Pancake day this year falls on 28th February, however pancakes get much more than a day in my house. I eat them for my breakfast at the weekend whenever I have enough time to do so. I usually have blueberry pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. When I heard you could make pancake batter in a NutriBullet, and a healthier pancake batter at that, my mind immediately thought of adding oreos. Trust me to put biscuits into a healthy recipe! This recipe for Oreo Pancakes with Raspberries & Creme Fraiche is a healthy treat, good for you, but with a little naughtyness mixed in. It’s also super easy and quick to make in your NutriBullet.
The kind folks at ao.com recently sent me this fab NutriBullet, a product which I have been wanting to purchase for ages, and in fact I wasn’t far off buying one when this lovely offer from them came along. I was so excited when it arrived. The first thing I made in it was these pancakes and it’s such a fantastic idea to make things other than smoothies in it. It could be used in lots of different ways to assist with your baking, for example whizzing up biscuits to make cheesecake bases, or nuts and dates if you’re making a healthier option. It could also be used to purify fruits for sauces, or mash up bananas for banana bread.
I started by heating up a little oil in a frying pan. I used a silicone brush to coat the pan with the oil as this gives a light coverage so you don’t need to use as much oil. I used grapeseed oil, but coconut oil would also be good.
I put all of the ingredients into the large cup of the nutribullet and whizzed them up. It took literally seconds to blitz it all into a smooth batter.
I poured the batter into a bowl and broke up 9 oreos into it, then stirred them in.
I wanted to make small American style pancakes so I used a ladle to pour a small amount of batter into the frying pan.
I fried the pancakes until they were golden on both sides.
I served them topped with creme fraiche (I used a half fat option), fresh raspberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. They were hearty and filling, and tasted wonderful. The creme frachie with the oreos gives that ‘cookies and cream’ flavour. These oreo pancakes would make a fab weekend treat, and kids will love them too!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating. We had a quiet one at home, which I enjoy more these days. Now it’s that time of year when we all start evaluating our lifestyles and making some healthy changes (that may or may not be long lasting!) These Raspberry & Coconut Tarts are packed full of goodness, easy to make and taste really good, like really good, so good you might not even believe they are healthy if you hadn’t made them yourself! They’re also vegan friendly, so if you’ve decided to follow Veganuary they are a great recipe to try out.
To make the base I put 100g blanched almonds, 90g dried dates, 90g wholegrain crackers, 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder and a pinch a salt into a food processor and blitzed it until it resembled fine crumbs.
I melted 55g of coconut oil and added it to the ‘crumbs’ along with 6 tsp maple syrup and mixed it all together. I lined eight holes of a cupcake pan with cling film, then pressed the mixture into the holes making sure the sides and bottom were of an even thickness. Then I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
To make the filling I took two cans of coconut milk out of the fridge and seperated the thick white topping from the coconut water at the bottom. You can reserve the water and use it for smoothies or curries. Then I whisked it up along with 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 4 tbsp maple syrup (I like it quite sweet but you can add less maple syrup if you wish).
I took the tart cases out of the freezer and took them out of the pan and removed the cling film. I filled each one generously with the coconut cream, then placed some fresh raspberries on top, and finally sprinkled some chopped roasted hazlenuts on top.
And the tarts were done! This is the kind of healthy and vegan-friendly food more people need to try as it tastes so decadent and naughty when you eat, but it’s actually good for you. Surely the perfect health food?!
The tart base is crunchy and tastes sweet and chocolatey, and the coconut cream melts in the mouth. You can add any fresh berries or fruit to these tarts depending on your preference, and any nuts too.
I’m linking this recipe up to Treat Petite, hosted by Cakeyboi this month (and me on alternate months).
