Monday, 10 August 2009

Pitta nachos and cupcakes

As I was in the baking mood over the weekend, I decided to try my hand at making pitta bread for some 'healthy (ish) nachos'. I can't tell you how exciting it is to see your pittas puff in the oven in matter of minutes!! I've never made pitta bread before and I found the recipe on and it came out beautifully!!

Pitta Bread
260g white bread flour
130g wholewheat bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tblsp honey
1 packet dried yeast
300-350ml tepid water
2 tblsp olive oil

Very similar to my previous post on white bread, the method goes like this:
Combine yeast, flour, salt, honey.
Make a well and stir in water and oil slowly, mixing with a fork until you are able to get your hands stuck in and then knead for 10-15 minutes.
Leave to prove in a floured bowl and covered with a warm damp cloth for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Beat back, and divide into 8 balls, then prove for a further 20-30 minutes.

Roll out into 1/2 cm thickness and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees on a hot baking tray.

The first couple I tried didn't puff up as impressively as I was hoping for, until I realised I wasn't rolling them thin enough. This seems to be the trick to puffing pitta bread!! The other important factor is that the baking tray you put them on be very hot too, I put mine in while the oven was preheating and then left it for another 5 or 10 minutes to really heat up.

When they had cooled a little I cut them into sixths, and then opened each trangle up and cut it in two, so each pitta produced 12 nachos. Then I put them on a baking tray, drizzled some olive oil on them and a couple of pinches of salt sprinkled over, then back in a hot oven for 3-5 minutes to crisp up a bit more.

I made them with some minced beef, yoghurt dressing and fresh vegetable salad for a mountain of yummy goodness!!

500g beef mince, fried with:
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder

For the dressing: yoghurt, feta, lemon juice, fresh mint and seasoning (all to taste).
And a salad of chopped cucumber, tomatoes and sugarsnap peas.

I could have eaten and eaten and eaten!! The freshness of the dressing complimented the fried beef well, with the sharpness of the lemon juice cutting through the fat from the meat.

I did eventually did stop eating though, because I had made some pretty exciting cupcakes for dessert. This is a recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, and these cupcakes, as the author says, really do pack a punch. They are a dark, dense chocolate sponge with cheesecake baked into them and cream cheese frosting on top. Indulgent you say?...maybe a little!!

The sponge is egg and butter-less, and uses cocoa powder rather than chocolate, so quite good for those who are non-dairy, however, the cheesecake obviously involves dairy (the clue is in the title I guess!) as does the frosting (which although extravagant, I think the cupcakes need, as the sponge is really not that sweet...and you know, who doesn't like a little extra frosting on their cupcake?!?!). I would say that the cheesecake mix is a little thin in this recipe, as it sort of baked around the cupcake rather than into it, and I suspect that if the mix was heavier and less liquid, it would fall into the cupcake rather than let the rising sponge push it up. Nevertheless, they were a delightful treat, a dense moist sponge with the creaminess of the cheesecake and frosting setting it off.

Blackbottom Cupcakes
Chocolate Sponge Base
190g plain flour
120g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
40ml sunflower oil
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar (I only had white wine vinegar but it seemed to do the trick!)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125ml water (I needed a little extra splash)

Cheesecake filling
140g cream cheese
60g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
100g milk chocolate chips

Cream cheese frosting
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese

For the sponge, put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Put the oil, vinegar, vanilla extract and water in a jug and whisk to combine. Add gradually to the flour mix, whisking as you pour. I needed a splash more water to create a smooth mix.
Spoon into paper cases until two-thirds full.

For the cheesecake filling, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and salt until smooth and fluffy.
Fold in the chocolate chips. Don't overmix or the cream cheese may start to split.
Scoop about 1 tblsp of the mix on top of the sponge mix, and bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back and the cheesecake has a golden colour.

Don't overcook or the cheesecake will become crumbly.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together until well combined.
Then add the cream cheese and beat till smooth and fluffy.

When the cupcakes have cooled, spread a generous dollop of frosting on top and enjoy!!!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh Bex, this looks truly amazing! If you ever happen to make tose nacho's again, let me know, so I can make a detour to your house!


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