Friday, 20 October 2017

Blackcurrant & Liquorice Spider Cupcakes

This fun cupcake recipe is perfect for Halloween parties.  Using the scary spider as the inspiration these cupcakes are topped with a cute homemade spider with liquorice legs atop of a yummy blackcurrant cupcake.

Fun Halloween Cupcakes, decorated with an easy homemade spider!

Boo!

Halloween is just around the corner bringing with it all the fun of ghosts and ghouls, goblins & witches, mummies and vampires .... and let's not forget about all of the creative yummy food to be had at Halloween parties too!

In fact, for many, Halloween marks the start of such a delicious time of year where food is concerned.  Soon after Halloween we have bonfire night with treats like treacle toffee & gingerbread cakes,  and then there's the exciting (though often manic) run up to Christmas and the new year where tables groan under the weight of festive foods from Christmas Cakes and trifles like this freestanding raspberry & glitter trifle which would be a perfect centre piece, to mince pies and stollen.  The list is endless!

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sfogliatelle

Sfogliatelle is a challenging Italian bake, also known as Lobster Tails.  Paper thin layers of pastry dough are shaped and filled with a delicious ricotta mixture which is often flavoured with orange & cinnamon.

Homemade Sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails.

GBBO's Italian week, saw the bakers make a batch of sfogliatelle in the tent along with cannoli and a margarita pizza.  Continuing to bake along with the Great Bloggers Bake Off I found homemade pizza, as delicious as it is, a little underwhelming, and cannoli somewhat scary with the thought of creating a makeshift fryer!  And yet strangely enough I was excited to tackle the Sfogliatelle showstopper bake which Mr blue-eyes himself admitted he found difficult.    

Homemade Sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails.

I must either LOVE baking or be an absolute fool to try and make a batch of Sfogliatelle, but I was so captivated by the amazing paper thin layers that were formed, the fun 'lobster tail' shape and of course the delicious ricotta filling!    

How difficult could they be?

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Monday, 9 October 2017

Spiced Blackberry & Pear Lattice Crust Pie

This homemade pie is decorative as well as delicious.  Using lightly spiced seasonal fruits, this Blackberry & Pear Lattice Crust Pie is low in refined sugar, easy to make and equally good served with custard, cream or ice cream. 

How to make a lattice crust pie

I'll be honest, my baking antics in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen didn't quite run to plan this week.  'The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry', as John Steinbeck wrote, seems such an appropriate phrase.

Continuing on with my GBBO 'bake along' antics, I knew that I wanted to give Portuguese Tarts a try as soon as I realised that the remaining bakers would be tackling them in 'the tent'.  It seemed to be the perfect bake for us to attempt particularly because each week, when I visit my parents, we share a pack of (dare I say shop bought!) egg custards.  

Having never tried, let alone made, the Portuguese counterpart to our English egg custard, I scoured my recipe books and made a batch of Portuguese Tarts from scratch which we chose to customise with a swirl of melted chocolate!   Although unplanned, they look pretty perfect for Halloween celebrations in my mind!  

Portuguese custard tarts finished with a custard swirl.

But, and here lies the rub, despite looking great they just didn't seem 'right' despite using a recipe from a reliable source.  It may have been something to do with folding meringue into the custard mixture just before being baked, which, had I watched the episode more closely and listened to my instincts I may have spent more time in trying to find another recipe!  Being a huge fan of custards it'll be a bake I return to in the future, and baking along with the Great Bloggers Bake Along I have a collection of Portuguese Tart recipes to turn to, such as these Portuguese Custard Tarts Made Easy from my blogging buddy Jacqui!

So, getting to the point, our planned GBBO inspired bake this week wasn't good enough to share with you and so we took inspiration from the Signature Challenge of decorative savoury pies.  And I'm sure the observant amongst you will be saying, "but that's not a savoury pie!"  This is true, but having some blackberries and pears which were needing to be used it seemed more appropriate to put the fruit to good use and produce a sweet decorative pie instead.

Filled with autumn fruits this Spiced Blackberry & Pear Lattice Crust Pie is perfect comfort food.

Now, although I say 'sweet' this homemade lattice crust pie contains relatively little added sugar simply because it really doesn't call for it.  All of the fruit used in this pie (blackberries, pears and an apple), is the sort that can be eaten straight out of the fruit bowl and is therefore sweet enough. So other than a little icing sugar used in the pastry and a sprinkling of caster (or granulated) sugar over the pastry lattice crust, the vast majority of the sugar in this bake is perhaps what you would describe as being 'natural'.    

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Baking Crumbs - October 2017

Welcome to October's #BakingCrumbs linky!  This is the place for bloggers to share their baking recipes, and non-bloggers to find new recipes to whet their appetite.  This post contains a full round up of September's bakes and I also highlight what I made from the collection!  

