Sunday, 23 July 2017

Buttery Shortcrust Apple Turnovers

I love shortcrust pastry, especially when it's crisp,  buttery and flaky.  So when I saw a recipe on Food Wishes for what Chef John called Buttercrust pastry I thought I would like to try it, instead of my usual shortcrust, for some apple turnovers.  I have made apple turnovers before, but that was using puff pastry.  They were very good, but I always prefer shortcrust, so this was a good opportunity to try out this recipe.

For the filling I used Bramley apples, which are cooking apples and are very tart.  Granny Smith or any other green, tart, apple would be fine.  Of course any apple of your choice would be ok too.  I also added cinnamon and cooked the apples in some butter and sugar with the cinnamon, until soft and most of the liquid had been cooked out.

It is imperative to let the pastry dough rest for at least an hour.  I left mine for two hours.  The recipe calls for more water than I might otherwise have used, but that certainly makes rolling out easier.  

The turnovers turned out very well indeed, with a lovely, crisp, pastry case.  The filling retained some tartness, and had the sweetness of the sugar as well as the hit of cinnamon.  Altogether they were very good indeed.  

Quite easy to make and the recipe is simple and unlikely to fail, so I recommend this one to all.

Buttery Shortcrust Apple Turnovers
                            Buttery Shortcrust Apple Turnovers - Video
For the pastry:
  • 256g plain flour
  • 113g ice cold butter, cut into 16 cubes
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 90ml ice cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
For the filling:
  • 700g apples(before peeling)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 30g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 28g butter
  • A little water, if necessary
  • juice o a lemon to stop the apples oxidising(optional)
  • Egg wash
  1. In a food processor place half the flour.
  2. Add the cubed butter.
  3. Add the remaining flour, sugar and salt.
  4. Pulse in short bursts until the butter has been broken down and there are pea sized lumps.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl and then add the water.
  6. Pulse, in slightly longer bursts, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  7. Scrape down again and pulse for a couple of seconds more.
  8. Turn the mixture onto a work surface, it will be all crumbs,  and use your hands to squeeze it together until it forms a nice pastry ball.  
  9. Mop up any loose crumbs and form the dough into a disc.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least one hour ( I did two hour, so my filling could cool down as well).
  11. Peel the apples and core them.
  12. Cut them into small cubes, tossing in lemon juice if you wish to stop them browning as you peel the others.
  13. Place the butter into a large frying pan and heat until melted and starting to brown(don't have the heat too high).
  14. Add the apples and toss to coat in butter.
  15. Allow the apples to cook and release the juices.
  16. Cook until the juice is bubbling nicely and then add the sugars.
  17. Stir around to mix the sugar into the apples.
  18. As the juices begin to reduce sprinkle over the cinnamon and continue to cook until the liquid has just about disappeared. (if you have the softness you want in the apples you can strain off excess juice).
  19. Place the mixture onto a plate and allow to cool.
  20. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F
  21. Line baking trays(I used two, to hold two turnovers each) with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  22. Divide the pastry dough into four equal parts.
  23. Roll out into roughly 8 inch circles and place a quarter of the apple mixture in the centre.
  24. Fold one half of the pastry over the apples and press down against the other half of the pastry, but leaving a gap around the edge.
  25. Press the top pastry edge down on to the bottom pastry.
  26. Fold the overlapping part of the bottom pastry over on to the edge of the top pastry, pressing down.
  27. Using a finger and thumb of one hand and a finger of the other pinch the edge together, making dimples.
  28. Place the turnovers onto the baking trays and brush them with egg wash.
  29. Sprinkle some granulated sugar over the top.
  30. Make three small slits into the top of each turnover.
  31. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry has gone a lovely golden brown colour and the sugar on top as melted in.
  32. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before trying to eat.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Vanilla Mantecadas

Yesterday I discovered Mantecadas, having never heard of them before.  I saw some photos on Pinterest and that piqued my interest.  So I started to look for some recipes and read up a little on the origin.  Mantencadas seem to come in various forms and are from Spain.  The ones I saw were a Mexican variation, so that is what I am making today.

