Celebratory Pumpkin Pie

I know what you’re thinking. Pumpkin Pie is not a summer staple. Why did TCK make a Pumpkin Pie to celebrate Canada Day?? (Ya, that’s right, I just abbreviated my own nickname. Boo yah.) Well. As it turns out, around Canadian Thanksgiving and Christmas I spend so much time talking about, and making, Pumpkin Pie that many of my UK friends have come to believe it is eaten by Canadians at every holiday. The logic follows, therefore, that Canada Day would obviously feature this most festive of North American pies.

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Let’s start with the pastry. The original recipe says it makes enough for 6 balls (3 pies if you are using a top crust) but I rolled it into 5. If you have a bigger pie plate than my 8 inch (20 cm) you might even want to cut it down to 4 balls, just in case.)

Pastry Ingredients:
625 g plain flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
450 g lard, room temperature
1 egg
2 tbsp white vinegar
Cold water

In a large bowl, mix the flour (625 g), salt (2 tsp), baking powder (1 tsp), and brown sugar (3 tbsp). Add the lard (450 g).

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Using a pastry cutter, cut in the lard until your mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

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In a 240 ml capacity cup, crack one egg and mix together with 2 tbsp white vinegar. Add cold water until it fills to the 240 ml line. Stir.

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Add the liquid to your dry mixture and stir.

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Form it into evenly sized balls.DSCN5735

Refrigerate until cold (2 hours minimum). Before rolling, warm the pastry up to room temperature by setting on the counter for 1 hour. The balls of pastry freeze well and can also keep in the fridge for up to a week before using.

!!!!Now time for pie!!!!

Pre-heat the oven 180 C fan (200 C non-fan)

Ingredients:
425 g canned pumpkin (1 can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin)
150 g brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3 slightly beaten eggs
300 ml milk
160 ml evaporated milk

Combine canned pumpkin (425 g), brown sugar (150 g), salt (1/2 tsp), and spices. Mix.

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Add the eggs (3), milk (300 ml), and evaporated milk (160 ml). Blend well. The filling will be completely liquid. Set aside.

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On a lightly floured surface, roll out your pastry to a little less than half a centimetre thick. I rather like the saying that it should be the thickness of a £1 coin. You want it to be large enough to hang a centimetre or two over the sides of your pie plate. If your pastry is unevenly shaped, you can cut off excess bits and work them into the gaps. Roll up the sides so they sit nicely on the rim of your pan and either leave as is, press with a fork (like I did), or use some other fun decorative crust technique. I rolled out some extra pastry and used a knife to cut out a maple leaf.

Pour the filling into the crust. Then place it in the oven for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. I turn my pie halfway through the cook time because my oven hates me.

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Set the pie to cool, then chill in the fridge for a few hours or over night. It is fabulous eaten cold with whipped cream. I used to eat it with equal or greater parts whipped cream. Mmmmmm. Healthy!

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Banoffee Pie: The Ultimate Kitchen Heist

They say a name defines you (I’ve no idea if they actually do say that, or who ‘they’ are, but I liked how poignant it sounded) and so it is that I have grown into my self-appointed moniker, The Culinary Klepto. This week, I didn’t just steal a recipe. I stole the whole she-bang. An interloper came into my kitchen, ingredients and recipe in hand, made a Banoffee Pie and >I< am blogging it. Cuz, you know, I put some serious man-hours into eating it. No really, we each ate half a pie in one day.

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No need to heat your oven — this is a no-cook wonder!

Crust Ingredients:
255 g cashews (1.5 US cups)
150 g walnuts; (1.5 US cups) or 255 g almonds (1.5 US cups)
175 g pitted dates (1 US cup)
a pinch of salt

“Toffee” Filling Ingredients:
525 g pitted dates (3 US cups)
240 ml coconut water (left-over from the coconut milk cans)
1 tsp vanilla essence
a pinch of salt

Toppings:
4 bananas
Lemon juice
Coconut cream (to be whipped; see below)
Icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
high-quality cocoa powder, for dusting

Preparation for coconut whipped cream:
Put two cans of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight, in order to separate the watery milk from the more solid cream. When you’re ready to make the cream, quickly flip the cans over without tipping and open. The watery part will now be on the top. Drain that off, saving one cup for the filling and, if not whipping right away, set the cream back in the fridge to keep cold.

