Friday, 19 September 2014

Salted Caramel Fudge

Salted caramel is all the rage right now and although I may be a little late to the party in finally making something with these opposing flavours, this fudge was worth the wait! It's sweet, it's salty, it's melt in the mouth, it's delicious!

In a large heavy bottomed pan I put 1 can (397g) condensed milk, 150ml semi skimmed milk, 115g butter, 300g granulated sugar, and 150g golden caster sugar. I heated it on low until all the sugar had dissolved.

Once the sugar was completely dissolved, I turned up the heat and let the fudge boil for 10 minutes. I kept stirring it during this time.

I beat the fudge until it started to set, then poured it into a prepared pan lined with greaseproof paper. I sprinkled sea salt over the top of the fudge, I didn't measure the amount I used, this part depends on how salty you like it! I gently pressed the salt into the fudge to make sure it stuck.

I left the fudge overnight to set and the next day I cut it up into pieces. It was very tasty and melt in the mouth! The saltyness balances out how sweet fudge is. Fudge is great for giving as a gift and I have given it out at Christmas and for Valentine's Day before. This fudge went to a friend for her birthday, to my Dad and stepmum, and then the leftovers were enjoyed by myself and my boyfriend. You get at least three decent sized gifts out of this batch. Perfect for...dare I say it in September...Christmas!

print recipe
Salted Caramel Fudge
  • 1 can (397g) Condensed Milk
  • 150ml Semi skimmed milk
  • 115g Butter
  • 300g Granulated sugar
  • 150g Golden caster sugar
  • To taste Sea Salt
In a large heavy bottomed pan heat the condensed milk, semi skimmed milk, butter, granulated sugar, and golden caster sugar on low until all the sugar is dissolved.
Then turn up the heat and let the fudge boil for 10 minutes. Keep stirring during this time.
Take off the heat and beat the fudge until it starts to set, then pour into a prepared pan lined with greaseproof paper.
Sprinkle sea salt over the top of the fudge to taste and gently press into the fudge to make sure it sticks.
Leave the fudge for several hours or overnight to set, then cut up into pieces.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:

Recipe adapted from Honest Cooking.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Swedish Princess Cake: GBBO Week #6

The Great British Bake Off got all European this week. Mel and Sue put on some dodgy accents and requested that the bakers make a yeast leavened cake inspired by Europe. Paul explained that baking powder wasn't invented until the 1850s, so yeast was used to raise cakes. Yeast is much harder to work with as any flavours you add to the mixture can affect the yeast from performing it's rising job. The cake has to prove like bread before being baked.

There was a wide variety of cakes from the bakers. Luis made an Austrian Kugelhopf flavoured with apple and cinnamon, Richard made a German Guglhupf filled with fruit, and Chetna made an French Savarin flavoured with orange. Martha, Luis and Chetna all did very well in the judging. Nancy's cake was overproved, Richard's underproved and Paul thought Kate's fillings were too dry. All the bakers reacted well to the feedback. Nice to see everyone returning to being calm and collected!

Mary Berry's recipe for a Swedish Princess cake (or Prinsesstårta) was this week's technical challenge. The cake comprises layers of genoise sponge sandwiched with jam and creme patisserie, then an dome of whipped cream on top and the whole thing is covered in green marzipan with a pink marzipan rose decoration and chocolate swirls to finish. This is a pretty epic creation and is the Bake Off's most complicated technical challenge yet as it compromises 26 ingredients and 14 stages. Mary advised that the bakers read the recipe at least twice to make sure they know what they're doing!

This challenge really proved that the bakers have great technical knowledge. They weren't told how to make a creme patisserie, but they all knew what to do. Martha knew a lot about genoise sponges, and Nancy is a jam making pro. The recipe is certainly tough as they had to make both the jam and marzipan from scratch! Kate and Chetna both made the sponges twice as they didn't rise, which left them with little time to decorate. Nancy won the challenge, with Chetna and Luis in second and third. Kate came last, with Richard fifth and Martha fourth. I loved the clip of Kate at the end just going 'Hmmm...'!

For the showstopper the judges requested a contemporary version of the Hungarian dobos torte. This is a multi layered cake topped with caramel slices, and the judges wanted at least two tiers, with lots of caramel sugar work in any shape of design the bakers desired. This is a very elegant cake and is mostly found in patisseries and fancy hotels. The bakers had to make lots of very thin layers of sponge to build up the height of the cake. The idea is that the buttercream and cake layers are the same so that when it's cut you get a great effect.

Luis made a cage shape out of his caramel that was very precise and impressive, although his cake lacked in flavour. Richard spun some sugar to make a nest for a sugar bird, but his sponges drooped. Chetna had a very clever trick using grapes to make caramel bowls, which the judges loved. Nancy also did well. Paul and Mary felt that Kate did not do enough sugar work, and Martha's cake tasted good, but again the sugar work was minimal.

So, quite obviously, no one left this week. After Diana's unexpected exit, the programme are now down one person leaving the number uneven. Luckily this week Paul and Mary had a bit of a disagreement on who should go (it was between Kate and Richard). So they took the opportunity for no one to leave this week. Richard and Kate have both received the star baker award in the past, so they will hopefully pick up their game after this week as I really like them both! Next week is all about pastry.

I decided to make the Swedish Princess Cake this week as it contained a couple of techniques I'm not familiar with. Creme patisserie and genoise sponge are things I've never made before. Lucky for me I had all the time in the world to make it so I did the creme patisserie the night before and left it to cool in the fridge overnight. I also used shop bought jam and marzipan (sorry Mary). If you do want to make your own jam my Raspberry Jam post will show you how. As for marzipan - go and buy some is my advice!

