Christmas Bakewell Tart

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For my second Christmas bake I give you a British classic with a festive twist!

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Buttery shortcrust pastry, beneath layers of cherry jam, frangipane and white icing. I decorated the Bakewell with a gorgeous Christmas wreath, made form sugar paste holly leaves, glacĂ© cherry ‘berries’ and a dusting of edible glitter for a bit of Christmas sparkle.

I do have a confession, the pastry is not homemade I’m afraid! It’s been a busy few weeks with Christmas shopping and starting my new job (exiting times!) and hey, what’s wrong with taking a shortcut every now and then 🙂 If you do fancy making your own, then check out my fool-proof recipe here, it’s super easy to follow and won’t take you hours to make 🙂

Ingredients (makes an 8inch tart)

1 sheet Jus-rol ready rolled shortcrust pastry (if you fancy making your own check out my super easy recipe here)
Cherry jam

For the frangipane:
150g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp plain flour
150g ground almonds

For the icing layer:
200g icing sugar
1-2 tbsps water

Decoration
Green sugar paste
Holly shaped cutter
glacé cherries
Edible glitter

Let’s get baking…

Lightly grease an 8inch fluted tart tin with a bit of butter.

Unroll your pastry sheet and lay it across the tart tin. Trim off any extra bits and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners and sides of the tin. Be mindful that the tart will shrink whilst in the oven, so you’ll want to leave a bit of height on the edge.

Put back in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes (this will help stop it from shrinking too much). Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Remove your tart from the fridge and prick the base all over with a fork. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake the tart blind for 10 minutes. Take your tart out of the oven and carefully lift out the baking paper and beans. Bake for a further 10 minutes until firm and golden. Remove and leave to cool. Using a knife trim the edge of the pastry to neaten I up.

Whilst the tart is cooling, make your frangipane by first creaming together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Crack in the egg, add the almond extract and add the tablespoon of flour (this will stop the mixture from curdling), mix until fully incorporated. Finally fold in the ground almonds.

Spread a layer of jam on the tart base. Top with the frangipane mixture, spreading it out into an even layer. Return to the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top has set and has turned golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

Once the tart has completely cooled, mix the icing sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of water until you have a thick but pourable consistency. Pour the icing onto the tart and spread out into an even layer. Leave to set completely.

Time to decorate… 

Either top with a glacé cherry or if you want to decorate your tart with a Christmas wreath like mine then stay with me and follow the next steps:

This step can be done in advance – Roll out the sugar paste until it is roughly a pound coin in thickness. Cut out roughly 20-30 holly shapes. Leave to dry out and harden.

Using icing sugar mixed with a little water, stick the holly shapes on top of the tart in a circle. Add glacĂ© cherries to the wreath for the ‘berries’. Finally dust the tart with edible glitter to give it a Christmas sparkle!

Vampire Cookies

Cookies, Uncategorized

If you’re having a Halloween party this year, fancy making something fun with the kids or are just craving some cool looking cookies, this is the recipe for you!

Soft baked chocolate chip cookie ‘mouth’, sandwiched together with red icing ‘blood’, marshmallow ‘teeth’ and white chocolate button ‘fangs’. Even Dracula himself will want to sink his teeth into this bake!

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Ingredients (makes 12-14 cookies)

160g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
200g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg
1 egg yolk
250g self-raising flour
100g milk chocolate chips

Decoration 

White mini-marshmallows
Milky-bar buttons
Red icing (made from icing sugar, water and red food colouring)

To make the cookies…

Preheat oven to 170°C and line two baking trays with grease proof paper.

Melt the butter in 20 second blasts in the microwave until it turns to liquid. Now mix the melted butter with the two sugars.

Add in the vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk and mix together.

Fold in the flour until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Now fold in the chocolate chips.

Take a heaped tablespoon of cookie dough and drop the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Do not flatten the dough. Repeat this step, leaving about 8cm between each cookie, until all the cookie dough has been used up*.

Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges (the middle will still be soft). Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking tray, then transfer to a cooling rack.

*You may have to bake in batches depending on the size of your oven and baking trays. I  had four cookies on each baking tray to allow enough room for them to spread out when baking. 

For the decoration… 

First create the ‘fangs’ by chopping a chocolate button into thirds. Discard (or eat) the centre third, leaving the two outside thirds as your pointy ‘fangs’.

Cut a cookie in two halves.

Bottom half: Spread red icing all over one of the cookie halves and place marshmallows around the edge of the cookie for the ‘teeth’. For additional support, place marshmallows behind the teeth.

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Top half: Line the edge of the other half with red icing.

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Now place the top half on top of the bottom half.

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Insert the chocolate ‘fangs’ into the line of marshmallows (I left about 4 marshmallows between each one). If you have trouble getting them to stick, dip the edge in the icing and replace.

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Banana and Nutella swirl loaf cake

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When life gives you brown bananas, make banana bread…but this time add a swirl of Nutella.

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This recipe can be prepped, baked and eaten in less than an hour. It’s a one bowl recipe (which I am always a fan of – I mean I love a red velvet cake but 3 bowls means a lot of washing up!), and most of the ingredients you are likely to already have.

The banana cake is sweet and moist, and with the added swirl of gooey Nutella, this cake really is hard to resist. In fact, I’ve just bought another bunch of bananas which i’m eagerly waiting for them to turn brown!

Ingredients (makes a 2lb loaf cake)

150g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
170g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 ripe medium-sized bananas
1 tbsp milk
4 tbsps Nutella

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper. I use cake liners for ease, which can be purchased from most large supermarkets.

