Sunday 27 February 2011

Panna Cotta and Florentine Roses

Once upon a time in 2009, I wrote a post about Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta Shots. It was my sixth post. As I had tried the whole layering-in-a-glass thing then, I decided to try unmoulding my panna cotta for this challenge.

I have to admit that I screwed up the panna cotta part of this challenge and didn't try it again. I must have got my sheet gelatine conversions wrong because it was like rubber. I will defnitely try making it again at some point in the future as I like panna cotta.

The roses didn't come out quite how I wanted them but I'm pleased they're at least recognisable as roses. To make them I spread the batter thinly over a baking sheet and then baked it like that. When it came out of the oven and was still hot I used heart shaped cutters in two sizes to cut out petals and then constructed the roses from those. Another time I would spread the batter even thinner in the middle as it was a bit greasy and thick. 

The recipe pdf is on the main DK page here.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Friday 25 February 2011


Nothing has made me feel worse in the kitchen than macarons. I know they have plagued many a home baker but I thought I would tell my story anyway.

I am a perfectionist. Sometimes this is a great asset and serves me very well but often it just produces crushing dissapointment. Oxford is a punishing place to be a perfectionist. It just isn't possible - something had to give, and that was my confidence. I will be very happy when I finally finish at the beginning of June. Don't get me wrong - I love my degree and tutors and Oxford is a lovely place in many ways - but it has been tough for me. 

I decided to tell you about my macaron failures (and even publish the awful pictures) as part of a plan to accept them and to be kinder to myself. I can strive for my best, but I need to stop beating myself up about failure in all parts of my life. Learning to bake should be a process of accepting failures and faults and understanding them so you can improve.

I first tasted a macaron sitting on the sides of the Arc de Triomphe in blazing sunshine. It was September 2009 and my housemate Sarah and I were on a trip to Paris. We had picked up a box each (above, though this was Sarah's) from Ladurée and after a slow walk up the rest of the Champs-Élysées we settled down to our tasting.

They were delicious, but I have to admit I had expected more after the hype. They're not my favourite pastry to eat. 

The photo below shows my first ever batter resting before baking. It was last April and I decided that I finally had gathered enough courage and information to attempt a batch. A few days before I had admitted in this first blog birthday post that I wanted to train as a pastry chef. Now, surely, I had to show that I could do it and make macarons. 

I bought special powdered food colouring for my berry macarons and flew it home. After much deliberation, I chose to make them through the French meringue technique as I wasn't experienced with Italian. I looked through many recipes until I decided to try Tartlelette's recipe from her useful guide. I was so excited - surely they would be pulled out of the oven with a flourish looking just like Helen's. 

A lot of hope rested on them as I placed them in the oven.

Would you like to see what I pulled out? It still pains me. 

Later that day I tried again with another batter, below. I have to admit that I cried - despite the slight improvement. I know it's pathetic to cry over a deformed macaron - especially only on your second attempt - but I did. 

Mum pointed out that some of them look like human cheek cells, complete with cell wall and a nucleus. She always knows how to bring a smile back to my face. 

Two more botched bright pink batches later, I tried a plain batter with no colour or flavouring. These came out mildly better again, with more compact feet. Yet still they were nowhere near what I wanted. For the first time I bothered to fill them with some raspberry puree mixed with yogurt. They were too sweet even with the filling. 

At this point, Mum told me I had to stop. I was only upsetting myself. 

This Christmas I tried again (after yet another attempt last term) and made some chocolate macarons with a bitter chocolate ganache. These came out better again. I actually let people other than my mum see and eat them. 

Finally, I tried out the Italian method a few days ago. From the beginning it just seemed to work. I much prefer this method. 

I chose to make lemon macs as I had spare curd and I thought I would prefer something that cut throught the sweetness. This is the first batch I actually enjoyed eating. Though I do have a sweet tooth (obviously), I like my food to taste of more than icing sugar (which, incidentally, is my main problem with a lot of cupcakes). 

They're still not perfect.

