Friday, 26 December 2014

Apple and Marzipan Mince Pie

Boxing day Baking.
We had a small jar of home-made mincemeat as a present. In the freezer, there was a pot of apple puree which we had made from our neighbour's apples back in October. So, why not bake "mincemeat and apple pies" on Boxing day. Grated marzipan added a lovely nutty flavour and a nice crunch.
Orange zest was added to the pastry for festive flavour. This recipe was inspired by the famous Mary Berry.

Ingredients for the pastry 

  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g cold butter, cubed
  • 25g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting 1 large orange, grated zest only
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

Ingredients for the filling

  • 200g home-made mincemeat
  • 300g home-made apple puree 
  • 125g uncoloured marzipan, grated

Preparation method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and place a baking sheet inside to heat up.
  2. For the pastry, either pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, or rub the flour and butter together in a large bowl using your fingertips.
  3. Stir in the icing sugar and orange zest, then stir in the beaten egg and mix until the ingredients just come together as a dough. Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or until firm.
  4. When the pastry has rested, unwrap it. Place the greaseproof paper on a work surface and lightly dust with icing sugar. Place the dough on top, dust with icing sugar, then cover with another sheet of greaseproof paper. Roll the pastry between the sheets of greaseproof paper to a thickness of 1-2mm. (If you are confident rolling out pastry you do not need to use the greaseproof paper, but it does help prevent the pastry tearing if the dough is a little sticky).
  5. Stamp 12 rounds from the pastry using a 8cm/3in fluted pastry cutter. (Any leftover pastry can be frozen and used to make jam tarts.) Line each hole of the muffin tin with one of the pastry rounds and prick the base of each with a fork.
  6. For the filling, mix the mincemeat with the apple puree until well combined. Divide the mixture equally among the pastry cases. Top each tart with some of the grated marzipan.
  7. Slide the muffin tin onto the hot baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Bûche de Noël a la Cafe Creme

Happy Christmas!!

This year, my Christmas log became coffee flavoured.  Happy Christmas everyone. :) 


For the coffee sponge
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 75g/3oz caster sugar
  • 75g/3oz self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons coffee granules (crushed to powder)

For the coffee butter cream
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 50ml strong espresso coffee
For the topping 
  • crushed walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Lightly grease a 33x23cm/13x9in Swiss roll tin, and line with non-stick paper or baking parchment, pushing it into the corners.
  2. For the sponge, in a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar using an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale in colour, light and frothy. Sift the flour and coffee powder into the bowl and carefully cut and fold together, using a spatula, until all the coffee and flour are incorporated into the egg mixture. (Be careful not to beat any of the air out of the mixture).
  3. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and spread evenly out into the corners. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch and the sides are shrinking away from the edge of the tin.
  4. Place a piece of baking parchment bigger than the Swiss roll tin on the work surface. Dust with icing sugar generously. Carefully invert the cake onto the paper and remove the bottom lining piece of paper.
  5. Cut a score mark 2.5cm/1in in along one of the longer edges. Starting with this edge, begin to tightly roll up the sponge using the paper. Roll with the paper inside and sit the roll on top of its outside edge to cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling, make the coffee butter cream; beat the butter and add icing sugar little by little in a small bowl and beat with the electric hand mixer until pale and light. Then add the coffee little by little to make a smooth cream.
  7. Uncurl the cold Swiss roll and remove the paper. Spread the coffee butter cream on top and sprinkle the walnuts, and re-roll tightly. Cut a quarter of the cake off from the end on a diagonal. Transfer the large piece of cake to a serving plate and angle the cut end in to the middle of the large cake to make a branch.
  8. With a spatula, cover the cake completely with the coffee cream. Create a rough bark texture with a fork. Sprinkle with the walnuts. 
  9.  Dust with icing sugar and garnish with fresh holly.