Showing posts with label raspberries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label raspberries. Show all posts

Monday, July 25, 2016

Raspberry Mini Muffins #MuffinMonday

When you have fresh raspberries that are past their best, mash 'em and make raspberry mini muffins. Sweet raspberries mean not a lot of sugar is needed in these little beauties so they are perfect as a snack or breakfast.

This month I'm in Jersey, Channel Islands so I've been reveling in homegrown or at least locally grown produce. I buy fresh from the markets plus I have a big collection of what my daughters call "pity jam" in the cupboard. You know, from the little old ladies who take a table at markets and donate their proceeds to charity. Yes, I can make my own jam and often do but they look so sweet behind their small stalls, jars all neatly arranged with cloth squares tied to the top and handmade labels. And even if the proceeds don't go to charity, I just can't help myself.

We were at a carboot sale the other weekend and one lady, not so old this time, had baskets of local raspberries and strawberries for sale. I bought two baskets of the raspberries, which we ate with homemade meringues and whipped cream but as they started turning a bit soft, making muffins seemed like the ideal way to use them. And indeed it was.

Ingredients - for 2 dozen mini muffins
1 cup or 125g flour
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 110g mashed raspberries plus more for decoration, if you've got some
1 medium egg
1/4 cup or 75g Greek yogurt
1/4 cup or 60ml milk
2 tablespoons canola or other light oil

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your mini muffin pans by lining them with little paper muffin cups, buttering or spraying with non-stick baking spray.

In large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

In smaller bowl, whisk together the raspberries, egg, yogurt, milk and oil.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient and fold until just combined.

Divide the batter between your muffin cups. Add a decorative raspberry to each muffin, if desired. I only had 12 nice ones so one pan got raspberries, one pan was plain.

Bake in the preheated oven about 12-15 minutes or until the muffins are browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. They turned an interesting blue in places but were most delicious.


As almost always with Muffin Monday, we don’t have a theme so our bakers make whatever inspires them each month. We hope some of them will inspire you to bake muffins!

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Almond Raspberry Cake #FoodieExtravaganza

This almond raspberry cake has the most tender crumb imaginable, created by the perfect marriage of ground almonds and flour, plus plenty of butter. It goes great with a cup of tea or coffee as a mid morning snack but would be just sweet enough for dessert as well.

This month my Foodie Extravaganza group is serving up coffeecake along with our wonderful host Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking and we’ve got some beauties for you. The definition of coffeecake is broad but to me it usually means a one layer cake that is not super sweet. It wouldn’t be frosted, although a light sprinkling of powdered sugar or a simple glaze would be just fine. But, hey, I’m willing to be flexible, as long as a slice pairs well with a cup of coffee or tea.

Make sure you scroll on down to see the other wonderful coffeecakes we’ve baked for you today.

1 1/4 cups or 180g ground almonds
3/4 cup or 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup or 180g sugar
1 1/2 cups or 180g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 3/4 oz or 360g raspberries

To decorate: 1-2 tablespoon demerara sugar - optional
To serve: Icing or powdered sugar - optional

Note: If you use metric measures, the amounts are ridiculously easy to remember. Then change out the berries for a fruit of the season or of your choice.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Spray your baking pan with non-stick baking spray or line the bottom with some baking parchment. Mine is 8 in or 20cm across.

Cut your butter into chunks then place all the ingredients except the raspberries in a mixer and mix till just combined.

Set aside a small handful of the raspberries and carefully fold the rest through the batter trying not to break them up too much. It’s an almost impossible task but try. You want speckles of pink, not homogeneous color.

Scrape the thick batter into your prepared pan and spread it around evenly.

Poke your reserved berries into the top of the batter. If you are sprinkling with demerara sugar, now's the time to do that.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes. Check it at around 25 minutes and cover it with foil if it is getting too brown.

Remove from the oven, cool slightly then loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a serving plate.

Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with powdered sugar, if you chose that option. With a hot cup of your favorite brew.


Pour yourself a cup and have a slice of these:

Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays or shares recipes with the same ingredient or theme every month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook group Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes, check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out here.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Raspberry Cointreau Syllabub

Whipping cream, Greek yogurt, Cointreau and raspberries combine to make a simple yet delicious dessert that takes mere minutes to throw together, ready to eat immediately or keep chilled till you are ready to serve.

