Fruit Plait

No big story this time.

I made this for after lunch at mum and dad’s.

It turned out really good so I thought I’d share. That’s all…

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Dough:

300g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp dried yeast

90g milk

60g butter

1 egg

80g castor sugar

Filling:

500g apples, peeled, cored and chopped

140g sultanas

175g brown sugar

1 tsp ground mixed spice

Icing:

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 tsp water

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To make the dough gently heat the milk and butter, either in the microwave or on the stove, just until the butter has melted. Leave it to cool slightly then mix in the egg. Place the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar a bowl. Pour in the milk, butter and egg mix and bring it all together to form a sticky dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Now make the filling by putting all the ingredients in a saucepan and cooking until the apples are soft. Leave to cool.

(I found I had to strain the filling a little once it was cooked and cooled)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle 35 x 20cm and spread the filling down the centre.

Make slant cuts in the dough along either side of the filling. Take a strip from each side and cross them over the filling to make a plait. Tuck the last two strips underneath and lightly press to seal.

Leave on a baking paper lined baking sheet in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated 190oc oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Mix the icing sugar and water to form a smooth paste (I coloured half with a little food colouring) and drizzle over the plait while still warm.

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Slice and serve.

Enjoy…

Chocolate and Ginger Cupcakes

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I think I went a little mad on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

The baking bug got a hold of me and wouldn’t let go easily.

I ended up with banana bread, choc. Ginger cupcakes, rocky road biscuits, ginger and date scones and a gluten free sponge cake with cream and jam. Madness I tell you, but oh so much fun.

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Everything ended up going to my mum and dads for Sunday lunch. What a feast.

I’m still not done baking though. Hot Cross Buns I think. Yeah I’ll be making some today.

In the meantime enjoy these lovely rich cupcakes.

For 12 cup cakes you need:-

65g butter

150g golden syrup

80g castor sugar

2 eggs

160g plain flour

10g baking powder

40g cocoa

5g bicarb.

10g ground ginger

3Tbls finely chopped glacé ginger

Chocolate Fudge Icing

70g butter

3Tbls water

80g castor sugar

180g icing sugar

3Tbls cocoa powder

To make the cake place the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has melted. Leave to cool about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined and spoon evenly into patty lined muffin tins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool completely before icing.

For the icing combine the water, butter and castor sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa together in a bowl and stir in the water and butter mixture until smooth.

Refrigerate until set.

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When you’re ready to ice your cakes simply beat the icing mixture a little to make it easier to spread.

I was feeling a little fancy so I piped the icing but spreading it on the cake is very acceptable.

These went down a treat after Sunday lunch at my mum and dads.

Enjoy…

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Only if you’ve been really good Super Rich Chocolate Biscuits

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It’s Dads birthday today. Hip, hip, hooray.

Dads birthday cake is a huge pavlova.

However, with a huge pavlova there is bound to be some egg yolks sitting in a bowl. As I had 8 egg whites in the freezer I needed two more so that meant I had to find something to do with 2 yolks.

Dads also partial to any thing chocolate, so I made him some Super Rich Chocolate Biscuits.

(You’re allowed lots of sugar on your birthday, I’m sure of it.)

You’ll need:-

125g butter, chopped

250g brown sugar

2tsp vanilla essence

2 egg yolks

185g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

35g cocoa powder

200g choc chips (I made it up with caramel chips, white chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips. Use whatever.)

And because I love cranberries 60g whole dried cranberries, but you can replace with currants or nuts or nothing.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the egg yolks and mix in. Stir in the rest of the stuff and until it’s all well combined.

Drop tablespoons of the mix 5 cm apart onto a baking paper lined baking sheet and bake at 180oC for 12 – 15 minutes, or until firm.

Cool on the trays.

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This made about 30 biscuits.

Cripsy on the outside, gooey on the inside with the occasional bite into a tart cranberry. These are pretty good.

