Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 December Daring Bakers - Stollen



The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Stollen is a bread-like fruitcake made with yeast, water and flour, and usually with zest added to the dough. Candied orange peel and candied citrus is often also added.

Over the centuries, the cake changed from being a simple, fairly tasteless "bread" to a sweeter cake with richer ingredients. The Advent season was a time of fasting, and bakers were not allowed to use butter, only oil, and the cake was tasteless and hard.

Stollen Wreath
Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people

Ingredients

¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk
10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first - then sift- plus extra for dusting)
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
2 teaspoons (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
2 teaspoons (5 ml) (6 grams) mixed spice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
2 cups (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed craisins
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed
6 tablespoons (45ml) rum
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
2 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath
Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.

Directions:


In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside

To make the dough

Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium - low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.
In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.
Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn't enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath





1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.

The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh - especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lime Curd





Lime Curd

1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (roughly 2-3 medium limes)
zest of one lime, finely grated
pinch salt

Curd

Start with the curd, as it will need time to chill after cooking.

Melt the butter over medium low heat in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, lime juice, zest, salt and eggs. Return to the heat and cook, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes, until the curd has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the curd to boil, if it begins to steam pull it off the heat and stir to cool it down.

Place a fine sieve over a bowl and strain the curd. Cover the curd and place in the refrigerator to cool completely (at least 2 hours

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bounty Bars





100 ml heavy cream
300 g sugar
250 g copha
250 g dessicated coconut
150 g dark chocolate
2 Tbsp oil (for chocolate)

Dice chopa. Put cream, sugar and copha in a pot and heat everything until it melts. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in coconut.Line rectangular baking pan with a baking paper and pour the mass inside. Leave in the fridge overnight.The next day, turn it out onto a cutting board and remove the paper.Cut it into cubes,cover each cube with melted chocolate and let them harden.

Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies





Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar-packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter-softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, blend flour, cocoa, and baking soda.

In a large bowl beat white sugar, brown sugar, butter and 1/4 cup peanut butter, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beat until blended. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Set aside.

Make the filling by combining the confectioners sugar and 3/4 cup peanut butter. Beat well with electric mixer until mixture comes together.

Roll filling into 30 1 inch balls. Form exterior part of cookie by sectioning dough into approximately 1 tablespoon pieces. Form exterior part of cookie around filling and cover completely. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar.

Bake at 180 for 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Panaforte



Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
100g whole blanched almonds
100g whole hazelnuts
90g (1/3 cup) coarsely chopped dessert figs
55g (1/3 cup) crasins
50g (1/3 cup) mixed peel
100g (2/3 cup) plain flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
75g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, finely chopped
125ml (1/2 cup) honey
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
Icing sugar, to dust

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Spread the almonds over half a baking tray and spread the hazelnuts over the remaining half. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until toasted. Place the hazelnuts on a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins. Reduce oven to 170°C.
Place almonds and hazelnuts in a large bowl. Add the figs, apricots and mixed peel and stir until well combined. Sift over the combined flour, cocoa, cinnamon and mixed spice and stir to combine.

Place chocolate, honey and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 116°C or 'soft ball stage' (If you don't have a thermometer, drop 1 teaspoonful of syrup into a glass of cold water. If the syrup becomes a soft ball it's at soft ball stage.)
Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the fruit mixture and, working quickly, stir until well combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until just firm. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November Daring Bakers - Crostata di Marmellata




The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Ingredients

1/3 cup [80 ml, 75 g, 2 2/3 oz.] superfine sugar or 1/2 cup [120ml, 60 g, 2 oz]powdered sugar (see Note 1.)
1/2 cup [120 ml, 65 g, 2 3/8 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup [120ml, 65 g. 2 1/4 oz.] whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup [60ml, 28 g, 1 oz] almond flour, or almond meal, or coconut flour
1/4 cup [60ml, 28 g, 1 oz.] whole-grain barley flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
6 tablespoons[90ml, 85 g, 3 oz] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Whisk together sugar, flours and salt in a bowl.
Rub or cut the butter into the sugar and flour mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.
Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten egg and vanilla extract into it.

Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into mixture and then use your fingertips.
Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.

Heat the oven to 375ºF [190ºC/gas mark 5].

Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away ¼ of the dough. Reserve this dough to make the lattice top of the crostata. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base.
To help roll the crostata dough, keep the dough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the dough and can also help when transferring the dough to your pan. You can also use parchment paper for this. However, you can also roll the dough directly on a work surface if you prefer.
Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface (if you’re rolling directly on a work surface) with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.





If the dough is very firm, start by pressing the dough with the rolling pin from the middle to each end, moving the rolling pin by a pin's width each time; turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat; when it softens, start rolling.
Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.
If you used the plastic wrap or parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.

Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Press the remaining dough around the border into the sides of the pan making sure the border is an even thickness all the way around.

Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.
Take out of the fridge the reserved pasta frolla you had cut away earlier. Roll it with your pin and cut into strips or use cookie cutters to make small shapes (this is not traditional, but it looks cute); or roll with your hands into ropes.
Spread the jam or fruit preserves evenly over the bottom of the crostata.
Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes.

Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs. You can add a drop or two of water to the beaten eggs if you don’t have enough liquid.
Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, check the tart and continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue. (Note: Every oven is different. In my oven it took 34 minutes to bake the tart until golden.)

When done, remove the tart from the oven and let cool. If you have used a tart pan with a removable bottom, then release the tart base from the fluted tart ring. Make sure the tart is completely cool before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tahitian Lime Tart





Lime Tart With Brown Butter Crust
from Luscious Creamy Desserts



Lime Curd
1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (roughly 2-3 medium limes)
zest of one lime, finely grated
pinch salt

3/4 cup heavy cream

Brown Butter Crust
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lime Topping
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lime zest

Curd

Start with the curd, as it will need time to chill after cooking.

Melt the butter over medium low heat in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, lime juice, zest, salt and eggs. Return to the heat and cook, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes, until the curd has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the curd to boil, if it begins to steam pull it off the heat and stir to cool it down.

Place a fine sieve over a bowl and strain the curd. Cover the curd and place in the refrigerator to cool completely (at least 2 hours).

Crust

For the brown butter crust, pre-heat your oven to 350°F and ready a 9" tart pan.

Place the butter into a skillet and melt over medium/medium-low heat. Allow it to cook without stirring until the butter is golden brown and has a warm, nutty fragrance.

Meanwhile, combine the salt, sugar and flour in a small mixing bowl. When the butter is ready, pour it into the bowl in a steady stream while stirring with a fork. Mix well and then pour the crumbs into your tart pan.

Press the crumbs into the pan to form the crust. Stab the crust liberally with a fork and bake for 20 minutes until light golden brown.

Pull out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack completely.

Combining

When both the crust and the curd are cool you can fill the tart.

Beat the 3/4 cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks and then add the lime curd. Beat in the curd until just incorporated and then pour into your crust. Smooth with an offset spatula.

Lightly cover the tart and chill for 4 hours.

Make the topping by blending the sugar and lime zest into a fine powder in your food processor or blender.

Just before serving, sprinkle the tart with the lime sugar.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pide




Ingredients

A basic pizza dough
or as I used a gluten free pre-mix.


500g ground lamb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
small pinch of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 purple onion finely sliced
200g of crumbled feta
fresh coriander washed and pulled apart.


Preheat oven to 230°C. Place a pizza stone or baking tray in the oven to heat.
Heat the some oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the lamb and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until lamb changes colour and is cooked through. Remove from heat. Add all the spices.

Divide the dough into 4 even portions. Roll a dough portion out on a lightly floured surface to a 20cm diameter disc. Repeat with remaining dough portions. Remove the preheated tray from the oven. Place 2 discs on the tray. Spoon the lamb mixture over each flatbread. Sprinkle with onion and feta. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is golden and crisp. Remove from oven. Repeat with remaining flatbreads.

Place the flatbreads on serving plates. Drizzle with yoghurt and sprinkle with coriander. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 2010 Daring Bakers - Doughnuts




The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.


