Lemon Meringue Fool Ice Cream

14 July 2015



Lately I'm that friend. 

The one you don't talk to anymore. Who you contact but writes you back with short bursts of bleuuuggghhh... or thinks she's responded in her head only to realise three days later she never actually responded and is now too embarrassed to write back. That friend who is constantly busy, getting no where and trying to carve out any normal, real, meaningful time to spend with you so that when she is there she's not thinking about the million other things that "need" to be done.


Because let's face it, nothing actually really needs to be done. Right? Right now? 


No. Nothing.







The summer holidays arrived. The weathers being it's usual temperamental self and I am just floating along in this sea of to-do lists.

I do it to myself. I am my own worst enemy. I have always had a problem with the word 'no'. I never know how to say it. Especially to myself. "You can't burn the candle at both ends" is a phrase my Mom will say to me on an almost weekly basis these days. I try to prioritise, make life simpler and it works for a few weeks. But I have this constant internal battle between being efficient and getting everything done at once going on and it all piles up on top of me. 


And I bake and make and procrastinate. 

Then I go and make something too good not to share.. and I feel like I have this little splash of mojo coming back. Like I am headed on the right path. Like I am finally getting on top of things. Funny how ice cream could make me feel like that. But it wasn't the ice cream itself you see, I am not some magical ice cream making witch, but rather the reflective conversation had over ice cream with a dear friend. Perspective is a fine thing. Clarity is a fine thing.


Onwards and upwards to finer things.





The Lemon Meringue Fool Ice Cream is as luscious as it is delicious. There is a subtle hint of lemon helping to balance the creamy ice cream. What really makes it pop are the drops of homemade lemon curd, scattered haphazardly throughout. The meringue is crisp and sweet and adds another layer of texture. It's very rich and it contains a million calories. But it's a no churn, no brainer that is a cinch to make and makes you feel like you were born to be an ice cream maker!


Lemon Curd

4 lemons worth of juice

400g caster sugar

200g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
6 free-range egg yolks



Put the lemon juice, the sugar and the butter into a heatproof bowl. Sit the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture every now and again until all of the butter has melted and you get this big gooey, lemon butter mess!
Lightly whisk the egg yolks and then stir them into the lemon mixture. Whisk until all of the ingredients are well combined, then leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring the mixture every now and again, until it is thick and creamy. You'll know it's thick enough when it coats the back of a spoon.
Remove the lemon curd from the heat and set to one side to cool, stirring occasionally as it cools. You should totally go about your business during this time. 
Once cooled, spoon the lemon curd into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.




Lemon Meringue Fool Ice Cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
250ml double cream
225g cream cheese
30ml lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract
As much lemon curd as you like
6-8 meringue nests 



Using a hand/electric mixer beat together the sweetened condensed milk, double cream, cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth. Set to one side.
Break up your meringue nests, roughly, and add them to the mixture, folding through gently.
Dollop in the amount of lemon curd you like for taste and just fold through until evenly spread.
Pour the mixture into a standard loaf pan, or divide the mix between the two smaller loaf tins. Dollop a few more drops of lemon curd on top and cover with cling film.  Freeze for at least 6 hours, but being honest, overnight is best.
Lick the baking bowl clean. You will not regret that part. 







Deep Dish Apple Pie

04 July 2015



For the day that is in it I decided to make an American store cupboard staple. July 4th is a day for celebrating with all my American friends and their love of their independence!

I decided to whip together a deep dish apple pie. I wanted to throw my own twist on the American classic and opted to make a toffee sauce! Smother the apples in it before baking it and let it be an oozing, delicious not-so-good-for-you pie, speckled with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.


The weather had changed slightly and a good north westerly breeze was helping me get all my clothes dry but it also had me putting on a cardigan! I was adamant that I wouldn't put on socks and I wanted to keep wearing my Saltwater sandals, so while my toes stayed cold, I needed something warm and fuzzy to fill my belly!

