Mini ‘Chicken’ & Leek Pies (Vegetarian)

Mini ‘Chicken’ & Leek Pies (Vegetarian)

Since I stopped eating meat I’ve become a huge fan of Quorn, it’s so versatile and really delicious. I’ve made these vegetarian friendly pies three times now, and I can’t get enough! The pastry is so simple to make, with no blind baking needed, and bakes to a gorgeously golden and crispy finish. The filling is creamy and indulgent, and full of flavour from the herbs. They can be served hot or cold, I’ve enjoyed them hot with mash and gravy and I’ve also served them cold at parties where they haven’t lasted long!

To make the pastry I rubbed together the plain flour and butter with my fingers until it looked like breadcrumbs.

I added the eggs and formed it into a dough and wrapped it in cling film, I put it in the fridge to chill for 1 hour

To make the filling I heated up 1 tsp vegetable oil in a pan and fried the leek until it had softened. I added the Quorn chicken pieces, and let them cook for a 2-3 minutes. Then I poured in the double cream, dried thyme, dried rosemary and salt. I mixed it together and let it cook for 5 minutes. Then I took it off the heat, transferred it to a bowl and let it cool down fully.

I rolled the pastry out onto a floured surface and cut out the pie bases using a 10cm round cutter.

Then I re-rolled the dough out and cut out the pid lids using a 7.5cm round cutter. I also used a round fondant plunger to cut out little circles in the middle.

To make sure the pies didn’t stick, I greased a muffin tin and lined each hole with strips of baking paper, and I filled it with the pastry bases.

Then I filled each base with the filling, then brushed some beaten egg around the edge and stuck the lids on. I brushed more beaten egg over the tops.

I baked them for 25 minutes until they were golden and bubbling. I removed them from the tray and let them cool as I served them cold.

I got 14 pies out of this batch, although there was some filling leftover. It’s always a bit hit and miss with pastry as it depends how thin you roll it, but you’ll get at least 12 mini pies out of this recipe. You could push it to 16 if you roll the pastry out thin enough every time and use every last bit. If you have any leftover filling, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and it’s yummy with rice and green veg!

They have quite a rustic appearance but I think pies like this should! Their golden colour and tempting filling oozing out of the centre make me want to eat them all up! The Quorn chicken pieces make these pies really hearty and filling, I honestly don’t think you could tell the difference between them and real chicken! I’ve served these to many meat eaters and had fantastic feedback!

           

I’m linking this recipe up with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, Cook Blog Share hosted by Recipes Made Easy, and Cook Once Eat Twice by Searching For Spice.

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5 from 1 vote
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Mini Chicken & Leek Pies (Vegetarian)

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 2 Eggs
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 170 g Butter

For the filling

  • 2 Leeks medium sized
  • 350 g Quorn chicken style pieces
  • 250 ml Double cream
  • 1 tsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp Salt

Other

  • 1 Egg beaten, for glazing
  • Butter for greasing

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7, grease a muffin tin with butter and strips of baking paper

  2. To make the pastry, in a large bowl rub together the plain flour and butter with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs

  3. Add the eggs and form it into a dough,  be careful not to knead it or over work it, then wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to chill for 1 hour

  4. To make the filling heated up the vegetable oil in a pan on a low-medium heat, fry the leeks until soft

  5. Add the Quorn chicken pieces, and let them cook for a 2-3 minutes

  6. Pour in the double cream, dried thyme, dried rosemary and salt, mix it together and let it cook for 5 minutes

  7. Take the mixture off the heat, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool down fully

  8. Roll the pastry out onto a floured surface to a thickness of around 3mm, and cut out the pie bases using a 10cm round cutter. Cut out 12 to start with, then more if you have any remaining pastry after cutting out the lids

  9. Re-rolled the dough out and cut out the pid lids using a 7.5cm round cutter. Use a round fondant plunger, or a round piping nozzle, or a knife to cut out little circles in the middle

  10. Place the pastry bases into the muffin tray, use your fingers to press them against the bottom and sides

  11. Fill one with the filling, then brush the beaten egg around the edge and stick the lids on, pressing them around the sides to seal the edges. Brush more beaten egg over the tops

  12. Bake them for 20-25 minutes until they are golden and bubbling. Remove them from the tray and either serve immediately or let them cool and serve them cold (refridgerate once cool)

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Peaches & Cream Tart with Fresh Mint

Peaches & Cream Tart with Fresh Mint

This yummy tart pairs together fresh mint with creamy cheesecake and sweet juicy peaches. It is the perfect summer dessert and it would be a fabulous make ahead option for a dinner party or BBQ. It’s so easy to make as well with ready made pastry and pre-prepared peaches, there’s hardly any work required! And all the better so you can get to the best bit – eating it!

I used a sheet of ready made puff pastry for the base, I went for Jus Roll Light as I’ve used it many times before. Once it had come to room temperature I rolled it out onto a baking tray.

I drained the sliced peaches and put them on some kitchen towel. I also put more kitchen towel over the top and pressed out any excess moisture.

For the cheesecake topping I whisked together 150g full fat cream cheese and 50g caster sugar until smooth. Then I added 1 egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and whisked again until smooth.

I spread the cheesecake mixture out onto the pastry using a palette knife.

Then I added the peach slices in a neat design, and I glazed the edges of the pastry with some beaten egg.

I baked it on 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes, then left it to cool completely before sprinkling 6 chopped up mint leaves all over.

   

I could’ve eaten this whole thing myself it was so delicious… And I nearly did! 

The only struggle you might face with making this tart is sharing it!

             

I’m linking this recipe up with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, and Cook Blog Share hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie.

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5 from 2 votes
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Peaches & Cream Tart with Fresh Mint

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (320g)
  • 150 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 50 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 300g Tinned sliced peaches (1 and a half 410g cans)
  • 6 Fresh mint leaves
  • Beaten egg or milk for glazing

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and if chilled, let the pastry come to room temperature

  2. Roll the pastry out onto a baking tray, if the pastry doesn't come with baking paper then line the tray first

  3. Drain the sliced peaches and put them on a plate or tray lined with a few pieces of kitchen towel.  Use a few more pieces of kitchen towel to press out any excess moisture from the top

  4. For the cheesecake topping whisk together the full fat cream cheese and caster sugar until smooth. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk again until smooth

  5. Spread the cheesecake mixture out onto the pastry using a palette knife, leaving about 1cm gap around the edge

  6. Add the peach slices on top of the cheesecake mixture in a neat design, then brush the gap around the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg or milk


  7. Bake it for 25 minutes, then leave it to cool completely before sprinkling 6 chopped up mint leaves all over it

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Bakewell Tart: GBBO Week #5

Bakewell Tart: GBBO Week #5
After all of the shock news last week, we’ve had a further blow this week in the news that Mary Berry will not be following the show when it moves to Channel 4. Paul Hollywood confirmed that he would be staying with the show, making him the only one to remain. There was a foreshadowing of the future moment this week when Sue made a joke at Tom’s bench and then walked off saying “I’m leaving the tent”… oh Sue, if only you’d known!

