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Gingerbread

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We use this recipe all year round in the shop for making our gingerbread men biscuits but as it come closer to Christmas you’ll find us getting a little more creative. Making christmas trees, angels, stars and bells. It’s a nice crisp gingerbread that will last several weeks in a jar or tin, so you can make this one well ahead of Christmas. The recipe makes 16 large gingerbread men. Use your favorite Christmas cookie cutter shapes to create something more festive. Once cooled store them in an airtight container or have some fun decorating them with icing before store them away.

Ingredients

450g self raising flour
110g butter
1 tblsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
200g honey
200g castor sugar
1 large egg (beaten)
Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
Place flour and spice into a bowl.
Melt butter, sugar & honey in a pan over a how heat until sugar has dissolved.
Add the honey mixture to the flour and spices, combine and leave to cool. Dough should come away from sides of bowl and form a ball.
Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Add the egg and kneed into dough.
If the dough is too sticky then add some more flour.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest in fridge for at least 20 minutes (you can leave it over night). If you use the dough immediately it will swell more when baking and loose it’s cookie shape.
Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2 cm thick and cut out with Christmas cookie cutter shapes.
Make a whole at the top of each cookie dough with a skewer or straw so you can thread ribbon once cooked.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place cookies with space around them as they will expand when cooking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from tray once cooled.
Decorate as desired with icing.

Spelt Spice Cookies

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Yes it’s official, we’re baking, testing and posting Christmas recipes from now until the 24th December. This recipe is made with all the traditional Christmas spices but we are using a wholemeal spelt four instead of wheat flour. This gives the cookie/biscuit a nice grain to the texture of the crumb. We’ve had a lot of requests for spelt flour products and since we already have sacks of the flour at the shop we thought we’d experiment. We use this flour also in our Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough (available Saturday’s & Sunday’s at the shop and market)

Ingredients

150g butter

100g brown sugar

300g spelt

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 ground cardamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp water

slivered almonds to garnish

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C. You will need 3 baking trays.

Beat together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.

Add flour & spices to the butter mixture and mix until just combined (maybe a little crumbly).

To form the dough add the 2 tablespoons of water and knead dough together slightly

Flatten the dough and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

To roll the dough out lay the dough between two sheets of greeseproof paper and roll dough to approximately ‘cheese cracker’ thickness.

Refrigerate in sheet for for 10 minutes, it’s easier to cut chilled dough.

Cut out biscuits with your preferred cookie shape. I used mini circles which made about 45 and place the biscuit shapes onto a non stick baking tray.

Decorate with slivered almonds if you wish.

Bake biscuits for 10 minutes. The biscuits will be golden brown due to the spelt.

Allow to cool or scoff them while warm.. ha ha

The biscuits will keep for 10 days in an airtight container.

Lemon Curd Honeycomb Cruffins

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This weeks cruffin flavour at the shop and market is Lemon Curd Honeycomb.

For those readers who don’t know, Gourmet Gannet is the name of the small artisan bakery I own in a place called Kumeu, West Auckland. I opened the business almost three years ago, which was the start of my blogging silence. I have started to come back to blogging just recently.. very slowly! Here’s a picture of the front of the shop which we have recently gone through some rebranding.

Even though we seem to be in the midst of cruffin madness and sell out on Saturday’s before 10am, my thoughts are turning towards Christmas recipes. Yes I know some of you probably screamed at the mention of the word. But when you own a bakery you have to get organized early, the time races by and there is soooo much to make. We have actually finished baking all our Christmas cakes, they need plenty time to rest. Thanks to a lovely young lady who is working with us pre Christmas, we will have heaps of festive treats for you all who visit the shop and our market stall. For those further afield, I promise to blog some of our recipes.

 

 

Cruffin Crazy

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I’d hear all about the cruffin craze in San Francisco and Melbourne but there’s not been even a murmur here in New Zealand about them. So, what’s does a bakery owner do? Make them of course, I’d be crazy not to introduce them wouldn’t I?

We already make croissants, pain au chocolate and pain au raisin so how hard could they be? After a few weeks testing with shapes, various muffin pans and sampling the goods. Last week was our first launch of a cruffin, chocolate orange custard filled. And what a crazy Saturday morning it was after an introduction to them on our local community social media pages. No sooner had we opened the doors at 7am, people were coming in to buy them. I’d made what I thought was a lot, 48 cruffins. 24 for the shop and 24 for our market stall at Hobsonville Point. We’ll they didn’t make it to market, we’d sold out of all 48 by 8.30am.

This weeks flavour will be lemon curd & honeycomb, both at the shop and the market.