Blogging has taught me to be incredibly critical of macarons. Even professional ones often have some flaws.  With practice I'm sure I can remove some - and that should be part of the fun.


This time I used Ms Humble's recipe for lemon macarons and her three guides to Italian macarons. I then filled them with leftover lemon curd made with David's wonderful recipe

Sunday 20 February 2011

Ginger, Orange and Chocolate Biscotti

I got back from my little change of scene late on Friday night after a series of annoying delays. Time seems to have curiously expanded since then - I can't believe my journey was only two days ago and that yesterday I was eating these after carefully transporting a few in my luggage. 

It was a wonderful trip - lots of lovely food, old movies and relaxing with my mum and dogs (and lots of work on my essay, unfortunately). These were one of the things we baked from a book I gave my mum for Christmas and have been lusting after ever since - Green & Black's Ultimate.   

The recipe is quite different to the Dark Chocolate and Almond Biscotti I made a few months ago and behaved very differently too. This one doesn't have any butter added. I made a few changes which are reflected below - mainly swapping in zest/juice and orange blossom water for orange essence and not adding things to the chocolate. I halved the recipe too which is reflected below, though I would definitely recommend doubling for the full batch! I found my loaf wasn't fully cooked inside at the recommended time so I've increased it - as mine were already cut I increased the second time instead. 

I really enjoyed these - they're chewier than other biscotti I've tried but I liked that. The flavours are delicious and the dark chocolate contrasts beautifully (though I loved them plain too). I adore the stem ginger with orange blossom water - such a beautiful pair, both in taste and smell. 

Ginger, Orange and Chocolate Biscotti
(adapted from Green & Black's Ultimate: Chocolate Recipes)

75g whole blanched almonds (done yourself or bought)
125g plain flour (00 if possible)
1/2 tsp baking powder
45g caster sugar
30g soft brown sugar (or all caster)
25g stem ginger in syrup, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1 tbsp orange juice (+ 1 tsp if needed)
zest of 1/2 an orange
75g dark chocolate 

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a tray with baking parchement. Sift flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl and mix. Stir in almonds, ginger, egg, zest, blossom water and orange juice until thick dough (I had to beat it to make it come together). Sprinkle a surface with icing sugar and roll into a log in the sugar (or two if doubled). Place onto the tray and squish slightly. Place in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool for five minutes then slice with a sharp knife into 1cm bits (I used serrated) - you can cut at an angle the traditional way or straight.  Place back onto the baking tray and bake for 3-5 minutes.  Take out and leave to cool on a wire rack. 

To coat with chocolate, melt in a bowl over a bain marie or in the microwave until smooth. Spoon and smooth the chocolate over half of each biscotti. Place onto greaseproof and leave until it has set. 

(Makes about 15)

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Lemon, Date and Ginger Cake

Yesterday I decided at about 11am that I needed to come back to Switzerland for a re-charge and to clear my head. I arrived at 10pm CH time. It was a bit of a whirlwind day but I do feel better for being out of Oxford. It can get very claustrophobic and skew your perceptions. Little things can seem life-or-death important. Luckily I didn't have much contact time and managed to rearrange what I did have so I could come. I've got to write the first draft of a dissertation-type essay in the next week, so I've got a lot to do while I'm here. Still, it's lovely to see my mum and the dogs.

I made this cake about a week ago. It's a great cake to have about if you're busy and in need of good energy boosts - it's not too unhealthy and is filling. I really love the flavours too. 

After I made it, mum tried the recipe too. She didn't have any dark muscovado and the result was very different from mine. Before I left yesterday I had the last slice of mine and then mum gave me a slice when I got here so I had a clear taste test. There's a big difference so make sure you get the proper dark sugar - it's too sweet and loses a lot of flavour without. I don't know how the brown sugar that Joy shows you how to make here would compare but it'd be worth a try. Also, don't refrigerate the cake.

