James and I have been obsessed with a TV show called Pushing Daisies. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. Well we finished the series (it was cancelled ater 2 seasons) and since seeing all of the delicious looking pies on the show (the main character owns a pie shop) I’ve had a bit of an obsession with making pies. When we first started dating I used to make apple pies all the time but then we got busy with work and it just wasn’t a priority.
But now I am a pie making machine and I’ve been trying all kinds of different flavours. So I figured I would show you how I start with the basics. I can’t remember where this recipe came from, it’s been in my recipe file for years and I think it came from a book my Grandma gave my Mum from the 1960’s. Anyway, here’s how I make apple pies!
What you need, ingredients:
- 4 apples
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- Lemon juice
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- Puff Pastry (I’m using store bought because I’m lazy but I’m sure it would taste much better with home made!)
What you need, utilities:
- Mixing bowl
- Spoon for mixing
- Measuring cups
- 4x heart shaped silicon cake tins (obviously you can do it in something else XD)
First thing will be to wash and cut up your apples, remove all the skin and chop them into fairly small pieces. Set them to the side. Preheat your oven to around 190 Degrees Celsius.
In a mixing bowl put a couple of squirts of lemon juice.
Add in the white sugar…
And the brown sugar…
And the flour ^_^
Now add the Cinnamon, I use a lot (like maybe 2 teaspoons) because James loves it. I personally can’t stand cinnamon but there are so many other flavours in this that it’s tolerable ^_^
Next add a couple of shakes of Nutmeg, maybe 1/2 as much as the Cinnamon you put in.
Mix it all together!
Add in the apple pieces and mix it again. The apples should be coated in the sugary substance. It looks dry now but once the apples sit while you make the pastry cups it will go all liquidy and sticky from the apple’s juices.
Clean your pie moulds and if you’re making pastry from scratch do that now and roll it out.
If you’re using the frozen pastry then make sure it’s thawed.
Drape it over the mould and press in to place. Pleat the sides so you can cover the base properly:
You should have something like this:
Cut off the extra leaving around 1cm around the edges and pop in the filling!
I decided to be fancy and make lattice tops. This is achieved by weaving strips of pastry together. If you’re doing this then cut a bunch of 1cm strips of pastry and start by making an X with 2.
Build it slowly by adding 2 more in each direction, this way you can weave them all very easily without disturbing too much.
Continue until the whole thing is covered…
You should get something like this:
Cut off the extra and pinch around the edges to seal it…
Repeat with the rest of them!
Ok one more pie-cam-whoring photo because I spent so damn long making them XD
Now put them into the oven! After 20 minutes check on them and make sure nothing is on fire then leave for another 20 minutes.
When you’re already hungry this seems like hours though -_-‘
Once you can see liquid boiling through the tops and the pastry is golden they are ready! Woo!
Take them out and leave them to cool for a bit. I like to cool them on the bottom too so they don’t get soggy as I don’t have a cooling rack.
And that’s it! Enjoy and eat! James likes to add icecream but I don’t really like icecream so I eat them plain.
Super yummy 😀
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and do let me know if you give it a try! Would you guys like me to post other flavour variations I make too? Like with the different fruits?
This week is going to be insanely busy for me but I’m going to do my best to keep up with you all! Sorry if I’m slow to reply to comments and emails please be patient 🙂
I’ll post abut everything that’s going on properly tomorrow but for today I wanted to post the photos from our Master Chef Finale party ^_^
I didn’t really follow Master Chef at the beginning because it looked boring. People cooking on tv? I can watch James do that in my own kitchen mwahahah! Anyway by the end I was a little hooked just like everyone else in Australia so when Celeste invited us over for a Masterchef finale party I couldn’t say no XD
Each of us was to make a dish from the show, James and my contribution was the macaron tree (surprise!)
This is them cooling:
And our finished macaron trees… Yummy looking right?
Celeste and Kev made beef bourguignon (sp??) and stroganoff. They even hand made the pasta… omg it was so yummy! Seriously this was one of the best dinners I have ever had!
There was a little bit of this during the night…
But it was mostly this…
Getting to play with such fluffy kitties was a novelty for me, so damn fluffy!
We also had scotch eggs which were yummy!
