Cakes & Bakes: Apple and sultana crumble

Home-made apple and sultana crumble | H is for Home

When I was buying ingredients for last week’s apple and raisin puff pastry tart I needed two cooking apples. However, the Bramley apples in the supermarket were being sold in packs of four. I’m making an apple and sultana crumble this week to use up the two that were left over.

Chopped apples, demerara sugar and sultanas in a saucepan | H is for Home

I may have mentioned before that fruit crumble isn’t one of Justin’s favoured puddings – he thinks the crumble topping is too often soggy, floury and not very nice – especially if too thick or a bit undercooked.

Crumble ingredients | H is for Home Crumble ingredients combined | H is for Home

I think my crumble topping recipe is none of those things; it forms large, crunchy, nutty morsels.

Home-made apple and sultana crumble prior to going into the oven | H is for Home

Sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of it just before it goes into the oven for extra sweetness and crunch. You can serve it with thick, cold cream, hot creamy custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream – they’re all good!

Home-made apple and sultana crumble with little bottle of pouring cream | H is for Home

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Apple and sultana crumble
Serves 4
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the fruit filling
  1. 2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples, peeled, cored & roughly chopped
  2. 25g/¾oz butter
  3. 100g/3½oz sultanas
  4. 50g/1¾oz Demerara sugar
For the crumble topping
  1. 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz porridge oats
  3. 50g/1¾oz flaked almonds
  4. 50g/1¾oz Demerara sugar
  5. 75g/2⅔oz cold butter, cubedHome-made apple and sultana crumble ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, melt the 25g of butter
  3. Add the chopped apples, sultanas and Demerara sugar and stir until the apples are just beginning to soften (about 5-10 minutes)
  4. Put the mixture into a greased baking/pie dish
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, oats, almonds and Demerara sugar
  6. Add the cold, cubed butter and rub into the dry ingredients - but not to much - you want the mixture to have quite large lumps
  7. Spoon the crumble evenly over the apple and sultana mixture so that it's completely covered
  8. Sprinkle a little golden granulated sugar over the top for added crunch (optional)
  9. Put the dish into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crumble topping turns a lovely golden brown
Notes
  1. Serve with custard, thick pouring cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream
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Cakes & Bakes: Apple and raisin puff pastry tart

Slice of apple and raisin puff pastry tart with vanilla ice cream | H is for Home

We are ‘pudding’ rather than ‘starter’ people and always have a sweet ending to our daily evening meal.

Soaking raisins in tea | H is for Home

Sometimes, I’ve got to the day and haven’t had the time to make a dessert. At times like this, there are a few quick sweet dishes that can be rustled up in about half an hour. One such is jam and coconut slice which is one of Justin’s favourites from his childhood – and also great for using up pastry scraps.

Putting apple and raisin filling on to ready-made puff pastry | H is for Home

Another is an apple and raisin puff pastry tart – using a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, of course.

Putting ready-made puff pastry lid on apple and raisin tart and brushing with melted butter | H is for Home

All it takes is a couple of cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped; a handful of raisins (pre-soaking them for an hour makes them more juicy and adds another layer of flavour – strong tea, brandy or armagnac perhaps – so recommended but not a necessity if your in a rush); a pinch of ground spice and aforementioned packet of puff pastry.

Home-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart | H is for Home

Delicious served with cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Apple and raisin puff pastry tart
Serves 4
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g/2⅔oz raisins
  2. 2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples
  3. 20g/¾oz butter
  4. 50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
  5. ¼tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1 packet of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastryHome-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Soak the raisins in a cup of hot, strong black tea for at least an hour
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  3. Peel, core and rough chop the apples
  4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter
  5. Add the chopped apples, soaked raisins, sugar and ground cinnamon
  6. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the apple just begins to soften
  7. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into two equal lengths
  8. Grease a 20cm/8-inch round or square baking tin and lay one of the lengths of pastry evenly into the tin allowing some overlap over the edge
  9. Spoon the apple and raisin mixture evenly on to the puff pastry
  10. Lay the other length of pastry over the top and brush with a little melted butter
  11. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of golden granulated sugar over the top if desired
  12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the puff pastry is a lovely golden brown
Notes
  1. Serve with vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Prune and almond fruitcake

Slice of home-made prune and almond fruit cake | H is for Home

The first bag of Agen prunes I bought didn’t last me very long at all. I ate three a day, every day, from the day they arrived. I also used a handful or so of them in a prune and Armagnac tart. I’ve reordered the prunes from Amazon and this week and have made a prune and almond fruitcake; something a bit different to the traditional ones made using raisins, currants, sultanas and candied peel.

