Month: December 2012

Happy New year

Well this is a first. I’m blogging in the car on our way to Hertfordshire for a New Years Eve dinner with our lovely friends. (Tim’s driving- obviously)

I’ve made a kid friendly chocolate cake, a very adult tiramisu ( thanks Frugal Feeding) and we have wine, champagne and Dr Pepper so were set.

All that’s left to do is wish you all an AMAZING 2013. I know it’s going to be a good year.

See you on the other side.

Love

EmmaMT
xXx

20121231-140028.jpg

Christmas bread and butter pudding.

IMG_7274

Hands up who still has some Christmas cake leftover?

Hands up who’s had enough of it now? Well I’ve got a neat little way to use it up and make it even more delicious second time round!

This bread and butter pudding is really custardy and I have been eating it for my second breakfast everyday since Christmas day!  It’s really comforting and moist. I can’t get enough of it which is a good thing as Tim and the girls aren’t keen which means I’ve nearly eaten the whole thing!! I think there will need to be some serious running going on in January.

Christmas bread and butter pudding

Ingredients

Christmas bread and butter pudding

  • Some Christmas cake (even if it’s a bit stale) sliced up
  • 10-12 pieces of buttered bread (any bread will do. I even used pittas in this one)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 175g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream

How to make Christmas bread and butter pudding

IMG_7257

Start by buttering each slice of bread and cutting it into triangles. It’s okay if the Christmas cake crumbles a bit. You can still use every bit.

IMG_7264

Layer the bread in your dish so the points stick upwards then place the thin slices of christmas cake in between. The depth of your pudding will depend on the size of your dish. Mine is pretty big (22x30cm) but a smaller dish will work just as well.

IMG_7266

Always end with a layer of just bread. By keeping the christmas pudding buried you avoid burnt bits and it gets really moist. The flavours of the cake also seep into the rest of the pudding when it is completely covered.  Set the dish aside.

IMG_7260

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a deep bowl.

IMG_7262

Place the milk, cream and vanilla essence in a pan and heat until it is simmering – not boiling.  Add this to the egg and sugar mix and stir well. Now you have your custard.

IMG_7269

Pour the custard over the bread and cake till it’s completely soaked.

IMG_7270

I like to squash it down with my hands to make sure it’s all saturated. The pudding will taste best if you leave it to soak for 20 minutes but you can pop it into a heated oven straight away.IMG_7271

The oven should be heated to 170ºC and it should take around 40-50 minutes to bake.  Oil a sheet of silver foil and place it over the dish to prevent the top layer burning before it’s baked. Then place the dish in a roasting tin filled  ¾ with water. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the silver foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. It’s done when the custard is set.

IMG_7272

Heat your grill so it’s very hot and give the pudding a liberal sprinkle of caster sugar and grill till the sugar melts. Watch this like a hawk. It will burn very quickly.

IMG_7273

It tastes best warm from the oven with cream, ice cream or custard on the side. I would have liked to show you what this looks like when it was cut into but I managed to throw my camera across the room on Christmas day and now have no working lenses!  But it looks and tastes great. The Christmas cake takes on a whole different texture. It’s soft and raisiny without being too fruitcakey and the best bit is when you come across a hint of nut or alcohol.

enjoy!

Happy Christmas cake bakers

Happy Christmas 2012

Hello,

I wish you all a very merry Christmas. I hope you all have a fantastic time today with your families and get to eat lots of delicious cake.

Love

EmmaMT

XX

Give your mince pies a swirl with this great mince pie recipe

Mince Pie Swirls

For a modern twist on a mince pie these swirls are easy to make. What’s more you can assemble and freeze them ready to bake straight from the freezer on Christmas day. They taste best when warm from the oven with a dollop of cream. I’ve made them 5 times so far – testing the best combinations/ types of mincemeat & pastry / how thick the marzipan should be etc  and I think I’ve really nailed it. My sister tried them and siad “they were the best thing I had made in a long time” I’m not sure if that means they taste really good or everything else I have made recently hasn’t tasted good! I’m going with the deeelish option!

Ingredients

225g Butter at room temperature

460g Self Raising flour

225g golden caster sugar

1 egg (+ 1 egg to make an egg wash)

1 tbsp water

½ table spoon vanilla or Almond extract

Jar of good quality mince meat (I used M&S’ finest one)

150g marzipan

100g flaked almonds

icing sugar to dust

How to make Mince pie Swirls

To make the pastry place all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix until it forms a firm dough. Do the last bit of mixing with your hands. You can use a food processor but make sure you don’t over work the dough or it will become tough. Cover with cling film and leave to firm up in the fridge for 20 minutes. Mince pie recipe
Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and warm your oven up to 180ºC (160ºC fan oven) Knead and roll out the pasty into a large rectangle and set aside

Roll out the marzipan (use icing sugar to stop it sticking to the surface) till it’s really thin. Thin enough to see through.
Lay the marzipan over the dough and roll them together. Mince pie swirl

Spread the mince meat over the pasty. Avoid going too near the edges as it will spill out whilst baking. I cut the dough into a neat square to make it more even to cut. Mince pie swirlRoll the length of pastry, tucking in as you go.