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Happy Happy Birthday Dad.

Enjoy…

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Tessa’s Filo with Poached Pears, Rose and Pistachio Praline

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Another wonderful recipe from Tessa Kiros’  ” Falling Cloudberries” for this months The Cookbook Guru Challenge.

It was just too good to pass up. I borrowed the book from the library nearly 3 weeks ago and have had this recipe bookmarked since I read it.

Having absolutely no idea what to make for dinner it was time to send out the urgent message…

‘Hey, how’s your day going? What do you feel like for dinner cause I have absolutely no idea?’

To which my husband replied….

‘How about Monk Soup with lots of toasted Lebanese Bread?’

Perfect….

But a really healthy dinner like that deserves a really good dessert like this…

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In a saucepan bring to the boil 80g castor sugar, a couple of pieces of lemon rind, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise (optional, I like the licorice flavour it gives) and 1 cup of water. Let it boil for 5 minutes while you peel, quarter and core 2 firm pears.

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Lower the heat under the sugar syrup, add 1/2 tsp rose water (the recipe calls for untreated rose petals which I didn’t have, so rose water did the trick) and gently lower in the pears. Lay a piece of baking paper on top of the pears so that the exposed parts don’t discolour. Simmer very gently for 15 – 20 minutes or until the pears are cooked through and soft but not mushy.

Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Next you’ll need 3 sheets of filo pastry, 30g melted butter and 1 Tblsp castor sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

Lay one sheet of filo on your bench and brush it with the melted butter then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Place another sheet of pastry on top and do the same again. Finish with a good brush of butter. Cut the pastry in half longways and then into strips about 5cm wide. Carefully place on a baking paper lined baking sheet and drizzle each piece with a little honey then bake at 180oC for 12 – 15 minutes until brown and cripsy. Leave to cool.

So now for my favourite part, pistachio praline. Lightly butter or oil a piece of baking paper and put it on a baking sheet. Put 3 Tblsp castor sugar  into a small saucepan or frypan over a medium head. Leave it to melt and turn a caramel colour. Don’t stir it just swirl the pan a little. Be sure to keep your eyes on it so it doesn’t burn.

Take it off the heat and stir in 30g unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, then carefully pour onto the prepared baking sheet and leave to cool and set. Break up into pieces, put in a ziplock bag and bash with a mallet until it’s like coarse breadcrumbs.

To serve – spoon a couple of pieces of pear onto a plate or a bowl with some of the syrup, add a couple of strips of the filo pastry, sprinkle with the praline and scoop in some vanilla ice cream.

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I sounds like a lot of work but it was really worth it.

Please give it a go…

Enjoy…

Smell’s Like Christmas….Gingerbread Biscuits.

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December comes around so quickly. Hard to believe it’s been a year since I last had my gingerbread biscuit cutters out.

The kitchen smells of ginger and cinnamon and fruit mince pies.

I’ve yet to make my gingerbread house though. I’ll have to get a move on.

There are two gingerbread recipes I use but this one is my favourite.

Its actually a ginger nut biscuit recipe from Margaret Fulton’s Book of Home Baking. One of the most used recipe books in my collection. I have adapted the recipe a little to make it more Christmasy, but I do use the original recipe many times throughout the year.

My young nephew could easily down a half dozen of these biscuits without drawing breath. Luckily he’s considerate enough to share whatever is left.

So here is the recipe:

In a small saucepan melt together 60g butter, 2 Tblsp treacle, 2 Tblsp golden syrup and 70g dark brown sugar over low heat until the butter and sugar have melted. Leave this to cool down for a few minutes then add 225g self-raising flour, 2 tsp ground ginger (or a little less if you don’t like it too spicy) and 1 tsp ground cinnamon and mix until you get a smooth thick paste. I then wrap it up and let it cool down for about a half hour to make it easier to handle.image

Now roll it out between to pieces of baking paper or plastic wrap to about 8mm thick and cut with your favourite biscuit cutters. Arrange on baking trays lined with baking paper and sprinkle with a little raw sugar and bake at 170c for 12 – 15 minutes depending on whether you want them really crunchy or a little chewy in the middle.image

Leave them on the baking trays for a couple of minutes to cool down slightly before transferring onto cake racks to cool down completely.

