Recipe: Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes.

Taterly Delicious

Taterly moreish

You read it right, Ogglers: today I’m baking with Mashed Potato.

And you know what? The results are ruddy delicious: not heavy or starchy, but firm – with a gorgeous bite.

Indeed, this is more of a textural thing – you can’t really taste the Tater.

What you will taste, however, is sweet, delicious Cinnamon by the bucketload. And it will BLOW YOUR MIND.

So then. Got some Potato? Fancy something a bit different?

Then what are you waiting for?

BAKE!

Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes (makes approx 18)

Ingredients:

  • 260g sugar
  • 200g softened butter/margarine
  • 180g finely mashed (or puréed) potato
  • 260g self raising flour (or 260g plain flour with 2½ tsp baking powder)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • PLUS 350g of your chosen icing

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan assisted) or gas mark 4, and lay your cupcake cases out on however many baking trays you need
  2. Cream sugar, syrup, fat and potato with a wooden spoon (easier to do if the potato’s still warm, though it doesn’t really matter either way)
  3. Add the eggs and beat thoroughly
  4. Fold in the flour and cinnamon, keeping things light and airy
  5. When all the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour the mix into your cupcake cases (to about ¾ full)
  6. Lick the bowl (the batter is AWESOME) – and try not to get salmonella
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you prick them with a knife and it comes out clean they’re ready to come out
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
  9. In the meantime, prepare whatever icing you see fit (I used a simple vanilla buttercream, but would also recommend something of the cream cheese variety – such as the white chocolate frosting in my favourite Chocolate Berry Cake)
  10. Smear it all over the tops of your cupcakes (but not until they’ve cooled right down)
  11. Gorge (and then gorge some more)

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

Recipe: Sophie’s Dahl’s Spelt Banana Bread.

Be nice to your Bowel

Remember, Ogglers: always be nice to your Bowel

As body parts go, the bowel might not be the most fashionable of the lot, but let’s face it: we’ve all got one – and it’s integral to the process of ploughing through puddings. If only for that, it’s well worth paying attention to.

See, although this blog is usually more concerned with what enters the body, this month is Bowel Cancer Awareness month. And as someone who lost a close aunt to the disease a couple of years ago, this is one cause that the Pud-Hog can’t ignore.

Maybe you’re already clued up on the subject (as the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, it may well have affected somebody you know or you care about).

But for those of you who don’t know the score, the most important thing to note is that, if caught in time, bowel cancer is generally very treatable.

So, Ogglers. If you pay attention to NOTHING else on this blog, then at least pay attention to the following list from Bowel Cancer UK:

Early warning signs for bowel cancer are

  • Bleeding from the bottom, and/or blood in your poo
  • A change in bowel habit lasting three weeks or more
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

If you notice any of these things, then for crying out loud, don’t be embarrassed: GO AND TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

As well as keeping an eye out for changes like this, you can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer with exercise and a healthy diet.

That means cutting down on red or processed meats, eating your 5-a-day, and generally upping your fibre intake.

Thankfully, this risk-reducing doesn’t need to mean abandoning your pudding, as eating – or baking – treats made with whole grains and fibre is one of the ways you can keep things hunky-dory.

You could make your Summer Pudding with brown bread, pack your Flapjacks with oats, nuts and seeds, or substitute normal flour with one of the wholemeal or Spelt varities (like that Ginger Cake I made for my first Bakeroo).

If you’re still short of ideas, you can also check out Sharpham Park’s new website – Great British Spelt Recipes – which was launched in conjuction with Bowel Cancer UK in order to get people more clued up on bowel cancer awareness.

I’ve tried out a few of the cakes on there already, and can whole-heartedly recommend the Rhubarb Tart (like a juicy, fruity Frangipane – but better). The Spelt Bran and Raspberry Muffins are pretty darn awesome too…

My stand-out favourite so far, however, has been a recipe donated by Sophie Dahl: an extremely easy – yet beautifully textured – rendition of Spelt Banana Bread.

A version of it is listed below and is well worth having a go at. Sweet, moist, and full of fibre, your bowel and your taste buds will love it.

