Pumpkin Pie

Welcome to the pièce de résistance of my pumpkin baking, the crowning glory you might say – Pumpkin Pie! This is my third year of making this pie. The past 2 times I used ready made pastry, with varying results. I feel like I have mastered pastry now after making Key Lime Pie and Tarte Tatin successfully, and can say with confidence that I don’t think you’ll find me buying ready made shortcrust ever again! I don’t remember exactly how I made the filling each year, probably different ways each year knowing me! But this year it had a lovely custard flavour and was very yummy. Pumpkin pie is ‘Marmite’ food – you either love it or you hate it!

There are several different ways to make short crust pastry (or you can buy it ready made). I chose this method because I have used it before and it’s worked really well for me. I started with 350g plain flour and 170g butter.

I rubbed the butter into the flour with my hands until it formed fine crumbs, as above. This is quite a relaxing thing to do as it takes a few minutes.

I added in two eggs and used an ordinary cutlery knife to bind the mixture together. Once it started to formed a dough I got my hands in there to form it into a ball.

I kneaded this briefly for a couple of minutes on a floured surface until it looked like the above photo. Smooth and well combined. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile I made the filling by slowly heating 275ml double cream, 75g soft brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ground ginger. You can also add 1/2 tsp cloves or allspice if you have it.

In a separate bowl I beat together 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. I poured the heated cream mixture into the eggs, whisking as I poured bit by bit. I then added a full can of pumpkin puree (425g) and whisked till combined.

I rolled out the pastry till it was bigger than my loose bottomed pie tin (about 22cm).

I placed it in the tin, pressing around the sides. Make sure the edges hang over a little as the pastry will shrink slightly. I used a fork to pierce all over the bottom to prevent air from getting trapped.

Line the pastry with baking paper and baking beans (or dry rice if you don’t have baking beans).

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges, I then removed the baking beans and poured in the pumpkin filling.

I popped the pie back in the oven for about 35 minutes. Until the filling firms up and goes a nice rich orange colour. I roasted a few pumpkin seeds in oil and used them to decorate the centre of the pie. You can decorate any way you want.

I also made these cute little ‘taster’ pies with leftover mixture and pastry. These are best done in a cupcake baking tray, but there wasn’t one to hand at the time so these silicone cupcake cases were a handy replacement.

And so ends my pumpkin baking fun. I’ve used all the pumpkin puree I bought this year, with some great results, and new discoveries about baking with pumpkin. I’m ready to move onto other Autumn baking now and maybe even start thinking about…dare I say it…Christmas baking!

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Halloween Cupcakes

 

I love celebrating Halloween and I think it’s a great time of year! This year my boyfriend held a party at his flat and I decided to make some cupcakes for the guests. I dressed up as Poison Ivy from Batman, also attending were the Donnie Darko rabbit, Bat Girl, various Zombies and some animals too! We also carved pumpkins which is messy, but very fun. I have a stencil kit and a carving kit which is what we used to get the cat and spider patterns above. My boyfriend also made toffee apples and covered his flat in cobwebs, fake spiders and ‘blood’ spattered sheets – it looked very creepy!

I started by sifting 1 cup plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, into a bowl, and also added 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.

I added 60g butter cut up into cubes and rubbed it into the flour mixture until it formed fine crumbs.

In a separate bowl I mixed 1 heaped cup of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. You can also add 1/2 cup of dried fruit (sultanas, raisins or cranberries) if you wish. I chose not to.

I then folded the pumpkin mixture into the flour until it was just combined.

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes in a muffin tray, but will make more if you use a smaller fairy cake tray. Make sure to only fill the muffin tray half full, otherwise you will run out of mixture. I filled the tray with mixture. In a bowl I mixed 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg and sprinkled it over the top of the batter.

I baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes. Until lovely and golden brown.

I made cream cheese icing using 170g butter, 340g icing sugar and 4-5 tsp cream cheese. I mixed together the butter and icing sugar first, then added the cream cheese bit by bit until I got the consistency I wanted. I recently purchase a large open star nozzle from JaneAsher.com, if you would like to create the same effect here is the link for the nozzle I bought.

 

I piped the icing onto each cake and then added an edible Pumpkin head decoration which I bought from Top Tier cake decorating shop in Sale Moor.

