Today it is Mother’s Day here in the U.K. A day where mums, aunts, grandmothers and other significant women in our lives are celebrated. My Grandma had a hugely positive input into my upbringing. Indeed it was at her apron strings that I learned the basic fundamentals of baking, that I still employ today. The day prior to any beach trip, picnic, or family celebration, she would be found, busy baking in the kitchen. I am certain she would enjoy these Fruit Filled Butter Scones.
Afternoon Tea may consist of small cakes, pastries, finger sandwiches and other sweet or savoury nibbles. Yet it is incomplete without the inclusion of delicious scones, clotted cream and jam. Also small plates are used as it is small portions that are served. Enough to keep you going until dinner, yet not enough to spoil the main meal later in the day.
Even young children, supervised by an adult of course, can easily make these scones. Also if you choose not to have clotted cream, these are light, not dry or claggy. So, perfect to eat unaccompanied. Since both the fat and sugar levels are fairly low, they can also be enjoyed by those watching their weight. As a result, these are an the ideal treat.
Did I mention that they take approximately half an hour from make to bake. What’s stopping you 😉?
Recipe: Fruit Filled Butter Scones makes 12 scones
165mls Buttermilk – alternatively add 1tsp/5mls of lemon juice to 160mls of milk and stir. Wait 5 minutes before using.
1 Free Range Egg plus one tablespoon of milk combined for the egg wash
Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7
Prior to starting line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
First of all, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. If using sea salt crumble straight into the bowl.
Next add in the cubed butter and rub into the flour, or cut into the flour using a pastry cutter. The mixture should resemble breadcrumbs with some pea sized lumps of butter present.
Now add in the caster sugar and mix lightly.
Make a well in the centre of the ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Follow by mixing with a butter knife 4-5 times.
Add the sultanas and bring the scone dough together with one hand.
Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured, clean surface.
Knead the dough lightly until it forms a disc. Gently roll out the disc until it is 2.5cm/1 inch thick.
Use a 4cm/just under 2 inch deep cutter to cut out the scones. Do not twist the cutter when pushing down, as this can affect the rise.
Place each cutout scone on to the lined baking tray.
Combine leftover scone dough pat out and cut out more scones. Continue until all of the dough has been used.
Brush the top of each scone with egg wash and then place in the top of the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes.
The scones are baked when they are golden, well risen and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
As soon as they are baked remove from the oven.
Transfer the scones on to a cooling rack.
Serve slightly warm or cold. Since these scones have sultanas in, they can be eaten as is, with butter or clotted cream. Also, fresh fruit is nice served alongside. Rather than one single tea, offer a selection, including fruit teas.
Most of all serve with a smile.
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Since creating the Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea for Steamer Trading, I have enjoyed creating small, bitesize treats. As well as being able to have a little taste of everything, afternoon tea is the perfect opportunity to share. Food, conversation, fun. Most importantly love and creating memories.
Some ingredients, when cooked together, simply bring out the best in each other. As is the case with this Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart. Also, the leek’s subtle onion flavour is enhanced by the crumbled Stilton cheese, in an egg and cream custard base. The nutty pastry crust provides the perfect crunchy texture and flavour. A delightful balance, that is a treat to our tastebuds.
While the chopped walnuts give the pastry a rustic, wholemeal look, it is, in fact light and crumbly. Adding additional flavour to the finished bake. Likewise, the crumbled Stilton cheese mellows on baking. Providing a salty contrast to the mild egg custard. Surprisingly, the mild onion flavour of the leeks doesn’t get lost in this tart. Rather, it brings everything together and sings on the tastebuds, above the other flavours.
Slices of leek are sautéed gently, before placing in the tart. This not only ensures they are soft in the baked tart, but also concentrates the flavour. While baking, the rings separate and rise up through the tart. Also ensuring that each bite has tasty fresh, green leek in it.
This tart is perfect for a light lunch, with salad, or as a main meal with a hot, buttered jacket potato. Also, it makes perfect picnic or buffet food, as it can be served at room temperature. The added nutmeg is barely noticeable, yet enhances all of the tart’s flavours. Leave it out and the finished bake tastes as though it is missing something. I encourage you to include it, freshly grated, if possible!
Recipe: Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart serves 4-6
4 Large Free Range Eggs – plus 1 extra for the egg wash
3tbsp Double Cream
1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
A loose bottom tart tin that is approximately 25cm wide x 5cm deep or 10″ x 2″ is needed for this recipe.
Making Walnut Pastry Crust
First of all, in a large bowl add the flour, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and diced, cold butter. Then using your hands, or a pastry cutter, rub/cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs with pea sized chunks of butter present.
Now make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the cold tap water 10mls at a time. Using your hand, fingers bent and shaped like a claw, mix the dough after each addition. Work quickly to avoid the dough warming up and becoming oily. You may not need the full amount of water specified. Stop adding water once the dough comes together to form a rough ball. Set the bowl to one side.
Wipe the worktop with a clean, damp cloth. Then place the cling film (approximately the size of a large baking sheet) directly on to the damp surface. It will ‘stick’ and not move around.
Finally, tip the walnut pastry dough on to the cling film. Knead the dough lightly into a disc shape. Avoid working the pastry for too long as this will result in a hard, tough, crust.
Wrap the pastry disc in the cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until it is chilled. Making pastry the night before use allows it to chill thoroughly before rolling out.
Making the Walnut Pastry Crust.
10 minutes before rolling out the pastry, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
If you wish, lightly butter your tart tin, I never do. Place the tart tin on to a baking tray and put to one side.