September's #BakingCrumbs round up

With September having drawn to a close I can now bring you the second monthly round-up of Baking Crumbs!  September saw 26 delicious bakes linked up, from fancy cakes and scrummy biscuits to breads and even savoury bakes.  Being in the throws of this year's GBBO series here in the UK, many of the bakes were inspired by the weekly challenges faced by the bakers in 'the tent', whilst other bakes were clearly influenced by seasonal produce.

Once again can I say a huge 'thankyou' to everybody for linking up your wonderful bakes, it's such a pleasure to come and admire drool over your bakes as well as read your recipes.  As for deciding which of the bakes to recreate in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen, well it's certainly not been any easier this month, though I have come across a great way of deciding what to bake this month!  Do keep reading to find out how I decided 😊.

If you're a blogger, the linky for October's #BakingCrumbs is now open (you can find it towards the bottom of the post), where, for the duration of GBBO, you're welcome to add up to 3 bakes!

And if you're not a blogger, do check out the bakes which whet your appetite by simply clicking on the recipe title in green!  You can also find out about the recipes linked up this month by clicking on the thumbnail images in the 'linky' towards the bottom of the post.   

But just before we check out all of the amazing bakes from last month, don't forget to check out our Dr Oetker Baking Bundle giveaway containing over £50 of vegetarian baking products!  I hate for you to miss out on all of the baking fun (NOW CLOSED)!


#BakingCrumbs Round-Up September '17

 

Fancy Cakes 

 

Fancy Showstopper cakes

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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Chocolate Orange Steamed Puddings

These mini Chocolate Orange Steamed Puddings are the perfect dessert for the colder months!  They're light yet comforting, and are packed with flecks of real chocolate and orange zest.  They're easy to make and are delicious served with a simple chocolate sauce!
 
How to make a steamed pudding flavoured with the popular chocolate orange combo.

If you watched Pudding Week on GBBO a few days ago I'm sure you will have felt that the signature bake of 'steamed school pudding' was perfect for the colder and darker autumn days we're starting to get.  They're warming and comforting, just like a great big hug in a bowl.

But if you were bedazzled by the 'ornamental trifle terrines' the bakers made for their showstopper challenge, you may be interested in checking out our Raspberry and Glitter Freestanding Trifle that we made a year or two ago!

Raspberry & Glitter Freestnding Trifle

Even though my recollections of steamed puddings at school were of heavy rib-stickers like Spotted Dick and Jam Roly-Poly, Prue and Paul were looking for a pudding that was light and definitely not stodgy.  I'd like to think that our mini Chocolate Orange Steamed Puddings fitted the bill perfectly, despite being made individual rather than as a family sized dessert, they were certainly deliciously light yet comforting.

Steamed pudding is the perfect dessert for the colder months
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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Dr Oetker's Bake in the Box + Giveaway!

Find out about Dr Oetker's latest product, Bake in the Box loaf cakes!  And why not enter the Dr Oetker Baking Bundle Giveaway, valued over £50, where you could win some of their Bake in the Box loaf cakes as well as loads of other amazing baking products! (GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED)

How to make an easy loaf cake

As much as I love to bake, with all of the creaming, sieving and folding that comes with making a cake, there are those occassions, like most people, where I want to enjoy the pleasure of eating a cake but simply don't have the time to bake!

So when the lovely people at Dr Oetker contacted me asking if I'd like to try their new Bake in the Box loaf cakes, I jumped at the chance.  I was fascinated to know what they were like, if they'd actually be quicker and easier than making a cake from scratch, and of course if they tasted as yummy!

Dr Oetker's Bake in the Box loaf cake

If you too would like to try Dr Oetker's Bake in the Box loaf cakes do keep reading because we're super excited to be offering a Dr Oetker's Baking Bundle worth over £50 to one lucky reader, entry via a Rafflecopter!  There are so many amazing baking products in the bundle along with some Bake in the Box loaf cakes!

Dr Oetker's Bakers Bundle Giveaway
Product images with thanks to Dr Oetker

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Salted Caramel Pie with Chocolate Sauce!

This Salted Caramel Pie is very easy to make & doesn't require a sugar thermometer.  The yin-yang flavour combination of the salted caramel is further enhanced with the dark chocolate pieces peppered through the biscuit base and the 2 ingredient chocolate sauce to serve.  It can be made ahead of time making it the perfect dessert for dinner parties!
 
An easy Salted Caramel Pie recipe, served with a dark chocolate sauce.

This week's GBBO episode centred around the sweet luscious treat of caramel, a first for the series.  There were enough millionaires slices with thick layers of homemade caramel to keep those with a sweet tooth very happy!

The bakers in the GBBO tent were charged with making a caramel for their signature bake of 18 millionaires slices which were firm enough to hold their shape, but not too firm for it to become chewy when eaten.  It was clearly quite a technical challenge with the vast majority of them using a sugar thermometer, waiting for the mixture to reach soft ball stage.

But what if I tell you that the caramel in this Salted Caramel Pie recipe is really easy to make, and that it holds its shape without having to boil the sugar and cream mixture to a precise temperature, with your fingers crossed hoping that the caramel filling doesn't ooze out in front of your dinner guests once it's sliced into!