There are various recipes on the internet if you google cruffin recipe. To be honest after two years non blogging I’m to lazy to write up a recipe from my scrawly kitchen notes. It’s the croissant dough that is a bit time consuming, but you can always pop into see us at Gourmet Gannet if you are local in Auckland 😜

 

Blueberry Galette

Blueberry galette

It’s been a while I know, so why my internet silence? It’s not that I haven’t been food focused and creative over the last nine months, quite the opposite. I started a new business in April 2014, Gourmet Gannet Kitchen which is a small artisan bakery/patisserie in Huapai close to where I live. With new crazy night shifts baking bread, learning more about sour doughs and creating new recipes for the shop the blog has taken a bit of a ‘back burner’. But I’m still here, although likely more sporadic with my postings from here on. I had intended to document my journey but that was a little romanic idea when reality is the grafting just needed to get done.

I love my new business, it gives me lots of creativity and autonomy. Each week we renovate a bit more of the shop or add new equipment. This year I’ll shift my working hours from 10pm to 8am, to a more sensible 3am to midday. This will mean fresh bread baked through the day for customers rather than all ready and baked for 7am. I’m hoping our loyal clientele will be happy with this new offering even if it does mean that their regular loaf may not be ready by 7am. But it will mean that they may get to take their favourite loaf home at 8am or 9am straight from the oven. I’ll let you know how the new production is going at some point.

If you want to follow what I’m up to on a weekly basis I post lots of pics on our Facebook page Gourmet Gannet Kitchen (link in sidebar).

Here’s a recipe for a Seasonal Blueberry Tart, which we are currently selling at the shop.

300g Shortcrust pastry. You can use my recipe here or shop bought

400g fresh blueberries (3chips)

1.5 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla paste

1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch

zest of 1 lemon

1 free range for for egg wash, whisked

Preheat oven 180C

On a floured surface, roll pastry out to the size of a dinner plate. I use a dinner plate to cut round to get an even shape. Rest in fridge for 15mins.

Mix together the sugar, cornflour, lemon zest and vanilla.

Place the pastry onto a baking tray.

Arrange the blueberries in the centre of pastry base leaving an inch bare around the edge to fold over.

Fold dough into the centre to cover the edge of the blueberries, pleating and presiding together as you go, it doesn’t have to be perfect, galettes are rustic. Egg wash the edge crust of the pastry.

Sprinkle the sugar mix over the blueberries. The cornflour helps thicken the juice from the berries.

Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with ice cream, yoghurt or cream!

Some Of My Favourite Green Smoothies

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I may be a morning person, therefore getting to work for 5.30am is no problem but I’m not good at eating breakfast that early. So in recent months I have turned to smoothies to get me through the morning till the tummy starts to rumbly. It’s become a bit of a daily ritual and I have been experimenting with seasonal produce lately. I try to use local and fresh as much as possible but have relented for bananas and pineapple which aren’t readily grown here.  I have listed below three smoothies I am enjoying at the moment. All quantities are for one serve, so increase as required. If your blender can’t handle adding ice you can always add it to the glass afterwards to chill the drink. We have a lot of stone fruit about so keep checking into my Facebook account where I post daily smoothies more often.

This is also my entry for Sweet New Zealand, not a cake or pudding but they are certainly sweet! The months event is being hosted by Alessandra. For those Kiwi bloggers who have not yet entered you still have a chance to do so by the 27th. There’s also a chance to win some Fresh As products!

Tropical Green 

1/4 pineapple (peeled), 1/4 wedge of lemon (I use the skin also), handful baby spinach or kale leaves, sprig of fresh mint leaves, 1 cup of coconut water (buy a brand without added sugar if you aren’t using fresh), a few cubes of ice optional.  For a thicker creamy smoothie add 1/4 fresh avocado flesh.

Whizz everything together in a blender.

The Royal Cucumber and Mint

3 inch piece of telegraph cucumber (for overseas visitors these are the softer skinned cucumbers), sprig of mint, 1/2 a sweet red apple, handful spinach, 1/4 avocado flesh, 1 cup of coconut water, 1/4 wedge of lemon, a few cubes of ice.

Whizz everything together in a blender.

Chocolate Doris

4 black Doris plums, 1 small banana, 1 Tbsp cacao powder, 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds, 1 cup of milk or almond milk. If you need it a little sweeter add some honey or blend two to three dates with it.

Whizz everything together in a blender.

sweetnz

A New Years Trifle of Gingerbread & Nectarine

 (3)Now don’t fall off you’re perch’s because I’m posting twice in one week.  This is not a New Years resolution either so no one get too excited please. The next post could be a month away. I have just had more time over Christmas with the shop closed till the 7th but I am already writing my lists for shopping, preparing and baking to be done Monday. This was our New Years Eve dessert which followed Braised beef cheek and ribs, Mexican spiced. Accompanied with a piquant coleslaw,  bean & corn salad and homemade tacos. It was a gloriously sunny evening, we ate outside and lit the outdoor fire as the sunset so we could spend the rest of the evening outdoors. I have to confess, we didn’t see the New Year, I’m not much good with late nights, even on special occasions. Does it really matter if one doesn’t stay up till after midnight?

