icing containers/bottles or bags
  • 4 icing tips, I used 2 x PME 2 tips  for the piping icing and 2 x PME 4 tips for the flood icing
  • 8-10 Lollipop sticks

How to make:

  • The first thing I did was draw around the rectangle cookie cutter I used to make the biscuits onto greaseproof paper and cut it out.  I then drew on the central cross from the Union Jack followed by the rest of the flag, but but I found that I only really needed the central cross as a guide and the rest of the flag I did freehand
  • Next I made my royal icing.  Follow the back of the pack with regards to the amount of water needed.  Aim to have it fairly stiff, but soft enough to pass through a PME 2 icing tip and holds its shape with out any problems
  • Divide icing into 4 small bowls.  Put two bowls aside then add a little bit more water to the remaining two bowls.  You are aiming for the consistency of custard.  This is your flood icing and is what you will use to ‘colour in’ your flag.  The other two bowls contain your piping icing which is what you will use to pipe the flag pattern onto your biscuit
  • Colour 1 piping and 1 flood icing red/pink and 1 piping and 1 flood icing blue then fill the piping icing into the icing bottles or bags that have the PME 2 tip and the flood icing into the icing bottles or bags with the PME 4 tip
  • Roll out your fondant icing (not too thick) and use your rectangle cookie cutter again to cut out rectangles of fondant and stick these onto your biscuits with a little bit of royal icing (I just scraped out the last bits from the bowl I mixed my royal icing in to do this)

Icing your biscuit step by step

  1.  Take your greaseproof paper flag and place on top of the fondant.  Use your not too sharp pencil to imprint the central Union Jack cross onto the fondant
  2. Pipe the pink/red central cross onto the fondant and then add the 4 diagonal lines that come out from the centre of the flag using the PME 2 tip and piping icing
  3. Now add the blue triangles onto the flag using the PME 2 tip and piping icing
  4. Fill in the cross and diagonal strips with pink/red flood icing and the blue triangles with blue flood icing using the PME 4 tip
  5. Leave your biscuits to dry for a couple of hours then stick your lollipop stick on the back with any remaining royal icing and leave to dry over night

*Tips*

  • Cover your royal icing with a clean damp j cloth to stop it from drying out at any point
  • Don’t cut your biscuits too thick.  I think I did mine too thick, and consequently they were a bit on the heavy side as it was tricky getting the lollipop sticks to hold
  • Sticking these in a bucket is a great idea for a centrepiece at your Jubilee party but these flags can decorate cakes, desserts, or if making mini ones, you could use as cupcake toppers
  • To make mini flags all you need to do is make smaller flags.  You could use the thinner wooden coffee stirrer as the flag pole instead of a lollipop stick giving you the perfect excuse to go for a coffee.  See how Maision Cupcake has used them here 

HAPPY BAKING EVERYONE!

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27/04/2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Celebration, Giveaways and Competition, Party, Sweet Baking. 19 comments.

Individual Apple and Rhubarb Tart with Lavender Frangipane

Baking in season is something I try hard achieve, but this time of year is probably when it is most difficult. If I’m quite honest I am a bit fed up of root vegetables, brussels, satsumas and the like yet with no signs of the much longed for spring just yet I was looking for a bit of inspiration. Then on a trip to my local supermarket I spotted British Bramley apples and rhubarb, and snapped them up in an instant. I did not know what I was going to do with them but the colours alone put me in a good mood and both of my daughters were excited to see me buying ‘pink sticks’. For the rest of that day and evening my mind was buzzing with ideas. I felt a bit sorry for my husband who was half asleep lying next to me at 11.30pm, and I was sitting up right pad and pen on one side and Ipad on the other asking him if he thought apple and rhubarb went with this or with that. By the time my eyelids finally closed, (thankfully not too much later) I’d got the foundation of a recipe. When I woke up the next day I was really excited to bake my idea. I found it a bit nerve wracking to make as so much time, effort and energy had gone into it already that failure was not really an option. I have of course dealt with many failures before and I get over them (in the end) by putting it down to experience, but this time I really hoped for success. So what did I do with my apple and rhubarb? Well I added another British ingredient, lavender, and included my current favourite tart filler frangipane to create an apple and rhubarb tart with lavender frangipane. The fruit and floral combination is unique but as I hoped it really works. I mean really, really works. When I ate it I tasted spring and this made me very happy indeed. I love the name of the tart too. Sophisticated I think, and would look great on a dinner party menu.

