The Great British Bake Off- Lemon and Coconut Traybake

I’m sorry my blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground recently.  I have been so busy with my day job as a teaching assistant that I haven’t had the time to devote to baking. I am looking forward to some Hallowe’en baking coming up in the next few weeks, though.

Despite being very busy I have had time to bake but not on my usual scale.  I have enjoyed trying out some of the yummy bakes in the latest Great British Bake Off- How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers book.  It has been a difficult choice knowing what to choose as there is so much to choose from!

However, 2 weeks ago on Sunday I was looking for an idea for our Sunday lunch pud which I always make. I insist on a proper Sunday lunch if we are all together as a family, whether we have visitors or not.  I am trying and I mean trying to lose weight (and failing miserably at the moment) but I always think it’s not Sunday lunch without a pud to finish.

I had woken up that morning with a throbbing headache as I’d been out the night before to a Race Night in our village. I had had far too much red wine and my hubby had poured me a G&T which slipped down very nicely before we toddled off down to our local village hall! So, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and even two huge coffees and some toast didn’t give me much energy!

I had to get lunch sorted out even though I wanted to put my feet up!  What could I make to follow my roast chicken?  I saw the recipe for the Lemon and Coconut Traybake and thought I HAVE to bake that. Anything with lemon and with coconut in is a surefire hit with me, so this would be doubly delicious.

Upon looking at the ingredients I found immediately that it needed Greek yoghurt both for the cake and in the icing. I didn’t have any in my fridge, I did have some Mullerlight ones (cherry flavour ones, though and I don’t think they would have worked somehow). Usually on a Sunday morning my hubby goes to our local Morrisons to get the papers and any bits and pieces we’ve run out of, so the Greek yoghurt had to go on the list.  His reaction was “Well, we’ve already got some in the fridge, why can’t you use that?”  Er.. no…

Luckily I had the other ingredients in my baking cupboard so although I had to wait until my hubby got back from Morrisons with the Greek yoghurt, I was so glad I could get on with baking this mouthwatering traybake.

The traybake was simple to make.  I think it was versatile as a pudding, ideal served as slices at a coffee morning or even great to slip a slice in a lunchbox.  The recipe made 16 massive rectangular slices and I found that once I had one, I could feel like scoffing another.. and another… and another…

Here’s how the luscious traybake was made:
 First, lemon zest, flour and dessiccated coconut was put into a bowl.  I then put eggs into another bowl and whisked them until they became frothy, then adding sugar to the eggs.

The flour mixture was gently folded in, bit by bit into the egg mixture.  Finally I mixed the yoghurt in with some bicarbonate of soda along with some lemon juice.

I used a large traybake rectangular Silverwood tin I bought a few years back in a local kitchen shop.  It gets used a lot for traybakes and the mixture fitted in perfectly.  It baked in the oven for about 30-35 minutes.

Thankfully, the actual baking session was uneventful. I was trying like mad to sort a pile of washing and ironing out while the traybake was baking though, so I was constantly clock watching.

When it came out of the oven, I mixed up some caster sugar and some more lemon juice to make a syrup like you do when you make lemon drizzle cake.  I pricked the sponge with a cocktail stick so the lemon syrup soaked into the sponge and then let it cool down.

As it was cooling down I made up the coconut frosting which was simply the remains of the Greek yoghurt, icing sugar and some dessiccated coconut mixed up. It reminded me of a snow scene, as I spread it on top of the cooled traybake.  I had to be careful to make sure it was completely cool before cutting the cake up though.

My family had mixed reactions to the traybake.  Coconut isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and half of us liked it, the other half weren’t as keen and ended up eating a Morrison’s trifle which my hubby had bought that morning.   I will definitely make it again though, as it was so moreish. It just melted in the mouth, the sponge was so light and the lemon and coconut worked so well together, a great hit for me!

Lemon Coconut Traybake from the Great British Bake Off Showstoppers book.

