All posts filed under: dessert

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Cookies and Cream for my boy

Some people call this Hump Day; others, Wednesday. But for me, it’s like Friday. It’s my last paid working day of the week working as a teacher. But I figured that some of you who work all the way through to Friday could do with a little cheer, so I thought I’d write up the recipe for this Cookies and Cream cake quickly. I made it for my son’s 9th birthday on Monday. He asked for a Cookies and Cream Cake (I think because he loves that flavour of ice-cream), so I googled a few recipes, but, in the end, I went with our family favourite: Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake as the cake base and decided to come up with the icing myself. (I used half of her chocolate icing to sandwich the two cakes together, but you could easily make more of the cookies and cream icing and use that if you prefer). Cookies and Cream Buttercream Icing 300g of Soft Butter 300g of Icing Sugar 80g of White Chocolate, melted 2 Tablespoons of …

Pistachio and Chocolate Cake

I have a confession to make. Well, not so  much a confession but a disclaimer. This recipe isn’t entirely original and mine. To be honest, I am fed up of seeing people posting their alleged “new recipes” when they have clearly been reworked from someone else’s and have not given them credit. So, I want to be clear, that this cake is a re-working and scaling of other people’s recipes, with a minor element being mine. The sponges that make up this cake are a scaling up of Annie Bell’s Chocolate and Pistachio cake in her Baking Bible.  I have long been a fan of hers since I picked up a very reduced copy of her Gorgeous Cakes in a discount book shop. To this day I have no idea why she isn’t a household name: the woman knows her stuff and her recipes are great. I opted to make my own filling of Pistachio Buttercream, mainly because I had some leftover. But I think it really works and adds to the pistachio flavour. The chocolate …

Macathon

A few months ago I was asked by a friend of a friend to make some macarons for the evening reception of their wedding. I took on the task, not realising I’d be making 250 of the little blighters, in five different flavours. It also turned out to be the most humid and hot week of the year so far. It was quite the challenge and a macarons marathon. She chose four flavours that I was familiar with: White chocolate; Pistachio; Chocolate; and Lemon. However, she asked for one I hadn’t made before: Mojito. So, I did my research and tried out a couple of filling ideas. I had wanted to make a sugar syrup with real rum, mint and lime, but it just didn’t work. I reduced it to a sticky mess and the rum flavour just wasn’t coming through. In hindsight, I think I should have used a dark rum for a more rounded flavour. In the end, I used a rum flavouring. This is not the route I wanted to go down, …

Raspberry and Rose Celebration

Well hello there. It feels like years since I last wrote a blog post. The last few months have been very busy in our house but I’ve been baking away just the same, only not writing quite so much about it. If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll see plenty of baking, cooking and the odd bottle or two of wine (francesbakes). My friend asked me to make a cake for her mum’s special birthday and I just knew you guys would want to see more of the process, so I documented its production to share with you today. My brief was “she likes Turkish Delight and best to avoid chocolate”…immediately I thought to ask if she likes raspberries: they go so well with rose. Thankfully, she does, and so I started planning what I’d make. Straight away I decided to use The Pink Whisk’s Raspberry Ripple cake as the basis for the celebration cake. I have used this recipe a lot and it is simply delicious. So many people that I know love it too, so …

A Coffee Cake with a kick

Good morning and a Happy Easter to you. This isn’t an Easter cake, though it does contain chocolate, nor was it made recently. But I was asked for the recipe from someone over on Instagram, so I felt I should cobble together a blog post with details of how I made this cake (which was in the Autumn of last year). The cake itself is a simple coffee Victoria Sponge, but it is soaked in a Tia Maria sugar syrup, then filled with an Espresso and Mascarpone cream, then covered completely in a good old fashioned chocolate buttercream. It is finished off with a chocolate glaze drizzle, chocolate bark and various other decorative edibles. You should start by making the chocolate bark the day before you need it to ensure it is firm enough to handle, especially if it is warm. Chocolate Bark 150G of Dark Chocolate A handful of Coffee Beans Gold Sugar, sprinkles, bronze honeycomb chunks (Marks and Spencer) or any other pretty gold or bronze decorations you can find that will tone …

Blame it on the Brownie

Brownies are a very emotive subject for me. They are my favourite “cake” and they would be the dessert in my Death Row dinner (and it would be roasted Duck Breast with a red wine and cherry sauce, Dauphinoise Potatoes and Garlic Greens for main, if you are interested). I have very strong feelings about Brownies: they have to have squidge. They should not be hard or dry or cakey: they should be soft, melting, moist and squidge.   I finally found my Brownie nirvana a few years ago with Nigel Slater’s recipe but have tinkered with it a little since. I usually substitute the 50g of chopped dark chocolate for white, for example. I tried various respected food writer’s recipes, including ones from Nigella Lawson and Tamsin Day-Lewis, but Nigel’s recipe gives the exact amount of oozing chocolate richness that I want in a Brownie. Last year I made BBC Good Food’s Salted Caramel Brownies and though delicious and a contender for Nigel’s ultimate recipe, I still preferred his.   Off the back of that I came up …