Hey, can you guys promise me something? Promise me you’ll never buy a key lime pie (unless maybe if you’re actually in the Florida Keys). This recipe makes the most delicious key lime pie and it’s ludicrously quick and easy. On a warm summers day […]
Happy summer solstice everyone! It’s the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, which means more hours of daylight (and hopefully sunshine) and as far as I’m concerned that’s cause for celebration. One year (a really, really long time […]
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.
The upside of baking your own birthday cake is that you get to have exactly the cake you want. The downside of baking your own birthday cake is baking your own birthday cake!
I don’t actually mind to be honest, the kitchen is my happy place, so it’s no real chore to spend an hour or so in there creating a delicious treat to share with my friends.
I’ve adapted my recipe for fresh peach buttermilk cake for this. It makes such a lovely bouncy sponge and adding some tart (homegrown) rhubarb makes me love it even more than the original. The rich, creamy custard buttercream is quite literally the icing on the cake. So good!
50ml of vegetable/sunflower oil
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp plain flour
70g custard powder
200g room temperature butter, cubed
Grease and line a 9″ square cake tin and pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Dice the rhubarb and toss it in 25g of the sugar. Roast the rhubarb in the oven as it pre-heats, until it is just tender.
Beat together the oil, sugar and salt until they are thick and pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift together the flour and raising agents. Add one third of this to the batter and briefly beat it in. Follow this with one third of the buttermilk and beat again. Repeat this until all of the flour and buttermilk have been incorporated and you have a thick, smooth batter. Drain off the juice and fold the rhubarb through the batter. (Don’t throw the juice away – it’s delicious added to a gin and tonic) Pour the batter into the prepared tin and use a spoon to spread it out and smooth off the top.
Bake the cake for around 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and then leave it to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
You can start to make the frosting whilst the cake bakes. Combine everything but the butter in a pan, making sure that there are no lumps. Gently heat the mixture until it turns into a very thick paste. Leave to cool.
Once the custard mixture has cooled transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat it until it starts to become a little fluffy. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, with the mixer running, until you have a rich thick, creamy buttercream. Either spread or pipe this onto the cooled cake, depending on how fancy you’re feeling!
So you’ve heard of lemon drizzle cake right? Well soak cake is what happens when you make a little too much delicious drizzling syrup and don’t want to waste any of it! Seriously, this cake is literally drenched in deliciously fragrant, sweet, sticky syrup. Because […]
I’ve never been much of one for rich dark fruit cake. I love dried fruit but I always find fruit cakes to be a bit too sweet and full-on. Something like this is much more my cup of tea, more cake than fruit and a lighter cake at that. It’s no-where near as rich as a dark fruit cake but there’s still plenty of flavour.
The sweet marsala wine is delicious in this if you don’t want to invest in a bottle then golden rum is a good alternative or if you don’t want the booze at all then a little orange juice will do the job.
Dusting the cherries in a little flour before adding them to the mix will help to stop them from sinking to the bottom of cake as it bakes.
3 tbsp marsala (see note above)
50g pine nuts
100g butter, softened
175g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds
75g glace cherries, halved
3 tbsp milk
Demerara sugar to finish
Combine the sultanas and the marsala in a small pan and gently heat for a few minutes before setting a side for 30 minutes, this will help the fruit to plump up. Grease and line a spring-form cake tin and pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Put the butter, sugar, almonds and flour into a mixing bowl and beat it until it is well combined. Drain the fruit (setting the soaking liquid to one side) and mix this into the mixture along with 40g of the pine nuts.
Whisk together the soaking liquid, eggs and milk and then beat this into the dry mixture to form a soft cake batter. Fold through the cherries and then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Level off the top and sprinkle it with a little demerara sugar and the last of the pine nuts to give the finished cake a nice crunchy top.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes and then carefully open the oven door and cover the top with foil. Bake the cake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.