Happy Baking.
Love Sam xx

The Yorkshire Bake Off Challenge #3: Treacle Tart

So, here it is!  The next bake in the Yorkshire Bake Off online bake off challenge is:
Mary Berry’s Treacle Tart (which is featured in the latest Showstoppers book on pages 186-7)
You can also find it on the BBC website following the link here: 
I chose the treacle tart as several of my friends on Twitter had suggested it as well as me asking my hubby what I should go for next.  He loves treacle tart and seeing as I’ve only ever baked it once (and burned it) it will be a huge challenge for me!  I’m surprised our jaws weren’t permanently wired together after eating it!
If you would like to take part, the closing date is at Midnight on Sunday 28th October 2012.
Send your photos to me via Twitter (@YorkshireBakery) or via email to sam.smartcookies@btinternet.com.       
Please remember THIS IS JUST FOR FUN!  Mary’s tart involved woven interlocking lattice patterns on top, you don’t have to do this!  Decorate your tart in the way you want, be as creative as you wish!
Once again, my lovely hubby Doug will be the judge, though he wishes he could actually sample your bakes!
Any questions, please feel free to ask.
Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx

The Yorkshire Bake Off #2: Sticky Toffee Puddings

Recipe Challenge number two for the Yorkshire Bake Off Challenge baking recipes from this series of the Great British Bake Off and from the How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers book was the Mini Sticky Toffee Puddings as made by Brendan in the “bloodbath” episode a couple of weeks back.

I genuinely thought that Sticky Toffee pudding would be popular with bakers wanting to have a go at making it for a Sunday lunch pudding on an Autumnal day but would be proved wrong. Not one single entry was to be sent in.  I was so surprised as the online bake off is not meant to be a serious competition like the GBBO, it is meant to be fun and baking just for the sake of it. Although I bake cakes, biscuits and cookies professionally and make them well, the same could not be said of my bread, pies, tarts or patisserie!

So, not to be defeated, I still baked the Sticky Toffee Puddings for our family Sunday lunch and decided to write a blog post about them.  I must admit I was feeling incredibly nervous as I have only ever baked Sticky Toffee Pudding as a big sponge traybake affair, not as dainty individual puddings.  At least I could try out my Silverwood moulds which had been in my baking tray drawer for 2 years completely unused.

The recipe which Brendan baked on the show is also on the BBC Good Food website http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sticky_toffee_pudding_23865

I followed the nearly identical recipe as shown in the Showstoppers book, as I couldn’t be bothered to print off the recipe.  The recipe quantities differ slightly though.

First, I greased the Silverwood moulds, sadly the pack only had 4 of them and the recipe made 8! I had to make up the difference by using a couple of ceramic ramekins which usually end up having olives in them at dinner parties, not puddings!  This wasn’t a problem though, even though the ramekins ended up causing me to only make 6 puds, not 8.  This fitted in well with our family though.

Once this was done I started on preparing the Medjool dates, by destoning and chopping them into small chunks. They were then soaked in boiling water containing bicarbonate of soda. I left them to cool down, then continued with the sponge part of the puddings.  I creamed butter and dark brown muscovado sugar together, then added an egg, followed by flour and baking powder.  The mixture was poured into the tins, to about  two thirds of the way up the dish and was baked in the oven for about 20 minutes.

I don’t know why this is but I find whenever I have to start baking, there is always a distraction or a disturbance!  I got sidetracked to go and hang some washing out and as I did that I forgot to set the timer while the puddings were in the oven!  When I came back inside, I couldn’t for the life of me remember when I had put the puddings in!  Luckily, with trial and error they were ok and sprang back when I touched the surface of them!

As the sponges were cooling on a rack before turning out, I set to making the toffee sauce.  I noticed that Brendan had put two lovely additions into the sauce- a tablespoon of dark rum and two tablespoonfuls of syrup from a jar of stem ginger. I had bought a small bottle of rum for this pudding which I noticed my hubby eyeing up as he was looking at the spirits bottles on the tray!  I said “Hands Off!”, last time, he polished off my Christmas Cake brandy so I had to go out and buy more.  I was delighted about the ginger syrup, I love stem ginger and buy it in for making my stem ginger cookies for my customers.  This recipe didn’t have the actual ginger in it, but I bet instead of dates you could bake stem ginger chunks into the sponge instead.

To make the sauce, I melted some butter in a saucepan, whisked dark brown muscovado sugar into the mixture and added some double cream, the rum and the ginger syrup. It bubbled away gently until it was ready to serve.