Mince pie swirl
Cut the swirls from the roll around 2cm thick. Use a sawing action, rather than pressing down with a knife when cutting to keep the shape as round as possible. This was one of my first attempts. As you can see they look pretty squishy. If you place the roll in the fridge for half an hour (or even overnight) it will be really firm and a doddle to cut.Mince pie swirl

Mix up an egg and use a pastry brush to cover each swirl with egg wash then cover with almond flakes.

Mince pie swirl

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Leave for a minute or two before transferring from the baking tray to the cooling rack. If you pick them up too early they will break.

Mince pie swirl
Once cooled a little sprinkle icing sugar over the top and serve while still warm.

Mince Pie swirl

Enjoy!

How to make Bauble cookie decorations

Bauble cookies

I love these Christmas Tree bauble Cutters from Eddingtons. Apart from the fact that the set comes with 5 sizes (way more than I could need in one go) but it also comes with ribbon and a little punch for making the holes! It’s available from Amazon.com and I think I’m going to be using them for years to come.

I used the three smaller sizes for gift cookies for our family. I wanted to use all kinds of toppings. I made some with pre-bought sprinkles then started playing with the coloured sugar and decided that was the best and most uniformed look.

How to make bauble cookies.

I made up a batch of Vanilla dough for these cookies and using spacers rolled out the dough so each cookie would be the same thickness.

When you take them out of the oven it’s really important to stamp out the hole in each cookie to hang the ribbon from before you remove them from the baking tray and place them to cool on a rack. If you wait till the cookies are cold to try and make the holes the biscuit will break.

Bauble cookies

Once the cookies are completely cooled, use the same cutter to cut out some rolled out sugarpaste . Make the edges on the reverse slightly damp. Position the bauble shaped sugarpaste over the cookie then rub the top gently with the palm of your hand to smooth it firmly onto the cookie. If you can’t see where the hole is use a toothpick from the back to mark the hole. Use the little punch to create a neat hole (from the front). Leave to dry for around 20 minutes.

How to make bauble cookie decoration

Pipe some royal icing  lines/dots/ stars etc onto each cookie then dip or sprinkle your toppings over it while it is still wet. Leave to dry over night.

Once they are firm enough to handle place the ribbon through the hole and knot it. You can store these cookies in an air tight container for a week or hang them from your tree. They look really cute.

bauble biscuits

Christmas tree bauble cookies

EmmaMT

How to make coloured sugar

How to make sanding sugar Is it me or did Christmas get here quicker this year? I seem to have been even busier than usual and I had planned to be so organised!

In an effort to give more personalised gifts (and cut back on the pennies) I decided that we would give cookies to lots of people this year. As usual these things – like a DIY project – always take longer than you plan for.  I wanted to make some for our extended family and friends as well as teachers, (of which Beau is insisting we give to the four she has in any given week! Where did four come from?) There is also the matter of the class Christmas parties which seem to have me making nearly 100 double chocolate star cookies (for some strange reason there were 100 when I coated them and there aren’t that many now, she says wiping the melted chocolate from her mouth!)

When it came to Tim’s family I knew I wanted to make an extra special effort. It was time to make the bauble shaped cookies I have been thinking about for weeks. Thinking about – but not actually finding the time to get on with! Today I finally got them  finished and in the post. There’s a blog post on them coming right up.

While I was reading through the Cake pops book last week I kept coming across ‘sanding sugar’ which I discovered was an American term for coloured sugar and guess what? It’s really, really easy to make yourself.  This is what I wanted to decorate my bauble cookies with, but at this time of year there are so many uses for it I just had to share it with you.

How to make coloured sugar.

First of all sorry for the dark photos. This is what happens when I am working late at night in a very dark kitchen but HAVE to share this great tip with you right away!

Ingredients

Granulated sugar

food colour gels

cornflour

coloured sugar

  1. Start by placing the granulated sugar into a strong sandwich bag. I’ve just discovered Ikea’s ones that are really tough and have a double seal.
  2. Using a toothpick place a small amount of food colouring gel (not liquid food colour or you’ll get a nasty mess) onto the sugar.
  3. Seal up the bag securely then gently rub the bag until all the sugar has taken the colour. Be careful not to rub too hard as sugar has sharp edges that can easily tear through the bag.
  4. Check that the colour is evenly distributed. Small darker patches won’t dry out so rub them in a little more. If you want the colour stronger or darker add more colouring  and re-blend until it’s perfect.
  5. If the sugar becomes too damp add a little cornflour at a time and shake the bag  thoroughly. Try not to add too much cornflour as it will take some of the shine off of the sugar crystals.
  6. Once the perfect colour has been achieved place the sugar on a baking tray lined with silicon paper and leave to dry out over night. Don’t let your 6 year old near it with her sticky fingers. Darcey said she hadn’t touched it but that definitely looks like Darcey shaped fingerprints in the orange sugar. Don’t you think?
  7. Once it’s completely dry and doesn’t clump together when shaken store it in a very dry, air tight container till you’re ready to use it.

The great thing about this sugar is that you can make as much or as little or as many colours as you like. It’s much more cost effective than buying pre-coloured sugars and you can create the perfect colour palette. Where would you use it?


How to make coloured sugar

Enjoy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: