Category: dessert

Christmas bread and butter pudding.

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Hands up who still has some Christmas cake leftover?

Hands up who’s had enough of it now? Well I’ve got a neat little way to use it up and make it even more delicious second time round!

This bread and butter pudding is really custardy and I have been eating it for my second breakfast everyday since Christmas day!  It’s really comforting and moist. I can’t get enough of it which is a good thing as Tim and the girls aren’t keen which means I’ve nearly eaten the whole thing!! I think there will need to be some serious running going on in January.

Christmas bread and butter pudding

Ingredients

Christmas bread and butter pudding

  • Some Christmas cake (even if it’s a bit stale) sliced up
  • 10-12 pieces of buttered bread (any bread will do. I even used pittas in this one)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 175g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream

How to make Christmas bread and butter pudding

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Start by buttering each slice of bread and cutting it into triangles. It’s okay if the Christmas cake crumbles a bit. You can still use every bit.

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Layer the bread in your dish so the points stick upwards then place the thin slices of christmas cake in between. The depth of your pudding will depend on the size of your dish. Mine is pretty big (22x30cm) but a smaller dish will work just as well.

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Always end with a layer of just bread. By keeping the christmas pudding buried you avoid burnt bits and it gets really moist. The flavours of the cake also seep into the rest of the pudding when it is completely covered.  Set the dish aside.

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Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a deep bowl.

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Place the milk, cream and vanilla essence in a pan and heat until it is simmering – not boiling.  Add this to the egg and sugar mix and stir well. Now you have your custard.

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Pour the custard over the bread and cake till it’s completely soaked.

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I like to squash it down with my hands to make sure it’s all saturated. The pudding will taste best if you leave it to soak for 20 minutes but you can pop it into a heated oven straight away.IMG_7271

The oven should be heated to 170ºC and it should take around 40-50 minutes to bake.  Oil a sheet of silver foil and place it over the dish to prevent the top layer burning before it’s baked. Then place the dish in a roasting tin filled  ¾ with water. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the silver foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. It’s done when the custard is set.

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Heat your grill so it’s very hot and give the pudding a liberal sprinkle of caster sugar and grill till the sugar melts. Watch this like a hawk. It will burn very quickly.

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It tastes best warm from the oven with cream, ice cream or custard on the side. I would have liked to show you what this looks like when it was cut into but I managed to throw my camera across the room on Christmas day and now have no working lenses!  But it looks and tastes great. The Christmas cake takes on a whole different texture. It’s soft and raisiny without being too fruitcakey and the best bit is when you come across a hint of nut or alcohol.

enjoy!

Give your mince pies a swirl with this great mince pie recipe

Mince Pie Swirls

For a modern twist on a mince pie these swirls are easy to make. What’s more you can assemble and freeze them ready to bake straight from the freezer on Christmas day. They taste best when warm from the oven with a dollop of cream. I’ve made them 5 times so far – testing the best combinations/ types of mincemeat & pastry / how thick the marzipan should be etc  and I think I’ve really nailed it. My sister tried them and siad “they were the best thing I had made in a long time” I’m not sure if that means they taste really good or everything else I have made recently hasn’t tasted good! I’m going with the deeelish option!

Ingredients

225g Butter at room temperature

460g Self Raising flour

225g golden caster sugar

1 egg (+ 1 egg to make an egg wash)

1 tbsp water

½ table spoon vanilla or Almond extract

Jar of good quality mince meat (I used M&S’ finest one)

150g marzipan

100g flaked almonds

icing sugar to dust

How to make Mince pie Swirls

To make the pastry place all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix until it forms a firm dough. Do the last bit of mixing with your hands. You can use a food processor but make sure you don’t over work the dough or it will become tough. Cover with cling film and leave to firm up in the fridge for 20 minutes. Mince pie recipe
Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and warm your oven up to 180ºC (160ºC fan oven) Knead and roll out the pasty into a large rectangle and set aside

Roll out the marzipan (use icing sugar to stop it sticking to the surface) till it’s really thin. Thin enough to see through.
Lay the marzipan over the dough and roll them together. Mince pie swirl

Spread the mince meat over the pasty. Avoid going too near the edges as it will spill out whilst baking. I cut the dough into a neat square to make it more even to cut. Mince pie swirlRoll the length of pastry, tucking in as you go.