2400mlcans of Coconut milkstored in the fridge overnight
1 1/2tspVanilla extract
A pinch of Salt
A handful of Chopped roasted hazelnuts
To make the base put the blanched almonds, dried dates, wholegrain crackers, cocoa powder and salt into a food processor and blitz it until it resembles fine crumbs
Melt the coconut oil and add it to the 'crumbs' along with 6 tsp of the maple syrup and mix it all together
Line eight holes of a cupcake pan with cling film, then press the mixture into the holes making sure the sides and bottom are of an even thickness. Then put it in the freezer for 30 minutes
To make the filling separate the thick white topping from the coconut milk then whisk it up along with the vanilla extract and 4 tbsp of the maple syrup
Take the tart cases out of the freezer and take them out of the pan and remove the cling film. Fill each one generously with the coconut cream, then place some fresh raspberries on top, and finally sprinkle some chopped roasted hazelnuts on top
As I am a huge fan of ice cream, finding new ways to enjoy eating it is high on my list of favourite activities. As is discovering new exciting flavours of ice cream. A few days ago I had a jaffa cake flavour one that was very delicious, and now I’ve been lucky enough to try Häagen-Dazs’ new flavour – Mango & Raspberry. I am already a huge fan of their Salted Caramel flavour (which I highly recommend!) and so I was really looking forward to seeing what the new flavour would be like. I also decided that rather than just eat it alone, I’d sandwich it between two rich chocolate cookies.
The ice cream is a creamy mango flavour, swirled through with raspberry. To make the cookies I followed a Double Chocolate Cookies recipe I’ve made before, but added dark chocolate chips instead of white chocolate, and I doubled the recipe to allow for sandwiching!
I creamed together 350g light brown sugar and 150g butter. I then added 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla extract and whisked in.
I melted 300g dark chocolate in a glass bowl over gently simmering water.
I added 200g self raising flour and 50g cocoa powder to the mixture, followed by the melted chocolate, and mixed well.
I then added a packet of dark chocolate chips and folded them in. I chilled the mixture for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Using my hands I made small balls out of the mixture and flattened them before placing them on a lined baking tray.
I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 12 minutes. I let them cool for 10 minutes on the tray before moving them to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are fully cool, I loaded one up with Häagen-Dazs Mango & Raspberry ice cream and sandwiched another on top. I also added some fresh raspberries. Wow these were certainly decadent!
You have no choice but to dig right in! The fruity mango & raspberry ice cream is the perfect filling between the dark chocolate cookies. These are a indulgent dessert to end a meal, or a sweet summertime snack. Not that you need hot weather to eat ice cream, I certainly don’t!
A while back the kind people at Magazine.co.uk signed me up for 3 magazine subscriptions of my choice. (If you follow my blog you may remember this delicious Coconut Bar Cake I made from Olive magazine.) So this time round I got my first issue of Veggie magazine through the letterbox. I chose all food related magazines for my subscriptions – obviously! As we’re a vegetarian friendly household I’m always looking out for new veggie recipes so it was the perfect fit.
Veggie magazine is completely vegetarian, from it’s recipes to the beauty and skincare products it recommends. It also includes some vegan and gluten free recipes. My sister is vegan and we’ve recently found a love of baking together so when we do we of course make vegan friendly treats. So this chocolate tart was an easy choice to make as it sounded damn delicious!
I started by making the tart base which involved gently warming 75g coconut oil and 4 tbsp maple syrup in a pan. Once it melted together I added 150g dessicated coconut and 2 tbsp cocoa powder and mixed in.
I pressed the base into a tart tin making sure to pack it as tightly as I could and also cover the sides. I decided to use my rectangular tin as I love the elegant look of a tart this shape.
I baked the base on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, I left it to cool. Put it on a baking tray when in the oven as some of the coconut oil can leak out.
I made the filling by warming 270ml coconut cream, 1 tsp ground cardamom and a pinch of salt until just simmering. I then left it to thicken for 10 minutes with a lid on the pan.
I added 100g 70% dark chocolate to the coconut cream and stirred until it melted. If you want this to be a vegan tart make sure the chocolate doesn’t contain any milk (‘may contain’ is ok as this is related to people who have allergies).
I poured the ganache into the tart base and put it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Once set I decorated it with raspberries and a sprinkling of salt. You could decorate it with any fresh berries you like, or some grated dark chocolate, or leave it plain.
