Loganberry ripple ice cream with chocolate wafers

2

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Until my electrical ice cream machine with built-in freezer magically turns up, home-making proper ice cream is on hold. Hand churning for 6 hours does produce smooth ice cream but the risk of crystallisation is high. Plus, who has a spare 6 hours to spend patiently waiting by the freezer? 

True, you can whip together some condensed milk and double cream and call it ice cream, but it doesn't deliver on richness, achieved only from the egg yolks in traditional ice cream. I think you can get away with using store bought ice cream in a recipe and still call it homemade because a lot of love went into making those chocolate wafers and the tart loganberry compote or whatever else it is your adding to pimp it up a bit.  Not too long ago I baked off chocolate chip cookies from the freezer, then chopped them up into chunks whilst warm and folded them through honeycomb ice cream followed by a generous ladle of store-bought chocolate fudge sauce and yes, I think my use of chocolate chip cookies rendered that dessert homemade. Power to the cheaters, I say. 

We picked the loganberries at a picking farm we found on the way back from Camber Sands beach. I'm not gonna lie, I did feel like the only way to get rid of 500g worth of berries was to reserve some for snacking and then reduce the rest down into a sauce with a longer life span. After eating your weight in berries whilst picking them, who wants to continue eating them raw when they get home?! The only option is to bung them into a gorgeous pie or ice cream, anything summery will do the trick.

I've used the chocolate wafer recipe from last month’s peanut butter pie because they're the closest I've come to recreating an Oreo cookie, which I think pairs really well with really sweet ice cream. If your berries are sweet rather than tart then add a couple tablespoons extra sugar to the compote.  

Loganberry ripple ice cream with chocolate wafers

Ingredients
  • 2x500g tubs good quality vanilla ice cream

For the loganberry compote
  • 450g loganberries (or tart raspberries)
  • 80g caster sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
For the wafer base
  • 295g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp fine salt 
  • 225g butter, softened plus 100g , melted 
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 25g light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
Method
  1. Start with the compote. Put the loganberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves then simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until the juices have reduced and start to look jammy. Set aside to cool, then pour in a clean jar and refrigerate until needed. It will last for 3 days in the fridge. 
  2. To make the wafers, sieve the flour, cocoa powder and salt then set aside. Cream the butter, sugars and honey with an electric whisk until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients, taking care not to over mix. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins to 1 hour. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 Fan and line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Generously dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the dough ¾ inch thick, the dough will be sticky, so keep rotating and adding more flour as needed. Stamp out 3cm rounds with a round cutter then carefully transfer to the lined baking trays. Bake the wafers for 10 minutes, until firm to the touch – they shouldn’t have any colour on them. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 
  4. Meanwhile, take the ice cream out of the freezer and leave to soften for 10 minutes. Transfer to a freezer safe shallow container and dollop 6 tablespoons of compote over the ice cream, then use a knife or toothpick to ripple the compote through the ice cream. Close the container and put it back in the freezer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Sandwich 1 scoop of ice cream between wafers or place 1 scoop on top of each wafer and serve immediately. Or cover the sandwiches well and place back in freezer. Lasts for 3 weeks in the freezer. 

This post is sponsored by Waitrose, as part of their #TasteofSummer campaign. Make sure to get involved by hash tagging your summer treats on social media!

Chocolate peanut butter pie

5

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Peanut butter can be so sticky to eat. Yes, I know, it’s sweet and salty, smooth or crunchy, but the thickness of it makes me feel like a dog playing with a Kong. That said, mixing peanut butter with honey and cream cheese and folding in glorious whipped cream then letting it chill on top of a deeply chocolatey homemade wafer base is (think saltier Oreos), perhaps, the best way to avoid the perils of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. I’m not boasting… but the peanut butter filling in this oh-so American pie barely hit the sides of my mouth. 
Chocolate peanut butter pie

Makes one 8 inch pie

Ingredients

For the wafer base
  • 295g plain white flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp fine salt 
  • 225g butter, softened plus 100g , melted 
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 25g light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
For the filling
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 340g natural smooth peanut butter 
  • 40g light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 220ml double cream

For the topping
  • 380ml double cream 
Note: Use 450g chocolate wafers such as Oreos if you don't have time to make your own. 

