Author: francesauty

Speculaas Snowflakes

There is no lengthy introduction to this recipe. I was given Gingerbread Wonderland for Christmas last year, but never got round to making any of the recipes in the book. Then I was recommended The Speculaas Spice Company later in the year. I decided to order some of their Speculaas spice blend in Autumn and to make Speculaas biscuits as gifts for my kids’ teachers for Christmas. Steven, from The Speculass Spice Company, included a lot useful information about the spice blend, including a recipe. Their website has even more recipes. But I decided to make a new recipe with elements from their recipe and with those in Gingerbread Wonderland, and here it is. Ingredients: 100g of Butter 150g of Light Muscovado Sugar 1 Medium Egg The zest of half an Orange 200g of Plain Flour 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder 3 Teaspoons of Speculass Spice Mix 50g of Ground Almonds Cream the butter and sugar until paler and fluffy. Add the egg with a dessert spoon of flour, and the orange zest, and mix thoroughly. Mix all the dry ingredients …

Apple and Cranberry Snowflake Pies

The creation of these came about entirely from the purchase of the snowflake pie mould from Lakeland. Initially, I thought about making regular mince pies with it, then I thought it might be nice to make something equally Christmassy but slightly lighter. I came up with apple and cranberry and the combination, with some Christmas spice, works very well, and would make a great alternative to those who don’t like traditional mincemeat. Ingredients for the filling: 1 Large Bramley Apple (about 250g once peeled, cored and chopped) 50g of Dried Cranberries (soaked overnight in 20g of Vanilla Vodka or orange juice) 100g of Light Brown Sugar 15g of Butter 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract 1/2 Teaspoon of Mixed Spice 1 Stick of Cinnamon 1 Heaped Teaspoon of Plain Flour Zest of an Orange Soak the dried cranberries overnight in the vodka or orange juice to allow them to plump up. Chop the apple into small pieces and combine all the ingredients, except the plain flour, in a large pan and heat on medium. Cook the apple …

At long last…

It took a while, but I got there in the end with this recipe and beautifully detailed cake. It wasn’t so much the cake recipe, which I adapted from the Nordicware recipe card that came with the Snowflake tin, but getting it out of the damn tin. I had an idea to adapt the almond cake recipe by adding some dried cherries soaked in Amaretto (which, by the way, are awesome on their own). It just felt more festive. Once I had fiddled with the batter amount and worked out the optimum quantity of cherries and soaking liquid, I thought it would be easy to pop the cake straight out using homemade goop (it works on other bundt and detailed pans). But this was not to be. This pan is on a different scale of difficulty to remove cake from. I made it again, coating far more liberally with goop: fail. Then I looked on the internet for advice and it said you should only use a small amount on detailed pans like this, so …

The Elvis Bundt

In the distant past this cake started off as Nigella Lawson’s Banana Loaf. Since I have been using this recipe I have fiddled with it a few times. Then, when my American friend sent me Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips, I decided that peanut butter would be a splendid addition. Of course, The King was famous for loving this combination; hence the title. This recipe doesn’t make a large bundt. It fills a 2lb loaf tin, if that is your preference, or a 6 cup bundt pan (about 1.5 litres). It’s an every day cake that is easy to portion and slice up. And if you can’t get the peanut butter chips, then get the same weight in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and chop them into chocolate chip sized pieces. First, make the cake. Ingredients 175g of Plain Flour 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder 1/2 Teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda 125g of Melted Butter 120g of Light Brown Sugar 2 Large Eggs 3 Ripe Bananas 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract 150g of Peanut Butter Chips Preheat the …

Bonfire Roulade

If you are entertaining tomorrow night, with or without fireworks for Bonfire Night, and haven’t settled on what to serve for dessert, then I have the very recipe for you. I made a version of this last Hogmanay, and it was a dream dessert. It was Tiramisu Swiss Roll Cake by Izy Hossack at Top With Cinnamon. When I heard that Baileys were bringing out a Pumpkin Spice edition, I knew I had to incorporate it into this dessert, instead of the regular Marsala. I take no credit whatsoever for coming up with the roulade idea, and my recipe is simply a tweaked version of Izy’s. I don’t feel too bad, however, because I know Izy adapted the sponge element from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum (Rose’s website), so all is good. Bonfire Roulade Sponge 5 Large Eggs 100g of Golden Caster Sugar 1 Teaspoon of Gingerbread Syrup (If you don’t have any, use Vanilla extract) 75g Butter, melted and cooled 100g of Plain Flour 25g Cornflour 2-3 Tablespoons of Icing Sugar mixed with 1 …

