Sunday, 25 March 2012

Lilac French Macaroons with Raspberry Buttercream Filling

When I was in France last year, I loved staring through the windows of all the posh patisseries, marvelling at the stacks of beautifully coloured macaroons.

The reason I was staring through the windows? They are so expensive!!

For a lovely pack of 6 mini macaroons it can cost up to €20! As much as I would have loved to, I could not justify spending that and so when I was reminded of them last week, I had to give them a go!

Next time, mine would be smaller than they are here- I was under the impression that the mix would stay where I piped it (like a meringue) - wrong! It spreads!

Recipe to follow!

Emily :)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Individual Lemon Meringue Pies

I made a batch of these and a proper sized lemon meringue pie at the same time and talked my mum so far into believing that the large quantity of eggs and lemons in these pies make them pretty much healthy that she ate the whole full sized pie in one evening! 
What do they say? The proof is in the pudding pie?
These came about in a two-fold way: Firstly, I love anything miniature. Secondly, I really wanted to try out my meringue piping skills!!

The orange juice in the filling subtracts the tartness from the lemons which is why these pies are so lovely. I also made the pastry myself, which I don't normally do and managed to convert myself to making my own pastry from now on!

Pastry Ingredients
200g plain flour
100g cold butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
1tbs icing sugar
A little milk to loosen
You will also need tin foil and baking beans, or some heavy dried pulses such as pinto beans
Filling Ingredients
2 level tbs corn flour
100g caster sugar
2 lemons grated finely
125ml lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Juice of 1 orange
85g butter, cubed
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
Meringue Ingredients
4 egg whites
200g caster sugar
1 heaped tsp cornflour

(preheat oven to 180, have a 12 hole cupcake tin greased, or 6 mini fluted flan tins)

  1. Put all of the pastry ingredients into a food processor and blend until pastry is formed, add a little milk (no more than 1tbs) to loosen
  2.  Roll out pastry onto a lightly floured surface. I like a very thin pastry, around 2mm. With a cutter, or a cup if you don't have the right size. 
  3. Cut out your 12 pastry rounds and press into cupcake holes. Prick all over with a fork and chill for 15 minutes
  4. Cut out 12 tin foil squares and place them, shiny side down onto the cases. Pour baking beans or pulses into each one and place in the oven and bake blind for 5 minutes before turning the oven down to 160, removing the foil and beans and baking for a further 5 minutes or until a light golden brown
  5. While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. 
  6. In a cup, whisk the egg yolks and whole egg together with a fork, stir them into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn't curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.
  7. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl till they form soft peaks then begin adding the sugar, spoonful by spoonful. Half way through, add the cornflour, all the time, whisking until thick.
  8. Spoon lemon filling into pie cases- make them level with pastry.
  9. Attach a large round nozzle to your piping bag and spoon meringue into it. Pipe meringue onto your pies, beginning at the edge before curling into the middle
  10. Put pies back into the oven and bake for around 10 minutes or until meringue has colour to it and is slightly crisp.
  11. Remove from oven and leave in the tins for 10 minutes before removing from tins and leaving for a further hour.
Enjoy! x

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Millionaires Shortbread with Sea Salted Caramel

I made up this recipe myself, it's a mixture of 3 amazing things combined into one; shortbread, salted caramel and white chocolate. Salted caramel seems to be the new 'in thing' and I am so on board with this; it's amazing. I first had it around christmas time in ice cream form at a West End show and it was like heaven (if not, slightly over priced). 
The white chocolate addition was a bit of a trial but I think it worked really nicely. It's really your choice which chocolate you use to top them, or be greedy like me and use both!
I also made a very large mix of them so i'm going to post my recipe, halved!

Shortbread ingredients
175g butter (room temp)
75g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
225g plain flour
Salted caramel ingredients
1 397g can of sweetened condensed milk (i used carnation)
175g butter
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbs golden syrup
To top
400g Either milk or white chocolate- depending on how adventurous you're feeling!

(preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, grease a square cake tin)

  1. Put all of the shortbread ingredients into a large bowl and using your fingers, form a rough dough
  2. Press the dough into your cake tin and prick all over with a fork
  3. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 150 and cook for a further 35-40 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, place all of the caramel ingredients into a big saucepan, stir on a medium heat until the butter is melted then bring to the boil for 10 minutes, stirring
  5. When the shortbread is out, pour the caramel over and place in the fridge until the caramel is cooled and slightly firm
  6. Melt the chocolate, pour over and leave to set, once again
  7. Cut into squares
Enjoy! x

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Butter Cookies.. with no butter!

Okay, so these cookies taste and almost look like something out of a packet  which is a nice change from post things I bake which have that 'home-made' look about them. I came across the idea of using an American ingredient called 'Butter Crisco' to replace butter in baking and thought it was a terrible idea but the next day I happened to come across an American food section in a farm shop which I love and there, right in front of me was this big tub of Butter flavour Crisco and, I couldn't resist!

It smells and looks so processed and fake 
(I know, i'm really not selling this recipe to you) 
but I used it anyway and the cookies turned out really well, however, if you don't want to use this odd ingredient, or, can't get hold of it- just use the same amount of butter!!

240g butter flavour Crisco (or, butter!)
200g caster sugar
90g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tbs water
1tsp vanilla
350g plain flour, sifted
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt

(preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius, line 3 baking sheets with greaseproof paper, this recipe makes loads and they do spread out)
  1.  In a large bowl, beat together Crisco, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, water and vanilla until fully mixed, get everything off the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix again
  2. Sieve in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix well
  3. Make the mixture into a ball in the mixing bowl and cover with cling film, then put it in the fridge for around half an hour (if you're too impatient to wait, leave for 10..)
  4. Now, remove from the fridge, and begin forming 1-inch balls with the mixture by rolling them in your hands.
  5. You can make them more like biscuits by making smaller balls, or big cookies by making them slightly bigger
  6. Place them, spread widely apart on your baking sheets and slightly flatten the balls
  7. Put in the oven for 8-10 minutes, till light brown. They should still look slightly undercooked when you remove them from the oven, this keeps them chewy as they will keep cooking after you have removed them from the oven

Enjoy! x