Anneka Manning is one of the most professional bakers I’ve ever come across. She’s also one of the most generous and lovely people going. So yes – I was rather excited when she agreed to come to Orange to co-host the latest one-day My Open Kitchen workshop at the Old Convent. This one was all about telling stories through recipes and photos and it was, for me at least, one of my favourite workshops. Partly because I got to watch her in action again (see above) but mostly because writing about and sharing ideas for how to cook beautiful seasonal food is one of my favourite things ever. So to spend a full day doing just that with a room of 15 others who felt the same way was a big fat treat. And speaking of treats, we shared, styled and shot some beautiful seasonal goodness on our day together, including Anneka’s amazing lemon tarts and my triple gingerbread loaf, recipes for both below.
And if you are keen to join in the next time we hold a day like this… come along on September 2 as we welcome author Julia Busuttil Nishimura to Orange to co-host a one day workshop at the Old Convent. We’ll be talking food writing, photography, styling, social media and BAKING! Julia will also have a few extra special advance copies of her brand new book Ostro. Click here for more details and to book. But back to those lemon tarts…
The workshop kicked off with coffees and bickies then Anneka guided us through the steps to taking an idea for a dish into a recipe that can be shared and successfully replicated. Then after lunch we ran a food photography 101 with a hands-on session where everyone had a chance to shoot three different ‘stations’ – including Anneka’s beautiful lemon tart (recipe below), a whole bunch of beautiful freshly picked lemons (the star of this show really) and a beautiful big gingerbread cake inspired by my grandmother’s recipe book from 1936 (recipe below).
Sweet shortcrust pastry
Makes: enough for the top of a 20 cm pie dish
Preparation time: 15 minutes (+ 20 minutes chilling time)
225g (11⁄2 cups) plain our
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Good pinch salt
150g chilled unsalted butter, cubed 3-31⁄2 tablespoons iced water
1. Place the flour, sugar and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the iced water over the our and butter mixture. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until evenly combined and the mixture starts holding together. Press a little of the mixture between your fingers: if it holds together easily, there is no need to add more water. If it doesn’t, add the remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon water and combine. The pastry should be soft but not sticky.
3. Bring the pastry together with your hands and transfer to a lightly floured, cool bench top. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 30 seconds or until smooth and soft. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest. Use as directed.
• This pastry will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stand at room temperature for about 1 hour (depending on the weather) until softened slightly and pliable enough to roll easily.
Anneka Manning’s lemon tart
A good lemon tart makes your mouth pucker – in the nicest possible way. This one is sweet, smooth, silky and seductive, and are sure to become a favourite.
Preparation time: 25 minutes (+ pastry making)
Baking time: 50-55 minutes
1 quantity Sweet Shortcrust Pastry, shaped into a disc before wrapping and chilling as directed
Icing sugar, to dust
Cream or ice cream, to serve
165g (3⁄4 cup) caster sugar
185ml (3⁄4 cup) thin/pouring cream
150ml strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
2 Unwrap one pastry portion and place on a lightly floured, cool bench top. Gently pat the pastry with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out into a disc about 3mm thick. Carefully roll the pastry around the rolling pin and gently ease it into a 23cm (base measurement) tart tin with a removable base, pressing it into the join and fluted side using your fingertips and thumb. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart tin to trim any excess pastry.
3 Place the pastry case on a baking tray and prick 12 times with a fork. Line the pastry case with baking paper or foil and ll with pastry weights, dried beans or raw rice, pushing them into the join and fluting. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
4 Remove the tart case from the oven and use the paper or foil to lift out the weights. Return the cases to the oven and and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is cooked though and looks dry.
5 Meanwhile, to make the filling, put the eggs, sugar, cream and lemon juice in a medium bowl and whisk with a fork until well combined. Strain the mixture into a jug. Pour the filling into the hot pastry cases while it is still in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until filling has just set in the center but still wobbles slightly when gently shaken. Leave the tart to cool in the tin.
6 Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream or ice cream.
These tarts will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days (although
the pastry will soften slightly on keeping). Bring to room temperature to serve.
Triple ginger loaf
This recipe is inspired by my Mum and Grandmother. The former’s influence comes in the amount of ginger here, Mum adores the stuff in all it’s incarnations so the triple whammy is for her. And the love of a good ginger loaf comes from Gran who would cook them often. I found the recipe in one of her old books which in itself is a pretty special story… the little blue book above was a present from her school friends just before she set sail in 1936 to be married to my Grandfather in Denmark. The book is filled with recipes for all kinds of dishes, tastes of home she would go on to re-create in her hew home so very far away. I imagine that every time she made one of these recipes, reading the writing of her oldest friends, she’d feel a little closer to them. Isn’t that the best? This book is now in my own kitchen and is one of my favourite things (last summer we had a particularly scary ‘catastrophic’ bushfire risk day and were just sitting around waiting for a fire to come and sweep up the valley in smoke. The car was packed, the bushfire plan was at the ready and the only really important things in my bag included this book, the photo albums and my hard drives…but I digress…back to the recipe.
This is a fabulous number to have on stand by for morning or afternoon teas because it lasts (wrapped tightly) for ages (four or five days) and most importantly because it’s absolutely delicious (unless you can’t stand ginger). Here we served it with a dollop of lemon curd and double cream. Yum scrum.
Makes: one loaf
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time 50 minutes
180 g butter, chopped
1/3 cup (75g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (350g) golden syrup (or use molasses for a darker cake)
1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 2/3 cups (300g) plain flour
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 cup (200g) crystallised ginger, chopped
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1. Preheat oven to 160°C and grease and line a loaf tin (I used my new favourite cake tin, a Dr Oetker springform rectangular 28x18cm tin from Essential Ingredient in Orange. But because the tin is much bigger I doubled the quantities above). Line base and sides with baking paper, extending the paper a little bit over the sides.
2. Combine the butter, golden syrup and buttermilk in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter has melted and the mixture resembles a thick caramel.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
4. Sift together the flour and spices then add the butter mixture and fold together. Fold in the egg and fresh and crystallised ginger until just combined. curdled).
5. Pour cake mixture into your prepared tin and smooth over the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
6. Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out to a wire rack to cool completely before wrapping tightly. Serve with a fresh lemon icing, lemon curd or cream or all of the above.