Place the chilled pastry on to a clean worktop and roll out evenly, until it is a slightly larger circle than the combined width and depth of the tin. Approximately 30cm/11″ in width.
Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tart tin. Allow the pastry to settle into the tin. DO NOT stretch it as it will only shrink while baking.
Ensure the tin is fully lined and then trim away any excess pastry.
Dock the base of the pastry tart with a fork and then line with baking parchment. Fill the lined tart with baking beans, or ceramic balls and place into the top of the oven.
Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out the baking parchment and beans.
Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Filling and Baking the Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
While the pastry is baking, prepare the leek. Strip the outer 2 layers, cut off the root end and top, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
Cut the leek into whole rings, approximately 1cm deep and the gently sauté in a dry pan over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes, or until slightly softened.
Remove the pastry shell from the oven when baked.
Carefully transfer the whole leek rings to the tart shell. Add any odd pieces of leek around the whole rings in the tart.
Cut the rind away from the Stilton. Now, using a fork, break up the Stilton, on a board, into crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the leek in the tart shell.
Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
Crack 4 eggs into a large jug. Add the double cream, nutmeg and pepper. Whisk together using a fork, until the mixture is uniform.
Pour the egg custard carefully into the pastry tart.
Carefully, as the tart is still warm, run a piece of butter around the top perimeter of the tin. This will stop any pastry decorations sticking.
Gather together the pastry offcuts. Roll to the thickness of a one pound coin.
Use a 1 inch/2.5cm approx. cutter to cut out about 25-30 circles. These will be placed around the edge of the tart.
Break an egg into a small bowl, add 1tsp of cream or milk and whisk together. This is the egg wash.
Take the first cutout and with a pastry brush, dipped in egg wash, brush both sides of the circle. Place the circle on to the edge of the tart. The centre of the circle should be in contact with the edge of the tart. Continue, using the same egg wash method and placing the 2nd circle so that just overlaps the first disc.
Keep going until the whole perimeter of the tart case is covered. I used 22 pastry discs. The number you need will depend on the size of your tart, how much the discs overlap and other variables.
Finally, when the decorations are in place, pour any leftover egg wash into the tart. As long as there is room.
Place the tart carefully into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The tart is baked when there is no wobble in the centre, the filling has set and the egg custard is golden.
When fully baked remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the loose bottom tart tin.
This tart is delicious served warm for lunch or dinner, Also is is very tasty eaten cold or at room temperature, making it ideal for summer picnics and buffets.
It will keep for up to 3 days, stored in a container or, wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge.
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Homemade quiche and tarts taste a million times better than most shop bought varieties available. Seasoning, ingredients and indeed the pastry can all be tailored to our own personal tastes. While I haven’t taken on the challenge of Filo Pastry yet, shortcrust is incredibly easy, seePerfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.
Whether served with a jacket potato and salad for a substantial meal, or grabbing a slice to eat whilst on the go, tarts and quiches are easy to make. They are also very satisfying to eat.
Do you have a favourite flavour combination for quiches and tarts?
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun.
Who doesn’t love a cupcake? A beautifully decorated, perfectly portioned, whole cake to yourself. While I’m known for encouraging people to share, here on Feasting is Fun, that’s not a problem with cupcakes. Simply bake a batch and share them with whoever you want. These Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes are perfect for sharing.
Cupcakes are great for those who struggle to share. Indeed I used to not be as keen on sharing when I was younger. Nowadays, however, if you visit, knock on the door, clean the windows, etc I am more than willing to give you a cookie or cupcake. Since cupcakes come as a complete package, they are easier to share. Our window cleaners and post lady were very appreciative of these MaraschinoCherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes that I gave them today.
Light sponge tinged pink with chopped maraschino cherries, topped with a swirl of frosting and a whole cherry. Dark chocolate is drizzled over the frosting. Resulting in a perfect balance of flavours. The dark chocolate tempers the sweet frosting and compliments both the cherry and almond flavours.
The unique flavour of maraschino cherries can be tasted through every single bite of these cupcakes. Adding almond extract to the frosting emphasises their flavour too. Substituting glacé cherries wouldn’t give the same result. Maraschino cherries are easily found in the supermarket. Usually near the alcoholic drinks section.
Since these cupcakes are each topped with a bright red cherry, they would also make a great ‘Red Nose Day’ bake!
Recipe: Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes makes 12
2tbsp Very Hot Water – from a recently boiled kettle
50g/2oz Dark Chocolate minimum 70% Cocoa
Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3
First of all, line a cupcake or muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
Remove 12 nicely shaped, maraschino cherries from the jar and place on to kitchen towel to drain. Weigh out slightly more than 50g of cherries and place into a bowl. Tip away any excess liquid that collects in the bowl. Follow, by cutting the cherries in the bowl into small pieces and set to one side.
Next, into a large bowl add the sugar, butter and salt. Beat until pale and creamy.
Add the vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons of liquid from the cherry jar. Now beat these into the mixture.
Using the ‘all in one’ method, add the eggs to the bowl and then sift in the flour and the baking powder. Finally add the chopped cherries and gently mix the ingredients together until they are combined.
Fill each cupcake case with one dessert spoonful of cake batter.
Place the tin into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
The cupcakes may look a little darker than usual. This is due to a combination of the cherries in the batter and the liquid from the jar added to the cake batter.
They are fully baked when the sponge springs back from a light touch, or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Once baked remove the cupcakes from the oven.
Remove the cupcakes from the baking tin and place on a cooling rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling make the buttercream frosting.
