Cakes & Bakes: Almond and blueberry sponge pudding

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard | H is for Home

I’ve had a slow-cooker for ages and, like most people, don’t make use of it nearly enough. It sits lonely in my kitchenette waiting patiently for its opportunity to shine. Last week, I saw a slow-cooker recipe for a cherry Bakewell pudding and decided to convert it into and almond and blueberry sponge pudding.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding components | H is for Home

It’s a real no fuss, straightforward recipe. I swapped cherries for blueberries; however raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants or blackcurrants would work just as well.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding ready to be steamed | H is for Home

I highly recommend these reusable silicone pot covers as a green alternative to cling film. They come in six graduated sizes from 3-8 inches so fit containers ranging from ramekins to medium-sized mixing bowls. I use them all the time for storing food in the fridge and heating things in the microwave. I’ve now discovered that they’re perfect as a slow-steaming pudding lid!

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding in a slow cooker | H is for Home

If like me you like a bit of a crispy texture, you can stick the pudding under the grill for a couple of minutes at the end of its cooking time.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding browned under a grill | H is for Home

We served our almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard. The flavour combination of almond sponge and vanilla custard with a touch of fruity sharpness from the blueberries is a real winner.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest!

Almond and blueberry sponge pudding
Serves 4
Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 150g/5¼oz blueberries, frozen and thawed
  2. 115g/4oz sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
  3. 110g/4oz butter, softened
  4. 2 eggs
  5. ½ tsp almond extract
  6. 75g/2⅔oz self-raising flour
  7. 75g/2⅔oz ground almonds
  8. 2 tbsp milkHome-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding 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
Instructions
  1. Grease a 1.2-litre pudding basin, including the lid if it has one In a small saucepan, heat the blueberrries and the 3 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar dissolves and the fruit begins to burst and the juice is released. Remove from the heat before the fruit collapses. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and the remaining sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is loose and airy
  4. Add the almond extract and combine
  5. Fold in the flour and ground almonds
  6. Add in the milk and combine gently. The batter should have a light texture
  7. Put 100g of the blueberries in the bottom of the basin and pour the batter over the top of them. It won't fill the basin, but don't worry as this will give it space to expand as it cooks. Reserve the remaining cherries until later
  8. Cover the basin securely with the lid and set it into the slow-cooker crock
  9. Pour boiling water into the crock to come halfway up the side of the basin
  10. Put the lid on the slow cooker and steam on high for about 4 hours. It will rise, becoming a light, fluffy sponge
  11. Turn the pudding out onto a plate, piling the reserved cherries on top, and allow the blueberry juice to drizzle down the sides of the pudding before spooning into servings
Notes
  1. Serve warm with hot custard
Print
Adapted from Slow Cooked
Adapted from Slow Cooked
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

 

Cakes & Bakes: Tear and share garlic bread

Home-made tear and share garlic bread | H is for Home

We both love pasta and very often the simplest dishes are the best. Spaghetti with tomato sauce, which we cooked today, is one such example. Fresh basil leaves, cracked black pepper and a few shavings of Parmesan are all that’s required to finish to perfection!

Activate yeast | H is for Home

We love some form of crusty bread served on the side of our pasta dishes.

Chopped garlic | H is for Home

Justin spotted a delicious looking tear and share garlic bread on one of his recent Pinterest browsing tea breaks.

Dough balls dipped in garlic butter | H is for Home

The method was quick and easy – and the results delicious.

Garlic dough balls in loaf tins | H is for Home Cooked tear and share garlic bread | H is for Home

It’s a very flexible recipe in terms of potential ingredients. Ours was flavoured predominantly with garlic & oregano, but many other herbs such as parsley, rosemary or chives could also be used. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes or small cubes of cheese would also be perfect additions.

Plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce with tear and share garlic bread | H is for Home

The perfect bread to wipe that plate clean! Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest.

