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Choco Pots.

I had my girlfriends come over for dinner, so I decided to make these really yummy Choco Pots. It’s perfect for occasions like this- they can be made in advance and refrigerated. They just need to be popped into the oven when necessary, and then served hot with.. well whatever you fancy! As you can see one had just strawberries, and the other with ice cream also. Super easy and a huge success, a perfect end to a dinner party. Recipe below, enjoy!

How to make Choco Pots.

All you need for this recipe are two small bowls, a small whisk and a rubber spatula. 

In the first bowl, melt the 130g dark chocolate and 120g butter. I used the bain marie method (bowl over simmering water) or you can do this gently in a microwave. Once melted, set aside.

In the second bowl, weigh out the rest of the ingredients- 2 eggs, 30g flour and 100g sugar. I added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, because I love the flavour combination with the rich chocolate, but this is optional. Mix the above ingredients with a whisk and pour onto the first bowl, and combine the two components. 

Using a piping bag, equally divide the mix into 5 ramekins. Place straight in a pre-heated oven at 180 for 10 minutes, or pop in the fridge until needed. Best served hot! 

Mini Sweet Potato Cakes.
Mama’s favourite! So easy to make and quick to bake, a yummy autumn treat. Enjoy with a warm green tea. Autumn, hurry up! :) Recipe below, enjoy! 

How to make Sweet Potato Cakes.

This recipe could not be easier! It’s all done in a food processor and then piped into cute cupcake papers.

First, steam the Japanese sweet potato. For this recipe, I am using 250g. These can also be boiled, but you want to minimise the amount of water it may absorb. After it’s cooked, leave to cool completely.

Into a food processor, add 15g butter, 20g double cream, 1 egg, 20g honey, 5g sugar and 10g flour. Blitz until completely smooth. 

Using a piping bag, pipe into 12 cupcake moulds. Once piped, an egg wash is required. I wouldn’t recommend using a pastry brush, because it will damage the surface, so gently dab using your finger. Finally sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 for 20 minutes until golden.

Once out of the oven, glaze the top with honey, giving it a lovely glossy finish.

Milk Loaf.
I have fond memories of going to the bakeries when I was young, in Tokyo. I loved the smell, I still do. For this reason, I decided to bake this Milk Loaf, commonly referred to as ‘Hokkaido Milk Bread’, simply so I can go down memory lane and have the same smell wafting in my kitchen. Similar to a brioche, but with less butter, this bread can be eaten toasted, for breakfast or just as a snack. Recipe below, enjoy!

Make the Water Roux.

This is a new method I have found. There is a scientific reason behind this- but I won’t bore you with the details! But doing this will allow the bread to be super soft and light!

In a small pan mix together 25g strong flour and 125g water. Place on a medium-low heat until thick. Transfer into a bowl, with cling film to contact and place in the fridge until cold. Note: this roux must be at least room temperature before it is used.

Make the Dough.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: 270g strong white flour, 43g caster sugar, 4g salt and 5g milk powder. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and strain with a small sieve and weigh 43g. Add this to a measuring jug and weigh all the wet ingredients: 30g single cream, 27g milk and 92g previously made roux. When everything is weighed out, add 6g of yeast to the dry. Using a dough hook, slowly add the liquid to the dry whilst on slow speed. Increase the speed to medium when all the liquid has been added, until everything is combined. (See first picture.) At this stage, add 25g melted butter and continue to knead until a smooth dough forms. Make the dough into a ball by hand and place back into the bowl and prove for one hour, until doubled in size. 

Once the dough has proved, knock out the air by flattening the dough by hand. Divide the dough into 5 equal parts- and roll into balls. 

Following the pictures as a guide, roll out the individual dough balls and roll it back as shown. Repeat this for all 5 portions. This is to have the iconic milk loaf finish. 

Place them in a lightly buttered loaf tin and prove again for another hour, or until doubled in size. Finally lightly egg wash the top and place in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Pulled Sugar Ribbon. 
It’s always worth the burnt fingertips!
My second wedding cake!

With three flavours- chocolate, red velvet and carrot!
Vegan Brownies.
Although I am not a vegan, I decided to experiment with a vegan brownie recipe. To my surprise, they were almost no different to a regular brownie! If anything- I think I prefer the texture and flavour of these! I can’t emphasise enough the simplicity of this recipe, it’s literally an ‘all in one’ recipe, mixed with a spoon. Go on, give it a try :) Recipe below, enjoy!

How to make Vegan Brownies.

This recipe is so simple, all you need is a spoon, a bowl and a baking tray/silicone mould. It’s so quick to make, you can have these chewy brownies with your cup of tea within the hour!

First, pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees. In a large bowl, weigh out all the dry ingredients- 110g plain flour, ½tsp baking powder, 40g caster sugar, 40g muscovado sugar and 90g cocoa powder. I added 90g chopped walnuts to this recipe- however this is optional. Keep the nuts separate until the end.

In another bowl or jug, weigh 30g soy milk, 120g vegetable oil and 120g maple syrup. Give this a whisk to combine.

To combine, add the liquid into the dry in three stages, as shown in the pictures. Mix the nuts once all combined, and the mix is ready to be baked! I decided to bake them in silicone muffin moulds- it saves me from cutting them later! But if you’d like to bake them on a baking tray, make sure to line it with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25minutes. Enjoy them warm from the oven, or deliciously chewy once cooled. 

Paris-Brest.
I’m back! I was recently in a competition (the reason for the lack of blogging- I’m sorry!) and had to make this classic dessert, the Paris-Brest. It’s so delicious- the light and crisp choux compliments the fluffy, silky praline mousseline. It’s seriously mouthwatering. It’s a great recipe, thoroughly tried and tested. Just follow my recipe and you will also be able to enjoy this delight. Recipe below, enjoy! 

How to make Pate a Choux

This recipe can be used to make eclairs, profiteroles and any other recipes which requires choux. Making choux pastry can be difficult for beginners- but don’t let it stop you! Conquer your baking fears by following my simple recipe :)

Before you start, you will need to pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees.

The first step is to make the paste. In a small pan add 140ml water, 55g unsalted butter and a pinch of salt and sugar. Bring this to a light boil only until the butter melts. At this stage, take it off the heat and add 112g plain flour. Using a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients together until it forms a dough. Place the pan back onto a medium heat and cook the dough, making sure to keep it moving for 5 minutes. Once cooked, place in a bowl. I used a free-standing mixer but this can also be done by hand. 

Using a paddle attachment (if making by hand, using the same rubber spatula), mix the dough in the bowl for a few minutes, releasing some of the steam. In a jug, beat 4 eggs. Only adding approximately a tablespoon at a time, add the beaten egg into the dough, making sure it is thoroughly incorporated. Continue to add the egg until it reaches the Duck’s Beak stage, where it hangs off your spatula as shown in the picture. The mix should not be runny, nor should it be dough-like. Now the choux mix is ready for piping.

The choux is very sensitive in the way it is piped. To try and control this, I used a large open star nozzle. However a plain nozzle can also be used. I greased my tray before placing the baking parchment- this stops the paper from flapping or flying in the oven. I would recommend doing this even if you are not using a fan oven. Pipe a ring confidently (believe in yourself!) without hesitation. If you are not happy with the piping, scrape off and start again using a new sheet of parchment paper. Place a small ramekin of water in the oven (Make sure it’s ovenproof!) and place in the oven with your choux for 40-50 minutes until golden.

Do not be tempted to open your oven! The small amount of water will evaporate to create steam, which will help the choux to rise better. The oven must remain closed for it’s entire bake- otherwise the choux may deflate!

 

How to make Praline Mousseline 

Mousseline is a very classic filling for cakes, choux, and many other pastries. Simply put- it’s creme patissier whipped with butter, to create this beautiful fluffy silky mousse. It’s a great recipe because once you grasp the basics, you can tweak it to make a different flavour. There are two stages to this recipe- first the praline paste, (again, this can be utilised in other recipes) and then the mousseline. 

First, the creme patissier must be made. Using my previous recipe as a guide, make the creme patissier using 375ml whole milk, ½ vanilla pod, 90g sugar, 100g egg yolk (5 Yolks) and 30g corn flour. Once cooked, place in the fridge to cool completely. 

To make the praline, you only need 2 ingredients- hazelnuts and icing sugar. To make it even easier- you need the same quantity of each. Firstly, roast 200g whole hazelnuts in the oven at 145 degrees. Keep moving them around every 5 minutes to allow an even roast. Once golden, leave them to cool. Using a spice blender, or a small blender, place the roasted hazelnuts and 200g icing sugar and blitz. The photographs will show the different stages of this. It will start to look dry, but as you continue to blitz the natural oils in the nuts will be released, resulting in a paste. Continue for approximately 5 minutes until it reaches a runny consistency. 

Place the cooled creme patissier in a bowl, and using an electric whisk, whip it until smooth. Add 160g of the praline paste and whip further. At this stage, add 400g room temperature butter (I know it’s a lot, but trust me, it’s going to taste amazing!) and whip for approximately 5 minutes until light and fluffy. 

To assemble the Paris-Brest, cut the choux in half horizontally and pipe the mousseline. Place the top half on top. This can also be finished with a dusting of icing sugar. 

My First Wedding Cake. Chocolate sponge with Dark chocolate ganache.