Wow this tart was decadent! The filling was so rich and creamy with the perfect chocolate hit. The cardamom lingered delicately in the background and the sea salt provided the perfect kick. The base was deliciously crunchy, it all came together so well. This is a dessert that can be enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike, and would be perfect for a dinner party where your guests have mixed dietary needs.
I’m entering this into We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme. The theme this month is butter, or coconut oil for vegan recipes.
And the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Marathons & Motivations and Ilkas Blog.
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.
Knead the white fondant until it is soft and pliable. Use icing sugar to dust the work surface
Roll out the fondant to a 12" x 9" rectangle
Roll out the pink fondant or marzipan to the same size and use a knife to cut 1cm wide strips
Lay the strips of pink fondant or marzipan over the white fondant. Then roll over the strips to infuse them with the white fondant
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
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
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
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
Coat 12 pieces of the pastry with the lemon curd
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
Make the Chantilly cream by whipping up the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract
Pipe the cream onto the lemon curd covered pastry and alternate blobs of cream with fresh raspberries
Put the next layer of pastry on, do the same again with the cream and raspberries, and finally topped them with the stripy pastry
My week 7 review and bake is a bit late as I’ve been in Hong Kong for the past 2 weeks (more on my trip coming soon!) This week The Great British Bake Off changed up the theme again with a Victorian episode. They do love their history so I think this was a nice choice. The first challenge for the contestants was to make a raised game pie using hot water crust pastry. In the Victorian era, game pies were status symbols for the middle class. Mary expected to see an ornate pie with intricate decorations, and Paul wanted thin pastry all around.
Mat had a traditional pie tin from his friend’s mum which dated back to 1850, his pie was filled with venison and pigeon. The judges loved the look of the pie and thought the meat was tender. Baker Paul used wild boar in his pie, but the judges thought it wasn’t decorated well. To be honest I thought they were overly harsh on Baker Paul about the decoration element. Tamal did a middle eastern spice mix with rabbit, lamb and venison. The judges absolutely loved it and he even got a handshake from Paul! Nadiya went for an untraditional Chinese 5 spice mix with pheasant and duck. Paul loved the decoration on top, but both he and Mary thought the spices over powered the game.
Flora really emphasised her middle class background as she told us how she made a pheasant pie in school and won a competition with it. She went for lucky pheasant again along with pigeon and rabbit, but she had problems cooking the pie as she over filled it. Although it had caught a little, the judges liked both the pastry and filling. Ian revealed his roadkill eating passion, and his pie was filled with venison, partridge and guinea fowl. He also made a meat jelly to accompany it. Mary did not think his pie was decorated enough on the outside, but she loved the appearance of the layers of meat inside. He did well for flavours too.
This week’s technical challenge was a Tennis Cake. This is a rich fruit cake decorated with a royal icing tennis court. Mary noted that it was very important that the cake was baked as soon as possible to it had time to cool down. Paul noted that there were a lot of elements of the decoration that could easily go wrong!
They had to make all of the different types of icing – marzipan, royal icing and sugarpaste from scratch. Mat struggled with his sugarpaste and ended up with radioactive looking goop, he also baked his tennis court and net so they turned brown. Meanwhile, Nadiya couldn’t remember what a tennis court looked like, but she was the only one to have an upright tennis net! Nadiya won the challenge with Paul 2nd, Tamal 3rd, Flora 4th and Ian 5th. Mat came last.
This week’s showstopper challenge was a Charlotte Russe, which is a mousse called bavarois and a jelly layer surrounded by ladyfingers. A structural nightmare to say the least! Mary said the most difficult element was getting the bavarois and jelly to set in time. I do mention this a lot, but I really think they should give them extra time for things to set as it really isn’t under anyone’s full control. Everyone was making the ladyfingers from scratch of course, and everyone except Tamal were using the ladyfinger sponge mix for the base of the dessert. Tamal used jelly as his base which really impressed the judges. He also decorated the ladyfingers with a chocolate swirl pattern.
