Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Pulled Pork Doughnuts

Bit of a high concept one here. I'm not entirely sure when I started thinking about it, but it's been bouncing round in the back of my head for a while now. It's a pretty simple idea...take your traditional pulled pork bun (or if you're a fan of the Asian side of things Cha Siu Bao), and then rather than steaming of baking them, deep-fry them ala a doughnut. Simples?

The logistics are a little more involved...I've never made pulled pork before, and after a bit of digging found a recipe, only to find it takes 5 hours in the oven! This was definitely not one that was going to be done in a single evening. I also decided to make my own barbecue sauce, and again spent some time looking this up. I ended up doing the pork and the sauce on a Sunday, then the dough, assembly and frying on the Monday evening. Fortunately it a a pleasant, warm day, and the dough proved quickly (though I helped the second prove with a "proving draw" oven set-up)

The volume here provide waaay more pulled pork (I did the entire 2½kg pork shoulder joint...my local supermarket had almost exactly the cut the recipe called for, and it's not like it won't get eaten!) and barbecue sauce than you need...no bad thing! The dough volume makes 12 buns, though with the pulled pork and sauce volumes you could probably make 30'ish.

Pulled Pork Doughnuts - Recipe

Pulled Pork - Recipe

I used this recipe from the BBC Good Food website, and won't worry about writing it out again. There were a lot of new flavours in there for me (liquid smoke? I now have a bottle of it). I struggled to find the onion salt...you can also get onion granules which can be mixed with plain salt (1 parts granules, 3 parts salt) for the same effect.

Searing the pork was...interesting. The joint was bigger than my largest frying pan, so there was some delicate balancing going on. The next challenge was that my roasting tin is wide than my tin foil, so there was a bit of ad-hoc origami going on to join 2 sheets together...I realised this was pretty important, as otherwise over the 5 hour cooking time the meat would go dry if the moisture could escape, so a good seal was vital.

It actually came out really well, and was just falling apart when I was attacking it with a fork. I stored it in 2 large tubs in the fridge, and 12 doughnuts used less than half.

Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Again, I headed to the trustworthy BBC Good Food website. I wanted something sweet and sticky, but with a good flavour, as I was unsure how much of it I'd be able to get into the buns. This recipe certainly has a kick to it!

Again, the ingredients list was a bit of a learning experience. I had no idea what Passata was, I didn't have some of the spices, and chipotle paste is new to me as well (and I also butcher the pronunciation). Actually making it, once I had all the ingredients assembled, was pretty simple, and I did it in the extremely long time I had spare while the pork was cooking. Once it was cooked, I let it cool, and then decanted into small kilner jars to store...I ended up using under half the recipe for the 12 buns, and I was also using it on some meals to add some depth.

Dough Recipe


  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 15g fast action yeast
  • 200ml full-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 60g butter (room temperature)
1) Warm the milk in a microwave to ~40'C (tepid)

2) Place the flour, salt, yeast and eggs in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment

3) Begin to mix, and slowly add the milk to form a dough

4) Mix for 4-5 minutes, until the dough begins to smooth

5) Add the butter to the bowl

6) Mix for another 8-10 minutes, until you have a smooth, glossy and stretchy dough

7) Place in a slightly oiled container, and leave to prove somewhere warm for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.


(this is where it gets a little fiddly!)

1) While the dough is proving, make 12 balls of pulled pork. These want to be approximately 3 - 3½cm in diameter.

2) Pull the balls apart, and add ½tsp of barbecue sauce into them, gently then reforming them

3) Leave the balls to chill in the fridge to firm up

4) Take the proved dough, and knock back

5) Split into 12 equal parts by weight (my dough weighed 880g, so each part was 70-75g)

6) Roll each dough part out into an oval approximately 10cm across

7) Take a chilled meat ball, and wrap the dough around it. Pinch the edge shut, ensuring there is as little air as possible.

You want to be quite diligent pinching the dough together, so ensure the meat is fully encapsulated, and as even as possible all the way round the meat ball. Smooth it off gently.