Into a large bowl add butter and then sift in the icing sugar.
Next add the hot water and almond extract.
Start whisking on a very slow speed, until the butter and icing sugar have combined. Then gradually build up the whisking speed to high. Continue whisking until the frosting is pale and fluffy.
Spoon the frosting into a piping bag that has been fitted with a large star tip. I use a Wilton #1M.
Starting at the outside edge, on the top of the cupcake pipe a complete swirl. As the next swirl overlaps, lift the piping bag to bring the swirl inwards. Continue piping in swirls, finishing in the centre, by pulling the bag away. Similar to piping a Mr Whippy ice cream.
Continue until all of the cupcakes have been piped with frosting. Do not worry if there is a little buttercream left in the piping bag.
Next place a cherry on top of each cupcake.
Allow the icing to set on the cupcakes.
While the cupcakes are setting, make the chocolate drizzle.
Break up, or chop the chocolate and place into a small, heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Heat for 20 seconds at a time, in the microwave. Making sure to stir the chocolate after each heating. When the chocolate has completely melted pour into a small, disposable piping bag.
Snip the very end of the bag off and drizzle chocolate over each cupcake.
Finally, allow the chocolate to set before serving these Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes.
These cupcakes will last for 5 days if kept in an airtight container. However, it is doubtful, once shared that they will last that long 😉.
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Sharing baked goodies, not only makes others happy, but also keeps waistlines from expanding! While selling my own bakes is not something I ever wish to do, sharing them allows me to follow my real passion. Since that is recipe development, mixing flavours, textures, being creative, giving away baked treats actually helps me. Resulting in smiles all round!
Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova a delicious crisp outer shell, with a deep, brownie-like inner, topped with whipped cream and chocolate dipped strawberries. The perfect dessert to share with those you love.
I adore pavlova. Both making and eating it! This chocolate heart pavlova is so pretty and also easy to make. Simply follow the recipe and instructions and you too can bake this beautiful dessert.
Last week Valentine’s Day was celebrated, I wanted to create something that would be perfect to share with those I love. That said, everything posted on Feasting is Fun, is designed to be shared! Since, hearts, strawberries, chocolates and flowers are all associated with February 14th, I wanted to incorporate as many of these as possible. Resulting in a beautiful and tasty dessert that should not be confined to one day of the year, in my opinion!
For this pavlova the heart is piped, with swirls around the outside, defining the heart shape. It is not difficult to do and creates a different, yet pretty finish, once baked. Also, this heart pavlova contains only cocoa, not chunks of chocolate, making it possible to pipe. The resulting meringue mixture resembles a light, airy mousse. Which, once baked keeps its shape perfectly.
Lightly whipped double cream tops the chocolate pavlova, rather like a down duvet covers a bed. Moulding and fitting to the contours. Creating a soft, velvety contrast to the crisp and fudgey pavlova. Chocolate dipped strawberries add the final touch of decadence, crowning this dessert with their contrasting colours.
One mouthful of this delightful dessert and you are lost to the complimenting flavours and contrasting textures. Fortunately, one serving provides plenty of time to fully appreciate this beautiful pavlova. However, I wont tell if you go back for seconds!
Method: Preheat the oven to 200/180C fan, gas mark 6
Prior to starting ensure the bowl used to mix the meringue is scrupulously clean. Wipe around the inside of the bowl with half a lemon to ensure no fat is present. The presence of fat, or oil will stop the egg whites from whipping up and incorporating air.
Also line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Draw a large heart on the reverse of the parchment with pencil, approximately 25cm wide by 27.5cm high, 10″w x 11″h.
Pour the egg whites into the large clean, prepared bowl.
Whisk until the egg whites hold a stiff peak.
Continue whisking on high, adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. The meringue should be white and glossy, holding a stiff peak. Rub a little of the meringue between your finger and thumb, it should feel smooth. If at all gritty, continue whisking, as not all of the sugar is dissolved into the egg white. Continue until the mixture is smooth.
While the egg whites are whisking fit a large piping ba with a large, open star nozzle, I useWilton #1M.
Once the meringue has been whisked sift in the corn flour and cocoa. Then add the balsamic vinegar.
Using a large, clean, metal spoon fold all of the ingredients together carefully. Taking care not to knock out the air that has been whisked into the egg whites.
Place four dots of meringue in the corners of the baking tray, then place the baking parchment on top. This will hold the baking parchment in place.
Place a large spoonful of chocolate meringue into the centre of the heart. Spread the meringue with a palette knife, so that it fills the heart outline. There is no need to be too precise as it will be piped over.
Fill the piping bag with the remaining chocolate meringue.
Pipe swirls around the outline of the heart, leaving the bottom point and the top dip until last. Pipe a swirl at the bottom of the heart and then the top dip. Next pipe stars, inside the heart, on the base.
Place the pavlova into the centre of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 160C/140C gas mark 3. Do not open the oven door whilst baking!
Bake for 1 hour exactly. After the baking time has elapsed turn the oven off and open the oven door a fraction, so that the pavlova cools slowly. I place a wooden spoon between the door and the oven.
While the pavlova is cooling the strawberries can be prepared. Into separate, small heatproof, microwaveable bowls, break up and add the milk and white chocolate, separately. Heat for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the melted white chocolate into a small piping bag.
Select 10 of the biggest strawberries and leave their tops on. Dip 5 of the large strawberries into the milk chocolate, using a teaspoons to help fully cover them. Place the dipped strawberries on to some baking parchment. Tip – if the strawberries are kept in the fridge until needed they will be chilled. This will help the chocolate set quickly.
