Sunday, 29 March 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie

Hello everyone

The best part of a Sunday dinner is the dessert, am I right! And over the weekend I may have brought something I have wanted for many many years... A KitchenAid !!

I popped into John Lewis when out for a casual shop with my sister and saw the beauties all lined up and I couldn't resist. I have wanted one for so long and decided to take the plunge and just get one. You only live once and they last a life time!

So after carry the heaviest box known to man halfway across the town centre and shakily going home with my jelly arms, my mother decided it would be nice to make a lemon meringue pie for dessert on Sunday, which I happy obliged as I get to use my new stand mixer!

I hope you enjoy the pie as much as we did!







Ingredients

For the pastry
  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 45g/1¾oz icing sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
For the lemon filling
  • 6 lemons, zest and juice
  • 65g/2¼oz cornflour
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 6 free-range egg yolks
For the meringue topping
  • 4 free-range egg whites
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour

Preparation method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. First make the pastry. Measure the flour and butter into a food processor and blend together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and whizz again until combined to a ball.
  3. Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a 3mm thickness. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry up and transfer it to line a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed flan tin. Be careful not to stretch the pastry as you tuck it into the corners. Cover in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Take the pastry-lined tin out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry. Press the top edge of the pastry so that it stands slightly higher than the top of the tin.
  5. Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/Gas 3½.
  7. For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste. Measure 450ml/16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.
  8. In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks and carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.
  9. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.

  10. Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling. Then create a swirl on the top of the meringue. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp. Serve warm or cold.

    Thought I would add a photo of my new mixer! 


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Chocolate & Spice Hot Cross Buns

Hello everyone

Since it's almost Easter I wanted to make one of the best parts of the holiday.. Hot cross buns!

My whole family love them and I wanted to try a spin on them which I had seen in the good food magazine.

Not only have they got lots of raisins, but lots of chocolate! And I love anything containing chocolate!





This recipe makes 12 buns

Prep: 40 mins plus rising and proving

Cook: 20-25 mins

Hot cross bun Ingerdiants:

Sunflower oil for greasing
Zest and juice of 1 large orange
225ml/8fl oz semi-skimmed milk
50g/2oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 large egg
450g/1lb strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp fast-action yeast
50g/2oz golden caster sugar

Filling:

140g/5oz raisins
100g/4oz chocolate/70% cocoa
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
4 tbsp golden caster sugar
100g/4oz plain flour


1. Make the doughnut first. Heat the milk in a pan until steaming. Remove from the heat, and drop in the butter. After a couple of mins, bet in the egg and half he orange zest. The liquid should be just warm for step 2.

2. Mix the strong flour, yeast, 1 tsp salt and the sugar in a large bowl, then tip in the liquid and stir to make a soft dough without dry patches. Flour the work surface and your hands, then knead the dough for 5-10 mins until smooth and elastic. Use a stand mixer or processor if ou like. Oil a large bowl, sit the dough inside it, then cover with oiled cling film. Rise in a warm place for about and hour or until doubled in size.

3. Put the raisins and half the orange juice into a small pan or covered bowl, and either summer for a few mins or microwave on high for 1 min until hot. Cool completely. Break the chocolate into a good processor with the cinnamon and 2tbsp sugar, then pulse until finely chipped. Mix in the rest of the zest. If you don't have a food processor, chip it by hand or grate it, then mix with the other ingredients.

4. Turn the risen dough onto a floured surface and press out to a large rectangle , a little bigger than A4 paper. Scatter it evenly with the chocolate mix and raisins, which should have absorbed all the juice ( drain them if not ). Roll the dough up around the filling, then knead it well for a few mins until the chocolate and fruit is evenly spread. Some chocolate and raisins will try to escape, but keep kneading them back in.

5. Grease then line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape the buns by pinching each ball of dough into a purse shape, concentrating on making the underneath of the ball (which will be the top) as smooth as you can. Put the buns, smooth side up, onto the baking sheet, leave room for rising. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and prove in a warm place for 30-45 mins or until the dough has risen and doesn't spring back quickly when prodded gently.

6. Heat oven to 190c/170c fan/gas 5. To make the paste for the crosses, gradually stir 6-7tbsp water into the plain flour to make a smooth, thick paste, then put in a food bad and snip off the endat about 5mm. Pipe the crosses, the. Bake for 20-25 mins until the bus are risen and dark golen brown.

7. Mix the rest of the orange juice with the remaining sugar and let it dissolve. Brush the syrup over the buns while hot, then leave to cool. Eat on the day of baking or toasted the next day.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cinnamon Baked Donuts

Hello everyone

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I purchased a donut pan from eBay. After reading a lot about baked donuts and listening to my mum go on about 'sea side' donuts I wanted to make something that was a lot healthier — since they aren't fried — but taste just as yummy.

So after finally getting the chance on a sunny sunday afternoon after a roast i decided to whip a batch up and hope my family liked them. I went for a simple cinnamon sugared donut as that is the closest thing to the ones my mum oh so loves from Skegness and also because it was my first time ever using a donut pan. I didn't want to go all fancy with flavour and just see how well my purchase worked.

Let me tell you - they were amazing! Still warm and just dipped in cinnamon infused sugar  they were heaven and perfect to share with the family on a nice afternoon in the garden. 

I can't wait to make my next batch and try something new with the flavours of baked donut - I'm thinking spiced apple?








The recipe makes 12 full size donuts.



