Christmas Bakewell Tart

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

SONY DSC

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, glacé 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 glacé cherries to the wreath for the ‘berries’. Finally dust the tart with edible glitter to give it a Christmas sparkle!

Easter Dippy Eggs & Soldiers

SONY DSC

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.

SONY DSC

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 voilà you have your show stopping Easter dessert. Click here to find the recipe of HomeStyle’s food blog – Enjoy 🙂

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

Cupid Love Pies

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?

SONY DSC

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.

SONY DSCSONY DSC

 

 

Nutella Cookie Pizza

There is nothing better than ridiculously over sized cookies.
Actually that’s a lie – a Nutella smothered, chocolate sprinkled gigantic soft baked cookie is SO much better!

This is by far one of the most tastiest bakes you will ever eat. I made this for a special someone’s birthday instead of a cake and it went down a storm. The cookie is soft and chewy in the centre, crunchy on the edges and packed full of slightly melted milk chocolate chunks. I topped mine with Nutella because it is easy to spread, super creamy and just damn right delicious! I then dotted some Smarties, Milkybar Buttons and Malteser’s on top and finished my cookie pizza by grating over white chocolate.

If my choice of toppings aren’t your kind of thing, then simply bake the choc chip cookie, use it as a base and then add whatever you like. Why not try spreading chocolate ganache or even pipe buttercream on top? Then add whatever toppings you fancy; sweets, chocolate or even Oreo’s!? The best thing about this bake is that the options are endless, so get creative and try out whatever flavours you fancy.

P.S – my next cookie pizza will be a Reese’s Peanut Butter explosion!!!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

10585611_10152661427039175_1411272934_n

SONY DSC

Ingredients (makes a 23cm round cookie pizza)

For the cookie pizza base:
125g unsalted butter, at room temp
75g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
1 medium egg, cold from the fridge
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour
200g milk chocolate, cut into small chunks

For the topping:
1 jar of Nutella
Any sweets or chocolates (I used Smarties, Milkybar Buttons & Maltesers)
A few squares of white chocolate (to grate on top)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23cm round baking tin with greaseproof paper (remember to grease the sides too)

To make your cookie base, start by creaming the butter and two sugars together until soft and fluffy. Next, crack in the cold egg and add the vanilla extract and mix together (the mixture is more than likely to curdle at the point, so don’t worry if it does).

Now add the flour and the chocolate chunks and fold into the mixture until all ingredients are combined into a dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Once chilled, remove from the fridge and press the cookie dough into the baking tin to make an even layer – see below.

SONY DSC

Bake the cookie for 15 minutes until lightly browned in the middle and slightly crispy on the edges. Leave to cool completely.

SONY DSC

 

Once the cookie base is cooled, use a spatula to gently remove it from the baking tin and place it on a board or plate (the middle should still be super soft so be extra careful not to break the cookie).

Now for the best bit… spread a thick layer of Nutella on top, add your toppings and grate white chocolate all over for the perfect finish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy ‘Minstrel’ Cupcakes

Galaxy or Dairy Milk?

Personally I prefer Dairy Milk, but for my friend’s birthday I thought I would bake some extra special cupcakes using her all time favourites…. Galaxy and Minstrels! A vanilla sponge base, cored and filled with melted Galaxy, topped with Galaxy buttercream and sprinkled with crushed Minstrels. The buttercream is the star of the show; velvety, rich and creamy… I can’t lie, I did eat the leftovers from the bowl, it was sinful to throw them away!

So if Galaxy is your thing, give this recipe a go and I promise it will not disappoint. Why not mix it up a little and try a chocolate base? Or add crushed Minstrels to the sponge mix before baking?

P1050110 P1050136

Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

For the base:

175g Stork tub
175g Self-raising flour
175g Caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tbsp Milk

For the centre:
60g Galaxy smooth chocolate

For the buttercream:
120g Galaxy smooth chocolate, melted
125g Unsalted butter, at room temp
150g Icing sugar

Decoration:
50g Minstrels, crushed

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.

Begin by making the base of your cupcakes, in a large bowl cream together the stork and caster sugar until fluffy and light. Crack in one of the eggs and add half the flour, mix until combined.

Add the remaining egg, flour, vanilla extract and milk and mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Fill the cupcake cases ¾ of the way and bake in the oven for 16 minutes until lightly browned on top. Remove your cakes from the oven and leave to completely cool.

To core your cupcakes use either a corer or a teaspoon to scoop out the middle, keep the tops of the cores to cover the holes once filled. Melt the 60g Galaxy chocolate and fill the cupcakes with it, now push the tops of the core’s back in.

Now make the buttercream by first creaming the butter until super soft and fluffy. Beat in half the icing sugar until smooth, then beat in the remaining icing sugar. Finally pour in the melted Galaxy and mix until combined.

Decorate your cupcakes by fitting a piping bag with an open star nozzle and piping a swirl of buttercream on each cake. Finish by sprinkling the crushed Minstrels on top.