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classic anzac biscuits

18 Apr 2021

 

Anzac Day is just around the corner and each year I like to make a batch of Anzac Biscuits. As they're a melt and mix biscuit, they're very easy to make. They were probably the first biscuits I learned to make and I think I baked them in a slice tin and cut them into squares.

This year I made not one batch but 3 batches, each of them a little different. I thought I'd share my version of the classic Anzac biscuit with you.
I made this batch using browned butter which is a completely optional step. If you want to make the brown butter version you'll need to use about 160gms of butter to make 125g of browned butter. I put my butter into a covered heatproof bowl and microwave on high for about 5 minutes until the butter smells nutty and is dark brown. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any dark solids leaving you with browned butter.
 
I've made these biscuits using both shredded coconut and desiccated coconut and I've found if you use shredded coconut you won't need to use as much liquid, so add it gradually until you're happy with the mixture. I decided to top each biscuits with a few strands of shredded coconut and a few flakes of sea salt.

Here's the recipe for you which will make around 30 small biscuits using a 15 ml tablespoon. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.
Classic Anzac Biscuits - make 30 
Ingredients
1 cup regular rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
Pinch salt
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, chopped or 125g of browned butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
 
To decorate
1 tbs shredded coconut
½ tsp sea salt flakes
 
Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C, conventional.
 
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and set them aside. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the oats, coconut, flour the sugars and salt. Put the chopped butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan over low heat (or you can do this step in the microwave) and stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Mix the boiling water and bicarb soda in a cup and add to the butter mixture. Add the vanilla extract then pour the butter mix into the oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
 
Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture onto the lined oven trays, leaving about 2 inches as the mixture spreads. Flatten the biscuits a little. If you like, top each biscuit with a pinch of sea salt flakes and some shredded coconut.
Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until they're a deep golden brown but still soft. I always rotate the biscuit tray halfway through the cooking time so the biscuits cook evenly.
 
Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for a few minutes and then carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. The biscuits keep well in an airtight container for up to a week.
The cup of tea and the Anzac biscuit you see was yesterdays breakfast and it was delicious, a combination of both crunchy and chewy. I think this will be my go-to recipe from now on.
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now, 
 
Jillian

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fitzrovia babka

11 Apr 2021

I've been dying to transform Honey and Co's sour cherry and pistachio studded Fitzrovia buns into a babka so with some time on my hands one weekend, that's exactly what I did. I decided to Tangzhong the recipe first and the resulting dough was lovely and soft and very easy to work with.

Once rolled out, I refrigerated the dough for about 30 minutes before cutting and twisting it ready for proving.

If you want any instructions on how to prepare the bun dough, Honey and Co have made a videoThe babka takes a little longer to bake than the buns and once the babka is cooked, it's doused in a sugar syrup. The hardest thing to do is to wait a little for the babka to cool before slicing it.

Here's the recipe for the Tangzhong Fitzrovia Babka which makes one large babka. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.
 
Tangzhong Fitzrovia Babka
Yeast Mixture 
1½ tsp dried yeast
1 tsp flour
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tbl water

Tangzhong
1/2 cup (113g) whole milk
25g plain flour

Dough
70 g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
30 g caster sugar
300 g bread flour
A pinch of table salt
1 egg
1-2 tbs milk

Filling
100 g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Seeds from ½ vanilla pod or 3 tsp vanilla sugar
50 g very soft unsalted butter
1 tbs almond meal
80 g dried sour cherries
60 g chopped pistachios, plus 1 tbsp for decoration
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a pinch of table salt)
1 batch base sugar syrup (recipe follows)

Base sugar syrup
100 mls water
100 g caster sugar
3 tsp light corn syrup or honey

Yeast Mixture
In a small bowl, combine the yeast with 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar and sufficient water to make a paste. Cover and set to one side for about 10 minutes until the mixture froths up, then continue on with the rest of the recipe.

Tangzhong
Combine both the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened, paste-like, and the spoon or spatula leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This should take 1 to 3 minutes.

Dough
Remove the tangzhong from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to cool a little. Place the butter, yeast mixture, egg and sugar in the bowl and then top with the flour and salt.

Use the dough attachment on your mixer or your hands to bring it all together to a smooth, shiny dough, adding the milk if it looks dry. Don’t worry too much if you still have some whole flecks of butter running through the dough; they will make your final bun super-light.

