Cakes & Bakes: Sourdough pancakes

Home-made sourdough pancakes | H is for Home #pancakes #sourdough #recipe

Sourdough pancakes are a quick, tasty and useful way of using up discard before refreshing your jar of sourdough starter.

I made some this morning because my starter has been sitting in the fridge half forgotten over the run up to Christmas. It’s now happily topped up and getting ready for one of my 24-hour loaves that I’ll begin making tomorrow.

Cooking sourdough pancakes on a griddle | H is for Home Cooking sourdough pancakes on a griddle | H is for Home

Sourdough pancakes make a fantastic meal topped with a couple of rashers of crispy smoked bacon and a splash of maple syrup – or so Justin tells me. As a veggie, I have mine with a generous pouring of the syrup or runny honey. The sourness of the pancakes, the smokiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the syrup are a winning combo!

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Sourdough pancakes
Serves 4
Ingredients
  1. 500 ml/17½ fl oz sourdough starter
  2. 1 egg
  3. 3 tbsp sugar
  4. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  5. 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  6. 2-4 tbsp milk
  7. A little butter or vegetable oil for frying Home-made sourdough pancakes ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat a griddle or large heavy-bottomed/cast iron frying pan over medium heat
  2. In a large measuring jug, combine the sourdough starter, egg, sugar, oil and bicarbonate of soda
  3. Depending on the consistency of your sourdough starter, stir in a couple of tablespoons of milk
  4. Melt a knob of butter or brush a little vegetable oil on the griddle/frying pan
  5. Once the griddle/frying pan is hot, slowly pour circles of batter to the size of pancake you desire
  6. Cook until the bubbles begin to look a bit dry
  7. Flip and cook the other side
  8. Repeat until all the batter has been used up
Notes
  1. If you're cooking up a large batch at a time, set your oven to the lowest temperature, place a couple of plates on the shelves and put the cooked pancakes on them as you go along
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Adapted from Cultures for Health
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: New York maple-walnut cheesecake

Home-made New York maple walnut cheesecake | H is for Home #cheesecake #bakedcheesecake #recipe

Baked cheesecake is both Justin’s and my favourite kind of cake. I often make it for special occasions such as when we’re having people over to visit. The last time friends came to stay, I made a New York maple-walnut cheesecake. It was such a hit – with us and them – that I’ve been looking forward to making it again and sharing the recipe on here.

Making crumbs from digestive biscuits | H is for Home Digestive biscuit cheesecake base | H is for Home

I found the recipe on the New York Times website. It’s pretty similar to the one I make using a Gordon Ramsay recipe, with one… or should I say two great additions. Including maple syrup in cheesecake is delicious; Tossing and coating walnuts in hot maple syrup and then sprinkling them over the top is candied heaven on earth!

Cream cheese and maple syrup | H is for Home

I made a few little adjustments to the NYT’s original New York maple-walnut cheesecake recipe. For a start, I cut down on the quantities; much as I love cheesecake, 12 portions is too much for just the two of us. I also swapped the Graham cracker base for the more usual British version of digestive biscuit crumbs. Lastly, I doubled the amount of maple syrup in the actual cheesecake mixture as I thought the flavour was a little too subtle.

New York maple-walnut cheesecake | H is for Home

Also, the original method included an initial hot bake at 260ºC/500ºF for 15 minutes. This, I think, is to give the top of the cake a nice golden brown colour. It would have completely burnt my first attempt if I hadn’t been keeping an eye on it. This time around, I lowered the temperature and duration of this stage… it turned out perfectly!

The walnuts can be substituted for other nuts, I’d think that pecans or Brazil nuts – or both – would be wonderful.

