10 stunning autumn pie crust designs you need to master

11 October, 2016

For us, autumn marks the start of pie season. Slow cooked meats, tangy fruits and vibrant spices, all encased in delicious, golden pastry. However, when it comes to sweet pies, there’s definitely scope to get a bit creative with your crusts. To provide you with a little inspiration as to exactly what you can achieve when you put your mind to it, here are 10 stunning autumn pie crust designs to try this season.

1. Floral lattice

 
Floral lattice

A fantastic pastry design for autumnal pies, this pretty creation encases a nostalgic rhubarb and custard filling in sweet shortcrust pastry. After creating a lattice using unevenly sized pastry strips, decorate the crust with an assortment of leaves and flowers. If you don’t have a pastry leaf cutter to hand, an easy way to create the foliage effect is to make a leaf-shaped template, then use a sharp knife to cut out each one.

2. Perfectly plaited lattice

 
Elegant weave

So simple, yet undeniably effective, this perfectly plaited lattice is a fantastic way to give your pies an edge. After delicately plaiting three strands of pastry, repeat the process until you have 10 neat braids. Carefully weave the plaits to create a rustic lattice effect and then bake until golden. Why not use this traditional design on an all-time classic recipe, such as spiced apple pie?

3. Autumn leaf crust

 
Autumn leaf crust

A great pie design for time poor bakers, this no-fuss pie crust is incredibly easy to perfect and a brilliant way to add a little seasonal twist to your bake. Use a mix of different leaf pastry or cookie cutters to quickly form your pastry leaves, then use a sharp knife to add the detail. For an added autumnal feel, finish your crust with a few acorns to enhance the effect!

4. Leaf, lattice and braid

 
Lattice and braid

A wonderfully intricate design, this stunning pie crust is sure to turn a few heads! After carefully weaving strips of pastry to form a lattice centre, plait four braids to create the circular edging. Bend each plait into a semi-circle, joining two together to produce a full ring. Place the pastry leaves over the joints to complete the effect.

5. Layered cherries

 
Layered cherries

If you’re stuck for pie crust design inspiration, why not try mirroring your pie filling with your pastry? A beautifully elaborate pie crust, this show-stopping cherry pie is surprisingly easy to assemble once you’ve delicately cut out your pastry cherries. Scatter your shapes so they roughly cover the whole of your pie, ensuring you completely cover the outer crust.

6. Delicate rose bed

 
Rose bed

If you’ve got a bit more time to spend over crafting your crust, this design is sure to be a customer pleaser! Created by carefully constructing each rose out of four pastry circles rolled into a log, then cut in half, this pie crust is one for the more patient baker. Surround your pastry roses with overlapping leaves and bake until the pastry roses are cooked through.

7. Simple stencil

 
Simple stencil

This pastry effect may look tricky, but it’s actually one of the simplest to master. All you need is a pie top cutter to press on your rolled out pastry, then carefully lay the design over your fruit filling. Leave a fair amount of excess on your pastry base, then fold the edges back over the design and crimp to seal them together.

8. Stamped flowers

 
Wild flowers

Another beautiful, floral design, this pie crust uses the vibrant colour contrast of the rich, fruity filling to enhance its finish. If your customers prefer more pastry on their pie, this crust ensures they won’t miss out on the delicious outer layer! Use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes in your pastry lid, then use the off cuts to decorate the outer crust. Why not experiment with different cutters to create your own signature design?

9. Alphabet pie crust

 
Alphabet pie crust

A wonderfully simple, yet incredibly fun pie crust, this ingenious design could also be used to decorate both sweet and savoury pies. Use an alphabet cutter to shape your letters, arrange them in two circles to cover your pie, and voilà! You have one impressive pie crust to tempt your customers.

10. Autumn leaf vines

 
Autumn leaf vines

Finally, it’s safe to say this elaborate pie crust is certainly a showstopper! Intricate vines and leaves entwined to create a rustic, natural looking crust, this pastry design is definitely one to try this season! Complete the effect by using a triple berry filling you can show off in the open centre.

 

Will you be trying any of these brilliant pie crust designs? Let us know via Twitter!

How to make the perfect leopard bread loaf

27 September, 2016

As professional bakers, it’s always good to experiment with a new loaf every now and again. If you’ve already mastered sourdough and can whip up rye bread in a jiffy, why not put your baking skills to the test with a loaf that’s sure to turn a few heads?

Leopard bread, the baking world’s sassiest new loaf, is made by making three doughs –dark chocolate, chocolate and plain – then encasing one inside the other in strips before baking. Sounds tricky, right? Well, the whole process is actually surprisingly simple, so there’s no reason not give it a try. Here’s a quick guide to making the perfect leopard bread loaf.

Ingredients

– 375g bread flour

– 35g caster sugar

– 250ml milk

– 20g softened unsalted butter

– 1 tsp dried yeast

– ½ tsp table salt

 

For the chocolate dough:

– 15g cocoa powder

– 10ml milk

 

For the dark chocolate dough:

– 6g dark cocoa powder

– 5ml milk

 

Method

1. Into a large bowl or mixer, add the bread flour, sugar and yeast, then mix the ingredients together. Next, add in the salt and milk, then combine the ingredients together using a low speed. Once combined, knead the mixture into a rough dough.