 

I also made 12 chocolate cupcakes for those that may be unsure about pumpkin (it turns out there are people that don’t like it!). I made a simple chocolate sponge by weighing 2 eggs, and matching the weight of my flour, sugar and butter. I creamed the sugar and butter together first, then added the eggs and finally folded in the flour. I then added 55g cocoa powder and about 3 tbsp evaporated milk leftover from the pumpkin cupcakes to balance out the consistency.

I also baked these on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes.

To make the chocolate icing I used 170g butter, 255g icing sugar and 85g cocoa powder. I used the same method as before, adding 4-5 tsp cream cheese until I got the consistency I wanted.

I again used my open star nozzle to pipe the chocolate icing on the cupcakes once they were fully cool.

 

 

 

Finally I added some ‘ghost and bat’ decorations that I got from Aldi a few weeks ago.

 

 

 

I safely transported the cupcakes to the party in a cupcake carrier. And then they were all eaten up by a variety of ghosts and goblins! I got some great comments about the cupcakes, I am so pleased with the icing nozzle and love the professional effect it gives!

The pumpkin cupcake recipe is from The Pioneer Woman.

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Things To Do With… Leftover Egg Yolks

Things To Do With… Leftover Egg Yolks

Whenever I have egg yolks left after making meringue, I feel bad about just throwing them away. I hate wasting food so I’m always on the look out for recipes that use only egg yolks. I’ve searched the internet for recipes using only egg yolks, and I’ve also made some too, and I’ve brought them all together on this page. I’m sure many bakers have been in this situation before, so hopefully this selection of recipes will prove useful!

Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Caramel Tart with Macadamia Nuts Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars
Uses 1 Egg Yolk Uses 1 Egg Yolk Uses 1 Egg Yolk
Nutella Swirled Chocolate Chip Cookies Three Cheese Mac & Cheese Passionfruit Curd
Uses 1 Egg Yolk Uses 1 Large Egg Yolk Uses 2 Egg Yolks
Chocolate Truffles Raspberry & White Chocolate Mini Trifles Jam Filled Butter Biscuits
Uses 2 Egg Yolks Uses 2 Egg Yolks Uses 2 Egg Yolks
 
Homemade Mayonnaise  Lemon Curd Chewy Lemon & White Chocolate Cookies
Uses 3 Egg Yolks  Uses 3 Egg Yolks Uses 3 Egg Yolks
Creme Brulee Key Lime Pie with Coconut Oreo Crust Lemon Pound Cake
Uses 3 Egg Yolks Uses 3 Egg Yolks Uses 4 Egg Yolks
Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara Almond Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce Charlotte Royale
Uses 4 Egg Yolks Uses 4 Egg Yolks Uses 4 Egg Yolks
Peanut Butter Pudding Coconut & Berry Fruit Tarts Chocolate Pecan Brownies
Uses 4 Egg Yolks Uses 5 Egg Yolks Uses 5 Egg Yolks
 
Yellow Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting Mocha Eclairs  Pumpkin Custard Donuts
Uses 6 Egg Yolks Uses 6 Egg Yolks  Uses 6 Egg Yolks
   
Swedish Princess Cupcakes  Custard Tarts  Raspberry Custard Tart
Uses 6 Egg Yolks  Uses 7 Egg Yolks  Uses 7 Egg Yolks

Let me know if you try any of these and how they turn out!

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Profiteroles & GBBO Final

So it’s all over! Great British Bake Off series three finished last week with John being crowned the winner. I think John is great, he’s passionate and talented, plus a fellow Mancunian! He will go on to great things. I can’t deny though that I wasn’t disappointed for Brendan. I have backed him from the start and I was convinced he was going to win. However, I don’t think coming joint second takes anything away from how talented and dedicated Brendan is. I think James will end up being the Heston Blumenthal of baking! He experiments everywhere he can and has a real understanding of the science of baking. Perhaps GBBO wasn’t the best venue for some of his experiments, but it shows how brave he is.

The final began with the final three bakers making a Pithivier. This is a traditional French pie made by enclosing a filling in between two layers of puff pastry, and is typically decorated with a scalloped edge. They look really delicious! Brendan made a Potato and Pepper Pithivier (pictured above), which was beautifully decorated and the judges loved. John made an Italian Sausage & Roasted Veg Pithivier (pictured below), which also went down very well with Mary and Paul.

