Sunday, 25 September 2016

GBBO 2016 Week 5 - ChocoNutty Danish Swirls



I baked two kinds of Danish pastry this time for the signature challenge on GBBO. The first were white chocolate and blueberry kites. The others were swirls, filled with a homemade chocolate and nut spread. I used a mixture of walnuts and almonds, but other nuts would work really well. Also, I would have liked slightly more swirl in my swirls, simply because I rolled when it was too thick…still tasted awesome though!

Makes 24 Swirls

Ingredients:

For the pastry:
  • 500g (4 cups) strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g (2tsp) fast-action dried yeast
  • 10g (2tsp) salt
  • 80g (1/3cup and 1tbsp) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 60ml (4tbsp) water
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) full-fat milk
  • 250g unsalted butter (1 cup), chilled

For the filling:
  • 200g nuts (1 and 1/3 cups) (I used walnuts and almonds but any nuts, from peanuts to hazelnuts or brazil nuts, would work well)
  • 50g (1/3 cup) dark chocolate, 50% cocoa solids
  • 50g (3 tbsp) honey
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

To glaze:
  • 100g (1/3 cup) honey
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar


Method:

1. Prepare the dough. Pour the flour into a bowl of a stand mixer (attached with a dough hook). Add the yeast to one side of the bowl, and salt and sugar to the opposite side.

2. Heat the milk until it is tepid, and mix with the eggs and water. Pour onto the flour, and then mix on a low speed for 2 minutes.

3. Pull the dough off of the dough hook, and then increase the speed to medium, and mix for a further 6 minutes.

4. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film or a tea towel. There are two options for proving.

5. The first of these is to place the dough in the fridge, and leave overnight to prove. This greatly increases the flavour of the dough.

6. The second if you are short of time (or in the Bake Off tent!) is to prove for at least an hour in a warm place, until it has doubled in size.

7. Whilst the dough is proving, use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into a rectangle about 25cm x 15cm. Place the butter between two sheets of cling film prior to rolling.  Place in the fridge until needed.

8. Once proved, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a rectangle 40cm x 20cm. Place the butter in the middle of the dough, then bring the exposed pastry up around the butter, so that it is fully encased. Crimp the edges to seal in the butter, then place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

9. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, with the shortest ends facing you. Roll out the dough to 40 x 15cm rectangle, then fold the bottom third of the pastry up, and the top third down (like a leaflet). Return to the freezer for 10 minutes.

10. Repeat the rolling, folding, and freezing process two times. After the final folding, chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

11. Prepare the nut butter by blitzing the nuts in a food processor until fine. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl in a microwave by heating it for 30 second blasts, stirring well after each blast.

12. Pour the dark chocolate, oil and honey into the food processor, and blend until a smooth butter is achieved.

13. Roll out the dough to a 40cm x 30cm rectangle. Spread on the nut butter, leaving a 2cm gap around the perimeter of the rectangle.

14. With the long side of the dough towards you, roll the dough up like a swiss roll. Chill for 30 minutes.

15. Slice the roll up into 2.5cm slices – use your sharpest knife possible! One contestant (Val) suggested using floss to get the best cut – could be worth a go. Place on two or three baking trays, covered with baking parchment. Cover then prove (room temperature) for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

16. Preheat the oven to 220c (200c fan)/425F/Gas mark 7.

17. Bake the swirls for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Place on a cooling rack.

18. Whilst baking, make the glaze by heating together the honey and icing sugar. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze onto the swirls whilst warm.

19. Enjoy!

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GBBO 2016 Week 5 - White Chocolate and Blueberry Danish Kites





Week 5 in the tent was all about pastry – my biggest challenge!! I was determined to test myself and attempt these challenges. The first was all about Danish pastries – the dough for this is yeasted, meaning it has to be left to prove. Not only that, but copious amounts of butter are used to fold the dough, similar to puff pastry. Both of these factors make it pretty tricky, but I have to admit, the flavor of the dough is amazing!
I made two different Danish pastries, both using the same dough. The first of these is here – White chocolate and blueberry kites. The shaping of the kites is simple, and the white chocolate custard filling is epic.

Makes 12 kites

Ingredients:

For the pastry:
  • 500g (4 cups) strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g (2tsp) fast-action dried yeast
  • 10g (2tsp) salt
  • 80g (1/3 cup and 1tbsp) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 60ml (4tbsp) water
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) full-fat milk
  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter, chilled

For the filling:
  • 35g (1/4 cup) white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 140ml (1/2 cup and 1tbsp) full-fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g (1 cup) blueberries 

To glaze:
  • 100g (1/3 cup) honey
  • 2tbsp icing sugar


Method:

1. Prepare the dough. Pour the flour into a bowl of a stand mixer (attached with a dough hook). Add the yeast to one side of the bowl, and salt and sugar to the opposite side.

