Archive for March, 2009

Chocolate Chip Friands with Cinnamon and Almonds

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

friands

Can you believe after that mammoth feast for my Mum’s birthday, consisting of Butter chicken pie with vegetables and rice, home-made trifle for dessert and a poppy seed cake for the birthday cake, that there would still be time to make, and people to eat, some lovely friands?

Well, not really… there was enough time for me to make these friands, although almost no one had enough room to fit in even a quarter of a friand.

If it weren’t for my bad timing (chosen due to the left-over egg whites from the custard in the trifle), I’m sure these would have been gobbled up by my family… alas… I was ‘forced’ to take most home – with a couple arriving with me at work with the remaining poppy seed cake.

Choc Chip friands with Cinnamon and Almonds

(adapted from Lynne Mullin’s recipe in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living Winter + Food Magazine May 2008)

Makes: 12

6 egg whites
185g butter, melted
125g (1½ cups) almond meal
240g (2 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
75g (heaped ½ cup) plain flour
100g coarsely chopped dark chocolate
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
25g (1/4 cup) slivered almonds, chopped
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 200°C. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy and small peaks form. Add melted butter, almond meal and icing sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add flour, chocolate and cinnamon and combine well.

Egg White beaten until frothy and starting to form small peaks

Egg White beaten until frothy and starting to form small peaks

Divide mixture evenly between a 12-mould friand tin. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and cooked.

Sprinkle with chopped almonds

Sprinkle with chopped almonds

Rest in pan for 5-10 minutes and the carefully turn onto a cake rack or use a spoon to lift out of moulds. Cool friands and then dust with icing sugar before serving.

friand_cooked2

friand_cooked

friands2

Vanilla Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Frosting

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

And then there was cake…. as my Mum’s Birthday meal continues…

poppyseedcake

This is one of the first cakes I learnt to make and one of my (very many) favourites. It has no fake orange flavour that you will generally taste, and I very much detest, in many of bought orange and poppy seed cakes. Instead this cake has a lovely vanilla and poppy seed cake with a subtle orange flavour in the icing.

I tend to often forget about the soaking of the poppy seeds, although once they’re in the bowl soaking in milk, there’s plenty of time to get the rest of the ingredients together. Once the poppy seeds are finished soaking, it’s just a case of adding everything else, mixing then baking – very easy!

Poppy Seed Cake
(Not sure of original source of recipe – Sorry)

1/3 cup poppy seeds
¾ cup milk
185g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 cup castor sugar
3 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour

Combine poppy seeds and milk in a medium bowl, soak for 1 hour.

Soaking poppyseeds

Soaking poppyseeds

Grease one large bundt tin or a ring tin. Preheat oven to 180°C. Add butter, essence, sugar, eggs, sifted flour to poppy seed mixture. Beat on low speed with electric mixer until combined, then beat mixture on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until mixture has lightened in colour.

Mix all ingredients together and beat until mixture lightens in colour

Mix all ingredients together and beat until mixture lightens in colour

Pour into prepared pan. Bake oven for about 40 – 50 minutes. Stand 5 minuted before turning on to wire rack to cool.

Cake is golden on top and coming away from the edges of the tin

Cake is golden on top and coming away from the edges of the tin

Leave to cake to cool

Leave to cake to cool

Orange Frosting

60g butter
1½ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice

Beat butter in a small bowl with mixer until light and creamy. Gradually add sifted icing sugar and orange juice, beat until frosting is spreadable. Decorate with orange rind, if desired.

Orange frosting on the cooled cake - ready to eat!

Orange frosting on the cooled cake - ready to eat!

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Cherry Compote, Vanilla Bean Custard and Vienna Almond Cream Trifle

Friday, March 20th, 2009

trifle_finished

My mum’s favourite dessert ever is trifle. A combination of cake, alcohol, fruit, home-made thick custard and cream can’t go wrong. My idea of a trifle is probably a bit different to my mum’s and I already have a recipe lined up and waiting to make for my trifle – hint: it involves a lot of chocolate :P. Although on my mum’s birthday I can’t be selfish and make my trifle so I’ve endeavoured to find a great trifle to satisfy her trifle needs.

