Key lime pie

For serious Great British Bake Off fans, some of you may remember Paul Hollywood declaring Ryan’s key lime pie as the best pie he’s ever had (GBBO 2012). I followed the recipe from the book ‘The Great British Bake Off – How to turn everyday bakes into SHOWSTOPPERS’ by Linda Collister. There is also a recipe online (see below) on the BBC Food website which is supposedly the same thing but isn’t…. quantities are very different and recommended toppings too.

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This pie was really fun to make, it’s a sweet ginger pastry which is made in the usual method i.e. rubbing the butter into the gingery, sugary flour and mixing with egg yolk and cold water. Voila, biscuit pastry! This pastry was particularly nice after being baked (don’t forget this one needs blind baking for non soggy bottom related dramas) and compliments the lime filling very well. The lime filling is condensed milk, lime juice and zest mixed with whipped double cream. You fill the pie up and pop it in the fridge to set. Then it’s Italian meringue time….. now if I could go back in time I would have bought a sugar thermometer to make this process easier. Italian meringue is made by creating a sugar syrup (sugar + water in a pan and heated to 110 °C) and mixing this into whipped egg whites. Now guessing where 110°C lies is pretty tricky, I did it by testing whether the syrup was at ‘thread’ stage by dropping it into a glass of cold water and seeing how it solidified. It was phaffy and I forgot that sugar is hot and stuck my finger in it. DON’T DO THAT!!!! 😦 I really do recommend a thermometer, but if you are curious I’ve put a link below which tells you all about the stages of sugar during cooking. The recipe also recommended a blow torch to give the meringue that golden hue which is oh so attractive. I do not have blow torch. It’s quite a dangerous recipe really, if it’s not the boiling sugar that gets you, it could be your very hot baking beads OR your blow torch… I opted for the grill for only a few seconds and it worked and I was very relieved.

This pie was worth the crazy methodology. It is the best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted. It’s got lots of stem ginger under the lime filling and the ginger biscuit pastry is just fabulous. Go forth and try it!!!!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Great-British-Bake-Off/dp/1849904634

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/key_lime_pie_53484

http://www.joyofbaking.com/StagesOfCookedSugar.html

 

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Cranberry mincemeat

It’s that time of year again. I love making mince pies and making the mincemeat as it gets the house smelling like Christmas in no time! I tried Nigella’s cranberry mincemeat recipe years ago and never bothered to find another because it’s that good. Also, I don’t feel festive until I’ve watched an old episode of Nigella in her fairy lit, Christmassy kitchen. Nigella. I salute you. 

So here’s my jar of mincemeat this year….. pretty huh? Also, it’s only right that you test the port and brandy whilst you’re cooking with it … you know just to test it. You don’t want to poison your family, friends and work colleagues. It’s the right thing to do. 

  
In two weeks time I’ll make some lovely pastry and assembly my pies! 

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/STAR-TOPPED-MINCE-PIES-5238

Pecan Pie

FullSizeRenderI had some sweet short crust pastry left over from a previous bake so it was clearly time for PECAN PIE! I rolled out my pastry and blind baked it until golden and then filled the pastry case with a lovely, gooey pecan mixture baked at 180°C for half an hour. Here’s what was inside:

  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50g melted butter
  • 100g smashed up pecan
  • 100g whole pecans
  • Blob of vanilla extract
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 100ml treacle

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Here’s my Blue Peter moment, before and after baking. Oh yes, that tart tin I stole from my mum two years ago has done me proud today. 🙂 Popped out nicely too – I never forget to grease the tin now as I had a caramel shortbread disaster many a year ago. Nothing quite like learning the hard way. Something rather special about treacle, it just gives food that extra push into naughty dessert land. Yes, that is a place that I visit frequently and would recommend at this time of year. I fed this pie to my nearest and dearest with a big blob of double cream. No Sunday blues today…..

Pumpkin Pie

I decided to make a pumpkin pie. Now I’ve never had a good slice of pumpkin pie so I thought maybe the home made version might be worth a stab.

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I had no idea how difficult cutting up the pumpkin would be, as you can see from the photo I struggled a bit. After HALF AN HOUR of chopping I finally dismembered the pumpkin and was ready to start boiling its flesh. How do people carve them into amazing shapes without taking their fingers off?

I followed a simple recipe from the BBC good food website. The idea is that you boil the pumpkin (I was surprised there was no roasting involved) and then smash it through a sieve once it’s cooked and soft to make a puree. Now that was quite a task and I got quite a sweat on actually. I just whacked the pumpkin with a wooden rolling pin through the sieve until I realised I should have blended it in my tiny magic bullet. But never mind, I did not DEVIATE from the methodology – which is something I often do (quite worrying really seeing as I’m a scientist by day). I did deviate from the recipe though, it states using milk in the pumpkin filling once you’ve mixed up your spices (nutmeg, cinnamon and a cheeky bit of ginger – also another addition of mine) but why use milk when you could use DOUBLE CREAM? Om nom nom nom. Then there’s lots of sugar and eggs and voila the filling is ready.

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Whilst all of this is going on, the pastry needs to be made and chilling in the fridge. I followed Jamie Oliver’s sweet short crust pastry recipe which is excellent. Look at that butter, doesn’t it look wonderful?

I blind baked my pastry case and then filled it with the glorious spiced, creamy pumpkin mixture and then baked it for about 35 -40 minutes. Looks just about right for Halloween time! The short crust pastry was wonderful to cut into and had no soggy bottom which is always a relief. It tasted amazing and I will make it again, although next time I’ll whip up some Italian meringue to decorate it with on top and sharpen my knife before starting.

IMG_3971http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1742633/pumpkin-pie

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/eggs-recipes/old-fashioned-sweet-shortcrust-pastry/

Mince pie hunt

It’s official. Christmas is on its way. I just ate my first mince pie of the year and it was scrumptious. Good buttery pastry filled with sweet, sweet fruit. This particular mince pie was from Aldi, which I would recommend. Usually each year I work my round each of the supermarkets to find the best mince pie. I think last year it was between M&S and Morrisons.  I can’t wait to get baking some mince pies this year, I really like stamping out the pastry which is also my favourite bit about biscuit making too. One year I made my own mincemeat and it was an extremely boozy Nigella affair in which I remember spending a long time searching for my final stone in the pan. I think a better methodology would pay off this year. If you come across an excellent recipe or a shop bought mince pie that needs attention because it is just fabulous, please fill me in on the details.