Mum’s Pear and Chocolate Crumble

I thought I’d share this recipe on here as a few people asked me about it after I commented on a Twitter thread about people’s favourite foods. This is a dessert that will immediately transport me into our old house, in the winter, sat at a small dining table under the stairs, holding the bowl to warm my hands.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the queen of cooking without measuring ingredients, but I’ve tried to explain my process as best I could. The recipe my mother used was originally this one by Waitrose (click the link here if you’d like to see the original), but I’ve made some adaptations that I think improve the dish, while also making it more cost effective. Winner, right? Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard and you have a winner all winter long- or in my case, all year round…


  • Preparation time:20 minutes
  • Cooking time:30 minutes
  • Total time: 50 minutes 

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 pears, peeled, cored and cubed
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 100g your favourite chocolate (dark is best IMO)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 can/small bottle of ginger beer

For the crumble

  • 175g butter, chilled and diced
  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g Roasted Hazelnuts
  • 50g Porridge Oats
  • 125g Demerara sugar
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon, 1/2 Tsp nutmeg

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
  2. Chop your Pears into cubes, sizing of your preference, but remember, the bigger you chop them the longer they will need in the pan.
  3. Place the pears, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and 100ml of Ginger Beer in a large pan and heat gently for 10 minutes or so until the pears are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Stir through the hazelnuts, oats, spices, and sugar. If you want to chop and speed this process up again, I like to pop mine in a blender and pulse it until I have the desired consistency.
  6. Spoon the pear with a little juice into an ovenproof dish. (not too much, else it will bubble over, which isn’t terrible, but for special events it looks unsightly). Scatter over the chocolate, then the crumble mixture, making sure it is relatively flat and evenly distributed.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Frankii’s tips

More often than not, I frankly don’t have the time or patience to make my own crumble topping. Yes, for special occasions it adds a little something extra, but if you want to cut down on time don’t feel guilty for grabbing a bag of Aunt Bessie’s. Makro also do huge bags- sometimes Grandma will get a large one and we will split it and keep it in Kilner jar’s for freshness.

My Perfect Roast Turkey & Christmas Day Recipes!

Hi guys! Another quick little recipe selection for you all today, here is my Christmas day agenda, including how I make the perfect (not-as-dry-as-ghandi’s-flipflop) roasted turkey! 

Turkey:

(Did you know that the traditional British Christmas bird was goose?)

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees C. Oil a deep roasting tin.
  1. Remove the neck, giblets, and packet near the front shoulders, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Place the turkey in the tin and loosely stuff the cavity loosely. Brush it with oil and insert the meat thermometer into the thigh, making sure not to touch bone as this gives and inaccurate reading. Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Make a foil tent for the turkey, leaving about an inch of space to allow heat to circulate. Crimp the tent to the sides of the pan.
  1. Roast the turkey until the thermometer reads 180 degrees C. For turkeys from Tesco (UK), it usually has a calculated time on the bag based on the weight. We got a large – 5.3-6.9 kgs or 11.6-15.2 lbs. This would typically take between 3 hrs 15 mins – 3 hrs 50 mins, with an additional 30 mins for the stuffing. To ensure browning and perfect crispy stuffing, remove the foil tent after an hour or so of roasting.

Roasted veg:

Carrots, parsnips, squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Cut into similar shapes and sizes, peel and half the roots. Toss in a ½ cup of sage, a ½ cup of thyme, and several sprigs of rosemary (fresh is best!) and one whole bulb of garlic. (My family- especially my sister! love to eat it roasted by just squeezing the garlic out of the clove… though I don’t recommend this if you are planning any mistletoe related activities later on!!) Salt and pepper to taste. Chuck them in around the turkey about an hour before pulling the turkey out. I usually separate half of my veg because my mum is vegetarian/pescatarian  –  and cook separately.

Gravy:

My famous gravy is always made in the bottom of the meat dish (with separate gravy granules and water mix for my veggie mum). I usually make it by pouring a majority of the loose oil out, leaving a few tablespoons worth. I then mix cornflour and water in a small glass and whisk the slurry into the hot oil until no excess oil remains. This should thicken, and the slurry substance should mix with the meat juices and become a brown, thick-ish substance. Pour boiling water and pop a stock cube in, then whisk to the desired volume and thickness. Pop in chopped onions and gravy granules/herbs of your choice for extra flavour (if you desire) and boil adding water until desired quality.