The technical challenge this week was French Fancies. I have made these before (see post) but my version were a lot more simple than the ones the bakers had to make! They looked so fiddly, messy and really hard to get right. No one did very well on this challenge and they all struggled. I would recommend my simpler version if you want to try these! I would loved to have seen the process of how to do them right, but unfortunately this stumped all of our bakers this week.

In the final episode we also heard from past contestants, and the final three’s families. It was really nice to hear more of their back stories and see all the support they have from family, friends and fellow contestants. Everyone was so nice this year and it was great to see all the other bakers at the Summer Fete.

The showstopper challenge was to make a chiffon cake themed by each baker’s personal summary of 2012. Chiffon cakes are extremely light and made by folding beaten egg whites into the batter. They do not contain any butter. John made a Heaven & Hell cake (pictured above) to represent the ups and downs of his year. Heaven was represented by lemon and coconut, and hell by chocolate and orange. The judges were blown away by his cake, doesn’t it look stunning?

Brendan’s almond and raspberry cake had a theme of Family Reunion. I thought this was really sweet and obviously something close to his heart. He decorated the cake with gingerbread people. It was beautifully decorated and presented.

James made five cakes! He wanted to represent the Olympics and the coming together of the different parts of the UK. His idea was fantastic and had he had more time, would have turned out much better. Unfortunately the time constraints of the competition affected his bake.

I decided to make profiteroles this week. The bakers made choux pastry last week, and seen as I’ve already made French Fancies I thought I would give choux a go. Maybe I am cheating a little bit here on my GBBO challenge (ok I am cheating!) but these were so delicious it was worth it! I started by sifting 60g plain flour into a bowl. Hold the sifter up high to let plenty of air into the flour.

In a saucepan melt 50g butter and 150ml water on a low heat. Bring to the boil, then take of the heat and throw in the flour straight away and mix in with a wooden spoon. In will form a very smooth dough, as below. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Beat 2 eggs and add them to the saucepan, mix in well till a smooth glossy paste forms, as above.

Using a teaspoon I put blobs of the mixture onto a lined baking tray. I baked on 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes. Until the mixture puffs up and goes golden.

While the profiteroles are baking, whip up a pot of cream.

To make the chocolate sauce I melted 200g chocolate (milk and/or dark), 2 tbsp golden syrup, and 25g butter. My chocolate sauce tasted good but was quite grainy. I imagine this is to do with the quality of the chocolate. Better quality chocolate is always better.

When the profiteroles come out of the oven, pierce them with a knife to allow steam to escape, return to the oven for a couple of minutes, then take out and place on a rack to cool.

Add cream by either piping into the profiteroles, or slicing them and spooning in. I was lazy and spooned in, the evening I made these I didn’t have the energy to clean piping bags! Plus just between friends a bit of messy presentation is ok. For a dinner party I’d make the full effort. Pile up the buns, drizzle over the chocolate sauce and eat immediately! These are so good, light airy and melt in the mouth, although anything with cream and chocolate on tastes pretty amazing! I was surprised at how easy these are to make. I can see these being a regular feature in my life, and more choux baking to come!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies

Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies

I absolutely love baking with pumpkin, and you may never have thought of mixing it with chocolate, but trust me it tastes so good! These brownies are the ultimate gooey chocolate treat, and swirled through them is creamy spiced cheesecake. This recipe has taken a couple of tries to get right, but I’ve definitely perfected it. The brownies just melt in your mouth, and the cheesecake swirl is full of Autumn flavours like cinnamon and ginger. Make sure you use pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling (which is already pre-spiced and sweetened). You can easily find it in the USA, and in the UK you’ll find it in the American section of the supermarket.

To make the cheesecake batter I whisked together the cream cheese, caster sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg until smooth with no lumps. Then I set it aside to make the brownie batter.

In a pan I melted together the dark chocolate and butter, then took it off the heat.

In a bowl I whisked together the eggs and light brown sugar.

I poured in the melted chocolate, whisking as I poured.

I added the plain flour, baking powder and vanilla extract, and whisked everything together.