Ian and Paul certainly had the most elaborate and impressive decorations. Ian made a 3D crown which was just fantastic! Mary thought it looked spectacular and Paul said it was purely magical. And Paul carved fruit into swans, but unfortunately his jelly was not set. Nadiya mixed italian meringue into her bavarois which was a recipe she learnt in school. The judges absolutely loved it as it was so light and creamy.
Mat made a simply flavoured strawberry Charlotte Russe, but he had problems with the ladyfingers breaking and the jelly wasn’t set. Flora flavoured her Russe with pomegranate, champagne, raspberry and white chocolate. Paul really didn’t like the addition of pomegranate at all, but they liked the other flavours and the defined layers of the Russe.
Mat left us this week after coming last in the technical and delivering a disappointing Charlotte Russe. I was so sad to see him go! He’s really funny and a brilliant baker of course. I think we’ll definitely see more of him in the future. Tamal won star baker, and I was really pleased for him as I think he’s deserved it in the past and I was glad he finally got it! Next week it’s all about patisserie.
I decided to make the Charlotte Russe this week as the tennis cake looked incredibly fiddly and as we are a vegetarian household a game pie was not suitable. The Charlotte Russe is very similar to the Charlotte Royale which featured on the Bake Off in 2013. So I was a bit disappointed not be using any new techniques, but on the other hand I was really excited to make bavarois again as it’s so delicious!
I prepared the tin by using a long piece of baking paper and folding it in half, then using it as a collar inside the cake tin. I secured it with a paper clip.
Lining the tin was the most fiddly part. I used shop bought lady fingers as they would be more sturdy. I started by covering the bottom and slowly building the side as I filled the bottom. This made sure the ladyfingers along the side were wedged in as I went – otherwise they just fell over. I dipped each ladyfinger for a couple of second in a mixture of 100ml sugar syrup (I used Fruiss Pure Cane Sugar Syrup) and 100ml Chambord – which is a black raspberry liquor. I really wedged it all in and filled in all of the gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingers, I was determined not to have any leakages!
To make the lime bavarois I put 750ml whole milk, 250g granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, the seeds from 1 vanilla pod and the zest of 2 limes into a pan. I heated it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolved.
In a separate bowl I mixed up the yolks of 10 eggs. I poured the milk into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it for about 5 minutes until it thickened up. I poured it through a sieve to remove the zest, then added 8 pre-soaked leaves of gelatin and the juice of 2 and a half limes. I stirred it until all the gelatin was dissolved, then popped it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool.
Once the custard was cool I whipped up 460ml double cream with my Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer and mixed it into the custard.
I poured it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. I left it in there overnight, but it set within about 2 hours.
The next day I made some jelly using half a pack of Hartleys raspberry jelly. I added 2 tsp of Chambord to the mixture. I poured it on top, but I did have some problems with leakage. I decided not to fill it too much as it was leaking.
For the decoration I whipped up some cream, I didn’t measure it but it was about 300ml. And I piped it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottom (this handily hid the leakage evidence!)
I added raspberries and lime zest on top and it was done! I was really pleased with the final apperance and look of it. I thought it looked really pretty! I haven’t cut into it yet, but I tasted some of the bavarois while I was making it and it was so creamy and delicious. I can’t wait to have a slice!
I took it into work and entered it into the ‘other bakes’ category of our Bake Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and came first in the category! I was so pleased and I got some great compliments.
What did you think of this episode of The Great British Bake Off? Will you make any of the bakes? Let me know in the comments!
