I thought I’d share round-up of my favourite festive recipes this Pieday Friday. The idea was to get you in the mood for all the Christmas baking to come but, in fact, I’ve actually started craving most of these recipes now, so I’m sure I’ll be whipping up some tasty this weekend! Below you’ll find links to my top twelve “12 days of Christmas” recipe blog posts, starting with these snowy dark chocolate cookies and cream-filled snowball meringues – enjoy! It wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread. Last year I made a gingerbread sleigh but the recipe can be used to make traditional gingerbread men or decorations to hang on your tree. You can find the classic gingerbread recipe in this blog post plus there’s a festive spiced banana muffin recipe in the gingerbread blog post too, bonus!Even though I first made this chocolate gingerbread recipe for halloween, it’s definitely going to be baked again in December. The chocolate makes a nice change to the traditional gingerbread biscuit recipe, and you could make a batch of both types for Christmas, mmm.
After going foraging on a blackberry walk last weekend, today’s blog post is the result of that walk. I decided to combine the blackberries with apples (cooking apples are abundant in the garden at the moment) and make a bottomless pie. What does that mean? It means that I made a blind-baked pie base and it shrunk so much that I couldn’t use it! I therefore went for just a pie crust on top of the filling in a pie dish. Don’t worry, it tasted just as yummy and actually it’s a little bit of a healthier pudding, because there’s about half the amount of pastry! Ingredients: 225g plain flour, 100g butter, 25g caster sugar, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of salt, 100g sugar, a dash of amaretto, plus as many cooking apples as it takes to fill your pie dish and as many blackberries as you can gather!
The pastry: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Add the cold water and stir with a knife until it comes together into a stuff dough. Roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. By the way, my pretty rolling pin is from The Caravan Trail if you’re interested. I like to use it for pastry as it’s ceramic so stays cool – very important in pastry-making! The filling: Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill your pie dish. Put the apples in a pan over a medium heat and add 100g sugar to sweeten the tangy taste of the cooking apples and a splash of water (or a dash of amaretto if you like the flavour). Allow to cook down (keeping some chunky bits) and allow the apples to become a little mushy. Taste the apples and add more sugar if needed.
There’s no better pud than a pie, I reckon. A generous slice of hot fruit pie served with slowly melting vanilla ice-cream is a dream come true. Or on chillier days, a steaming stream of custard poured on top of the crisp pastry is just what the doctor ordered. And when you’ve finished your pudding, you know that leftover slice is going to taste amazing cold out of the fridge the next day. Fancy baking a fruit pie? I do!In fact, I did make a fruit pie for Sunday lunch last week. These photos are the result of a few minutes of pastry-making and about as much time cutting out the letters with my new cookie cutters! So after enjoying a tasty sliver of my deep-filled fruit pie, I decided that I couldn’t keep it to myself and conjured up a way of sharing it with you via this ‘collection’ of fruit pie recipes. Read on to get some filling inspiration and tips on getting the crispiest pastry.Filling 1 – Apple and mixed summer fruits. This is the filling I used in my pie last week. We simply peeled and sliced the apples and popped them straight into the pie case – no pre-cooking needed here. We then threw in as much frozen mixed berries as possible and covered with the pastry lid.
Filling 2 – Blueberries and ginger. I found this recipe (and many other fruit pie fillings) on BonAppetit.com. This one calls for 2lbs of blueberries, 1 and a quarter cups of sugar, a quarter of a cup of cornstarch to thicken, a tablespoon of grated ginger and lime zest, a quarter of a cup of lime juice. Mix together and pour into the pie crust uncooked.
