All posts filed under: Feasts and Festivals

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Biscoff Macarons Heaven

Put your hands up if you like Lotus Biscoff spread? That Speculoos flavoured spread that only found its way in to our supermarkets a couple of years ago. Maybe you have only tried the Lotus biscuits: a sweet and caramelised crunch that dunks very easily in to a cup of tea or coffee. My daughter likes the biscuits, but *loves* the spread. It’s probably her all time favourite thing. She laughs in the face of Nutella but would give away her last colouring pencil for a spoon of “my favourite spread”. Last week I made 250 macarons. You would think I would have had enough of the things. In fact, I thought I had had enough of them. But, as the task of producing this massive order was coming to an end, I had this idea of making Biscoff flavoured macarons after seeing an online tutorial to make Oreo macarons. It didn’t take long to work out how I was going to fill them. Last winter, BBC Good Food printed a recipe for a Gingerbread Cake that …

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, …

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 …