Mini Apple Pies

First of all, apologies! It’s been almost a month since I last posted a recipe, ridiculous! For those of you who have Crumbs and Sprinkles on Facebook, you’ll know that I have been working a lot recently… When I say a lot, I mean getting up at 5 in the morning and not getting back from work until midnight. Sufficed to say, I’ve barely had time to bake, let alone blog, which is very saddening! However, today I finally had a day off and not only have I baked my first cheesecake (recipe and photos to come soon), I am also finally able to post about the mini apple pies I made a few weeks ago! I asked my Facebook friends which recipe they’d rather hear about grissini or apple pies and apple pies prevailed so here they are!

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These apple pies went to work with me on a long stint so unfortunately, I could only manage a quick photograph of them in their tin before I went to work but I still think they look almost as good as they tasted! I used a basic sweet pastry recipe and filled it with an apple fruit filling that I added cinnamon to. The result ended in something very addictive… I particularly liked the depth of flavour of the pastry, I think the sugar added an extra flavour to it and the balance between pastry and apple was perfect. These were a lot simpler to make than I thought they would be and produced a delicious snack or dessert.

Mini Apple Pies

Ingredients

350g plain flour

200g cold butter

100g golden caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg yolk

2 capfuls of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon milk to glaze

1 can apple fruit filling

Cinnamon to taste

Method

  • Put the flour and butter in a bowl and rub together until the mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs and then stir in the sugar and salt.
  • Put the egg yolk into the flour mixture with the vanilla essence and stir with a knife. 
  • Add the water gradually and stir with a knife until it begins to clump together, then make a ball with it using your hands and knead until smooth.
  • Put the pastry in the fridge for an hour. Put the apple fruit filling in a bowl and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to it, stir to combine.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C fan and roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick. Cut out circles to fit your cupcake tray (I used a shallow cup rather than a deep muffin tray to ensure a balance between the pastry and apple flavours). Place the pastry circles in the wells of the tray (I greased the wells slightly before doing this but I don’t think it’s always necessary).
  • Fill each cup with the apple mixture but do not over fill, otherwise filling will ooze out of the pies.
  • Re-roll the pastry and cut out smaller circles to make the pie tops. Dab milk along the edge of each pie, place the top circle on and seal each pie.
  • Glaze them with milk and stab the tops once with a knife so that a small hole appears and can allow for steam to escape whilst baking.
  • Cook for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Enjoy!

Nutella Biscoff Cookie Bars

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Wow! Work’s been  ridiculously hectic recently; I haven’t had a day off in three weeks and that means that I haven’t been able to tell all of you lovely people about these gorgeous nutella cookie bars that I made a few days ago! I always have half a tin of condensed milk left after I make a batch of flapjacks and I never know what to make with them. Thank goodness for this recipe!

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I have been eying this recipe for a while now but not had an excuse to try it out yet but this was the perfect reason and I even decided to swirl some biscoff in as well as bits of nutella. The bars were quite crispy and crunchy but the very middle was softer. The combination of nutella and biscoff is fantastic as sometimes you get an intense kick of nutella but sometimes, it’s of biscoff! It added to the variety of each bite and these were completely addictive warm and dipped in cold milk. I used the recipe over at Butter Baking here but I added nutella and biscoff, rather than just nutella. Delicious!

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Flapjacks!

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Both my mum and my boyfriend absolutely love flapjacks so they are requested fairly often wherever I am! Given that I was making so many, I decided to develop my own ultimate recipe for flapjacks. Unfortunately, my mum and boyfriend both loved completely different types of flapjack so now I have two perfect recipes!

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This recipe is for the gooey and thick flapjack, with a strong demerara flavour, rather than the thin, crispy flapjack with a strong syrup flavour. These are quite rich but always very popular and they’ve been featuring in our lunchboxes all week and proved rather popular at work too! They are so easy to make as well so if you like flapjacks, definitely try this recipe.

Flapjacks

Ingredients

300g butter

340g demerara sugar

4 serving spoons golden syrup

1/2 tin condensed milk

500g good quality oats

Method

  • Melt the butter completely in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Add the sugar, by sprinkling into the butter to avoid lumps, and melt into the butter completely.
  • Add the golden syrup and mix.
  • Add the condensed milk and mix.
  • Fold in the oats and leave to soak slightly. Ensure that all the oats are covered in the syrup mixture and that the sugar is completely incorporated.
  • Pour mixture into a lined baking tray, don’t squish down.
  • Bake at 160C for about 15 minutes, until it is just brown around the edge and wobbly in the middle.
  • Score where cuts will be but don’t take it out of the pan yet.
  • Leave to cool and then, enjoy! Image

 

Cinnamon Roll Doughnut Pie! Oh yes…that’s what I said.

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So, recently I made mini cinnamon roll doughnuts and they seemed to be a rather popular blog post! They were also very popular with me; bite size, full of flavour, fluffy and fresh! My love of these mini delights got me thinking about how I could develop this recipe and make it even better. I’ve recently been watching ‘Unique Sweets’ and it really inspires me to try to make something a bit different. I saw one that visited Momofuku milk bar and they make some very interesting pies, such as the crack pie and grasshopper pie, they looked incredible. Hence, the idea for cinnamon roll doughnut pie! A shortcrust pastry crust, cinnamon roll sauce, topped with doughnut batter packed full of chocolate chips to give it that extra flavour and texture.

