Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & sultana strudel

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

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Bowl of home-made apple & sultana strudel with ice cream | H is for Home

Some say life’s too short to stuff a mushroom, I say life’s too short to make home-made filo pastry. I’m more than happy to whizz up a quick batch of puff, shortcrust or hot water pastry – I think it tastes much better than shop bought. Filo, at least to me, is just that little bit too finicky and time-consuming to make from scratch.

Apple & sultana strudel ingredients

Peeled & cored Bramley apples

That’s why I picked up a pre-made pack of filo for my apple & sultana strudel.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Cooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Yes, I know that filo (or phyllo) is Greek and apple strudel (or apfelstrudel) is German, but the former is the closest thing to the type of pastry traditionally used to encase the filling. Apparently you should be able to read a newspaper through it, it’s so thin!

Brushing melted butter between sheets of filo pastry

Spooning apple & sultana strudel filling mixture on to filo pastry

The filling is quick to make, I added sultanas to my apples, but you could try adding walnuts, dates or figs instead. The trickiest part is the assembly. Place the pastry onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment before filling and use it to help with rolling.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel

Cooked apple & sultana strudel

It’s best served hot, and always with cream… or ice cream… or both!

Apple & sultana strudel
Serves 4
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
  1. 2 Bramley apples
  2. 50g/1¾oz sultanas
  3. 30g/1oz soft brown sugar
  4. ½tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 80g/3oz butter
  6. 270g (6 sheets) pre-made filo pastry
  7. 1tbs Demerara sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6 and grease a large oven tray
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples into large cubes
  3. Put the apples into a large saucepan with the sultanas, soft brown sugar, ground cinnamon and 50g/2oz of the butter
  4. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring to combine well, until the apple just begins to soften
  5. Set aside to cool
  6. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the remaining butter (about 5-8 seconds)
  7. Fold the pastry sheets over in half, laying them out onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment
  8. Unfold the pastry sheets, one by one, and brush the top of each sheet with the butter using a pastry brush
  9. Using a slotted spoon to drain off the cooking liquid, place the apple & sultana mixture on the pastry forming a line along the long edge
  10. Sprinkle the rest of the pastry evenly with the Demerara sugar
  11. Using the tea towel/baking parchment as an aid, roll the pastry into a log shape, tucking in the ends so the filling doesn't fall out and place it onto the greased oven tray
  12. Brush the top with melted butter and bake for 30-35 minutes
  13. Serve hot
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Cheese and celery pies

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

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Home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

National Pie Week is going from strength to strength here in the UK. It’s been talked about all over social media and in the traditional media too. Chris Evans and his team have been waxing lyrical about pies they’ve been sent by bakeries from all over the country.

Ingredients to make home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

Flour and cubes of butter in a food processor | H is for Home

 Last year for Pie Week I made a lovely butter pie; this year I wanted to keep with the theme of a vegetarian, rustic, humble pie. I turned to my copy of Pie by Genevieve Taylor that we reviewed last year. I found just the recipe – cheese and celery pies – but with a little twist.

Flour and cubes of butter blended in a food processor | H is for Home

Pastry crumbs poured out on to clingfilm | H is for Home

The original recipe is a single pie done in a shallow pie plate. I quite liked the idea of doing little individual hand pulled pies. I used a couple of cling film-wrapped jars in lieu of a pastry dolly.

Pastry wrapped in clingfilm | H is for Home

Veg stock | H is for Home

Pulled pies are usually made using hot water pastry, but I was being lazy and just whizzed up a quick batch of shortcrust pastry. I think it worked just fine, but I’m sure Paul Hollywood wouldn’t approve!

Cooked off onions and celery | H is for Home

Hand pulled pie cases | H is for Home

This recipe made 4 small pies but you can easily scale it up. We had one each so I put the other two in the freezer – pre-baked – so that they can be taken out and baked off the next time we fancy a pie.

Filling pulled pie cases | H is for Home

Making pie tops | H is for Home

There was a little bit of pastry left over – isn’t there always? I quite like rolling it out thinly, slicing it into long thin strips, sprinkling over with cheese and baking for 15 minutes. What do you do with yours?

Glazing pie tops | H is for Home

Sliced home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

I’ve already started thinking about what pie I’m going to make next year!