Method

  1. To make the wafers, sieve the flour, cocoa powder and salt and set aside. Cream the butter, sugars and honey with an electric whisk until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the dry ingredients, taking care not to over mix. Dump on a large piece of cling film and use it to shape the dough into a 30cm log, then wrap it up and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 Fan and line 3 large baking trays with greaseproof paper. Use a sharp knife to make an incision in the wafer log every 1/4 inch, then slice the cookies using the guide and place each wafer 2cm apart on the trays. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch. 
  2. Let the wafers cool completely on a wire rack. Whiz them in a food processor until broken down, then pour in the melted butter and whiz to a fine crumb. Tip into an 8-inch loose bottomed cake tin and use your hands or metal spoon to evenly smooth the crumbs up the sides and bottom. Place in the fridge to set.
  3. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and honey in a bowl with an electric whisk for 2 minutes, until the mixture is pale and smooth. If using a freestanding mixer, transfer the peanut butter mixture to a large bowl and use the whisk attachment to whisk the double cream to soft peaks. Spoon all of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture and gently fold it through with a spatula. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the chilled wafer crust and smooth the top, place in the fridge to set, then whip the remaining cream to soft peaks. Dollop the cream on top of the filling and smooth off with a spatula. Leave to set in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight, then serve. 
Love Em xx

Tahini buns (tahinli çörek)

5

Sunday, 10 May 2015

While I agree there’s nothing better than dipping a big chunk of warm bread in a bowl of tahini, recipes with tahini are endless and just…good. The Cake Hunter told me that she uses it to make vegan chocolate fudge. Another genius use for tahini is to stir it through some buttercream before layering with cake or adding a teaspoon to Greek yoghurt and dipping cubes of fried aubergine in it. It’s clear that tahini is a sweet and savoury melting pot. 

I’ve recently discovered that my favourite thing to do with it is to complement this stuff of gods with crappy vegetable fat. If I’m going to spread tahini on some dough like I would with a cinnamon bun, there needs to be a savouriness to make up for that lack of spiciness, even if it comes from smelly veggie fat. Dare I even say that using a pastry chef’s nightmare ingredient in a recipe actually yields flakier results? You’re not reminded of the richness of butter with these buns, instead there are crumbly edges and short textured interiors. I tell ya, veggie fat really brings out the pure taste of carbohydrates. Also David Cameron promises to put us through our paces for the next 5 years so I probably won’t be able to afford butter soon. 
Tahini buns (tahinli çörek)

Makes 16 buns

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 560g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 240g vegetable fat or margarine, cold and cubed
  • 300g buttermilk, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 50g poppy or sesame seeds
For the filling
  • 150g tahini
  • 120g sugar
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/160 fan/gas mark 4 and line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Put the tahini and sugar in a small bowl, stir and set aside. The mixture should be thick and spreadable.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cubed margarine to a bowl and mix with an electric whisk until the texture is coarse and there are still lumps of butter here and there. Make a well in the middle and pour in the buttermilk, then mix until the dough looks shaggy. Tip out onto a clean surface and lightly knead into a rough ball, then leave to rest for ten 10 minutes. Split the dough in half and put one aside. Flour the surface again and roll the first half into a 30cm circle, then roll the second half of dough so that it looks identical to the first half. Spread the tahini sugar paste over one half, making sure to go right to the corners, then carefully lay the second half on top. Using a pizza roller or knife, cut ½ inch strips diagonally. Hold 1 strip from both ends, lift and twist, then repeat until the strip is completely twisted. Tightly roll the strip into a round then tuck the end in the bottom of the bun. Repeat with the rest of the buns, then space them apart on the baking trays. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush each bun with it, then sprinkle with the seeds. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown, leave to cool and then serve. These are best eaten the day they are made. 
Love Em xx

Pistachio and cashew baklava

7

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Baklava can be tooth achingly sweet and sometimes that sweetness overpowers, as if there’s varying textures of sweetness and nothing else. But when you’ve tasted baklava from one of its (many!) home counties, it's almost like a rude awakening to the fact that there is more to it than 10 cups of sugar.

