Christmas Cookies Three Ways

It’s almost XMASSSSS! I have finally found some time to write another blog post. December is always the busiest, most hectic time of the year it seems. But also the most exciting time if you ask me. I am so happy to go back to my family in Amsterdam tomorrow, because I haven’t been home for almost 2 months. Thankfully, these 2 months flew by. I can’t believe 2018 is almost over.

For me, December was all about baking cookies. I think I baked a hundred cookies in total, I don’t know what got into me. I got so excited about the endless possibilities when it comes to toppings and stuffings for cookies. Also, I found out that baking the perfect cookie is not nearly as easy as it seems. I experimented a lot with different recipes, I read all about baking cookies online, and finally came up with three different cookie recipes: crunchy dark chocolate & chili cookies, cakey white chocolate, macadamia & cranberry cookies and chewy oatmeal & candied orange peel cookies.

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If I had to choose my favorite amongst these three, I’d say the chocolate ones, ’cause who doesn’t love chocolate? Because I wanted to bake Christmas themed cookies, and I had to bake something in the theme of “spiced bakes” for the baking society of my university, I decided to go for the never disappointing combination of Dark Chocolate & Chili. The chili adds so much depth to the flavour and it really makes the dark chocolate pop even more. It works kind of like adding salt or espresso powder to any dark chocolate bake, it just makes the chocolate flavour so intense.

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Dark Chocolate & Chili Cookies

These cookies are perfectly spicy, bringing out the dark chocolate flavour. They’re super crunchy with a gooey underbaked middle. Just chocolate heaven!

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 12 large cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup dark brown unrefined cane sugar
  • ½ cup golden granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 6 heaped tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes (use only ½ tsp if you want just a hint of spiciness)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bar Lindt Chili dark chocolate in chunks

Instructions

Start by bringing your butter to room temperature & preheating the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Then cream the butter together with the sugar until fluffy using a hand-held electric whisk. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Combine all the dry ingredients except the chocolate in a large bowl and add to your fluffy butter & egg mixture. Be careful not to overmix as this will make your cookies tough. Add the chocolate chunks even before all the flour is incorporated and fold them into the batter using a spatula. Doing this will incorporate the rest of the flour as well so you definitely don’t overmix! 🙂 Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the outside is crispy and baked but the middle is still soft. You really want to remove these cookies from the oven before they’re baked through all the way, because they will continue to set as you let them cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.


 

Next up are the other cookies. I will just list the ingredients for these, as the method is exactly the same as for the chocolate cookies!

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White Chocolate, Macadamia & Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are more cakey than the crunchy chocolate cookies because of the extra egg. If you don’t like that, just omit the second egg in this recipe! The cranberries make these cookies very festive.

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 12 large cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup golden granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup halved macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

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Turmeric Spiced Oatmeal & Candied Orange Peel Cookies

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 8 small cookies

These chewy oatmeal cookies are spiced with turmeric, one of my favourite spices. I love the yellow pop it gives to baking. Enjoy these cookies alongside a turmeric latte!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup golden granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 1 heaped tsp self-raising flour
  • ¾ cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ cup candied orange peel

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Thanks for reading guys and let me know if you bake some of these! ❤

Love, Tori

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Orange & Ricotta Almond Cake

My roommate and I went to Ottolenghi the other day and we had the most amazing cake for dessert. It had orange and chocolate, which is one of my favourite combinations and it was made with almond flour. After trying this cake, I just knew I had to experiment with almond flour a bit myself, because I liked it so much. I started to look up some recipes online, thinking it would be kind of similar to baking with coconut flour, but nothing is less true! You do need to use quite a few eggs, but almond flour is not nearly as absorbent as coconut flour. Recipes for one 8″ cake often call for 2 cups of almond flour at least, making the cakes very calorie dense. My solution: just substitute 1 cup almond flour for 1/4 cup of coconut flour! Because it’s so extremely absorbent, you really don’t need to use much of it, so you’re left with a cake that’s super high in protein but relatively low in calories.