In a rare occurrence, raspberries are on sale here in the UAE. I have no idea why my local Carrefour Market has marked them down to almost half price, but I’m not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. As I piled the little boxes in my shopping cart the other day, the first thing that popped into my mind was syllabub. It’s an easy dessert usually made with whipping cream and sweet wine. Or perhaps a liqueur.

Syllabub is a typical British dessert, or pudding as they like to call it, but I had never heard of it until a number of years ago when a friend told me the story of a dinner party she was throwing in her home. The kitchen was a disaster zone with preparations, cooking and a sink full of dirty dishes. Somehow, by mistake, the syllabub she had just made for dessert – not yet spooned into serving vessels – was thrown out by her maid who mistook it for leftovers of the worst kind. I must admit, it’s not attractive but if you can ignore its looks and put a spoon in, it is delicious!

Come to find out, syllabub made it to the New World with the colonists and it is, in fact, still served in Colonial Williamsburg as a period dessert. What a shame that it fell out of favorite in what became the United States and I had to learn about it from a British friend! Perhaps it’s time to bring it back?

This recipe is adapted from one on

12 oz or 340g raspberries, divided
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons Cointreau
1 1/4 cup or 290ml double cream
1 cup or 245g natural unsweetened Greek yogurt

Optional to serve: a few sprigs fresh mint

Set aside a few raspberries for popping on top of the syllabub and then place the rest in big mixing bowl.

Sprinkle them with the sugar and Cointreau and set aside to macerate.

Whip the cream to soft peaks in a separate bowl and fold in the yoghurt.

Fold half the cream and yoghurt mix into the raspberry mixture. Squish a few of the berries to turn it a little bit pink, if necessary. My raspberries didn’t seem to break down at all, which surprised me, so I did squish a few.

Now gently fold in the remaining cream and yoghurt mix, trying to leave some parts white and some parts pink.

Divide the mixture between six glasses and garnish each with a sprig of mint and the reserved raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Red, White and Blue Sangria

Crisp dry white wine, mixed with a little lemon vodka and Grand Marnier, then topped up with lemon-lime soda and lots of pretty fruit, makes a refreshing libation for summertime. 

This week Sunday Supper is remembering all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in our armed forces, just ahead of Memorial Day tomorrow, by showing off our red, white and/or blue recipes. Even as you feast and enjoy the extra day’s holiday – if you are living in the US, that is – we hope you will be inspired to honor military personnel from every country who died to preserve our freedoms, including those who put themselves in harm’s way to bring aid to the needy and try to ensure safety and peace in troubled regions worldwide. (Did you know that there are more than 30 countries whose flags are red, white and blue?) Unlike Veteran's Day, which honors the service of all soldiers, Memorial Day is especially to recognize those who gave their lives.

Many thanks to this week’s host, the great DB from Crazy Foodie Stunts. Make sure you scroll on down to the bottom of my post to see all the colorful recipes we are sharing today.

Let me introduce this sangria ingredient list with a disclaimer. When I told my husband that I was making sangria and, did he want some, he said, “Nah, thanks. I’ll just have a cold beer.” Well, I’m all for taking one for the team, particularly my Sunday Supper group, but drinking an entire one-wine-bottle batch of sangria seemed ill-advised, so the amounts you see here photographed are for half of the recipe I share below. And, yes, I did drink the whole darn half pitcher over the course of a hot afternoon! It was refreshing and delicious.

1 bottle dry white wine (My favorite white is Sauvignon Blanc, both for sangria and drinking in general.)
1/3 cup or 80ml Grand Marnier
1/4 cup or 60ml lemon vodka
3 cups or 710ml lemon-lime soda (Two of the 12 oz or 355ml cans.)
6 oz or 170g raspberries
4.4oz or 125g blueberries
1 dragon fruit

Starting at least a day ahead, wash some of the blueberries and raspberries and put three blueberries and one raspberry in several of the holes of a muffin pan. For a more decorative look, I used the Nordic Ware one known online as the Bundt Brownie pan. <affiliate link Add a little water, until you see the blueberries just barely start to float.

Put the pan in the freezer and leave until the water freezes enough to hold the fruit in place.

