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Posts tagged ‘Christmas baking’

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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Christmas Mince Pie Pops

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As we hurtle towards Christmas I feel like a spectator on the sideline watching everyone in a frenzy of shopping, pre Christmas gatherings, work functions etc. I would normally take part, I love Christmas with it’s trees and decorations, carols, yummy treats and families coming together. This year has been different, I don’t seem to be able to muster the enthusiasm but instead just find myself bobbing along with the flow of things. It’s been an exhausting year, endless travel with quite a stressful and busy job. Making far too many people redundant as the business down sizes only to have my own employment in the balance next year. Keeping positive, perhaps the universe is telling me it’s time for a fresh start, time to do something else? So instead of revving up I find myself slowing down, putting my feet up, taking time out for a lazy surf and chilling at the beach. The Christmas menu hasn’t even been thought of but it will happen…no worries as we say here. Hardly a Christmas treat has graced my ovens let alone my blog (except for the 47 Christmas cakes I have baked and sold but that’s part of a business). As we prepare to kiss 2012 behind and relish new beginnings in 2013 I leave you with a small treat, Christmas Mince Pie Pops.

I first saw pie pops over at Linda’s beautiful blog Call Me Cupcake, only then to find I am so behind and they are common knowledge in other countries. They even have pie pop makers, oh my goodness which rock have I been hiding under! So here is my version of pie pops, filled with a sweet Christmas fruit mince and chocolate. You can use your favourite Christmas pie filling or try mine. My shortcrust pastry has a little more butter in it than the regular half fat to flour. A tip from a French chef I worked with. It guarantees a short crust but if you have ‘hot’ hands’ I recommend you use a food processor for the crumb rather than the old fashioned way. It’ll keep the butter from melting.

So hows your year been and what are you hoping for next year?

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season where ever you are and however you celebrate and I will see you back in 2013!

This is also my submission to our monthly Sweet New Zealand challenge which is hosted this month by Lydia over at Lydia Bakes where you will find a lot more Kiwi sweet treats.

Ingredients – makes 12

300g sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe here)

200g sweet mince pie filling (recipe here)

12 pop sticks (bake proof not plastic)

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C

Roll pastry out to 1/2 cm thick

Using a cookie cutter approx 8cm diametre, cut out 24 pastry rings. Re-roll any bits and pieces to make more circles.

In half the circles cut out a star shape (or whatever mini cutter shape you have) for the lid of the pie.

Take the other half of the circles and place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre.

Wet the outer ring with a little water so the base and lid will stick together.

Lay the pop stick half way across the pie and fruit and press slightly into the pastry.

Place the lid on top of the pie and press the edges together, particularly around the pop stick so it will hold when baked.

Place on a 2 non stick trays and bale for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from tray when cooled. If any pie filling oozes out onto the tray loosen pie pop from tray before it cools so it doesn’t stick.

sweetnz

Spelt & Rye Spiced Biscuits

The smell of baked mixed spice wafting through the house is what truly defines Christmas for me, it takes me back to the years I lived in Frankfurt , the shops where full of the best every Christmas confections, biscuits and cakes. If I could transport myself there for a few days over Christmas I would visit the Weihnachtsmarkt with my good friend Petra, drink Gluewein by the Christmas tree and subject her to English carols with my cat warbles. We would eat sausages & sauerkraut and fill our bags with Lebkucken and marzipan treats, well I would anyway, Petra wouldn’t need to as she can pop them in her shopping bag anytime. Viel spass meine liebe freundin und trink eins fuer mich auf dem Markt!

But it is another friend who inspired me to bake spiced cookies in November, I had been chatting to Arfi of Homemades on Twitter about baking ammonium (hirschhornsaltz) used in Swedish spiced biscuits and where to buy the ingredient which doesn’t seem to be available here. All the talk of Christmas biscuits and spices had me longing for some goodies all day so I rushed home and put these together. I have used a combination of Spelt and Rye Flour, the Rye leaves little kernels in the mouth after the biscuit is gone which I love, a bit nutty. If you don’t like that texture then stick to all Spelt flour.

If anyone knows where we can buy Ammonium Carbonate, Bakers Ammonia in NZ  please let me know.

This is also my entry to our monthly blogging event Sweet NZ which is being hosted this month by Lucy over at The Kitchenmaid. Do pop over to her blog and see what she is up to as well as our Kiwi round up of sweet treats at teh end of the month.

Ingredients

150g butter

100g brown sugar

200g spelt

100 rye

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 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 form 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 dark brown due to the spelt and rye flour.

Allow to cool.

The biscuits will keep for a week in an airtight container.

Christmas Chocolate & Fruit Mince Pies

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Spot the photo from 2009, I’m pleased to look back and see my photography has improved over the years.

I can’t believe it is only a few days till Christmas, this week has flown by. It has been a busy December for me with a work trip to Aussie ( the job that pays the bills) and a busy month for my cooking school (my second job that I hope one day can pay the bills) and Christmas group bookings. With the final class for the year behind me today it’s time to get organised for our own festivities. We are hosting Christmas lunch at our house, there will be eight and I and haven’t even decided on the main course. I tend to start at dessert and work the menu back, not surprising really. Having been given crayfish and whitebait that has sorted out the entree. Heston’s Christmas pudding and vanilla Panna cotta with pomegrante and pistachio for desserts but I am still procrastinating on the main course. What about you, are you all organised?

Here is my recipe for chocolate mince pies if you haven’t yet made any.

Ingredients- fruit
2 tbs brown sugar
¼ cup brandy
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, coarsely grated
100g raisins, coarsely chopped
100g currants
100g sultanas
zest & juice of one small orange
(1/3 cup) orange marmalade
1/2 tsp mixed spice
50g 70% choc, chopped

Method
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Set aside, and soak over night, stir occasionally
Ingredients – pastry

Ingredients-pastry
110g Butter
180g flour
60g icing sugar
1 egg

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
Place the flour, butter & sugar in a bowl.
Work the ingredients together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the egg and bring dough together.
Rest dough in fridge for an hour before rolling out.
Roll the dough out thinly and use a cookie cutter that will fit your cupcake tins, making sure it is large enough to cup the filling.
Add about one heaped teaspoon per case and then cut out star shape out of the pastry for the lids.
Egg wash the star shaped pastry.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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