Dessert

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Peanut Caramel

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Everyone has had the experience when they see a photo of food they just have to make. I started sending emails titled: “I want this” when I saw this cake. I only had to find time and an occasion. And what better occasion than a surprise morning tea for a wonderful friend who was off to get married.

Making the cake wasn’t difficult, each part was quite easy and didn’t take long, although you do need time for it to set between each layer.

I made the biscuit base and had that in the fridge while I made the caramel, then left this for most of the day, made the chocolate layer and whilst the chocolate was in the fridge I made the cream cheese part. I left this overnight and put the final touches on the cake after work. (If you want to do this at night, it will take 3 nights). I left off the Italian meringue due to someone having an egg allergy, and instead covered it in chocolate curls and bought sea shell chocolates.

The biggest difficulty with this cake was cutting it. I think I may have cooked my caramel too long, and when stored in the fridge it became very hard and difficult to cut (it was fine to eat though, and was not too hard to chew). This is something I would be a bit more careful about next time, although I am not sure how I would tell the right consistency, as the caramel was quite runny when warm. The cake is best served chilled, but the caramel is far easier to cut when at room temperature.

I would definitely make this cake again, the flavours worked so beautifully together, and you only need a very small serve (after I ate a piece, I could not eat anything else at the morning tea).

P.S. The photos of this cake were from the piece I managed to bring back home from work so Nick could try some of the cake. It was not cold anymore by this stage, and so was easy to cut.

Triple-choc cheesecake with salted peanut caramel

Australian Good Taste – April 2012 , Page 8
Original Recipe by Michelle Southan

This recipe is adapted, with the removal of the Italaian meringue

Melted butter, to grease
400g plain chocolate biscuits
150g butter, melted
5g butter, extra
260g Dark Cooking Chocolate, finely chopped
150g White Cooking Chocolate, finely chopped
375g cream cheese, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
310ml (11/4 cups) thickened cream
1 1/2 tbs hot water
3 tsp gelatine powder

Salted peanut caramel

315g (11/2 cups) caster sugar
185ml (3/4 cup) water
250ml (1 cup) double cream
120g (3/4 cup) salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Chocolate curls and sea shell chocolates for decoration

Release the base from a 6cm-deep, 22cm (base measurement) springform pan and invert. Brush with butter. Line the base with non-stick baking paper, allowing the edge to overhang. Secure the base back into the pan.

Process the biscuits in a food processor until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Transfer to the prepared pan. Use a straight-sided glass to spread and press the mixture firmly over the base and side. Place in the fridge to chill.

To make the salted peanut caramel, stir the sugar and water in a large saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, brushing down the side of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush, for 18-20 minutes or until deep golden. Remove from heat. Stir in the cream. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Stir in peanuts. Spoon over the biscuit base. Smooth the surface. Place in the fridge for 3 hours or until firm.

Place the extra butter and 60g of the dark chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cook, stirring every 30 seconds, on High/ 800watts/100% for 11/2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Spread over the caramel to cover. Set aside for 10 minutes to set.

Stir the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) until smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Process the cream cheese, sugar and 185ml (3/4 cup) of the cream in a food processor until smooth. Add the white chocolate and process until well combined.

Place the hot water in a small heatproof bowl and sprinkle with the gelatine. Place bowl in a slightly larger heatproof bowl filled with boiling water. Set aside, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the gelatine dissolves. Remove smaller bowl from larger bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. add to cream cheese mixture. Process until well combined. Pour cream cheese mixture over dark chocolate. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 4 hours to set.

Stir remaining dark chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat until smooth. Pour over cheesecake. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

Decorate the top with chocolate curls or shavings, or patterns and sea shells.

Filled Pate a Choux Swans – Daring Bakers Challenge August 2012

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pate a choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!

I have made a tower of profiteroles before, but never a Swan (or other animal). One of the things I love about the croquembouche is the toffee and custard combination, and I think these swans would have looked lovely with toffee on their wings (but I didn’t have time to try it).

When I started this challenge, last night, I didn’t have many people to share the dessert with, so decided to halve the recipe for the choux pastry, as I find they don’t last very well overnight – and this recipe didn’t have any toffee (like the croquembouche), which helps disguise day old choux pastry. I found this recipe did not turn out how it should. The flour added to the butter/water mix didn’t form a solid enough dough. I am not sure if this is due to the amount of water or that it wasn’t boiling (the butter was just melted). This in turn made the final choux pastry quite liquidy. I placed it back on low/medium heat and whisked vigorously, it eventually became solid enough to pipe – although didn’t cook as nicely as it should.