Super fresh baklava is gooey, the syrup seeps when you bite into it and it’s less cloying than the stuff sitting on the supermarket shelves collecting dust. You won’t find rose or orange blossom water in the authentic Ottoman versions (i
f you let the rosewater bubble away with the sugar the results are only slightly floral which I prefer) because the pistachios are fresh enough to hold their own. Have you ever tasted fresh pistachios? They taste so…green. And expensive. I love the almost bland creaminess of cashews, so I’ve paired them with pistachios in this recipe to economically bulk the nuts out. 
The baklava from Karaköy in Istanbul is drenched in melted sheep’s butter. I mean, it’s nice, but you couldn’t sit there and eat a whole tray of sheepy baklava, and luckily this kind of butter isn’t widely available in England so unsalted cow’s butter (expect to see ‘cow’s butter’ in my recipe lists from now on ;)) does the job.

PS, I’ll leave making my own filo pastry off the agenda for now, or until I grow a beard and look like one of these guys.
Pistachio and cashew baklava

Makes 1 tray of baklava, aprox 20+ pieces,

Ingredients
  • 250g unsalted butter
For the syrup
  • 250g unrefined sugar  
  • Dash rosewater (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey
For the pastry
  • 250g packet fresh filo pastry 
  • 100g cashews 
  • 100g pistachios

Recipe
  1. The first step is to clarify the butter. Place the block in a small saucepan and heat on low until completely melted. Turn the heat up only slightly and let it bubble until foam stops coming up to the top. Use a metal spoon to skim off the foam and discard. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve to get rid of the milk solids, repeat if there is foam/milk solids still floating around. Set aside.
  2. Add 200g of cold water to a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan along with the sugar and rose water. Boil rapidly on high heat for 7-10 minutes, but keep an eye out as it can burn. Stir in the honey then transfer to a jug and set aside to cool. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 Fan C. Add the cashews and half the pistachios into a food processor and blitz until fine and almost powdery, and then add the rest of the pistachios and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. 
  4. 4Carefully lay the filo on a clean work surface and place a 30cm x 14cm sized rectangular tin on top, making sure it's the right way up. Use a sharp knife to cut around the base of the tin. Lower half the filo sheets inside the tin, evenly spread the nut mixture on top and place the second half of the filo sheets on top. Use a sharp knife to cut 1-inch strips along the shorter length of the tin. Then cut diagonal strips 1-inch apart along the width of the tin, so that you end up with lots of triangles. 
  5. Pour the clarified butter (you may need to reheat) evenly over the pastries and bake for 25 minutes or until the tops of the baklavas are golden. Immediately pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava, cover, and leave to rest for 3 hours or overnight before serving. 

Love Em xx

Blood orange drizzle cake

11

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

It doesn’t get much more humiliating than having your last post be festive themed… Trees are blossoming and British men are shorts-clad in 10-degree weather. Then there I am, blogging an out of season drizzle cake. 
Cakes that require baking in rectangular tins get my vote. They can be iced, without all the fuss of splitting, straightening, filling, crumb coating and sweating. This is the sort of baking I want to do in the middle of the night because I'll wake up to a cooled cake which I can slice up and toast. It also requires just the right amount of elbow grease… i.e. not much at all. 

Blood oranges are tangier than your regular variety, adding their fresh juice to icing sugar makes for an addicting tangy topping. The sponge will taste as if it is an orange cake (a moist one at that, thanks to the ground almonds) but the flecks of blood orange zest are worth the change of fruit. 
Blood orange drizzle cake

Ingredients
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g ground almonds 
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 


For the syrup 
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar 


For the icing 
  • 250g icing sugar 
  • Juice of 1 orange


This cake works well with 2 fat lemons or ordinary oranges. 

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a 1 lb/500g loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk (or freestanding mixer) until pale and doubled in volume. Grate in the zest of the oranges and set them aside for the toppings. Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each addition until well combined. Pour in the almonds, flour and baking paper and mix until just combined, and then fold the mixture using a spatula until there are no white streaks.  Bake for 45/50 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  2. Whilst the cake is baking make the syrup. Pour 1 tbsp boiling water over the sugar  and stir until the sugar dissolves, then add the orange juice. While the cake is still hot, poke holes in several places and carefully pour the syrup evenly over it, then leave to cool.
  3. Add 2 tbsp orange juice to the icing and stir vigorously, then slowly add a drop at a time, until you have a thick, pourable consistency (you may not need the whole orange). Pour the icing over the cooled loaf, garnish with sliced oranges then leave to set and serve immediately. 
  4. I hope my lack of posting doesn't deter you from swinging by, because I’m still baking like a maniac and feeling the need to share it. 

Love Em xx

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