The signature challenge this week was to make two different types of Danish breakfast pastries. Mary wanted the bakers to produce a crisp buttery pastry and Paul said this challenge was all about time management. They all used enriched doughs and all of the bakers except Jane made one dough that they split in two. Jane made Pain Au Raisin with a orange and cardamom dough and Raspberry, Chocolate & Almond Danish with a cinnamon dough. Candice was the only baker to brave a savoury pastry with her Croque Monsieur Kites featuring mushrooms, gruyere and pancetta.

Selasi’s pastries were very tropical themed and featured pineapple, orange and mango. Val was being her usual unqiue self and had brought dental floss with her to cut her pastry with. I hope it wasn’t mint flavoured! Benjamina went all American with her flavours and made peanut butter and banana pinwheels, and pecan swirl with maple syrup and candied bacon. Everyone struggled towards the end with timing, and Rav even forgot to bake one of his pastries.

Tom didn’t fare so well during judging as one of his pastries was dry and the other was so raw the judges wouldn’t even taste it. Val, Selasi and Benjamina all had problems with their pastry being undercooked too. The judges like the flavour of both Rav and Andrew’s fillings. Jane got a great result with her pain au raisins, and Candice’s savoury pastries went down very well.

This week’s technical was to make a Bakewell Tart, I love how they are bringing all the technical’s back to basics this year. There was a bit of internet uproar over the tart in question due to the icing covering the top, however this was Mary’s version of a Bakewell Tart. The judges expected all of the bakers to know what a Bakewell Tart looked like and to know all of the techniques involved in making one.

The recipe instructions were very minimal, and Selasi suggested that the more ‘aged’ bakers would know what they were doing. Val got stuck in straight away, as did Jane. However, Val was only using the second sheet of the instructions and she only saw the first sheet after 20 minutes of time had gone by. She’d guessed all of the recipe quantities. To be honest I’m not sure how she did this as the instructions started from number 5 on the second sheet which would surely have been the biggest clue. Even when she did find out, she still continued to ignore the instructions and made a series of bad decisions, despite the fact she makes a Bakewell Tart every week at home. Rav came last as his pastry collapsed, Val came 7th, Andrew was 6th as his oven wasn’t turned on for the first 15 minutes, Benjamina 5th, Tom 4th, Selasi 3rd, Candice 2nd and Jane was 1st.

The showstopper this week was to make 48 filo pastry amuse bouches (aka canapes), one savoury and one sweet. Filo pastry is quite a nightmare to make from scratch, I’ve done it myself once before when I made a Fruit Strudel. Mary advised that the pastry should be wafer thin and Paul wanted the canapes to be bite size.

Val went with a Christmas theme and used mincemeat in her filo parcels. Jane was quite brave I thought by using cone shaped moulds to wrap her filo around, they looked like such a faff and kept falling over. Tom was very ambitious by mixing chocolate with chilli and steak – yes you read that right! He is taking things too far in my opinion, there’s experimental and then there’s just plain risky. Selasi was using coffee to flavour his sweet filo, and he said that simplicity was a good thing. Benjamina was influced by her Nigerian roots to add plantain to her showstopper.

Then the stretching began! The bakers used broom handles, rolling pins and even pasta makers to roll out their filo until it was as thin as possible. Rav and Selasi both finished before the time was up, whereas Jane and Val were rushing to complete the challenge. Benjamin, Andrew, Selasi all did well. Paul didn’t like the flavour of Tom’s filo fillings and said he was ‘disappointed’. Even though the judges thought Jane’s amuse bouches were too big, they loved her flavours. Val was only able to present 12 of her savoury filos, and the 12 were underdone. The pastry for her sweet filo was far too thick. Candice and Rav both also got great results.

Val left this week, and although I’d found her quite irritating (I think she has a bit of a Marmite personality where you either love or hate her), I did feel sorry for her as she seemed very upset. The winner of star baker was Candice, however Jane came very close. Next week is a new theme – Botanicals week!

I decided to make a Bakewell Tart this week as I’ve never actually made one. I wanted to make the more traditional looking tart with flaked almonds on top and a drizzle of icing. As pretty as Mary’s version looked, it’s a bit too much icing than I prefer on my Bakewell.

I started by making the pastry. I rubbed 100g butter into 230g plain flour until it resembled breadcrumbs.

I added 3 tbsp cold water and formed a dough.

I rolled out my pastry on my Joseph Joseph Roll Up Non-Slip Silicone Pastry Mat which I am loving using, it’s definitely my favourite product from their new baking range which they kindly sent me a few weeks ago. I’ve already used it three times!

I lined a 9 inch tart tin with the pastry, leaving an overhang. I used a fork to prick the bottom of the pastry. Then I chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I scrunched up some baking paper and lined the pastry, then added baking beans. I baked it on 200C/180C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.

To make the frangipane I creamed together 160g butter and 160g caster sugar. Then I added 1 large free range egg, 1 tsp almond extract and 160g ground almonds.

I took the pastry out of the oven and removed the baking beans and paper. I trimmed the edges for a neater finish.

I baked the pastry again for 10 minutes on the same temperature.

I spread a layer of seedless rapsberry jam on the bottom of the pastry case. I used approximately a third of a jar.

I piped the frangipane over the top to avoid it mixing with the jam, then I smoothed it out on top. I sprinkled over some flaked almonds.

I baked the tart on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes

I can understand why Mary and Paul chose this as a technical challenge as it really fits with their theme of going back to basics. Any baker who bakes regularly will be able to knock one of these together easily and without too much fuss. It really is all about basic skills. When it was fully cool, I finished the tart with a drizzle of 60g icing sugar mixed with enough water to get a thick, but pipable paste.

You really can’t beat a Bakewell Tart and this was devoured within an hour by my colleagues! It was full of almond and jammy goodness, and the pastry was lovely and crisp.

     

I’m linking up with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular, with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation, with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, and Cook Blog Share hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie.


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Bakewell Tart

Ingredients

  • 260 g Butter
  • 230 g Plain flour
  • 3 tbsp Cold water
  • 160 g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Almond extract
  • 1 Egg large
  • 160 g Ground almonds
  • 4-5 tbsp Raspberry Jam
  • A handful of Flaked almonds
  • 60 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry rub 100g of the butter into the plain flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
  2. Add the cold water and form a dough
  3. Roll out the pastry, line a 9 inch tart tin leaving an overhang. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the pastry then chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  4. Scrunch up some baking paper and line the pastry, then add baking beans. Bake it on 200C/180C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes
  5. To make the frangipane cream together 160g of the butter and the caster sugar. Then add the egg, almond extract and ground almonds
  6. Take the pastry out of the oven and remove the baking beans and paper. Trim the edges for a neater finish
  7. Bake the pastry again for 10 minutes on the same temperature
  8. Spread a layer of the jam on the bottom of the pastry case
  9. Pipe the frangipane over the top and avoid it mixing with the jam, then smooth it out on top. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds
  10. Bake the tart on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes
  11. When the tart is cool, mix the icing sugar with enough water to get a thick, but pipable paste. Drizzle or pipe over the tart

 
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Nectarine & Bilberry Custard Tart

Nectarine & Bilberry Custard Tart
I think of myself as quite knowledgeable when it comes to food so when I haven’t heard of something it really intrigues me. I’d never heard of bilberries before, so I really wanted to try them. The bilberries were kindly given to me by Angela from Only Crumbs Remain.  She picked them herself and if you are a bilberry fan or are interested in baking with them you will find lots of bilberry recipes on her blog! They are a foraged berry and come from the same family as blueberries and blackberries. I’ve never seen them in the shops before, so do let me know if you’ve ever seen them sold anywhere. Otherwise look out for them on your next country walk! I decided to pair them with nectarines in this tart as the bright orange colour is a great match to the dark blue bilberries, and they also taste delicious!

