Looking back at the popular best bakes on Only Crumbs Remain during 2016.
2017 is creeping upon us and with that comes the excitement and anticipation of what the new year will hold. It's also a traditional time to cast our minds back over the previous 12 months, allowing us to remember the highlights of 2016. So, with that in mind I thought it would be interesting to look back through the recipes on Only Crumbs Remain and share the 10 best bakes of 2016, according to statistics, but also a few of our personal favourites.
So without further ado, here are Only Crumbs Remain's Top 10 Best Bakes of 2016! In many ways, these bakes have been chosen by you, the reader, and so really are the most popular bakes! If you find yourself tempted by one of these recipes, just click the on the green recipe name!
So starting off our best bakes countdown are these delicious vegetarian chicken and leek pies. These were such a winner for Mr E & I with the robust vegetarian hot water crust pastry filled with a creamy sauce containing a quorn chicken substitute and leeks. These pies were packed with a delicious and easy to make filling meaning they were far more satisfying than many shop bought versions which seem to be predominantly filled with air!
#9 Apple Roses.
Aren't they pretty! And they're such a perfect bake for Valentine's Day. Or perhaps Mother's day, or even just because! It's amazing how a little bit of pastry and a couple of apples can produce such an effective, and of course delicious, bake! The majority of the apple roses I saw over on Pinterest, which inspired this bake, were made with shop bought puff pastry, a pastry I enjoy along with the next person. But having thoroughly enjoyed some Rugelach which had been made with a cream cheese pastry just a couple of months before, I chose to ring the changes and use a different pastry.
Unless you've heard of aquafaba, I'm sure you'll be surprised to learn that macarons can be enjoyed by vegans and therefore be made without egg whites! These Chocolate Orange Macarons were made during the month of Veganuary, and the process of making them is much the same as making regular macarons. They're definitely a must try! If you've yet to encounter aquafaba, I'm more than sure you'll have some in your kitchen cupboard already! Intrigued? What are you waiting for, go check out the recipe and learn all about the miracle that is aquafaba!
These Wensleydale Cheese Tarts were absolutely scrumptious with its shortcrust pastry, creamy cheese filling and breadcrumb topping. The method lends itself well to allowing the component parts to be prepared well ahead of time, meaning they can be assembled and flashed under the grill just before serving. These open cheese tarts are also amazing when assembled with a layer of caramelised onion chutney, which you can read about here if you like.
Although this vegetarian pastry plait was only shared a couple of weeks ago in the crazy run up to Christmas itself, it has performed amazingly well. I know Mr E will be pleased to see it ranked so highly, having reached the respectable position of number 6 in my countdown, and why, well it's actually one of his favourite bakes that I have shared during the course of 2016. It consists of delicious buttery, flaky, puff pastry which houses a mixture of good vegetarian proteins: mixed beans, two cheeses, and chestnuts. These flavours and textures are supported with the addition of caramelised onions, cranberries and seasoning. Every mouthful is different. And if all that wasn't enough, its delicious both warm and cold, easy to make and looks inviting with the plaited pastry crust. It's really no wonder it's done so well in such a short space of time!
In at number five of our Best Bakes 2016 count down is this deliciously light Lemon & Mousse Cake. It was made to celebrate a dear elderly friend's birthday, after all every birthday should be marked with a cake. Not only was the genoise cake itself beautifully light and airy, it was brought to life with lashings of lemon curd which was not only drizzled over the top of the mousse but was also contained within the light mousse itself. Being made with aquafaba, a miraculous and free (!) vegan egg white substitute, the lemon mousse is free of raw eggs making it safe for many groups in our communities.
#4 Bavarian Slice.
With its flaky puff pastry, creamy custard, sharp raspberries & sweet icing decorated with a classic chocolate feathering who could resist this delicious teatime treat! That was certainly the case when I made a batch to share with my parents for father's day back in June this year. This bake was an absolute winner for us; not only did it stay fresh for a number of hours whilst I went to my clay throwing class, but my parents loved it so much that they made a repeat order! And who can blame them?! It's no wonder it came in at number 4 of my Best Bakes of 2016.
Being a Yorkshire Lass through and through, I was delighted when I noticed this traditional regional bake was in at number 3 of Only Crumbs Remains Best Bakes of 2016. Sadly, despite its ease to make and delicious flavour, it's actually a bake which is seldom seen in bakeries and tearooms, even here in Yorkshire. Yorkshire Curd Tart is traditionally made from curds (think curds and whey, rather than lemon curd, which are easy to make at home), though if you prefer you can substitute the curds for a good quality cottage cheese like the one I made the year previous (if you like, you can read about that here). So, if you've never tried this easy to make regional Yorkshire bake, I encourage you to rectify that and give it a whirl! 😊
This illusion cake, made with jelly beans, was a first for me. It was amazing to learn how those sweets stayed in suspended animation without the need for any hocus-pocus! The cake itself was made in March to mark Only Crumbs Remain's first birthday and consisted of a 3 layered raspberry and white chocolate sponge covered in a delicious white chocolate mascapone frosting before being finished with fruity jelly beans. Yum!