Then I poured about two thirds of the brownie batter into a lined traybake tine, I added the cheesecake in blobs on top, then added the rest of the brownie batter in blobs on top.

Using a knife I swirled together the mixture to create a marbled effect.

I baked it on 160C Fan/180C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes.

I love how golden and autumnal the colour of the brownie is! These brownies are deliciously moist and the pumpkin spice flavour really comes out in the cheesecake layer. I never thought of mixing pumpkin with chocolate but it works so well. I gifted some of these to friends and took the rest into work for my lucky colleagues and they disappeared fast! They are amazing warmed up in the microwave and served with ice cream – heavenly!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies

Servings 16

Ingredients

For the pumpkin cheesecake

  • 250 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 85 g Caster sugar
  • 150 g Pumpkin puree
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 + 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 + 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves

For the brownies

  • 350 g Dark chocolate
  • 250 g Butter
  • 250 g Light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 130 g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/325F/Gas Mark 4, grease and line a traybake tin

  2. To make the cheesecake batter whisk together the cream cheese, caster sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg until smooth with no lumps. Then set it aside

  3. To make the brownie batter, in a pan on a low heat melt together the dark chocolate and butter, then take it off the heat

  4. In a bowl whisk together the eggs and light brown sugar

  5. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, whisking as you pour

  6. Add the plain flour, baking powder and vanilla extract, and whisk everything together

  7. Pour about two thirds of the brownie batter into a lined traybake tine, add the cheesecake in blobs on top, then add the rest of the brownie batter in blobs on top on that

  8. Using a knife swirl together the mixture to create a marbled effect

  9. Bake it on 160C Fan/180C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes

  10. Leave to cool, then slice into squares and serve

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Raspberry Macarons: GBBO Week #9 Semi-Final

Bonjour! This week it was French week in GBBO, Sue and Mel put on some funny French accents, and we saw lots of snails rather than the usual rabbits and squirrels at the Harptree Court location. This week it was also the semi-final of the show, which meant the pressure was high. The first challenge was to make petit fours. These are desserts usually served at the end of a meal, and are always small and dainty.

It’s safe to say that Brendan’s fabulous choux pastry swans stood out here (pictured above). They are gorgeous, and he executed them perfectly. This guy never breaks a sweat or looks panicked at all during baking. When everyone else is running around, he is calm and collected. A baking robot if ever I saw one! Brendan also made coffee macarons with hazlenut cream (pictured below). Macarons were a popular choice for the bakers, with James and John also making them. James experimented with chili in his macarons, he is always pushing boundaries, but the judges enjoyed it.

The technical challenge this week was Mary Berry’s Fraiser cake. This is a Genoese sponge, which is a highly voluminous sponge. It’s cut in half with a thick crème patisserie and some strawberries arranged in the middle. Finally a layer of marzipan on top and chocolate piped on in various ways to decorate. This looked really tough, the sponge looked very tricky to get right, and getting the crème patisserie thick enough to support the top layer of the cake proved too tough for a couple of the bakers. Danny’s Fraiser collapsed which was really unfortunate.

For the showstoppers this week the bakers made Gateau St Honore Cakes using choux pastry, filled with cream and flavoured with fruits. John’s cake was a bit messy, but I loved the caramel hearts he decorated it with. James made an epic bicycle shaped cake which as usual went down very well with the judges.

This week I decided to give macarons a go. I would like to make choux pastry at some point in the future, it is defnitely on my baking list. The Fraiser cake I will definitely be avoiding!

I started by lining two baking trays with sheets of baking paper. I wanted my macarons small, petit four style, so I used the cap off a bottle to draw 3cm circles onto the paper. In a bowl I mixed 100g icing sugar with 75g ground almonds. I used a hand blender to make sure they mixed together well and became smooth and fine. In a separate bowl I whisked the whites of two eggs with an electric whisker. Once they form stiff peaks, add 75g sugar bit by bit, whisking between each addition. The recipe said to use granulated sugar, but I used caster and it was fine. Then add pink food colouring and whisk in. I only added a few drops, but I would recommend adding more as mine weren’t very pink after baking. I must confess that I got so absorbed in getting the mixture right I only snapped the below photo.

