Gran’s Apple Pie

Everyone loves apple pie and my family is no exception. My Gran has been making this apple pie for as long as I can remember and at every birthday, anniversary or morning tea this apple pie would be on the table alongside the baked custard I made last week. This is the recipe for my Gran’s apple pie and underneath are the minor changes I made when I baked it last night.

750g Granny Smith Apples (8 medium)

250g Shortcrust Pastry (same recipe as the baked custard) or 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry

4 tbs sugar

4tbs hot water

Milk for brushing

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C. Butter dish/tin. Lay pastry into dish, overhanging the edges.
  2. Peel and slice apples, put into a saucepan with water and sugar and cook until soft, don’t forget to stir so the sugar doesn’t burn.
  3. Blind bake pastry base for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in apples and brush lip with milk or water and put top sheet of pastry on.
  5. Secure edges and brush with milk, poke or slice some holes in the top for steam. Trim edges.
  6. Bake for 30 mins or until golden.

The changes I made were replacing half the white sugar for brown sugar, so 2 tablespoons of each and a couple of shakes of cinnamon to the apples while they are cooking. I also didn’t line the lid up to make secure edges, I tucked the top sheet of pastry over and around the apples. I also used a heart shaped cutter to cut a hole for steam and cut a few extra hearts from the little bit of dough that was left over for decorating. And just for an added hint of naughtiness I sprinkled caster sugar over the top before I put it in the oven.

The other person I have to credit for this pie is my darling Daniel, he got the job of stirring the apples while I rolled and cut the pastry. Baking is so much easier with an extra set of hands! Other than the extra pair of hands this is super easy to make. I made the pastry as soon as I got home from work and put it in the fridge wrapped in a piece of baking paper. After dinner, I chopped up all the apples and put those on the stove, preheated the oven and rolled and cut the pastry. Once it was all put together I used the little bit of water, sugar, apple liquid left in the bottom of the saucepan to make a little syrupy sauce that I spooned over the apples before I put the lid on.

After the agonising ten minute wait for the pie dish to be cool enough to touch, I sliced 2 slices out for Daniel and myself for dessert and it was just beautiful, warm, sugary, syrupy apples and crisp pastry. I was wishing we had some ice-cream in the freezer but it was lovely without anyway.

I feel a little bad for changing my Gran’s recipe so much, but having tasted my variation, I think she would be quite proud. The cinnamon made the tart granny smith  apples a little bit more flavoursome and not as bitter.

All in all I am very happy with my first attempt at apple pie and can’t wait to make another one, maybe a tray of small ones with lattice tops will be next. I have been trying to work out what to bake over the next few weeks, I have a brilliant idea for Valentine’s Day in two weeks but I am a little stumped after that so any ideas or suggestions would be brilliant. Thanks for checking in for the month of January, I have had 490 views this month so far, I hope I can keep it up.

Love Sonia xx

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Scrumptious Food Adventures in Sydney

A slightly different post this time to share with you some of the incredible food and desserts I had during our weekend away in Sydney for Australia Day. The first night we were there we ate at Jamie’s Italian. Jamie Oliver’s newest restaurant on Pitt Street in the city. It was reasonably priced, fresh and oh so tasty. For entrée I had smoked mozzarella and porcini mushroom arrancini and Daniel had a gorgonzola and radicchio salad. For mains I had traditional spaghetti bolognaise made with beef and pork and Daniel had arrabiata pasta. The pasta is made on site, fresh everyday and you can see it being made in the restaurant window. For dessert I had a chocolate, amaretto and raspberry brownie with vanilla ice cream (the recipe for which I am madly searching the internet) and Daniel had traditional tiramisu which he loved. All in all it was an incredible dinner and I can’t wait to find another excuse to go back and stay in the city to eat there again!

 

The next morning we headed to Balmain to go to Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie and we weren’t disappointed. As you can see from my excited face I was ecstatic to just be there let alone the fact that I scored a sweet stash of Zumbo’s creations. We walked away with 6 Zumbarons (Vegemite, Weetbix, Milo, Chocolate Chilli, Raspberry Caramel, Salted Butter Caramel), a mini V8 cake, a tastes like Doris (chocolate, orange, ginger) cake and a Passionfruit tart.  We had the 2 cakes and the tart for dessert that night (between 3 of us) and the macaroons the next night. I have to say that I was blown away, even having seen the reactions of contestants on MasterChef and having had people tell me how good his cakes are.