Tear and share garlic bread
Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the dough
  1. 120ml/4¼ fl oz warm water
  2. 1tbsp caster sugar
  3. 1tsp active dry yeast
  4. 15g/4½oz butter, softened
  5. 120ml/4¼ fl oz milk
  6. 1tsp salt
  7. 400g/14oz bread flour
For the garlic butter
  1. 60g/2oz butter, melted
  2. 1tbsp fresh oregano or ½tsp dried oregano
  3. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1tsp coarse saltHome-made tear and share garlic bread 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 dough
  1. In a small measuring jug, stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water until dissolved. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, quickly mix the salt and flour using your fingers
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the butter, milk and yeast mixture
  4. Using the dough hook, knead for 7-10 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but clears sides. It will be soft and slightly sticky. Kneading can also be done by hand but will take around 10-12 minutes
For the garlic butter
  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, oregano and minced garlic. Set aside
To bring it all together
  1. Cut the dough into equal pieces and roll into balls **I made twelve 57g balls**
  2. Dip the balls, one by one, into the garlic butter mixture (make sure you leave a little aside)
  3. Lay the buttery dough balls into a greased 20cm x 10cm (8" x 4") loaf tin **I used 2 smaller tins**
  4. Cover the loaf and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size - about an hour
  5. After around 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
  6. Brush the tops lightly with more of the garlic butter (still making sure a little is left)
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown
  8. Brush with the last of the garlic butter to glaze, sprinkle with the coarse salt and serve immediately
Notes
  1. Instead of oregano, you could use basil, parsley or rosemary
  2. You could also add a few halved olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes or small cubes of cheese to the dough
Print
Adapted from Gather for Bread
Adapted from Gather for Bread
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Honey almond brittle biscuits

Home-made honey almond brittle biscuits and cup of tea | H is for Home #recipe #biscuits

As with many of you out there, there’s been severe lurgy in the H is for Home household this week. Well to be honest, we’ve contracted a succession of bugs stretching back 2 months at least – one after another, sometimes overlapping. And that’s after not having had a sniff of a cold for the previous 5 years. It’s certainly been quite a grim winter. When you’re feeling under the weather, any baking has to be quick and easy. These honey almond brittle biscuits seemed like the perfect answer today.

Spooning honey almond brittle biscuit mixture on to a lined baking tray | H is fo rHome

The preparation was literally a ten minute job – and they then less than ten minutes to bake. A small price to pay for some delicious home-baked biscuits.

Home-made honey almond brittle biscuits | H is for Home #recipe #biscuits

And they were indeed delicious. The almonds and honey were a very good combination. There are lots of other potential ingredients to experiment with – peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans and coconut to name but a few. The biscuits were a lovely blend of soft gooey centres and crisp, crunchy edges. A little treat is always nice when your feeling sorry for yourself !

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest!

Honey almond brittle biscuits
Ingredients
  1. 15g/½oz butter
  2. 15g/½oz double cream
  3. 75g/2⅔oz honey
  4. 35g/1oz caster sugar
  5. ⅛ tsp salt
  6. ½tsp lemon juice
  7. 25g/⅗oz plain flour
  8. 100g/3½oz flaked almondsHome-made honey almond brittle biscuits 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
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on a low heat
  2. Stir in the cream, honey, sugar, salt, lemon juice and flour, until combined
  3. Add the almonds and stir to combine
  4. Spoon teaspoonfuls of the mix on to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Give each one lots of room as they spread out quite a bit while cooking
  5. Flatten slightly with the back of a wet spoon
  6. Bake at 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 for seven minutes
  7. Cool on a wire rack before eating
Print
Adapted from The Guardian Food & Drink
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Vegan lemon meringue pie

Slice of home-made vegan lemon meringue pie | H is for Home #recipe #vegan #lemon #meringue #aquafaba

We’re more than halfway through January – did you make (or break) any new year’s resolutions? We’ve been having a ‘Dry January’ and other people may be having a ‘Veganuary’. I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years (and vegan at one point) so I thought that the former would be much more of a goal. Nevertheless, I thought I should try a vegan Cakes & Bakes dish to say that I got into the whole January swing!

Vegan pastry pie base | H is for Home

This lemon meringue pie is surprisingly completely vegan. No butter in the pastry, no eggs or gelatine in the filling and no eggs in the meringue. Brilliant!

cooked chickpeas in a saucepan | H is for Home bowl of cooked chickpeas with measuring jug of aquafaba | H is for Home

Despite being veggie for most of my life, I’ve only recently heard about aquafaba. It’s a versatile egg substitute that was ‘discovered’ by a French chef in 2014. It’s the cooking liquor from (usually) white beans such as butter beans, chickpeas or cannellini beans. If you’re using tinned, buy ones that are unsalted. If you’re making your own, it’s not the water that you soak dried beans in – that contains toxins and gets discarded – you use the water in which the beans have been boiled. I made my own and used the ‘discarded’ chickpeas to make a batch of hummus.

