Plum Jam and Raisin Swirl Bread

Mystery ingredient time!

Today’s mystery ingredient is the delicious Anathoth Plum Jam. I originally planned to create a Louise Cake Tart using the jam but I lacked a loose bottom tart tin so I thought I might save that recipe for when I eventually get around to buying some new tart tins.

Instead I decided to have a go at creating a bread swirl. I’ve seen bread swirls a lot on Pinterest and they look very intricate and detailed even though they appear to very easy create and very pretty to look at. In saying that however, Pinterest is known for having pins which are not an accurate representation of what would happen if you actually followed the instructions. There are many BuzzFeed articles which document attempts by Pinterest users to recreate ideas they have seen on the social networking site and the spectacular failures that result.

I can safely say that bread swirls are not one of these Pinterest fails. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make this swirl. I would also recommend playing around with the filling. I used plum jam and raisins, but you could use a whole range of different things – fresh fruit, spices, caramel, chocolate or even something savoury like cheese.

I used the recipe from Joy the Baker as part of her Baking Bootcamp, but I think any enriched dough would work fine. Instead of berries and cinnamon I used jam and raisins.

I also learnt two things when making this bread which I would like to share.

When I first pulled it out of the oven, the centre of this bread was a little undercooked and I had to put it back into the oven for ten more minutes. This happened because:

Once I had threaded the dough I didn’t let the it prove in the cake tin.

If I had done so, the dough would have more air bubbles. This would have created a lighter, airier dough and would have been less dense in the centre thus ensuring a consistent bake.

My oven is hotter than what the temperature reads.

I believe that this is the main reason. Because it was too hot, the bread cooked too fast on the outside. Cover the bread in foil and keep cooking if you find yourself in this situation.

 

Advertisements

Blue Cheese, Apple, and Chicken Stuffed Crêpes

This week’s mystery ingredient was Kapiti’s Kikorangi Blue Cheese.

The Kikorangi is quite a special cheese. It’s well known for being an absolutely gorgeous blue cheese and not surprisingly, its won it’s fair share of cheese awards in New Zealand.

I changed my mind a few times with what I would make with the Kikorangi. I put something up on twitter asking what I should do, and a friend of mine suggested blue cheese and pear cupcakes. I’m not a huge fan of cupcakes (I find them more icing than cake), but I thought it could be possible to make a pear cake and a cream and blue cheese frosting.

I described this cake idea to Joe and while he was keen on it, he suggested that I have a go at a more savoury dish. He reasoned that I had already done a lot of sweet recipes and a savoury might mix things up a bit. A fair point I guess.

I’m not used to savoury crêpes. I usually make sweet crêpes with lemon and sugar. I make them less because SOMEONE (hint: it’s Joe) isn’t as partial to crêpes as I am. I don’t quite understand how someone could not like crêpes – it’s like disliking kittens.

These crêpes, however, are worth a try. They are very rich, especially the béchamel sauce and the blue cheese. If you are going to make these, I would make sure they are eaten the same day. I found that as a work lunch the next day, they were just too rich. Definitely a dinner party type food I think.

Blue Cheese, Apple, and Chicken Stuffed Crêpes

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Ingredients

Crêpes
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water (not cold)
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 t salt

Filling
3 cup cooked chicken
2 medium apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into thin slices
2 cups béchamel sauce
50 – 100g blue cheese
100g walnuts, roasted, chopped

Method

Crêpes
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place pan over medium heat and add small knob of butter. When the butter begins to colour, but not smoke add a small amount of batter and swirl it so it covers the pan in a thin coating. Flip the crepes over when bubbles begin to form.

Filling
Spread 2 – 3 tablespoons of the béchamel sauce in the centre of the pale side of the crêpes. Place the chicken on the lower third of the crêpes. Top with apple, blue cheese and walnuts. Roll up the crêpes and arrange seam side down in a prepared baking tray, Cover with the remaining sauce and cheese (if any left). Bake until the sauce is bubbly and lightly browned. Around 20 minutes.

Apple and Caramel Sticky Buns

There is something a bit naughty about sticky buns. Made out of rich, buttery dough stuffed with a toffee and brown sugar glaze and then baked on a sticky bed of caramel or rich toffee, they are quite a treat.

It’s not just the ingredients either that invite a sense of playfulness. The name ‘sticky buns’ sounds like a remark that you would use to describe a small child who has smeared chocolate sauce all over their face and their bedroom wall and who looks rather pleased with themselves.

These sticky buns came out of an idea I had for this blog. My blog is largely about challenging myself to be a better cook – that’s where the bread challenge comes in. Another area of cooking that I would like to develop my skills is the ability to be more resourceful with ingredients.

To do this, Joe and I have started a small challenge. Every fortnight, Joe will choose a ‘mystery’ ingredient as part of the supermarket run which I will then have to create a recipe staring this mystery item.

This week, Joe bought home a small jar of apple sauce which is a puree of apples flavoured with sugar or honey and spiced with cinnamon. It has a variety of uses – apple sauce cake, a condiment for roast pork or in some cases, as a substitute for butter or oil in baking.

I came up with this idea of apple and caramel sticky buns late at night when I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep. I was so excited I jumped out of bed and rushed into our living room to excitedly tell Joe about how delicious these buns would be.

They are inspired by some apple and caramel pancakes I had during a Wairarapa weekend  as well as the Joy of Cooking sticky bun recipe that I have adapted for this occasion.

Recipe on next page