I made the full amount of the vanilla creme, as I always love custards, although this is much lighter and creamier than the normal custard I would make, so after filling the few swans I made, I placed the vanilla creme in the freezer to see how it goes 🙂

I was surprised at how the swans turned out, when I had made the different sections I thought it would look nothing like a swan, but I was happy with the look and taste (and short time required by) the challenge.

Recipe Source: Good Housekeeping Illustrated Guide to Cooking, 1980 edition.

Vanilla Creme

1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) (1/4 oz) (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
4 large egg yolks, well beaten
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy (whipping) cream (about 35% butterfat)

In a medium saucepan combine gelatin, flour, and sugar. Mix very well.
Add milk and egg yolks and turn heat to medium-low. Stir almost constantly until mixture is thick enough to cover the back of your spatula or spoon. This should take about 10 minutes.
Once thick, immediately dump into a bowl, straining the mixture if you are concerned about lumps of cooked egg.
Add the vanilla, and mix in well.
Cover the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill for about 45 minutes. You do not want the mixture to set, just to continue thickening.
Now is a good time to begin your choux paste.
In a large bowl, beat cream until light peaks form. Carefully fold the vanilla mixture into the whipped cream until the mixture is well-blended and fairly smooth.
Refrigerate mixture if not using immediately.

Pate a choux

(cannot be doubled)

½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) butter
1 cup (240 ml) water
¼ teaspoon (1½ gm) salt
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Line at least two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, or grease pans well.
Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5 .
In a small saucepot, combine butter, water, and salt. Heat over until butter melts, then remove from stove.
Add flour all at once and beat, beat, beat the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot.
Add one egg, and beat until well combined. Add remaining eggs individually, beating vigorously after each addition. Resulting mixture should be somewhat glossy, very smooth, and somewhat thick.
Using a ¼” (6 mm) tip on a pastry bag, pipe out about 36 swan heads. You’re aiming for something between a numeral 2 and a question mark, with a little beak if you’re skilled and/or lucky.
Remove the tip from the bag and pipe out 36 swan bodies. These will be about 1.5” (40 mm) long, and about 1” (25 mm) wide. One end should be a bit narrower than the other.
Bake the heads and bodies until golden and puffy. The heads will be done a few minutes before the bodies, so keep a close eye on the baking process.
Remove the pastries to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling.

Assembly

Take a swan body and use a very sharp knife to cut off the top 1/3rd to ½.
Cut the removed top down the center to make two wings.
Dollop a bit of filling into the body, insert head, and then add wings.


Your first attempt will probably not look like much, but the more you make, the more your bevy of swans will become a beautiful work of swan art.

Gaytime goes nuts

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The wonderfully talented Christine Manfield featured on the season finale of MasterChef this year. I haven’t watched much MasterChef this year, but I always have to watch for the dessert in the finale. It never ceases to amaze and I always want to make it.

I watched the contestants eating the dessert with envy, and couldn’t stop saying – I want that dessert. Straight after the finale, I went searching the internet for the recipe, hoping it was featured in a book or magazine. Luckily it was featured on the MasterChef website the next day, and I set to task planning, buying and cooking.

It took me a lot longer to make everything, as I had to cool the ice cream base for most of a day/ overnight before churning. I also had a lot of dishes to wash between making everything. Overall it probably took 1 1/2 – 2 days.

It certainly gives you an even greater appreciation for the beautiful desserts made at top end restaurants, and I am feeling excited at the thought of the next hatted restaurant I go to (I have yet to decide where to go). I can’t wait to go to Universal too. I have wanted to go there for dinner for at least a year or two. Maybe I’ll go there.

When it comes to this dessert, all I can say is it is wonderful (and quite rich). The components worked beautifully together and it looks gorgeous.

My notes on the recipe:
It makes a lot more than 4 serves. (Maybe 10-16?)

I needed to use my 2 ice cream makers twice! The honeycomb ice cream made around 2L of liquid before churning, and the caramel ice cream made a bit over 1L before churning. If you don’t have two ice cream makers, you may prefer to halve the honeycomb recipe, or be ready to mix the ice cream every hour or so in the freezer.

For the ice cream, I filled a 19cm square tin (approx 3-4cm height) for each ice cream. I could not have put the ice cream in half a tin as I think it wouldn’t have held its shape. Even with filling up the two tins, I had ice cream left over.

I made my own fondant icing using this recipe

I could not find wafer balls and had to use maltesers and honeycomb balls instead.

I did not have access to the 250g Valrhona gianduja hazelnut chocolate, so used 50g nutella + 100g milk chocolate + 100g dark chocolate. (I am sure the Valrhona gianduja hazelnut chocolate would have tasted amazing). The mousse ended up being quite chocolatey and not very hazelnut-y.

