Treat Petite October – Round Up

Treat Petite October – Round Up

Happy Halloween! The theme for this month’s Treat Petite was ‘Trick or Treat’, luckily all we got were plenty of treats! Read on for some fantasic baking ideas if you are in the kitchen this weekend…

Katie from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter started us off with two recipes. Toffee Apple Cupcakes and Pumpkin, Ginger & Orange Traybake. They are both delicious seasonal bakes that I am sure her family enjoyed!

Caroline Makes… entered these Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies. She made these with goodies brought back from America by her boyfriend’s mum.

These spooky spiderweb cookies are Spiced Pumpkin Cookies from Corina at Searching For Spice. She made these using a home grown pumpkin!

Next up we have Gruesome Green Popcorn from my Treat Petite co-host Stuart at Cakeyboi. A fantastic simple idea which creates such a great effect!

Linzi from Lancashire Food made a Gingerbread Loaf. A classic comforting recipe perfect for this time of year. It’s definitely one of my favourites, although I have not seen it with sultanas in before. I’m going to have to try that next time!

You would never guess these pretty Roasted Beetroot & Raw Cacao Nib Cupcakes from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary were so healthy! It’s a great way to get kids eating vegetables, and Elizabeth’s son loved these!

Wow aren’t these Halloween Chocolate Apples impressive?! Camilla from Fab Food 4 All sent these in. I love the spiderweb pattern it’s so cool!

These little beauties are Ginger & White Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes from Helen at Casa Costello. I’ve never heard of Hi Hats before, but buttercream frosting encased in chocolate sounds pretty good to me!

Kevin from The Crafty Larder sent in these gorgeously bright Spiced Pumpkin In A Jar. I love the presentation, they look so great in the jars so you can see the layers of the cake!

My Halloween bake this month were these Halloween Cupcakes. I did three designs; a brain, broken ‘glass’, and scratched cupcakes. I thought they looked pretty gruesome!

 

Dominic from Belleau Kitchen made these creepy looking Halloween Witches Eyeballs. They are actually sponge covered in chocolate ganache, not as scary as they look!

There are so many macarons around nowadays it’s nice to see some Macaroons for a change! These green macaroons from Keep Calm & Fanny On would make a perfect Halloween treat.

Laura from I’d Much Rather Bake Than… sent in these Mini Double Chocolate Pecan Pear Crumbles. She made them as a delicious surprise for her parents.

The sauce running over these Toffee Apple Cheesecakes from Something Sweet, Something Savoury makes them look so appetising!

Caroline Makes… was back for a second time with these Pumpkin Spice M&M Halloween Cookies. I’ve never heard of this flavour of M&M’s before, I must hunt some down!

I love these Halloween Two Tone Rose Red Velvet Cupcakes from Domestic Gothess. The icing is absolutely beautiful. Pretty, with a dark twist!

Eeek! I am not a fan of spiders but Kate at The Gluten Free Alchemist has managed to make these Halloween Cake Pop Spiders look a little less frightening. Don’t think my arachnophobia is quite cured just yet, but Kate is doing better than me!

 

The letters on these Spiced Honey Shortbread by Family Friends Food were stamped on using a letterpress cookie set. You can change the letters in the set to say anything you like, very clever! I love the cute pumpkin in the background too.

Ruth from Makey Cakey entered her Franken-Biscuits. These would be great for making with kids as they can get creative and make a scary Frankenstein face!

Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker sent in two spooky bakes. Pumpkin Pecan Roll with Maple Cinnamon Glaze, she doesn’t make bread often but when she does, she does it well! And
Spooky Ghost Cake Pops, I find cake pops difficult to make so I’m impressed with her efforts!

Another American style treat from Caroline Makes… with this Halloween Candy Corn Rocky Road. I love candy corn! It’s really yummy and I would love to try a piece of this.

The final bake for this month are these spooky Halloween Cake Pops from Helen at Casa Costello. They look brilliant and are really well decorated!

Wow such an amazing array of bakes this month. Thank you to everyone who got their spook on this month! Please check out the blogs above if a recipe takes your fancy. Look out for November’s theme announcement soon over on Cakeyboi.