Lemon, Date and Ginger Cake
(barely adapted from BBC Good Food, here)

200g stoned dates
200g butter
300g dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs
50g grated fresh ginger
zest of 1 lemon
200g self raising flour
250g apple in pea-sized pieces (I used 2 small cox)
couple of chunks of candied ginger, cut up
juice 1/2 lemon
icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 150C. Butter and line a 20 or 24 cm cake tin and place it onto a baking sheet. Put the dates into a small bowl and cover with boiling water while you prepare the rest. Grate the ginger, zest the lemon and peel, core and chop the apple. Put the butter and sugar in a medium-large saucepan and heat until melted and smooth. Turn the heat off and leave to cool for a minute. Drain the dates and chop them - I did most finely then a few slightly bigger chunks. Add the ginger, zest and eggs to the butter mix in the saucepan and beat until combined. Stir in the dates, then the flour, then the apple. Pour into the tin and put it (with the baking sheet) into the oven. Bake for 60 to 75 mins - it should be risen and a skewer should pull out moist crumbs from the centre, not goo.  Leave to cool in the tin. 

To decorate, I just made up a simple drizzling icing with some lemon juice and an appropriate amount of icing sugar. Good Food used melted white chocolate, which would also be nice. I then topped it with small chunks and slices of candied ginger. 

Keeps well wrapped up in cling film for a week on the counter (mine was clingfilmed to a cake stand and still was delicious 7 days on). Apparently you can freeze it without toppings for up to two months, well wrapped. 

(Serves 12-14)

Thursday 10 February 2011

Sea-Salted Chocolate and Pecan Praline Heart Tarts

I gave in. I made heart shaped baked goods. 

I got these little heart shaped tart tins from my housemate Sarah for Christmas and this seemed like the perfect time to whip them out. I halved the original recipe but if you don't happen to have two smaller tins (or a tin about 15 cm diameter) then double the recipe and use a 24 cm one. 

I don't celebrate Valentines with my boyfriend (who, incidentally, doesn't ever really get mentioned on here despite having been with me nearly as long as this blog has. I suppose I'm quite a private person about such things.) and so I wasn't intending to post anything about it. But somehow those tins came out of the cupboard and here I am. 

So instead of celebrating Valentines as a massive romantic couple-only event I'm going to think of it as just a day to reflect on all the people you love. Friends and family as well as partners. To this end I took these tarts to a dinner with a group of friends last night. I showed my mum on skype and made her really quite jealous. I saved a piece for a certain someone too. 

But also, dear reader, these tarts are for you. (Don't get me wrong, not in a creepy way. No stalkers please - except if you are Rachel or Rosie of Dream Team fame, of course). 

Seriously, though. Every sweet comment or wish for my future warms my heart. I'm not always the most confident of people and your support has made it so much easier to come out with something so delicate as a dream for the future. My nerves don't jangle when I now tell someone I'm heading to pastry school. I just get a buzz of excitement. 

This recipe comes from my favourite chocolate book, 'Adventures with Chocolate' by Paul A. Young. Another time I'll reduce the salt as it's a bit overpowering for my taste. Otherwise, these are gorgeous. The praline is addictive and so much fun to make. The filling is silky smooth and intense. The pastry is a bit of a pain to deal with but the way it crumbles works in contrast to the creamy insides. 

Sea-Salted Chocolate and Pecan Praline Heart Tarts
(barely adapted from Paul A. Young's Adventures with Chocolate)

For the pastry:
88g butter
38g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
125g plain flour
10g cocoa
17 ml cold water

Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon or in a food processor. Add the egg yolk and water and mix until all the liquid is incorporated. Add the flour and cocoa powder a tbsp at a time until it forms a thick uniform paste.  Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour (I chilled mine overnight).

Sprinkle a work surface with flour and start rolling the pastry out as one if you're doing one big tart or in halves for two smaller ones. Roll it out until it's bigger than your tin then transfer and press into the tin. Slice off any excess bits and put in the fridge to firm up for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Scrunch up pieces of parchment and use them to line each tin then fill with baking beans. Bake for 8 minutes (12 for one tin, 20 for the doubled recipe) then remove the parchment and beans and bake for a further 5. Leave to cool. 

