Batley Cake

March 11, 2017

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Here we go, here we go, here we go! I’ve got my fourth St. Patrick’s Day recipe for you today and from now until March 17th I’ll be posting a new one every single day. Today’s gem is Batley Cake.

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If you’ve never heard of it before, believe me you’ll be so glad I’m introducing you. Batley Cake consists of two layers of a soft shortbread cookie or a more cake-like scone with a layer of luscious jam sandwiched between them, all dusted with confectioners sugar. Absolutely perfect with a cup of tea, or coffee if that’s your thing.

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Now you can use whatever jam for the filling that you like, provided it is a thicker, firmer jam, otherwise you risk it leaking out during the baking, leaving you with a rather amazing mess. Me? I chose that lovely Irish Whiskey Marmalade that I told you about when I made those Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts. The recipe for the Whiskey Marmalade, those adorable little Whiskey Marmalade Tarts, as well as the refreshing Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktail  that I just blogged about last week, all came from my friend Theresa’s debut cookbook Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa’s company, The Green Apron, is an award winning artisan preserve company which she runs from her family’s orchards at Derryclough located near Ballingarry, County Limerick in Ireland.

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All of her preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. Her Irish Whiskey Marmalade is a three fruit marmalade consisting of grapefruit, oranges and lemons and a good glug of Irish Whiskey. It is one of The Green Apron’s best-selling jams and won a bronze Blas na h’Eireann in 2015. As you can see, jams are pretty versatile, delicious not only spread over bread and scones but also scrumptious when used in a variety of other dishes. And Theresa’s book is simply jam-packed full (har, har, har…-forgive me…) with her award winning preserves recipes. Just think of all the culinary masterpieces you can create… You simply must get a copy today!  So anyhoo, now that I’ve finished my shameless promotion of T’s book (for the moment that is…you might see another fantastic recipe of hers before St. Patrick’s Day arrives…) back to this Batley Cake.

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The cake was so soft and tender, sweet but not too sweet. And what really put it over the top was that gorgeous thick layer of Irish Whiskey Marmalade – bright and fresh like a lovely spring day, which I think we’d all like to see at this point! And with that hint of whiskey flavor…well it’s just the thing to get you movin’ on a chilly March morning!

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Batley Cake

  • Servings: One 8-inch cake
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 110 grams butter
  • 110 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 3 Tablespoons firm jam ( I used the Green Apron’s award winning  Irish Whiskey Marmalade)
  • 1 Tablespoon icing (confectioner’s) sugar

Instructions:

Grease a 20-cm. (8 inch) round cake tin and preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Put flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and baking powder.

Beat the egg, vanilla extract and milk together in a small bowl and then add to the dry ingredients. Blend together using a fork to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into two and roll or pat out each piece into a 20 cm (8 inch) circle to fit the baking tin. Place one piece of the dough into the tin.

Using the back of a spoon, spread the jam over the dough in the tin to within a half inch of the edge. (If you spread it right up to the edge, the jam will escape out the sides, burn to the sides of the pan and make a mess.) Cover with the second round of dough.

Bake for around 50 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Just before serving, sprinkle with icing sugar to make it pretty.

Enjoy!

Batley Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Batley Cake:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Mason Cash The Forest Owl Mixing Bowl

Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan – 8″

 

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Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits

March 9, 2017

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Now who doesn’t love a big old flaky biscuit, especially when it is warm out of the oven and slathered with butter?

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I don’t know anyone who can resist them. And while there isn’t really any need to gild the lily as far as biscuits are concerned, I pretty much love them all, but I gotta say these Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits are pretty amazing.

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So what we’ve got here is a pretty standard biscuit, but since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, I’ve added some lovely Irish ingredients like Guinness Stout, KerryGold Butter and some Irish Red Cheddar cheese.

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These little gems come together very quickly. As with making any biscuit, it is very important to keep all of the ingredients cold before they hit the oven. What you’ll end up with is a light, flaky biscuit chock full of savory Irish cheddar, scallions and a real depth of flavor from that Guinness beer.

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Tasty all on their own or the perfect accompaniment along side any irish stew, these Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits are a must for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!

