Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cherry Pie - Home Sweet Home Bakealong 31/100



I like cherries. I really like cherries.


Not quite as much as my colleague who buys them from roadside stalls, waters the roadways of the South with the stones, and has none left by the time she gets home.


But I'm not far behind. Cherry pie is also a favourite thing, but like Gill I didn't find this a particularly useful bake - it is hard to take to work or Bible study.


The Fair Physiologist and The Pure Mathematician in Exile appreciated an impromptu Sunday night dessert, however, so all was well in the end.


Despite the internal egg wash, I think I had a bit of a soggy bottom - it hadn't had quite enough time in the oven, but the top was already a good colour - this might be just getting used to the new non-fan oven, however.


Ingredients:
For the crust
220g cold unsalted butter, cubes
450g plain flour plus extra for dusting
160g caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
3 large eggs
For the filling
700g fresh, tinned or frozen (then thawed) pitted cherries - I used 350g of jarred cherries and 350g of fresh cherries - someone seemed to have eaten my other jar of cherries. Can't imagine who that would have been *ahem* 
150g caster sugar
30g cornflour
1/2tsp vanilla extract

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Basic Shortcakes - Home Sweet Home Bake Along 30/100


As we have discussed previously, I am not a fan of scones, and shortcakes being close cousins of scones, I, therefore, only made a quarter of this recipe - two shortcakes. And then I fed one to dear Papa.


They look more rough and ready than they should as I divided the dough in two and patted each into a disc, rather than cutting out the shortcakes.


Although I probably wouldn't make these again, they were quite acceptable and the recipe worked well. I did like the crackly top from the milk and sugar.


Ingredients
240g Plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt

120g cold unsalted butter, cubed
160ml milk
3 tbsp caster sugar (for sprinkling on top)

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Marshmallow Frosting - Home Sweet Home Bake Along 29/100



Like Gill I probably would never have made this if it wasn't for the bake-through. Indeed, I had gazed at the picture several times before when leafing through the book, but never done any more for it.


I'm very glad I've baked it, because, really, it was no more complex or challenging than any of the cupcake recipes.



*AND* I got to make my own marshmallow fluff.


I had a little left over after icing the cake. I made a fluffernutter sandwich with it. I'm not ashamed. It tasted too good to be ashamed of!


This cake is totally over the top, and probably more show than taste, but I may well end up repeating it, if I haven't put all my colleagues into sugar-fuelled comas already.


Ingredients:
For the decoration:
60g milk chocolate
50g white chocolate (I didn't have enough white chocolate so used a blend of milk, dark and white)
For the sponge:
170g unsalted butter
350g soft light brown sugar
3 large eggs
80g dark chocolate
225g plain flour
1&1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
225g soured cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp instant coffee mixed with 240ml boiling water or 240ml espresso coffee (I used 1 tablespoon of coffee extract mixed with 225ml of boiling water)
For the icing:
300g caster sugar
80g golden syrup
120ml water
4 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1tsp vanilla extract


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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Jolly Jammer Cupcakes - Home Sweet Home 28/100


Of all the bakes in the Home Sweet Home book, the cupcakes are probably my favourites.


So many creative ideas, with so much fun.


The biscuits alone here went down very well. (The recipe makes far too many jam-and-cream filled delights for just the cake, so the spare biscuits went to work, and disappeared in 5 minutes flat.) They will be repeated!


The cupcakes are *really* sweet - next time I'd probably reduce the sugar, but the slight tartness of the jam makes a nice contrast and the texture was very good - pillowy and tender.


I had such fun making these.


You won't need all of the icing, unless you want diabetic coma inducing levels, piped in big swirls - two thirds of the recipe will be enough to fill the cakes, fill (all, including spares) the biscuits and ice the cakes.

 Ingredients:
For the mini jolly jammers:
100g unsalted butter
140g caster sugar
1 egg
200g plain flour
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
For the cupcakes:
70g unsalted butter
210g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
210ml milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting (two thirds of this recipe will be more than sufficient)
650g Icing sugar
210g unsalted butter
60ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling (of both cakes and biscuits)
100g smooth strawberry jam

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Olive Loaf - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (27/100)

And we're back. New house, new kitchen, new oven. The oven slightly shocked me - it has no fan! I didn't even know modern ovens came without fans. One day, once I'm over the shock of filling a house with furniture &c. I may consider replacing it - check back in 20 years or so. Anyway, on with the bake through!