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New York maple-walnut cheesecake
Serves 8
For the base
  1. 200g/7oz digestive biscuits (about 14 biscuits)
  2. 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
  1. 600g/21oz cream cheese
  2. 2tsp cornflour
  3. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  4. 120ml/4fl oz maple syrup
  5. 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  6. 60ml/2fl oz double cream
To finish
  1. 60ml/2fl oz maple syrup
  2. 1tsp cornflour
  3. 115g/4oz walnut halves Home-made New York maple walnut cheesecake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
For the base
  1. In a bowl, grind the digestive biscuits to fine crumbs (I use the end of a rolling pin)
  2. Add the melted butter to the bowl and toss with a fork until the butter has moistened the crumb mixture
  3. Grease the sides of a 23cm/9-inch, spring-form cake tin and scatter the crumbs evenly over the pan bottom, pressing it down using the bottom of a straight-sided glass or back of a spoon
  4. Bake for 10 minutes and allow it to cool
For the cheesecake
  1. Raise the oven temperature to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy (about 2 minutes)
  3. Combine the flour and the sugar and add this mixture and half of the maple syrup to the cheese in thirds, mixing after each addition
  4. Add the eggs and the yolk to the mixture, one by one, beating after each addition
  5. Add the heavy cream and mix again
  6. Pour the batter on to the cooled base and bake for 5 minutes
  7. Lower the oven to 90ºC/200ºF/Gas mark ½ and bake for a further hour
  8. Switch off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow the cheesecake cool in the oven for ½ hour
  9. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours but no more than 24
To serve
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining maple syrup over a low heat until it bubbles. Allow to simmer gently for 1 minute until it has thickened slightly
  2. Whisk in the cornstarch and turn off the heat
  3. Add the walnuts and turn to coat
  4. Spread them out on a piece of parchment paper to cool and harden into praline
  5. Sprinkle over the cheesecake
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Adapted from New York Times
Adapted from New York Times
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: 24-hour sourdough loaf

Home-made 24-hour sourdough loaf | H is for Home #baking #sourdough #sourdoughbread #realbread #recipe

Someone over on our Instagram feed asked when I was going to share the recipe for the 24-hour sourdough loaf that I’d photographed. I forgot that I’d never actually blogged about it, so here it is!

Bubbling sourdough starter | H is for Home

It’s my new favourite sourdough bread recipe because it helps me plan my baking time to a tee. No more hanging around at bedtime for my bread to be ready to take out of the oven. You start at “zero hour” with a refresh of the starter and end with taking it out of the oven.

La Cloche baking dome | H is for Home

The 24 hour duration is a fairly loose timing. You can stretch or shorten the time line to suit by warming or cooling the environment of the starter and the rising dough. I like to time it so that my final prove takes place overnight. The recipe suggests refrigerating the dough for this 8-12 hour stage however, our downstairs cloakroom gets really cold at night – and the banneton takes up a lot of space – so I do the rise in there.

Sliced, home-made 24-hour sourdough loaf | H is for Home

It means I can get up in the morning, pre-heat the oven and La Cloche and enjoy lovely, fresh sourdough for breakfast!

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24-hour sourdough loaf
Yields 1
Ingredients
  1. 585ml/20½fl oz water at 27ºC
  2. 180g/6⅓oz 1:1 (100% hydrated) fresh sourdough starter that's been refreshed the night before and again in the morning (Hour 0)
  3. 900g/31¾oz strong white bread flour
  4. 9g/⅓oz fine sea salt
  5. a little rice flour for dusting your banneton (I can't recommend this enough!!)
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Hour 6
  1. In a bowl, whisk the warm water and starter and mix well
  2. Add the flour and salt (combined well) and mix until all the ingredients come together into a large ball
  3. Cover with cling film and let the dough rest in a cool environment for 1½ hours
Hour 8½
  1. Lift and fold your dough over, do a quarter turn of your bowl and repeat three more times. Repeat hourly 3 more times
Hour 12½
  1. Shape your dough lightly and place into a dusted banneton
  2. Cover with a shower cap or damp tea-towel and leave to prove on the side until the dough has risen by about 50%. This normally takes about 2 hours in a kitchen that is about 18-20 degrees, then transfer to the fridge for 8-12 hours
Hour 24
  1. In the morning, preheat the oven to 220ºC for 30 minutes to 1 hour before you are ready to bake with your La Cloche in the oven. The dish or La Cloche must be very hot
  2. Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle a little flour over the bottom
  3. Put your dough into the La Cloche and slash the top of your bread using a grignette (or lame) then place the lid back on top and return to the oven as quickly as possible. Bake for 45 minutes
  4. Turn the heat down to 190ºC, remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes
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Cakes & Bakes: St Stephen’s pudding

Home-made St Stephen's pudding with custard | H is for Home #recipe #Christmas #pudding #steamedpudding

If Christmas pudding is too rich or stodgy for your taste, we have a delicious alternative for you to try – St Stephen’s pudding.

Home-made St Stephen's pudding mixture | H is for Home

It’s also a whole lot quicker to prepare than Christmas pudding. There’s no soaking of fruit in alcohol overnight or resting it before steaming. And besides, Stir up Sunday was last week and I’ve missed it!