To make the creme patisserie I started by heating 500ml whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat.

In my food mixer I whisked up 6 egg yolks with 140g caster sugar until pale and thick. I added 45g cornflour, then turned the mixer back on and poured the milk in.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst stirring. There is a moment when it suddenly thickens, I started whisking it at this point to keep it smooth and stop any lumps.

I was so chuffed with the creme patisserie! I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the creme pat so that a skin doesn't form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.

 The next evening I lined and greased my 23cm spring form cake tin.

In my food mixer I whisked up 5 eggs with 150g caster sugar until pale and super thick. When you lift the whisk out the mixture that falls off should stay on the surface for 3 seconds before sinking in.

I folded 130g plain flour and 1 tsp vanilla sugar into the egg mixture very gently so as little air is lost as possible. I then put it in the tin.

I baked the sponge on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes.

Whilst it was cooling I kneaded pink food colouring into 40g marzipan. I rolled it out and cut out a strip about 2cm wide and 10cm long.

I rolled it up, nipping the bottom and spreading out the petals at the top with my fingertips.

I cut the sponge into three and put the first piece on my cake stand. I spread a thin layer of the creme patisserie onto it, then piped a border of it around the edge.

I added raspberry jam in the middle and spread evenly. At this point I got a bit confused and put the second sponge on top without adding cream over the jam first. To be honest at this point I was pretty tired and it didn't affect the end result.

I put the second sponge on and spread over the rest of the creme patisserie.

I placed the final sponge layer on, then whipped up 700ml whipping cream with 2 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla sugar and spread it over the whole cake, making a dome shape on top.

I kneaded some green food colouring into 400g natural marzipan and rolled it out. Now I am not the decorator type. Baking I can do, but when it comes to decorating I lack finesse! The marzipan went on fine but I couldn't get it smooth all the way round.

So I end up with what I shall call and 'ugly bum' at the back of the cake! Ah well. I cut the edges off and piped cream around the bottom. I melted some dark chocolate and piped a design on top, and finally added my pink rose.

When the cake was cut the layers were clearly defined which I was really thrilled with! It's a very indulgent cake as there is obviously a ton of cream. The creme patisserie was really delicious and I'll definitely make it again. I'm not a huge fan of marzipan but it's not overpowering. I think a version of this cake covered in chocolate icing and maybe with some extra jam would be really good. Overall, although time consuming, the different elements weren't as difficult to make as I expected. It went to plan, although I had the luxury of time, which the Bake Off contestants do not! I think with as much time as I had they would have produced similar if not better results.

I am linking up again to Supergolden Bakes GBBO Bake Along.

Recipe from The Telegraph.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Chocolate Orange Custard Tart

After last week's Great British Bake Off episode I found it hard to choose just one thing to make as pies and tarts are so damn delicious. So as well as the savoury Leek, Cheese & Potato Pie I made at the weekend, I also decided to make a sweet custard tart. My boyfriend also insisted on there being two pies! Orange is his favourite citrus fruit, and I've not made a chocolate shortcrust pastry before, I thought they would go together perfectly. Apologies for the bad photography, it had gone dark by the time the tart was ready and there was no way I could protect it from consumption before I got some natural light!

To make the pastry I rubbed 125g butter into a mixture of 225g plain flour, 25g cocoa powder and 80g golden caster sugar.

I added one egg and formed it into a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.


When the hour was up I rolled out the pastry onto some cling film. This makes it really easy to lift the pastry into the tin.

I used a 25cm tin, lined it with the pastry, smoothing it out around the bottom and side. I gently pricked the bottom with a fork.

I lined the pastry with foil and poured in some baking beans. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes.

I took it out of the oven, removed the beans and foil, and used a knife to trim the edges. Some of the pastry did break a little more than I would have liked. I returned it to the oven for 10 minutes.

To make the custard filling I started by whisking up 6 eggs. I added in 150g caster sugar, the juice of 3 large oranges and 50ml orange liquor.

Finally I whisked in 200ml double cream and the zest of the 3 oranges.

I put the pastry case in the oven and poured the custard into it. This ensures it doesn't spill!

I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. the custard puffs up a lot, but sinks back down as it cools.

Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. The pastry baked really well, I may use this recipe again without the cocoa powder for regular shortcrust pastry. It had a great chocolate flavour which matched really well with the fruity custard filling. You can really taste the orange liquor and it is rather moreish! I was quite happy to have a couple of slices of this, as was everyone else!

print recipe
Chocolate Orange Custard Tart
  • 125g Butter
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 25g Cocoa powder
  • 80g Golden caster sugar
  • 7 Eggs
  • 150g Caster sugar
  • 3 Large oranges
  • 50ml Orange liquor
  • 200ml Double Cream
To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour, cocoa powder and golden caster sugar until it resembles bread crumbs.
Add the egg and form into a dough.
Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry out to bigger than a 25cm tin onto some cling film.
Use the cling film to lift the pastry into the tin.
Smooth the pastry out in the tin and gently prick the bottom with a fork.
Line the pastry with foil and pour in some baking beans.
Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and remove the foil and baking beans.
Use a knife to trim the edges of the pastry and neaten it up.
Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
To make the custard filling whisk up the remaining 6 eggs, add the caster sugar, the juice of the oranges and the orange liquor. Mix well.
Then whisk in the double cream and the orange zest.
Put the pastry case on the oven shelf first, then pour the filling in using a jug.
Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. The custard puffs up a lot, but sinks back down as it cools.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 large tart

Pastry recipe from Sweet Cook. Filling recipe adapted from Drink Society.