Summer Berry Crepe Cake

IMG_0278

For a woman who is constantly making pancakes of sorts – thin, Scotch, puffy, buttermilk, Dutch – it would seem surprising that I have never made a Crepe Cake.

Until now.

[Read more…]

Four Fruit Kringle

jamkringle-1-12

If you follow this blog regularly you will know that I have a real soft spot for sweet dough – mixing, proving, baking and of course, consuming.  In my mind, there is nothing better than a freshly baked pastry and your favourite hot drink. [Read more…]

Mixed Berry Fruit ‘Roll Ups’

berryrollups-1-2

These fruit ‘roll ups’ are a fun, homemade confection I wanted try for the children as they go back to school tomorrow.

I thought they would be great as a quick, after school pick-me-up snack but having made them, they would also be a hit at children’s parties. ( I am now thinking alternative flavour combinations for Halloween…)

berryrollups-1-5

As fresh berries are still so abundant for us right now, these ‘roll ups’ are a great use of them, and a completely different way of enjoying fresh fruit.

I have used a combination of blackberries, raspberries and strawberries along with Bramley apples which form the basis of this homemade confection.

The taste of these beauties is amazing! They give a sweet, fresh, blast of rich berries so intense that you instantly want to try another. Although I intended the ‘Roll Ups’ for the children, grown ups love these as well.

The method for making these is relatively easy – basically heat the fruit, puree in a blender, sieve and spread on a baking tray. The only drawback being the drying out time. They are not ready in an instant. If you want to give these a go, I would suggest starting them late afternoon/early evening, dry them on a low oven for 4-5 hours, transfer the papered rolls to a cooling rack and return to the oven (now switched off but still warm) and leave there overnight to dry out thoroughly.

berryrollups-1

This gorgeous snack, which I can’t rate highly enough, is also freezeable. The fact of the matter is though, that these will never make it to the freezer.

They taste so good they will be gone before school even starts.

berryrollups-1-6

Mixed Berry Fruit ‘Roll Ups’

Makes approximately 25-30 Roll Ups

Ingredients

  • 400g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 300g blackberries
  • 150g raspberries
  • 150g strawberries
  • 225g granulated sugar
  • 120ml water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and heat gently. Cover with lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir and continue to simmer for approximately 10 minutes until the apple becomes soft.
  2. Pour the heated fruits into a food processor and blend to form a puree. Place a sieve over a large bowl and pour the puree through it, so catching some of the fruit seeds.
  3. Prepare two baking trays by lining with baking parchment. Ensure the trays have edges so that the puree will not spill over. Divide the puree equally between the two trays and spread with a palate knife so forming a thin, smooth layer.
  4. Set the oven to 80 degrees C, or Gas Mark 1/4. Place the trays in the warm oven for 4-5 hours. After that time, turn the oven off, swap the baking trays for wire cooling racks and return to the oven (which is now switched off). By transferring to cooling racks, the bottom of the 'roll ups' can dry out sufficient. Leave overnight to dry completely.
  5. Test the 'drying' by peeling the edge of the 'roll up' away from the parchment. If it peels easily it is ready.
  6. When dry, with a sharp knife, cut strips about 2cm wide across the short side of the dried puree. Repeat until all cut. Roll up the strips and serve.
  7. Store in an airtight container. Suitable for home freezing.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/mixed-berry-fruit-roll-ups/

Source: Adapted from ‘Waitrose Food Illustrated’

Homemade Raspberry Marshmallows

marshmallows-1-7

I first tasted a ‘homemade’ marshmallow in 2000.

I remember it vividly. I was living and working in Manhattan at the time. I used to spend my weekends exploring various parts of the city on foot and used to stumble upon great ‘finds’ whether it be quirky stores, cafes, book stores or bakeries. A friend had suggested I visit ‘The City Bakery’, if I was in the Union Square part of town. Sure enough, I paid a visit and it was so worth it. There is a large range of baked goods available, breads, cakes, cookies, warm food, including their infamous macaroni cheese and on a wintry New York day, I opted for their fabulous hot chocolate and their homemade marshmallow.