Vegan lemon meringue pie filling | H is for Home

Many of the vegan lemon meringue pie recipes I found on the ‘net included a pinch of turmeric; I obliged but found the resulting filling to be on the orange side and resembled pumpkin pie. It didn’t affect the flavour, however. If preferred, you could use a tiny amount of yellow food colouring.

Vegan aquafaba meringue | H is for Home

Making the meringue was a bit tricky. I think I under-whipped my first batch as the lovely peaks softened and sank in the oven. Some people prefer to pipe the mixture on to a lined baking sheet and cooking it separately. I did this with some of the leftover mixture and I couldn’t tell the difference from egg white meringue! It was soft and gooey and cracked when I broke into it.

Vegan lemon meringue pie | H is for Home

I quickly & carefully blow-torched the top before it went into the oven on the lowest setting for at least 2 hours. This seemed to help it keep its shape. If you go with latter cooking method, The meringue doesn’t get as cooked thoroughly and will sink and begin to liquefy. It will be best eaten on the day you make it.

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest for later!

Vegan lemon meringue pie
Yields 1
For the pastry
  1. 200g/7oz plain flour
  2. 70g/2½oz 'tant pour tant' (35g/1¼oz icing sugar + 35g/1¼oz ground almonds)
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 100g/3½oz very cold vegetable spread (e.g. soya, olive) or coconut oil
For the lemon pie filling
  1. 550ml/19fl oz milk substitute (e.g. soya, almond, hazelnut, cashew, coconut, oat, rice)
  2. 80g/2¾oz custard powder (Bird's is vegan)
  3. zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  4. 125ml lemon juice
  5. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  6. small pinch of turmeric
For the meringue
  1. 125ml/4⅓fl oz aquafaba
  2. 1 tsp cream of tartar
  3. 110g/3¾oz caster sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extractHome-made vegan lemon meringue pie 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 pastry
  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 the mixture begins to get lumpy - like dry scrambled eggs
  3. Empty the pastry on to 2 lengths of cling film layered one over the other at right angles
  4. Bring the dough together into a ball by lifting & bringing together the 4 ends of the cling film. Flatten and chill in the fridge for an hour
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
  6. Once chilled, generously flour a work surface and roll out the dough to ½cm thick
  7. Line the pie dish with the pastry so that it has some overlap all the way around.
  8. Put a length of parchment paper on top of the pastry and fill the pie dish with baking beans
  9. Blind bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown
  10. Remove from the oven, remove the beans and parchment paper and allow the pie case to cool
For the lemon pie filling
  1. Combine ⅓ of the milk with the custard powder, sugar and turmeric
  2. Whisk to remove any lumps
  3. Pour into a saucepan with the remaining milk and lemon zest
  4. Heat, stirring constantly, until the custard begins to thicken
  5. Add the lemon juice, and continue to stir until it thickens further
  6. Pour the lemon mixture into the pastry case and allow to cool and solidify while you make the meringue
For the meringue
  1. Preheat the oven to 90ºC/200ºF/gas mark ¼
  2. Using a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or an electric hand whisk (on a high setting), beat the aquafaba for 5 minutes
  3. Add the cream of tartar and beat again until soft peaks begin to form
  4. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating for a few seconds
  5. Add the sugar, in stages, one tablespoon at a time, continuing to whisk on the high setting
  6. Continue whisking until you reach the stiff peak stage - this could take 10-20 minutes
  7. Spoon or pipe the meringue evenly over the top of the pie filling
  8. At this stage, you can (if you have one) carefully blowtorch the top of the meringue to get attractive brown bits
  9. Bake in the oven for 2 hours
  10. Allow to cool completely before slicing & serving
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Ginger stout loaf

Home-made ginger stout loaf sliced | H is for Home

I’ve made a few ginger cakes before, however, this ginger stout loaf is probably the most moist, treacly, dark and delicious of them all!