Once the dough has a nice texture to it (after about 2–3 minutes with an electric mixer or 5–6 minutes working by hand), wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. You can leave it there for up to 12 hours, but not much longer or it will start to double in size.

Babka
The following day, bring the dough to room temperature. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper, allowing some overhang. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon, vanilla, butter and almond meal so it is well combined.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a very lightly floured workbench to a rectangle about 15 inches x 11 inches. You may need to flip the dough over once or twice to get an even, smooth sheet, but try to work with as little flour as you can so as not to dry the dough out.

Lay the rectangle lengthways in front of you and spread the butter mixture in a thin layer to about 2 cm from the edge, then sprinkle the cherries and pistachios at regular intervals on top, so that each bite will contain a bit of everything. Brush the edges of the dough with some water.

Lift the long edge of the dough closest to you and start rolling it up away from you, keeping it nice and tight without stretching the dough, until you end up with a sausage about 15 inches long. If it comes out a little longer, push it in from both ends to condense it a little; if it comes out shorter, then use your hands to roll it out a little until it reaches 15 inches. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.

Trim about ¾ in/2 cm off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. At this stage you can chill the dough for ½ hour to firm the filling. Now use the knife to gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam. You are essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lift the left half over the right, to create a simple, two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Carefully lift the cake into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours. The cake will rise by 10 to 20 percent. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C, making sure you allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove the tea towel then brush the babka with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the top. Place the cake on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If not ready, return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. My babka took 45 minutes to cook.
Remove the babka from the oven and pour over the sugar syrup. Allow to cool slightly before devouring.

Sugar syrup
Place all the ingredients in a small pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, skim off any foam that comes to the top and remove from the heat. If you are making a larger quantity (a litre or more), bring to the boil, skim and cook for 3–4 minutes, then allow to cool. You can make this syrup in advance — just keep it in a jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I have a few slices of the babka tucked away in the freezer. The babka is absolutely delicious still warm from the oven but in the end I think I prefer the look of the buns.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian

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raspberry coconut and lime bundt cake

5 Apr 2021

 

I know I'm posting a bit later than normal but I've only just returned from my Easter break. I iced this raspberry coconut and lime cake just a little while ago and it's still setting as I type this.

This is the second time I've made this cake which was adapted from a Julia Busuttil Nishimura recipe. The first time I made the cake was for a work birthday morning tea; it was a last minute thing and there was no time to photograph the cake. It was well received so I knew eventually I'd remake it to photograph for the blog.
Raspberry and lime are a perfect pairing and whilst I'm not a huge coconut fan, apparently my work mates are!

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Raspberry coconut and lime bundt cake adapted from a Julia Busuttil Nishimura recipe

Ingredients 
165g self raising flour 
a pinch of salt
50g desiccated coconut
135g unsalted butter, softened
135g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbs grated lime zest
2 tbs lime juice
½ cup plain Greek yoghurt 
125g raspberries, fresh or frozen
 
Lime yoghurt glaze 
35g plain yoghurt
75g icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp lime zest and juice, if needed
Shredded coconut, to serve 
 
Method
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and flour a small bundt pan and place in the fridge until needed.
 
Sift the flour into a small bowl with the salt then stir through the coconut. Set to one side. Cream the butter, sugar and zest with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy (around 3 minutes). Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour mixture one third at a time alternating with the lime juice and the yoghurt. Gently fold in the raspberries and spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer is clean when inserted or the top of the cake bounces back when pressed.
 
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before glazing.
Glaze
Make the glaze by combining the yoghurt in a small bowl with the icing sugar and lime zest. The glaze should be pouring consistency, but not too thick. Add in a little lime juice if needed. If it is too thin, add some more icing sugar. Pour the glaze over the cake and allow it to drip down the sides. Scatter with some shredded coconut and serve with extra raspberries, if desired. The glaze will be colourless once it sets.
I hope you all had a peaceful Easter break.
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 
 
Bye for now, 
 
Jillian
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tangzhong hot cross buns

23 Mar 2021

It wouldn't be Easter if I didn't make a batch of hot cross buns. Unfortunately Easter and Passover usually coincide, so this year I made my hot cross buns a little earlier than usual so I wouldn't miss out.