I have previously made only one trifle, so planning for this one was a bit difficult, especially since I had chosen a recipe using fresh black cherries which were already going out of season here. I decided to use bottled Morello cherries in syrup for the base, fresh made sponge, vanilla bean custard and Vienna almond cream.

This produced an extremely lovely dessert, which looks very beautiful when layered in a lovely trifle bowl to show off all the layers. I also love food that can be prepared beforehand leaving a dinner party much more relaxed.

Cherry Compote, Vanilla Bean Custard and Vienna Almond Cream Trifle

(recipe adapted from Trifles with friends by Trish Deseine)

Serves: 8-10

Cherry Compote:
¾ cup caster sugar
700g jar of Morello cherries, with 1 cup or all liquid reserved (or pitted black cherries, if in season)
1 lemon, squeezed

Custard:
300ml milk
300ml cream (thickened or whipping)
1 vanilla pod, split
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup (125g) caster sugar

Sponge:
6 eggs, separated
1½ cups (350g) caster sugar
1 1/3 cups (175g) plain flour
1/3 cup (40g) cornflour

5 tablespoons Marsala wine or Sherry
300ml cream, thickened or whipping
50-75g Vienna almonds, chopped
25g toasted flaked almonds

Cherry Compote:
Mix the sugar, lemon juice and liquid from the cherries in a medium saucepan. Turn heat up to medium and stir until sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, bring to the boil and keep an eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn’t boil over – leave at a heat where it is boiling but not going to overflow. Continue to boil until mixture has decreased to less than ¼ its original size and become thick and syrup like (this may take a while, so you can continue on with other parts of the trifle). Add cherries at end and pour into another bowl to cool.

Boil cherry liquid and sugar until reduced and thickened

Boil cherry liquid and sugar until reduced and thickened

Cherry Compote

Cherry Compote

Custard:
Place the milk, cream and vanilla pod in a medium saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. While this is occurring, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. Once the cream mixture has come to the boil, pour into the egg yolk mixture, mixing constantly. Pour custard mix back into the saucepan and heat on low until mixture thickens. Do not allow custard to boil. (I found this custard did not thicken a much as I expected – like the Portuguese custard tart custard I’ve made).

Custard before thickening

Custard before thickening

Thickened custard

Thickened custard

Sponge:
Preheat oven to 180-200C. Mix the egg yolks with half the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining sugar and beat to combine. Fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolks. Sift the plain flour and cornflour together and fold through the egg mixture gently, in three batches. Pour into tray, cake tin or individual tins, greased and lined with baking paper. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Stand for 5-10 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.

Egg yolks and sugar beaten until light and fluffy

Egg yolks and sugar beaten until light and fluffy

Egg white and sugar beaten

Egg white and sugar beaten

Fold through plain flour and cornflour

Fold through plain flour and cornflour

Golden cooked sponge

Golden cooked sponge

Assembly:
Once cooled, place the cherry compote in the bottom of the bowl(s). Cut or tear sponge to fit into bowl and place on top of cherries. Sprinkle Marsala wine or Sherry over the sponge and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Pour custard on top of sponge and refrigerate overnight.

Place sponge on top of cherry compote layer

Place sponge on top of cherry compote layer

Layer custard on top of soaked sponge

Layer custard on top of soaked sponge

Before serving, whip up cream until thickened and add chopped Vienna almonds. Layer cream mix over the custard layer and scatter toasted flaked almonds on top. Serve (you may serve with ice cream, but it doesn’t need it).

Fold Vienna almonds through whipped cream

Fold Vienna almonds through whipped cream

Layered Trifle - sorry about the light for the photography

Layer Trifle with cream

One big scoop for man...

One big scoop for man...

...one small scoop for my mum

...one small scoop for my mum :)

🙂

Butter Chicken Pie

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Happy Birthday Mum!

So many birthdays close together… Well I guess with a large family already, when you add friends and extended family the number of days between birthdays becomes few.

butterchickenpiecut

When I asked my mum what she’d like for her birthday dinner, she replied “Whatever you’d like to make”. Just like last year and the year before and the year before….