Home-made St Stephen's pudding mixture in a pudding bowl | H is for Home

As the name suggests, St Stephen’s pudding is eaten on the “Feast of Stephen” – Boxing Day. Apparently, it was eaten at St John’s College, Cambridge on this day. I’ve only managed to find mention of this pudding on Delia’s website and the Cooking with the Saints cookbook. There’s also fleeting mention of the dish in The Ordinary, a 17th century play by William Cartwright where the character, Slicer utters, “Let the Corporal Come sweating under a breast of mutton stuff’d With pudding”.

Pudding bowl with parchment and foil lid | H is for Home Cooked home-made St Stephen's pudding in a steamer | H is for Home

I combined all the ingredients, pressed the mixture into a pudding bowl and secured the lid before putting it in the fridge to cook the following day. There’s no reason why it couldn’t stay in the fridge for up to a week before whipping it out for its 2-hour steam.

Home-made St Stephen's pudding | H is for Home #recipe #Christmas #pudding #steamedpudding

When I prepared it, I followed Delia’s recipe to the letter. However, if I was going to make this again (and I probably will) I’d add an extra 25 grams of sugar and only include the zest of half a lemon.

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St Stephen's pudding
Serves 4
Cook Time
2 hr
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 110g/4oz white breadcrumbs
  2. 50g/2oz self-raising flour, sifted
  3. 50g/2oz light brown soft sugar
  4. 75g/3oz shredded suet
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 110g/4oz seedless raisins
  7. 2 medium Bramley cooking apples, peeled & grated
  8. grated zest of 1 lemon
  9. 3tbsp milk
  10. 1 large eggHome-made St Stephens pudding ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, suet and salt
  2. Add the raisins, grated apples and grated lemon zest
  3. Stir thoroughly to combine well
  4. Beat the egg into the milk and stir into the mixture
  5. Pack the mixture into a well-greased pudding basin
  6. Cover the basin tightly with a sheet of baking parchment, then with a sheet of foil, make a pleat in the centre and secure with string
  7. Boil a kettle and pour the boiling water into a saucepan, about half full, place it on a medium heat and, when it comes back to the boil, fit a steamer over the top
  8. Steam the pudding for 2 hours, checking every so often that the water in the saucepan hasn't all evaporated away
  9. Remove the sheets of foil & baking parchment. Place an upturned plate on the top, quickly flip over and carefully lift off the pudding bowl
Notes
  1. Serve with custard or rum butter
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Adapted from Delia Online
Adapted from Delia Online
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Luxury mince pies

Home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home #recipe #mincepies #baking #ChristmasRecipe #pastry #pie

My home-made luxury mincemeat has been ‘resting’ nicely for a month. It’s now just about ready for me to make my first batch of mince pies.

Making pastry cases for home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home

We’ve got the luxury mincemeat, so how about a bit of luxury pastry too?!

Filling pastry cases for home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home

I’ve gone for a buttery shortcrust pastry flavoured with almond. The flavours work so well together – and make for the perfect Christmas treat.

Plate of luxury mince pies and mug of tea in front of the fire | H is for Home

Compliment them with a cup of tea or glass of mulled wine, comfy chair and real fire (sleeping dog optional). It’s what Christmas (in fact, winter in general) is all about for us.

Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest for later!

