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Welcome to my blog- A place of food, cakes and bakes! Just a fun-loving student who loves to bake!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Zingy Zesty Lemon Meringue Pie

My love for lemon is never ending! It's refreshing, tasty, versatile  and oh so simple. I've wanted to make a lemon meringue pie for a while now; ever since seeing an amazing picture in a food magazine. It was of a slice of pie with a perfectly structured lemon layer and then this mountain of pillowy, marshmellowey, I-want-to-eat-that-now-ey meringue on top. I'd said to my mum that I'd had enough of baking cakes for a while and was moving on to puddings. What with going to visit my Auntie for a few days, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make one. I also wanted to practise making pastry and this recipe required baking blind, which I'd never done before, but there's always a first for everything!  So after a busy day catching up with a friends, it was lovely to return to the kitchen and do some good ol' baking.

 For the Pastry, you'll need:
250g (9oz) Plain Flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1 Tablespoon of Icing Sugar, sifted
125g (4oz) Unsalted Butter/Margarine, chilled and diced
1 Egg, beaten with half a tablespoon of chilled water

If you have a food processor:
Whizz the flour, sugar, and diced butter/marg until it resembles breadcrumbs.

If not, mix the flour and sugar together and then add the diced butter/marg. With your fingertips, rub the flour mixture and butter/marg together until you have a breadcrumb consistancy. Be light on the fingers and pick out any lumps and rub them to make them smaller.

In a large bowl, add the egg mixture to the breadcrumbs and stir with a palette knife. Using your hands, bring the mixture together to form a dough, adding a SMALL bit of extra water if the pastry seems dry. Work it into a ball, wrap in cling-film and leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I did 15 minutes in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to a thickness of just under a £1 coin. Line a fluted tart tin (24/23cm) , loose bottomed being best, with the pastry. I used my finger tips to work the pastry into the grooves of the tin, and then a sharp knife to cut off excess pastry. Prick the base with a fork and place into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. If there's no room in the freezer, 15-20 minutes in the fridge will do.

After 10 minutes, place some greaseproof paper into the tin and fill with baking beans or rice and bake blind for 15 minutes or until the edges are firm. Remove the greaseproof paper and beans/rice and bake for a further 5-10 minute or until lightly golden brown. 

For the filling, you'll need:
the Zest and Juice of 3 lemons
40g (1.5oz) Cornflour, sifted
100g (3.5oz) Caster Sugar
275ml Water
50g (2oz) Butter/Margarine
5 Egg Yolks (Whites to be used later)

Stir the lemon juice and zest with the cornflour and caster sugar, until a smooth paste is formed. Bring the water to boil in a pan and add the lemon mixture. Keep stirring until it has thickened and then simmer for 1 minute, stirring continuously.  (Note: The mixture will very suddenly thicken and then start to bubble. At this point, turn the heat down to a simmer.) Remove from the heat and beat in the butter/marg, followed by the egg yolks, until smooth. Leave to cool and then pour into the pastry case. 

For the Meringue, you'll need: 
5 Egg Whites
250g (9oz) Caster Sugar
2 Teaspoons Cornflour

Use an electric hand mixer to beat the egg whites until they become stiff. Add the caster sugar in 4 stages, beating thoroughly each time and until it's stiff and shiny. Whisk in the cornflour. Spoon over the filling and use a fork or skewer to create a swirly design. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes at 130oC at the bottom of the oven. 
And it seemed to be a hit with my family too! 

Happy Baking! 

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I'm entering this into Calendar Cakes by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes as this month's theme is British Summertime and lemon is just so summery and fruity.

