Aren’t cranberries great? And snowflakes too, actual snow flakes, not the ones that get thrown around by idiots on twitter who think they’re being funny. Cranberries may not be as sweet as many other fruits or berries, but they still make a wonderful pie. It’s a particularly tart one, even with all the sugar but, covered in snowflake pastry and served up with a dollop of cream, you’ve got a perfect dessert for sharing at a festive dinner party.
Cranberry Pie will be my last recipe of the year, and I’m hoping to get back at things properly again in the new year. It’s been great to get back putting up content regularly again, and with some pretty big news coming up I’m hoping things will be rejuvenated and I’ll be posting recipes more often. So watch this space. In the meantime, I hope everyone has an absolutely wonderful Christmas and New Year, and that their 2018’s have been bearable.
What’s the best way to kick off Christmas morning? It definitely involves a brew, maybe a stocking and probably some form of bucks fizz. But if you want to kick it up a notch, why not serve up cinnamon buns for breakfast? Maple cranberry cinnamon buns sprinkled with chopped pistachios and drizzled with an orange glaze are the perfect way to make Christmas morning even more indulgent, especially as most of the hard work can be done the day before, so they’re ready to just stick in the oven first thing.
This is a combination of a couple of my older recipes, it takes the maple cranberries from my Christmas pancake recipe, and the overnight cinnamon buns I made last year, then it adds an orange wash, pistachios and a glaze. The cinnamon buns are delightfully light, especially when they’re fresh, perfect to pull apart. Arranged like a Christmas tree they’re also very visually impressive, ready for hungry and excited people to devour first thing in the morning.
Soft cinnamon buns filled with maple cranberries, drizzled with orange glaze and dusted with pistachios.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Overnight Proving8 hrs
Total Time35 mins
For the Dough
235 ml warm milk not hot
½ tbsp fast acting dried yeast
4 tbsp granulated sugar
385 g + 2-4tbsp all-purpose flour divided
1 large egg room temperature
1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
½ tsp salt
For the filling
90 g unsalted butter softened
20 g granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
75 g fresh cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water
For the toppings
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
Zest of one orange
150 g icing sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
20 g pistachios chopped
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast into the flour. Leave for a few minutes then whisk in 65g of the flour and 2tbsp sugar until combined. Cover with cling film and leave to rise at room temperature for 35-40minutes so it puffs up.
Whisk in the remaining sugar, egg, melted butter and salt.
Using a dough hook attachment, set to low and add in 320g of flour, 60g at a time, making sure the flour has incorporated well after each addition. Add flour a tablespoon at a time after this until the dough is no longer sticking to a fingertip. Set to knead for 10 minutes. It should be coming away from the sides of the bowl at the end.
Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours (1 hour in an oven set to 35°C), until it’s doubled in size.
In a small saucepan heat the water with the cranberries for a few minutes until the water starts cooking off. Add the maple and cinnamon and cook over a low heat until it starts turning syrupy.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out the dough into a 17″x10″ rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the top.
Whisk together the cinnamon and sugar, sprinkle the buttered dough generously all over. You’ll use all of it. Then, sprinkle over the prepared cranberries as evenly as you can.
Roll tightly, away from you along one of the long edges, to make a long a log.
Pinch the very ends together slightly, then cut them off to neaten. Divide into 12 even cinnamon rolls.
Place them cut side down in a prepared tin, spacing evenly to allow some space to rise, or else in a 2, 4, 3, 2, 1 formation to form a Christmas tree.
Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 7 hours. Overnight is preferable.
Remove from the fridge an hour before you want to cook them so they can return to room temperature. They’ll be puffy.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C(160°C fan assisted).
Remove the cling film, transfer to the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for 22-24 minutes, until the tops have gone golden.
While they are baking, combine the caster sugar in a small pan with the water and orange zest, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Heat until it just starts to boil.
As soon as you’ve removed the cinnamon buns from the oven, brush them generously with the sugar syrup.
Leave to cool for a few more minutes before sprinkling with the pistachios.
Whisk the orange juice with the icing sugar until you’ve got a thick icing that should dribble off the whisk when lifted. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe over the buns in whatever pattern you desire.
Hi there, I know I’ve been quiet this year, but you didn’t think I’d stay quiet over the Christmas period, right? Christmas is the best time for baking; when everyone’s having get-togethers, bringing in biscuit boxes to work or just generally hiding from the cold dark evenings. I’ve still been baking, and I’ve even managed to photograph some of the things I’ve baked. This mean I’ve managed to get a bit of a backlog of recipes to post, and what better time than Christmas to post them? I’ve been trying to push myself with my baking recently, teaching myself new things, or baking things that are outside of my usual comfort zone. One of the things that’s been on my list for years, that I’ve never plucked up the courage to try and make, has been choux pastry. It’s always been intimidating, from bake off to recipe books to many places talk about how hard it is to get right. After a few mistakes with my baking in recent months I was even more worried, but decided that now was the time to try and make some simple Profiteroles, and that it was also time to try my hand at making Crème Patissiere for the first time too.
