Sweet potato pie with whipped cream and maple pecans

1

Monday, 13 November 2017

Last year my sister asked for a sweet potato pie topped with burnt marshmallow for us to have on the Christmas table. The pie didn’t make it to table, but we certainly weren’t short on American offerings. It was the second year running for having completely un-englishified an undoubtedly British affair – spuds and sprouts were sitting alongside a shallow fried patty of Kraft Mac n Cheese, the cornbread had a thick, stuffing-like consistency and it paired well with the actual stuffing made from a packet of sage and onion stuffing mix and supermarket sausage meat. The sweet potato pie would have rounded off our weird fusion dinner nicely.

We’re six weeks away from Christmas (not that I’m counting), so instead of appropriately churning out another pumpkin pie, I wanted to pay homage to our missing sweet potato pie of yesteryear. To be honest though, this is not too dissimilar to a pumpkin pie – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try this alternative. The sweet potato, if blended to death, makes for a silky custard filling. I used whipped cream instead of marshmallow topping to tone down the sweetness, and the pecans are there to look pretty and add crunch i.e. totally not necessary. I hope this pie makes it to your Christmas or Thanksgiving table.

Sweet potato pie with whipped cream and maple pecans

Makes one 9 inch pie

Ingredients

For the pastry
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 100g unsalted butter, cold and cubes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 medium egg yolks mixed with 2 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten (for the egg wash)

For the pie filling
  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes, 450g flesh
  • 3 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 175g double cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1/8  tsp ground star anise (optional)

For the maple pecans
  • 100g pecans
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, to serve

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/180°C fan. Put the sweet potatoes on a roasting tray and bake for one hour, they should be soft in the middle and a little caramelised on the outside. Once slightly cool, peel away the skin and weigh out 450g of potato flesh in a bowl, cover and let cool in the fridge.
  2. While the potato is cooling, make the pastry. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and blitz briefly to combine. Add the butter and pulse until rough breadcrumbs form. Pour in the egg yolks and water and pulse again. As soon as a ball of dough takes shape, stop the mixer. Pour the crumbly dough mixture onto a layer of cling film. Lift up the sides of the cling film and press together to create a round disc – be careful not to overwork it. Put the dough in the fridge to rest for half an hour (or overnight) while you make the filling.
  3. Clean the bowl of your food processor and add the sweet potato. Blitz for one minute to create a smooth puree. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and blitz again until smooth and silky, about one more minute and set aside. You can store the filling in the fridge for up to three days, just make sure to bring it back to room temperature before baking.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 170°C/190°C fan. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface, the dough needs to be large enough to cover your 9 inch pie plate with overhang. Put the dough in the pie plate and cut off a little of the overhang. Fold in the excess pastry to create a thicker lip around the pie. Use your thumb and index finger to crimp the edges, and then place the pie in the freezer for 30 minutes. Blind bake the dough for 30 minutes, remove the pie weights, then egg wash the pastry case and put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Allow the case to cool slightly.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/180°C fan and foil the edges to prevent them from burning. Pour the sweet potato filling in the cooled pastry. Bake for 35 minutes, there should be the slightest wobble in the middle.
  6. To make the maple pecans, line a tray with greaseproof paper and set aside. Roughly chop the nuts and toast in a dry pan on low heat. Pour in the maple syrup, honey and cinnamon and let it bubble for 4-5 minutes until syrupy and sticky. Pour the nuts on the greaseproof paper, sprinkle with sea salt and leave to set.
  7. Serve a slice of the pie with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkling of maple pecans and a small drizzle of maple syrup.



Love Em xx

Salted caramel stuffed chocolate chip cookies

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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Deb of Smitten Kitchen was right when she said there’s nothing new to add to the chocolate chip cookie conversation. But you can take egg whites away and be left with a cookie that is crispier and richer than one made with a whole egg. There’s nothing new about this phenomenon either, so I haven’t made Deb’s argument redundant. But consider a cookie made only with the yolks of an egg, that has then been stuffed with a square of salted caramel – I’m going to ramp up the cringe factor now and say that it really is a winning combination, like a lamb curry simmered down with plums.

The cookie is gooey and salty, with a richness coming from the dough itself rather than the chocolate alone. I feel like blogging about cookies is important because I always opt for a cookie (it’s a cheap add on to whatever else I’m buying) when I’m visiting a good bakery and I’m consistently disappointed because they’re usually stale. Cookies can’t survive the open air, which means having an on-going stash of these things in your freezer is a logical necessity, unless you suffer from a lack of sweet tooth…



