Baking

Palmier / Pig’s Ear Pastries

Known as palmier in their native France, but as pig’s ears to the rest of us, it is easy to understand why so many across the world have fallen for these sweet, buttery treats! After all, what’s not to love? A delight on their own or dunked in coffee, these wonderfully simple pastries are hard to resist.

Even though they may look complicated, palmier are anything but, and are actually surprisingly easy to make at home. In fact, they are quite possibly the simplest pastry I’ve ever attempted! Requiring just two basic ingredients, palmier is one of the most economical sweet treats you can make: all you’ll need is a roll of store-bought puff pastry, a cup of sugar, some folding skills, and that’s it!

As with all pastries, the temperature of the dough is essential. In this instance, it must be fully defrosted, but still chilled. If it is too warm, the butter in the pastry will melt too quickly in the oven – you won’t get a crisp finish as the butter will ooze out of the pastries and burn. It is best to defrost the puff pastry in the fridge overnight so that it is ready and waiting for teatime the next day.

Personally I don’t like to use too much sugar, instead preferring to give them a quick dab of apricot jam when they are fresh out of the oven – the sweetness of the glaze is enough for me, but this is entirely down to taste. Whilst on the topic of preferences, I like my pastries to be slightly on the “burnt” side, but if that’s not your thing then just take them out of the oven a couple of minutes early.  If you would like to expand on the traditional butter and sugar recipe, you can always add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the sugar.

To discover other delicious Sweet Treats from The Muddled Pantry, please click here

Click here for the recipe

Traditional English Scones

Traditional English Scones

Who doesn’t love a good scone?

The quintessential English tea-time nibble, scones always go down well and are the prefect example of how a few basic pantry staples can unite to form a delectable baked treat!

Essentially made with just flour, butter, milk and raising agents, scones are the very definition of effortless baking, but like so much in life, such simplicity belies grave pitfalls. Firstly, do not over work the dough – you want your scones to be as light and fluffy as possible, so a gentle touch is best. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly), scones should always be served fresh, preferably straight out of the oven. If you must reheat your scones, then you should only ever do so in a pre-heated oven and NEVER the microwave. If you are ever tempted to use your microwave to reheat your scones, don’t – they will rebel by abandoning their light texture and will become rubbery. Yuck.

I have a dear friend who adores her scones and always orders them when we go out for tea, but not before she interrogates the waitron about their scone-etiquette. The interrogation usually goes along the lines of, “Are your scones good? Are they fresh? When exactly were they made? How do you re-heat them?”. If there is no mention of a microwave then the poor waitron has survived the interrogation and their scones have been deemed worthy. It may seem pedantic to ask so many questions about a simple scone, but many a good scone has been ruined by shoddy and hasty reheating, so it never hurts to ask, lest you be disappointed.

One of the other reasons I love scones is the minimal effort they take to make. Baking does not come naturally to me, so I don’t really like recipes that are too involved or complicated, which makes whipping up a batch of scones an absolute delight and perfect for my limited skill-set. The mixing and kneading takes virtually no time at all and the scones are, more often than not, ready for baking before the oven has had time to heat up. Now that’s my kind of baking!

When it comes to what you should serve with your scones, I’m afraid I am an unabashed traditionalist. For me scones should only ever be served with good strawberry jam, butter and clotted cream, but the latter is quite hard to source outside the UK so I normally settle for just the jam and butter.

To discover other delicious Sweet Treats  from The Muddled Pantry, please click here

Click here for the recipe