Here I am putting together one of the trees, James did one and I did the other. *cough* guess who’s looked better!
Pistachio and green tea, Raspberry and white chocolate and Bueno flavors this time!
James making his tree:
Taste test? Why thank you!
Desert was also fantastic with opera cake! So delicious 😀
Gangsta kitty is gangsta.
The kitchen was full of delicious chaos!
The tea was delicious and free flowing. It’s nice to meet other people who love tea as much as me! Celeste has over 40 different kinds of tea in her cabinet!! *40*
And lastly I will leave you with this. Because I can.
We had so much fun with our other “Cooking with Susie” sessions that we decided to give it one more episode: Sushi erasers with Susie 😀
Because we’re moving, we’ve been trying to spend as much time with our friends up here before we have to say goodbye for a while.
What did we decide to cook? Sushi! Well not really sushi but erasers that are shaped like sushi in a a little kit thingy.
We bought the kit as a present for Susiewhile we were in Singapore so she brought it over to play with.
Basically it’s a little box that comes with clay and molds and when you put them in the microwave it magically transforms them into erasers. You can read more about it here.
With these sort of things reading he instructions is very important. Even more so when they are written in Japanese!
You should fill the little molds with some water so the clay doesn’t stick to it!
Add some clay to each side…
Squish the sides together
Pull the extra off and you’ve got a piece for your sushi!
Use something pointy to wedge the clay out.
No matter how realistic they look don’t eat them!!!
Keep making them until you’ve made all of the pieces!
This is the reaction you get when you tell two girls that you’re going to eat all their sushi…
These are some of the parts that will eventually make the wholes: rice, egg and roe! Susie made these ones so they are all perfect.
This is an example of the crappy ones I made… XD
Eventually she wouldn’t let me touch the clay anymore because of my shoddy workmanship mwahahaha! This mismatch of skills tends to lead to some jealousy.
But you know all of that can be fixed with our awesome dancing!!
So enough messing around, making sushi is serious business!
Fill the paper container that came in the kit with water and add the sushi pieces.
Wait patiently for them to come out of the microwave!
Then dump the pieces into cold water.
Cut out all the bits of paper for the nori wrappers etc!
This is a good point to exchange presents too… Susiemade me this awesome gigantic leopard print bow!! She is so talented and awesome. On the other side of that because I’m an awesome friend I got her…. my love and admiration 😛
And here is our finished sushi!
Yummy yummy yummy 😀 Congratulations you have successfully completed a craft project made for children! I will claim that the language barrier was the reason it took us several hours. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But also even after it’s cooked you probably shouldn’t eat it.
Thanks for watching Cooking With Susie… and Violet!
Come visit Melbourne soon Susie!!! Let’s start a petition to make her come live in my spare room and do stupid stuff like this all the time?
Have you ever tried making this sushi erasers kit or any of these fun Japanese stye kits?
Macarons… they’ve become a serious obsession now.
I blame Lolita brands for this obsession. If they didn’t keep including them in prints or in sweets deco maybe I could forget about how melt-in-your-mouth-delicious they are… maybe I could ignore the fact that they are incredibly pretty… and maybe I could stop thinking about how I desperately want one for breakfast today with a cup of tea…
And so it goes on until one day I got so frustrated I decided to make them myself. I suppose that’s in keeping with the spirit of this blog ^_^
I searched and searched for a recipe. Many were too complicated with things like measuring the temperatures in the room and comparing the humidity to get the correct amounts for different parts of the world!? Macarons are apparently the most fickle of all deserts.