Mince pie swirl
Cut the swirls from the roll around 2cm thick. Use a sawing action, rather than pressing down with a knife when cutting to keep the shape as round as possible. This was one of my first attempts. As you can see they look pretty squishy. If you place the roll in the fridge for half an hour (or even overnight) it will be really firm and a doddle to cut.Mince pie swirl

Mix up an egg and use a pastry brush to cover each swirl with egg wash then cover with almond flakes.

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Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Leave for a minute or two before transferring from the baking tray to the cooling rack. If you pick them up too early they will break.

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Once cooled a little sprinkle icing sugar over the top and serve while still warm.

Mince Pie swirl

Enjoy!

Apple Tarte Tatin and my epic disasters!

Sometimes you have days when things go wrong. Sometimes those days turn into weeks! I have just had one of those weeks. Nothing I have baked this week seems to have worked!

On Saturday night we had friends round for dinner. In my head I had everything perfectly planned. As always I was on dessert alert and Tim was doing the main meal cooking. My timings were all set (in my head at least) and I already had all the ingredients I needed as I had dashed into Waitrose on Friday to get Tomar (a non dairy butter that tastes great in pastry and is Parve so can be used in kosher desserts for after a meat dinner). My trip for a “few essential ingredients” turned into a £75 shop and we hadn’t even decided what were making for the main meal yet! Damn those great offers/magazines/early Channuka pressents!

Epic Fail No.1- The Banoffee pie

When it came to choosing deserts Beau really wanted Banofffee pie, which she helped me make.  Once it came out of the fridge and was cut into slices it was more goo than anything else and the base was as good as welded onto the pie dish. I won’t mention that I hadn’t whipped up enough cream to pipe over the bananas and it looked really, really sad. I had to serve it anyway. Banoffee goo!

Epic Fail No.2- The Tarte Tatin and Honeycomb ice cream

Tim suggested that I make this Tarte Tartin which I had made last month to take to my Mum’s for our family Rosh Hashanah meal. It went down really well then and he loves it. This time I managed to over bake the pastry but that didn’t seem to stop anyone enjoying it on the night. I also made Honeycomb ice cream to go with the tarte. I didn’t read my friends recipe instructions properly and started making it at 1pm. It was supposed to go in the freezer for at least 8 hours- preferably over night! There were kids coming for dinner and we weren’t expecting to eat that late! Oh well. I decided to go for it. In the end it came out after just 6 hours and was rock solid. Everyone had finished their desserts before it was soft enough to scoop and serve. I still managed to add a dollop to my guests now nearly empty plates. (It did taste good though).

Epic Fail No.3- Chocolate pudding

I really wanted to make Chocolate pots. You know those little individual chocolate puddings you get that when you cut into them they have delicious melted chocolate ooozing from inside? Well, I tried out the recipe from The first Great British Bake off book with my girls and my 4 year old nephew last Friday for the first time. Even with lots of little hands helping me and spilling most of the ingredients, I still had more success then, than I did this time.

Saturday nights chocolate pots were a complete last minute thing. I had to make sure that I was showered, the house clean and tidy, girls dressed and table laid before I even started to make them. Figuring that my guests would be a little late (because I always am) I started pulling ingredients out 10 minutes before they were due to arrive. That’s when I discovered that I only had self raising flour not plain flour as I needed! Oh well, what could go wrong? LOTS it would seem!

My guests arrived just as I was putting the cake mix into each of the holes of the muffin tin. I put the whole thing into the fridge ready for later. Time to pour the wine.

After our meal I put the muffin tin into the oven for 12 minutes. Once ready, I took them out and left them for a minute or two to set. I then got a chopping board and inverted the tin onto it, ready to see if they would release easily. They did. A bit too easily! Eight of the 12 cakes came splurging out all over the worktop. Hot molten chocolate everywhere! I then managed to drop the hot muffin tin into all the spilt cake goo! It was a mess. But a mess that smelt gorgeous. (Have I mentioned that we have a kitchen diner and everyone was watching me make a mess of it?) Serious EPIC FAIL! I just had to laugh. It was all going horribly wrong. I write a cake blog showing people how to make cakes! This is not supposed to happen to me!!!! Luckily I have great friends who know me well enough to know that this is just what happens with me when I do an “add on”. I could’t just leave it at two desserts and an ice cream. I had to ‘add on’ just one more!  Lesson well and truly learnt….. well for now anyway.