I folded the icing sugar and ground almonds into the meringue mixture bit by bit. Mixing only until just combined. Do not over mix if you try this. I transferred the mixture to a piping bag with a small plain circular nozzle.

Holding the bag vertically, I piped the mixture into the circles on the baking paper.

I baked them on 150C/200F/Gas Mark 2 for 5-10 minutes. They are only small so didn’t need long. The tops are firm once baked. I left them on the paper for 15 minutes, then transferred to a cooling rack. If you moved them too quickly they can break. Treat them gently as they are very delicate.

To make the topping I whisked together 150g mascarpone and 50g seedless raspberry conserve.

The only seedless raspberry conserve I could find in the shops was this one pictured below.

Once the meringues were fully cooled I used a knife to smooth the filling onto the underside of one, you can also use a piping bag to pipe the mixture on, but if you’re very gentle a knife works fine too.

Place another meringue on top to create a sandwich and the macaron is ready! Some recipes said to eat of the same day, others said to wait till the next day to eat. I say dig in! Enjoy these little sweet treats straight away, they are hard work to make after all and I definitely needed a reward for my efforts.

Macarons can be made in many different ways, all following the same basic recipe just adding different flavours and colours. You can put cream in the middle, ganache or fresh fruit.

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Mint Choc Birthday Cake

It was my housemate Stacey’s birthday recently and I decided to make her a birthday cake. My theme was ‘chocolate and mint’ so I started by doing an Internet search to get some ideas. This is a great way to get inspiration – just looking at pictures of loads of cakes! Once my idea was ready, I gathered the necessary ingredients and began baking!

I made a simple chocolate sponge using 4 eggs, I matched the weight of my flour, sugar and butter to the weight of my eggs, which was 218g. This is a really straightforward way to make a basic sponge. I also added about a quarter of the weight of cocoa powder (about 50g), and 3 tbsp milk to make up for the extra powder. Cream the butter and sugar together first, then add the egg and milk, and finally fold in the flour and cocoa powder until smooth.
I wanted three layers of sponge for my cake so I separated the mixture into three shallow tins and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes. I inserted a skewer in the middle to make sure they were done, if it comes out clean you’re onto a winner.
I left the sponger to cool and started the buttercream. After completing a cupcake decorating class recently, they suggested that the best mixture for buttercream is 12oz icing sugar, and 6oz butter. I also added 1 1/2 tsp green food colouring and 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint natural flavouring.
My icing came out very runny, and when I smoothed it between my sponge layers it oozed out quite a lot. Maybe adding the food colouring and flavouring changed the mixture, I’m not sure, but it didn’t work out right for me.
So I added a few more ounces of icing sugar to thicken it up. With a palette knife I spread the thicker icing around the side of the cake.

I stuck Aldi’s version of Matchsticks (mint and dark chocolate crispy sticks) around the entire side of the cake. I then tied a green ribbon (from a local haberdashery) around the cake, for both decoration and to make sure the Matchsticks stayed in place!

I bought two packets of mint Aero Bubble, and two packets of mint Poppets. You can get the Aero Bubbles from newsagents like Spar etc. The Poppets I got from an independent sweet shop, but I’m pretty sure they’re available in other chains.
I made a quick chocolate buttercream from 50g butter, 2 heaped tbsp of icing sugar and one level tbsp of cocoa powder. This was nice and thick. I spread it over the top of the cake with a knife.

I placed the Aero Bubbles around the edge, luckily I had just enough to fit perfectly! Then added the Poppets in a smaller circle in the middle. You can make any pattern you want, but I think this looks quite effective.

And the cake was ready!

Add some candles, present to the Birthday girl, and tuck in! This cake went down great with my friends and housemates, with two people going back for second slices. It was very minty, if I do a cake like this again I might do chocolate buttercream for the filling instead to tone down the minty-ness. This cake would also work with orange flavoured buttercream and orange chocolate sweets, and an orange ribbon of course!
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Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

This delicious recipe for brownies with a cheesecake topping is from fellow blogger MBakes. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to make them as they sounded and looked so good. Also I’ve never seen this idea before of a cheesecake topping on a brownie, and I liked it!

First I melted 170g of butter in a pan till it was smooth and golden.

