Friday 27th September is the date for the world's biggest coffee morning and hopefully it will held at your house! Don't worry I haven't suddenly invited hundreds of people over to your house for cake, there will be thousands of separate events all over the UK. You can hold a coffee morning anywhere you like and then ask your guests to donate money to Macmillan Cancer Support, who are hoping to raise over £15 million this year. You can join in by visiting the Macmillan website or by calling 0845 602 246 or you can text COFFEE to 88080 and they will send you your Coffee Morning Kit.
Just in case you need some inspiration for a delicious cake to serve to your guests.I have the perfect little coffee time dainty for you to make. These are dinky almond pastries with a topping of icing that is baked on top of the tartlet, turning plain icing into a delicious toffee meringue. The recipe is from an old Marks and Spencer cookbook that I had when I was a teenager. I used to bake one recipe from the book every Sunday for the family tea. Conversations (the name of given to the tarts) were always one of my favourites, and I hope that you will like them too. ( I had left a plate of the tartlets so I could take some more photographs when the light was better, but Mr Lemon Drizzle polished them off, so it would seem that conversations are a winner with him too!)
The recipe had it's own version of flaky pastry, but after I had attempted making some, I deemed it was lumpy pastry rather than flaky, so I used this recipe instead which was much more successful and ten times easier (of course you could make it really easy for yourself and use ready made). I have, in the past, made conversations with normal sweet shortcrust pastry and they work equally well.
Grease a 12 portion bun tin (you don't want to use a muffin tin as the sides are too high) Preheat the oven to 190C 375F 150Fan.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the egg, a little at a time and beat well. Then stir in the ground almonds and lemon juice.
Put the egg white into a bowl and add half the icing sugar and stir well. Blend in the flour and then add enough of the remaining icing sugar to give a thick consistency.
Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into twelve circles.
Place the circles into the bun tin and prick each one well with a fork.
Then spread a spoonful of the almond mixture around each pastry case.
Spread a layer of the icing mixture on the top of each tartlet.
Roll out the pastry trimmings and cut them into 5mm strips. Lay two across the top of each pastry. Then put the tin in the oven and bake for 17-20 mins until the pastry is cooked and the icing has turned a fawn brown colour.
Leave them to cool in the tin. They will keep for up to three days if stored in an airtight container.
These are such gorgeous little mouthfuls with their buttery flaky pastry and moist almond filling all topped off with delicious crispy chewy icing. You can pop them in your mouth like sweets and you probably won't even notice that you've eaten three or four...or maybe seven!
I really hope that you feel encouraged to dig out your best china, invite some friends over and raise some money for a truly fabulous cause, all while enjoying some conversations!