Porter and black treacle mixture in a saucepan | H is for Home

I’ve had a couple of bottles of Hatherwood Purple Panther porter in the fridge since before Christmas. I’ve not tried them yet, we’re having a Dry January… does cooking with alcohol count as breaking the fast? I’ve only used about a quarter of the bottle, so I’m wondering how to use the leftovers… baking-wise. I’ve used it in the past in chocolate cake and bread, so perhaps something different this time. What do you recommend?

Jar of Opies stem ginger in syrup | H is for Home Mixing bowl with sugars and chopped ginger | H is for Home

I’ve halved the original recipe, which is a Bundt cake that serves 12. It called for 3 large eggs. How do you halve 3 eggs? Well, I whisked up the 3 eggs and poured half of the mixture into the batter. I used the other half in a frittata for lunch… waste not, want not!

Ginger stout loaf batter in a lined loaf tin | H is for Home Cooked ginger stout loaf in a lined loaf tin | H is for Home

We’ve had lots of cold, damp, misty, murky weather of late. This rich, warming cake – served alongside a nice strong cup of tea – or with some piping hot custard – is the perfect antidote.

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest if you want to try the recipe soon!

Ginger stout loaf
Serves 8
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 120ml/8 fl oz stout/porter
  2. 6tbsp molasses
  3. 3tbsp ginger in syrup, chopped finely
  4. 2 medium-sized eggs, at room temperature
  5. 1tsp vanilla extract
  6. 100g/½ Muscovado sugar
  7. 100g/3½ Demerara sugar
  8. 100ml/3½ fl oz vegetable oil
  9. 125g/4½oz plain flour
  10. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  11. ½tbsp ground ginger
  12. ½tsp cinnamon
  13. ¼ tsp ground cloves
  14. ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  15. ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  16. ¼ tsp allspice
  17. ¼ teaspoon fine sea saltHome-made ginger stout loaf 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
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  2. Grease & line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin with parchment paper
  3. Pour the stout and molasses into a medium-sized saucepan, bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped ginger, eggs, vanilla extract, Muscovado sugar and Demerara sugar until the mixture is no longer gritty
  5. Slowly add the oil, mixing all the while
  6. Slowly add the stout mixture and mix until well combined
  7. Carefully add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well in between each addition.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared tin
  9. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  10. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack
Notes
  1. Serve warm with custard or allow to cool completely before topping with cream cheese icing
Print
Adapted from New York Times
Adapted from New York Times
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Prune tea loaf

Home-made prune tea loaf | H is for Home #recipe #prunes #tealoaf #fruitloaf #loafcake #baking

We’ve been having a busy first few days of 2018. I’ve been a bit tardy again this year with preparing & filing our tax returns so I wanted this week’s Cakes & Bakes to be quick and simple. This prune tea loaf is just the ticket!

Armagnac is the perfect pairing for prunes. However, if you prefer, you can swap this out for an equal quantity of freshly-brewed, strong black tea.

Serve warm, cut into thick slices, buttered generously accompanied by a cup of tea. After my little break, it’s back to doing the accounts!

Prune tea loaf batter in a lined baking tin| H is for Home Cooked prune tea loaf a lined baking tin| H is for Home

Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest for a later date!

Prune tea loaf
Serves 8
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 200g/7oz prunes (Agen ones are best)
  2. 2-4 tbsp Armagnac
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 100g/3½oz brown soft sugar
  5. 250g/9oz self raising flour
  6. 75ml/2⅔fl oz milkHome-made prune the loaf 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease & line a 900g/2lb loaf tin
  3. De-stone and roughly chop the prunes and put them into a medium-sized mixing bowl
  4. Pour the Armagnac over the prunes - it should just about cover all the fruit
  5. Cover with cling flim/Saran wrap for about half an hour to allow the fruit to absorb the liquid
  6. In a measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs before adding them to the soaked prunes and any un-absorbed liquid
  7. Add the sugar and flour and combine well
  8. Mix in the milk to loosen the batter
  9. Spoon evenly into the lined loaf tin and sprinkle a little granulated sugar evenly over the top
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
  11. Leave the loaf in its tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack
Notes
  1. The loaf will keep for a couple of weeks (if it lasts that long!) if wrapped in baking parchment and kept in an airtight container in a cool place
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/