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Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits

  • Servings: 12 -15 biscuits
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Coley Cooks

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Irish Butter (like KerryGold) frozen plus 2 Tablespoons melted
  • 6 oz. sharp Irish Cheddar, grated
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 7 oz. Irish Stout (like Guinness) or other dark beer, cold

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.

Grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and quickly toss to coat all of the butter pieces. Place the bowl in the freezer to keep cold while you grate the cheese, slice the scallions and whisk the mustard into the beer.

Once all items are prepped and ready to go, remove the bowl from the freezer and mix in the cheese and scallions.

Make a well in the center and pour the mustard beer mixture into it. Mix together using a rubber spatula. Take care to only mix it until it just comes together – over mixing can result in a tough biscuit.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and fold it over onto itself a couple of times to bring the dough together. Pat it down until it reaches a thickness of 1 – 1 1/2 inches.

Cut biscuits out using a sharp biscuit cutter. ( I used a 2 1/4″ cutter) Remember not to twist the cutter, just push straight down. Twisting the cutter can cause the biscuits not to rise as high as they otherwise would.

Place the biscuits on a parchment lined sheet pan. Put the sheet pan in the freezer while the oven is preheating to 450°F.

Once the oven is preheated, remove the biscuits from the freezer and put them into the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 425°F. Bake for 15 -20 minutes until they are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and immediately brush with melted butter.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools and Ingredients for Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits:

4 Piece Stainless Steel Biscuit Cutter Set

Mason Cash The Forest Owl Mixing Bowl

Pastry Brush set

 


Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktail

March 7, 2017

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Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktail – how’s that for a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day offering. Now I know a bunch of folks are going to be guzzling big honking pints of Guinness or even more scary pints of that suspicious looking lager with a green hue. I don’t know about you, but as much as I like the taste of Guinness, I can’t manage more than one pint of the stuff. Not because I’m a light weight…give me some credit please! It’s because Guinness is so filling I feel as though I’ve eaten an entire loaf of bread. I’m ready to roll on home after one measly pint. Where’s the fun in that?!! So this Irish Whiskey Marmalade sounds pretty dang refreshing to me!

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Jammy cocktails have been all the rage now for a couple of years. Adding a quality artisan jam to your favorite liquor is a really easy way to achieve a drink with wonderfully complex fruit flavors. The recipe for this particular tipple can be found in my friend Theresa’s debut cookbook: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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I told you all about her and her award winning artisan preserve company, The Green Apron, in my last blog about Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts. And yes, you guessed it….that batch of Irish Whiskey Marmalade that I made up for the tarts…I’m also using it in these cocktails. See, I told you The Green Apron jams were very versatile!  Theresa’s Blas na hEireann (Taste of Ireland) award winning Irish Whiskey Marmalade is a perfect choice for this libation.

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As far as which Irish Whiskey you should use…well I think that is definitely a personal preference. There is always Jameson, though I have a few friends that swear by Black Bush. The husband is a fan of Red Breast. I’ll leave the choice up to you, but I should say you’ve gotta like Irish Whiskey to drink this creation. In fact, it could be called an Irish Whiskey Marmalade Whiskey Cocktail, come to think of it. Double Whiskey?!! Yup…perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

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Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktail

  • Servings: 1 cocktail
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons marmalade
  • 2 – 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) Irish whiskey
  • 1 Tablespoon simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • sparkling water

Directions:

Muddle the marmalade, bitters and whiskey together until the marmalade starts to dissolve. (I know I have a spoon of the jam sitting by the cocktails in the pictures above, so it looks like I’m just going to stir it into the cocktail when I’m ready to imbibe. However, you really should either muddle it with the whiskey and bitters or shake them in shaker ahead of time though, otherwise it is difficult to incorporate into the already mixed cocktail.)

Add the simple syrup. (To make simple syrup, mix equal amounts of water and sugar and heat until he sugar dissolves. Allow to cool completely and keep in the fridge. Use within a few weeks.)

Drink neat over ice or add sparkling water.

Sláinte!

Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktail brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to helpful kitchen tools and ingredients for Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktail:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Angostura Orange bitters


Irish Whiskey MarmaladeTarts

March 1, 2017

img_5762I can’t believe it! Here it is, March already. And St. Patrick’s Day is a mere 17 days away! That means it is time to start my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. In the days leading up to March 17th I will be sharing a delicious assortment of Irish-y recipes. I’ve been doing this for several years now, so I’ve collected over 80 St. Patrick’s Days recipes at this point and that doesn’t take into account all the delicious dishes coming your way this year. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest additions. I am very excited to kick off this year’s series of Irish recipes  with these fantastic Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts. Yup…what I’m talking about here is flaky, buttery shortcrust pastry which has been filled with a delicious homemade Irish Whiskey Marmalade laced batter. Sweet, bright  and citrus-y, it is like eating a burst of sunshine with every bite.

img_5781And I am so happy to tell you where you can find this recipe, as well as over one hundred other amazing seasonal fruit recipes. It can all be found in my good friend Theresa’s debut book: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey. Theresa and I met in college when she was finishing up her degree in botany. I can tell you first hand that she is an amazing cook, full stop. But fruit is by far her specialty.

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After college, Theresa moved back to rural County Limerick and started her own business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. Theresa grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

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Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. The Green Apron has won 12 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, 7 International Great Taste awards and is listed not only in McKenna’s Guide, but also in Georgina Campbell’s Guide. The Green Apron is also now offering workshops on sustainable living, preserving and bee keeping.

book-cover-fruitonthetableTheresa’s book, Fruit on the Table is a top 10 best selling cookbook in Ireland , has won a Gourmond award there and has been selected to compete for an International Gourmond award. In her book, Theresa follows the seasons and tells you how best to keep fruit on your table all year round. It is an absolute treasure trove, filled not only with her family recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys but it also runs the full gambit of meals, including recipes for cocktails, snacks , mains and going all the way through to desserts. And it doesn’t stop with the mouthwateringly delicious recipes, Fruit on the Table also gives you the low down on growing your own fruit, the ins and outs of preserving, tips on foraging as well as drying fruit. I’m proud to be sharing several different recipes from her book this year, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And if you find yourself in Limerick, you simply must stop by the Limerick Milk Market and pay the Green Apron shop a visit!

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Now back to these yummy Irish Whiskey Marmalade tarts. My first task here was to make up a batch of the marmalade. This Irish Whiskey Marmalade is a three fruit marmalade consisting of grapefruit, oranges and lemons and a good glug of Irish Whiskey. It is one of The Green Apron’s best-selling jams and won a bronze Blas na h’Eireann in 2015.

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You will end up with much more of the marmalade than you require to make the tarts, but as you will see with some of my later posts, this marmalade is very versatile and you will be over the moon to have it around. Don’t forget to check back with me next week and see what else can be done with this scrumptious Irish Whiskey marmalade…besides eating it slathered over fresh-baked bread and scones. No brainer there…but believe me…there’s more!

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Now once you have that delectable boozy marmalade, the tarts come together in a flash and would be wonderful to have on hand on St. Patrick’s Day. Perfect with a cup of tea, these tarts are slightly sweet and wonderfully fragrant. Ordinary tea time will become extra special with these irrisistible Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts on the table!

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Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts

  • Servings: 12 Tarts, 5 pints of Marmalade
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recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal recipes from the Green Apron kitchen by Theresa Storey

For the Irish Whiskey Marmalade:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ruby grapefruit
  • 2 medium sweet oranges
  • 4 lemons
  • 3.4 l (6 pints) water
  • 2.7 kg (6 lbs) sugar
  • 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) good Irish Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (Please note, mixed spice is different from all-spice. Mixed spice, sometimes also called pudding spice is a British spice similar to pumpkin pie spice, containing cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I have a link for it below, or here is a recipe for it.)

Directions:

Place a saucer into the refrigerator to chill.

Wash the grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Remove any blemishes from the skin and cut them into quarters. Place in the food processor and process on high speed until the peel is reduced to 6-mm (1/4″) pieces. If you like a bigger peel in your marmalade, don’t process it for so long, and if you like very little peel, process it for longer.

