Monday, November 24, 2014

Raspberry Jelly Roll - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (6/100)

I made a Swiss roll.

I made a Swiss roll and it didn't crack.

I made a Swiss roll, and I didn't push him down a hill. (Come on, you knew that was coming!)

I was unduly worried about this recipe, having seen how contestants struggle with swiss rolls on Great British Bake Off, as if you followed the instructions exactly, it was a doddle. After serving this to my boss, there was a long pause before he passed judgement, "it's very good," when I enquired as to the cause of this pause, he informed me, "well, the first thought that went through my mind was, 'it's not chocolate'!"

Anyway, it rose nicely, rolled nicely, and stuck slightly to the tea towel (more icing sugar next time I think.) I filled it with a blend of raspberry puree and apple butter, as I didn't have any homemade raspberry jam, and didn't think damson jelly would quite cut it. The raspberry-apple combo was very good, and cut nicely through the sweetness of the sponge.

4 eggs, separated
180g caster sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract
120g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
icing sugar, to dust,
160g raspberry jam.

Bake Off Style Instructions:
Make fatless sponge (whisked sponge)
Roll up sponge, whilst hot, on tea-towel dusted with icing sugar, leave to cool
Unroll sponge, spread with jam, re-roll.
Dust some more with icing sugar


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chocolate Custard Squares - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (5/100)


I have to say, hats off to Fred (of Tales of Pigling Bland - for more info on why she is "Fred," you'll have to go here and here (and read the comments)) for suggesting baking through a Hummingbird Bakery book. So many things I would have missed out on - the number of bakes in this book I would have skipped over, without a second glance, if it wasn't for the discipline of a bake-along.

This one is an excellent example - a bizarre combination at first glance, that somehow all comes together into a chocolate-y-vanilla-y-deliciousness.

I made a couple of substitutions: I replaced the cashew nuts with an equal weight of almonds because I realised too late I didn't have any and couldn't be bothered to buy more felt almonds were a nice alternative.

I also substituted amaretto for the Kahlua, because, despite finding 3 bottles of Chartreuse (seriously! What even is it?!) in the ancient family liquor cabinet, there was no Kahlua, and I ain't buying an entire bottle for the sake of 3 tablespoons. Plus, with the almonds, it complimented the base nicely.

These are seriously rich - the recipe suggests cutting into 12-15 squares, I cut into 16, and that still seemed an awfully big portion to me! However, they disappeared mighty fast at both PCC and work.

Base (smooshed up in the food processor, then baked at 170C for 15 minutes):
100g amaretti biscuits
60g unsalted cashews (I substituted unblanched almonds)
40g cocoa powder (the recipe specifies, "sifted," I did not sift, as it then tells you to blitz it with the other ingredients in a food processor, and if a food processor cannot get out the lumps in the cocoa, then we have bigger problems)
100g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
80g desiccated coconut
2 large eggs
Custard filling (basically a thick buttercream):
200g unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
4 tablespoons whole milk
Chocolate topping
150g dark chocolate (I used a blend of ~75g 85% and ~75g ~70% - the filling is so sweet you need a nice bitter chocolate to cut through)
25g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Kahlua (I used Amaretto instead)

In other news - the Laduree bake along is on hold, as it turns out finding barquette moulds and savarin moulds in the correct sizes is a) difficult and b) being debated as to its value - I'm not keen to buy things I will only use once/have one use for - kitchen space is limited, and likely to need packing up and moving at some point. I am sad about this, as I was enjoying learning patisserie, so will definitely return to it at some point. Now to find something else for the twice weekly baking...

Next up: Raspberry Jelly Roll (Swiss roll!)


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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lemon Macarons (Ladurée Sucré Bake Through)

These faired a little better than the chocolate macarons, with over half of the macarons forming feet, and fewer cracked tops. I think the problem is too thick batter, even after some hearty macaronage, so it may be a question of more stirring, less gentle folding, or slightly less almonds and icing sugar.

These underwent a very strange reaction in the fridge and became very soft on the outside as well as the inside, perhaps the lemon cream was a bit too wet, and there was too much water absorption?

They were rather melt-in-the-mouth, though, and this was well received. The lemon flavour was excellent, and the combination of the tart cream with the sweet macaron was rather nice.

I have one more type of macaron left (I think - raspberry) before I move onto other types of patisserie, and then I need to locate barquette moulds and savarin moulds! Maybe I'll take a short break to do some Christmas baking instead.

Macarons previously: MacaronsAlmond MacaronsAlmond Cake with Macaroon TopChocolate Macarons.