Now to make the crust!

In a food processor, blend the cashews (255 g) and walnuts/almonds (150 g/225 g). Continue blending and gradually add the dates (175 g) and a pinch of salt. If dates are not sticky enough, you can add some maple syrup or agave nectar.

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Press the nut/date mixture into a pie plate and set aside.

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In the food processor again, put the dates (525 g), coconut water 240 ml), vanilla essence (1 tsp), and pinch of salt.

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Blend. Yet again, if you have somewhat dry dates, add maple syrup or agave syrup.

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Put your filling into the prepared pie crust. We didn’t think of this until after but I highly suggest adding a layer of banana before putting down the filling.  *nods emphatically* That would amplify the delici-osity. Oh ya, brush the bananas with lemon juice to prevent browning.

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Now take your coconut cream. Put it in a high-sided bowl and add the vanilla (1 tsp) and icing sugar. For the icing sugar, start with 1 tsp and add more to taste. Whip for about 5 minutes, until FLUFFY!

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Top the pie with a layer of sliced bananas then lightly brush them with lemon juice to prevent browning. Afterward, spoon the whipped coconut cream over it!

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Last, but not least. Use a sieve (The Interloper used my wee tea strainer) to dust the pie with cocoa powder.

As an aside, this recipe actually made enough for this pie and 4 mini pies, with some left-overs!

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For best results, chill it a bit so the coconut cream firms up. It looks much nicer once you slice it if it is chilled. We, however, started eating it right away. Breakfast. Snack. Lunch. Snack. Extra snack. Dinner. Bed-night snack. Pie done.

Point is, this picture isn’t the best. So make one, chill it, take a nicer picture, send it to me, and I’ll steal that too 😉 heh heh… just kidding!

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Did I mention this was vegan? Vegan AND raw? No, no I didn’t. Because that would scare off most anyone who isn’t a hippy 😀 It certainly almost scared me off. But, being terribly enlightened and open to new things, I was willing to eat half a pie anyhow 😛

Eeeeenjoy!

Savoury Brioche Couronne

There’s something particularly exciting about borrowing a cookbook. It comes with all of that new book excitement, but you can’t just stick it on the “Shelf of Good Intentions” like you might a book you bought. Nay! The clock is ticking. Any day could be its last. You’ve simply got to start baking before it is whisked away!

And so it was, the Culinary Klepto’s adventure into the world of bread started with a borrowed cookbook and the recipe for Savoury Brioche Couronne found therein. Although, let’s be honest, there is nothing crown-like (French knowledge. BAM!) about my couronne. This is because my flat was too hot, the butter became warmer than room temperature, and the resultant dough was overly sticky. Aesthetics aside, it was DE-LIC-IOUS!

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Heat the oven to 200 C (180 C fan)

Bread Ingredients:
500 g strong white bread flour
10 g salt
10 g instant yeast
4 eggs
170 ml lukewarm full fat milk
250 g room temperature unsalted butter

Filling Ingredients:
250 g buffalo mozzarella
10 slices parma ham
handful fresh basil

For top of bread:
1 egg, beaten
handful grated parmesan

Put the flour (500 g) in a large bowl, with the salt (10 g) on one side and the yeast (10 g) on the opposite.

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I then made a trench down the centre and added the 4 eggs and the milk (170 ml).

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Mix together with a wooden spoon until smooth and shiny. (Not yet smooth and shiny in the picture below.)

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Add the butter (250 g total) in small portions over five minutes, making sure to mix each bit of butter in thoroughly before adding the next. The recipe stresses that it is important to mix in the butter very gradually.

This is where things went a bit awry for me. Through a cruel trick of nature, the weather has ACTUALLY been warm of late. My butter was far too soft. It made my dough sticky and difficult to work with.

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Oil a large plastic container and tip the dough into it. Cover with cling film or an oiled lid and leave to rise at least one hour. (You want it to have doubled in size, at least.)

