Cheese and apple ? Yes ! Apple, quince and port poached raisin pie, in a cheddar cheese crust…sounds mad, but it is rather nice.
I’ve been lucky enough to venture to New York a few times in the past few years, and I often pop to the various cake related stores and cook shops when I’m there to see what’s about.
One year I picked up the New york times cook book, jammed with all the recipes they have featured over the years. One recipe I looked up inside was an Apple pie, one that is popular over there across the water, an apple pie in a cheddar cheese crust. Now cheddar isn’t American you say ! well no, but it has been around for a long time over there. And I’ve seen a few UK chefs publish their own recipes. It makes sense to me all this, I love apples, and I really love cheese, especially a strong cheddar, you know, one that takes the roof of your mouth off and makes hair grow out your ears…that strong ! I can’t be doing with mild cheddar…it’s just a hard block of milkiness to me …the trouble is, I loves me strong flavours !
Now one of my guilty pleasures is a bit of strong cheddar on a chocolate digestive biscuit, ( yeah I know, lock me up now) I love the sweet and sour tang you get at the same time, so when I decided to play with this recipe I had this in mind, no chocolate, but the sweet apples and tangy cheese.
I used a mix of cooking apples and dessert apples, it’s nice to mix up the textures and flavours when cooking with apples.
But something was missing, I wanted more, you know, like having cheese, port & grapes, I wanted richness too, and a dessert that would scream…”EAT TOO MUCH OF ME & I”LL GIVE YER GOUT”
So here it is, an apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust, but with added quince for a bit of seasonal kick at this time of year ( of writing this post that is) With raisins poached in port, just to give something else, I don’t know what to call that something else yet, but I like
This recipe is made in a deep 9 inch by 1.5 inch tart ring, by now you must know how I like a deep filling..it’s pretty much mandatory these days.
Have a go..it’s quite nice in Late Autumn/winter…and pretty much goes with all things christmas too, it’s like a dessert and cheese course in one
Very nice with marscapone or creme fraiche, with a bit of grated nutmeg…If you’re going to go with custard I’d spice it up a bit with a bit of cinnamon or brandy.
YOU WILL NEED:
The above mentioned tart ring, on a tray lined with parchment.
Mixing bowl and beater, or just your hands.
A small pan.
A larger Pan
An oven at 160c (155c for fan assisted ovens)
500g of plain flour.
50g caster sugar.
200g unsalted butter.
150g strong mature cheddar ( roughly grated )
1/4 tsp ( teaspoon) ground star anise.
1/4 tsp cinnamon.
1/2 tsp baking powder.
pinch of salt.
4 medium eggs.
one egg beaten, to use as glaze.
Sift flour, spices, baking powder and salt together mix with butter by hand or machine until a crumble is formed, add cheese and mix in, then add eggs, mix together to form a dough, leave in fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
2 large cooking apples.
2 dessert apples.
1/2 tsp of ground cloves.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
100g soft light brown sugar
1 and half tablespoons of cornflour
2 tablespoons ground semolina.
Place the port and raisins in a small pan, bring to a simmer for 2 minutes, take off heat and leave to cool for a couple of hours, can be left over night to steep for more flavour.
Peel and core the apples and quince, chop apples into medium-sized chunks, and quince smaller.
Melt butter and sugar in a larger pan and toss apples and quince in for a couple of minutes over the heat, remove and cool down.
When cooled, place in bowl, add raisins, which by this time should have soaked most of the port up.
Next add cornflour and ground cloves and cinnamon, mix together ( this should smell amazingly rich and boozy about now)
Take pastry out of fridge and roll out about 3 quarters and line your now greased tart ring which should be on a lined tray, leaving a bit of over lap on edge.
Sprinkle the semolina evenly over the bottom.
Pack the fruit filling in.
roll out the rest of the pastry for the top.
brush the edge of the case with egg glaze before placing on top, then place the top on and pinch all around the edge. Trim of excess pastry.