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What’s more, this recipe is perfect for people out there who like coconut flour because of its absorbing qualities, but don’t necessarily enjoy the taste of coconut in every cake they bake. I found this mix of 1 cup almond + 1/4 cup coconut flour did a pretty good job at masking the fact that there was even coconut flour in there. Also, store-bought almond flour/finely ground almonds is pretty expensive (you can make it yourself if you have a decent kitchen processor), so this blend is very economical too. One cup of store-bought almond flour will easily cost 1 pound at the least, whereas 1/4 cup of coconut flour costs around 25 pence. (Of course there is a lot of variation in price depending on the brand and store and your location.)

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Although I am a big fan of the chocolate + orange combination, I didn’t want to bake a chocolate cake. I wanted this cake to be protein-packed and free of refined sugar, to make it suitable as a breakfast cake. So let me give you a heads up: this cake is really not that sweet and I would not recommend it as an afternoon tea / coffee treat. If you want to serve it that way, definitely consider adding at least an extra 1/2 cup of honey or 1/2 cup of white sugar. It really depends on how sweet you want it to be, it’s up to you! It does have the texture of a coffee cake though, because of the creamy ricotta in it. You can use either full-fat or any other ricotta you like (full-fat is probably easiest to find). I chose to use a full-fat ricotta, because I was not adding any extra oil or butter to this cake. If you go with a fat-free ricotta, you might want to consider adding 1/4 cup of butter/vegetable oil.

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Orange & Ricotta Almond Cake

Serves: 12 – Preparation time: 30 minutes – Baking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • handful of almond slivers
  • 1 cup full-fat ricotta (room temp)
  • 4 cold eggs, separated
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup honey (+1/2 cup extra when serving as a sweet coffee cake)
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (double for a less subtle orange kick)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 150° C / 300° F. Grate the zest of one orange and set aside. Separate the eggs (this is a lot easier if they’re cold!) and beat the egg whites until they are stiff using an electric hand mixer. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks with the ricotta with the hand mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, honey, orange juice and orange zest. Mix for a minute. Hold a sieve over the bowl and sift the coconut and almond flour through it into the wet mixture. Add the baking powder and salt as well. Mix until combined and lump free. Then, fold in the egg whites bit by bit using a spatula. Be careful not to mix too hard, as you want to maintain the airiness of the egg whites to make for a fluffy cake. Transfer the mixture to an 8″ cake pan and sprinkle with some slivered almond. Cover the cake with aluminium foil (be sure to spray it with some baking spray so it won’t stick to the top of the cake once it rises!) and blind-bake the cake for 30 minutes. Then, take off the aluminium foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the top looks done and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before serving.


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Did I say this cake is almost completely carb-free? And it’s gluten free as well! The perfect thing to serve if you’re sharing with people on a low-carb or gluten free diet.

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Bon appétit!

Super (Un) Healthy Carrot Cake

I love baking the same thing twice. First version: go completely crazy, don’t be shy with the sugar and the oil and the toppings. Second version: healthy sister. So that’s what I did with these carrot cakes. It was my birthday the 18th of November and I invited a small group of friends over for dinner. (Yeah, small group, not really my style, but I hardly have enough room to host more than two friends!) Of course, they had high anticipations of the dessert, knowing me and my baking quite well.

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So there you have it. The biggest cake I have ever baked! These 3 layers took me forever, because I only have one 8 inch cake pan. I had to bake the layers in turns and wait for them to cool properly before removing them from the pan. So yeah, if you want to spend your whole day baking a birthday cake (I seriously don’t mind; I love it), just go ahead. Otherwise just shove multiple cake pans in the oven at the same time!

This carrot cake was everything you guys, but I have to be honest: the white chocolate butter cream really made this a winner for me. I remember the first time I attempted to make butter cream. It was a complete disaster and I didn’t dare try it again. Until now! I finally felt confident enough to try again, and boy am I happy that I did.

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Did I mention the middle layer is actually not carrot cake but courgette cake? I am such a big fan of using courgette in my baking, because it adds incredible moisture. Maybe you read my post on my gingerbread courgette loaf a while back, in which I talked about it a bit as well. The middle layer of this cake was so dense! It gave the carrot cake a special twist. Recipe time!