Ingredients

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Directions:

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks October -Dolmades



Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Wara Einab or Dolma

Adapted from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food a Borzoi Book, published by Alfred A. Knopf

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

24 – 30 preserved or fresh grape leaves.
1¼ cups (300 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) long grain rice
1- 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped or 4 tablespoons (60 ml) (35 gm) finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) crushed dried mint
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground allspice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6½ gm) dill
Salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced **optional**
3 or 4 cloves garlic
2/3 cup (160 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or more

Notes:

If using grape leaves preserved in brine, to remove salt put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them soaking for about twenty minutes, then change the water a time or two using fresh cold water.

If using fresh leaves, plunge a few at a time in boiling water for a few seconds only, until they become limp, and lift them out.

Directions:

Pour boiling water over the rice and stir well, then rinse with cold water and let drain.

Mix the rice with the chopped tomatoes, onion or scallion, parsley, mint, cinnamon, allspice, dill, salt and pepper to taste.Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, vein side up.Place about two teaspoons (10 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaf, near the stem edge.

Roll the leaf end to end, starting from the stem edge. As you roll, fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. The leaf should resemble a small cigar, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (50 mm to 65mm) long.
a.(You can freeze the stuffed grape leaves at this point. Just line a baking sheet with wax paper. When firmly frozen, transfer to an airtight plastic bag place back in the freezer.)

Pack the stuffed leaves tightly in a large pan lined with tomato slices or imperfect grape leaves Place a whole garlic clove in between them for extra flavor. The tightness will help prevent the rolls from unraveling.
8.Mix together olive oil, 2/3 cup (160 ml) water, sugar and lemon juice and pour over the stuffed leaves. Put a small heat proof plate on top of the leaves to prevent them from unwinding, cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 1 hour, until the rolls are thoroughly cooked, adding water occasionally, a cup at a time, as the liquid in the pan becomes absorbed. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve cold.

Monday, September 6, 2010

German Chocolate Cake





I first read about this cake on this blog, which is sadly now absent from the blogasphere. Since then I seem to see it everywhere. I've used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, for this and topped it with a bitter ganache, which helped balanced the intense sweetness. This is an ugly cake, with an intense flavor, you will remember it long after you've licked the last drop of ooze from the plate



Chocolate Cake

You may be tempted, as I was, to cut down the sugar in this recipe-Don't. Once you add the buttermilk and coffee, this becomes a not very sweet cake.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your cake pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl and mix until combined.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Topping

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white sugar
3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut

In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, margarine and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut. Spread on cake while still warm.

Ganache

250g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cream

Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until smooth. Remove bowl from heat.

Set aside at room temperature to cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache is thick and spreadable.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kidgeree





1 cup rice

½ cup moong dal

1 Tbsp cooking oil

Mustard seeds

Turmeric

Powder together: 4-6 cardamoms, 6-8 cloves, 2-3 pieces of cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin seeds

Roast the moong dal to a light brown; wash it along with the rice. Mix salt and the powdered spices with this and let it stay for awhile. Heat the oil; add mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add turmeric. Pour in the rice-dal mixture, roast it for a minute or two, then add sufficient water. Let it cook slowly on a low heat. Fluff with a fork, and serve.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gingerbread cake




This is the Old Spice mainly man of the cake world. Moist, dark and spicy.

Recipe from Sweet Kat's Kitchen

Cake
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 T. ground ginger
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) butter, melted and cooled
1 c. light molasses
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 ½ c. buttermilk
3 lg. eggs, room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 T. vanilla extract
5 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Garnish: ground cinnamon, optional


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 3 (8-inch) or 2 (9-inch) round cake pans or spray with nonstick baking spray containing flour. Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat the melted butter, molasses, brown sugar, buttermilk and eggs on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture by thirds. Mix just enough to blend the batter after each addition. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the pans and place cakes on wire racks to cool completely. Frosting: In large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract on medium speed until soft and light. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. To complete cake: Spread the frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving and sprinkle ground cinnamon over the top of the cake if using.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

AUGUST 2010 DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE



The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.



Notice the bit where it says 'Baked Alaska or Ice Cream Petit Fours? I decided to join the two, and it was AWESOME!