Spelt Banana Bread (serves 6 for a hearty breakfast or tea)

Click here for the original recipe

Banana Bread

SPELTACULAR

Ingredients:

  • 170g Wholegrain or Bakers Blend Spelt Flour
  • 75g soft butter, plus extra for greasing and serving
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed up
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Grease a 30 x 23-cm/12 x 1- inch bread tin
  2. Pour the mashed bananas into a big mixing bowl. Mix in the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract
  3. Add the bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix in the flour last [as thoroughly as you can manage or the bicarb might sit in a lump]. Pour into the prepared tin
  4. Bake for 1 hour [approx – my oven did the job in 50 minutes], remove and cool, then serve in slices with a little butter. [You can also toast it for breakfast, and serve with Natural Yoghurt, Crème Fraîche, or Mascarpone]

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

With thanks to Sophie Dahl and Sharpham Park’s Great British Spelt Recipes campaign – in partnership with Bowel Cancer UK

Recipe: The Dark Chocolate, Berry & White Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake.

Putting the 'goo' in 'damn good'

Putting the ‘goo’ in ‘damn good’

I do not exaggerate, Ogglers, when I say that this is THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE I think I’ve ever had – and all thanks to my pal Mimi (she of the Cinnabon Substitute).

Adapted from a few different recipes that have been expertly fused together, it was made for me as a belated birthday present – and was extremely well received.

With a sponge not unlike a Chocolate Fudge Brownie (moist and slightly chewy at the edges), plus a filling so creamy and perfect it hurts (the berries! The cream cheese! The chocolate!) , I defy you to bake one and leave it alone.

Indeed, so bereft was I when I finished my first, I had to make me a second the very next day.

I kid you not.

Anyway, a million thanks to Mimi for curating the recipe – and for letting me share it with you lot via this blog.

Trust me, Ogglers: homemade cakes don’t get much better than this…

The Dark Chocolate, Berry & White Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake (makes a sponge big enough to feed 10 in one go – or 2 over several sittings)

Something to berry your face in

Something to berry your face in

Ingredients:

For the Dark Chocolate Sponge:

  • 125ml cold water
  • 200g broken dark chocolate (the best you can afford)
  • 200g butter
  • 1tbsp dried coffee
  • 85g self raising flour (or 85g plain with ¾ tsp baking powder)
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g golden caster sugar (white caster sugar’s fine too, if that’s all you’ve got in your cupboard)
  • 200g brown muscovado sugar (light, preferably)
  • 25g cocoa (or drinking chocolate – though reduce the sugar content by 50g if using the latter)
  • 3 eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk (I used natural yoghurt in its absence – no probs)

For the Berry, White Chocolate & Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 150g softened butter
  • 100g white chocolate
  • A handful of berries for garnishing – if using fresh raspberries, this works out at about 20 or so. Alternatively, you can also use 3 to 4 tbsp of mixed berries (i.e. blackcurrants, blueberries, redcurrants, etc). Whatever you fancy for extra juice and tartness…

Method:

To Make the Sponge:

  1. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C (fan assisted) or Gas Mark 3
  2. Add the coffee to the cold water and stir well
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the buttermilk/natural yoghurt. Put aside for later
  4. Pop the dark chocolate, butter and coffee solution into a saucepan. Warm gently and on a low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to stop the bottom burning
  5. While the chocolate mixture is melting, put the flours, bicarb, sugars and cocoa together in a large bowl, using your hands to stir out the lumps (a spoon will do the same job if you’d rather not get messy)
  6. Add the egg mixture and the melted chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, then stir the whole lot until it’s smooth and runny
  7. Pour into the tin and bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes (until a knife comes out clean when poked through the top)
  8. Keep the cake inside the tin for a few minutes, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack

The cake cannot be iced until it has cooled, so take a break and then get to work on the cream cheese frosting…

To Make the Filling:

  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until the whole thing is fully blended
  2. Using either a microwave or a saucepan, gently melt the white chocolate.
  3. Stir the melted chocolate into the butter and cream cheese
  4. Sift the icing sugar and beat this in with rest
  5. Try to refrain from eating the lot until the cake is cool (tempting though it might be)

To Assemble:

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

  1. Using a long, sharp knife, carefully cut the sponge in two, then smear half of the frosting in the middle
  2. Dot this with about three-quarters of your berry rations, scattering them evenly throughout
  3. Pop the upper sponge on top, then cover it with the rest of your icing and berries, hiding any cracks that might have appeared while the sponge was baking
  4. Hey presto: bring out the cake forks!

NB: This is one of those sweet treats that improves after 24 hours or so. However, if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat the lot within a few days, slice up the surplus and freeze it in airtight containers.

When you’re ready to eat, allow at least four hours for your slices to defrost (leaving them out overnight works for me…).

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

Recipe: Salted Honey Caramel.

Dive in - you know you want to

Dive in – the water’s lovely…

Lex Leafy came round to the Hog House last weekend, ready for another Bakeroo.