It takes only a few threats that we will not make her any food if she doesn’t choose what she wants, before she finally comes around to choosing things that she does want for her dinner. For dinner she asked for a butter chicken pie, one of the recipes Nick introduced to our family. Dessert and Birthday Cake is another story…

Butter Chicken Pie

Serves: 8

1 kg chicken, fat removed and diced
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 carrots, diced
4 small potatoes, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 large jar (540g) butter chicken sauce (we used Patak’s – although we’ve made our own before, which tastes great)
1-2 sheets shortcrust pastry
1-2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place carrots, potato and sweet potato in a saucepan with water and bring to the boil for 5 -10 minutes until almost cooked.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium to high heat and add chicken stirring until brown. Add butter chicken sauce and heat through.

Add drained carrots, potato and sweet potato and cook until sauce has thickened a little.

butterchickenpie

Line a lasagne dish with shortcrust pastry, add chicken mixture and cover with puff pastry. Slice some holes in the top of the pastry and brush with beaten egg. Cook for 30 minutes in oven or until pastry is golden brown.

Beef Wellington – Cooking Class 2

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

beef_wellington

Thank you Gordon Ramsay!

Nick has wanted to make Beef Wellington for years and when searching for a video of it he came across a recipe and video from Gordon Ramsay’s the F-word. It looked reasonably easy and even though he knew very early what he wanted to make, he still needed to recruit help in getting all the ingredients.

A fantastic Beef Eye Fillet from a whole-sale butcher was chosen. It was the smallest one available and it was 1.3kg, so we decided two Beef Wellington’s were on the menu (even though one would have been sufficient to feed the six of us that were there – better to have too much than too little, and people were certainly going back for seconds).

Absolutely gorgeous!!

Absolutely gorgeous!!

Neither pictures nor words can describe the texture and flavour of this dish, but I’ll try. I’ll also apologise for the photos, as they certainly don’t do it justice – being taken with bad lighting and a short amount of time (due to a table full of hungry family members).

This recipe was incredibly easy for the absolutely delectable, fantastic flavour combination of the fall-apart beef, mushroom paste, prosciutto and mustards topped off by a buttery, crispy, golden pastry.

Beef Wellington
(adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s – The F-word)

Serves: 4-6

650 – 700g beef eye fillet
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (even though Gordon says not to use it – we thought it may tone down the hot English mustard, although no burn was tasted)
1 teaspoon hot English mustard
4-6 mushrooms
8 slices prosciutto
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a saucepan or BBQ tray on high. Season the fillet with salt and pepper, then lightly rub with olive oil and sear all edges, about 30 seconds on each side. Set aside to cool.

Beef Eye Fillet

Beef Eye Fillet

Seared Beef Eye Fillet

Seared Beef Eye Fillet

Blend the mushrooms in a food processor until it has formed a paste. Heat a saucepan on medium to high and add the mushrooms (do not use any butter, oil or liquid to cook the mushrooms). Stir the mushrooms until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

Blend the mushrooms and cook off excess liquid

Blend the mushrooms and cook off excess liquid

Place a long sheet of cling film onto the counter. Place the prosciutto slices overlapping on the plastic, enough to cover the beef fillet. Carefully spread the mushroom mix over the prosciutto. Mix the mustards together and rub over the beef fillet. Lay the fillet on the mushroom, prosciutto layers and carefully move the plastic to encase the fillet in prosciutto tightly. Tie off the plastic ends and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Overlap proscuitto, spread with blended mushrooms and place mustard coated beef fillet on top

Overlap proscuitto, spread with blended mushrooms and place mustard coated beef fillet on top

Roll the proscuitto up around the beef fillet and twist ends to seal - place in fridge

Roll the proscuitto up around the beef fillet and twist ends to seal - place in fridge

Preheat oven to 180°C. Take the puff pastry out of the freezer to thaw. Overlap puff pastry enough to encase the fillet.

Remove plastic from beef fillet and place in the middle of the puff pastry sheets. Brush egg yolk mix around the edges and encase the beef fillet in the puff pastry, folding under edges.

Brush the edges with egg yolk mix

Brush the edges with egg yolk mix

Fold up the pastry sealing the beef inside

Fold up the pastry sealing the beef inside

Place on baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with remaining egg yolk. Score the pastry for effect. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Score the pastry with a knife

Score the pastry with a knife

Slice Beef Wellington thickly and serve with roast vegetables.

Please sir, I want some more...

