Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chess Pie - Home Sweet Home Bake Along 45/100 #CookBlogShare

This week I am once again hosting #CookBlogShare, and really looking forward to seeing what everyone makes. I am continuing baking through the Hummingbird Bakery book, Home Sweet Home, and we are finally coming up to halfway through! Please read on for more details, or scroll to the bottom of this post for the linky.

Somehow I managed to only take the one photo of this bake - I think I was overly distracted by the Charlotte Russe. Chess Pie is a Deep South pie - the origins of the name are somewhat disputed.

Essentially it is a tooth-achingly sweet custard (I thought I'd done something wrong until I read a few blurbs online) with a little cornmeal to make a caramelised crust, all stuffed in a pastry case. It contains diabetes inducing amounts of sugar and is the opposite of anything "clean" or "healthy" - and my goodness me, is it good.

110g cold unsalted butter, cubed
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80g caster sugar
1 large egg
100g unsalted butter, softened
400g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
60ml double cream
1 tbsp fine cornmeal
1 tbsp white vinegar.
Pithy instructions:
Pastry: Rub butter into flour, stir in sugar, stir in egg. Bring together into a dough, then into a ball, do not overwork. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30mins, then use to line a 23cm diameter pie dish. Chill for another 20 minutes, then bake blind at 170C for 10 minutes, then remove paper and beans and bake for a further 15 minutes. Leave to cool
Filling: Once the pastry is cool - cream together butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time and beat in. Stir remaining ingredients together in a jug, then add to butter mixture. Pour filling into pie crust. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 150C and bake for a further 40-45 minutes, until the pie is just set, with a very slight wobble. The top will crack as it cools - this is okay. Chill in the fridge overnight before serving.

Next up: Pumpkin Bars

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Charlotte Russe - Great British Bake Off (#GBBOBloggers2015)

After last week's deviation from the technical bake, I've done it again! I'm afraid I lack a rectangular tin, and had no need in my life for a fruitcake with a tennis court on top. Sorry.

Charlotte Russe, however, sounded far more exciting, more stretching, and more likely to be educational. I was intrigued to note that none of the bakers used a traditional Charlotte mould (looks kind of like a squat metal flowerpot.)

Having spent some time back in Practical Cookery, I was also amused to learn that apparently a Charlotte Russe has sponge fingers at the bottom of the mould (so they appear at the top of dish when it is turned out,) and is just a bavarois surrounded by sponge fingers.

The inclusion of a 1/2cm layer of red jelly on top of the bavarois instead of sponge fingers instead is a Charlotte Moscovite. The creations featured on bake off didn't really fit either category!

I, therefore, have made a Charlotte Moscovite - the jelly is raspberry and the bavarois is vanilla.

Jelly (adapted from here):
325g fresh or frozen raspberries
100ml cold water
2 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
7g gelatine
1. Put raspberries, water and sugar into a pan, heat gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the raspberries and stop them sticking (do not blend them or the jelly will be cloudy).
3. Pour the raspberry pulp through a sieve into a jug, and leave to drain briefly. Top the juice up to 300ml, if necessary, with water.
4. Dissolve the gelatine in the juice, then pour the mixture into the base of a charlotte mould, lined with clingfilm, to a depth of about 5mm. Place into fridge and leave to set.
Sponge Fingers (From Practical Cookery by Ceserani and Kinton)
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1. Cream the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until creamy and almost white.
2. Whip the egg whites stiffly.
3. Add a little of the whites to the mixture and cut in.
4. Gradually add the sieved flour and remainder of the whites alternately, mixing as lightly as possible.
5. Place in a piping bag with 1cm plain tube and pipe in 8cm lengths on to baking sheets lined with silicone paper. (I actually piped mine into a lady finger mould tin that I inherited from my grandmother)
6. Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar. Rest for 5 minutes,
7. Bake in a moderate hot oven (200-220C) for approx 10 min.
8. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, and once the jelly is set, line the charlotte mould edges with the sponge fingers.
10g gelatine
2 eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
250ml whole milk
125ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
1. If using leaf gelatine, soak in cold water.
2. Cream the yolks and sugar in a bowl until almost white.
3. Whisk on the milk which has been brought to the boil and the vanilla essence, mix well.
4. Clean the milk saucepan which should be a thick-bottomed one, and return the mixture to it.
5. Return to a low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. The mixture must not boil. (Interesting tip: If the custard goes too far and starts to scramble, it can be rescued: remove immediately from the heat and blitz with an immersion/handheld blender - this breaks up the protein chains, and restores the mixture to wonderful smoothness again. This may or may not be from experience.)
6. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine, stir until dissolved.
7. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer into a clean bowl, leave in a cool place, stirring occasionally until almost setting point.
8. Then fold in the lightly beaten cream.
9. Fold in the stiffly beaten whites. (This bavarois is not suitable for infants, the elderly, pregnant ladies, those with a weak immune system nor the paranoid)
10. Leave until the mixture is very nearly set, then pour into the charlotte mould.
11. Chill in the fridge until completely set.