For the filling:
100g best quality dark chocolate (Paul recommends 65% Madagascan)
100 ml double or whipping cream
100g light brown sugar
2.5g Maldon sea salt (I'm going to use 1g next time)

Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl then set over a pan of boiling water. Turn the heat down as low as it will go and then stir until smooth and melted. Pour into the cold baked tart cases and put into the fridge to set for 2 hours.

For the topping:
50g white caster or granulated sugar
1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
50g pecan halves

Cut a square of parchment and put it near your hobs on a safe surface. Heat the sugar in a small saucepan until it melts and caramelises (have a look at this if you're unsure about making caramel). When it gets to a deep gold, add the salt and stir well. Pour in the pecans and stir quickly making sure they're evenly coated. Pour onto the parchment and spread out. Leave to cool totally then break or chop into shards and top the tarts with it. 

(Makes two 12cm tarts - serves about 6)

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Chocolate Swiss Roll with Peanut Butter Mousse

This is the other cake I took to my friend Sam's birthday party last friday, along with the Raspberry and Pistachio Baked Cheesecake. 

Sam said I could let my imagination run wild and to go for more dessert than cake. So I chose an exciting idea I had thought up at 1:45am and then tweeted about a few weeks ago - partly because I thought it would be suitable and partly because just the thought of having the whole thing in my house made my thighs expand. 

I adapted a recipe from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert for the cake (partly because the recipe intrigued me with the water addition), adapted a recipe from Whisk Kid for the mousse and used some leftover hot fudge sauce to pour over it. It turned out really well and everybody seemed to enjoy it - soft light sponge, creamy peanut butter mousse and then the dark contrast of the outside. I was particularly pleased with the sponge as it didn't crack or dry out. Another time I'll just use ganache for simplicity, so that's what I've put below. Another time I might smooth the ganache over the ends too, as it looked a bit uneven.

I had both cakes happily sitting in the fridge waiting to leave while we got into our costumes. Then, about half an hour before we needed to leave, I got a text from Sam's girlfriend asking if I had any candles for the cake she was making him. Whoops. No idea why I didn't think to ask - I was so glad I hadn't made a traditional cake at that point. So I whipped the candles out of the top and piped some remaining mousse down the middle to hide the craters in the sauce. Sorted. 

Only remaining problem - all photos included candles, especially because I thought they were pretty. So no hiding from my faux pas. I got a shot of the final version in my fridge to show you but the colours were so off I had to make it black and white...

Chocolate Swiss Roll with Peanut Butter Mousse
(cake adapted from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert and mousse from Whisk Kid, here)

For the cake:
60g plain flour
30g cornflour
20g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs, separated
35ml cold water
120g golden caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F and line the bottom of a 12" by 8" (or slightly bigger) swiss roll tin. Butter the sides. Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt together three times. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attached, whisk the egg yolks and water together on high speed for 1 minute. Turn down and add the caster sugar, then whip on high until the mixture is pale and thick and leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted - about 5 mins. Put to one side. In another clean, dry bowl (I transferred the first mix to another bowl then washed my KA bowl as I only have one) whisk the eggs whites until stiff peaks. 

Place the yolk mix bowl on a damp cloth to stop it moving. With your non-dominant hand, slowly start sifting the flour mixture into the bowl while your dominant hand folds in with a whisk. When the flour is totally incorporated, add 1/3 of the whites and fold in with a rubber spatula to lighten the mix. Finally add the rest of the whites and fold in until uniform. Pour into the baking sheet, spread evenly and place into the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until springy to touch in the center but not too brown, especially at the edges. 

While the cake is baking, cut two large rectangles of parchment paper bigger than your pan. Lay one on a work surface then sprinkle with a few tsps of caster sugar and have the other handy. When you take the cake from the oven, leave it to rest for one minute, then slide a knife around the edge of the pan and flip onto the sugary parchment. Peel off the parchments on the bottom of the cake. Score a line gently about 1" from one end. Place the new parchment over the top and start rolling from the scored edge, keeping it tight. When you finish, wrap the whole roll in a tea towel and leave to cool. 