Please sir, I want some more...

Molten Baby Cakes – Soft centered Chocolate Puddings

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

MoltenCake
I visited the Arthouse Hotel near Town Hall station quite a while ago and had to try their soft-centered chocolate puddings. One mouthful and I wasn’t very keen to let Nick have a try… ok… so I let him have one… maybe two bits…. Not very generous of me I know… but that’s what happens when you’re going out with a dessert and chocolate lover, if you want to eat a lot of a chocolate dessert – get your own 😛

So… this led me on one of the many missions I take. Searching the internet I found a couple nice recipes, here is one of them (I use the recipe quite often, as the other recipe I have uses egg yolks and I often don’t end up using the egg whites and I don’t like being wasteful).

So here it is, I found it on Nigella Lawson’s website, and it can also be found in her lovely book “How to be a Domestic Goddess”. The one tip I have, is that as all oven’s are different, it’s important to trial this out as you may either get a fully cooked cake or a thin layer of cake with a large amount hot uncooked cake turned into sauce (not that you’d complain – it still tastes great!). It is ideal to probably half cook the cakes, to get a reasonable amount of sauce (just remember that the sauce is uncooked cake mix which would contain uncooked eggs – which are not recommended during pregnancy). It is also very easy to make these up beforehand, which is great for a dinner party! Just mix all the ingredients, pour into the moulds and put them in the fridge before cooking. Take them out and cook for a bit longer than the recommended time (remember to test out the times in your oven beforehand – I will never complain about testing these).

Molten Baby Cakes

Serves: 6

50g soft butter, plus more for greasing
350g best dark chocolate
150g caster sugar (heaped ¾ cup)
4 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g plain or Italian 00 flour (heaped 1/3 cup)

Unless you are making these up in advance, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6, putting in a baking tray at the same time. Lay 3 buttered pudding moulds or ramekins on a sheet of doubled baking parchment. Draw round them, remove, and then cut out the discs as marked. Press them all into the base of the tins or ramekins.

Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat in the eggs and salt, then the vanilla. Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.

Mix the slightly cooled chocolate into the egg mixture

Mix the slightly cooled chocolate into the egg mixture

Divide the batter between the 6 moulds, quickly whip the baking tray out of the oven, arrange the little tins on it and replace in the oven.

Pour the cake mix into the ramekins

Pour the cake mix into the ramekins

Cook for 10-12 minutes (the extra 2 minutes will be needed if the puddings are fridge-cold when you start) and as soon as you take them out of the oven, tip out these luscious babycakes onto small plates or shallow bowls. Serve these with whipped or unwhipped double cream, crème fraiche, crème anglaise or ice cream.

Beautifully cooked cakes - although maybe not fully cooked

Beautifully cooked cakes - although maybe not fully cooked

Yes... Not fully cooked - but still tastes FANTASTIC!

Yes... Not fully cooked - but tastes FANTASTIC!

Cooked around the edges with a luscious velvety chocolate centre

Cooked around the edges with a luscious velvety chocolate centre

Passionfruit Sorbet

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

passionfruit_sorbet2

While at Nick’s parents, we discovered a few very healthy passionfruit vines which were growing wild. Being able to pick handfuls of passionfruit each morning was fantastic!

Wild growing passionfruit

Wild growing passionfruit

With an excess of passionfruit (you won’t hear me complaining, or probably ever using the term ‘excess’ again, how can there be an excess of passionfruit??), Nick decided a passionfruit sorbet was on the menu and horded a container full of passionfruit to take home with us.

This sorbet is very refreshing and the recipe can be used to make a lemon sherbet or sorbet as well (just process the rind of one lemon with the sugar and add ½ cup fresh lemon juice instead of the passionfruit pulp). It is a little icy, not creamy, but this is nice on hot days or nights after work.

Passionfruit Sorbet

Serves: 6-8

¾ cup passionfruit pulp (approx 10 passionfruit)
1 cup sugar
3 cups milk
½ cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Stir well.

Place in an ice-cream maker and churn until mixture has formed a sorbet. Alternatively place in a sealed container in the fridge, stirring with a fork every hour.

Churning Passionfruit Sorbet

Churning Passionfruit Sorbet

Freeze until set. Serve.