Next pipe lines across the 5 chocolate covered strawberries and also the 5 un-dipped ones, thisgluten free recipe also uses chocolate strawberries. Leave to set on the baking parchment. In warm weather place in the fridge for a couple of minutes.
When the pavlova has completely cooled it can be removed from the oven.
Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk until it has thickened but is not stiff.
Gently run a palette knife under the pavlova to loosen it from the baking parchment. Place the pavlova on to a flat plate, or stand from which it is to be served.
Spoon the cream inside the shell of the pavlova.
Arrange the chocolate dipped strawberries on the top of the cream, removing the tops if necessary.
If liked, chop the remaining strawberries into fairly small pieces and sprinkle around the whole strawberries.
Now all that is needed is someone to share this stunning dessert with!
Serve sliced, ensuring each portion has a chocolate strawberry.
This Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova is at its best eaten on the day assembled. The pavlova can be made the day before and left to cool, overnight in the oven. The strawberries can be prepared 4 hours ahead and left in a cool place. Likewise the cream can be prepared at the same time as the strawberries and left in the fridge, it may need a quick whisk to bring it back to the consistency required.
The Pavlova will last, covered in foil, in the fridge for 2 days after assembly.
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All of the pavlova recipes on this blog are gluten free. Making them a suitable dessert for more people. Ensure that the corn flour used in each recipe is certified gluten free.
Since it is in my nature to be as inclusive as possible, serving a naturally gluten free dessert to friends and family ensures that everyone feels special. Likewise, no one can feel that they have been ‘too much bother’ due to any dietary limitations they may have. Resulting in a relaxed, enjoyable meal and atmosphere.
Have fun creating, making, cooking and baking in your kitchens.
If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you will know how much I enjoy making bread. While I am very happy to let kitchen appliances carry out the hard work, indeed for this loaf they are necessary, shaping the dough is always fun to do by hand. Since I first tried an eight strand plaited loaf last year, I have become hooked on intertwining lengths of dough and observing the final, baked result. This Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread is delicious and easy to make.
Having re-tested the recipe and technique I have full confidence that you too can make this delicious bread. Even if you have never plaited before, the step by step photographs will show you how. Such a small amount of extra effort and you will be rewarded with a stunning loaf. While the smell of cinnamon dough, baking, will have you counting the minutes until your first slice!
When baking, it always pays to use the very best ingredients available. However, not everyone’s budget can stretch to premium ingredients. If you can make one change here, I strongly recommend using free range, or organic eggs. Their golden yolks are what help give this loaf its amazing colour. Both in the bread itself and the egg wash, brushed on before baking. Resulting in both the golden and bronzed baked crust.
Serving this bread, sliced for breakfast or as an afternoon treat with a hot drink, is sure to brighten anyone’s day. Since it is a large loaf, why not take it to work, pre-sliced and share with your colleagues? Since all food tastes better when it is shared, that is the only way to improve this bread. Simply by sharing it.
Recipe: Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
300mls Whole Milk
2 Large Free Range Eggs
1tsp Caster Sugar
10g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson in the green tub or sachets
1 free range egg plus 1tbsp milk to brush over the loaf.
The method given for making this Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread uses a dough hook fitted to a stand mixer. The enriched dough is very, very sticky, prior to its first prove. Using a stand mixer ensures that the dough is kneaded properly. Resulting in a light textured crumb once baked.
First of all ensure that your kitchen is warm. It will really benefit the yeast, during the dough making process.
Measure the milk into a jug and warm in a microwave for 20 seconds. Ideally the milk should be body temperature 37C. However, do not overheat as it may kill the yeast.
Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Crack 2 eggs into the jug and add these to the milk in the bowl. I always break eggs into a separate container first. If any shell escapes it can then be removed and also, extremely occasionally, should an egg be bad, it will not spoil the whole recipe.
Next add the sugar and yeast. Swish the liquid about with clean fingers to break up the eggs and mix lightly.
On top of the liquid mix add the flour.
Now add the butter and salt.
Lower the dough hook into the bowl and mix on the slowest speed for 5 minutes. Then, gradually increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 5 minutes.
After the mixing time has elapsed stop the mixer.
Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. The dough is kneaded when it can be stretched so thinly that light can be seen through it. This is called the windowpane test.
If the dough tears before it can be fully stretched, lower the dough hook and continue mixing, checking every 3 minutes, until it passes the windowpane test.
Once the dough passes the windowpane test it is ready to prove. Scrape the dough from the dough hook and allow to drop into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place somewhere warm and drought free.
Allow the dough to prove until doubled in size – approximately 1 hour.
While the dough is proving grease a large baking tray with butter. Also, into a small bowl, weigh out the sugar and add the cinnamon. Stir to mix and break up any large sugar lumps using your fingers. Set to one side.
Once doubled in size turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Use your hand, or a dough scraper to remove all of the dough.
Shape the dough into a round and then weigh it. I use digital scales, placing the dough on to a piece of baking parchment. Make a note of the weight of the dough. Now divide that figure in 3.
Cut the dough into 3 pieces that are equal in weight.
Roll each piece of dough into a length and then flatten, using your hands or a rolling pin. Each flattened length of dough should measure 50cm/20″.
Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture down the middle of each piece of dough. Dividing it equally between three strands.
Dab a little tap water down the right side of the first strip of dough. Now bring the left side over and pinch to secure the sides together. Similar to making a sausage roll.
