Welshcakes

2017-02-19-21-07-28

With only a few days until St. David’s Day, I thought it would be fitting to share the recipe I use to make welshcakes. Soft and delicious, these cake-biscuit hybrids are traditionally baked on a bakestone. But don’t worry if you don’t have one – a cast iron skillet will do the job. They are usually made with dried fruit, but I can’t resist chocolate chip welshcakes! These are best served warm and dusted with caster sugar, but are still delicious once cool. Cymru am byth!

Makes 20 welshcakes

Ingredients

  •  125g (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 1/4tsp ground allspice
  •  100g (2/3 cup) sultanas (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 large egg

Method

  1. Cube the butter and add to a bowl with the flour. Rub the two together until you form fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and allspice, and mix to combine.
  2. Add the egg and fruit (or chocolate chips) to the dough and mix until just combined. Form into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Roll on a floured surface to a thickness of 1cm (2/5 inch) and cut using a fluted 7.5cm (3 inch) round cutter.
  4. Preheat an unoiled bakestone or cast iron skillet on a medium-low heat and cook for around 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Leave to stand on a plate for a few minutes before eating.

The recipe used is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’.

Lemon Poppyseed Crumpets

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A friend of mine mentioned the idea of lemon and poppyseed crumpets, and I had to try to make my own! I love crumpets. They’re relatively simple to make, but it does take time to prove the dough. If you don’t have crumpet rings, large metal round cookie cutters also do the job. Don’t be tempted to add lemon juice to the recipe – the acidity will interfere with the rising agent used in the final steps. I also start cooking with one tester crumpet – much like pancakes, it does take time to fine-tune the temperature and cooking times. These are great served warm, or cooled and reheated later. Delicious!

Makes 12 crumpets

Ingredients

  •  175g (11/4cups) strong white bread flour
  • 175g (11/4cups) plain flour
  • 14g (11/2tbsp) dried yeast
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 350mL (11/2cups) warm milk
  • 150mL (2/3 cups) tepid water
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp lemon zest
  • 1tbsp poppy seeds

Method

  1. Add the flours and yeast to a bowl. Dissolve 1tsp of sugar into the milk, and add to the bowl of flour.
  2. Beat with a wooden spoon for 4-5 minutes; this step is important to develop the gluten in the dough, to ensure the crumpets have an open, cavernous texture.
  3. Cover the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour. Meanwhile, add the salt, 1tsp sugar, and lemon zest to the water to infuse.
  4. Once the dough has proved, add the bicarbonate of soda into the water and stir to dissolve. Add the water and poppy seeds into the dough, and mix until incorporated. Leave to stand for a further 20 minutes.
  5. Grease four 8cm (3inch) crumpet rings and pre-heat your pan at a medium heat. Start with a tester crumpet – fill with batter until just below the rim. After 6 minutes, the top should be set and have large, open holes. Flip over and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Now you have fine-tuned the heat and temperature, repeat but with 4 crumpets at a time.
  7. Serve immediately or allow to cool and reheat later.

 

The base crumpet recipe used is from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’.

Valentine’s Day Macarons

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Macarons may look difficult, but they are simple as long as you follow three easy rules. One – weigh your ingredients. Usually, I include cup measurements, but it’s important to be precise here. Two – make sure the almonds are as fine as possible. And three – ensure that you don’t lose the air in the egg whites. As long as you follow these rules, you shouldn’t have a problem.

There are many tutorials online on how to pipe heart-shaped macarons. Of course, this recipe also works well if you want to make round macarons. I also find it easier to trace 2cm (34inch) round or heart shapes onto parchment paper before piping. It’s extremely important to let the macarons rest for this recipe, otherwise the ‘feet’ won’t develop properly. They are better eaten the next day, but only if you can resist them for that long!

