How much do you love chocolate brownies? Well let me tell you as I sit here typing I’ve had both daughterlings come and ask me when they can eat these soft cherry brownies? They’ve only been out of the oven for two minutes but they’ve made the whole house smell all chocolatey. “They’re for New Years Eve” I told them as they skulked off as if they had to wait an eternity.
Brownies rock NYE
I’ve found that with this recipe these brownies taste good when still warm with a dollop of ice cream but if you can bare to wait they improve in richness if eaten a day after baking. I made these to take to a New Years Eve party this year where there will be other chocolate loving kids so I wanted to add a soft cherry flavour. Usually I add glacè or natural morello cherries but for this one I decided to make them quick and easy and used a tin of pitted cherries in juice. I drained the juice completely so they wouldn’t make the cake all gooey – well more gooey than it should be. I also didn’t cut them in half so when you eat them you get all that juicy flavour in one hit.
The result? Pretty good I’d say.
3 medium eggs
275g caster sugar
175g salted butter
200g dark chocolate
175g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tin of pitted cherries (about 230g)
Line a 20x 30cm baking tin with silicon paper and pre-heat your oven to 180*C (160*C for fan ovens).
Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk up then add the sugar and combine. Set to one side.
Place the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and when melted remove from the heat and add the broken up dark chocolate until it melts. Place over the heat if necessary but be sure to watch that it doesn't burn.
Measure and sieve the flour and cocoa into a separate bowl.
Add the chocolate to the egg and sugar mix and combine. Add the dry ingredients and fold in.
Stir in the drained pitted cherries then transfer to the cake tin.
Bake for 30 minutes. The top will start to form cracks. That shows it's ready to be removed from the oven.
Leave the tin on a rack to cool completely before removing the cake from the tin.
To cut neat portions place a large knife in hot water then dry before cutting each slice. The heat from the blade will slice easily through the whole brownie if you re-heat it each time.
So what are you baking for New Years Eve then? Last year I made a tart and the year before I made Tiramisu. Anything goes as long as it sees in a sweet new year and brings you plenty of joy and happiness.
Happy New Year.
Matzah Kugel Pudding recipe for Pesach
If you’re Jewish I think I know what you’re thinking. “Oh yeah thanks Emma. Today is the last day of Pesach. Great timing for a Matzah Kugel Pudding!” and I get it. This recipe would have been a whole lot more helpful if it had gone out last week when Pesach – the Jewish passover started. But I hadn’t perfected it then and I don’t want to share anything with you that isn’t just right. Also I had so many downloads this year on the first two days of Pesach for the cinnamon balls biscuits and almond macaroons that I know you’ll love this recipe next year anyway!
This is a basic matzabrai recipe – matzahbrai is an eggy breakfast we eat during Pesach. I love it and eat it all year round for lunch. The key to this recipe is to keep the egg soft and moist. The Matzah Kugel Pudding can become dry and therefore really stodgy really quickly so if there’s a bit of movement when it’s time to take the Kugel out of the oven that’s just fine.
I added a whole load of almond flakes to this recipe as I’m a bit addicted to them at the moment and lets face it this is the perfect time of year to fill up on almonds – basically all the cakes made at Peseach use almonds in one form or another. Almonds make it really tasty. I also add a drizzle of honey on the whole pudding when it comes out of the oven. If you eat it then it tastes divine but if you come back to it the next day and nuke it in the microwave the honey just seeps in. Deelish!
You can 🖨 this recipe off here
You can of course make this pudding anytime of year but during Pesach when food gets a little bit limited it’s a real treat. Definitely one to make every year along with the cinnamon balls and almond macaroons. I feel a new family tradition coming along!
Fun with the Spiralizer and a fab apple pie recipe
Have you seen the latest craze to hit the foodie world? It’s called a Spiralizer and it’s so much fun. Originally intended to make spirals from vegetables (corgetti anyone?) I couldn’t resist having a play with one after I saw it in action at a Lakeland press launch. Of course I don’t want to play with veg. I want to make pies!
I thought an apple pie would be a great choice when using this gadget and I wasn’t wrong. I suspected that the apple would go soggy whilst baking- but it didn’t. As there were so many strands to cover in flavour it tasted fab.
The Spiralizer comes with three blades. I used the wrong one to make long strands at first but that didn’t matter as I crunched up the apples once spiralled anyway. The first blade cut the apples into half moon shapes. The second blade had them coming out in perfect spaghetti like spirals. The third blade can be used to cut slices. I used eating apples with the skins left on but peeled cooking apples would work just as well.