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I was on quite a time constraint — so I went onto the next step as soon as I thought it was about double in size.

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On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1.5 cm thick. My dough was so sticky, I had to lightly flour the top and press it out with my hands. (Lesson of the day: sticky dough is not the end of the world.)

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Lay the parma ham (10 slices) onto the dough. Follow with torn bits of mozzarella (250 g), and finish with torn basil leaves (handful). In hindsight, I wish I had used a bit more basil because I love it soooooo much!

Isn’t this picture pretty!?

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Starting on the long edge furthest away from you, roll the dough toward you. Yet again, I was faced with overly sticky dough. I used a metal scraper to help it off the counter and dusted the newly pulled underside with a touch of flour as I rolled.

I tucked the parma ham on the last edge in a bit to allow the dough to stick to itself and hold together in the roll.

Once your dough is rolled into a log, cut it down the centre longways.

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Another picture of cut roll, because the filling looks so tasty.

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Twist the two strands together (near impossible with sticky dough like mine) then join the ends so it forms a circle (yours just might even look like a crown 😀 ) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Put the tray inside a sealed but roomy plastic bag and let it prove (aka: sit and get bigger) for 1 – 1.5 hours, until double in size.

Beat an egg and use a pastry brush to wash (aka: coat, paint) the bread once it is ready to go into the oven. Sprinkle with your grated parmesan (handful).

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Cook in the oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown, then let cool for a bit. Serve warm or cold.

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Cut into it an enjoy! Seriously, this was too good to be true. Especially rewarding considering I was certain it would never be more than a time-consuming, sticky-dough disaster! Now I’m determined to invent some new filling ideas and try it again. Nom nom nom.

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Dr. Who(oops) Tardis Chocolate Cake

The key to this recipe is to make sure you get off on the right foot. I’m here to help you with that: start by taking £16 and tossing it into the wind. Afterward, spend hours on an exercise in futility known as the Find-Some-Blue-Fondant dance. Now that you’ve wasted enough time and money to be thrilled whatever the outcome, you can start on a cake that, despite its lack of blue colouring, is enough to bring a smile to any Whovian. (Clearly there is some back story here that I plan on keeping to myself 😛 you don’t reeeeally have to throw away any money!)

*disclaimer: I am not a Dr. Who fan, but the cake recipient is*

TARDIS

Yes, the cake is white. There were some issues with getting blue gel to colour my fondant, and indeed, time issues that meant I did not even make my own fondant *gasp* I bought ready-rolled icing from the shop instead! Apologies all round.

Fun fact: in the audio version of Dr. Who, the Tardis is hit by a cannon and loses its colour. It remains white for three episodes… so my cake wasn’t too inaccurate.

The cake recipe is one my grandmother used. It’s called Verna’s Chocolate Cake and, while I don’t know who that Verna lady was, I know she made a damned fine cake! This is a double recipe, so you can safely cut it in half if you ever want to make a normal chocolate cake. For the Tardis I had to make this double recipe twice to get two 12 inch by 12 inch cakes.

Pre-heat the oven to 150 C fan (170 C non-fan)

Ingredients:
160 g unsalted butter (the original recipe says butter the size of 4 eggs… adorable)
460 g granulated sugar
4 egg yolks (save the whites — you’ll need 8 for the icing!)
2 tsp salt
4 tsp vanilla
200 g unsweetened cocoa powder
Boiling water
Milk
500 g plain flour (sifted)
2 tsp baking soda

Start by greasing and flouring your pan. I am >abso-FREAKING-lutely< in love with my cake pan. It stores flat AND has these lovely dividers for making four perfectly uniform 6×6 cakes.

001 Pan GreaseFlour A

Cream together your butter (160 g) and sugar (460 g). (Borrowed a stand mixer from a friend! I was in heaven.)

003 Creaming Sugar

While beating on a medium setting, add your egg yolks (4). Continue mixing until combined, then add your salt (2 tsp) and vanilla (4 tsp).

004 and 005 Adding Egg to Creamed ButterSugar A

Set the mixture to the side. If you have a cup that can measure 1000 ml, you can just do this in one big go, but I will describe it here the way I did it: doing it twice to get the full amount.