Makes 24 macarons (48 rounds)

Ingredients

Macarons

  •  71g almonds (blanched or ground)
  • 117g icing sugar
  • gel food colouring
  • 2 egg whites
  • 53g sugar
  • food flavouring (optional)

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 58g unsalted butter
  • 250g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1/2tsp vanilla paste
  • 1-2tbsp milk

Method

  1. Add almonds and icing sugar to a food processor and blitz until fine. Pass this through a sieve. Repeat this process until around 2 tablespoons of large pieces remain – these can be discarded.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with the sugar in a separate bowl until you have stiff glossy peaks. Add the food colouring and flavouring (if using), and whisk until combined.
  3. Add the egg whites to the dry mixture. Fold gently around 35 times – it won’t seem like it will come together at first but be patient; it will happen all of a sudden.
  4. Transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (38inch) tip, and pipe 2cm (34inch) hearts or rounds onto a lined baking sheet. Forcefully bash the baking tray against the counter three times to disperse air pockets.
  5. Leave the macarons to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175°c (350°f).
  6. Bake the macarons for around 13 minutes. They should not be browned, but be well risen and crisp to the touch. Leave to cool completely before removing.
  7. For the vanilla buttercream, beat all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.
  8. Using an offset spatula or knife, gently pry the macarons off the baking sheet and sandwich using the vanilla buttercream (or filling of your choice).

 

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s website.

Salted Maple Pecan Blondies

2017-01-24-17-28-12-1

These blondies are amazing. They are fudgy with pockets of sweet white chocolate and bursts of salt. I also make a batch of maple sauce to pour over; the maple really adds another layer to the blondies. Served warm with a scoop of ice cream, these are a relatively quick and irresistible treat!

 Ingredients

Blondies

  • 125g (1 cup) plain (AP) flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 75g (1/3 cup) butter, melted
  • 217g (1 cup packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  •  65g (1/2 cup) pecans, chopped
  •  45g (1/4 cup) white chocolate chips
  •  45g (1/4 cup) butterscotch/fudge pieces

Maple Sauce

  • 115g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 55g (2 ounces) cream cheese
  • 63g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°c (350°f). Grease and line an 8″x8″ square or 9″ round pan.
  2. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the sugar to the butter and stir to dissolve. Add the egg and vanilla paste, and mix until smooth.
  4. Slowly fold in the flour mixture, then fold in the pecans, chocolate and fudge pieces.
  5. Fill baking tray and flatten with a spoon or spatula. Bake for around 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. For the sauce: in a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cream cheese and mix to combine. Whisk in the icing sugar until smooth. Add maple syrup to taste.

The original recipe can be found here.

Dulce de Leche Doughnuts

dulce2  dulce1

This is the first recipe I ever tried when making doughnuts, and it was so good that I never tried another! The doughnuts are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and filled with dulce de leche; the most incredible and thick caramel sauce. They are then dusted in a cinnamon sugar, which takes them that extra step further.

I fry these using a large cast iron casserole pot. The original recipe doesn’t specify a temperature, but I have found 190°c (375°f) to be perfect. When frying, it is important not to fry too many at once; the room temperature dough will lower the temperature of the oil. The thought of these is making me hungry; I think I have to make another batch this weekend!

Ingredients

For the doughnuts

  • 1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
  • 75g (13 cup) caster sugar
  • 550g (412 cups) plain (AP) flour
  • 320mL (113 cups) semi-skimmed milk
  • 80g (13 cup) unsalted butter
For frying, filling and rolling

  • 1 litre (414 cups) vegetable oil
  • 200g (23 cup) dulce de leche
  • 75g (13 cup) caster sugar
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Heat the milk until warm. Add the yeast and one teaspoon of the sugar and flour. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes; you should see bubbles from the activated yeast.
  2. Add flour and sugar to a large bowl. Briefly rub in the butter. Pour in the milk and stir until it comes together. Knead with extra flour for 5 minutes until smooth and pliable.
  3. Leave to rise until doubled in size (around 1 hour at room temperature).
  4. Knock back the dough and divide into 12 equal balls. Divide evenly over 2 large baking sheets, and leave to prove until doubled again (around 45 minutes).
  5. Heat the oil to 190°c (375°f). Start with one doughnut; fry for 5 minutes, turning it over halfway through. Continue with the rest of the doughnuts (two or three at a time), making sure not to crowd the pan. Drain on kitchen paper.
  6. Warm the dulce de leche in a small saucepan until it has thinned slightly. Mix the cinnamon and sugar on a small plate. Using a piping bag and a small nozzle, fill each doughnut with dulce de leche, until a little oozes out. Roll in the cinnamon sugar.