Spiralizer apple pie recipie
- 1 pack of shortcrust pastry (I cheated but you can find my shortcrust recipe here)
- 3-4 eating apples (just spiral till your plate is very full)
- 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 20g caster sugar
- egg white to brush the pastry with.
- When spiralling apples you will be left with a small end- I ate this up – waste not want not! and the core which can be removed at the end. You also have to dig out any pips as they are poisonous to eat. It’s pretty easy to see the pips though.
- Once the apples have been spiralled place them in a bowl and cover with the sugar and cinnamon. Stir until the apple is completely covered. I did this with my hands and that’s why the spirals broke. I was pretty happy with how they looked. Set aside while you prepare the pastry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
- Roll out the pastry so it’s around the depth of a £1 coin. Place it in the oven proof dish (my dish is 24cm diameter) and pierce the base with a fork and remove the excess dough from the edges.
- Heat up the jam in a microwave for a few seconds so it becomes nice and runny. Use a silicon pastry brush to spread it over the base of the pastry case. Set a little aside for the bake.
- Fill the pastry case with the apple and brush the pastry with egg white for a shiny finish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the apple is baked and the dough is golden brown.
- Once the pie looks almost done spread a little jam over the apple with a silicone brush to give it a gloss finish and bake for a further 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with thick cream or ice cream.
You can buy a Spiralizer on line from Lakeland here
Disclaimer: Lakeland sent me this Spiralizer (thanks you guys!) All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I love a good tart. They may take a lot of time and effort to prepare and peel and chop and blind bake but they are SO worth the effort. This is the Pear tart recipe I used when I took dessert to my sister’s house on Rosh Hashannah (the Jewish New year) after synagogue a couple of weeks ago. I knew she was making a meat meal which meant pud had to be dairy free. I used Tomar which is a kosher, dairy free alternative to butter. It’s actually a vegetable fat and makes a pretty good pastry – if I do say so myself. We had a slice or two with a dairy free ice cream made with soya – have you ever tried soya ice-cream? It’s seriously creamy!
All that’s left to say is that with a slither of marzipan in this Pear pie and a tummy full of delish Chollent (thanks Shell)our New Year got off to a really good start!
Dairy Free Pear Tart
- 175g plain flour
- 75g butter/Tomar vegetable margarine
- 1 egg yolk (large)
- 1 tbsp water
- 75g marzipan
- 2-3 apples – peeled, cored and sliced
- 25g butter/Tomar
- 4 tbsp Apricot jam
- 25g golden caster sugar
- 4 pears, sliced with the core removed
- Heat oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
- To make the pastry: Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine with your hands. Be careful not to over mix as this will end in a really tough pastry. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and roll out the pastry so it’s nice and thin. Place it in the pie dish (Mine was a 23cm Pyrex dish). Scrunch up a piece of baking paper and place it over the pastry then add baking beans on top (you can use rice or dried beans if you don’t have ceramic baking beans but the ceramic ones do add more heat) Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove any excess pastry from the edge of the dish.
- To make the filling peel, core and chop the apples and place in a large frying pan with the butter and sugar until they become soft. Drain any excess liquid away then press through a sieve so you get a puree. Place back in the saucepan and add the jam till it is all combined. Leave to simmer till some of the liquid has evaporated and the puree is nice and thick. Set aside to cool a little.
- Roll out the marzipan so it’s very thin then place it over the bottom of the pastry case.
- Spread the puree over the marzipan then add the thinly sliced pear in a decorative pattern.
- Once filled bake for 25 minutes until the pear is golden brown.
- Heat up the apricot jam so it is nice and runny then as soon as you take the pie out of the oven spread the jam over the top of the whole pie while it’s still hot using a silicon pastry brush. Leave to cool a little before serving with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream.
This week it’s the Jewish festival of Succot. You can tell it’s Succot because we sit in a open building in the garden with fruit hanging from the roof and it ALWAYS rains! It’s kind of a Harvest festival with a lot of fruit taking centre stage. It will come as no surprise then that the traditional cake for this festival is Apple Strudel. I love an apple strudel. We used to have it all the time when we went to Tim’s mum for Sunday lunch so I thought I’d give it a go.
For all of two seconds I thought about making myown puff pastry. Then I came to my senses and used a spare pre-rolled pastry I had as ‘back up’ in the freezer. My excuse to Tim was that it was taking up valuable freezer space (I don’t think he bought it!)