I'm entering this in #GBBOBloggers2015, which this week is hosted by An Organised Mess

Mummy Mishaps

I'm also entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is hosted by Snap Happy Bakes


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Peanut Butter and Jam Pinwheel Cookies - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (44/100)

Despite conceding that these are rather good when dunked in hot chocolate, and acknowledging that they were all consumed when presented at work, I am somewhat underwhelmed by these cookies.

The peanut flavour was lacking and only the cloying taste came across, rather than a good punch of peanut, and the jam was so thin as to be barely there.

I am a fan of the pinwheel concept, and wonder if this could be adapted to make a vanilla cookie with a speculoos swirl, or even a chocolate cookie with a hazelnut spread swirl?

60g smooth raspberry jam (I used strawberry, because that is what i had in the cupboard)
1 tsp cornflour
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g smooth peanut butter
180g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp whole milk
340g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp of salt

Next up: Chess Pie


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 I am entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is hosted by Hayley at SnapHappyBakes


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chocolate Malt Cake - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (43/100)

Well, this went down a treat. Rich and decadent, this cake is basically what a Malteaser would taste like if it became a cake, but better (if such a thing is possible.)

I found the cake layers themselves a little dry, but the fudge sauce and the thick frosting (which was naturally present in profligate quantities) more than made up for this.

The fudge sauce is a nice thing to have up the sleeve - I'm pretty sure it would make an amazing ice cream sauce!

It disappeared faster than almost any other cake I have presented to my colleagues, which is high praise indeed. A Hummingbird star, this one.

Chocolate Fudge Sauce:
30g dark chocolate
20g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g golden syrup
25g caster sugar
60ml double cream
120g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
3 large eggs
115ml buttermilk
40ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g plain flour
70g cocoa powder
1&1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Frosting (far too much)
900g icing sugar, sifted
150g unsalted butter, softened
300g full-fat cream cheese
240ml double cream
120g malt powder (horlicks)
70g Malteasers, roughly crushed, plus a further 25-30g whole malteasers

Next up: Peanut Butter and Jam Pinwheel Cookies


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I am entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is being hosted by Hijacked By Twins

 I am entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is hosted by Hayley at SnapHappyBakes


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bakewell Tart - Great British Bake Off (#GBBOBloggers2015)

In a break from tradition, I have controversially not made the technical bake this week! I'm afraid I wasn't prepared to pay £6 for the mastic and then some more money for the mahlepi, since I very much doubt they will be required for anything else I would want to bake (pine disinfectant isn't a flavour I am fond of)

I was also (controversially) rather unimpressed with the technical this week - there was no testing of skill, just a really random item to make, with no interesting techniques, just weird ingredients.

Anyway, I decided to make the Signature Bake instead - a frangipane tart. The most well-known of the frangipane tarts, is of course, the Bakewell Tart. I'm a big fan of Bakewells, and had never made one, so it was a perfect opportunity.

The recipe is from "Practical Cookery," which is technically a text book for professional cookery that my dear grandmother gave me before I went off to university - and it has stood me in much better stead than all of the "student cookbooks" I had.

