Tuesday, June 25, 2019

TWD - Pistachio and raspberry financiers

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I made the very attractive red and green Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers.  How pretty are they!  Wouldn't they be perfect at Christmas?

These financiers are based on ground pistachios instead of the traditional ground almonds, giving the financiers a lovely green hue.  This colour is enhanced by a smidge of matcha.  I also added a splosh of Chambord to the batter, as suggested by Dorie as an optional extra.  The financiers are topped with a fresh  raspberry, like a ruby crown.  They also taste good - the perfect bite-sized morsel.

To see what the others made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Gingerbread Dachshunds for World Dachshund Day

                           Dachshund: A half-a-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long (H L Mencken)

I recently joined Instagram after years of resisting because I wanted to view a private account hosted by my work, and I had to have an Instagram account so that the site owners could verify who I was.  However, I am now hooked - it is so easy and instant, and I can post all manner of things that might not otherwise be seen outside my phone.

My Instagram feed informed me that today is World Dachshund Day.  Hooray, I am up for that.  I have had a dachshund as a pet, and I love the little long backed, short legged dogs.  I am guilty of owning numerous pairs of Peter Alexander's Penny the Dachshund pajamas, so even though I no longer have a dachshund living with me, I am a card-carrying dachshund lover.

I have had a dachshund cookie cutter for a long time, so I decided to make dachshund cookies to celebrate World Dachshund Day.  I was reminded of why I had never used this cutter much - the skinny tail is a major pain to deal with.  However, I persevered to make 18 dachshund gingerbread cookies, using the gingerbread recipe from Margaret Fulton's The 12 Days of Christmas:   

I still had lots of gingerbread dough left over but I was over struggling with dachshunds, so I just cut out squares instead for the rest:

I also hate the endurance required to decorate cookies with royal icing, which plays havoc with my back and neck, but I once again persevered for all 18 dachshunds, and breathed a sigh of relief that there were not any more. 

These cookies are very cute, so I am happy with them, despite their flaws and the endurance task of making them.

If you would like to try Margaret Fulton's gingerbread, you will need:

1/4 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I substituted ground nutmeg)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g softened chopped butter
1 beaten egg
2 1/4 cups plain flour

Put the golden syrup, sugar and spices in a heatproof bowl over simmering water and stir until the sugar melts.  Add the bicarbonate of soda, and as soon as the mixture bubbles, remove it from the heat.

Add the butter to the warm golden syrup mixture and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the egg and 1 cup of the flour.  Add the rest of the flour and combine the ingredients with your hands to make a dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and knead lightly until it comes together.

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.  Roll out each piece between two pieces of baking paper to a 5mm thickness, then chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and cut out whatever shapes you desire, re-rolling the scraps and cutting until there is no more dough left.

Place the cut out cookies onto the baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the trays top to bottom and front to back half way through the baking time.  Once the cookies are golden and firm, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool on the trays on wire racks.

Decorate as desired.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Lorraine's Bitter Lemon and Poppyseed Cake

Sunshine on a rainy day
Makes my soul, makes my soul, 
Trip, trip, trip away

                                      Christine Anu 

It has been grey and cold and wet for most of this week, and today is the winter solstice.  Winter has settled in with a vengeance, and has left us scrabbling for puffer jackets, umbrellas and beanies to shut out the cold while we huddle up and shiver on freezing tram stops. While the days will start to get longer now, the weather is likely to get worse before it gets better, which will be months away. 

A little piece of sunshine in this cold weather is Lorraine's Bitter Lemon and Poppyseed Cake from Not Quite Nigella - recipe here. Just looking at this sunny yellow cake makes me smile:

My cake was not so bitter because I used some beautiful Meyer lemons given to me by Emma at work.  They were the most glorious, blemish-free, bright yellow lemons that anyone could wish for - definitely sunshine on a rainy day!  

I used candied lemon slices to decorate my cake rather than fresh lemon slices and thyme, as I wanted the decoration to be edible. You can find out how here. I think it was well worth the effort (and the extra lemon) to make them.  They are little orbs of sunshine all by themselves.

I thoroughly recommend making this delicious cake.  The bright, sharp lemon flavour melds with the crunchy nuttiness of the poppy seeds in this soft, fluffy, tea-time worthy cake.

Enjoy the shortest/longest day of the year (depending on where you are), and see you on the other side!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

TWD - Blondies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Blondies.  Dorie suggested making them in mini muffin pans to get a crisp outside and a chewy middle; however, it is a big effort for me to pull out my mini muffin pans, so I just baked my blondies in a square cake tin and cut them into squares.

These blondies contain coconut, chocolate and nuts (in my case, walnuts).  They were really delicious, and I'd definitely make them again.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Happy birthday to Sir Paul McCartney, who turns 77 today!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rosie Lovell's Christmas Apple Tart

Do you have any fruit mince in your pantry left over from Christmas?  I always do, and it is always a question of what to do with it.  You can find last year's fruit mince recipe here.  Previously, I have made Fruit Mince Donuts with my leftover fruit mince, but wanted to try something different this time.

For a housewarming gift last year, I bought a friend a copy of Rosie Lovell's book, Supper with Rosie.  Before gifting it, I had a flick through the book, and spied Rosie's recipe for Christmas Apple Tart.  One of the main ingredients is fruit mince - bingo!  I took a copy of the recipe and knew that I had to make it.  What's not to love - apples and custard and fruit mince, encased in pastry.