Are you ready to learn the secret of this easy homemade Salted Caramel Pie?  And when I tell you, feel free to share it with your friends and family, or even shout it from the roof tops!

How to make a salted caramel pie
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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cottage Loaf with Pesto

The Cottage Loaf is a British classic.  The dough is shaped with one ball positioned ontop of the other and is baked in a hot & steamy oven to create a wonderful crust.  This Cottage Loaf  recipe with added Pesto contains the delicious flavours and aromas of pesto making it perfect for cheese sandwiches, or even served with a tomato soup, for instance.

How to make a cottage loaf flavoured with pesto, perfect used in cheese sandwiches or with a tomato soup for instance.

With a blink of an eye week 3 of GBBO has passed.

I have to confession.  No, I'm not warming to Neil Fielding, but rather I was in two minds whether to bake along with the show this week!  You see, as much as bread is very much a staple in our household, particularly for Mr E, and despite the fact that I love making our own homemade bread by hand feeling the change in the dough as it morphs from a craggy lump of flour and water to a glossy and stretchy dough, my increasingly unstable & painful wrists have other ideas.  And as for the stand mixer which was bought specifically to help me make bread, let's just say it definitely needs some lessons from Mr Paul Hollywood despite arriving with a dough hook!

Cottage Loaf is a British Classic recipe

My bread making efforts this past year have largely been restricted to no-knead loaves, so just as I was beginning to think that I would be watching fellow bloggers bake from the side-lines my knight in shining armour (rusty!), Mr E, took hold of the bread making reins to make this Cottage Loaf flavoured with pesto.

Cottage loaf recipe

Over to Mr E.

I made sure I fingered my loaf well!  😀

Seriously though, even though there was a lot of hilarity about this in the episode on Tuesday night as well as An Extra Slice, Angela explained that it helps to secure the two balls of dough together.   It turned out to be a really tasty loaf with a wonderful crust and I must admit it wasn't particularly difficult to make.  Though, a bit of extra practice fingering my loaf would probably make it sit up straight!

How to shape a cottage loaf

A couple of tips and thoughts when make homemade bread:

  • Don't be afraid to allow your bread to proove in the fridge, either overnight or throughout the day.  Although most recipes state to place the kneaded dough in a warm place to encourage the yeast to work, creating carbon dioxide and therefore allowing the dough to rise, by placing it in the fridge this process still happens.  Yes it's a much slower proove, but that extra time not only allows you to get on with other tasks as well as producing a much tastier loaf!
  • Use something other than clingfilm to cover your dough when it's set aside to proove. We all know that plastics are causing serious harm to our planet, so why not use one of the many other alternatives.  A shower cap, purchased just for making homemade bread which can easily be wiped clean and used time and time again, can be used to cover both small and large bowls.  Alternatively use a plate to cover the bowl or even a clean teatowel.  A large upturned mixing bowl is also a great item to cover a shaped round loaf, like this cottage loaf, during its second proove.   
  • Be aware that it's entirely possible that you may need to knead your bread dough for longer than 10 minutes (or what ever your recipe suggests).  It all depends on your technique and speed.  Use the windowpane test to check that the dough is ready to be prooved.
  • The windowpane test checks to see if the bread dough is ready to be prooved.  Simple take a lump of dough a little smaller than a golf ball and begin to gently stretch the dough between both of your hands.  Turn the dough a little as you do so. If the dough becomes paper thin without tearing, almost thin enough to see through, just like a windowpane, it is ready to be prooved .  Check out this Youtube video showing the windowpane test in action.  And this Youtube Video takes the windowpane test to another level, explaining the role of gluten in breads and other baked products.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers

You may know these Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers as hand pies or even parcels.  They're easy to make, and the lightly spiced apple filling is encased in a delicious cream cheese pastry. They're the perfect bake for the autumn months.

Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers recipe with a cream cheese pastry

Now that the seasons are changing and it's becoming clearly more autumnal as each day passes, with the chillier, shorter days and the leaves beginning to turn all shades of red, many of us are starting to be drawn towards comfort foods.

For me, being a girl with an obvious sweet tooth (just check out my recipe index and I'm sure you'll soon agree), comfort food can be anything from pies, crumbles, steamed puddings to rich fruit cakes.

How to make Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers

The great thing about autumn as I see it, other than the fact that it's a whole lot of fun to walk through piles of crisp, freshly fallen gold and russet leaves (I know, I'm such a big kid!) is the huge range of seasonal fruit and vegetables available.  From blackberries and pears, to pumpkins and squashes, and beets.  And of course it's the start of the apple season too!

If you're looking to rustle up a few seasonal bakes, here are some ideas from the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen for inspiration (just click on the image to be taken to the recipe).  If beetroot is your thing do check out this collection of 14 brilliant beetroot recipes too, but if you're looking for ways to use apples, then keep reading as I will not only share with you my Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnover recipe but a further 13 apple recipes from some top food bloggers.       

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