Mince Pies

Mince Pies

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Welcome to Day 6 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

Mince pies are a Christmas essential, and these are really simple to make. They are perfect to make for Christmas gatherings, and are easy for children to get involved with!

You can vary the additions to the mincemeat – I also like using orange zest and chocolate chips, or you can add other dried fruits like cherries and apricots. You can also use different toppings, I like to use a brown sugar meringue, or a simple crumble mixture as an alternative to pastry.

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Pear and ginger frangipane tarts

Pear and ginger frangipane tarts

day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These pear and ginger tarts are the perfect Christmassy bake, and are a great alternative to some of the richer cakes at this time of year, especially for anyone who doesn’t like mince pies.

They are perfect served cold with a cup of tea, but are just as good heated up with ice-cream as a dessert. Try and use a firm pear, as it will soften as it cooks, and you want it to retain some flavour and texture.

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Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs

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Last week was pastry week on the Bake Off, and saw the bakers making savoury parcels, a very odd technical (sensing a theme here!) of Kouign Amman, and show stopper eclairs. I though all the bakers did really well, they’re all so good now I don’t know who’s going to leave each week! Chetna’s eclairs looked amazing, and I absolutely loved Richard’s ‘éclair stair’, I thought it was inspired and was a great way to present his eclairs.

As my friend and I were having a baking day anyway, we decided to challenge ourselves and make eclairs! I have made eclairs once before, a long time ago, and although they’re similar to profiteroles, which I made for my baby croquembouche, they’re a French staple which I wanted to have another go at. I was actually surprised by how easy they were to make – apart from a bit of arm work to whisk the eggs in (or use an electric whisk!) they were really simple, and came out looking great. In hindsight, and after watching Bake Off, I think I piped the pastry while it was a bit too warm, as some of the eclairs spread out a bit too much.

Also last week I was Star Baker in the #GreatBloggersBakeOff – so Thankyou Jenny, that was such a lovely surprise!

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Chocolate Eclairs

For the choux pastry:

  • 75g chopped butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 175ml water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 15g cornflour
  • 15g butter
  • 200ml milk
  • 250ml double cream

For the topping:

  • 100g dark chocolate, melted
  • 50ml double cream

2 baking sheets lined with baking paper

25cm bundt tin, greased and dusted with flour

  • Heat your oven to 180°C
  1. To make the filling, heat the milk and vanilla to boiling point. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale, then stir in the cornflour. Pour the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth. Return to the pan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until thick.
  2. Put the thick custard into a clean bowl cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool completely.
  3. To make the pastry, heat the butter, water and salt over a gentle heat until the butter melts. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and quickly beat in the flour. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth, glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Allow to cool for a few mins, then gradually add the eggs, mixing well with an electric whisk between each addition.
  5. Spoon the pastry mix into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm plain nozzle. Pipe 14 buns, about 8 cm long and 2cm wide, leaving space for expanding between each one.
  6. Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown and doubled in size, then put on a cooling rack to cool.
  7. While the elcairs are cooling, whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the crème patissiere mix. Then melt the chocolate and cream together until you have a shiny sauce.
  8. To assemble the eclairs, cut them in half lengthways and either spoon or pipe in the cream and custard mixture. Spread the chocolate glaze over the top of each eclair and leave to set before serving.

This post is entered in week 6 of the Great Bloggers Bake Off, run by the lovely Jenny Paulin over at http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/.