Saturday 23 January 2021


Strawberry and Almond Tart

A dessert for the summer months in bygone days, but now we have the fruit all year round and it is a taste of the sun for now, when we need cheering up in these unprecedented times. Very easy to make, especially if you buy some ready made shortcrust pastry. 

I did not use my crumbly rich shortcrust, but made a simple shortcrust of half cold butter to plain flour [6 oz], along with a tablespoonful of icing sugar and binding with a medium egg and perhaps a few drops of cold water if needed. Chill for a short time before use.

Roll out the pastry and line a [metal preferably] 8 or 9 inch fluted, loose bottomed flan tin with the pastry, prick the base lightly with a fork and cover with some crumpled parchment then fill with baking beans. 

Bake in your pre heated fan oven, 180C for 15 mins. Take the beans and parchment out and return to the oven for another 5 mins.

Meanwhile…. so easy….

About 1lb of strawberries

4 egg yolks

2 oz white breadcrumbs

5 oz ground almonds

1 teaspoonful vanilla extract

4 oz caster sugar

2 oz melted butter

Put 8 oz of the fruit in a food processor or mash until liquid. Force through a sieve and place this and the rest of the ingredients into a large jug and mix well.  Taste for sweetness at this stage, you might need a tad more sugar. Add the remaining whole strawberries [I halved these as they were quite large] Then tip into your part baked pastry case.

Bake for about 20-25 mins until the filling is firm and the pastry nicely golden.

Cool for a while and set, then slide onto a wire rack.

Serve with lashings of clotted cream for a scrummy dessert after a leisurely Sunday roast.

Notes: if assorted size fruit, keep the evenly small ones whole, and blitz the larger ones.

If using a food processor, as I do, make the pastry, wipe a little, then whizz the bread for crumbs, then blitz the strawberries. No need to clean in between. Easy peasy.

My son in law describes this as a strawberry flavoured frangipani!! Which of course is what it is!

Sunday 10 January 2021


You all know I am a traditionalist and love the history of our small part of the world, where so many left to seek another life as the mining industry began to fail, especially in the mid 1800s. Well here is a recipe that began in Gimblets Mill, near Launceston and travelled to Wisconsin. The full name of the recipe is Grandma Rule’s Cornish Tea Biscuits and the parents of “Grandma”, William and Elizabeth Jewell arrived in WI in 1859 and settled, where so many did, in Mineral Point [twinned with Redruth] where I also have quite a few rellies [understatement]! Grandma Luella married Nicholas John Rule [also from Cornwall] in 1895 and the recipe below is from her grand daughter, Judy Rule Vivian.

Judy writes that she has adapted the recipe slightly over the years, often making it for funerals, functions and family gatherings. Adding more nutmeg and changing from lard to Crisco - over here it would be Trex. She mentions butter flavoured Crisco and I am not sure we have an equivalent, so I am following the original recipe, substituting a quarter of the lard for butter.

When using recipes from the US we always have the problems of translation from their “language” to ours. Americans call biscuits cookies. They call scones biscuits. From the texture and taste these little goodies are about half way between the two! Serve buttered, warm. Yum, when cold they can be frozen and reheated for a few seconds in a microwave.

The original recipe is below: With my attempt at translation beside it. Makes 24 x 2” biscuits. I made half the quantity.

One quart of flour - Judy says 4 cups ….. 1lb 4oz plain flour

One big cup of sugar…… 9-10 oz. I used caster sugar 

a teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons Baking Powder rounded

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 heaping cup of lard….. 8 oz  [or part of that substituted with butter]

1 cup of raisins

2 eggs

1 cup of whole milk…. about 6 fl oz 

You will need a 2 inch cutter and lightly buttered baking sheets. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C [350F]

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Cut in the fat with a pastry blender [D shaped cutter - or rub in] until it is the size of small peas. Add the raisins. Beat the eggs and add the milk then blend together. Mix the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and turn out onto a floured board and lightly knead. Roll out to about ½ inch thick and cut with the cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheets and sprinkle with sugar. For 2 inch biscuits bake for 20 minutes if using a 3 inch cutter, longer. 

Note: use a plain cutter rather than fluted. Cutting though the raisins would be a bit messy.