You can get creative here with pastry trimmings and cut out a leaves to decorate the top, I plundered my leaf cutters from my cake decorating kit to do just this.
Brush over the whole top with egg glaze.
Bake at 160c for 25-30 minutes, or at least until the top is nicely coloured with no wet patches of pastry showing.
leave to cool a bit before removing ring.
Serve with creme fraiche or marsapone,and a nice glass of red wine or port.
Heres a gallery of photos of the stages to help you along, click on any image to enlarge.
Yep, I’m messing about with recipes again, now it’s a chocolate and toffee version of portuguese custard tarts ( with my shiny new pan )
Now like most people here in the UK, I’ve been glued to the latest series of the Great British bake off, sometimes biting my nails as Mary Berry passes a disapproving eye over a tarts soggy bottom…. & I snigger at the mention of Paul Hollywood’s soft muffins. But that can’t be helped, you know me by now, it’s an illness
This particular week had tarts featured, the custard tart in particular …you can’t go wrong with a creamy tart. Now someone on twitter tweeted me as they were watching the show, and said they loved the version of the Portuguese custard tart I put up on this very blog a while a go, which was very flattering & lovely of them to say so, And this put me in the mood to pursue a promise I made to put a non christmas version up at some point ( the one on here contains mincemeat )
So in a round about away I was being told by GBBO to get in the kitchen and make some tarts, so who was I to ignore the hint. I have wanted to try to make a chocolate version for a while, so I gave it a go and finally came up with one I could share, I decided to stick toffee in the middle for the hell of it, you can leave it out if you want and just go for a full on chocolate custard mouth explosion.
I rolled the pastry out on the cocoa powder as I found it gave a nice smokey cocoa hint to the finished tart, I tried it without as well, but preferred the cocoa rolled ones, you can leave it out if you find it too messy for your surfaces
These are heavier than the english custard tarts, but the good thing about them is that they are cooked all at once, no blind baking……and not a hint of a soggy bottom.
One thing I do envy is the well equipped kitchen they have on GBBO, So I felt like I was there with the contestants in my own little way, when I noticed they were using the same brand of pan I have, A Green pan no less, and great for this recipe, as it’s totally non stick and conducts heat evenly, so no hot spots or burnt bits stuck to the base. I recently took my eye off a pan of creme anglaise, distracted by a lonely bowl of mash potato (yum) and burnt it. Fearing the kitchen porter would spit in my morning coffee if I gave it to him to clean, I tried to dispose of it discretely, and was surprised to find it slipped out the pan with ease and didn’t need scraping, just a rinse out and looked as good as new ..phew ! They cook quicker too, so nice to see the BBC saving some of our license fee by keeping the gas bill down
They are in my suppliers I recommend Category section if you want to find the company.
Well yet again I go off on a tangent, sorry about that, here’s the recipe, I’ll stop me jabbering now.
You can pimp your tarts if you want: add some sea salt to the toffee, about a teaspoon for a salted caramel flavour.
Or add a tablespoon of brandy + an added half teaspoon of cornflour to the chocolate paste for the custard filling to give a kick.
YOU WILL NEED:
A hand bowl and whisk.
A non stick milk pan.
A 12 pan muffin tin.
An oven heated to 180c (160c fan oven)
Makes approximately 10-12
350g of ready-made puff pastry
4 Large egg yolks
100g caster sugar
200ml whole milk
260ml double cream
2 and a half tablespoons of cornflour
2 tablespoons of dark cocoa powder ( plus some for dusting )
1 can of condensed milk.
In a bowl with a whisk, cream the egg yolks and sugar together, then add the cornflour and cocoa, cream together to form a paste.
Bring the milk and cream together to the boil in a pan.
Slowly pour into chocolate paste, continuously whisking so no lumps form.
Place back on stove on a low heat and stir until thickened.