Continue until all three lengths of dough have their filling securely encased.
Roll each length of dough so that the join is underneath and not visible.
Join all three lengths of dough at the top. Place on top of each other and pinch together to secure.
Plaiting the dough:
Starting from left to right, number the strands 1, 2 and 3. Number 1 strand will always be to the left, 2 in the middle and 3 on the right.
Pass strand 1 over strand 2.
Now pass strand 3 over strand 2. Ensure the strands are not pulled tight and likewise there should be no gaps.
Repeat the past two steps until the plait is finished. (Strand 1 over 2, then strand 3 over strand 2 and repeat.)
Pinch the bottom 3 strands together so that they are secure and look tidy.
Lift the plait using both hands at either end and place diagonally on to the greased baking tray.
Cover with a clean tea towel and leave, as before, in a draught free place.
While the plaited dough is proving preheat the oven to 240C/220C gas mark 9. Break an egg into a bowl, add the tablespoon of milk and whisk with a fork to mix. This is the eggwash.
Once the plaited dough has doubled in size use a soft pastry brush and carefully brush the egg wash over.
Place the egg washed Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7. Continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
The bread is baked when a deep, golden crust has formed and the base sounds hollow, when rapped with a knuckle.
Once baked remove the bread from the oven.
Slide a pallet knife under the baked bread, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
Allow the loaf to cool to body temperature before slicing. Attempting to slice while the bread is still hot will compact the bread. Also eating freshly baked, hot bread, is not good for our digestion!
Serve sliced with a smile and a complimenting drink.
Placed in a bread bin, or wrapped loosely in foil, once fully cooled, this loaf will last up to three days. It can be toasted, although I’d advise not to use a toaster due to the sugar present. Under a grill, or even better, in front of a log fire, this bread makes excellent toast!
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Homemade bread is the most luxurious food, for me, to bake. Enticing smells as it is baking, make our house feel like a home. Appreciative comments when a fresh loaf is on the table, to be served with dinner, or for breakfast, make me smile. Not for the accolade, or indeed achievement, from others, of having made my own loaf. Simply the fact that I am giving my family, delicious, additive free, tasty bread, is enough to keep me baking.
What do you really enjoy cooking and baking? Who do you like to share it with?
Carrying out reviews is always a pleasure and sometimes a challenge here at Feasting is Fun. While taking great care to bring an honest, thorough review, creating new recipes can sometimes stretch me. Yet challenging myself to come up with new ideas, is, ultimately, what delivers the most satisfaction. With this in mind, I hope you enjoy my Lloyds Chocolatiers Product Review.
Receiving such a varied selection was a real treat. Allowing me to get creative with my recipes. Since Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, the chocolate hearts immediately grabbed my attention. A delicious variety of truffles, filled with ganache, whipped fruit fillings and the most incredible caramel. These chocolates became the inspiration behind my Chocolate Heart Topped RoseBundt Cake . Perfectly complimenting the rose and vanilla flavoured cake, I highly recommend them.
Included in the package were also some beautiful Rose and Violet chocolate fondants. The finish on these chocolates is outstanding and our daughter observed that they resembled marbles, such was the shine. These chocolate fondants would also work well with the Rose Bundt Cake. While the Rose fondants had a subtle flavour, similar to turkish delight, in comparison the Violet fondants were stronger. Reminiscent of years gone by, both flavours were enjoyable.
Presentation of all the chocolates was outstanding. Great care had been taken to ensure that they arrived in perfect condition, always a consideration when ordering any product online, especially food items. Also, each individual product’s packaging was sleek, streamlined and designed to show the product off at its best. While it also protected the chocolates.
Chocolate truffles are a weakness of mine. Add in a splash of something boozy and I’m sold! Yet, occasionally I am disappointed. Too much alcohol and the truffle is ruined. Not so with these delicious beauties. The gold wrapped chocolate truffles contain just the right amount of whiskey and are finished with a dusting of cocoa. While the vermicelli covered chocolate rum truffles just edged past, in terms of my flavour preference. Both are delicious and highly recommended.
Finally, the chocolate bars. The milk chocolate was creamy, yet not too sweet. This is a great chocolate bar. When ordering chocolates as presents, one or two would also be added to the basket! The white chocolate bar is sublime. Most white chocolate is very sweet. Too sweet. Not Lloyds Chocolatier’s white chocolate bar. A great balance of creaminess and vanilla. This simple, yet excellent bar of chocolate could well be my undoing! While a little on the pricey side, the flavour is absolutely worth it, for both chocolate bars.
White Chocolate Valentine’s Bark
As part of the Lloyds Chocolatiers Product Review this White ChocolateValentine’s Bark was made. The recipe is simple and requires only 2 ingredients.
Heart Sugar Sprinkles – available from most supermarkets.
Making the White Chocolate Valentine’s Bark:
First of all, line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Next chop up the white chocolate until it is in small pieces. Less than 1cm in size.
Place approximately two thirds of the chopped white chocolate into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
Heat the chocolate for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heating.
As soon as the chocolate is melted add the remaining chopped chocolate to the bowl and stir until all of the chocolate is completely melted. If necessary, heat for a further 10 seconds at a time, in the microwave.
Once melted stir to ensure the melted chocolate is free from lumps.
Pour the melted chocolate on to the baking parchment.
Using either an off set spatula or the back of a spoon spread the chocolate out into a rectangular shape.
Ideally the chocolate should be about the thickness of a one pound coin, 3-4mm.
Scatter over sugar heart decorations, while the chocolate is still tacky.
