Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies

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These Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies are a seasonal version of the ever popular Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. You know how good they are and how easy they are to make. [Read more…]

Lime and Ginger Meringue Pie

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This Lime and Ginger Meringue Pie, a variation on a well loved ‘classic’ dessert will bring some summery flavours to any occasion. [Read more…]

Mince Pies with Gingerbread Crust Pastry

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I am so late with this post. I seriously can’t expect anyone to give these a try this side of Christmas 2013 (maybe Pin it for next year?)…

That said, when I was in the supermarket yesterday, stocking up on my last minute baking provisions for the next few days, I noticed they were totally sold out of ready-to-roll pastry.  There is a lot of mince pie production going on locally, I think.

If you are at all organised and have the time and inclination to give these a try, you won’t be disappointed.mincepie2

So what makes these pies special? The pastry.

I recently found this pastry recipe in a new book purchase, ‘Pie’ by Dean Brettschneider.  Oh, there are so many great recipes in here! (Expect plenty of pastry-inspired recipes in the New Year…my ‘Tarts and Pie’ sections on the blog are looking rather lacking).

As I had made some homemade mincemeat, this was the perfect opportunity to try out this gingerbread pastry – with a mince pie. I allowed my pastry to rest over night in the fridge but you really don’t have to rest it that long. It is important that it is chilled when you start to roll as it warms quickly and becomes a little sticky. As usual, I roll on a lightly floured piece of baking parchment and have some food wrap between the pastry and the rolling pin, to reduce sticking, assist rolling and minimise handling.

This pastry was very light and fragrantly spiced without being overwhelming ginger-flavoured.

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As my mincemeat is heavy on the orange flavour (infused with orange juice and Cointreau), you can imagine the smells evoked in my kitchen whilst these were baking – a fruity, citrus aroma with spicy gingerbread – for me, the ultimate seasonal smell.

At this late stage, feel free to use a shop-bought mincemeat but avoid the shop bought pies – these are so much nicer.mincepie1

So soften the butter, preheat the oven, crank up your Christmas music of choice (mine is Michael Buble) and get baking these seasonal pies.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2014 to one and all, near and far! x

Mince Pies with Gingerbread Crust Pastry

Makes 12 Pies

Ingredients

    For the Filling
  • 350-400g* Homemade Mincemeat (see separate post), or shop-bought mincemeat
  • For the Pastry
  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 250g spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • To Finish
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk
  • Caster sugar, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Prepare the filling ahead if you are making 'Homemade Mincemeat'.
  2. Sift into a bowl the flour and all the spices. Set aside. In the bowl of a freestanding mixture, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and continue to mix until incorporated. Add the flour to the mixture and beat until it comes together. Do not over mix.
  3. Tip the pastry mixture onto a piece of food wrap. Wrap and mould into a flattened ball. Chill for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
  4. Once rested, pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C, or Gas Mark 3.
  5. Place the pastry onto a lightly floured piece of baking parchment. With a piece of food wrap between the pastry and the rolling pin, roll the pastry until it is about 2-3mm thick. With a cutter, cut 24 rounds. (All of mine were the same size as I used a Madeleine pan, but if you are using a regular cupcake pan, cut 12 of one size and 12 slightly smaller rounds, to form lids). You will need to gather the pastry scraps and re-roll in order to achieve this number.
  6. Place the larger of the rounds into a 12 cup muffin/cupcake pan, gently pushing the pastry into the edges. Fill each round with mincemeat.
  7. With the egg wash - beaten egg and whole milk - brush the edge of the pastry. Top the pies with the smaller round. Brush all 12 pies lids with egg wash. Make two cuts in the pastry with a sharp knife.
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes, turning the tray half way through. Sprinkle with caster as soon as the pies come out of the oven. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  9. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

* I have put a range for the quantity of mincemeat to be used as it can vary dependant on the depth of your cupcake pan. I used a Madeleine pan which meant mine were more shallow. Typically, a shop bought jar of mincemeat weighs 450g, or 1lb.

http://thecontentedbaker.com/mince-pies-with-gingerbread-crust-pastry/

Source: Pastry adapted from Dean Brettschneider’s ‘Pie’

 

Gingerbread Pound Cake

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Technically, my Gingerbread flavoured Pound Cake is not actually correct.

A ‘pound’ cake is typically a very large cake made of a pound (a whooping 450g, no less), in equal ratios of flour: butter: sugar and eggs.  Nowadays, the quantities of the ‘pound’ cake are less rigid and as a it is typically baked in a Bundt, or loaf tin and conservatively finished, I figured I could get away with calling this a ‘Pound’ Cake.

With friends visiting this weekend I had wanted to bake a large cake but needed something that was quick and substantial. This pound cake was a perfect solution.

So, I have side lined my fresh berry obsession – albeit temporarily – to make way for my new favourite ingredient, ginger. I have been busy in my kitchen all week making Christmas hamper gifts. I made some rather delicious bottled Spiced Pears (more about these another day) but as a result I had some surplus fresh ginger.

