Mother’s Day Biscuit Card
Whether you’re five or fifty and are a dab hand, or not, with a piping bag, this is such a lovely, personalised gift for your mother. The recipe makes more biscuits than you need but since they freeze so well you can either stamp them out and cook them straight from the freezer, or have them cooked and ready to warm through in the oven for another occasion. And there’s enough icing to decorate about 20 biscuits.
Makes: about 40
Prep time: 1½ hours
Cooking time: 7-9 minutes
for the biscuits
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
75g (3oz) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Golden Caster Sugar
1 large egg yolk
200g (7oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling
1 lemon, finely grated rind
1½ tbsp milk
for the decoration & icing – enough for about 20 biscuits
500g (1lb2oz) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Royal Icing Sugar
75ml (3floz) water
Mother’s Day card
You will also need a small flower shaped biscuit cutter about 4.5-5cm (1¾-2”) in diameter available from www.squires-shop.com and 2 disposable piping bags.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan180°, 400°F, Gas 6.
Lightly grease 2 baking trays.
Cream the butter and Tate & Lyle Golden Caster Sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk.
Next, sift in the flour, add the lemon rind and mix well. Add the milk to make a fairly soft dough.
Knead the mixture on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 5mm (¼”). Using the flower cutter stamp out about 40 rounds and place on the baking trays, spaced apart.
Bake for 7-9 minutes until golden, swapping the trays round halfway through. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
To make the icing, put the water in a bowl, sift over the Tate & Lyle Royal Icing Sugar and mix with a wooden spoon until thick, smooth and the consistency of toothpaste.
You will need about one-third of the icing for piping and the rest for flooding the biscuits. Divide the icing between 3 small bowls and colour with your chosen colours, using a toothpick to add a tiny amount, then mix well to achieve the desired shade.
For the icing for flooding, add a few drops of water at a time to 1 of the bowls, stirring until the mixture is smooth and just pourable, just a bit thicker than double cream.
The 2 bowls of icing for piping should be thick enough to hold their shape. Check by dragging a flat-bladed knife through the surface of the icing and count to 10. If the icing surface becomes smooth in anywhere between 5-10 seconds it’s ready. If not, the icing is too thick, so add a splash of water. More sifted icing sugar can be added if it becomes too runny. Divide this icing between 2 piping bags. Cover any unused icing with cling film placed directly on the surface.
Snip a tiny piece off the tip of the piping bags with a pair of scissors. Pipe an outline border with your chosen colour 1cm (½”) above the biscuit, lifting the bag away from the biscuit so that the icing falls onto the surface. This makes it easier to control the piping. Let the icing dry for 10 minutes.
Next, fill in the middle of the biscuits with the flooding icing using a teaspoon and a zig-zag motion. Gently shake the biscuit to help settle the icing. Pop any air bubbles with a pin or toothpick right away otherwise it will pop on its own and leave a hole. Wait for 30 minutes or so until the icing has firmed up, then decorate the middle of the flower biscuit using a contrasting colour.
Place the decorated biscuits on a baking tray and dry out in the oven 140°C/Fan120°, 275°F, Gas 1 for about 15 minutes, slightly longer if you are making larger biscuits. Cool on a wire rack.
To attach the flower biscuit to the card, pipe a little icing over the outline of the back of the biscuit and lightly place it on the card to ‘glue’ it in position. Leave to dry flat for a few hours.
Make and decorate the biscuits up to 1 week before and store in an airtight container.
Balsamic-Sugar Glazed Chicken
This balsamic and sugar glaze keeps well in the fridge and is a useful addition to have to drizzle over roasted vegetables – be they English roots or a Mediterranean medley of peppers, courgettes and onions.
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 1hour 40 minutes
for the stuffing
1 medium onion, peeled & finely chopped
25g (1oz) butter
40g (1½oz) fresh breadcrumbs
125g (4½oz) cream cheese
1 heaped tbsp chopped tarragon
2 heaped tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra for serving
1 lemon, zested
salt & freshly ground black pepper
for the chicken & vegetables
1.6k (3½lb) chicken
3 tbsp olive oil
3 medium red onions, peeled, root discarded & thickly sliced across into 3
3 medium onions, peeled, root discarded & thickly sliced across into 3
for the glaze
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 rounded tbsp Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Light Muscovado Sugar
salt & freshly ground black pepper
You will also need a piping bag with a 4cm (½”) plain wide nozzle and some kitchen string for trussing the chicken.