In a measuring up, put 100 g cocoa. Pour 240 ml boiling water over it and whisk together. Top up to the 480 ml line with milk and stir well. Add to your butter/sugar/egg mixture and repeat the cocoa/water/milk mixing for a second time. (You will have used 200 g cocoa, 480 ml water, and I don’t know exactly how much milk :P)

006 Cocoa and Water

While beating on low, gradually add your sifted flour (500 g) and baking soda (2 tsp) into the butter/sugar/egg/chocolate mixture. I generally mix my baking soda into the flour ahead of time to prevent against bitter tasting clumps in the finished batter. Blend until there are no clumps of flour.

008 Cocoa into EggButterSugar 3 Steps

Divide the batter evenly into your pan.

011 Batter in Pan B

Cook for 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the centre will come out clean when they are done.

012 Cooked Cake C

Repeat the whole cake process again until you have eight wee cakes.

017 8 Cakes A

Set your cakes out on a wire rack until they are completely cool before you start icing them.

While my cakes were cooking I made my icing. I used a meringue buttercream for the outside, and a chocolate icing for between the layers. There was plenty of buttercream though, and it was delicious, so I would suggest skipping the chocolate icing part. I also wouldn’t suggest trying to make buttercream with a handheld mixer — they general break under the pressure.

Meringue Buttercream Ingredients:
8 egg whites
225 g granulated sugar
Pinch salt
680 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
375 g confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract

In a bowl set over a pot of boiling water, slowly heat your whites (8), granulated sugar (225 g), and salt (pinch). Whisk constantly until all your sugar is dissolved.

Icing 001 ButterCream Egg whites Sugar

Transfer the egg white mixture into your stand mixer and whip on high until a peak forms and the mixture is cool. This takes about 4-5 minutes.

Icing 002 Buttercream Whipping Whites A

While mixing on medium, gradually add your softened butter (680 g). Sift the confectioner’s sugar (375 g) and add it along with the vanilla (2 tbsp).

Icing 003 Buttercream 1 Whipping Whites B

I stored my buttercream in the fridge covered in cling film as it softens quite quickly when on the counter! (This photo is after it was covered with the cling film, so it doesn’t look as lovely and fluffy.)

Icing 004 Buttercream 2 Finished

Now onto the chocolate icing recipe that I used for between the layers. It is quite an easy recipe, but in my opinion not one of the best, as you can really taste the raw icing sugar. Use only when your desire for ease and speed is greater than the desire for high quality icing.

Chocolate Icing Ingredients:
50 g melted unsalted butter
45 g unsweetened cocoa
75 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
450 g icing sugar

Whisk together your melted butter (50 g) and cocoa powder (45 g). Stir in your milk (75 ml) and vanilla extract (1 tsp).

Icing 015 Chocolate Icing

Add your sifted icing sugar (450 g) and beat on a medium setting.

Icing 016 Chocolate Icing

Right before using the icing, if you want it a bit softer for spreading, you can carefully add milk, but no more than tablespoon at a time.

*****DECORATION TIME*****

Decoration “ingredients”:
Two pieces of cardboard cut to 6×6
Tinfoil
Straws
Large kitchen knife
Stanley knife
Paper
Ruler
Edible icing writer pen
Fondant (aka: Ready-rolled icing)
Icing smoother

Cover your two pieces of cardboard with tinfoil. Set one on the board or tray you plan to use for displaying the finished cake. Examine your cakes and set aside the most high/evenly peaked cake to be used as your top piece.

Using a serrated knife, level one of the cakes. Place the first levelled cake on the tinfoil covered cardboard you’ve prepared on your display board. (I used a bit of buttercream icing below and above to keep the tinfoiled cardboard in place and to keep the cake from slipping off of it.)
Level the second cake, then ice your first layer and place the second cake on top (making sure it is even!) Level your third cake, ice the second layer, place the newly levelled piece on top. Repeat until you have four layers of cake.
Measure a straw against the side of the four layers and cut it so it is flush with the top layer. Cut four more straws to the same height. Afterward, ice the top of your fourth layer, then insert the five straws as seen below. This is to prevent your cake from collapsing into itself.

