Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Cycling Flapjack - 2018 Version (Cherry, Chocolate and Almonds)

Still my most requested recipe, I still tweak this occasionally. I was thrown a curveball recently when I had a request for a no-banana version, due to an allergy.

You can break the various ingredients in the flapjack down by purpose, and the banana was used as a binding agent (rather than butter, which obviously adds loads of fat in, which isn't ideal). I did some reading around, and saw a suggestion that baked sweet potato could be used as an alternative. Sounds a tad weird adding baked potato into flapjack, but it was the best I could come up with, so I gave it a go. It actually worked really well, with a good consistency and taste.

I can't seem to find it online, but I use a swiss roll tin from John Lewis that is exactly 30cm x 20cm, and (rare for cake tins) has sharp corners. It is literally my favourite traybake tin, as you get a good clean edge, and it's easy to measure and cut neatly. I chop this up into 20 slices (10cm x 3cm) and wrap each one in foil-backed paking parchment. I've put the nutrition breakdown below, however if you do 20 slices each bar is just shy of 200 calories each.

I'd like to do some other flavours for this. I watched a short video on how SIS make their energy bars (I don't like them, the texture is far too chewy, and can be incredibly hard in cool weather). I'd also like to knock the fat down a little more, and add some more protein in, so thats a project for the coming year!

Cherry, Chocolate and Almond Flapjack - Recipe

  • Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment

Ingredients

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 150g fructose sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 200g condensed milk
  • 2 sweet potatoes / 150g baked sweet potato (see recipe)
  • 1 large egg
  • 400g rolled oats
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 50g dark (50%) chocolate drops
  • 50g dried cherries
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½tsp almond essence  
1) Take the 2 sweet potatoes, and prick all over with a fork

2) Place on a foil-covered baking sheet, and place in the oven

3) Turn the oven to 200'C, and bake the sweet potato for an hour (just to confirm, the hour includes the time the oven takes to warm up)

4) Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, and turn it down to 160'C

5) Cut the baked sweet potatoes in half, and scoop the soft flesh out into a bowl

6) In a large saucepan, place the caster sugar, fructose sugar, golden syrup, butter, and 150g of the sweet potato. Also add the salt and almond essence.

7) Place over a low heat and stir until everything is melted together and smooth (you don't want it to boil)

8) Remove from the heat, and stir in the condensed milk.

9) Beat the egg slightly, and also add into the bowl.

10) Stir in the oats and flaked almonds, stirring thoroughly to ensure everything is coated.

11) Leave the mixture to cool a bit. While this is happening, chop the dried cherries into smaller pieces (I normally do in half or in third, using scissors...this means that it is more evenly spread throughout the mixture)

12) Stir in the chopped dried cherries and chocolate drops (now the mixture has cooled a bit they shouldn't melt too much)

13) Scrape into the prepared swiss roll tin, and using a spatula push into the corners, and flatten the surface. Ensure the depth is the same all over the tin.

14) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. It should just be browning at the edges

15) Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cool place in the fridge to chill, ideally overnight (this makes it much easier to slice neatly).

16) Chop into 20 bars (10cm x 3cm), and wrap each one in foil-backed greaseproof paper. It's worth doing neatly, as it makes it easier to eat on the go.

17) Store in the fridge for upto 2 weeks (like it ever lasts that long).


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Stollen Steigend

What a completely pretencious name for this!

So, Stollen is a well-known german seasonal treat...an enriched bread with dried fruit and marzipan. in my continued experiments with the Gifflar (which is Swedish for Croissant) I thought I could do a nice number in a gifflar flavoured as a stollen, only then I started hitting all sorts of language issues...sould I use German, Swedish or french (or maybe even English??)

I settled on German, and so "Steigand" is German for the French of "Croissant" (or so Google reliably informs me). What you actually have is an enriched dough, a marzipan core, and some dried fruit rolled in. These went down very well in the office...seasonal enough for Christmas, and most people actually know what a Stollen is! I used a simpler dough recipe for these than the full-on Gifflar, the end result is the same. I didn't take many photos while making these, as I was also making the Gingerbread Village Cake, which was more of a space-priority!

Stollen Steigand Recipe - Makes 24

Dough Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 150ml milk
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 50g room temperature butter
  • 20-50ml warm water
1) Warm the milk in a microwave to ~40'C (lukewarm)

2) Stir the yeast into the milk with a fork, and leave for 10 minutes until it's got a layer of bubbles on top

3) Place the flour, sugar and salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment

4) Mix the eggs into the developed yeast mixture

5) Pour the yeast mixture into the flour, and begin to mix

6) When the dough forms, if it looks a little dry add the water sparingly until it softens the dough

7) Add the butter to the dough in parts, allowing each chunk to combine into the dough

8) Mix the dough for 8-10 minutes on a medium speed, until the dough starts to clean the sides of a bowl.

