Monday, September 11, 2017

Peach Bellini Macaroons

This was a long way in the planning!! I have been at home in Helsinki, Finland, and my brother and I had planned for AGES to make macaroons together. I think it started when we used to, Harri still does, watch every single episode of Masterchef Australia, loving watching the stress of all the contestants having difficulty piping the macaroons and then all of them eventually crashing down from a perfect Croque En Bouche. Oh the joys of Masterchef Australia ;)

Before I had left Edinburgh I had taken a photo of the macaroon recipe and the Peach Bellini recipe, since the cookbook was way too heavy for me to take with me on the plane. I had warned Harri that this would be the time when we would make them, finally. I was so excited!!

The day came, more like the next morning, after we had had difficulty finding almond meal ;)

Separating the egg whites from the yolk
Mixing the almond meal (that we finally found) with the icing sugar 
We made the templates for the size of the macaroons the night before 
Our lovely kitchen in Helsinki <3
Harri measuring the castor sugar for the Italian meringue
Mixing half the egg whites into the almond meal. There was not a misunderstanding with the measurements and we did not do anything without measuring ;) No ... 
Making the Italian Meringue 
Mixing the other half of the egg whites

We then stirred in the yellow food colouring. I wanted to put in a lot this time since the colour did not work out that well last time ;) 
Piping the macaroons
Our piping bag. We had a slight problem with the tip being too small
Oh dear, the difficulties of baking :o 
So ... we decided to make our own piping bags from baking paper. It is really quite simple actually!! 
Finished piping the final batch!! Now to let it develop a skin :D
The used baking paper piping bags
While the macaroons went in the oven, one tray at a time, I started making the peach puree

The cooked macaroons. Do they look yellow, or is just the golden colour from baking? ;) 
We then also made buttercream, with butter, icing sugar and Prosecco, and piped it in a circle around the inside of the macaroon. We then put in the centre the peach puree
The final product!!
I am now heading back to Edinburgh to meet the Baking Students again :D 

Till next bake,

Laura from The Baking Students xx

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Gooseberry pie

It has been a while since I made anything from the recipe book due to my travels and busy month of August in Edinburgh. I arrived in Finland at my grandparent's place and decided that I would make use of the ripe gooseberries. And then I texted Jennifer, who is in Edinburgh, to text me the recipe for the short-crust pastry in Martha's recipe book. So I did bit of a Pamela, combining and substituting two recipes for the gooseberry mixture and for the pastry to create gooseberry pie;)

Combining the flour and almond meal for the pastry
Adding the cubes of cold butter. Next I had a real arm workout crumbing it together with my fingers ;) 
After placing the pastry in the fridge I went out to go and pick the gooseberries from the garden
Picking the largest and darkest gooseberries and dropping them into the bowl <3
I don't know if you can really see from this photo, but there were lots of big, prickly thorns. So I pricked my hand quite a lot ;) It was worth it though! 
After washing all the gooseberries we then had to cut the the top and bottom off. 
My awesome technique for heading and tailing the berries captured on tape ;) We unfortunately couldn't get the video here , but you can get the gist of it.
My first attempt at blind baking! For those who don't know what it is: Blind baking is pre-baking the base of the pie so that it doesn't get soggy when you add liquid as the filling. To do this you line the pie dish with the pastry, line the pastry with baking paper, and then line that with something heavy to weigh it down. I used rice to weigh it down. 
I then cut up the rest of the pastry into strips so that I can add a latticed lid to the pie when I filled it with the berries
After pre-baking I realised that the paper was burning ;) haha
Extra pre-baking without the lining of the rice
The pre-baked pie base ready for the gooseberry filling and latticed lid
I then filled it up with the berries and sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar. I added more sugar than I had done the previous harvest when I had made it because it was super duper tart. Hopefully that amount of sugar was enough. 
I then carefully placed the pastry in a lattice pattern on the top, and added a holly arrangement. Although it ended up looking angel wings ;)  
I then baked it for 35 minutes in the oven on 170 degrees. When it came out it was making a satisfying sizzling noise :D 
I tried the pie, and it was still tart ;) I mean, not as much as last year when I made it, but it needed some cream or ice cream to make it not so bitter. haha. Oh dear, never mind. The pastry tasted amazing!! 

So, in terms of what Tearfund is up to these days, they are fundraising for the devastating floods in South Asia. The daily news is talking all about the devastating storms in America, but we don't hear much about the floods in South Asia. This is Tearfund's description of the floods: 

Catastrophic flooding has devastated huge areas of India, Nepal and Bangladesh, affecting 41 million people. More than 1,200 people have died, nearly three quarters of a million homes have been destroyed or damaged and crops and livestock have been swept away.

They have been distributing food, tents, blankets, clothes, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, cooking utensils and safe drinking water throughout the region. They will then help with the re-planting of crops and in other ways to help get the people there back on their feet. And they need our help to bring hope into this devastation. 

Please consider donating from this link and to remember them in your prayers.

Laura from The Baking Students xx

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Week 31: Rhubarb Crumble Choux Buns

I had been planning this for a while. I decided straight away that I wanted to do this one in Finland with my grandmother, because she grows rhubarb and is always looking for new ways of using rhubarb. And this is definitely a new way :D Even though it didn't work out exactly as planned ;)

So I started by making the crumble to put onto of the choux pastry when it goes in the oven:

Rubbing the crumble together :D

I then rolled it out in between cling film to get a thin slab that I can easily cut out from later
While the crumble was freezing in the freezer I started on the pastry:

Bringing the butter, sugar and water to a roiling boil
After stirring rapidly it came together into a ball, and then I poured it into a mixing bowl to allow it to cool
I then added 3 eggs to make it smooth
The mixture was now ready to use
Before I go any further, I should let you know that we had no idea really how to pipe out the choux pastry.

Piping out the pastry in a way we think will work. Surprisingly we then discovered, a third of our way through piping, that it was not the right way to do ;) You are meant to pipe in one small blob, not as wide as ours!! Never mind, we were thinking something would come out of the oven that will be yummy :D
Cutting out the crumble, which we would then place over the choir pastry before the oven. And this was the only cookie cutter that we had which was closest to the same size as the piped pastry and was not a weird animal shape ;) 

Putting the crumble on top of the pastry. As you can see the pastry did not cut exactly as the shape cutter wanted ;)
Our magnificent choux pastry ready for the oven
Baking away. At this point it was looking good, since it was rising as it was supposed to

Harri then started reading the recipe for the creme patissiere that we would, according to the recipe, pipe inside the choux buns 
Measuring out the milk, after which we would add the vanilla extract and leave to steam on the hob
The difficult process of separating the eggs ;) Word of warning: the egg seperator made things even worse!!

Measuring out the rhubarb for the Rhubarb Crumble