The recipe will made 6 individual servings or one medium sized trifle bowl. You can prepare all the components of the trifle or buy some of them depending how you feel and how much time you have. I have offered recipes for each part if you are feeling adventurous. I thought of buying a gingerbread loaf when contemplating the recipe, cursing that I hadn’t frozen some from my shop before we closed for Christmas, but when I looked at what the supermarket had to offer I couldn’t bring myself to buy it.

I’m also submitting this for our monthly Sweet New Zealand blogging event which is hosted this month by Alessandra If you pop over you will find more delectable sweet treats by fellow bloggers.

Simple Gingerbread Sponge

Preheat oven 160C, Line approx 18cm cake tin or tray with greaseproof.

100g butter, melted, 100g golden syrup, 1 free range egg, 100g self raising flour, handful crystalized ginger, roughly chopped. Save a few pieces of ginger for slicing and decorating the trifles.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter. Add the egg and beat mixture again. Add the chopped ginger and flour and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into lined cake tin and bake to 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before using in the trifle. Crumble sponge roughly once cool.

Creme Anglaise

200ml cream or milk, 2 medium free range eggs, 1 heaped Tbsp castor sugar, seeds of 1 vanilla pod

Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. In a saucepan heat cream or milk and vanilla bean seeds over a medium heat to a simmer. Pour hot milk/cream over the egg mix and whisk while pouring to prevent eggs scrambling (easier if you get an extra hand to help you). Turn heat down to low and pour the mixture back into the saucepan, cook over the low heat whisking all the time until sauce thickens. It’s important to keep whisking to prevent sauce sticking to bottom of pan. Once thickened pour into a clean bowl and cover with lid or plastic wrap to cool.

Poached Nectarines

6 nectarines (or you could use peaches), 1 vanilla pod (I use an empty pod that has already had its seeds used above)

Half and de-stone the nectarines. Place them in a pan and cover with water. Add the vanilla pod and place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. I don’t add sugar to the water as the tart fruit contrast well with the other sweeter ingredients in the trifle. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow fruit to cool in water. If fruit is quite ripe then you may only need to simmer for 5 minutes or use the fruit fresh. Once cool slice nectarines into wedges, approx 12 wedges per nectarine.

Whipped Cream

150ml whipping cream whipped to soft peak. Or you can use more cream if you prefer a thicker layer of cream!

Assembly

Layer nectarines, sponge, creme Anglais then cream. A few slices of crystalized ginger for decoration.

sweetnz

New Years Eliesenlebkuchen & a gift of Pottery

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Little slow of the mark with this one, lebkuchen would normally be baked pre Christmas and I would certainly have eaten my first one at the beginning of December the minute they arrived in the Frankfurt shops. I make a batch every year but have been a little busy baking Christmas cakes, trays of gingerbread, festive biscotti and panforte for the shop but no lebkuchen! In fact I had not even missed or thought about it until I read London Eats post about Eliesenlebkuchen. Christmas may have been and gone but I wasn’t going to wait a whole year to have lebkuchen, I blame you London Eats! A batch for a New Year celebration, perfect idea, the problem is we have almost finished them and I doubt they will make it into the New Year.

I had forgotten how truly special these biscuits are, the scent wafted through the house and I couldn’t even contain myself to wait for them to cool. Stuffing one in my mouth hot from the oven. Good? Yes, but much better if you wait for them to cool and glaze or dip them in chocolate. I haven’t written the recipe but offer you a link here, I did make a few changes due to available ingredients and how I remember them (see below).

Some of you may know that I am a bit of a vintage diva, owning a lot of 60s & 70s outfits. Well it doesn’t stop at clothes, I picked up the set of New Zealand Temuka pottery you see in the photo Christmas Eve at the Op Shop (Charity Shop) and wrapped them up and put them under the tree. A gift to me from me! The cups are the perfect flat white coffee size, just the right thing when you gift your hubby a coffee machine for Christmas ;o) The pot we can use for tea.

If you scroll below you will also see my latest vintage find that needs a little TLC , I’ll post pics of the chairs once pretty and complete.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations…. see you in 2014! xx

My changes to the Lebkuchen recipe

1. I had no bakers ammonia (hard to come by here) so I just skipped it. I was going to add a bit of baking soda instead but completely forgot and the results were still amazing. So don’t worry if you can’t get any.

