Tag Archives: almonds

Amaretti & Nectarine Muffins

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An unusual, but deliciously flavoured muffin; packed with fresh nectarine and amaretti biscuits, with a generous grown up twist of Disaronno, these muffins sure do make a tasty treat!

Ok, so I’ll admit by saying these muffins were much, much, much more delicious that they look! Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I should have considered leaving some of the delicious fresh nectarine and amaretti biscuits just for the topping… I just got a bit over-keen as it all smelt so good, and before I knew it, I’d run out and it was all in the muffin mix…. you live and learn – and, remember, never judge a book by it’s cover!

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So, personal complaint about the look of the muffins being over, lets get on to the good stuff. These muffins were delicious. I adapted a muffin that was suggested for a not-so-wholesome breakfast, and turned it into a good old fashioned tea time treat. I kept a lot of the goodness in there, namely, that they’re relatively low in sugar (for a muffin – there’s a still a lot of sugar in these!) as they get a lot of sweetness from the fresh nectarine, and use yoghurt in the batter, adding a good dose of protein.

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Then, what better pairing than fresh fruit and almond? I struggle to think of a fruit I wouldn’t want to add almonds to! Nectarines, peaches, plums and berries are, however, some of my favourite fruits to combine with almonds, and the combination in these muffins is perfect. To ramp up the almond flavour, I’ve used almond flavoured non dairy yoghurt, amaretti biscuits (they also add a delightful, sweet crunch to the soft and tender crumb of the muffin) and of course a healthy dose of Disaronno liqueur.

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Amaretto & Honey Custard

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The perfect accompaniment for any dessert that goes with almonds; Think pastries, apples, or autumnal stoned fruits. So simple, you’ll question why you’ve not made custard before!

This custard was made to go alongside this Apple & Frangipane Gallette, but honestly would be perfect with many, many desserts! Custard is a wonderfully simple thing to make, but this knowledge makes it ever so slightly dangerous…. you end up in a situation where custard is literally at your fingertips all the time!

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Apple & Frangipane Gallette

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A family sized, sharing pudding made with homemade rough puff pastry, frangipane, and sweet apple compote, served with an almond liqueur custard . All far more complicated than it sounds, this is essentially a glorified apple pie!

You know how sometimes the best things are borne from accidents? Yeah, well this was one of them – an accident I’m absolutely thrilled happened and worked! So, what was this accident, I hear you ask? I happened to have a good portion of un-used frangipane in the fridge (as you do!), and had a bit of a craving for autumnal flavours. Combined with wanting to see if I could master rough puff pastry dairy free, this dessert began to take shape.

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If you don’t fancy going the whole hog and making rough puff, you could easily substitute this for shop bought puff pastry – make the rough puff if you have the time, as I promise it’s so rewarding seeing all the layers of flakey pastry once cooked and knowing you did that! – but I’ll admit cheating with shop bought does help this dessert come together a lot faster.

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The pastry shell looks a little fancy – you could even call it free form! – but is stupidly easy. Just don’t tell your impressed guests! You simply pile the fillings into the centre of a large circle of pastry, and pull in the corners and pinch them together. Wash on a bit of egg glaze, sprinkle with sugar, and voila; perfection.

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The fillings themselves are even more special (and simple) than the pastry. Frangipane is one of the simplest fillings you could ever make (chuck in a bowl and mix kinda simple), and gives any pudding a sweet, intense, almond-y flavour. Hidden under the apple compote, it’s the perfect complimentary companion to the other flavours.

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You could serve this with any accompaniment you like, but this Amaretto & Honey Custard is just perfect.

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Amaretti and Raspberry Brownies

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For Meg…

The chocolatiest, moistest, most delicious, decadent brownies ever. With fresh raspberries and crumbled amaretti biscuits, it takes the humble brownie to a whole new level of awesomeness.

We went up to stay with my brother and his girlfriend, Meg, for the weekend in their new house. I asked if they had any baking requests, and Meg told me all about these brownies. They originate from Jamie’s Italian, and Meg described them as the best brownie she had ever eaten. Well, challenge accepted!

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Moist from tons of chocolate and fresh raspberries, these are gooey to the max making them ideal for dessert. Almonds and raspberries are a classic, delicious combination; added to rich chocolate, all the flavours are enhanced and it creates the most decadent brownies. I love raspberries (in case you didn’t already notice from my many raspberry related posts!) and they pair brilliantly with dark chocolate. This recipe is no exception – the tart raspberries cut through the sweetness, leaving you feeling as though there is always room for another piece…

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I know I said in my last brownie post that there was no need to ever look for another brownie recipe, but even the most brilliant people can admit when they were wrong! For a dessert brownie this recipe really is fantastic, as it is much gooey-er than my go to recipe. This is from a lot of melted chocolate in the mix, whereas my usual recipe relies on it’s chocolate hit from cocoa powder. This definitely makes them a lot richer, and makes them feel more dessert like.