Also, into Lottie's World of Cakes and Bakes challenge- Lottie's Bake Off Challenge as this weeks theme on The Great British Bake Off was pastry.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Strawberry Pavlova

Now if someone asked me what my favourite pudding was, it would be Strawberry Pavlova every time. It's perfectly summery and really tasty! Strawberries have always been one of my favourite fruit so I love nearly anything with them in and the crunchy meringue complements the softness of the cream and fruit. This was my first time at making meringue and was really happy at how it turned out. I'd always thought of meringue as a bit of challenge when people talk about "Stiff peaks" but now I love making it and am going to make a Lemon Meringue Pie for my Auntie at the weekend (post to follow!) And did you know that this pudding is originally from New Zealand- me neither! 

This recipe is from my Mum's trusty Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course.

You will need:
3 Large Fresh Egg Whites
175g (6oz) Caster Sugar
275ml (half a pint) Whipping or Double Cream (I used a 300ml pot)
Strawberries (Or any other fruit you want to add)

Preheat the oven to 150oC/300oF/Gas Mark 2.  Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and grease lightly with oil/butter/margarine. 

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. This will be when the mixture looks like it has little mountains in it. Start to whisk in the sugar, a little at a time until all the sugar is combined. By now the peaks will have become stiffer- when you tip the mixer upright, they should stand up. 

Spoon the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet forming a circle with a little dip in the middle. (This will be where the fruit sits) To make the meringue look decorative, you can take a skewer or fork and create swirls and peaks around the edge. 

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately turn it down to 140oC/275oF/Gas Mark 1 and leave to cook for an hour. After an hour turn the oven of but keep the meringue inside until the oven has completely cooled. This is to allow the meringue to completely dry out and can take from 2 hours. 

When the meringue is ready, gently peel it off the baking paper and put it onto the serving dish. In a bowl whip up the cream- personally I like it quite thick. Spread the cream onto the meringue and arrange the strawberries on top. Serve with a little icing sugar on top. 

Happy Baking! 

Please leave a comment below! 
Follow @nicsfeasts and @NicckkNackk

I am entering this into my first Blog Event- Simple and In Season by Ren at Fabulicious Food. 

I am also entering this into Calendar Cakes by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes because it's the perfect summer pudding! 

And into Let's Cook With Fruits by Simply Food

P.S Earlier on in August I went to the Bristol Hot Air Balloon Fiesta with my friend Sarah. (She also appears in Pretty Pink Wedding Cake) We saw some amazing sights but we particularly like the Churchill one! 


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

I'm Back... and So's the GBBO!

Well firstly I will apologize for my lack of posts recently as I've been away a lot and desperately caught up within all the Olympic hype! I love sport and so being able to watch it in our home country was amazing. Although my mum and I were unable to get tickets, I still cheered on Team GB and was glued to the telly (even while camping!). I'm also a big fan of Tom Daley so to see him get a bronze was great. I was also happy for Mo and Jess Ennis in succeeding in their bid for gold.

Anyway, enough about sport. I promise that there will be a recipe blog coming soon but I was equally excited about the return of The Great British Bake Off on Tuesday nights. Last week saw a delight of upside-down cake, rum babas and a cake that produces a hidden design when sliced into. Now, being born in the 90's meant that I was unfamiliar with Rum Babas but I think they look delicious; although my mum says she'll never go near one! I've also decided I might try one of the upside down cakes off of the show. John's Toffee Apple Upside down cake caught my eye, as well as Manisha's Vanilla, Peach and Raspberry Upside down and Sarah-Jane's Pear, Chocolate and Hazlenut Cake. I can't wait for tonight's episode which is all about Bread.

Another one of my favourite chef's is back on our screens and she is Lorraine Pascale. She first caught my attention with he show "Baking Made Easy"  and "Lorraine's Last Minute Christmas" but she is back with "Lorraine's Fast, Fresh and Easy Food". Last night's episode was about feel good food. I looovee feel good food. Some of her mouth watering recipes shown were Butternut and Sweet Potato Lasagne, her Shameless Shortcut Cake Pops (a playful looking biscuit-based chocolate lolly) and Sweet and Sour Pork Balls.

Happy Baking! 

Please leave a comment below! 
Follow @nicsfeasts and @NicckkNackk