Brie and Cranberry Puff Pastry Snowflake

My next recipe I wanted to share with you lovely lot is one that I created myself during a phase where I was obsessed with puff pastry and its versatility, and concocted some experiments with the left over cranberry sauce I had from last Thanksgiving- (I made too much and I hate wasting delicious food). I loved it so much, and it’s so festive and easy to make that that this year I made it as an an appetiser… and my friends loved it. One so much that she actually asked for this recipe so that she could recreate it- so Ellie, this one’s for you kid! If you do decide to recreate this, or any variation of it, do make sure you show me your pictures, you can find me on basically any social media @quitefranklii!

Ingredients

  • 1 wheel of brie of camembert if you prefer
  • 2 pre rolled sheets puff pastry
  • about a cup of cranberry sauce
  • 1 sachet of bacon lardons
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • Approx 1 tbsp fresh rosemary + one whole sprig
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (The pastry I use comes rolled in its own)
  2. Pop your cheese wheel In the centre, (I like to put mine in a ramekin so that it doesn’t ooze out all over). Break up the sprig of rosemary into a few bits and stab it through the cheese. Push the garlic cloves in in a similar manner- you don’t have to be neat with this!
  3. In a pan, on a medium to high heat, pop in a bit of olive oil, about one clove of garlic, and remaining herbs to fry off your bacon lardons. If you want your bacon crispier, make sure to add your garlic and herbs later so that it doesn’t burn.
  4. When this is done, add in the cranberry sauce, and turn the heat down to low. Stir for a minute or so while it cools just to combine the flavours
  5. Cut each sheet of pastry into about six even, vertical strips.
  6. With a spoon, spoon on the cranberry mix, and with the back of the spoon try to evenly distribute the mixture across all twelve of your strips. (But don’t overload them, as this can make the pastry soggy.)
  7. Simply twist your strips, then bend them in half so they form little triangles. Arrange them around the cheese as per my image so that it creates a kind of “snowflake”
  8. Brush pastry with egg wash. Make slits in the cheese and then drizzle cheese with olive oil and season both cheese and pastry with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Pull it out when the pastry is risen and golden, but sometimes the cheese needs a little longer to get the gooey, dipping consistency that is desired for this meal- so (with your oven gloves on!) feel free to grab it in the ramekin and pop it back in for 10 more minutes.
  9. Tear off your strips, dip, and enjoy!!

 

Super Easy Christmas Stuffing Recipe

Hey guys, I know I promised some festive recipes that I love a while back, so here’s one of my staples that I also use throughout the year when I do big roast dinners, I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

I’m a much better chef than I am a baker, because I’m never one to really measure my flavourings. I’m one of those people who can never create a recipe twice! But it’s been suggested to me by my friends a few times that I should try and write down some basic guides, so I’ve really tried to record some.

Ingredients 
Serves: 10 

  • About 200-250g of cubed bread, as rough as you like. Sometimes I just tear mine. I usually do about a 2:3 ratio of White to Wholemeal, but thats my preference.
  • One tube of sausage meat, or a few sausages with the skin removed. (if you are vegetarian, at the first blender stage I would add a couple of slices of bread and an egg. This makes a sticky breadcrumb mix that tastes great and will hold its shape in a similar way.)
  • 1 medium onion
  • a generous helping (about 3 Teaspoons or more depending on preference) of dried sage
  • a generous helping of dried rosemary
  • a generous helping of dried thyme
  • a generous helping of parsley, fresh is best but dry is fine too!
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • a handful of dried cranberries, I’ve also used a Cranberry jelly before when in a pinch.
  • Lazy Garlic, 1 teaspoon.
  • 1 Stock cube
  • 50g (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted

 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
  2. What I like to do next may be a little naughty, but there’s always room to cheat at this stressful time of year! What I do, is simply bung the apple. the onion, the herbs, a stock cube, and the cranberry’s into my Nutribullet (any blender/processor would work). That wicked little device isn’t just for smoothies you know! I only really pulse it until it is a rough paste, but if you prefer finer flavours then go ahead and let it go a little longer.
  3. Pop in a little bit of water, perhaps about a cup- to activate your stock cube, along with a teaspoon of lazy garlic and your melted butter (I do this in the microwave) and pulse it again until you have a peculiar slurry.
  4. Lightly toast your bread cubes, this can be done by popping them on a baking tray for 5 or so minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, mix in your paste/slurry mix with the sausage meat and bread cubes, (Disclaimer: some people like to cook their sausage meat before hand, however I’ve never found that I needed to, I’ll leave this down to you. If you choose to do so, I would imagine you could knock off a significant amount of cooking time. Say, 30 or so minutes. I prefer to leave mine to cook inside the bird or a baking tray so that it comes out at a similar time.)
  6. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill and cook along with your bird. (if you pack it too tightly, it may cause your turkey and stuffing to cook slightly unevenly, as it will prevent air from circulating.) Or of course, if you prefer or have left overs, pop it into a greased baking tray or pyrex dish for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.