Raspberry-Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
1 cup reduced raspberry puree

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)

Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and the raspberry. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/07/making_ice_crea_1.html

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) gluten free sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze

9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

Meringue

8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.





Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours

Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.

Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.

Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.

Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)

While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).

Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.

Make the meringue

Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.

Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch. Or, bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F/260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

THE DARING COOKS AUGUST 2010 CHALLENGE: THE WORLD OF PIEROGI!




The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

I made a few of the more traditional style boiled pierogi, filled with apple and cinnimon. They where tasty, but more suited to a cold, snowy country. A place where your craving a warm gooey something that will sit in your stomach.

Being a lazy sort of person I baked the rest of the pierogi, which I had filled with Mutter Panner. They came out FANTASTIC! I will defiantly use this process again, though I'll have to work on a gluten free dough first.

Dough

½ cup (125 ml) milk
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
3 large eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
3 cups (450 gm) all-purpose flour

1. Mix flour and salt, add other ingredients, and knead dough until you have a smooth dough. (I kneaded this dough quite a bit, and it yielded a nice, pliable dough).
2. On a floured surface roll out fairly thin (1/8” or about 3 millimeters), cut into 2” (5 cm) squares, and fill with 1 tsp of filling




Mutter Paneer

1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, halved
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
Sprinkling of salt
3 teaspoon turmeric
4 teaspoon garam masala
2 (10-ounce) packets frozen peas
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 cup vegetable stock

Heat the oil a large skillet and add the paneer cubes, in 2 batches, and fry until they are golden. Remove the golden cubes to a double thickness of kitchen towel. (It is possible to dry fry the paneer cubes in the pan with no oil, to avoid the oil splashing you. Then continue with the recipe below.)

Pour all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil out of the pan. Put the onion, garlic cloves, and ginger into a food processor and blitz to a coarse pulp. Fry gently for about 5 minutes with a sprinkling of salt. Stir in the garam masala and turmeric and cook for another 2 minutes before adding the still frozen peas.

Dissolve the tomato puree in the vegetable stock and pour over the contents of the pan. Stir again and turn the heat down to low, cover with foil or a lid and cook for 15 minutes, tasting to check that the peas are tender. You can cook muttar paneer up to this stage, if you like, uncovering and then reheating gently with the diced, oil-crisped cheese, or proceed directly now.

In which case, take off the foil and add the paneer cubes to warm them through before serving.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE JULY - Swirl Ice-cream Cake






The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.-


I always try to make these dishes when I have people coming over, to help us eat it. I had a whole plan in my head involving chocolate, cherry's and thick fudge sauce. As with all laid plans, everything went ary. So on the morning that the dessert was needed, I found myself, with no cocoa, or cream. So operation make-it-up-with-what-we-have-on-hand commenced. I ended up with an orange sponge roll, filled with mango sorbet, and topped with hibiscus and lychee zabaglione


Sponge Roll

6 medium sized eggs
1 Cup caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp of all purpose (plain) flour
2 tblsp of Orange juice
Zest of one orange
a little oil for brushing the pans

Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.

Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the juice.

Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.

Spread baking paper on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
While still warm, turn the cake on to the paper and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.

Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the paper going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

Once cool open the roll and fill with cream or ice cream. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge/freezer till needed, seam side down

Cinnamon Swirls





Something else I made with this bread mix. The mix smelt like dumplings, and was quite lovely to knead. I was surprised at how nice, the bread turned out. No odd smell or taste. Crusty on the outside and soft in the middle. Topped with a little sugar and cinnamon, it was addictive.

Mexican Scrolls





I trialled an organic gluten free bread mix, It's supposed to be a crusty loaf, and it did come out very crusty. However being the day before 'Shopping day' I was using up various bits of leftovers. So I smashed it out pizza style, topped with Chili-con-carne, a bit of salsa, and a little cheese. rolled it into a log and sliced. Bake at 200 for an hour. Yum.

Chocolate Fondue




A special treat for family movie night.



1/2 a cup of cream
200g of chocolate

Melt together in a bowl over a pot of bowling water. Transfer to a fondue pot. Light candle. Serve with your choice of things to dip. My favorites are, strawberry's, bananas and marshmallows.

