cooking · desserts · lemon · pies · recipe

Lemon Meringue Pie

Don’t you just love a dessert recipe which is not only easy to prepare, but it looks as though you slaved away in the kitchen all day to prepare?

My Lemon Meringue Pie recipe is not only one of the simplest recipes ever, it is also eye catching and the taste is, well, simply divine!

The meringue will be more light and fluffy if you remember to take the eggs out of the refrigerator an hour or two before baking, bringing them to room temperature. You will know if the egg whites are beaten enough by tipping the bowl (carefully!) upside-down. If the egg white sticks to the bowl, you know they are ready!

Served hot or cold, this desert is a firm favourite.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pastry – 2 cups plain flour

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon icing sugar

185g butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 to 2 tablespoons icy cold water

Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into a basin. Chop butter roughly and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the lemon juice and sufficient water to mix the pastry to a firm dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board to fit a 23cm pie or flan plate. Trim the edges, prick the base and sides of the pastry with a fork and “blind bake” in a moderately hot oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the pastry base to cool.

Lemon Filling – 4 tablespoons plain flour

4 tablespoons cornflour

Grated  rind of 1 lemon

¾ cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups water

90g butter

4 egg yolks

Combine the sifted flours, lemon rind, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan, add the water and blend together until smooth. Stir over a low heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring,  for a further two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and lightly beaten egg yolks. Keep stirring until the butter has melted. Allow to cool. Place the filling in the pastry base.

Meringue – 4 egg whites

2 tablespoons of water

pinch of salt

¾ cup caster sugar

Combine the egg white, water and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the sugar is dissolved and the egg white mixture is shiny.

Top the pie with the meringue mixture, spreading the meringue to the edges of the pastry to seal. Bake in a moderate oven (190 degrees) for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned.

cooking · Mum · nostalgia · recipe · traditions

A Taste Of Nostalgia…Malt Bread

This is one of my Mum’s recipes, so for me it conjures up images of my childhood, but most of all, to me, it’s comfort food.

I wonder…can a cake-type treat be described as “comfort food”? Perhaps not, unless you were with me in my Mum’s kitchen, when I was a child, looking forward to our malt bread coming out of the oven!

Mum had one particular loaf tin that she cooked this recipe in, and now I have the same tin. There are no signs of rust on the tin at all even though the tin must be around fifty to sixty years old, bought around the time that my parents emigrated to Australia from England.

The recipe is very basic, only requiring seven ingredients. I recall that it was the very first loaf that I made alone, without Mum’s help. I will include both imperial and metric measurements here, as my recipe is actually in ounces.

So here it is, my taste of nostalgia!

Malt Bread

Malt Bread

Put into a jug – ¼ pint of milk (1/2 cup) and ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.

Warm in a pan – 2 tablespoons each of Golden Syrup and Malt Extract.

In a basin – 8oz. Self-raising flour (225g)

4oz. Sultanas (120g)

1 egg

Add both the milk mixture and the malt mixture to the basin and beat together well.

Cook in a well greased and baking paper lined loaf tin at 350 degrees F (180deg. C) for ¾ to 1 hour.

Serve in slices with butter.

birthdays · cakes · chocolate · cooking · recipe

Chocolate Cake, For Any Occasion.

This Easter just passed, rather than let the family eat Easter eggs all weekend, but still staying with the chocolate theme, I made my favourite version of good old fashioned chocolate cake.

During all of my years of hosting children’s birthday parties and a multitude of various other family events I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy a slice of chocolate cake. If it isn’t the number one choice of preferred cakes, it always runs a close second.

Although I have many chocolate cake recipes, this is the recipe that I invariably choose, time and time again…in fact, I first made this particular cake when I was roughly fifteen years of age and living at home with my parents!

Served with a hot cup of coffee, this cake is close to perfection!

