Fruit Strudel with Homemade Filo Pastry

Fruit Strudel with Homemade Filo Pastry

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 decide to make Fruit Strudel from scratch! Here’s what happened…

Jump straight to the recipe!

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 plain flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl I beat egg with water, lemon juice and 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 soft light brown sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon.

I then sprinkled it with blueberries, raspberries and apples. 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 filo pastry! 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.

It 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 the Fruit Strudel 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!

Fruit Strudel with Homemade Filo Pastry

Ingredients

For the filo pastry

  • 250 g Plain flour
  • 1 Egg large
  • 125 ml Water
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon juice
  • A pinch of Salt

For the filling

  • 25 g Butter melted
  • 100 g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 Bramley apples diced
  • 250 g Fresh raspberries
  • 250 g Blueberries

Instructions

  1. Start by making the filo pastry, sieve the plain flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the egg with the water, lemon juice and salt, then mix with the flour

  2. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Oil your hands to stop it sticking to them
  3. Cover a dining table with an old, but clean, bed sheet or tablecloth. Flour it evenly and well
  4. Roll out the dough as much as you can with a rolling pin, then cover it with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes
  5. Pull and stretch the dough gently with your hands, letting it stretch with its own weight and pulling it as thin as you can

  6. Brush the melted butter all over the dough, sprinkle it with a mixture of the light brown sugar, the zest of the lemon and the cinnamon

  7. Sprinkle the blueberries, raspberries and chopped apples over the pastry. Using the bed sheet to help you, roll up the strudel gently and slowly. Tuck the end in and fold it into a curved 'c' shape

  8. Put it on a lined baking tray and bake it on 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes until golden and crisp

You can find more of my Pastry recipes by clicking here!

Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins

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.

Jump straight to the recipe!

I started by measuring out plain flour, wholemeal plain flour, oats, light brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. I stirred it together until fully combined.

In a separate bowl I whisked together almond milk, sunflower oil, bananas and egg yolks. 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 eggs until soft peaks formed.

I folded in the egg whites to the batter along with 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. Then I 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 Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins 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.

Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins

Servings 12

Ingredients

For the muffins

  • 125 g Plain flour
  • 75 g Wholemeal plain flour
  • 200 g Oats
  • 75 g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 250 ml Almond milk or other type of milk
  • 3 tbsp Sunflower oil
  • 2 Bananas mashed
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 100 g Dried cranberries or other dried fruit

For the topping

  • Dried cranberries or other dried fruit
  • Oats

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, line a cupcake tin with paper cases

  2. Measure out the plain flour, wholemeal plain flour, oats, light brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir together until fully combined

  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the almond milk, sunflower oil, mashed bananas and the yolks from the eggs
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and stir until mixed
  5. In a food mixer whisk up the egg whites from the eggs until soft peaks form
  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter along with the dried cranberries

  7. Put the batter into 12 tulip muffin cases, then sprinkle a handful of dried cranberries and handful of oats on top

  8. Bake for 25 minutes until golden

Recipe Notes

You can substitute the dried cranberries for your favourite dried fruit if preferred

Recipe adapted from Good Food.

You can find more of my Muffin recipes by clicking here!

Rose & Raspberry Cakes

I made these two gorgeous cakes for ‘Forget-Tea-Not’, an afternoon tea in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society held by Jules and Bailey from Good Gobble last Sunday at Didsbury Parsonage Trust. As you may know I have been trying to get more involved in local events, particularly charity events. I’m always happy to make cake or help out for a charity. I wasn’t able to be there for the whole event, but Jules told me it was a fantastic success, and they’ve raised around £600 so far. If you’d like to donate please visit JustGiving.com

I used this recipe to make the first cake, only changing it by doubling the quantity of rose water. I wasn’t 100% happy with how it turned out. It said to bake on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3, which I did but after an hour, nothing was happening. So I turned it up to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. It took another 50 minutes before it was done! It was a hefty mixture and expected it to be a big cake, but when it came out and cooled it was the size of a normal sandwich cake. It tasted nice (I made cupcakes with some of the batter for taste testing), but had a huge crack across the top and quite a dense cake, so I decided to do some editing for the second cake…

First I greased and lined my 9 inch cake tin.

I started the mixture by creaming together 170g butter and 300g golden caster sugar. I then added 150g full fat natural yoghurt and mixed in.