Prepare the tin by folding a long piece of baking paper in half, then placing it inside the cake tin as a collar. Secure it with a paper clip
Line the tin with the lady fingers. As you do so, dip one side of each ladyfinger for a couple of seconds in the sugar syrup and Chambord mixed together. Start by covering the bottom of the tin, then slowly build the sides. Fill in any gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingers
Make the lime bavarois by putting the whole milk, granulated sugar, salt, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the lime zest into a pan. Heat it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolves
In a bowl mix up the egg yolks. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. Then pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it for about 5 minutes until it thickens up. Pour through a sieve to remove the zest, then add the gelatine and the lime juice. Stir it until all the gelatine is dissolved, then pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool
Once the custard is cool, whip up 460ml of the double cream and mix it into the custard
Pour it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. It should set in approximately 2 hours
Make the jelly following the packet instructions, and add the 2 tsp of Chambord to the mixture. Pour it on top of the set custard
For the decoration whip up 300ml of the double cream. Pipe it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottom
I am getting a lot of use of my new Tarte Maison tin! I decided to use it again after it’s first Spinach & Feta Tart outing to make this Valentine’s themed dessert. Valentine’s Day can be quite cheesey I admit, but I personally love it! Celebrating love and being romantic is lovely and I think ‘why not?!’ You can enjoy the day whether single or loved up in my opinion, we all have loved ones we can shower with affection. Over the years my friends have been kind enough to send me cards, flowers and baked goods. And I’ve done the same back. Now I have a wonderful boyfriend to focus my affection on, but I still like to surprise my friends with a fun card or Valentine’s treat. This tart would be great to share between friends or enjoy as dessert with a romantic meal.
I started by making the filling. In a bowl I mixed together 450g fresh raspberries, 200g sugar, 60g cornflour, 60ml limoncello and the zest of one lemon. I let it sit to infuse together while I made the pastry.
To make the pastry I used the same method and amounts from my Pumpkin Pie recipe. This is my favourite shortcrust pastry recipe, it does make a little too much but don’t worry I have a great idea for the leftovers later on.
I greased my tin and lined it with the pastry, cutting off any excess
and pricking the bottom with a fork. I then put baking paper in the
pastry and poured in some baking beans. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark
4 for 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges.
I took the paper and baking beans out and baked it again for 5-10 minutes until the bottom looked fully cooked.
I measured out the lid and cut heart shapes in it. Of course you can do the lid any way you like, lattice works well too.
I filled the pastry base with filling. Then put the pastry lid on top, which was a bit fiddly as the filling is very wet, but I got it on and sealed the edges with beaten egg, then brushed beaten egg all over the pastry lid.
I baked the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until it was golden brown. The lid did split from the sides at either end, which was partly my fault as I think I could’ve sealed it better, but I was still really pleased with the heart effect!
When cut, the filling was much more solid, almost like a jelly or jam. The filling was fruity, sweet and delicious. It’s great with custard and I think would also work well with ice cream! You could do mini versions too if you didn’t want to make a large tart.
I did have a little leftover pastry and filling, so I made these cute Heart Shaped Hand Pies. All you need to do is roll the pastry out and cut out heart shapes. Lay them on a lined baking tray, put a spoonful of filling in the middle and cover with another piece of pastry. Seal the edges with a fork and cut a slit or cross in the middle. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20 minutes.
Start by making the filling. In a bowl mix together the fresh raspberries, caster sugar, cornflour, limoncello and the zest of the lemon. Let it sit to infuse together while you make the pastry
To make the pastry rub together the plain flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs until a dough forms. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
Grease the tin and line it with the pastry, cutting off any excess and pricking the bottom with a fork. Put baking paper in the pastry and pour in some baking beans. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes
Take the paper and baking beans out and bake it again for 5-10 minutes
Measure out the lid and cut heart shapes in it
Fill the pastry base with filling. Then put the pastry lid on top, and seal the edges with the beaten egg, then brush the beaten egg all over the pastry lid
Bake the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
I recently got sent a jam making kit from Aldi. A lot of people turn their nose up at Aldi, but I’ve been shopping their for years ever since I discovered it’s bargain prices. I’m a huge fan of a bargain, and why pay £1+ for a bag of flour when you can get it from Aldi for 45p?! Yes 45p! I go through so much basic baking items, Aldi really is a penny saver for me. One of my favourite parts is the Special Buy section, every time I go in there I find a different selection of weird and wonderful items on offer. I really never know what to expect and sometimes I nip in just for a nosey! I’ve never made jam before so this was my first attempt, and it was easy peasy! It’s a quick process and the results are delicious, nothing like shop bought jam at all, much much better!
