Category: Pastry

Honey apple hand pies with thyme

This post was very nearly given the subtitle, “Pastry, who’s got the thyme these days?”. Some people have pastry fear – that’s not my problem. It is a beast that can be tamed. The issue is more that, well, it’s a bit of a faff, isn’t it? When it comes down to it, I’d rather start cooking knowing that within an hour I’ll have a hot little pie in my hand, rather than my hands in a hot bowl of washing up. I’d rather spend these approaching early-dark weekends going for walks and breathing in petrichor than fighting with butter and flour. Sometimes it’s worth taking a shortcut. For the sake of apple pie.

Handpies

I’d love to say that I have some sort of emotional connection with apple pie, a story of sitting down to eat it with a grandma on a Sunday afternoon. The closest thing I’ve got takes place under the harsh yellow of university cafeteria lighting, the apple pie the only reason I’d frequently stray from food I’d cooked (or, let’s face it, assembled from Ritz crackers and Philadelphia), because I can’t be trusted to make a whole pie and not eat it. Which explains the tiny hand pies, right?

I’m happy to admit that I was a little nervy about this flavour combination, a bit concerned that it’d taste like medicine.  I’m also happy to announce that it does not taste of medicine. It does taste of apples and honey, with a hint of earthiness that’s so appropriate in this transition phase. Perfect for wrapping up and popping into your pocket for those walks. We’re halfway through the best month. Read More

Raspberry & peach crumble tart

“I’ve got a load of blackberries in the freezer, shall I make a crumble or a pie?” says mother.

“Crumble!”s and “Pie!”s are emitted from various corners of the house. We cannot decide. When the house is at its busiest, there are eight of us all pointing out the merits of pastry or sweet crumble topping. I’m pretty sure this scene plays out in every household on a regular basis – because how can you choose between a crumble and a pie?

And even if you manage it…it doesn’t necessarily stop there. Pastry on top or just the bottom, making it a tart? What goes into the crumble? A standard sugar, butter, and flour concoction is fine but I prefer my crumble topping to be like the lightly spiced lovechild of shortbread and flapjack.

In short, fruit-based puddings cause chaos. The easiest way to settle it is the crumble tart.

Much of the internet is alight with strawberry and rhubarb at the moment, to the point that I’ve had enough of that pairing despite having not yet eaten it. As much as I try to eat according to the seasons, I also like to cook with produce that’s available all year round – and often, it’s cheaper. With that in mind, this recipe uses frozen raspberries and tinned peaches, giving you a fruit hit without the extortionate prices. Served up with cream or Greek yoghurt and honey, it’s a fancy looking dessert without too much fuss. Perfect. Read More

Strawberry & coconut rugelach

Every now and then I get really, really obsessed with a  particular flavour or ingredient. I’ve been in danger of switching the target of my fickle foodie love to speculoos – I mean really, who doesn’t love biscuits smushed together with syrup? –  but the sun’s shining and I’ve truly fallen for strawberry and coconut and oh my god I cannot stop jamming these tiny pastries into my pie hole.

Strawberry & Coconut Rugelach | The Littlest BakehouseWith a little bit of oh-so-British sweetness teamed with the more exotic freshness of coconut, they’re the summertime cousin to the warmer months’ cinnamon rugelach. And as a bitesize morsel that can be prepared a few days ahead and doesn’t wilt in the sun, they’d also be superb for picnics and barbecues. I guarantee that despite their unassuming exterior, this little bite of summer will not disappoint.

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Makes 32 pastries

Notes
Using a sharp knife to cut the dough into slices (step 8) will work, but for less drag use a pizza cutter.
For the cream cheese, low fat works absolutely fine and helps to balance out all that butter guilt!