I whisked in 4 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 1/2 tsp rose water. Then folded in 300g self raising flour and 1 tsp baking powder.

This was the rose water I used, I got it in a promotional pack, but I’ve seen rose water in Tesco and I think it’s quite easy to find.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes, then turned down to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 20 minutes. It looked much better this time and no nasty crack, although I forgot to take a photo!

Seen as I had ended up with two cakes I decided to decorate them both in different ways. It gave me a chance to be creative!

I was sent these gorgeous pink chocolate cigarellos from the Chocolate Trading Company. They are the first company in the world to produce cigarellos in pink! Most of us have probably seen the white, milk and dark chocolate versions on wedding and birthday cakes before. I always think they produce a really stunning and elegant effect. EDIT: Unfortunately they no longer sell them anymore.

I cut the cake in half and made a raspberry buttercream for the filling by mashing up 10-12 raspberries, and mixing with 40g butter and 200g icing sugar.

The cigarellos stick to a buttercream or ganache covering. I made a white chocolate buttercream by mixing 280g butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 350g icing sugar. Once it was smooth I mixed in 200g melted white chocolate that had cooled slightly.

I covered the cake and began sticking the cigarellos around the side. They are very sturdy and stick upright easily. It’s best to do this on a cake board or the plate you will be serving the cake on. Moving cakes once decorated is difficult enough, but I wouldn’t advise moving one with cigarellos stuck to it as it could damage the position and appearance of them.

Once the cake was covered I iced the top with the white chocolate buttercream.

 

I added fresh raspberries, upright and in circles until the top was full, and then finished the cake with a pink ribbon. I am so pleased with how it looks! The pink cigarellos are really stunning and the red raspberries compliment the dusky pink chocolate perfectly.

For the second cake I filled the middle with the white chocolate buttercream, then placed fresh raspberries flatly over the buttercream. For the topping I mixed together the leftover raspberry buttercream and white chocolate buttercream, I added 100g icing sugar to thicken it up and covered the top of the cake.

 

I decorated the top with white and pink wafer roses, which I got off ebay. They are edible, and really delicate and pretty. They stuck easily to the buttercream and I arranged them haphazardly on top.

 

I thought both cakes looked really good, I can’t decide which one I like best!

 

 

 

 

I took them along to the afternoon tea so they could be eaten and enjoyed by the customers. I’ve heard that a picture of my cake may appear in a local newspaper covering the event…watch this space! I’m very excited and have my fingers crossed!

 

These are the cute ‘taster’ cupcakes I made so I could tell you about the flavour of the cake as I wouldn’t be eating the cakes. They also showcase another way to use cigarellos. You can do more with them than place them around cakes. It sounds strange to have something flavoured with rose as it’s associated with soaps and other beauty products. But the flowery flavour is really delicious! It’s hard to describe, it’s like eating a nice smell – if that makes sense! The sponge was sweet and floral, the first bite is quite powerful but it becomes milder as you keep eating. Both the buttercreams were delicious and mixed together even better! The fresh raspberries compliment the delicate rose perfectly. The sponge was moist due to the addition of the yoghurt and I may adapt it with other flavours. Finally the chocolate cigarellos are delicious. They are made from proper quality chocolate and you can tell the difference!

 

Gorgeous photos taken by photographer Terry McNamara  – see more beautiful photos of the other delicious treats at the afternoon tea on Good Gobble’s Facebook Page. Be prepared for your mouth to water!

I still can’t decide which cake I prefer the look of… So tell me, which cake do you like most?

Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake

Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake

This delicious Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake is the perfect way to end a meal and delight your guests with it’s fun stripey inside! It’s so easy to make too, you just spoon blobs of the batter on top of each other before baking and that’s all it takes to create the effect. I’ve smothered the cake with a rich chocolate buttercream, and added a fruity raspberry jam inside. Fresh raspberries and dark chocolate shavings on top complete the cake and give it a pretty finish!

Jump straight to the recipe!

I made the sponges the same time in separate bowls. First I creamed the butter and sugar together, then I added eggs and milk to the chocolate sponge bowl, and eggs and vanilla to the pink sponge bowl.

Then I added self raising flour and pink food colouring to the pink sponge bowl and whisked well. To the chocolate sponge bowl I added self raising flour, cocoa powder and milk and whisked well.