They are a bun, baked in a muffin tin.  The batter is quite loose and has instant yeast in it, so that will make them rise well and will make the texture different from muffins or cupcakes.

The recipe is simple doesn't require much mixing.  In fact I think rather less mixing than I did would actually make the tops more rounded than mine.  I was torn between vanilla and orange as the flavouring to use.  But the orange extract that I have seemed very strong and I didn't want to overpower the buns, so I opted for vanilla.  As my first attempt I decided to make 6, but in the event I had a little batter left over so made a couple of mini loaf shaped ones too.

The results are a lovely, light, bun/cake that is springy to the touch and very tasty to eat.
Vanilla Mantecadas

                                       Vanilla Mantecadas - Video
  • 125g plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, large USA
  • 120ml milk
  • 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant/easy bake yeast
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  1. Line a 6 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and then add the sugar and whisk again until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and milk and whisk to combine.
  4. Gradually add the oil and mix to combine.
  5. In a bowl mix the flour, yeast, baking powder and salt.
  6. Gradually add those dry ingredients into the egg mixture and mix until just combined.  Don't over mix.
  7. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/ 400 F.
  9. Pour the batter into the paper cases until it is just below the top of the cases.
  10. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sticky Malt Loaf

When I first started my blog about 3 years ago one of the early recipes was for a Sticky Malt Loaf.  I recently had a question on my youtube channel as to whether I had ever made such a loaf, as  a lady in Australia said that her Mum loved 'Soreen Malt Loaf'.  Well this is as near to that proprietary product as I can get, and I thought it would be an ideal time to make it again, with a video.  But for this attempt I have slightly changed the recipe to try to get an even stickier and richer loaf.

It is a very simple loaf to make, and doesn't have too many ingredients, but the result is very pleasing on the palate, with the richness of the malt and black treacle flavours. The top of the loaf may split as the batter rises, but that is fine, it often happens with loaf cakes, such as Madeira.

If black treacle is not available in your location then molasses will work as a very good substitute.

Having baked the loaf and brushed some additional malt extract over the top I let the loaf cool and then cut into it.  What a wonderful flavour it has, and so very moist.  It can be stored, as I mentioned, and it will get stickier, but it can also be frozen(in slices if you wish).  So this is ideal to make and have available for any time you wish. 

I should add that you can use different fruits, such as dates and prunes, chopped into small pieces, but I love raisins and sultanas.
Sticky Malt Loaf
                                      Sticky Malt Loaf - Video
  • butter for greasing the loaf tin
  • 125ml black tea
  • 150g malt extract, plus extra for glazing
  • 35g black treacle(or molasses)
  • 100g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 100g raisins
  • 100g sultanas
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt.
  • 1 tbsp of flour to coat the dried fruit.
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/320F
  2. Grease and line the base and sides of a 2lb(900g) loaf tin
  3. Gently warm the malt extract, black treacle and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.  Do not allow to get hot, just warm is needed to make a smooth pouring liquid.
  4. Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  5. Pour the malt mixture into the bowl and add the black tea, then stir to combine into a batter.
  6. Add the beaten eggs and mix into the batter.
  7. In a bowl place the raisins and sultanas and sprinkle over the tablespoon of flour then mix to coat the fruit.
  8. Add the fruit to the batter and mix to combine.
  9. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 60 minutes.  If the top starts to brown too quickly you can lightly cover it with foil.
  10. Test the loaf with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.  If not bake a little longer.
  11. Remove from the oven.
  12. Allow to cool for a few minutes then remove from the loaf tin and take off the paper.
  13. Place on a cooling rack and brush some slightly warmed malt extract over for extra stickiness.
  14. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Light Almond Cupcakes

Today's recipe is for a cupcake.  This one has a lovely almond flavour and is very light.  I decided not to put buttercream or frosting on the top, as people can decide for themselves if they want that.  For me the light little cake is good enough as on its' own.