Chocolate Cake

90g butter, at room temperature

Chocolate Cake

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs, separated, and at room temperature

1 tablespoon rum or water

1 ¼ cups self-raising flour

Pinch salt

¼ cup cocoa

½ cup milk

Grease a 25mm ring tin and pre-heat oven to 190 degrees C.

Beat the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla essence and continue to beat the mixture until it is fluffy and light in colour.

Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then add the rum or water.

Sift together the flour, salt and cocoa and measure the milk.

Using a large metal spoon fold the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix lightly but thoroughly.

Beat the egg whites until they are firm and stand in soft peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes.

cooking · recipe · traditions

It’s Good Friday….Make Some Hot Cross Buns

For as many years as I can remember Good Friday has been a baking day at my house and this year we have continued the tradition.

This morning we were so pleased with our first batch of hot cross buns, we made a second batch!

This year was the first time that my twelve year old son has wanted to be involved (apart from eating them, of course!). He watched everything I did along the way, checked for when they had doubled in size and were ready for the next step, piped the crosses on the top just before they were baked and made the glaze to brush over the buns when they came out of the oven. He did well!

My eldest daughter moved out of home a couple of years ago. Much to my dismay, she has never shown any interest in anything involved with cooking in her life….(no, I take that back; she can whip up a mean bowl of fruit salad!) I was comforted though, by the fact that her boyfriend can not only cook, but shows a very creative interest in cooking, so at least she doesn’t starve!

This year my daughter decided to excel herself to the nth degree…she asked for my Hot-Cross Buns recipe!

She used a plastic salad bowl to mix them in and had to look up the conversion of the measurements to cup quantities on the internet, then they were baked on a pizza tray, but she did it! I am so proud of her….she phoned to tell me that her first attempt at Hot-Cross Buns was a success! Her boyfriend, The-Good-Cook-In-The-House, even gave them his stamp of approval.

There will be no Easter Eggs for my daughter this year…while she is so inspired by cooking, I am giving her a glass mixing bowl, a baking tray and a set of kitchen scales instead!  🙂

No excuses now, give this recipe a try….if my daughter can make them, so can you!

A couple of tips from my daughter….she will keep practising the recipe throughout the year by making them without the crosses, calling them fruit buns and has individually wrapped some of the buns and put them in the freezer to keep them fresh longer.

Happy Easter Everyone! 🙂

Hot-Cross Buns

2 x 7g sachets dry yeast

Hot Cross Buns

300ml milk, warmed

4 cups plain flour, sifted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

90g butter, cubed

¼ cup sugar

1 ½ cups mixed dried fruit

1 egg

Crosses – ½ cup plain flour

4 to 5 tablespoons water

Glaze – ½ cup water

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Combine flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Rub in the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir in dried fruit, sugar and yeast.

Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and add the beaten egg and lukewarm milk.

Combine the mixture well. Turn out onto a lightly greased surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This will take approximately ten minutes. (Alternately, the kneading process can be done in an electric mixer with a dough hook). The mixture should ideally remain tacky and moist, as this will produce lighter buns when cooked.

Place the mixture in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. (My hot water heater is inside a cupboard and placing the bowl on top of the heater keeps it lovely and warm for rising).

Punch down the dough with your fist to release the gas. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Knead each piece for a minute and shape into rounds.

Place onto a greased oven tray, cover and allow to rise again, until buns have doubled in size.

Mix together the flour and water and pipe crosses onto each bun. If you don’t have a piping bag, place flour mixture into the corner of a plastic bag, snip off a very small bottom corner of the bag and pipe the crosses on by squeezing the flour mixture out of the tiny hole in the bag.

Bake the buns in a hot oven, 220 degrees C, for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200 degrees C and cook for a further 10 minutes. They are cooked when they sound hollow, when tapped with your knuckles.

Place the glaze ingredients into a small saucepan, bring to the boil while stirring then simmer for 1 or 2 minutes without stirring. Brush the glaze over the buns while still hot.

Serve with butter.