I started by making the creme patisserie custard filling as it takes several hours to cool. I started by heating 500ml whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat and poured it into a jug.

In my food mixer I whisked up 6 egg yolks with 140g caster sugar until pale and thick. I added 45g cornflour and mixed it in, then I poured the warm milk in with the mixer still going.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst continously stirring. When it started to thicken, I started whisking it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps.

 

I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the
creme patisserie so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.

To make the pastry I rubbed 170g butter into 350g plain flour until it resembled breadcrumbs.

I added 2 eggs and mixed to form a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To roll out the pastry I decided to try out an item from the new Joseph Joseph baking range, which were kindly sent to me recently. If you haven’t heard of Joseph Joseph before, they are a family business
ran by twin brothers. Their focus is on the whole user experience of their products, they combine design, function and quality materials to make their range.

I tried out their Roll Up Non-Slip Silicone Pastry Mat. The mat features a handy rolling size guide printed in circular shapes, as well as sizes along the sides. It also has an integrated strap so you can roll it up, fasten it and store it easily.

I rolled out the pastry and the size guides on the mat were really helpful – I don’t know why I haven’t bought one of these already as I do make pastry quite often!

I lined my 23cm tart tin with the pastry and pricked it all over with a fork.

I lined the pastry with baking paper then poured in baking beans, I blind baked it on 180C/106C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.

I then removed the baking beans and baked it again for 10-15 minutes until the bottom was fully cooked and it was golden brown all over.

When the tart case was fully cool I filled it with the creme patisserie and smoothed it out.

I sliced up 5 nectarines and arranged them in circles on top, and I placed the billberries in the gaps. The bilberries freeze really well and I still have more to use.

 

To glaze the tart and keep the fruit fresh whilst also creating a lovely shiny appearance, I warmed up 5 tbsp apricot jam in a pan. I then sieved it to remove any lumps, and used a pastry brush to generously brush it all over the tart.

And the tart was ready! It’s best to eat this straight away, although it will last a few days if kept in the fridge.

It was a bit messy when cut but the sweet creamy custard and delicious fresh fruit soon distract you from the appearance. It was my first taste of bilberries and I have to say they go very well with custard. The pastry was also perfectly crisp which is just what you need for a tart like this as it holds the wet filling in place without any leaks, not a soggy bottom in sight!

      

I’m linking up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation, and to The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen. I think this tart would be a delightful afternoon tea treat!

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Nectarine & Bilberry Custard Tart

Ingredients

  • 500 ml Whole milk
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 140 g Caster sugar
  • 45 g Cornflour
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 170 g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 5 Nectarines
  • 70 g Bilberries
  • 5 tbsp Apricot Jam

Instructions

  1. Start by making the creme patisserie custard filling. Heat the whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod in a pan until it reaches boiling point. Then take it off the heat and pour it into a jug
  2. Using an electric mixer whisk up the egg yolks with the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and mix it in, then pour the warm milk in with the mixer still going
  3. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it at a medium-high heat whilst continously stirring. When it starts to thicken, whisk it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps
  4. Sieve it required to remove any lumps, then put it in a bowl and covered it with cling film. Make sure the cling film is touching the creme patisserie so that a skin doesn't form on it. Leave it in the fridge overnight to cool
  5. To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
  6. Add the eggs and mix to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  7. Roll out the pastry and line a 23cm tart tin. Prick it all over with a fork
  8. Line the pastry with baking paper then pour in baking beans (or dry rice if you don't have them) bake it on 180C/106C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes
  9. Remove the baking beans and baked it again for 10-15 minutes until the bottom is fully cooked and it is golden brown all over
  10. When the tart case is fully cool fill it with the creme patisserie and smooth it out
  11. Slice up the nectarines and arranged them in circles on top, then place the billberries in the gaps
  12. To glaze the tart, warm up the apricot jam in a pan. Sieve it to remove any lumps, and use a pastry brush to generously brush it all over the tart

 

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
I mentioned in my last post, where I made a Chocolate Fudge Cake, that there are a lot of ‘classic’ bakes that somehow I have managed not to make over the years. I’m not sure how I have avoided such tasty treats, but I’ve decided that needs to change! Next on my list was this gorgeous lemon meringue pie. I also got a chance to make italian style meringue, which was another first for me. I turned once again to What to Bake & How to Bake It by Jane Hornby – which really is a superb baking book – for the lemon filling. The pastry is a recipe I have used for years and I’m not sure where it originated from. The meringue recipe was an internet find, but is a fairly standard recipe that seems to be repeated in quite a few places so again I’m not sure who deserves the credit!

I started with the pastry and rubbed 170g butter into 350g plain flour.

I added 2 eggs and brought the mixture together into a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I took it out of the fridge and rolled it out onto some cling film. This stops it from sticking to the work surface and makes it easy to pick up.

I lined my tin, trimmed the edges and pricked the bottom all over with a fork.

I covered the pastry with foil, you can also use baking paper, and filled it with baking beans.

I baked the pastry on 200C (180C Fan)/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes.

I removed the baking beans and foil, turned the oven down to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 and baked the pastry again for another 15 minutes.

To make the lemon filling I started by whisking up 4 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks (reserving the whites for the meringue).

In a pan I melted 175g butter, 200g caster sugar and 250ml lemon juice.

Once the butter and sugar were melted I poured the mixture slowly into the eggs, whisking as I poured.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it on a medium heat for 5 minutes until it thickened up.

I poured the lemon mixture into the pastry case.

I baked it again on 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 5 minutes. I left it to cool completely.

To make the italian meringue topping I started with the sugar syrup. I put 225g caster sugar and 125ml water in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If I noticed any sugar around the edges of the pan I brushed them away with a wet pastry brush.

In a stand mixer I whisked up the 4 egg whites reserved earlier with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar until they reached soft peak stage. Then I poured the sugar syrup into a jug, and keeping the mixer on, I poured the sugar syrup into the meringue. I was careful not to let the sugar syrup hit the side of the bowl.

I kept the food mixer running until the bowl felt cool, it had a wonderful fluffy texture and was white and shiny.

I dolloped the meringue on top of the pie using a spoon and flicked it around to give it texture.

I then got out my kitchen blowtorch and browned the meringue all over.

The lemon filling and the meringue were both melt in the mouth delicious, they perfectly matched each other with the meringue’s sweetness and the zingy tartness of the lemon. The pastry was crisp and buttery, the ideal vehicle for transporting that delicious filling into your mouth.

