Christmas Baking

As promised, just a little bit later than promised, a post about my Christmas baking!

Four recipes today, two that are pure Christmas and the other two ideal to make anytime!

The first is the basic Christmas Cake. A warning on this recipe, you need a BIG tin, or two smaller ones. It makes A LOT anyway! You’ll also need to line the tin with a few layers of newspaper or something before your baking paper lining to help protect it. I make this cake in my soup pot because it’s the only thing I have big enough to hold all the fruit. The best thing about this recipe is its all over with in less than a day, you don’t have to stew the fruit for weeks beforehand like some Christmas cake recipes I’ve seen.

Christmas Cake

Recipe:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup hot water
250g (1/2 pound) butter
1 tab golden syrup
1.5kg (3 pound) mixed fruit

Boil this for 10 minutes and then cool.

Add,
4 beaten eggs and essences like almond, brandy, vanilla and mix all together

Then add,
500g (1 pound) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 small teaspoon curry powder

Bake at 3 ½ hours at approx. 130°c. Test with a knife. When cake has cooled pour over a couple of spoons of whiskey or sherry. Leave in the tin until quite cool.

Next up, probably my husband’s favourite of my baking recipes. The Christmas Mince Pie.

Christmas Mince Pie

To make the fruit mince:
40g raisins
60g soft brown sugar
30g sultanas
50g mixed peel
1 tablespoon currants
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
1 small apple, grated
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp mixed spice
25g butter
1 tbsp brandy

Throw it all into a pot (I make several quantities at once and again I use the soup pot), melt the butter down, mix it up. It’s that easy. I then put it into hot sterilised jars and seal (because I make it way in advance). If you wanted to use straight away you can just melt the butter separately and mix that into the fruit (it doesn’t all need heating).

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
150g chilled butter, cubed
85g icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons iced water

Throw the flour and butter into the food processor and whizz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add the icing sugar and give a quick whizz. Add the water gradually, whizzing until it starts coming together. (*Yes, whizz appears to be the word of the day). This step can be done by hand if you have the patience or no food processor (though I don’t know how you’d live without one!)

Turn out onto floured bench, gather into a ball. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and cut rounds (x24) larger than the holes in a mini muffin tin.

At some point prior to now you should have also greased two 12-hole mini muffin tins and preheated the oven to 180°C. (sorry about that)

Fit the pastry into the tins, spoon in some mince. Roll out remaining pastry to make tops. I make little stars (as you’ll see in the picture. You can do whole tops if you’d like, or maybe you have another Christmas themed cutter you can use).

Bake approx 20 minutes (I notice where I have the recipe written it says 25 minutes, but in honesty I only do mine for 18 minutes – but then I have an often cranky oven).

These pies freeze really well also, so you can make them well in advance. Or you can be like me and have three jars of mince (equal to 180 little pies) left to use in the week before Christmas. Clearly I’m not as organised as last year. Oh and 180 pies isn’t that many, not when you see how fast they get eaten!

Now, the next two recipes are truffles and as I said earlier, these make great anytime recipes! I tend to make them when I’m going to someone’s house for dinner. They are quick and easy and most importantly, delicious!

White Chocolate and Chocolate Coconut Truffles

White Chocolate Truffles
1/4 C cream
250g white chocolate
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
lemon and almond essences
1/4 C desiccated coconut
1/4 ground almonds
Coating: coconut, icing sugar or white chocolate

Place cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has metled. Remove bowl from heat and stir in lemon zest and essences, then coconut and almonds. Chill until mixture is firm enough to handle (45-60 minutes). Roll into small balls (small is good because they are SO rich!), then roll in coconut, icing sugar or white chocolate to coat. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Easy as pie (or truffles as the case may be!)

The next truffle is a Chocolate Coconut Truffle.
125g wine biscuits
100g butter, softened
1/4 C cocoa
1 C icing sugar
1/2 C desiccated coconut
2 Tbsp orange juice
coconut for coating

Put the biscuits in that trusty food processor and whizz until crumbs (you could smash them with a rolling pin while they are safely encased in a plastic bag if you need the therapy, but to be honest its hard work and I’m lazy). Add the remaining ingredients, except the extra coconut and whizz some more. Put in the fridge for a little while (10 minutes or so) then roll into balls and coat with coconut. Store in the fridge or freezer.

I’m just going to note here, that normally I don’t like coconut in things, but I do love these chocolate coconut truffles. How very strange!

Anyway, this will likely be my last post before Christmas and I probably won’t be posting again before mid January at the earliest, so I hope you have a FANTASTIC Christmas and New Year. I’ll have all sorts of exciting things to post about in the new year with my Christmas present round up, plus I’ll be tackling my first ever wedding cake for a very close friend (eeek!)

Enjoy the holidays!

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Apple Custard Tea Cakes – Recipe

Hello everyone, hope you are well.