9) Transfer to an oiled bowl, and leave to prove until tripled in size. While it is proving, make the fillings

Filling Ingredients

  • ~250g mixed dried fruit
  • ~500ml hot (just boiled) water
  • ~100ml orange juice
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • ½tsp almond extract
1) Place the mixed fruit in a large bowl

2) Pour the orange juice and hot water over the fruit, and leave to soak (this can be done before you start)

3) Place the ground almonds and icing sugar in a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment

4) Add the egg white and extract, and mix on a medium speed. Eventually a stiff paste will form (marzipan).

5) Wrap the marzipan in clingfim and chill in the fridge

Assembly

  • 50g melted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Splash of milk
1) Drain the mixed fruit, and place in a bowl

2) Take the proved dough and knock back

3) Split into equal thirds (approx 300g each)

4) Roll each part out on a floured surface into a circle roughly 30cm in diameter

5) Brush the circle with melted butte

6) Cut the circle into 8 "pizza slices"

7) Take a piece of marzipan (~15g) and hand roll into a sausage slightly shorter than the "crust" of a pizza slice

8) Spread a generous teaspoon full of the mixed fruit over the rest of teh slice, staying away from the edge and the point

9) Roll the slice up from the crust edge to the tip

10) Place on a baking sheet. repeat for all the dough

11) Leave to prove for ~1 hour

12) Pre-heat the oven to 160'C

13) Mix the egg yolks and a splash of milk in a small bowl

14) Brush each stollen with the egg yolk mixture

15) Bake for 20-25 minutes. the egg yolk means they will brown quickly, so if your oven has a hotspot you may want to turn them.

16) Remove to a wire rack to cool

Gingerbread

I'd never actually made this before I did the Gingerbread Village Cake...however I had used shortbread before to give a cake some height quickly, so it seemed sensible to crack some out, and use it.

The recipe I used produced waaaay too much. I did about 4 sheets of biscuits, so this recipe can be scaled to suit. I was particularly pleased with the snap of the biscuit, and with a bit more patience I would have chilled the cut shapes to reduce spread (there was a little, but not enough to stop me constructing with the icing to fill in gaps)

Gingerbread - Ingredients

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170'C (Officially 180'C, however my oven runs hot) 
  • Line baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone mats

 Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark muscavado sugar
  • 100g light muscavado sugar
  • 70g golden syrup
  • 600g plain flour
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3tsp ground ginger
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½tsp ground cloves
Notes - I used half-and-half with the sugar here, however if you want darker biscuits, use all dark muscavado sugar.
I added in a variety of "seasonal" spices...you could just do ginger

1) Place the butter,  and sugars in a large saucepan

2) Sieve the flour, bicarb, and spices into a large bowl

3) Place the saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the butter is melted, the sugar has dissolved, and everything is smooth

4) Pour the butter mixture into the bowl with the flour, and mix in. Once its cool enough, knead to a stiff, firm dough.

5) Roll the dough on a floured surface to 5mm thickness. It may crack slighty (and it's quite greasy), but push it back together, it's fairly resiliant.

6) Cut out teh required shapes, and using a palette knife transfer to the prepared baking trays.

7) At this point, if you want neat shapes chill the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes. If you're less precious, chunk it in now.

8) Bake for 8-10 minutes (the precise time will depend on the size of the shapes...large panels may take upto 12 minutes, small biscuits may catch on the edge at 6-7 minutes).

9) Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transer to a wire rack to completely cool.

Gingerbread Village Cake

I shall probably need to break this down into separate recipes, as it's got a lot going on.

This was my attempt at a "showstopper" bake for a work competition (I won, closely beating out a 2½ year old's gingerbread men). The plan was for a tall cake, with a bit or artistry. I'd not done gingerbread biscuits before, however the core cake is basically the same structure as a Dobos Torte, which I find a very easy way of building a cake up reliably.

In no particular order, the ingredients are;
  • Gingerbread Sponge
  • Orange Curd
  • Chocolate Meringue Butterceam
  • Candied Orange Peel
  • Gingerbread
  • Royal Icing
  • White Chocolate Ganache

Gingerbread Sponge

A slightly denser version of my Fatless Sponge Recipe, with the following ingredients;
  • 5 large eggs
  • 200g dark muscavado sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 12g ground ginger
  • 4g ground cinnamon
  • 4g ground nutmeg
  • 4g ground cloves
I then made up 8 layers, baked on parchment paper, as described in my Jaffa Torte Recipe. These were 19cm in diameter,and then I used an 18cm cutting ring to get them all to size.