The jam making kit contained a thermometer, long handle spoon and spatula, jam funnel and a large jam pan. You can get all these items at Aldi currently in their ‘Special Buys’ section.
After a quick trip to Aldi I came back with 450g raspberries, granulated sugar and one lemon. I already had some kilner jars at home so I popped one in the dishwasher to sterilise it. It is very important to sterilise the jam jars first. I did see some jam jars in Aldi too if you don’t have any. Also put a small saucer in the freezer before you start.
I put half the raspberries, 450g granulated sugar and the juice of one lemon into the pan on a low heat to dissolve the sugar.
I mashed up the raspberries in the pan using a potato masher.
Then I added the remaining raspberries and stirred gently until the sugar was completely dissolved.
I brought the mixture to the boil for about 10-15 minutes. Test the jam is ready by putting a small amount onto the small saucer that has been chilled in the freezer. Leave it for a minute or two then gently press your finger against it. It will have a ‘set’ jelly texture and wrinkle when you touch it if it is ready.
I poured it into the waiting jar immediately and sealed it up. The jam will keep for a couple of years now if you never open it! Once cooled and opened, pop it in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
When I opened it up a few days later I was excited to taste it and see how well it had set. Raspberries have a lot of natural pectin in, which acts a setting agent, so the jam set well. It was really tasty too, fruity and sweet, just how you want your jam to be!
I spread mine onto scones and also added some clotted cream for true cream tea indulgence. This jam would be great on toast, in cakes, on a spoon…However you like it!
NB. I was sent the jam making kit for free but was not required to write a positive review.
First of all, sterilise your jar(s) by putting them through the dishwasher or washing in very hot soapy water and rinsing well, also put a small saucer in the freezer
Put half the raspberries, all of the sugar and lemon juice into a large heavy bottomed pan on a low heat
Mash up the raspberries in the pan using a potato masher
Then add the remaining raspberries and stir gently until the sugar is completely dissolved
Bring the mixture to the boil for about 10-15 minutes
Test the jam is ready by putting a small amount onto the small saucer that has been chilled in the freezer. Leave it for a minute or two then gently press your finger against it. It will have a 'set' jelly texture and wrinkle when you touch it if it is ready
Pour the hot mixture into the jar immediately and seal it
The jam will keep for a couple of years if unopened
Once opened, put it in the fridge and use within 2 weeks
I’ve always said that making filo pastry from scratch is absolute madness and a pursuit only to be undertaken if you are a Great British Bake Off contestant. However secretly I have been harbouring a craving to make it myself. Just to see what it was like, out of curiosity more than anything. Now I live with my boyfriend I have so much more time at weekends (we used to live in different cities) so I have time for big baking projects like this. So I did it! Here’s what happened…
I decided to make a strudel as this is one of the most well known filo bakes so I thought it was a good place to begin. I started making the filo pastry by sieving 250g plain flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl I beat one egg with 125ml water, 1/2 tsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt. The recipe told me to put the flour on the work surface (hence the photo above) and pour the egg mixture into it. This is a bad idea. I do not recommend it as it is stupidly messy. Just mix it in a bowl until a dough forms.
The dough will be quite wet, so knead it on a floured surface until it becomes smooth. This takes about 10 minutes. I oiled my hands to stop it sticking to them and found this quite effective.
I covered my dining table with an old, but clean, bed sheet. You could also use a tablecloth. You may get butter or fruit juice on it so don’t use your best linen. Then I floured it evenly and well.
I rolled out the dough as much as I could with a rolling pin, then covered it with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes. I used more flour and kept the dough moving so it wouldn’t stick to the sheet.
Then I started stretching! I pulled and stretched the dough gently, letting it stretch with its own weight. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined as it is naturally a very stretch dough. It did tear several times but I was expecting that so I wasn’t too concerned. It was hard to keep the edges thin and they stayed thicker all the way around.
After brushing melted butter all over the dough, I sprinkled it with a mixture of 100g soft light brown sugar, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tsp cinnamon.
