Win­ter bakes

Dark choco­late torte

The Guardian - Feast - - Front Page - Hen­ri­etta In­man is a pas­try chef, au­thor and cook­ery teacher, and blogs at hen­ri­et­tain­

Quince and wal­nut crum­ble cake

3 medium quince (about 450g pre-prep weight) 150g golden caster sugar, plus 3 tbsp for the quince

150g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened, plus ex­tra for greas­ing

150g white spelt flour 150g ground al­monds 1 tsp bak­ing pow­der 1 tsp ground cin­na­mon 1 pinch sea salt flakes, crushed

100g shelled wal­nuts, roughly chopped

1 large egg Golden ic­ing sugar, for dust­ing (op­tional) Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/gas 6. Peel, quar­ter and core the quince. Cut each quar­ter into about eight 5mm slices. Put the slices on a bak­ing tray, cover with 200ml boil­ing wa­ter and three ta­ble­spoons of golden caster sugar, and seal with foil. Bake for 30 min­utes, un­til just soft, then re­move and set aside.

But­ter the bot­tom and sides of a 20cm spring­form cake tin and line with parch­ment pa­per. Re­duce the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4.

By hand or with a mixer fit­ted with a pad­dle, mix the but­ter, sugar, flour, al­monds, bak­ing pow­der, cin­na­mon and salt un­til they form a bread­crumb con­sis­tency. Add the wal­nuts and the egg, and mix un­til smooth.

Spread just un­der half the mix on the bot­tom of the tin, ar­range the quince slices on top in a sun­shine pat­tern, then crum­ble over the re­main­ing mix, lightly press­ing it into the quince: don’t worry if some quince is vis­i­ble.

Bake for 45 min­utes, turn­ing the tin half­way through bak­ing, un­til the top is golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 min­utes, then dust with ic­ing sugar, if you like. You could serve it with the re­main­ing quince bak­ing juices, if you like, or with cream, creme fraiche or yo­ghurt – but it’s de­li­cious on its own.

Prune, date and raisin tea cake with spiced ap­ple jam

For the jam 500g bram­ley ap­ples (about 2 large ones), peeled, cored and cut into 2cm pieces 50g light brown mus­co­v­ado sugar ¼ tsp each ground cin­na­mon and mixed spice

For the cake

120g each raisins, pit­ted prunes and pit­ted dates 1 tea bag

100g dark brown mus­co­v­ado sugar 160g bar­ley malt ex­tract 250g plain whole­grain wheat flour

1 ½ tsp bak­ing pow­der 1 pinch sea salt flakes, crushed

2 large eggs Salted but­ter to serve, plus ex­tra for greas­ing, or oil

For the jam, put the ap­ple pieces, light brown sugar and spices in a small pan with 100ml wa­ter and mix well. Put the lid on and turn the heat to medium. When mushy, take the lid off, re­duce the heat and sim­mer for about 10 more min­utes to re­duce – you want a jammy con­sis­tency – then set aside.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4, grease a stan­dard loaf tin, and line with parch­ment pa­per. Cut the prunes and dates into thirds and put in a bowl with the raisins. Cover with 200ml boil­ing wa­ter, drop in the tea bag and stir.

Put the sugar and malt ex­tract in a pan, and warm un­til the sugar dis­solves. In an­other bowl, com­bine the flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt. Make a well in the cen­tre, add the eggs, malt mix and fruit, in­clud­ing all the soak­ing wa­ter and any ex­tra juices from the tea bag (dis­card the bag). Mix well, pour into the tin and bake for an hour, turn­ing half­way, un­til dark golden brown and firm to the touch – a skewer to the cen­tre of the cake should emerge clean. Leave to cool slightly, then serve warm, spread gen­er­ously with but­ter and ap­ple jam.

Pear, hazel­nut and dark choco­late torte

150g un­salted but­ter, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 250g hazel­nuts 150g dark choco­late (85% co­coa solids) 1 pinch sea salt flakes, crushed

1 tsp vanilla ex­tract 50g runny honey 350g pears (about 2), eg comice, peeled, quar­tered and cored 5 large eggs, sep­a­rated 75g light brown mus­co­v­ado sugar

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4. Grease the base and sides of a 23cm spring­form cake tin with but­ter, and line with parch­ment pa­per.

On a bak­ing tray, toast the nuts for five to seven min­utes, un­til they are start­ing to turn golden.

Melt the choco­late and but­ter in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of just­sim­mer­ing wa­ter, and add the salt and vanilla.

In a food pro­ces­sor, process the nuts un­til mostly ground, but some larger pieces re­main for tex­ture. Add 150g to the melted choco­late and but­ter.

Add 50g honey to the rest of the nuts and process to a rough paste. You will need to scrape down the edges a few times.

Once ready (don’t worry if it isn’t to­tally smooth), add to the melted choco­late mix, along with the egg yolks, and stir well, re­mov­ing any lumps.

Semi-whip the egg whites, add the sugar, and con­tinue whisk­ing to soft peaks. Fold the whites into the choco­late mix a third at a time, then pour the mix into the pre­pared tin.

Make each pear quar­ter into a fan shape by cut­ting each into 5mm slices, but still at­tached to the top by about 1cm. Ar­range the seg­ments evenly around the edge of the cake, and bake for 25 min­utes, or un­til just set. Leave to cool for 30 min­utes in the tin, then re­move and serve.

Cle­men­tine, and po­lenta syrup cakes

500g clemen­tines (about 5-6), plus 100g cle­men­tine juice (from about 2-3 fruit)

Olive oil (or light­tast­ing oil), to grease 4 large eggs 150g golden caster sugar or light brown mus­co­v­ado sugar 120g po­lenta 100g ground al­monds 1 tsp bak­ing pow­der 30g honey

1 tbsp pomegranate mo­lasses 1 pomegranate, seeds re­moved (op­tional) Ed­i­ble flow­ers, to fin­ish (op­tional) In a medium saucepan, cover the clemen­tines with boil­ing wa­ter. Put a lid over the pan, bring back to a boil, lower the heat and sim­mer for one and a half hours. If the wa­ter dries out, top it up with more boil­ing wa­ter. Drain and let the fruit cool.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4 and grease the bot­toms and edges of a 12-hole muf­fin tin with oil. Cut 12 x 5cm squares of bak­ing parch­ment to fit in each muf­fin mould, so the mix doesn’t stick to the tin. Re­move any pips from each cooled cle­men­tine, put in a food pro­ces­sor and whizz to a puree. Add the eggs, sugar, po­lenta, nuts and bak­ing pow­der, and blend again un­til smooth – a few small lumps are fine.

Di­vide be­tween the moulds and bake for 25 min­utes, turn­ing the tray half­way through bak­ing – the tops should be golden brown and just firm to the touch.

In a small pan, bring the cle­men­tine juice, honey and mo­lasses to a boil, then sim­mer for about three min­utes. Pierce the cakes with a fork or skewer and douse well with syrup. Leave to cool, then re­move from the tins. Dec­o­rate with pomegranate seeds and ed­i­ble flow­ers, if you want, and serve.

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