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Gingerbread Bonfire Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Gingerbread Bonfire Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce
The night’s are drawing in and getter darker, which makes me feel excited for Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas, but damn does it make it difficult to get any natural light for my cake photos! Oh well, this cake is all about darkness anyway. Made with treacle, dark brown sugar and even some Guinness for good measure. It was described as ‘Bonfire Night in a cake’ by my lovely colleagues which is why I titled it appropriately. It really is the perfect cake for this time of year. Here’s how I made it…

I started with the salted caramel sauce as it needs time to cool and thicken up. In a pan I melted 57g Stork. Once melted I added 165g dark brown sugar and 175ml double cream. I kept stirring and let the sauce bubble for 5 minutes. I then added 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 salt. I poured it into a bowl and cooled it in the fridge. It took a good few hours to thicken up.

I baked the cake in a ring bundt tin, you can easily pick one up if you don’t have one. I greased it with butter and dusted with flour to ensure the cake didn’t stick.

In a bowl I whisked together 250ml Guinness (you could also use another dark stout), 340g black treacle, 165g dark brown sugar, 170ml vegetable oil and 3 large beaten eggs.

I sifted together 255g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp salt. I added this to the wet ingredients and mixed in.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes until it was a deep rich brown and a skewer came out clean.

Let it cool for 5 minutes then tip it out of the tin. If it doesn’t come out straight away, run a knife along the edges and around the middle ring. Leave to cool before smearing on the sauce and garnishing with some chopped crystallised ginger.

I ended up making this cake twice, one for the Macmillan Coffee Morning bake sale at work, and again for my colleagues as I got caught up in organising the bake sale and forget to take any photos the first time round! It was enjoyed both times and I even came second in the Bake Off competition we ran in conjuction with the bake sale. I was pretty pleased! It’s a really moist cake, full of warming smokey flavours and the rich caramel sauce is to die for!

Recipe slightly adapted from Chow.

Print

Gingerbread Bonfire Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 57 g Butter
  • 330 g Dark brown sugar
  • 175 ml Double cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 250 ml Guinness
  • 340 g Black treacle
  • 175 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 225 g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsp Ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp Crystallised ginger chopped

Instructions

  1. To make the salted caramel sauce. Melt the butter in a pan, then add 165g of the dark brown sugar and the double cream. Keep stirring and let the sauce bubble for 5 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Pour it into a bowl and cool it in the fridge for a few hours to thicken up
  2. Grease the cake tin with butter and dust with flour
  3. In a bowl whisk together the Guinness, black treacle, 165g of the dark brown sugar, vegetable oil and eggs
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix in
  5. Pour into the cake tin and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes until it is a deep rich brown colour and a skewer comes out clean
  6. Let it cool for 5 minutes then tip it out of the tin. If it doesn't come out straight away, run a knife along the edges and around the middle ring. Leave to cool before smearing on the salted caramel sauce and garnishing with the chopped crystallised ginger
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Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween Cupcakes
Happy Halloween! I love celebrating Halloween and have decorated both my home and office already. It’s such a fun time of year and a great opportunity to get creative with baking. I love the look of these cupcakes, although I did struggle with the recipes I followed. I got a book called ‘A Zombie Ate My Cupcake’ for my birthday and used a few recipes out of it to make the different elements of the cupcakes. My sugar glass went a bit wrong, I found the cherry ‘blood’ sauce to be to jelly like, and the sponge was quite dense. I’ll go through what I did anyway as they did taste good!

I started with the sugar glass. First I covered a baking tray in foil and brushed it all over with oil.

In a large pan I heated up 500ml water, 785g granulated sugar, 250ml liquid glucose and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. I let the mixture boil until it reached 300F.

I think my thermometer is slightly off as the sugar slightly caramelised and went golden. It is meant to stay clear! I also think you need two baking trays for this as the sugar was very thick. Pour it in and leave to cool for a couple of hours. When I bashed it up into shards it was much too thick for one single shard in the cupcake, so I used several smaller ones instead.

To make the sponge I first mixed 60g butter, I used Stork, and 140g caster sugar together. I added 1 large egg and mixed in. Then I added 30g cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and some Sugarflair Extra Red food colouring. After that I added 120ml buttermilk and 225g plain flour. Finally 1/2 tsp cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.

