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Pear and Sour Cherry Loaf

What to do with a couple of over ripe pears? Put them in a loaf of course and add sour cherries for a tangy flavour. And almond extract goes really well with both these ingredients!

A couple of things to say about this loaf. First, it’s an all-in-one loaf, and made in the food processor too. So it’s super simple. Believe me, the all-in-one method produces great results!

Secondly, I have been very interested in the Queen of Baking Mary Berry’s advocacy of baking spread, rather than butter, in cakes. I’ve used baking spread in Mary’s Victoria Sponge recipe and it produced a lovely textured sponge. So I have used baking spread in this recipe. But by all means, use butter if you prefer, but make sure it’s super soft.

Ingredients

125g caster sugar

125g baking spread (I use Nuttelex here in Australia)

2 free range eggs at room temperature

125g self raising flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 very ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

100g sour cherries

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Butter a 21cm x 10cm loaf tin, or similar size.

Put everything except the cherries into the bowl of a food processor. Whizz until everything is combined. Don’t overdo it or the mixture will be tough.

Stir in the sour cherries.

Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

Cool completely in the tin before turning out as the loaf is quite fragile while warm.

Serve sprinkled with a little caster sugar. A dollop of cream or yoghurt would be nice – I had some passionfruit curd on hand so I smothered the loaf with a few spoonfuls!

Jammy Orange Cake

I love orange and lemon cakes! Which will be no surprise to readers of this blog, as I have posted a few. Recently I posted Claudia Roden’s famous orange almond cake, made by cooking whole oranges.

This cake also includes a whole orange, this time used without cooking. It also has marmalade in the cake batter as well as in the glaze, giving the cake a lovely “jammy” flavour, hence the name!

It’s also super easy and quick! It’s made entirely in the food processor. Saves on washing up too!

The resulting cake tastes great and looks pretty enough to grace any afternoon tea table.

Ingredients

Cake

180g butter

1 large orange

180g caster sugar

3 free range eggs,  at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

200g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon good quality marmalade

Orange Glaze

150g icing sugar

Juice of half an orange

1 tablespoon marmalade (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.

Grease a 20cm or (bigger) springform pan. If you use a bigger pan, your cake will be wider and not as high.

Line the base of the pan with baking paper.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.

Cut off the stem section of the orange. Chop the orange into large chunks, including the skin.

Put the chunks into a food processor and blitz until pureed, about a minute.

Add the melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla to the processor and process till combined. Add the SR flour, baking powder, salt and marmalade and blitz until just combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan ring to loosen the cake from the pan.

After another 10 minutes remove the ring and take the cake off the base, placing it onto a serving plate.

To make the glaze, add enough icing sugar to the orange juice to make a drippable icing. Stir through the marmalade if using.

With a palette knife or spoon, spread the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Serve as is or decorate with whatever you fancy – I love fresh flowers, or glacé or dried orange!

Chocolate Chip Sandwich Stack Cookies


I have always been a fan of chocolate chip cookies, and bake quite a few different recipes. This is my go-to chic chip cookie recipe, and the cookies are chewy and chocolate-y, very more-ish.

However, they often end up a bit flat, which is fine by me – who’s going to tell a cookie that it’s too thin?  But way back in 2016 when I blogged this recipe, I came up with a great way to eat these cookies  – make them into cookie and ice cream sandwiches! Or make a cookie stack with lots of layers!

Ingredients

125g butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 free-range egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g chocolate chips (milk or dark)

50g good quality dark chocolate chopped into little and bigger shards

Method

Note: This is a food processor cookie. It would definitely be great to make it with an electric mixer – and for the purists, you will get really nicely creamed butter and sugar. But the food processor method is super quick – and your cookies are ready in no time.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar in the food processor until light and well, creamy! Add the vanilla extract and egg and process well. Add the flour and baking powder. You can sift them first, I never do. Gently pulse until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and the chopped chocolate.

Drop in dessert spoonfuls for large cookies or teaspoonfuls for smaller cookies on to the baking paper. You need to leave a gap of at least the size of 2 cookies between each (about 3 or 4 cms). Bake until the cookies are lovey and golden brown. This is usually between 12 and 15 minutes. I have found that watching the cookies is a better guide to when they are cooked than simply cooking for a certain number of minutes.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking trays, then finish on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

T o make an icecream sandwich, put two cookies together with your favourite icecream! I used choc-peanut-salted caramel swirl. Good old vanilla would be fab. Drizzle with chocolate.

To make a cookie stack, pile up cookies with any filling you like – cream, chocolate, or buttercream icing. I made a passionfruit buttercream for this stack.

Muscat Cake with Raisins and Walnuts

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This is a versatile recipe as it can be made in different sizes, served as a dessert or just as a treat. It’s quite easy to make – another food processor mixture which I love! The most time consuming aspect is soaking the raisins beforehand.

Ingredients

1 cup of raisins

1/4 cup muscat

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

A handful of chopped walnuts

Muscat syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 water

1/4 cup muscat

 

Method

Place the raisins into a bowl with the muscat and leave to soak for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. For small cakes, grease a muffin tin. Or, for a larger cake, grease a 20cm round cake tin. I happened to have a small square tin on hand, so I used that, as well filling the remainder of the mixture into muffin molds.

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Put all the ingredients except raisins, muscat and walnuts in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Carefully fold the raisins and muscat and then the walnuts into the mixture. If the mixture looks too wet or sloppy, add a tablespoon or two more of flour.

Spoon mixture into the muffin tin or cake tins. Tap lightly to settle the mixture.

Place the tin/s in the oven and bake for 20 minutes for muffins,  35-4o minutes for the round cake tin or until the muffin/cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. I cannot be more  precise than this as the mixture has a lot of liquid and it’s difficult to judge exact cooking times.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, put the sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan, stirring until dissolved. Then boil for 5 minutes without stirring or until the the syrup has reduced to stickiness but not toffee. Take off the heat and add the muscat.

Remove the muffins/cake from the oven and pierce all over with a skewer. Pour over the hot syrup.

Cool the muffins/cake in the tin/tins. Turn out carefully as the the cakes can be quite fragile with the infused syrup.

Serve with a scattering of raisins and walnuts in any left over syrup.

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Cherry Sponge

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This sponge cake recipe is really simple – an all in one food processor mix – my favourite form of cooking!
The recipe derives from the wonderful English food writer Mary Berry. I have been addicted lately to The Great British Bakeoff television series: http://www.thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/about.php
                                                      Mary Berry and co-host Paul Hollywod are utterly charming and fabulous cooks in their own right.
I added Morello cherries to the sponge mixture before baking which makes the sponge a little like a clafoutis.

Ingredients
100 gms butter
100 gms caster sugar
2 free range eggs
100 gms self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 gms ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 tsp milk
A good handful of bottled or tinned Morello cherries
1 tsp flour
1tbl icing sugar for dusting
Method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease a 20 cm round cake tin.

Process the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a food processor until smooth, slightly lighter in colour and glossy looking.

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Stir in the vanilla extract and milk. Dust the cherries with a little flour to prevent them sticking and add to the mixture.

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Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen, springy to the touch and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then loosen the cake from the sides with a round bladed knife, turn it out and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Dust the top with icing sugar –  I use a sugar shaker and dust from a height.

Serve with fresh cherries, cream or just on its own.

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