I had some great comments about the pie from my colleagues, including ‘amazing’ and ‘awesome’. I was very pleased it went down so well, this is a classic bake for a reason!

I’m entering this into Perfecting Patisserie hosted by BakingQueen74.

And into the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, as this is a great recipe that uses up all of the egg whites and yolks, leaving nothing to waste. I also used some lemon juice I had frozen in the freezer for the filling.

I’m entering this into the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivations.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 170 g Butter
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 2 Eggs

Filling

  • 250 ml Lemon juice
  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 175 g Butter

Meringue

  • 225 g Caster sugar
  • 125 ml Water
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of tartar
  • 4 Egg whites

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour
  2. Add the eggs and bring the mixture together into a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Roll the pastry out and line the tin with it, trim the edges and prick the bottom all over with a fork
  4. Cover the pastry with foil and fill it with baking beans. Bake the pastry on 200C (180C Fan)/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes
  5. Remove the baking beans and foil, turn the oven down to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 and bake the pastry again for another 15 minutes
  6. To make the lemon filling whisk up the whole eggs and egg yolks
  7. In a pan melt the butter, caster sugar and the lemon juice together
  8. Once the butter and sugar are melted, pour the mixture slowly into the eggs, whisking as you pour
  9. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it on a medium heat for 5 minutes until it thickens up, keep stirring it during this time
  10. Pour the lemon mixture into the pastry case. Bake it again on 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 5 minutes. Leave it to cool completely
  11. To make the Italian meringue put the caster sugar and the water in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If you notice any sugar around the edges of the pan, brush them away with a wet pastry brush. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature and when it reaches 115C/240°F it's ready
  12. In a stand mixer whisked up the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they reach soft peak stage. Pour the sugar syrup into a jug, and keeping the mixer on, pour the sugar syrup into the meringue. Be careful not to let the sugar syrup hit the side of the bowl
  13. Keep the food mixer running until the bowl feels cool, then dollop the meringue on top of the pie using a spoon and flick it around to give it texture. Finally use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over
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Butternut Squash, Leek & Ricotta Lattice Pie

Butternut Squash, Leek & Ricotta Lattice Pie
Did you know that 75% of people eat pie once a month? You can’t beat a good pie, and I’m certainly a fan. Pastry is made with such basic ingredients, but when cooked it becomes so crispy and delicious. This week is British Pie Week and the only way to celebrate is to make yourself some pie! I chose this vegetarian Butternut Squash, Leek & Ricotta Lattice Pie option from the Jus Rol website, and they kindly supplied me with the pastry. It was a tough decision as their website is filled some seriously drool worthy pies, tarts, and other pastry goodness! There is a lot of debate over what makes a pie – is a pastry lid acceptable, or does it have to have a bottom and sides too? I personally think it needs to be encased in pastry! Let me know your thoughts!

I started by chopping up 2 small butternut squash into chunks and putting in a roasting tray with a good drizzle of oil. I cooked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.

I then added 3 chopped leeks, a little more oil, and cooked for 20 minutes. Once done, I put them in a bowl and left them to cool down completely.

I used a 500g block of Jus Rol shortcrust pastry for this pie. I also picked up a couple of the ready rolled puff pastry sheets as I like to make quick and simple tarts with them – they make a very tasty weeknight dinner.

I rolled out 350g of the pastry on some cling film.

I placed the pastry in a pie tin, and trimmed the edges, leaving a little overhang. The recipe did not say to blind bake the pastry, so I didn’t, but I would personally recommend blinding baking it as I did have trouble with the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’! Blind bake it for 15 minutes with baking beans, then a further 10 minutes without at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

To the cooled squash and leek I added 500g ricotta, 100g parmesan, 3 tsp dried sage and a pinch of nutmeg.

I filled the pastry base with the filling – I did have some leftover filling.

I rolled out the rest of the pastry and cut out strips. I made a lattice top by weaving them together.

I brushed all around the edge of the pastry with beaten egg, then put the lattice on top and trimmed the edges. I pressed the lattice down to the edge of the pie, then brushed more beaten egg all over the pastry top.

I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 35 minutes until it was golden brown. The pie was the perfect beginning to British Pie Week. Myself and my boyfriend really enjoyed the crisp buttery pastry, and the hearty filling. I’ll definitely make this pie again!

I’m linking this up to Food Year Link Up hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, for British Pie Week.

And to Tea Time Treats hosted by Hedgecombers, as this pie would be a great picnic treat!

And to Meat Free Mondays hosted by Tinned Tomatoes.

And to Cooking With Herbs, hosted by Lavendar & Lovage, as this dish contains one of my favourite herbs – sage!

And finally to Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice, as we enjoyed this pie for a couple of days. It easily re-heats in the oven.


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Butternut Squash, Leek & Ricotta Lattice Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 Butternut squash small-medium sized
  • 3 Leeks
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 500 g Ricotta
  • 100 g Parmesan
  • 500 g Jus Rol shortcrust pastry
  • 3 tsp Dried sage
  • 1 Egg , beaten
  • A pinch of Nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Chop up the butternut squash into chunks and put in a roasting tray, toss them in 1 tbsp of the oil. Cook them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes
  2. Then add the chopped leeks, and the rest of the oil to the tray, and cook for 20 minutes. Once done, put them in a bowl and leave them to cool down completely
  3. Roll out 350g of the pastry on some cling film
  4. Line the tin with the pastry and trim the edges, leaving a little overhang. Line with baking paper and add baking beans, bake for 15 minutes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, then remove the paper and baking beans, and bake for a further 10 minutes
  5. To the cooled squash and leek add the ricotta, parmesan, dried sage and nutmeg. Fill the pastry base with the filling
  6. Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut out strips. Make a lattice top by weaving them together. Brush all around the edge of the pie with beaten egg, then put the lattice on top and trimm the edges. Press the lattice down to the edge of the pie, then brush more beaten egg all over the pastry
  7. Bake the pie on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 35 minutes until it is golden brown

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Brie, Leek & Onion Quiche

Brie, Leek & Onion Quiche
Ever since I saw Nancy Birtwhistle at the BBC Good Food Show I’ve wanted to try out her recipe for a Sage & Onion Tart. As luck would have it, Christmas left me with some onions that needed using up. It also left me with leeks and brie, so I decided to add those in too because yum! This is a great recipe because it’s easy to make, it’s low cost, a vegetarian friendly dish, and it makes a delicious lunch or dinner. I ate it cold with salad and sweet potato fries, but you could also serve it hot, either way you’re going to enjoy a tasty meal!

I recently got sent this quiche tin from Boswells & Co, who are a large department store in Oxford. The tin is the 20cm Masterclass Crusty Bake Quiche Tin, which has holes all over it to allow moisture to escape and ultimately aid you in avoiding the dreaded soggy bottom! It’s also non stick and comes with a 20 year guarantee, so they must be pretty confident about it’s long lasting ability.

I started by making the pastry. I didn’t follow Nancy’s recipe as I have my own pastry recipe that always works for me. I rubbed 85g butter into 175g plain flour, then added 1 egg.