It was a very thick mixture and not the kind of cake batter I’m used to seeing. I spooned it into 12 muffin cases.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.

To make the cherry sauce I gently heated 125g mashed up tinned black cherries, 50g caster sugar, 120ml juice from the cherries, 1/2 tsp lime juice and 1 tbsp cornflour.

I brought it to the boil and let it bubble for about 5 minutes until thick. I then sieved it.

As the cherry sauce was so jelly like, I decided to core the cupcakes and use it as a filling!

To decorate the clawed cupcakes (an idea I saw on Pinterest!) I rolled out some white icing and cut out cupcake sized circles. I used a little bit of buttercream to help it stick and placed it over the cupcake sponge. I used a knife to make rough scratches in the icing. Then I dipped a cocktail stick in red food colouring and dragged it along the scratches.

For the broken glass cupcakes I made some buttercream with 80g butter, 160g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I piped it on with a star nozzle, stabbed the cake with some of the sugar glass shards and drizzle over some shop bought strawberry sauce I had in the cupboard.

To decorate the brain cupcakes I made some buttercream with 80g butter, 160g icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and some pink food colouring. I smoothed it over the cupcake then using a plain circular nozzle I pipe a line down the middle and squiggly bits down each side.

Despite me having a bit of trouble, or ‘tricks’ with the recipes I used, I think the final result looks really spooky and fun! They also tasted good. Everyone at work loved them and they all disappeared pretty quickly! I am entering them into myself and Cakeyboi’s monthly challenge Treat Petite where this month’s theme is ‘Trick or Treat’.

I am also linking up to Simply Food’s ‘Let’s Cook For Halloween’.

And to Choclette’s We Should Cocoa challenge, this month hosted by Honey & Dough, where the theme is Halloween.

print recipe

Halloween Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 500ml Water
  • 785g Granulated sugar
  • 250ml Liquid glucose
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of tartar
  • 220g Butter
  • 190g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 30g Cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • A pinch of Salt
  • Red food colouring
  • 120ml Buttermilk
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp Cider vinegar
  • 245g Tinned black cherries
  • 1/2 tsp Lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour
  • 320g Icing sugar
  • Strawberry sauce
  • 100g White fondant
  • Pink food colouring
Instructions
Start with the sugar glass. Cover a baking tray with a lip in foil and brushed it all over with oilIn a large pan heat up the water, granulated sugar, liquid glucose and cream of tartar. Let the mixture boil until it reaches 300F on a candy thermometerPour it into the baking tray and leave to cool for a couple of hours. Bash it up into shards once coolTo make the sponge mix 60g of the butter and 140g of the caster sugar together. Add the egg and mix in. Then add the cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract, salt, and red food colouring. After that add the buttermilk and plain flour. Finally mix the cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together and add to the batterSpoon into 12 muffin cases. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutesTo make the cherry sauce, gently heat the tinned black cherries including the juice in the can, 50g of the caster sugar, the lime juice and the cornflourBring it to the boil and let it bubble for about 5 minutes until thick. Then sieved it. Core the cupcakes and fill with the sauceFor the broken glass cupcakes make some buttercream by mixing 80g of the butter, 160g of the icing sugar and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract. Pipe it on with a star nozzle, stab the cake with some of the sugar glass shards and drizzle over some strawberry sauceTo decorate the clawed cupcakes roll out the white icing and cut out cupcake sized circles. Use a little bit of the buttercream to help it stick and place the icing over the cupcake sponge. Use a knife to make rough scratches in the icing. Then dip a cocktail stick in red food colouring and drag it along the scratchesTo decorate the brain cupcakes make some buttercream by mixing 80g of the butter, 160g of the icing sugar, 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract and some pink food colouring. Smooth thin layer over the cupcake then using a plain circular nozzle pipe a line down the middle and squiggly bits down each side
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Photography Workshop with Currys

Photography Workshop with Currys

I was kindly invited along to a photography workshop recently on behalf of Currys. Seen as my camera and photography knowledge is at a beginner’s level I decided it definitely couldn’t hurt to take a lesson! I don’t even own a ‘proper’ camera, mostly because I wouldn’t know what to do with one, so I borrowed my Stepdad’s Nikon D60 and headed to Manchester Photographic, located in the Northern Quarter area of the city centre.

