Tag Archives: ground almonds

Nectarine Galette

nectarine galette by fanny and brenda

According to wikipedia a “Galette is a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes” It can also be a buckwheat pancake and around the world it has its variants. This particular recipe concentrates on the French crusty cake version, and I have used some ripe nectarines to use within its crust. The base is an almond affair and the whole thing is really quite sumptuous. It makes for an ideal weekend treat when reading the Sunday newspapers. It is designed for children and adults to get their teeth into, and only takes about half an hour to prepare. You will need some of our rough puff pastry – recipe on the blog. However you can make a job lot of that earlier in the week and use some of it with this recipe.


For the pastry
150g butter
150g plain flour
75ml cold water
sprinkle of salt

For the filling
A handful of ripe nectarines cut into quarters
100g ground almonds
2 eggs beaten
100g caster sugar
1 splash of almond extract


nectarine galette by fanny and brenda

Preheat oven to 200°C

Pastry recipe as found here

Roll out the pastry and place in a well buttered baking dish. Do not worry about cutting off the edges, (the pastry that is outside the pastry case will be folded in later). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl place the butter and beat till soft and creamy

Add the sugar to the butter and beat

Add three quarters of the egg and whisk into the mixture

Pour in the ground almonds and mix until  even and smooth

Place in the base of the galette and spread evenly on the base

Place the nectarines on top of the almond mixture

Cut the pastry (with regular slits around the perimeter) which is overhanging the pastry dish and fold in roughly creating a rough edge. Fold in against the baking dish.

Brush the pastry with the rest of the beaten egg

Sprinkle with flaked almonds

Cook for about thirty minutes or until browned (and make sure the almond filling has cooked – if not leave it in the oven at about 140°C for about a further ten minutes).

When cool glaze with melted apricot jam, and leave for an hour or so till set, and then serve.

nectarine galette by fanny and brenda

Almond Cake with Plum Purée

This really is a lovely tea-time treat and simple to make. The end result is sweet and moist and with the plum purée it could double as a delicious pud too.
fanny and brendas almond cake with plum puréee - simple to make and an absolute treat


200g ground almonds

275g caster sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp almond extract

3 large eggs

250g salted butter (softened)

1 measure of Galliano (vanilla) liqueur (or apricot brandy or indeed cherry brandy)

75g plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

Icing sugar to dust


Small bowl of stewed plums

Icing sugar to sweeten


Preheat oven to 180°c/350°F

Take a cake tin with a push out bottom and grease it. Then place some baking paper in the bottom and grease that too.

Add a scattering of sliced almonds to the base.

fanny and brendas almond cake with plum puréee - simple to make and an absolute treat

Take your ground almonds and mix them with the sugar and salt in the blender.

Now take a small handful of that mixture and scatter it over the base and round the edges. This will give a rather lovely crust to the finished product.

Add the eggs, butter and Galliano to the mix and blend well

Add the flour and baking powder and blend

fanny and brendas almond cake with plum puréee - simple to make and an absolute treat

Pour mixture into cake dish and place in the middle of the oven.

Cook for 20 minutes and then reduce to 150°c/300°F for the last 15 minutes.

Leave to cool for a couple of hours and then take out of cake dish.

Place on presentation plate and dust with icing sugar

fanny and brendas almond cake with plum puréee - simple to make and an absolute treat

For the purée

Take a bowl of stewed plums

Sieve them into another bowl

Add icing sugar to sweeten to taste

Serve cake with cream and purée and watch your guests become friends for life!

fanny and brendas almond cake with plum puréee - simple to make and an absolute treat

How to make delicious mince pies

how to cook delicious mince pies fanny and brenda style


Well! I don’t often say it but Brenda has come up trumps with her fantastic mince pies. Like you, I know she’s a ghastly old curmudgeon but underneath that hideous exterior lies an ability to cook well when she makes the effort.

We are now in the run up to Christmas and time is short. The mincemeat is now made and the pastry (see previous post) is ready so it’s really a case of compilation.

Take about a quarter of the puff pastry (about 250g) and roll it out. Roll it pretty thin. We can’t bear thick pastry – it is the case but it’s not the filling too!

Take a greased muffin tin and place the pastry within each holder.

At this point Brenda had a brainwave and added a small ball of marzipan to each pie, placing it in the centre. The marzipan was left over from the christmas cake (recipe forthcoming!) and it’s a delicious addition. Place the mincemeat around the marzipan, and then add the pie topping. Apply some egg wash and then place it in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°c /350°f.

Serve with some lovely double cream with added lemon zest and grand marnier and frankly you will never want to eat a commercial mince pie again!