To make them lighter than usual I separated the eggs and whisked the whites with sugar until almost stiff peaks.  Due to something, maybe the heat mine didn't reach stiff peaks, but almost got their.

Then it is a question of folding the ingredients together to make the batter.

Mine turned out very nicely and they taste great, so I can recommend them as a very easy to bake cake.
Light Almond Cupcakes
Light Almond Cupcakes - Video
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 100g butter, melted and cooled
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 medium egss, separated into whites and yolks(large in USA)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 25g ground almonds
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/325F
  2. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  3. In a bowl whisk the eggs whites, adding the salt, until they are foamy.
  4. Continue whisking, gradually adding the sugar, until they reach stiff peaks.
  5. In a separate bowl put the egg yolks, melted butter and almond extract then whisk until combined.
  6. Gradually fold in the egg whites|(don't worry if the mixture seems to separate it will come together), trying not to knock the air out.
  7. Mix the flour and ground almonds together and add to the wet mixture, folding in until all is combined.
  8. Divide the batter into the paper cases, evenly, and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the cupcakes have risen and are springy to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Yorkshire Parkin - A spicy cake with oats.

I have made Yorkshire Parkin before, and it is on my blog.  But on that occasion I was not doing videos.  Recently I had a request, on Youtube, to make Yorkshire Parkin so I thought I would make it again.

Parkin is a big tradition in Northern England, particularly Yorkshire, and is usually eaten in the autumn, around Guy Fawkes(Bonfire) Night which is 5th November.  Being spicy, with ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice it is ideal for that time of year.  But I think it is also good at any time, either as a cake or as a dessert with custard or vanilla sauce.  In fact I think it is is a good alternative to sticky toffee pudding.

There are different versions of the cake, with different proportions of oats to flour etc.  For mine I used a recipe I found on About Food, which now seems to be The Spruce and decided to follow that again for this version.

I, of course, could not resist cutting a piece of my effort, even though it is best left for about 3 days in an airtight container.  It can also be left of up to a week before eating.  I can report that the taste is simply phenomenal and is only going to get better as the texture change and the rich flavours develop during the next few days.

With ginger, nutmeg, mixed spice, molasses, golden syrup and dark brown muscovado sugar you can just imagine the wonderful aroma that fills the room as it bakes.  

I made a very simple vanilla sauce to go with mine.

Yorkshire Parkin
                                      Yorkshire Parkin - Video
  • 8 oz/220g soft butter
  • 4 oz/110g soft, dark brown sugar
  • 2oz / 55g black treacle/molasses
  • 7oz / 200g golden syrup/ corn syrup
  • 5oz/ 120g medium oatmeal
  • 7 oz/ 200g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Heat the oven to 275°F/140°C/gas 1 Note:(I used 120C Fan instead)
  2. Grease an 8" x 8"/ 20cm x 20cm square cake tin and line base with parchment paper.
  3. In a large heavy-based saucepan melt together the butter, sugar, treacle, golden syrup over a gentle heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil, you simply need to melt these together.
  4. In a large, spacious, baking bowl stir together all the dry ingredients. 
  5. Gradually add the melted butter mixture stirring to coat all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Gradually, beat in the eggs a few tablespoons at a time. 
  7. Finally add the milk and again stir well.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1½ hours until firm and set and a dark golden brown.
  9. Remove the parkin from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
  10. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to ensure that it is freed and will be easy to turn out.
  11.  Once cool store the Parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of 3 days if you can resist eating it, you can even leave it up to a week before eating and the flavors really develop and the mixture softens even further and become moist and sticky.
  12. The Parkin will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Paradise Loaf Cake

I was prompted to check a recipe on the Marks and Spencer app, which I have on my tablet, for a Paradise cake.  Made with banana, pineapple, sultanas and pecans, with added flavour from cinnamon and ground ginger and topped with some frosting it seemed an ideal recipe. The recipe calls for a 2lb/900g loaf tin, but I think an 8 inch round would work quite well too.