For the mousse:
100g cream cheese
175g peanut butter
100g icing sugar
200ml double cream

In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the peanut butter and icing sugar and beat again until smooth and uniform. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until fairly stiff. Add 1/3 of the cream and fold in to lighten, then add the remaining cream and fold in until uniform. Put in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. 

To assemble:
50g dark chocolate
75ml double cream
20g soft brown sugar

Carefully unwrap then unroll the cake then spread over the peanut butter mousse thickly, leaving an inch around the sides. Re-roll and then place on your serving plate. Chop the chocolate and place it in a small bowl. Heat the cream and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and it's nearly boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Leave for a minute then stir until smooth and glossy. Spoon over the swiss roll until evenly coated (you could do this on a rack to stop there being drips on the plate). Chill for 1 hour before serving. 

(Makes about 10-12 slices)

Saturday 5 February 2011

Raspberry and Pistachio Baked Cheesecake

Every now and again I get a sudden craving to make something really colourful. While shades of gold and brown can mean very good things (pastry, chocolate, peanut butter, brown sugar, breads...) sometimes it's nice to have something vibrant to photograph and eat. 

I know raspberries are horribly out of season. I just couldn't help myself. 

Although I love making unbaked cheesecakes, I've only made one baked one before - a Simple Baked Cheesecake. It was nice, but not a patch on the unbaked type.

A few months ago I came across this recipe from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook online and quickly bookmarked it (so quickly, in fact, that it's down as 'Radpberry and pistachip Cheesecake'...). Finally a few days ago I found the bookmark again and decided I had to give it a try. 

Thankfully it didn't crack and behaved perfectly (see above for weirdly-lit-but-look-no-cracks!-and-isn't-apricot-jam-awfully-orange photo). 

My friend Sam had his birthday party last night and this came along with me (as did another dessert you will hear about soon...). Hence no inside photos. It seemed to go down really well - there's nothing like eating cheesecake with your fingers off a paper napkin. 

I loved the combination of flavours - the pistachio and raspberry go brilliantly. The cheesecake itself was so much better than I thought it could be - light, fluffy, not grainy at all and had a wonderful delicate flavour. 

Definitely a recipe to make again. 

Raspberry and Pistachio Baked Cheesecake
(adapted from SoNo Baking Company Cookbook, see here)

For the base:
30g shelled pistachios
30g light brown sugar
pinch of salt
65g digestive biscuits (or graham crackers)
40g butter

Before you begin, grease a 5" loose-bottom tall tin with a little butter. Get two bigs squares of tin foil and wrap the tin in them, one over the other.  Melt the 40g butter either in a small pan or in the microwave the put aside. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until fairly fine. Roughly break up the biscuits and put into the processor with the salt and sugar. Pulse until combined and well mixed. Add the butter to the bowl and stir until well coated. Tip into the tin and press down to form an even layer. Put into the fridge to chill. 

For the filling:
450g cream cheese, out of fridge for 6 hours or so
150g golden caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla paste
2.5 eggs, beaten *
90ml sour cream

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Place the chilled and wrapped tin into a roasting tray. Boil the kettle. In the bowl of your stand mixer (with the paddle attached) beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla extract and vanilla paste and beat for a few minutes until smooth. Turn down to a lower speed and add the egg in three stages, beating to combine between each addition. Scrape down the sides regularly. Finally, add the sour cream and beat to combine. Pour into the prepared tin - it will come up nearly to the top. Place the tray into the oven then pour the boiling water from the kettle into the tin until it comes about 1/3 of the way up the tin. Bake for 45- 50 minutes until set but still wobbly in the middle. Take out of the oven and remove the tin to a wire rack. Place a piece of foil over the top and leave for ten minutes then run a knife around the edge of the tin. Replace the foil and leave to cool down. When totally cool remove the foil and mop up any condensation with some kitchen towel. Cover with cling film and put into the fridge overnight or for 6 hours.  