2. Heat the milk until it is tepid, then mix with the eggs and water. Pour onto the flour, then mix on a low speed for 2 minutes.

3. Pull the dough off  the dough hook, then increase the speed to medium, and mix for a further 6 minutes.

4. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film or a tea towel. There are two options for proving.

The first of these is to place the dough in the fridge, and leave overnight to prove. This greatly increases the flavour of the dough.
The second if you are short of time (or in the Bake Off tent!) is to prove for at least an hour in a warm place, until it has doubled in size.

5. Whilst the dough is proving, use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into a rectangle about 25cm x 15cm. Place the butter between two sheets of cling film prior to rolling.  Place in the fridge until needed.

6. Once proved, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a rectangle 40cm x 20cm. Place the butter in the middle of the dough, then bring the exposed pastry up around the butter, so that it is fully encased. Crimp the edges to seal in the butter, then place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

7. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, with the shortest ends facing you. Roll out the dough to 40 x 15cm rectangle, then fold the bottom third of the pastry up, and the top third down (like a leaflet). Return to the freezer for 10 minutes.

8. Repeat the rolling, folding, and freezing process two times. After the final folding, chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

9. Roll out the dough into a 30 x 40cm rectangle – it will be about 5mm thick. Cut into twelve 10cm squares.

10. To make the kite, cut incisions as shown below:





About a centimetre from the edge of the square, make an incision following two sides of the square (in the image from corner D to A to B). Leave a small space, then cut along the perimeter of the other two sides, not touching where the first incision started. You are left with two corners that have been cut through (A and C), and two that haven’t (D and B).

11. Pull corners A and D towards each other and pull one over the other. Press the corners down - they will now be on opposite sides (A is where D was, and vice versa). Make an indentation in the middle of the dough, which is where the filling will go.

12. Place on 2-3 baking trays lined with greaseproof paper, and cover with cling-film or a tea towel for 30 minutes to 1 hours, until slightly grown.

13. Whilst proving, make the custard. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is bubbling.
Whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and corn flour. Once smooth, pour over the hot milk, whisking constantly.

14. Return to the pan, and whisk until it has thickened – this will only take about a minute.

15. Add the white chocolate to the pan and whisk until it has melted. Cover and set aside until needed.

16. Preheat the oven to 220c (200c fan)/425F/ Gas mark 7.

17. Add teaspoons of the custard to the middle of each pastry. Add one or two blueberries on top of the custard, then another one in each end of the kite.

18. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden.

19. Towards the end of the baking, heat the honey and icing sugar together until a clear syrup forms. Use a pastry brush to brush some of this glaze onto the pastries whilst warm.

20. Enjoy!

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GBBO 2016 Week 5 - Bakewell Tart






The technical challenge on this week’s bake off was the Bakewell tart. Although there was some controversy over the naming of this tart (it technically is a Cherry Bakewell apparently, according to people who live in Bakewell), this tart looked amazing. It tasted even better! The homemade strawberry jam was incredible against the almond filling, and the icing just topped it off. YUM.

Makes one 23cm tart

Ingredients:

For the jam:
  • 200g (1 cup) strawberries
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • ½ lemon, juice only 

For the pastry:
  • 225g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 150g (2/3 cup) butter, chilled
  • 25g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2tbsp water

For the filling:
  • 150g (2/3 cup) butter, softened
  • 150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 150g (1 and ¼ cups) ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract

For the icing:
  • 300g (3 cups) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Pink food colouring OR leftover strawberry juice (I had some and it made the icing a lovely pink shade)


Method:

1. Make the jam. Hull the strawberries and place in a saucepan with the caster sugar and lemon juice.

2. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the strawberries have softened and a knife can easily press through them.

3. Take off the heat and blitz until smooth. Set aside to cool.

4. Make the pastry. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, and then add cubes of butter into the bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, i.e. there are no large lumps of butter left! Rubbing in means using your fingertips to press the butter into the flour, breaking down the butter and incorporating it into the flour. Be patient at this stage – it’ll be worth it.

5. Stir in the icing sugar, and then add the egg and water. Use your hands to bring the dough together – it’ll be soft!

6. Lightly flour a surface with flour, and then roll out the dough on this surface, until it is 2-3mm thick. Gently transfer to a fluted 23cm tart tin, then trim off any excess dough.

7. Chill for 30 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 200c (180c fan)/400f/gas mark 6.

9. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans, uncooked rice or spare flour. 

10. Bake the tart for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans/rice/spare flour and greaseproof paper, then bake for a further 5 minutes.

