Saturday, December 19, 2015

Making Frangipane Mince Pies With a Thermomix TM5

Frangipane Mince Pie Cut in Half

The Thermomix is new in my kitchen and an early Christmas present from hubby. I love kitchen gadgets and whilst I don't believe for one moment they make you a better cook, for me they're fun.
I'm not going to say it will replace all my other stuff or that it's going to save me money (I wish), how can I make sweeping statements when I've only used it for a few weeks.

I went for this brand because they have a history of making a well engineered product, are the best on the market and I didn't want to have buyers regret. There are no sharp edges on the jug, the blades are fearsome, there is an integrated digital scale, it whizzes at unbelievable speeds, it will even steam and every piece can be washed either by hand or will go into the dishwasher but not the main part obviously, and the product is totally awesome (if I'm allowed to say that).

This new model is digital and has a recipe chip on the side with ingredients and method and it's extremely user friendly.

There's lots of online help with forums where people are passionate, freely give their time and expertise to answer questions and importantly the Thermie community are friendly too.

When the machine arrived I hoped and longed that we would bond and I'm pleased to say that it's a little helper and I'm in awe of this magnificent piece of kitchen equipment, little wonder it's used in professional kitchens.

Sadly the cost is eye watering........

Thermomix TM5

I went a little off piste and didn't use the Thermomix recipe on the recipe chip and used a favourite pastry recipe for the mince pies. To make the pies all you have to do is weigh in the ingredients, yes it's got built in digital scales which I think is very cool.

The dough takes 25 seconds at Speed 4........

Pastry Dough

Nothing wrong with this pastry, although it does take a while to understand how you can throw everything in and hey presto pastry!

Block of Sweet Pastry

I was really happy with my block of pastry and all I had to do was wrap it in cling wrap and pop it into the fridge for half an hour.

The pastry rolled out a dream.....

Pastry being rolled out for mince pies

Now for the frangipane......

Ingredients in the TM5 jug

Weigh in all the ingredients, butter, egg, ground almonds, flour and caster sugar. 1 minute/Speed 3

Frangipane being made in a Thermomix TM5

A few seconds later frangipane!

Uncooked Frangipane Mince Pies

Pastry, mincemeat and a dollop of frangipane topped with a few flaked almonds.

Cooked mince pies
The baked mince pies
Conventional Recipe

Makes: approx 18

Pastry
175g plain flour
75g butter, cut into cubes
25g icing sugar
1 large egg, beaten

Frangipane
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
100g ground almonds
1 level tbsp plain flour
1⁄2 tsp almond extract, or to taste

Filling and Topping
Jar mincemeat, homemade is best!
a few flaked almonds

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
2. Add the flour, butter and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor, whiz until the mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Knead lightly, Wrap in clingwrap and chill for approximately 30 minutes.
3. Now make the frangipane, place the butter and sugar into the food processor and blend until soft. Add the eggs and whiz again. Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract and mix briefly.
4. Roll the pastry out thinly preferably on a silicone mat and cut out 18 x 6.5cm circles. Now line the tins with the pastry rounds. Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry circle and top with the frangipane mixture.  Sprinkle over a few flaked.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tins from the oven and cool for a while on a wire rack.

Note: This is a private purchase and there isn't any brand involvement.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Handmade Pistachio Panettone Cake from Sicily - Panbacco (Review)

Presentation Box for Pistachio Panettone Cake
The Panettone Cake is presented in beautiful packaging
Would I like to try an artisan pistachio panettone cake filled with glorious pistachio cream? You bet I would.......

I love panettone but have never strayed far from the usual fruit version. The cake is smothered in a layer of the most rich, delicious white chocolate and sprinkled with the finest pistachio's. Oh my goodness this is definitely a thing of beauty and a real talking point.

Handmade Pistachio Panettone Cake from Sicily

There is a layer of pistachio cream within the soft textured dessert cake and the aroma from the cake is heavenly.

A slice of Pistachio Panettone Cake

If Christmas cake is too rich or Christmas pudding too heavy, or you would like a break from tradition, this huge 900g cake will serve a crowd.

For me, my ultimate foodie heaven is mid-morning coffee and a slice of panettone - simply delicious!

About the producer and product:
Made by artisan Claudio Luca this is a quality product of Artigiano in Fiera, the world's largest fair of professionally handmade products.

Available from: Artimondo
Price: £12.34 plus p&p

Disclaimer: We were sent the product for review.


Sunday, December 06, 2015

Bread Maker Recipe

Bread Maker Crusty Loaf
Crusty bread fresh from the oven
I know bread makers are a bit 'Marmite' but I wouldn't be without mine and it doesn't matter whether the bread is being made from start to finish or it is simply being used to make dough, the results are always foolproof.  It's easy peasy adding a load of ingredients into the pan, set the menu, leave it for a couple of hours knowing that it's working for you and return to a pan of glorious dough that only needs shaping, proving and baking. It always works for me.......

This crusty bread has a light crumb and texture, it is ideal for sandwiches, eat with cheese or place on the griddle pan.

Bread Maker Crusty Loaf

The recipe can be made in a food mixer or by hand but the amount of water may need adjusting. Also if using organic flour this can take more water.

To ensure a crusty loaf - place an old tray close to the base of the oven, preheat the oven, place the risen loaf on a tray on the middle shelf, pour cold water into the tray below and this will create steam. Close the oven door and voila a crusty loaf of bread.

Recipe:
1 tsp Easy Bake yeast
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350ml water

You will need: A large baking tray sprinkled with flour and semolina

1. Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order as outlined in your manufacturers instructions.
2. Set the dough setting.
3. When the machine has finished tip the dough from the pan carefully onto a floured baking tray.
4. Flour your fingers and gently shape the dough trying not to knock the air out, Flour the top of the dough and leave to prove uncovered until doubled in size. Sprinkle semolina over the bread and slash the dough several times with a sharp knife being careful not to deflate the dough.
5. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
7. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

You may like:
Tomato and Caramelised Onion Focaccia
Goat's Cheese and Rosemary Buns
Apple and Ginger Buns