Put the processed citrus in a preserving pot with the water, stir well and cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the peel is cooked and smooshes to wee pieces between your fingers. This usually takes an hour.

Add the sugar, stir well and cook over a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the marmalade reaches setting point, with a marmalade this usually takes 20 -40 minutes.

Spoon a little of the boiling preserve onto the cold saucer. Let it cool and then push it with your finger. If it has reached setting point, the top of the blob of marmalade will wrinkle. Marmalades should have wrinkles at least 2 -3 mm hight.

Remove from heat. Skim off any seeds and sugar foam.

Add 60 ml (2 fl oz) of good Irish Whiskey and 1 teaspoon of ground mixed spice.

Pour into warm sterilized jars to within 6 mm (1/4″) of the top. Wipe any drips off the rims of the jars to make sure there is a good seal between the jar and lid. A dampened paper towel works well for this. Place the lids on and seal.

For the Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts:

*These tarts are baked in a bun tin rather than a muffin tin. Bun tins are similar to muffin tins but are much more shallow. If you don’t have bun tin, (there is an amazon prime link for one below – you could have it tomorrow :)) you could try filling a muffin tin half way, though I haven’t tried that and can’t speak to the results.

Ingredients:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 110 grams (4 oz.) butter (chopped)
  • 225 grams (8 oz.) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold water

For the batter:

  • 75 grams (2 1/2 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60 grams (2 oz) butter (chopped)
  • 60 grams ( 2 oz.) sugar
  • 1 large egg – beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Whiskey Marmalade

Directions:

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and then mix in the salt. Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until the pastry holds together. You may not need to use it all. Knead it a few times until it is smooth and then cover it and put it in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is about 3 mm ( 1/8″) thick. Cut out circles slightly bigger that the size of the bun hole and put them into the tin.

Mix the flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and egg together until smooth. I do this in my food processor.

Fold in the Irish Whiskey Marmalade.

Put 1 teaspoon of the batter into each pastry case.

Bake the tarts for 18 – 20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the bun tin from the oven. Let the tarts cool in the tin for a few minutes and then carefully take them out and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy!

Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts bought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Kilner Stainless Steel Jam Pan

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Canning Magnetic Lid Wand

Norpro 600 Jar Lifter

Ball Canning Funnel

Nonstick Twelve Hole Shallow Bun Tin

Mixed Spice


Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

February 14, 2017

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February 14th….yup, you guessed it…It is Valentine’s Day. Does everyone know what amazing dish they’re making for their sweeties to celebrate the day? I tell you, I think I’ve got a real winner here with these Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes. The husband loves a good G&T. The two places which he ranks as making the best G&T’s out there are the Slippbarinn in the Marina Hotel in Reykjavik Iceland (kind of difficult to get there for us…) and Saison in good old Richmond Virginia (Dangerously close to us if you know what I mean!). Although each version of this classic cocktail has very different flavor profiles, they both share the use of grapefruit juice and garnish in their mix rather than the traditional lime. So that is what I did here. Bring on the grapefruit I say. Wow! These boozy little cupcakes are just perfect.

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So refreshing with bold citrus flavors and floral gin notes. And I should also mention that I frosted them with a pink grapefruit/gin swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Yeah, swiss meringue frosting rules. So fluffy, so light. It is everything you could ever want in a frosting.

