I don't like baking.
Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to reap the benefits, but for me, life's too short to weigh flour. I know lots of people who think this makes me deficient in some way, but frankly I'd rather have my cakes made for me *cough*.
I don't do desserts either. I might spend hours lovingly preparing a meal, but if my guests want a pud they get (a) fruit, (b) some Ben and Jerry's, or (c) Ocado's finest.
Unfortunately the other day, I was forced to make a pudding for John Torode and Gregg Wallace (the original Puddingface). Like I said in the MasterChef cook-off post, I'd found a basic shortbread recipe and then monkeyed with it till I came up with a hypothetical something I could happily call my own.
The first time I actually had a go making my shortcake, it tasted fine, but aesthetically left a little to be desired. In fact, my husband was nice enough to say that it reminded him of the first Ripley Clone in Alien Resurrection. No, I'm not showing you a picture. Anyway, I think that was his own geekoid way of encouraging me to try, try again.
- 100g unsalted softened butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 100g plain flour
- 50g cornflour
- A large orange
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 300ml double cream (ie a standard pot)
- 200g blueberries (ie a standard pack)
- Some icing sugar for dusting
Whisk the butter and caster sugar until creamy. Work in the flours until it forms a crumb-like dough. Zest the orange, being careful not to include any of the white pith and mix the zest into the shortbread dough.
Now roll the dough out to a little less than 1cm thickness and then cut into shapes. Any freaking shapes you like - the fancier the better. I like stars, me.
Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes and then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from your zested orange and then simmer this with half the pack of blueberries and the granulated sugar until it thickens.
Beat the cream with a little caster sugar till it stiffens and then fold in some of the remaining blueberries.
Sieve the blueberry sauce and pour into a pretty pool onto each dish. Sandwich two biscuits with the whipped berries and cream for each person and place on the blueberry sauce.
Scatter the rest of the blueberries around and sift icing sugar on top.
Bob's your uncle.
By the way, here's an extra-special version (possibly NSFW) that I made just for the man who insisted that "those that make their food into shapes lack confidence in their cooking".
To be honest, they're ruddy lucky I didn't make them a shoecake (cake like a shoe).
I still don't like baking.