The teacher Chris, started by giving us a brief talking to about how we held our cameras and the correct stance to have. Have your feet firmly planted on the ground and about shoulder length apart to strengthen your balance. When holding the camera you should hold the lens and the side. It’s important to keep the lens as steady as possible, if you don’t have a tripod, be the tripod.

We learnt that the three most important things to master in photography are aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Shutter speed is simply the time in which the lens is open for. I got the cool picture above of Chris jumping by adjusting my shutter speed.

Aperture is all about focus. If you’ve ever seen a photo where the main subject is crystal clear and the background is blurry – that is done using the aperture settings on the camera. Slightly confusingly, a ‘wide aperture’ means the subject is less is focus. It’s called ‘wide’ because the lens is open wider. Aperture is connected to shutter speed because if the lens is open wider, it lets more light in, so the shutter speed needs to be shorter. If the aperture is smaller, then the shutter speed would be longer. It’s all about balance!

ISO means the international standard to the sensitivity of light of the camera’s digital sensor. No I don’t really understand that either! ISO can cause ‘grain’ on photos (very good example of this on the photo above!), so all you need to know is that Chris recommended an ISO of 100 on a clear sunny day, and 400/600 for a cloudy day. Sorted.

We headed off to the Manchester Food & Drink Festival to take some photos with out newly learned skills. And what happened to me at this point… my battery died! So apart from the hurridly snapped photos above of Manchester Town Hall, I wasn’t able to take any photos on the day. I am saving up for a fancy camera so hopefully you will see much improved photos from me very soon. If you’d like to see some of the fab photos the other bloggers took on the day (they are certainly worth a look!) please check out the blogs below. I hope the tips will help you with your photography too!

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Croissants: GBBO The Final

Croissants: GBBO The Final
The final episode of series five of The Great British Bake Off started by summarising some of the notable moments from the series. Norman’s lavender meringue, Luis amazing sugar work and of course Iain’s Baked Alaska disaster! I felt so tense at the start as it really was such a close competition. I had no idea who would win as they are all so talented. Richard has won star baker five times (a show record), Nancy has years of baking experience behind her and Luis is such an imaginative and creative baker.

For the signature challenge they were asked to make two different types of viennoiserie, which can include things like croissants, pain au chocolats and brioche. Paul said it is extremely difficult to master viennoiserie. Luis made Apple, Walnut, Raisin & Cheese Chaussons, and Rapsberry & White Chocolatea Pain Au Chocolat.

Nancy made Almond & Raspberry Croissants, and Lemon and Apple Kites. She used freeze dried raspberry powder instead of fresh fruit as it the moisture from the fruit can affect the bake. Richard made Pain Au Lait, and Pain Au Chocolat with Pear. He used creamed butter as a shortcut to laminating his dough, but Paul suspected this may make his Pain Au Lait too bread like. None of them had a perfect judging result, with Paul and Mary finding issues with everyone’s pastries.

I loved this week’s technical challenge. Perfect for the final in my eyes as it really is about being a master of the basics. They were asked to make 12 mini scones, 12 mini victoria sponges and 12 mini tart au citrons. Earlier in the week I had been wondering to myself what the technical would be and I thought that it would be interesting if they were asked to make something like a white loaf of bread, but do it perfectly. I was so excited that my prediction came sort of true!

There were no instructions for the bakers to follow, they just had to use their existing knowledge. The hardest part was that they only had 2 hours to make everything. This was a very intense challenge to watch! Richard came third, he had never made a tart au citron before and his lemon filling ended up as lemon scrambled egg, his jam was also very runny. Luis came second, he also had trouble with his tart au citron, the pastry was too thick and he didn’t have time to pipe the chocolate writing on top. Nancy won the challenge, with the judges only complaint being that she didn’t pipe the cream in her victoria sponges. They loved her tart au citrons.

A spectacular, enormous and elaborate pièce montée was the final showstopper challenge. A pièce montée is basically cake architecture. It’s an edible sculpture made from cake, sugar work, choux pastry and petit fours. The bakers could use any flavours they wanted, but had to construct their pièce montée into a design. Paul said that this was the ultimate patisserie challenge as it had to be vast and intricate. Both judges wanted absolute perfection.