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It is actually strange for me to say that recently I am really into grapefruit. I absolutely hated it as a kid and was at a loss as to why anyone would eat one. Can’t get enough of it now. I’m even sipping on a grapefruit flavored fizzy water as I write this. And G&T’s are also something I never cared for in the past. To me drinking any kind of gin was like licking a Christmas tree. But my opinion has definitely changed since I took a taste of the husband’s G&T at Saison. I couldn’t wait to order my own! Saison is our favorite restaurant in Richmond, which says a lot because Richmond is just chock full of fantastic eateries. A real foodie destination I tell you, but it is actually pretty difficult to tempt us away from Saison when we are in town. Not only has every morsel of food we have ever gotten there been delicious, but their cocktails are also simply superb – especially their G & T’s. One of the things that makes Saison’s G&T so remarkable is that it is a hopped G&T. They actually make their own hopped tonic. Now they used to sell little bottles of this magical tonic, but their G&T is such a popular cocktail for them, that they had trouble making enough tonic for both the bar and take out market. Here is where we totally lucked out. We happened to be there last week and the bartender had just made up a brand new batch of tonic. Not only were we able to enjoy it in a Hopped Gin and Tonic or two…we were also actually able to buy a little bit of the hopped tonic to take home with us. I used it in these Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes. That’s right…the ones we are scarfing down here are actually Pink Grapefruit Hopped Gin & Tonic cupcakes! OMG! So delicious! The hopped tonic is slightly bitter but also citrusy which pairs so well with the sweet grapefruit notes. Now I know not everyone can get ahold of that amazing elixir. Like I said, we really lucked out. But you can use regular tonic water and the results will still be stellar!

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So I don’t know if your Valentine is anything like mine….he is not so much into chocolate, but loves fruit desserts. And he loves G&T’s, so these Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes are a Valentine’s Day dessert match made in heaven for him. I’d wager you’d love them too. And don’t forget, if you are ever in Richmond, you must grab a bite to eat as well as a Hopped G&T at Saison! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

  • Servings: 15 -18 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe inspired by: Globe Scoffers

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 180 grams unsalted butter
  • 180 grams caster (superfine) sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 large pink grapefruit
  • 180 grams self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 4 Tablespoons tonic water
  • 2 Tablespoons Gin (plus more for brushing over cupcakes)

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons Gin
  • grapefruit zest for garnish

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line muffin tins with cupcakes papers.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and grapefruit zest until light and fluffy.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Add the flour/baking powder and mix until it is just incorporated. Take care not to over mix.

Stir in the tonic water and gin, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide the mixture between the cupcake wells. I use an ice cream scoop.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool cupcakes on a metal rack. While they are still warm, poke several holes in each cake with a skewer. Brush liberally with gin and let cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add the grapefruit juice and gin slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Garnish with grapefruit zest and wedges as you prefer.

Enjoy!

Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools and Ingredients for Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

King Arthur Self Rising Flour – You can also find this on Amazon, but have to purchase several bags of it.

India Tree Superfine Caster Baking Sugar

Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Tonic Trio – I have never actually tried these, but if you are into the idea of artisan tonics these might be fun to experiment with. Just add soda water to these syrups for a unique flavor profile.

 

 

 


Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka

February 5, 2017

img_5446So I gotta ask….are there any Nutella fans out there? Cause let me tell you I love me some Nutella! I did actually didn’t even know it existed until I was living in Ireland and my friend Theresa had a jar. I watched with amazement as she spread it over her toast. I was like “What! You can eat chocolate on toast!” I had no idea it was a thing. Yup, love at first bite. And I love bread as well, so this Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka recipe was a no brainer for me.

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Now it is not by chance that I’m blogging a recipe which features Nutella today. Today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

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Last year, the founders have transferred Nutella Day to Ferrero the company who owns that most beloved spread. Take a peek at their Facebook page and see how folks are celebrating the day! I love Nutella so I usually try to participate with a Nutella laden recipe every year. Last year I celebrated with Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies:

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The year before I made cookies as well,  irresistible Salted Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwich Cookies – sweet salty bliss I tell you!

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I was still all about the cookies and the salty / sweet thing three years ago when I blogged about  Salted & Malted Nutella Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies feature silky, decadent Nutella, creamy caramel, nostalgic malted goodness and rich chocolate chips, all rolled up together in a crunchy chewy salted cookie

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And then there was my  Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart which was quite stunning if I do say so myself.

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But let me get back to the stunning Nutella treat we have on hand today: Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka. Oh Lawdie…this bread is delicious! Babka, which has a Russian/Polish culinary pedigree (the name is derived from “baba” which is Russian for grandmother)  is made with a rich yeasted dough. You end up with something that is somewhere between cake and bread. Every brioche like morsel is so tender it simply melts in your mouth. And can we just talk about the fillings? Well there are as many variations in the fillings as there are grandmothers! You can have a fruit filled Babka, a chocolate Babka, a cinnamon Babka, a chocolate cinnamon Babka, or a Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka as we have here today. Babkas can be topped with a streusel, soaked in Rum or drizzled with a glaze. They can be shaped many ways as well, baked in a bread tin, free-standing or as I have done here, shaped into the dramatic Israeli version which is known as “kranz cake”. The possibilities are endless!