 

2. Add the softened butter, then knead the dough until it’s smooth – this should take around 20-minutes. You’ll know the dough is ready when you can stretch it out thinly without it breaking.

 

3. Remove 320g of the dough and place it in a clean bowl to prove for an hour. The dough should double in size.

 

4. With the remaining plain dough, add in the cocoa powder and 10ml of milk, and mix well. Then, remove 250g of the chocolate dough, set it aside in another clean bowl and prove for one hour.

 

5. Add the dark chocolate powder and 5ml of milk into the remaining chocolate dough, knead until mixed in, then prove for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

 

6. After the doughs have risen, divide them into balls. For the plan dough, you’ll roughly need two large 55g balls and five 40g balls. For the chocolate dough you’ll need two large 38g balls and five small 25g balls and for the dark chocolate dough, you’ll need 2 large 36g balls and five small 23g balls.

 

7. To prevent the balls of dough from drying out while you put them together, cover them with a towel. Use a rolling pin to roll out a chocolate dough ball into an oval shape, then roll it into a cylinder like a swill roll. Repeat this for each chocolate dough ball.

 

8. Roll out a dark chocolate dough ball into an oval shape, ensuring it’s big enough to wrap around the chocolate dough cylinder. Leave some only partially wrapped around and some fully. Repeat the process again until all the chocolate dough cylinders are wrapped in dark chocolate dough. Don’t forget to match the big dough balls together.

 

9. Roll out a plain dough ball, ensuring that it is big enough to completely wrap around the chocolate and dark chocolate, sealing the edges. Repeat this until all the dough cylinders are wrapped in plain dough.

 

10. With your hands, roll out each sausage of dough until it’s double the length of your loaf tin, then cut them in half and randomly stack them in your lightly greased loaf tin. Cover the tin and leave the dough to rise for one hour before baking.

 

11. Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C fan / 200˚C electric / gas mark 6 and bake the bread for 30-35 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven, take out of the tin and leave to cool completely before slicing.

 

So bakers, think you’ll be giving leopard bread a go? Let us know via Twitter!

6 of the best cupcakes to make during National Cupcake Week

22 September, 2016

At BAKO, one of our favourite weeks is here – National Cupcake Week! Running from 19th – 25th September, this event is an amazing seven days of scrumptious, icing-smothered, spongey goodness, all to celebrate the wonderfully delicious cupcake. In true spirit of this baking bonanza, we’ve found some of the best cupcakes you can make that are guaranteed to wow your customers.

1. Coffee and donut cupcakes

There’s not much quite like piling desserts on desserts, is there? This is why we love this doughnut-covered cupcake that oozes indulgence. Mini chocolate ring doughnuts, covered in sprinkles, on top of a mouth-watering bed of sophisticated cappuccino frosting – what’s not to like? Mix it up with different doughnut and frosting flavours for a divine, rich treat!

Coffee and Donut Cupcakes

2. Pancake cupcakes

Who knew it was acceptable and oh-so good to cover a cupcake in mini pancakes and, of course, laden with lots of maple syrup? Your customers can tuck into these as a mouth-watering late morning pick-me-up that’s pushing the boundaries yet tastes so delicious!

Pancake Cupcakes

3. Nutella lava cookies

Guaranteed, if your customers want an indulgent, heavenly treat, then these exploding Nutella cupcakes are perfect! Topped with frosting that tastes just like the chocolatey-hazelnut spread, and bursting with gooey chocolate in every bite, these cupcakes are finished with amazing Ferrero Rocher chocolates, which you can choose to include or swap for another confectionery. Yum!

Nutella lava cupcakes

4. Galaxy cupcakes

Despite being a traditional cupcake in sponge and icing, these world-changing galaxy cupcakes look astounding, with three-tone frosting. In fact, you can experiment with a variety of space colours and finish with sparkly glitter, cake dust or make your own themed topper!

Galaxy cupcakes

5. Candy-floss cupcakes

Fairground-themed cupcakes really will catch your customers’ eyes, with their bold rainbow frosting and cotton candy decoration! A popular cupcake with children, these bakes almost look too good to eat. Buy pre-made candy-floss, a few lollipop sticks and you’re almost there! Want to make your candy-floss cakes more striking? Experiment with food colouring for bolder shades.

Candy floss cupcakes

6. Cupcake ice-cream cones

For a show-stopping cupcake, we really love these ice cream inspired cupcake cones that are truly unique. Beneath the crunchy exterior of an ice-cream cone, we have a soft chocolate sponge which is topped with buttercream, smothered in hot fudge sundae syrup and finished with sprinkles and maraschino cherries. Yes, this creates an astounding cupcake!

Cupcake ice cream cones

What are you whipping up for National Cupcake Week? Don’t forget to send us images of your amazing cupcakes via Twitter!

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