Richard made a ginger sponge hill with a croquembouche windmill on top and almond brittle sails. Each bakers got a short segment on their background, Richard is a 4th generation builder who built his family home. He worked in a high street cake shop as a youngster and when I found out his wife and one of his daughters is ginger, as a fellow ginger myself, I immediately loved him more! The judges weren’t sure about the bright colours he used for his icing, and his almond brittle had started to ‘flop’. They said the cake had fantastic flavour and his choux were ‘first class’.

 

Nancy made a four layer cake, with a croquembouche platform for a windmill made out of ginger and orange biscuits with red dyed caramel sails. There were also mini shortbread petit fours on the cake and the sails of the windmill moved! Nancy’s background showed how determined she is. In her 40s she went back to university and got a masters, and when she got into training dogs she ended up at Crufts. She also has eight adorable grandchildren. The judges thought her pièce montée was a highly skilled bake, with first rate shortbread biscuit, good flavours, a beautiful and light sponge, and good biscuit.

Luis made a tribute to Poynton, which is his home town and has a mining history. He made a two tone sponge cake, a biscuit mining wheel with a choux rope, wheat shaped caramel decoration and mint macarons. As well as baking, Luis performs in his local ukelele club. He has Spanish parents who influenced his love of food. The judges thought his pièce montée was a very clever design and a piece of art. It had a very nice flavour and striking two tone sponge, but the chocolate one was dry and the Italian meringue lacked flavour, however they said his chocolate biscuit was beautiful. Luis is so adorable, he looked so happy when he took his bake back to his bench!

And the winner is… Nancy! Paul said she nailed the final and Mary called her a perfectionist. I had no idea at the start who would win, unfortunately Richard didn’t do very well so I knew it would be either Luis or Nancy towards the end of the episode. I am pleased for her and I am excited to see what her and all the other bakers get up to now the series has ended.

I decided to make croissants for my final GBBO challenge bake. They make puff pastry a lot on the show and I’ve never made it from scratch before so I thought it was about time I gave it a go. It is a long process so I started the day before as the dough has to chill over night once the layers have been made.

To make the croissant dough I mixed together 300g strong white flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 30g caster sugar, 2 1/2 tsp dried yeast and some warm water. Add enough warm water to make a soft dough, I used about 100ml. I kneaded it for 10 minutes, then put it into a bowl covered with cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

I bashed up and flattened a 250g block of butter between two sheets greaseproof paper using a rolling pin.

I rolled out the pastry into a long rectangle and placed the squashed butter in the middle.

I folded the pastry around the butter like an envelope, wrapped it in cling film and chilled in the fridge for 1 hour.

I rolled out the dough again, folded it again, and chilled it for 1 hour again. I did this three times in total, then left it in the fridge overnight. As I said, it’s a long process!

The next day I got it out of the fridge and it had risen somewhat overnight.

I cut the dough in half and it was lovely to see all the layers that had built up!

I rolled out the first half of the dough into a long rectangle. The dough was very stretchy and sprung back on itself a lot.

I cut it into three squares, then each square into triangles making 6 triangles.

I tried both rolling it into crescent shapes and rolling it straight. The crescent shapes did not look as good and did not bake well. I’d definitely recommend the straight ones if you make these croissants!

I brushed them with beaten egg, then baked them on 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 10 minutes, then turned it down to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 and baked for a further 5 minutes.

I filled my croissants with jam, butter was definitely not required as they were super buttery! My boyfriend loved them and feasted well for a Sunday morning brunch. I was really happy that they worked and turned out so well, I would have liked the bake to be a bit more even and the rolls a little neater, but that’s just the perfectionist in me. Puff pastry is time consuming from scratch so it’s not something I’ll do often, but definitely a nice treat for a special occasion like a birthday breakfast for example.

