Monday, 28 December 2009

The Great Day Dawns!

By the time you read this, dear readers, the wedding cake will have arrived at its destination and the wedding celebrations will have begun.

It's been a real challenge to produce a cake good enough for my son's wedding, I hope that I've managed to make the best cake that my skills will allow. The hardest part of all, of course, is the icing as its on show, and this was also the most traumatic part of the preparations. All the cake lacks in these photos is the Bride and Groom topper that my niece, O has made and will be bringing along on the great day - more photos to follow.

So raise a glass of your favourite tipple (mine's champagne) and wish G & K a joyful and fulfilling life together - good health and happiness!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas Cheer!

The Handyman and I have had a lovely Christmas with our family - we hope that each and everyone of you has had an equally enjoyable festive season. So lovely to spend time together, chatting, feasting and playing. Here's to a successful and joyful 2010!

No recipes today, just a few Christmas images...

Twinkling Christmas cake!

Deck the halls and the tree of course!

A family feast...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Wedding Cake Trimmings

When marzipaning the wedding cake I had to level the tops of each tier and consequently ended up with a box of rich trimmings.

This was my first chance to taste the cake and the Handyman hastily volunteered to become taster-in-chief, and the result...

a delicious, rich, moist, fruity, boozy...10/10!

I managed to stop him eating his way through the boxful in time to make a very festive version of a bread and butter pudding...any rich fruit cake will provide the base for this most delicious pudding, so Christmas cake leftovers, even slices of Christmas pudding would fit the bill.

Festive Cake Pudding

Serves 4
Enough wedding cake pieces to two thirds fill a deep 7" pie dish
6 fl ozs doouble cream
6 fl ozs milk
2 large eggs
1 tblsp golden castor sugar
few drops vanilla essence
1 dessertspoon golden granulated sugar

Put the wedding cake pieces into the pie dish. Then put the milk and cream into a small saucepan and heat gently.

Meanwhile using a fork gently beat the eggs, castor sugar and vanilla essence together in a bowl. When the milk is hot, but not boiling, remove it from the heat and add to the egg mixture stirring to combine.

Place the pie dish on a baking tray and pour the milk and egg mixture (the custard) over the cake - the mixture will be very liquid and will fill the pie dish. Leave to stand for 10 mins to allow the cake to absorb some of the custard mixture.

Sprinkle the golden granulated sugar over the top of the pudding and carefully place in the preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes. The pudding should be golden on top and just set. Serve whilst still warm with double cream poured over the top - yummee!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Happy Birthday Dear GW

Happy birthday to my elder son, GW! A bit awkward to have a birthday in December, it can be in danger of being overshadowed by the Christmas celebrations. However we ensure that no sign of Christmas is visible in or around the house until after the 8th of December, so no tree, no lights and definately no birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper! This has been the rule since GW was born thirty-one years ago - where has the time gone!

GW doesn't live locally so a birthday cake for him is out of the question and he doesn't have that much of a sweet tooth, so I'll be making his favourite dessert when he visits us over the Christmas period - apple pie. Here's a favourite recipe...

Festive Apple Pie

For the Pastry
4 ozs butter, cold and diced
7 ozs plain flour
1 tblsp icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tblsp orange juice and 1 tblsp very cold water

For the Filling
4 large HG cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 HG eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tblsp cornflour
1 tblsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
grating of nutmeg

Place all the ingredients for the pastry, except the egg yolk mixture, in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together. Remove from the processor and form into a ball, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 mins but no longer then a couple of hours.

Meanwhile prepare the apples and place in a bowl of water with a good squeeze of lemon juice to keep them from going brown.

Then roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of clingfilm so that it is large enough to line a deep 7" pie dish and fold over the top of the apple filling. Place the pastry in the lightly greased pie dish with the excess overlapping the sides of the dish.

Drain the apples and place them in the pie dish in layers, sprinkling some of the cornflour, sugar and spices between each layer of fruit. Finally pull the pastry over the top of the apples so that they are covered leaving a gap in the middle for the steam to escape. Don't worry if the finished result looks a little untidy, it will look scrumptious when it is baked.

Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg or milk and place in the oven at 190C for about 30-40 mins until the pastry is golden. Serve warm with custard or, as it's Christmas, cider cream.
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