Beat together you butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Crack in the eggs, add half of the flour and mix. The flour will stop of the mixture from curdling.

Fold in the remaining flour and baking powder until you have a smooth mixture.

Mash the bananas until no lumps remain. Fold the mashed banana and milk into the mixture until smooth.

In a separate bowl melt the Nutella in the microwave for 30-40 seconds.

Pour half the cake mixture into the loaf in. Now pour half of the melted Nutella down the middle of the cake tin. Pour the remaining cake mixture on top.

Dollop spoonfuls of the remaining Nutella on top. Use a skewer or knife tip to swirl the Nutella into the cake mixture.

Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and is springy to the touch. A skewer inserted into a centre should come out clean of cake mixture.

Easter Dippy Eggs & Soldiers

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The arrival of bright yellow Daffodils, warmer air and adorable newborn lambs means Spring has definitely sprung. I just love this time of the year, even more so because of Easter weekend!

Easter for me is about bringing together the whole family to celebrate the beginning of a new season and it’s exciting future. Oh and did I forget to mention the food? It’s also about eating lots & lots (& lots) of good food and chocolate!

For this blog post I wanted to create a dessert that the whole family could enjoy after Sunday lunch. These little vanilla cheesecake-filled milk chocolate eggs have a punchy lemon curd yolk and a side of lemon shortbread soldiers. Now if these fail to impress the family then I don’t know what will.

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The recipe is very easy so please try not to be put off by the length of it. You start by making your shortbread soldiers by combining flour, butter and sugar, cutting it into fingers and baking it in the oven. Then you move onto the fun part… the eggs!
Remove the tops of the eggs with a knife, fill each one with cheesecake (dead easy recipe), add a blob of lemon curd, chill in the fridge and voilĂ  you have your show stopping Easter dessert. Click here to find the recipe of HomeStyle’s food blog – Enjoy 🙂

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Cupid Love Pies

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Ah Valentines Day…Single or Taken?

Who cares! Everyone knows that February 14th is just an excuse to eat loads, so Ive created these adorable mini love pies for you to indulge in. Heart shaped homemade flaky pastry (fear not – its easy peasy!) filled with sweet sticky Cherry jam and sprinkled with sparkling sugar. Now doesnt that sound delicious?

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For my top five tips to achieving flaky, buttery pastry perfection head over to my post on Home Style Online by clicking here or to skip straight to the recipe by clicking here.

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Lemon & Almond Pura Panela Cake

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Who’s on a health-kick after Christmas?

Me!

I’d be lying if I said I was all chocolate’d out (that could never happen) but what is true is that the festivities of Christmas have definitely caught up with me. You know that feeling when you put your jeans on and think…’Oh dear :/’.
It was fun whilst it lasted but now it’s back to the same old New Year New Me saga. So to make this change bearable I have developed a healthy refreshing lightened-up lemon cake, the perfect sweet treat alternative to a box of mince pies!

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This cake uses what I call ‘Miracle Sugar’, otherwise known as Pura Panela. Pura Panela is a 100% natural alternative to refined-sugar. It’s made in Columbia from natural dehydrated juice from the sugar cane and has no added chemicals or additives, therefore preserving all of the vitamins and minerals present. Not only does it taste deliciously sweet it also has many health benefits, such as:

  • Protecting teeth & preventing against teeth decay (who would of thought!).
  • Natural Antioxidant
  • Helping to prevent diabetes
  • Strengthening bones

If you want to know more about Pura Panela or where to buy it, click here.

As well as miracle sugar, this recipe  uses wholemeal spelt flour and ground almonds for a soft texture and nutty flavour, natural yoghurt and vegetable oil for moisture and of course lemon zest and juice for an uplifting zing. So let’s get baking 🙂

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Ingredients (makes a 1lb loaf cake)

For the cake:
122g natural yogurt
Juice of 4 medium lemons
Zest of two lemons
7 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

172g spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
50g almond flour
200g Pura Panela sugar (buy yours here)

For the glaze:
4 tsp Panela sugar
1 tsp boiling hot water
1 tsp lemon juice

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C/350 F. Grease an 1lb loaf tin with a little oil or use a silicone tin.

Start by making the cake. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and whisk together until fully incorportated.

In a separate bowl, stir together all of the remaining cake ingredients.

Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatular to fold the mixture together until everything is evenly mixed.

Pour into the loaf tin and smooth into an even layer, this cake will not rise very much so don’t panic if the mixture has nearly reached the top of the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes* or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. *Cover with foil after 30 minutes to stop the top of the cake from burning, but be careful not to open the oven door too much as heat will be lost and can cause the cake to sink in the middle.

Once baked, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Use a toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the cake and spoon over the glaze. This will sink into the cake and make it super sticky and moist.

Leave on the side to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. Cut into 12 and serve, I have mine with a little greek-yoghurt. Keep in an air-tight container for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake

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With just over a week to go, its safe to say Christmas is just round the corner! Twinkly lights line the streets, Christmas trees are popping up all over and the shops are full of wrapping paper, mince pies and tinsel.

Christmas for me is all about festive baking. I have to admit I am a sucker for anything sweet with cinnamon and so I decided on this delicious Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake for my first recipe this month. This cake is a no nonsense bake, its quick and easy, tastes bloomin delicious and your house will smell insane! The recipe uses the addition of natural yoghurt to make the cake super moist and is decorated with a simple glaze for a sticky sweet top.

So if you too share my love for cinnamon and want to bake something the whole family will love, then this is the bake for you and you can find the recipe here on the Home Style Online Magazine… enjoy!

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