Needless to say that the Banoffee Goo, chocolate splats , over baked Tarte Tatin and rock solid ice cream were all tasted and good sounds of “Mmmmm” were to be heard over the dinner table. Even if it was from the nine year olds!

So onto the Tarte Tatin.

This tarte recipe is for a 20cm (8″) pie dish and will serve 8 people

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 200g butter / Tomar / Cookeen- at room temperature
  • 320g plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 3tbsp caster sugar

For the filling

  • 450g cooking apples
  • 400g eating apples ( I used 4 small Gala)
  • 50g butter / Tomar
  • 4tbsp apricot jam
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

How to make Tarte Tatin

To make the pastry add the butter to the flour and use your hands to mix them together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until you have a dough. Avoid over kneading as this will create a tough textured pastry.  Once all the ingredients are bound together wrap it in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When the pasty is chilled heat your oven to 180ºC/ Gas 5.  Knead  and roll it out so that you have enough to fill your pie dish. It should be nice and thin.  When I made this one I pinched the top edge of the dish and then cut off the excess straight away, but it’s actually a better idea to leave the excess on until you have done the blind bake. That way the pastry is a little baked and won’t have shrunk down into the dish. It will sit flush with the top if you cut off the excess after the first bake with the ceramic beans.

To bake blind: Use a fork to make holes in the pastry case. Scrunch up a piece of baking paper (silicon paper is best and less prone to sticking) and place it over the pastry. Fill the dish with ceramic beans and then bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pie dish from the oven. Carefully take out the ceramic beans and silicon paper and bake for another 5 minutes until it turns golden but not brown. Place the pie dish on a cooling rack till the apple filling is ready.

To make the filling: Peel, core and cube the cooking apples and place them in a lidded frying pan with a knob of butter. Cover and cook them over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they become soft. Then add the golden caster sugar and 2 tbsp of apricot jam and stir in well. Use a fork to mush the apples to a puree consistency. I like to leave a few bigger pieces in there.  Set aside to cool down.

Prepare the eating apples by coring them. You can peel them but I think the tarte looks so pretty with the skin showing. Also it cooks down so much that it will be nice and soft to eat.  Cut each apple into quarters then each quarter into three or four very thin slices.

Add the puree apple to the pastry case, covering the bottom, then arrange your apple slices on top. Finally brush the decorative apple slices with the lemon juice and pop it in the oven (again at 180ºC gas 6) for 20 minutes or until the apple slices start to brown up nicely.

To glaze the tarte tatin: Heat up the remaining 2 tbsp of apricot jam in the microwave (or in a saucepan) till it’s runny and brush over the top and serve. 

Et Voila! One epic non-disaster Tarte Tatin. Let’s hope this week brings me a lot more success!!!

enjoy!

Squires Kitchen ‘BAKE School’ magazine review

Have you seen this magazine on the shelves yet? I got my hands on the second issue this week and it’s really, really good. I don’t buy many baking magazines – if I started I don’t think I’d stop and what with all the interiors titles I buy for work I’d be drowning in piles and piles of paper!

Squires kitchen, for those of you who don’t know, is a baking shop/school/ haven. It’s based in Farnham in Surrey and has people coming from all over the world to learn how to master the art of decorating cakes and cookies, modelling, sugarcrafting and much, much more. Their baking ingredients and equipment are so readily available the chances are you already have a ton of it in your baking cupboard without even realising it. They have had a fantastic  Wedding magazine for a while but this new ‘Bake school’ is right up my street and so probably yours too.

So what’s in it?

Recipes to start with, and lots and lots of them. Most are by the Squires tutors but there’s also a few experts thrown in for good measure, Mary Berry, Edd Kimber and Carlos Lischetti to name but a few. There are also tons and tons of tips. Really simple things that make a difference to being a successful baker. How to line a cake tin, how to colour icing, how to pipe a cupcake, which nozzle give which effect etc

The features in this issue

Biscuits

There are loads of recipes as well as beautiful decorating ideas from stencilling and embossing to flooding and stained glass effects

Cupcakes

Recipes including very vanilla, triple chocolate and some basic how to’s on piping buttercream to more complex designs. I love the butterfly cupcakes with the iced cookies in them and the cupcakes that really look like roses. They’re incredible.