Super Unhealthy Birthday Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Butter Cream

3 layers serves 16 people – ingredients are for 1 layer of cake

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs room temp
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce (either homemade or store bought)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ cup grated carrot OR grated courgette
  • ¼ chopped walnuts

Making this batter is as easy as pie (pun intended). Just combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowl and mix well to combine. Then add the two together and beat thoroughly until everything is incorporated. Fold in either the grated carrot or courgette and the walnuts. Transfer the cake batter to an 8 inch (20 cm) non-stick cake tin with removable bottom. Bake each layer for 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius. Always do the toothpick test to check if the cake is done!

White Chocolate Butter Cream

  • 500 gr cream cheese (room temp)
  • 250 gr butter (room temp)
  • fresh vanilla beans of 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 200 gr melted white chocolate

Your ingredients should really be at room temperature, otherwise it will be impossible to mix everything properly. Start by melting the white chocolate either au bain marie or in the microwave in 15 second intervals. Set aside to cool. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with an electric hand mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Let the butter cream cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using it in your cake, otherwise it will be too runny.

A tip on building up your cake: make sure the layers are flat! Use a sharp knife to cut off just a bit of the top of the cake so the surface is super straight. That way, stacking the layers will be a lot easier, and your cake won’t tilt over in any direction.


 

For those of you that are still with me after that amount of sugar and fat: do not despair. I am here for you health freaks too. You see, I had some left over carrots the next day and started to wonder: would this cake be just as good if I tried to eliminate all the unhealthy ingredients? Well, the answer is no, it’s not. But it’s still very good as a breakfast cake!

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I just made one layer of this cake, because unfortunately, I had no friends visiting me for breakfast who I could share with! Basically, what I did was cut out all the oil and sugar and replaced that for Greek yoghurt and raisins. Also, I used oat flour instead of plain all-purpose flour. I have to say just the raisins did not satisfy my sweet tooth enough, so I just went ahead and topped my piece of cake with some agave syrup and powdered sugar.

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I would love to hear if you guys know any great ways to add sweetness to your cake without using sugar! Maybe it would be a good idea to add a mashed overripe banana? Let me know if you try that.


Super Healthy Carrot Cake

Serves 8 – ingredients are for 1 layer of cake

  • 1 ½ cup oat flour
  • ½ cup ground walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup greek yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup homemade unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup raisins

To make the batter for this healthy carrot cake, just do the exact same thing as with the unhealthy one. Mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then add together and mix thoroughly before folding in the carrot and raisins.

You can use either store bought oat flour, or if you have a kitchen processor, make your own by adding some whole grain oat flakes and pulsing them a few times until they become a fine, flour like texture.

Bake for 30-35 minutes on 175 degrees Celsius. Top off with some oat flakes!


 

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Bon appétit!

Love,

Tori

Cheesecake for breakfast? Hell yes.

This recipe is going to change your life. Trust me. This cheesecake is so healthy, you can actually eat this for breakfast and not feel bad about it. You don’t believe me? Just keep on reading and find out for yourself.

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I had a dilemma, which was the following. I love to bake, but I also love to stay healthy. These two are of course easily compatible, unless your name is Tori. Hello, my name is Tori & I am addicted to sugar, fat, and everything that’s bad for you. Forgive me for over-exaggerating a little here. Anyways: I decided it was time for me to start making my bakes more healthy and nutritious, since I am baking so much lately. If you make something every now and then, it’s perfectly fine to use all the sugar and butter you want. But it started to become a daily thing for me and I actually gained some pounds because of it. Which is totally okay in winter, but it did get me thinking: can I find ways in which I can continue to bake all the things I love, but make them nutritious enough to serve as a proper meal? 

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So there was my challenge! I wanted to bake a pie that could serve as breakfast, and as I normally eat some homemade granola with Greek yoghurt for breakfast, I figured: why not bake a cake that is just granola & yoghurt in disguise?! And that’s how this lovely cottage cheesecake with granola crust was born. The crust is made of the ingredients I typically use for my granola: oatmeal, nuts, dates and coconut oil. The filling is made of cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt and eggs. Honestly, I didn’t even miss the cream cheese! If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought this was an actual cheesecake made with cream cheese.