I love the idea of olive loaves. Indeed I love olive loaves themselves. But there is a caveat - I prefer them as yeasted loaves. Although I didn't have an issue with dryness that Gill had, I was slightly unconvinced by this texture.


Imagine if you will, a cross between an olive flavoured cake and a scone. The texture was very much scone/cake, but the flavour totally savoury. Odd.


However, The Fair Physiologist and I very much enjoyed it for our lunch in the glorious summer weather we had this week.We followed this excitement by going out to buy a watering can for my new garden. It was all go round here.


I'm playing catch up at the moment, so look out for a deluge of posts over the next hours/days. Gill suggested I might just skip over the ones I am behind. My dear reader, you will be pleased that I reacted in shock and amazement that I might not get to bake Mocha Marshmallow Cake.



Ingredients:
Loaf:
600g Strong flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp maldon sea salt
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
2 large eggs
125ml olive oil
250ml whole milk
1 tbsp honey (I think I would reduce this next time, it gave a disconcerting sweetness)
200g pitted black olives, roughly chopped (I used tinned olives, and slightly less than this, as I failed to remember that the weight of tinned olives is the undrained weight, when doing my shopping online)
2 tbsp black olive tapenade (I used "olive pate" as this was all I could find when shopping and seemed close enough)
Top:
1/2 tsp sea salt
3-4 fresh rosemary springs (Their sprigs must be tiny - I picked 4 for the entire loaf, including the chopped rosemary, and still had 2 left over by the time I had thoroughly decorated)


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Saturday, May 23, 2015

On The Move

The "This is not my home" kitchen is on the move.

Hopefully normal service will be restored shortly, but currently the fridge is blocking the back door and the washing machine won't fit under the counter...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cinnamon (Maple) Pecan Twists - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (26/100)


Not really a recipe - more, as a former housemate used to say, "co-ordinated packet opening." (That was her approach to dinner parties, which is a pretty clever one, really)



Maple always goes well with pecans, so I added about a 1/4 teaspoon of maple flavour (I bought it in the USA when I was last over there, I'm not sure you can get it over here, sorry) to the pecan mixture.


500g of puff pastry does make a *lot* of twists - I used 3 trays, and was still squeezing them onto the trays. Next time I would probably make less pastry, but maybe a little more of the pecan mixture.


Like cheese straws, but sweet, these are flaky and crispy, and quite nice, and were a nice altenative to "real" baking. I'm not really sure why they needed to spend 10-15 minutes in the freezer, but they dutifully did. They still unravelled in the oven!



Ingredients
500g puff pastry
40g pecan nuts, finely chopped
50g soft light brown sugar (I had run out, I used dark brown, I liked it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
(1/4 tsp maple flavouring)
1 large egg

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Buns - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (25/100)


Now these were rather good! Sticky, sweet and indulgent - perfect bank holiday tea food.


These nicely rounded off a barbeque and part 3 of The Hobbit (the only part I have ever seen) with The Fair Physiologist, The Pure Mathematician in Exile, Little Boy Red and The Aerospace Godfather.


I can neither confirm nor deny that they also served as the starter.


This is one I will be aiming to bake again. So far I have come to the conclusion that many of the recipes in this book very easily fit into two categories, "bake again" and "don't bother"!


For an extra chocolate-hazelnut kick, I substituted half of the butter in the filling with chocolate-hazelnut spread (Nutella) - yum!


These are best eaten fresh and warm on the day they are baked, but if there are leftovers (haha) a quick 15-20 seconds in the microwave (per bun) the next day, is almost as good.


A word of warning: If you eat these in front of a 10 month old who is not allowed anything so sweet and sticky, he will pull the most pitiful looks and repeatedly point at your plate, giving you the worst guilt trip ever. Just saying.



Ingredients: 
Dough: 
300ml lukewarm whole milk
25g caster sugar
1+1/2 tsp dried active yeast (that's 1 tsp "quick" yeast or "fast-action")
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
85g unsalted butter, cubed
Filling: 
50g unsalted butter, softened (I substituted 25g of butter for 25g of Nutella)
100g caster sugar
100g finely chopped hazelnuts (I just whizzed whole nuts in a coffee grinder until I had something resembling chopped nuts)
25g cocoa powder
1 large egg, beaten (for glazing before the oven - I didn't bother, the buns are hidden under so much sugary glaze that this didn't seem necessary, but if you weren't making the sugary glaze, might be worth it)
Glaze: (optional)
50g unsalted butter, softened
300g icing sugar, sifted
125g full-fat cream cheese


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