Now, when we do it, I enjoy watching them squidge dough around, decorate Gingerbread in intricate ways and stir steaming pans; knuckles white with fear, terrified eyes fixed and staring. I think the latter is due to me being a bit graphic about the potential for third degree burns when playing near the stove.
A few years ago, my number two piglet helped me make a cake. I remember this being a guilt-driven cake. Her baby brother had arrived so soon after her own birth, I was concerned she would never have any Mummy left for her. So as soon as he was having a nap and the biggest piglet was at pre-school, we embarked on the cake.
We smiled happily and chatted to each other as she cracked the eggs, mixed, got fed up, I mixed, she poured, I mixed, she sieved, I mixed and finally it was all ready for the cake tin.
My bright little girl is very technically minded. She does all the pink stuff too, but has always, always wanted to know how stuff works and how it’s put together. She hovered near me as I started to pour the mix into the tin. At the crucial moment she found the answer to the question that had been bugging her. Just what is that lever for on the side of the tin?
In an instant the Mother-daughter smiling idyll was shattered as the lovingly prepared cake mix oozed from the cake tin and spread slowly over the table. We both stared in horror. She was the most horrified. I was the most vocal. As she ran sobbing up the stairs I frantically scooped the mix back into the tin with my hands and hoped no-one would notice.
We kissed and made up, but ‘the day L opened the springform tin’ has gone down in the annals of Porker family history as one of the more comic cooking moments.
I hope you have a small child to hand with whom you can make these jam tarts. They’re very easy, no levers involved, and all being well you can pass a happy moment together in the kitchen.
Happy Kitchen Jam Tarts (makes about 12)
I love the texture of this pastry. It's really moist and very easygoing, none of that cracking rubbish you get when using wheat flour. The sweet potato does give it a slightly orange hue, which doesn't bother me at all, especially not when it tastes so yummy.
145g sweet potatoes (weigh them after you have peeled them)
100g rice flour (plus some extra) (here's one)0.5 tsp gluten-free baking powder (here's one)
0.5tsp xanthan gum (here's one)
60g dairy-free spread (here's one)
60g caster sugar
About 15tsps of gluten-free jam of your choice
- Peel the sweet potatoes, weigh out 145g, and then cook them in boiling water until they are soft. Drain them and mash them until they are smooth. Spread the mash out on a plate and leave to get cold in the fridge. You can make this up to 24 hours in advance. The mash needs to be really cold
- Put the rice flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and sugar into a large mixing bowl
- Add the dairy-free spread and rub it into the flour mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. It won't look like fine breadcrumbs, but don't worry
- Add the sweet potato mash and using the back of a metal spoon mix and squidge it all together until it forms a dough. It could be that the dough is too wet and sticky to work with, so add more rice flour, tablespoon by tablespoon. Mix after each addition until you get a soft, pliable dough that isn't sticky. Chill the dough in the fridge for about half an hour, (you can leave it for longer if it suits you, I've done it for at least 4 hours and it's been fine)
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / Gas mark 4 whilst the dough is chilling and grease your jam tart tray
- Flour a smooth work surface and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4mm. Sprinkle more flour over the top of the dough if the rolling pin sticks, adding extra flour doesn't seem to make any difference to the final dough
- Using a round biscuit cutter cut out the rounds and place them into your greased jam tart tray
- Put about a teaspoon of jam into each tart base, don't overload because it all bubbles up and out during cooking, don't fill more than half full
- Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or so, until the pastry is golden brown and the jam is bubbly and melted
- Leave to cool in the tray and remove when cold
- These are good for the school run, but take a pack of wipes with you
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007