8) Place the balls on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush them with a little oil if you are worried that they may touch when proving again.

9) Leave to prove for 30-45 minutes (I used an oven with a temperature probe at ~40'C for this). They should expand a bit, but not double their size.

10) Set up your deep fat fryer, with sunflower or vegetable oil. You want the temperature at 180'C.

11) Prepare a "landing zone" for your cooked doughnuts. I had a cooling rack with a kitchen cloth underneath to catch errant oil and flour. You'll also want a flour sprinkler, and some heatproof tools.

12) Fry the doughnuts 2 at a time. You don't want more than that, or the oil will get too cool, and you'll get greasy doughnuts. I was carefully fine-tuning the shape before they went in, but didn't have any splits.

The cooking time is 3 minutes, and I was flipping them at 1 minute, 2 minutes and 2½ minutes.

13) Remove the doughnuts from the fryer to the landing zone, and sprinkle with flour to finish.

These are delicious warm...

Monday, 15 May 2017

Bakewell Roulade

This one came about when I was asked for an interesting twist to do to a swiss roll. I've done a lemon meringue one before, and I've always liked swapping in flavours from classics...in my mind I put together a bakewell version...raspberry jam, marzipan, and an almond-coated sponge...simple!

Well, sort of. The lack of a cream meant I had to be slightly careful about assembling it...I ended up with 2 layers of jam above and below the marzipan to stick the sponge to it. The flaked almond I actually really liked the look of, and I'll be doing that again.

I did the jam with a higher concentration of fruit than normal, as I wanted a tarter flavour to offset the marzipan. I should have blended and sieved them before jamming it to remove the seeds (doing so afterwards means a lot of sticky jam everywhere!)

Bakewell Roulade - Recipe

Sponge Recipe

I did a single sheet of my basic Swiss Roll recipe, with 2 changes. Rather than the vanilla essence, I used an almond essence. Secondly, I sprinkled the top of the sponge with about 30g of flaked almonds. I popped these on a baking sheet in the oven at 200'C for about 10 minutes, until they were nicely browned (you can do this while you're beating the eggs for the sponge), and then cooled them, and sprinkled them over the sponge mixture once it was poured into the tray.

Raspberry Jam

  • 250g raspberries
  • 200g jam sugar

1) Blitz the raspberries in a food processor into a puree

2) Sieve the raspberry puree to remove the seeds

3) Place the de-seeded puree and sugar in a large saucepan

4) Heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved, then bring the heat up to boiling

5) using a thermometer, boil and stir until you reach 104'C

6) remove from the heat, and scrape the jam onto a baking tray to cool

Marzipan Ingredients

  • 200g ground almond
  • 200g sieved icing sugar
  • 1tsp almond essence
  • 1 egg white (~35g)
1) Place the almond and sugar in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment

2) Mix slowly to combine the ingredients

3) Add the egg white and almond essence

4) Mix at a medium speed until a smooth, firm paste forms

5) Form a ball, wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 20 minutes


1) Unroll the cooled sponge carefully

2) Spread half the jam evenly over the sponge

3) Roll the marzipan out into a rectangle slightly larger than the sponge

4) Place the marzipan over the sponge, pressingly down gently into the jam to adhere it

5) Spread the remaining jam evenly over the marzipan

6) Re-roll the sponge

7) Trim the excess marzipan and ends of the roll to neaten it.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Choc-Orange Hobnobs

I'd been meaning to make some hobnobs for a couple of weeks... I'd had some of the hobnob flapjacks a while back, and I'd saved the ingredient list as a bit of inspiration. I've actually made hobnobs before (a few years ago), and I had some badly written notes. I dug these up, modified them based on everything I've learnt since then, and then decided to make them chocolate-orange, because...well, because!