ImageI was actually surprised at how well this turned out and how addictive it was. The doughnut layer was a little thick but still fluffy and flavoursome. I think when I make this again, I will extend the pastry out to the sides of the case to give it that extra bite and I will put in more sauce to ensure that you always get a kick of cinnamon in every bite.

This pie was really something new that I’d never tried before and it was still so simple; give this a go!

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You can find the basic recipes for the sauce and doughnut batter here or here. You can buy shortcrust pastry if you wish or use any simple recipe to make your own, which is always better and more satisfying, I find.

As for assembly, I simply lined a greased pie dish with pastry, added a little semolina to the base, followed by the cinnamon sauce. I folded 200g chocolate chips into the doughnut batter and gently spooned this on top of the cinnamon sauce in the pie dish.

I then baked the pie at 180C for 20 minutes and turned down the temperature to 150C and continued to bake the pie until a skewer inserted into the doughnut layer came out clean. Don’t worry about the edge browning slightly but it shouldn’t burn.

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Mini Doughnuts!

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I have a new mini doughnut mould! What fun I’m having with it as well. This recipe is a little too easy and uses ingredients that I generally have around the house so it’s going to prove far too easy to make them all the time and create lots of different variations.

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Bite-sized bits of baked goodness; who could resist fresh, warm, home-made mini doughnuts? Not me, that’s for sure. Every time I passed the plate, another doughnut disappeared. I made the same basic batch of doughnuts but then dipped some in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and dipped one side of the left over doughnuts in melted nutella.

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I have to say, the nutella version was my favourite and they were gone within the hour. The rich, hazelnut spread worked perfectly with the subtle vanilla taste of the doughnut and I couldn’t resist.

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I used the basic recipe for the doughnuts from the Lakeland website here

The recipe offers the choice of using olive oil or melted butter and I tried both. There were advantages and disadvantages to both versions I think. If you don’t have much time, use olive oil because it’s incredibly quick and easy. If you have more time, tried the melted butter version as I think it gave slightly more flavour to the base doughnut. However, if you choose the melted butter version, be careful when adding it to the milk and egg because the difference in temperature can curdle the milk and egg. To avoid curdling, you need to get all of the ingredients to the same temperature. I did this by letting the butter cool slightly after melting and by warming the milk and egg mixture slightly in the microwave. If you can use butter though, DO! I felt the doughnut really benefited from butter but frankly, what doesn’t benefit from having more butter?

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I’ve never really been a fan of the new silicone craze but I may be a convert after using this excellent doughnut mould. The silicone made it so easy to clean, grease and remove the doughnuts but they also kept their shape very well, which is the problem I usually have with silicone moulds. For £5, it was definitely worth the investment and I will soon be trying out plenty of new combinations and variations of doughnuts so watch out for them!

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Pecan Pie Please!

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Oh I do like a good pie! I thought that my recent trip to America would have been full of them but sadly, it was not! The severe lack of pie meant that my craving had not subsided by the time I got home. Hence, the creation of this delicious pecan pie!

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I adapted the recipe for this pie from Mary Berry’s version and the main difference is that her recipe calls for brandy, whereas I use Southern Comfort. Pecan pie screams the south to me so I thought I’d try this combination and it worked wonderfully well! I use half the amount as well so as not to overwhelm the flavours of the pie but it still gives a kick of real southern flavour.

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The combination of flavours and textures in this pie is perfect… Rich and sweet from the brown sugar and golden syrup, brought back to Earth with toasted pecans and all surrounded in buttery, crisp, homemade pastry – nothing beats homemade. The coupling of crunchy and smooth textures keeps the mouth watering and wanting more and this pie only has one slice left – I’m sure even that won’t last long!

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Pecan Pie

Ingredients

150g pecan halves

30g unsalted butter

60g light muscovado sugar

30g caster sugar

125ml (or roughly 8 tablespoons) golden syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons Southern Comfort

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons single cream

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of grated nutmeg

1 large egg

2 egg yolks

For the pastry:

175g plain flour

90g chilled butter, cubed

roughly 2 tablespoons cold water

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Method

  • Make the pastry by putting the flour and butter into a bowl and rubbing the mixture between your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add enough water to form a soft dough and leave to chill in the fridge for roughly 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface and line a buttered flan tin with the pastry. Bake the case blind in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the baking beans and baking paper or foil and lightly brush the pastry shell with the egg white. Return to the oven for 2 minutes.
  • Whilst the pastry is chilling, toast the pecan halves in a preheated oven at 180C, turning occasionally to avoid burning, for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and once slightly cooler, reserve some of the halves and chop the remaining pecans roughly.
  • Put the butter into a saucepan and melt on a medium heat until it turns golden brown. Add the sugars and golden syrup and heat gently until the sugars dissolve. Add the Southern Comfort, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Whisk together the egg and egg yolks in a separate bowl. Whisk a little of the hot syrup into the eggs. Add half of the syrup, a little bit at a time, then add the remainder. Leave to cool.
  • Arrange the chopped pecans and pecan halves in the pastry shell, reserving some for decoration if desired. Pour the syrup and egg mixture over the pecans and place the decorative pecans on top.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 40 minutes until golden brown and set. After 25-30 minutes, you may need to place a piece of foil lightly over the pie to prevent the pastry from burning. Leave to cool before serving but you can reheat individual slices to have warm pie if you wish. I have a warm slice of pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the combination offset each other perfectly. Image