Monday, 27 January 2014

Banana Cream Pie - Made from Scratch!!

Browsing the internet I came across several recipes for old fashioned Banana Cream Pie that reminded me of the Banana Flan that was served as a dessert when I was at school and stayed for school dinners - a long time ago!!!!!  So I set off to recreate my interpretation of Banana Cream Pie.

I made a pastry flan case that Baz said was the best I had ever made - a shortcrust pastry with a flaky texture - the basic recipe came from momswhothink blog but I added one or two tweeks of my own.

Flaky Pie Crust

Makes 1 pie crust
1  1/4 cups plain flour - sieved to add lightness
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lard (keep in fridge until ready to use)
1/4 cup butter (keep in fridge until ready to use
3 Tablespoons ice water
1. Combine flour and salt in medium bowl, grate lard & butter and add to the flour and lightly rub in.
2. Sprinkle water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, over flour mixture, tossing lightly with a fork until mixture forms an even dough.
3. Form dough into ball and refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for 1 hour.
4. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface into circle about 12 to 14 inches round.
5. Carefully fold in quarters, lift gently and unfold into 9-inch pie pan.
6. Gently press pastry against bottom and sides of pan. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch, then fold the edge under. Pinch edges to flute.
7After placing dough into pie pan, leave in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
9. Cut a large circle of parchment; fit into the pie shell, extending above edges. Fill the shell with pie weights or dried beans.
10. Bake pie shell 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove weights and parchment; bake 10 to 15 minutes more until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

The filling as I remember was made using ordinary custard powder but I decided to make a Crème Patisserie - again I adapted a recipe from momswhothink blog adjusting as I went along.

2-3 ripe bananas, sliced
1/4 cup cornflour (cornstarch in the USA)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks, beaten
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons good raspberry jam
1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornflour, and salt; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened.
2. Reduce heat, cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
3. Separate egg whites; (save for meringues). Beat egg yolks slightly.
4. Gradually stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Return egg mixture to saucepan; heat gently stirring all the time for additional 2 minutes or the egg yolks will scramble.
5. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, butter.
6. Spread the raspberry jam over the base of the cooked pie shell  arrange the sliced bananas on top. Pour filling on top. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Delicious - well - we thought so.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Souper Monday!

Been busy cooking today and managed to make a big pot of Chicken Stock from the chicken carcass that was leftover from the Roast Chicken we had for dinner yesterday - Its so easy to make and I can't understand why more people don't make their own stock as it tastes far superior to any stock cube you can buy.
Anyway, I went on to make a large pot of Leek & Potato Soup which is one of my favourite soups ever,  (the soup isn't  really that colour that's just the light over the cooker top!!)

and I enjoyed it for my lunch with a slice of toasted cheese bread.

 It was just so scrummy.  I will freeze most of it in individual portions later today when it has gone cold and will be great for easy lunches in the next week or so.  I still have enough stock left to make an extremely tasty Chicken Risotto later in the week when Barry is at home for tea.  I have added the recipe for my version of the soup I hope you try it


Leek & Potato Soup

2pts good chicken stockI medium onion – diced2 medium leeks – sliced and washed1 stick celery- diced2 large potato – diced1oz butter2 bay leaves½pt milk¼pt double creamSalt & white pepper to taste
Good grating fresh nutmegTblsp fresh chopped parsleyMethod In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the onions – sweat gently without colouring for 5mins. Add the leeks, celery and potato and sweat for a further 5 to 10mins without colouring.
Add the stock, bay leaves and milk – bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 30mins or until all the vegetables are cooked.
Remove the bay leaves and liquidise the soup until smooth. Return to the saucepan reheating gently adding the double cream, chopped parsley and the grated nutmeg.
Adjust the seasoning if required and serve.
For a real touch of luxury add a little swirl of extra cream (you could also add a little grating of extra nutmeg but be cautious as it can overpower

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Banana & Carrot Cake

Happy New Year  - I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Great New Year. 
Life has been a bit frantic in the first few days of 2014 with various Government Departments and Doctors giving me the run-around but I have decided to rise above the petty-minded bureaucracy that appears to dominate all aspects of normal living and ignore them all and bake!!!!
I set of to make a Banana Bread but threw caution to the wind  and decided to add some additional ingredients.  The result was a really good bake - a cross between Banana Bread and Carrot Cake and was demolished in record time.  I managed to get this photo only after I chased the family off it for 5 minutes. I have posted the recipe below - I hope you'll try it out - any problems please let me know.
Carrot & Banana Cake
8oz SR Flour
4oz Butter
6oz Light Muscovado Sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
2oz Chopped walnuts
2oz Sultanas
2 medium carrots – grated
½tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
½tsp cinnamon and ½tsp mixed spice
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 (if using a fan oven reduce temp to 160C).  Grease and line a 20cm x 12.5cm loaf tin (I used a square brownie tin and just lined the base with baking parchmentJ)
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Mash bananas with vanilla, add to the eggs and when well combined add to the butter and sugar mixing well (it may look a bit curdled at this stage but don’t worry it all comes together).
Sift flour, salt, cinnamon & mixed spice together and fold into the butter and egg mixture. Finally add the chopped walnuts, sultanas and grated carrots and mix gently until well combined.  (My mixture was at a dropping consistency but if yours looks too dry just use a little milk).  Spoon into prepared baking tin,
Bake for approximately 45 minutes and the cake is well risen and golden brown (or a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean).
Cool in the tin for a few minutes, turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool.
I hope you enjoy I know we did.