Finally just as I was about to give up a friend sent me a link to Not Quite Nigella’s Recipe. It seemed easy enough but I wasn’t too keen on the idea of pistachio as I wanted James to actually eat them too. I kept searching until I found the Tasted By Two version. Seemed easy enough… and so the experimenting began! After maybe 10 batches I have modified the recipe for our kitchen/temperature/humidity/what ever other ridiculous things macarons are scared of. I am not a baking purist, I just did what worked! These techniques might not work for you but I assure you that my result was freaking awesome 😀
So here is everything I’ve learned about macarons and my modified version of the Tasted By Two Recipe:
What you need:
Ingredients for chocolate macarons with chocolate filling-
For the outside bit:
- 65 grams Almond Meal
- 80 grams Icing Sugar
- 40 grams Caster Sugar
- 1 table spoon Cocoa Powder
- 50 grams Egg White at room temperature
- Oil spray
- Pinch of salt
For the filling:
- Cooking chocolate
- Thickened cream
- Icing sugar
- Aluminum foil
- Mixing bowls
- Electric beater
- Baking trays
- Spoon etc
- Piping bag/Small plastic bag
Gather everything together 😀
Line your trays with aluminum foil. Yes in the photo I’m using baking paper… and you know what, it sucked. Every recipe I found said to use baking paper but EVERY batch that I did using baking paper failed miserably. So what I ended up using for the successful batches was aluminum foil *very* lightly sprayed with olive oil. I’ll talk more about the failed batches and how to avoid that later!
Measure out your almond meal. Having the correct weights is very important so be quite careful. Now about the almond meal… many recipes I found said that you should crush the meal even further in a food processor to make it extra fine. I don’t have a food processor so I used it straight from the pack. No problems so far.
This is how fine it was:
Do the same with your icing sugar and sift them into your bowl. Make sure there are no lumps.
Then mix them together very well and make sure the consistency is even.
Now weigh your castor sugar.
And your egg whites. Egg whites are another highly debated point of this recipe. Some say you should leave them out over night, some say leave them for a week. I made macarons with eggs right after cracking them, over night and week old… and they were all exactly the same in my opinion. I really don’t think it makes a difference. Just make sure they aren’t too cold or else they won’t froth well.
Put your egg whites into a mixing bowl.
Add a pinch of salt to them
Now using your electric mixer beat them until they become slightly frothy.
When they look like this you should start adding the castor sugar a little bit at a time…
… until it looks like this 😀 The eggs should be light fluffy and peaky.
Now this part is quite fun! You should take your mixed up icing/almond and add 1/2 of it to the egg mixture.
Mix it up carefully, don’t be over zealous otherwise it will end up like cake. Once the first half is mixed in, add the rest and repeat.
According to a lot of recipes it should form ribbons off your spoon when you’re done. XD
Now mix in your spoon of cocoa
Ok time to get ready to pipe them. You can use a proper piping bag but if you’re not keen on cleaning one you can just use a plastic bag and throw it away after ^_^
Put your mixture into the bag!
And tie a knot into the top of it.
Now cut off the corner with a pair of scissors and pipe circles onto your tray.
Apparently some people will actually draw circles onto the baking paper to make sure they are completely perfectly shaped… I don’t really think that is necessary. If I wanted perfection I would go and buy them, I like he idea of mine being a little individual ^_^
Ok! So we’ve done the hard part! You should take your tray and bang it on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Then leave the macarons on the counter for 1 hour to settle. While they are settling let’s talk about some other variations!
James doesn’t like chocolate much either so he asked for some blueberry flavored ones.
I used tinned blueberries, crushed them and added to the mixture just before piping.
This is easy enough, you just need to add slightly more of the dry ingredients to counter the wet of the blueberries. If you’ve made a couple of batches you should be able to roughly guess at what the correct consistency should be.
My absolute FAVORITE flavor is green tea with pistachio filling. OMG this is seriously awesome. All you need to do is add 1/2 a teaspoon of matcha powder to the mixture instead of your chocolate powder. I’m using one from Tea2 but any will work.
They all look so pretty!
When you come back to the macarons the icing should have formed a very slight shell, you should be able to touch the top without getting your finger wet. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. When the oven is ready you can put in the tray and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you should be able to see the little crinkly bottom feet, if not something has gone wrong! Cook for another 4 minutes and then allow them to cool on the bench.
This is a picture of the first time I tried to make them, they weren’t very pretty but you can see the little crinkly feet I’m talking about…
Leave the macarons to cool while we make the filling.Basically all that is involved in that is melting chocolate in the microwave, adding a little cream, butter and a little icing sugar so it doesn’t go solid again. Very delicious. Be sure to taste it along the way 😉
The pistachio variation on this is basically crushed pistachios with butter and icing sugar to make a delicious paste:
Now it’s time to remove the macarons from the tray and turn them over… the bottoms should look like this:
Below is a good example of failed bottoms. The reason this didn’t work is because they weren’t cooked long enough so the insides were liquidy. They stuck to the (stupid) baking paper and collapsed when being removed. Still tasted good though.