Cinnamon and Maple Doughnuts

These started out as something quite different. I was aiming for a pumpkin doughnut, filled with a pumpkin pie type filling. I made a pumpkin dough, and made the doughnuts. I made a creamy pumpkin pie filling. I fried the doughnuts and filled them, but it just didn’t seem quite right. So then I decided to make them small, unfilled doughnuts. And I moved away from the pumpkin in the dough (I didn’t feel it was adding anything in the way of flavour it texture) and stuck to the spices. These weren’t flavourful either. I tried adding maple syrup to the dough and simplifying the flavour from pumpkin pie spice mix to just cinnamon. I kept the maple syrup glaze and chopped pecans but added cinnamon sugar. Bingo! Sweet Dough 200g of Milk, scalded then cooled 50g of Maple Syrup 15g of yeast 500g of Bread Flour 60g of Butter, softened 40g of Caster Sugar 10g of Salt 2 Large Eggs 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon   Cinnamon Sugar 3 Tablespoons of Caster Sugar 1 Teaspoon …

Maple, Apple and Pecan Danish Pasties

These Danish Pastries were inspired by being handed a bag of the cutest little apples from a friend’s garden a week before another friend and her family were due to visit. I thought they would make the perfect addition to a breakfast pastry and I could take the opportunity to use Moose Maple Butter again to make the most delicious glaze. The day before I wanted to make the pastries I made a Crème Pâtissière and stored it in the fridge. And that evening, I made a batch of Danish Pastry dough. I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe, leaving it to chill and prove overnight in the fridge. In the morning I rolled out the dough to approximately 45cmX28cm then trimmed the edges with a pizza wheel. I then divided it into rough 8cm squares. I don’t think the pastries would work any bigger than this; as it was, they were rather substantial at that size. I decided to form this into a fairly simple Danish Pastry shape that would allow for a bigger area for the Crème Pâtissière …

Dulce by Helen Vass

If you are a fan of the Glasgow food scene, then you may know Helen Vass. She is pastry chef at 2AA Rosette restaurant, Number 16, in the West End of the city. You may also know her from being part of the winning team of professional pastry chefs, along with Samantha Rain, winner of UK Junior Chocolate Master in 2014, and Mark Tilling, established chocolatier and UK Chocolate Master, teacher and pastry chef, who competed in Bake Off: Crème de la Crème earlier this year. Ever since her success in Bake Off, Helen has been in demand to share her desserts and expertise. And one of the routes that she has taken to reach this demand is to host dessert pop-up events in her home town of Glasgow. How she has manages to fit the preparation for such events into her schedule as a restaurant pastry chef is quite remarkable. I was fortunate to buy a ticket for her most recent pop-up, held in Studio 93 is Glasgow: a beautiful venue, tucked away beside …

Toasted Pecan and Pumpkin Rolls with Maple Syrup Glaze

If you have read my posts at this time of year, you will already know that autumn is my favourite season, and, I think, my most creative in terms of recipes. I love the spices and caramel flavours that are so abundant in our cooking and baking as the weather gets colder. And the fruits and vegetables that we eat are hardier and can withstand some spice. This post and recipe is indicative of that and I hope that North American friends will be flattered by my obsession with their Fall flavours and bakes, and that my recipe will secure a thumbs up from at least some of them. A word of warning, however, this is a very wet dough to start with, so don’t be alarmed. I use the Bertinet method or “fold and slap” to work the dough, and in only 5 minutes, the dough is smooth and manageable. But this dough will be very happily made in a mixer with a dough hook, just remember to finish it off by hand and …

Truly Fallen

Despite all of my grumblings in the past about the American influence upon our traditional British Hallowe’en, I confess to having fallen head of heels with the way that North America embraces my favourite season, Autumn. By the beginning of this month I found myself heading to TKMaxx (the British version of North America’s TJMaxx) in the hope that there were decorations in reds, browns and golds a plenty, and the greatest hope of all, to find a Nordic Ware “fall” baking pan, and at a bargain price. As you can see from the photograph above, I was successful in finding a modest and seasonal wreath, but the pan was to prove elusive. Enter Jersey Jackie: my dear, dear friend that I made on Instagram; lover of bread baking and pasta making; fellow food nerd; woman of curious mind; and demonstrator of precision skills in all that she does. We had planned for her to come to Scotland for a holiday. We would be meeting for the first time when she landed at Glasgow airport for …