I also didn’t have Valrhona Caramelia chocolate, so used some Calebaut chocolate and milk cooking chocolate.

I am not sure of the strength of the gelatine leaves I had, so I used 1 1/2 leaves which weighed 6g.

I don’t have a thermomix, so made the anglaise the same way I made the ice cream base. (heat the cream, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add the hot cream, pour this into the saucepan and heat until 80-84C.)

I cooked the ice cream bases in the saucepans rather than a bowl over water, as this is how I normally make ice cream.

Be careful with the caramel ice cream (I am not sure whether adding some of the ice cream base to the caramel would be a better idea, than adding the caramel to the ice cream base.) When I made it the way it said here, the caramel splattered out of the pot and a little bit landed on my arm. Be careful of your eyes and keep children away from hot caramel as it can cause nasty burns.

I made my own template out of paper – it was a bit flimsy though, cardboard might have been better.

I needed to sieve quite a lot of the chocolate caramel over the template, and place it in the oven for a while (1-2min) for it to completely melt.

Hopefully these tips will help anyone attempting to make this dessert at home.

Please enjoy the dessert if you make it, or if you go to Universal!

Gaytime goes nuts

Recipe by: Christine Manfield
Serves: 4 (I think it serves at least 10 people)
Recipe found on MasterChef website

Honeycomb
360g caster sugar
120g glucose
60ml water
15g bicarbonate of soda

Honeycomb ice cream
700ml pure cream
750ml milk
8 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
250g chopped honeycomb

Caramel ice cream

300g caster sugar
75ml water
750ml pure cream
375ml milk
9 egg yolks
90g caster sugar

Base anglaise
50g egg yolks
25g caster sugar
125ml pure cream
125ml milk

Hazelnut chocolate mousse

150g base anglaise
2 leaves gold-leaf gelatine, softened in cold water
250g Valrhona gianduja hazelnut chocolate, chopped
200ml pure cream, whipped to soft peaks

Hazelnut caramel
200ml pure cream
75g glucose
½ vanilla bean, split
100g caster sugar
25g unsalted butter, chopped
1½ cups hazelnuts, roasted and peeled, coarsely chopped
Vanilla salt, to taste

Chocolate collar wafers
240g liquid/pouring fondant sugar
160g glucose
160g Valrhona Caramelia chocolate, chopped

Gaytime Dust
50g chocolate ripple biscuits
150g sponge fingers (savoiardi)
30g hard nougat
20g honeycomb

chocolate wafer balls to serve

1. For honeycomb, line a deep large baking tray with baking paper.

2. Place sugar, glucose and water in large saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

3. Bring to the boil, without stirring, then cook until mixture just begins to change colour. Agitate the pan to circulate the colour. You want a very pale yellow colour (as when the bi-carb is added the honeycomb will cook quickly and burn).

4. Remove the pan from the heat, add bi-carb and whisk quickly. Pour into prepared tray and leave to cool.

5. Break into large chunks and store in airtight container until required.

6. For honeycomb ice cream, place cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.

7. Whisk yolks and sugar in a metal bowl until thicken and pale, gradually pour in hot cream and whisk constantly to combine.

8. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Cook the custard, stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture coats the back of the spoon.

9. Cool over a bowl of iced water or in a shallow tray in the blast chiller until cold.

10. Pour into a pacojet cannister. N.B. Make sure it is not filled above the safety line. You need to allow room for the ice cream to expand. Place cannister in blast freezer until set solid in the centre, about 1 hour 30 minutes or overnight in a freezer. Churn in pacojet. N.B. Make sure you press the release button before removing from machine or you will damage the machine. If you don’t have a pacojet, churn in an ice-cream machine following manufacturer instructions.

11. Line a 16x25cm base-measurement 3cm-deep slice tin with cling wrap or baking paper. Fold honeycomb through churned ice cream. Spread ice cream into one half of the tin. Make sure you have enough for 4 x 4.5cm disks. The caramel ice cream will fill the other half.

12. Place in blast freezer until firm. When firm, use a round cookie cutter to cut out 4.5cm discs, place on a tray and blast freeze discs until firm.

13. For caramel ice cream, place sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, agitating occasionally to ensure sugar is dissolved before mixture reaches the boil. Continue to boil until mixture reaches a deep caramel colour.

14. Meanwhile, place cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.

15. Whisk yolks and sugar in a metal bowl until thicken and pale, gradually pour in hot cream and whisk constantly to combine.

16. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Cook the custard, stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture coats the back of the spoon.

17. Pour in hot caramel and whisk until smooth and combined. Cool over a bowl of iced water or in a shallow tray in the blast chiller or freezer until cold.