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Now all that being said, making this luscious filled rolled and twisted bliss is no simple undertaking! You’ve gotta want it…and believe me you will. It is so worth it. The good thing is you can break it up into steps and take up to 3 days to bake the bread if you wish. Or if you’re hardcore, get up early in the morning and blast through the whole thing in one day. Midnight Babka sounds great to me too!

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Laden with butter and lashings of Nutella and chocolate chips this bread not only has mouthwatering good looks but can back it up with to die for taste. Great as a dessert, for breakfast or with a cup of tea or coffee, you just can’t beat this time-tested comfort food treat. So Happy Nutella Day…I’ve gotta go tear into some Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka!

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Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka

  • Servings: 1 large loaf of bread
  • Difficulty: moderate - with a lot of rise time
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

  • 2 Tablespoons (.66 oz / 19 grams) instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz / 170 grams) lukewarm milk (95°F or 35°C)
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz / 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted or at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons ( 3 oz /85 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (.25 oz / 7 grams) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks (3 oz. / 85 grams)
  • 3 1/3 cups (15 oz / 425 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (.25 oz/ 7 grams) salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 1 jar (13 oz.) Nutella
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved and set aside for 5 minutes.

Cream the butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment for a stand mixer. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla to the eggs yoke and whisk together. Then add the yolks to the sugar mixture in four portions, mixing thoroughly until each is incorporated before adding the next. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and mix for 2 more minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times during the process.

Stop mixing and add the flour and salt, then pour in the milk mixture. Resume mixing at low speed until a soft, supple, tacky dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes adding flour as necessary to make the dough pliable. Form dough into a ball.

Place dough in a clean, highly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 2 1/2 hours. It will rise, but won’t double. If you are taking my advice and making this Babka over several days, after the rise, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight to be rolled out the next day.

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Line a 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper and mist it with spray oil. Spread the Nutella evenly over the parchment paper. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Place into the refrigerator to firm up. Once you have rolled the dough out, you can easily transfer this Nutella chocolate chip square directly on top of the babka dough. Easy peasy!

Once the dough has risen, or on day two, roll it into a 15″ by 11″ rectangle on a lightly floured surface. It should e between 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Lay the refrigerated Nutella Chocolate sheet on top of the Babka dough and peel the parchment away.

Roll up the dough like a jelly roll and place it seam side down on the work surface. With firm but gentle pressure, rock the log back and forth. Using a metal pastry blade, cut the log down the middle lengthwise. Rotate the dough so that the cut edges are facing up. Place one piece over the other and continue to criss-cross the pieces to form a braid. Pinch the ends of the braided pieces together to seal.

Cover the braided loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2 -3 hours. At this point, you can proceed directly to baking or refrigerate the loaf overnight. If holding it overnight, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake it.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (177° C). Bake loaf for 20 minutes and then rotate the pan. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes until the sides of the loaf are a rich golden brown. The internal temperature will reach about 185° F (85° C). I the tope begins to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil

Allow the Babka to cool for at least 90 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


Pasture’s Pimento Cheese

February 1, 2017

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Here it is…February already. And tomorrow, my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if perhaps Spring is on the way. Groundhog Day is nigh! I gotta admit, I don’t feel like we’ve really had any winter yet. There has only been a few wee dustings of snow in the morning and the temperatures have only ventured into the real wintery territories a handful of times. So yeah, I hope that Punxsutawney critter sees his shadow tomorrow.

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One extraordinary rodent!

Phil & all the folks up in Punxsutawney aren’t the only ones celebrating now. February 1st, which falls half way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, also marks the festivals of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas, all of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. Quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking an event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 6th year anniversary of  the my cooking blog! Yup… Six years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.