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I’m pleased to say these rivalled Jamie O’s (or at least, Meg said they did – having never tried them myself I, of course, could not possibly comment!). And so, challenge accepted, challenge won!

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Plum & Almond Custard Tart

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An elegant and deceptively easy dessert. An almond pastry case with juicy plum jewels set in a delicious, smooth and creamy almond milk custard. Delicious on it’s own, or served with ice cream or stewed fruits.

I really do love and believe in eating seasonally, and this dessert is no exception. At this time of year, when the berry season has drawn to a close and the stoned fruits are beginning to end, I don’t think there is anything better than baked fruits. Not only does it bring out their sweetness and flavour, it smells as it bakes festive and fills you with warmth. What a perfect way to welcome to cooler seasons that are approaching!

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Plums and almonds are a classic combination; the sweet, nutty almonds provide a delicate base flavour to the dessert, so when you get a pop of bright, tart plum in your mouth nothing distracts you from the flavour. That said – the two flavours really work together. The nutty flavour gives depth to the plums, something particularly desirable when using up the last of the season’s fruits.

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I’m using one of my favourite pastry recipes for this – it originally comes from my Apple & Blueberry Frangipane Tart – but I chose it because it turns out light and short every time. It is also a very forgiving pastry. What I mean by that is if yours crumbles to pieces as you are trying to line the tin (and see my tips and tricks on lining a tin with pastry here!) you really don’t need to worry. Just using your fingers and the offcuts of pastry, you can make your pastry look almost perfect, and it really doesn’t affect the results. Now, that’s my kind of baking!

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Chocolate, Almond and Orange Biscotti

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Classic Italian Biscotti recipe flavoured with chocolate, almonds and orange, perfect for a treat anytime of the day. Ideal for dipping in a hot drink or a cold, sweet glass of wine if you prefer! 

Biscotti are something I’ve always been curious about making- and not something I’ve eaten very often. I tend to think of them as something reserved for Christmas, or posh restaurants where they are served alongside your after-dinner coffee. However, I stumbled across a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ on the internet and thought they just sounded too tasty not to give them a try. Paul makes a trio of biscotti, and I just couldn’t resist the sound of chocolate, almond and orange.

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Biscotti come in lots of different flavours, but are very recognisable from their traditional shape and texture – always an elongated half moon shape with a very dry and crunchy texture. They are also surprisingly sweet, and so my favourite way to eat them is dipped in steaming black coffee. The bitter coffee and sweet biscuit compliment each other perfectly, whilst the almond provides more crunch and the orange zest really brings out the flavour of the coffee, chocolate and almond.

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The name ‘biscotti’ originates from Latin and means twice baked. Confusingly, biscotti in Italian simply means biscuit; this could lead to a great disappointment if you were hoping for the twice baked variety (in Italy twice baked biscuits are called ‘cantuccini’)! However, despite their fancy name, they’re very simple to make. By shaping the dough into logs for the first bake, and then cutting them into fingers for the second bake there is no need to be precise or pretty about it – which makes a nice change from the things I usually bake!

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Apple & Blueberry Frangipane Tart

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A wonderful dessert for after Sunday lunch – sweet shortcrust pastry filled with almond frangipane and topped with sharp apples and blueberries for a fruity burst. Served with an almond milk custard.

Last weekend we did a Sunday roast for lunch and I thought it was the perfect time to get cracking on my New Year’s resolution for this year – Pastry. Pastry is something I have always wanted to be able to bake as I genuinely don’t think there is anything better than a homemade apple pie, surrounded by pastry you’ve made. That said – pastry terrifies me! Even without the challenges of replacing butter with a dairy free substitute, it is hardly the easiest or most consistent thing to make.

I found this recipe a long time ago in You Magazine, and have often looked at it thinking about how much of an achievement it would be to make this with homemade pastry. Last weekend the time felt right to try – and I’m pleased to say it worked fantastically! The only addition I have made to the recipe is to add more blueberries and rather than just sprinkling them on top of the tart, add some in the middle too.

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Frangipane is a sweet almond filling – a mix of butter, sugar, ground almonds, a little flour and eggs – that when baked becomes a light fluffy nutty cloud of goodness… it’s hard to describe something so tasty and perfect! To serve, I’ve made an almond milk custard. It would be fair to say I am a custard fiend and this custard hands down beats any ready made custard you can buy – dairy free or otherwise, so definitely give it a go.

As a whole, this dessert looks a lot more impressive and time consuming than it actually is. The pastry and frangipane filling are done in a food processor (no processor? Use a bowl and wooden spoon for the same effect), making slicing the apples at the end the trickiest bit – and hardly difficult by anyone’s standards. The only watch out is that the pastry is best chilled overnight (this helps a lot when rolling out the pastry and lining the tin) so a little preparation and organisation is needed the night before.

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