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fall baking Archives | A Tipsy GiraffeA Tipsy Giraffe

Quince Madeleines

Quince Madeleines

(disclaimer: there are affiliate links included in this post. I also received products free from Kitchen Craft to test out, however no obligation was attached to review or blog about them. All opinions are 100% my own)

Quince is something I’ve never baked with before, or even eaten. But I was in the Asian supermarket near me stocking up on some kefir milk and was having a little browse through their fruit and I saw quince. I vaguely knew what a quince was but wasn’t 100% of the taste or texture. But I thought hey, this kind of looks like an ugly lemon, I’ll buy it and figure out what to do with it later!

Quince Madeleines

That’s actually a pretty good metaphor for how I tackle life actually! I did a bit of research online and it turns out quince needs a bit of preparation before it’s edible, in it’s natural state it’s very hard, woody and astringent, but once you’ve poached it for a bit the sweetness comes out and it has a lovely floral taste. Quince is high in pectin so lends itself well for jam and jelly making, my research actually lead me to discovering that quince is what marmalade was originally made out of! 

Quince Madeleines

You do need to take care when prepping the quince because the woody, spongy nature of the fruit makes it quite difficult to cut and you don’t want to lose any fingers! Once it was peeled and sliced and all my fingers were still in tact, I poached it in water and sugar with a cinnamon stick. The internet told me that when it was ripe, it would have an aroma when you hold it up to your nose, so I held it up to my nose and the aroma was similar to that of an apple – so poaching it with cinnamon seemed like a good move! The internet also told me that my quince would turn a vibrant coral pink when it was done, however don’t believe everything the internet tells you! After about 40 minutes of poaching, mine was nice and soft but only had the faintest hints of a pink hue. I decided to use my own judgement and declare it poached. Further research told me the amount of pectin in your quince determines how pink it goes, so I guess mine didn’t have a lot of pectin in it. I drained it, saved the poaching liquid and pureed the quince ready to bake with. 

Quince Madeleines

 

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Sweet Potato Pie Bars

Sweet Potato Pie Bars

In my last post I talked about coming up with Thanksgiving recipe ideas and how there are so many yummy dessert recipes out there and so I didn’t need to come up with my own. Well, need and want are very different things – we may not need another Thanksgiving dessert recipe idea, but I wanted one! 

Sweet Potato Pie Bars

Sweet potato is one of my all time favourite foods, I’ve yet to find a way I don’t like to eat it! But I’d never eaten sweet potato pie before, so naturally I decided I needed to make it! I somehow don’t own a pie plate, I don’t know how this happened but here we are – the need to make a pie but no pie dish to make it in. But who says pie needs to be round anyway? These sweet potato pie bars are the perfect solution to the lack of pie dish conundrum – and I would totally make it this way again even after I’ve acquired my own pie dish. There’s just something about slicing it up into little bars that makes it so much more appealing to me – maybe it’s because I could add a streusel topping and a marshmallow glaze without ruining the clean look of a pie! Making them in bars is a great way to serve them up for Thanksgiving too – no fiddly too thin pieces to make sure everybody gets a piece, a fork isn’t even needed if you want to mingle around the the table. I definitely think they have a more rustic, family feel to them, don’t you?

Sweet Potato Pie Bars

Since I’d never even eaten sweet potato pie before, I decided to start from an established recipe. I chose this one by Joy the Baker because I love her recipes and the ingredients list on this had me drooling! I thought to myself – I can make her one and then make any changes to suit my tastes. Silly me, I should have known I wouldn’t want to change anything about one of her recipes. I used her crust recipe and filling recipe, then just made it in bar form and added a streusel and glaze. I thought about topping this pie with a lattice crust, but my weakness for streusel beat that idea out. And I’m glad it did, it gives an extra yummy layer of texture, and is a great vehicle for the marshmallow glaze. Marshmallow is a go to pairing with sweet potato dishes and there’s a good reason for that, it just plain works! it’s simple to put together too, it’s just butter, marshmallows and sugar. I melted marshmallows to add to the mix, but in a pinch marshmallow fluff would probably do the trick too. It’s a nice, thick glaze too so it holds its own against the streusel! 

