Who hasn’t been coerced to buy these beauties in the supermarket for wide-eyed children….or, indeed, just for yourself? Well, now you can bake them at home! Easy to do and, if they don’t eat them all first, the kids can help put the Smarties on the top. I actually preferred them the day after I made them, they were slightly chewier, but that’s just down to personal preference. My kids loved them both days; ‘Mummy! They’re just like the ones at Waitrose!’. Job done.
You will need…
- 350g plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 250g soft butter
- 250g sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 5ml vanilla extract
- 2 tubes smarties (150g)
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and put to one side. Then (preferably in a mixer) cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix. Then slowly beat in sifted dry ingredients to form a stiff dough. By hand, stir in one tube of Smarties. Roll dough into balls about the size of a ping pong ball and place on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Leave plenty of room between each ball as they spread! Adorn the top of each ball with three or four more Smarties and bake at 190ºC (170º fan) for 12 to 15 minutes until pale golden brown. When you remove them from the oven, leave on the trays for a couple of minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely. Store in airtight tins.
The other night I opened the fridge door with a heavy heart, wondering what I could rustle up for the old man’s supper….There were the left overs from making the kids’ pizza and half a sheet of jus-rol puff pastry. So I went for Cheat’s Pizza or as I sold it to Husband ‘Savoury Tart’.
Take a sheet (whatever size!) of puff pastry and score the edges about 1cm in. Spread passata over the middle section then scatter grated mozzarella over the top. Adorn with whichever topping you please – I chose black olives and fresh basil leaves (oil them first so they don’t burn). Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and pop onto a preheated baking sheet and into a hot oven for about 20 mins.
It is basically pizza on puff pastry but tastes lighter and just as yummy. If you pimp it up with a little salad it makes a nice supper or make little circles of it as a starter/kids’ food! Best thing is you can eat it cold too!
My children exasperate me daily with their refusal to eat anything remotely diverse. Try as I might, getting anything that could be even loosely termed ‘vegetation’ into my son is a mission I have yet to complete. My youngest daughter is two and fluctuates between trying random stuff to only accepting weetabix. My hope lies with my eldest daughter who does, at least, give my cooking a try. Today I concocted some mini chicken pies for them. I know, not exactly spice fusion, but anything beyond plain pasta is an adventure for them. My tag line was ‘They’re like roast dinner – with a lid!”. Surprisingly both my daughters scoffed the lot. Son ate the pastry and after bemoaning the fact I had dared to put peas in it sat for 45 minutes until I forced him to eat three chunks of chicken. I won the fight, but lost the battle. And then the little monkey expected pudding!
Anyway, here’s what I gave them…
Mini Chicken Pies
Heat 1 tsp oil and a small knob of butter in a pan and fry 2 large chicken breasts cut into chunks, until they are turning golden. Sprinkle 1tbsp of plain flour over the chicken and stir so it is all coated. Transfer to a small casserole dish and add 1/2 pint chicken stock, a generous pinch of dried oregano and 30g ham batons/chunks. With the lid on, bake in the oven for 30 mins at 180C. Then stir and cook for a further 15 mins with the lid off. Stir in 2 tbsps frozen peas and divide the mixture between 5/6 ramekins.
Using a sheet of puff pastry, cut circles to fit the dishes and egg wash the rim of the ramekins to stick the pastry circles down. Place the pastry on top and egg wash liberally for a nice shine! Poke the middle with a knife to let the steam out and then either:
a) Freeze for use another day
b) Pop in the fridge for later
c) Bake in the oven for 20 mins until the top is risen and golden
Because they are for kids, I tend to decant the contents on a plate so they don’t burn their fingers. A shame as they look lovely in their little pots, but I’ll leave that one up to you and how savvy your kids are!
This works well as a vegetarian recipe by swapping the chicken for quorn, using veg stock and leaving out the ham. I usually stick a bit of ‘shroom or onion in to pep it up a bit.