I combined the mixture until it came together into a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge while I got on with preparing the filling.

I made less filling than Nancy too as the Masterclass tin is 20cm and Nancy’s recipe was for a 22cm tin. I cooked a 525g mixture of leek and onion (use whatever you have, I had 2 onions and 1 leek) in a pan on a medium heat along with 2 tbsp of butter, 1/4 tsp allspice and a pinch of salt. Once the onions and leeks were soft I took them off the heat to cool slightly.

In a bowl I whisked up 3 eggs, 1 tbsp parmesan and 95ml single cream.

In a food processor I whizzed up the cooked onions and leeks along with 100ml single cream.

I added the onion mixture to the egg mixture, and then added 1 tbsp freshly chopped sage leaves.

 

I set the filling aside while I rolled out the pastry between two sheets of cling film. This stops your pastry from drying out, and saves on cleaning up all that flour from the work surface!

I lined the tin and trimmed the edges.

I baked the pastry case for 10 minutes on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 with baking beans. Nancy had a great tip about screwing the baking paper into a ball then flattening it out first, as it’s easier to line the tin with it once it’s been wrinkled.

I removed the baking paper and beans and baked the pastry case again for 7 minutes at the same temperature.

I filled the pastry case with the filling, then arranged slices of brie on top and sprinkled with some more fresh sage. I baked this on 180C350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes until golden brown.

The quiche came out of the tin extremely easily, and the pastry had a lovely golden colour.

The quiche was very tasty, with a milder onion flavour than I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised. The melted brie on top was my favourite bit, and the crisp pastry came a close second! This is a very economical recipe due to the cheap ingredients used, and this quiche would feed 4 people. If you’re not a brie fan you could top it with cheddar, or some parmesan.

I’m entering this into Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender & Lovage and Hedgecombers, as this recipe would work great on a picnic and is a budget meal.

I’m also entering into Credit Crunch Munch, hosted by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours, as this is an economical recipe and I used up leftovers.

I am also entering into The No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary for the same reason.

And into Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice as the quiche kept great in the fridge and I ate it for two evening meals.

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Brie, Leek & Onion Quiche

Ingredients

  • 85 g Butter
  • 175 g Plain flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 525 g Leeks and/or onions
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • A pinch Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan
  • 195 ml Single cream
  • 1 tbsp Fresh sage
  • 6 slices Brie

Instructions

  1. Rub the butter into the flour, then add 1 egg. Combine the mixture until it comes together into a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge
  2. Cook the leeks and onion in a pan on a medium heat along with the butter, allspice and salt. Once the onions and leeks are soft, take them off the heat to cool slightly
  3. In a bowl whisk up 3 eggs, the parmesan and 95ml of the single cream
  4. In a food processor whizz up the cooked onions and leeks along with 100ml of the single cream
  5. Add the onion mixture to the egg mixture, and then add the sage leaves. Set the filling aside
  6. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of cling film. Line 20cm tin and trim the edges
  7. Blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6Remove the baking paper and beans and bake the pastry case again for 7 minutes at the same temperature
  8. Fill the pastry case with the filling, arrange slices of the brie on top and sprinkle with some more fresh sage. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes until golden brown
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Mille Feuille: GBBO The Final!

Mille Feuille: GBBO The Final!
The final is finally here! And what a tense one it was… We started by looking back over the past 10 weeks – which have gone so fast!! – and all the amazing bakes the three finalists have produced as well as their various ups and downs along the way. In total they have completed 27 baking challenges! The bakers started with a signature challenge of iced buns. Mary and Paul requested 16 iced and filled buns, and they wanted two different flavours. Paul was looking for everything to be the best the bakers could make. Mary had no idea who was going to win, but she knew she wanted to see perfect iced buns that tasted delicious!

Tamal made citrus marmalade & caramel creme pat and apple & whipped cream buns. He did royal icing for the tops and didn’t flavour his icing or his dough, which raised eyebrows from the judges. His caramel creme pat did not set, so it didn’t make it into his buns. Paul brought up Tamal’s issues with timing and Mary pointed out that his icing wasn’t great. They enjoyed the texture of his buns and absolutely loved his citrus marmalade. A real friendship has blossomed between Tamal and Nadiya which was nice to see as I’ve not noticed as many close bonds from the bakers this series.

Ian made two different doughs for two different flavoured buns, the first was elderflower & lemon, and the second were spiced buns with an apple and cranberry jam. He knew he’d done something wrong to his spiced buns, and Paul Hollywood confirmed that Ian had left sugar out of the dough. His icing was also quite messy. Luckily the judges both loved his elderflower and lemon buns

Nadiya made cardamom buns with almond creme pat and nutmeg buns with a sour cherry filling. There was some contention over whether the buns should touch or not and
be a ‘batch bake’. Tamal and Ian’s touched, but Nadiya’s didn’t. Nadiya also made round buns. Although she strayed from tradition, Mary loved her neat icing and original approach. Paul also ended up being a huge fan after tasting them!

The final technical challenge was to make Raspberry Mille Feuille. This is three layers of crispy ruff puff pastry filled with raspberries, jam and chantilly cream, and topped with fondant icing. Paul and Mary chose this challenge to test the bakers as they have all had issues with pastry challenges in the past – and Nadiya figured out that it was personally designed for them!

Of course a lot of instructions were left out of the recipe. The bakers had to make a sugar syrup, but had no idea what part of the recipe it was for. Tamal had problems with his pastry, and Nadiya couldn’t figure out how to arrange the mille feuille. Tamal came last as his pastry wasn’t quite right, Ian was second as his pastry wasn’t quite cooked. And Nadiya won! Her pastry was excellent and her presentation was very neat.

For the final showstopper the bakerswere asked to make a single flavoured, but multi tiered, classic British cake. The judges wanted perfect flavours, consistency throughout the tiers and a stunning appearance to make them say ‘wow!’ Tamal made a sticky toffe pudding fruit cake, which was topped with a date and toffee sauce and he decorated it beautifully with spun sugar. He was concerned about the humidty affecting his caramel as it was raining at the start of the challenge, thankfully the rain stopped. Mary thought it looked spectacular and breathtaking. They were impressed with his spun sugar technique, thought his cake was totally different and very delicious.

Nadiya chose to make a lemon drizzle cake. She explained that she did not have a cake at her wedding, so this was going to be her wedding cake. She filled them with lemon curd and lemon buttercream, and she made her own fondant out of marshmallow. The judges thought it looked elegant and beautiful, that it was evenly baked and had a consistent texture throughout. Overall they called it ‘stunning’.

Ian decided to make five tiers of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. He also made his own stand to display his cakes on. The judges thought it had a very contemporary apperance, and the texture of all five cakes was very consistent. Paul called it one of the best carrot cakes he’d ever had! What a close showstopper this was, every baker got excellent feedback from the judges. I don’t think this has ever happened before!

And the winner is… Nadiya! She certainly deserved it as she did the best in the first two challenges, and the showstopper was such a close one. Suffice to say, she was in complete shock! Paul talked about her passion for baking and her flair for flavours. Mary was so proud of Nadiya and her journey, and even got a bit emotional in front of camera – I don’t think that has ever happened before either! I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see what Nadiya, Tamal, Ian and all the other bakers this year do next.

