Sunday, 29 September 2013

Mini Apple Pies

Top tip: deciding to make 12 mini apple pies instead of one big one at the last minute is not the best idea. These were for my friends who were arriving for lunch at 1pm and my last minute change meant that at 12:55 I still hadn’t started on the main course…But I think these were worth it! And hey, my friends didn’t mind the slight delay. DSC_0113Mini pies make serving up a doddle – they are the perfect size so that they are still generous and filling and you don’t feel like you’re losing out by not getting a big slice! I loved these piping hot with plenty of custard, but they are equally good cold the next few days so they would be such a treat in a lunch box. I simply used this BBC recipe and rolled out the pastry to make 12 mini pies and lids (cut using my biggest cookie cutter) and baked them in a silicone muffin tray for around 25 minutes. I think you could probably get one or two more out of the mixture – I was in a rush so my pastry was a bit thick. It’s also important to fill the pies really high – the apples shrink during baking so you don’t want to end up with a sad empty gap in between the filling and pastry lid. The filling has a good dose of cinnamon and sugar so the apples taste almost caramelised, when in reality the filling is super simple – just raw apple slices stirred together with sugar, spice and flour. These make the perfect after dinner treat as the evenings get darker and colder – enjoy! DSC_0105


Monday, 16 September 2013

Browned Butter Caramel Apple Cake

Where did summer go? I feel like it disappeared really quickly. One minute I was eating strawberries and peaches and desperately trying to tan, the next minute we’re halfway through September, closer to October than August and it’s raining. I’m struggling to adjust to wearing jeans and coats again. So I have dived straight back into Autumn baking in a pretty major way with this cake that pretty much sums up all the best things about baking this time of year. DSC_0106This cake certainly lived up to the expectations created by its fabulous name. I knew from the raw mixture it was going to be good and while it is baking it makes the house smell incredible. The browned butter in the sponge makes all the difference, especially combined with the cinnamon. The generous amount of caramel makes it deliciously decadent – particularly if you add a drizzle of cream to your slice. This acted as the ultimate comfort food to rid me of end of summer or post holiday blues! You can find the recipe here – my only change was to use extra flour to replace some of the ground almonds, simply because I didn’t have enough and the rain was a tad too ferocious to persuade me to go out and buy more! Eating this cake, listening to the rain, watching it get dark at 5pm – autumn is definitely here. DSC_0117

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Whole Lemon Bars

Something happened to me last week whilst cooking that, in 5 years of blogging, has never happened to me before. We had lots of fresh gooseberries to use up and I love taking advantage of their short season in all the different recipes I gather during the rest of the year. I found a Nigel Slater gooseberry crumble cake recipe that sounded like it would fit the bill perfectly – a simple cut and come again cake that could also be easily transported. I made it, photographed it, took it to my Granny’s and sure enough it went down really well, like most Nigel Slater recipes do. When I was eating it, and then particularly when I was writing up the blog that evening, I started to feel that there was something really familiar about this cake. I checked my archive and sure enough, in July 2011 I had already made and posted it. Today’s post is my 205th, so in all honesty I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before! If you want to read about the cake, you can read my original post here, otherwise today I present all new Whole Lemon Bars!
I really enjoyed making this cake with a whole orange a few months ago, so when I saw these bars I was intrigued how the same technique would work with a much sourer fruit. I ended up making the lemon mixture in my mini food processor as my normal size one had broken, and luckily it just about all fit in, making the whole process really easy. Lemon bars in record time! The base was also super simple as you just press it into the tin, saving any rolling faff. The results were delicious – obviously the whole lemon in the filling meant they tasted (and looked) really vibrant and citrusy without being too sour. The base was also actually really tasty even just on it’s own, I think the vanilla balanced really well with the sharper topping. You can find the recipe here – enjoy!