I’ve being doing a bit of work today on getting my Pinterest up to speed and setting up a Facebook page etc for this blog. So please have a look at those and give me some likes 🙂

Recently my mummy friend (as in we met when we became mummy’s and have daughters four days different in age) invited me to meet her brother and his wife who had recently moved to New Zealand. I think she wanted me to meet them because not only do they have a daughter the same age as ours they also have wee baby twins. She also asked if I would bake something to take along. And being the baking addict I am, I agreed (as she knew I would).

The day before the visit I had some trouble on my hands. I hadn’t been supermarket shopping in a really long time and therefore was a bit sparse on the ingredients. But then I found something that blew my mind and changed everything!  In a small and seemingly inconsequential little cupcake book I found a recipe for Apple Custard Tea Cakes. (Link to info on the book is here. It was really cheap and full of great, simple and gorgeous cupcake recipes and ideas)

With ingredients I consider pantry staples and those which I had, this was going to have to be my recipe of choice. The other awesome thing about this recipe was aside from the custard, you throw everything in the mixer and let it go. Couldn’t be easier! There is a little more work involved in the custard and assembling the cakes, but I’ll tell you this: IT IS SO WORTH IT!

I found these little beauties are best while still warm from the oven and would be delicious with ice cream (but then what wouldn’t be??) That said, they were still pretty awesome the next day. So awesome in fact a whole batch was eaten before I had a chance to take any photos. Much to everyone’s dismay I had to make more!

They went down a real treat with both the adults and children enjoying them 🙂

So here is the recipe so you can make your own delicious Apple Custard Tea Cakes:

Apple Custard Tea Cakes

 Apple Custard Tea Cakes

Cakes:
90g butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup (110g) self raising flour (or plain flour with ¾ teaspoon baking powder included in the 110g, which is how I do it)
¼ cup custard powder
2 tablespoons milk
1 large (200g) apple (or some smaller ones), unpeeled, cored and sliced
30g butter, extra, melted
1 tablespoon caster sugar, extra
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Custard:
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 tablespoon caster sugar
½ cup (125ml) milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Make custard:
    Blend custard powder and sugar with milk and extract in a small saucepan; stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat; cover surface with cling film; cool.
  2. Preheat oven to moderate (180°C/160°C fan assisted). Line 6-hole large or 12-hole standard muffin tray with paper cases.
  3. Beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, flour, custard powder and milk in a small bowl with electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium, beat until mixture is changed to a paler colour.
  4. Divide half the mixture among cases. Top with custard, then remaining cake mixture; spread mixture to cover custard. Top with apple slices, pressing slightly onto cake.
  5. Bake large cakes about 40 minutes, small cakes about 30 minutes.
  6. Brush hot cakes with extra butter, then sprinkle with combined extra sugar and cinnamon. Turn cakes onto wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
Just a wee disclaimer, because I need to keep a clear and uncluttered consciense: If you click on the link to the book and purchase a copy, apparently I get a fraction of the sale price through the Book Depository’s Affiliates thing. I hope that doesn’t make you feel funny about my blog, or about me 🙂

Apple and Blueberry Shortcake – Dessert and more!

Hi guys

Well I’ve been working hard to finish my latest project to feature on here. But this thing called life keeps getting in the way… So in the meantime, here’s an amazing recipe I found!

Apple and Blueberry ShortcakeImageRecipe from New Zealand Women’s Weekly “Cooks the Classics”.

This is an amazing book I found at the supermarket one day. It has heaps of simple, classic (funny that) recipes that use mostly ingredients already found in my cupboard! It’s fantastic as I’m constantly being frustrated by recipes I have to purchase most of the ingredients specially for, as they then sit in the cupboard and go off before I even make the recipe!

Right, so while browsing my recipe books one day (I spend a lot of time browsing recipe books…. Need a new hobby I think) I came across the recipe which was simple and used nothing out of the ordinary. Even better it was something I would love, my husband would love and the girl’s would be able to manage eating it without causing too much mess (unlike chocolate custard…)

It turned out delicious and was so easy! It was great straight from the oven with cream or ice cream. It was fantastic cold and also lovely reheated in the microwave for a few seconds. Win-win-win!

And so, without further ado, to the recipe!

Apple and Blueberry Shortcake

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
200g butter, chopped
1 egg
3 apples
1 1/4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Place flour, cornflour, baking powder and sugar in a food processor bowl. With the motor running, drop butter into the flour until mixture resembles rough crumbs. Add egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Press half the mixture over the base of a line 30cm x 18cm slice pan.
  3. Peel, core and slice apples and arrange over pastry base. Scatter with blueberries, sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Top with remaining dough and bake for 25 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature with yoghurt or cream.

And that’s it! A delicious, crumbly shortcake awaits you!