Place the baking tray somewhere cool to allow the chocolate to set. During very hot weather it may have to be placed in the fridge for a few minutes.
Once the chocolate has set it is ready to be cut.
Use a sharp, un-serrated knife to cut 4 lines, equally spaced, from top to bottom.
The chocolate will naturally crack into shards.
Place the heart studded chocolate shards in a pretty bowl to serve.
The White Chocolate Valentine’s Bark can also be placed into cellophane bags, tied with pretty ribbon and given as presents.
Considering that all of the chocolates are handmade by Lloyds Chocolatier’s, I was very impressed the the sharp snap of the chocolate bark. While tempering chocolate can be quite a procees. Certainly one I am happy to leave to the proffessionals. In comparision the easy tempering technique used here gave great results.
Whatever type of chocolate you enjoy, or wish to give as a gift, I highly recommend Lloyds Chocolatiers. From variety to beautiful packaging, they certainly make great chocolate.
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Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day, or not, creating something delicious for loved ones is always fun. Either adorning a cake with beautiful chocolate hearts, or making chocolate bark with the children, a personal touch can add so much more, any day of the year. Such as remembering someone’s favourite chocolates.
Whatever you are baking, making and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast and remember, food always tastes better when it is shared.
Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and whether you subscribe to red hearts, roses and all things lovey-dovey, or not, walk down any high street and you can’t fail to avoid it. For me, each day is about expressing my love to those around me. Most importantly my hubby, our children and then my beautiful sister and her amazing family. Whether you celebrate February 14th as a specific day to show people your love, or choose other days, every single day, this Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake is sure to be well received.
Love, for me is about showing someone I’ve thought of them. It can be a small act of making a cup of tea and a kiss, or it can be a grander gesture, such as buying theatre or concert tickets. One way I like to show loved ones that I’ve thought of them is to bake or cook for them. Making their favourite meal, baking cookies such as these Chocolate Heart Cookies, all adds to the love in our home.
Something absolutely guaranteed to win most people round is chocolate. Having been sent a beautiful selection of chocolates from Lloyd’s Chocolatiers, I wanted to show them off. As the chocolate hearts are filled with delicate whipped creams, caramel, praline or divine caramel, they provide the perfect decoration to this lightly flavoured cake. Easily removed when served, they create a stunning addition to any plate.
Made with love. Served with love. These beautiful and varied chocolate hearts create a stunning dessert plate. This definitely says “I love you”.
While baking a chocolate cake may seem an obvious choice, I instead decided to choose a flavour to compliment the chocolates. Keeping the rose flavour subtle within the cake also stops it from overpowering the chocolates. Since the aim is, that each should compliment the other. Finishing with an un-flavoured glaze and dust of glitter, takes this cake from pretty to elegant.
Recipe: Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake serves 8-10
Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3
First of all, ensure the Bundt pan is clean and dry. Shake the can or bottle well. Spray, or brush Wilton cake release thoroughly using a soft pastry brush. Note – if the weather is cold the liquid in the bottle may be difficult to squeeze out and brush. Stand the bottle in a jug of hot water for 10 minutes, shake well and use.
Making the cake batter: Into a large bowl add the softened butter, sugar and salt.
Whisk/beat together until well combined, pale and creamy.
Next, into a separate bowl, sieve the flour and baking powder together – dry ingredients.
Into the creamed butter bowl add the vanilla paste, rose extract and 2 eggs. Then add one third of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Add a further 2 eggs, another third of the dry ingredients and mix as before.
Finally, add the last 2 eggs, yoghurt and the last third of the dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined, however take care not to over mix.
Spoon the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan, pressing down as you do. Smooth the top of the batter with a spoon.
Place the Bundt pan in the centre of the oven and bake for 1hr – 1hr 15 minutes.
The cake is baked when it is golden in colour, shrinking away from the sides of the pan and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Once baked remove the cake from the oven.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
Now turn out the Bundt cake on to a cooling rack.
Leave the cake to cool completely before icing.
While the cake is cooling, make the glacé icing.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
Add the water and stir thoroughly, until a smooth consistency is achieved.
When cool, place the cake on the cooling rack, over a clean baking tray. This will catch any excess icing drips.
Start to spoon the icing over the top of the cake, working your way around the cake.
Continue to spoon icing through the central hole and around the outside until the cake is fully covered.
Leave the icing to naturally drip from the cake and finally set.
If using, dust the cake with edible glitter.
Move the cake on to a serving plate or stand.
Place the chocolate hearts on top of the cake, reserving some for serving alongside.
Serve with love and a smile.
The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If it lasts that long.
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Nordic Ware have a range of different shapes and styles of Bundt Pans. Since they are not cheap they are an investment worth looking after. Especially, if like me, cake decorating isn’t your strongest point. Yet, if looked after properly, the detailed Bundt Pans will last you a lifetime. Because each cake baked has love stirred into it, nothing else can compare with the taste. Ultimately they pay for themselves, with magnificent cakes that aren’t bought from a bakery.
On Valentine’s Day and everyday, I wish you love, health, peace and happiness.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Not me! Yet after the festive season, well, to be truthful, unwrapping and eating another choccie, can, lose its appeal. Since wasting chocolate is an option that cannot even be considered, incorporating it into bakes and desserts seems the perfect answer. Hence, I present to you my Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut.
While I used Fererro Rocher to inspire and top this bake, another Christmas chocolate was also used for the drizzling. Look away now if you love Teddy Bears, I used a whole Lindt Christmas jumper bear, melted down. To say this was an indulgent bake, would be to understate. Serving this for dessert, would, without doubt, bring about happy smiles and much excitement.
Creating a giant, baked doughnut, using silicone moulds, readily available online – mine were bought from Lakeland, makes an unusual and fun change from a sandwich cake. If however, you cannot source the moulds, this recipe can be baked in two, greased and lined 6 – 7 inch sandwich tins. Baking time will be approximately the same.
While a single, regular doughnut is perfect for one person, this giant doughnut is perfect for sharing. Since it is my belief that all food tastes better when it is shared, surely this can only be a good thing!
Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3
First of all, grease the insides of the doughnut moulds with softened butter. Then place them on a baking tray, ensuring that they don’t touch. The silicone mould could easily be misshapen if pressed.
To make the batter, start by placing the butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk/beat together until pale and creamy.
Next add all 6 eggs and the vanilla extract.
Now sift the cocoa powder, plain flour and baking powder into the same bowl.
Whisk/beat all the ingredients until they have just come together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl then give the batter a final mix.
Divide the batter equally between the two moulds. Finish by smoothing the surface of the batter to ensure an even bake.
Place the baking tray, with the moulds on, into the centre of the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.
The sponge is baked when it feels firm to touch and springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the moulds and then turn the doughnut halves out on to a cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating. Since this doughnut was baked in the evening, it was stored, with baking parchment underneath and between, in an airtight container. Ready to be filled and decorated the next day.
Assembling the Giant Doughnut: First of all, pour the double cream into a large bowl and whisk until it just starts to thicken. Continue whisking slowly until it just holds its shape. Take care not to over whisk so that it becomes stiff, this will make it difficult to pipe.
Now take the half that is to be the top part of the doughnut and spread the chocolate and hazelnut spread evenly on to the flat underside.
Place the bottom half of the doughnut, flat side up, on to the plate or stand on which it is to be served.
Fill an icing bag fitted with a large star tip – I use Wilton #1M – with the whipped cream. Pipe a swirl pattern on to the bottom doughnut – as seen in the pictures. Alternatively you can spoon the cream on to the doughnut.
Place the top half of the doughnut on to the bottom half.
Pipe cream stars all around the centre, where the two halves meet. This creates a beautiful finish.
Decorating the doughnut: Break or chop the chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Zap in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring, between each heating. As soon as the chocolate starts to melt remove the bowl and continue stirring until the chocolate is liquid.
Drizzle the chocolate, using a teaspoon, over the doughnut.
Next, working quickly before the chocolate sets, add the unwrapped Fererro Rocher to the top of the doughnut. Holding each one in place for a few seconds so that it sticks to the chocolate.
Sprinkle over the toasted, chopped hazelnuts and allow the chocolate to fully set before serving.
As soon as the chocolate is set this Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut is ready to be served.
To serve, cut using a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean, between each cut, will keep the slices tidy. The sponge, whipped cream and chocolate hazelnut layers are clear to see.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. While best on the day assembled, this doughnut will keep for up to 2 days.
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Since something as simple as a silicone giant doughnut mould can create such fun and show stopping desserts, I highly recommend them. Most of all, if you serve up a Giant Doughnut as dessert to dinner guests, they are not only likely to be impressed, but also inquisitive about how it is made. Certainly, the variety of bakes are as limitless as our own imagination.
Baking should be fun, creative and adventurous. Best of all, it should be shared.
In an ideal world, all food consumed by myself and our family would be homemade. Reality dictates that is not feasible. Yet certain products, made with natural ingredients make that dream, a step closer. For example the lemon curd used in my Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars, tastes as good, if not better than that made at home. Resulting in a delicious recipe, made one stage easier by a product already available.
Creating a bake that is sturdy enough to withstand transport in a school backpack or briefcase can have its challenges. Yet, a sturdy, buttery, shortbread base ensures these bars remain intact during transit. Since hubby does not always have time for a set lunch break, knowing he has something he can munch with a coffee makes me happy. Of course, he functions better when his energy is topped up too.
There are a variety of traybakes here, on Feasting is Fun, including Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars and Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks. Some considered more ‘healthy’ than others. With respect, anything cooked at home, using good quality ingredients and made with love, is, in my opinion far better than a mass produced product with a shelf life of months!
Biting into a bar really is a taste and texture sensation for your tongue and tastebuds. Each blueberry, when baked, turns into its own little pod of jam. Yet without the added sweetness of preserves. The cake layer, moist and light contrasts beautifully with the tang of lemon and defined shortbread base. Resulting in a complete mouthful of joy with each bite.
Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars makes 12
Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3
Line a 20cm x 28cm x 5cm (8″ x 11″ x 2″) tin with baking parchment, ensuring the parchment is higher than the sides of the tin. The tin does not need to be greased first.
Making the Shortbread Base:
Place the softened butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk or beat until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Next, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
Now sift the flour into the bowl and then, using a spoon gently mix all the ingredients until they just come together.
Spoon the shortbread mixture into the lined tin and then press into an even layer using your fingers. Use a fork to prick holes, known as docking, into the shortbread. This allows any steam to escape and create a golden base.
Place the tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Until the top is just turning golden.
While the shortbread is baking make the sponge topping – see below for instructions.
Once baked remove the shortbread from the oven. It is important to note that the shortbread is not fully cooked at this point.
Making the Sponge Topping
While the shortbread is baking the cake batter can be made.
Into a large bowl, as before, add the butter and sugar. Whisk/beat until pale and creamy.
