Category Archives: Recipes & Baking

An ice cream baked in the oven?

Baked alaska web

There are many great baking partnerships that go hand in hand -Paul and Mary, bread and butter, jam and sponge … I have always considered ice cream and ovens to not be one of these! Yet the Baked Alaska is a classic dish adored by masses?? So, I set myself the challenge to create a Baked Alaska showstopper dessert.

I think there must be a tiny part of every baker attempting this dessert that holds their breath and squats by the oven ‘Great British Bake Off style’ watching for any sign of ice cream leaking through when baking. It just doesn’t seem logical that an ice cream can bake in the oven without melting, but if you follow these foolproof steps I assure you it does!

You can make the Baked Alaska as simple or complex as you like – make your own ice cream, use shop bought, bake you own sponge or use premade flan bases. If you want to make a real showstopper try mix and matching different flavoured ice cream and sponges too.

Ice cream moulds

I chose to make my own vanilla ice cream, using vanilla bean paste which gave the most delicious rich vanilla flavour and had gorgeous vanilla flecks running through it. I filled this in small pudding moulds (you can also use ramekins) and left to freeze.

Once solid, I carved out a dip in the centre (sneaking a cheeky teaspoon of the leftover ice cream for myself – obviously for tasting purposes!) I filled the hole with a teaspoon of raspberry jam, covered in cling film and popped back in the freezer. The beauty of this is that it can be made days in advance saving you time.

egg whites egg whites 2I then made the meringue using a super clean bowl (this is important in order to achieve the best meringue) and added a touch of cream of tartar to stiffen it up. Using a pastry cutter I cut out circles of sponge, the same size as my ice cream moulds and began to assemble.

Work quickly to assemble your pudding as you don’t want your ice cream to begin melting before being baked, I learn this the hard way with one of mine. I was really generous with the meringue coating and made sure that it was spread right to the bottom meeting the baking tray and covering the base, sealing in the ice cream.

I then baked the meringues, sitting with my nose pushed against the oven door and my fingers crossed. They came out …. perfect!

baked alaska out of oven

I went for the more rustic approach with my meringue but you could pipe it on for a most spectacular showstopper.

So there you have it. Ice cream and ovens can work together and boy did the results taste yummy!!!

Try this Baked Alaska recipe for yourself here.

Bread glorious bread

Who doesn’t love fresh homemade bread? The smell! The taste! The happy feeling when you enjoy the first warm bite smothered in creamy butter…. mmmm!! So imagine our delight when we discovered Lets Cook’s super-sized loaf tins.

‘Lets Cook’ handcraft a selection of non-stick bread tins which range in size from the standard 2lb tins increasing up to the super large 5lb loaf tins, ideal for big farmhouse and extra large loaves, similar to the kind that you would find in a traditional bakery.

Loaf tins

I simply couldn’t resist the thought of a jumbo loaf of bread so I decided to give the 3lb and 4lb loaf tins a try.

Finding a recipe big enough to suit these tins proved to be a bit of mission so a little bit of a trial and error experimenting might be necessary for you to find what works best for you and your oven.

That didn’t stop me though as I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck into channelling my inner Paul Hollywood. In hindsight, on a warm August afternoon, I may have been smarter using a dough hook than working up a sweat kneading by hand!! (Phew!)

When the dough was ready, I lightly oiled the tins, popped the dough inside and left to prove whilst I slipped away to put my feet up for a bit!

Bread dough bread prove

As the tins were deeper than a standard 2lb tin I had to jiggle around a few of the oven shelves to accommodate them, but once in, the loaves baked beautifully – crusty on the outside and delightfully soft on the inside.

I particularly loved the easy release of these tins, the loaf simply tipped out – no coaxing with various random kitchen utensils required. I was also impressed with sharp neat corners that these tins gave my loaves, forming the perfect slice of bread.

baked bread

These tins are so versatile you could even use them for baking pies or as a mould for terrines or ice creams. If you would like to purchase them, please follow the links below. They are currently on promotion until 30th September.