With her came a rather exciting recipe for Salt Caramel flavoured with Honey, and I thought that some of you Ogglers might want to try it…

You’ll need a sugar thermometer to recreate things accurately, but the results are both unusual and splendid (particularly for those of you who love that Honey tang).

When set, the Caramel’s firm, and yet still soft enough to scrape up with a spoon.

If you’re feeling especially generous, you can top up a sterilised jar and hand it over to a friend.

Alernatively, if – like me – you find yourself strangely unable to give away your supplies, you can check out my page of dribblesome Salt Caramel suggestions, and get stuck into some tasty kitchen experiments.

In no time at all, you’ll wonder how you lived without it…

Salted Honey Caramel (makes about a jar’s worth)

Honey Salt Caramel

*SWOON*

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 50ml water
  • 1 cup of double cream
  • 50g butter
  • 2 heaped tsp salt

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and 10g of the butter on a medium flame, whisking as you go. When it starts to boil, remove it from the heat
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the sugar, honey and water to the boil on a medium heat, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon to prevent the bottom burning
  3. When the syrup reaches 280 degrees F (it will have started to darken), remove it from the heat, add the cream, and stir (it will bubble quite ferociously for a while)
  4. Return the mixture to the heat, add the salt and the rest of the butter, and stir until it has boiled for a minute or so
  5. Pour into a shallow, greased, ovenproof dish and allow to cool
  6. As soon as it’s not too hot to burn, you’re ready to tuck in – or transfer it to your airtight container of choice
  7. Keep refrigerated, and eat within a couple of weeks

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

Recipe: Easy Peasy Profiteroles (with a Homemade Chocolate Sauce).

BEHOLD! The Pud-Hog’s proudest pastry plate to date…

Profiteroles look so tricky, don’t they?

Not to eat, of course – as digesting goes, they probably couldn’t be easier – but to create with your own fair hands.

Not only must you make your own Pastry, but then you have to fill it with Cream and smear it with Sauce to boot.

Better to buy them from the supermaket, right?

WRONG!

As it happens, they’re one of the easiest pastry-based treats you can make. You just need the right instructions – and, thanks to a book I got last week, I’m delighted to say I have them.

The recipe came from a nifty new publication called A Little Course in Baking, which breaks down various bakeables into pretty easy steps.

Today, I am delighted – and excited – to report that the good people of Dorling Kindersley have allowed me to share this wisdom with all of you Ogglers too (thanks, DK)!

So. All you need to get in on the action is an oven, a saucepan, a piping bag and a few fairly basic ingredients.

Within 45 minutes you’ll have a trayful of beautiful-smelling, professional-standard Choux Pastry Balls, to fill with whatever your heart desires.

Double Cream doesn’t do it for you? Then cram them with Crème Pâtissière instead.

Be sure to experiment with toppings too, if you fancy it.

With just the one batch, the Man and I made Chocolate Sauce from scratch, used dollops of Salt Caramel, and, for a particularly lazy option, squeezed out the Sauce we had left from our Stay-at-Home Ice Cream Parlour.

DEEELICIOUS.

Next time I might even try the next recipe in the book: a version with booze and Chocolate Orange.

Ach – who am I kidding? There’s really no ‘might’ about it…

Easy Peasy Profiteroles (makes approximately 30)

A choux-in for snazziest sweet-thing of the year

A choux-in for snazziest sweet-thing of the year

Ingredients:

For Cream-filled Profiteroles:

  • 60g (2 oz) plain flour
  • 50g (1 ¾ oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300ml (10 ½ fl oz) double cream

For (optional, yet delicious) Chocolate Sauce:

  • 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) double cream
  • 200g (7 oz) dark chocolate (good-quality, if you can afford it), broken into pieces
  • 25g (scant 1 oz) butter
  • 2tbsp golden syrup

You will also need a piping bag, as well as a 1cm plain nozzle and a 5mm star nozzle

Method:

