Wednesday, 10 October 2012

I torte you may like this recipe!

It's Chocolate Week and to celebrate this I made a chocolate torte.  Hazelnut is currently one of my fav' flavours, and it goes well with chocolate so i decided to make them into a rich, dark and moist torte.

Chocolate, Hazelnut and Rum Torte

9 inch Spring form tin


For the Torte
250g blanched hazelnuts
200g caster sugar
100g good quality milk chocolate
100g good quality dark chocolate
6 large free range eggs (separated and at room temp)
50g unsalted butter

For the Ganache
80ml double cream
2 tablespoons spiced rum
100g dark chocolate

To decorate
50g milk choc
a disposable piping bag, and cocktail stick
and caramel covered hazelnuts (optional)

-preheat the oven to 160c
-butter your tin, line the base with a circle of baking paper, and coat the sides with sugar (pour a little in, tip on it's side over a bowl -to catch unused sugar- and twist the tin like a steering wheel)

 -start on the torte, pop the hazelnuts in the food processor and blitz until as fine as possible (but avoid, over-blitzing as it becomes claggy and clumpy)
-tip out onto kitchen towel and set aside
-melt the chocolate and butter over a bowl of simmering water remove from the heat and allow to cool
-put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until very light, pale and thick.  it should falls from the whisk in what looks like ribbons
-in a separate (extra clean) bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks
-fold the nuts through the egg yolk mixture with a large metal spoon
-then fold through the melted chocolate in the same way
-finally fold the whites through this mixture a third at a time
-pour into the tin and bake for 40-45mins(ish), test with a skewer in the middle of the torte and it should come out clean
-leave it in the tin for 10mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool
-when the torte is cool, make the ganache, and melt the milk chocolate-(over a pan of water again)
-chop the dark chocolate very finely and pop in a bowl
-in a pan heat the cream and rum to boiling point and pour over the dark choc, leave it to malt the chocolate and the whisk together until smooth and shiny
-fill a disposable piping bag with the melted milk chocolate and snip of the end
-put the cool torte on a plate or stand
-spread the ganache over the top (well actually bottom, which is now the top..if that makes sense) of the torte and smooth
-pipe equally spaced lines of milk chocolate over the top in one direction
-use a cocktail stick and carefully drag it in lines again across the top at 90degrees to those just piped
-then if desired back the other way in between the pretty pattern just created
-add extra chocolate, or hazelnuts if desired to add to the decoration

this makes a lovely dessert at a dinner party and is nicec served with a dollop of creme fraiche to cut through the richness



Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Late night Raspberry and White Chocolate loaf cakes

<3 Little Loaves <3

This is a recipe for 10 little raspberry and white choc loaf cakes with (what I am calling) a raspberry cream cheese glaze.  The reason for calling them 'late night' is because after a late evening shift I fancied a spot of baking....and here were the results.....

For these I used 10 cute little brown card loaf cases which I bought for £2.99 in Sainsburys,  they are really good but you could use this recipe as one large loaf if preferred.


For the Cake
8oz self raising flour
8oz soft unsalted butter
8oz caster sugar
4 Eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of baking powder
100g white chocolate (cut into chunks)
75g fresh raspberries
squeeze of  lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon icing sugar

For the Glaze/icing
100g full fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon strained raspberry jam
100g icing sugar

To decorate (optional)
75g white chocolate chips
sprinkle of freeze dried raspberry powder (I buy this online from Healthy supplies)

-preheat the oven to 170
-firstly in a small bowl mash the raspberries with the icing sugar an dash of lemon juice, set aside
-cream together the sugar, butter and vanilla until very pale, light and fluffy
-beat the eggs in a small bowl and add slowly into the butter/sugar mix (alternate with a spoonful of flour if it looks like it may curdle)
-sift in the flour and baking powder and mix to combine
-then fold through the raspberry pulp and chopped white chocolate to create a ripple effect
-I popped this into a large disposable piping bag and cut a large hole in the end and piped it into the cases (which were already on a baking tray) for ease, but you could simply spoon it in if you like
-bake for around 35mins until golden brown and springy to the touch
-the mixture has a lot of liquid in it due to the raspberries which makes the finished cakes lovely and moist, but it does mean they sink a wee bit in the middle as they cool so don't worry about this if it happens (it did to me anyway)
-whilst they cool, make the icing/glaze by putting the seedless/strained jam in a bowl and mixing until looser and smooth, then add the cream cheese and icing sugar and stir to combine
-pour this onto the cooled loaves and decorate if you want to

Enjoy <3

Friday, 5 October 2012

Mince Pies

There are only 80 days until Christmas so you'll have to forgive me for posting this festive recipe!