Salted caramel stuffed chocolate chip cookies

Makes 16-18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 240g plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks, large
  • 150g dark chocolate chips
  • 16-18 salted caramel squares or toffees – I used my recipe for lavender caramels on Food52,  omit the lavender and add a generous teaspoon of salt instead
Note: after you’ve stuffed and rolled the cookies, you can freeze some or all of them in a freezer bag for up to two months.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C and line two or three large trays with baking parchment. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Beat the butter, both sugars and vanilla until creamed but not light and fluffy, then add the egg yolks and beat again. Stir in the dry ingredients until just mixed, then fold through the chocolate chips or mix them together on the lowest setting of the mixer. If you have the time, at this point you can refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours to develop the flavours
  2. Roll the dough into half sized balls that are approximately 25g each and then lightly flatten them. Place a caramel in the centre and top with another flattened ball. Seal the sides then place the cookies on the lined trays at least two inches apart. Refrigerate for 20 minutes and bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Let them cool slightly on the trays before transferring to a rack to cool completely. These are best eaten the day they are baked.
Love Em xx

Danish buns with Biscoff spread

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

You could spread anything sweet and smooth between spirals of pastry and have it be a hit.

Since 2015, I’ve had this boring habit of photographing bakes with the intention of posting them on mbakes and then forgetting about it until the next itch to create something followed. And then the cycle would continue. I have a whole backlog of posts that I couldn’t bring myself to share. It could have been the stresses of working that hindered my ability to produce something good enough for the internet, or it could have been life doing the thing that life does and taking over. But I can finally promise to post more now without boring whoever’s reading with the excuses for not sharing as frequently as I’d have liked.


So I’ll start with Dan Lepard’s Danish buns that I made and photographed a while ago, you can find the recipe for his rough Danish dough here. Roll the dough into a 30x40cm rectangle and spread with a whole jar of smooth or crunchy Biscoff spread. Do as you would for any bun recipe – roll into a log, cut, prove in a tin, optionally sprinkle with European pearl sugar and then bake at 160 C for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden. Rest for ten or so minutes in the tin before lifting one out with your fingers and shoving it in your mouth.
























Love Em xx

Banana bread

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017


I felt like sharing this recipe for banana bread on mbakes because when I was testing it as a bundt cake, it took about five attempts to nail. It’s the sort of banana bread that tastes best when eaten the day it’s baked, when the the outer crust is still crispy and the middle still warm. A good glug of maple syrup or a spread of dulce de leche isn’t necessary, unless, like me, you like to have sugar with your sugar. Happy New Year!
Banana bread

Ingredients
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the bundt tin
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 medium or 3 large overripe bananas
  • 150g natural yogurt or buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g light brown sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
Method
  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl, then set aside. Mash the bananas in another bowl, then stir in the yogurt/buttermilk and vanilla.
  3. Put the butter and sugar in a separate bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until soft and a little paler in colour – or use a handheld mixer if you prefer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Using a metal spoon, add a third of the flour mixture and fold it in gently, using a figure of eight motion, followed by half of the banana mixture. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining banana mixture, then finally the remaining flour.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and level the surface with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Bake for 60-90 min or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20 min, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Love Em xx

No bake cheesecake with black pepper strawberries

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Hello. It’s me. I’m still here, I’m just mostly on the other side, watching Tasty video after Tasty video and admiring all the drippy cakes on Instagram. A lot has changed since I last blogged, food seems to be moving in the direction of fast forward videos and I felt like food blogging had its day. Then I made a recipe for black pepper strawberries with chocolate crumble from delicious. magazine (August 2016 issue, page 57), it was written by Franceso Mazzei, a chef at Mayfair restaurant Sartoria, it’s essentially strawberries and cream with crumble but Jesus Christ it was bloody perfect. So, I thought I’d adjust it a bit and turn it into a cheesecake, I was still impressed by the flavours, something about black pepper and strawberries just works and I don't know why. So here it is - I hope you make it! 
No bake cheesecake with black pepper strawberries

Ingredients

For the base
  • 100g butter, at room temperature 
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 75g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 egg white
For the cheesecake
  • 4 leaves gelatin
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 160g mascarpone 
  • 280g cream cheese
For the topping
  • 200g strawberries 
  • 60g caster sugar
  • Zest and 2 tbsp juice of a lemon
  • 5 turns of a pepper mill 
Note: You can leave the gelatine out, the cheesecake just won't have a firm set, but it will still taste good. 

Method
  1. To make the base, preheat the oven to 180 C/160 F and lightly grease a 7-inch springform pan. Beat the butter and sugar to combine, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix just until a dough forms. Press the dough into the base and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 20-22 minutes until firm in the middle, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 
  2. To make the filling, soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes, then transfer to a small saucepan with 150ml of the double cream and stir on a low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Pour the gelatin cream and the rest of the cream into a large bowl and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, add the rest of the cheesecake ingredients and use an electric whisk to mix until smooth and thick. Spread the filling over the cheesecake base and level it off with a spoon or offset spatula. Put the cheesecake in the fridge to set for 4 hours, or overnight. 
  3. To make the topping, slice the strawberries into halves and quarters and put them in a bowl with the sugar, lemon and pepper. Stir to coat the strawberries and leave to macerate for 10 minutes, then pile the strawberries on top of the cheesecake. Reserve the juice for guests to pour over the cheesecake before they dive in. 
Em x

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