Take your second piece of cardboard and start the exact same process of levelling cakes and icing between layers. Stop when you reach your last cake, the one you set aside specially for the top. Take five straws and measure them so they are 1 centimetre taller than the top of the third layer and insert them into the cake. Cut the top piece on diagonals so it has a roof shape as showin in the photo below. Carefully place the top piece on, being particularly precise since the straws won’t allow for you to shift it around afterward.

020 Cake both 4 Layers Straw Cut

Cover both your mini towers in buttercream icing. I used excessive amounts, then spread it with a straight metal implement. Use a flat spatula to pic up the top layer and place it on top of the bottom half. Add extra icing to hide the seam.

023 Both Iced

At this point, my buttercream was quite soft, so I put the (now 8 layered!!) cake in the fridge to cool before smoothing out the lumps and sharpening up the corners.

026 Both Cakes Stacked Iced C

While doing the rest of the decorating, I took the cake out of the fridge again to make sure the buttercream was soft enough to allow the fondant to adhere well.

I designed a stencil for my Tardis walls. Measure the height of your cake (minus the peak) and the width to come up with the stencil dimensions. I then used a ruler to figure out how I wanted the windows spaced. (In the picture below, the bottom of the picture is actually the top of the stencil.) Each Tardis wall consists two rectangles, one with the windows cut into it, and one solid (windowless) rectangle.
Lightly cover your surface with icing sugar before rolling out your fondant. To save time while cutting windows, I put a liberal amount of icing sugar on one cut rectangle (to avoid unwanted stickage), then placed another rectangle on top of it. Thus, I was able to cut out two windowed panels simultaneously with my Stanley knife, as shown below.

028 Stencil with Fondant B

When moving your panels, roll them over your rolling pin to avoid losing the shape. In order to fix your back (windowless) and front (windowed) panel together, use your finger to evenly brush water on the windowed front panel. Since it is more delicate, leave that panel there, and pick up your solid back panel by rolling it over your rolling pin and carefully lower it onto the windowed panel. I used my icing smoother to securely press the two panels together. Afterward, roll the newly adhered wall onto your rolling pin, line it up with the cake, and use the icing smoother to firmly press it onto the cake.
Continue these steps until you have built all four walls.

029 First Panel Combine A with B copy

Cut two pieces of fondant for the wee Tardis signs. I used an edible icing pen to do the writing. Let it dry for a bit. Yet again, to fix them to the cake, use your finger to wet the back of the signs and also to dampen the spot you’re sticking them to. Carefully use your smoother to adhere the sign, being sure not to smudge the writing!

031 Writings

To make the corners more aesthetically pleasing, I cut long strips of fondant and, using water as described before, placed the strip evenly over the corners as shown in the final pictures. For the roof, I just rolled out some fondant into pieces slightly bigger than 1/4 of the roof. Place it on the roof and use a knife to cut it into a properly fitting triangle. Repeat until the four panels are done. I couldn’t fine a wee keychain with alight to stick in the top of the cake, so I cut a straw and stuck that in — a last ditch effort at detail that wasn’t quiiiiite up to quality 😛

Finally, I had edible blue glitter that I combined with water to paint into the windows… not actually sure I’m happy with that decision, but c’est la vie. The birthday boy didn’t seem to mind 😀

034 Tardis Left Angle White and Blue 034 Tardis Straight On Blue and White No 034 Tardis Right Angle White and Blue

Final step: invite over a lot of guests and eat eat EAT!!!

Seriously. A lot of guests. It is huge. Also, consider making a trifle with the leftover cake tops.

Apple Cinnamon Crumble

For years, my two favourite desserts were apple pie and apple crisp (or crumble). Mum would always make something lemon-y or pumpkin-y for my sister but “the plutocrat”, as I was sometimes called, demanded an apple based dessert — so when I was asked to bake apple crumble for an afternoon BBQ, I was only too happy to comply!

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(Worry not, I have since grown to LOVE pumpkin and lemon desserts, something my younger self would have been appalled to hear.)