If you are thinking of leaving mince pies out for some gaudily dressed and rather overweight bearded old man who may want to pop down your chimney then may I suggest leaving a few of these mince pies under the christmas tree. Of course he will probably be unable to go back up your chimney as these mince pies are delicious so if you hear the front door slam in the middle of the night don’t be too surprised.

how to cook delicious mince pies fanny and brenda style

Windfall Plum Crumble

gorgeous almondy plum crumble - good for gluten free photography by simon c bennett
It never fails to amaze me that people can think that free fruit is probably ghastly or at worst poisonous. It’s very useful that such ignorance pervades when foraging, as free food of this ilk is a superb bounty for the cook that desires high quality but doesn’t want to pay through the nose at the local supermarket. Sometimes free food is growing in one’s own garden.

Fanny has a very old plum tree in her garden which she studiously ignores, as it obliterates a ghastly anti social neighbour when it’s in full leaf in the summer. So it is rather unruly but rather fabulously it does tend to crop quite heavily. I suspect it is an Early Rivers plum, – small purpley skin with yellow flesh. It’s better cooked than raw – there are more interesting plums for the fruit bowl if I am honest.

gorgeous almondy plum crumble - good for gluten free

Ruby the cat looked astonished as she saw me scrabbling around on all fours picking up the fallers. I tend to leave the ones that have been eaten by the insects (- although they are probably the sweeter ones). However once I had my kg of plums I strode back to the kitchen, washed them, de-stoned them and put them in a small pan with about 200ml of water and some sugar to stew them for about quarter of an hour.

gorgeous almondy plum crumble - good for gluten free

And all this before breakfast! Fanny meanwhile was sleeping her head off upstairs and I can tell you the snoring was horrendous. How there aren’t cracks in the foundations I really don’t know.

gorgeous almondy plum crumble - good for gluten free photographer simon bennett

Whilst the plums were stewing I got out some ground almonds, butter and some almond flour and combined them till I had a flakey texture in my hands.

I poured the gorgeous plums into the souffle dish, added some cinnamon and star anise and a measure of plum liqueur. Actually I added two measures and knocked one back myself to check it was ok. It was perfect. The day had started well.

I then put the almond flour mixture on top and then added a layer of demerara sugar. The trick here is to cook for 35 minutes at 150° and then whack up the temperature for the last 15 mins to 200° to get the sugar to crisp

gorgeous almondy plum crumble - good for gluten free

We then served it with some of Fanny’s home made plain yoghurt!

1 kg of plums
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 measures of plum liqueur ( we used Prucia)
100g ground almonds
100g almond flour
30g of butter

No more tasteless pastry for us

forays into pastry making

A little while ago Brenda was making apple strudels. I don’t know what got into her but she started making these infernal things and I had to keep on giving them away when she wasn’t looking. They were perfectly acceptable but after the 20th had been baked it seemed kinder to let other people enjoy them.

Now I’ll be frank. All the recipes included the use of pre-made pastry – in this case filo. I became aware that my taste buds were picking up no sense of flavour, and the texture was like thin cardboard. Her fillings were excellent so I know it wasn’t Brenda having a senior moment. She used different pastry brands but the end result was much the same. In my view that wasn’t very satisfactory and I informed her that she would be better off spending some time studying the art of pastry before we had to suffer any more.

Furthermore we have to think about Laura the lodger who is a coeliac and has problems with gluten. Therefore, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to see where we could take this exploration.

The first of these was to use ground almonds instead of wheat flour. It is difficult to make this seem like a gluey dough that will stick together, and it does take some patience because of its crumblier texture. However the results were significant- a great flavour and much better texture. If you’re serious about your pies and tarts then keep tuned here at FannyandBrenda.com as we are developing our art and will share with you the secrets as we learn them.

For the almond pastry:

300g ground almonds
1tsp sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g soft but not melted butter

Mix all the pastry ingredients together to create a dough. Chill for half an hour to an hour as it’s very sticky – while that’s chilling, put the oven on 200°C (180°C if fan assisted)

Meanwhile, use the time to butter a 24cm tart dish.

Take the pastry from the freezer and using a WELL floured rolling pin (we used potato flour for this just so we could inform Laura that there is no wheat in this dish at all) and roll out to approximately 3mm thick on flat greaseproof paper or baking paper. You will have to roll it carefully towards the edges because of its crumbly texture.

Then line the greased tin with your pastry -to do this pop the tin upside down over the pastry and and then you invert the whole thing – it is unfortunately quite delicate and by the way, feel free to fill any holes or gaps with the spare that you cut from the edges).

Line the tart dish with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans (or anything else suitable), bake for 10 mins, remove from the oven and take out the parchment and baking beans and put the pastry case back in for another 10 mins to brown.This is better if its left to become a good biscuity colour.

At this point you are ready for the filling of your choice, sweet or savoury.