Ingredients

Baking spray


2 cups plain flour


1 1/2 cups sugar


2 tsp baking powder


1 tsp ground cinnamon


1/2 tsp ground nutmeg


1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten


1 1/4 cups whole milk


2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


2 tsp pure vanilla extract


For the topping:


8 tbsp
butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon



Directions



  • Preheat the oven to 350f/180c/gas 4. 
  • Spray 2 doughnut pans well
  • Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Spoon the batter into the baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full. 
  • Bake for 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a sheet pan.
  • For the topping melt 8tbsp of butter, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar, either on one side or both side

I'd also like to thank Sophie my little sister for helping me with the picture. I may not be able to take amazing photos like you, but you cannot bake to save your life, so i think we are even :) 

Salted Caramel Brownies

Hello everyone

This is a recipe from the Good Food magazine which I fell I love with. I'm all for salted caramel and putting it in a brownie makes it ten times better!!

These brownies are so good we ate them all within a day! The caramel is amazing and the brownie is soft and fudgey. Perfect for a bake sale or just taking to share with friends, family or work colleagues!

This recipe makes 16 larger or 32 bite sized brownies.





Ingredients

- 200g / 7oz unsalted butter, plus little extra for greasing
- 100g / 4oz chocolate, 70% cocoa
- 100g / 4oz chocolate, 50% cocoa
- 397g can carnation caramel
- 1 tsp flakey sea salt, plus a little extra for the top
- 200g / 7oz golden caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 100g / 4oz plain flour, plus 2 tbsp
- 50g / 2oz cocoa powder

1. Heat oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4. Grease then line a 23cm square tray bake tin with baking parchment. Melt the butter in a medium pan, break in all the chocolate, then remove the pan from the heat and wait for the cubes to melt.

2. In a small bowl, mix 175g of the caramel with 1tsp sea salt - it will loosen up. Put the rest of the caramel in a large bowl with the sugar and eggs, and beat with an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk until even.

3. Whisk in the chocolate and butter. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and a good pinch of salt, then sift this on top of the chocolate mix. Beat briefly until smooth.

4. Pot half the brownie batter into the tin and level it with a spatula. Using a teaspoon, spoon half of the salted caramel on top of the batter layer in 5 thick, evenly spaced stripes. Spoon the rest of the brownie batter on Roland smooth it out, trying not to disturb the caramel beneath. Top with the rest of the caramel in the same stripey fashion. Drag a skewer or tip of a knife through the caramel to make a feathered pattern on top.

5. Scatter with a little more sea salt, then bake for 25-30mins or until risen all the way to the middle with a firm crust on top. When ready, the brownie will jiggle just a little when you shake the tin. Let it cool completely in the tin, the cut into squares.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Chocolate Beer Batter, Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Hello Everyone

My favourite TV show for a while now has been 2 Broke Girls and after the first mention of beer batter, maple bacon cupcakes i have wanted to try them so badly. So after doing some hunting on line i found the perfect recipe that emulates the cupcakes on the show. Sadly there isn't an exact recipe for the ones that were used to impress Martha Stewart, but this seem the closest.

Now I'm not really a beer drinker and i was quite worried so finding a recipe that was also chocolate eased my mind. Surprisingly the flavour paired together so well and i was so glad that i made these! I hope you enjoy them.

For the Chocolate-Beer Batter Cupcakes
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1½ cups white sugar
  3. 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup Guinness or favourite stout beer brand
  6. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  7. ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  8. 1 cup chocolate chips
  9. 2 large eggs
  10. ⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Maple-Glazed Bacon
  1. 3 strips bacon
  2. ⅓ cup maple syrup
For the Maple Frosting
  1. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened at room temperature
  3. 1 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  5. Leftover candied bacon drippings (about 1 Tablespoon)*
Make the cupcakes
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line twenty cups on two muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. 3. In a pot or large sauce pan, simmer the beer and butter on medium heat just until butter is melted. Add cocoa powder and chocolate chips, then stir until mixture becomes completely smooth. Take off heat and set aside to cool.
  4. 4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and yogurt until smooth. Slowly add slightly-cooled chocolate mixture, whisking constantly until mixture become homogenous. Add vanilla and mix.
  5. 5. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until completely smooth and well-combined.
  6. 6. Spoon batter into lined muffin cups a little over halfway full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with barely a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and allow to cool.





Make the maple bacon
  1. 7. Turn oven up to 375°F (190°C) and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay your bacon strips across a baking rack and place the rack on the foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. 8. Using a pastry brush, brush each strip of bacon with a layer of maple syrup. This basting process will be repeated while the bacon is cooked in the oven.
  3. 9. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to baste strips again. Return to the oven and bake another 5 minutes. Flip strips over, baste, and bake for another 5 minutes.
  4. 10. Baste bacon one last time and stick them back in the oven for the last 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.


Make the frosting
  1. 11. In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and well-incorporated.
  2. 12. Add powdered sugar, maple syrup, and bacon drippings. Mix until smooth. Add more powdered sugar, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency.
  3. 13. Spoon frosting into a piping bag, and frost each cupcake as desired.
  4. 14. Slice bacon in the desired size to decorate the cupcakes. Crumble or chop them up to sprinkle, or slice into one inch pieces to top. (Or do a combination.) I recommend placing the cupcakes in the fridge to chill for about an hour or so before eating.



Notes
  1. You can make either the maple bacon or the cupcakes first.
  2. * I did not have enough bacon drippings to make up 1 Tablespoon. Just use whatever drippings is left on your baking sheet after basting the bacon.