I’ve got a big Christmas party taking place at the weekend and my sisters and I have taken over the food preparation for our annual family gathering. As much as I love sausage rolls and frozen party snacks, I wanted to create something a little bit special this year so this week I tested out a recipe for cheesy Christmas stars. Well, I say recipe but really it’s just a matter of constructing the stars rather than cooking them; here’s what I mean… The ingredients comprise of 1 roll of ready-made, ready-rolled light puff pastry, deliciously flavoured Primula (I chose cheese with ham and cheese with smoked salmon – yes, real chopped salmon!) and a grating of mature cheddar. How cute are these limited edition Christmas tubes of Primula?! I’ve stocked up the fridge with them, ready for cheese ‘n’ cracker occasions over the festive period. So, as you can see, all I needed to do was put the cheese stars together, rather than mix up a recipe. Of course, you can make your own puff pastry for the stars if you wish, but I’m short on time and want to make the preparations for the Christmas party as easy as possible. Here’s how to do it: Roll out the pastry and cut into squares. I managed to get 24 squares out of my roll of pastry and cooked them in two batches. Use a sharp knife to cut into the corners of the squares, leaving space uncut in the centre of each square for the cheesy filling. Squeeze some tasty Primula into the centre of each square before folding in the corners to create a star shape. Take each alternating corner and bring them together into the centre of the star. Pinch them together in the middle to seal the tips of pastry together. Brush with a little milk and grate over a sprinkling of mature cheddar. For my second batch I also sprinkled the stars with paprika at this stage to add colour and even more flavour. You could also add diced ham into the cheese centres or sprinkle on chopped chives to create a range of different flavours.Put the stars in the oven at 200 degrees for around 15 minutes or however long your packet of pastry recommends! Some of my centres popped open during the baking process but you can easily press them back together into the centre of the stars while the pastry is still warm. What do you think? I can tell you now that these little cheesy stars taste delicious and I’ll definitely be making them again this weekend for the party! Continue reading “Pieday Friday recipe – Cheesy Christmas stars & party snacks hacks with Primula” »
I’ve been making these easy party snacks throughout the festive period and I thought I would share the recipe with you today so that you can make it yourself for any New Years parties you might be hosting or attending! As a guest it’s always a good idea to turn up with plateful of tasty treats and this one couldn’t be more simple to make. The pastry only has three ingredients, and you could even use ready-made pastry if you prefer – then it’s just a case of filling your pastry with delicious pizza flavours! Here’s the world’s quickest step-by-step on how to make this recipe:
Continue reading “Pizza twists recipe for your New Years party” »
Around here the blackberries seem to have ripened earlier than they have in previous years. I’ve been picking on-and-off for the past couple of weeks while hubby and I go on our evening walks so I already have quite a lot of blackberries ready to use up in my autumn cooking. The theme for this week’s GBBO and The Great Blogger Bake Off if pastries so I decided that a blackberry tart would be a fun recipe to try out.
Rather than making a pie filling with the blackberries and loading it into a rough puff pastry case, I thought I would make a jam, which would then be spread onto the pastry like a big jam tart. Blackberries can release a lot of juice while cooking so I thought that this extra process was better than ending up with a soggy bottom! So here’s the recipe for the jam which I found on the BBC Good Food website:
Ingredients: 900g blackberries, 900g sugar, 1 and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, 50ml water
Bring the washed blackberries , lemon juice and water to the boil in a large pan and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved then bring back to the boil for around 10 minutes. Test with a jam thermometer that 105C has been reached, or to check whether your jam is done without a thermometer, drop a blog of jam onto a chilled saucer and wait for a minute before pushing your finger through it (be careful not to rush into this, it’s soooo hot!) . If the jam wrinkles, it’s ready! Allow to cool for 15 minutes before pouring into sterilised jars and sealing. It should make about 4 jam jars.
I used this jam to spread onto the rough puff pastry and here’s the recipe that I followed from Bero:
Ingredients: 225g plain flour, 150g lard and margarine diced and mixed, pinch of salt
Mix the flour and salt and stir in diced fat with a knife before mixing into a stiff dough with water. Roll out into a thin strip then fold into three. Turn it one quarter of the way round and roll out again before repeating the folding and rolling three times. Chill for 15 minutes then use to line a pastry case, like this tin that I got from Wholeport with a loose base to make it easier to get the pastry out. Spread I the jam onto the base and use leftover pastry to make a lattice over the top. Brush with egg yolk and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
Serve with fresh blackberries and vanilla ice cream!
Loads more lovely bloggers are taking part in #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff so check out the hashtag via twitter and instagram to find more delicious recipes!
As a savoury fan, I love pastry but it can be one of those recipes that either turns out great, or goes horribly wrong. It’s something that I’ve got wrong many times over the years but I’ve now found a recipe that never fails and it’s from my favourite Bero recipe book. The book offers recipes for rough puff and flaky pastry, but the type I love the most is shortcrust. It’s ideal for quiches and pies and can easily be converted into a sweet pastry for tarts and desserts. Here’s the famous recipe and how I like to use it:
Ingredients: 225g plain flour, pinch of salt, 50g lard, 50g margarine (though I like to use 100g margarine and it works out fine), approx. 2 tablespoons of cold water to mix, 25g caster sugar if making sweet pastry.
- Mix flour and salt in basin (add sugar if making sweet pastry), rub in fat
Using a knife to cut and stir, mix with cold water to form a stiff dough
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly
Roll out and use as required
When I’m making a pie, it’s fine to just line a greased pie dish with pastry, load in your pie filling and then pop a lid of pastry on top and pinch the edges together. I always brush with milk, or if you have a spare egg yolk you can brush this on to glaze the lid of the pie for a golden finish. When I make a quiche I like to partially bake the pastry in the flan tin before I add my eggy filling, so that it stays crispy and doesn’t absorb so much of the quiche mixture.