Sugar Pastry:
1 egg
50g sugar
125g butter (softened)
200g flour
pinch of salt
1. Taking care not to over soften, cream the egg and sugar
2. Add the butter and mix for a few seconds
3. Gradually incorporate the sieved flour and salt
4. Mix lightly until smooth.
5. Allow to rest in a cool place (ie the fridge) before using.
50g raspberry jam (I actually used homemade 'hedgerow' jelly)
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
80g ground almonds
30g flour
1/2 tsp almond essence
50g apricot glaze
35g icing sugar
1. Line a flan ring using three-quarters of the paste, rolled to 2mm thick.
2. Pierce the bottom with a fork and spread with the jam.
3. Cream the butter and sugar, gradually beat in the eggs. Mix in the almond essence, followed by the ground almonds and flour, mix lightly. Spread this over the jam.
4. Roll the remaining paste, cut into neat 1/2cm strips and arrange neatly criss-cross on the frangipane, trim off surplus paste.
5. Brush with eggwash.
6. Bake in a moderately hot oven (200-220C) for 30-40 minutes.
7. Brush with hot apricot glaze, then leave to cool.
8. When cooled brush over with very thin water icing.

I am entering this into #GBBOBloggers2015, which this week is being hosted by Stacey

Mummy Mishaps

I'm also entering this into #CookBlogShare, which is being hosted by Kirsty


Sunday, September 06, 2015

Gluten Free Pita Breads - Great British Bake Off (#GBBOBloggers2015)

Having missed the deadline last week, I am determined not to this week!

These were surprisingly good, and if someone had served them to me, without saying what they were, I doubt I would have realised that the subtle difference was that they were gluten free. The nigella seeds provide a nice bite and flavour, and take them from pita almost to the realms of naan breads.

Even though all of my breads were made, shaped and baked in the same way, 5 made pockets, but 3 didn't. I cannot explain this.

Also, I only made 1/3 of the recipe, and it still made 8 standard sized pita breads! I couldn't find psyllium powder, I used intact husks, which worked exactly the same.

Recipe (From BBC Food)

30g/1oz psyllium powder
750g/1lb 10oz gluten-free bread flour blend, plus extra for flouring
3 tbsp nigella seeds
15g/½oz sugar
1 tbsp salt
21g/¾oz instant yeast
3 large free-range eggs
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
1. Mix the psyllium powder with 300ml/10fl oz water. Set aside to allow the mixture to thicken.
2. Tip the flour and nigella seeds into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Crack the eggs into the centre of the flour, add the vinegar, olive oil and the psyllium mixture. Combine the ingredients to form a soft dough. Gradually add about 300ml/10fl oz water - you may not need it all, although the dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
3. Place onto a floured surface and knead to form a smooth dough. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.
4. Heat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 9 and place 3 heavy baking trays in the oven to heat up.
5. Dust your work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each one into a ball. Roll or press the pieces into oval shapes about 4mm thick.
6. Remove the baking tray from the oven and dust with a little flour. Lay four pittas on each tray and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until puffed up and cooked through. The pittas should have a slight colour to them. Remove from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel - this helps keeps them soft.

I am entering this in #GBBOBloggers 2015 and #CookBlogShare, which this week are both being hosted by Kirsty at Hijacked By Twins


Mummy Mishaps

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Custard Cream Cupcakes - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (42/100)

The cupcakes are definitely the best things in this book, always fun and a little bit quirky.

The recipes seem to be exactly what is in the shops, which does explain the sometimes strange quantities - as if a bulk recipe has been scaled down as small as it would go. The custard inside these cupcakes rather delighted certain colleagues, and is definitely a fun surprise!

These cupcakes aren't a quick fix due to their many elements, but they are worth it. The unusual method of mixing the dry ingredients and butter before adding the liquid, plus the tablespoon of baking powder makes a lovely soft and moist cupcake.

For the Custard Cream Biscuits (this dough is so soft it was easier to spread it rather than roll it, it may need chilling in the fridge):
100g unsalted butter, softened
140g caster sugar
1 egg
200g plain flour
1/4tsp cream of tartar
For the sponge:
70g unsalted butter, softened
210g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
210ml whole milk
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
For the custard
220ml whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g caster sugar
15g plain flour
15g cornflour
For the Frosting
660g icing sugar, sifted
210g unsalted butter, softened
60ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops yellow liquid food colouring (I omitted this)

Next up: Chocolate Malt Cake


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I am entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is being hosted by Hijacked By Twins


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Spanische Windtorte - Great British Bake Off (#GBBOBloggers2015)

Sadly I'm too late to link this up to #GBBOBloggers2015 for desserts week (*sob* bank holiday threw me off,) but I'm rather proud of it, so here it is.

