Technical Challenge Week 8 – Rum Nicky

As it was forgotten bakes week, I had no idea what to expect when making this. I really didn’t expect to enjoy eating it but it was delicious! No soggy bottoms here either – I thought it would be very wet underneath, but it was crisp and dry!


Pastry Dough

  • 200g (1 2/cups) plain flour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100g (1 stick minus 1 tablespoon) cold butter
  •  1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 egg, to glaze


  •  250g (1 1/2 cups) Medjool dates, coarsely chopped
  • 100g (1/2 cup) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 50g (1/3 cup) crystallised ginger, finely chopped
  • 50mL (1/4 cup) dark rum
  • 50g (1/4 cup) light brown soft sugar
  •  50g (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small cubes


  1. Mix together all of the filling ingredients (except the butter), in a bowl and leave aside to soak while you make the pastry.
  2. For the dough, cut the butter into small cubes, and then add the flour and icing sugar. Rub into the dough until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the egg, lemon juice, and water to the mixture, and mix to combine. Once it balls together, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Split the dough into two pieces – one third and two thirds. Roll out the two-thirds of dough and use to line a 22cm metal pie dish. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the edge.
  5. Spread the filling over the pastry case, and dot the butter around on the surface.
  6. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 14 strips around 1/2” wide. Use these to create a lattice with 7 strands either side directly on top of the cake. Brush with the egg to glaze.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160ºC (320ºF) for another 20 minutes.
  8. Serve warm or cold.


You can find the original recipe here, on The Great British Bake Off’s website.

Technical Challenge Week 6 – Pasteis de Nata


Pasteis de Nata, or Portuguese Tarts, are one of my favourite things to eat. If you’re ever in the Cardiff area, make sure to visit Nata & Co. – it’s a Portuguese bakery where they sell all kinds of delicious bakes, including the famous tart.

Don’t be daunted by the pastry – make sure you use plenty of flour underneath, and regularly lift the dough to ensure it doesn’t stick. Trust me – they’re worth it!!!

Makes 12 Tarts



  •  125g (1 cup) flour
  • 1/8tsp salt
  • 115mL (1/2 cup) water
  • 110g (1 stick) butter


  •  12g (1 tsp and 1 tbsp) flour
  • 148mL (2/3 cup) milk
  • 132g (2/3 cups) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 80mL (1/3 cup) water
  • 1/4tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks



  1. Mix together the flour, salt, and water until combined. It should be a nice, soft, dough. Add a little more flour or water, if required.
  2. Roll into a 12.5″ square. Take one-third of the butter and spread across the left two-thirds of the dough, leaving a 1″ gap around the edges. Fold the right (unbuttered) third into the middle, and then fold the left side into the middle (see slideshow below for further clarification). Turn the dough by 90 degrees.

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  3. Roll out to a 12.5″ square again and repeat as before with a further third of butter.
  4. Roll the dough into a 9″ x 21″ rectangle with the short side towards you, and use the remaining butter to cover the dough. Working carefully, tightly roll the dough towards you, brushing off excess flour from the bottom as you roll.
  5. Trim the ends and wrap in cling film. Chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight. You can also freeze the dough at this point.


  1. Whisk the flour and 30mL (1/8 cup) of the milk together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the sugar, water, and cinnamon together until it reaches 100ºC (220ºF).
  3. Meanwhile, add the remaining milk to a separate saucepan, and scald (until 82ºC/180ºF). Whisk this into the flour/milk mixture.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick and then pour the syrup into the flour/milk mixture, whisking together as you do. Add the vanilla and leave to cool for a minute before whisking in the egg yolks.
  5. Strain the mixture into a clean jug. The custard does not need to be thick at this point.


  1. Pre-heat your oven to your highest setting (mine was 250ºC), and remove your dough from the fridge.
  2. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces, and place one piece into each cavity in your muffin tin. You may need to let your dough soften out of the fridge slightly before continuing.
  3. Using your thumbs, push the dough down into the tin until the base is covered, then push up the sides of the tin to create the sides. Repeat with all of your dough.
  4. Pour your custard into each cup of dough so it is three-quarters full, and bake until they are brown around the edges and on top (around 12-15 minutes).
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They are best eaten warm!

This recipe has been adapted from You can find the recipe here.