Sunday, November 26, 2017

Christmas markets and Palmier Biscuits

Hello everyone!! As we, at the Baking Students, are starting to get ready for the Christmas month, we  went to the Christmas markets and went iceskating to get into the festive cheer. 

Iulia and I iceskating!!!!!

Iulia and I relaxing before continuing iceskating 
Meeting together at the Christmas markets. Here are the Baking Students for this academic year :D 
A while ago I had purchased the ingredients to make Palmier biscuits, and I finally had some free time, so I decided to go ahead and make them (even though we are going through two cakes at the moment). 
Preparing the table for making rough puff pastry on a lovely sunny, cold day. 
I am able to start baking again!!! YES :D 
Cutting the cubes of butter 
Measuring strong bread flour
Adding water and bringing it all together into some sort of dough
Rolling the dough out to start folding in the butter 
Moving it around 
I really enjoy making pastry ;) 
I then had to put the pastry into the fridge and fold the pastry in rotations. After the pastry looked like the butter was mixed in well enough, I rolled it out on the parchment paper. The recipe then said to roll out the marzipan and place it on top.

Making the cinnamon sugar to sprinkle over the pastry and marzipan
Rolling the pastry before the oven
Out of the oven!!!
They look like butterflies <3 
Quoting Sixian and Iulia: "the pastry is too sweet" ;) But they are both biased, not liking things too sweet. haha. It reminded me a lot of some pastries I have back in Finland. 

As the weather is getting colder, the festive cheer is getting louder and we are all starting to wonder what we will make for our Christmas Secret Santa evening. Hmm, I am think Christmas pudding with custard. Let's see what I actually have time for ;) 

From all the Baking Students I hope you are enjoying this season of cheer!!

The Baking Students 


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sophie and Sixian's birthday muffins

The birthday chocolate forest muffins that turned out to be like little gnome hats sandwiched with raspberry jam. What fun we had planning Sophie and Sixian's party <3 

Jennifer and I making the cupcakes
The birthday girls with their birthday cupcakes. 
One of Sophie's presents was eating ganache. I personally think it was her favourite ;)
All of the birthday guests
We needed to take another with a slight rearrangement ;) 
Iulia and I then went for a walk in the rain and mud because we were too hot in the kitchen where the oven is always on ;)
Till next bake,

The Baking Students


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