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Piecaken

Piecaken

Photo by David Burke Fabrick

On this Thanksgiving, I have to share what has to be one of the most whacked out culinary ideas ever. Ever! Piecaken!

Think turducken – but with pie and cake! How does it work?

Essentially envelope a layer of cake batter around a fully cooked pie, bake it up and then frost the whole thing. It’s a deeply illogical Frankensteinian creation and seems wrong on all sorts of levels, but also kind of right. Of course, I must eat this. Maybe something to work up to next Thanksgiving?

At any rate, happy Thanksgiving! For those celebrating, have a wonderful turkey day with family and friends!

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Rachel’s English trifle in real life

Okay, who remembers Rachel’s English trifle from “Friends”?

Well, someone in the U.K. has made it – with beef sautéed with peas and onions. And the sight of this might be one of the highlights of my day.

Rachel's English trifle

If you missed seeing that winning episode the first go round, here is a snippet!

The snackers guide to British cakes

Americans have funfetti. German chocolate cake (which is not actually German, go figure!). We can even count New York cheesecake under the banner of “Proud Cakes from the USA.” But we’ve got nothing compared to the Brits.

I love this infographic, designed by Flokkcreative, and the sheer variety of British cakes with amazingly quirky names like eccles (pronounced eckles) cake, Battenburg cake or Victoria sponge. What’s your favorite British cake?

Snackers Guide to British Cakes

Another year, another coffee and walnut cake

Coffee walnut cake

My husband celebrated his birthday on Saturday, which, of course means one thing: Coffee and walnut cake.

I was running around on Saturday morning, making a nice birthday breakfast, getting ready to take my daughter to a birthday party, wrapping presents, brushing teeth and negotiating the time it would take to bake the cake. Thankfully, I had blogged last year sending a message to Future Me about the ease of cooking this Nigella Lawson recipe and Past Me was entirely correct.

It was a breeze to make. 10 minutes prep. 25 minutes in the oven. Then boom! Done.

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So hi, hi, American pie

Apple pie

I did something very American last weekend. I baked some apple pie.

I’m not a pie maker, but the whole autumn-ness of this season struck me and I decided I needed to eschew crumble for something doughy, flaky and piping hot. My husband picked up some really good pie crust from the Co-op – so much better than Pillsbury (hey, don’t judge me, I don’t judge you) and it proved to make all the difference.

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Hot cross bun pudding

On this Good Friday, I present to you one singular vision. Yes, I’m talking about hot cross bun pudding, found on The Pretty blog. I never have uneaten hot cross buns, just laying around, getting stale for such a dish, but if I did, I think this would be the way to go! Thanks to Ally from A Girl and Her Fork for the tip!

Hot cross bun pudding

The cronut spawns in London

dosant
The new trend for cross-breeding pastries has reached London. From the Townie (a brownie-slash-tart) to the Dosant (half doughnut, half croissant) and the Duffin (a doughnut/muffin fusion), these hybrid sweets are going down a treat.

And so begins this utterly delightful and mouthwatering read on BBC.co.uk. Have you tried any of these? They’ve arrived in the U.K. and sound amazing (I do have a sweet tooth!)

Read more about the latest cronut spawns!

Visitors bearing Tunis cake

First of all, apologies for the radio silence this past week. It’s been honestly the busiest week of my life. Possibly ever. And I still haven’t had time to entirely catch my breath yet.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law arrived at our place today and came bearing gifts! Check out this new tea towel that they brought from Scotland:

Scotland tea towel

And not one, but two Tunis cakes. Tunis cakes are pretty seasonal cakes (that taste much better than a fruitcake, if you ask me!). They’re getting more difficult to find but my sister-in-law tracked ’em down. In fact, when she asked the supermarket clerk for Tunis cakes, he asked, “Tuna steaks”?! LOL!

We just cracked into the one she bought from Marks & Spencer. Delicious buttery pound cake with a thick cocoa frosting! (We also have one from Waitrose so will be doing a taste test later!)

Tunis cake

Tunis cake

Tunis cake

Have you ever tried Tunis cake? What do you think?

DIY Lemon cheesecake delight

Sticky Fingers Bakery lemon curd

If you’ve never had lemon curd before, you’ve got to hop on the lemon curd train because man, it is delish! We bought this jar of Sticky Fingers Bakery Lemon Curd. It’s this tart, creamy, sweet concoction that is simply heavenly.

Typically lemon curd is reserved for scone territory, but I went on a limb and tried something with it a couple of weeks ago, which has become a steady favorite with the kids.

Call it DIY Lemon Cheesecake Delight without the water bath. You take a graham cracker (I use the Trader Joe’s honey graham crackers, which are just scrummy), top it with cream cheese and add a dollop of lemon curd. Voila! Instant amazing!

Lemon Cheesecake Delight

It doesn’t look like much but I dare you to eat just one.

How to eat like a millionaire

Wanna feel like a million bucks (or pounds, depending on your currency)? Then get in the kitchen and bake this:

* Enter carol of angels *

Okay, so maybe the photo doesn’t show it for the general awesomeness that it is and it looks a lot like an ordinary peanut butter square, but make no mistake. This is Millionaire’s Shortbread, a rich confection that layers dark chocolate atop gooey caramel spread over buttery shortbread. A Twix Bar-like dessert done on a big scale. I’m not sure where this gorgeous creature got its name but it is a British classic and rightly so.

Matthew made a batch last night (I am NOT the baker in our house and would never attempt such a complex dessert), based on Roxanne’s Millionaire’s Shortbread recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess cookbook. It tastes like a million calories but in a good way.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups unsalted butter
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate

1 9-inch square pan or similar, greased and the bottom lined with parchment or wax paper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Put the flour and sugar into a bowl and rub in 12 tablespoons of the butter, clumping the dough together to form a ball. Press this sandy shortbread mixture into the tin and smooth it either with you hands or a spatula. Prick it with a fork and cook for 5 minutes, then lower the oven to 300 degrees F, and cook it for a further 30-40 minutes until it is pale golden and no longer doughy. Let it cool in the tin.

Melt the remaining butter in the microwave (in a large microwavable bowl) for 2-3 minutes, then add the condensed milk and golden syrup. Whisk the mixture well until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Heat for 6-7 minutes until it is boiling, stirring thoroughly every minute. As a microwave novice, I found this bit difficult and had to watch that I didn’t burn the toffee mixture (I did once), which is why I caution you to check and stir every minute. It’s ready when it’s thickened and turned a light golden brown. Pour this molten toffee evenly over the cooled shortbread and leave it to set.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it in a bowl in a microwave. Pour and spread evenly over the fudge mixture (the less you touch it, the shinier it will be) and leave it to cool. Once set, cut the caramel shortbread into pieces. The squares can be stored in the fridge to keep them firm, though if it’s winter that shouldn’t be necessary.

Makes about 24.