Gently fry the onion for the stuffing in a small pan with the butter over a low heat for about 10-12 minutes until softened. Tip into a bowl to cool, then add the breadcrumbs, cream cheese, tarragon, parsley and lemon zest. Season well with salt and pepper and transfer to the piping bag.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan200°, 425°F, Gas 7.
Put the chicken on a board, cut the string to untruss it. Then, at the neck end carefully push your fingers from side to side to loosen the skin from the bird to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful not to split the skin, or the stuffing will ooze out. If you do, just stitch it up with a needle and thread, remembering to remove it later. Carefully pipe the stuffing between the breast and the skin, patting it down so that it is evenly distributed. Re-truss the chicken with a new length of string. Transfer the chicken to a large roasting tin, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season and cover with foil.
Roast the chicken on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour, basting with the juices once or twice.
Meanwhile, combine the balsamic vinegar and Tate & Lyle Light Muscovado Sugar together in a small pan over a low heat, stir to dissolve and then simmer for 1-2 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.
Rub the onions with the rest of the oil, keeping them together in their slices, and season.
Remove the foil from the chicken, arrange the onions around the bird and cook for another 20 minutes, turning them halfway. Brush the chicken with the balsamic glaze, drizzle the rest over the onions and roast for a final 10 minutes until the chicken is glazed and bronzed, and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a fine skewer. The onions should be tender and nicely caramelised. Remove them to a plate to keep warm whilst you rest the chicken for 10-15 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Carve, scatter with a little parsley and serve with all the pan juices.
Tray-Baked Meringue with Red Wine Apples & Vanilla Cream
Impressive and easy to make, this tray-baked meringue can be cooked a day ahead, ready to assemble on the day. Change the fruits according to the season – summer berries or autumnal poached fruits all look, and taste, equally wonderful.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
for the meringue
4 large egg whites, about 120g (4½oz) at room temperature
225g (8oz ) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Light Soft Brown Sugar
1 rounded tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
for the topping
370ml (13floz) red wine
1 medium orange, peel finely pared & juiced
125g (4½oz ) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Light Soft Brown Sugar
1 large cinnamon stick
4 Braeburn or similar tart eating apples, quartered, cored & peeled
425ml (¾pt) double cream, lightly whipped
1 vanilla pod, split & the seeds scraped out
75g (3oz) blackberries
1 tbsp flaked almonds, lightly toasted
Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Icing Sugar, to dust
You will also need a baking tray lined with parchment paper or silicone.
Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, for about 1 minute.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan160°C, 350°F, Gas 4.
Slowly add the Tate & Lyle Light Soft Brown Sugar a dessertspoonful at a time, which will take about 10 minutes, by which time the egg whites will be very thick, glossy and stand up in peaks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
Whisk in the cornflour and then the vinegar.
Spoon the meringue mixture onto the baking tray, using a palette knife to shape it into an 25.5x20cm (10”x8”) oval.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 120°C/Fan100°C, 350°F, Gas ½. Bake for 1 hour until the outside is crisp but the insides are soft and marshmallowy. Leave in the oven until completely cold. This can be done overnight.
For the red wine apples combine the red wine, orange juice and peel, the Tate & Lyle Light Soft Brown Sugar and the cinnamon stick in a pan. Stir over a low heat to dissolve the sugar, then add the apple quarters and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until tender but they still hold their shape and have taken on the deep red colour of the wine. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon to a shallow bowl, and boil the red wine mixture down to reduce it to about half its original quantity until syrupy. Pour over the apples and leave to cool. Discard the cinnamon stick and orange peel.
Carefully transfer the meringue to a serving dish. Add the vanilla seeds to the whipped cream and spoon onto the meringue. Lift the apples out of their syrup, arrange on top of the cream, scatter with the blackberries and almonds, and drizzle with a little of the red wine syrup. Serve the rest in a small jug. Lightly dust with Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar and serve.
Cook the apples up to 5 days ahead and store in their syrup in the fridge.
Make the meringue up to 1 day before and store in an airtight container.