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Pumpkin pie with a twist.

9 Nov

Since i have never made a pumpkin pie, i decided it was now or never and i really fancied giving it a whirl. As i am not really pastry confident just yet ( believe me i need practice or a miracle, whichever comes first), i decided to give my pumpkin pie a bit of a twist. Being a huge fan of desserts and also benefiting from having a very sweet tooth (or cursed, i don’t know which it is really), i decided to combine 2 desserts together to make a delicious tasting sweet treat. So i decided to make a pumpkin pie cheesecake, the base of a cheesecake and the filling of a pumpkin pie. To give this pumpkin pie an extra added bonus, i also decided to use ginger biscuits for my base.

For the base.

  • 85g Butter, melted.
  • 170g  Ginger biscuits, crushed.

For the pumpkin filling.

  • 1  pumpkin
  • 8oz light brown soft sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 350ml evaporated milk

To prepare the pumpkin.

  • Preheat the oven to 160C / 325F / Gas Mark 3.
  1. Place some foil onto a baking tray and lightly oil.
  2. Next cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and place skin side up onto the prepared baking tray.
  3. Bake the pumpkin for 40 minutes.
  4. Once the pumpkin has cooled so it is just slightly warm, remove the flesh from out of it and mash it up.

To prepare the base.

  1. Put the butter into a pan and heat gently until melted.
  2. Add the crushed ginger biscuits and stir well until combined.
  3. Place the mixture into an oven proof dish/container and press down firmly using the back of a spoon, until compact and smooth.
  4. Place into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

To prepare the filling.

  1. In a large bowl beat the eggs together.
  2. Then add the flour, sugar, salt, spices, evaporated milk and the pumpkin and mix together until well combined.

Pour the mixture over the prepared biscuit base and bake for 50-60 minutes 180C / 350F /Gas Mark 4.

Once cooked, remove from oven and transfer onto a wire cooling rack. Once the pumpkin pie has cooled, transfer to the refrigerator. For best results refrigerate over night, unless like me you really can’t wait that long.

This pumpkin pie cheesecake is delicious served on its own or for a really special treat why not top with whipped cream, drizzle with double cream or even serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

This is where i found the recipe for the filling.

Bonfire night goodies.

8 Nov

Bonfire night was good this year, we had a few fireworks at home for the kids and made some yummy bonfire night goodies. First of all i made some Bonfire toffee. After 2 failed attempts it was 3rd time lucky for me. I absolutely love how it turned out and will definitely be making some more. The first failed attempt was due to being careless and chatting on the telephone whilst making the toffee, this is not to be recommended, as it is only a matter of time before it burns, i learnt this the hard way. My second attempt was due to the fact that i had burnt the first batch and i didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I was totally over-cautious and the toffee didn’t get up to a hot enough temperature, although it looked fine, once it had set and i tried it, it was like chomping on sugar and was still quite soft. On the plus side though i did learn a valuable lesson……buy a sweet thermometer instead of guessing. My guess-work paid of better on the 3rd attempt and i was really pleased with the results.

Ingredients
12 oz Brown sugar (Demerara or light brown soft)
4 oz  Butter                                                                                                                                           4 tbsp of water
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp of black treacle

Method
(1) Put all the ingredients into a pan.

(2) Heat slowly, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.

(3) Bring to the boil. Keep stirring so the sugar mixture doesn’t start to burn.

(4) To test if the toffee is ready drop a little into cold water. If it is ready it should separate into brittle threads.

(5) Pour into a container, i used a foil baking tray.

(6) Leave to set and then break into pieces.

I also bought some foil yorkshire pudding sized trays and when i had poured the toffee mixture into it, i then added a lolly stick to each one. Be warned at first the lolly sticks will start to rise back out of the mixture, so just gently keep pushing them back down until they stay put. This took somewhere around 1 or 2 minutes. Leave to set and then enjoy your bonfire toffee lollies.

Keeping with the Bonfire night theme i also made some mini cupcakes. They were all vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Half of the mini cupcakes were topped with tiny little marshmallows and the other half were topped with popping candy. The ones with the popping candy were fine until i turned the oven on to cook something and then the candy started to pop and melt. I guess they need to be kept totally cool and away from any moisture at all. This is something i am going to have to experiment with. Although i will be more than happy to hear from anyone who has any suggestions on how to rectify this problem.

Last but not least i made some cupcakes that were inspired by my favourite pudding. Rhubarb crumble and custard.

Banana and Butterscotch Layer Cake

26 Oct

This moist all in one banana sponge cake is layered with cream, walnuts and sliced banana, and finished with a drizzling of butterscotch sauce. You can make this really quickly in a food processor or just mix it together using a wooden spoon or electric beater in the conventional way. Serve as a delicious dessert cake or as a special tea time treat.

Ingredients

  • 110g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for tins.
  • 250g self-raising flour.
  • 1 level tsp baking powder.
  • 275g caster sugar.
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten.
  • 3 ripe medium-sized bananas, peeled and mashed.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • 55g walnut halves, roughly chopped.
  • 5 tbsp natural yogurt.

Butterscotch sauce

  • 55g Demerara sugar
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 100ml fresh double cream.

Filling

  • 200ml fresh double cream, whipped.
  • 1 ripe large banana, peeled and chopped.

Decoration

  • 55g walnut halves, crumbled into chunks.

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4.
  • Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich tins with butter, line the bases with baking parchment.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
  • Gradually add the eggs and mix until light and fluffy.