Get sticky!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nan's Nosh




Everyone has a dish their Mum/Nana/Female Matriarch figure made for them. Good or bad, it's a dish that we remember, and makes us feel like a kids again. For me it's these patties, made from leftover mashed potatoes and vegetables. My Mum would make these for us, telling us that her mother made them for her. As with most of these recipes, the amounts work on a little of this and a little of that, so just chuck stuff in a bowl.


Hash

2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup peas and corn or any leftover meat and veg you have from last nights dinner, finely chopped.
4 eggs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of grated cheese

Mix together in a bowl, until smooth-ish. Heat a non stick pan and spray with oil. Dollop the mixture into the pan and turn heat down to medium. Wait for bubbles to form on the surface, much the same as pancakes, then flip. Allow to cook for a further 2 minutes. Serve with some tomato sauce, and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 2010 Daring Cooks - Nut Butters



The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

Here's my recipe using a nut butter. I was actually reading a vegan cookbook the other day that talked all about using nut butters, in desserts and as a cream substitute, much healthier . I think I will have to start, giving it a go.

Gado Gado

150g unsalted peanuts, dry-roasted in the oven until dark
2 tbs peanut oil
2 eschalots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp chilli paste or sambal oelek
2 tsp finely grated palm sugar (see note) or raw sugar, plus extra to taste
2 tbs tamarind concentrate (see note)
1 tbs lime juice
2 tsp shrimp paste (see note) or 4 anchovy fillets
270ml can coconut milk

Finely grind peanuts in a food processor. Heat oil in a deep frypan over medium-low heat. Add eschalots and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft. Stir in peanuts, chilli and shrimp pastes, sugar, tamarind, lime, coconut milk and 1 cup (250ml) water until well combined. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Adjust salt and sugar to taste.

Serve with various steamed and fresh vegetables, tofu and satays.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quiche - it's low fat!



400g reduced fat shortcrust pastry
300ml light ricotta
300ml Philadelphia cream for cooking
3 egg whites
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked spinach
1 White onion finely sliced
2/3 of a cup of cherry tomatoes sliced in half

Mold pastry too a 8inch tart pan and prick with a fork. Bake in an oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until just browned.

Layer spinach and onion in the bottom of the pastry shell. Beat together the eggs and white, beat in all remaining ingredients, except the tomatoes. Pour over spinach. Place the tomatoes on top.

Bake for 30 -40 minutes at 180. Serve hot or cold.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake



Basic Vanilla Cake


1 cups self raising flour
90g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup of sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons of milk

Preheat oven to 180. Line eight muffin pan holes with paper cases. Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, beat until thick and glossy. Sift in flour and add milk. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Pour into a greased lined 6 inch round cake tin. Bake for 20-30 minutes on 170c
Allow to cool before turning out and cooling completely.

Cut through the middle to create two layers, set aside.

Filling

2 teaspoons icing sugar
300ml whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together until thick and creamy

2 Punnets of strawberry's finely sliced
4 tablespoons of strawberry jam

Spread strawberry jam on each cake layer, slather with cream and top with strawberry's. Place one layer of cake on the other.

Serve and enjoy the classic combination.

Meat and Vegetable Pie





Ingredients (serves 4)

Plain flour, to dust
375g block frozen puff pastry, thawed (Pampas brand)
Melted butter, to grease
2 (25 x 25cm) sheets ready-rolled frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed (Pampas brand)
1 egg, lightly whisked

Beef filling
700g lean beef blade steak, cut into 3cm cubes
2 tbs plain flour
60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
1 large celery stick, thickly sliced
310ml (1 1/4 cups) good-quality beef stock
2 tbs finely chopped fresh curly parsley
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper


Method
To make beef filling, place beef in a medium bowl, add flour and toss to coat. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a medium heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, using a wooden spoon to stir often, for 6 minutes or until light brown. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil to pan. Add onion, carrots and celery, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Return beef to pan with stock, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until beef is tender. Increase heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for a further 10-15 minutes or until sauce is a thick gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer beef filling to a medium heatproof bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to partially cool.