We were absolutely over the moon with the delicious puddings. The taste of the rum and ginger was subtle and not at all overpowering and the sponges turned out of the moulds easily and carefully.  The sauce was the right consistency and went perfectly with some vanilla ice cream.  Everyone polished off their pudding, except for my son who went off to the loo halfway through the meal!  While he was in the toilet our black labrador came to the table, jumped up and grabbed at the pudding!  It was quickly taken away and he got into trouble, but it was lovely to know that everyone enjoyed it!
Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx

The Yorkshire Bake Off- American Key Lime Pie (Your Bakes)

Hi there and welcome to the very first Yorkshire Bake Off!  It is lovely that my Twitter friends in particular have given it lots of support and I hope that you will enjoy joining in in the future.  All you need is a copy of the latest Great British Bake Off book “How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers” but I will try to even out the bakes so there are recipes online on the BBC Website and also to choose a wide cross section of things that appeal to everyone.
I chose American Lime Pie as the first Bake Off recipe as Ryan created this gorgeous dessert bake which had impressed both Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. I wanted to find out exactly what was so special about it and as I had never attempted a Key Lime Pie before I thought, why not have a go?
This week we have three entries and have been judged by Doug, my long suffering husband and fellow lover of Key Lime Pie. As I type he has just finished off the last slice of the pie I made on Sunday and was more than happy to offer his expertise (and pretend to do a Paul Hollywood at the same time without all the harsh criticism!)
So here goes:
Entry #1 is from @Yorkshire_Rosie via Twitter.  
Doug says: I like the individual pie idea, great for portion control but we would be tempted to eat more than one in our house.  The meringues look very neatly iced, too.  I wish I could have seen what it looked like when cut up but I bet they were delicious.

Entry #2: @sarahh_cakes via Twitter
Doug says: A beautifully decorated dessert. How did you manage to slice the limes so thin? It would have been lovely to see the pie cut up as well to see the layers.
Entry #3: @EversNanaJules via Twitter
Doug says: This Key Lime Pie looks fantastic, it has been decorated more like a lemon meringue pie (another of my favourites!).  I like that the pie has been cut up so I can see the base, there is a lovely balance of filling to the meringue topping.
The Verdict:
It has been extremely difficult to choose as the three pies were decorated differently but all looked so delicious. After taking about half an hour to choose I decided on @EversNanaJules entry.  
So, thank you so much for taking part and remember it’s all for fun!
See you on the next Bake Off! Watch this space!
Here’s how I got on:
The other three ladies’ entries put mine to shame!  I am so embarrassed that I ballsed up my Italian meringue despite using a sugar thermometer!  It burnt and went brown, so after lots of scraping and swearing, into the bin it went.  I didn’t have enough eggs spare so had to use the remaining double cream I had in my fridge, whip it up and pipe it on the dessert with a large star shaped nozzle.  
I decided to bake my Key Lime Pie last Sunday which was the closing date for the Bake Off.  It was meant to be served as a pudding after Sunday lunch, which actually turned into Sunday dinner as my hubby had gone out for the day watching motor racing. I was running around like a headless chicken catching up on housework, not getting anywhere as I am working pretty much full time at the moment.  I had dealt with an 80th birthday cake order the day before so anything I baked today had to be done quickly and with minimum fuss.
Upon reading the recipe first I came upon a first stumbling block. The pie was made with sweet pastry flavoured with ground ginger. This to me sounded utterly divine but filled me with dread as I always make such a mess putting pastry into tins.  I thought Key Lime Pie had a digestive biscuit base like cheesecake (well that’s what the recipe in my Delia book “How To Cook Part 2” said).  
So, on with the pastry. Plain flour, icing sugar, ginger and salt were sifted into a bowl with some cubed, cold butter.  I then rubbed in the mixture to make breadcrumbs. After that egg yolks and ice cold water were added to the mixture and bound together into a dough with a round bladed knife. I then chilled the dough in the fridge wrapped in clingfilm for about 20 minutes.  Only my dough was in the fridge for a bit longer as I ended going upstairs to sort out an argument that had sprung up between my two teenage children (again!!).
Once the dough had had a good chilling I rolled it out into a circle and lined my loose bottomed fluted tin carefully. Luckily this time I managed to get the pastry in the tin without ripping it or putting it in wrong so I had loads on one side and none on the other. This then had to be chilled again for another 20 minutes.  The kids had gone back to doing their own thing happily so I put the kettle on for a cuppa and started on the filling.  After the second chilling, the pastry went into the oven to be baked blind.
I loved the addition of the chopped stem ginger which Ryan included in his Key Lime Pie.  Ginger and Lime seem to work really well together but I had not thought that chunks of stem ginger would work. I chopped some stem ginger up and then zested and juiced the limes ready for the filling and for the decoration.  The lovely creamy filling (which is absolutely no good if you’re doing Weightwatchers as I SHOULD be) as it contains condensed milk and double cream, as well as lime zest and juice and egg yolks. These were all whisked together and I am ashamed to say once the filling went into the pastry case I licked the bowl out!  I couldn’t get enough of it but I didn’t have any lunch that day as I was saving myself for my roast dinner later! No more baking was involved after that, the pie went into the fridge to chill. I loved the pale goldeny-green colour of the pie, you could tell it was natural and not full of green food colouring.
As I said before I mucked up the Italian meringue topping. This was my second ever attempt at meringue prepared this way and I was not looking forward to it. Last summer I made some lemon meringue cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery book and as I poured the hot sugar syrup onto the beaten egg whites, some syrup splashed onto my thumb! It was agony and although the meringue turned out ok, my thumb still has a long scar about 1 cm long from where I burnt myself!  As this attempt was also a disaster, I decided enough was enough and whipped up the remaining cream in the tub left over from the filling.  Once this was piped on, I cut a lime into quarters and then into thin semi circles to garnish the cake. I also threw on some remaining lime zest. This made my son laugh and he said they looked like bogies!  
Everyone, except my son who doesn’t like limes (he likes chocolate lime sweets though) loved the pie. It was a very big dessert so would be ideal for a dinner party in small slices, it took us 3 days to get through it.
I really enjoyed making the American Lime Pie and I would definitely make it again if I had time to work through the different stages involved in making the dessert. 
Happy Baking!
Love Sam x
My attempt at the Key Lime Pie, shame the pic was a bit blurred off my phone.