I did not use Rosie's fruit mince recipe, as the whole point was that I had my own that I needed to use up.  However, I did follow the rest of the recipe, including for the pastry.  I found the pastry to be a bit minimalist in flavour, not even containing an egg, so next time I would use a different shortcrust pastry recipe.  The filling was devine.  If you are a fan of apples and custard and fruit mince, you will love this tart. 

To make it, you will need:


350g plain flour
175g butter
60ml cold water


3 large apples, cored, peeled and diced
juice of half an orange
3 eggs
284ml pouring cream
60ml milk
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons fruit mince
1 extra egg, beaten

Spray a 23cm loose bottomed tart pan with oil.  Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

For the pastry, in a large mixing bowl, cut the butter through the flour by rubbing the two together with your fingertips until you get a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the water and mix together until the dough just comes together into a ball.

Lightly flour your benchtop.  Put the dough  ball onto the floured benchtop and roll out into a circle that is large enough to line your tart pan.  Carefully transfer the pastry to the tart pan and press it into the base and sides.  Trim off the excess pastry and reserve it, as you will need it for the lattice top.

Line the tart with baking paper, pour in some baking beans or rice, and bake the tart shell in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.  Remove the baking beans and baking paper, and return the tart shell to the oven to bake until the pastry has just dried (around 2 minutes).  Remove the tart shell from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius.

To make the filling put the apples into a saucepan with the orange juice, and heat over a medium heat until the apples are softened.  Remove the apples from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the three eggs together with the cream, milk and sugar to make a custard.

Place the apples and fruit mince into the base of your cooled tart shell.  Pour two thirds of the custard mixture over the fruit.  

Put the tart into the oven and pour the remainder of the custard into the tart.  Bake the tart for 25 minutes.

Roll out the reserved pastry into a long wide strip, and cut into ribbons about half an inch wide.  Remove the tart from the oven and place the pastry ribbons over the top of the tart in a lattice pattern, and brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Return the tart to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes or until the filling is set.  if your pastry is not golden at that point, you can monetarily put the tart under a grill to make it golden.

Serve and enjoy warm with icecream, or in a cold slab from the fridge.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

TWD - Bread and Chocolate Coffee Can Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Bread and Chocolate Coffee Can Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches.  Once you have the brioche, the chocolate icecream "pucks" and the optional salted caramel sauce, it is just an assembly job.

You could bake a brioche from Dorie's book in a coffee can; I had part of a brioche left in the freezer from one of the Dorie recipes we had to make last year, so I used that.  I also had some ready made caramel sauce, and I bought some chocolate icecream to mould into a round using a cookie cutter.  

The frozen icecream round is placed between two similarly sized toasted rounds of brioche, then warmed caramel sauce is poured over the top to complete the icecream sandwich dessert.  My icecream melted a little when the sauce went on, but that just added to the rich sauciness of the dessert. 

This recipe would be easy to whip up as a dessert for entertaining when friends arrive unexpectedly - you can keep all of the ingredients on hand for use when required.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Monday, June 10, 2019

Apple Juice Cakes

A little while back, I had some leftover apple juice that I wanted to use up so as not to waste it.  I only had about a cup, so many of the recipes that I found needed more apple juice than I had.

I then happened on this Apple Juice Cake from Laura of Pies and Plots.  It uses two cups of apple juice, but I decided to halve the recipe and make 12 muffins/cupcakes instead.

It worked perfectly:

As Laura said, the texture is more like a quick bread than a light, fluffy cake, but I think that is perfect for the ingredients (apple juice, nuts and raisins).

Accordingly, next time you have some leftover apple juice in the house that you don't want to drink, why don't you give Laura's apple juice cake a go (either in its original form or as muffins, like me).

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Lemon and Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I love Helen Goh's baking recipes in the weekend newspaper, and particularly her recipes which feature fruit.

When a recipe for Lemon and Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake came up, it went "straight to the pool room" of recipes I wanted to make.  Lemon and blueberry is a winning combination by itself, but when combined with cream cheese, it goes to the next stage of lusciousness.

To make this cake, you will need:

240g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
230g butter
240g sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons
100g cream cheese
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
200g fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and flour a bundt tin and place in the freezer.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.

Put the butter, sugar and lemon zest into the bowl of  a stand mixer and beat until creamy.  Soften the cream cheese and add to the mixture, and beat until well combined.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the sifted ingredients in three batches until just combined.  Remove the batter from the stand mixer and fold through the blueberries.

Scrape into the prepared bundt tin and bake for 55 minutes in the preheated oven or until cooked through.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to sit in the tin on the wire rack for 15 minutes before unmoulding onto the rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, optionally decorate the cake with a glaze made from icing sugar and enough lemon juice to make a pouring consistency.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

TWD - Sesame Sea Salt Cookies

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Sesame Sea Salt Cookies, a buttery, savoury delight.  

I went with Dorie's Bon Idea and used a combination of sesame seeds, poppy seeds and sea salt to top my cookies (I don't have garlic powder or onion powder, so I left those out).

I only made a half batch of these cookies.  They were certainly tasty and a nice treat to have as a snack with wine, as Dorie suggests.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.