18. Pour into a pacojet cannister. N.B. Make sure it is not filled above the safety line. You need to allow room for the ice cream to expand. Place cannister in blast freezer until set solid in the centre, about 1 hour 30 minutes or overnight in a freezer. Churn in pacojet. N.B. Make sure you press the release button before removing from machine or you will damage the machine. If you don’t have a pacojet churn in an ice-cream machine following manufacturer instructions.

19. Spread into the unfilled half of the 16 x 25cm base measurement 3cm-deep slice tin. Make sure you have enough for 4 x 4.5cm disks. When firm, use a round cookie cutter to cut out 4.5cm discs, place on a tray and blast freeze until firm.

20. For anglaise, to operate thermomix, press time first, then temperature, then speed. Place egg yolks and sugar in thermo jug, set 20 seconds, then speed 7.

21. Add cream and milk, and set for 7.5 minutes, then 80°C button and then speed 4. Light will stop flashing once anglaise comes up to temperature.

22. For hazelnut chocolate mousse, pour 80°C base anglaise into a large metal bowl, add softened gelatine, stirring to dissolve the gelatine, then cool over ice to 45°C.

23. While anglaise is cooling, place chocolate in a metal bowl over water bath and heat to 45°C.

24. Fold melted chocolate through anglaise until combined. Cool completely over a bowl of iced water, fold in whipped cream.

25. Divide into 2 plastic rectangle containers and refrigerate until firm. Do not blast freeze as it weakens the gelatine structure.

26. For hazelnut caramel, place cream, glucose and vanilla bean in a saucepan over a medium heat until simmering.

27. Make a dry caramel by melting sugar in a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, and continue to cook, agitating the pan occasionally until sugar reaches a caramel colour.

28. Pour in warmed cream mixture, stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes until caramel dissolves.

29. Add butter and stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool, stirring occasionally.

30. To serve, combine a few tablespoons of chopped nuts with a few tablespoons of caramel and season with vanilla salt to taste.

31. For chocolate collar wafers, preheat oven to 200°C. Place a silver oven tray upside down in oven and allow to become very hot.

32. Place fondant sugar and glucose in a saucepan and cook to 180°C. Add chocolate and mix until smooth, making a homogenous paste. Spread onto a silicone mat, roll to 5mm thick with a silicone rolling pin and leave to cool. Break set toffee into pieces and transfer to a bowl.

33. Take 1/3 of toffee and place in a mortar and pestle. Pound to rough 1cm pieces and transfer to a thermo mix or blender. Blitz to a fine powder. Tap jug on a bench to loosen and blitz for a further 10-15 seconds.

34. Spoon some of the powder into a fine sieve, place a rectangular 20 x 7.5cm stencil over a silicone mat on a flat baking tray that has one end open for easy transfer. Sieve mixture over stencil to 1-2mm thick. The powder should just be level with the thickness of the stencil.

35. Place one finger at one end of the stencil to keep in place and gently lift the opposite end, ensuring not to indent the powder. Lift the stencil away completely.

36. Take the upside down oven tray from the oven and place upside down on a flat bench. Gently slide the powder-covered mat onto the tray and allow powder to melt completely, this will take 60-90 seconds. If the powder doesn’t melt together completely place in the oven for 15-30 seconds.

37. Run a small crank spatula over the wafer to check consistency. You want it to be set and cool enough to be pliable and easy to roll but not hot enough that it stretches easily.

38. Lift up one end by gently flicking it with the spatula, lay a 5.5cm base-diameter squeezy bottle over hot wafer and roll up around the bottle. Gently press the join to the hot mat to seal and gently ease off the bottle. Repeat until you have the desired amount of wafer cylinders.

39. For gaytime dust, blitz together to a fine crumb.

To assemble:

A bowl of gaytime dust
A tray of ice cream rounds, 4x honey comb and 4x caramel rounds
A small bowl or plate of chocolate wafer balls

Chocolate wafer collars
A small bowl of caramel
Chopped roasted hazelnuts
Vanilla salt
3 dessert spoons, for serving
A palette knife
A white cloth
A bowl of warm water, for quenelling

1. Place a spoonful of gaytime dust in the centre of a serving plate and flatten a central circle large enough to fit the chocolate collar wafer.

2. Take a round of honeycomb ice cream and place it in the centre. Dip the caramel ice cream in the chocolate wafer balls and place on top.

3. Gently ease the chocolate wafer collar over the ice cream to encase and fill with a little bit more ice cream if required to bring it to 1cm below the top of the collar.

