Baking 101: ‘First cream butter and sugar’ recipes

Lemon pie. Photo / Armelle Habib

For those who like a good homemade cake but don’t like sifting flour and icing sugar (is it really necessary?) and enjoying a shortcut (do I have to wait hours for my eggs to be at room temperature?), Emelia Jackson’s baking bible First Cream the Butter and the Sugar breaks down the steps that really matter and skips the ones that don’t. Packed with tips for all levels of home baker, it’s the modern baking insurance you need, whether it’s the day before the birthday party or just a Sunday afternoon to cook up something special. sweet to help you get through the week. Here is a sweet sample.

Crumpets.  Photo / Armelle Habib
Crumpets. Photo / Armelle Habib


Give 8

I had never had a homemade crumpet until Jock Zonfrillo made it on MasterChef Australia. Intrigued, I went home that night and made them right away. Homemade crumpets, eaten while still warm, are a work of art. Serve them smothered in so much butter and honey that it runs down your chin as you eat them.

300ml lukewarm whole milk
5g instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
180g bread flour
Pinch of fine salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Mix 100 ml of hot milk in a bowl with the yeast and sugar. Let stand until yeast is activated and bubbles appear in milk, about 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the remaining hot milk, flour, salt and baking powder and whisk until smooth. It’s more batter than batter, so don’t worry about how runny it is. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes or until the mixture is frothy (it won’t double in size like traditional pasta).

3. The trick to making perfect crumpets really is in the kitchen. I start on high to establish the bubbles, then reduce to low to allow the crumpet to cook without burning the base. It takes a bit of practice to figure out what works best.

4. Place a greased skillet over high heat. Spray the inside of 8 round 7 cm molds with oil and place them in the hot pan. Carefully pour the crumpet batter into the pans, being careful not to deflate the air in the batter too much, and immediately reduce the heat to low. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until crumpets bubbles appear and the top is dry, much like cooking a pancake.

5. Remove pans, flip crumpets and bake for 30-60 seconds or until top is golden brown. Remove from skillet. Serve hot.

Oatmeal and raisin cookies.  Photo / Armelle Habib
Oatmeal and raisin cookies. Photo / Armelle Habib

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Give 20

I don’t know what an oatmeal raisin cookie does for me. Maybe it’s the toasted oats and buttery goodness. Maybe it’s the sweet touch of the raisins through the almost savory flavor of the cookie. Maybe I convinced myself that they can be eaten for breakfast because really they are just the solid version of porridge. Either way, I’m obsessed with these big oatmeal raisin cookies, my number one when I crave a tasty little bite in the afternoon.

225g unsalted butter, softened
200g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or extract
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
180g rolled oats
130 g raisins or sultanas

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping the side of the bowl and the beater to make sure the egg is completely incorporated and there are no traces of butter.

3. Gently stir in flour, baking soda, spices and sea salt until just combined. Add rolled oats and raisins and stir until just combined.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out equal sized balls of dough and place them on the baking sheets, leaving enough space for the cookies to spread out.

5. Bake cookies in batches for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely on the trays before transferring them to your plate.

Lemon pie.  Photo / Armelle Habib
Lemon pie. Photo / Armelle Habib

Baked lemon pie

For a 23 cm pie

I much prefer a baked lemon tart to a lemon tart – I find baked tarts are often silkier, risen in the same way as a custard tart and are luxurious in every way . This can be garnished with meringue, or not, and served with a dollop of cream.

23 cm oven-baked shortcrust pastry base (see recipe below)
Lemon filling
360ml lemon juice
360g caster sugar
320ml heavy cream
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
4 lemons, zest only

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. For the filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove lumps. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir over low heat until it reaches 65-70°C on a sugar thermometer.

3. Pour the filling into the cooked pie shell. If you see air bubbles, you can lightly run a torch over the top of the pie to pop them.

4. Bake pie for 20-25 minutes or until filling is just set but center still wobbles. Allow the pie to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for at least 1 hour before serving.

To mix together: Any citrus is a choice here…use blood orange, orange, tangerine, or grapefruit. Don’t forget to taste the filling before cooking. Lemons are very acidic, so if you’re using another citrus fruit, you may need to add a pinch of citric acid to achieve the same result.

For a 30 cm pie shell or two 23 cm pie shells

180 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
100g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 egg yolk, extra, for brushing

1. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and salt for about 2 minutes or until the ingredients are combined (but not creamy ) and there are no large chunks of butter left. It will take a few minutes to break down the cooled butter. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times.

2. Add the egg yolks and mix for another minute to homogenize the mixture. Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together.

Take the dough out of the bowl and use your hands to form it into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours (preferably overnight).

3. Place the cooled dough on your lightly floured bench. You may need to knead it lightly to bring it back to a workable consistency and to make sure the temperature of the dough is even. Roll out the dough until it is 2-3mm (1⁄16-1⁄8 inch) thick and about 5cm (2 inches) longer than the pan(s) (just an estimate works here – don’t break the rules!). Trim any jagged edges to reduce tearing and reserve any leftover dough. Spread the dough on your rolling pin, gently roll it into the pan and press it against the edges.

4. Put the dough in the fridge to cool for another 15-20 minutes before baking (or overnight if you’re very prepared!).

5. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the dough with parchment paper and weigh it down with baking weights or rice.

6. Bake the dough for 35 to 45 minutes for a 30 cm tart shell, 30 to 35 minutes for two 23 cm tart bases or 8 to 12 minutes for mini tart bases, removing the paper and half the weights. -cooking. You want the dough to be a nice deep golden brown all over.

7. If you find any small holes in your pie shell, fill them with some remaining pastry and return the pastry to the oven for 2 minutes – otherwise the filling will leak out of the shell.

8. Finally, wash the hot dough with egg – whisk the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water and brush it evenly over the surface. The residual heat will cook the glaze and seal the dough. Let the dough cool completely before filling it.

Images and text from First, Cream the Butter and Sugar by Emelia Jackson, photography by Armelle Habib. Books by Murdoch MSRP $69.99

Oatmeal and raisin cookies.  Photo / Armelle Habib
Oatmeal and raisin cookies. Photo / Armelle Habib