White Chocolate & Raspberry Danishes

It was surprising to discover just how much I missed baking the week I was off in Paris (especially as it was a yorkie-based challenge, and errr… yes please!), so it was fun to dive back into pastry this week.

Things I learnt: danish pastry was not as hard as anticipated, although it probably helped I spent a whole Friday evening making it, with plenty of time in between to rest the dough. Pinwheels are surprisingly hard to make neat and tidy. Bonne Maman is just as great at filling danishes as it is viennese whirls.

Would I make these again? Almost certainly – now I’ve conquered the dough it would be fun to do a proper version complete with creme pat, but white chocolate squares make for a really quick and equally delicious substitute instead.

Bring on botanicals week next. Needless to say, I suspect something gin themed will be in the works.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Danishes

White Chocolate & Raspberry Danishes

Ingredients

  • 250g strong bread flour
  • 5g salt
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 7g fast acting yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 45ml cool water
  • 60ml milk
  • 125g cold butter
  • White chocolate squares
  • Raspberry jam

Instructions

  • Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar, before pouring in the eggs, milk and water. Mix to a dough, and tip out into a floured worksurface to knead until it comes together in a smooth ball. Pop this into the fridge to chill for an hour.
  • Once that hour is up, collect your butter and your dough. Bash the butter out between two sheets of baking parchment, using a rolling pin, until you have a thick sheet about 20 x 15 cm. Then, roll out the dough until it is around 30 x 15 cm.
  • Carefully lift the butter onto the bottom two thirds of the dough, and fold the butter-free half over the middle, before folding the remaining buttered section over the top of that. The dough goes back into the fridge and rests for another hour. After this time, roll it back out to the same size, repeat the folds again, and let rest for another hour. Repeat twice more before letting the dough rise overnight.
  • The next morning, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, and cut into 10 even-ish squares. Cut diagonal lines almost to the middle through each square, then fold these over to create the pinwheels. Pop a splodge of jam and a square of white chocolate in the square of each danish, and let rise for two hours at room temperature.
  • Bake at 200C for 15 minutes until golden brown.
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    Chocolate Babka Loaf- week 3 of the GBBO Bake Along

    Week three of bake off! Bread is one of my favourite things to make, and I always love watching the contestants try and deal with yeast, proving and rising – even if it does cause problems for a few (*cough* Candice). I loved their centrepiece plaited loaves, but am unconvinced by the appeal of dampfnudel. Dough steamed steamed in milk just doesn’t appeal.

    I’ve been a bit limited on time this weekend so I’ve reverted back to the signature bake of a chocolate loaf, and made a chocolate babka loaf. I make Ottolenghi’s krantz cakes a couple of years ago from Jerusalem and loved them, but hadn’t thought about them since. Until of course they popped up on bake off, and then it seemed a good time to revisit them.

    I used this Honey & Co recipe via David Lebovitz and but left out the nuts because I forgot to buy them, and missed out the syrup because it seemed like it was going to be sweet enough already.

    It worked out easiest to make the first round of dough on Friday night, let it to rise overnight, and then get up early  to make the filling and twist it together before heading out for a run with J (smug I know). By the time we were back, it was perfectly risen and ready to bake – and then it made the best breakfast to have warm out of the oven to recover after our miles.

    Chocolate Babka Loaf

    Chocolate Babka Loaf

    Ingredients

    • 7g fast acting dried yeast
    • 100ml milk
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 90g butter
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 280g plain flour
    • 100g butter
    • 150ml sugar
    • 100g good quality dark chocolate
    • 40g cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon

    Instructions

  • The night before you plan to bake this, start by mixing the yeast, milk and sugar together and setting to one side. Beat together the butter and egg, before whisking in the milk mixture. Gradually mix in the flour until it forms into a cohesive ball, and then tip out onto a well floured worksurface and knead until it comes together and forms a smooth ball. Put it in a clean bowl and let rise in the fridge over night.
  • The next morning, grease a baking tin and set aside. Heat a small pan and melt the butter, before tipping in the sugar. Take off the heat and let cool for 1 minute before adding the chocolate and stirring through until melted, before finally beating in the cocoa and cinnamon.
  • Take the dough and roll out into a rough rectangle of 30 x 50 cm, with the long edge towards you. Pour out the chocolate mixture and spread evenly over the surface of the dough. Then begin by rolling it up, starting from the edge nearest you. Try not too much filling getting pushed along rather than spiralled up. Then take a sharp knife and cut the babka most of the way down the middle, leaving half an inch or so joined up at the top. Take the two strands and twist them together as though you are twisting hair together- this can get very messy thanks to the chocolate mix so work quickly. Then squish the twist at either end, lift it up and plop it into the baking in. Let it rise at room temperature for another two hours.
  • Once it has fluffed back up, preheat the oven to 190C and cook the loaf for 30 minutes. Let it cool into the tin before turning out and cutting into thick slices.
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    Freezer Chilli Con Carne

    Weeknight cooking would be a lot more painful for me if I didn’t rely quite so heavily on the freezer. I tend to run home three evenings a week so don’t get back until gone 7, by which point I am very close to hangry and in need of a quick dinner.

    Now I’ve learnt to keep loads of part-prepared bits in the freezer and it makes it much quicker to put together a meal as soon as I’m in the door. The spicy paste in this chilli con carne, for example, is best made in batch anyway, so it’s make sense to bag up individual portions for future meals. I do the same with thai curry paste too. I’ll also break down bigger packs of chicken thighs or beef mince so there are easy grab bags to defrost. Obviously this one is slightly dependant on remembering to remove said bag before you leave for work in the morning…

    For the chilli paste, I take dried casabels (six or so of these) and habaneros (one to two of these), and toast them over a high heat, before pouring in 200ml of stock and letting simmer for twenty minutes. Once cooled and blitzed together you should get three to four portions of paste which can then be frozen ahead of time, and easily rescued to spice up (quite literally) a mid week dinner.

    Freezer Chilli Con Carne

    Ingredients

    • Half an onion, finely sliced
    • 1 tsp marmite
    • 1 portion chilli paste, defrosted
    • 250g lean minced beef
    • Tin chopped tomatoes
    • Tin kidney beans

    Instructions

  • Start by frying the onion on a low heat until golden and fragrant. Tip in the marmite and chilli paste, stirring to coat everything well, before adding the meat and turning up the heat to let it brown. Once it is well browned, add in the tomatoes and kidney beans before letting it all simmer for 15 minutes. Even in this short time it will take on plenty of flavour and heat from the chilli paste, but you can always leave for longer if you can.
  • Serve with cauliflower rice, guacamole, soured cream and tomato salsa for a true tex-mex feast.
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