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Mini key lime and ginger pies

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This month, our baking blogger Anneliese Giggins has created deliciously tangy mini key lime pies. Made with a spicy ginger base, these tasty little puds are so easy to make and are perfect for all occasions

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Anneliese says: ‘If you bake fairly regularly it is worth paying a little more for your bakeware. Cheap tins can bow in the oven, providing an uneven bake. Investing in a few stronger and heavier tins will make such a difference to your cakes and bakes and they can last you a lifetime.’

Ingredients

For the biscuit base:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 200g gingernut biscuits

For the topping:

  • 397g condensed milk (you can use the light version, 405g tin – it doesn’t make any difference. I tried it with both)
  • 284ml double cream
  • The juice from 5 limes and the finely grated zest from 1 lime.

Method

  1. First of all place the muffin cases into your muffin tin.
  2. Weigh the butter, then place into a small saucepan over a low heat to melt. While you wait for the butter to give in to the heat, weigh your biscuits then place into a sandwich or freezer bag. You can use a blender or food processor to produce fine crumbs, but I quite enjoy using a rolling pin to bash the living daylights out of the biscuits. Be warned, gingernuts are quite firm, so you may have a sore arm and a red face by the time you have finished! Once the butter has melted you can pour the biscuit crumbs into the saucepan and mix to combine. The mixture is now ready to be spooned as equally as possible into the base of each muffin case. Be sure to press the buttery biscuit mixture firmly into each case with the back of your spoon.
  3. While you leave the biscuit bases to set you can get on with the simple filling. Pour the condensed milk and double cream straight into your mixing bowl. As you require the grated zest from one lime, add this before adding the juice. I have discovered that it is quite tricky to try to remove the zest once the lime has been cut in half and emptied of juice! Also, make sure it is grated very finely otherwise you will have big lumps of zest in your pies. Once all of the juice and zest have been added to the condensed milk and double cream, use a balloon whisk to combine it all together. The mixture will start off very runny. DO NOT PANIC!! Within a few seconds it will thicken up like magic!
  4. Once your biscuit bases are set and firm, they are ready to receive the delicious lime topping. Dollop generous spoonfuls on top of each base until all the mixture has been used up. Smooth the surfaces with the back of your spoon, then place into your fridge for a minimum of two hours. I know waiting is torture but you can console yourself by licking out the bowl!
  5. When the time has finally passed you can remove your pies from the tins and peel off the paper. The topping is meant be on the soft side but it should hold its shape once the paper has been removed. Your work is done and you can now reward yourself with one, or more likely two, mini key lime and ginger pies. I really hope you enjoy making and most importantly eating them!

Read Anneliese’s baking blog

By Anneliese Giggins

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Nutritional information

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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How to get ahead in journalism

I spent almost all of my adult working life feeling like a fraud. I wanted to be a journalist because of a television series in the 80s called Press Gang, to which I was completely addicted. I wanted badly to be the Julia Sawalha character: brilliant, tough, uncompromising. I was a terribly unfriendly child, very angry, resistant to organised fun, terrified of humiliation – in this cold and unbending fictional telly character I saw how some of my unfortunate personality traits could be handy.

But it became very obvious very early in the postgraduate thingummy I did in journalism after leaving university, that I was never going to be a good journalist.

Please, by the way, do not laugh at me for having done a “course”; people do these things nowadays because it’s so hard to get a job in newspapers. In fact, unless you are incredibly brilliant or insanely hard-working (with a private income), getting a job in journalism these days comes down to luck. When pompous parents tell me that their blobby children are “thinking about” going into journalism I laugh nastily and say “as if it’s that easy”.

Anyway, the course director declared to us on the first day that journalism is “not about writing. It is about information. It is about being nosy. It is about being a gossip. It is about always wanting to be the person who knows things first.”

My heart sank. I am none of those things. I am terrific at keeping secrets and I’m always the last to know everything, I don’t pry, I feel sorry for people and do not want to put them through the media mill even if they’ve done rotten things. I think pretty much everyone is entitled to a private life.

I struggled on, experiencing full-body cringes whenever I had to make awkward phone calls, hating every second of interviews, fighting with sub-editors over ultra-mean headlines to interviews with people I had thought were perfectly nice. I edited quotes so that interviewees wouldn’t get into trouble.

Years ago, before the media was in such a terrible state, I probably would have been able to swing some sort of “mummy” column when I chucked in my job and smugly retreat home with purpose. But those gigs are few and far between these days. My husband has a friend who in the early 90s earned £80,000 from writing two weekly columns. £80,000!!! Those were the days.