METHOD: tart case
roll out the puff pastry on a service dusted with cocoa powder until about 5cm thick.
Then roll up like a swiss roll.
Cut up into rounds about 1/2 an inch thick.
flatten, then roll out to twice the size of your muffin pans.
push into your greased pans, making sure the pastry pokes over above the edge.
Pour a can of condensed milk into a non stick pan and stir over a medium heat until a golden thick toffee is formed.
( you can sometimes by this already caramelised in the can in some supermarkets )
leave to cool.
Divide the chocolate custard between the cases.
pipe a ball of toffee in the centre.
place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the pastry has started to brown, and the custard has bubbled up the side.
Take out and cool on wire rack.
serve by piping more caramel in the centre.
click on any image to enlarge.
What ? Another post by me ? so soon after the last one ? Yep, I’m on a run at the moment & don’t want to lose momentum as we rush towards the busy months at work, usually from October through to December.
So before it’s Harvest wheat sheafs, ghosts & bats…then santas & reindeer & mince pies, I’ve one more burst of late summer to go, and this was inspired by walking past a big lavender bush in my front garden on my way to work. The lavender was covered in bees, ” Honey” I thought, then I could smell the lavender & thought how the bee was probably going off to dump its pollen in some sort of bee kitchen and rustle up some lavender honey, maybe watch a bit of telly first, read the paper maybe, but do whatever bees do with their mates in the hive to produce the golden loveliness ( Yes, I am up late writing this and getting delirious * sends out for gin* )
I had made a lemon drizzle cake earlier that week & thought I could come up with a similar sort of recipe, so came up with this.
I sort of thought the flavours seemed more suited to a semolina based cake as they were lighter, a denser flour made cake like the lemon drizzle can take the strong lemon flavour. I quite like orange with honey, ( selfish ) & also even though lemon and honey go well, it sort reminds me of a cold and flu remedy, so couldn’t be doing with that. So without planning to I had come up with a gluten-free cake… BONUS !
I used some lavender from the very bush I walked past that morning, it was really aromatic, I think dried lavender flowers are much better than oils, I’ve used both, I don’t mind the oils for baking, but they can be overpowering sometimes.
So if you have a big bush ……….In your garden I mean, pick some of the flowers now and just leave to dry before storing in a jar or container, It’ll keep for ages !
If you don’t have a big bush, don’t despair… dried lavender flowers are readily available on-line at most bakery suppliers or cake decorating websites.
well here it is, have a bash your self, It can be served warm with Ice cream, or chilled with nothing at all ( though I couldn’t resist a big dollop of clotted cream one time )
Goes down a treat with a cup of earl grey ( get me all sophisticated like ).
Oh & thanks to the bee who gave me the idea, your cheques in the post.
YOU WILL NEED:
A small sauce pan for the syrup
A 9 or ten inch round cake tin.
Some pre-dried lavender flowers. ( about 5 heads for the recipe )
A mixing bowl and beater.
Oven pre-heated to 160c (155c for fan oven )
RECIPE: – base
500g unsalted butter
300g soft light brown sugar
4 heads of lavender
400g Fine semolina
100g fine rice flour
Zest & juice of 1 large orange.
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
METHOD – base
Beat the butter sugar & together, add the eggs one at a time, continually beating.
Beat in the honey
Fold in the semolina & rice flour, baking powder and scrape the flowers of the lavender, fold into the mix with the zest.
Mix in the orange juice.
Place in the baking tin and bake for 35 minutes, until firm and a knife comes out clean when poked in the centre.
RECIPE: – Syrup.
200g caster sugar.
2 tablespoons honey.
Juice from one large orange, plus half the zest.
1 head of lavender.
METHOD: – Syrup
Dissolve the sugar and honey a small pan with the juice, add the zest and lavender, bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes and take of the heat.
RECIPE: – Icing
110g icing sugar.
2 table-spoons of orange juice.
gradually add the juice to the sugar until a smooth runny icing is formed, If too runny add more sugar to thicken.