Simply replace the wheat flour with gluten free flour for a gluten free batch of gingerbread happiness.

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Hope you enjoy…

Rhubarb and Mixed Berry Pies

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I’ve got to say, I’m not a real big fan of rhubarb but these little pies turned out really delicious.

My husband and I went to the Growers’ Market in Pyrmont on Saturday. It’s only on for a few hours on the first Saturday of every month but you can walk out with bags full of goodies.

Our main aim was to buy garlic plaits to give as gifts, but you always end up buying other things.

I found some baby white turnips which I plan to pickle and a bunch of rhubarb that was meant to be poached, and half of it was. The other half ended up chopped, mixed with some beautiful fresh berries and baked in my favourite polenta short crust pastry.

Here’s how to make them…

For the pastry measure out 215g plain flour, 40g polenta, 60g castor sugar and 175g butter and pulse them in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs (takes only a few seconds) then add 1 egg and 1 Tblsp cold water and pulse until the pastry comes together.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 an hour.

Now roll out the pastry and line either 1 large loose bottom pie tin or 6 small ones, leaving enough pastry for the top, and chill.

Roll out the left over pastry and cut into thin strips. Leave aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the filling:

In a bowl mix together 180g fresh mixed berries (I used blackberries, chopped strawberries and blueberries, but any combination will work), 200g rhubarb (chopped into 1cm thick slices), 180g castor sugar, 2 Tblsp plain flour and gently mix.

Spoon the filling evenly into the chilled pastry lined tart tins and lay the thin strips over the top however you like.

Bake at 200c for 15 minutes then turn the temperature down to 180c and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until cooked and golden brown.

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Yummy on its own or with a scoop of your favourite ice cream.

you’ve got to give this a go….

Enjoy…

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Playing With Recipes : Date and Oat Slice.

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I’ve been playing with this recipe for years. The original recipe is from the very old ‘Book of Home Baking’ by Margaret Fulton. I don’t actually remember where or when I got this book from but it does have an old faded Big W price sticker on it. It’s a book I’ve used many many times.

In particular this recipe which is fantastic in itself but I can’t help myself and add something different to it nearly every time.

Let me know if you do…..

In a small saucepan put 300g chopped dates, 2 Tbls water, 1Tbls lemon juice and 1Tbls honey. Simmer gently over a medium heat until the dates are soft. Take off the heat and leave aside while you prepare the crumbly oat layers.

In a medium bowl mix together  225g wholemeal flour with 200g rolled oats and then rub in 220g butter. Stir in 60g brown sugar and I like to add about 50g flax seed and a few pepita and sunflower seeds.

Press 1/2 this mixture into a shallow square or rectangular baking dish which you’ve lined with baking paper.  Cover with the date mixture. Here is where i play with the recipe. I’ve added a layer of thinly sliced apple or pear, some sultanas, currants, pecans, slivered almonds, whatever I had at hand. Today I’ve sprinkled a handful of dried cranberries and some chopped  walnuts.

Cover the filling with the remaining crumble and press down well.

Bake at 190c for 35 – 40 minutes until brown.

Cut into slices while still warm then cool completely in the tin before removing and serving and eating.

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This slice is still delicious even 1 week later, just keep it in an air tight container.

If you leave out the nuts it makes a great lunchbox snack.

Enjoy…

Chocolate Cherry Mud Cake..

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So, as promised, here is the recipe for the chocolate  cherry  mud cake I made  the other week for my sisters birthday…

(“Can I Really Eat It??”  Gluten Free Caramel and Prune  Mud Cake)

This is NOT one for those who opt for sugar-free baking, but a sliver of this cake is just heavenly.