*For advice on halving eggs, see my guide

To decorate:
1 punnet fresh raspberries
3 tbsp apricot jam
60g pistachios

In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until fairly fine with a mixture of smaller and larger pieces. Take the cheesecake out of the fridge, run a knife around the edge of the tin again then remove to a serving plate with strips of parchment paper around the sides. Put the jam into a small saucepan and heat until liquid. Pour through a strainer to take out any lumps. Brush the top and sides of the cheesecake with the jam. Arrange the raspberries on top. Thin down the remaining jam with 1 tbsp boiling water (more if needed) then glaze the raspberries. Finally take handfuls of the pistachios and press to the side. Clear away any excess pistachios and remove the parchment strips. Return to the fridge to set for 1 hour. 

(Serves 8-10)

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Braided Lemon Bread

I first fell in love with food blogs because of four things/people: Molly of Orangettethis post on Tea & Cookies, Helen of Tartelette's photos and Deb of Smitten Kitchen

Everybody loves Deb's blog. It's friendly, helpful and always full of great new ideas. I have to admit that sometimes (particularly if it's a savoury post) I seek out the photo of Jacob before I think about the food. He's just so cute. 

I bookmarked this recipe the moment I saw it. It's taken me months to make it but I'm very glad I finally got my act together. There was some spare lemon curd and cream cheese in the fridge so I didn't really have a choice. I also had some fresh yeast (free from bakeries or local supermarkets with bakeries) which I wanted to use. I love using fresh yeast  - the way it crumbles and the smell which lingers on your fingertips for ages. 

I used David Lebovitz's lemon curd recipe for the middle. It's really delicious - thicker and tarter than the ones I've made before. 

The corners of dough that you cut off to make the braid are wonderful rolled out again, spread with a mixture of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar, sliced into strips, rolled up and baked for 10 minutes. A very delicious cinnamon roll side product! I had six mini rolls. 

This really is a stunning bread. I'd never made anything like it before but I definitely will again. It seems more complex than it is - a bit of patience and you'll be fine. The results are worth the effort!

I think the photo below looks like a smiley face with sunglasses on:

Braided Lemon Bread
(barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen, here)

For the sponge:
6 tbsp warm water
1 tsp caster sugar
9g fresh yeast (or 1.5 tsp instant yeast)
25g plain flour

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl then add the other ingredients. Mix well then leave for 12-15 minutes, loosely covered in cling film.

For the dough:
the sponge, above
75g sour cream
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg, beaten
45g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
265g strong bread flour (or plain flour)

Mix the sponge, sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer with  the beater/paddle attachment. Tip in the flour and beat until it comes together into a rough ball. Change to the dough hook and knead for 5-6 minutes until smooth and soft. Lightly grease a big bowl and place the dough in the bottom. Cover with cling film and put in a warm place to rise. Leave till doubled and puffy. 

For the filling:
65g cream cheese
2 tbsp caster sugar
25g sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
13g plain flour

Beat all the ingredients together until smooth. Leave, covered, until the dough has risen. 

To assemble:
50g lemon curd
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Before you start, have a look at Deb's step-by-step photos. Knock down the risen dough. On a well floured surface roll out into a rectangle of about 10" by 15". Transfer the rectangle to a big rectangle of baking parchment. Mark the dough into three lengthways with the side of your hand or a ruler, but don't cut through. Mark off 2" at each end. Cut the rectangles at each corner of the dough off by pressing down with a sharp knife.  Spread the inner rectangle with the cream cheese mixture, then spread over the lemon curd. Fold over the two end rectangles. Cut the side rectangles (without filling) into 1" strips, making sure you have an even number on each side. Fold them in diagonally across the middle, alternating sides. Continue down the braid. Tuck the ends over underneath. Transfer the braid to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise for 50 mins - 1 hr or puffy and nearly doubled. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the demerara. Bake at 375F/ 190C for 22-25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Take out of the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing and eating. 

If you want to make ahead then you can put it in the fridge or freezer at most points. Like Deb suggested, I made it up to the point of finishing braiding then put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning I put it in a warm place and left it for two hours while it heats up and then rises. Bake as normal.  I then froze 2/3 of the loaf - don't know how it'll be yet!