Monday, 28 November 2011

It's pie season - pumpkin pie, mince pies - you name it, its in some kind of pie at this time of the year! This week I have baked whoopie pies - they went to the schools cake sale for the girls book club and on the weekend (yesterday), our first batch of mince pies!! These have to be the poshest mince pies - sweet shortcrust pasty, topped with a Viennese biscuit topping, so they are light, buttery and crisp and who cant resist a buttery biscuit????


Makes 16 large (muffin pan) or 30 small (mini muffin pan)


80z plain flour
4 0z butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 medium egg (beaten)

Viennese Topping

6 oz butter (softened)
1 1/2 oz icing sugar
6 oz plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Filling : 1 lb mincemeat (the sweet fruit kind - Tesco (UK) finest with Brandy and Port is fantastic)


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5

To make the pastry - sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then mix in enough egg to make a firm dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about a minute until smooth. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.

To make the Viennese topping: beat together the butter and the icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift over the flour and the baking powder and beat in. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with large star nozzle.

Roll out the pastry thinly and cut to the approximate size of the muffin hole using a cutter. Line the muffin tins with the pastry circle and divide the mincemeat between the pastry lined tins.

Pipe the Viennese topping over the mincemeat in swirls then bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the tins. Remove from the tins and place on a cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.

The pies will keep for up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Warm days, cold days, warm days, cold days........what's up with the weather????? Everyone seems to have been coughing, sniffing and sneezing over the past weeks and for the past four days, I have found myself in the same boat!

The queues in the shops are beginning to increase.....stressed out people in car parks trying to find a park as close to the shop as possible.....oh how I remind myself why I like the internet at this time of the year!!!

After a run of no baking - its the last thing you need to do when you're sniffing - I had to bake the guys something yesterday.......they look forward to the creations that come out of the kitchen and at least I get feedback!! A roulade means not much handling with the hands (the biggest passer on of the cold), or should I say not much touching with the hands, because its covered with paper for rolling up too.

This went down a treat last night..... by nine o'clock, hubby and middle son was eating their third slice each (I know....... alright for some) - Chocolate roulade with white chocolate and raspberry filling.

Chocolate Roulade

Oven temperature 180 degrees Celcius, 23 x 33 baking tray greased and lined with baking paper (or a rectangular roasting tin of the same size :) )

For the cake:

175g caster Sugar
6 large eggs
200g dark chocolate (I used 45 % cocoa content)

For the filling:

200 ml extra light double cream (Elmlea has half the fat of other brands)
150g white chocolate
150g fresh raspberries

To make the cake:

Melt the dark chocolate and allow to cool. Separate the eggs into to large mixing bowls. Make sure the egg whites go into a bowl which is grease free other wise they will fail to whisk. Whisk the egg whites until thick and forming soft peaks (if you turn your bowl upside down they should stay in the bowl), then in another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the caster sugar until pale, thick and creamy.

Fold the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture using a large metal spoon, being careful not to knock the air out of the mixture.

Add two large spoonfuls of egg white to the chocolate mixture and fold in using the large metal spoon, until all traces of the egg white have disappeared. Then fold in all of the remaining egg white - be patient - be gentle - you are making a sponge!!

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and tilt the tin gently to ensure that the mixture reaches the corners of the tin.

Place in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until well risen. The top should appear slightly crisp.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. Don't worry it is suppose to sink!

For the filling:

Melt the white chocolate and allow to cool. Once cool, pour in the cream and whisk together until soft peeks have formed.

Assembling the Roulade:

Turn the roulade out onto a sheet of baking paper. You can either sprinkle caster sugar or icing sugar on the paper first (I didn't). Leave about an inch on the short side closest to you, free of cream, Spread the cream over the rest of the cake and then dot with the raspberries.

Use a knife to make a shallow cut along the 1 inch piece of cake (which you have left cream free). This will make it easier to roll. Using the paper to help, roll up the roulade.

I have finished mine of with shaving of white chocolate scattered along the top.