For the Profiteroles:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (gas mark 7). Line two baking trays with baking parchment. Sieve the flour into a bowl, then over a low heat, melt the butter and 150ml (5fl oz) of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from heat, and ‘shoot’ in the flour all at once [NB: to ‘shoot’ the flour, transfer to a sheet of parchment after sifting into the bowl, then tip it into the saucepan all in one go]
  2. Beat the mixture together with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and forms a ball. Then leave it to cool for about 10 minutes. Careful: don’t be impatient and go on to the next step before the dough has had time to cool or you will start to cook the eggs instead of incorporating them…
  3. Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition until the eggs are fully incorporated. The more you beat the mixture, the more you develop the gluten and the more air you will get into it, helping the dough to puff up
  4. Continue to beat until you end up with a very smooth and shiny dough. Use a wooden spoon so you don’t cut into the mixture, as this would break up the developing gluten and result in the profiteroles not setting or rising wellChoux Mix
  5. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with the plain nozzle [ACE TIP: if you find this part difficult, place the piping bag in a jug or tall glass to make it easier to fill]. Pipe small rounds (roughly an inch across and half an inch tall), set well apart, onto the sheets. Flatten the tops by pressing down lightly with a dampened finger. Bake for 20 minutes until well risen – and don’t be tempted to open the oven too early or the buns may deflate. While waiting, wash out and dry your piping bag in preparation for the filling…
  6. Remove the choux buns from the oven, then make a slit of roughly one inch in the side of each one, allowing the steam to escape [warning: you may get hot fingers]. Work as quickly as you can. If you don’t, the steam will make them soggy. Return them to the oven and bake for another two minutes until golden brown and firm. Cool on a wire rack. If planning to serve with homemade sauce, start preparing this nowChoux Slits
  7. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. It’s ready if it holds its shape when the beaters are removed. Spoon the cream into the piping bag with the star nozzle
  8. Squeeze the cream into the centre of the choux, making sure you don’t overfill the buns (but don’t underfill them either). Widening the existing slits with a sharp knife will make this process easierProfiterole Filling
  9. Serve with whatever sauce you fancy and dig in…

For Chocolate Sauce:

  1. Place cream, chocolate, butter and syrup into a saucepan and heat over a low heat until melted and smooth. Stir frequently to speed up the melting process
  2. When ready, spoon it over the profiteroles
  3. Voila!

WARNING: these Profiteroles are exceedingly addictive, so if you think you might want to prolong their destruction, you can freeze them, pre-filled, in an airtight container. Then whenever you’re ready for more, leave them out to defrost and continue from Step 7.

Alternatively, you can keep them, post-filling, sealed tightly in your fridge. They’ll lost their crispness but stay gosh-darn tasty. Just make sure you eat them while the cream stays fresh…

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

Recipe taken and lightly adapted from ‘A Little Course in Baking’, published with prior permission from Dorling Kindersley, January 2013

Recipe: Man-Pa’s Christmas Pudding Ice Cream.

What with the New Year’s bank holiday out of the way, it feels like the Christmas period is well and truly over.

What a very sad time it is, when the days of legitimate Hoggery are finally at an end.

There are plenty of things I’ll miss from the festivities: Ma Hog’s homemade Mince Pies; steaming glasses of Hot Buttered Rum; the crunchy chew of a light-toasted Pudding; pots of cold Custard, lining the worktop.

It pains me to think that I won’t see most of these goodies again until next December, though I suppose that’s partly what makes them so special.

Then again, there are some treats I’m not sure can wait…

One of this Christmas’s more major (and moreish) highlights was a bowl of Christmas Pudding Ice Cream, made by the fair hands of Man-Pa (he of Summer Pudding fame).

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

O, Holy Pud!

The die-hard Ogglers among you will remember me mentioning this particular treat way back in 2011. In fact, you could argue it was what got the Pud-Hog Blog going in the first place: so enamoured was I with this Ice Cream, that I felt compelled to tell the world about it.

Anyway, just a fortnight ago, I was thrilled to be served it again – and this time it tasted even better.

Apparently the formula had changed: out had gone the Breadcrumbs, to be replaced by Meringue and luxury jellied Fruit Pastilles, of the type you can find in the fancier delicatessens.

The resulting taste and texture were extraordinary: sharp bursts of sugared Fruit; boozy Raisins, Dates and Peel; crunchy fragments of Meringue, and the softest, creamiest base you could wish for.

My delight secured me the recipe – so, thanks to the Man-Pa, you too can enjoy this magnificent medley at home.

It’s easy and fairly quick – and, I swear, yule never have better.

I defy you to wait until next December…

Man-Pa’s Christmas Pudding Ice Cream (serves 4)

Ingredients:

Fruit Stuff…

  • 80g raisins and/or sultanas
  • 80g dates
  • 80g candied peel
  • Some brandy or rum to soak the fruit
  • Finely-chopped fruit pastilles (preferably upmarket ones; gelatin-free)

… and for the Ice Cream:

  • A few nutmeg shavings
  • Generous half tsp ground ginger
  • 1 to 2 tsp vanilla essence (depending on your tastes)
  • 1 tsp coffee essence (make your own with half a tsp instant coffee granules and same amount of boiling water)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks OR 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 2-4 cloves (again, your taste dictates)
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 medium/large crushed meringue

