Archives for category: Fruit

I love waffles.

For my last birthday I received a Cuisinart Waffle Maker from my mom, making waffles a breeze!

I’ve been experimenting with different waffle recipes I found across the web – mostly from Pinterest – such as egg nog or pumpkin waffles. These are more autumnal and christmas seasonal recipes, so I have been on the look out for something to tide me over until spring arrives. Enter the blueberry waffles.

Blueberry waffle recipe

I found a recipe on Pinterest from Pass The Sushi blog that piqued my interest. However, I altered her recipe slightly using buckwheat flour instead of wholewheat pastry flour and plain yogurt instead of sour cream giving them a slightly savoury quality, which acts as a nice foil to the sweet/tart blueberries.

This recipe yields 14 regular sized square waffles.  Since I’m the only one who eats waffles in my household, I bag them up in twos and pop them in the freezer, keeping in breakfasts for a whole week! When I’m ready to eat, I just stick them in the toaster and serve with plain yogurt.

IMG_7275

Et voila! Waffles for any morning.

In continuing my quest to battle the bulge and lose that extra weight, I am always on the look out for tasty, yet low calorie treats. So when the Baking Mad Healthy Baking challenge arose, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.  I selected the Apple Strudel recipe since we had access to hand picked apples from a local source. It also happens to be a favourite dessert of my husband from his childhood visits to Austria.

The baking challenge was sponsored by Baking Mad and Silver Spoon Half Spoon sugar, which has half the calories of regular sugar.

This recipe serves 6

650 grams Apples Eating, Cox’s (approx. 5 apples)

30 grams Almonds ground

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

35 grams Half Spoon Granulated Sugar (Silver Spoon)

1 orange finely grated zest**

Approx. 4 tbsp sunflower or grapeseed oil, plus extra for brushing and greasing

6-8 ready made filo pastry

cinnamon and Half Spoon sugar for sprinkling

**I didn’t have an orange, so I used lemon zest as a substitute.

Healthy ingredients

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/Gas 5.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples into a bowl. Add the ground almonds, spices and sugar and orange zest (or lemon zest).

Apple mixture

Unroll the pastry and cover with a damp cloth to stop it from drying out. Taking one sheet at a time brush each sheet of filo pastry with the oil, then place the sheets of pastry on top of each other onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper.

Arrange the apples in a narrow strip, lengthways down the centre of the pastry to within 3cm of each shorter edge.

Strudel construction

Fold the 2 shorter edges over the filling and then fold over 1 long edge and tuck the fruit firmly underneath the pastry. Brush with any remaining oil and fold over the other edge, so that it overlaps by at least 5-6cm.

Before the oven

Carefully transfer the strudel to a large oiled baking sheet. Brush with a little oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until crisp and golden.

After the oven

Leave the strudel to cool down slightly. Dust with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and Half Spoon sugar. Serve with greek yogurt.

Apple strudel with greek yogurt

This is a very tasty recipe. You’d never know it was low calorie. The flavours of the apple, almond, cinnamon and Half Spoon sugar worked so well together. The only downside of this recipe is the filo pastry was a bit too chewy around the folded edges. When I make it again, I’ll probably use half the amount of filo.

I had never made strudel before, and after this recipe challenge, I’ll definitely make it again.

I love banana bread. It is a versatile bread that’s more like a cake. You can have it for breakfast – toasted with a bit of cream cheese spread over it or as a tasty snack.

Recently, I received the latest Leon cookbook – Baking and Puddings as a gift and came across their version.  I had to give it a go!

In the past, I have generally gone for a straight up banana bread, no additions like nuts or chocolate, but I was intrigued with the inclusion of pecans in this recipe.

pecans

ingredients

You should always use ripe bananas in a banana bread. Under-ripe ones just wouldn’t taste right.

bananas

This recipe uses spelt flour, which gives the bread a really nice hearty texture.

Banana bread batter

This recipe recommends slicing a banana in half, lengthwise, and placing it on top of the batter just before it goes in the oven. As the bread bakes, the banana sinks to the middle.

fresh out of the oven

sliced banana bread

I have to say, this is the best banana bread recipe I have come across. The whole banana running through the middle of the bread added more banana flavour and texture and the addition of pecan nuts gave the bread a slight maple-y flavour.

This recipe will definitely be in heavy rotation in our house. YUM!

To continue the extravaganza with our bounty of pears, I found a pear and amaretto loaf cake recipe in Leith’s Baking Bible. Pear and almond are a fantastic combination, so I was really looking forward to trying this one. Loaf cakes keep and freeze well, which works well for my waistline as I don’t have to eat it all at once!

The recipe called for soaking the pears in 2 tablespoons of amaretto. I found that the amaretto flavour was quite mild after the cake was baked, so would probably add a bit more next time or soak the pears overnight in the liqueur.

pears in amaretto

Loaf cakes can be quite dense, but egg whites added a nice lightness.

egg white

This loaf cake recipe is a bit different to the usual fruited loaf recipes as it has a crumble topping.

ready for the oven

Mmm… cake fresh out of the oven and it smelled amazing!

finished pear and amaretto cake

Here is the finished cake. It was very tasty and the pear and almond/amaretto combination was lovely. My only criticism is that I think it could have used more amaretto flavour.

Pear and amaretto cake

Best served warm and with a dollop of greek yogurt.

We’ve been given a large quantity of pears from the in law’s garden, almost so many we’re not sure if we’ll be able to put them all to good use. I’ve been digging through my cookbooks to find inspiration. Thanks to Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, I decided to make a Pear and Almond Tart. We chose this one as it would be fantastic to eat but also freezable so that we can enjoy later on in the season.

To quote my husband, Martin, “When pears are at their best they’re one of the most indulgent fruit experiences you can have.”

With the decision made of what to make, we got started.

Tart batter

I enlisted the help of Martin to help cut up pears.

Pears

We assembled the ingredients into blind baked sweet pastry shell and topped with an apricot glaze.

Apricot glaze

The tart is ready to go into the oven.

Pre cooded

And now is out of the oven.

Finished Tart

We shared the tart at our first instalment of Pub Whiteman.

Pub Whiteman

The tart was very tasty. Pears and almonds are a fantastic combination. Since the pears weren’t pre-cooked, they still retain their shape and texture, rather than becoming a mush in the cooked tart.

I’ll definitely keep this recipe for future use. I’m also looking forward to enjoying the slices of pear and almond tart waiting in the freezer. YUM!

It’s that time of year for lovely autumnal fruits. We were lucky to receive some apples from a neighbor’s tree. I wanted a recipe that would use the apples in a way that would be suitable for freezing, so I trawled through my cookbooks and came across a Cinnamon and Apple Cake recipe from Leith’s Baking Bible. This recipe is for a whole cake, but I altered it to be suitable for smaller, freezable portions – cupcakes!

Apples

Apple Cinnamon Cake ingredients

Cinnamon and Apple Cake (my way)
200g peeled apples (I used Bramleys) coarsely grated
170g soft dark brown sugar
100ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg beaten
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

Grated apple

Line muffin tins with 24 muffin/cupcake cases. Heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
Place the grated apples into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, oil, vanilla and egg.
Sift in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Stir together until just mixed.
Drop the mixture into prepared muffin/cupcake cases about 3/4 full.
Bake in the oven for approx 25 minutes, or until well risen and the tops spring back slightly when touched.
A skewer through the center of a cake should come out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

Cinnamon with the flour

Cake batter

When cooled, you can divide them into freezer bags to keep for future treats and snacks.
They are great in lunch boxes with a bit of cream cheese.

Naked apple cinnamon cake

Alternatively, you could top the cake with a mascarpone frosting with a bran flake sprinkled with edible gold dust and demerara sugar for a very autumnal presentation.

Autumnal cakes

In one of my last ditch attempt to hang on to summer, I decided to add more lemon in my life with the Italian Citron Tart featured in the Two Greedy Italians cookbook. I saw it created on the show earlier in the summer and was intrigued. I love citrus, especially lemon, ricotta, mascarpone, etc… All combined in a tart, I had to give it a go.

Ricotta Cheese

I don’t usually cook or bake with candied peel, but this stuff was the real deal. Huge chunks of lemon, citron and orange candied till translucent.

Citron

I got to put my new hand mixer to the test whisking egg whites. Kenwood Kmix, you are a dream.

Whisking egg white

The tart looks as it should before it hits the oven.

tart before the oven

Hmmm… this looks more like a souffle than a tart. I’m not sure if my oven temp was too high, but I don’t remember the tart looking like this when Antonio Carluccio made it.

souffle or tart

It tasted nice, but the texture was a bit mealy.

slice of tart

We enjoyed it, but as it wasn’t really suitable for freezing, I’m not sure this will stay in regular rotation.

tart

It was a fun challenge and I might give it a go again for a big party or something. But I’ll re-watch the Two Greedy Italians Amalfi episode to see where I may have gone wrong.