Cheese and celery pies
Yields 4
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for the pastry
  1. 360g/12½oz plain flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 180g/6⅓oz cold butter, cubed
  4. 6-8 tbsp cold water
for the filling
  1. 25g/1oz butter
  2. ½tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. ½ head celery, sliced
  5. 125ml/4 fl oz veg stock (or ½ veg stock cube + 125ml boiling water)
  6. 30g/1oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
  7. salt & ground black pepper to taste
  8. a little beaten egg to glaze
for the pastry
  1. Put the flour and salt into a food processor and whiz briefly together to mix
  2. Add the butter cubes and pulse briefly a dozen times or so until you have coarse crumbs
  3. Trickle in the water continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles rough lumps and looks a bit like overcooked and dry scrambled eggs. Add only as much water as you need
  4. Tip the clumped crumbs onto a sheet of cling film and gently squeeze together into a ball without pressing too hard
  5. Wrap & chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using
for the filling
  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan
  2. Add the onions and celery and cook over a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes or until they are just starting to soften
  3. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then pour in the stock
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until the celery is really soft and the stock has virtually all evaporated, stirring every now and then
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely
  6. Once the filling is cold, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
to make the pies
  1. Get the pastry out of the fridge, divide into two - ⅓ (for the pie lids) & ⅔ (for the pie cases). Put the smaller piece back into the fridge
  2. Divide the larger piece again into 4 equal pieces, rolling each into a ball
  3. Wrap four small, clean, empty, straight-sided jars with cling film (I used a couple of 90g Lidl Deluxe® french pâté selection jars.
  4. In turn, put each ball of pastry onto a lightly-floured work surface and place a jar on top of the pastry
  5. Sculpt the pastry around the jar, making sure the pastry is an even thickness all around. Make sure the bottom isn't too thick and that there are no holes in the pastry
  6. Once you've done them all, put the pie bases in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  7. Roll out the reserved ⅓ of pastry and, using a round cutter (slightly larger in circumference to the jar) cut out 4 circles. Make a hole in the centre of each and chill in the fridge.
  8. Remove the pastry cases from the fridge and carefully work the jars out of the cases. If they don't come away easily, pour hot water into each jam jar to soften the pastry slightly to release them
  9. Fill the pastry cases ⅔ of the way up with the cooked celery mixture and top each with a large pinch of grated cheese before pressing down gently and topping with a little more cheese
  10. Remove the pastry lids from the fridge, and one by one brush the outer circumference with a little water, lay on the filled case and crimp the edges to seal
  11. Brush each top with a little beaten egg to glaze
  12. Put the pies on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp & browned on top and sides
  13. Allow to cool on a wire rack before devouring! :-)
Adapted from Pie by Genevieve Taylor
Adapted from Pie by Genevieve Taylor
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Jam Roly Poly

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

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Home-made jam roly poly & custard | H is for Home

We do love a hearty pudding on a cold winter’s day – and what could be better than jam roly poly?

Jam roly poly ingredients

I have to confess that I needed two attempts to perfect this week’s bake.

Jam roly poly pastry mixture in food processor

Roly Poly ‘Mark I’ was a disaster. There wasn’t enough jam to start with. Also I rolled up the pastry way too tightly. Last and certainly least, I boiled it. A method I’d read in a few recipes. It was so bad that Justin spat it out declaring it was the worst thing I’d ever made! Ever!!

Rolling out jam roly poly pastry mixture

I’m pleased to report that Roly Poly ‘Mark II’ was a triumph!

Adding jam to the rolled out roly poly pastry

 The ingredients were blended gently, then rolled not too tight… with plenty of filling.

Rolling up jam roly poly

Sugar was sprinkled over the surface (another omission in the earlier version).

Rolled up jam roly poly with top brushed with milk and sprinkled with granulated sugar

And finally it was baked to a wonderful golden brown, the hot jam oozing through cracks.

Freshly baked jam roly poly

After allowing to cool slightly, it was devoured – with lashings of custard of course!

Bowl of jam roly poly and custard | @hisforhome

And the official verdict from the chief taster? “Superb – I could eat that all over again!”

Jam roly poly
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 300g/10½oz self raising flour
  2. 75g/2½oz (vegetarian) suet
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 180ml/6fl oz cold water
  5. 4 tbs fruit jam or jelly (raspberry, strawberry etc. I used a jar own my home made blackberry jelly)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. In a large bowl or food processor mix the flour, suet and salt
  3. Add the cold water and combine to form a stiff dough
  4. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a rectangle
  5. Liberally spread the jam leaving a 1cm gap along each edge
  6. Roll up along the short side and brush the long edge (and ends if desired) with milk to seal
  7. Grease a large baking tray and put the roly poly on it, putting the join at the the bottom
  8. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes
  10. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving with custard
H is for Home Harbinger