And now for the top spot of Only Crumbs Remain Best Bakes of 2016.........drum roll please maestro!
#1 No Knead Bread.
So sitting proud as punch in my countdown is this amazing bread, which requires no-kneading whatsoever! This no-knead bread recipe has proved to be an incredibly popular post after sharing it back in April. Having seen Paul Hollywood make one on City Bakes, I knew I had to try out the concept of creating a loaf of bread without kneading the dough! Surprisingly it works really well. So much so, it inspired our No-Knead Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia. With the wholemeal flour included in the dough it's a little healthier than the plain white counterpart. Not only is it a great homemade bread recipe for those with arthritis, and similar, but it's also great for busy households who want to enjoy the aroma of homemade without the mess and effort of kneading!
Our favourite bakes of 2016.
So, having seen what has been popular during these past 12 months, according to the stats, I though it'd be nice to ask friends and family which, in their opinion, is Only Crumbs Remain's best bake of 2016. On the face of it you'd think such a question wouldn't be too difficult to answer. How wrong was I! It's seemingly difficult to choose a favourite from 72 delicious vegetarian bakes!
Even though many of my bakes are of the sweet nature (you'll see what I mean if you were to pop into my recipe index!), both Mr E and my Dad chose savoury recipes. Mr E, not only mentioned our Christmas Vegetarian Plait (which occupies number 6 in the Best Bakes list above), but also our Arancini Kievs with a Quinoa Crust, and the Vegetarian Lancashire Hot-Pot Pies (posted in our post of Mock Tudor Pies for GBBO's Tudor Week this year.)
Dad however went for our Vegetarian Pork Pies! Now, as these were made in 2015 strictly speaking he should have chosen something else, but given that they were clearly memorable for him (and us actually) and the fact that they remain a popular post as far as statistics are concerned (being ranked in Only Crumbs Remains all time top 5) ....and of course he's my Dad.... I think we'll allow his choice to stand 😊
As for Mum, well she also fondly recalled the Vegetarian Pork Pies. They clearly made an impression! Eventually though she managed to whittle it down to this Beer Cake, which was packed with flavour courtesy of the dates, walnuts, spices and a local stout.
If the look on our young niece and nephew's face was anything to go by, I'm sure they would opt for these fun Cookie Monster Cupcakes!
A few friends commented on our Mini Christmas Cakes which were topped with cute fondant characters saying that it was the best fruit cake they'd had for a long number of years! Whereas others commented that our Cherry and Almond Fudge was the best yet!
As for myself, well I too found it a difficult question to answer. Perhaps it would be these Vegetarian Croque Madame Muffins with Asparagus which were easy to make, delicious, nutritious and were the very first image FoodGawker (who are notoriously fussy) accepted of my submissions. Or may be this Lemon Meringue Pie with Thyme Pastry, after all who doesn't like meringue (well, other than my husband, Mr E, that is!), or perhaps these fun Chocolate & Pepsi Cupcakes. This Brazilian Coconut Dessert (Quindao) was also memorable being a cuisine I know very little about and proved to be a delicious and easy bake. In the same vain were these Baked Bengal Curds with Macerated Berries. Oh boy they were so good!
But the bake for me which I personally thoroughly enjoyed were these Apricot & Orange Frangipane Tarts. Crisp short sweet pastry encased an almondy frangipane and a layer of orange curd. An apricot sat within the frangipane filling and the whole tart was decorated with flaked almonds and a pretty pastry plait! Yum! But it was more than just a delicious bake, perfect for afternoon tea. It not only allowed me to indulge in my love of pastry and make a pretty plait to decorate the frangipane, but I was also happy with the main photograph's composition (though I acknowledge that the quality of the actual shot isn't perfect). But on a more personal level, it was also the last bake I was able to share with my dear Uncle, before he suddenly left us.......
Looking forward to 2017
I have a few plans for Only Crumbs Remain post wise. I am aiming to dust off and add to my Side by Side baking comparison posts. I thoroughly enjoy carrying out these comparisons and learning from them, but often I find they get sidelined in favour of other vegetarian bakes I may have an overwhelming urge to try! The plan is to post a Side by Side bake monthly, along with a savoury recipe and my usual 'sweet' recipes of desserts, cakes and cupcakes, and pastries.
In the immediate few weeks though I am not only aiming to work through many of my recipes to make them printable, but also make a few improvements to the usability of the site.
Perhaps even more excitingly I have become the proud owner of a DSLR. Thanks to Santa, who is also known as Mr E in this household! And so I am hoping that the images I share here will improve markedly over the months resulting in recipes appearing far more enticing. To help with this challenge I not only have a great step by step book, again courtesy of Santa / Mr E, but I have also joined a group on Facebook called A Year With My Camera. It's already proving to be a friendly and encouraging group of people. It's run by a lady called Emma who, once you're subscribed (it's free!), shares step by step 'tutorials' to help the new photographer become more confident with their camera and ultimately shoot on manual rather than 'auto'. Here's hoping!
Wishing you a happy New Year,