For the 3LB Traditional Farmhouse Loaf Tin, Heavy Duty Non-Stick, Hand made: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00CD0IUA2

For the Extra Large Loaf Tin 4lb+ capacity, Heavy Duty Ideal for Farmhouse & Large Loaves: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B009QZH3JQ

For the Super Large Loaf Tin 5lb+ capacity, Heavy Duty Ideal for Big Farmhouse & XL Large Loaves: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00I5MEIMQ

Five lucky winner can also get their hands on a set of these tins by entering this month’s BakingMad.com competition so what are you waiting for…enter now and get you bake on!

Great British Bickies

Crunchy, chewy, jammy or dunkers you can’t deny that us Brits love a good biscuit with a brew. With the Great British Bake Off contestants tackling biscuit creations in the big white tent this week, it got us thinking at BakingMad.com what our favourite bickies are?

Everyone has a childhood favourite and in my opinion you can’t beat a retro classic, in particular the Bourbon. Delicious chocolate biscuits sandwiching a rich and sweet chocolate filling….mmm, what more could you want?

So I whipped out my apron and set about creating my own handmade classics. The dough was really simple to make and used a blend of unrefined golden caster and light muscovado sugar to give a rich chocolate flavour and a soft chewy texture.

With the dough chilled in the fridge, I rolled and cut into rectangles and used a skewer to mark the traditional Bourbon design. A good tip is to keep the biscuits pushed together on the baking tray so that they remain uniformed when baked.

Bourbon dough

Back in the fridge they went to chill for a little longer. In my opinion the longer you chill them the better as when baked this will prevent the frustration of your biscuits spreading and mis-shaping.

These little gems only took 25 minutes to bake, which was just as well as the delicious smell coming from the oven was proving difficult to resist!

Bourbon cooling

I left them to cool whilst I made the filling. The inclusion of custard powder and unrefined golden icing sugar gave the chocolate filling an extra chocolate caramel twist. As delicious as this is, it is important not to get too carried away with the amount that you pipe on to your biscuits. Nobody wants a Bourbon with filling oozing out of the sides!

Due to the moisture from the filling, it is best to eat these biscuits within 2 days of baking, otherwise they may become too soft…not a problem with these ones though as they were soon gobbled up by the BakingMad.com team.

Join the Great British Bake Off contestants and have your own biscuit bake off with this yummy recipe:

http://www.bakingmad.com/bourbon-biscuits-recipe/

Happy Baking!

Finished biscuits

Great British Bake Off recipes 2014 – BakingMad.com

The Great British Bake Off is back!

We are all giddy with excitement in the BakingMad.com offices that The Great British Bake Off is back! Find out how to replicate the recipes from the 2014 Great British Bake Off series, from cakes to bread, from showstoppers to technical challenges – let BakingMad.com guide you through them all. We are also here for support to stop you getting that dreaded soggy bottom, so check out our ‘How to’ video section as well as our FAQ’s and tips for extra support.

Throughout GBBO, we will be adding recipes here for you to try. We are told that tonight’s episode is all about the Great British cake, including cherry cake and a Swiss roll. So here are a few of recipes to get you started.

http://www.bakingmad.com/cherry-cake-recipe/

http://www.bakingmad.com/cherry-cakes-recipe/

http://www.bakingmad.com/cherry-and-pistachio-cake-recipe/

http://www.bakingmad.com/jam-filled-swiss-roll-recipe/

http://www.bakingmad.com/chocolate-and-vanilla-swiss-roll-recipe/

Louise’s indulgent vanilla ice cream

Hi everyone!

As a relatively new member of the BakingMad.com team and being new to baking, I wanted to try my hand at making something simple but (hopefully) tasty. I chose to make our indulgent vanilla ice cream recipe, just a few steps and a few ingredients, how hard could it be? I don’t have an ice cream maker but I have noticed most ice cream recipes say that they are not necessary, you can just put the mixture in the freezer and stir it often until it freezes.