It’s that time of year when British apples are coming into season. The autumn season is my favourite food and weather-wise. I know, you say it is still summer, but in the UK not really. So, now I am thinking of all the wonderful ways to use the late summer/early autumn fruits. Originally, I thought about doing an apple pie, but Martin suggested an apple tart. As I had never made one before, I took on the challenge. I turned to Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake for his version of an Apple and Quince Tart. Quinces were not on the menu in our house so they were left out. Here’s my version:

To start, I used 2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped and placed them in a casserole dish. Then I covered the apples with 3 tablespoons of caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I covered the casserole dish and put in a 160˚C preheated oven for 20 minutes.

While the apples baked, I prepared the pastry. I used ready rolled sweet pastry in a sandwich tin. It’s not the traditional vessel for a tart, but we divide our desserts into portions and freeze them and this is the easiest dish for that. Put the prepared pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Pastry

The apples from the oven will have formed a compote. Mine looked like they exploded and I thought I was going to have to start over, but after the bubbles relaxed and I gave it a stir, it was the perfect consistency. Leave these to cool.

Apple compote

Once your pastry is chilled and your apple compote is cool, start to prepare the apple slices. Using 2 Bramley apples, peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Remove pastry from fridge and spread the apple compote on the bottom of the prepared pastry. Arrange the thinly sliced apples in a circular pattern around the tin. Once the compote is covered by the apple slices, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Apple slices over compote

Finished apple slices

Bake in the 160˚C oven for 35 minutes. The tart is done when the apples are softened, the edges of the fruit are going a bit crispy and the pastry is a golden brown.

baked apple tart

Leave to cool. Once cooled, brush the tart with sieved apricot conserve. Not only does it make look fancy, it adds a subtle sweetness.

apple tart with apricot glaze

We served our tart with Cornish vanilla ice cream. Serious, YUM!

Apple tart ready to eat

When I was asked to review Total Greek Yoghurt, this was the first recipe that came to mind. Nigel Slater’s (Pistachio) Yoghurt Cheesecake. I’ve made it a few times and every time it just gets better.

Cheesecake ingredients

As I am on a health kick at the moment, I cut out the pistachios to save a few calories and pennies at the same time. In my opinion, you don’t miss the nuts. This recipe was originally printed in the Guardian as part of a spring menu, but here’s my version:

Yoghurt Cheesecake
Serves 8

What you’ll need:
20 cm pie or cake tin

Biscuit base:
10 digestive biscuits
50 g butter (melted)

Cheesecake filling:
75g butter
75g golden caster sugar
500g mascarpone
2 egg yolks
6 heaped tbsp Total Greek Yoghurt*
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
30g sultanas (or dried cherries) – chopped
50g ready to eat dried figs – finely chopped

Crunch up biscuits until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in biscuit. Tip into 20 cm pie or cake pan and press down lightly. Refrigerate while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

biscuits crunched

With a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the mascarpone, egg yolks and yoghurt. Stir in vanilla extract.
With a large spoon, fold in the chopped figs and sultanas until well mixed.
Tip filling onto refrigerated biscuit base and smooth out. This is not meant to be perfectly flat like a baked cheesecake, but more like a creamy topped pie.

Folding fruit
Filling Cheesecake

Finished cheesecake

You can either serve immediately as a pudding or leave to stiffen in the refrigerator overnight.

Dig in

This is an amazing healthy option for traditional cheesecake. You won’t need a topping or coulis. It’s just clean tasty goodness. I can’t wait to dig in.

* I am reviewing Total Greek Yoghurt in a series of posts over the next week. I am not being paid to do so, but have been sent the yoghurt free of charge from Total. These views are my own. *

I fancied a really comforting dessert, kinda like apple pie. I noticed this recipe in my favourite baking book, Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake and thought this would be the perfect combination.

I love using my springform tin, it doesn’t get enough use. I’ll need to work on that. (cheesecake anyone?!)

The batter was super easy to put together; a simple sponge.

Peeling the apples was the most difficult and time consuming task for this recipe.

But the end result was definitely worth it.

Once the sponge layer and apple layer were put together, I topped them with the crumble layer.

I’m not sure if I used too much flour in the crumble mixture, (although I thought I followed the recipe exactly) but the end result of the topping came out a bit dry rather than crumble-y. I will definitely do this recipe again as even though the crumble wasn’t perfect, it tasted delicious! I have a feeling this will be a regular one in my repertoire come autumn.

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