While the cake is still warm, prick all over with a skewer or small sharp knife, strain the syrup & spoon over the cake, covering the whole surface, right up to the edges.
( If using a loose bottom spring form tin, wrap the bottom in foil to prevent syrup leaking out. )
Next, with a spoon, drizzle over the icing.
click on any image below to enlarge.
© The cake-shaker.
Gluten free, AND dairy free a tolerant victoria fruit sandwich for the Intolerant…and my quest for this recipe.
Now In the last 5 years I have been asked for a lot of gluten-free baked goods as the gluten intolerant population rises. It was unheard of in my earlier years as a chef, but I think it is down to a lot of wheat gluten being used in processed foods over the years I reckon, ( In Jam for F”s sake! for example, why ! ? ) And I expect it’s also down to better Diagnosis and understanding in the world of medicine.
Now I have also been asked ( more rarely ) for dairy free goods, this is a bit harder, mainly due to fat being what helps incorporate air and also provide moisture and taste, some non dairy fats on the market can be either too wet so not giving great volume, or too greasy oily and waxy, making your baked goods taste like a slice of candle with a dollop of paraffin *boaks*
Now I know at least one person who is gluten and dairy intolerant, so no fun there, And this is my journey in finding out how best to make the perfect cake without making the recipe miles to fussy. I was lead to a recipe recently on the inter-webby thing, It was verging on hysterics ! It was meant to be a dairy free & wheat free brownie, it had everything under the sun and possibly on mars in it ! Including Avocado, dates, bananas…some scary cocoa substitute (why)..It was nothing like a brownie in the end, just some cake Dr Frankenstein would have been proud of.
It can be done so much easier without going completely of tangent. as I hope to show here.
The Gluten free side of things is pretty easy to be honest, there are a lot of gluten-free flours, doves farm being my favourite, you can also use rice or semolina flour, adding more liquid and the additive Xanthan gum, which is great for giving the structure lacking in the absence of gluten, and is easily available online, and In some supermarkets and health food shops
The fat is a tricky one, I have tried using some of the soft spreadable soya fats, they taste fine, but lack in volume department, as for making a “butter” Icing, well ..sloppy is the word, unless you like your icing to have a million tons of icing sugar in to make it firm *slight exaggeration face*. Also, be careful and read the labels of these fats, for instance a tub of spreadable stork margarine has added buttermilk..so not so non dairy there then !
The above is from my own personal preference, you may like the spreadable fats..so not dissing it entirely
I settled on two fats, the stork hard margarine in a foil wrap ( no added buttermilk ) & the vegetable fat Trex, a white fat that is 100% fat ! so not one for everyday use, just an occasional treat..unless you want thighs like giant red wood trunks.
A funny story with the stork. I was going to use a margarine called dawn phase, but turns out after an e-mail exchange with Unilever foods I had after noticing that the packs of dawn & stork had identical nutritional info and ingredients list on the packs, I discovered they were the same product by unilever, the dawn is mainly for industry use & stork is the retail face of the same fat ( they tried to say there was a slight difference, but the facts on the packs can’t be wrong as they say they are EXACTLY the same upon comparison )
Trex is also used in the industry, but is wildly available in supermarkets, especially online. Also I gather it’s used by none other than the famous Humming bird bakery in their dairy free icing.
One note about all processed vegetable fats, please make sure there are NO hydrogenated oils in them, these are from the anal glands of the devil ..and are an enemy of your arteries, all the above fats state there are none present, most of these fats mentioned by the way also have less saturated fat than butter
Anyway…don’t I go on !
Here’s the recipe
YOU WILL NEED:
Two non stick 8 inch round sandwich tins.
( I bought my sandwich tins from Morrisons supermarket, £2.50 each, used them loads & still going strong. Love a bargain me ! )
a good whisk and bowl.
A determined science look.
oven at 155c.
A piping bag.
