Monthly Archives: July 2013

Strawberry Cream Eclairs

The classic French chocolate éclair has been around for over 200 years and is loved the world over for its crisp, light as air pastry shell which is filled with crème pâtissière or whipped cream and topped with chocolate fondant icing.  So why did I feel the need to mess with this classic recipe?  Because I’m a food blogger and I wanted something a bit different for this month’s Classic French challenge which is of course éclairs.

Strawberry Cream Eclairs

The actual éclair was a success – lovely and crisp and hollow when opened up so don’t be put off from using the following recipe. Where I went wrong was with the cream filling. Instead of using plain, whipped cream I tried to add some strawberry coulis to the cream and of course it wouldn’t whip to the correct consistency. I eventually whipped up another batch of cream and swirled some strawberry coulis through it but there wasn’t really enough of the strawberry flavour for me.
My next experiment was with the chocolate topping. I had a small piece of this strawberry chocolate transfer left over from this previous bake and thought I could use it to pretty up my éclairs . I tempered my chocolate and covered the transfer sheet with a thin layer of melted chocolate and placed it in the fridge to set. I then cut into rectangles about the size needed for each éclair. The trick then was to get the chocolate to soften enough so that it moulded over the éclair but not so much that the strawberry design completely melted. I did this by placing the éclairs back in my still warm oven for a couple of minutes. The result was not a complete success – more of a splodge of chocolate with some dodgy looking strawberries on it. I did however, enjoy the lovely crisp texture of the chocolate that you get from the tempering process.
I think I might stick to the classic version in future but would definitely add the crispy chocolate topping again (minus the chocolate transfer).

Strawberry Cream Eclairs

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6 éclairs

Strawberry Cream Eclairs

Ingredients

  • 60g butter
  • 125ml water
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200ml whipped cream sweetened with icing sugar
  • 250g strawberries, washed and chopped
  • 75g milk chocolate, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  2. Heat the butter and water in a saucepan until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and stir well with a wooden spoon until the mixtures comes together in a ball and leaves the side of the pan completely clean.
  4. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly.
  5. Once cool, add the eggs, 1 egg at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon until the dough is smooth and satiny.
  6. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pipe the dough onto the tray in 10 cm long oblong shapes or to make profiteroles - drop spoonful's of the dough onto the baking tray.
  7. Use your finger, moistened with some water to smooth off any points.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and cut a small slit into each shape to remove any air.
  10. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  11. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. Fill with sweetened, whipped cream and strawberries
  13. Top with chocolate ganache or melted chocolate.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2013/07/29/strawberry-cream-eclairs/

This month’s Classic French challenge is hosted by Sarah over at the lovely Maison Cupcake blog.

Blueberry and Thyme Curd Tarts

These blueberry and thyme curd tarts were inspired by nothing more than my love for all things purple.  I had just seen Jen’s gorgeous blackcurrant & vanilla éclairs and decided I wanted to make something as colorful and vibrant and came up with these little tarts.  There wasn’t much of the thyme flavour noticeable so I would probably try adding a bit more next time.  The blueberry curd is finger licking good and would look and taste lovely on any sponge cake or just served with clotted cream and scones.

 Blueberry and Thyme Curd Tarts

Blueberry and Thyme Curd Tarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 6 individual tarts

Blueberry and Thyme Curd Tarts

Ingredients

  • 250g fresh blueberries
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 50g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 80mls whipping cream
  • 6 small sweet shortcrust pastry cases

Instructions

  1. Put the blueberries, thyme, lemon juice and a teaspoon of water into a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes until the fruit is very soft.
  3. Remove from the heat and push the fruit through a sieve set over a bowl to extract as much juice as possible.
  4. Put the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and blueberry juice into a pan and heat until the butter has fully melted.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly before adding the beaten eggs.
  6. Return to the heat and keep stirring for 20 – 25 minutes until thickened. The mixture will thicken further once cooled down.
  7. I prefer to strain through a sieve once thickened just to remove any lumps.
  8. Whip the cream until soft peak stage.
  9. Add the blueberry curd to the cream (reserving some curd for decoration) and mix well.
  10. Pour into the tart cases and smooth the tops.
  11. Stir some of the reserved curd through the mixture to decorate.
  12. Refrigerate until set.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2013/07/27/blueberry-and-thyme-curd-tarts-2/

I am entering these into this months Tea Time Treats challenge hosted alternately by Karen at Lavender & Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked as this months challenge is fresh fruit.

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Baked Butternut

This month’s Feel Good Food challenge is Maple syrup.  Now I have to admit to being slightly disappointed when I heard what the ingredient was. I have always found Maple syrup to be overpriced and I just can’t get used to the consistency.  I guess it is just what you are used to.  However, in the spirit of the challenge I bought myself some middle of the range Canadian syrup and was shocked to read that my little bottle required 13 litres of tree sap.  No wonder it is so expensive!

So, now to find something healthy to cook with my new acquisition.  This has proved harder than I thought.  There are plenty of recipes for sweet, sticky ribs, flapjacks, biscuits, cakes but nothing that I would term healthy.  The best that I have been able to come up with is this very traditional South African dish – baked butternut.  South Africans like their vegetables cooked with butter and brown sugar so I thought I would make it ‘slightly’ healthier by using Maple syrup instead of the brown sugar.  Victoria of A Kick At The Pantry Door has assured us that Maple syrup is a healthier option. I haven’t cooked butternut like this for many years as my husband likes his vegetable au naturale.  When I dished these up on his plate his first reaction was one of pleasure but he was quick to ask how I had done them.  Needless to say, as nice as this dish is I don’t think we will be eating it every week.

One to bring out for that special occasion I think.

Baked Butternut

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Baked Butternut

Ingredients

  • 500g butternut, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tblsp maple syrup
  • smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Place the butternut in a roasting tin with the cinnamon sticks.
  3. Melt the butter and syrup together and pour over the butternut.
  4. Lightly dust with smoked paprika.
  5. Baked, covered with foil for 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. For the last 10 minutes, remove the foil to let the liquid evaporate.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2013/07/19/baked-butternut/

Baked Doughnut Muffins

The latest Bake Along challenge is for these lovely baked doughnut muffins from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith DayI can’t remember ever making traditional fried doughnuts and to be honest they would never be top of my list for a tea time treat.  I would probably have given this challenge a miss had it not been for my complete failure at making the last challenge which was a Japanese cheesecake.  I’m so glad I did try these as they are much nicer (in my opinion) than the heavy, fried version which seems to be so popular these days.

I made large muffins but I think next time I would opt for the smaller version as they would probably be easier to handle.  My favourite version so far has been Bake For Happy Kids which were done in a cake pop tin.  They look like the perfect size.

Baked Doughnut Muffin

Baked Doughnut Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 large or 12 small muffins

Baked Doughnut Muffins

Ingredients

  • 335g plain flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 tblsp plain yogurt
  • 70g butter
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • For the coating:
  • 70g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • ½ tblsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Lightly grease a muffin tray for 6 large or 12 small muffins.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine the milk and yogurt in a small jug and set aside.
  5. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the egg and beat until just combined.
  7. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture and mix until just combined – do not over mix.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, filling approximately 2/3 full.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.
  10. For the coating:
  11. Melt the butter and place in a bowl.
  12. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  13. Once the muffins have cooled completely, dunk first in the melted butter and then coat with the cinnamon sugar.
http://mygoldenpear.com/2013/07/16/baked-doughnut-muffins/

Baked Doughnut Muffin

Best eaten fresh.

I will be submitting to Bake Along #43 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours,
Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids.

 
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