Print

Croissants

Ingredients

  • 300 g Strong white flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 30 g Caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp Dried yeast
  • 100 ml Warm water
  • 250 g Butter
  • Jam for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the dough mix together the strong white flour, salt, caster sugar, dried yeast and warm water. Knead it for 10 minutes, then put it into a bowl covered with cling film and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour
  2. Bash up and flatten the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper using a rolling pin
  3. Roll out the pastry into a long rectangle and place the flattened butter in the middle
  4. Fold the pastry around the butter like an envelope, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Do this twice more, then leave in the fridge overnight
  5. The next day, cut the dough in half. Roll out the first half of the dough into a long rectangle. Cut it into three squares, then each square into triangles making 6 triangles. Do the same with the second half of dough
  6. Roll up the triangles and lay onto a lined baking tray
  7. Brush them with beaten egg, then bake on 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 10 minutes, then turn down to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 and bake for a further 5 minutes
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Salted Caramel & Pecan Baklava: GBBO Week #9

Salted Caramel & Pecan Baklava: GBBO Week #9
Can you believe it was the semi finals of The Great British Bake Off last week already?! As usual it’s gone so quickly. The theme for episode nine was patisserie, although there wasn’t much pastry being made… it was more to do with layered desserts. The first challenge was the only challenge that involved making pastry. The judges asked for two different types of Baklava, a Turkish pastry made with layers of filo and filled, usually, with pistachios and walnuts. Syrup is drizzled over the Baklava after baking. The bakers were allowed to flavour and shape the Baklava any way they liked.

Richard stayed traditional with a Pistachio & Rose Baklava, and a Walnut & Almond Baklava. While Chetna experimented with a Chocolate Orange Baklava, and a Masala Chai Baklava. I was intruigued to see how they all shaped their Baklavas differently. Only Nancy made the traditional square shaped ones. Everyone also had their own way of pronouncing this pastry dessert’s name!

The bakers all made their own filo, which has to be stretched out into a giant thin layer. As Chetna said, it’s impossible to get it as thin as the store bought kind, because that is done by a machine. However, the bakers filos all looked pretty good! Luis flower shaped Baklava’s were criticised by the judges as they were not ‘proper’ Baklava. Nancy also shoved aside tradition by filling her Baklava’s with muesli, and got great results.

The technical challenge this week was a ‘Schichttorte’, which is simpler horizontally layered version of the German cake Baumkuchen. The cake the bakers were given to bake had 20 layers and each one was cooked under the grill. This challenge was to test the bakers consistency as the recipe itself was fairly simple, it was the technique that was the hard part. The layers of batter were extremely thin which left the bakers quite
confused as it just didn’t look like enough batter. Some of them ended
up with less than 20 layers (of course Paul counted them during judging…).

They weren’t provided with a grill temperature or a time to grill for, some bakers timed the layers and some just judged it by eye. I thought that all this grilling would make the cake quite dry and on Extra Slice they confirmed that it was a very dry cake. The enternal Bake Off problem of not having enough time for things to cool caused problems with the chocolate glazes. Why can’t they give them enough time?! I cry every time I watch the show. Luis came first, Richard second, Nancy third and Chetna fourth.

The bakers were really tested this week with the showstopper challenge. They were asked to make two different types of Entremets, 12 of each. Entremets are the small fancy cakes you see in the window of high end patisseries. Mary wanted to see polished works of art, and Paul wanted precision, beauty and elegance in miniature form.

The bakers layered sponges, mousses, creams and jellys to make these tiny treats. Some of the bakers left their layers visible like Richard with his Hazlenut Mocha Entremets, whereas Nancy covered her Raspberry Nonnettes in a chocolate glaze so that the layers were revealed on cutting. She did very well in judging for flavour, but was marked down for apperance.

Chetna’s Chocolate, Orange and Nut Entremets looked stunning, but the judges though they lacked in orange flavour, they also thought her Cappucino ones were untidy and the coffee was too strong. Paul called Richard’s entremets “extremely good”. Luis also did very well.

Chetna left us this week. It was very sad to see her go as she is an amazing baker, but based on this week’s bakes I think it was the right decision. Richard smashed his own record and received Star Baker again!! Next week it’s the final! I personally cannot wait.

I had thoughts of making an Entremet this week, but the whole idea of it made me quite stressed! And being stressed before I bake something is not what I want. I bake for enjoyment and I need to be excited about what I’m making. I am not a fan of traditional Baklava so I decided to changed the flavours to things I do like!