This pie was to be it and good thing too, as I had got Bramley Apples in the shops the day before. It's also a very homely pie, perfect for sharing with pots of tea and it was something that suited evening after dinner puddings down to the ground.

A full fat, Irish Dairy Cream butter short crust pastry keeps the apples in place, holding in all that lovely, sticky, sweet mess of a toffee sauce. The bramley's offer that perfect blend of tartness to help balance out the sweet flavour of the dark brown sugar in the toffee sauce. The cinnamon and nutmeg accompaniments make the pie, rustic, satisfying and homespun. It's one for all seasons I think...




All Butter Short Crust

240g plain flour
50g icing sugar
150g diced cold butter (+ a little extra for greasing)
1 large egg


Preheat your oven to 180C, 350F or gas mark 4.
Put the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food processor and blitz until looks like breadcrumbs.
Crack in the egg and bring together until a soft ball forms.
Wrap in clingfilm, pat down and leave in fridge for 30 mins.
Grease up a 9/10 inch round pie dish.
When it comes out split into two balls, one slightly larger than the other and roll out. 

I like to blind bake my pastry case bottom using pastry beads at 180 for about 15 minutes. I find this helps stop all those lovely juices from seeping out all over the place. You'll find there'll be no soggy bottoms around here!




Once blind baked, take it out and just leave it rest while you finish off the apples.

The Toffee Apple Filling

1200g of Bramley Apple

This was 6 large Bramley's for my 10 inch dish. Skin the apples completely and then just chop them into however you feel... I like to do a rough slice and just keep slicing through the apple until I reach the inner core. I am not fussy about size or shape... it's all about the right amount here!

50g butter
25g plain flour
50g white sugar
60g dark sugar
100ml of water
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract, whatever you have)

Add all your ingredients into a pot and stir over a medium heat until fully melted and molten. Keep stirring until it thickens, do not stop stirring! This should only take about 3-4 minutes. Once thickened, take off the heat and pour into a bowl and allow to cool.


Pour the cooled toffee sauce over the apples and just leave it to one side until you need it.

Fill the pastry case with the apples and top with the remaining pastry. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven and minding the top doesn't get too brown. Allow to cool slightly on a wore tray upon taking it out of the oven.

Disclaimer; I didn't use all the sauce I made on the apples because um... we'd eaten a lot of it off the spoon and then said we'd use some of it on ice cream, then we dipped biscuits in to it. And we had more ice cream we had before tea... and then we had pie.




Serve it warm with ice cream, dripping down the side or cold with fresh whipped vanilla cream.

Tea I find, is the most friendliest of accompaniments but you have yours with your beverage of choice. Or none at all... I'm not here to tell you your business... well... Only that if pie is your thing.

You should make this one.




Basic (bad-ass) Buttercream

01 July 2015





Everyone needs a basic buttercream recipe and trust me when I tell you this is it.

This is a no muss, no fuss, easy peasy, throw it all in one bowl buttercream that is perfect for your cakes, cupcakes, macarons etc. It's also high crusting, which means it will crust over on the outside but stay soft and smooth and delicious on the inside!

What makes it bad-ass, it that give or take a few substitutions it becomes whatever flavour buttercream you like. 

This fluffy buttercream is as basic as it gets and it sure does taste great. Mark this one down as your go-to.. You won't regret it!




Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

225g soft, room temperature, unsalted butter
500g sifted icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla pod
up to 60ml cream/whole milk

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. (TIP: pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until very soft.)
Add in the icing sugar a few cups at a time.
If the buttercream is very thick, add a tablespoon of cream or milk in until the desired texture has been reached. 
Add the vanilla bean or paste.
Mix the bejeebus out of it until light and fluffy. The faster and longer you mix this, the lighter and fluffier it will be. 

Decorate as described in your recipe or eat off the spoon. Who am I to judge?







 
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