Meanwhile, line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Lightly flour a clean surface and use a rolling pin to roll out puff pastry, rotating occasionally, to a 30cm square 3-4mm thick. Invert a shallow 25cm (top measurement) pie plate on pastry and use a sharp knife to cut pastry 2mm from edge of plate. (Do not drag - the pastry layers may stick together and the edge won't puff into separate crisp layers in the oven.) Lift pastry onto lined tray, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until required.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush a pie plate with melted butter to grease. Place shortcrust pastry sheets on a clean surface and cut 1 sheet in half. Brush 1 edge of whole sheet with water and lay a half sheet along this edge, overlapping by 1cm. Press to join and smooth out join. Repeat process on an adjacent edge of whole sheet, overlapping ends of half-sheets as well. Gently lift pastry onto greased plate and ease into plate to line. Smooth pastry and press around top rim of plate. Hold plate and rotate while using a small sharp knife at a 45° angle to cut away excess pastry.
Use a fork to prick pastry base evenly about 25 times. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to rest (to help reduce shrinkage during cooking). Blind-bake the pie base before adding filling to ensure it is well cooked and crisp. To do this, place a 30cm square of non-stick baking paper or foil over the pastry and top evenly with about 1 cup of dried beans or rice to stop the pastry from bubbling. Place pie plate on a baking tray and cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Carefully remove paper or foil and beans or rice (see note) and bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until golden. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and, if necessary, use a clean tea towel to carefully pat down any pastry that has puffed during cooking. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Increase oven temperature to 220°C.

Spread cooled filling evenly into base. Remove puff pastry from fridge. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush pie edge with a little cold water. Place puff pastry on top of pie and gently press edges together to seal. (Do not press the outer edge, or it will not puff well during cooking.)
Use a small sharp knife to cut a 4cm cross in pastry centre to allow steam to escape during cooking. Lightly brush top with whisked egg.Place pie on baking tray and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 190°C and cook for a further 20-25 minutes or until well puffed, golden and heated through. If necessary, shield areas of pastry top and edges browning faster than others with pieces of foil. Serve immediately.


Source
Good Taste - July 2001, Page 48
Recipe by Anna Phillips

Saturday, June 26, 2010

JUNE 2010 - Daring Baker's Challenge: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse




The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.


Obviously, I didn't make a chocolate meringue, instead a raspberry pavlovia. Aussie Aussie Aussie.....

I opted to tone down the rich sweetness of this challenge, so head over to the website for the original. Which tops the meringue with chocolate mousse and a creme. This mousse is AMAZING, and quick setting. For me I still found it a little too rich together, save in very small potions. I will make these two dishes again, but separately, with fresh fruit and cream.


Classic Australian Pavlova
Cooking time about 1¾ hours
Ingredients (serves 8)

4 teaspoons cornflour
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered raspberry
4 drops red food coloring


Preheat oven to 200°C (395°F). Dust lightly with 1 teaspoon cornflour a sheet of baking paper place on a baking tray. Place a 8” (20cm) x 2.5" (60mm) springform cake tin without a bottom as a container to hold the whipped egg whites on the floured baking paper.

Using an electric mixer on the highest setting, beat egg whites and cream of tartar (or salt) in a narrow deep bowl until soft peaks form (using a narrow deep bowl ensures the beaters are well into the whites and will build up the greatest volume). Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until thick and glossy. Add remaining 3 teaspoons of cornflour with the last tablespoon of sugar. Dissolving the caster sugar should take about 10-12 mins if using normal granulated sugar about 15 mins. (Test mixture by feeling a small amount of the meringue between two fingers if it is grainy beat longer.) Fold through vanilla and vinegar.
Spoon meringue into the springform cake tin. Shape the uncooked meringue using the springform cake tin as a guide into one giant meringue. Remove the springform cake tin and place the uncooked meringue cake into the oven. Reduce oven to 100°C (212°F). Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or until dry and crisp, test by tasting a teaspoon of the meringue from the top if it doesn't taste of egg it is done don't worry about the small hole made by this testing it will be covered by the topping. Test at 1½ hours and then every 15 mins until ready. Turn off oven and cool completely in oven (pavlova may sink and crack during cooling).





Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)
Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)
Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Daring Cooks June, 2010 Challenge - Pâtés and Bread





Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge!

Chicken Liver Pate

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients (serves 12)

1 Kilo chicken livers
200g of duck or bacon fat
400g butter, at room temperature
4 large eschalot (French shallot), peeled, finely chopped
1 cup brandy
Salt & ground pepper
Juice and zest of one orange
2 cloves of roasted garlic (roast whole in the oven 180 for 20 minutes, then squeeze out flesh)
1 sml teaspoon sugar
80g unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup fresh continental parsley roughly chopped


Method
When making chicken liver pate, it is crucial to buy very fresh livers. Choose livers that have moist and shiny flesh without any dry patches. Remove from the packaging, place on a plate, cover with foil and keep in the coldest part of the fridge. Use within 2 days. To clean the livers, use a small sharp knife to remove and discard any white sinew. Some livers have greenish patches which must be trimmed or they can give the pate a bitter flavour. Place the trimmed livers in a colander, rinse gently under cold water and then drain. Pat dry with paper towel.

Melt butter and fat in a large heavy bottomed pan on a low to medium heat. Do Not Burn. Add the Eschalots and ½ the Garlic. Brown slightly then add livers and sauté for 3 minutes. Add brandy, orange remaining garlic, salt pepper and sugar. Continued sautéing on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the livers are just off pink in the centre. Transfer to a food processor add parsley and blend until just smooth.

Spoon the pate mixture evenly into ceramic or glass ramekins or small dishes, and use the back of a teaspoon to smooth the surface. Set aside. Place the unsalted butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until it just melts. Pour the butter evenly over the surface of the pate. The butter will solidify and prevent the pate from discolouring (due to oxidation) and will lengthen keeping time. Once the butter sets, cover the pate with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to set and develop the flavours. The pate can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge. Serve with toasted thinly sliced baguette (French stick), mini toasts, crackers, or with slices of nashi fruit or pears.

Check out the site for the baguette recipe.

Friday, May 28, 2010

San Choy Bow




One of my family's favorite meals. Eating with your fingers is always a hit with the kids, this dish has the added bonus of wrapping. A great make ahead dish, just warm the meat when needed.

40mL dark soy sauce
40mL rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
20mL peanut or canola oil
500g mince
2 teaspoons each ginger and garlic, minced
3 shallots, sliced finely on diagonal
150g water chestnuts, chopped
150g bamboo shoots, finely chopped
2 cups shredded carrots and cabbage
2 cups thin rice noodles, softned
8 iceberg lettuce ‘cups’, washed and drained
2 teaspoons Toasted Sesame Seeds
1/3 a cup of crushed peanuts


Combine soy, rice wine, sesame oil and five spice in a bowl.
Heat canola oil in wok, add minced meat and brown well.
Add ginger, garlic and vegetables and stir fry 2-3 minutes. Add noodles
Add soy mixture and stir until heated through.
Spoon into lettuce cups, 2 per person, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and peanuts.

Oyakodon



The smell of simmering Dashi stock brought with it the memory of Japanese evenings, fading light and filling food, warming you right down to your frozen fingertips.


Oyakodon

Adapted from At Home with Japanese Cooking, by Elizabeth Andoh

Makes 4 servings
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
1 medium onion
2 cups dashi
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (mitsuba would be more authentic, if you can find it)
3 cups cooked Japanese rice

Remove any skin or fat on the chicken breast and then slice it in half lengthwise. Then slice those pieces into smaller thin pieces by cutting across the width of the piece of chicken with your knife at a 45-degree angle. Peel and slice the onion into thin verticle wedges.

Heat the dashi in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is simmering, then add the soy sauce and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the chicken and onion and cook, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions have wilted and the chicken is cooked through. While this is cooking, gently beat the eggs very well.

Pour the cooked onion and chicken mixture into a skillet and heat it over medium-heat until it is simmering. Pour the beaten eggs into the center of the skillet and cook until the edges of the omelette begin to set. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, then garnish the top with the chopped cilantro, and cook for an additional minute.
Divide the rice among 4 bowls and then place one quarter of the omelet over the rice in each bowl. Pour any seasoned broth that may remain in the skillet over the omelets and serve.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 2010 Daring Bakers




The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.


For the vanilla pastry cream filling:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.


Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.

Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.

Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.

As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes.

It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.



Piping:
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.

Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.

Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).

Baking:
Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Green Bean and Chickpea Salad



700g green beans
175g chickpeas
225g halved cherry tomatoes
1 red onion diced
Baby Lebanese cucumbers, sliced

3 tblsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

Wash trim and halve the green beans. Cook in boiling salted water until tender.Drain and rinse under cold water. Mix together all the ingredients and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 21, 2010

No Sugar Oat Drops




When I first saw this recipe I was intrigued by the fact that these have NO sugar, butter, eggs or anything that can be considered unhealthy. Always on the hunt for things to throw at my kids at feeding time, I gave them a whirl. They are amazing, surprisingly light, incredibly filling and tasty, you can mix and match the ingredients to get a different result each time, adding different seeds  fruits or nuts.You can freeze them wrapped individually and  have a easy breakfast on the go.

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats (use whatever type of oats you like)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of almond meal (or nutmeal of your choice)
( If you want to make it nut free you could use a flour, just adjust the wet ingredients to get the right consistency)
1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
1 cup dried fruit (of your choice or chocolate chips or berries)

3 ripe bananas, mashed ( or substitute applesauce, or 2 eggs)
1/4 cup canola oil (or oil of your choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, almond meal, mixed nuts and coconut flakes. Stir in allspice and cinnamon. Add dried fruit and stir until well and evenly mixed. Make sure the dried fruit do not stick together in big batches.
In another bowl, combine canola oil, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Take a large cookie cutter and press spoonfuls of the batter into it. Remove cookie cutter.  Or simply form balls with your hands and flatten slightly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

*These are not gluten free, due to the use of oats. Please adapt to your personal preferences.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

THE DARING COOKS MAY - ENCHILADAS




Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.

I wasn't able to find any of the required green elements so I ended up making a straight salsa. This dish was so good we copyed it a little while later in a much simpler way. Check out Daring Kitchen for the original recipe or join me in the lazy-ness here:

Enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
500g chicken breast fillet
10 enchilada tortillas
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
3/4 cup grated tasty cheese
375g jar chunky tomato salsa
450g can beans

Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook chicken for 4 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Stand for 10 minutes.

Heat tortillas using packet directions.

Empty beans into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat, uncovered, for 2 minutes on MEDIUM (50%) power, or until hot.

Slice chicken. Place 1 tablespoon of beans onto each tortilla. Top with chicken and a little cheese. Roll up tightly to secure. Place onto a greased and lined baking tray.

Spoon salsa and yogurt down centre of enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until heated through

Serve with avocado, fresh coriander and salad

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pumpkin Soup




A certain chef I know makes me an amazing pumpkin soup, with bacon, cream and duck fat if he can get it. The primary function of chefs is to make food fattening. I once heard that in your average restaurant dish there is 100g of butter. Because of this soup I've never, made one my self. However an empty fridge drove me to create this simple, healthy and delicious soup. When I say simple I mean simple...

2 cups of pumpkin peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups of vegetable stock
2 carrots peeled and chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 a cup of milk or rice milk

Place everything except the milk in a pot and simmer for 20 -30 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Blend until smooth and stir in milk. Serve

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vanilla Buttercream




Vanilla Buttercream

150 grams of egg whites
300 grams of granulated sugar
450 grams of room temperature unsalted butter (if you can get white butter, so much the better)
1 Tbs vanilla extract


In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together egg whites and the sugar into soft peaks. Place over a water bath until sugar is dissolved and you can draw a figure 8 in it with your whisk. It will look like light marshmallow. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Bring bowl to the electric mixer and whip until stiff peaks form and the bottom of the bowl feels cool.

Then add butter, a tablespoon at a time while whipping. It might look like it is curdling at one point but continue to whip until it comes together.

Add vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Refrigerate for at least an hour before piping.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Daring Bakers March - Orange Tian




The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.


For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Directions:
Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked
Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.
Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.
For the Caramel:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams
Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:


Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon
In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.
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