Top up with more water and freeze until solid.

When the fruity ice is frozen, release by running some water over the back of the pan and store in a airtight container in the freezer. If you want to skip all these steps and get straight to the sangria, just use normal ice cubes.

When you are ready to serve, peel and slice your dragon fruit and cut it into pieces about the size of your raspberries and blueberries. Wash the berries and drain well.

In a pitcher, combine your wine, vodka and Grand Marnier.

Add your fruity ice (or just some normal ice) and then top up with the lemon-lime soda.

Add in more raspberries, blueberries and some of the cut dragon fruit. Put some berries and dragon fruit and ice in each glass and fill up with sangria.


And make sure to check out all the other great red, white and/or blue recipes we have for you today.

Food Using One Color

Red Food

White Food
Blue Food

Food Using Two Colors

Red and White Food

Blue and White Food

Red, White and Blue Food

Sangria outside on our new-to-us outdoor sofa set.  Doesn't it look refreshing!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Petit Croquembouche Citron Framboise #ValentineCroque

Both an edible centerpiece and a festive celebration, this choux pastry bun turret is filled with fresh lemon custard and held together with crunchy when dried royal icing, thereby fulfilling the croque part of its croquembouche or "crunch in mouth" name. Fresh red raspberries add a burst of color and a wonderful juicy counterpoint to the choux buns and lemon custard.

Traditional croquembouche are tall, tall towers constructed of choux buns filled with vanilla pastry cream and are held together as much by faith and luck as the spun caramelized sugar. When my friend Jenni, from Pastry Chef Online  - of Fearless in the Kitchen fame - challenged me to make one as part of a group event, I signed up in haste and repented in leisure.

I knew that I wouldn’t have the time to make a towering tower. But I have a hard time resisting a challenge, especially one of a baking/food nature. So I thought to myself: How about a small turret? A turret would be totally doable, right? But what about the unattractive and painful sugar burns that are almost always the result of spinning caramelized sugar?  Wouldn’t royal icing work instead? If it can hold together a gingerbread mosque, surely it could cement a few choux buns in place, providing the necessary eponymous crunch in the process. Channeling Jenni and her fearlessness in the kitchen, I plowed ahead. I’ll let you be the judge of the results - it's not the straightest of turrets - but I can tell you that it was delicious.

Come join me and all my croquembouche building friends as we leap outside our comfort zones for your amusement. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom to see all the links. This is a long post because there are three recipes to make and then assemble but you can do it too!

For the lemon custard:
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 pinch salt
1 cup or 240ml milk
Zest 1 lemon
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten (Save the white for the royal icing!)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon butter
Plus another teaspoon or so of lemon juice to slightly loosen the custard after chilling, if necessary.

For the choux pastry:
1/4 cup or 50g butter
1/2 cup or 120ml water
1/2 cup or 65g plain flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, at room temperature

For the royal icing
1 1/2 cups or 190g pure icing sugar, sifted
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Tiny pinch salt
Pinch cream of tartar

I made the choux buns a couple of days before I needed them and kept them fresh and dry in a Ziploc bag. I read somewhere online that as long as you let them cool completely before bagging, the drier, two-day-old choux buns are actually better for assembling your croquembouche because they stay crisp longer once filled with custard or pastry cream. The custard and royal icing can also be made a couple of days in advance. Just keep them well covered in the refrigerator to prevent them from drying out. Fill the buns and assemble the croquembouche no more than a few hours before serving lest they soften too much and risk collapse.

Lemon Custard Filling
In a small saucepan, not on the stove or with the stove turned off, combine sugar, flour and the pinch of salt. Stir in your milk, a little at a time, whisking until smooth.

Turn on the stove and bring your mixture to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Boil 60 seconds and then pour about a 1/4 cup or 60ml of the hot liquid into the beaten egg yolk while you whisk constantly. This warms the egg yolk so it doesn’t cook when you add it to the saucepan. Now add the heated egg yolk to the saucepan gradually, once again, whisking all the while and then keep stirring until mixture starts to bubble again. Your custard should be quite thick now.

Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, zest and butter. Stir well until the butter is melted and the butter and juice are fully incorporated.

Put the custard in a bowl and cover the surface with cling film so a skin doesn’t form on top as it cools. Chill in a refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and prepare your baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper stuck down with a little non-stick spray or a silicone baking mat.