So The Great British Bake Off is over for another year, it always flies by so fast. I did decided to make the technical challenge from the final episode for a couple of reasons. One of them being my boyfriend requested it, and the second being that I thought it looked really delicious and pretty. I followed the same Paul Hollywood recipe that the bakers used.

I started by kneading 500g white fondant until it was soft and pliable. I used icing sugar to dust the work surface.

I rolled out the fondant using icing sugar to make sure it didn’t stick to the surface or the rolling pin. I needed to cut out a square measuring 12″ x 9″ so I made sure it was bigger than that.

I decided to use Renshaw Decor-pan, which is coloured marzipan, as it was the perfect pink shade for the recipe.

I rolled out the marzipan, again using icing sugar to stop it from sticking to the surface and rolling pin, I used a knife to cut 1cm wide stripes.

I laid the stripes of marzipan out onto the white fondant. The recipe photo had the stripes straight, but I liked Ian’s diagonal ones on the show so I did the same.

I then rolled over the stripes to infuse them with the fondant.

I cut out 6 squares, measuring 6″ x 3″. It doesn’t matter if they are a little larger as you can trim them.

For the pastry I used 3 sheets of Jus Roll Puff Pastry. I rolled it out onto a baking tray.

I covered the pastry with another piece of baking paper, then a cooling rack over the top. This keeps the pastry from rising too much and keeps it even.

I baked the pastry on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes. I flipped it upside down and baked it again, this time without the cooling rack on top, for 10 minutes.

I let the pastry cool enough to handle, then cut it into 6 pieces measuring 6″ x 3″. I did this again twice more with the other two sheets of pastry until I had 18 pieces of pastry in total.

I coated 12 pieces of the pastry with lemon curd. The recipe said to use raspberry jam, but I didn’t have any and I preferred using lemon curd instead.

I made a sugar syrup using 25g caster sugar and 50ml water. I brought it to the boil in a pan and let it bubble for 1 minute. I then took it off the heat and let it cool down.

I brushed the syrup onto the other six pieces of pastry and stuck the squares of stripy icing over them.

I then made the chantilly cream by whipping up 600ml double cream, 50g icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I piped the cream onto the lemon curd covered pastry and alternated it with fresh raspberries. These things used so many more raspberries than the recipe stated – I used 5 punnets!

I put the next layer on, did the same again with the cream and raspberries, and finally topped them with the stripy pastry.

The mille feuille looked so pretty! I absolutely loved the appearance of them with the stripy icing on top. They were absolutely massive though, one can easily be shared between two. Or they could also be made half the size. They were fairly tricky to eat too, but so delicious and worth all the pastry on your jumper and cream on your face!

I am entering the mille feuille into Baking Queen’s challenge Perfecting Patisserie, there is no specific theme this month.

I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

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Raspberry Mille Feuille

Ingredients

  • 500 g White fondant
  • 250 g Pink fondant or coloured marzipan
  • 3 sheets of Jus Roll Puff Pastry
  • 3 tbsp Lemon curd
  • 50 ml Water
  • 25 g Caster sugar
  • 600 ml Double cream
  • 50 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 5 punnets Fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Knead the white fondant until it is soft and pliable. Use icing sugar to dust the work surface
  2. Roll out the fondant to a 12" x 9" rectangle
  3. Roll out the pink fondant or marzipan to the same size and use a knife to cut 1cm wide strips
  4. Lay the strips of pink fondant or marzipan over the white fondant. Then roll over the strips to infuse them with the white fondant
  5. Cut out 6 squares of the stripy fondant, measuring 6" x 3". It doesn't matter if they are a little larger as you can trim them
  6. Roll the puff pastry out onto baking trays. Cover the pastry with another piece of baking paper, then a cooling rack over the top. This keeps the pastry from rising too much and keeps it even
  7. Bake the pastry on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes. Then flip it upside down and bake it again, this time without the cooling rack on top, for 10 minutes
  8. Let the pastry cool enough to handle, then cut it into 6 pieces measuring 6" x 3". You will end up with 18 pieces of pastry in total
  9. Coat 12 pieces of the pastry with the lemon curd
  10. Make a sugar syrup by boiling the caster sugar and water in a pan for 1 minute. Then take it off the heat and let it cool down Brush the syrup onto the other 6 pieces of pastry and stick the squares of stripy icing over them. Trim them if needed
  11. Make the Chantilly cream by whipping up the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract
  12. Pipe the cream onto the lemon curd covered pastry and alternate blobs of cream with fresh raspberries
  13. Put the next layer of pastry on, do the same again with the cream and raspberries, and finally topped them with the stripy pastry
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Millionaire’s Chocolate Tart: GBBO Week #9

Millionaire’s Chocolate Tart: GBBO Week #9
The Great British Bake Off changed up it’s episode theming again for week eight with chocolate based challenges. This week was also the semi finals, which meant all of the bakers were fighting for a place in the final. The first signature challenge was to make a chocolate tart, using chocolate pastry and chocolate filling. Basically a full on chocolate fest, or as Sue called it ‘cocoa loco’! Paul said that there was no room for error this week if they wanted to get through to the finals, and Mary explained that although this challenge sounded simple, she was expecting an immaculate result.

Ian made a chocolate and bay leaf infused salted caramel tart, it had a beautiful shiny glaze that really impressed the judges (and made Flora jealous!) They weren’t big fans of his flavours though, and didn’t appreciate his addition of bay leaf. Flora included a passion fruit curd and milk chocolate mousse in her chocolate tart which she topped with macarons. She didn’t get a good shine on her glaze, but decorated it beautifully. Unfortunately her passion fruit curd had split and Paul said her macarons were ‘not good’ as they were overbaked and dry.

Nadiya’s tart combined a layer of salted caramel, a layer of chocolate mousse, some homemade peanut butter and chocolate truffles. She was the only baker to make a rectangular tart, and she certainly impressed the judges. Paul Hollywood gave her his famously rare handshake! Tamal made an American themed chocolate tart with raspberry coulis and a pecan praline. The judges praised his thin pastry, and they loved the contrast between the chocolate and raspberry.

For the technical challenge this week we had something entirely different happen. The bakers start times were staggered as they had to make a chocolate souffle, which have to be served straight out of the oven. This is a really difficult challenge as the bakers had to perfectly make a chocolate creme patt and meringue at the same time, then mix the two together. Also the recipe just said ‘make a meringue’ and ‘make a creme patt’… helpful as always!

Flora got stuck in straight away, but Ian struggled to remember how to make a creme patt. Tamal and Nadiya had never made a souffle either, but got on with the challenge. Once each souffle was ready, Sue took it over to Paul and Mary who were sat at the front of the tent with their backs to the bakers. Nadiya came last as she had too many lumps of unmixed meringue in her souffle, Ian came third as his souffle didn’t rise very well, and Tamal came second as his rose well but there were some smaller lumps of unmixed meringue. Flora won the challenge as she had a great rise to her souffle and the texture was lovely according to Mary.