Sweet Potato Pie Bars

Coriander isn’t something I would have thought to put in myself, but it really does make this pie shine! You’ll want to buy coriander seeds and grind them yourself too, coriander is one of those spices that tends to lose it’s flavour quickly once ground. There’s a lot of yummy, warming spices in this pie of course – as well as the coriander we have nutmeg and cinnamon. You cook the filling through before adding it to the pie, so you awaken all those delicious spices that bring so much fall flavour. It’s a good idea to blend the filling first too to make sure the whole thing is smooth, I used an immersion stick blender but you could add it to your blender and give it a whirl too.  

There’s a fair bit of work in putting this pie together, with cooking the potatoes, cooking the filling, making the crust, making the streusel and the glaze. But it really isn’t very daunting, you can do stages simultaneously and each part is pretty easy. In bar form as well it’s very forgiving – you don’t have to worry about the top of your pie or breaking the crust! 

Sweet Potato Pie Bars

I hope you give this one a go, it’s a great recipe (with most of it coming from Joy the Baker, you can trust me on that) and your family will love it! 

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Sweet Potato Pie Bars

 

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Chocolate Walnut French Toast Two Ways

Walnut French Toast

I’m English. I live in England. Yet here I am, posting a Thanksgiving recipe! But here’s the thing, I love holiday baking. Especially if that holiday is in the autumn, because it’s my favourite time of year with all my favourite flavours (I know, I’m such a revolutionary). So while I came up with this yummy French Toast recipe with Thanksgiving breakfast in mind, you can totally enjoy it on any day, anywhere in the world. My total Englishness can attest to that, because enjoy it is something I did with great enthusiasm! 

Walnut French Toast

I set out to make a yummy breakfast for Thanksgiving because I figured there’s enough amazing Thanksgiving dessert recipes out there already, my input isn’t need. And you need a fabulous breakfast on Thanksgiving morning before all that food you’re going to eat – call it stretching! I knew I was going to make French toast because I’d just made a Sourdough loaf (I may have made the bread with the sole intention of using it for french toast) and I of course wanted it to be Thanksgivingy, so I was trying to think of desserts I could use for inspiration. Pumpkin Pie was obviously one of my first thoughts, which lead to pecan pie – pecan pie french toast! Perfect! But then I couldn’t find any pecans (what kind of dystopian world am I even living in?!) so I landed on walnuts instead. 

Walnut French Toast

Last year I actually celebrated Thanksgiving with my best friend’s family in Atlanta. Her mum made an amaaaazing pecan pie, the thing that tipped it over the edge for me was the chocolate chips – so I knew I had to include chocolate chips in my pecan walnut pie french toast. Why two ways? There’s a couple of reasons actually – I initially made stuffed french toast but I couldn’t eat it myself because the issues I have with my jaw means I’m limited in what I can eat. Plus baked french toast has been on my list of things to bake for a while now, so after I fell in love with the stuffing for this french toast I knew I had to make it in baked form. So Chocolate Walnut French Toast Two Ways was born! Those two ways being Chocolate Walnut Stuffed French Toast and Chocolate Walnut Baked French Toast with a Streusel Topping.

Walnut French Toast

Whichever way you make it, you’re going to love it. The chocolate and walnut filling is sticky and sweet just like pecan pie, you can of course make it with pecans but honestly I loved the walnuts. It made it feel more festive for me! The baked version would probably be your best option for Thanksgiving (or Christmas!) breakfast since you’ll prepare it the night before, no fussing about in the morning when you have 1001 other things to do, you can just wake up, pop it in the oven and serve a delicious breakfast that your family will think you’ve been up since the rooster’s crow slaving away for them! Don’t worry, I won’t tell them 😉 

Walnut French Toast

 

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