Dippy Egg Cakes

Baking, Food, Photography, Recipes

Easter may have come and gone but this recipe is perfect to use up those mini eggs and indulge just once more before we get back to working on our summer bodies! Easter is usually all about chocolate, and don’t get me wrong I LOVE chocolate, but the Creme Egg brownies have been done so I wanted to go down a different route. Easter is also about spring, yellow is the colour that comes to mind for me – daffodils, tulips and Easter chicks!

These cupcakes are inspired by the humble dippy egg, seeing as Easter is all about eggs! They have a surprise centre. A delicious, tangy lemon and passion fruit curd, that ooze like a dippy egg when cut, or bitten in to. There are a few parts to the recipe, but these can be made the day before, and assembled the next day. After all holidays are about being relaxed and fun, so why not get in your kitchen and have a go.

Makes 12

Ingredients

Sponge

6oz butter/margarine

6oz caster sugar

3 eggs

6oz self raising flour

Tsp lemon extract

Lemon curd 

I only used half for this recipe, but why not serve the rest with some meringues and cream, or spread on toast?

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

65g sugar

90g butter

4 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

4 passion fruits

Frosting

100g White Chocolate

140ml double cream (I used half an elmlea carton)

Method

Lemon Curd

1. Add the zest, juice, butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan, and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

2. Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, once the mixture in the pan has melted I added this to the egg yolks and whisked. How about making some Easter chick meringues with the left over egg whites?

3. Add this back to the saucepan and whisk continuously on a low heat until thickened, and bubbles start to appear. Ensure you whisk all the time, otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled egg!

4. Pour this into a heatproof bowl, and cover with cling film, making sure the film touches the curd directly, to stop a skin forming. Once cool enough refrigerate.

5. Once cool, scoop the flesh of four passion fruits and stir into the curd, set this aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Frosting

1. Melt the white chocolate, you can either do this in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave. If using a microwave, ensure you don’t burn the chocolate as it has a high sugar content.

2. Add the cream to the chocolate and using an electric whisk (or a hand whisk and some muscle) whisk the mixture till light and fluffy. It should be thick enough to resemble a light buttercream. Be careful not to over whisk, otherwise the cream will split.

3. Set aside in the fridge until ready to assemble.

Sponges

1. Preheat the oven to 180 or 160 fan and line a 12 hole cupcake pan with 12 cases.

2. I used a kitchen aid, but you can use an electric whisk or do it by hand. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between to ensure each egg is encorporated to avoid curdling. If it curdles, add some flour and continue. Mix in the lemon extract at this point. I used a Sainsburys taste the difference one.

4. Add the flour, and mix enough to encorporate all the flour, but don’t over mix other wise your cakes will be tough.

5. Spoon the mixture into the cases, and bake for around 20-25 minutes or until light and springy, and a skewer comes out clean.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Assembly

1. Using an apple corer, or a knife cut out a hole in the centre of each cake. The deeper the more lemon curd you can fit in! Yummy!

2. Fill the holes with the curd, you can use a piping bag or a teaspoon. I found the curd was fairly runny, so using a teaspoon was easier than a piping bag.

3. Top the cakes with a spoonful of the frosting, and smooth over with a pallette knife. I aimed for a dome, to look a bit like an egg shape.

4. Top with freeze dried raspberries, and mini eggs. However, you can top with whatever you like. This for me is what baking is about! I like the tang of the dried raspberries, but you could top with a little fresh passion fruit, some flakes of white chocolate or whatever you fancy!

Check my other post for instructions on how to make the Easter chick meringues, 🐥🐣.

I hope you get in the kitchen and have a go at these, it seems complicated, but if you take it in steps its achievable  and you can impress all your friends. Feel free to send me pictures of your bakes!

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Spiced Rhubarb Compote

Food, Photography, Uncategorized

It’s that time of year again where gorgeous pink rhubarb is in season. I love roasting it and revealing its beautiful vibrant pink colour oozing with sweet juices infused with clementine, vanilla and spices.

