Pastry chef Shane Smith shares some delicious sweet recipes ahead of Easter weekend.
EASTER IS ON the horizon and the clocks are set to ‘Spring forward’ tonight. The weather has brightened up and we’re seeing a little more light in the mornings and evenings.
However, it does seem that this coming holiday will be muted again because of Covid. It really is a pity, but let’s not lose hope and let’s take the positives where we find them.
Whether you’ve waited the 40 days of lent or 40 minutes after breakfast and are looking for some cracking Easter baking recipes, you’ve come to the right place.
The easy part is choosing the trimmings that go with the roast dinner, dessert on the other hand is a more serious matter. Easter is the perfect occasion to show off those well-practised baking skills and to help inspire your upcoming celebrations, here are some of my all-time favourite Easter recipes.
From pretty chocolate tarts and gluten-free carrot walnut cake to my super snappy hot cross bun pudding, there’s something in here for all the family to enjoy.
Carrot walnut cake
6 medium eggs
320g caster sugar
320g ground almonds
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 level tablespoons gluten-free baking powder
80g walnuts chopped
320g carrots, peeled & grated (using the largest side of a hand grater)
300g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
dash vanilla extract
100g cream cheese
Preheat your oven to 160C.
Grease and line 2×9” round loose bottom tins. Set aside
Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine using a wooden spoon until you are left with a soft batter.
Divide this mix evenly between the two tins.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Once baked, remove and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add the cream cheese and combine. Do not over mix at this point.
Sandwich and cover the cooled sponges with the frosting and decorate with some festive Easter decoration and enjoy!
Individual Chocolate & Orange Tarts
Makes 6 individual tarts
125g caster sugar
dash vanilla essence
250g plain flour
300g 55% dark chocolate
180ml single cream
2 medium eggs
1/2 orange zest
For the sweet pastry, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and soft, add the egg and vanilla and mix to incorporate.
Add the sieved flour and mix until a dough is formed.
Turn onto a floured table and form into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 2 hours.
Once chilled, roll on a floured table until 1/4 inch in thickness.
Grease and flour 6 x 4.5 inch round loose bottom tartlets.
Roll pastry into tins and press down the sides, trim off excess pastry and chill for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Once rested line the tart with a square of greaseproof and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 mins or until the tops of the pastry starts to turn golden brown. Remove the baking beans and return to the oven and cook for a further 8 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
Remove and set aside to cool
For the chocolate tart filling, heat the milk, cream and orange zest in a pot.
Once warm pour over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
Add the egg and whisk until combined.
Strain into a jug and pour this mix into the pre-baked tart shells. Return to the oven and bake at 100C for 20 minutes or until the chocolate filling is set.
Remove and allow to cool.
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When serving I like to dust 1/3 of the tart with cocoa powder, you can serve with a chocolate truffle or simply with a spoon of fresh cream and seasonal berries.
Whiskey marmalade Hot cross bread & butter pudding
6 hot cross buns
200g marmalade jam
150g soft butter
200ml single cream
2 medium eggs
dash vanilla extract
55g caster sugar
50ml Irish Whiskey
Like any bread and butter pudding, it’s best to use old bread and the same applies to the hot cross buns.
For the custard, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and whiskey together.
Heat the milk and the cream gently and pour this over the egg mixture, whisking to combine. Strain and set aside.
Cut the hot cross buns in half like you would when toasting.
Spread both sides with butter and marmalade.
Place the 6 bottom halves in your ovenproof serving dish and pour over half the warm custard.
Place the top on the buns on pour over the remaining custard.
Press the buns down into the custard to submerge and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 170C/ 150C fan
Once soaked, carefully place your serving dish in a large deep baking tray in the centre of the oven.
Fill this baking tray with water until it comes halfway up the side of your dish and this will bake bain marie for 35-40 minutes.
The pudding will have a slight wobble at this point, carefully remove it from the water and set aside.
Best served warm with a spoon of semi whipped cream
Shane Smith has nearly 22 years’ experience working in some of the world’s most celebrated pastry kitchens across the globe. Over these years he has received numerous awards from “Best Bakery Manager in Ireland” by Shelf life magazine to “The top 10 best pastry chefs in Ireland” by Food & Wine Magazine. Shane also has a regular cookery slot on RTÉ’s The Today Show. Check out more recipes on his Instagram or at www.chefshanesmith.ie.