The big day may be over with for another a year but that doesn’t mean that we’re done with the feasting – as far as I’m concerned that doesn’t finish until the clock strikes January! This rich, creamy cheesecake is the perfect dessert for this […]
Something about the onset of the cold grey weather makes me want to eat cheese. ALL THE TIME! Toasty, golden, melted cheese is my favourite and these scones, warm from the oven, fit the bill perfectly. They have a lovely combination of flavours. The rich […]
I reckon that choux pastry gets a bad rap. People think that it’s super-hard to make when the truth is it’s really not and it’s no more temperamental than any other sort of pastry. You simply need a decent a pair of biceps for all the beating and to be able to recognise when the dough reaches the correct consistency, which is soft but not sloppy.
No-bake cheesecake mixture is a brilliant thing to fill these with – it’s a bit more sturdy than just plain whipped cream. Normally I avoid icing like the plague as I find it far too sweet but using sharp raspberry puree in it really takes away the sickly edge and makes these choux puffs wonderfully fruity.
75g plain flour
filling & icing
100g raspberries, sieved & seeds discarded
200g cream cheese, room temperature
100g white chocolate, melted and cooled
100ml double cream
225g icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and line a large baking tray with parchment or a silicone mat.
Put the butter and water in a medium saucepan and bring it to boil before removing the pan from the heat. Add the flour to the pan, all in one go. Vigorously beat it with a wooden spoon until you end up with a ball of dough that has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Lightly beat the eggs. Add about a third of the egg to the pan and beat it in really well. Once it has been completely absorbed add another third and beat it again. After the third and final addition of egg, the dough should become soft, smooth and glossy. Only add enough of the egg to reach the soft glossy stage, you don’t want it to be sloppy.
Use a couple of teaspoons to drop blobs of the dough onto the prepared baking tray. If you need to smooth off any edges or pointy bits then just dip your finger in a little water first.
Bake the choux pastry for 25 minutes, until they are golden brown, then turn off the oven and open the door a bit, leave them in the oven for a further 10 minutes to dry out a little.
Once they are done you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool. It’s a good idea to poke a little steam hole in them, somewhere discreet, to prevent them from becoming soggy. You can use this later when you fill them.
Make the filling by whipping the cream until it holds a soft peak. Beat the cream cheese with the melted white chocolate until they are well combined and then fold in the cream. Add 25g of the icing sugar to the raspberry puree and then stir a couple of tablespoons of the puree into the cream mixture. Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and then carefully pipe the filling into the cooled crisp choux buns.
Mix the remaining icing sugar into the rest of the raspberry puree to create thick, smooth icing. Dip the tops of the choux puffs into the icing and decorate with sprinkles if you like before popping the choux puffs in the fridge so that the icing sets and the filling can firm up a little.
These are a lovely savoury twist on a sweet tea-time classic. You don’t have to limit them to afternoon indulgence though – these have proved very popular for breakfast and brunch topped with fried or poached eggs. You can use any hard, medium-fat cheese you […]
Sausage rolls are such a classically British snack. I was always quite surprised that they weren’t more popular in the States given how much they love pork but I guess their sausages aren’t quite the same as a good old British banger.
Back in the far mists of time, when I used to eat meat, I was always quite partial to a sausage roll, although if I’m honest I was always far more in it for the pastry than the pork. This veggie version is spot-on as far as I’m concerned. Crisp, flaky pastry filled with a soft flavourful filling, they’re delicious hot or cold.
320g ready-made, ready rolled puff pastry
1 red pepper, roasted and skinned
1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
salt and pepper to taste
butter or oil for frying
sesame seeds (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone mat.
Dice the onion and fry it in a little oil or butter until it is soft and just starting to colour. Roughly chop the red pepper and crumble the feta. Lightly beat the egg. Put everything except the pastry (obviously), one tablespoon of the egg and the sesame seeds in the bowl of a food processor. Whizz it all together until you have something that resembles a thick chunky hummus that holds its shape.
Unroll the pastry and place it with the long edge towards you. Cut the pastry horizontally to leave you with two even sized pieces. Divide the filling mixture into two portions and place each in a line down the centre of each piece of pastry. Brush one of the long edges of each piece of pastry with a little of the remaining beaten egg and carefully fold the dough over to cover the filling. Push down the edge to seal the sausage rolls, if you want to crimp the edge for decoration my top tip is to roll a fluted pastry cutter along the edge.
Brush the sausage rolls with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle them with a few sesame seeds. Cut each roll into eight even sized pieces and transfer them to the prepared baking tray. Bake them 25 minutes until they are gorgeously golden and the pastry is crisp.
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot […]
I think this post might be my biggest tribute to my Grandmas baking yet. She was a pretty decent cook, although she mostly stuck to the ‘meat and two veg’ type recipes of her era, but my goodness was she a good baker.
This was especially true when it came to pastry. It was always faultless, whether it was sweet or savoury and always perfectly flaky and melt in the mouth.
If she was making pastry then my brother and I would loiter in her kitchen, waiting for the off-cuts to turn into little pasties filled with her homemade jam. The hardest part of making these is waiting for them to cool when they come out of the oven so that you don’t burn your mouth on the bubbling hot jam.
300g plain flour
1/4 nutmeg (grated)
2 tbsp brandy (optional – you can just use water if you prefer)
splash of ice-cold water
150g (ish) cherry jam
75g (ish) mascarpone
egg wash and a little extra sugar to finish
To make the pastry sift the flour and gently rub the cold butter into it until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture. Whisk in the sugar. Slowly add the brandy and enough water to bring this all together to form a ball of dough. You can do all this in a food processor if you prefer. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes before pre-heating the oven to 180°c.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough so that it’s a couple of millimetres thick. Using a small plate or saucer as a guide, cut out discs from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Add a small dollop of jam and a little blob of mascarpone to the centre of each disc. Try to resist the urge to be too greedy with the amount of filling, it will undoubtedly bubble out so you don’t really want more than a teaspoon in there. Brush the edge of the dough with beaten egg, fold the pastry over the filling and firmly press down the edges. Crimp the edge or simply press around it with a fork.
Brush each little pasty with egg wash and sprinkle them with a little sugar. Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes until they’re beautifully golden. Leave them to cool a little before enjoying.