Take a half and spread some filling on, pop another half on top and you’re done 😀
And here are the delicious green tea ones:
So there you have it! No longer will I be a slave to sweets deco and brand prints! Next time I crave macarons I’ll bloody well make some! 😀 Mine may not be the prettiest ever made but they tasted damn good and nobody complained so I’m happy!
Hope you all enjoyed the adventure as much as I enjoyed eating all of the failed and successful batches of macarons!
Evening everyone! Ok so tonight I’ve just got a couple of things to take care of before we get back to regular posting tomorrow.
- Firstly remember I did a review on Skin MD moisturiser a few months back? A lot of you had questions about where it was available and if it would be available in Australia any time soon. Well they currently don’t have plans to stock in physical stores in Australia but they do ship internationally. The only thing with this is that a bottle costs $18 and the shipping is another $9.95 which is not exactly cheap when you haven’t used the product before 🙁
Violet to the rescue of your bank balances!
If you want to order and you enter the promotional code “VIOLET” you will receive 20% off your order!
I know I’m going to be stocking up 😀
- Secondly my blog has also been featured on lots of other blogs lately !
I did an interview with Pretty Wonderland about blogging.
I was featured on All Women Stalk in the post 7 Great Fashion Blogs.
I was featured in a “blogs we love” post on The Beauty Stop.
Tabby over at Life of Mine wrote this adorable post about me.
I’ve also been receiving some lovely emails from you all and I just wanted to say thank you all for continuing to read my blog. I hope I can make it even better in the future!
- Following on from that in an effort to make things even better around here I’m going to be making a couple of changes. Nothing major, just a few things here and there so please don’t mind as I tinker with the site. If something doesn’t work please let me know and I will fix it up! If there is something that you want to see on the website I’ll be putting up a little poll so you can have your say ^_^
- There is also a competition coming up for you all to look forward to!
Lots of love!
Today is a food review for a change, one for the Twist n Roll Bakery!
So the back story to this review is all about how for years and years and years of being teased with Lolita jewelery and dresses with macaron themes without ever tasting one… they were just so damn pretty but living in Brisbane I didn’t think that I would ever get the chance to try one so I stopped looking and tried to put the idea of deliciously cute sweet treats out of my head.
But I didn’t do a very good job and one day I was complaining on my second twitter account about how much I wanted some and one of my friends Roundragon did some research and found that there was a bakery called Twist n Roll who specialize in macarons! When I found out I almost fell off my chair in shock!!
They have a stall at the New Farm Farmer’s Markets (at the Power House) but it’s only on every 2 weeks so…. today we ventured out to New Farm to find them!
It felt like it was a million degrees out in the sun today so James and I kept cool with ice green tea with honey and mint and a lemon slushie thing. Yum!
After we explored for a while we managed to find the stall.
Cute right? I loved the little Eiffel Tower and the gigantic tree of macarons ^_^
I decided to be cautious and try a large Raspberry one for $3.50 so I could see if I liked them
Here is a nice close up…
And the insides…
So the verdict? OMG YUMMY!
The shell was crispy and the insides were gooey. It tasted very fresh and packed with raspberry flavor. The man and woman who were running the store were lovely and chatty, they were both French and super bubbly and friendly!
In fact I enjoyed it so much that I went back…
And bought 6 small ones ($2 each) in each flavor! They had sold out of caramel and pistachio so I got raspberry, chocolate, coconut, lavender, lemon and an orange one which had chocolate filling like a Jaffa.
They started out like this…
And very soon turned into this… I have to say that the only reason I didn’t take a bite out the raspberry one is because I took it home for James’ Mum to try!
James tried the coconut one and loved it and Oh and James got a German hotdog thingy which he greatly enjoyed…
So my final thought is that macarons are freaking awesome and I’m going to be visiting the Twist ‘n Roll bakery next time I’m over in Rocklea! If you are in Brisbane, you can see all the locations here.
Looking at their website I’ve just found out Twist n Roll Bakery deliver, oh this is going to be so bad for my bank balance!!