I stumbled upon this recipe which I adapted from Waitrose when I was creating work for one of my final year projects at university. I created large arrangements from a recipes ingredients. The series is entitled Don’t Play With Your Food’ and depict a recipe’s ingredients arranged in a way to express the beauty of natural foods – their different colours, shapes, textures and characters. The other recipes I chose were Lentil Curry, Summer Fruits with a Lime, Mint & Vanilla Syrup, a Blood Orange & Beetroot Salad, and a Pistachio & Pomegranate cake. You can view the series here. The series stems from my passion for food and cooking. The images highlight that food is fun and enjoyable and aims to encourage people to think about the food that they eat in a similar way.

I adapted the recipe slightly – using some signiture spice from Waitrose, that was left over from Christmas. I substituted the cinnamon stick and star anise for a teaspoon of this.

Ingredients – see the original recipe here

  • 1 pack of rhubarb – cut into 5-6cm sticks
  • 2 clementines – one peeled, both cut into 1 cm slices
  • 1 vanilla pod – split lengthways with the seeds scraped out
  • 60g light soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Waitrose signature spice (or you can use a mix of cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg etc)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200*c or 180*c fan.
  2. In a roasting dish, add the rhubarb, clementine slices, sugar, vanilla (seeds & pod).
  3. Cover the roasting dish with tinfoil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, add the maple syrup and return to the oven, this time uncovered and roast for a further ten minutes until the rhubarb has softened slightly and it’s perfectly pink surrounded by the cooking juices.
  5. Leave to cool and then enjoy!

This is perfect served for breakfast on top of yoghurt, the vivid pink rhubarb and its juices bleeding into the bleak white of the yoghurt. I tend to blend my rhubarb with a stick blender as my mum and I prefer the smooth consistency. For a dessert idea swirl some rhubarb through natural yoghurt or whipped cream and serve with meringue. It’s simply delicious.

Happy Tuesday!

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Halloween Meringue Tartlets

Baking, Recipes

The nights are drawing in and the clocks have gone back which means winter is well on its way. First though we have Halloween to look forward to. Personally, this isn’t really a big deal for me – I’m more of a festive, ‘I love Christmas’ kind of girl. A bit like Elf really, without the costume.

However some people do love it and go all out, so I thought I’d have some fun with a couple of recipes. Which reminds me, I totally still need to find some kind of Halloween outfit – not a lover of fancy dress. I’ll post another later in the week too. Perfect for you to make for your parties, or to indulge in alone to make your self feel better about giving lots of sweets away to ‘trick or treaters’ (I usually prefer eating the treat sized bags of chocolates instead of handing them out, greedy I know).

This recipe is hugely inspired by the Meringue Girls and their new book ‘Everything Sweet’ which is available to buy here on Amazon. It is stunning, both the recipes and the photography, shot by another inspiration, David Loftus.

I’ve used their meringue recipe and made their little pumpkin meringue kisses to top my crisp pastry tartlets which are filled with lime curd – the most tasty ‘goo’ you’ll be exposed to this Halloween. For the pastry I used a delicious recipe from Good Food Magazine by Cassie Best – it’s crisp, sweet, and easy to work with, for all those who may be a little frightened of making pastry. Alternatively, you could use shop bought to save on party preparation.

Makes 24

Ingredients

Pastry

I use half of Cassie’s pastry for this recipe and you can freeze the rest for another time.

225g cold unsalted butter, diced

350g plain flour

50g icing sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp water

Meringues – Meringue Girls Recipe

4 egg whites

Caster sugar – twice the amount of the weight of the egg whites

Lime Curd

Juice and zest of 3 limes

Pinch of salt

80g sugar

90g butter

4 egg yolks

Method

  1. Start by making the pastry. I used a food processor for this. Put the butter and flower in the food processor with a pinch of salt and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you want to do it by hand, rub together with your fingertips. Add the sugar, and whizz or stir again to combine.

2. Add the egg yolk and water and blitz again until it forms large clumps. If the mixture seems too dry, add more water a tsp at a time, but no more than 3 tsp in total.

3. Tip this onto a work surface and knead briefly until it comes together to form a smooth dough. Avoid overworking as this will result in a tough pastry. Flatten, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 mins or longer.

4.  When ready, roll out half of the pastry to a few mm thick, and using a pastry cutter cut to your desired size. I used a petit four tin so cut my pastry to fill these, but you can make bigger tarts if you wish.

