Sorry guys, you knew this was coming – no links! I’ve had a (sort of) busy week this week. Had to go into work for a few extra days for training on the new nitrogen tanks that have arrived. I’ve also bought myself a new laptop (in a really bright blue – I love it!). And, of course, I had to see the new Minions movie. I’d recommend it!!
I’m going to keep this short and sweet, as I’ve just finished my penultimate night shift before my time off and I’m shattered.
So, I finished college on Friday – GET IN!!! How did I celebrate? By voluntarily painting the front gate. I know. I’m a bit odd like that. And I’m off until next Thursday (when I’ve got my one day induction), so I need stuff to do!!
More than one post for you this week, aren’t you guys lucky? Today (or rather, tonight), I tried my hand at making Italian Easter Bread. It was so easy to make and tasted amazing! And it’s covered in sprinkles! And, obviously, I had to make it, as it’s Easter tomorrow (even though I don’t really celebrate it, except for the eating of chocolate, because, you know… chocolate).
This recipe makes 6 loaves.
- 300ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
- 80g unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 tsp yeast
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 100g granulated sugar
- 550g bread flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
- Sprinkles (my Tesco is pretty useless and didn’t have normal sprinkles – but it has vanilla pods?? – so I used star-shaped sprinkles. Which I quite liked, because the colour came off them and they look like pearl sugar)
- 6 raw eggs, you can dye them if you want. I didn’t have enough time (I’m only home 2 days a week!)
Measure out the milk and butter in a jug and put in the microwave until the butter is completely melted. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, mix together the yeast, 2 eggs and sugar with a pinch of salt in a stand mixer. Add the milk/butter mix and half of the flour. Mix with the dough hook until combined. Gradually add more flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for a few more minutes, until elastic (my mixture was very sticky – which I’m not sure is what was supposed to happen but they turned out great anyway, woop!) Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with clingfilm. Let rise for about an hour and a half.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently deflate and ensure it has an even thickness. Cut into 12 pieces and roll each piece about 14 inches long and 1 inch thick. Take two lengths and twist together, pinching the ends to keep the together. Place onto baking sheets. Cover with more clingfilm and let rise for a further hour.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Mix an egg with 1 tsp of water and lightly coat the loaves. Sprinkle on the sprinkles and gently placed an egg (the dyed ones, if you’ve dyed them) in the middle of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes (or until the bread turned golden! My first batch should have probably been in for 15 minutes, that’s why they burnt. They still taste good, though!!). Let cool on a wire rack.
Another week gone by! This one seemed to drag as well, but I think that was mainly because we all knew that this week coming, we’re on holiday and we just wanted to be gone from college. Oh, well. At least the week is over. AND I’M GOING TO FLORENCE ON TUESDAY!! So, that means that I might not have much for you guys next week. Hopefully some pictures, though. And then, the week after that, back to college. But only for a month and a half and then I’m on placement!!
I’m definitely going to have to go back to France to buy some of these. They are so cute! I’ve never had them before so I’m not sure how they’re supposed to taste, but they taste good none the less! They’re about an inch big, if that. And, because I made too much mixture, I decided to use my financier tray and ramekin dishes as well, even though financiers are made with egg whites, whilst caneles are made with egg yolks.
I know they’re pale – they could have done with longer in the oven, but I didn’t know that until I took them out of their moulds. However, the ramekins went nice and brown all over and they were in for less time than the rest!
- 500ml milk
- 230g granulated sugar
- 150g plain flour
- 50g unsalted butter
- Vanilla pod
- 2 tbsp brown rum
- 2 egg yolks
In a pan, melt the butter and, once melted, pour in the milk and bring to the boil (be careful not to let it bubble over!). Once brought to the boil, pour into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and add them to the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Let cool.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and rum so that there are no lumps. Once the milk mixture has cooled, add the flour mixture in batches whilst stirring continuously.
Take your vanilla pod, cut down the length of it and scoop out the seeds, before putting it in your mixture. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take your mixture out of the fridge, remove the vanilla pod and bring to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180C. Butter your moulds. Stir the mixture to get rid of any lumps that may have formed overnight and pour your mixture into the moulds.
For the financiers, cook for 40 minutes; the ramekins took about an hour and the caneles themselves tool 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once taken out the oven, remove them from their moulds and let them cool completely (removing them from their moulds helps to harden the crusts).
I’ve been reading all of these pumpkin recipes and I’ve been desperate to make something with it. Unfortunately, over here in Scotland, Hallowe’en isn’t as huge a deal as it is in America, so pumpkins aren’t out yet. Also, I couldn’t find pumpkin puree anywhere. So I decided to improvise with butternut squash (I also found onion squash and harlequin squash, which I’d never heard of before, but stores seem to sell them and not pumpkins…). So, without further ado, butternut squash gingerbread!
I should have turned them halfway through because I keep forgetting that my oven doesn’t cook anything evenly. But oh well! Still tastes good. And I even had enough mixture left over to make mini ones!
Obviously, I didn’t cook the smaller ones as long as the bigger ones. Also, I kinda over-cooked the bigger ones (they could have done with maybe 5-10 minutes less, but they still taste nice).
- 600g granulated sugar
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 200ml applesauce
- 4 eggs
- 150ml water
- 450g butternut squash puree (or pumpkin puree. Or, you could do what I did and make the puree yourself – you’ll need two 1kg squashes – recipe below)
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 450g plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp baking powder
Since I couldn’t find pumpkin or butternut squash puree anywhere, I made my own. To do this, take two 1kg butternut squashes and chop them in half. Sprinkle the flesh with salt and put them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, flesh side down. With the oven set to 200C, roast the squash for 30-45 minutes, or until a knife goes in and out of the squash easily. Leave to cool for 30 minutes, before scooping out the insides and placing in a food processor. Blend for roughly 5 minutes until smooth. Use 450g of this for the gingerbread – the rest you can use for something else. 🙂
To make the gingerbread, heat the oven to 180C and grease or line two 9×5 loaf tins. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, applesauce and eggs. Add the water and mix until it’s well blended.
Add the pumpkin/butternut squash puree and all the spices. In a separate bowl. sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and baking powder. In batches, add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin/butternut squash mixture and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter between the two pans (leave about 1.5cm from the top of the tins. If you have any left over, you can put it in mini loaf pans and bake for 30 minutes). Bake the gingerbread for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely (if you can wait!). Enjoy!