29 Nov 2013

Crumble Topped Mince Pies - Recipe

We've eaten all the mince pies
 so I guess I'll just have to make some more!
I love mince pies and I love crumble too and these pies are perfect.  They can be eaten on their own, and are delicious warm, but work well with either cream or ice cream.

Delia's mincemeat recipe never lets me down and I make this every year because it isn't too sweet and it never boils over the sides of the pies. I always leave out the peel and almonds though. The sweet pastry is easily made in a food processor.

Fresh from the oven

I only used half the pastry and froze the remainder.  There will also be some crumble left, this too will freeze.

You will need: 12 cup bun tin, greased and mincemeat

Makes: 12 mince pies

For the sweet pastry:

225g plain flour, 115g butter, 50g lard, 25g icing sugar, 1 egg  

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Sift flour into a bowl add the butter and lard. Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar and then the beaten egg. Bring together to form a smooth dough. Place in plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out just over half the pastry to 3mm thickness and cut out circles large enough to fit the base of the tart tins.
3. Place a dessert spoon of mincemeat into each pastry base.

For the crumble topping:

150g fridge cold butter, 150g self raising flour, 75g demerara sugar, flaked almonds

1. Cube the butter and rub into the self raising flour until large flakes are formed.  Add the demerara sugar and stir.
2. Top the mincemeat with crumble and scatter over a few flaked almonds.
3. Place in the oven for 20 minutes until the crumble is golden.
4. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes and then remove and place on a cooling rack.

20 Nov 2013

Mary Berry's Whole Orange Spice Cake

Whole Orange Spice Cake
I took this recipe from Mary Berry's Christmas Collection cookery book which I've had since it first came out in 2006, although there is now an updated version.

It's an easy cake to make but one which requires using a food processor.  My small processor just coped with the amount of batter mix.
The skin was too thick and my orange had to be cooked for an hour or so
The orange should be a thin skinned variety otherwise it won't cook down enough in 20 minutes and will process into hard chunks of orange.

It's a huge cake, well it is for 2 people, I think it will feed 12 easily and because it freezes well without the icing sugar topping, it makes a very inexpensive cake to feed a crowd over Christmas and New Year. If I made the cake again I'd definitely make some type of orange topping rather than the dusting of icing sugar. The cake is very light and moist and I served my cake with double cream.

The star template is reusable and came in an assorted pack from Lidl.

I line the base and sides of my sandwich tins
 to ensure the cake doesn't stick to the tin
The recipe can be found on the Mary Berry website.

9 Nov 2013

Red Onion Focaccia

I'm now getting to grips with the new cooking facility in my kitchen, although the kitchen still isn't finished.....hopefully it will be before Christmas. The glass man has now installed the splash backs, hubby has completed the bespoke task lighting - the electrician is to return to do a few finishing touches and the fitter has a couple of items to complete......it isn't a huge kitchen and it has taken far too long but I'm really happy with my choices.

I decided to have an oven stack which includes a combination steam oven, an all singing all dancing main oven and a warming draw. The combination steam oven is a gem - it cooks and reheats effortlessly.  It does take some getting used to and you have to be careful not to get burnt when the steam is released from the oven door.  I'm still in the learning process but it's great to have some new kitchen toys.

Proving dough in the steam oven is successful, the dough doesn't form a skin and it proves without covering. The bread is cooked on a special setting which uses the fan and also injects steam.

Instructions aren't included below for making the focaccia in a combination steam oven.

You will need:
450g strong white flour
2 teaspoons salt
7g easy blend dried yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil
350ml tepid water

For the topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
285g red onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt

1. Slice the red onions.  Put the two tablespoons of oil into a pan and add the onions. Dampen a round piece of greaseproof paper and place on top of the onions. Leave to cook gently for 10 minutes.
2. Remove the greaseproof paper and add the crushed garlic, stir and cook for a minute. Remove the onions from the pan and transfer to a plate to cool.
3. Place the flour into a mixing bowl, add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other ensuring the yeast and salt do not come into contact with each other.  Add the olive oil and 350ml tepid water, mix to a soft dough.
4. Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 6 minutes in a food mixer.
5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and leave to rise for about 1 hour in a warm place.
6. Line a 25cmx30cm baking tray with baking parchment and oil lightly. Remove the risen dough and place in the roasting tin, stretching to fit.  Cover with oiled clingwrap and leave the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in size.
7. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
8. Dip the fingertips in flour and press down into the dough.
9. Top the dough with the cooled onions. Sprinkle over the sea salt, if using. Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.  Drizzle over more olive whilst warm.

4 Nov 2013

Individual Jumbleberry Crumbles

Individual berry crumbles
I love a good homely crumble and every now and again I like to use individual ramekins instead of making one large pud. This is a very quick pudding - the crumble mix is stashed away in the freezer, the same for the berries, which are fruits from my garden.  I used a mixture of redcurrants, we had loads this year and the birds actually left some for us, only a few blueberries though because the birds ate most of them and strawberries which I froze and aren't any good once thawed because they turn into mush and need to go into some sort of pie or crumble.

We ate ours with a scoop of ice cream, double cream is good too. Hubby doesn't manage to get his beloved Birds custard when I make crumble in ramekins......he really likes custard and pudding and not the other way round.  Sometimes though I could fall out with Birds custard, I really could.

This is an adapted recipe based on Nigella's Jumbleberry Crumbles.

100 grams Self-raising flour
50 grams cold butter (cut into small cubes)
3 tablespoons demerara sugar
100 grams frozen berries
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 teaspoons sugar

You will need: four ovenproof ramekins

1. Put the flour into a bowl with the cubes of butter. Using a large fork mash the butter against the sides of the bowl and into the flour.  This will produce a clumpy crumble. Now mix in the sugar.
2. Preheat the oven to 220°C.  Place the frozen fruit in the ramekins and sprinkle the cornflour and sugar over the top.
3. Top each ramekin with crumble mix, sit the ramekins on a tray and bake for 20 minutes until the filling is bubbling round the sides.