Saturday, 21 February 2009

Sunday bakes

My cake stuff arrived!!! Very happy. Forked out some chi-ching money for some nordic bakeware which I've always been a bit dubious about - it may be gorgeous but it weighs a ton and will it/won't it come out the tin like it does on tv? Worry not! The cakes came out really easy, and when I say easy, I flipped them out with my fingers.

You can see that the shapes came out nicely, although because I wasn't using a pound cake/bundt cake type recipe, there are some little air bubbles in the design. The recipe I used was for easy yellow cupcakes from Cupcakes! And it was a surprise to me how they turned out because, well, I always make them as the base of the vanilla cheesecake cupcakes, hence I've never seen what they ACTUALLY look like. All in all, very nice but I'd definitely try these out with some spice cake mix or apple sauce cake. Oh the excitement! Mother dearest naturally flinched when I told her the cost - but I'm ill so it's not like she can actually yell at me properly for it. She also commented that it was *sniff* just looks and cake would be just as good plain. HAH! You know as soon as I go back to work she'll be using that tin and leaving crusty bits of cake on my non-stick (she does this to my Hello Kitty Jelly moulds already).


My other purchase was some leaf cutters :) Very sedate and grown up for me. I did want to ice them but as usual I just felt... lazy. Instead I dipped them in chocolate. They just tasted... slightly lemony with the plain chocolate. The recipe was from the Ultimate Cookie Book which I halved, but that somehow doesn't stop the necessity of adding lots of flour to the mix. Something to consider with the chill recipes in Ultimate Cookie. One of these days I will achieve the incredibly thin delicate sugar cookies of lore.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Baked cookies today during a "good" phase. These came from The Ultimate Cookie Book and it is yet again the cookies by the same name in the book, albeit with some recipe adjustments. This has definitely taken my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe place. The minor adjustments to my previous adjustments were that instead of chocolate chips, I put walnut sized blobs on the greaseproof paper and then a chunk of plain chocolate, putting small blobs on top to cover. Turns out well, albeit I still prefer milk chocolate. I might try these again once I've worked off the extra calories. Please see below, the original "adjusted" recipe which I used.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup margerine
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup plain flour
2 packets of chocolate chips

1. Cream sugar and margerine.
2. In order, add egg, vanilla, flour and chocolate chips.
3. Place walnut sized teaspoons on ungreased greaseproof paper.
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes at Gas Mark 6

Makes enough for three sheets of six using the chocolate chunk method, more for chocolate chips as it spreads more.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie


My facebook status yesterday was "I want to make a Lemon Meringue Pie you'd want to sleep with" and in fairness I came close. Not to physical intimacy with said Pie but those mmmm-y moments I get with really good stuff. Like Gu chocolate puds and scottish oatcakes. Don't ask. You could film a porno soundtrack with the noises I make over those delicacies.

Had some trouble with the photos - well I'm still using my camera phone and it's 2m pixels and er... sh!t? Well tbh it's about the effort and I didn't make the effort to wipe the plate clean which would have been a lot better. However, as no one reads this site bar the advertising bloggers I wouldn't worry about it. Here's a curious thing though. All cake pictures look better pointing with the narrow point to the left. What is WITH that???!!

The recipe came from Waitrose online. I saw loads around, but I liked the 3 egg approach - although I didn't opt for blacktails I just went for M&S free range. On saying that it lacked the more custardy taste to the curd that I wanted, and that I suppose is due to the lack of butter in the filling mix. I'll probably adapt the recipe I have rather than try someone new, but please see below for the recipe I used and my adjustments.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Crust

300g plain flour
150g butter (I used I can't believe it's not butter)
1 egg
zest and juice of 1 lemon (only half a lemon was used)

Filling
3 yolks
zest and juice of 2 lemons
100g caster sugar
5tbsp cornflour

Meringue

3 egg whites
75g sugar (I used an icing sugar and granulated mix as we had that in the house.)

Crust:

1. Rub flour and butter into breadcrumb (I smush with the back of a spoon)
2. Add zest and egg.
3. Add juice gradually till it forms a ball. (I used unwaxed Waitrose lemons which look tiny but generate and yield their juice easily.)
4. Wrap in sandwich bag and chill for 30 minutes.
5. Roll out and line pan which has been greased lightly. (I liked a deeper pie which is smaller - think it was smaller than 30cm but you can refer to original recipe)
6. Prick base and chill for 15 minutes and then bake blind for 10 minutes at Gas Mark 6. (I used a heavy saucer wrapped in foil.)
7. Remove beans/weight/saucer etc and bake for 5 minutes.

Filling:

1. Zest, juice, sugar and 300ml water in a saucepan and heat.
2. Dissolve cornflour in 6tbsp cold water and stir in, boiling for about a minute until thick.
3. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. (I sieved as I got a few stray eggy bits.)
4. Pour into case (I didn't wait for it to cool.)

We also added extra sugar to the recipe as - well, I had an extra half a lemon from the dough which I also added. I just got my mum to add to taste since she's more fussy.

Meringue:
1. Whisk whites in usual way (grease free, no water etcetc.) and add sugar.

Construction:
1. Top pie with meringue. I start from the outside and seal it to the edges and then once the outer circle is done I plop into the middle and just spread it about until it's flat on the curd but peaked where I want it to be.
2. Bake at Gas Mark 2 for 25 - 35 minutes.


When mine came out I didn't feel it was crusty enough - I like a crisp top although the foamy meringue underneath was perfect.

It also did the annoying weepy thing where little beads of condensation appeared on the top - albeit I managed to avoid the scary meringue and lemon separation some sites were talking about.

Live and learn. Definitely would make this again. I loved the crust, it was soft and gorgeous and my family basically ate the whole thing in one sitting which is rare for my cooking (no one likes fruit, no one likes chocolatey cakes, no one likes anything that isn't plain victoria sponge with whipped cream - sorry these days it's Chiffon cake :P )

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Raspberry Crumb Squares... my style


Sense the inevitable.

These Raspberry Crumb Squares are not made of raspberry.
They're not Square.
And er... yeah we changed the recipe. But not by enough it seems.

Magnolia Bakery cookbook, your cult status fails me. Why did it surprise me? I didn't like any of the cupcakes bar the Red Velvet in the shop!!

They were... bland. Which shouldn't of surprised me based on the ingredients but I did try namely because it seemed so simple. I made just a quarter of the amount specified in the recipe (maximum butter usage for me in any recipe is one package), and since I don't like the seeds in raspberry jam I used blackberry jam.

Rough recipe - it would be pointless to reproduce.

1. Mix melted butter with flour and form into a dough.
2. Spread dough on baking sheet and bake for 15.
3. Leave to cool and spread over jam.
4. Make crumble from sugar, butter and flour.
5. Spread over base and bake for a further 15.

It just tastes of what it tastes of - butter and flour. Needs almonds, coconut, vanilla, some salt... it is still bearable though. Heated up in the microwave, and if I could make the effort I'd pour over some custard. Will I make it again? Not likely.