Kitchen Tips

Some Of Our Favorite Indulgent Pastry Recipes

For all those that love to bake we have got a few pastry recipes that might tempt your tastebuds. Perfect for parties, bake sales or just to surprise your family, there is nothing as putting a smile a someone’s face as you offer them some freshly prepared pastry dishes.

Muffin Madness

Sizzle up your everyday muffins with these great mix of flavors.

Ingredients:

470 gm Wheat flour
450 gm Sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp Baking powder
250 gm Water
130 gm Sunflower oil
1 tsp Vanilla essence
2 Zest of limes

[Raspberry Butter cream]

500 gm Icing sugar
220 gm Margarine
3 tsp Raspberry pulp
3 Almonds (sliced)
9 Raspberries (whole)

Instructions to follow:

For the cake add wheat, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to make a mixture of all the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix sunflower oil, vanilla essence, zest of limes and water to make a solution of all the liquid ingredients. Next, pour the dry mixture slowly into the liquid mixture while beating continuously until a smooth and even texture is reached.

Next, take a muffin tray and grease it with butter. Divide the muffin batter into equal parts onto the tray and insert it into a pre-heated oven at 180 degree. Let the muffins bake for 10 to 15 minutes if you are using a mini muffin tray or 20 to 40 minutes if you’re using a jumbo muffin tray. Once done, insert a toothpick into the center of the muffins. If the toothpick comes out clean the muffins are done, otherwise, bake them for 5 more minutes. Let the muffins cool before applying the icing on top.

Raspberry Butter Cream

In a blender, take the margarine and pour in sugar slowly while beating at medium speed. Then add in pulp of raspberries gradually while beating continuously until the mixture is smooth. With the help of a pasty bag decorate the muffins and top it off with sliced almonds and whole raspberries.

Mini Cheesecake

Very easy recipe to make before guests arrive.

Ingredients:

Crust

1/3 cup Graham cracker crumbs
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs Margarine (melted)

Filling

8 ounce Cream cheese (softened)
1 Egg
1/4 cup Sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 Lemon zest (grated)

Instructions to follow:

In a bowl, mix the crackers, margarine and sugar until properly mixed. Grease a muffin tray with butter and put one heaping tablespoon of the resulting mixture into each cup of the muffin tray (press firmly on the mixture so that it goes completely flat). Insert the tray into a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees and let it bake for 5 minutes.

While the crust cools, mix the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla essence until the mixture gets fluffy. When that’s done, mix in the egg slowly. Pour this mixture into the muffin tray (fill it up to 3/4th of the cups on the tray). Bake it for 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Let it cool while it’s still in the tray. Once cooled, remove from tray and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry

It can be a bit of a hassle to make but the results are worth the effort.
Ingredients:

5 tsp Active dry yeast
2/3 cup Sugar
1 tsp Salt
3 Egg yolks
2 tsp Vanilla essence
2/3 cup Milk
3 and 3/4 cups Flour
1 and 1/2 cup Butter (unsalted)

Filling

8 ounces Cream cheese
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg yolk
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Orange zest (grated)
1 tsp Lemon zest (grated)
2 tbs Flour

Glaze

1 and 1/4 cup Confectioner’s sugar
3 tbs Lemon juice

Instructions to follow:

Dough

In a large bowl pour 1/4 cup of warm water and add sugar and yeast to it. Let it sit for 5 minutes. When it gets foamy, stir in salt, yolks, vanilla, and milk. Next, add flour to the mixture until it turns into a soft and sticky dough. Cover this dough for an hour. Make sure to keep it somewhere cool.

Butter mixture

Take the butter on a cool surface, roll it with a rolling pin until it softens. At this point add 1/2 cup of flour while blending the mixture until it’s fully combined. Take this butter mixture and cut into 6 inch squares; wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Proceed to take the dough and roll it into 12 inch squares. Put the butter mixture diagonally in the middle. Enclose the butter mixture using the dough like an envelope. Seal it by pinching the edges of the dough. Roll it from the center and do it in such a way that is forms an 18 by 8 inch rectangle. Fold the dough like a book and refrigerate it by wrapping it in a plastic wrapper for 1 hour before rolling it out again. Repeat this procedure twice or more to make the pastries crispier.

In a bowl mix in all the filling ingredients until it smooths and refrigerate it for an hour or more. Take the refrigerated 18 by 8 inch rolled out dough and cut it into 4 inch squares. Stretch two corners of the square (that are opposite to each other) to form flaps.

Take one heaping tablespoon of the filling and put it in the middle of the square. Top it with blueberries. Brush the flaps with egg wash and seal the filling carefully within the square by overlapping the flaps. Brush the entire pastry with egg wash.

Put the pastries on a baking sheet (3 inches apart) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until the pastries turn golden.