 

Everything tasted as you would have expected it to but 10 times better. We tried a Redskin Macaroon in the store and were blown away by how much it tasted like a melted redskin. The vegemite tasted like vegemite (sounds ridiculous) it was just so spot on, down to the level of vegemite like you would have on toast. The weetbix one had me giggling the whole way through, it was if I was eating weetbix from a bowl, just mind blowing. The milo one tasted just like the thick layer of milo that forms on the top of your glass. Chocolate Chilli packed a chilli hit into a delicious creamy chocolate centre and the caramel raspberry was surprisingly jammy tasting, with a caramel texture. Salted butter caramel was everyone’s “normal” favourite, sweet, salty, creamy and luscious.

 

The V8 cake was divine any way you ate it. I went for the all layers at once approach to get a taste of how all the flavours tasted combined together, Daniel went the layer by layer method, tasting each layer separately and deciding which ones he liked and didn’t like. I have never tasted anything quite like it, it had so many textures and flavours it was hard to put my finger one what the exact taste was, all I know is, it was sensational. The tastes like Doris cake, had a strong alcohol hit from the orange rum, but went beautifully with the other layers to combine into a chocolately, orangey, gingery, melty mouthful. And the surprisingly gorgeous passionfruit tart was anything but just a tart. Daniel’s Dad said it was the best dessert he had ever eaten and I have to almost agree. It was creamy and packed with passionfruit flavour, I’m not sure how he gets the flavour of a squillion passionfruit into a tiny tart but my goodness he does and it is brilliant. The pasty is perfect as you would expect and the colouring on the top makes it so very pretty.

That is probably enough baking critique (and making you hungry) for one week. All I can say is that if you get the chance to go to either Jamie’s Italian or Adriano Zumbo’s, do it. It is worth it and I wish I lived in Sydney so that I could go every week. My next post will be my Gran’s Apple Pie, as I bought some gorgeous apples in Sydney yesterday so hopefully they translate to a beautiful apple pie.

Love Sonia xx


Delicious Shortbread

This shortbread is incredibly easy and super delicious. Time consuming? Yes. Worth it for the oh so melty buttery goodness? Hell Yes.

250g Western Star butter (any butter will do) softened
2/3 cup pure icing sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon caster sugar, for sprinkling (if desired)

Process all ingredients, except caster sugar together in a food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Press mixture together until it forms a dough. Add a dash of milk if needed. Divide dough in two. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick.

Using a star-shaped cutter, cut shapes from dough. Re-roll scraps and repeat until all dough is used. Transfer to prepared trays. Sprinkle with caster sugar if desired. Bake at 160 degrees for 30 minutes or until dry and firm but still pale. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar. Serve. Makes 30

Shortbread will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

This recipe claims that it makes 30 biscuits but realistically it can make up to 100 if the cutter is little. I have used star, Christmas tree and mini love heart cutters with this dough and they all worked brilliantly. Just remember the smaller the cutter the less you need to cook them. Check after 10 minutes for really small cutters, press with your finger, when the are done they should feel firm and shouldn’t leave a fingerprint.

These ones are from the dough I had left over from Christmas, I just defrosted the dough in the fridge for two days and then two hours on the bench. I think freezing half the dough is the way to go unless you have a reason for a whole batch eg. party, giving some away, just really like shortbread or your Grandma is coming to visit. I hope you like these as much as we do! I’m not sure if I will get a chance to bake anything this weekend, so this may be it for a week but I’ll see how I go.

Sonia xx

Gran’s Baked Custard

This is the recipe for my Gran’s Baked Custard, a favourite of all the grandchildren and adults alike. It is a fairly basic recipe but is delicious and I’m sure it will become a favourite for you too.

You will need an 8 or 10 inch fluted loose bottom tart tin.

