Tag Archives: Syrup

Pancake Day and Plum Syrup

So pancake day has come and gone and it was such a busy day. I went to two different houses (a mini pancake crawl), and ate many different pancakes.

The variety of fillings was endless, but here’s a list of the ones I can remember.

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Toffee syrup
  • Ice-cream
  • Bananas
  • Mango puree
  • White chocolate stars
  • Cheese
  • Jalapeno sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Lea & Perrins
  • Nutella
  • Lemons
  • Oranges

It was pancake day heaven and by the end of the night it was all I could do to waddle to the closest bus stop for home and rest up my fit to burst belly.

But now I’ve firmly decided, as I do every year, that pancakes must be eaten more often and definitely accompanied by the plum syrup I made.

Now I’ve got to say that I didn’t really keep precise track of what I did exactly to make this syrup and it was definately a cooking by taste rather than recipe achievement. But here’s a rough account of all the ingredients.

  • 4 plums (cut into small pieces, skin on)
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 inch square piece of gelatine leaf

1. Firstly you’ll want to chop the plums into small pieces, don’t bother to peel off the skin.

2. Put the plum chunks into a pan with about 400ml of water and simmer gently for around 15 minutes.

Simmer the Plum pieces

3. Add the sugar and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Then have a taste of the liquid mixture – but please, please don’t singe your tongue while doing this. Be smart people! Add more sugar if it doesn’t taste sweet enough, or if the plum taste isn’t strong enough, simmer for longer or add more plum chunks.

4. If it does taste sweet and plummy enough you can go ahead and take the pan off the heat for the next step.

5. Pour the mixture into a measuring jug or bowl, then get a sieve and place it over the saucepan and pour the mixture through the sieve back into the pan

6. Now you’ll get a collection of soft plum flesh in the sieve and you’ll want to use a spoon to stir this, still on the sieve, and try to strain as much of the plum juice out as possible. Don’t force the flesh through the sieve though – you want a syrup, not a puree in the saucepan.

You can now store the plum whatever plum flesh is left in the sieve and use it as a jam, you can even add some sugar or butter to it if you like.

Tomorrow's Jam

7. Bring the sieve liquid to the boil and reduce until thicker. I reduced mine until a thin coat formed on the back of the spoon and then added a square inch of gelatine leaf to the mixture to make it slightly thicker quicker.

And there you have it – plum syrup and a little side effect of jam! 😀


Citrus Syrup (and Pistachio) Palmiers

Remember the leftover syrup from my last post? Well, I was a bit lazy in getting round to using it but now that I have, we have Citrus Syrup Palmiers.

mnnn flaky and sweet

I’d gotten it into my head that this should be how the syrup should be used, even though I knew that the logistics of putting a liquid onto the puff pastry and then rolling it would be a nightmare. Sadly, stubbornness took over and luckily the end result wasn’t too bad.

I used ready rolled store bought puff pastry, which I don’t really consider a cheat as I would have had to roll it out myself into the same shape anyway.

I used about two handfuls of pistachios, which I shelled and then rolled in my hands to remove the outer salty skin. I then put these into a sandwich bag and proceeded to bash with a rolling pin to produce a pistachio crumble. The key word here is crumble, not fine dust, so I had to reign back the zeal and enthusiasm that I’m prone to when I start hitting things.

This was then spread over the puff pastry and toped with the citrus syrup and extra clementine zest.

I then very carefully rolled up the pastry and sliced it into segments around 1cm thick.

The blue plastic overhangs helped with the rolling process

Placing them on the baking sheet proved a challenge due to the massive amounts of syrup overflow leading to a very sticky kitchen. And I’m afraid I didn’t take very many pictures for this post due to my battle with this syrup.

Thankfully, the end result was a lovely flaky biscuit with a crystallised syrup crunch, though only a slight aftertaste of pistachios. Pistachios are apparently not the nut of choice for palmiers, but never mind; live , eat and learn and all that.  I wouldn’t really call this attempt a massive success, but at least now I’ve tried out Palmiers and can now hopefully come up with some much better ideas.

I love the way you can see flecks of zest in each palmier

Citrus Syrup Almond Cakes

My boyfriend’s family, wonderful people that they are, sent me a lovely package for Christmas full of gorgeous cake goodies.

Awesome parcel of fun

Needless to say, when I saw this bundle of presents I was grinning so wide I’m surprised my lips didn’t do a joker split.

The first recipe I decided to try from the lovely book above was for Citrus Syrup and Almond Cupcakes. The perfect decoration was also available in this parcel of cakegasm.

Happy, happy yellow

The hardest part of this recipe was the waiting two hours for the Clementines to boil and soften before I could make the puree. I can’t stand waiting for baking, so I started to weigh out everything and then tried to start watching ‘The Mentalist’ to take my mind off the lovely citrus scent filling the house. Even then I didn’t manage the whole two hours as the original recipe suggested. 1 hour 15 minutes was around the limit of my patience. But I think this was far too long as the clementines had lost their acidity sure, but they’d also lost a lot of flavour. I think next time around 45 minutes would be better.

I was boiling too vigourously at first

While waiting for the clementines to ‘cook’ you can also start preparing the rind for the syrup. I don’t have the pleasure of owning a zester yet so I used a peeler and then sliced the rind as thinly as possible, which to be perfectly honest, wasn’t all that thinly. But I’m all in favour of cakes that taste brilliant but don’t look too perfect. Why would you ever want to eat a perfect looking cake? If I ever did create such a cake I’d probably have to put it some sort of vacuum time capsule in order to preserve it, and then the whole point of its inherent cakeyness would be lost. Don’t you think?

Anyway remember to scrape off as much of the pith as possible without shredding your rind into a gloopy mess. I just used my fingernails but I suppose you could slowly work away at it with a knife if you liked. No? Like the fingers on approach better? Excellent!

The rest of the recipe was simple.

Puree the boiled fruit and let cool.

Whisk up the eggs and sugar into a lovely fluffy mix, then add the almond powder and puree and whisk until combined.

Try to make sure any large clumps of almond are broken up and mixed into a smooth batter. Large clumps will result in lumpy cake and that doesn’t sound, look or taste very nice.

Because there aren’t any raising agents used in this recipe, apart from the eggs, make sure to fill the cake cases quite fully. I completely forgot to take a picture at this stage, but I left around half a centimetre of space at the top of the cases.

I baked at 165° for 30 minutes, at this point the cakes were cooked but not quite golden enough so a further 5 minutes was needed to achieve a lovely perfectly sunkissed look.

Don't they look gorgeous?

Making the syrup was perfectly simple, I’d only advise making around half the amount of the original recipe if you want just enough for the cupcakes themselves and one or two cheeky taste-testing spoonfuls.

That's a lot of syrup

And now, the simplified recipe:

For the cake

  • 3 clementines
  • 6 eggs
  • 225g ground almonds
  • 225g caster sugar
  1. Cover the clementines with water and simmer for however long you can stand to wait. If the house has caught fire – you’ve waited too long. Don’t forget to top up the water to fully cover the fruit when needed.
  2. Make a puree from the softened clementine flesh, I used a smoothie maker.
  3. Let this puree cool and preheat the oven to 165°.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until light  and fluffy.
  5. Add the almond and cooled puree and whisk gently to incorporate.
  6. Pour into your happy, happy citrus themed cupcake cases.
  7. Bake at 165° for 30-35 minutes until  a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the tops are nice and golden.

For the syrup (I recommend halving this)

  • 250ml water
  • 350g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 clementine (really you can add as much as you like)
  • 2tbps lemon juice
  1. Add the water and sugar together and dissolve over a medium heat.
  2. Add the lemon juice and zest, and simmer to reduce the syrup until it begins to thicken slightly and you can see a thin layer covering the back of a spoon.
  3. Allow to cool and then slowly slather the cupcakes with this gooey syrup.
  4. Proceed to the scoffing of delicious cake.

The natural light was quickly disappearing by the time I took this photo

Now the only question left is… what do I do with all this leftover syrup?

The syrup will return...