Monday, 20 August 2012

Banana and Nutella Brioche

Week 35, Bake 35.

This week is my last week at my parents B&B until I head back to Somerset and my lovely job. And its been rather hot... Still even though the heat is annoying my mind hasn't stopped thinking about bake ideas, it is fair to say that I am rather obsessed now by baking. When I was 14 years old and was thinking about becoming a chef, I used to bake me and my mum a Nutella and Banana bread which was lovely, but since deciding that I wanted to become a Speech and Language Therapist instead that recipe has fallen by the wayside. So as this is my year of baking I decided to create a new one using a brioche recipe from The Great British Bake Off book. At this stage I should say that Brioche dough is a funny one and so I did spend a lot of my morning getting grumpy at it, but thankfully it turned out great.

  • 375g of strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 x 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 175g of diced butter
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons of nutella
  • 1 egg beaten to glaze.
  1. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl and mix together.
  2. Make a well and pour the milk into it and add the eggs.
  3. Now, using your hands mix all the ingredients well together until you get a sticky dough.
  4. Turn out onto a floured worktop and knead for 10 minutes. The dough will be very sticky so be prepared to use a lot of flour but there is a delicate balancing act as you don't want to use too much and then the dough become dry.
  5. Knead until it is elasticated and becomes smooth.
  6. Now, pop it back into the bowl, place some loose oiled cling film over the top and let it rise. Put it in the fridge to do so as you want a slow rise and let it double in size for 1-2 hours.
  7. Punch the dough down, re-cover and then let it rise again for another hour.
  8. Make the nutella-banana filling by mushing up the banana and nutella together.
  9. Line a loaf tin.
  10. Roll out the dough to just bigger in width than your loaf tin and then smear the Nutella mixture around the dough leaving about a 2cm edge free.
  11. Like you would do with a Swiss roll, roll the brioche up and then place it into the tin so the seam faces the bottom of the tin.
  12. Now let it once again double in size, but this time not in the fridge. This should take an hour.
  13. Pre-heat the oven to 200c. Once it is ready, cook in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 180c and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  14. Remove from the oven and tin. Tap its bottom to see if it has a hollow sound, if it does then it is done.
  15. Serve warm.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Week 34, Bake 34.

Well this has been a nice week, mainly because The Great British Bake Off is on our screens again! On Tuesday, my mum, dad and I all sat round the TV and ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the cakes, gasped at the mistakes and drank our tea (as we always do in this house, we are british!). Anyway, this weeks bake was for my mum, she wanted a meringue and had seen a black Forrest meringue in The Great British Bake Off's new book. I don't particularly like cherries and so I decided to create my own meringue idea at the same time. And so this weeks bake is Black Forrest Meringue and Strawberry Meringue with a Pimms Chantilly Cream.

On a side note I have decided that I will not try to loose weight this year... I figure whatever exercise I do, it will just be contradicted by the amount of bakes I am eating so next year I will try to loose weight... I promise! (Oh, and Pimms cream does taste as amazing as it sounds!)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 225g of caster sugar
For the Black forest meringue:
  • Cherries
  • 200ml of double cream
  • 100g of dark chocolate (70% solids)
  • 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • Coco powder
For the strawberry Pimms Chantilly cream:
  • Strawberries
  • 50ml of Pimms
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • 275ml of double cream
  • 1 passion fruit
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 110c. Draw on a baking sheet circles (far apart) about 8cm diameter. Turn the sheet over.
  2. In a clean bowl mix the egg whites together until you get stiff peeks.
  3. Now add in the caster sugar and whisk until soft peeks form.
  4. Using a piping bag and a nuzzle (wide star shaped) to pipe from the centre outwards the meringue into the circle, then to create the nest pipe once round the outside of the circle on top.
  5. Bake for 2 hours, then leave in the oven to cool down with the oven temperature.
  6. Now for the black forest meringues: melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan full of water. Once the meringues are cool, paint the centre of them (using a pastry brush) with the melted chocolate and cool in the fridge. Use the rest of the melted chocolate to spread onto a piece of baking parchment and allow to cool to create the shards. Whisk the icing sugar and cream together, then stone the cherries and chop half of them. Put the chopped half into the cream and mix in, then put a good dollop of the cream onto the centre of the meringue, place the other half of the cherries on top to decorate. Once the chocolate is cool you will be able to break it to create shards of chocolate and place these on top. Finally dust the meringues with coco powder and a cherry whole.
  7. And for the Pimms meringue: mix the Pimms, sugar and orange zest together. Now add this mixture to the cream and whisk until whipped. Chop the strawberries and remove their hull's. Dice enough to add to the cream mixture and leave a few for decoration. Pipe the strawberry cream into the meringue nests and decorate with passion fruit and the remaining strawberries.
  8. Enjoy. Warning this recipe is alcoholic....

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Onion Marmalade Sausage Rolls

Week 33, Bake 33.