I started the night before by making the syrup as it needs to cool overnight in the fridge and thicken up. If you can’t do it the night before, make sure it has at least 2 hours cooling time in the fridge before using. On a low heat in a pan I heated 45g brown sugar, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 235ml water and 170g honey (you can replace the honey with golden syrup if you like). Once the sugar is dissolved, let it boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into a bowl and cool in the fridge.

For the filling I roughly chopped up 150g pecans.

I added the pecans, 45g light brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp salt into a food processor and pulsed them until they looked like a coarse crumb.

Before layering the Baklava I melted 200g butter in a pan and stirred in 45g light brown sugar until it dissolved.

In a deep sided baking tray I starting layering up the filo sheets, brushing butter between each layer. I did 10 sheets of filo per layer. I didn’t make my own filo, I bought 2 packs of Jus Roll. I have made filo before, if you’d like to make your own (or have a nosey at how I got on!) you can check out my Fruit Strudel post.

After doing 10 filo layers, I added a layer of the pecan filling. Then I did 10 more filo layers again brushing butter in between, then another layer of pecan filling, then 10 more filo layers. Reserve some of the filling for topping the Baklava after baking, about 2 tbsp should do.

I sliced the baklava up into pieces before baking.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 5 for 30 minutes. It was quite golden brown by then so I covered it in foil to avoid it catching. I turned the heat down to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 and baked for another 25 minutes. When it was done I immediately poured the syrup all over, then sprinkled the remaining filling in the centre of each square along with a sprinkle of sea salt.

The pastry was beautifully crispy and made a great sound when I bit into it. The syrup made it sticky and sweet. I loved the contrast between the saltyness and the sweetness, much better than the traditional Baklava I reckon. My boyfriend demanded that ‘not all of these are being taken into your work!’ So they must have been good!

I am linking up again to Supergolden Bakes GBBO Bake Along.

Recipe from Phyllo.com
 
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Salted Caramel & Pecan Baklava

Ingredients

  • 135 g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 235 ml Water
  • 170 g Honey
  • 150 g Pecans
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 200 g Butter

Instructions

  1. Start by making the syrup. In a pan on a low heat melt 45g of the brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of the sea salt, the water and honey. Once the sugar is dissolved, let it boil for 10 minutes while stirring constantly. Pour into a bowl and cool in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours

  2. For the filling chop up the pecans, add them along with 45g of the light brown sugar, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of the salt into a food processor and pulse them until they look like a coarse crumb
  3. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat and stir in 45g of the light brown sugar until it dissolves
  4. In a deep sided baking tray layer up the filo sheets, brushing butter between each layer. Start with 10 sheets of filo, then a layer of the pecan filling, then 10 more filo sheets, another layer of the filling, then a final layer of 10 filo sheets. Reserve a small amount of the filling for topping the Baklava after baking, about 2 tbsp
  5. Slice the baklava in the tin, into the pieces desired before baking. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 5 for 30 minutes. Cover with foil if browning too much and turn the heat down to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 and bake for another 25 minutes. When it is done, immediately pour the syrup all over, then sprinkle the remaining filling in the centre of each square along with a sprinkle of sea salt

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Treat Petite October

Treat Petite October

Welcome to Treat Petite October!

Thank you to everyone who entered last month’s ‘Anything Goes‘ theme hosted by Cakeyboi. There were some seriously yummy entries!

This month’s theme is:

This is one of my favourite times of year as I love all the autumn baking themes and flavours that it provokes. Anything spooky you make for Halloween, or any Autumn treat is permitted this month!

Here are those all important rules:

1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of the current
month’s post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest

2. Post your bake onto your blog and link back to Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, stating who is hosting this month

3. Follow Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer blogs on Google+ (see sidebar links), if you haven’t already.

4. If you tweet use #treatpetite and mention @MrCakeyboi and @BakingExplorer – we will retweet

5. Add the challenge logo to the post and ‘Treat Petite’ as a label to the post

6. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted

7. If you like, add your photo to the ‘Treat Petite’ Pinterest board (request access from Cakeyboi)

Feel free to enter old
posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!

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