The chocolate finale showstopper was to create a 3D chocolate centrepiece, which must include biscuits and white chocolate. The judges were looking for attention to detail, and a spectacular finish. Tamal made a 3 tiered bell tower with 3 different types of biscuit. Mary thought it looked impressive from afar, but not as much close up. Paul noticed that some of the detail had been rushed and wasn’t as neat as it could have been. Thankfully they enjoyed the flavours of the biscuits and chocolate.

Flora went for a cocoa carousel, which included shortbread, a puffed rice roof, and a chocolate cake base. She also made a horse shaped biscuit mould herself for the carousel horses! None of her chocolate had a glossy shine, and the whole carousel was a bit wonky. The judges like most of her flavours, but noticed that there was too much raising agent in her cake and that her puffed rice was quite bitter.

Nadiya sculpted a peacock from marshmallow puffed rice and modelling chocolate, with biscuit peacock eggs in a chocolate nest. Paul and Mary thought it looked beautiful, was very detailed and they called it a work of art. They said it tasted good too. Ian chose to make a chocolate well, which actually worked and brought up a white chocolate drink from the bottom of the well. It was extremely clever from a engineering point of view, and the judges thought it was very original with a contemporary style. They really enjoyed his biscuits and flavour, but wanted to see more detail and examples of his chocolate work.

Flora left this week as her tart and showstopper both had issues. Nadiya won the star baker accolade – her third time. The next episode is the final!

As much as I love chocolate, I’m not a huge fan of having both chocolate pastry and a chocolate filling, it’s too overpowering for me. So I decided to theme my tart on millionaire’s shortbread and make a plain shortcrust pastry with caramel and chocolate fillings. I also gave home made honeycomb a go for the first time!

I started with the honeycomb. In a pan I melted 200g caster sugar and 125g golden syrup on a low heat until the sugar was no longer grainy. I turned up the heat and let it bubble for a few minutes.

I took it off the heat and stirred in 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. It will bubble and froth a lot!

I poured it straight into a lined 20cm x 20cm square tin and left it to cool.

When it was set I took it out of the tin. This was my first time making honeycomb and I think I’ve gone wrong somewhere as it was a bit softer than I was expecting. If you have any tips, let me know!

I still managed to smash it up into pieces and it tasted really good!

I always make my shortcrust pastry from scratch because I have a go-to recipe that always works for me and it’s so quick to make at home, unlike a lot of other pastries. I started by rubbing 170g butter into 350g plain flour.

I added 2 eggs and brought the mixture together into a pastry dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it for 30 minutes in the fridge.

I rolled the pastry out onto cling film, this makes it so much easier to lift over the tin.

I lined my 28cm tart tin with the pastry and pricked the bottom all over with a fork.

I covered the pastry with baking paper then added baking beans. I baked the pastry on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes.

I removed the paper and beans and baked again at the same temperature for 10 minutes until it was golden brown and the bottom was fully cooked through.

I was a bit lazy and used a ready made caramel, Carnation Caramel, to cover the bottom of the tart. I’ve made my own caramel before with success, so I felt ok with doing this!

To make the chocolate filling I heated up 250ml double cream on a medium heat, when it started to bubble I took it off the heat and tipped 255g dark chocolate into the pan. I left it for a couple of minutes then stirred it in.

In a separate bowl I whisked up 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt.

I whisked the egg mixture into the chocolate bit by bit.

I poured the chocolate mixture into the tart tin over the caramel.

I baked the tart on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes. I put it on a rack to cool fully.

To make the glaze I heated up 2 tbsp double cream, when it bubbled I took it off the heat and added 50g dark chocolate. I mixed the chocolate in along with 1 tsp (7g) golden syrup and 1 tbsp warm water.

I poured the glaze over the chocolate filling and smooth it over the whole tart with a spatula. Finally I added crumbled up honeycomb all around the edge of the tart.

I was really pleased with how shiny my glaze was! It really gave the tart a professional finish. This tart disappeared SO fast when I took it into work, it was all gone by 10:30am! That’s what I like to see. The chocolate filling was so smooth and rich, I was really pleased I stuck to plain pastry as chocolate pastry would’ve been too overpowering. The honeycomb was really good too, ever though it went a bit chewy, it tasted really nice.

I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

Honeycomb recipe from BBC Good Food, chocolate filling and glaze recipe from Epicurious.

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Millionaire's Chocolate Tart

Ingredients

  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 125g + 1 tsp Golden syrup
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 170 g Butter
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tin Carnation Caramel (397g)
  • 250ml + 2 tbsp Double cream
  • 275 g Dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Warm water

Instructions

  1. To make the honeycomb melt the caster sugar and the golden syrup in a pan on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and let it boil to 300F/149CTake it off the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda
  2. Pour it into a lined 20cm x 20cm square tin and leave it to cool. Put it aside to set, once set, smash into pieces
  3. For the pastry, rub the butter and plain flour together. Add 2 of the eggs and bring the mixture together into a ball. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
  4. Roll the pastry out onto cling film. Line a 28cm tart tin with the pastry and prick the bottom all over with a fork
  5. Cover the pastry with baking paper then add baking beans. Bake the pastry on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes
  6. Remove the paper and beans and bake again at the same temperature for 10 minutes until golden brown and the bottom is fully cooked through
  7. Spread the Carnation Caramel over the bottom of the tart
  8. To make the chocolate filling, heat up the 250ml of double cream on a medium heat, when it starts to bubble, take it off the heat and tip 225g of the dark chocolate into the pan. Leave it for a couple of minutes to melt, then stir together
  9. In a bowl whisk up 2 of the eggs, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk the mixture into the chocolate a little at a time
  10. Pour the chocolate mixture into the tart tin over the caramel. Bake the tart on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes. Put it on a rack to cool fully
  11. To make the glaze, heat up the 2 tbsp double cream, when it bubbles take off the heat and add 50g of the dark chocolate. Then mix in the 1 tsp golden syrup and warm water
  12. Pour the glaze over the chocolate filling and smooth it over the with a spatula. Finally add the crumbled up honeycomb all around the edge of the tart
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Peanut Butter & Caramel Eclairs: GBBO Week #8

Peanut Butter & Caramel Eclairs: GBBO Week #8
The first challenge of patisserie week was cream horns, which are spirals of pastry filled with cream and sometimes jam or creme patisserie too. The judges wanted two different flavours of cream horns, 12 of each flavour. The bakers could use ruff, puff or flaky pastry. Paul thought puff pastry was the way to go, while Mary was more concerned about the cream horn being filled all the way to the bottom. Baker Paul, Ian and Nadiya all went for ruff puff pastry while Flora and Tamal chose to make full puff pastry.

Flora chose peach, lemon and thyme, and butterscotch and smoked almond for her flavours. She topped the cream horns with caramel wafers and tuille cigars which she spent way too much time concentrating on making, rather than focusing on the main event. She also  presented her cream horns upright, but as they were not sealed at the bottom her lemon curd and chocolate fillings dripped out completely so there was none left for the judges to taste. Ian was the only baker to do a second flavour of pastry. He added cocoa to his pastry to make a stripy cream horn with a Black Forest Gateau inspired filling. Unfortunately his different pastries did not bond together and were partly raw inside.