Generally, they have some out really well. I've come to the conclusion that I don't really taste orange very well...I think it's pretty weak, but general feedback is that they are very orangy...maybe I don't need the zest of 2 oranges? Other feedback was that they could be a bit thicker, and I think the best way of achieving that would be to chill the dough after the balls are made. I could also probably make 24, rather than 20...this would make them slightly smaller, and so seem a bit thicker. Finally, I personally think a bit more chocolate...100g was not quite enough.

Chocolate-Orange Hobnobs - Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 150'C
  • Line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment

Dough Ingredients

  • 140g butter (room temperature)
  • 140g caster sugar
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 15g milk
  • 15g golden syrup
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 110g rolled oats
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1) Place the butter, sugar and zest in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

2) Cream the butter and sugar together until light and soft...you may need to scrape the sides down a couple of times

3) Add the golden syrup and milk, and mix thoroughly

4) Add the flour, oats and bicarbonate, and mix until just combined

5) Using your hands, make 20 even-sized balls of the dough
Note - I did this by weighing the mixture, dividing by 20, and then weighing each ball separately. Time consuming, but it makes for an even batch
I would suggest 24, rather than 20 in future
I would also suggest chilling the balls after rolling them for 15-20 minutes, to make them a little thicker
6) place the balls on the baking sheets, 10 on each, and well spaced

7) Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. You are looking for the moment when they just level off (they will be domed, and then suddenly the sugar will caramelise...you want to catch them at this moment, or they go too hard.

8) remove from the oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Chocolate topping Ingredients

  • 100g plain (50%) chocolate
  • 15g butter
  • 30ml milk
1) Break the chocolate up into a microwaveable bowl

2) Add the butter and milk

3) Microwave for 10 seconds and stir

4) Repeat the heating and stirring until you have a smooth, glossy paste

5) Split the chocolate paste evenly over the biscuits, and spread using a small palette knife

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Pork, Apple and Onion Sausage Rolls

I've been doing a fair bit of baking, but mostly doing some favourites...cycling season is now in full force, so I have a little less time  to spend in the kitchen. These sausage rolls came out of a batch of cooking I did for my cycling club for a training day...I wanted a savoury that would appeal to the masses, but was a little different. It's (once again) classic flavours, and after doing the first batch I reckoned they were worth a bit of refining and documenting.

When I did the first batch a lot of juices came out of the filling...obviously sausagemeat has a fair amount of fat in there, however the apple also added a lot of water, so for the second batch I wringed (wrang?) a lot of the water out. I'm in 2 minds about this...the filling was definitely dryer and firmer, however I think that perhaps some of the flavour was lost. Maybe a gentle heating to boil off the water while retaining the vital flavours?

Pork, Apple and Onion Sausage Rolls - Recipe

Rough Puff Pastry

This recipe uses a batch of my fast rough-puff pastry. You can make this up, then chill it while you are preparing the fillings

Filling Ingredients

  • 450g sausagemeat (I used some basic stuff, as I was going to add lots of flavours)
  • 3 medium-sized braeburn apples
  • 2 onions
  • 20g butter
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 10g soft brown sugar
1) Place the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat

2) Peel and slice the onions, and add to the frying pan

3) Sprinkle the sugar over the onions

4) Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for ~20 minutes, until the onions are well caramelised

5) Place to one side to cool

5) Peel, core and roughly grate the apples

6) Place the grated apple on a clean kitchen cloth

7) Roll and wring the kitchen cloth, to remove the excess water from the apple

8) Place the sausagemeat in a large bowl

9) Add the cooled onion, and grated apple

10) Thoroughly mix with your hands


  • 1 beaten egg
1) Pre-heat the oven to 190'C

2) Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment

3) Take the chilled pastry, and split in half

4) Roll each half out into a rectangle approx 20cm x 50cm (you can use a pizza wheel to neaten the edges)

5) Using a pastry brush, brush some beaten egg down the middle of the rolled pastry longways

6) Split the filling in half, and place an even strip down the middle of each piece of pastry, on top of the strip of beaten egg

7) Brush one side of each of the pieces of pastry, and fold over the filling

8) Repeat for the other side, forming 2 long sausages

9) Cut each sausage into 8 even-sized pieces (for 16 in total)

