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Cream Cakes & The Classic Coffee Slice

You’ve got to love a good old cream cake! They always take me right back to Dublin in the 80’s, there are still loads of old fashioned bakeries dotted about the city, selling  all the traditional pastries, custard slices, cream doughnuts, coffee slices…fondant fancy and Gur cake (My Mum calls this one ‘Flies Graveyard’) the smell of fresh cream and icing hits you and draws you right in. Most of you will remember Bewley’s-when it was actually owned by Bewleys, up to about the very late 90’s, there was (and still is I believe) one in Blackrock, in the old shopping centre. My Mum and Nana used to take me there for a treat, the odd occasion and fondant fancies were always my choice, I can still smell the coffee when I think about it.

In all honestly they are dynamite, we know that… the cream, the butter in the pastry and the icing on top-BUT WHO CARES!? Count the calories and you’re actually taking away your own moment of pleasure, you don’t want to be a killjoy do you? Suck it in and enjoy it…. little pleasures in life are there for a reason and when you can sit down in a quiet cafe after shopping your heart out, your feet are killing you, your credit/debit card has taken a severe beating and you just nee five minutes alone to sit in a corner, rest those feet, inhale a large cappuccino and seduce that cream cake that’s sitting on a plate in front of you, looking lustfully up at you…. Take even the tired Mum’s…. kids screaming all mid term, toys everywhere, birthday parties, loud cartoons and drama….. they’re finally back at school…. you realise the house is quiet,  there may be toys everywhere…it might actually look like you’ve been burgled, but the house is quiet. Time to fill that coffee machine, take your shoes off and curl up on the sofa with a piece of cake and coffee and just bathe in the silence of the house… I don’t have kids-yet but I was a nanny for my Stepsis’ in the USA one Summer in my teen’s…I can sort of sympathise. I personally love to brew a pot of Earl Grey in a china tea cup and enjoy one watching Downton Abbey.
Cream cakes are like legal drugs, they anaesthetise you….they were invented for a reason! Don’t start justifying reasons for not having one…enjoy it!

When a childhood friend suggested I make coffee slices for the blog, I thought about it, it never occurred to me to touch something I held in such high regard, yeah they’re old fashioned but they rock! We’re so caught up with what we see on television, the complex pastries from the likes of Heston Blumenthal or Mich Turner, the ganache’s, the French Meringues, the Italian meringues.. croquembouche’s….we’ve lost track of the simple treats which take us back in time to happy childhood days of birthday parties and sports days, tea at Nana’s…!

I lay awake all night, I was like a child, tossing and turning, willing sleep to come so the night would pass quickly so I could open my pesent’s on Christmas morning. I woke at 5am, adrenaline making me restless, even my husband telling me to try and get more sleep, rubbing my head and hair trying to make me drift off again… I was going to tackle these. SO I GOT UP!
On popped the coffee machine, made myself a large Cappuccino, turned on Lyric FM and away I went. I’m not usually a morning person but when you write about what what you adore, it could draw you out of a coma.
I’m not a pastry chef, but I am damn right passionate about cooking and baking, so as they may not look like Raymond Blanc made them, I make them with passion, regardless. 🙂

I used the frozen puff pastry, why stress yourself out? The important thing though is not to roll the offcuts into a ball and re-roll out, they won’t puff as good at all. The whole point of puff pastry is that it’s rolled with layers of butter, folded over on itself and rolled out again, they butter layers make it puff, if you roll it in a ball, it’s pretty much shortcrust again.

You don’t have to do coffee either, you can colour the icing any colour you like, or not at all and flavour it with other flavourings, even add cocoa powder and make chocolate, ice cream syrup to make a strawberry or caramel, which will also colour it. I don’t like jam in coffee slices but I sometimes add it, traditionally it is used in the coffee slice. Be creative, don’t be afraid.
Also, bakeries make a sort of lasagne out of the pastry and cream but I find, if you cut your rectangles and bake them, you can cut them open and pipe your cream in and ice the top, I think that’s just enough. If you want them bigger, you could measure out your rectangles so they’re all them same and bake them with another baking tray on top as a weight, restricting so much puffing and just use about three rectangles of pastry per cake..  personal preference..

Coffee Slices

You’ll need:
Frozen rolled puff pastry
double cream
icing sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C (about 392˚F)Line a large baking tray with parchment and unroll the pastry.
  • Using a knife or a pizza cutter cut out your shapes that you want your pastry and lay them out on the tray, sprinkling with a little icing sugar before baking.
  • Bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes)
  • Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  • Whip your double cream, being careful not to whip it too much (so it doesn’t beat into butter). You can use a palette knife or a piping bag to pipe the cream and drizzle some jam on top of it if you like.

Coffee Glaze 

1 tablespoon of coffee granules
2tablespoons Boiling water, added to the coffee.
1 cup of icing sugar, more if needed until it’s thick enough tocover the top of the cake and not run down the sides too much
 Dust with a little cocoa powder.
 

 

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