Pink Gin Jam Crumble Slices

Last week I made Pink Jam which naturally led to this recipe! I mean, how did you not see that coming, Gin Jam Crumble… doesn’t that just sound yummy and moreish. Plus, once you have made the jam this recipe is super easy. I would almost say a child could make it, but as this will still contain alcohol I advice you don’t let them do it!

Ingredients

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375g Plain Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

Pinch Salt

Pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg

225g Caster Sugar

250g Unsalted Butter

1 Large Egg

Zest of 1 Lemon

200g Rolled (porridge) Oats

250g Pink Gin Jam

 

Method 

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a 30cm baking tray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sugar and mix until combined. Add the cold butter, egg and lemon zest and whisk until the mixture resembles crumbly breadcrumbs.

Pour half of the mixture into the baking tray. Using a large spoon (or your very clean hands!) push the dough flat, and into the corners, ensure that it is evenly spread out.

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Pour over approximately 250g Pink Jam and spread over the dough. Again make sure you get those edges!

Back to the remaining dough; add your oats and stir through. Crumble over the jam.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden and firm to touch.

Leave to completley cool in the tray. Cut into 12 pieces (or smaller if you want snack size/sharing). ENJOY!!!!

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These keep for up to 7 days in an air tight container!

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Custard Tart, a family fav!

The tart originated in England (or France) but let’s stick with England today, as to me, they are such an English treat. A crumbly shortcrust pastry filled with a creamy egg custard. Back in the day, if they were made for the rich they would have the addition of spices. Now days you can’t imagine it without them. They even (apparently) inspired the famous Portuguese version, the Pastéis de Nata. Though for me this week it was the other way round, inspired by the Portuguese tarts on GBBO I wanted to make the English version.
Also my stepdad absolutely loves custard tarts! For years when we would go to the bakery that’s what he would get. So this is dedicated to him (even if he only got a small slither that had to travel on a plane to him).

So this is my version, and let’s hope it lives up to my stepdads expectations.

Ingredients

Shortcrust Pastry
225g Plain Flour
150g Butter, cubed and chilled
1 Large Free Range Egg

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270ml Whole Milk
30g Plain Flour
1 Lime Leaf
1 Cinnamon Stick, broken in half
130ml Water
265g Caster Sugar
5 Large Egg Yolks

Whole nutmeg

Method
For pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cubed, chilled butter. Rub together using your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg and add, mix to form a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, till it is about 3mm thick! Line a rectangular 30cm fluted tin, press the pastry lightly to the corners and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Now for the custard, in a small pan add the sugar and water and heat gently. Bring to the boil, so it creates a syrup, approx 106-112C.
In a large saucepan, add the milk and flour and whisk. Add the lime leaf and cinnamon stick, and bring to a simmer, keep whisking! Cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.

20171006_141708Gradually whisk the sugar syrup into the milk mixture.
In a large bowl whisk up the egg yolks. Slowly pour over the milk mixture while continuing to whisk. Do this super slowly otherwise you can curdle the eggs and end up with a sweet , milky scrambled eggs! Place a sheet of cling film over the surface of the mixture to stop a skin forming. Leave to cool.
Pre heat the I’ve to 180C. Blind bake your pastry. Do this by lining the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with ceramic beans (or in cooked rice or lentils!) And bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the parchment and bake for a further 7-10 minutes. Pour over the custard and bake for another 15-18 minutes. You want it slightly golden on the top while still slightly soft.
Leave to cool and remove from the tin. To serve, chill and grate over a little nutmeg!

 

 

 

Almond Millionaire Shortbread Squares

As I work full time, and no longer as a baker, I try to make sure I find time to bake but it’s not just the time it’s the “What to bake this week” question I hate. But GBBO has become my saving grace. I love it. It gives me such inspiration each week. So this week I’ve gone for the millionaire shortbread, a classic, and a family favouirte – shortbread, caramel and chocolate, an instant winner. I’ve gone for simple flavours, as in my eyes, you don’t want to mess around with a classic too much.

Ingredients 

Shortbread

225g Plain Flour

200g Unsalted Butter

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120g Caster Sugar

1 Egg Yolk, whisked

50g chopped blanched almonds

Caramel

 

300g Light Brown Sugar

150ml Double Cream

40g Unsalted Butter

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp Salt

Chocolate

 

200g Dark Chocolate

30g Unsalted Butter

1/2 tsp Coffee Powder (I use either Nespresso Espresso or Nescafe Azera)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Topping 

50g chopped blanched almonds

Method

Line a 34x24x2cm baking tray.

Make the shortbread first! Place the flour and butter into a large bowl and with your fingers rub together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and give a quick stir. Followed by the egg yolk. Mix until the mixture comes together to form a ball of slightly soft dough. Try not to over mix as this with ruin the soft crumbly flavour that we all love about shortbread!

Roll out the dough about 5mm thick and large enough to fit your tray. Sprinkle over the chopped almonds, gentley pressing them into the dough. Chill for 20 minutes. Pre heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F. When they have chilled back for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool completely!

Time for your caramel! Place the sugar, cream and butter into a heavy-based, medium-sized pan, put it on a low heat. Heat gently, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes until the sugar and butter are completely melted and the sugar is no longer grainy. Add in your vanilla and salt. Turn up the heat, stir continuously until the caramel comes to around 112°C/242°F.

Remove from the heat and plunge the base of the pan into a sink of very cold water to stop the mixture cooking. Stir constantly for one minute. You want it cool, but still spreadable. Pour your cooled caramel  over your shortbread and leave to set.