Pre-heat the oven to 170 C fan (190 C non-fan)

Topping Ingredients:
(I used double this, as I was making a large crisp)
90 g rolled oats
60 g whole meal flour
100 g brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp cinnamon
85 g butter

Combine oats (90 g), flour (60 g), sugar (100g), and cinnamon (1 tsp) in a bowl.

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Cut in the butter (85 g) using a paster cutter until the mixture is crumbly.

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That’s your crisp topping complete! The best part is, you can make a bit batch and keep it in your fridge for as long as the butter is good for. Allows for easy impromptu desserts for one or many 🙂

Filling ingredients:
Apples (sliced)
Cinnamon
Sugar
Flour

As I said, mine was a rather large crisp, so I used 16 medium Cox apples. Generally, when choosing apples for baking, keep in mind that a tarter apple makes for a fuller flavour. I mixed the sliced up apples with 1 tbsp cinnamon, 60 g of sugar, and 60 g of flour in a large bowl, then transferred the coated apples into a dish for baking (leaving the excess sugar/flour behind).

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Judge your sugar/flour amounts based on the tartness and moisture of your fruit (I generally only use cinnamon for apples).

Cover your crisp in a liberal coating of crisp topping.

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Finally, put the whole thing into your preheated oven. Generally, I cook a 4-person crumble for around 45 minutes, but it is a dessert that allows for playing around with temperature and time. This 45 minute cook time was perfect for my big crisp because it had to be transported and re-heated (for 20 min at 170).
(If your crisp is in a deep dish, turn the temperature down and cook it for longer.) 

It will be bubbling at the sides and the topping will be a nice golden brown when it is finished. You can also use a fork to test that the fruit has reached your desired tenderness.

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Final step:
EAT!

As I type this, I’m cooking up a rhubarb crisp with the extra topping… so… adios!

Cheesy Baking Powder Biscuits

Nothing says Wednesday morning like a fresh batch of … anything baked actually! Muffins, bread, scones … or the scone’s not so distant cousin: the baking powder biscuit. This recipe is particularly close to my heart because:
a) it is the first thing I ever baked on my own — back when I was a terribly mature 8 year old, making some terribly sophisticated goodies for the school Teddy Bear Picnic.
b) it is an incredibly simple, fast recipe that holds up to a lot of flavour tinkering.

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Pre-heat the oven to 210 C fan (230 C non-fan)
(this is according to my converting from 450 F, but to be honest, I might be tempted to turn it down another 10 degrees, as my biscuits came out more cooked than I am used to after the minimum cook time)

Ingredients:
250 g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
60 g butter
180 ml milk
80 g cheddar cheese

Start by grating your cheese (80 g) in nice coarse strips. I discovered this morning that I have a zester in my kitchen, but no coarse grater, so I experienced the joys of cutting cheese into something reminiscing the grated version.

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Set the cheese aside and sift your flour (250 g) into a large bowl then add your baking powder (1 tbsp) and salt (1/2 tsp).

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Mix your dry ingredients together then stir in your grated cheese. Add in your butter (60 g) — the colder the better — and cut in with a pastry cutter until evenly crumbly.

Note: if you use a softer butter or *shudder* soft fat like margarine, you may find you do not need as much milk, as it will hold together with more ease. While easier, it does not make as nice and flaky a biscuit as colder butter.

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Add your milk (180 ml) and stir. Once the milk is worked in a bit, I finish the mixing by hand, as it is quite a crumbly business and you don’t want to overmix! Over stirring leads to tough biscuits. *gasp of horror*

To finish off the mixing, gather your dough into a ball.

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Lightly flour a surface and flatten the dough out so it is around 2-3 cm thick. You can use a rolling pin and cookie cutters, but I am generally quite lazy so I often just use my hands to flatten it and a knife to cut it.

(Apologies, I forgot to take a picture of the rolled out dough, but here is the cut product before it hit the oven)

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Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes (I rarely leave them in longer than 12 minutes). These are best enjoyed right away, with butter, as they dry out quite quickly. If you keep them in a sealed plastic bag, they might be alright the next day as well.

