Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Women's Weekly Apricot Pastries

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Mum and I tried this recipe on Easter Monday from The Australian Women's Weekly Baking Puffs and Pastries cookbook which didn't turn out looking like it was suppose to!

For the base, you need 2 sheets of butter puff pastry which I managed to cut 20 rather than 18 rounds measuring 7cm in diametre. Using a 5cm cutter, mark a ring on each pastry round without cutting it all the way through. Drain a 1kg can of apricot halves in natural juice and set aside.

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I love creme patissiere and can eat it on its own! In a small saucepan, heat 2/3 cup of milk, 1/4 cup castor sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. In a heat proof bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of cornflour and 2 egg yolks, and slowly add the milk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2 hours, and resist the temptation to eat it!

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Drop 1 teaspoon of creme patissiere in the pastry centre
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Top with apricot and brush with lightly beaten egg

In a 180*C oven, bake the pastries for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Glaze with 1.5 tablespoons of warmed apricot jam (ours are home made). I was a little disappointed that my pastries didn't look like the picture with the puffed up sides, but they were nonetheless delicious!

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What the apricot pastries were suppose to look like

Monday, April 1, 2013

Embroidery Floss Easter Eggs

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I had this project in mind for months and was keen to start making decorations for my Easter tree...even though it was only mid February! I often bemoan how Chinese New Year, Easter and Christmas are so commercialised, and am appalled when Easter chocolates are available straight after Christmas. Bursts of creativity however must never been suppressed, so I was really pleased to be able to buy Styrofoam eggs in January. 

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Neatly wind embroidery floss at the bottom of the egg
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Form a loop at the pointy end of the egg

I was keen to use the Moonbrand variation embroidery floss so this was a perfect project for it. I didn't like the idea of using glue because it would make such a mess and no doubt the finished project will be encrusted with flakes of dried glue (as well as under my finger nails, in my hair, on furniture...). The solution? Double Sided Tape! I love double sided tape ~ it's cheap, comes in giant rolls and a little goes a long way. I bought my tape from The Reject Shop (hey, don't be snobby, it can be a treasure trove for craft supplies) for A$2. Double sided tape has revolutionised the craft industry, it's pure genius.

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This project is super easy as well as economical if you use affordable embroidery floss. I'm sure I've seen packets of generic embroidery floss at Daiso for A$2.80. At the pointy end of the egg, I formed a loop with embroidery floss to hang the egg. I covered the surface of the egg with approximately 3cm lengths of double sided tape rather than one continuous length of tape to avoid lumps and bumps.

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At the base of the egg, I wound all six strands of the embroidery floss around the egg. Maintain a consistent tension and don't wrap too tightly or loosely so the floss sits evenly on the egg. My medium sized eggs are approximately 5cm in length required around 7 metres of floss (1 skein is 8 metres in length), and the large eggs (about 9cm in length) used about 1.5 skeins of floss. I loved how the colour variations of the floss resulted in stripes, I certainly did not envision this so it was a delightful surprise. It was a time consuming project and I finished it just in time for Easter!