For the Mince Pie Filling

1/4 cup (45g) sultanas

1/4 cup (50g) chopped raisins

1/4 cup (45g) currants

1/4 cup (50g) finely chopped dried dates

1/4 cup (50g) mixed peel

1/4 cup (50g) finely chopped red glace cherries

1/2 small granny smith apple, peeled, cored, coarsely grated

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon orange marmalade

1 tablespoon brandy

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Icing sugar mixture, to dust

For the Hazelnut Pastry

1 cup (150g) plain flour

1/2 cup (50g) hazelnut meal

1/3 cup (60g) icing sugar mixture

125g chilled butter, chopped

1 egg yolk


  • Combine together sultanas, raisins, currants, dates, mixed peel, cherries, apple, sugar, marmalade, brandy and mixed spice.
  • Place mixture in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 2 days, stirring occasionally, to develop the flavors.

  • Place flour, hazelnut meal, icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg yolk and process until dough just comes together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead.

  • Dough should be just smooth. Shape into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Place dough in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C. Divide pastry into 2 even portions. Roll one portion into a 2mm-thick disc. Set aside the other portion.

  • Cut 36 discs from pastry with a 8cm pastry cutter. Line the base and sides of 36 (1 1/2 tbsp/30ml capacity) mini muffin pans.
  • Spoon fruit mince evenly among the lined pans. Roll out remaining pastry to a 2mm-thick disc. Use a 4cm-diameter cutter.

  • Cut discs from the pastry. Use a small, star-shaped cutter to cut stars from pastry discs. Place pastry discs over mince mixture.
  • Gently press the edges to seal. Use a pastry cutter to trim edges. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to rest. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

  • Rotate the trays halfway through cooking until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
  • Turn the mince pies onto a wire rack to cool. Dust them with icing sugar before serving. Makes 36 mini hazelnut mince pies.

Mini Hazelnut Mince Pies from

My sudden craving for brownies meant that I had to make them myself from scratch to make sure I had what I was after. Brownies are not difficult to make but somehow all the ones I had tried in bakeries or cafés were either overbaked and dry or underbaked and sticky, killing my desire for an ultimate brownie experience instantly. I had there and then decided that any further search for the perfectly balanced cake v/s cookie texture in my brownie had to come from home. Fasting implied that I had to do without eggs which was not a problem with the lovely recipe from Spice up The Curry. To bring out the deeply intense flavour of chocolate, I added a whole bar of Lindt Intense 70% Cocoa to my brownie batter along with a handful of chopped pecans. Finally, I could sit back and enjoy this beauty with a liberal scoop of Oreo Ice Cream, a wonderful stress buster after a hectic day in out-patient clinic and operation theatre.



3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup pecan nuts, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F for at least 10 minutes. Melt the butter and let it cool while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Lightly butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray 8×8 inch baking pan. Line the base and sides with parchment paper.

  • Take all purpose flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Now sift the cocoa powder. Mix well till incorporated well.
  • Now take melted and cooled butter in another bowl. Add yogurt and vanilla extract. Whisk well till everything gets mixed.

  • Add dry flour mixture. Mix well. Do not over mix. Add chopped chocolate and chopped pecan nuts if using and mix well.
  • Now pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes and check if done by inserting a toothpick in the center.

  • If it comes out clean then it is ready. Let brownie cool completely in the baking pan on cooling rack for at least 30 mins.
  • After it cools completely, remove from pan and using a sharp knife, cut brownie into 16 pieces and dust with icing sugar.