It is fair to say that the homemade confection bears little resemblance to the shop-bought packet version. It is very light, fluffy and not sickly sweet. I didn’t envisage at that time, that this sweet delight would be something I could re-create at home in my kitchen.

marshmallows-1-8

So fast forward thirteen years, a marriage, three children and international house move and here I am making the ‘homemade’ marshmallow. I have made it a few times and use Genevieve Taylor’s straightforward recipes. The appeal of her recipes are that they do not call for light corn syrup, which is not readily available in the UK (that said, I did see it, this week, in my local superstore in the American foods section.)

marshmallows-1-11

So why am I making these this week? The children have their Summer fete at school and the home produce stall requires ‘homemade’ offerings. These marshmallows are my contribution. Typically you would probably want the marshmallows in the Autumn/Winter time, along with a hot chocolate, but the beauty of this confection recipe is that it can be adapted easily with various flavours. I have made a Fresh Raspberry version, but substitute the fresh raspberries for a teaspoon of vanilla extract, or paste, and you have a Classic Vanilla flavour.

These are very easy to make with ingredients that you will be familiar with. They store well in an airtight container. They also make a lovely homemade gift. Simply wrap in a cellophane bag, jar or tin and finish with a colourful ribbon and you will have one happy recipient!

marshmallows-1-10

These can be enjoyed by young or old and at this time of year, there is no reason why they can’t be toasted on the barbeque or a camp fire. By toasting them slightly (I actual give them a blast with my cook’s blow torch) they have this wonderful crunchy shell with gooey mallow inside. They can be eaten alone, or added to desserts.

marshmallows-1-2

marshmallows-1

Give these flavoursome mallow treats a try. They will certainly make you smile.

marshmallows-1-6

The City Bakery is located at 3 West 18th Street, New York, NY.

Note: Contains pork

Homemade Raspberry Marshmallows

Approximately 40 marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 8 sheets of fine leaf gelatine
  • 2 egg whites
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • 250ml cold water
  • 150g fresh raspberries, washed and drained
  • You will also need,
  • Baking tin, either 23cm x 30cm (Brownie tin) or a square 20cm tin
  • vegetable oil, for greasing the tin
  • 2 tbsp. cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp. of icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Prepare the tin by greasing all over. Add a heaped tablespoon of the cornflour and icing sugar mixture and tap all around tin ensuring that everywhere is sufficiently covered. Discard the excess mixture.
  2. Put the cold water and sugar into a saucepan and over a low heat dissolve the sugar. Stand a sugar thermometer in the pan and increase to a medium heat. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble away. The temperature of the sugar mixture needs to reach 122 degrees C or reach what is known as the 'firm/hard ball' stage. This should take about 15 minutes. If you do not have a sugar thermometer, test the mixture by dropping a little onto a saucer. Its should be firm and hold its shape.
  3. Whilst the sugar is bubbling. Place the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water, one at a time to prevent them sticking.
  4. Also, puree the raspberries by placing in a blender. Put the puree through a sieve so removing the pips from the puree. Set aside.
  5. In a free standing mixer, beating the egg whites until stiff.
  6. Once the sugar has reached the correct temperature, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the hot mixture to the egg whites, continually beating. Increase the speed of the mixer and add the gelatine leaves, squeezed, one at a time.
  7. Allow the mixer to continue to beat for about 10 minutes until the mixture has cooled. Add the raspberry puree (or vanilla extract if making Classic Vanilla flavour) and mix until incorporated.
  8. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and carefully spread throughout the tin. Sieve some of the remaining cornflour/icing sugar mix over the marshmallow. Allow to set, in a cool place but not a refrigerator, for approximately 4-6 hours.
  9. Once set, cut the marshmallow to size. Tip; slightly oil a sharp knife and continually wipe with a piece of kitchen towel with some light oil on it.
  10. Dip the sticky edges in the remaining cornflour/icing sugar mix and store in an airtight container.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/homemade-raspberry-marshmallows/

Source: Genevieve Taylor’s ‘Marshmallow Magic’

Oatmeal Raspberry and White Chocolate Cookies

rapsberry cookies1 (1 of 1)

Whenever I collect my children from school, they ask me, ‘what snack have you got, Mum?’