Choux Pastry Buns
Sift together your flour and a pinch of salt and put it right next to the stove in readiness.

In a medium pot, combine the butter and water and bring to the boil. Pour the flour/salt mixture into the boiling water/butter all at once.

Stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball and pulls right away from the sides. This takes just a minute or two.

Now take the pot off of the stove and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well with your wooden spoon in between. It looks like the egg won’t mix in and the dough starts to fall apart but keep mixing and after a couple of minutes of hard labor, the dough comes together again and it’s time to add the second egg.

After both eggs have been added in.

After the last egg has been incorporated into the dough, put it by spoonfuls into a piping bag with a large tip.

Pipe the soft dough on the parchment paper in 1 inch or 2.5cm circles about an equal measure apart from each other.

Poke down any pointy tops with a damp finger.

Bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes then turn the temperature down to 350°F or 180°C and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and poke a hole in one side of each choux bun with a toothpick. This allows the steam to escape and helps the choux bun keep its shape as it cools. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Royal Icing
Sift your icing sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl and add the pinch of salt and cream of tartar.

Beat your egg white until it’s a little frothy and add it along with the lemon juice to the icing sugar.

Mix thoroughly. Cover the icing with cling film to keep it from drying out.

Building the Croquembouche
When you are ready to build your turret, take the custard out of the refrigerator and give it a good stir to loosen it up. Put a test spoonful in your piping bag with a filling tip and see if you can squeeze it out. If it’s too stiff, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the bowl and stir well to completely incorporate it. Mine was borderline so I decided to just power through and squeeze hard.

Note: The Wilton site says that the filling tip doesn’t work with a coupler but I didn’t read that until after, so I made it work with a coupler. It wasn’t easy but I got that sucker all screwed together properly. Amazing what one can do when one doesn’t know one can’t.

Fill your piping bag with the lemon custard. Use the filling tip to poke a bigger hole in the choux buns where you put the toothpick to let the steam out. I ended up with 7 oz by volume or 240g, which was enough to fill 19 of my 21 buns. I used 17 of those in the croquembouche.

Put your royal icing in a piping bag with a small round tip. I used the Wilton #3. Pipe some icing onto your plate in a circle to anchor the filled choux buns.

My bottom layer had only six in a circle initially but then I realized as I built up that one in the center of the bottom was needed for structural integrity so the layers are as follows, with royal icing between, under and on top of each:

Bottom – seven choux buns

2nd layer – five choux buns

Leave the croquembouche to set for about 20-30 minutes at this point, in a cool, dry place, which allows the royal icing to harden.

3rd layer – four choux buns

Top – one choux bun

Use the royal icing to fill small gaps between the choux buns and drizzle decoratively, generously, on the outside.

Allow to dry for a further 20-30 minutes, or longer.  When you are ready to serve the croquembouche, stick the raspberries on the reasonably horizontal bits with more royal icing. You can get them to stick to the sides if you have time to hold each one on till the icing hardens but I am guessing ain’t nobody got time for that.

Enjoy! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

If you are looking for inspiration for Valentine’s Day, start with this great link list of croquembouche. There’s even a savory version for those who aren’t crazy about sweets.

Welcome to our Valentine Croquembouche Challenge (#ValentineCroque). We are a group of intrepid bloggers who occasionally like to push ourselves well out of our comfort zone to meet baking challenges fearlessly.

We are here to show you that you do not always have to be bound by tradition, so we created croquembouche that adhere to the spirit of the dish if not the actual letter. You’ll find all sorts of combinations of flavors here (including a savory version) that will hopefully expand your idea of croquembouche. Not all of our croques were wildly successful, but we all learned something, and we all pushed ourselves. Besides, blogging shouldn’t always be about aspirational and often unobtainable Pinterest moments. It should also be about the near misses and the journey we take when we take a chance. Thanks for joining us today.

If you’re interested in participating in future challenges, please contact Jenni.

Follow our Valentine Croquembouche Pinterest Board for more Croquembouche inspiration.

Going with French tradition, I served the croquembouche for my dear mother-in-law's 81st birthday dessert, instead of cake. And for family, here's two shots of the birthday girl enjoying her treat.