Do you Tangzhong, where you make a roux from a small amount of flour from the recipe mixed with water or milk which when cooled is added to the dough ingredientsThe Tangzhong method is supposed to make a fluffier longer lasting bun and who wouldn't want that. I used the hot cross bun recipe from the Flour and Stone cookbook as my base and I did all the maths for you and the adjusted recipe is below.
It does seem like a lot of steps to make these hot cross buns, but the soaking of the fruit and the glaze can be made some time ahead and the dough can prove overnight in the fridge. If you don't want to Tangzhong the recipe just add 25g of flour to the bun dough recipe and don't forget to increase the milk by about 120 mls. Activating the yeast is an additional step and one I only use when making a sweet dough as sugar can retard activation of the yeast. You can always leave out this step if you like but I think it results in a better rise.
Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 regular size buns. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns adapted from a Nadine Ingram recipe from The Flour and Stone Cookbook.
Fruit Mix
60g each sultanas, raisins and currants
200mls boiling water
1 Earl Grey tea bag
50g dried apricots, chopped
1 tsp finely grated orange rind

Tangzhong
25g flour
125ml milk

Yeast Mixture
10 g dried yeast
1 tsp flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tbl water

Bun Dough
375g bread flour
¾ tsp fine salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp each ground nutmeg, ground allspice and ground cloves
60g softened unsalted butter
60g soft brown sugar
1 egg
60 mls milk 

Crossing Mixture
50g plain flour
50 mls water
1 tbs sunflower oil
¼ tsp ground nutmeg 

Glaze
100g caster sugar
100mls water
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
50 mls orange juice

To serve - butter 

Fruit soak
Place the sultanas, raisins and currants, tea bag and 200mls boiling water in a bowl. Set aside for an hour or until fruit is plump. Remove the tea bag and drain fruit well, discarding the liquid. Pat the fruit dry with a paper towel. Add the dried apricots and 1 tsp orange zest and set aside until needed.

Tangzhong
Whisk the flour and milk together in a small pan over medium heat. Cook, whisking at all times, until the mixture thickens. Once it has thickened, scrape the roux into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Allow the roux to cool to room temperature.

Yeast Mixture
While the roux is cooling, activate the yeast. In a small bowl, combine the yeast with 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar and sufficient water to make a paste. Cover and set to one side for about 10 minutes until the mixture froths up, then continue on with the rest of the recipe.

Dough
Sift the flour, salt and spices into the bowl containing the tangzhong mixture. Add the yeast mixture, butter, sugar and egg then mix together on a low speed adding enough milk to form a sticky dough. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium and mix for 7 minutes. The dough will have pulled away from the side of the bowl forming a ball. Add the fruit mixture and continue to mix until incorporated. The dough will be quite sticky at this point. Place the dough into a large lightly greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Line a large tray with baking paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead until no longer sticky. Divide into 12 pieces. Use your hand to roll each piece on the work surface to form a round bun. Place buns close together, cover with a tea towel and allow to prove until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to one hour. While the buns are proving, make the crossing mixture.
Crossing mixture
Preheat the oven to 200°C, conventional.Place all the ingredients for the crossing mix in a bowl and whisk to form an elastic batter. If it’s too thick, add a little extra water. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle. Once the buns have risen, pipe a cross on the top of each bun. Place the tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the buns have risen a little. Reduce the temperature to 190°C rotate the tray and bake for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until dark golden brown.

Glaze
While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze. Combine the sugar, water, orange rind and the juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until syrupy. Remove the buns from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Brush hot cross buns with the glaze and cool a little, then slide the baking paper and buns onto a wire rack. Serve warm with butter.

I shared half the batch with my neighours, froze the rest but kept one aside to see if the Tangzhong technique would stop the bun going stale. I'm a bit sad to report the day old bun was still stale but nothing that couldn't be rectified by toasting the bun then slathering it with butter. 
 
Have a Happy Easter and I'll see you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now,
 
Jillian
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passover apple and blackberry crumble tart - passover week 2021

Welcome to Day 2 of Passover Week 2021. On my hunt for a Passover pastry recipe I found this Aran Goyoaga recipe for a vegan gluten free apple and blackberry crumble tart. The recipe looked promising and I thought I could easily adapt it for Passover.