 

The original recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s website; you can find the link here.

Mary Berry’s Scones

To celebrate the return of The Great British Bake Off, I’m sharing my favourite scone recipe from none other than Mary Berry herself! The key is not to overwork the dough; this will develop gluten, which results in a tougher bake. Traditionally, a fluted cutter is used but don’t worry if you don’t have one – a round cutter works just as well. These scones are best served warm from the oven, slathered in clotted cream and strawberry jam. With a cup of tea of course!

Makes 10 scones
8cm/3in round or fluted cutter required

Ingredients

  •  450g (323 cups) self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 50g (14 cup) caster sugar
  • 75g (13 cup) butter
  • 225mL (1 cup) milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75g (12 cup) dried fruit (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°c (425°f) or 200°c (400°f) fan.
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb-like consistency.
  3. Beat the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl. Keep a small amount for glazing.
  4. Add enough of the milk/egg mixture to make a slightly wet and sticky dough. Add the dried fruit if using.
  5. Place dough onto a floured surface and roll to 2cm (34in) thick. Cut using an 8cm (or 3in) cutter. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  6. Put on a lined baking tray, and brush the tops with the remaining egg/milk mixture.
  7. Bake until well-risen and golden (around 12-15 minutes).

This recipe was originally from maryberry.co.uk – find the recipe here.

Lemon and Blueberry Bundt Cake

LBYB2   LBYB1

Here is one of my new favourite recipes: a lemon and blueberry Bundt cake! I love the flavours of both lemon and blueberries, so when I came across this recipe in a Le Creuset leaflet, I couldn’t resist trying it out.

The original recipe called for natural yoghurt, but I found that greek yogurt created a firmer, more moist cake. I also used a Nordic Ware Bundt pan instead of the Le Creuset Kugelhopf mentioned. I love the Nordic Ware brand, and for this cake I used the Heritage Pan.

This cake is incredibly light, with a strong lemon flavour and bursts of blueberry sweetness. The candied lemon zest tastes great as well as looking attractive. I hope that you’ll give this cake a try!

Ingredients

Cake

  • 225g (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 450g (214 cups) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 450g (323 cups) plain (AP) flour, plus one teaspoon for the blueberries
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 275g (1 cup) greek yoghurt
  • 350g (213 cups) blueberries, plus extra to decorate
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Icing

  • 225g (134 cups) icing sugar, sifted
  • 212 teaspoons boiling water
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice

Candied Lemon Zest

  • 2 lemons
  • 100ml (12 cup) water
  • 100g (12 cups) caster sugar

Method

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°c (320°f), 140°c fan (284°f), and grease the bundt tin well with butter.
  2. Mix the blueberries with the 1tsp flour and lemon juice, and set aside. Add the salt and baking powder to the flour and sift.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add lemon zest.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by a teaspoon of flour after each egg.
  5. Add one third of the flour and fold in with one third yoghurt. Repeat this with the remaining two thirds of ingredients.
  6. Fold in half of the blueberries. Spoon one third of the batter, and sprinkle a third of the remaining blueberries on top. Repeat this twice more with the remaining batter and blueberries.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Candied Lemon Zest

  1. While the cake is baking, use a lemon zester to peel long, thin strips of zest from the lemons.
  2. Put the water and sugar into a small heavy-based saucepan and heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon zest and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Remove zest from the saucepan, separate and place on a baking sheet to cool.

Icing and Decoration

  1. Mix the icing sugar, water and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Decorate with extra blueberries and candied lemon zest.

This recipe has been adapted from Le Creuset’s “Blueberry, Yoghurt and Lemon Cake”. You can find many more recipes on their website.