Saturday, 30 July 2016

Sweet Cinnamon Bread

Here's my recipe for a sweet cinnamon bread dough that can be used for buns, a big loaf or even something more creative like a babka. The dough is incredibly fun to make and surprisingly easy to work with, so is also an excellent introduction to bread making in general. If cinnamon isn't your thing though (and know it's not everyone's cup of tea) then feel free to experiment with other flavour combinations. Vanilla, chopped fruit, even chocolate chips would all be marvellous alternatives or additions!

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus proving time)
Baking time: 35 Mins (For a loaf), 20 Mins (For buns)
7g Sachet of Fast Action Yeast
35g Light Muscovado Sugar (Plus a small handful for sprinkling)
250ml Tepid Water
1hpd tsp Cinnamon (Plus extra for sprinkling)
450g Strong White Bread Flour
75g Unsalted Butter

Let's get baking! Mix together the yeast, sugar and water until the yeast has blended in, then add the cinnamon, flour and 50g of the butter, melted. Mix together until a dough starts to form, then tip out onto a clean, dry surface. Bring the dough together with your hands then start to knead, pulling the dough apart, folding back on itself, rotating by a quarter and repeating. Keep kneading the dough for around 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic, then lightly dust with flour and return to a clean bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm place for around an hour, until doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen remove it from the bowl and place on a lightly greased surface. Shape into a loaf or buns and place on a lightly greased tray or tin. Cover or place in a sealed container and leave to one side somewhere relatively warm for another 45 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. This is a bit cooler than usual for bread, but with a high butter content you need to be sure it'll bake before over-colouring (Do you like how I try and disguise burning as 'over-colouring'?). Remove your tray or tin from its warm place and return to the kitchen. Melt the last 25g of butter and brush over your risen dough. Sprinkle with a final dusting of cinnamon and sugar, then place in the over for around 35 mins (loaf) or 20 mins (buns). When you are happy the loaf or buns are baked remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. This one is best served warm though so don't leave them too long! ;-)

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Easy Millionaire's Chocolate Tart

I'm refuse to tolerate those who class using ready prepared ingredients as 'cheating'. We all work hard and time is a precious commodity, so as worthy (and fun) as it is to prepare every detail of a sweet treat from scratch, sometimes it's just not possible. On such occasions I have no qualms about using a ready prepared alternative, such as here with this millionaire's chocolate tart. In fact everything about this tart is easy! I shall however, leave the telling of your guests to your discretion. ;-)

Prep time: 15 Mins
Baking (Well, chilling) time: 120 Mins
1 Sweet Pre-baked Shortcrust Pastry Case (200-220g)
250g Dulce De Leche or Caramel Sauce
A couple of pinches of Sea Salt
200g Dark Chocolate (Or 100g of Dark and 100g of Milk if you like things less bitter)
150ml Double Cream

This is so easy it barely needs a recipe! Place your pastry case on a plate then spread the dulce/caramel sauce over the base. Sprinkle over the salt. Gently melt the chocolate over a bain marie, or in the microwave (if you are confident in your timings), then set to one side to cool slightly. Whisk the double cream until you can form soft peaks, then fold through the melted chocolate. Spoon over the salted caramel, then coax to the edges with the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill for around 120 minutes, until the chocolate has set. You're all done. See, so easy!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Fresh Fruit Genoese

With so few ingredients this light and fluffy genoese is so simple to make. The key is to treat your mixture with love and with care. Don't be tempted to rush and be gentle when folding through the egg whites and flour. If you do this you'll be rewarded with a beautiful base for whipped cream and all sorts of fresh fruits. I've used strawbs, but you can replace with whatever you fancy!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 30 Mins
4 Large Eggs (Separated)
225g Caster Sugar
1/2tsp Orange Extract
1/2tsp Lemon Extract
1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
150g Self Raising Flour

200ml Double Cream
25g Icing Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
300g Fresh Fruit (Sliced accordingly)

You'll need two clean mixing bowls for this, as well as a 23cm cake tin. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and completely line your tin with baking paper. In one of your bowls whisk the eggs whites until fluffy, then add 25g of the sugar and whisk again until you are left with soft peaks. In the other bowl beat together the yolks with the sugar and extracts. Add a third of the whites to the yolks, fold through to combine, then add a third of the flour and do the same. Repeat for the next two thirds, then pour into your prepared tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 30 mins, until well risen, golden brown on top and just springy to the touch. When you are happy the cake is baked remove from the oven, leave in the tin for around an hour, then very carefully remove from the tin, gently peeling off the paper as you go. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Whisk the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until thick, then spread over the top of the cake. Decorate with fresh fruits and you are all done! Woohoo!