Method:

  1. Mix the Fruit Stuff together and set to soak in the brandy or rum
  2. Heat ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon in a small saucepan for a few minutes…
  3. Then in with the cream, vanilla essence and coffee essence. Bring gently to the boil
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a medium-sized bowl
  5. Strain the cream to remove the spices. Tip cream into the sugar and egg mix and whisk together before heating again – slowly – in a clean pan for no more than 10 minutes until it thickens slightly
  6. Take off the heat and chill for at least 2 hours (or overnight, if you have the time)
  7. Strain the cream mix into a freezable container and freeze for an hour or two until it starts to thicken. Stir every half hour to break up the ice crystals (NB: clingfilm on top of the ice cream will prevent it turning brown if it’s going to be in the freezer for a week or more)
  8. Defrost for about half an hour before serving so it’s nice and soft to eat
  9. ENJOY

Happy Hogging – and thank you to Man-Pa for sharing!

P-H x

The Pud-Hog’s Pud of the Year: Top 10 Homemade Puddings.

Yes, I have my share of disasters in the kitchen. But sometimes – sometimes – things work out rather well.

Below are this year’s classic home-cooked champions (excluding the Christmas Buns, that is – they arrived too late in the day).

With the exception of Numbers 5 and 8, all the recipes are available on this website – so if you like the sound of them, get into the kitchen and BAKE.

10. Pud-Hog Slob Slop

Mush

It’s hardly the most beautiful of bowlfuls – but is definitely the quickest lump of comfort food I’ve ever made.

Gooey, milky, warm and sweet, all it takes is a microwave and some very basic ingredients.

Customise with a dollop of Jam, Honey or Salted Caramel, and your stomach will greet it with glee.

Get the Pud-Hog Slob Slop recipe here.

9. Yum Rum Balls

Salvation!

Baking gone bad? Don’t throw your cake crumbs away: recycle them into a box full of chocolatey, boozy balls.

Good for presents – even better for personal piggery.

Get the Yum Rum Balls recipe here.

8. Marmite Chocolate Cupcakes

ChocMar3

An invention of supper club hostess MsMarmitelover, I tried these out a few months ago and promptly fell in love with them.

Along with the richness of those moist sponge bases, their indulgent Marmite-flavoured cream and frosting make these more like miniature puddings than cupcakes – have more than one and you’ll probably need to lie down.

Perfect for lovers of salty sweetness (and die-hard Marmite fans).

Get the Chocolate and Marmite Cupcake recipe from MsMarmitelover’s website (it’s the second one down on the page…)

7. Dessert Tortillas

Banana Tortilla

SURELY the next sweet sensation?! A warm, freshly made Tortilla (plain- or Cinnamon-flavoured), stuffed with whatever you fancy.

I ate mine with Chopped Banana, Cinnamon Cream and Brown Sugar and it was AWESOME – quite possibly my favourite breakfast treat of the year.

They even freeze well too…

Get the Dessert Tortilla recipe here.

6. Orange and Dark Chocolate Buns

Finito

As you regular Ogglers know, in the last few months I’ve become rather obsessed with making Buns. These Orange and Dark Chocolate bad boys were my first yeast-based experiment, and boy did they do me proud.

A super soft dough, thick chunks of Dark Chocolate, and the zing of Orange extract…

Who wouldn’t want to shove one in their Bun-hole?

Get the Orange and Dark Chocolate Bun recipe here.

5. Cinnabon Substitute

Cinnabon

This recipe was introduced to me by my pal Mimi after both of us caught the Cinnabon bug.

In an effort to recreate that gooey Cinnamon goodness at home (avoiding the high prices – and at least some of the naughtiness), she found an alternative on the web and brought round the results.

They were truly wonderful: so squishy and well lubricated (both with Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Butter) that they squelched with every bite.

Trust me, folks: if you don’t have a Cinnabon in your vicinity, these are the next best thing.

Get the Cinnabon Substitute recipe from the All Recipes website.

4. White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondie

The beast lies dormant. Don't be fooled.

This could well be stickiest, naughtiest thing I’ve made (nay, eaten) since embarking on this blog. Even when cooked it comes out part-baked, with a strata of White Chocolate syrup beneath its caramel-coloured crust.

Even so, in my humble opinion, it’s the texture that Blondies should be: wet, crisp, and chewy – with added textural variation from the jewel-like Cranberry chunks.

Just make sure you have a spoon ready – or things could get very messy.

Get the White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondie recipe here.

3. Raspberry Cheesecake Blondie

Blondie LayersIf No.4 wasn’t exciting enough, how’s about serving your Blondie as part of a Cheesecake?