Passionfruit sorbet

Passionfruit sorbet

Apple and Sage Roast Pork

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

roast_pork2

Recently Nick and I visited his parents at their farm which is close to Kyogle. They are growing fruit trees and recently started growing vegetables and collecting eggs from their chicken (now chickens), while working and trying to establish themselves.

They had a leg of pork to roast and Nick suggested using some of the sage from their herb spiral and apples to flavour the pork. The pork was cooked to perfection using a digital meat thermometer, with lovely flavours of sage and apple. The cooked apple had caramelised and made a perfect accompaniment with the home-grown potatoes.

Apple and Sage Roast Pork

Serves: 6 or more

Pork on leg (ours was 2.5kg)
3 apples (Gala or similar)
20 Sage leaves (approximately)
Potatoes (1 per person), halved
1-2 brown onions, halved
Apple Cider
Mustard powder
Plain Flour
½ cup red wine

Cut one of the apples into slices the width of a pencil and approximately 3cm long. Cut the other two apples into 8 slices for roasting. Slice a knife in through the skin of the pork, enough to fit the apple slices, cutting every 3-4cm. Stick a piece of sage into each slit followed by a piece of apple.

Apple and sage stuck into pork

Apple and sage stuck into pork

Place the pork in a large roasting pan. Surround the pork with the onions, potatoes and remaining apple pieces. Lightly dust the pork and vegetables with plain flour, then mustard powder. Pour apple cider and ½ cup water into the roasting pan and cook at medium heat 180°C for 1 hour per kg.

Golden brown and lovely

Golden brown and lovely

Once cooked to well done, remove and carve the leg. Remove vegetables and make gravy with the sauce surrounding the leg. Add ½ cup red wine to the sauce and mix together. Serve on top of carved roast pork.

Slice and serve with roasted vegetables

Slice and serve with roasted vegetables

Fresh home grown potatoes

Fresh home grown potatoes

Chicken and Rooster happy to be free

Chicken and Rooster happy to be free

Figs

Figs

Banana Flowers

Banana Flowers

Friendly native wildlife

Friendly native wildlife

Fashion on the Farm

Fashion on the Farm

Honey Chicken and Baked Spring Rolls – Cooking Class 1

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

My sisters and I have wanted to join a cooking class to learn some new cooking techniques and recipes as well as meeting a few new people and having a great time. Although with all the moving that’s going to be happening with my family, we don’t have much extra time or flexibility with a course.

SpringRolls

So K. came up with a great idea, we each choose a dish we’ve never made before and would like to make, buy the food, then everyone comes around and helps make it together. This way we each get to help make something new and try a whole range of new foods as well as have a bit of fun!

K. was first up and chose a Chinese-themed night: Baked Spring Rolls and Honey Chicken with stir-fry vegetables. We were each allocated a separate job with preparing the vegetables for the spring rolls, cooking the filling and rolling them, as well as cutting the chicken, making the batter and sauce and cooking it in hot oil.

HoneyChicken

The recipe for the honey chicken was a bit lacking in some quantities, leaving some trouble-shooting for the batter, which included at least 10 minutes of people jamming a fork into the non-Newtonian fluid (where the fluid behaves like a solid rather than a liquid) we made from the cornflour and water (check out a video of people running on pool filled with it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2XQ97XHjVw).
After more water was added the mixture started acting a bit more like batter is supposed to. Although once cooked, the crispy chicken was coated in a lovely honey syrup and tasted great!

With all that oil, batter and honey, we were lucky that my sister had chosen baked spring roll recipe rather than another deep-fried recipe. These spring rolls are extra tasty and I’m sure they’d be quite healthy too and can certainly be adapted to make Vegetarian spring rolls by omitting the chicken and ham.

Oven Baked Spring Rolls
Recipe from Nutrition Australia website

Makes 20

1 teaspoon oil for trays
2 teaspoons oil
1 medium onion, diced
½ teaspoon finely chopped ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
5 mushrooms, finely diced
½ capsicum, finely diced
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
½ – 1 cup finely diced cooked lean ham or chicken
½ cup bean sprouts, e.g. mung beans
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon salt-reduced soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (choose one or a combination of: parsley, coriander, basil)
250g packet frozen spring roll pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 200 C. Brush an oven tray with oil/ or lightly spray with oil.
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add celery, mushrooms, capsicum and cabbage and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add ham/ chicken and sprouts. Put on the lid and let vegetables cook for another minute.