I spooned the batter in alternating colours into the lined cake tin, I gave them a shake when I was done to spread the mixture out.

They baked for 30 minutes until golden, I left them to cool fully.

I made a chocolate buttercream by mixing butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder and milk together until smooth.

Using a piping bag with a circular nozzle I piped a ring of buttercream around the bottom layer, then filled the middle with raspberry jam.

Then I added the second sponge, smoothed buttercream over the top and did another ring of buttercream ‘blobs’ which I topped with raspberries.

Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake

I used a vegetable peeler to shave some dark chocolate in the centre and the Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake was done!

Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake

I thought it looked so effective and pretty even before it was cut.

Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake

Of course the real effect is inside the Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake, when you cut it to reveal the fab stripey centre! The buttercream is so delicious and rich, and the jam and fresh raspberries are so yummy alongside it.

Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake

Ingredients

For the pink sponge

  • 175 g Butter or baking spread
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 175 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pink food colouring I use Pro Gel

For the chocolate sponge

  • 175 g Butter or baking spread
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 150 g Self raising flour
  • 25 g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Milk

For the chocolate buttercream

  • 200 g Butter or baking spread
  • 350 g Icing sugar
  • 50 Cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Milk

For decoration & filling

  • Fresh raspberries
  • Dark chocolate curls/shavings
  • Half a jar of Raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line two 8" cake tins

  2. Make both the sponges at the same time in different bowls

  3. For both sponges mix the butter and caster sugar with a spoon until fluffy, or mix using an electric mixer

  4. For the pink sponge add the eggs and vanilla extract, and whisk well

  5. For the chocolate sponge add the eggs and milk, and whisk well

  6. For the pink sponge, add the self raising flour and mix in, then add the pink food colouring until you get the desired shade

  7. For the chocolate sponge, add the self raising flour, cocoa powder and milk and mix in

  8. Add the batter to the cake tins in alternate spoonfuls, place each spoonful on top of the previous one. Continue until all of the batter is used up. The batter will spread out and fill the tin as you add it, but you can give them a little shake if needed to encourage it

  9. Bake them for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave them to fully cool either in the tins or on cooling racks

  10. To make the chocolate buttercream mix the butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar together. Once it starts to come together add the milk and mix until smooth. I use my electric hand whisk to do this but you can also do it by hand with a spoon

  11. If the cakes have domed on top, level them off with a cake leveller

  12. Put one of the sponges on your cake stand and pipe a circle of buttercream blobs around the edge using a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, then fill the centre with raspberry jam. You can fill the middle with just the raspberry jam too if you prefer

  13. Add the second sponge, and spread chocolate buttercream all over the top

  14. Pipe another circle of chocolate buttercream blobs around the edge and top them with the fresh raspberries

  15. Use a vegetable peeler to shave dark chocolate into the centre, or use shop bought chocolate curls or sprinkles

  16. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days

Recipe inspired by BBC Good Food.

You can find more of my Cake recipes by clicking here!

Chocolate & Raspberry Zebra Cake

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Trifle Cupcakes

Trifle Cupcakes

Trifle is a long established classic British dessert that has been made in England since 1596. It started out life a flavoured cream, but has since gone on to develop further layers of sponge, fruit and custard. Most people only make trifle at Christmas, but I’d quite happily eat it any time of the year! I was inspired to make My own Trifle Cupcakes after seeing CakeyBoi‘s version. They are a light vanilla sponge which has been filled with jelly and custard, then topped with whipped cream, chocolate flakes and a raspberry – hello yummyness! These Trifle Cupcakes are the ideal way to make trifle a more portable dessert and they would be fantastic at a party!

Jump straight to the recipe!

To start I made the cupcake batter and divided it between 12 cupcake cases.

I baked them for 20 minutes until golden brown, then left them to cool completely.

I used a small knife to cut a circle in the top of the cake, then scooped out the sponge. Leave enough cake at the bottom and sides so that the cupcake retains it’s structure and won’t collapse.

I put about a teaspoon of ready made strawberry jelly into each cupcake. You can use strawberry or raspberry jelly. Then add custard on top (which I forget to take a photo of). I used a good quality ready made custard.

Finally, I whipped up some cream and piped it on top of the cupcakes using my wilton 2D nozzle.