In a saucepan over low heat gently melt 250g butter with 200g dark chocolate, 300g castor sugar, 220g syrup from a 670g jar of pitted morello cherries and 60g brandy, stirring often until smooth.

Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Then stir in 3 lightly beaten free range eggs.

Now stir in 225g plain flour along with 15g baking powder and 50g cocoa. Then gently stir through the drained cherries from the jar(I think it came to about 300g of cherries)

Pour the mix into a lined deep cake tin and bake @ 150c for between 1  1/2 to 1  3/4  of an hour.

Let it cool completely before decorating with fresh cream, a few cherries and some chocolate shavings.

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This was a very moist, luscious cake. Went down well with a strong cup of coffee.

Enjoy…

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“Can I Really Eat It??” Gluten Free Caramel and Prune Mud Cake.

imageMore birthdays this week.

The youngest siblings are twins and its their birthday.

We had a sibling night out on Friday and went to the local bistro (Grumpy’s in Hurlstone Park) celebrating birthdays, new jobs, and returns home from holidays. There was seven of us (one sister couldn’t make it but a niece could) Six girls and one boy. Quite the mad gang we are when we get together too.

I love the way we each order a separate meal and while eating cut of  chunks of our own meals and drop them into each others plates Or simply reach over and help ourselves to each others plates and meals.

We then ordered 5 different desserts, plonked them in the middle of the table and went for it. Forks clashed and flew I tell you. Luckily we had one of the beer gardens to ourselves. We had a great time.

Yesterday was cake making day. I spent most of the day trialling and making dessert for more family madness at mum and dads  today for family lunch.

Two birthdays means two cakes. One sister chose a Choc and Cherry Mud Cake  while the other (being a celiac) requested a Gluten Free Caramel Mud Cake.

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So lets go with the GF cake this time and I’ll do the choc cherry next time…..

To a medium saucepan add 185g butter, 150g white chocolate, 320g milk (I used soy), 100g glucose syrup, and 200g chopped pitted prunes and 50g chopped pitted dates. Put it over a medium heat and gently melt it all together, squashing the dates and prunes with a spoon on the sides of the saucepan.

Once the butter and chocolate has melted and the whole lot is smooth, take it off the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Now beat in 2 eggs and then fold in 250g Gluten Free Plain Flour mix (I use Orgran) and 20g gluten free baking powder.

Pour the whole lot into a lined deep 22cm round cake tin and bake at 150c for 55-60 minutes.

I let that cool overnight. This morning got up and made caramel ganache for the topping.

Simply heat 200ml cream to just before boiling and pour it over  a combination of 300g of white chocolate and caramel baking buttons. Leave it for a couple of minutes then stir until smooth.

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Let it set for a couple of hours or until its the consistency you want it to be and then spread it over the top of your cake.

Happy Birthday Jacky and Vicky.

Enjoy…image

Little Apple Pies.

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Sometimes you just need apple pie.

For this one I added dates to the filling instead of sugar. It added a great flavour.

A little ice cream on the side and you’ve got yourself a brilliant dessert.image

So…..

For the pastry rub 50g butter into 100g plain flour, 15g polenta and 20g sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water (about 2-3tablespoons) and mix into a dough.

Roll out to 3mm thin and line the base and sides of two small tart tins. With the left over pastry cut two rounds big enough to cover the tops of the tins. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Peel, core and dice 1 green apple. Put in a small saucepan with 5 chopped dates, 1tablespoon sultanas, juice of half a lemon and a couple small cubes of butter. Cover and gently cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and the dates have melted. Add a few chopped walnut pieces and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Stir and leave to cool.

Once the filling is cool, divide it between the two pastry lined tins, cover with the two pastry rounds and seal with a fork. Brush a little water over the top of each pie with and sprinkle with a little raw sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180c. The top should be a light brown.

Enjoy…

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