The original recipe used coconut oil instead of butter so you could always swap the butter for oil to make this tart gluten free, passover friendly, vegan and pareve.
The tart came out so well I've used the pastry recipe in another Passover bake coming up later in the week. Honestly this tart tastes so good you wouldn't know it was made for Passover.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm tart. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Passover apple and blackberry crumble  tart – makes one 17 cm tart
Pastry
½ cup superfine matzo meal
½ cup almond meal
2 tbs tapioca or potato flour
¼ cup caster sugar
Pinch salt
75g unsalted butter, cubed
1 tbs cold water
¼ flaked almonds

Filling
100g blackberries, fresh or frozen
2 small apples — peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 tsp grated lemon rind
30 ms lemon juice
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs tapioca or potato flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
Grease the base and sides of a 17cm springform tin. In the bowl of a food processor place the matzo meal, almond meal, tapioca flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubed butter and process until you have dough that resembles coarse sand. Add a tbs of cold water and process until a dough starts to form around the blade. 

Take approximately two-thirds of the dough and press it into the springform pan bringing it up about 2 cm up the edge. Mix the flaked almonds into the remaining dough to make the crumble topping. Refrigerate both the tart crust and the crumble topping while preparing the filling.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, conventional. In a large bowl, toss together the blackberries, sliced apples, lemon rind and juice, sugar, tapioca or potato flour and cinnamon. If the filling is very wet, add 1 more tablespoon of the potato flour. Let the filling rest for about 20 minutes then add the fruit filling and liquid to the tart shell and sprinkle with the crumble topping.
Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly, 55 minutes to one hour. Allow the tart to cool before slicing or the pastry will crumble. Lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

See you all again tomorrow with another Passover bake.

Bye for now, 

Jillian

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passover white chocolate and almond cake - passover week 2021

22 Mar 2021

Welcome to Day 5 of Passover Week. For the last bake for Passover Week 2021, I decided to go a bit fancy and busted out my piping bag. Originally I made a Torta Caprese al Limone to share with you but I found it a bit lacklustre. Instead I decided to rework my Mum's almond cake recipe swapping the dark chocolate for white chocolate and toasted blanched almonds for the natural almonds.

It turned out really well and now I don't know which version I prefer more! This cake is best made the day before serving as it gives the flavours time to intensify. You could just serve the cake with lashings of whipped cream but I thought some lemon curd would be a nice addition. I've included an easy, made in the microwave lemon curd recipe for you.
Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17 cm cake. if you'd like to make a 23cm cake then double all the ingredients and you may have to add another 10 minutes to the bake time. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Passover white chocolate almond cake 
100 gm softened unsalted butter
100 gm caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 small lemon, rind grated
4 large eggs, separated
60 gm ground toasted blanched almonds
75 gm white chocolate, grated
40 gm medium matzo meal
¼ cup lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 extra tablespoon caster sugar
 
To serve
300 ml whipped cream
White chocolate curls
Candied lemon rind
Lemon curd
a few mint leaves
 
Lemon curd
1 egg
50g caster sugar
80mls fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
Pinch salt
45 g unsalted butter, chopped at room temperature 
 
Cake 
Grease and line a 17 cm spring form tin with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
 
In a medium size bowl; cream the butter, the caster sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon rind until light and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks in one at a time until thoroughly mixed. Add the ground almonds, the grated chocolate, the breadcrumbs and lemon juice in 3 batches, mixing thoroughly.
In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Add the extra tablespoon of caster sugar and beat until the sugar dissolves and then gently fold the egg whites through the cake batter.
 
Gently spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 180°C/350°F or until the cake tests cooked and the edges pull away from the sides of the tin.
 
Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the tin. Serve with lashings of whipped cream, lemon curd and chocolate curls.
Microwave lemon curd adapted from a Taste Magazine recipe
Whisk the egg, sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind and salt in a large microwave-safe glass bowl until combined. Cook on low in the microwave for 3-4 minutes stirring every minute, or until a smooth, thick curd forms.
 
Sieve the curd to remove any eggy bits and lemon rind. Set aside to cool a little before stirring in the unsalted butter. Allow the curd to cool completely before storing in the fridge in an airtight container.
That's the last bake for Passover week 2021 and I hope you enjoyed my recipes.
 
I'll see you all again next week with some Easter baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now, 
 
Jillian
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