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Using cottage cheese and Greek yoghurt made this cheesecake so incredible fresh, making it even more perfect for a breakfast dish. There was literally no unnecessary sweetness in it. The dates in the bottom provided all the sweetness you need together with the lovely blueberries and blackberries on the top. Did I mention cottage cheese is amazing? It’s super high in protein (>10 gr/100 gr) but is low in calories (<100/100gr), making it the ideal weight loss food too. I don’t know why it’s not more popular. I read online that it used to be.

Cottage cheese used to be even more popular than yoghurt in the mid 1970’s.

In Holland, there is this pie called ‘kwarktaart‘, which was also an inspiration for this cheesecake recipe. It’s a pie made with kwark, which is like a really thick yoghurt. Do the English call it quark? I don’t know. Anyway, you don’t have to bake kwarktaart: just put it in the fridge with some gelatin and it will set perfectly. But as I wasn’t able to buy kwark in the UK, I figured a mix of cottage cheese and thick Greek yoghurt would do the trick just as well. And that way I could bake it like a traditional cheesecake without needing any gelatin! #veggie

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You can serve this cheesecake without the extra topping and leave the gorgeous blueberry marble pattern exposed. But if you want to incorporate some extra fruits in your breakfast, go ahead and top it with a blueberry sauce and some fresh blackberries like I did. By the way: that marble pattern is honestly the easiest thing ever, don’t let it scare you off!

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Let’s get to the recipe for this amazing breakfast. I am not eating anything BUT pie for breakfast anymore, believe me!


Healthy Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake with Cottage Cheese & Greek Yoghurt and Granola Crust

Serves: 8 – Preparation time: 50 mins – Baking time: 35 mins – Total: >10 hrs (set overnight)

Ingredients (filling – crust – blueberry swirl – topping)

please note that you can double the amount of ingredients for the filling for an extra high cheesecake, but be sure to increase the baking time accordingly!

  • 2 cups + 1 tbsp (500 gr) low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup (200 gr) low-fat Greek yoghurt (make sure it’s a thick one)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 cups finely ground oatmeal flakes
  • 1 cup ground nuts of choice
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 6 medjool dates
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • fresh blackberries (optional)
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and take all of the ingredients out of the fridge so they can come to room temperature. Then start by preparing the crust. Finely ground the oats, nuts and dates together in a kitchen processor. If you don’t have one, you can chop everything yourself with a sharp knife, but make sure it’s very fine because that way the crust will stick together more easily. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the coconut oil (melted), honey (optionally), cinnamon and salt. Give it a good stir. Get a quiche pan with high edges or a normal round cake tin. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the edges any way you like: just make sure to do this properly so your cheesecake won’t stick to the pan. Transfer the mixture to your pan and press down firmly, going up just slightly at the edges. Pre-bake your crust for 10 mins in your 175 degree oven. You can blind-bake the crust if you want, but I didn’t do that. Let the crust cool on your counter while you proceed with the cheesecake filling.

Turn down the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Take your cottage cheese, which should be at room temperature and try to remove the lumps in it by pressing it down with a rubber spatula. It may take some time to make everything smooth this way, so I just put the cottage cheese in my kitchen processor for a few seconds. You can also use a blender. Mix the smooth cottage cheese with the Greek yoghurt and lightly beaten eggs. Blend using a whisk. Then add the orange zest and vanilla. You can use half of the beans of a fresh vanilla pod for a real kick of vanilla, but vanilla extract does the trick too.

Heat up the frozen blueberries in a small saucepan with a splash of water. Add the grated orange zest. You can also use a splash of fresh orange juice instead of water for an extra orangy twist. Cook for 3 mins while stirring and set aside to cool down.

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the granola crust. Flatten the surface using a rubber spatula. Put some dollops of blueberry sauce on top of the cheesecake using a spoon. Then, just swirl through it with a knife until you’re happy with the marble pattern. You might not want to use all of the blueberry sauce, but save some for later if you wish to top off the cheesecake with fresh fruits.