Custard Flilling

4 Eggs

600ml Milk

4 Tablespoons of caster sugar

I used 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract (not in Gran’s recipe)

Short Crust Pastry

200grams Self Raisng Flour

100grams margarine

a pinch of salt

Cold water to mix

Preheat oven to 180, Grease tart tin. To make short crust pastry, rub margarine into flour until it resembles fine crumbs. Add in a small amount of cold water and form into a ball, knead lightly, then either roll out and cover base and sides of the tart tin or cover and place in the fridge for half an hour. When covering the tin with pastry be careful not to leave any holes for the custard to leak through. Cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beads, rice or dried peas and bake for 20 minutes. Remove paper and beads and bake for a further three minutes.

While the pastry is baking, make the custard. Break eggs into a large heatproof bowl and whisk together. Put milk and sugar into a saucepan (and vanilla if using) andstirring,  bring to the boil. When the milk just reaches boiling, pour into eggs, and whisk to combine. Leave to cool for five minutes.

Remove tart from oven and pour half the custard over pastry. It may help to use a spoon or measuring cup to start with to avoid splashing. Place tart onto a baking tray or sheet and place into oven, pour the remaining custard into the tart. Bake for 35 minutes or thereabouts. It should be set but still wobbly. Touching the top will help to see if it is set. Once set remove from the oven and cool slightly before storing in an airtight container. Serves 6-12, depending on how big your slices 🙂

This is the finished tart, slightly over cooked on one side but still very yummy. I made extra custard and filled two ramekins and placed them in a baking tin half filled with hot water and cooked these in the oven for 45 minutes until wobbly. Refrigerated for 6 hours it made a very nice simple dessert on a warm night.

I dropped half of the baked custard off at Dad’s house this afternoon so he could taste test it. I am very happy with how it turned out and Daniel loved it too. Not quite as good as Gran’s but I still have time to work on it. This is a photo of the inside so you can see the texture of the custard against the pastry.My next post will be incredibly buttery shortbread, which I made from the leftover frozen dough from Christmas. Not quite as good as fresh, but still delicious as a quick standby. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Sonia xx

Banana Choc Chip & Raspberry White Choc Chip Muffins

These have been my stand by muffins since I bought the first Masterchef magazine in 2010.  Easy to whip up for last minute guests or for week day lunches I prefer them with raspberries and white chocolate chips, I’ll give you both versions. Anyone who has worked with me or has been to our house for morning tea, afternoon tea or for a short notice dinner will have tried these and I haven’t had one person say they don’t like them yet. Described to me today at work as ‘deliciously awesome’ I think they will stay my stand by for many years to come.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

300g Self Raising Flour

150g Brown Sugar

200g Milk Chocolate Chips

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 large ripe bananas, mashed

125g unsalted butter, melted

125ml Milk

 1. Pre-heat oven to 200’C. Line 12 hole muffin tin with papers.

2. Combine flour, sugar and choc chips in a large bowl.

3. Whisk together eggs, bananas, butter and milk in a jug and add to flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

4. Divide batter among paper cases and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.

5. Stand for 5 minutes then cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Makes 12 regular size muffins.

 

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

300g Self Raising Flour

150g Brown Sugar

200g White Chocolate Chips

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup frozen raspberries

125g unsalted butter, melted

125ml Milk

 1. Pre-heat oven to 200’C. Line 12 hole muffin tin with papers.

2. Combine flour, sugar and choc chips in a large bowl.

3. Whisk together eggs, butter and milk in a jug and add to flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold through raspberries quickly to prevent bleeding.

4. Divide batter among paper cases and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.

5. Stand for 5 minutes then cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Makes 12 regular size muffins.

For these muffins I made half banana and half raspberry. I just divide all ingredients in half and put them in separate bowls. Do the raspberry ones last so that the liquid that comes out of the raspberries doesn’t bleed through the mixture, if it does it doesn’t matter, it just makes them a pinky colour that doesn’t look nice after baking. I haven’t tried any other combinations but I imagine that blueberries would work well with either white or milk chocolate chips, or you could omit the chocolate completely. The base mixture is nice and sweet and the brown sugar gives it a lovely rich flavour. I have also done half batches just for Daniel and I, just halve all ingredients and the mixture makes about 7. Three each and one to “test” if it is cooked.

