All posts filed under: patisserie and viennoiserie

Maple, Apple and Pecan Danish Pasties

These Danish Pastries were inspired by being handed a bag of the cutest little apples from a friend’s garden a week before another friend and her family were due to visit. I thought they would make the perfect addition to a breakfast pastry and I could take the opportunity to use Moose Maple Butter again to make the most delicious glaze. The day before I wanted to make the pastries I made a Crème Pâtissière and stored it in the fridge. And that evening, I made a batch of Danish Pastry dough. I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe, leaving it to chill and prove overnight in the fridge. In the morning I rolled out the dough to approximately 45cmX28cm then trimmed the edges with a pizza wheel. I then divided it into rough 8cm squares. I don’t think the pastries would work any bigger than this; as it was, they were rather substantial at that size. I decided to form this into a fairly simple Danish Pastry shape that would allow for a bigger area for the Crème Pâtissière …

Dulce by Helen Vass

If you are a fan of the Glasgow food scene, then you may know Helen Vass. She is pastry chef at 2AA Rosette restaurant, Number 16, in the West End of the city. You may also know her from being part of the winning team of professional pastry chefs, along with Samantha Rain, winner of UK Junior Chocolate Master in 2014, and Mark Tilling, established chocolatier and UK Chocolate Master, teacher and pastry chef, who competed in Bake Off: Crème de la Crème earlier this year. Ever since her success in Bake Off, Helen has been in demand to share her desserts and expertise. And one of the routes that she has taken to reach this demand is to host dessert pop-up events in her home town of Glasgow. How she has manages to fit the preparation for such events into her schedule as a restaurant pastry chef is quite remarkable. I was fortunate to buy a ticket for her most recent pop-up, held in Studio 93 is Glasgow: a beautiful venue, tucked away beside …

Feeling Festive

Over the last few years it has become a tradition for me to make a Gingerbread House for my kids to decorate. Only two out of the three really like the taste of Gingerbread. But you see, it’s not about the Gingerbread: it’s about the sweets and icing; the edible glitter; and the fun and mess that we (they) make when decorating it. I use a BBC Good Food recipe (link at the bottom), that bakes into a tasty yet sturdy building, able to withstand a heavy handed toddler. Just remember to let the royal icing “cement” dry overnight. On a few occasions I’ve made a house, covered it in sweets, and donated it to my kids’ nursery or school. Money is easily raised by folk paying to guess how many sweets are on it. Yes, I do count them and yes, it’s a lot. If you plan to cover your Gingerbread House entirely in sweets, then make sure you buy lots of them. They probably won’t all make it on to the house. 😉 …

…and then you add some more butter.

  Do you like Brioche? Do you like its buttery, rich yet light, texture in your mouth? Is it possible to improve upon Brioche? Yes, it is! And the answer is to add more butter. It doesn’t seem possible. What is more, it seems unlikely that by adding even more butter to this already rich *and* enriched dough you can make it lighter. The trick is doing it in layers, or laminating. Brioche Feuilletée is made using the same method as croissant or Danish pastry dough, or puff pastry: the dough is rolled out, folded, then chilled several times, until many layers, sheets, leaves or feuilles of alternating thin dough and butter are created. I made Brioche Feuilletée last weekend for the first time and I decided to document the process in several photographs that I would like to share with you now. Having used Michel Roux’s Brioche recipe before, and been very happy with the results, I decided to start there. This recipe makes 1.2kg (actually more than I needed) and I made it the …

Blondes do have more fun.

I think it was a few weeks ago when I first heard about Valrhona’s Blond Dulcey chocolate. Somebody on Instagram was talking about it; raving about its deep and sweet caramel notes. Having used Valrhona’s Caramelia chocolate in a few bakes (and nibbled a few morsels along the way) I was intrigued. Like all Valrhona chocolate, it does not come cheap, and I kept putting off ordering it and trying it out. Then I saw a couple of stunning creations on Instagram that were made with Dulcey and illustrated the rich colour of this confection. The images screamed “eat me!” So I bit the bullet and ordered a 250g bar. I knew what I wanted to make with this caramelised white chocolate in order to test its taste and its qualities in a simple form, and that was to make a ganache. And not in or on a cake but between two macarons. Macarons are the perfect carriage for ganache, creams and sweet butters. I was expecting the ganache to be very sweet (and I …

Frances Auty: Self-Confessed Baking Addict

Originally posted on It's all about the cake:
Meet Frances Auty: no ordinary home baker… Picture the scene: you’re seven years old, you’re tucked up in bed with chicken pox and you’re listening to the soothing tones of Felicity Kendall on tape as she reads ‘The Bonfire Pudding,’ one of Dorothy Edwards’ ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ stories. It’s about a little girl so scared of fireworks that she stays home to make Christmas pudding with her Gran. As you listen you imagine the warmth in the kitchen and the smell of the lemon and orange and spices being patiently mixed together. Such is your enjoyment of this well loved, comforting story that you listen to time and again that it sparks in you the beginnings of a love affair with all things cake. For Frances, who has been making her own Christmas puddings for twenty years now, bonfire night will forever be synonymous with that time in the year when preparations for the festive season begin and her home is filled with the delicious scents…

Hello world!

Well, I have finally done it! Welcome to my sparkly new blog and my first blog post. I confess to being a little nervous. I am used to firing up posts on my Facebook page about my latest bakes and feel this should be far more considered. But I don’t want to change who I am and hope to be the same old Frances here as I am on FB, Twitter and Instagram. I hope you enjoy my bakes and words. Frances 🙂