First grease a flan case and lay the pastry over it. Press the pastry into the sides of the tin and cut away the excess around the top edge with a knife. You can use baking beads while ‘blind’ baking the pastry case, or line it with tin-foil and weight it down with dried pasta or rice, like I do. Bake it like this for around 5-10 minutes, checking it regularly. The pasta will end up all crispy and inedible so chuck it out and remove the tin foil before filling up with your quiche mixture. This ensures that the pastry will be less gooey from the egg mix – and the thinner that you roll out the pastry, the crispier it will be!
This same pastry recipe can be used for pies, cornish pasties, quiches, jam tarts, mince pies, sausage or cheese rolls and anything else you can think of that uses pastry! Here are some recipes from my archive that I’ve used this wonderful pastry recipe with (images below, links in pink above). Please let me know if you try any of these recipes out!
Does anyone else feel like there’s a celebration on the horizon? Perhaps it’s the school holidays or the long Easter weekend, or maybe it’s hubby’s birthday, my impending 1000th blog post or the May bank holiday? Whatever it is, it’s making me want to invite the family over and bake party food! I’ve just got that urge and I had to give in to it this week when I made one of my party favourites – cheese and ham pastry rolls. These little bites of joy are my festive speciality and they are great for taking on picnics or for light lunches too. They are super-easy to make and might be good to try out over the Easter holidays if you’ve got the children at home because they can help you sprinkle the cheese and roll up the pastry.
It’s a little too simple to call a recipe really because I like to buy ready-made puff pastry – and if you’re feeling super-lazy, you can even buy ready-rolled like I have! – but feel free to make your own rough-puff pastry if you prefer. So here’s what I do:
- Roll out the pastry on a sheet of baking parchment (this will make it easier to roll up into a tube).
- Spread the pastry with cream cheese before laying out slices of ham all over.
Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese all over then lift the baking parchment and use it to roll the pastry into a tube lengthways.
- Slice the long roll into bite-size pieces and place onto a greased baking tray.
Brush with a little milk before baking in the oven according to the pastry instructions
Ta da! Impressive ‘homemade’ party snacks made in minutes! Let me know if you have a go at making your own pastry rolls and tweet me a photo @Cassiefairy.
One more thing – I have a Freebie Friday giveaway running on Twitter today to win this gorgeous Bon Prix dress in navy chiffon (worth £29.99) to add to your Spring wardrobe! Click here to see the competition tweet and enter by simply RTing & following me 🙂
One of my favourite things to eat is a pasty. I know it’s naughty and I really shouldn’t indulge in buttery pastry too often, but it’s just so yummy that I can’t resist. I went on holiday to Cornwall one year and ate nothing but Cornish pasties for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a whole week. Needless to say that I looked like a pasty when I got back from holiday, and weighed considerably more than when I went away, but they are so yummy and so moreish!
Anyway, enough about my pigging out – this blog post is about using up your Christmas leftovers by turning them into a pasty. I’m cooking this today because some of my family are coming round for festive nibbles tonight and this will be the ideal grab-and-go dinner to serve. Here’s the pastry recipe and below is the filling:
Put 225g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and rub in 100g butter or margerine. Using a knife to cut and stir, mix in enough cold water to form a stiff dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll out before using a saucer as a template to cut out circle for the pasty base.
For the filling, dice and brown off 100g braising beef, or leftover turkey in this instance. Add a diced onion and fry until browned. Dice up leftover potatoes (or dice and boil fresh potatoes until slightly tender) and add to the meat. Add a handful of peas or any other leftover veg chopped into small pieces, then season with salt and pepper and I like to add spoonful of wholegrain mustard. If the filling is too dry for your liking, you can add a little leftover gravy to the mix. Spoon this filling into the centre of the pastry circles, brush milk around the edge and fold it over. Brush all over with milk and crimp the edges together using a fork and add a couple of holes into the top for the air to escape while baking. Cook in the oven at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and hot in the middle.
I first made these cheesy rolls when I had some roast potatoes left over after a big Sunday lunch, so this recipe is a good way of using up your leftovers and making a cheesy treat for supper or lunch the following day.
I used shop-bought pastry for this recipe so it was a really speedy process but you can make your own if you prefer. Ingredients: 1 pack of puff or shortcrust pastry, leftover roast or boiled potatoes, one red onion, approx 200g mature cheese, 2 eggs.
1. Roughly chop up your left-over potatoes, finely dice a red onion and grate your mature cheese
2. Mix all the filling ingredients together with one egg to bind it all together
3. Roll out a long rectangle of puff or shortcrust pastry (whichever you prefer) and arrange a roll of your mixture down the centre.
4. Roll up the pastry into a tube around the mixture like a sausage roll.
5. Slice the roll into small squares and put onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
6. Snip a couple of air holes into the top of each cheesy roll using scissors and coat with egg wash.
7. Bake in the oven according to instructions on your pastry packet