2. I had lebkuchen spices which are better than mixed spice as they contain more spices (ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, ground nutmeg, ground coriander, ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground anise seed, ground star anise). Maybe make your own or add a few extra spices to the mixed spice. Here’s a link .

3. I also used ground hazelnut only which is how I remember having them.

4. I pipped mine onto bakers rice paper and glazed one side.

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Simple Strawberry Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Syrup

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Just a quick post so I can sneak this into our monthly New Zealand blogging event, Sweet NZ. It’s not a new one but we are in the height of our strawberry season here so ‘oldies are goodies’ right if they are using seasonal produce, are easy to make and and look fab! Mairi over at Toast is hosting this months event, pop across and see what else our KIwiw family of bloggers are cooking this month. I’m heading back to my crazy pre Christmas kitchen baking up batches of Christmas biscotti, Pacific Christmas cakes (millions on order), Panforte for the shop, not to mention mince pies once December hits next week. I’ll keep you posted on Facebook!

 

Ingredients – makes 6

1 large punnet/chip strawberries or 18-24 small/medium strawberries (enough to fit 3 to 4 in each muffin tin base)

2 Tbsp Equagold Vanilla Syrup

100g ready bought puff pastry or 1 sheet

Method

Preheat oven to 180C, fan bake

Wash & hull the strawberries and place in a bowl with the vanilla syrup

Toss the strawberries through the vanilla syrup.

Using large muffin tin (6 per tin normally) place 3 to 4 strawberries in the base of each tin

Roll out the puff pastry to 1/2 ich if not using a ready rolled sheet

Using a large cookie cutter, slightly larger than the top of your muffin tins so there is enough pastry to tuck down the sides, cut out 6 pastry circles and place each one on top of the strawberries

Tuck the pastry down the sides with a butter knife around the strawberries to make a little shell that will hold the strawberries once turned out.

Bake in the oven on the top shelf for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

To turn the tarts out, use a rubber spatular and slide it under the pastry and strawberries and turn the whole tart over.

I tried turning the whole tin over but that didn’t work so it is best to remove them one by one.

Serve warm as they are or with whipped cream

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Pumpkin Pie with a Caramel Crunch

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A lovely lady from the US emailed me about this recipe asking if I had a conversion for the measurements to suit the US.  Since I have deserted you the past few weeks and many may not have see this recipe anyway I thought you wouldn’t mind if I re-blogged it. Particularly since it is autumn in half of the world and fast approaching Thanks Giving for the US, it’s the perfect pumpkin pie recipe. Well I thought so, the bitter caramel balances out the sweet pie. I’ve even converted it to suit US measurements ( they aren’t a direct conversion but a measurement ratio that will work). I hope some of you get to enjoy it. Have a great Thanks Giving!

Ingredients – Pastry
180g of flour or 8oz
110g butter or 4oz
1 medium free range egg
50g of icing sugar or 2 Tbsp
Extra butter and flour for lining the tin

Method – Pastry
Preheat oven on ‘bake’ to 170C.
Butter and flour a 24cm loose bottom tart tin
Place the flour, sugar & butter in a bowl and rub the ingredients together with your finger tips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Or use a food processor to whiz them together.
Add the egg and bring dough together, (you may need a few additional tablespoons of chilled water particularly the ounce measurements) into a ball then flatten slightly.
Rest dough in fridge for 20 minutes before rolling out.
Roll out pastry dough thinly to fit tart tin.

Ingredients Pumpkin Custard
250ml milk / 1/2 pint
1 cup chopped pumpkin = 1/2 small butternut pumpkin
2 Tbsp honey or castor sugar
Seeds of one vanilla bean
3 medium free range eggs

Method – Pumpkin Custard
Steam or simmer the pumpkin in a pot of water for 10 minutes until soft then drain any liquid away.
Allow pumpkin to cool.
Whizz all the custard ingredients together in a food processor and pour into the tart case.
Place the filled tart on a lower shelf in your oven to cook the base through.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until tart is firm and started to puff slightly.
Remove from oven and chill completely before adding the toffee crunch.

Ingredients – Toffee Crunch
100g / 1 cup castor sugar
50ml / 1/2 cup water

Method – Toffee Crunch
Place the water and sugar in a small pan over a low heat until sugar has dissolved.
Turn the heat up so the syrup is gently boiling.
Boil the syrup until it starts to turn golden brown, approx 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let it stand for a minute, it will continue to cook and turn a darker brown.
Pour onto the chilled pumpkin custard, you may need a spoon to spread it but work quickly as it will set immediately it cools.
Don’t worry if it is a bit messy, you are going to take the back of a spoon and tap it so the surface cracks and is easier to portion the tart.

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