For the glaze, whisk in sifted confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice until thickened. Serve the danish pastry with drizzled glaze on top.

Buttercrust Dough Recipe

Want to see how to make the perfect buttercrust pastry dough? We found this video below that gives easy to follow directions and provides a great illustration of the steps involved.

Healthy Cooking With The Versatile Carrot

Carrots are one of those versatile vegetables that you should always have in your pantry. Not only do they provide wonderful texture to any meal, but they are also extremely healthy for you. We love to use these in a number of different dishes as we are a huge fan of baby carrots. We always focus on the taste of everything, but it is also great to know just how much the ingredients you include in your meals can benefit you. They are not only crunchy, but also sweet and somewhat aromatic and you can recognize them by their signature orange color. However, you should note that there are other varieties which are white, purple and even white in color. Carrots can be served raw in salads or you can steam, boil, fry and even cook them in soups and stews, but we just love to grill our carrots. The possible ways that you can cook them are almost endless.

Positive Health Impact Of Carrots

We thought we would provide a quick run down of just how healthy this ingredient is by listing some of the ways that it can help your body. Just something to consider when you are preparing your next meal. Here are some of the main benefits linked to consuming carrots regularly.

Vision Improvement

The carrot is identified as one of the healthiest vegetables for improving general eyesight and night vision. This benefit can be attributed to the high beta-carotene content in the food. The compound is transformed to vitamin A by the liver after absorption in the gut. This is in turn converted to rhodopsin which is an important pigment in the eyes. The beta-carotene is also important in slowing down the degradation of the eye tissues. It prevents development of senile cataracts and it will reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Cancer Prevention

Cancer is a significant health problem in the modern world, particularly due to lifestyle and pollution. Generally, the disease can be accelerated or induced by free radicals in the body from diverse sources. The carrots play a role in prevention because they have antioxidants. These are compounds which are capable of hunting down and eliminating the harmful free radicals. This will reduce the risk of cancerous cell development. The vegetable is important in limiting the development of colon, prostate and even lung cancer.

Healthier Skin

The vitamin A contained in carrots plays an important role in promoting the development of healthy skin. Generally, vitamin A deficiency will be manifested through the dryness of skin as well as the hair. Regular consumption of carrots will increase the levels of this compound in the body. Consequently, premature wrinkling, uneven tone, acne and general blemishes will be reduced significantly. You will also enjoy better protection against ultraviolet damage from the solar rays. In addition, the carrots will reduce cell damage, so the rate of aging will be reduced significantly.

Heart Disease Prevention

Heart diseases have become more prevalent due to sedentary lifestyles and consumption of unhealthy foods. Additionally, most of the cases are linked to high levels of cholesterol. You can reduce the risk getting a heart condition by including carrots in your daily diet. These vegetables contain soluble fibers which promote binding and elimination of unhealthy fats from the body. You should also note that foods that contain high quantities of carotenoids are linked to healthier hearts. Carrots contained alpha-carotene, beta-carotene as well as lutein which is also a naturally-occurring carotenoid.

Boosts Immune System

Carrots are important in boosting the human immune system because they have notable antiseptic and antibacterial properties. This means that they are capable of killing off harmful microorganisms before they can induce dangerous diseases and conditions. There is also a critical compound known as falcarinol produced by the carrots. It is essentially a natural pesticide which is known to protect the vegetable roots against fungal diseases. The material will help your body fight off potential diseases. Additionally, carrots contain vitamin C which is important in stimulating the systematic activities of the white blood cells. In simple terms, these disease-fighting cells will be mobilised faster when the body is attacked by pathogens.

Digestion Improvement

The dietary fiber in the delicious roots of carrots is high like in most edible vegetables. The fiber content is critical in promoting and maintaining ideal digestive health. Basically, the material will add significant bulk to the stool which facilitates its smooth passage through the gastrointestinal tract. The movement of the fiber also improves the contraction and expansion of the smooth gut muscles and stimulates the secretion of digestive juices. All these actions reduce the risk of constipation and protect the digestive system against more serious conditions like colon cancer. Carrots can also help you curb food cravings when you are on a weight-loss diet. The vegetable contains filling fiber which has a low amount of calories. Moreover, there are some natural free sugars including sucrose and fructose in the vegetables to boost energy levels.

Different Ways To Cook Carrots

You can obtain significant health benefits by eating the carrots as raw vegetables. But whether you use them in your juicer, cook them, or just add them as a garnish, carrots are something that you should always try to include in whatever you make in the kitchen. There is nothing that doesn’t taste better when it comes off the grill, this includes BBQ carrots. There is just no reason to not increase your daily intake of this wonderful root vegetable. Here is a tasty carrot recipe that we found that you can use on the grill.