I began by splitting a vanilla pod and scraping out the seeds to add to the egg yolks. I then heated the milk, milk powder and a couple of teaspoons of sugar in a pan and added the empty vanilla pod. The next stage was to whisk the egg yolks, vanilla seeds and sugar together with an electric whisk, which I hadn’t noticed until I started making it and I didn’t have an electric whisk. It turns out this was quite a fundamental step in making the ice cream. I didn’t whisk the egg yolks and sugar for long or hard enough with my hand whisk so it didn’t mix well with the milk, meaning the custard never thickened and my ice cream remained quite sloppy, despite being left overnight in the freezer.

I was really disappointed and I ended up throwing the mixture away. I didn’t want to let it beat me though and I did still have all of the ingredients to make more so I bought an electric mixer and tried again, this time with much more successful results. The egg and sugar mixture became a lot paler this time and thicker.

Getting it right the second time made the sense of achievement that much greater and more than made up for failing at the first attempt, especially when I had lots of positive feedback about how it tasted! The main thing I have learnt as a novice baker is to always read the recipe to make sure I have everything and to follow the recipe exactly. It sounds simple but an important lesson nonetheless!

How to make Salted Caramel Ring Doughnuts

Some people think making doughnuts is too difficult, but our simple four step ‘how to’ will show you how!

 

You will need for these for the doughnuts:

500g self raising flour (we recommend Allinson)

1 tsp baking powder

90g golden caster sugar (we recommend Billington’s)

2 medium free range eggs

2 tbsp sunflower oil

200ml whole milk

 

You will need these for the topping:

110g Dark Muscovado sugar (we recommend Billington’s)

110g salted butter

1/2 tsp sea salt

175ml double cream

plus sea salt to decorate

 

1. To make the caramel sauce: Place the sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has melted then add the cream and stir through. Bring this to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes until thick. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

2. Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Beat together the eggs, oil and milk then add to the dry ingredients. Mix together until a smooth dough forms.

3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1cm thickness. Cut circles out of the dough using a floured cutter, then use a smaller cutter to cut out the centres.

4. In a deep saucepan heat some vegetable oil to about 170°C then fry the doughnuts 2-3 at a time by carefully placing in the oil for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown on the bottom. Then turn them over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden in colour and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper. Finish the doughnuts by pouring over the caramel sauce and sprinkle over some flakes a sea salt.

These beauties are absolutely delicious warm, or you can keep them in an airtight container and eat within 1-2 days.

Enjoy!

 

Sam’s Sourdough Loaf

Following a recent move to my new home, I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to begin a new sourdough starter. Using the BakingMad.com starter recipe, I filled a large 1litre kilner jar with 70g flour and 70ml water, giving it a good whisk together with a mini whisk until all the lumps of flour had been dispersed. I left the sourdough in pride position in my warm kitchen and set my phone as a reminder to feed again the same time next day.

The following day I repeated the process, and perhaps due to the extreme warm weather, the starter was bubbling and increasing in size in no time. I found that due to the sealed lid on my kilner jar I felt the need to open it and let out some of the air pressure when I passed by it in the kitchen, as I had heard tales of monstrous sourdough starters that had built up excess C02 pressure and burst open!

By day 3 of feeding my sourdough it had begun to develop a rather unsavoury smell, which whilst perfectly normal for a starter, does make you want to reach for the air freshener! I took it as a sign that the starter was doing its sweet merry little thing and bubbles continue to produce following each feed.

Day 4/5 I noticed that the sourdough had appeared to separate with a liquid layer on the top. Some sources suggest that you pour away this top liquid and others say to mix back in with the starter. I must say that I tried both methods and both seemed to keep my sourdough starter ticking away nicely.

By day 6 the kilner jar was beginning to fill up near the top – in hindsight I think I probably needed a bigger jar than expected (perhaps a 1.5/2 litre). There was an unfortunate incident on this day when the starter decided to make an escape from the jar and run all over my new kitchen surfaces! That was the day the starter was nicknamed by the family as ‘The Beast’.