  • Add the mashed bananas, lemon juice, chopped walnuts and yogurt and beat for a few seconds.
  • Add the sifted flour and baking powder and mix until well blended.
  • Divide the mixture between the cake tins.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool a little.
  • Remove them from the tins and cool completely on wire racks.
  • Meanwhile make the butterscotch sauce.
  • In a small saucepan, gently heat together all the ingredients , stirring continually with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is bubbling hot (handle this carefully as very hot sugar can cause bad burns). Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

  • To make the filling, gently stir the chopped banana into the whipped cream.
  • Place one of the sponge cakes onto a plate or board and spread over two-thirds of the filling. Then drizzle over half of the butterscotch sauce. Place the second sponge on top of the filling. Then cover the top of the cake with the remaining filling. To finish sprinkle with the crumbled walnuts and drizzle over the remaining butterscotch sauce.

I must admit i am not very fond of bananas at all but i did try a small piece…..ok a medium size piece of this cake and i surprisingly thought it was very tasty. The banana didn’t overpower it like i thought it would and i can honestly say i actually enjoyed it.

Recipe from Magical Christmas market booklet (available via Lidl) Recipe by Lesley Waters

Cake Balls.

13 Aug

Cake balls are a great way to use up any leftover cake you may have. They are simple to make and can be altered to include a wide array of flavours and combinations.   For my cake balls I kept it simple and used milk chocolate but you can use white chocolate and tint it in any colour you like. Maybe they are for a party and you want to co-ordinate them with the party colours or you can also theme them by adding anything from small icing flowers  to edible butterflies. When it comes to the decorating the only limit is your imagination. Cake balls are always a big hit with children and adults alike. Most importantly they taste fantastic.

Here are step by step instructions on how to make Cake balls.

First of all you need to crumble your left over cake into a bowl, these should be quite small and resemble breadcrumbs.  Here I used some chocolate Guinness cake that I had left over from making my Husbands work cake.

Then you need to decide what you are going to use tobind  it together. This is usually buttercream/ frosting and can be flavoured however you like. On this occasion I used some Guinness chocolate buttercream that I had left over. I had to zap it in the microwave for a few seconds as it has melted chocolate in it and this had set quite hard whilst it had been in the refrigerator.Add your buttercream /frosting to the cake crumbs and stir in well.

Once mixed  you now need to get a small amount of the mixture and roll into a small ball. Here I have placed mine onto a sheet of greaseproof /parchment paper. Continue rolling the ball shapes until all of the mixture has been used up. I then pop these into the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.

Next you need to melt some chocolate in a bowl. Once the chocolate is melted, it is now time to coat your cake balls. To do this simply place a cake ball into the chocolate and using a spoon cover the ball in chocolate. Next scoop the cake ball out of the chocolate with the spoon and let the excess chocolate run off. Place the cake ball back onto some greaseproof paper and leave to set. If you decide that you want to add any coatings to the chocolate covered cake balls, I find it best to do this now whilst the chocolate is still tacky. Once you have completed coating them leave them to one side for the chocolate to harden up, that is if you are strong-willed and can resist the temptation to eat them then and there.

The cake ball is a fantastically delicious bite sized treat with its almost truffle like center and its thin hard chocolate coating. Perfect for any occasion or just for pure indulgence.

Here are the cake balls I made. They are topped with hundreds and thousands, white chocolate stars, milk and white chocolate curls and pink glimmer. Like I said before though the possibilities really are endless.

Scones,strawberries and cream.

10 Jul

Well a few days ago I decided to do some baking with my 6 year old son. We needed to decide what to bake and after looking through a few recipe books we decided to bake some rich scones.

Here is the recipe we used. It is perfect if you want something quick, easy and very tasty. This recipe makes 8 rich scones.

  • 225 g (8 oz) Self raising flour.
  • pinch of salt.
  • 50 g (2 oz) Margarine/Butter.
  • 25 g (1 oz) Caster sugar.
  • 50 g (2 oz) Currants/Sultanas.
  • 1 Medium egg (beaten) + added milk making 150 ml (1/4 pint) of liquid.

Here is what we did.

1) Heat oven to 220 C,  425 F, Gas mark 7. Grease a baking tray.

2) Mix flour and salt together, rub in the margarine and then stir in the sugar and the fruit.

3) Add the egg and milk mixture, keeping a little for brushing the tops of the scones.

4) Knead on a floured surface and roll out to 1cm (1/2 inch) in thickness. Cut out into 6.5 cms (2.5″) rounds. Keep re-rolling  and cutting until all the mixture has been used up.

5) Brush the tops with the egg and milk mixture and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

These are the scones fresh from the oven.

What better to accompany the freshly baked scones than strawberries.

These strawberries were homegrown strawberries, grown by my mum. I think these were some of the best  tasting strawberries I have ever tasted.

Don’t forget the cream!

and finally…………. here is my son feeling very proud of himself and sampling the delicious scones he made.

Cherry and Coconut loaf cake.

22 Jun

Here is the recipe for a really scrumptiously yummy Cherry and Coconut cake. It is everything that we dream of in a cake, it is simple to make, moist, tasty and delicious.
The recipe given is for a loaf tin but it could easily be adapted to make a larger cake.

Ingredients.

170g/6oz Baking margarine
140g/5oz self-raising flour
140g/5oz Caster sugar
100g/3 1/2 oz desiccated coconut
170g/6oz glace cherries, quartered
3 medium eggs

1) Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas 4, grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
2) Beat the margarine and the sugar together until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time (beating well between each addition)
3) Sieve in the flour and fold in.
4) Fold in the cherries and the coconut.
5) Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and place into the oven.
6) Bake for 1 hour.

Happy baking……..Enjoy.

Guinness cake.

21 Jun

Well yesterday I made a Guinness cake. This was for my mother and father in-laws. The cake is a chocolate Guinness cake with Guinness and chocolate buttercream and topped with walnut halves. This cake is probably one of the moistest cakes I have ever seen or tasted in my life, it is delicious.

Here are some Guinness cupcakes that I made. These were also equally moist and equally delicious.

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