Then I added 150g of dark chocolate and stirred it into the butter until it melted. I tipped the chocolate and butter mixture into a bowl and added a quarter cup (60ml) of cocoa powder and whisked it in. You will need an American measuring cup set for this. I’ve mentioned it before on other posts, you can get sets of them quite easily from the shops or on the Internet.

Add 3 eggs to the mixture, one at a time, mixing in well between each egg. Then add 200g caster sugar, 180 plain flour and 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix together well.

Finally add 2 tbsp red food colouring and mix well. Put into a lined square baking tray and set aside. Now for the cheesecake topping!

Whisk together 300g cream cheese, 2 egg yolks and 2 tsp vanilla extract until smooth and well combined.

Smooth the cheesecake mixture onto the chocolate brownie mixture in the tray. I used a palette knife to do this, taking a bit of mixture bit by bit out of the bowl and smoothing it on top. I then dipped a cocktail stick in some red food colouring and swirled it around on top. Then bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 40 minutes or until the cheesecake has browned on top.

The cheesecake topping may crack on top a bit but this is ok. It will smell really good!

Once cooled, cut into squares and tuck in!

Keep in the fridge (if there’s any left…) I had three pieces! Over the course of three days I must emphasise. The cheesecake topping was especially good. Next time I make these I’m going to put extra topping on!

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Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I absolutely love autumn baking! As soon as September comes I just want to put pumpkin and cinnamon in everything I bake! I make pumpkin pie every year and when I first started this tradition you couldn’t buy tinned pumpkin puree in the UK. Now it’s readily available I’m making lots of other pumpkin recipes too, like these yummy scones.

First I put the self raising flour, caster sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves in a bowl and mixed together.

Then I added the butter and rubbed together with my hands until it resembled breadcrumbs.

In a separate bowl I whisked together the egg, milk, and pumpkin puree.

I combined the pumpkin mixture with the flour and mixed until a dough formed. I placed it onto a floured service and roughly shaped it into a circle.

Then I used a knife to cut it into triangles. This recipe makes six scones, but you can double it to make more or cut smaller triangles or circles with a cutter.

I placed the shaped dough onto a lined baking tray and baked on 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas mark 7 for about 15 minutes.

They were beautifully golden brown. My kitchen smelt so good!

I put the scones on a cooling rack and meanwhile made the two glazes. For the base glaze I mixed the icing sugar with the milk then spread it over each scone.

For the spiced glaze I mixed the icing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and milk together. I put the spiced glaze in a piping bad a made a zig zag pattern over each scone.

These scones are yummy and full of the taste of autumn and the festive season. They are so light and fluffy inside too!

The glaze and drizzle are so scrumptious and make the scones into a lovely sweet treat perfect with a hot drink. You don’t have to add the glaze, you could cut the scones in half and spread with butter instead (perhaps a spiced butter?), but it does make the scones look very pretty. You could also try adding dried fruit to the dough. I think cranberries or sultanas would go well.

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Pumpkin Scones

Servings 6

Ingredients

For the scones

  • 320 g Self raising flour
  • 90 g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
  • 85 g Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • 125 g Pumpkin puree

For the plain glaze

  • 90 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk

For the spiced glaze

  • 80 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • A pinch of Ground ginger
  • A pinch of Ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas mark 7, and line a baking tray with non stick baking paper
  2. Put the self raising flour, caster sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves into a large bowl and mix together
  3. Add the butter and rub together with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and pumpkin puree
  5. Combine the pumpkin mixture with the flour until a dough forms, try to not to over mix it, once it's come together that's good enough
  6. Pat the dough out into a circle shape about 1cm thick on a floured surface
  7. Cut the circle into 6 triangles - or use a round cutter if you prefer and re-roll until all of the dough is used
  8. Put the scones on the lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes
  9. Cool the scones fully on a cooling rack
  10. Make the base glaze by mixing the ingredients together until smooth with no lumps, use a spoon to gently spread it over the top of each scone
  11. Make the spiced glaze by mixing the ingredients together until smooth with no lumps, put it a piping bag and drizzle it over each scone. If you don't want to use a piping bag you can drizzle it over with a spoon
  12. Make yourself a tea or coffee and enjoy a delicious scone!

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

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Sesame & Chia Seed Crackers: GBBO Week #8

This week on The Great British Bake Off the final five bakers began the first of their three weekly challenges by making a batch of 48 savoury crackers. I can’t believe there are only five bakers left! It has gone so quickly. Danny’s Spiced Almond Drinks Crackers (pictured below) stood out to me in this first challenge. They were flavoured with dessicated parmesan and Ras El Hanout (a mixture of Moroccan spices). They were a beautiful golden colour, and the batch was consistently well baked throughout.

Making 48 crackers was a tall order and some bakers snapped (sorry!) under the pressure. There was massive variation in James’ Smoky Cayenne, Cumin & Chilli Crackers and Cathryn’s Cheese and Pickle Crackers. Some were overcooked, some undercooked, and some very thick. I really appreciate how hard it is to get one batch of 48 crackers looking exactly the same. Surely this is only something that can be expected from a factory?! Brendan of course produced a fabulous batch of Multi Seed Savoury Crackers by using a tape measure to make sure they were all the same size!

The technical challenge this week was Chocolate Teacakes. I absolutely love Chocolate Teacakes! I had no idea you could actually make them from scratch. First the contestants made the digestive biscuit base, then they melted chocolate and poured it into silicone moulds. Once the chocolate set they piped in marshmallow, popped the biscuit on top and used more chocolate to seal the bottom. The biggest problem with this was getting the chocolate to set within the time frame they had been given. I thought the hardest part would be getting them out of the silicone moulds, but the teacakes came out easily. It really does give a great result to make these at home, the chocolate had a beautiful shine to it, and you could make them as big as you want if you can find the right sized mould!

Finally some of the best edible architecture I have ever seen in the show stopping Gingerbread ‘Structure’ round. Cathryn, Danny and John all chose to make replicas of famous building. Danny and Cathryn stayed local with a gingerbread Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. John produced a gingerbread Roman Coliseum (pictured above) which I thought looked great and really was a work of engineering, architecture and baking skill. James’s barn didn’t go to plan and ended up being a derelict barn, however I like that he turned it around and still made it into something, he also received high praise from the judges for the taste and flavour of his gingerbread biscuit and cake. Brendan’s bird love nest was without a doubt the prettiest structure in this challenge. I loved it and thought his sugarpaste work was fabulous. The judges weren’t particularly kind which disappointed me as he clearly put a lot of effort and thought into it.

I suppose I am being quite lazy this week by deciding to make crackers, but I rarely make savoury things. In fact, this may be the first savoury post on my blog! So I though I’d give it a go. Brendan’s crackers were the ones I’d most like to eat so I chose to do seeded cracker too. I was originally going to do Sesame and Poppy seed crackers, but I had a tough time tracking down some poppy seed. In the end I found some Chia Seeds (above) in Holland & Barrett which I’ve never heard of, but they look pretty similar, and that’s good enough for me!

I started by sifting 250g plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder into a large bowl. I added 1/2 tsp sea salt, 2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp sesame seeds, and if you like you can also add 1 tsp black pepper. I am not a fan of pepper so I left it out.

Stir the mixture together so the seeds are evenly spread out. Add 60g butter and rub the mixture together with your hands until find breadcrumbs are formed. Make a well in the middle and pour in 100ml ice cold water.

 
Mix together until a rough dough is formed. Add more water if necessary, I did add another small splash. Do not over work the dough, just shape it into a ball, cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.

Meanwhile, line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

I cut the dough in half and rolled it out between two sheets of baking paper until it was 1-2mm thick. I put the rest of the dough back in the fridge.

I used a 6cm cutter to cut out the cracker shapes, but you can use any size or shape of cutter you like. The half of dough made 33 crackers. Place onto the baking trays and prick the crackers a few times each with a fork. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them and take them out when they go golden around the edges.

Cool on a wire cooling rack. I’m really pleased with how my crackers turned out. For once my oven behaved and gave me a nice even bake. They look great! Also, I am pleased to say, they passed the ‘snap test’!

Once cool, they are ready to eat straight away! Crackers are so versatile, you can put cheese or pate on them, dip them in hummus, or just smear some butter or cream cheese on top. These crackers are so yummy and moreish! They won’t last long!

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