Cherry, Almond and Orange deep filled mince pies

you will need:

three pastry cutter, one for the base, one for Marzipan and one for the lid
-3 cutters
-rolling pin
-pastry brush
-food processor *should you want to -use it to make your pastry like i did!
-a 12 hole lightly greased muffin tin

for the mincemeat mix 
1 small jar of either shop bought or homemade mincemeat
100g chopped toasted Almonds
100g soured cherries
2 tablespoons Cherry Brandy or Amaretto
a few drops of almond extract
the grated zest of 1/2 an orange
For the pastry
350g Plain flour
200g cold unsalted butter (in cubes)
2 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
1 large free range egg
zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
tiny pinch of salt

200g Marzipan, shop bought or homemade is fine

To glaze

1 Beaten Egg
caster sugar for sprinkling

Begin by mixing together all the mincemeat ingredients
-this should be done as much in advance as possible to allow the flavours to combine and get extra yummy!

Preheat the oven to 190c

To make the Pastry...

-put the flour, sugar, butter, salt and zest in the food processor, pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
-then beat your egg in a small jug and squeeze in the orange juice.  with the processor running slowly pour this in until the dough just comes together
-tip this onto the work top,and bring together to form a disc, wrap in cling and chill for at least 30mins

-when the pastry is cold cut off 2/3, pop the 1/3 back in the fridge
-roll it out between sheets of cling film, and work quickly as it becomes very soft as the butter warms
-cut out the large circles and gently line the tin with the discs pop then pop in the fridge whilst you roll out the marzipan and cut out the smaller rounds of this (should be about 5ml thick)

-fill the cases with a generous spoonful of mincemeat
-top with a marzipan disc, leaving enough room for the lid
-then roll out the remaining chilled dough and cut out the lids

-brush around the edges with beaten egg
-pop on the lid and gently push around the edges to secure
-brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar
-bake for around 25-30mins until golden brown
-turn them out and pop on a wire rack to cool

they are lovely served warm from the oven but also taste fab warmed days later when the flavours have settled and matured a little

Ho Ho Ho!!!

P.S.  Father Christmas will be dead chuffed with one of these on Christmas Eve!


Thursday, 4 October 2012

A low fat cake??!!!

Mum's fruity tea loaf

This is a recipe for something that is so simple I almost feel embarrassed even writing it down!  Its really delicious though and is something that we have a lot.  It freezes brilliantly and keeps for about a week sealed in an airtight container. 
The beady eyed amongst you will notice that it has no butter in it, which makes it relatively low fat, which is great, except that its at its most delicious when its smeared with lots of soft unsalted butter!
You need really to start this a few hours before you're ready to bake or even better, the night before.


200g raisins
100g sultanas
100g ready to eat apricots, chopped
200ml hot tea (I love Earl grey)
100g demerara sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 large egg
1 tbsp. milk
225g self raising flour
1 tbsp. mixed spice

You will need a 1lb loaf tin, greased and lined with baking parchment.

First of all, place the fruit and sugar in a large bowl and pour over the hot tea.  Cover up with a plate and leave for at least 2 hours for the fruit to soak up all the lovely tea.

When you're ready to make the cake pre heat the oven to 140° and mix all the other ingredients into the fruit.

Pour into the tin and sprinkle a little extra demerara sugar over the top.

Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the tin then wrap in baking parchment and foil to store.



(Picture to follow!)

Cherry and Almond Biscotti

I've been wanting to make biscotti for ages, but have never got round to it, until today!  I guess I thought that it took ages and that it wouldn't really be worth it when you can buy such lovely ones in fancy coffee shops, how wrong was I!

Give these a go, they're really yummy and work out so much cheaper than those you get in the previously mentioned coffee shops!


2 Eggs
150g caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
250g plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
100g dried cherries
150g whole almonds

Pre heat the oven and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are very fluffy and ribbons of mixture are left behind when you lift the beaters out.

Beat in the orange zest.

Mix together the flour and baking powder and then carefully fold into egg and sugar mixture.

Fold in the cherries and almonds.

Flour the worktop well and tip out the dough, it will be quite sticky and wet so make sure you have extra flour to hand!

Shape into a long flattish log shape and then transfer to the prepared baking sheet.  You will probably need to re shape the dough when its on the baking tray as it will stretch a bit when you pick it up.

Bake in the pre heated oven for 30-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes, then slice into pieces about 1 cm thick and place back on the baking tray.  Bake again for 10 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

These look amazing gift wrapped in a cellophane bag, tied with ribbon and given as a Christmas pressie!

P.s I made 2 batches of these, the second had 150g roasted whole hazelnuts and 100g dark chocolate chips instead, which also worked really well, we just can't decide which are our faves!