Strudel is a little time consuming and fiddly to make but it’s well worth the effort. I love the cinnamony, appley, nuttyness in a strudel so it was good that I could design it to my exact tastes. Tim loved it and as my harshest critic I took that to mean it’s a winner in the MT household and will be making a re-appearance again soon. Winter warmer anyone?
Apple Strudel Recipe
- Puff pastry
- 700g cooking apples
- 25g unsalted butter
- 60g brown sugar
- 1/2 – 1 tsp ground cinnamon (according to taste. I like a lot)
- 50g sultanas- soaked in boiled water for 10 minutes to soften them
- 50g walnuts -cut into chunks
- 4 tbsp apricot jam
- flaked almonds to top
- Pre-heat your oven to 230C. The oven needs to be hot so the butter is absorbed into the flour rather than melts and leaks out all over the place!
- To prepare the filling peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks. I use cooking apples for a strudel as they have a more sour taste and work perfectly. Place in a large frying pan with the butter and sugar and cook for around 10 minutes till the apple starts to soften but not fall apart.
- While still in the frying pan sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of the apples and add the drained sultanas and walnuts. Stir for a minute to combine then place in a sieve to allow the excess liquid to drain away and cool down a little. We don’t want a soggy bottom now do we?
- The pastry needs to be rolled out into a large square or rectangle. Cut diagonal lines away from the centre area then place the filling over the centre. Tuck the top and bottom of the pastry over the filling then lift each diagonal strand of pastry over the filling in turn left then right then left and so on. Try to keep each strand close the the last so you have most of the strudel closed up. A little gap or two is fine as that will allow steam to escape but too many gaps and the whole thing will collapse!
- Carefully move the strudel onto a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and pop it in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
- A few minutes before the strudel is ready to come out of the oven heat up the apricot jam. I do this in the microwave in 30 second bursts. You want it to be runny.
- As soon as the strudel is out of the oven brush the apricot jam over the whole thing with a silicon pastry brush and sprinkle the chopped almonds liberally over the top.
- Enjoy with a big dollop of cream.
See you in the Succot
I love rhubarb and I’m lucky enough to have a lovely next door neighbour who shares her crop with us. It’s always big and pink and delicious (thanks Liz). A few weeks ago we were invited round to Tim’s parents for lunch and armed with a bunch of the pretty pink stuff I decided that I would make a crumble to take with us. It was a good decision.
When thinking about what to make with rhubarb, a crumble always seems like such an obvious choice don’t you think? That’s why after a few years of coming up with recipes for this blog I have avoided it. (apart from here!) But let’s face it. Rhubarb is damn good. So I decided that I would glam it up a bit – if you can call nectarines glam. We really enjoyed the crumble after our main meal. There’s something about all that crunch with a hint of marzipan that just works.
I liked this crumble so much that a few days after the meal I discovered one lone, slightly sad looking stick of rhubarb lurking at the bottom of my fridge with the peppers and onions. I decided to make a mini crumble just for me (yeah right – with Darcey in the house!) It was soooo good. This crumble translates for any amount of settings whether it’s one or 32! And if you don’t like any of these fruits just swap them in for something else. As long as you keep the weight of the fruit the same it will still work perfectly.
Nectarine and rhubarb crumble with oaty marzipan topping recipe
For the crumble topping
- 75g plain flour
- 75g brown sugar
- 75g oats
- 75g butter- at room temperature
- 30g marzipan cut up into really little pieces
For the filling
- 10g butter
- 50g brown sugar
- 450g rhubarb – chopped into small pieces
- 350g nectarines – cut into slices.
- Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan 160ºC)
- In a bowl cut the butter up into small pieces and add the sugar, flour and oats. Rub together with your fingers until completely combined but still crumbly. Add the marzipan and make sure it’s well coated. I like to squeeze a few handfuls of the mix in my fists to make larger clumps. It browns up nicely and adds to the crumbly effect. Place the crumble topping in a sandwich bag in the fridge till the filling is ready.
- Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a deep frying pan (don’t let it get too hot- you don’t want the butter to burn). Add the sugar until it’s dissolved and then add the rhubarb and cook for 5 minutes. Set to one side to cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl mix the rhubarb and nectarine pieces together then place in the pie dish and layer the crumble on top. Bake immediately in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until the crumble starts to brown around the edges.
- Serve with a generous helping of custard and enjoy.