This weeks bake did not go as well as planned. Firstly, it was clearly too hot to make puff pastry well and secondly I did not have enough time to complete it to the standard I wanted to get to. And yet, even though the pastry was a bit dry, the taste was lovely, so I can't fully write off this recipe... next time I will just have to do it on a cooler day.

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 250g of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 125ml of ice cold water
  • 400g of sausage meat
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcester sauce
  • 2 small hand fulls of sage and thyme
  • onion marmalade (recipe can be found here)
  • Egg for glazing
  • Sage leaves for decorating
  1. On a clean surface, make a well in the flour and cut up the cold cubed butter. Add in the salt and now using your hands bring the flour and butter together until some of the butter is mixed in but you can still see blobs of it.
  2. Make sure you don't get it too hot.
  3. Now mix in the cold water (this is where I went wrong, my butter melted too much and so the pastry was moist so I didn't add in the water... this resulted in a dry pastry... be awear).
  4. Roll it into a ball then pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  5. Now take it out of the fridge and roll it out and do two 'turns'.
  6. Pop back in the fridge for a further 30 minutes and then do the same again. By now you will have four turns.
  7. Return to the fridge and rest for another 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile create the sausage mixture. In a bowl add the sausage meat, chopped herbs, Worcester sauce and a pinch of salt and mix using a fork.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
  10. Once the pastry is ready, roll it out into two long rectangles and cut in half length ways. Making sure that the width is wide enough to allow the sausage meat in (another aspect I failed in).
  11. Now spread the onion marmalade along the middle of the pastry then on top add the sausage meat in a long strip.
  12. Beat an egg and brush it along the sides of the pastry then fold one side over to the other.
  13. Using a fork crimp the edges together.
  14. Chop into the size desired, glaze with an egg and pop a sage leaf on top.
  15. Do the same with the other rectangle.
  16. Cook for 20 minutes then serve warm.

Hopefully next weeks bake will go better, but on the plus side I now know how to spell sausage (I am quite dyslexic).

Friday, 3 August 2012

Pastry Swans

Week 32, Bake 32.

I think I'm becoming a bit of a baking nerd. Always looking for new recipes, constantly dreaming up new bakes and buy new books. Which would explain why I was getting in quite a huff this morning whilst waiting for my new book (The Great British Bake Off's new book) to be delivered. As the minutes ticked by I was (I admit it) getting rather grumpy. And so by two o clock when I saw the delivery van pull up I bounced my way to the door, ripped open the packaging and sat there eagerly flipping though the book. And so in doing this I realised that after 32 weeks I am truly a baking geek.

So here is a recipe from the book with a twist from me. Pastry Swans swimming on a blueberry sauce.

  • 100g of plain flour
  • 75g of salted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • Strawberries
  • 250ml of double cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons of sifted icing sugar (for the cream)
  • 2 tablespoons of sifted icing sugar (for the blueberry sauce)
  • 1 large handful of blueberries
  1. First make the choux pastry. To do this, sift the plain flour onto a piece of greaseproof paper.
  2. Then in a saucepan put the butter and 175ml of warm water. Melt the butter on a low heat.
  3. Once it is all melted, quickly bring it up to the boil and then pour the flour in.
  4. Now remove it from the heat and beat it. At first it will look crap, but keep at it and it will soon come together into a dough.
  5. Put it back on the heat and cook it for another couple of minutes, still beating it but less hard.
  6. Now remove from the heat and put in a mixing bowl to cool.
  7. This will take a few minutes so have a cuppa and pre-heat the oven to 200c.
  8. Now beat three eggs in a jug.
  9. Using an electric mixer gradually beat the eggs into the dough, don't do it all at once and again it will look a mess but it will get better. Don't add all of the eggs, you want the mixture to just fall off a spoon when shaken.
  10. Using a 6mm piping nozzle pipe 9cm long /s/ shapes (make 12) onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool until you need to use them on a cooling rack.
  12. Using two spoons make 8cm long blobs on your baking sheet (approx 4cm wide) and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  13. Then open the oven door to let the steam out and turn it down to 180c.
  14. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Then make a hole in the side of each puff and bake for another 5 minutes until they are dry.
  15. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.
  16. Meanwhile make the blueberry sauce by putting the blueberries in a pan with a splash of water and squash all the berries. Now cook for about 5 minutes until it has slightly thickened and then add the icing sugar. Cook for a further few minutes then, remove from the heat and strain the blueberries using a sieve.
  17. Now make the cream, whip the cream, add the vanilla essence and the icing sugar and whip again.
  18. It is now time to assemble everything.
  19. Cut a puff in half, then cut the top in half to make the wings (much like a butterfly cake).
  20. Pipe the cream into the bottom of the swan, cut a strawberry into slices and lay them on top of the cream. Put one of your swan necks into the base and the pipe some more cream onto. Place your wings on and you have done your swan.
  21. Now using a saucer, make a pool of the blueberry sauce and place your swan in the centre.
  22. Enjoy with a cuppa.