21 Nov 2008

Back to day one...

I was looking over my little blog this morning, as you do when you're a newbie :), and noticed my very first post...awwwh! The chocolate and beetroot cake that started me on my blogging journey. I miss that cake. Anyway, I realised that I never actually got around to posting about it. Better late than never I guess!

I first came across this recipe during one of my many poorly days shlomped on the sofa (I'm a very sickly child, you see). Curled up with a lemsip in one hand and the remote in the other I started channel hopping, a Sky subscribers worst habit one might say. As I was flicking I paused on a show called How To Cook Yourself Thin, interesting, very interesting. Basically, the lovely ladies on this program take your favourite recipes and make them healthier, helping you lose weight without the horror of total food restriction. Phew! This episode took a basic chocolate cake and flipped it by omitting the butter and replacing it with beetroot! Beetroot, I thought, URGH! Now, I have nothing against beetroot, It's actually one of my more favoured of the root vegetables, but in a cake, ridiculous. How wrong I was. I was so intrigued by this delicious looking cake I nipped straight to the supermarket to get me some beets.




2.5 hours later I was reveling in the smell of this glorious cake. The beetroot not only gave a wonderful moistness to the sponge but also a delectably dark, velvety red tinge. The only problem I found was the frosting didn't keep its sheen for very long so I'd advise leaving the decorating till just before you're ready to serve. Although, a quick blast in the microwave sorts it right out. Perfect when pared with vanilla ice cream!!

You can find the recipe here Beetroot Chocolate Fudge Cake.

I'm my excitement at discovering vegetables other than carrots can taste amazing in confectionery, I dove straight into my next project, Spiced Pumpkin Brownies. When I told my Kris what I would be making he begged me to reconsider, I struck lucky with the beetroot cake apparently, it'll be a disaster......


He was right! :(

Still, it hasn't deterred me! Onwards and upwards, next on the list, courgette cake! Fingers crossed.

19 Nov 2008

Oh, it's a classic....

I remember as a child lemon meringue pie was one of my favorite deserts. I was obsessed with the crispy meringue, the sharp tang of the custard and the crumbly biscuit base. Then, for some reason, my mum decided to get a job and hang up her domestic housewife apron so sadly I said goodbye to freshly baked goods and in turn, my favorite pie :( Till now!

Pretty much every recipe I've come across for this wonderful tart has had a pastry crust, which in my eyes just doesn't cut the mustard...or lemon custard in this case! A lemon meringue pie just isn't the same without a high digestive crust. For some reason, they just don't look as pretty. But a few weeks ago I came across a previously overlooked recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Gorgeous Cakes. A lemon meringue pie with my biscuit crust! Hurrah!! I instantly grabbed my coat and bag and set off into town, a girl on a mission you might say! Several hours later, armed with many heavy bags, I burst through my front door ready to bake!

Now usually I don't have any luck with meringue, either they just don't rise or they fake it in the oven and flop into a crusty mess the second I remove them. Crafty buggers. But for the first time in my life, they turned out perfect, if I do say so myself!






Oh it was divine! Next time I think I'll invest in some small tartlet tins and make a few smaller versions. Only because my Kris told his, and my mum about this delightful pie and they both demanded I make one for each of them. Sigh, a girls work is never done!

Recipe taken from Annie Bells Gorgeous Cakes!

225g digestive biscuits crushed (I stuffed them in a plastic bag and attacked them with a rolling pin)
110g unsalted butter, melted
Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
1 400g tin of condensed milk
4 large eggs at room temperature, separated
110g caster sugar

Makes 1 20cm pie :)

Whizz the biscuits in a food processor till fine, or do as I did, beat them within an inch of their lives with a rolling pin! Put the crumbs in a bowl, add melted butter and toss until the crumbs are evenly coated. Press the mixture into a 20cm cake tin, 9cm deep with a removable base. Start with the sides then move onto the base, using your fingers to press the mixture down.

Preheat the oven to 170C fan/190C/gas mark 5. Before juicing the lemons roll them on the counted to release as much juice as possible. Combine the zest ad juice with the condensed milk in a bowl, whisking both till you have a smooth cream. Now, whisk in the egg yolks and pour onto the biscuit base. Whisk the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they rise to a froth. Sprinkle over the sugar 1tbsp at a time, whisking well with each addition until you have a stiff and glossy meringue. Normally more sugar would be used in a meringue, this is to account for the sweetness of the base. You don't want a sugar overload...or do you??

Mound the meringue mixture on top of the lemon cream, taking it to the edge of the tin. bake for around 30 minutes or until the surface of the meringue is lightly golden and crusty, and the custard set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. run a knife around the collar of the pie to loosen the sides then remove it completely.

The pie is best eaten on the day it is baked. If you do decided to chill it, as I did, remove it from the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.