5. Line this with some greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or rice/lentils. Bake in the oven at 180c/160c fan for around 12 minutes. Remove the rice and paper, and bake for another few minutes until golden and crisp. We wouldn’t want any soggy bottoms. Leave to cool, until ready to use.

6. To make the meringues, weigh 4 egg whites, and then in a separate bowl weigh out double the amount of caster sugar. Put the sugar in a roasting tin lined with greaseproof paper and place in a preheated oven at 200c/180c fan for five minutes. The edges of the sugar will start to melt. Remove from the oven.

7. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer start whisking the egg whites in a grease free, clean bowl. Whisk slowly to make small bubbles, and then increase the speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

8. Turn the oven down to 100c and turn the mixer up to full speed. Add the hot sugar spoonful by spoonful until fully incorporated. Once all the sugar is added, whisk on high speed for 5-7 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should feel smooth between your fingers, with no grains of sugar.

9. Pipe the meringues, using orange food colouring. See this lovely video for help. You want your meringue bases to be the size of your tart shells so they fit on top. Place in the oven to cook for around 45 minutes – 1 hour until the meringues lift off the paper.

10. Meanwhile, make the lime curd. Put the lime zest and juice, salt, sugar and butter into a little saucepan and heat gently until the sugar and butter have melted. Remove from the heat.

11. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then add to the saucepan and whisk. Return the pan to a low heat and whisk constantly as the curd starts to thicken. Do not stop whisking – we don’t want scrambled eggs. Once the curd thickens and releases a bubble or two, remove from the heat. I added a bit of green food colouring for extra halloween fun but this is optional. Place the curd in a disposable piping bag, leave to cool and then refrigerate.

12. To assemble, fill your tartlet cases with some of the lime curd – using a piping bag is easiest but you can always use a teaspoon. You can paint faces on your meringues with black food colouring and a clean paintbrush. Then top your tarts with these. Serve and enjoy!

The tangy lime curd complements the sweet meringue pumpkin which adds an element of fun that children can help with on half term next week, and will go down a treat at a party, or simply as a little afternoon treat with tea or coffee. Stay tuned for another ‘spooktacular’ recipe.

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Rhubarb & Custard Ice Cream

Baking, Food, Recipes

My mum receives an organic fruit and veggie box every week packed full of seasonal goodies from the wonderful people at Abel & Cole, who like me are lovers of collaboration. We received some organic rhubarb and some strawberries in our box and I thought to my self that summer is finally upon us, despite the weather taking a bit of a turn at the start of June. What better way to kick off the season than with some homemade ice cream, indulgent and luxurious. This flavour is a classic combination that some may remember from childhood boiled sweets.

How about serving it with some mini meringue kisses, (a great way of using up the egg whites) and some strawberries marinated in Amaretto liquor, a twist on the classic Eton mess or why not add some jelly, to make an adult version of a child’s favourite – knicker bocker glory.

There are a few different stages to this recipe, and a fair few ingredients, but please don’t be put off as the stages can be made in advance and refrigerated, ready for assembly the next day.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Ice Cream Base

300ml Milk

100g Granulated Sugar

3 Egg Yolks

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste/Extract or 1 Vanilla Pod

500g tub Mascarpone Cheese

140ml Double Cream

Rhubarb Compote – Adapted from a Waitrose Recipe

Aprox. 400g Rhubarb (about 1 pack/bunch)

1 Vanilla pod, split / Vanilla Bean Paste/Extract

2tbsp Maple Syrup

60g Light Brown Sugar

2 Clementines, or a Splash of Orange Juice

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon, or 1 Cinnamon Stick

Meringues – Meringue Girls Recipe

Marinated Strawberries

400g Punnet of British Strawberries

1tbsp Maple Syrup or Caster Sugar

1tbsp Amaretto Liquor

Method

Start by making the Rhubarb Compote

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c and chop the rhubarb into sticks roughly 6-7cm long.

2. Place the rhubarb, vanilla, spices, sugar and clementines (peeled and sliced/or the juice) in an oven proof dish.

3. Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and baste with the maple syrup and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes or until the rhubarb in tender.