I then sprinkled it with one punnet of blueberries, one punnet of raspberries and 3 bramley apples chopped into berry sized pieces. Using the bed sheet I rolled up the strudel gently and slowly.
I put it on a baking sheet and left it overnight in the fridge. The next day a lot of juice had released from the fruit, I mopped it up but I was concerned about how thin the pastry looked on top, how soggy it was on the bottom and how many holes there were in it all over.
So I made more! I used half of the quantity and it stretched a lot better this time and I was much more careful about not making holes.
I re-covered the top and bottom with pieces of the new pastry. It wasn’t the neatest but I felt more confident that it wouldn’t fall apart when baking. If I hadn’t left it overnight, I probably wouldn’t have done this. I brushed it all over with melted butter to make it nice and golden when it baked.
I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes. The fruit released a lot more juice, so I transferred it to a wire rack (with a tray underneath) to cool. You can of course serve it straight away, or let it cool then warm up later. I thought it tasted better hot.
I sliced it up and served it with custard (not homemade, come on… I’d done enough!) I was pleased with how well it had baked despite being left overnight, the filo was beautifully golden, layered nicely and there was a good proportion of fruit. In some areas like the ends there was too much pastry, but if you’re tucking it in to seal it you can’t really avoid this. I’d definitely add more spices if I make it again, but you could taste the cinnamon. It all got eaten up and I got some good comments from colleagues and family. Overall I was really proud of myself and it felt good to overcome this baking challenge!
As you may expect from a person who’s hobby is baking delicious cakes and other tasty treats, my waistline has been expanding recently. So it’s time to sort it out! No more muffin top for me, instead I will be enjoying these Banana & Cranberry Muffins for my breakfasts as part of my healthy eating plan. They contain fruit, oats, wholemeal flour and milk. They don’t contain butter, yay! If you don’t like cranberries, or want a few varieties of these muffins, you can add berries, raisins, orange or lemon zest, and if you fancy a treat, chocolate chips.
I started by measuring out 125g plain flour, 75g wholemeal plan flour, 200g oats, 75g light brown sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon in a large bowl. I stirred it together until fully combined.
In a separate bowl I whisked together 250ml almond milk, 3 tbsp sunflower oil, 2 mashed bananas and 2 egg yolks (keep hold of the whites!). I decided to use unsweetened almond milk because it’s lower in calories and has more health benefits. But you can use any kind of milk you prefer.
I made a well in the dry ingredients and poured in the wet ingredients and stirred until mixed.
In my food mixer I whisked up the egg whites from the 2 eggs until soft peaks formed.
I folded in the egg whites to the batter along with 100g dried cranberries (which can be substituted for berries, other dried fruit etc. as desired).
I put the batter into some tulip muffin cases that I’ve had in my baking box for a while, but you can use regular muffin cases. I then added some extra dried cranberry on top and also sprinkled on some extra oats.
I baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes until golden. You can keep these for 5 days in an airtight container, or freeze them and defrost the night before. A batch makes 12 muffins, which is almost 2 and a half weeks worth of grab and go breakfasts! I had one this morning and it was filling, tasty and best of all not overly sweet which is not what you want first thing in the morning.
As these muffins are free from butter I am entering them into myself and Cakeyboi‘s monthly baking challenge, Treat Petite. This month’s theme is ‘Free From’.
Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins
125g Plain flour
75g Wholemeal plain flour
200g + a handful Oats
75g Light brown sugar
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
250ml Almond milk
3 tbsp Sunflower oil
2 Mashed bananas
100g + a handful Dried cranberries
Measuring out the plain flour, wholemeal plan flour, 200g of the oats, light brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir together until fully combined
In a separate bowl whisk together the almond milk, sunflower oil, mashed bananas and the yolks from the eggs
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and stir until mixed
In a food mixer whisk up the egg whites from the eggs until soft peaks form
Fold the egg whites into the batter along with 100g of the dried cranberries
Put the batter into 12 tulip muffin cases, then sprinkle the handful of dried cranberries and handful of oats on top
Bake on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes until golden