Sunday, 6 November 2011

Apple Pie

Now that it’s autumn and winter weather, it’s time to start making proper puddings. Biscuits and cupcakes are fabulous, but on a dark winter evening a hot pudding is just the thing. Warming dishes like steamed sponges, crumbles, self-saucing puddings, chocolate fondants and anything that can be served with custard really come in to their own. It’s the season of comfort food! For me pies are a perfect winter dish because, whilst they are tasty made with summer fruits, I think the classic Autumn double crust apple pie is very hard to beat._DSC0602This bake was perfect to help me get through the apple overload, using 10 (they’re are quite small). I made this after having some baking block and not really knowing what to make – in times like this it’s always best to return to simple favourites. Also with a classic dish I wanted to use a reliable recipe so I turned to the ever trustworthy Mary Berry. The recipe comes from her book How to Cook which we’ve had for a while but I've shamefully only used once before for tomato soup! The recipe had complete step-by-step pictures and I only altered the recipe slightly by adding a tablespoon of cinnamon to the apples (because apples and cinnamon is always a winning flavour combination) and using butter instead of margarine for the pastry._DSC0596I was a little wary as the pastry doesn’t have any sugar in, but when the pie is served you don’t notice – the apple filling and obligatory serving accompaniment of custard makes it sweet enough. The pastry was crisp, the apples were soft with just enough cinnamon spice and overall the pie was very welcomed on a cold and drizzly evening. You can find the recipe here – enjoy!_DSC0654

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Love Bakery Book Review

I was recently lucky enough to be sent another book by Ivy Press – this one was Love Bakery by Samantha Blears. Love Bakery is an actual bakery on the Kings Road, London so the book gives recipes for a few of their favourite top sellers and lots of other inventive ideas. It’s a beautifully laid out book – full page photos for each recipe, lots of colour, detail and a little background writing accompanying each recipe.  book-coverI made the ‘It’s Not Terry’s But My Chocolate’ cupcakes and the lemon cupcakes and both recipes worked well. The chocolate orange ones were a huge hit and I’d definitely make them again – they were rich, dark and a great indulgence. I halved the lemon recipe as I was interested to try it because it’s a classic but wasn’t convinced my small family needed 12 cupcakes! Again the recipe worked well (although I only got five cupcakes) and the cakes were tender and full of lemony flavour – although I always get paranoid with lemon things that they’re going to lack the necessary zing so I added some extra zest and juice. DSCF8864I really liked the variety of ideas in the book – the Cuptails chapter of alcoholic cupcakes is original and there are recipes for a large donut cake and whoopie pies. I also liked the Cakes for Breakfast chapter which included recipes such as Mocha Cupcakes and Greek Yoghurt & Honey Cupcakes. The recipes are really detailed and easy to follow and when I baked the cakes the timings were spot on. There is lots of detail about decorating ideas and inspiration which doesn’t interest me so much but know might please other people. DSCF8863My issues with this book are probably quite minor but I still noticed them each time I read this book. Like I said in my last post, I have an issue with ingredients in the title of a dish not actually being in it. For example, the Oreo cake in the book is just a chocolate cake with Oreo icing and a few other cakes were vanilla with a jam filling or flavoured icing and I found that disappointing. Overall, I don’t this book would be right if you’re a confident baker and really want to experiment or get lots of ideas for new flavoured cupcakes. However, I think this book would make a really nice present (less than two months until Christmas now!) especially if you know someone who often visits the bakery, because its very pretty and has some original ideas.