10) Cut 2 diagonal grooves in the top of each piece to form a simple decoration

11) Place the pieces on the baking sheet, spaced evenly

12) Brush each with beaten egg, aiming to cover all the edges of the pastry to help seal them

13) Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown, crisp and well puffed

14) Remove to a wire rack to cool

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Blueberry and Lemon Frangipane Tart

This was whipped up after picking up a small punnet of blueberries on the cheap from the supermarket...when I bought them I wasn't 100 sure what I was going to do, and had considered a batch of muffins. Come Sunday night, and I was looking through the house to see what was sitting around, and saw a couple of lemons...one thing led to another and I decided on a classic frangipane tart, with lemon zest, and blueberry jam.

I sort of see this sort of thing as "bakewell with different flavours", and to some extent it is, however almonds work fantastically with so many different berries, and frangipane takes on flavours really well too, so it's a great way of combining classic ingredient combinations.

I used my favourite 23cm tart tin for this...it's really deep, so you get plenty of filling! If I was going super-posh I would have baked the pastry without trimming it, then cleaned it up afterwards...however this time I trimmed it before baking, and I have a ball of left-over dough that will probably get converted into a snack tomorrow!

Blueberry and Lemon Frangipane Tart

Sweetcrust Pastry Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 130g butter (chilled and cubed)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg (chilled)
  • Tap water (chilled)
1) Place the flour, salt, sugar and butter into a food processor with the blade attachment.

2) Blitz until it forms a breadcrumb mixture

3) Add the egg and continue to blitz.

4) Add the water in small amounts until a dough just begins to form

5) Turn the mixture out onto a surface (or I prefer a large mixing bowl, to keep things a little tidier) and knead a few times to form a firm, smooth pastry

6) Flatten the dough to a thick disc, wrap in cling-film, and place in the fridge to chill. While it's chilling, make the jam

Blueberry Jam Ingredients

  • 100g blueberries
  • 100g jam sugar
1) Place the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan

2) Place over a low heat, stirring and squashing the blueberries with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved/melted into the juices

3) Bring the temperature up while stirring, until the mixture is boiling

4) Use a temperature probe to check on the temperature, and stir until the mixture reaches 104'C

5) Remove from the heat and turn the jam out onto a plate to cool. Your pastry should now be chilled, and ready to roll. Turn the oven on to 180-190'C to pre-heat

6) Take the chilled pastry, unwrap and place on a lightly floured surface

7) Roll it out to ~3-4mm thickness, in a circle large enough to line your 23cm pan (the best way to check this is place your pan in the middle, and make sure there is enough around the edge to line the edges

8) Line the tart tin, tucking the pastry down into the corners.

9) Prick the bottom with a fork. You can trim the edges at this point by passing a rolling pin over the top, trimming the pastry. If you want a posher finish, trim it after you've blind-baked, using a sharp knife

10) Place the lined tart tin in the fridge to chill until your oven is upto temperature

11) Line the pastry with thin baking parchment, and fill with baking beans and/or dry rice

12) Bake for 12 minutes, then remove the paper and baking beans and bake for a further 7-8 minutes, until the base is just starting to brown. Then, remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.

13) While you are blind-baking the pastry, make the frangipane filling

Lemon Frangipane Ingredients

  • 150g butter (room temperature)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 125g ground almond
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • Zest of 2 lemons
1) Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

2) Beat hard until very soft and creamy

3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating hard until fully combined

4) Add the flour, almond, zest and essence and mix hard until fully combined and smooth


  • 125g blueberries
  • Handful of flaked almonds
1) Turn the oven down to 155-160'C

2) Take the cooled jam, and spread over the base of the pastry case

3) Scatter the blueberries evenly over the jam

4) Scoop the frangipane mixture over the top, and using a small palette knife spread evenly to fill the entire pastry case, and smooth the top

5) Scatter the flaked almonds over the top, and press down slightly

6) Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. It's done when the middle of the frangipane is risen, and has turned a golden brown