Day 7 and I couldn’t wait any longer to bake my first sourdough loaf . Before baking, I would recommend that you have a whole day spare, as unlike a standard loaf, sourdough takes an age to prove – but it is totally worth the wait believe me!

Over 6 hours later the dough was ready to be baked, so I scored the top with a knife and baked in two batches in the oven. Although the loaves were only small on this occasion, they certainly made up for it in flavour and the second loaf was given away to family members as a dinner gift.

I fed the starter again the next day to top it up a little and have stored it in the fridge now, with a view to feeding it once a week. I plan to bake another loaf next weekend before experimenting with other sourdough style recipes.

Whilst the sourdough starter can seem a bit high maintenance to begin with, it’s certainly worth the wait so give it a try!

Click here for our sourdough starter recipe

Click here for our Sourdough bread recipe


 

 

Make the most of Molasses

Molasses is a dark brown type of sugar made from sugar cane. It has a deep, strong flavour is attained through it’s high content of natural cane molasses.

Molasses is perfect to use in marinadeschutneys and pickles along with rich fruit cakesmincemeat and gingerbread. It adds a distinct deep and rich flavour to your baking that no other ingredient can match.

We recommend using unrefined natural cane molasses such as Billington’s. Unrefined sugar cane retains a natural locked in flavour and colour which refined brown sugar loses in the refining process. You can find Billington’s molasses in all major supermarkets.

Why not try the following recipes which include Molasses sugar and discover the incredible flavour for yourself?

Molasses is a great ingredient in sticky sauces and marinades.

Discover the depth it can add to your fruit cakes.

If you’d like any more tips and advice on using molasses simply leave your question below!

Happy Baking!

How to make No-Churn Pistachio Ice Cream

Have you ever wanted to make ice cream but thought it might be too difficult or take too much time? Well here’s a top ‘how to’ on making the most straightforward and delicious ice cream ever! You don’t even need an ice cream maker and you can make any flavour variation you like. Here is our no-churn pistachio ice cream in four easy steps.

You will need:

  • 397ml can condensed milk
  • 600ml double cream
  • 80g shelled pistachio nuts

1) Place 40g of the pistachio nuts into a blender or food processor and blend until fine and roughly chop the remaining pistachio nuts.

2) Pour the condensed milk and double cream with the finely ground pistachio nuts into a large bowl and whisk until thick and quite stiff.

3) Fold in the chopped pistachio nuts, then pour into a freezer proof container and cover.

4) Place in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight.

And there you have it! Delicious no-churn ice cream.

 

Why not try out some other flavour combinations:

For vanilla flavoured ice cream add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

For coffee flavoured ice cream add 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

For strawberry flavoured ice cream add 150ml strawberry purée

 

Or check out all our other ice cream recipes!

 

How to make Crystallised Rose Petals

Hi everyone,

Have you ever seen beautiful cakes and cupcakes decorated with delicate rose petals and wondered how it’s done? Well you can make your own crystallised rose petals yourself very easily. Just follow our step-by-step guide!

You will need:

  • 30 Rose Petals
  • 1 Egg White from a medium egg
  • Caster Sugar
  • Paintbrush
  • Teaspoon

1. Carefully remove the petals from the roses, lightly whisk the egg white and spoon the sugar into a shallow bowl.

2. Hold the base of a petal using the tip of your thumb and fore finger and paint both sides with the egg white, ensuring you cover the whole petal.

3. Spoon the sugar all over the petal, shaking off any excess

4. Place the petals on baking parchment and leave to dry for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible. The crystallised petals can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

And there you have it, pretty crystallised rose petals for decorating cakes and cupcakes. Why not try them out on this delicious Chocolate Cake with Rose Petals, or alternatively to top these delicate Rose Water Cupcakes.

Enjoy!