Halloween Baking

Growing up in Australia, Halloween was never a thing. In recent years I have seen more and more children walking around the suburbs in their costumes trick or treating as well as an increasing number of households decorating their front yards to get in to the spirit.

This year I decided to do some Halloween baking for a bit of fun, and because I was procrastinating instead of studying for my uni exams.

Here are a few pictures of the goodies I made.

Beef and Rosemary Pies

I haven’t yet developed a proper recipe for these pies with the correct amount of pastry for the filling but the slow cooked beef is too good to not share! The beef is cooked until it pulls apart and is waaaayyyy better than anything you could buy!

500g beef cubes
1 onion
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
a splash of red wine
1/2 cup of plain flour
1 teaspoon of salt
a pinch of pepper
Olive oil

Toss beef cubes with plain flour so each cube is coated.
Brown off beef cubes in a hot pan with olive oil (you want them to have caramelised sides).
Add chopped onions and crushed garlic to the pan and as this is cooking try and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Add a splash of red wine.
Pull the rosemary leaves off and put them in the pot.
Pour in enough water to cover the meat and put a lid on.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the meat until it breaks apart (add more water as it evaporates) then turn off the heat.
Add parsley and use a wooden spoon to squash the meat so it breaks up.
Refrigerate when cool. Line a pie dish or individual pie dishes with shortcrust pastry and spoon in cold filling. Cover with puff pastry and press down the edges to seal. Cut a V in the top to let out steam then brush with milk or egg wash before baking at 200°C for 35 minutes or until golden.

I used homemade shortcrust pastry on the bottom and puff pastry with half the butter to flour weight folded in for the pie tops.

Mini Sausage Rolls

NO party is complete without mini sausage rolls! My friend and I were discussing the lack of mini sausage rolls at a few gatherings lately so I decided to make some. These are packed with vegetables, probably more veg than meat!

500g lean beef mince
1 zucchini
2 carrots
1 onion
1 green apple
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 table spoon of mixed herbs
1/4 cup pureed tomato (passata) or just put 1 tomato in the food processor with your vegetables
3 sheets of ready made butter puff pastry (or even better, make your own!)

Preheat oven to 200°C
Peel carrots, apple and onion, chop in to chunks a long with zucchini and place in a food processor. Use the food processor to chop the vegetables in to tiny pieces.
Place the other ingredients (minus the pastry of course) in a mixing bowl and mix together until well combined.
Cut each sheet of pastry in half and use a disposable piping bag to pipe the filling along each half of pastry. It should be enough for 3 squares of pastry cut in to halves so 6 long sausage rolls.
Brush some water along one of the long sides of each piece of pastry and roll tightly so the pastry sticks to itself.
Chop each in to 6 pieces and place on baking paper on a baking tray leaving gaps in between each mini sausage roll.
Brush each with a little milk and bake for 30 minutes.

You can make these ahead of time and keep them in the fridge or freezer ready to reheat.

Crispy Chocolate Caramel Peanut Slice

When it is too hot to go outside on my day off I have to come up with activities to keep myself busy. Today I looked in the pantry and saw that I had all the makings of a caramel slice. I opened up my Donna Hay cookbook and found the recipe I have made many times before for her Classic Chocolate Caramel Slice but decided to add a few additions to make it crispy and peanuty! Normally I find the caramel layer a bit too rich for my liking so I reduced the caramel and added rice crispy cereal and crushed peanuts. It gives it a thicker and more crumbly texture. Now to work out what to make tomorrow, 40°C+ is not fun!

Biscuity Base Layer
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g butter (melted)

Crispy Caramel Peanut Layer
400g sweetened condensed milk
60g butter
75g golden syrup
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
2 cups rice crispy cereal

Chocolate Layer
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line an approximately 7 inch square cake tin with baking paper.
Place biscuit base layer ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
Spoon mixture in to prepared tin and smooth out evenly with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 15 minutes

While the base is baking, place condensed milk, butter and golden syrup in a saucepan on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom.
Mix in rice crispy cereal and crushed peanuts.
Once base layer has been in the oven for 15 minutes, take it out and spoon caramel on top, spreading it out evenly.
Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the caramel layer looks golden on top.
Take tin out of the oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.

Melt milk chocolate and dark chocolate slowly in separate bowls in the microwave.
Once melted, stir in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to each chocolate type.
Spoon blobs of each chocolate on the top of the caramel layer and swirl around.
Tap the container on the bench so air bubbles on the surface burst.
Put in the fridge to cool completely before removing the slice from the tin and cutting in to pieces (a heated knife will help to get through the chocolate layer).

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days