Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas with Thermione: old fashioned custard

No, I don't mean the egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, cornflour kind, I mean the Birds kind.  And certainly NOT the 'just add boiling water' variety but the 'mix the powder and sugar with a little milk until smooth, boil up the milk (making a right mess of a saucepan and, if unlucky, the top of the oven too), add and stir until you realise it ain't going to thicken so you have to mess up another saucepan by reheating it until it does thicken' variety.

It takes me right back to childhood.  It was one of the ways I 'helped' mum in the kitchen when I was quite a little girl - the mixing part, I mean, not the boiling milk bit.  That came later.  I liked it so much, especially the skin (I know, weird).

Anyway, I was in Morrisons and saw some and had a craving.  Old fashioned custard on mince pie, Christmas pudding, over sliced banana . . . mmmmmmm.

Anyhow, enough of the waffle.  It's dead easy to make in Thermione.

Just pop the powder, the sugar and the milk in the bowl, add half the milk and give it a good zizz to make a thin paste, then add the rest of the milk.
Heat to 90, speed 4 for around seven minutes (not totally sure about the timing) until it has thickened.
Finally, give it another good zizz before serving.

I've just made some as a test run.  It's really nice although I think I will add a few drops of vanilla to pep it up just a tiny bit.  And maybe some cream too, bad me!

So that's the Christmas custard sorted!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas with Thermione

I don't make custard very often so when I do it's usually for something special.  Making custard in Thermione is a doddle because there's no need to stand and stir and worry about spiltting or curdling or any other custard-disaster that I've created in the past.

This one is a pouring custard rather than a thick-set custard.  I used vanilla seeds and some essence because I wanted the pod for vanilla sugar.  Must look out for vanilla bean paste though - that sounds the best alternative.  Maybe Lakeland or Hobbycraft - or Amazon?

Enough waffle.  here's the recipe.

250g milk
2 egg yolks
beans from 1/4 vanilla bean plus a little bit of vanilla essence (the proper sort) or 1/4 tsp vanilla paste
30g sugar
1/2 tbsp cornflour (or ordinary plain flour is fine, better maybe)

Place all ingredients in the bowl in the order above.  Briefly zizz on 6  to mix everything (don't do this if you've added the bean pod).

Cook for 8 mins at 90, speed 4

Give it a good zizz


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas with Thermione: shortbread

This is not my original recipe (is there such a thing for shortbread) but I have adapted (sort of) it for Thermione.
These caught a little bit around the edge but they were delicious all the same!

I made this straight but I shall add Christmassy spice to the next batch and perhaps some chopped dried cranberries or pistachios as well.

Ingredients to make quite a lot of little star shaped biscuits.
110g caster sugar (or use granulated and zizz it into caster sugar first)
225g soft butter
225g plain flour
110g cornflour

Line two trays with parchment.

After zizzing the sugar, if necessary, add the butter, cubed, and briefly zizz on 5 to incorporate.  Then add the whisk attachment and whisk at 4 until it is light and fluffy scraping down the sides as needed.
Remove the whisk attachment and scrape off as much mixture as possible back into the bowl.

Add the flour and the cornflour and briefly pulse until all mixed and starting to come together.

Tip out onto a floured surface and bring it all together with your hands - It's very quick.

Deal with half at a time:  roll out to about 1/2 to 3/4 cm thickness.  Cut into shapes, either using a knife or a biscuit cutter (I used a star cutter).   Re-roll and cut the scraps several times, handling the mix as little as possible.

Place the biscuits on two lined trays and chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170C

Bake the shortbread for about 20 mins or until just turning brown.  Cover with parchment if they seem to be cooking too fast.
Leave them on the tray for about 5 mins to firm up, then move to a wire rack.  Dust with sugar and leave to cool.

Keep in an airtight container for about 4-5 days.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas with Thermione: spiced bread

This came originally from the BBC Good food guide and I have adapted it somewhat for Thermione, making it simpler on the way as Thermomix adaptations so often are.
Here's the original.

I know it looks long and complex but put that down to my comments and so on.  Really it is dead easy!  Go for it!
It's deeeeeeeeelicious and I am glad I have a loaf and some slices to freeze after scoffing more than I should.  It seems to be a very flexible recipe so use what you have.

Ingredients to make two small loaves - I have underlined the ingredients to make then stand out from my comments.
450g strong white flour plus a little extra for kneeding
1/2 tsp salt.  The recipe said 3/4 tsp and then specifies unsalted butter.  Why???  A lack of common sense here, I suspect.
2 tsp ground cinnamon
85g sugar.  The original recipe asked for light muscavado.  I didn't have any (ooops, where's my shopping list?) but I had some soft light brown sugar so I used that and the dregs of a pack of golden caster sugar.
2 tsp dried yeast.  The kind for breadmakers that doesn't need activating (so much less hassle in this recipe as you will see if you follow the link)
200mls milk.  Recipe says whole fat, I only had semi-skimmed.  Tough!
50g butter plus extra for greasing.  The recipe said unsalted.  I fail to see why when you are adding salt so I reduced the amount of salt to 1/2 instead of 3/4 and use what I had - salted butter.
2 medium eggs.  I only had large so I reduced the milk a bit.
50g walnut pieces.  I'd use pistachios if I had any.
85g dried cranberries.  The recipe said raisins.  I had cranberries!

1 egg yolk to glaze (I didn't bother)

Method for Thermione.
Into the bowl place the flour, salt, cinnamon, sugar, yeast and butter.  Zizz on 4 for a short while to mix everything up and 'breadcrumb' the flour and butter.

Add the milk and the eggs, mix briefly and then knead for 10 minutes.

Turn the dough out, form into a ball and place in a buttered bowl.  Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to double in size

Prepare the loaf tins (so you don't get caught out later).

Knock back the dough.  Knead in the walnuts and cranberries
Divide the mix into two and shape.  Place each loaf into a loaf tin, recover with the oiled film and leave in a warm place until dough reaches the top of the tin
Preheat the oven to 200C (gas 6)

Bake for 20 mins, then cover the top with foil, lower the heat to 180 and bake for another 15 mins or so until done.
Cool on a wire rack.

Eat and enjoy.  I did!  Very much.