Ingredients

150g butter
150g low fat cream cheese
160g plain flour
1tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp jam
6 tbsp desiccated coconut
Icing sugar, to decorate

Method

1) To make the dough, using an electric whisk, beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
2) In a small bowl, combine the flour and icing sugar, and add to the cream cheese and butter mixture, beating on the lowest speed until just combined. If your whisk’s lowest speed is still pretty fast (mine is) do this by hand with a metal spoon – you might need to get your fingers in there to fully bring the dough together. 
3) Scrap the dough into a large piece of clingfilm, wrap well and chill in the fridge for two hours.
4) When the dough has chilled, divide it into to halves and pop one back into the fridge while you prepare the other.
5) On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle (or squircle, we’re easy-going around here) about 30cm in diameter.
6) Quickly heat the jam in a small saucepan to thin it out a little, then spread it over the dough using the back of a teaspoon or a pastry brush.
7) Sprinkle the coconut liberally over the top.
8) Cut the dough into 16 slices (like a pizza!). Starting from the outside edge, roll each slice tightly inwards and transfer to the baking tray, spacing them about 1 inch apart, taking care to tuck the point underneath.
9) When all the slices have been rolled, pop the tray into the freezer for 15 minutes, or fridge for 30, and repeat using the second piece of dough. Preheat the oven to 160C.
10) When all the pastries are rolled and chilled, bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and puffed up. When baked, transfer the pastries to a wire rack immediately to prevent the jam acting like superglue as it cools. Sprinkle with icing sugar when cool.

Cinnamon rugelach

One of the things I love about  warmer weather is that you get to eat with your hands more. Lunchtime no longer means miserably slurping down soup; dessert doesn’t mean cradling a bowl of hot crumble. Instead, it’s all about barbecue food and ice cream cones. It’s nibbles and bitesize morsels, and food on sticks.

But I’m not quite ready to leave the smells of the cooler months behind, to abandon sweet spicy aromas in favour of the freshness of greener food.

Cinnamon Rugelach // The Dinner Bell

So these pastries are a decent compromise: a little bit of winter, a little bit of spring. I’m pretty sure you can’t go far wrong with a pastry that’s made with cream cheese, but the cinnamon sugar really shows it off, creating a mouthful that’s like the lovechild of cinnamon bread and baklava.

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Makes 32 pastries

Notes
Using a sharp knife to cut the dough into slices (step 8) will work, but for less drag use a pizza cutter.
For the cream cheese, low fat works absolutely fine and helps to balance out all that butter guilt!
When it comes to spreading browned butter over the dough, a gentle touch is best – otherwise the warm butter can make the dough go a bit soupy.

Ingredients

150g butter, plus 40g for filling
150g cream cheese
160g plain flour
1tbsp icing sugar
4tbsp light brown sugar, plus a tbsp to sprinkle
3tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk

Method

1) To make the dough, using an electric whisk, beat together 150g butter and the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
2) In a small bowl, combine the flour and icing sugar, and add to the cream cheese and butter mixture, beating on the lowest speed until just combined. If your whisk’s lowest speed is still pretty fast (mine is) do this by hand with a metal spoon – you might need to get your fingers in there to fully bring the dough together. 
3) Scrap the dough into a large piece of clingfilm, wrap well and chill in the fridge for two hours.
4) Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and, in a separate bowl, mix the egg yolk with about a tablespoon of water to thin it slightly. Cover two baking trays with baking parchment. Set aside. (What’s the difference between greaseproof paper and baking parchment?)
5) When the dough has chilled, divide it into to halves and pop one back into the fridge while you prepare the other.
6) On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle (squircles also allowed) about 30cm in diameter.
7) Brown the remaining butter over medium heat, then pour onto the dough. Use the back of a tablespoon to gently spread the butter over the dough, to about 1cm from the edge. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top.
8) Cut the dough into 16 slices (like a pizza!). Starting from the outside edge, roll each slice tightly inwards and transfer to the baking tray, spacing them about 1 inch apart, taking care to tuck the point underneath.
9) When all the slices have been rolled, pop the tray into the freezer for 15 minutes, or fridge for 30, and repeat using the second piece of dough. Preheat the oven to 160C.
10) When all the pastries are rolled and chilled, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and puffed up.