Lemon Cream:
160g granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon (unwaxed)
5g (2 tsp) cornflour
3 eggs
110ml lemon juice
235g butter (softened)
Macaron shells:
275g ground almonds
250g icing sugar
6+1/2 egg whites (separated)
210g granulated sugar
few drops of yellow food colouring (I added more than a few drops of natural yellow food colouring, but did not get the desired colour, unfortunately)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blackbottom Pie - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (4/100)

Some time ago, I made blackbottom cupcakes (also a Hummingbird Bakery recipe) - they had cream cheese in them, which always seems to go weird when I mix it up to bake with. The resulting cupcakes were a bit, "meh" - they were dry and not that exciting, so I wasn't holding out much hope for this pie.

However, the pie is quite a different sort of a thing to the cupcakes. For a start; no cake. A biscuit crumb base, topped with two sorts of custard (chocolate and plain) followed by whipped cream and shaved chocolate. This is a whole other story, folks.

The recommended pie dish diameter was 9 inches. I think if I was making again, I'd use an 8 inch pie dish, as I think I'd like more height to my pie, this felt a little thin. Mind you, it is quite rich, so you'd need a smaller slice. Oh, dilemmas, dilemmas!

Sadly, it seems that just Pigling (or Fred, as The Foggy Knitter suggested last time) and I are willing to engage in this Bake Along, so I'm trying to think of a way to inspire you, my readers (all three of you.) Any suggestions? You don't have to join in with all of it, just one or two bakes? So we don't feel so lonely? Do I sound desperate? I feel like I sound desperate!

Judging by the speed at which my colleagues devoured this, I would suggest it is a Good Thing. I even persuaded the chaplain to try it. (What does it say about you if you can tempt a man of the cloth with a chocolate pie?)

200g double chocolate cookies, crushed into crumbs (I may have made a boo-boo here and bought chocolate chunk cookies, which weren't "double" - I just added a tablespoon of cocoa to the crumbs and all was well again)
80g unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon water
2 leaves of gelatine (are all leaves of gelatine the same? I'm not sure my pie had quite enough gelatine in, it was set, but a little too soft for my liking...hmmm)
500ml whole milk
4 egg yolks (save the whites to make Almond Macarons or Chocolate Macarons etc)
160g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
170g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped (I used posh couverture buttons, and didn't bother chopping, and all was still well)
400ml double cream
3 tablespoons icing sugar (I reduced this to 1 and a half, and it was plenty sweet enough)
20g dark chocolate, shaved with a vegetable peeler.

Next week: Chocolate Custard Squares!


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Monday, November 03, 2014

Linzer Cookies - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (3/100)

Week three of this 2 year adventure that Pigling Bland and I have started on. (Aside - do you think it's okay that I call her Pigling? She has self-styled as such in the bio of her blog, but in real life I'd certainly only ever call her Gill, hmmm.)

Anyway, a fairly standard cookie recipe, with a fairly ordinary method of manufacture, (cream butter and sugar, add rest of ingredients, chill, roll, chill, cut, bake,) in contrast with the last two bakes from Home Sweet Home.

I did ignore the instructions slightly, because I thought these looked better with a smaller centre cut out - the instructions advised one about twice as big, but I preferred the semi-jammy-dodger type look.

These are quite big biscuits really, about twice the size of your normal jammy dodger, but standard linzer cookie size (based on my somewhat limited experience - the coffee shop where I used to work sold them, but at £1.50 each I was somewhat reluctant to buy one...)

Linzer cookies have a spiced biscuit dough, which contains ground almonds, and are generally filled with raspberry or strawberry jam. I substituted the jam with wild plum and apple jelly, which I feel gives them just the right deep red centres. 

280g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
380g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
60g ground almonds
200g seedless strawberry jam (or any red, smooth, jelly or jam)

Next week: Blackbottom Pie

Please do join us in this crazy bake along. Here's a badge if you do, and do pop a link in the comments so we can have a nosey!


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Sunday, November 02, 2014

A Lake District Adventure

In a brief break from baking, The Kindred Spirit and I took a holiday in the Lake District (like other fashionable people.)

We stayed at High Wray Farm, which I would highly recommend - a lovely B&B on part of the Claife Estate (formerly belonged to Mr William Heelis, husband of Miss Beatrix Potter,) with excellent food, rooms, and an excellent hostess - nothing was too much trouble.

The welcome was warm (as were the rooms, which is always appreciated with Lake District weather!)

We sampled Grasmere Gingerbread and explored as many National Trust treasures as we could, including Hill Top (Miss Beatrix Potter's house,) The Beatrix Potter Gallery (housed in what was Mr William Heelis's office,) Allen Bank (an unusual property where you can touch everything, because only the shell is original, following a fire a few years ago, but the very first tennant there was William Wordsworth,) William Wordsworth's grave (quietly unassuming,) and admired the beautiful scenery of Lake Windermere and its surroundings.

Well worth a visit, and one I hope will be repeated.