Spring Roll Filling

Spring Roll Filling

Meanwhile combine the cornflour, sweet chilli sauce, soy, and herbs. Add the mixed sauces to the spring roll filling, heat until mixture boils and thickens. Remove saucepan from the heat and allow mixture to cool.
Place 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture on the bottom corner of one spring roll sheet. Fold edges of sheet in and roll up. Continue until all the mixture is used.

Place Filling on Spring Roll Sheet

Place Filling on Spring Roll Sheet

Fold base pf sheet up over filling

Fold base pf sheet up over filling

Fold sides of sheet to the middle then continue to roll up to make the spring roll

Fold sides of sheet to the middle then continue to roll up to make the spring roll

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Bake in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until the spring rolls are golden brown. Serve with a dipping sauce as a snack or with rice for a main meal.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce

Serve with sweet chilli sauce


Chinese Honey Chicken

Recipe from Geocities

Serves: 4-6

500g skinless chicken breast
¾ cup honey
1 cup cornflour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 egg whites
cold water (we used around ½ cup)
oil for deep-frying
extra cornflour (for dusting chicken)
1½ teaspoons sweet chilli sauce
garnish: spring onion (chopped) or sesame seeds

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Make the batter: mix together cornflour, baking powder, beaten egg whites and cold water.

Coat the chicken in the batter

Coat the chicken in the batter

Dust chicken with cornflour then dip it into the batter. Deep-fry chicken pieces for 1 min or till crisp on the outside and cooked through.

Deep fry the battered chicken in hot oil

Deep fry the battered chicken in hot oil

In another pan, add honey and chilli sauce and heat over medium heat. Pour hot sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve immediately.

Add honey sauce over crispy chicken and serve

Add honey sauce over crispy chicken and serve

The first cooking class is finished, next is Nick’s turn…

Portuguese Custard Tarts

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Portuguese_Custard_Tarts

Fresh home-made creamy thick custard with flaky buttery pastry… who could resist? I doubt many people at all (except perhaps my brother). Even people who wouldn’t normally like custard, probably because they’ve only had the runny bought custard, love these tarts.

I was only recently introduced to Portuguese custard tarts, first at work and then I decided to make my own as there aren’t any places near my house or work that sell them. I’ve tried a few variations, including the one from “Sweet Food” which I made the pastry and custard from scratch. Unfortunately the pastry turned out too crunchy and not as crispy and flaky as I would have liked and the custard was a bit too sweet.

I searched and searched for a reasonable recipe for pastry with Portuguese custard tarts, although most recipes use store-bought puff pastry and in the end this worked out best.

I made some of Bill Grangers Portuguese Custard Tarts for my Kitchen Tea a while ago and many of the guests liked them. So I have stuck with this recipe. They are tasty both warm out of the oven and cooled down.

This recipe is adapted from the UKTV site with the recipe from Bill Granger.

Portuguese Custard Tarts

Makes: 12-18

3 free-range egg yolks
115g caster sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
230 ml double/thick cream
170 ml milk
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1-2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry

Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan and whisk together. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until smooth.

Egg yolks, sugar and cornflour whisked

Egg yolks, sugar and cornflour whisked

Milk and cream combined with egg mix

Milk and cream combined with egg mix

Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Thicken custard

Thicken custard

Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375F/Gas 5.

Lightly grease one or two 12-hole (80ml/2½fl oz) muffin tins.

Cut the pastry sheet in half, put one half on top of the other and set aside for five minutes. Roll up the pastry tightly from the shorter-sided end and cut the pastry log into twelve 1cm/½in rounds.

Pastry rolled and sliced

Pastry rolled and sliced

Lay each pastry round on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out until each is 10cm/4in in diameter.

Rolled pastry slices in muffin tin with cooled custard

Rolled pastry slices in muffin tin with cooled custard

Press the pastry rounds into the holes in the muffin tin. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry and custard are golden.

Portuguese_Custard_Tarts_cooked
Leave the tarts in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Portuguese_Custard_Tarts_Rolled

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