Saturday, 31 December 2016

Best Bakes 2016

Looking back at the popular best bakes on Only Crumbs Remain during 2016.

Best Bakes 2016 on Only Crumbs Remain
 
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!




Vegetarian chicken and Leek Pie

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!



Apple Roses with a Cream Cheese Pastry

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.




Vegan Chocolate Orange Macarons, made with Aquafaba

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!





Wensleydale Cheese Tart

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.




Vegetarian Christmas Plait

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!




Lemon Mousse Cake made with aquafaba

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.




Bavarian Slices

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.





Traditional Yorkshire Curd Tart

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! 😊




Illusion Cake with Jelly Beans

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!








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.)

A tasty & easy to make vegetarian savoury plait, which is packed with a variety of vegetable proteins.  It is delicious served both warm as a main meal with a medley of vegetables or cold in a buffet spread. The crispy quinoa crust surrounding these vegetaraian arancini (risotto balls) contrasts well against the soft starchy risotto as well as bringing extra nutrition to the meal.  The garlic butter within adds extra flavour. These individual vegetarian pies are inspired by the Lancashire hotpot.  The straightforward hotwater crust pastry is filled with layers of potato, quorn and carrot & swede mash.

  
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 😊
Made with Quorn pieces and a mixture of vegetables, these vegetarian 'pork' pies are a must try.




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.

Perfect for the coming colder months, this easy to make beer cake is low in fat & packed with flavour courtesy of the dates, walnuts, spices and 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!
Cookie Monster Cupcakes, are a fun and easy bake.


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!
These mini Christmas Cakes are perfect as a edible gift at Christmas time, or as part of a delicious homemade food hamper. These 6 easy to make fondant Christmas characters & shapes make great toppers for cakes, large and small.  They can easily be customised to your own ideas and are great fun to create as a family activity. This delicious homemade fudge, with its two tone colour scheme, is flavoured with almond extract, toasted flaked almonds and cherries.  It is reminiscent of the classic Bakewell Tart, though in the form of fudge!.

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!    

Asparagus works really well in these individual vegrtarian muffins alongside the faux ham, egg and cheese. This traditional dessert was enhanced with the introduction of thyme into the pastry, a flavour which works really well with lemon. These easy to make cupcakes use the melting method, and result in a cupcake which is light, soft & flavoursome with chocolate and a hint of Pepsi. This delicious traditional Brazilian dessert is easily made with just four store cupboard ingredients and is packed with coconut flavour. This easy dessert, with creamy cheesecake like curds, colourful berries and contrasting texture courtesy of the almond crumble, is a traditional Indian dessert and certainly one to try.

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.......  

Apricot & Orange Frangipane Tart



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, 








         




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18 comments:

  1. What a lovely array of bakes Angela! I particularly love the look of your lemon mousse cake, it is so pretty. Your Wensleydale cheese tarts look so delicious too!

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    1. Thank you Lucy. Those simple piped 'blobs' (for want of a technical word!) on the Lemon Mousse cake are so effective aren't they - and blinking easy to do thankfully. Ooh gosh, the Wensleydale tart is delicious, and even more so with a little onion chutney beneath the cheese filling!
      Thanks for your lovely comments,
      Angela x

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  2. Happy New Year Angela! I love looking at and reading about all your bakes but my favourite bake without a doubt right now has to be your baked Bengal curds. I made them a couple of weeks ago and they were amazing - a great alternative to cheesecake! I got a DSLR camera in the middle of last year but still have so much to learn so I've also just signed up to the A Year With My Camera course. Good luck with all your plans this year x

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    1. Happy New Year Corina :-)
      Aw thankyou so much :-) I'm so glad you enjoy the Bakes Bengal Curds as much as I. It's such an exostic name for an easy dessert which tastes just like cheesecake!
      Yeah! I'm so glad to hear that you've signed up Corina, it really does seem such a friendly, helpful and supportive group.
      Thanks for your lovely comments,
      Angela x

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  3. what a brilliant round-up! Those roses are superb - in fact all your bakes are amazing! All the very best for 2017 xxx

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    1. Thank you Rebecca :-) I loved realising how easy those Apple Roses were to make - they're so effcetive!
      Happy New Year to you too xx
      Angela x

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  4. A great year!

    Thanks for continuing to support Meat Free Mondays this year.

    Happy New Year and all the best for 2017.

    Jac
    x

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    1. Thank you Jacqueline :-)
      No, thankyou - it's a really great linky,
      Happy New Year to you and your family too,
      Angela x

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  5. Happy new year Angela. Wow so many delicious bakes. I also did a year round up and it was lovely to look back and find recipes that I had forgotten about. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    1. Happy New Year Kirsty, you're right there were ones on there that I'd almost forgotten about! Ah! I'll have to pop over for a look,
      Angela x

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  6. Ooh a lovely selection Angela and my mouth is watering now. Your Wensleydale tarts are the ones that call out to me! Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare this week x

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    1. Thankyou Mandy, I have to admit that those Wensleydale Tarts were particularly scrummy!....and so easy to make!
      Happy New Year Mandy,
      Angela x

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  7. Happy new year, Angela! It has been so lovely to have a look through some of your best bakes of the year. You are a very talented lady! And good luck with your plans for 2017. I'm pleased to hear that more side by side posts are planned - I always love them and find the results so fascinating! I joined that photography group on Facebook last year but failed to do any of the homework (I started halfway through - wasn't the best timing) so this year I am going to try and get properly into it! Glad to hear you are still enjoying your new camera! Eb x

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    1. Happy New Year to you too Eb :-) Aw thank you Eb, you're far too kind :-) Haha, I thought you may have said that or similar about the Side by Side series. I love doing them too, but often I seem to sideline them for a seemingly 'sexier' bake! I have several (and I mean several!) ideas for it's return in my note book, so I just need to be a little more disaplined! Ah, starting half way though the course must have been difficult to even contemplate catching up. Glad to here you're going to resume following it this year. Ooh I am, I completely love my new camera and am asking myself the same question you asked yourself 'why did i wait so long before getting one!'
      Angela x

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  8. I always enjoy seeing your delicious bakes Angela - they look so professional and always styled and presented beautifully. I love the look of those apple roses, and the jellybean cake is very clever (just like you :) )
    thank you also for being a big part of the GBBOBloggers2016 again - you are so lovely to join in and support it xx

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    1. Aw, thankyiu Jenny, you're far too kind! I really enjoy baking, ever since I was a tiny tot baking with my Mum and Grandma. I miss it if I've not baked for a while. I love taking part with GBBOBloggers - besides learning new techniques and becoming aware of different bakes it's such a GREAT & friendly linking :-) ThankYOU for hosting it! :-)
      Angela x

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  9. Happy new year! Lovely to look over your posts - your photos are really beautiful so I can only imagine how good they will be with a DSLR - I think it is a matter of having a good eye as well as a good camera. I love the look of your apple rose tarts and the frangipani but also love all your savoury pies - I got into doing a few of these last year and hope to do a few more this year. I am going to check out that camera group as I really need to improve my camera skills

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    1. Aw thankyou Johanna :-) I'm really looking forward to learning how to use our new camera effectively. It'll be great to have you alongside in the camera group - it really is a very friendly supportive group. Thankyou, I was really pleased with how effective our apple roses turned out -they always seem so effective. Ooh both hubby & I love a savoury pie - especially when it's chlly out. I'm looking forward to seeing what savoury pies you rustle up :-)
      Angela x

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