They are delicious straight out of the oven, just watch the raspberries because they will still be hot. Eat cold for about two days afterwards, after that they get a little bit hard, a quick zap in the microwave will fix it, but assuming that yours will be devoured as quickly as mine, I doubt that will be needed. If anyone tries the blueberry substitution I would love to know, or I’ll try it myself if I get a chance and post the results for you to see. Thanks to everyone who has checked out my blog ( 226 views  to date) there will be lots more in the year(s) to come and hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll be able to set the recipe tab up to work correctly.

Happy Baking

 Sonia xx

Chocolate and Coconut Slice

This slice was a special request from a special someone in hospital. It was quite easy considering I hadn’t made it before, I also had all I needed in the pantry which was brilliant at short notice. Only 15 minutes to mix it all up, 20 minutes to bake, 5 minutes to ice and overnight in the fridge and its ready to go in the morning. They were well recieved by the recipient and the last few pieces have been devoured by Daniel and myself. It was very moist and super tasty considering how easy it was to make.

125g melted butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg lightly beaten

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup self raising flour

2 tablesppons cocoa powder

1/2 cup shredded(not dessicated) coconut

1 tablesppon  to 1/4 cup coconut extra (depending on how much you want on top)

Chocolate Icing:

1 cup icing sugar mixture (soft icing sugar)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

20g melted butter

1-11/2 tablespoons approx of very hot water

Grease a 19cm x 29cm ( I used a 20cm x 20cm, to make it a bit thicker) rectangular slice pan, line base & 2 opposite sides with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Combine butter, sugar, egg & vanilla in a medium bowl. Sift in flours & cocoa powder then add the coconut & mix well to combine.

Spread the mixture over base of your tin – making sure to press the mixture into the corners. Bake in the oven for about 20minutes. Check after 20 minutes with a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s done. Mine took 25 minutes.

While slice is still piping hot, prepare your icing: Sift icing sugar & cocoa powder into a bowl, add combined melted butter & water & stir rapidly until icing is at a spreadable consistency – not too runny. Spread icing mixture over hot slice & sprinkle with extra coconut.

Refrigerate until set, a couple of hours or overnight & once set, cut into bite sized squares or diamonds & serve. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Store in the fridge if the weather is warm to prevent the icing from melting. I got about 25 squares.

Seeing as this slice was a present it had to be packaged beautifully but also practically because it is going a hospital. I found this jar at a small cheap shop but it did the job perfectly, wrapped with a pretty ribbon it was ready to go. I hope you all enjoyed it and hopefully I can make the biscuits I had promised some time this weekend.

Sonia xx

My Pantry

A rare shot of my pantry in order after a big clean out yesterday.

The sugar section and the packet mix section, for days when I only feel like decorating. Also houses my range of patty cake papers and colourings and flavourings.

Dried fruits and nuts, chocolate chips, melts and block chocolate. Custard powder and biscuits for cheese cake bases.

Flours and cocoa powders, baking rice & tub of assorted open packets eg: corn flour, coconut.

After spending an hour and a half yesterday cleaning out my pantry, I have an almost OCD feeling that I shouldn’t cook anything for fear of messing it all up, I’m sure this will pass by Friday when I work out what type of biscuits I am going to bake! Enjoy checking out my pantry, it’s dinner time!

Sonia xx

Pantry Shelf Chocolate Orange Cake

This recipe is absolutely delicious, hence I have made it twice this year already, I have made it with both sweet orange marmalade and raspberry conserve. They are both gorgeous and only get better with time. Daniel prefers this cake on day three, it gets moister and more crumbly, the flavour of the jam also gets sweeter over time. The recipe calls for a 8″ spring form tin, which until this weekend I didn’t have (Thanks Gran & Grandad), so I have made it successfully in a 23cm spring form and a basic 20cm cake tin. This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, a present from my Mum. This cake makes becoming a domestic goddess seem almost possible.

