Quick and easy bagels for lunch

SIMON HOLST
Last updated 08:20 18/06/2013

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Make your own chewy bagels for about a 10th of the price of bought ones in a surprisingly short time. Spoil yourself with traditional toppings of cream cheese and smoked salmon. Bliss!

Makes 8 plump bagels: BAGELS

3 tsp yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

2 Tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (140g) wholemeal flour

2 Tbsp gluten flour

2 cups (280g) high-grade flour

Measure the first five ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for 15 minutes or longer in a warm place.

Stir in the gluten and high-grade flour, adding extra flour or water if necessary, until you have a dough just firm enough to knead.

Knead with the dough hook of an electric mixer or by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until you have a soft, smooth, satiny dough that springs back when gently pressed.

Turn the dough in 2-3 teaspoons of oil in the cleaned dry bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm draught-free place for 30 minutes.

Shaping and baking: Lightly knead the dough for 1 minute, then cut into eight equal pieces. Roll each into a 26cm long "snake". Working with one length at a time, dampen each end with water and press together firmly to form a ring. Place the rings on a sheet of oiled baking paper and leave for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan containing 5-10cm water to the boil. Carefully lower three bagels at a time into the boiling water (slide them into the water from the paper to avoid burning your hands), lift away the paper, and cook for 30-45 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels, then put the bagels on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper or a teflon liner, leaving space between them for rising.

Brush as far down the sides as you can with egg glaze (whisk together 1 egg, 1 Tbsp water and 1/2 tsp salt) and sprinkle with poppy or toasted sesame seeds.

Bake at 220C for 10-12 minutes until browned top and bottom. Cool on a rack and serve warm or toasted within 24 hours of making or freeze in an airtight container as soon as they are cold.

If you have a bread machine: Carefully measure all the ingredients into a 750g capacity bread machine in the order specified by the manufacturer. Set to the DOUGH cycle and START. Stop the machine and remove the dough 40 minutes after mixing starts, even though the cycle is not complete. Shape and bake by hand following the instructions above.

 

COCONUT SLICE

This has been a family favourite for thirty years. Other than being delicious, one of the key reasons for this is its versatility. It is equally good served warm for dessert or cooled, then cut into smaller pieces and served as a slice.

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If you have a food processor, it is easy to make your own pastry, but if you do not or are particularly pushed for time you can use bought pastry instead if you like.

Pastry: (see note)

1 cup standard (plain) flour

75g cold butter

about 1/4 cup cold water

Filling:

about 1/4 cup raspberry jam

about 1/2 cup currants or sultanas

Topping:

175g butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 large eggs

3 cups coconut

Heat oven to 220C (210C fanbake), with the rack just below the middle, and thoroughly non-stick spray a 23cm square pan.

To make the pastry: Put flour and cubed butter in the food processor, then process in bursts, while adding the water in a slow stream. Stop as soon as you can press the dough particles together to make a firm dough. Refrigerate dough 5-10 minutes while you mix the topping.

To make the topping: soften but do not melt the butter, then beat in the sugar, essence and eggs, and stir in the coconut.

Roll out the pastry, so that it is big enough to cover the base and about 1cm up the sides of the pan. Spread it with the jam and dried fruit, then drop the topping over it in blobs, spreading so most of the surface is covered. (Topping will spread during cooking.)

Bake for 10-15 minutes, then turn down to 180C (170C fanbake) and cook for 15-30 minutes or until the topping has browned evenly, and the centre feels firm.

Serve warm with whipped cream or icecream for dessert, or cool completely before cutting into pieces of the desired size. Store in a shallow container between layers of paper, in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days.

Note: For an extra easy version, replace the homemade pastry with 200g of bought sweet short pastry, or a sheet of pre-rolled pastry. Prick the pastry all over before covering with filling.

- Taranaki Daily News

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