Yorkshire Bake Off- Recipe #1: American Lime Pie

Hi there and welcome to the Yorkshire Bake Off!

If you would like to take part in our very first online baking challenge then you will be most welcome.

You need a copy of the latest Great British Bake Off book “How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers” to take part in the competition.

Our first bake just has to be Ryan’s scrumptious American Lime Pie that he made for his Showstopper bake on this week’s Great British Bake Off.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one salivating looking at it on the screen. Why has TV not got a taste button connected to it?

For your reference the American Lime Pie is to be found on page 224 in the book.  I did look to see if it was on the BBC Food website but it isn’t there.

You have until midnight on Sunday 23rd September to submit your photos of your bake, which can be done in three ways:

  • Via email to me at sam.smartcookies@btinternet.com
  • Like my The Yorkshire Bakery (Sam’s Smart Cookies and Cupcakes) page on Facebook and share it.  I will place them in a special “Your Bakes” album.
  • Via my Twitter feed (YorkshireBakery). I will favourite the pictures and then retweet them.
I will then create a blogpost with everyone’s entries on so please ensure you give me your details of a link like a blog, website, Twitter or Facebook page so people can connect with you.  After I have done this I will     arrange to have the bakes judged.  For this particular week I will ask my lovely husband Doug, who loves eating Key Lime Pie almost as much as I do.
Please note, I will be baking the recipes as well, but these are purely for my blog, for the experience and maybe for customers that ask for them. I will not be taking part in the competition myself.

Hope you can join in, the more the merrier!

Feel free to ask any questions, message me or contact me via Facebook or Twitter.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

The Hairy Dieters- Chicken And Ham Tangle Pie

Bank Holidays in the UK are normally a day that we associate with bad weather, huge traffic jams, people going to the seaside or massive queues at retail parks as people go buying for their latest home improvements in DIY shops.  All of these fill our family with dread on a Bank Holiday and I would rather stay at home than cope with a traffic jam as everyone and his monkey head for the coast.  When the children were younger and before I went back to work, I would relish our family days out even if the weather was crap!  But now, perhaps I’m getting old, or maybe I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Woman!  I just can’t face going anywhere on a Bank Holiday at the moment.

We had planned to go out in the afternoon up to the top of Sutton Bank for a walk with the dog around Wass Forest. We have always loved our Sunday afternoon walks when the children were younger and I thought if I cooked an early lunch we could be away and up in the forest for 2 o’clock. But, as per usual as we were sat down to lunch the rain started pouring and pouring and pouring….   My hubby said he was glad that he’d mown the grass in the morning. I was also glad the jobs had been done around the house, who wants to clean and dust looking out at pouring rain?

I decided on trying out the Hairy Dieters’ Chicken And Ham Tangle Pie as I had bought in some filo
pastry and I had some leftover ham.  I thought it would be a comforting meal to have with some veg on the side for a family Bank Holiday lunch as the rain poured down outside.  Usually pies are no go areas on a diet, especially when you have pastry but the filo pastry is much lighter than puff or shortcrust pastry. Although I find it a pain to work with, it makes a lovely, crunchy topping to the pie.  The filling was also thick and creamy even though it was stock and half fat creme fraiche to make the sauce.