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Variations:

  • Sometimes I roll the batter out to closer to 1 cm in thickness in a rectangular shape. I then cover the dough in a good layer of cheese (probably more than the 80 g called for), roll the whole thing into a log, then cut the log into 2-3 cm chunks. The end result looks like the cheese version of a cinnamon bun.
  • Omit the cheese: serve plain with strawberries and whipped cream for an easy but de-freaking-licious strawberry shortcake
  • Blend up sugar and cinnamon, then cream it with the butter to make a cinnamon-y biscuit.
  • Any nuts, sugars, dried fruits, chocolate chips, etc that catch your fancy. Remember to reduce the milk if you’re adding something liquid (ie: maple syrup)

Chocolate Tia Maria Cheesecake

Okay UK citizens, let’s talk Oreo Baking Crumbs. Or more precisely, let’s talk about how they don’t seem to exist here. I could complain about the annoyance that is scraping the vanilla frosting off of 20+ Oreos, but instead I’ll take solace in the knowledge that anyone who gives this (fan-freaking-tastic) recipe a go will face the same tribulations.

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I felt a strong urge to photograph the ingredients this time. Needless to say, this meant that after photographing them I changed one: there is no Carolans in this recipe  (although, I’ve made it using Irish Cream before and it is still delicious), instead I used Tia Maria.

ChocolateTiaMariaCheesecake01Ingredients

Oh ya, I also bought waaaay too many oreos — only used a pack and a half. Darn 😛

Pre-heat the oven to 156 C fan (176 C non-fan)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs (or 230g of Oreos with filling removed — the weight is before the filling removal)
56 g butter, melted
240 ml toffee or caramel sauce
750 g cream cheese (aka soft cheese — I used 300g reduced fat and the rest full fat)
170 g sugar
3 eggs
60 ml Tia Maria Liqueur (or Kahlua or Baileys)
170 g dark chocolate (approx 60% cocoa solids)

9-inch spring form pan (I only had an 8-inch, it worked fine)

If you weren’t lucky enough to track down Oreo Baking Crumbs, start by removing the filling.

ChocolateTiaMariaCheesecake02Oreos

Afterward, crush them into a fine crumble. I found my handheld blender with a cloth wrapped around (for mess prevention) worked much better than bashing at them mortar and pestle style.

ChocolateTiaMariaCheesecake04OreoBlending

ChocolateTiaMariaCheesecake05OreoCrumbs

Pour your melted butter (56 g) into the Oreo crumbs and mix them thoroughly. Press the buttery crumbs evenly along the bottom of your cake pan and about 1 inch up the side. Cover crumb crust in the toffee sauce (I used about 3/4 of the called for amount because my pan was smaller) and set aside.

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In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (750 g) with the sugar (170 g) until smooth.

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While continuing to beat on a low setting, add the eggs (3) one at a time.

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Mix until just blended and set aside.

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In a glass bowl sitting over boiling water, melt your chocolate (170 g). (Here follows a number of unnecessary pictures just because I think melting chocolate looks delicious.)

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Stir your melted chocolate and the liqueur (60 ml) into your creamy cheesy base.

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As pretty as the swirling (above) looks, continue stirring until it is well combined.

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Pour your cheesecake filling into the pan with your Oreo crust.

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Bake at 156 C fan (176 C non-fan) for 45-50 minutes. If, like me, you have used a smaller pan, either leave some filling out or cook for longer. (I ended up cooking mine for 60 minutes — really not ideal, as with a bigger pan I’ve been able to cook it for the requisite time and take it out before it starts to crack. Ah well, let’s pretend the cracks add character….) When it is done, the centre will be almost completely set and a knife inserted into it should come out clean. (I’ve never tried the thermometer method, but apparently if you check it that way the internal temperature should be 70-72 C)

Finally, cool the cheesecake and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It also freezes incredibly well. I’ve been known to keep a whole cheesecake in my freezer for a month and just cut myself a slice every few days. *sheepish look* No defrosting necessary! (Although the crust can be a struggle to cut through…)

(Fun fact that you may not care about: my calculations tell me that if you divide your cake into 12 equal slices, each slice will contain approximately 350 calories.)

ENJOY!

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