4. Leave to cool, then remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick before blending to a smooth puree. Set aside in the fridge.

Next, prepare the Ice Cream Base

1. Combine the milk, vanilla and half the sugar in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point. Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside for about 15 minutes to infuse the vanilla into the milk.

2. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar and beat until thick and pale. It’s best to use an electric whisk for this, but if you don’t have one just use a little elbow grease – think of all the calories you’ll save, ha!

3. Bring the milk back to the boil, then slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, ensuring to whisk steadily as the milk is added – we don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs.

4. This bowl can either be placed over a bowl of simmering water, or you can return the custard to the saucepan. If you are going to use the second option, ensure the pan is on a heat diffuser and use a thermometer to ensure you do not overheat the custard. Use a wooden spoon, or spatula to continually stir the custard untill it reaches 85 degrees c, or is thicker in consistency. It should coat the back of the spoon, and hold its shape when you run your finger through it.

5. Pour into a bowl and cover directly with cling film to stop a film forming, and then once cool refrigerate.

6. Once cool, beat the mascarpone, to loosen it and then beat in the custard mixture, along with the double cream. The mascarpone gives the ice cream a luxuriously thick and creamy texture, but you can substitute this for a 300ml carton of double cream instead if you want to (instead of the mascarpone and additional double cream).

7. This is ready to be poured into an ice cream maker, until it is thick and luxurious. If you do not have an ice cream maker you could try pouring it into a tub, freezing and churn it by hand every half hour/to an hour to break up the ice crystals. However, for best results use an ice cream maker, as the hand method will result in a less smooth result.

8. Once the ice cream is set, marble through 3/4 of the rhubarb puree. We will use the other 1/4 to drizzle over the ice cream later. Pour in a tub, and leave to firm up in the freezer.

Marinated Strawberries

1. Hull and quarter the strawberries, and add to a bowl.

2. Spoon over the maple syrup or sugar and add the liquor, mix together and set aside in the fridge, until ready to serve. If you are making this for children, you can leave the liquor out.

Assemble 2-3 scoops of ice cream, a spoonful of strawberries, a few meringues and jelly if you so wish and top with a little of the left over compote, and enjoy.

Rhubarb &Custard

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Fireworks Night

Baking, Food, Recipes

On the 8th November, we had our local firework display. I hadn’t been to this in a few years as I was always at university, but luckily I was home this weekend. So I asked mum if we could do what we used to always do, and have a dinner party after the display with close friends. On the Friday, I got up and made homemade chilli con carne, two huge pots of it. As always we do too much. I also made some chocolate pastry for a tart I wanted to make which was a recipe from Tom Kerridge’s series ‘Best Ever Dishes’. Click here to view and make the recipe yourself. I used the pastry recipe, and the chocolate filling recipe, but changed up the decoration, as I wanted to keep it to an autumnal theme bearing in mind the occasion. This, for me is the great thing about cooking. You can take a recipe and use it as a base and experiment and change up the decoration to give it your own personal creative flare, make it your own.

Using the spare egg whites, left over from the pastry I decided to make some meringue mushrooms. I had an idea influenced by the Meringue Girls, and also Rachel Khoo’s recipe to make a ‘forest floor’. So I piped out mushrooms and dusted the tops with cocoa powder. I then assembled the bases and tops using a bit of left over ganache, once they were baked. I assembled the tart the next day.

The Saturday afternoon after our trip to London, we prepared some mini roast potatoes with rosemary, homemade guacamole, homemade salsa, and served all this with a salad, green beans, rice and sour cream with some fresh bread from Bread Ahead that we bought at the market earlier in the day. I then assembled my tart, by pouring the ganache in the case, adding the mushrooms, and added some crushed up pastry (trimmings) and some crushed amaretti biscuits to look like soil, and added some tiny mint leaves. Because of the amaretto liquor, this would go great as a dessert or a slice with coffee. It is rich and indulgent. Mum also made her signature lemon meringue pie, which always goes down a treat. After a few bottles of wine, some lovely food and lots of conversation with dear friends, they left and we headed to bed after clearing up.

Below is my tart.

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x