Orange Curd

This was made the day before, using my Lemon Curd recipe, but substituting in 60g of orange juice and the zest of 2 oranges instead of lemon ingredients. It doesn't have the zing of lemon curd, and I'd be tempted to trial a bit of spice (Cardamon?)in future, to add some depth of flavour.

Chocolate Meringue Buttercream

I really should do this up as a Basic recipe, as I use it an awful lot. it's a very good general purpose frosting, and sets well. You start with a base of Swiss Meringue, then this also uses;
  •  150g dark (70%) chocolate
  • 25g cocoa
  • 300g butter (room temperature)
Place the butter in a stand mixer and beat until very soft (really ,really soft).
Melt the chocolate over the bain-marie you're going to use for the swiss meringue. Best to do this before, as you want it to cool.
Once you've made the meringue, let it cool as well, then fold it and the chocolate into the butter.

Candied Orange Peel

I put a bit of this on top to (in a slightly pretencious way) show the cake flavours (so the orange curd is mirrored on the top, along with the gingerbread). I followed this BBC recipe, and did a big batch of orange, lemon and lime peel. You definitely want to do this ahead of time, as it's a long process (doing a second air dry overnight is not a bad idea).

Gingerbread

I'll do this as a separate post, and then a link will Magically Appear Here! I'd never made it before, and actually it wasn't too bad. Ideally I'd have chilled it after cutting to stop any movement during baking, however I was able to use the icing to cover any gaps.

Royal Icing

Quite simply;
1 egg white
250g icing sugar
These were mixed together until smooth, and then put in a small piping bag with a small nozzle, and used as a contrast glue. It sets very strongly.

White Chocolate Ganache

This is the contrast colour on the decoration. I did my quick method (which I should write up, though it's very simle). The ratio for white chocolate is 2 parts chocolate to 1 part double-cream...I then microwave it for 10 seconds and stir...repeat until done.

Assembly

I did a video of me assembling the base, using the 8 sponge discs, the buttercream and the orange curd (which I'm spreading on the cake layers before stacking them).


 This was chilled, and the white chocolate gaanche poured over the top and "encouraged" to drip. Chilling is the key here.

The gingerbread houses were fairly simple affairs as well. The roof parts and side walls were teh same size, with the front and back being half the width, with a tringle on top. I didn't even use a template, just cut them with a ruler. They were then assembled with the royal icing, and sliced almonds on top as tiles.

Finally, I scattered some candied orange peel over the top.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Savoury Gifflar

When I was making the gifflar a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't help but thnk how similar they were to a pre-rolled pizza slice...which got me thinking "why not do a savoury, pizza inspired one?". Last weekend I did a trial run on Christmas dinner, which is going to be beef wellington, and I had some Prosciutto ham (I had to google how to spell that), some mushrooms, and a bit of flavour inspiration. I needed a snack for a race, so I made a batch of these.

Really happy with the flavours. It was a bit tricky making them look neat, and next time I would chop the mushrooms finer, and maybe even do the filling after I've cut the wedges, so I can avoid the edges, and get a better seal. I avoided this with this batch, but some cheese (either inside, or sprinkled on top) would not go amiss, and would add to the "izza" vibe, giving you a true Italian/Nordic crossover!

Savoury Gifflar - Recipe

Dough Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 150ml milk
  • 10g fast action yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50g room temperature butter
  • ~20-50ml of warm water
1) Warm the milk in a microwave to ~40'C (lukewarm)

2) Stir the yeast into the milk with a fork, and leave for 10 minutes until it's got a layer of bubbles on top

3) Place the flour and salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment

4) Mix the eggs into the developed yeast mixture

5) Pour the yeast mixture into the flour, and begin to mix

6) When the dough forms, if it looks a little dry add the water sparingly until it softens the dough

7) Add the butter to the dough in parts, allowing each chunk to combine into the dough

8) Mix the dough for 8-10 minutes on a medium speed, until the dough starts to clean the sides of a bowl.