This is before I have had a chance to say ‘hello, how was your day?’

Don’t get me wrong, I know they eat very well at school with a hot school meal at midday and appropriate snacks either side, but the bottom line is, they come out of school ravenous! Yes, they have a long day as their after school sports activities are incorporated within the school day (which is great, saves me more ‘ferrying’ and car journeys) but they are tired and they are hungry. [Read more…]

Panna Cotta with summer berries

pannacotta-1-2

The intent of my blog is working.

Again, I am trying something I haven’t made before. This time a dessert. To be honest, I don’t make desserts too often. They can look too fiddly, or there are too many instructions and long wait times.

For sure, that is why I have probably avoided making panna cotta. Whilst the desserts look delightful, perfectly moulded with inviting toppings, the thought of unmoulding little desserts has put me off. That I why I encourage you to try this method – one large panna cotta for slicing.

pannacotta-1

pannacotta-1-3Yes, unmoulding is a nerve racking business and admittedly the stakes are higher if you get this one unmoulding wrong (i.e. you lose the whole dessert) but if you lightly grease the pan, dip the base of the tin into a shallow dish with an inch of boiling water for 8 seconds ONLY, turn onto a flat plate, you will be rewarded with a stunning dessert.

So if you happen to be entertaining this Bank Holiday, want a dessert that is simple to make, delicious and can be made a day or so ahead, why not give this a go?

pannacotta-1-4

 

pannacotta-1-7

Note: Contains Pork

Panna Cotta with summer berries

Serves 8 - 10

Ingredients

    For the Panna Cotta
  • 1 litre double cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 6 leaves of fine gelatine*
  • Cold water for soaking gelatine
  • For the topping/sauce
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175ml water
  • 350g fresh berries

Instructions

    For the Panna Cotta
  1. Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vanilla pod, split length ways and remove from the heat. Allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly oil a 9inch baking tin (or 8 individual cups) with a light oil.
  3. Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water until softened. Place the leaves in the bowl one at a time so that they do not stick together. Allow leaves to soften.
  4. Return the saucepan to a low heat, remove the vanilla pods. Add the gelatine, to the pan, having squeezed the excess water.
  5. Stir the pan mixing in the gelatine.
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased ban (or individual cups). Allow to cool and then refrigerate until completely set.
  7. For the sauce
  8. Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved.
  9. Add half the berries and then put in a blender and mix. Pass the sauce through a sieve and return to the pan. Simmer further until reduced to a thicker sauce/compote. Stir in the remaining berries and leave to cool.
  10. To Serve
  11. Run a sharp knife around the tin of the panna cotta. Dip the base of the tin into a larger pan/dish that has an inch of boiling water at the bottom. Dip for only 8 seconds and turn upside down onto a flat serving plate immediately. Refrigerate a little further if need be. Spoon over the berries initially and then some sauce. Any excess sauce, place in a jug and add when serving.

Notes

* For a pork free panna cotta, substitute the gelatine leaves for two packets of gelatine powder (contains beef) and 90ml of cold water. Sprinkle the gelatine over the cold water in a bowl and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the warm panna cotta over the gelatine and stir until completely dissolved. Place the mixture into the prepared tin/cups.

http://thecontentedbaker.com/panna-cotta-with-summer-berries/

Source:  Panna Cotta from David Lebovitz.com (original source ‘Secrets From My Tuscan Kitchen’ by Judy Witts), sauce adapted from Simon Rimmer’s BBC Food Recipes ‘Something For The Weekend’