While that is cooling make your chocolate ganache. Finely chop the chocolate and put it into a heatproof bowl with the butter. Set over a pan of simmering water, stir frequently until melted and smooth. Add in the coffee powder and almond extract. Pour over your caramel! Sprinkle over the remaining chopped almonds and leave to set completely.

Cut your squares into 12, or smaller if you prefer, these work great as bite size, I’m just greedy.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

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Ingredients

125g Brown Butter

2 Eggs

220g Light Brown Sugar

200g Plain Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

3g Salt

60g Pretzels

75g Salted Caramel Sauce (plus extra for serving)

 

Method 

Line an 8″ round tin. Pre heat the oven to 150C/300F

Start by making the brown butter.  Do this by make this by placing the butter on a medium heat and cooking until it reaches 150C/300F, it will start to smell slightly caramelly. Leave to slightly cool.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whisk in the butter, followed by the four, baking powder and salt. Fold in the pretzels and 50g of the salted caramel sauce.

Place into your tin and drizzle over the remaining 25g of Salted Caramel Sauce. Bake for 35 minutes. It will be soft when it comes out but if it wobbles too much cover with foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.

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To serve cut small slices and drizzle with more caramel sauce! It’s best eaten on the day of baking but will last 3 days in an airtight container!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

With GBBO back on, it obviously influences what I bake! I had to go for sandwich cookies, bit more interesting than just cookies. I also wanted to see if I could make a cookie that didn’t squeeze out it’s filling when you bite into it. This was something I had yet to achieve! But I managed it, I finally played around with enough recipes to stop my filling oozing everywhere. Plus these are super easy to make…and highly addictive to eat.

Screenshot_20170909-204423.jpgIngredients 

Cookies –

125g Caster Sugar

225g Buter

250g Plain Flour

50g Cocoa

Filling –

40g Butter

100g Peanut Buter

100g Icing Sugar

30g Golden Syrup

 

Method

Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Tip onto the work surface and shape into a log 5cm in diameter. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hr. You need to do this otherwise the cookies will spread too much in the oven.

For the filling, mix all the ingredients to form an icing. Roll this into a log, like the cookie dough, though make it a little smaller so it will fit in the cookie nicely. Refrigerate until you need it!

Pre heat the oven to 140C/285F.

Cut the cookie log into 5mm discs. Place them on to a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Leave them to cool on the baking sheet. Cut the icing into 4mm discs. Once the cookies are completely cooled, place a disc of icing on one cookie and using another sandwich together!

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate and Caramel Tart

I love having family and friends over for dinner… or using my mums kitchen to bake for them. I find it so therapeutic and love seeing them devour the food I’ve made them. As I’ve not been home lately, I’ve been on the hunt for a new recipe to wow them with over birthday season. This is September for us with four of us born in the month plus my sister in law is at the end of August and now my niece at the beginning of October! It’s nice to find some new desserts to test on them!

I can’t wait to get back and make This for them. It’s super easy to do and can be made the day before. It lasts about 4-5 days in the fridge but is best on the day it’s baked.

Use the caramel sauce from Salted Caramel Sauce – aka Heaven in a Jar!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

225g Plain Flour

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150g Chilled Butter

25g Icing Sugar

1 Large Free Range Egg

Chocolate Ganache

175ml Double Cream

 

175g Good Quality Dark Chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids

 

15g Unsalted Butter

1Tbsp Golden Syrup

Method

Make your caramel sauce first using and leave to cool.

To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cubed, chilled butter. Rub together using your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Sift in the icing sugar and lightly stir in. Add the egg and mix to form a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, till it is about 3mm thick! Line a rectangular 30cm fluted tin, press the pastry lightly to the corners and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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Heat your over to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Blind bake your shell – do this by lining the pastry with baking parchment and filling with ceramic beans or rice if you don’t have any! Back for 10-15 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for a further 7-10 minutes or until golden. Set to one side and leave to cool.

While the pastry is baking make the ganache. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and Place into a heat proof bowl and pop to one side. Place the cream into a sauce and put on a low heat until simmering. Pour over the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the butter and golden syrup and continue to stir until fully incorporated. Set to one side to cool, but not set!

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Once the pastry shell is cold and the ganache cool, spread over the Salted Carmel Sauce.

Ensure you get into the corners. Follow this by pouring over the ganache, till to the top of the pastry case. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Serve straight from the fridge! Add a little sea salt on the top to bring out extra flavours!

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ENJOY!! 

Salted Caramel Sauce – aka Heaven in a Jar!

When I first started making caramel sauce I was told never to stir it, to just let it caramelise on its own. And what I’ve discovered through the years is that it’s so wrong! You can stir it, I encourage it. I find that if you don’t you can end up burning the sugar. This is more so if you are using larger amounts.

I eat this by the spoonful when it’s still ever so slightly warm, I’m too impatient to wait for it to cool! This is an incredibly versatile recipe and can be used in so many ways. The sky is the limit.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

500g Caster Sugar

1 tbsp Water

180g Unsalted Butter, room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla extract

250ml Double Cream

1tsp Pink Himalayan Salt

 

Method

Put the sugar and water in a large, heavy bottom pan and place on a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar starts to dissolve.

While this is happening, cut up your butter into cubes. Place the cream into a microwave able dish and heat for 30-45 seconds until warm, but not hot!

Once the sugar has completely caramelised and is light brown in colour take off the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter has melted.

Slowly add your cream and salt and place back onto the heat on a low temperature. This will help you as the cream with form a lump in your pan. Keep stirring until a lowly smooth caramel sauce forms.

Allow to cool before use.

This sauce will keep for up to one month in an airtight jar in the fridge. Use at room temperature.