Mini Apple Crumbles

Being just 2 of us, I find it frustrating that so many recipes serve 6, 8 or even 10. This is especially true with desserts like crumbles. I went hunting for a small recipe for apple crumble, changed it slightly to use healthier wholemeal flour, used 4 small ramekins and viola, mini apple crumbles. 

Ingredients

  • 2 apples
  • 75g plain flour (I used wholemeal flour)
  • 45 g butter, cubed
  • 45g brown sugar
  • 25g porridge oats
  • 1tsp cinnamon

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC
  • Peel and cut your apples into little bite sized pieces, and put them in a small saucepan with about 2 tbsp of water and maybe a tbsp of sugar.  Cook on low heat for about 15-20 mins, to make the apple bits soft.
  • While that’s cooking, measure out your flour and butter.  Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the cinnamon, sugar and oats to the flour and butter mix, and take the apples off the heat.
  • Add your apples and the sugary liquid in the bottom of the saucepan to the bottom of the oven-proof dish ramekins.
  • Then sprinkle the oat mixture on top.  Bake in the oven for about 20mins.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes, then serve with cream or vanilla ice cream (or custard like we did)
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Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

I’ve decide to take some time off work, just a week but it feels like a big break. Taking some time off means some real indulgence time, and this means a time to catch up on what’s happening in the kitchen. For a starter, I decided to try making a quiche. As you can see from the picture, I am not the greatest at making quiche, but it’s a pretty good start. It was amazingly yummy! I based it on the recipe from the BBC. The recipe takes a little bit of time to make. The effort isn’t huge, but you need to keep refrigerating the pastry at a few points. The other option you have is to use shop bought pastry, which is much simpler, especially if you want to make this after work for dinner.

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 75g Butter
  • A little Water

Filling

  • 250g Cheddar Cheese (I used 4 slices of sliced cheese and 150g grated cheese)
  • 200g Bacon
  • 100g Mushrooms (I added these)
  • 5 Eggs (beaten)
  • 250ml Milk
  • Ground Black pepper
  • Fresh Thyme

Method

Making the Pastry

  • To make the pastry, sift the flour together with a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a soft breadcrumb texture. Add enough cold water to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough, and then rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the pastry on a light floured surface and line a 22cm/8½inch well-buttered flan dish. Don’t cut off the edges of the pastry yet. Chill again.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  • Remove the pastry case from the fridge and line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans. Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another five minutes to cook the base
  • Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

The Filling

  • Line the pastry straight from the oven with the sliced cheese.
  • Fry the bacon pieces until crisp and cook the mushrooms in the remaining bacon fat
  • Sprinkle the Bacon, then add the mushrooms in a layer and sprinkle the remaining cheese.
  • Combine the eggs with the milk in a bowl and season well.
  • Pour over the bacon and cheese. Sprinkle the thyme over the top and trim the edges of the pastry.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set further.
  • Trim the pastry edges to get a perfect edge and then serve in wedges.

My first attempt at Lemon Meringue Pie

This is my first ever attempt at a lemon meringue pie. The irony of this is that I didn’t even really know if I like meringue. But I did it. I’ve learned lots and I wouldn’t be doing myself any justice if I didn’t post it here. Let me warn you, this is a complicated recipe, but it was the simplest one I found and can be found here. It involves making pastry, making the curd and making the meringue. It is awesome fun though, so make yourself comfortable and start baking. The meringue turnout out beautifully (if not the prettiest, but it tasted amazing.

Ingredients

For the sweet shortcrust pastry

  •  225g/8oz plain white flour
  •  pinch salt
  •  110g/4oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
  •  2 tsp caster sugar
  •  1 medium free-range egg yolk

For the lemon curd

  •  100g/3½oz caster sugar
  •  7 tbsp cornflour
  •  4 large lemons, zest and juice only
  •  6 free-range egg yolks
  •  100g/3½oz unsalted butter, melted

 For the meringue

  •  6 medium free-range egg whites
  •  300g/10½oz caster sugar

 Method

For the pastry

Notes: Don’t overwork the pastry when you take it out of the fridge,  it needs to stay as cold as possible, so before putting it in the fridge, roll it out a little (into the size of a dinner plate) before putting it in the fridge.

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the butter to the flour and then rub between your fingertips until a fine breadcrumb consistency is achieved.
  3. Add the sugar to the flour and butter. Using your hands, mix to a firm dough with the egg yolk and a splash of cold water.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and grease a 22cm/9in fluted loose-bottomed tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray.
  6. Roll out the pastry until it’s big enough to generously fit the tin, leaving excess pastry falling over the sides of the tin onto the baking tray underneath the tin – don’t trim at this stage. (I had about half the pastry left over, but to be fair I did use a smaller tin)
  7. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Now trim the excess pastry using a sharp knife. Bake the pastry case blind for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is pale golden and dried out – remove the paper and beans for the last five minutes. Lower the oven heat to 150C/300F/Gas 2.

For the Lemon Curd

Notes: Don’t add too much water to the cornflour mixture, and when I used an electric mixer it splattered all over the kitchen. I think the next time I will just mix the mixture with a spoon to make sure it stays smooth. Also, carefully keep an eye on the curd when it’s on the heat, for a while it seems like nothing is happening and it solidifies quickly, just keep stirring and it’ll be fine. 

  1. Meanwhile, for the lemon curd, mix together the sugar, cornflour and enough water to make a paste, in a large bowl.
  2. Bring 50ml/2fl oz water and the lemon zest to the boil in a small pan
  3. Gradually pour the hot liquid onto the cornflour and sugar, whisking all the time until smooth.
  4. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon juice and butter. Return to the pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, until thickened.
  5. Pour into the baked blind pastry case and leave to cool slightly.

For the Meringue

I didn’t pipe the meringue on, I just plopped in on with a spoon and smoothed it out and I still had loads of meringue left over. I think next time I will make less meringue. Also, not matter how tempting, do not open the oven while the meringue is in, that is what caused mine to crack.  When it’s done, switch off the oven and leave the meringue in the oven to cool. 

  1. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks.
  2. Whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well and at a high speed between each addition.
  3. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag (with a plain nozzle) and pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd.
  4. Bake for about 35-45 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside and soft and marshmallow-like underneath.

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