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I wanted to adapt a recipe to include the fresh ginger and as I am planning my Christmas bakes, I have all the ingredients for gingerbread cookies, so why not include these flavours and recreate in a loaf style cake? Let me be clear, this is not the rich, sticky, molasses infused, bubbly gingerbread cake that you will know. Yes, in contains the dark rich sugars, dark treacle and glorious cinnamon, ginger and clove spices but it is a denser cake, perfect with a cup of tea.

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I have topped this with a rich chocolate ganache, inspired from Martha’s ‘Baking Handbook’ and it works wonderfully. That’s not to say that other toppings wouldn’t work. A simple dusting of icing sugar, a lemon glaze/icing or perhaps an orange cream cheese frosting would be wonderfully indulgent.

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 This warming, spiced cake is super easy to make and easy to enjoy when the weather is getting chilly outside.

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Gingerbread Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 300g margarine, or softened unsalted butter
  • 160g Demerara sugar
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 heaped tbsp. dark treacle
  • For the topping
  • 600ml double cream
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • Crystallised stem ginger for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Grease and line a large (9cm x 24cm) loaf tin with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Sift together in a bowl the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Mix and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, cream together the margarine, or butter, with both the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once well combined, add the freshly grated ginger and the dark treacle. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour mixture in two parts ensuring that it is thoroughly mixed after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level with a knife.
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and allowing it to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool add the ganache topping.
  6. For the topping
  7. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, chunk by chunk. Whisk the chocolate until it melts and combines with the cream to form a glossy ganache. Pour into a jug and allow to cool a little. Once cooler and a little firmer, pour over the cake. Sprinkle with the crystallised ginger to decorate (optional).
  8. Store in an airtight container.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/gingerbread-pound-cake/

Source: Adapted and inspired by Martha Stewart’s ‘Baking Handbook’

 

Pumpkin and Ginger Whoopie Pies

pumpkinwhoopies-2So I was planning on sharing these Pumpkin and Ginger Whoopie Pies with you closer to Halloween but I am so pleased with how they turned out, that I couldn’t resist posting them now.

The Whoopie Pie is a US baked good that is made of two rounds of flavoured cake, with a sweet creamy filling, or frosting, sandwiched between them. They are very easy to make and freeze well so can be made ahead of time.

pumpkinwhoopies-1You can use fresh, or tinned, pureed pumpkin. I have used the tinned version which is readily available in most supermarkets all year round. It is a lot less messy and time consuming than preparing the fresh pumpkin and, in my mind, has a great flavour.

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I have adapted this recipe slightly by way of altering the spice content in the actual pie, and the cream cheese frosting. I have included cinnamon, all spice and ground ginger although I reduced the ginger content in the batter mix as I wanted to enhance the cream cheese frosting by adding syrupy, diced stem ginger. This gives the pie a real ‘kick’ of warmth amongst the sweet cream cheese frosting. My goodness, is this frosting delicious? (So much so, I made another cake just so that I could make this frosting again).

pumpkinwhoopies-1-3So who would like these Whoopie Pies? Basically everyone!

The ginger in them makes them a real grown up indulgent treat around Halloween and Bonfire Night. You could offer up mini ones to the children, perhaps with less stem ginger in the frosting, or you could leave it out completely and substitute for 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste / extract.

The fact that the cake can be frozen makes them perfect for parties, or large gatherings as they defrost quickly and are easy to assemble. Then again, you don’t need the excuse of a party to make these. They go perfectly with a cup of tea…

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Pumpkin and Ginger Whoopie Pies

Make 9 large, or 24 mini pies

Ingredients

  • 280g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 200g soft dark brown sugar
  • 115ml vegetable oil
  • 250g pumpkin puree, fresh or tinned
  • 65ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • For the Frosting
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 55g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 115g cream cheese
  • 40g diced stem ginger in syrup

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, all the spices and the salt and mix thoroughly.
  2. In a separate bowl, or the bowl of a freestanding mixer, mix together the sugar, vegetable oil, pumpkin and milk until well blended and smooth. Whisk in the egg.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover the bowl with food wrap and chill for approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4. On two baking trays, lined with parchment, pipe, or spoon equal amounts of the mixture into rounds (small or large), depending on your required size of pie. Remember to allow for space around each pie as they will spread during the baking process. For large whoopies, bake for 10-12 minutes and for smaller ones, 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little on the baking trays and then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.
  6. Either frost and assemble the Whoopie Pies, or freeze in a large plastic container, layer with baking parchment to prevent sticking and frost at a later date.
  7. For the Frosting
  8. Whip the butter until light and fluffy using and electric whisk for freestanding mixer. Add the cream cheese and whip further. Sift the icing sugar into a separate bowl and then slowly add to the butter and cream cheese mixture. Once the mixture is light and fluffy, add the syrupy, diced stem ginger and mix well.
  9. Use immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container.
  10. To assemble the Whoopie Pie, pipe or spoon a sufficient quantity of frosting onto one flat side of the pie. Form a sandwich with a second pie. Optional - dust with icing sugar. Serve.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/pumpkin-and-ginger-whoopie-pies/

Source: Slightly adapted from Claire Ptak’s ‘The Whoopie Pie Book’