Hello, summer. You’re late, but I won’t hold that against you. Thank you for making the effort – I’ve missed you. But now you’ve arrived, I’m afraid I’m even sadder that I’ll be spending the next few months frowning at a laptop rather than basking in the sunshine with a book and a sense of serene accomplishment. According to the original plan, I should be putting the finishing touches to my thesis at the moment. Things aren’t going to plan so I’m not. I’m anxiously on hold on paper, frantically scrambling to catch up in practice.
I’m really feeling my inexperience at the moment. I think I’ve cracked the experimental chapters but I’m staring down my literature review and feeling very uncomfortable. My last piece of sustained academic writing was in 2008 and that was the assignment we need to do to at the OU to ‘pass’ our probation and get onto the PhD program proper. I’ve read a few books on the subject and have done all the right things to organise my ideas, group my papers by theme, to use critical analysis techniques to review the strengths and weaknesses of the key authors and present a structured argument but I’ve lost my writing voice. I know what I need to do is just write, for goodness’ sake, it’s not that difficult but I can’t get going.
So. Baking then. Or rather, Bakewell then.
I recently started reading the ‘what do you make of my cake?’ blog and love the way she presents her creations! Puts my woeful photographs to shame really. I saw these pretty, pretty little Bakewells and decided they needed to be made. My version is quite a bit lazier as I’m using ready-made pastry and quite a bit naughtier as I’ve upped the jam rather a lot. Here’s my version:
Makes 20 bake well tarts + 4 oddities – see below
- 500g pack ready-made shortcrust pastry
- 150g seedless raspberry jam
- 100g (4oz) butter, softened
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 50g (2oz) ground almonds
- 50g (2oz) self raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp almond essence
- 175g (6oz) icing sugar, sifted
- 1-2 tbsp water
- 12 glacé cherries
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Grease 2 muffin tins.
- On a floured board/surface, roll out the pastry and cut 24 circles using a 7.5cm (3in) cutter (whatever covers the base of the tin).
- Use to line the prepared tins and spread a generous spoonful of jam in the base of each.
- Beat together the fat and sugar, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding half the ground almonds after each one.
- Add the flour and almond essence and stir well. Spoon the mixture into the pastry cases and bake for 20 minutes until well risen, firm and golden.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins.
- Mix together the icing sugar and water and when the tarts are cold, spoon the icing on to the top.
- Decorate each with a cherry.
There was enough pastry for 24 tarts but only filling for 20 so in the others I mixed raspberry jam with amaretto and topped with flaked almonds to make posh jam tarts 😀
And if that doesn’t work, I’ll iron every single piece of bedlinen in the cupboard until I’m so bored I’m dying to write anything!