I resigned myself to never making any money again, and took to the internet and here we are. The internet being, as it happens, the reason that newspapers and magazines are in the toilet. But you certainly can’t beat the internet, so I joined it.

So much so that I threw open the doors of my home the other day to some of the editorial staff of a website called What’s In My Handbag.

They wanted to photograph the contents of my handbag, focusing particularly on my make-up, which they would then use to do something or other. I don’t really understand how it works. But I’ve always wanted someone to come round to my house and talk to me about make-up, so I screamed “YES!” when they emailed to ask if I wanted to do it.

Browsing their website the night before, I saw with rising panic that other handbag interviewees had prepared exciting banquets for the website’s photo shoot staff, or at least plied them with exotic breakfast liquers.

It was a full week since my last Ocado order. I had no eggs, no milk, very little butter not at freezing temperature. It was 10.30pm and I had just returned from a night out, the remains beside me of a hastily-scoffed kebab from E-Mono, London’s finest kebab house (I am not joking).

I suppressed a luscious burp. My mind started to race. These bitches would be expecting treats!! My mind first turned, as it always does, to in what ways I could throw money at the sitution. Could I beg my husband 10 minutes’ grace in the morning while I ran up the road to Sainsbury’s, bought 25 assorted pastries and then try to pass them off as being from an artisan bakery?!

No, think – think!!! I don’t know how it came to me, but it did. Divine inspiration, or something, I don’t know.

The answer was: flapjacks.

No flour, eggs or milk required. Some might say they are a thing that requires no actual cooking. But in that moment, they presented themselves not as a delirious cop-out, but as a lifesaver.

What I did happen to have, which made all the difference, was a box of extremely expensive posh museli from a company called Dorset Cereals, which are filled with all sorts of exciting nuts, grains, raisins and sultanas. I had only to bind the whole lot together with an appropriately enormous amount of melted butter and golden syrup.

I am not going to give you exact quantities for this, because flapjacks are, thank god, a thing you can basically do by guessing.

I got a square, loose-bottomed tin and filled it with museli to a depth I considered respectable for a flapjack (about 2in). Then I melted about 3/4 of a block of butter in a saucepan, added to that 3 generous tablespoon dollops of golden syrup and a big pinch of salt, poured in the museli and mixed it round.

Then at this point I, fatally, panicked and poured over a tin of condensed milk. I mean, the flapjacks were really delicious but the condensed milk made them fall apart in an annoying way and in actual fact, they were a bit too sweet. So leave the condensed milk out, if I were you. I also chopped up some chocolate and sprinkled it on the top, which probably wasn’t neccessary.

After turning out the buttery rubble, (sorry that’s all a bit Nigella isn’t it), into the square tin, I patted it down with a spatula and shoved it in the oven for 20 minutes.

They worked incredibly well, even allowing for the condensed milk over-kill and the girls pretended to like them well enough, while marvelling at how quickly and efficiently I had filed the product descriptions for my chosen make-up.

What can I say? I should have been a journalist.

 

Brigadeiros

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A favourite Brazilian chocolaty sweet that is chewy like a bonbon. Easy to make and scrumptious to eat, serve them in little cake cases for easy pick up. These classic Brigadeiros would make the perfect food gift for friends and family. If preferred coat in multi-coloured sugar strands instead – ideal for kids parties. These simple treats only take 40 mins to make and just delicious.

  • Serves: 4

  • Prep time: 25 mins

    plus cooling time

  • Cooking time: 15 mins

  • Total time: 40 mins

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Cheap as chips

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Add finely grated orange rind for a zest twist, and try rolling the mixture in different coloured cake decorations for a colourful display.

Ingredients

  • 397g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate strands for decoration

Method

  1. Pour the condensed milk into a heavy based saucepan. Sift the cocoa powder on top and mix in along with the salt.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, over a low heat, keeping the mixture barely simmering to prevent burning and sticking and cook for 10-15 mins, until mixture becomes very thick and shiny and starts to pull away from the bottom and sides of the pan.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and the vanilla. Scrape into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool then chill for about 30 mins.
  4. Divide the mixture into approx.20 pieces and each piece into a ball – if the mixture is too sticky to handle, brush your hands light with a little vegetable oil.
  5. Put the chocolate strands on a small plate and roll each sweetie in the strands to coat all over then place in a small cake case and chill until ready to serve.

By Kathryn Hawkins

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Nutritional information

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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