Luxury mince pies
Yields 12
For the pastry
  1. 180g/6⅓oz plain flour
  2. 70g/2½oz 'tant pour tant' (35g/1¼oz icing sugar + 35g/1¼oz ground almonds)
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 125g/4½oz very cold butter, cubed
  5. 1½-2tbs cold water
  6. A little beaten eggHome-made mince pies ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and salt in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Add the butter and pulse again until you get to the fine breadcrumb stage
  3. Whilst still pulsing, add the ice cold water until the mixture begins to get lumpy - like dry scrambled eggs
  4. Empty ⅔ of the pastry on to 2 lengths of cling film layered one over the other at right angles
  5. Form the dough into a ball by lifting & bringing together the 4 ends of the cling film. Repeat with the remaining ⅓ of the pastry
  6. Chill in the fridge for ½ to 1 hour
  7. Once chilled, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  8. Grease a 12-hole or two, 6-hole muffin tins
  9. Lightly flour your work surface, remove your larger ball of dough from the fridge, unwrap and divide it into 12 equal pieces (about 20-22g each)
  10. One by one, roll each piece of dough into a ½cm thick round shape. Cut into perfect circles with a cookie cutter (or upturned drinking glass if you don't have one) that's slightly wider than the hole of your muffin tin. **Rolling each pie case individually means that you don't overwork the pastry by re-rolling over & over again**
  11. Gently press the pastry rounds into the muffin tin holes (handy hint: use a small lump of pastry to do this if you have long fingernails!)
  12. Spoon mincemeat into each pastry case and press down gently to level. Don't overfill
  13. Get the smaller batch of dough out of the fridge and again divide into 12 equal pieces (about 11g each)
  14. One by one, roll each piece of dough into a ½cm thick round shape. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. I used a star-shaped cutter but you can make other Christmas-y shapes like holly leaves, snowflakes, fir trees and the like!
  15. Top each pie with the shaped pastry before brushing the tops with a little beaten egg
  16. Bake for 12-15 minutes
  17. Allow to cool in the tin completely before removing
  18. Put on a cooling rack or serving plate and sprinkle/dredge with icing sugar
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Cakes & Bakes: Pear Galette

Home-made pear galette with ice cream | H is for Home #recipe #baking #cooking #cookery #dessert #pastry

This week, we’ve watched the first in Rick Stein’s new series, Rick Stein’s Road To Mexico. His first port of call was California where he met up with Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse. While there, one of her chefs was filmed making a rhubarb galette – it looked amazing. It’s no longer rhubarb season, so I’ve made a pear galette instead.

Sweet galette pastry | H is for Home

I much prefer rustic, unfussy food like this to haute cusine with all its foams, purées and the like. A galette is just the kind of rustic dessert I crave on a cold autumn evening. A circle of sweet pastry covered with in-season fruit and roughly folded in on itself, free-form.

Cored pears | H is for Home

Instead of a pear galette (or rhubarb), you could make one with stone fruits such as peaches, plums, nectarines or apricots. How about apple & pecan, fig, blueberry or cherry?

Sliced pears tossed in Demerara sugar | H is for Home Laying sliced pears on pastry round | H is for Home

A savoury galette with autumn & winter vegetables is also a great idea; carrots, beetroot, caramelised onion… with cheeses and/or herbs – the variations are endless!

Pear galette brushed with melted butter | H is for Home

It’s such an easy, versatile dish to prepare and cook – pastry with whatever meat, veg or fruit that you have to hand.

Sliced home-made pear galette | H is for Home
Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest!

Pear Galette
Serves 8
For the pastry
  1. 320g/11oz plain flour
  2. 2tbsp caster sugar
  3. ¼tsp salt
  4. 115ml/4fl oz cold butter, cubed
  5. 4tbsp cold water
For the filling
  1. 2 dessert pears
  2. 3tbsp Demerara sugar
  3. 2tbsp fine semolina
  4. 25g/1oz flaked almonds
  5. 2tbsp melted butterHome-made pear galette ingredients
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For the pastry
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, caster sugar and salt
  2. Using a food processor (on pulse) or hand pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the butter is evenly distributed but still in large, visible pieces
  3. Add the cold water all at once
  4. Pulse until it begins to come together
  5. Empty the pastry on to 2 lengths of cling film layered one over the other at right angles
  6. Form the dough into a ball by lifting & bringing together the 4 ends of the cling film
  7. Flatten the dough into a disk inside the cling film and chill in the fridge for at ½ to 1 hour
  8. Once chilled, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
For the filling
  1. Core & evenly slice the pears and put them into a medium-sized mixing bowl
  2. Sprinkle over 2tbsp of the Demerara sugar and toss to cover the pear slices evenly
To finish
  1. Tear off 2 sheets of parchment paper of at least 35½2 (14"2)
  2. Roll the dough out between the two sheets into a 30cm (12") circle
  3. Slide the dough on to a baking tray
  4. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle the semolina evenly over the top of the dough
  5. Lay the slices of pear on to the top of the dough in a circle - leaving a 2cm/¾" gap from the edge. Make the slices slightly overlap and ensure you cover the entire surface
  6. Sprinkle over the remaining tablespoon of the Demerara sugar and the flaked almonds
  7. Fold the edge of the pastry over, making sure you overlap it on to itself as you go around
  8. Brush the melted butter over the crust edge
  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown
  10. Slide the parchment with the galette on to a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes before consuming
Notes
  1. Serve warm with cream or ice cream
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