Overkill, you say?

You couldn’t be more wrong.

This majestic creation consists of three of the tastiest tiers you can imagine: on the bottom, a gooey White Chocolate slab; on the top, a tart Raspberry Cream; and between them, a layer of thick cooked Cheesecake.

Having toned down the levels of sugar involved, the final product was thankfully not oversweet – more a complementary balance of Berries and Chocolate.

Though I say so myself, It looks rather splendid too…

Get the Raspberry Cheesecake Blondie recipe here.

2. Hot Buttered Rum

Golden Delicious

This recent addition to my repertoire blew my mind back in October.

Being my first encounter with sweet buttered drinks, it was destined to make a pretty big impression.

Having entered my world via Choc Tales (a Chocolate and Cocktail event held in Dean Street) its creators (Manhattans Project) were kind enough to keep it there by passing the recipe this way.

If you haven’t yet tried it, you must. Every mouthful is like nectar: a beautiful blend of Rum, Butter, Apple Juice, Golden Syrup and warming Spices.

On Christmas Day, it’ll be my tipple of choice.

Heck. On every day it’ll be my tipple of choice.

Get the Hot Buttered Rum recipe here.

 

1. Peach, Almond and Goat’s Cheese Cheesecake

Regardez... and try not to dribblez

LOOK AT IT.

Isn’t it glorious?!

I still can’t believe this was made with my own fair trotters – but made with my own fair trotters it was.

The Pud-Hog Blog aside, this is by far my proudest creation in the last twelve months, and not just for its snazzy yellow pattern.

Inspired by food from the south of France, its ingredients work in (surprisingly) perfect harmony: the Almond Biscuit bottom, the sweet Goat’s Cheese, White Chocolate and Honey insides, the juicy slivers of Peach adorning the top…

SUPERB.

While Goat’s Cheese is usually not my favourite flavour, in this it works wonders – but I guess you’ll have to try it to believe it.

Light, creamy and full of zing – get the recipe here and feel free to send me the results.

HAPPY HOGGING!

Recipe: Christmas Buns.

Tired of Mince Pies? Prefer something… doughier?

Then get your chops around the Pud-Hog’s Christmas Buns.

I made some last night with a jar of old Mincemeat (left over from 2011), plus a generous sprinkling of Mulled Spice Sugar (a special mix sold by Steenbergs, infused with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice and Clove).

They turned out to be a textural triumph: extremely soft, extremely juicy, and crisp on the top with a layer of baked spiced Sugar.

In fact, they could well be the best Buns I’ve made – and given the taste of my Orange/Dark Chocolate variety, that’s a fairly major accolade, I assure you…

Christmas Buns (makes 6 big ‘uns)

Christmas Buns

Naughty AND Nice

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 120ml warm water (a mixture of half boiling and half cold)
  • 7g dried yeast (approx one sachet)
  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 40g melted butter/vegetable fat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Filling and Top:

  • 400g mincemeat (vegetarian, ideally)
  • 30g mulled spice sugar, approx (or normal sugar with 2 tsp allspice if you can’t get hold of the Steenbergs blend)
  • 20g butter/marge

Method:

  1. Stir the yeast and warm water in a jug/cup and leave somewhere warm to react
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the other dough ingredients together
  3. When the yeast/water mixture is starting to get nice and frothy (after about 10 mins), pour it into the rest of the dough and incorporate with a spatula
  4. Before the water has the chance to get cold, quickly take out the dough and knead on a floured surface for 10 mins (until the dough is ultra smooth and springy)
  5. Return the dough to its bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (i.e. 60 to 90 mins)
  6. Take out your risen dough and lay to rest under a tea towel on a floured surface for 10 mins
  7. Roll out into a rectangle (approx 10 x 8 in inches, or 25 x 20 in centimetres)
  8. Spread the mincemeat evenly over the surface, making sure to cover the dough right up to the edges
  9. Cut your rectangle into 6 strips (a strip being 8 inches/20cm long) and roll each one up into a coil (with the mincemeat on the inside, obvs)*
  10. Place in a large floured baking tray
  11. Melt the second batch of butter/marge and drizzle the top of each bun with about a teaspoon’s worth. Then sprinkle a liberal teaspoon or two of mulled sugar on top of this (depending on how sweet you want the final product)
  12. Cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place to rise for another 30-40 mins
  13. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees
  14. Bake in the centre for approximately 25 mins, or until golden and cooked through
  15. Place on a wire rack to cool
  16. DEVOUR – still warm, if possible (just don’t burn your tongue on that mincemeat)

Happy Ho-Ho-Hogging!