For mine I decide the loaf tin would suffice.  I also adapted the recipe very slightly, using some butter instead of the full amount of oil suggested.  I also calculated the amount of pinepple, without juice, from the suggested 216 gram tin on pineapple chunks.

The recipe is simple to make by mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl the wet in another and then mixing the two before adding the fruit and nuts.  All very easy.  

Then it just needs to be baked and cooled before adding some frosting.  I decided on buttercream, rather than butter and cream cheese, and I don't think that detracts from the end result in any way.
Paradise Loaf Cake
                                       Paradise Loaf Cake - Video Ingredients:
For the cake:
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 90ml of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 large eggs(XL in USA)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 140g pineapple chunks(weight after draining juice from tin) each chopped into 4 pieces
For the buttercream:
  • 200g softened unsalted butter (you can use 100g butter and 100g cream cheese)
  • 200g icing sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4
  2. Grease and line a 2lb/900g loaf tin
  3. In a large bowl mash the bananas.
  4. Add the oil, butter, eggs and, vanilla extract and mix together( I used a hand mixer).
  5. In another bowl place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt and whisk to mix together.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and beat on a slow speed until all is combined.
  7. Add the pineapples, sultanas and pecans and mix with a spatula until they are all combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin.
  9. Bake in the oven for an hour, until the cake has risen and a skewer in the centre comes out clean(if it doesn't return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes and test again.
  10. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Place the 200g butter into a bowl and sieve in the icing sugar.  
  12. Beat until combined into a nice, smooth buttercream.
  13. Place the buttercream into a piping bag, with a nozzle attached,  and pipe over the cake.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Moist Coconut Pound Loaf Cake

My sister in Canada simply loves coconut.  She asked about a coconut cake, that may I could make when I visit later in the summer.  So I looked around and found several loaf cakes that looked quite good.  But I actually opted to, very slightly, amend a recipe on Lovefoodies.  The adjustments were really more to do with converting to metric from cup measurements.

The cake itself is moist, due to the use of a thick coconut milk as part of the flavouring, rather than simply to use desiccated coconut.  I actually checked various coconut milk options and found that you really have to look at what you are buying.  There seems to be 'thin' and 'thick' versions the first with much less saturated fat in it.  I used the thick version as I thought it would have more flavour.

With a simple recipe this is easy to make and the resultant cake is delicious and moist.  Once cooled it can be sliced and enjoyed with afternoon tea, or maybe for elevenses if you are in the UK.

I am sure I will be making this when I visit Canada and my sister will enjoy it immensely.
Moist Coconut Pound Loaf Cake

                          Moist Coconut Pound Loaf Cake - Video
For the cake:
  • 170g softened, unsalted, butter
  • 170g coconut milk
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the topping: (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk 
  • 15g desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp warmed rapsberry jam
  • 15g desiccated coconut
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F
  • Grease and line a 2lb/900G loaf tin
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer(can be done with a hand mixer, or by hand), place the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  • Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together.
  • Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and add half thecoconut milk as well.
  • Beat on slow until combined.
  • Add the remaining flour and coconut milk and beat on slow until combined. 
  • Pour the batter into the loaf tin and level it off.
  • Bake in the oven for 60 minutes, until the cake has risen and a skewer in the centre comes out clean.  If the top seems to be browing too quickly cover it with some aluminum foil to complete the baking.
  • Remove from the oven and leave for a couple of minutes.
  • If doing a topping either poke as series of holes into the cake and brush the coconut milk over the top and then cover with desiccated coconut. If doing with raspberry jam let the cake cook completely then spread the jam thinly over the top and sprinkle coconut over it.