This post includes no traybakes.
So, beginning on the backfoot: Unsalted butter is actually terrible and an affront to toast. Dairy and salt: classic combination (though I (Aodh) say that as somebody who has, in reality, just poured cream on his pizza)
Also, on the double backfoot: I didn’t write up the English custard tart because I am actually a youthful go-getter achieving a lot in the world and it turned out as planned with few fissures of despondency to exploit for yuks and was executed in the hey-ho simple spirit of the Delia Smith recipe that is the first page up when you google it.
Now that I have returned myself to my original, manly posture, though slightly behind where I was, let’s talks about biscuits!
My idea was to build a pear biscuit tower that was pear-shaped so that if things went askew, I could in my imaginary scabrous dealings with Paul Hollywood turn around and say “He just don’t understand the concept, Laverne!” (Laverne is my sassy, sass-enabling imaginary friend) If this baking lollapalooza has thought me anything it is that I should know my limits and I know pun-based self-defensive rhetoric is firmly within them.
Before we embark on what was some fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants food-preparation, I didn’t really like the biscuits but Henry and Babs did so average that out according to a weighting principle best devised by you.
1. Decide that your pears will need a stalk and a leaf sticking out of them so they will look like pears and therefore settle on making pear and sage biscuits with real-vanilla-pod-vanilla caramel sauce.
2. Find a vanilla caramel recipe online. This one should do; http://www.annies-eats.com/2011/07/25/vanilla-bean-caramel-sauce.
3. I can be cavalier in deciding on a recipe because I didn’t really follow it at all. I put 220g of water and 220g of caster sugar in a sauce pan and brought it to a boil, peering nervously in periodically as is practically ascribed when doing this. When it starts to turn a golden brown, 8 or so minutes in, I, in three waves, poured in 300g of double cream and stirred, stirred, stirred; the first wave incited a violent kerplowy reaction that you could easily overstate – there was not caramel on the ceiling. Then I split a in-currency-terms-gold vanilla pod, scrapped its seeds free and stirred them into the caramel. Then I poured (Laverne: God, could you use the word “poured” any more?) into a pot and fridged it overnight.
4. I made the pear and sage biscuits with this recipe http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/caramel-pear-cookies/ which is for cookies and includes no sage but cinnamon instead like I’m an idiot. I also didn’t bind them in pieces of twine because twine reminds me of calves being birthed because that’s what it’s used for when it’s not appearing in artisanal food photographs. (Man, I sound horrible; thank you Ali for taking the time to present your recipe)
5. The recipe calls for:
250 grams of plain flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
4 finely diced leaves of sage
1 diced pear
12 tbp of pure, unusable unsalted butter
220g of brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yoke
6. I mixed the flour, baking soda, salt and sage in a bowl together.
7. I melted the butter and left aside until cool and then I creamed the sugar and butter with a mixer. Then I added the egg, bit of egg and sedimentary material I scrapped from the inside of the depleted vanilla pod. Whatever. I didn’t even include it in the ingredients.
8. Then I add the the dry ingredients to the wet with the pear.
9. I shaped the resultant mixture into circles ascending in size and baked them at 180 degrees for as long as it took for them to go biscuit-y. It varied from size to size but I’d say from 12 to 20 minutes.
Here’s what they looked like, assembled into a tower (shut up; I just want you to know that I didn’t get to watch Breaking Bad tonight because I wrote this <descends into pile, sobbing>)
And if you listen very carefully you can here the sound of a wagging finger and the gentle wheeze of Laverne’s “You go, girl”