Home-made prune and almond fruit cake mixture | H is for Home

Justin, once again, requested an afternoon fruitcake to accompany a cup of tea. He likes to stop work for a short break about 3pm before charging back into his daily chores!

Prune and almond fruit cake mixture in cake tin | H is for Home Prune and almond fruit cake in cake tin | H is for Home

I had about 100 grams of marzipan leftover from my recent batch of simnel cupcakes so I sliced it into little cubes and spooned it through the cake mixture; a deliciously successful addition!

Home-made prune and almond fruit cake | H is for Home

As with most fruitcakes, if you can resist the temptation of slicing and eating it straight-away, the texture and flavour improves if left for a day or two.

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Prune and almond fruit cake
Serves 8
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 115g butter, softened
  2. 115g soft brown sugar
  3. 2 eggs, whisked slightly
  4. 175g self-raising flour
  5. ¼tsp almond extract
  6. 200g pitted prunes
  7. 1tbsp flaked almondsHome-made prune and almond fruit cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease a deep 18cm/7-in spring-form or loose-bottomed round cake tin and line base & sides with baking parchment
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  4. Pour the eggs over the mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a tablespoonful of the flour between each addition to help prevent the mixture curdling
  5. Mix in the almond extract
  6. Fold in the rest of the self-raising flour and combine well
  7. Gently fold the prunes, stirring with a wooden spoon until well distributed through the mixture
  8. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level off the top with the back of the spoon
  9. Sprinkle the top with the flaked almonds
  10. Bake for 1&frac;12 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  11. Once done, remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in its tin
Notes
  1. Store in an airtight lidded cake tin or plastic tub
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Cakes & Bakes: Triple chocolate chip cookies

Home-made triple chocolate chip cookies | H is for Home

Another week, another Cakes & Bakes chocolate recipe. But not just any old chocolate, but TRIPLE chocolate chip cookies!

Dry ingredients for triple chocolate chip cookies | H is for Home Two mixing bowls of ingredients for triple chocolate chip cookies | H is for Home

These are truly blow the diet, straight up delectable. Chock-full (see what I did there?) of dark and white chocolate chips, cocoa powder and sugar.

Adding dark & white chocolate chips to cookie dough mixture | H is for Home

If you’d prefer you can make tiddly little ones using teaspoons of cookie dough rather than dessertspoonfuls. That way, you’re only having a little morsel at a time. Me? I prefer my cookies soft, chewy and the size of frisbees!

Spooning triple chocolate chip cookie dough | H is for Home Balls of triple chocolate chip dough on lined baking tray | H is for Home

Justin tends to prefer savoury snacks to sweet ones, but even he’s contributing to the rapid disappearance of this particular batch.

Triple chocolate chip cookies cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

Click here to pin the recipe on Pinterest for later!

Triple chocolate chip cookies
Yields 13
Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 115g/4oz plain flour
  2. 1tsp baking powder
  3. 45g/1½oz cocoa powder
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 75g/3oz butter, softened
  6. 75g/3oz golden caster sugar
  7. 75g/3oz soft brown sugar
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1tsp vanilla extract
  10. 100g/3½oz dark chocolate chips
  11. 100g/3½oz white chocolate chipsHome-made triple chocolate chip cookies ingredients
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking sheet or line it with a parchment paper
  3. In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt
  4. In another larger mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar (using an electric mixer is best)
  5. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  6. Add the flour mixture and beat well on a low speed
  7. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 70g of the dark chocolate chips and 70g of the white chocolate chips
  8. Drop dessertspoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking sheet and lightly press each with the back of a spoon. Space them 2½-5cm / 1-2 inches apart as they spread quite a bit in the cooking
  9. Dot the top of each cookie with 3 or so of the reserved dark & white chocolate chips pressing lightly into the dough
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  11. Allow to cool on a wire rack while you make the next batch. Repeat until all the cookie dough has been used (My large baking tray took 3 batches to use up all of the dough)
  12. Store in an air-tight, lidded container for up to 3 days
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Cakes & Bakes: Marzipan chocolate brownies

Slice of home-made marzipan chocolate brownie | H is for Home

Before I begin, I have to share that Justin thinks these marzipan chocolate brownies were the best brownies he’s ever eaten!

Marzipan chocolate brownies liquid ingredients | H is for Home

I’ve probably said this in the past, but Justin isn’t the biggest chocolate brownie fan in the world. If he was, I’d be making them every few days, because I adooooore them.

Baked chocolate brownies layer | H is for Home

The addition of the ganache and marzipan layers give extra dimensions to the dark chocolate gooeyness.

Putting the ganache layer on marzipan chocolate brownies | H is for Home

Justin’s usual grumbles about brownies involve words like – stodgy, claggy or even dry. These additions seem to have banished all those worries!

