In this spirit of Thanksgiving, which has just passed, it seemed appropriate to bake a pie. My first thought was to bake a sweet potato pie, being typically American, but I just wasn’t confident about how it was going to taste, and let’s face it I’m not going to bake something that I can’t eat in vast quantities!
Plus there’s the pear kick that the blog is on at the moment so this pie was ticking many boxes. My dinner guests didn’t seem sold on the sweet potato pie either, they both thought it was a main course accompaniment – so uncultured!
This was my first ever full on pie. Bearing that in mind I think it went okay. In fact, I was pretty much delighted with it…before it went in to the oven. I got distracted by eating the delicious roast chicken and all the trimmings and overcooked it just a tad. Well, maybe a bit more than just a tad. Carefully selected photos and Photoshop are masking a multitude of sins!
Saying that, the end result was still pretty tasty and enjoyed by the three of us – with some leftovers, we’re not that bad. The filling is sweet and spicy but using Bramley apples helps to keep everything balanced.
I’m definitely looking forward to making another pie, and maybe turning my oven down a little the next time. (more…)
Happy Monday! I’m particular happy this Monday as there are only 4 weeks of work left before the Christmas holidays!! Not that I’m counting down or anything. I’ve started to feel particularly Christmas-y as of this weekend…I even cracked out my festive jumper on Sunday. It was probably a step too far but I love it so much and it was Christmas present last year so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to wear it in the new year.
I’ve also started to think about what gifts I’m going to make this year. Vanilla extract was on the list a while ago but I’m too late for that one. Last year I made jars of popcorn, granola and cookie/brownie mix. Possible gifts this year are jams and chutneys, bags of sweets or festive shortbread. For some reason I’m feeling particularly craft this year, so there might even be an attempt at making my own Christmas cards, but I’ll have to see about that one.
Aaanyway, that’s enough Christmas chat for now. Here, as promised, are some pear laden muffins! Pear, cranberry and some – delicious as a snack in their own right – walnuts. I was concerned that the fresh cranberries could be overly tart in the muffins so before adding the walnuts to the mix, they are roasted in cinnamon sugar which makes them super delicious.
The cranberry does give a bright, kick to the muffins but the sweet pear along with the subtle spice of the earthy walnuts perfectly counterbalances it. A generous sprinkling or sugar and some extra walnuts gives a lovely crunch and texture contrast too.
These muffins were a surprising hit with my workmates , but maybe that was just the free cake on a Friday morning. As one colleague suggested they would made a great breakfast over the festive period. They are quick to put together in the morning if you were up for it, or they could be wrapped and frozen after baking then defrosted overnight to be popped in the oven to reheat in the morning. (more…)
Today we’ve got some comforting, seasonal flavours in the form of Spiced Pear Cake. I think pears are going to be my go-to ingredient for the next week or so. In the summer it was strawberries which were taking over every baked good to emerge from my kitchen. Last month I added a cupful of pureed pumpkin to almost anything. So, for what little remains of November, pear is going to be my thing.
Whilst day-dreaming about cake at work today…not that I do that often or anything…my mind came up with the idea of Pear Cranberry and Pecan muffins, so stay tuned for them next week.
This cake is a perfect bridge between autumn and winter, it’s hard to believe on a day where there was snow outside my office and the temperature couldn’t climb much higher than 2 degrees, that just on Saturday I was admiring the golden orange leaves on a mild morning in the park.
The delicate flavour and texture of the pear, pairs (ha!) wonderfully with the warming cinnamon spice. It is a variation on the cake portion of my nectarine and orange cupcakes, which is seriously the most versatile cake batter ever! (more…)