It turns out that a fan oven is rather helfpul in making meringues, as they otherwise don't dry properly and have a tan on top and bottom, as I discovered in my non-fan oven.

However, swiss meringue piping can hide a multitude of errors, which is good.

I made a half size version, as that is otherwise an awfully large quantity of meringues and cream. Even with the reduced quantity there were leftovers despite 6 adults having good sized slices!

Recipe From BBC Food
Ingredients (for half)
For the French meringue shell
4 large free-range egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
235g caster sugar
For the fondant violets
10g dusky lavender ready-to-roll icing
10g deep purple ready-to-roll icing
5g/¼oz yellow ready-to-roll icing
For the Swiss meringue decoration
2 large free-range egg whites
125g caster sugar
For the filling
300ml double cream
25g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
200g strawberries, roughly chopped
100g/7oz raspberries

Preparation method
1. Line 3 large baking trays with baking parchment. Draw 2 x 14cm circles on 2 of the trays and
1 x 14cm circle on 1 of the trays. (You should end up with 5 x 14cm circles). Preheat the oven
to 120C/100C Fan/Gas ½.
2. For the meringue shell, tip the egg whites and cream of tartar into a large spotlessly clean bowl and
whisk with an electric mixer on high speed until the whites form stiff peaks. Add the caster sugar, a
tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously to make a thick, glossy meringue.
3. Spoon two-thirds of the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm/?in plain nozzle. Pipe a thick
ring inside one of the circles on the baking tray and continue spiraling until the entire circle is filled
Repeat with a second circle. These create the base and the top of the meringue cake.
4.Repeat the process with the 3 remaining circles, except don't fill in the circles, so that you have
three hoops of meringue - these create the sides of the meringue shell. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from
the oven and leave to cool.
5. Meanwhile, make the fondant violets. For each fondant violet, roll 2 little pieces of dusky lavender
fondant and 3 small pieces of deep purple lavender into small balls (about the size of an orange pip).
Dust 2 pieces of greaseproof paper with icing sugar and place the balls of fondant between the sheets of
greaseproof and flatten each ball out with your fingers, to a thin circle, approximately 1cm/½in in
diameter - these form the petals. Roll a tiny piece of yellow fondant into 3 tiny balls, to form the
6. Using a small paintbrush and a tiny amount of water, stick the petals and stamens together to form a
violet, with the 2 dusky lavender petals at the top, 2 dark purple petals below them and the remaining
dark purple petal on the bottom, in the middle. Press the yellow stamens into the centre. Repeat to make
7 violets. Leave to dry on greaseproof paper for at least 1 hour.
7. When the meringues are dry, gently slide 1 of the cooked, filled meringues onto a 30cm/12in heatproof
(to 120C) serving plate. Spoon the remaining meringue into the piping bag and pipe 8 blobs of meringue,
evenly spaced around the edge of the circle. Place 1 of the meringue hoops on top and press down very
gently to stick the hoop to the base.
8. Repeat the process with the remaining 2 hoops of meringue. Roughly pipe the remaining one-third of
meringue around the sides to disguise the hoops. Using a spatula smooth out the meringue so that the
sides are smooth and straight and look like a cake. Bake on the serving plate for 45 minutes. Remove
from the oven and leave to cool.
9. For the Swiss meringue decoration, set a large mixing bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.
Tip the egg whites and sugar into the bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the meringue
reaches 70C on a sugar thermometer.
10. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until cool and stiff. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag
fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe a pretty border around the base, the middle and the top edge of the
meringue shell. Pipe a border around the outside edge and the middle of the filled meringue circle that
will become the lid. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
11. For the filling, whip the cream and icing sugar together in a bowl until soft peaks form when the
whisk is removed from the bowl. Whisk in the orange blossom water and gently fold in the strawberries
and raspberries. Spoon into the cooled meringue cake shell. Top with the meringue lid.
12. To decorate, use tiny blobs of meringue to stick 6 violets around the middle piped border on the
sides of the cake,and 1 violet in the centre of the top of the cake. Serve immediately.

I'm entering this in #CookBlogShare hosted by Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins