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

 

Delicious éclairs

I felt like making some choux pastry  so naturally éclairs came to mind. Not made these since my school days. I followed Paul Hollywood’s choux pastry recipe and used the crème pâtissière recipe from my apple & ginger crumble the other day. Making choux pastry is dead fun because it’s so different to making normal pastry and it’s always good to get the piping bag out. Choux pastry has a lovely shine and consistency to it before it’s baked. Here’s my army of piped éclairs….

  

….baked and filled with vanilla crème pâtissière …

  

…. and then dressed with dark chocolate.

  
Cup of tea and an éclair sounds bob on to me. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pauls_chocolate_clairs_59944

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.

Rough puff pastry

Pie

ROUGH PUFF PASTRY. Do I need to say anymore? It’s packed with butter, tastes amazing and will probably decrease your life span by 1 hour with every bite. To make this pastry all you have to do is cut up a stick of cold butter and rub it into some flour and mix with water. To make it puff up you have to leave lumps of butter visible in the dough. I followed a recipe on the BBC good food website which was quick and simple to do.  I cheated though and put the pastry in the freezer for half the time stated to speed up the cooling process because I was HUNGRY and had mouths to feed. The filling was a creamy chicken, mushroom and bacon affair which was also very unhealthy but SO, SO good. Next I’m going to have to give proper puff pastry a go without cheating and buying it from the supermarket. Hmmm. Still haven’t started that training for the half-marathon yet. Should probably get on that soon…

(http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2403/roughpuff-pastry-).