Rolling out home-made marzipan | H is for Home

And I followed this recipe simply as a way to use up left over home-made marzipan from last week’s Simnel cupcakes. What a great result – brownie harmony in the house!

Adding the marzipan layer in marzipan chocolate brownies | H is for Home

The layers make very attractive slices too – very tempting – perfect for having on the counter of our combined vintage shop & café which we sometimes dream of!

Adding the chocolate top layer in marzipan chocolate brownies | H is for Home

Give them a go – I think you’ll love them!

Slice of home-made marzipan chocolatr brownie | H is for Home

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Marzipan chocolate brownies
Serves 8
For the brownie layer
  1. 175g/6oz butter
  2. 175g/6oz caster sugar
  3. 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 85g/3oz plain flour, sieved
  6. 40g/1½oz cocoa powder
For the ganache
  1. 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
  2. 75g/2½oz double cream
For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the chocolate topping
  1. 100g/32½oz dark chocolate
  2. Home-made marzipan chocolate brownies ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
For the brownie layer
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease & line a 20cm/8-inch square cake tin with parchment paper
  3. Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
  4. Stir to incorporate
  5. Whisk the eggs and sugar together well
  6. Mix in the chocolate mixture
  7. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder
  8. Pour the batter into the baking tin
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just baked
For the ganache layer
  1. Melt the dark chocolate and double cream together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
  2. Stir to incorporate
  3. Once the brownie layer has cooled, pour the ganache over and spread evenly. Allow to firm up before embarking on the next layer
For the marzipan layer
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
  2. Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate whilst waiting for the ganache layer has firmed up
  3. Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out half of the marzipan to about ½cm thickness
  4. Cut to size to cover the 20cm/8-inch square brownie layer
  5. Any unused marzipan will keep - covered in cling film - for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
For the chocolate layer
  1. Melt the dark chocolate and pour evenly over the marzipan. Allow to set completely before 'cutting off the crusts' and slicing into portions
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Cakes & Bakes: Simnel cupcakes

Home-made Simnel cupcakes | H is for Home

Each Easter I like to make a dish that’s traditional for the celebration. Last year, I made a hot cross loaf; the year before that, a crescia and this year I’ve made simnel cupcakes.

Circles of home-made marzipan and tins with simnel cupcake mixture | H is for Home

A simnel cake is a fruit cake with a middle layer of marzipan and another layer on the top. Since Victorian times, the cake has been decorated with 11 or 12 little balls of marzipan. It was traditionally eaten on the middle Sunday of Lent – the 12 balls representing Christ and his 11 apostles (minus the 12th, Judas).

Simnel cupcakes baked in food tins | H is for Home Tops sliced off of simnel cupcakes | H is for Home

I have a confession to make, I’d never actually eaten a simnel cake until I made these. What have I been waiting for? They’re easy to make from scratch and are delicious! The idea of cooking them in used food tins is ingenious. A word of caution, however, try not to use ring-pull tins. They have a lip at the top that makes it difficult to ease the cake out after baking. I had to open the other end of the tin to get them out!

Home-made simnel cupcakes | H is for Home

Even though I used small tins (150g Morrison’s own brand sweetcorn… around the size of small Heinz baked beans ones), we shared half a cake each.

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made simnel cupcakes recipe | H is for Home

Simnel cupcakes
Yields 4
For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar + extra for rolling
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the cake mixture
  1. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  2. 115g/4oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
  5. 300g/10½oz mixed dried fruit ( any of currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, glacé cherries)
  6. 1tsp mixed spice (I didn't have any, so I made my own mixture)
  7. 4tbsp apricot jam (I used some home-made plum jam)
  8. cocoa powder, for dustingHome-made simnel cupcakes ingredients
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
For the marzipan
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
  2. Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a log and wrap in cling film until the cake mixture has been made
  3. Any unused marzipan will keep for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
For the cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2. Line the base and sides of each tin with baking parchment
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy
  3. Add one of the eggs and combine until well mixed. Add the other egg with 1 tbsp of flour and mix again
  4. Stir in the rest of the four and all of the dried fruit
  5. Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out the marzipan. Cut out 8 circles about ½cm thick and the same diameter as the tins
  6. Divide half the cake mixture between the tins and level the tops. Put a marzipan rounds on top of each and cover with the rest of the cake mixture
  7. Bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean
  8. Allow the cakes to cool in their for 15 minutes before remove them to cool completely on a wire rack
  9. Trim the top of each cake with a sharp knife to make them flat
  10. Heat the jam and brush on the top of each cakes before cover each with the remaining marzipan rounds
  11. Make 36 mini balls with the remaining marzipan. Put 9 balls around the edge of each cake, using a little brush of jam to stick them in place
  12. Lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder
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