Brownie with Oreo Ice Cream

The September Daring Bakers challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat: Kolaches! The Czech koláč consists of a large sweet yeast dough round topped with pools of a sweet mixture. Round breads are some of the earliest of ritual foods, variously symbolizing the sun, moon, and female. Around the 15th century with the arrival in Eastern Europe of yeast breads enriched with butter, eggs, and sugar (the first light cakes in the region), the name kolo was applied to round sweetened yeast loaves enjoyed for celebrations from the Balkans to the Baltic Sea, including the Polish kolacz (pronounced kowatch), Russian kulich, Ukrainian kolač, Serbo-Croatian kolač, Hungarian kalacs, and Yiddish koyletch (an early synonym for egg challah, considered a cake by Sephardic Jews). Distinct from the unadorned yeast cakes of Eastern Europe (or those additionally flavored with raisins), varieties from Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovenia were paired with povidla (plum butter made from cooking down Italian plums without the addition of sweeteners).

Some speculate that originally people simply spread the beloved povidla on chunks of baked sweet bread to enhance the gastronomic experience. Besides plum (slivkóvý koláče or povidlové koláče), two other venerable central European baking favorites became traditional Old-World kolache toppings: Poppy seed (makov‎‎ý koláče) and cheese (tvaroh koláče). In Europe, Czechs used a form of the Teutonic quark for the cheese topping. For a dazzling presentation, each indentation of a large cake round is filled with a different flavor and color. A relatively recent innovation is an optional streusel topping known as posipka. Many Czech families had their own secret kolache recipe handed down from generation to generation, mothers and grandmothers assiduously instructing the young girls. The dough, abounding with butter, should be rather dense, not fluffy. Some prefer a plain flavor, while others add a hint of spice or lemon zest to the dough.



For the Cake

1¾ cups (420 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour

½ cup (120 ml) (125 gm) mayonnaise (store-bought or home-made)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) granulated sugar

1 small egg, room temperature

15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast or 1 packet (2 teaspoons) (7gm) dry active yeast

5 tablespoons (75 ml) milk, warm

½ teaspoon (3 gm) table salt

For the Cream

2 cups (500 ml) milk, divided

½ cup (120 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (½ oz) (15 gm) vanilla sugar

½ cup (120 ml) (2-2/3 oz) (75 gm) vanilla pastry cream powder

1 stick (½ cup) (4 oz) (125 gm) butter, room temperature

5 tablespoons (75 ml) double cream, chilled

For the Streusel Topping

1/3 cup (1¾ oz) (50 gm) plain flour

¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) butter, chilled and diced

¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) caster (or granulated) sugar

½ teaspoon (2 gm) ground cinnamon

For Finishing

1 small egg, lightly beaten


  • In a bowl of your stand mixer, sift the flour and make a hole in the middle. Crumb dry active yeast into the hole.
  • Add 1 teaspoon sugar and about 3 teaspoons warm milk to the mixture. Mix the yeast, sugar and milk with a fork.

  • Lightly sprinkle the surface with flour. Cover the bowl with towel and let rise for 10-15 minutes in a warm place.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients (mayonnaise, sugar, milk, egg and salt) and knead with dough hook on low speed.

  • Knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cover with a towel.
  • Let rise for about an hour to double its volume. Form the dough into a ball and place it onto a lined baking sheet.

  • Press the dough and shape it into a disc of about 20–25 cm (8-10 inch) in diameter and 2–3 cm (¾-1 inch)thick.
  • Let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to moderate 320°F/160°C/gas mark 3 and make streusel topping.

  • In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add cold butter and mix all ingredients until crumbly.
  • Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with generous amount of streusel topping. Bake for 20 mins until golden brown.

  • Let cool on a wire rack. For the filling, mix ½ cup (125ml) milk with vanilla pastry cream powder in a small bowl.
  • Set aside. In a saucepan, mix the rest of the milk 1½ cup (375ml) with sugar and vanilla sugar and bring it to boil.

  • Stir occasionally. Add the milk-pastry cream powder mixture and boil it for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Transfer the mixture into a bowl of your standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and let cool completely.

  • Stir constantly on a low speed. Add diced butter and mix together. Separately whip the double cream until stiff.
  • Fold into the vanilla cream. Cut cooled cake lengthwise, spread filling onto bottom part and top with upper part.

September 2014 Challenge

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