P-H x

[* NB: since sharing this post a few pals have suggested rolling the dough up first, then cutting it into 6 portions.

If you want to save time then go for it – but I like the less uniform shapes that come out when you roll each one up individually.

As a wise man once said, the choice is yours…]

The Pud-Hog’s Pud of the Year: Top 10 Pudding Producers.

Would you Adam and Eve it?

Last week marked the one year anniversary of the Pud-Hog Blog – and I was so caught up in those Cape Town desserts, I blooming well let it pass by.

A BELATED HOGGAVERSARY TO YOU ALL!

To celebrate, I’ll be looking back over the past year of tasty Pud-Hog treats (now in the two-hundreds, last time I counted), and presenting the best of the bunch.

To kick things off, here’s my Top 10 Pudding Producers; a handful of excellent companies that have caught my eye, with various ranges of sweet treats guaranteed to make you drool.

These are by no means one-hit wonders, folks: they’re places for Pud-Hog pilgrims (and no – they’re not all in London)…

10. Chococo

Luvly Jubilee

Why? Chococo is an excellent Chocolate company which sells all manner of gorgeous goodies, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Their flavours are pretty exciting too – think Truffles filled with Molasses, or even Stinging Nettle Ale(!)

Where? They have a factory/shop/cafe in Swanage (you can order things from their website too).

Try: the Chocolate Cream Tea (Chocolate Scones with Dulce de Leche and Clotted Cream); one of their Ice Cream Sundaes (drowning in homemade Chocolate Sauce).

9. Konditor and Cook

K&C Brownies

Why? Though slightly pricier than the average bakery, the range and quality of their cakes is more than worth the money. Indulgent and full of all the right flavours.

Where? K&C has numerous shops in London town – their store at Borough Market is always buzzing.

Try: their Brownies (to my mind, the best in London); Pumpkin Pie; the Curly Whirly Cake (a must for Cream Cheese Addicts).

8. Gatineau

Any more colour and we'd have gone blind...

Why? This could well be the best patisserie outside of France: it always smells divine, their cakes and pastries are made fresh and onsite – and their less fancy pastries are very good value for money.

Where? Gatineau has a popular store in Summertown, Oxford.

Try: a bag of Macaroons (especially the Passionfruit and Raspberry/Chocolate varieties); the Chocolate and Almond Brioche (phwoar).

7. Kooky Bakes

Salt Caramel Whoopie Pie

Why? Big, bold, fun exciting and – above all – very American. Kooky Bakes make a damn fine cake – and their textures are superb.

Where? You’ll find the Kooky Bakes stall at various London markets (take a look at their website for details). They also have a few things in the Selfridge’s Food Hall.

Try: the one and only Kooky Slice (a crazy riot of goo, crunch, salt and sweet); the Salted Caramel Whoopee Pie.

6. The Bakery Cafe

Bakery Cafe Cakes

Why? The atmosphere in the cafe is great and the cakes are even greater, not only in terms of taste. The Fruit Scone and Bun are particularly huge – best of the bunch for value, hands down.

Where? At the top of the main drag in Sherborne, Dorset.

Try: the Chocolate and Caraway Brownie (OMG it’s good); the aforementioned Scone and Bun (you probably won’t need to eat for the rest of the day).

5. Pistachio Rose

High Chai Platter

Why? Refined and flavourful Indian-fusion products: like nothing else you’ve ever tasted.

Where? Some of their products are stocked at Fortnum and Mason. They also do markets (keep an eye on the website for details).

Try: the Shortbread Hearts (so crisp!); the Fig and Dark Chocolate Naan (so chewy!); any one of their super-dense Chocolate Tarts (Out. Of. This. WORLD).

4. Paul A. Young

Aquariva

Why? Mr Young is a stickler for authentic flavours: if a Truffle’s supposed to taste like Malt Loaf, you can be sure that’s what you’ll get. Their range transforms on a regular basis and is always full of surprises (Pea and Mint? Port and Stilton?) The only downside is the price – this is the upper end of luxury.

Where? There are three main stores in London, all filled to the brim with Chocolate (stop by in Soho, Islington, or Bank).

Try: spiced Aztec Hot Chocolate; the award-winning Salted Caramel Truffle; the Marmite Truffle; the PB&J Truffle (the Pud-Hog’s personal fave).

3=3. Sorbitium/La Grotta Ices

Greengage and Hazelnut Custard Crumble

Why? It’s a cop-out to tie them, I know, but each one of these Ice Cream and Sorbet makers is just as awesome as the other: both use incredible flavour combos, and numerous British ingredients that are all-too-seldom seen. Think Cobnuts, Quinces, Damsons – whatever’s in season (and tasty).