It is true that there are quite a few steps to this recipe but one way to make it a bit easier is to buy shop brought shortcrust pastry which would be a very suitable alternative to making your own. The lavender sugar can also be shop brought, (here is an example, but just note this is granulated sugar not caster sugar so will need a quick whizz in the food processor first for this recipe) or you can easily make your own by combining 500g of caster sugar with 4 heaped tbsps of dried culinary use lavender (example here) in a sterilised airtight glass container. It is best left for 6 weeks or so but can be used after 2 weeks. The dried lavender can be from your own garden if you are lucky enough to have dried some from last year as long as it is any variety of lavender augustifolia (best for use in cooking). If not it is well worth drying some this year to make some lavender sugar. I have recently brought a new cook book called Prepped by Vanessa Kimbell (@vanessakimbell) and there is a whole chapter of recipes using lavender both sweet and savoury.

What you will need

  • 6 greased individual tart cases, preferably with the loose bottoms (mine were 10cms diameter)
  • baking beans
  • rolling pin

Pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 1 free range egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp icy water

Frangipane

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g lavender sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Fruit

  • 3 Bramley apples peeled and cored. Half cut into slices and the other half into small cubes
  • 400g rhubarb
  • 160g sugar
  • 200ml water
  • A sprinkling of toasted flaked almond for each tart (optional)

How to make

  1. I make the pastry in a food processor. It is easy and quick and has so far produced lovely pastry. Put the flour, butter and icing sugar in the food processor and mix until it starts to look like breadcrumbs
  2. Then add the egg yolk and water and mix until a soft dough is formed
  3. The dough should come out smooth, if not just knead it gently once you take it out then cover with cling film and put into the fridge for at least 15 mins. I left mine for a couple of hours and it was fine. Come out feeling rock hard but very quickly becomes soft and workable
  4. Now prepare your rhubarb by adding it to a large saucepan along with the sugar and water. Simmer on a low heat for about 30 mins until soft and cooked. Put to one side to cool
  5. To make the frangipane mix the butter and lavender sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and mix until they have been combined. Then add the ground almonds and flour and fold in with a large metal spoon. Put to one side.
  6. Pre heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Now get your pastry out of the fridge and break off a small ball, and start to roll out with your rolling pin.
  7. One of the best tips I took away from watching the Great British Bake Off last year was to place the loose bottom of my tart tin under the pastry, roll over it so I can see it through the pastry. Then in your mind add another 3-4cms onto the diameter of the bottom of the tart tin and cut round in a circle. Then lift the cut out pastry with the bottom of the tart tin still underneath, and place in the tart tin case. What you should have is enough pastry to cover the bottom and now the sides of the tart tin, with hopefully no cracks or patchwork needed
  8. Spend some time carefully pushing the pastry into the grooves of the tart tin as this will stop the pastry from folding in when it is blind baked. Then make a few prick marks on thebottom with a fork, place a small round of greaseproof paper on top of the pastry and a few baking beans. Then, when all the tart cases have pastry in them, put in the oven for about 12- 15 mins
  9. Prepare your apples by peeling, coring and cutting them up, and strain your rhubarb by pushing through a sieve until you have pushed as much liquid out as possible. Need to make sure of this to avoid a soggy bottom in your tart
  10. When the pastry cases have come out of the oven turn it down to 170c/325f/gas 3. Remove greaseproof paper and baking balls and let cool for about 15 mins. Then put a layer of rhubarb on the bottom, sprinkle some of the cubed apple on top of the rhubarb, fill the tart with the lavender frangipane, and finally place some sliced apples on top in a circular fashion to create a pretty pattern. I then sprinkled a few toasted flaked almonds on top to finish if you wish
  11. Place in the oven and cook for about 30 mins
  12. Best eaten warm and served with cream or ice cream

Final thing for me to mention this week is that I am blatantly looking for votes for the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Award this month. The blog with most votes at the end of the month wins some Dorset Cereal goodies (most needed in our house as we are cereal monsters) and the coveted winners egg cup! Thanks to everyone who has voted already and those of you who have not I would be very grateful if you enjoy my blog to just pop over and give me your vote. I’ll let you know how I get on. 🙂

Dorset Cereals little blog awards

09/01/2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Sweet Baking. 4 comments.