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It's never too late to learn to bake with Mrs Simkins                                                        July 2010  

It’s Never Too Late to Learn to Bake with Mrs Simkins

Cooking with Mrs Simkins: How to Cook Simple, Wholesome, Home-made Meals Popular cookery author Mrs Simkins is recognised for her straightforward writing and easy-to-follow recipes.

Her work, which includes a weekly column in the popular Blackmore Vale Magazine in the West Country, is based on a lifelong interest in food and developing new recipes plus over thirty years cooking for family and friends.

See Mrs Simkins Suggests... for kitchen equipment suggestions

Her first book ‘Cooking with Mrs Simkins’ is out now and available from Amazon. Her second book ‘Tea with Mrs Simkins’ will be published in September.



Baking may be one of those things you have always meant to do but have never quite got around to. Maybe you do bake but feel you could improve a bit more. Maybe you are an accomplished baker already but just love trying out new recipes or new ways of doing things. Whichever applies to you, I hope you will find something in this monthly column that will appeal!


This month

Coconut Tarts

Coconut TartThese are just delicious and perfect for tea-time with a cup of tea. Enjoy them in the garden or on a picnic during the summer, or tucked up in front of the fire when the rain is lashing down outside in the winter.

Make sure you use raspberry jam as the flavour goes so beautifully with the coconut.


Makes 15-16

For the Pastry

110g (4oz) plain flour
Pinch of salt
50g (2oz) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 rounded dessertspoon of unrefined caster sugar
2 tablespoons of cold water

For the Coconut Topping

75g (3oz) butter, softened
75g (3oz) sugar
1 egg, beaten
40g (1½ oz) plain flour
110g (4oz) desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons milk

Plus about 3 tablespoons raspberry jam, preferably seedless

You will need one or two greased 12 cup tart tin and a 7.5cm (3 inch) cutter, fluted or plain. If you only have one tin you will need to bake a second part batch

Preheat oven to 180C (fan ovens) or equivalent

Making the Pastry

Sieve the flour and salt carefully into the bowl of your food processor and add the butter. Whiz into fine crumbs and add the sugar. Whiz again briefly. Add the water and whiz until the mixture is starting to come together. Turn it out onto a floured board and knead it lightly until it forms a ball.

Roll it out gently with a floured rolling pin to a thickness of just less than ½ centimetre.

Cut out 12 circles with the cutter, transfer them to the prepared tart tin and firm them down gently.

Making the Coconut Topping

Whiz the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sieve in the flour and add the egg. Whiz briefly and add the desiccated coconut and milk. Whiz again until thoroughly mixed.

Assembling the Tarts

Spoon a little jam in the base of each tart and top with a teaspoonful of the coconut mixture. Smooth it gently with the back of the teaspoon: especially round the edges so the jam won’t bubble through.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until the coconut topping is just tinged golden and risen and the pastry is cooked. Leave to settle for a few moments then ease from the tin with a small palette knife and cool on a wire rack. Eat warm (not hot) or cold.

Store in an airtight container when cold.

Mrs Simkins © 2010

You can email Mrs Simkins at


Mrs Simkins Suggests...

Thermos Thermos Flasks in range of sizes from £5.60 to £14.00

Crazes come and crazes go, but when you need a proper reliable vacuum flask you can’t beat an original Thermos flask! These insulated vacuum flasks are made from stainless steel with leak proof stoppers and the usual lid that doubles as a cup. Hot drinks will stay hot for up to 8 hours and cold drinks will stay cool for up to 24 hours.

Although not usually recommended, I have kept mine sparkling by putting all-stainless steel flasks in the dishwasher.

Never store your flasks with the stoppers on, and keep separate flasks for tea and coffee. Once a flask has been used for coffee, the rubber seals seem to retain the coffee taste and tea will taste tainted and peculiar!


Tea with Mrs Simpkins


Tea with Mrs Simkins
Published by Spring Hill, an Imprint of How to Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-905862-43-6
Available in October 2010 and available to pre-order now from Amazon, £12.99



Previous articles in the series:

Cookery column 1 - Baking scones
Cookery column 2 - Easter biscuits
Cookery column 3 - Lemon Drizzle cake
Cookery column 4 - Ginger batter buns
Cookery column 5 - Coconut tarts



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