Monthly Archives: January 2017

Sticky Toffee Pudding

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A traditional British classic; sticky toffee pudding is the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast. Moist, sweet, and served with ice cream, there are few people in the world who could turn down this delight!

So I have to admit that before making this, I had never eaten sticky toffee pudding before. The Fiancé was appalled! However, with my Mum coming from Belgium, we didn’t tend to eat a lot of classic British meals or puds – and I have to admit that it always sounded a little too sweet for my tastes.

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Now I have to admit that I’ve done a complete 180. Yes, it is undeniably sweet, but this recipe is not overpoweringly so. With dates and plenty of spices for depth of flavour, it’s really hard to say no to a second piece! I would say that this pudding needs to be served with ice cream or cream (dairy free of course!) to break through the sweetness of the caramel sauce, which of course is a great shame!

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This recipe should come with a warning; once you’ve tasted the caramel sauce, you will start to find lots of things to eat it with… I’m talking about spooned onto ice cream, or layered between biscuits from the cupboard, or perhaps just spread onto toast (although I still need to try this last one!!)… It’s delicious and so easy that it could even be a recipe in it’s own right!

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As the never ending winter continues, I couldn’t think of a dessert I’d rather eat to celebrate the cold weather; the perfect cure to feeling the chill after a bitterly chilly walk.

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Pistachio, Almond and Chocolate Éclairs

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Indulgent éclairs, filled with a pistachio and almond crème pâtissière and topped with a sweet chocolate icing. Not as impossible as they seem, these éclairs would make the perfect special treat.

Whoops. You know that feeling when you think, ‘when was the last time I….‘… well that’s rather how I’ve been feeling about blogging recently! Life has been more than a little hectic, and the end of 2016 seemed to flash by like big and exciting blur. Whilst the rest of the world seems to be (understandably) lamenting the going ons in 2016, I actually had a great year. I took a big leap forwards in life and now when I introduce myself to people, I can say I am a full time baker! So, with a wedding to plan and a new business to grow, the end of 2016 flew by.

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I’m back with a triumphant recipe with these delightfully indulgent éclairs. I don’t know if there is anything as pleasing as making something that belongs in a French Pâtisserie (in taste, not in looks – these definitely don’t have quite the finesse of professional pastry makers) at home. It’s something to do with debunking the myth that they’re impossible to make and only a demigod can succeed! I talked before in my recipe for Profiteroles that Choux pastry is not nearly as complicated as it seems, and then we’re just making a simple Crème Pâttissière (or thickened custard if we want to be less fancy about it!) to fill it.

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Now, I wouldn’t be me if I just made normal chocolate and vanilla éclairs, would I? So, of course, these come pumped with extra flavour from pistachios and almonds in the crème pâttisière. I’ve really grown to love pistachios in the last few years, and they work beautifully together with the chocolate topping and sweet almond flavoured cream. To get the hit of pistachio flavour, this recipe calls for you to make a pistachio paste. It really is quite simple to do, just a bit of a faff. The paste should be a vibrant, inviting green colour. But to get this, you need to rub the skins off the pistachios before roasting. As we don’t need much paste it doesn’t take too much time – but this is your warning! If you decide to skip this step (which you can!) just be prepared for your paste to come out more brown than green…

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As with all filled choux pastry recipes, these are best eaten as soon as possible after filling. If you don’t want to eat them all in one go (then you deserve a medal!) cooked choux pastry buns freeze well. Just defrost at room temperature, and pop back in a hot oven for a few minutes to get crisp again before filling.

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