Nadiya made rose and pistachio, and mocha hazelnut cream horns. She seemed quite nervous while her pastry was baking, but it baked beautifully and she calmed down once they were done. She got the usual warnings from the judges about not using too much rose flavour, but after tasting them Paul said it was a very delicate flavour. The judges agreed they looked very good and were uniform with nicely baked pastry.

Tamal went for lime and mascarpone, and malt cream horns. His pastry was crispy and well layered, and the judges were very impressed with his flavours. Baker Paul made coffee and vanilla, and banana cream horns. His pastry was well baked, but judge Paul did not think the banana flavour was strong enough. For his coffee ones, his creme patt was too thick and he hadn’t piped it all the way to the bottom – cue a disapointed Mary!

Mokatines were the technical challenge this week. A recipe from Mary Berry’s baking bible itself. Mary’s fear inducing comment to the bakers before they started was that they should be “sheer perfection”. No pressure then Mary! They are squares of genoise sponge filled with coffee buttercream and covered in chopped nuts and coffee icing.

Nadiya had heard of the recipe before but never made it. Paul struggled the most as he had never made a genoise sponge before, and the recipe had no instructions on how to do so. He made two normal sponges but they did not rise enough. This resulted in him coming last, Tamal came 4th, Flora 3rd, Ian 2nd, and Nadiya won the challenge!

This week’s showstopper was to make a Religieuse a L’anncienne, which is a tower of eclairs separated with biscuits. Think of it as the eclair version of a croquembouche. The judges requested three tiers of eclairs with no help from dowling as support. It also must be decorated with buttercream. Paul was insistent that the flavours come through, and Mary warned that the eclairs must be strong and fully baked as if they aren’t and they bend it could create ‘ghastly’ results. Once the eclair towers were completed, the bakers had to go on a 2 hour lunch break before they were judged to prove they could remain standing.

 

Tamal made passionfruit & mango, and pistachio & raspberry eclairs for his tower. Both he and Ian used very strong flour for their choux pastry and it certainly paid off as neither collapsed. Tamal and Ian also used a star nozzle to pipe out the eclairs to give them more structure and strength. Tamal’s held up, and although his piping was a bit messy, the judges enjoyed his flavours. Ian made cardamom & coffee, and passionfruit eclairs. This really was a perfect challenge for Ian as he is very good at baking engineering. They loved his flavour mix and were impressed by his technique.

Flora used half regular and half strong flour, but still suffered a collapse. She chose coconut & vanilla, and lime and basil for her flavours, but the judges couldn’t taste any of her flavours.

Nadiya and Paul did not use any strong flour for their eclairs which was definitely a mistake as they both suffered structural issues. Nadiya’s flavours were peppermint and bubblegum. I’m not really sure what bubblegum tastes like, isn’t it just sugar? Nadiya’s did collapse, and the judges liked her flavours (well, Mary wasn’t so sure) but thought they were far too strong. Paul’s flavours were vanilla & banana, and raspberry & basil. He added artifical banana extract because he was concerned about it not coming through enough. The judges praised his icing technique and also the bake on his eclairs, although as they were underdone this probably lead to the collapse of his tower.

Paul left us this week. He came last in the technical, Paul wasn’t impressed with his cream horns and his eclair tower collapsed. Star baker was Nadiya as she did so well in the first two challenges. Next episode is all about chocolate!

I was going to make cream horns this week and I did give them a try but it didn’t get past the pastry stage! Firstly the ice cream cones I bought to use as moulds were all smashed in the packet, so I only had two to work with. Then my pastry split apart in the oven, so I gave up on it. I also had problems making the eclairs too. I was feeling stressed after the cream horn disaster and my first batch of eclairs were a soggy mess. I had a break and calmed down, then took more time and got it right second time round. I’m so glad I persisted as they were damn delicious!!

To make the choux pastry I started by putting 200ml cold water and 75g butter in a pan. I heated it until the mixture came to boil.

I removed it from the heat and tipped 125g plain flour into the pan. I beat it with a wooden spoon until it was mixed in. I put it back on a medium heat and beat it in the pan for a few minutes.

I then poured the mixture into a bowl and beat it for a few minutes until it was luke warm instead of hot. I slowly added 3 beaten eggs, bit by bit, and whisked in thoroughly between each addition.

I put the mixture into a piping bag with a round nozzle. I piped out 4 inch long lengths of the pastry onto a lined baking tray. I used a sharp wet knife to stop the flow of batter. They are slightly misplaced in the above photo as I messed one up!

I baked the eclairs on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes, then reduced the temperature to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for a further 20 minutes. This made sure they were really dried out. To make sure they were dry inside I broke one open as a test. If it’s still wet inside just poke holes in the other eclairs and give them another 5 minutes in the oven. They weren’t as straight as I wanted (I think the fan in the oven blew them over a bit!!) I stored them in tupperware box overnight as I didn’t have time to fill them the same day.

I melted some dark chocolate, about 200g, and dipped each eclair in it to coat the tops.

I then melted 40g peanut butter candy melts and piped a zig zag pattern over the dark chocolate once it was set.

I made the filling by mixing 90g peanut butter, 300ml double cream, 200g icing sugar, 2 tsp Dr Oetker caramel flavouring and 1 1/2 tsp salt.

I filled the eclairs with the mixture using a piping bag and a star nozzle, and tucked in! They were super sweet, salty and nutty – such a good combination! You need to eat the eclairs straight away, or at least the same day. If you don’t fill them they will last a couple of days in an airtight container. They are also really good filled with plain whipped cream!

I am entering these eclairs into Baking Queen’s challenge Perfecting Patisserie, there is no specific theme this month.

I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

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Peanut Butter & Caramel Eclairs

Ingredients

  • 75 g Butter
  • 200 ml Cold water
  • 125 g Plain flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 200 g Dark chocolate
  • 40 g Peanut butter candy melts
  • 90 g Peanut butter
  • 300 ml Double cream
  • 200 g Icing sugar
  • 2 tsp Caramel extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. To make the choux pastry put the cold water and butter in a pan and heat until it comes to a boil
  2. Remove from the heat and tip the plain flour into the pan. Beat it with a wooden spoon until it's mixed in. Put it back on a medium heat and beat it in the pan for a few minutes
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and beat it for a few minutes until it is luke warm instead of hot. Slowly add the eggs, bit by bit, and whisk in thoroughly between each addition
  4. Put the mixture into a piping bag with a round nozzle. Pipe out 4 inch long lengths of the pastry onto a lined baking tray. Use a sharp wet knife to stop the flow of batter
  5. Bake the éclairs on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for a further 20 minutes. Poke small holes into the ends of each éclair and bake for a further 5 minutes
  6. Melt the dark chocolate and dip each éclair in it to coat the tops. Leave the chocolate to set
  7. Then melt the peanut butter candy melts and pipe a zig zag pattern over the dark chocolate
  8. Make the filling by whisking together the peanut butter, double cream, icing sugar, caramel extract and salt. Fill the éclairs with the mixture using a piping bag and a star nozzle
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