Bake the cheesecake for 35 minutes, or until the cake has set but the middle is still slightly wobbly. Be sure to turn the cake around in your oven if your oven doesn’t very bake evenly like mine. For an extra professional result, you can bake this cheesecake in a water bath, but I only do that if I am serving my cake to guests. 😉 Let the cake cool for 30 mins with the oven door halfway open. Then transfer to your counter until completely cooled to room temperature, after which the cheesecake has to sit in the fridge for at least a few hours, but overnight gives the best results!

The next day, serve with your left over blueberry sauce, fresh blackberries and a little dusting of powdered sugar.


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That was it guys. Please let me know what you think of this recipe if you try it out! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Bon appétit! XOXO Tori

Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Good morning everyone!

During my trip back home to Amsterdam, I managed to get my loaf tin back. I missed it so much for my baking here, because I used to make so many banana breads in that tin. But today I won’t be sharing a banana bread recipe (although I’m sure that will come around some time…) but another quick bread/loaf.

This gingerbread-spiced loaf is packed with courgette. I love to use courgette in my baking, because it adds so much moist. Any quick bread will have cake-like structure if you add courgette I think, which is basically amazing, because you trick your mind into thinking you’re eating an oil-packed cake when it’s just super healthy. Grated courgette is also amazing to add to red velvet cake, just so you know. Also, the little green dots look gorgeous in the baking.

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You can experiment with this loaf as much as you want. I am trying to find the healthiest version without compromising on taste and texture. I’ve found that this recipe is the perfect balance! It has just 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, but you might even be fine without any oil at all. It’s also completely up to you how sweet you want this cake to be. If you plan on eating this cake for breakfast, I suggest just using 1/4 cup of agave syrup or honey and leaving out the 1/4 cup of brown sugar. But of course you can add as much sugar as you want, especially if you want to serve this as an afternoon treat/coffee cake.

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I used 4 eggs for this loaf, which sounds like a lot, but I sometimes like to add an extra egg to my breakfast loaf because I am a vegetarian. I try to sneak extra protein into my meals wherever I can, so if I have the chance to add an extra egg to my baking, I just go ahead. I started out with 3 eggs but found the batter a bit too thick, so I added another one. If I were you, I’d just start with 3 eggs and see where that gets you. Especially if you are just using plain flour and no oats & spelt flour like me, I think 3 eggs will be plenty.

To add a gingerbread flavour to this loaf, I added cinnamon, allspice and ground ginger. These spices gave this loaf so much warmth, it made me feel like it’s already Christmas. Perfect for any cold mornings coming up. Feel free to just use 2tsp of cinnamon if you don’t have the other spices in your cabinet; it will still taste amazing.

Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Yield: ± 10 slices  – Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 55-60

Dry ingredients

  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1 cup wholegrain oats + 1 tbsp for decorating
  • 1 tsp baking soda (=bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice/mixed spice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (I used dark brown natural unrefined cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (you need the acidity as a reactor otherwise the baking soda doesn’t do anything, you can also use some honey or lemon juice)

Filling

  • 2 cups grated courgette (±2 small to medium-sized courgettes)
  • small handful chopped walnuts
  • small handful chopped pecans + some extra for decorating

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and combine well.

Grate the courgette and drain well from extra liquid, but it’s okay if you leave just a bit because this provides extra moist to the loaf. Stir in the chopped nuts and set aside.

In another bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Finally, add the courgette & nuts and fold into the mixture.

Spray a loaf tin with some baking spray (I use coconut oil spray), or alternatively just grease the tin with butter. Line your tin with parchment paper and spray again. Then, pour in your batter. Your batter should be just liquid enough to pour in your tin with some help of a spatula to flatten everything out! Top the loaf with some whole pecan nuts and a sprinkle of oats. Cover the top of your loaf with aluminium foil but be sure to leave enough room for the loaf to rise.

Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Then take it out of the oven, remove the aluminium foil and check how far along the loaf is. Place back into the oven without the foil so the top of the loaf can become golden brown. My loaf needed another 15 minutes, so it baked for a total of 60 minutes. You can try to reduce your baking time by increasing the heat of your oven to 190 degrees Celsius, but I didn’t want to risk ending up with an uncooked inside but burnt top.

Let the loaf cool in the tin for 10 minutes before easily removing it by pulling on the parchment paper. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for at least another 10 minutes before cutting into it.

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Have a lovely week everyone and be sure to share picture with me if you do try this recipe! 🙂

Love,

Tori

Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

I really felt like making something pretty this time.

Usually, I like to keep things pretty simple. I just need my kitchen the smell nice & the bake to taste good. But I was feeling crafty and in need of buttery pie crust, so I decided on doing a double-crusted artsy pie.

 

You can use any filling you want when making a pie like this, which is great. Whatever you’re craving, just throw it in there. My inspiration for this was a pecan pie recipe that I’d seen, but then I found out I was out of pecans, so I went with walnuts. Anything works. I’m a big fan of a combination of dates and nuts (any type really), and I have done date & nut bars/tart bases in the past, so I liked the idea of working that into a pie filling this time.

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Making pie crust can appear a bit tricky at first, but practice makes perfect. Trust me, I am still working on mine. I actually did overwork my dough this time which made the crust a bit too tough to my liking. But hey, you know what’s so good about pie? It’s still really amazing even if it’s not perfect. Same goes for this all-butter pie crust recipe: difficult to get perfect, but it will always taste good and be a crowd pleaser! The most important thing to keep in mind is to not overmix your dough. Don’t knead the life out of it. I know it’s tempting, there’s something soothing about just kneading it until everything comes together perfectly and there are no lumps to be found anywhere. But that is where you’ll go wrong. You WANT these buttery lumps (around the size of peas) to be in your dough, because that’s what’s going to make the crust flaky and lovely at the end. With that in mind, let’s get to the recipe!

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Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

Yield: 12 servings – Preparation time: 60 minutes – Baking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

For the pie crust:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + a bit extra for rolling the dough
  • 1 cup cubed cold unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup buttermilk + few tbsp. extra if needed
  • ½ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup refined brown cane sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped pitted dates
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

Take the butter for the filling out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare your pie dough.

For your dough, combine the butter with the flour and salt using a pastry cutter or your hands until the butter is the size of peas. Don’t overmix because this will make your pie crust tough. If you want an extra flaky crust, leave bigger bits of butter in the mixture. Add the buttermilk one tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together. You don’t want the dough to become sticky. Of course, you can also use ice water instead of buttermilk, but I liked the extra tanginess.

Cut your dough in half, wrap in cling film and leave to refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

While your oven is preheating and your dough is refrigerating, start to prepare the filling for this pie. Your butter should be on room temperature now, so you can start by creaming the butter together with the sugar. I used a spatula. Add the salt, agave syrup and eggs and mix to combine. Then add the walnuts and dates. Set your filling aside and return to your dough.

You will use one clump of dough for the bottom of the crust and the other clump for the top layer. Let’s start by rolling out the bottom. Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough, making sure to keep moving the dough and flipping it so it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer it to a greased tart pan of your choice. It’s probably easiest to use one that is not too high, as this will make decorating easier. I didn’t have on like that though, so I just used a standard quiche pan. Using a fork, make some holes in the dough and just bake it for 5 minutes to give it a head-start to the rest of the pie.

While that’s in the oven, start rolling out the second clump of dough and cut into long strips with which you’re going to cover the pie. You can save some dough to use for other decorations like the braids I made for example. Of course, this is totally up to you!

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Take your crust out of the oven and let it cool for a bit on your kitchen counter before pouring the filling on it. Spread the filling out evenly and then decorate the top with a second layer of pie dough. You can make any pattern you want; I went for a simple lattice pie.

Bake the pie for around 30-40 minutes, just keep an eye on it. If the top is nicely golden, the pie is done. Mine took 35 minutes.

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Let me know if you have a favourite way of decorating a pie!

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Bon appétit!

Tori