I sprinkled each cupcake with a bashed up Flake bar and then added a raspberry on top.

Trifle Cupcakes

Using ready made jelly and custard makes these cupcakes really simple to put together. The ready made jelly by the brand Hartleys is also vegetarian, even though the sachets you make yourself aren’t. I like to use good quality custard, but something like Ambrosia would work well too. You want it to be quick a thick custard so it doesn’t run out all over your face when you bite into the cupcake!

Trifle Cupcakes

Many thanks to CakeyBoi for the inspiration for these Trifle Cupcakes! I took them along to my friend’s son’s birthday party, and both the adults and kids loved them!

Trifle Cupcakes

Servings 12

Ingredients

For the cupcake sponge

  • 175 g Butter or baking spread
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 175 g Self raising flour

For the filling

  • Ready made strawberry or raspberry jelly
  • Ready made custard

For the topping

  • 300 ml Double cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 12 Fresh raspberries
  • Chocolate curls or a bashed up flake bar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases

  2. To make the cupcakes, cream together the butter and caster sugar until smooth

  3. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well

  4. Add the self raising flour and whisk in

  5. Divide the mixture between the cupcakes cases, and bake them for 20 minutes until then are golden brown. Put them on a rack to cool completely

  6. Use a small knife or cupcake corer to cut a hole in each cupcake. Leave enough cake at the bottom and sides so that the cupcake retains it's structure and won't collapse

  7. Put about a teaspoon of the jelly in the hole

  8. Then add custard on top of the jelly

  9. Whip up the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla, and pipe it on top of each cupcake

  10. Sprinkle the chocolate curls or flake pieces over the cream, and add a raspberry on top

  11. Serve immediately and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days

You can find more of my Cupcake recipes by clicking here!

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Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

If you’ve not tried blondies before then this delicious and simple recipe is a great place to start. They are the sisters of brownies, and are made the same way but with white chocolate instead of milk or dark chocolate. The tangy fresh raspberries in this Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies recipe are the perfect compliment to the sweet sponge and white chocolate chips scattered throughout this yummy traybake. It’s super easy to make and great for a lazy Sunday afternoon, it would also be fabulous for a bake sale or party!

Jump straight to the recipe!

I started by melting the butter and golden caster sugar together in a pan on a low heat.

Once the butter was melted, I took the pan off the heat and added the white chocolate. I left it for a couple of minutes, then stirred it in.

I added the eggs, whisking as I poured them in to make sure the mixture didn’t cook the eggs. Then I stirred in the vanilla. Then I added the plain flour and mixed well before pouring the mixture into the tin.

I placed the raspberries all over the batter and sprinkled on the white chocolate chips.

I baked it on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 40 minutes, it was risen all over and golden on top.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

Once the Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies had cooled I melted some more white chocolate and drizzled it all over them, then I added some red sprinkles and some freeze dried raspberries.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

The Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies were delicious and a big hit with my colleagues! The tangyness of the fresh raspberries along with the sweetness of the chocolate and the sponge was a tasty contrast. They were also so simple, quick and easy to make, so perfect for an easy weekend treat!


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Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

Servings 12

Ingredients

For the blondies

  • 200 g Butter
  • 300 g Golden caster sugar
  • 100 g White chocolate Chopped up
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200 g Plain flour
  • 225 g Fresh raspberries
  • 50 g White chocolate chips

For the decoration

  • 30 g White chocolate melted
  • Red sprinkles optional
  • Freeze dried raspberries optional

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a 12" x 9" traybake tin

  2. Melt the butter with the golden caster sugar in a pan on a low heat

  3. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat and add the white chocolate. Leave it for a couple of minutes to melt, then stir together. Leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes

  4. Break the eggs into a bowl and add them to the mixture, keep whisking as you pour them in to make sure the mixture doesn't cook the eggs. Then stir in the vanilla extract

  5. Add the flour and whisk it in, then pour the batter into the lined traybake tin

  6. Place the raspberries all over and sprinkle on the white chocolate chips

  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until risen all over and golden on top

  8. Once fully cool, drizzle over the melted white chocolate and add the sprinkles and freeze dried raspberries if desired

  9. Chop into squares to serve, store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place and eat within 3 days

Recipe inspired by BBC Good Food

You can find more of my Traybake recipes by clicking here!

Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

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