Chocolate Profiteroles with Creme Pat
Amazingly, both went incredibly smoothly, and I ended up with a mountain of crème patissiere filled profiteroles, drizzled with a chocolate glaze. Every one of these little balls of choux was light and rose perfectly ready to house the crème pat which you can pipe into a hole in the bottom of each one.
Chocolate Profiteroles with Creme Pat
Don’t let choux intimidate you, these are a perfect accompaniment to a table at a dinner party, as the dessert for your Christmas dinner or even just as a wintery weekend treat. If you don’t want to make the Crème Patissiere, then you can whip up some cream and pipe that in instead.
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways, or 1tsp vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter
**For the Choux Pastry**
80g unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
Generous pinch of sugar
125g plain flour
220g beaten egg
**For the topping**
100g dark chocolate
**For the Creme Pat**
Start by making the creme pat so it has a chance to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the colour has gone pale.
Sieve in the cornflour and keep whisking until there are no lumps left.
Heat the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat until just before it boils.
Pour half of the milk into the egg & sugar mixture, whisking continuously. Keep whisking until it's well incorporated.
Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and return to a medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until it's bubbling gently and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take around 3-4 minutes.
Remove from the heat and keep whisking for another minute. Then stir through the butter until it's melted and incorporated. If you used a vanilla pod as well, this is the time to take it out.
Pour into a bowl, covering the surface itself with cling film, and leave to cool. If you need it quickly, you can do this in a baking tray with the creme pat spread out. (SEE NOTES for storage instructions)
**Make the Choux Pastry**
Preheat the oven to 220°C(200°C fan assisted) and butter two baking trays then place them in the fridge until you need them.
In a medium saucepan, gently heat the water, butter, salt and sugar until just boiling and the butter has melted.
Keeping the pan over the heat, add the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the paste is smooth and comes away from the sides. Make sure you're constantly moving it to stop it from catching.
Decant into a cold bowl, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the beaten egg, a little at a time, and incorporate well. This can take a little while, the mixture can potentially look split at first, but it will eventually come together. You need to get the paste to 'dropping' consistency; i.e. if you scoop up a large amount, it should drop back into the bowl within about 5 seconds.
Transfer to a large piping bag with a 2cm hole.
Pipe the pastry into 4cm blobs on the prepared baking sheets.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until they are golden brown and they've puffed up.
Remove from the oven, and once they've cooled enough to touch, poke a small hole in the bottom. This will stop them from collapsing and also give you a hole to pipe into.
Pipe creme pat into each profiterole.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water, and drizzle over the profiteroles to finish.
The creme pat can be stored for up to a week, but make sure the cling film is pressed against the surface so that it doesn’t form a skin.
It’s October, the leaves are starting to fall, changing to various shades of rust before drifting to the floor, you’ve got your cosy clothes out of the loft, meals are starting to shift from light summery flavours to more hearty stews and pies, it’s getting darker in the mornings and everyone is starting to talk about Halloween. It’s also the time that all the shops and market stalls start stocking pumpkins rather than just a butternut squash. Pumpkins are wonderful, and I’m going to spend some time telling you about just how wonderful they are, in the hopes that it’ll stop you wasting them.
Every year there are different statisticsreleasedabout just how much pumpkin we waste in the UK. Whether it’s the innards from a carved Jak’o’lantern or just a few ‘cute’ munchkin pumpkins you bought as props for your super cute flat lay on Instagram, there’s something you could be doing with it. Sure, the ones grown for carving aren’t necessarily the best quality, but that doesn’t stop it turning into a warm and hearty soup. Pumpkin, in its various forms, can be both delicious and versatile in a host of different ways. I’m not here to discourage you from having fun, but to think about how you can use those pumpkins once your aesthetic need for them has passed.
Hope everyone that’s bought a million pumpkins to use for photo props are gonna cook them, cos ya know, food waste is whack.
Last year I spoke out about this on twitter and created a thread of recipes aimed at trying to get people to cook with their pumpkins, hoping to inspire people to try something new. This year, I thought I’d create a list, to highlight that pumpkin is great for cooking and baking, in sweet and savoury, in pies, stews, soups, breads, tacos, salads and a whole host of other dishes. A few of these recipes you can find on this very blog (see my pumpkin tag), but for others there are links to both well known publications and other British food bloggers. I hope it can inspire you.
I’ve actually done a version of this recipe here as it’s one of my favourite curries, but the original can be found in the excellent Fresh India or else here. It’s a lightly spiced curry that’s perfect for autumn.
I love making a taco full of roasted veg, and pumpkin or squash is nearly always used as its flavours work so well with things like chipotle or chimichurri. This is just an example from a reputable source, but I tend to wing it. Another example is their pumpkin & portobello tacos.