Where? For La Grotta Ices, head to the Spa Terminus Market in Bermondsey on Saturday (9am to 2pm). Sorbitium can be found in various London markets (you know the drill: check their website).

Try: if you can get it, go for Dark Chocolate and Chipotle Chilli; Greengage and Hazelnut Custard Crumble (both Sorbitium); Toasted Hazelnut Brittle; Pine Nut and Candied Orange Cedrat Choc Ice (mmm – both La Grotta).

2. Honey and Co

Chocolate Sandwich

Why? Their goodies are all made onsite and they are WONDERFUL. Cost-wise, they’re generally located towards the dearer end of the market – though are not nearly as pricey as some.

These puddings aren’t your normal restaurant fare, but decadent and delicious, with a Middle-Eastern bent. They change their menu regularly too – always a good sign.

Where? Their small cafe was established on Warren Street earlier this year.

Try: the Cold Cheese Cake (a fruity, nutty nest made with Honey and chopped Almonds); the Chocolate Sandwich with Peanut Butter (extremely dense and rich); the Chocolate and Hazelnut Loaf (a goo bonanza).

1. Outsider Tart

Outsider Tart Stall

Why? These are some of the most imaginative guys around, with a no-holds-barred approach to baking. Chunky, unpretentious, usually bursting with Chocolate… I’m not talking about myself here, but the numerous Brownies and Cookies in their repertoire (one which appears to expand by the day).

It’s the only market stall I can’t help but run to, just to see what new creations they’ve invented. Pecans, White Chocolate, Strawberries, Whisky, Oreos, Marshmallows, Oats, Caramel – all feature on a regular basis.

Comforting, filling (and frequently naughty), if I could, I’d eat their products every day.

Where? Catch them at the Southbank Real Food Festival (look for the jostling crowd of people), or at their shop in Chiswick.

Try: walking past without buying anything (trust me, you won’t be able to). The Pud-Hog’s favourites so far include the Congo Bar (a medley of Chocolate Peanuts and Cookie Dough), the Apple and Whisky Pop Tart (served warm with a dusting of sugar), and the Mile High Bar (beats an aeroplane tryst every time).

Recipe: Hot Buttered Rum.

Best of the bauble-warmers

Best of the bauble-warmers

Remember that time I wrote about Choc Tales? And that barrel of hot Buttered Rum?

Well, as I mentioned on the bottom of that post, the recipe came from a place called Manhattans Project – and, to my utter delight, they were nice enough to let me put it on here (thanks, guys – I am indebted!).

If you make it, you’re in for a treat: the resulting Cocktail tastes just like warm liquid Toffee Apples, with the added extra bonus of salt (from the Butter) and booze (from the… er… Rum).

Serve it up on a cold, crisp night – or all through Christmas Day if you have to (beats Mulled Wine hands down, as I’m sure you’ll agree).

So rich and delicious is the Syrup and Apple Juice mixture, you could even get away with making a Rum-free version (an excellent choice for underaged Butterbeer enthusiasts – or folks with a tight drinks budget).

Anyway, that’s enough of an intro, methinks…

TO THE RECIPE!

Hot Buttered Rum (makes enough for 5-6 decent glasses…*hic*…)

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 1ltr apple juice (the best quality you can afford)
  • Approx 250ml rum (I used white – but brown would be scrumptious too, no doubt)
  • 125g butter (salted, ideally)
  • 100ml golden syrup
  • 25ml treacle
  • 1tsp allspice (mixed spice works well too if your cupboards are lacking)

Method:

  1. In a large pan, heat the apple juice over a medium-high flame, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to stop anything burning
  2. As it warms, add the butter in chunks and stir the syrup and treacle into the mix
  3. Once everything’s melted in, add the spice
  4. When the drink gets to around 80 degrees (i.e. hot but not quite simmering), turn off the heat, start ladling it into glasses and add the rum. The ratio is 4 parts mixture to 1 part rum (in other words, 1ltr of mixture needs about 250ml of booze). WARNING: be extra careful pouring the hot liquid in at this stage – if the glass is too thin there’s a risk it might break. If you don’t think your kitchenware can take it, try mugs instead
  5. Use cinnamon sticks as fancy stirrers, and GET MERRY

NOTE: If you don’t use all your mixture in one go, keep it in the pan with the lid on and reheat as and when required. Just make sure you stir it well when you’re ready to serve.

Happy Grogging!

P-H x