9) Transfer to an oiled bowl, and leave to prove until tripled in size. While it is proving, make the fillings

Fillings

  • 200g button mushrooms
  • Sprig of fresh thyme
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml white wine

  • 1 pack (approx 90-100g) of Prosciutto ham

  • 50g butter
  • 40g tomato puree
  • 1tsp garlic salt
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1) For the mushrooms, place 50g of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat

2) Finely chop the  mushrooms, and place in the frying pan

3) Fry for 5-6 minutes until soft

4) Add the wine, and continue to cook on a medium heat until all the moisture is absorbed into the mushrooms

5) Leave to one side to cool

6) Melt the other 50g of butter in a hetproof bowl

7) Stir in the tomato puree, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce

8) Tear the Prosciutto ham into small pieces

Assembly

  • 1 beaten egg, mixed with a litle milk
  • Sesame seeds
1) Knock back the proved dough, and split into 3 parts (approx 300g each)

2) Roll each part into a circle approximately 30cm across

3) Spread 1/3rd of the tomato mixture over the circle

4) Sprinkle 1/3rd of both the mushrooms and Prosciutto ham even over the circle

5) Cut the circle into 8 "pizza slices"

6) Roll each pizza slice from the wide end, forming a croissant-like shape.

7) Place these on a baking sheet (you'll need 2) lined with baking parchment or silicone sheets

8) Repeat for all 3 parts of dough, making 24 gifflar in total

9) Lightly brush each with water, and leave to prove for 45 minutes

10) Pre-heat the oven to 160-170'C

11) Brush each gifflar with the egg/milk mixture, and sprinkle sesame seed over them

12) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden

13) Remove to a wire rack to cool

Monday, 4 December 2017

Gingerbread Cake Roulade

This was more of a tester for a bigger cake...a competition at work next week. I wanted to do a gingerbread flavoured sponge, and then I needed an icing to decorate it. I then went out a bit more, added a curd, and also some candied peel.

Overall it worked really well...I slightly over-filled it  with icing, so the roll is a bit rubbish, but otherwise it looked and tasted great. I now have a good idea about how I'll approach the main cake next week, which was the primary goal for this.

Gingerbread Cake Roulade - Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 200'C
  • Grease and line a swiss roll tin with baking parchment

Sponge Recipe


The base sponge was my fatless sponge recipe, with 10g of flour replaced with;
  • 6g ground ginger
  • 2g cinnamon
  • 2g ground nutmeg
  • 2g ground cloves

The caster sugar was replaced with dark muscavado sugar as well, and this gives teh sponge a deeper, richer flavour.

Orange Curd Recipe

I made up an orange curd, using my lemon curd recipe as a base, with the following replacements;
  • 60g of orange juice (instead of lemon juice)
  • Zest of 2 large oranges (rather than 3 lemons)

Chocolate Meringue Buttercream Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 300g butter (room temperature)
  • 150g 70% chocolate
  • 25g cocoa powder
 Note - I should probably write this up as a "Basic" receipe, as it's basically my go-to recipe for decorating. It's nice and light, and sets quite firmly for decorating purposes...

1) Quarter-fill a large saucepan with water, and place over a medium heat until it simmers

2) Break the chocolate up into a heatproof bowl, and place over the simmering pan of water (but not touching the water)

3) Stir until just melted

4) Place the chocolate to one side to cool (but remain liquid)

5) Place the egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl and place over the simmering water (but again not touching)

6) Using an electric hand whisk, beat until stiff, glossy paks are formed

7) Place the meringue to one side to cool

8) Place the butter and cocoa in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

9) Beat until very soft, you may need to scrape the sides down a couple of times

10) Fold in the cooled meringue until no while lumps are left

11) Fold in the melted chocolate

12) Transfer to a piping bag with a large, plain nozzle (this makes it fill the swiss roll)

Candied Peel Ingredients

I followed this recipe, which worked well. It was a fairly simple process, but time consuming, nad in future I'll do this well in advance. In total this took about 2 hours to produce some candied peel...mainly the simmering and drying phases...the actual prep took about 5 minutes!

White Chocolate Ganache

  • 50g white cooking chocolate
  • 25g double cream
1) Place the chocolate and cream in a small heatproof bowl

2) Microwave for 10 seconds, then stir vigorously

3) Repeat until a smooth mixture is formed...this took 3 heat cycles, and it was ready to apply to the cake almost immediately.

Assembly


1) Take the pre-rolled sponge, and open up carefully

2) Spread the inside surface generously with the curd

3) Pipe a layer of the buttercream on top, and spread out with a pallette knife

4) Re-roll the sponge, and trim the ends to make a neat roll

5) Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes

6) Pour the ganache on top, and encourage it to drip in a few places

7) Place some candied peel on top to decorate