First of all I lightly cooked some onion and garlic in a teaspoonful of sunflower oil, then added a sliced leek to the pan. In a separate pan I fried bite size chunks of about 3 chicken breasts in FryLight spray.  I then added some chicken stock to the vegetables. The recipe also called for 100ml white wine to be added at this point but I didn’t have any open, so I added more chicken stock to make up.  After these had cooked through I tossed the chicken in some plain flour along with the strips of left over ham and then added it to the pan.  This was left to reduce while I sorted out the filo pastry topping.

I had three sheets of filo pastry which I cut into three leaving me with 9 rectangles.  It was very fiddly to use and it ripped in several places.  At least it wouldn’t be visible on the top of this pie.

I then put the filling into my pie dish and realised it was pretty full.  After that I started to brush each filo pastry rectangle lightly with sunflower oil and scrunched them up to go on top of the pie.  Luckily it covered up any broken bits of the pastry.  I was amazed at how creamy the filling looked and I couldn’t wait to eat it.

Chicken And Ham Tangle Pie all ready to go in the oven for about  30-35 minutes.

I can honestly say this was one of the nicest pie recipes I had tried. I know this recipe is going to be used again and again as it is so tasty.  My benchmark is if my husband and son eat it then I know I will be able to cook it again.  There was a completely clean pie dish, it was meant to serve 5 people but my husband and son had seconds!

Happy Cooking!
Love Sam xx

The finished Chicken And Ham Tangle Pie as featured in The Hairy Dieters Book: How To Love Food And Lose Weight

The Hairy Dieters’ Cottage Pie

I had had a busy but enjoyable afternoon baking banana muffins for a customer yesterday. After my customer had departed happy and satisfied with her order, I had to crack on with our dinner.  I usually try to cook a Sunday roast when I can as I am passionate about family Sunday meals and sitting down all together around the table.  But yesterday was different as my hubby was out at a motor racing event near Leeds, so he would need a hot meal when he came back in in the evening.

I had some minced beef that needed using up and plenty of potatoes so I thought that a cottage pie would fit the bill nicely. Sadly, in August it should be BBQ’s all round not hearty comfort fare that you would usually have on a cold winter’s night. But, as everyone knows we have not had a very good summer weatherwise here in the UK and my BBQ remains in the garage unused since about June!

Once again, I wanted to find a version of Cottage Pie that was healthier than the usual one.  I have tended to add butter when mashing the potatoes, then grating Cheddar cheese over the top of it before it goes in the oven.  This usually is to appease my hubby and son who love this.  Since I had last made Cottage Pie though my daughter has decided to stop eating meat, so I wasn’t sure how I could make this suit her as well.  If I made it with Quorn, my hubby would refuse to eat it! Luckily the new Hairy Dieter’s book had a version of Cottage Pie in it and if it was anything like all the other recipes I had tried out of their book so far, then I was in for a treat!

The fat and the calories have been lowered by using the leanest minced beef you can find and also by dry frying it instead of using oil.  The potatoes are mashed with half fat creme fraiche and also have chopped leeks to add a bit of flavour to the topping.

I dry fried the meat with chopped onions, celery and carrots. I took particular care to chop up the celery really finely as my husband doesn’t like it and I didn’t want him to notice it in the pie!  Once the meat was browned I added a tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock, some Worcestershire sauce and black pepper to the pan.  It simmered away for about 30 minutes but while that was going on I prepared the potatoes to boil.  The leeks were sauteed very gently in a couple of teaspoons of sunflower oil to soften them up before adding to the mashed potato.

Once everything was cooked I put it all into an ovenproof dish.  My usual cottage pie dish was too big for this recipe so I used an oval casserole dish which was smaller. Unfortunately this was too small so I had to take some of the meat out in order to put the mashed potato topping on top of it. I made a real mess of it and some leaked out all over the oven tray it was resting on.

The cottage pie was absolutely delicious and no one made any comments about the lack of butter and cheese in the recipe. My husband enjoyed it. I kept some of the leeky mash back for my daughter to eat with a spicy Quorn fillet and we also had a dish of peas and green beans on the side.

Once again, due to being in a hurry I completely forgot to take a photo of our delicious cottage pie.

Happy Cooking!
Sam xx