Pantry Shelf Chocolate Orange/Raspberry Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter

115g Lindt 70% dark chocolate

1 1/3 cups good quality, thin cup marmalade / raspberry jam

1/2 cup caster sugar

pinch of salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180′. Melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat, when it is nearly melted add in chocolate and remove from heat, stir until smooth. Into the saucepan add marmalade/jam, sugar, salt and eggs and stir with a spoon until combined, beat in flour bit by bit. Pour into a greased and lined baking tin no bigger than 23cm. Bake for 50 minutes, checking with a skewer at 40 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, turn out on to a cooling rack. If the cake isn’t left to cool, it will crack. I dust the cake with icing sugar using a paper doily to make a nice pattern, but a plain dusting would be just as nice. Store in an air tight container, eat within 5 days. The recipe serves 6, so far the two cakes I have made have served at least 12 each, for dessert.

When served as dessert, I think a nice french vanilla or vanilla bean ice cream is perfect, whipped cream would also be lovely. When I served it for dessert at my Dad’s house for my Grandparents visit I served it with french vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafer sticks for crunch. Very rich and dense, but lovely and moist with the sweet jam flavour left in your mouth after every bite. I would be quite happy to bake this cake every weekend it is just so delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

My next post will be some kind of biscuit or cookie, a suggestion would be appreciated, otherwise it will be something Daniel picks. I hope you have enjoyed the last few posts and are looking forward to the next ones as much as I am.

Sonia xx

The 2011 Gingerbread House

There is only one way to explain the process of building this house. EPIC.

Just making enough dough to make all the panels and a few gingerbread men took two hours, the baking took another hour. Then assembly, another hour and a solid two hours of decoration. Six hours, admittedly over 2 days, but still six hours of standing, mixing, kneading, rolling, cutting, baking, cooling, sticking, holding, more sticking, trusting gravity not to destroy four hours of work, sticking what seemed like hundreds of lollies onto vertical surfaces, putting together a gingerbread hot tub and sleighs, attempting a fence around the house and a final dusting of icing sugar.

It was perfect, well almost, so perfect that any imperfections could be covered with a little royal icing and some kind of sickly sweet treat. With the help of my Mum and little brother, icing up to the elbows and minimal mishaps the 2011 Gingerbread House was complete. I’ll put the recipe in the recipe page but for now I hope you enjoy the photos of the creation of the house that created a lot of Christmas joy this year.

I’ll post the recipe closer to next Christmas, so enjoy the photos and imagine the sickly sweet smell it produced.

P.S. A big thank you to my Mum for the use of her kitchen for two days and for letting me spread flour and icing sugar from one end to the other x

The next post will be a Nigella Lawson Pantry Raspberry Chocolate Cake, stay tuned.   Sonia xx

Nectarine Crumble Muffins

Hello everyone,

Welcome to 2012 and to my blog Scrumptious and Delicious. This will be a work in progress but please check back regularly for updates and new recipes. Have a look around, I have put a few posts and pages up but there will be more soon.

This post will be on Nectarine Crumble Muffins. Due to the extreme weather changes we have experienced in Canberra in the past week the kilo of nectarines I bought ripened in one day and then I had to find a way to use them. Thankfully a magazine I picked up in our weekly shop provided me with the perfect solution.

Nectarine Crumble Muffins

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

125g unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

2 tbs custard powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

4 nectarines, stones removed, thinly sliced

CRUMBLE

1/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

25g chilled butter

Preheat the oven to 180 celsius, line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat flour, butter, sugar, sour cream, eggs, custard powder and vanilla together on low to medium for 2 minutes. Stir through 3/4 of the chopped nectarine. Spoon mixture into paper cases (an icecream scoop my be easier) fill to 2/3. Press extra nectarine into the top of each muffin.

To make the crumble, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and rub butter into the dry ingredients to make crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over each muffin.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight containers.

These were relatively easy to make and I only had to buy sour cream to make them as I had the other ingredients in the fridge and pantry already. My only complaint with this recipe is that once I placed the muffins in containers the crumble sweated and turned into a goopy buttery mess. If anyone has a suggestion on how I could prevent this it would be greatly appreciated. Other than that these were a great hit both at home and at work, the cake part is especially delicious with the custard flavour coming through.

Please come and visit again soon, my next post will be a back dated creation: The 2011 Gingerbread House.

Sonia x