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Last year I shared one of my favorite recipes: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:

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I’ve posted some other tasty “Anniversary Edition” recipes since then as well like Banana Rum Muffins:

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And who can forget when a genuine Crack Pie made an appearance:

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And this year I have really got a winner of a recipe for you. A definite favorite around here – Pimento Cheese!

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It is the perfect appetizer to bring along with you no matter what the festivity! This magical “caviar of the South” is so delicious and quite versatile. You can serve it with crackers (Ritz preferably) and veggies, it is delicious scooped up with a Frito, you can mix it into the yolks of deviled eggs, you can spread it on burgers, it makes one heck of a decadent grilled cheese or if you’re short on time it is pretty wonderful simply spread between two slices of bread! The husband and I have been spending a lot of time in Richmond Virginia and let me tell you…they love some pimento cheese in that town. This particular recipe I’m sharing today comes from Chef Jason Alley and is served in one of his restaurants, Pasture. If you are ever visiting Richmond, do yourself a favor and stop by for lunch or dinner. Pasture specializes in Southern Cooking, but with a modern twist. Instead of those huge plates of food you would get a grandma’s house, Pasture serves up small plates which are meant to be shared. Their seasonal menu is full of dishes made with fresh locally sourced ingredients. You will definitely find this Pimento Cheese on the menu (year round) along with many many more amazing offerings.

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Pimento Cheese is pretty easy to make, but I would like to give you a bit of advice that will make your Pimento Cheese completely over the top delicious. First of all, grate the cheese yourself, don’t buy bags of pre-shredded cheese. Why? Because the pre-shredded cheese is coated with a cellulose product to keep it from sticking together. This makes it a bit less creamy, so just take a few seconds and grate the cheese yourself. The second thing is the mayonnaise. You’ve gotta use Duke’s! Seriously. Not Hellman’s. Dukes. Dukes is actually the 3rd largest brand of mayonnaise sold in the United States. However, its popularity is largely limited to the South. But there it has a cult following. Using any other brand is out of the question. And truth be told, Duke’s tastes different. It has more egg yolks and has no added sugar giving it a much brighter, tangy flavor and a creamier texture. And lets face it, mayonnaise is a pretty important ingredient in Pimento Cheese, so if you can, go with the authentic Southern brand, Dukes. As far as the roasted red peppers. I actually roasted the peppers myself. It is pretty easy. You just put the peppers on a parchment lined baking tray and pop them into an oven which has been preheated to 400° F. You roast them for 20 minutes and then turn them over and roast them for 20 more minutes. Remove them from the oven and place them on a cutting board. Cover them with a bowl and allow them to steam for 15 minutes. Steaming them will make the skins very easy to remove. Then you peel them, seed them and there you have it. Easy peasy. Though perhaps an easier thing would be buying a jar in the grocery store. I’ll let you decide. That’s pretty much it. I will admit though that I have gilded this lily of a recipe once or twice by adding a bit of chopped bacon and some diced jalapeño peppers to up the heat. What can I say? Everything is better with bacon and we love our spice. But I’ll wager you’ll be very pleased with Pasture’s unadorned version. So what in the world are you waiting for?!! Might I remind you that the Super Bowl is happening this Sunday!

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Pimento Cheese

  • Servings: 4- 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Chef Jason Alley – Pasture Restaurant

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, roasted , peeled, seeded and finely diced*
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 sprigs tarragon, leaves removed, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise, Duke’s preferably
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • chives for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well-blended.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to one day.

Serve with crackers (preferably Ritz), pickles and crudités.

Enjoy!

*You can buy roasted red peppers in the the grocery store. If you are interested in roasting your own: Place the peppers on a parchment lined baking tray and pop them into an oven which has been preheated to 400° F. Roast them for 20 minutes and then turn them over and roast them for 20 more minutes. Remove them from the oven and place them on a cutting board. Cover them with a bowl and allow them to steam for 15 minutes. Peel the skins and remove the seeds.

Pasture’s Pimento Cheese brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Pasture’s Pimento Cheese:

Duke’s Mayonnaise

 


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