11. Remove from the oven and leave to fully cool.

12. Make the filling. Cream together the butter and caster sugar using a wooden spoon, until it is light and fluffy.

13. Add the ground almonds, almond extract and egg, and beat until the almonds are fully incorporated.

14. Spread the jam evenly on to the base of the tart using a palette knife.

15. Pour the filling (frangipane) into a piping bag, and pipe concentric circles in the tin, to fully cover the jam. Piping helps make sure that the jam and frangipane don’t mix. Once all of the frangipane has been piped on, level out using a palette knife.

16. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a skewer coming out of the centre of the frangipane comes out clean and there is no wobble when the tin is lightly moved. Remove from the oven and leave to cool filling.

17. Make the icing by adding two to three tablespoons of water to the icing sugar and almond extract, until the icing is runny enough to fall off a spoon.

18. Place three tablespoons of the icing into a separate bowl, and colour pink (using the food colouring or strawberry juice). Some extra icing sugar may be required if it becomes too loose.

19. Spread the white icing onto the tart carefully, using a palette knife. Pipe parallel lines of the pink icing along the tart, and then use the end of a spoon, or toothpick to draw lines through the icing (at a 90 degree angle to the lines). Go back and forth to create the feathered effect.

20. Leave to set, and then enjoy!

Hijacked By Twins
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Sunday, 18 September 2016

GBBO 2016 Week 3 - Dampfnudel



Back a week in the Bake Off, but I needed to try out those Dampfnudel! They looked so fluffy and inviting – I just needed to get a hold of a frying pan with a lid for them… I finally decided to use a large stock pot instead, and wow were they fluffy. They reminded me like an iced bun in texture, and the combination of the plum sauce and custard – whoah.
Definitely a bake I’d do again – be careful when you’re steaming the dough though – I burnt the base of my pan by not keeping a better eye on it! Use the lowest possible heat on your hob and if you hear sizzling, quickly top up with more milk. 
I changed Paul’s recipe for custard, as my version is pretty fool proof and tastes awesome.

Makes 12 Dampfnudel

Ingredients:

For the dampfnudel:
500g (4 cups) strong white bread flour
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
7g (1&1/2 tsp) fast-action dried yeast
150ml (2/3 cup) slightly warmed full-fat milk
2 eggs
70g (1/3 cup) butter, melted
Zest of 1 lemon

For the plum sauce:
4 ripe plums, stone removed and roughly chopped
Juice of 1 orange
50g (1/4 cup) dark brown soft sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon

For the custard:
500ml (2 & 1/4 cups) milk
4 egg yolks
70g (3/4 cup) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp corn flour

For the poaching liquid:
25g (2 tbsp) butter
150ml (2/3 cup) full fat milk
25g (2 tbsp) caster sugar

Method:

1. Prepare the dampfnudel dough. In a large mixing bowl add the flour. Pour the sugar and yeast onto opposite sides of the bowl, and mix gently.

2. Pour in the milk, eggs and melted butter, and bring the dough into a ball.

3. Knead for 5 – 10 minutes. It’s a lovely dough to work with as it doesn’t stick to the surface too much, and isn’t too hard to work. Knead until it becomes smooth and a little shiny.

4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove for at least 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

5. Whilst proving, make the sauces.
For the plum sauce, heat the plums, orange juice and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan. Frequently stir and press the plums against the sides of the pan to break them down.

6. Bring to the boil, and then cook for 10 minutes.

7. Take the pan off the heat and then pour through a sieve, pressing the plums against the sieve to create a thick sauce (alternatively it can be blended).

8. Make the custard. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is bubbling. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and corn flour.

9. Pour the boiling milk onto the egg mixture, constantly stirring. Once all of the milk has been added, return the mixture to the pan.

10. Cook for a few minutes, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside.

11. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip out onto a lightly floured board, and knock out any air in the dough.

12. Divide evenly into 12 balls – mine were about 75g each.

13. Prepare your poaching liquid by adding the milk, caster sugar and butter to a saucepan with a tightly fitting lid (or in my case, a stock pan with a lid). Bring to a boil to melt the butter, and then take off the heat.

14. Add the dough balls to the pan, then place the lid back on the pan and leave the dough balls to prove for 15 minutes.

15. Cook the dampfnudel by placing the pan on the lowest heat possible, and cooking for 25-30 minutes. Check them after 20 minutes, and top up with extra milk if needed.

16. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes, until the bases have lightly coloured. As I mentioned, mine burnt, so I now know to be careful at this stage!

17. Reheat your custard and plum sauces.

18. Serve the dampfnudel with the custard and plum sauce.

19. Enjoy!



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