Next add the two eggs and continue whisking until the mixture is completely combined.
Now sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl. Then add the blueberries and the lemon zest.
Using a metal spoon, fold the ingredients together gently, to minimise breaking up the blueberries. Set to one side.
Assembling the Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Once the shortbread base is baked allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then spoon over the lemon curd, spreading so that it covers the base, yet doesn’t quite reach the edges.
Spoon over the cake batter. Dolloping it fairly evenly across the base. Finally, gently spread the batter so that it covers the base. Pay particular attention to the edges. Aiming to seal in the lemon curd, by ensuring the cake batter is in contact with the shortbread around the entire edge.
Place the tin back into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The lower and longer baking results in an even bake with a flat surface.
The Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars are baked when the top is golden in colour and is firm to touch. Once baked remove the tin from the oven and set to one side to allow to cool completely.
When completely cooled, remove the entire traybake from the tin. A fish slice or large palette knife is useful. Ease the knife under the bake, using it to lift and support as you move the traybake to a flat surface.
Using a sharp knife cut halfway through the width of the bake. Wipe the knife between each cut, this avoids spoiling the bake.
Following this first cut, now cut downwards, dividing the bake into four equal quarters.
Finally, cut each quarter into three equal sized bars.
The lemon curd is perfect in these bars.
Serve the Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars with a cup of tea, on some cheerful china, with a smile.
Store in an airtight container. They will keep for 4 days. During warm weather, storing in the fridge is advised.
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Baking and cooking good, wholesome food for my family is very important to me. It truly is one of the ways that I show them my love. Knowing in the middle of a busy day that my hubby has something made with love, by me, to help him through. Well, it doesn’t get better than that when we are apart from each other. The oohs and aahs as each family member returns at the days end, to the comforting kitchen aromas, ensures they know that they are truly home.
Love, inquisitiveness and creating are the main motivational factors behind all of my cooking. What are yours?
Winter and ice cream. Can they really hold hands and be friends during the coldest months? I say absolutely! My Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream scooped into a bowl and topped with hot, toasted, flaked almonds is perfect any day of the year. Ice cream is for every season, we just have to get creative!
Amaretto is an Italian Almond Liqueur. It’s flavour is of warm, toasted almonds which, when sipped, produces a warming feeling throughout the body. Add it to ice cream and two different things happen. First of all, due to the alcohol content, this ice cream does not need to wait around, warming up before it can be scooped. Furthermore, the ice cream becomes dreamily creamy. Creating a dessert that stands alone on its own merits, the toasted flaked almonds adding a crunchy texture to the smoothness of the ice cream.
However, the Italians have a wonderful dessert called Affogato. A scoop or two of ice cream, drowned in a shot of hot, intense, espresso . The coffee drowns the ice cream. The resulting effect being a meeting of ice cold, ice cream and scalding hot coffee. If you love coffee, then this is an incredibly stylish way to end a meal.
The combination of opposites; hot and cold, sweet and bitter, dessert and drink, create an exciting, enticing, taste experience. Most of all, that tastebud sensation is completely homemade. Because the dessert is created from scratch, the control of flavours is in your hands.
First of all, pour both the cream and milk into a large, heavy based saucepan and place over a medium heat. Allow to heat until small bubbles form around the rim of the saucepan – this is known as the scalding point. Once reached, remove the saucepan from the heat.
While the milk/cream mixture is heating, add the egg yolks, sugar, corn flour and vanilla bean extract to a large, heatproof bowl. Whisk until pale and frothy.
As soon as the eggs are mixed and the milk/cream have reached scalding point, continue with the following:
With the whisk still on slow, gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl containing the egg mixture. Keep pouring until all of the hot, creamy liquid is mixed in.
Next pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and place over a low heat. Keep stirring to ensure the custard base does not catch. Continue heating until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Place a sieve over a large heatproof bowl and pour the custard base through.
To ensure a skin does not form on top of the custard, place cling film on to the custard. So that it is in direct contact.
Set the bowl aside to cool and then place in the fridge to chill thoroughly.
When the custard has fully chilled remove from the fridge. Now is the time to add the Amaretto Liqueur. Stir to mix.
Set up the ice cream machine as per manufacturer’s instructions.
With the machine turned on, pour the deliciously scented custard base into the churning bowl.
Continue churning until the ice cream has a thick consistency.
Stop the machine and remove the lid and paddle. Scrape the ice cream from the paddle into a suitable freezer proof, airtight container. Then, using a silicone spatula, decant the rest of the ice cream into the container. Wipe away any splashes, clip on the lid, label and finally place the container into the freezer to finish freezing.
To serve, remove the ice cream from the freezer and scoop straight away. Since the ice cream contains a good slug of alcohol, which freezes at a much lower temperature, it is ready to serve immediately.
To create an Amaretto Affogato, simply scoop one or two balls of ice cream into a heatproof glass. Immediately pour over a steaming, hot shot of espresso and serve.
Please make sure any dinner guests who are driving have an alternative. My Very Vanilla Ice Cream works very well in an Affogato. Likewise if you want the almond flavour, without the alcohol, you could add 2 teaspoons of good quality almond extract, instead of the Amaretto. The ice cream will need to sit for 20 minutes once removed from the freezer to soften.
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Investing in an ice cream machine, need not only be for the warmer summer months. Cold ice cream melting over a warm Chocolate Fudge Brownie is my idea of comfort food heaven. I love the taste sensation of hot and cold together.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, make sure 2017 is the year you really do have fun.