Apple & Cinnamon Pancake Stacks

Ok, so I realise this recipe is a bit late considering I made these for Pancake Tuesday… but really, why not just make them anyway and have pancakes whenever you like?!

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Apple and cinnamon is a combination I love.  The pancakes are moist and just a little spicy, the apples just a little crunchy, and the maple sauce super sweet and syrupy.  It’s all together delicious!

Apple & Cinnamon Pancake Stacks

Serves 4 – Ready in 35 minutes

Apples in maple sauce:
    • 2 apples (whatever you’ve got – this is a good way to use up slightly wrinkly old ones! If you’re buying them especially, granny smiths are great for cooking)
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

Cinnamon Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk 
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

For the apples:

  1. Core and cube apples (you can peel if you like – I didn’t bother).
  2. Place butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup in a saucepan. Add apples.
  3. Cook over medium heat until apples are tender (around 5-6 minutes).  While this is cooking, start on the pancakes!

For the pancake:

  1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and form a well in the centre.
  2. Mix melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla and pour into the dry ingredients, whisking to combine.
  3. At this point, add more milk if needed to achieve the desired consistency. It should be a thick batter, but able to be easily ladled out.
  4. Grease and heat a frying pan.  Use a ladle to scoop out around 1/4 cup mixture at a time and drop into the pan, forming flat circles.  You should fit a few in the pan at a time. Turn each pancake once bubbles appear on the surface, then cook for a minute or two on the second side until browned evenly.
  5. Place cooked pancakes on a plate, covered with a clean tea towel, to keep warm while you cook the rest.

To assemble:

  1. Stack pancakes on serving plates.  Spoon over apples and sauce.
  2. Enjoy with a good cup of tea and some pancake-loving friends!

 

Simple Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins

IMG_3796Sometimes the quickest, easiest recipes are the best! These muffins are moist, come together quickly, and best of all can be eaten warm, straight from the oven!

To make perfect muffins every time, be sure not to over mix! You need to completely combine the wet and dry ingredients, but stop mixing at that point or else you’ll remove too much air, and your muffins will be dense and heavy.  We want light and fluffy here!

Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins

Yield: 18 muffins, or 36 mini muffins, or a mixture of sizes!

2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
65g butter,melted
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries (or another type of berry if you like!) Leave in the freezer until ready to use, they will bleed into the muffins if thawed.

  1. Sift flour. Combine flour and sugars in a large bowl, making a well in the centre.
  2. Mix the melted butter, milk and egg.
  3. Gently mix the dry and wet ingredients.
  4. Fold the white chocolate and raspberries into the batter until just combined.
  5. 3/4 fill holes in prepared muffin tin/s.
  6. Bake in a moderate oven for around 20-22 minutes, until browned lightly on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Classic Custard Tart

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I love custard tarts! They always remind me of holidays when I was little, because if ever we went to a bakery I’d get a custard tart or vanilla slice or nothing!

As it turns out, custard tarts are quite simple to make, and don’t need any special equipment – just a pie plate will do.  For this reason I think this recipe is a great choice if you’re not too familiar with making pies and tarts.  The pastry also couldn’t be simpler, so please don’t be intimidated!

Classic Custard Tart

(Adapted from The Essential Dessert Cookbook)

Pastry:

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/4 cup custard powder

125 g cold butter, chopped

1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

1 egg yolk (reserve the white for later if you like, why waste it!)

Custard:

4 eggs, plus the reserved white

2 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

 

  1. In a food processor (you can also do this by rubbing in the butter by hand if you don’t have one), process the flour, custard powder and butter. Mix in the sugar. Add a little water (a tablespoon or two will do) and mix until a soft dough forms.  Wrap and place the dough in the freezer for around 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 190ºC. Grease a 24cm pie plate.  Roll the cold pastry out between two sheets of baking paper to fit the pie plate, trimming any excess (you could use the excess to decorate the edge of your pie if you like).  Line pastry shell with baking paper and fill with raw rice, baking for 10 minutes (this is called blind baking). Remove the rice and paper and bake for 5 more minutes until the base is dry but not too brown. Leave pastry to cool while you make the custard.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 180ºC.
  4. For the custard, mix eggs, vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan and gradually add to the egg mixture, whisking (important, or else you’ll get lumpy custard!).  Strain custard through a sieve into the pastry case.
  5. Sprinkle the tart with nutmeg and place in the oven.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the centre of the tart is just set.
  6. Cool and cut into wedges to serve.

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An adventure in quilting hexagons: Part 4 – piecing

(If you’ve missed the previous posts on this quilt, click here to catch up!)  
Piecing the top is my favourite part of making a quilt! I love seeing the finished design gradually coming together. 
See how the half-hexagons are great at creating an illusion of full hexagons, without all the work?!
I’ve included some more photos at the end of this post showing progress shots of the piecing… notice how the half-hexagons are first joined in rows, then the rows are joined and so on, creating bigger and bigger pieces until the whole quilt top is assembled? This method is great as it minimises the amount of work you have to do with large pieces of fabric, which can be tedious and tricky on most home sewing machines.
Anyway that’s all for now… I’ve been to purchase the wadding, backing and binding fabrics, so hopefully I’ll be able to post on the finished project soon!

   
   

Almond & Raspberry Shortbread Slice 

Wow, where did January go?! My apologies for not managing a single post all month. Even though I’m on holidays from uni January was crazy busy for me, I spent two weeks on placement in beautiful Broome and then worked full time for the rest of the month! I’m looking forward to a bit of a break in February before the new uni year begins.
Yesterday’s unseasonally cold January weather called for but one thing: baking! January here in Australia is normally too hot to justify baking (except in emergencies, of course!) so even though yesterday was cold and miserable outside, I didn’t really mind!

  
This slice is a really simple bake. I can see it starring at a fancy tea party, yet being equally suited to the lunch box.
My favourite thing about it is that the raspberry layer is simply jam, so you could use whatever jam or fruit spread you have on hand in this slice! This might be a solution for the huge stockpile of homemade apricot jam in Mum’s cupboard…
Almond & Raspberry Shortbread Slice:

(adapted from Life Made Simple Bakes)
Ingredients:

180g unsalted butter, room temperature 

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/4 tsp almond essence

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2-3/4 cup raspberry or any other jam (I just used whatever was left in the jar!)

1/4 cup slivered almonds.
1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Line the base and sides of a 20-23 cm square cake tin with baking paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond essence and mix to combine.

3. Sift the flour and salt and add gradually to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed. Mix until it forms a soft dough that separates from the side of the bowl.

4. Reserve around 1/2 cup of the shortbread dough, wrap and place in the freezer while you assemble the rest of the slice.

5. Place the remaining dough in the lined tin and press down into an even layer.

6. Spread the jam on top of the shortbread layer, leaving a small border around the edges of the tin.

7. Crumble the reserved, cold dough over the jam layer along with the almonds.

8. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden on top.

9. Cool in the tin, then remove and slice. May be dusted with icing sugar to serve if desired.