Cakes

Raspberry Victoria Sponge anyone? Or a pretty layered cake, like the one on the cover? Yes, please!  There are also some dairy free, wheat and gluten cakes as well.

Chocolate

Well what can I say. You will want to make all of these recipes from Mud cake to chocolate chilli cupcakes, Chocolate fondant puddings to chocolate and walnut brownies to name but a few.

Dessert

I love desserts. In fact I nearly love them more than cakes – but don’t tell anyone! This is one chapter that I have folded down the page corners on every page! Swiss Meringues that are so pretty, Eaton Mess Meringue cakes, Mango tart, yum, yum, yum!

Bread

I’ve only recently discovered the fun of baking bread. I have loved making pizza bases this week. They are so much better than shop bought ones. George Thomopoulos, Squires expert bread baker, shares his tried and tested recipes for brown malted loaf, bloomer and rolls and Focaccia – this is what I’m making next.

Also worth checking out ….

  • Susanna Righetto’s sugarcraft flowers. You could sell them in a florists shop they look so real.
  • The interview with Edd Kimber, winner of the first series of The Great British Bake off.
  • Plum chutney and a jam recipe to accompany other recipes.
  • In the kitchen with Carlos Lischetti – this man makes models from modelling clay that are incredible. They are so beautiful you could put them on a shelf as an ornament. They are the epitome of perfect.

Bake school is available from WHSMith, Sainsbury’s and selected newsagents for £5.99 or you can buy it directly from the Squires on line shop, but beware, you’ll come away with a lot more than you bargained for if you let yourself loose in the shop. It’s a treasure trove of baking goodies!

Do you buy baking magazines? Which ones are your favorites and why? I’d love to know what to look out for.

enjoy!

Apple and Honey cake recipe

This week it’s all about the apple and honey! It was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and we traditionally dip apple into honey to bring us a sweet year ahead. So I thought I’d give my favourite Honey cake a bit of a tweek and add some apples. The end result. In a word. Moorish!

Apple and Honey cake recipe

Ingredients

  • 90g plain flour
  • 100g Self Raising flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 4 eggs at room temperature and separated
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 110 ml honey
  • 110 ml sunflower oil
  • 50 ml Orange juice
  • 1-2 small eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices

How to make Apple and Honey cake

Heat your oven to 180C

Measure out and sieve the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl.

In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar until well blended.

Keep the mixer going and add the honey and oil in steady streams. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and orange juice until completely combined.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

With a large metal spoon gently fold the egg whites into the cake mix.

Cut the apple into small chunks and drop them into the cake mix. They will sink to the bottom and make the cake very moist so don’t add more than one layer of apple.

Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  The cake will puff up due to all the air in the egg whites, but don’t be surprised when it drops back down again as it cools.

Leave it to cool completely on a wire rack before turning it out onto a cake plate ready to devour!

How do you measure up? I need your help.

 “Help!!!”

I had a question/comment from a reader last week asking me what the conversions are for the Peggy Porschen Lemon Limoncello cake. She uses American cups to measure ingredients and as I am here in sunny England we use grams.

I’ve have attempted (unsuccessfully I might add) to use cup measurements in the past. Martha Stewart recipes always look so amazing so I had a go with some cups that I bought in Australia. Little did I know that American and Australian cup sizes are different, so I got off to a bad start right from the word go!

To find out the conversions I looked in all my best cook books. Not a single one had the conversions, so I went to Google. I can’t believe how many different amounts I came up with for the same measurements. They varied so much that I didn’t know where to start.

Masses of problems

From my searches I’ve worked out that different masses, ie, sugar, flour, butter, liquids etc all have different amounts, so you can’t just say that a cup of sugar is the same as a cup of flour. Measurements are done in volume not by weight.

OMG!!! That’s so confusing. I don’t know how you American’s do it? Anyway, I am putting a call out there to anyone who has a tried and tested list / website / mum’s measurements that we can share here on CakesBakesAndCookies.com, so my reader can make her Lemon Limoncello cake and I can start to make Martha Stewart recipes successfully.

Also, can you let me know exactly how you fill a cup? Do you overfill it with ingredients and then use the back of a knife to make it level, so you know that you’re getting the same amount each time-  as you would with measuring spoons?

Please, please  leave a comment if you can help. I’ll be sharing the results here as soon as I’ve tested them out!

Thanks so much.

EmmaMT

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