INGREDIENTS: SPONGE -
400g stork margarine or other hard fat.
2 tablespoons sunflower oil.
1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan gum
400g gluten-free plain white Self raising flour ( I used doves farm, but there are a lot of other brands available too, If you can’t find self-raising, use plain flour and add 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder )
zest of 1 lemon
teaspoon of vanilla extract.
METHOD – SPONGE:
Grease and flour (GF) your baking tins, no flour needed if using cake release spray ( dairy free of course )
Cream the fat and the sugar together
slowly add the eggs one at a time and keep beating until all are in.
Sift four ( and baking powder if not using self-raising ) add zest fold into batter, add oil and vanilla and fold in.
Don’t worry if batter looks too slack or slightly curdled, this is normal & does not affect the finished product.
NOTE: If using trex instead of stork use 400g fat, but use 500g sugar, 500g flour, and no oil, this is because of its 100% fat content.
Oh cobblers, where do I start !
This is a type of pudding, that originated from the early British settlers on the American continent, It’s basically a pie made with a filling and a loose topping, either a batter or dumpling style, or even a rustic crumble , not a pastry crust. Mainly due to the fact that in the beginning there was not enough fat to make a pastry around at the time.
During the 2nd world war the government promoted these types of dishes as butter was scarce & not a lot was needed in the recipes. This is how the humble crumble evolved, and other such puddings like the American Betty or crisp, or the lesser known “slump” ( I love that name by the way ).
Like most puddings this started out as a savoury rather than a sweet dish, & in the UK it is mainly made with a scone type topping, even the savoury versions, usually with a cheese & herb scone topping.
I was once told by a chef I worked under that the name came from the topping looking like the cobbled streets of old towns and cities….but after a bit of internet scouring it seems the name derives from an old word .. “cobeler” which was the name of wooden bowl or serving dish. I tend to like the street paving version though, so sticking with that
Anyhow, listen to me going on a bit here ( yes talking a load of cobblers as usual )
Lets get on with this recipe.
I came up with this as I kinda liked the whole combination, and made a nice summer dish that could be eaten hot or cold, someone said it was like a hot afternoon tea. I roasted the pears with some honey, so they kept their shape a bit more, the strawberries do all the disintegrating, forming a lovely jammy compote that soaks into the cobbler topping and the pears. I added Hazel nuts to the topping as it just seems to add the right amount of nuttiness to compliment the whole dish.
This recipe can easily be adapted, you can use any fruit/berry combination, and leave the hazel nut out if it’s not your thing, just add 50g more flour.
I have made a similar recipe to a scone, but it is much more wet and sticky.. virtually a dumpling.
Its lovely served with a nice portion of vanilla Ice cream or fresh cream…or you could go mad and knock up some custard
YOU WILL NEED:
An oven pre-heated to 160c
A 10 – 12 inch deep sided baking dish.
A mixing bowl.
And would recommend some disposable food handling gloves if you don’t like sticky dough up your finger nails
RECIPE: Filling -
4 large pears, peeled and washed.
400g Strawberries, washed and hulled.
1 Tablespoon of clear honey
50g soft light brown sugar.
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract.
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
2 Tablespoons of cornflour.
METHOD: Filling -
Core and cut the pears into eighths.
Place in a bowl and add the honey and sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
Place in a baking dish and bake at 160c for 15 minutes, until the pears just start to soften slightly, leave to cool.
Place the pears in a bowl with the strawberries, then add the cornflour and mix together, place in your baking dish.
RECIPE: Topping -
300g self raising flour.
100g unsalted butter
50g ground hazelnuts.
60g caster sugar.
Pinch of salt.
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange.
90ml of milk.
1 tablespoon of creme fraiche
1 medium egg.
Some brown sugar for sprinkling on topping.
METHOD: Topping -
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl, rub in the butter until it’s crumble like, add the zest, make a well in the middle and add the milk, egg and creme fraiche.
Pull together to form a wet sticky dough.
place your fruit in the baking dish.
pull lumps of dough out of ball and drop on top of fruit ( about golf ball size ) placing evenly over filling.
sprinkle over brown sugar
bake at 160c for 35-40 minutes, until topping is cooked through and golden brown.
Serve warm with ice cream, or chilled with clotted or double cream.
Follow the gallery below for a step by step guide.
© The cake-Shaker
Well it has been a while since I have posted on here as you may have noticed, It’s not because I was bored with this blog, or had given up the ghost…It’s because I have been so flpping BUSY !!
Now don’t get me wrong, busy is good, it means the bills are getting paid and I can still afford cat food. But this was mental busy ! I had more wedding cake orders then you could shake a sugary stick at…and there were a lot of events going on at the studios, Also we had a lot of big clients in who liked their afternoon teas ! so I had little time to breathe let a lone post another blog entry
Well here I am, ( who groaned ?? ) now work is at a bit more of a sane level and it is with something a bit different. Yes I know it’s a scone recipe, and I have not long ago posted one, but this one I came up with by doing what I do best, fart around with an idea and ingredients until I get something I like.
Well we all know what a British ploughman’s lunch usually contains, don’t we ? Well apart from the salad bit there is usually pickle, cheese, apple and some bread.
I was asked to make some cheese scones for a client meeting one day, the cheese we had in the kitchen wasn’t very strong to be honest and I thought if I used it in the scones it would need something else to give it a bit of a bite.
So I suddenly thought of the ingredients for a cheese ploughman’s lunch, cheese, apple pickle …and the rest is history (well maybe not so dramatic)
This recipe doesn’t use butter, that and the cheese would make it too “dairy” I did some research and found you could use vegetable oil in scones instead, so I chose olive oil for the extra flavour.
So as there is no butter to rub in it makes this a very quick recipe, and a very easy one at that.
Have a go and try it out, you can experiment with different cheeses, as long as they are not to mild, any would work, I tried a Stilton in one batch, and it was rather marvelous (if not a little Whiffy )
I think these are great for picnics in the summer, or for a light snack in the evening with a nice cold beer, wine, or mug of tea. I have served them with salted butter and sliced cheese, or for a different take I have served them with cream cheese with chopped chives. Pickled onions or a gherkin or two wouldn’t go a miss either
You may find yourself humming the wurzels tune “I’ve got a brand new combined harvester” … be warned ( I couldn’t think of a ploughman’s song, so this had a tenuous country theme ..so it will do )
YOU WILL NEED:
A tray lined with baking parchment.
A mixing bowl ( this is easy to do by hand so a mixer isn’t necessary )
A 2 inch plain round cutter.
An oven pre-heated to 160c (fan) 180c ( conventional )
INGREDIENTS: Will make roughly 10-12 scones.
500g plain flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder.
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Teaspoon cracked black pepper
Generous pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of english mustard powder.
1 tablespoon of dried ( or fresh) mixed herbs.
1 dessert apple diced into smallish chunks ( no need to peel )
2 tablespoons of ploughman’s pickle ( Branston pickle is nice )
25og mature cheese, grated
1oog mature cheese grated ( for the top )
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 egg ( + 1 extra to brush the top with )
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl including 250g of cheese.
Add the egg and milk ( if it seems dry, add more milk until a sticky dough is formed, this depends on flour strength)
Knead in the pickle and apple.
Tip dough onto floured surface and pat down until it’s about an inch thick.
Cut out scones and place on lined tray, knead dough scraps and use to make more until all used up.
Brush the top of each scone with beaten egg, then sprinkle on the extra grated cheese.
Bake in your pre-heated oven for 15-20 mins (check after 15, may need an extra 5, depending on oven)
When a nice golden colour has formed and cheese on top is melted take out of oven and cool.
Best served warm, can be re-heated later.
Here’s a gallery of pictures of the method stage.