4. Combine the hazelnuts and caramel and season to taste with vanilla salt. Spoon on to the ice cream to cover and bring to the top of the collar.

5. Place a spoonful of gay time dust over the caramel and top with a quenelle of mousse.

De-constructed Lemon Tart

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

We saw chef Jowett Yu on MasterChef (on Dan Hong’s team) make a de-constructed lemon tart for the first Battle for Immunity Challenge this year, I searched the internet a couple days later hoping to find the recipe on the MasterChef website. The judges had made such wonderful comments, I felt like I needed to try this dish. Unfortunately I could not find the recipe. So I decided to try and make my own, based on what I could remember from the show.

Depending on the lemons you use this recipe may be a little tart, no pun intended. You can always add extra sugar to the granita or curd if you prefer. I wanted to make sure the granita was nice and ice-y, and not syrupy which is why I didn’t add more sugar here.

I know this dessert is unlikely to be as nice as the one made by Jowett, although experimenting with food is so exciting, and rewarding even when it’s not perfect. I have only had a chance to make this once, and try to write out the recipe as I went along. I hope if you try it, you enjoy it.

P.S. So happy my yellow dancing oncidium orchid has re-flowered. I bought it last year in flower, probably grown in Queensland where it is much hotter than Sydney, so I had doubts as to what our winter would do to it. I have had it outside with my cymbidium orchids, without a greenhouse, and it seems very happy. (much happier than inside where it shrivels a little). I have a few more oncidiums that I haven’t seen flower, so in a few years I hope to update you with the results of keeping them outside.

De-constructed Lemon Tart

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert
Serves; 4
You may need or want to make some components the night before

Lemon Granita
1 lemon, juice (~70ml) and zest (no pith)
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup caster sugar

Place all the ingredients into a small/medium saucepan, stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, turn to high/medium and cook until boiling. Boil for five minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a loaf tin. Place the tin into the freezer once the mixture has cooled. Once frozen (leave overnight or a few hours), use a fork to break into ice crystals. You can do this twice to make the granita fluffier. Store in the freezer until ready to serve.

Lemon Curd
2 lemons, juice and zest
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
80g butter

Whisk together the eggs with the caster sugar and cornflour in a medium saucepan, until light and thick. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Place the butter in the saucepan with the other ingredients and place on medium heat. Whisk until the butter melts into the mixture, and then the whole mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Once thickened, strain the curd into a bowl and cover with plastic film touching the curd to prevent a skin forming. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Lemon Toffee
Zest of 1 lemon (no pith, this will make it bitter)
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water

Place all ingredients into a small/medium saucepan. Place on low/medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and turn the heat to high.Cook on high until the mixture turns a golden colour (~150-160C). Pour onto a tray lined with baking paper. Once cooled, you can break or chop into small pieces. Store in an airtight container if storing, although best used on day of making.

Pastry
120g plain flour
20g icing sugar
25g pistachios
60g butter, chilled and chopped
1 egg

In a food processor, process the flour, icing sugar, pistachios for a few pulses. Add the chilled butter, process until like breadcrumbs, and little butter can be seen. Add the egg yolk, reserving the egg white. Blend together, If the mixture does not start to come together, add a bit of the egg white, until the pastry starts to come together.

Place the pastry on a lightly floured board and knead until it comes together. Roll the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Place the pastry on a baking tray and remove the top piece of baking paper.

Preheat oven to 180C. Once the oven is at temperature, place the pastry on the tray into the oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the tray, Then cool on a cooling rack. Break into pieces (removing any parts that are too brown). Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

To Serve:
Spoon the lemon curd into the bottom of a large bowl glass. Place the broken pastry and toffee on top. Top with lemon granita and serve straight away.

Armenian Nazook & Nutmeg Cake – Daring Bakers Challenge April 2012

Saturday, April 28th, 2012


The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

I love a fragrant slice of Armenian nutmeg cake. My mum has been making it for years, since I was a child, and now I have also been making it (although can’t seem to get it as perfect as my Mum’s). Like most cakes, there are always changes people make to recipes, and our recipe differed from the one mentioned here in two ways that I can think of.

This cake has walnuts on top, whereas ours has slivered almonds. Both are a great addition to the cake. The other change my Mum made to the original recipe she was given by a friend, was only using 1/3 of the mixture for the base, making a thinner base (depending on your preference, this may be an improvement, or perhaps not), I’ll leave it up to you to decide. I enjoyed making the nutmeg cake to someone else’s recipe and obviously enjoyed eating it, as it has a lovely spiced flavour.

The Nazook was an exciting addition to this months challenge, and was the first of the two recipes for me to try. The pastry was quite easy to make, which I placed in the fridge overnight (it required quite a bit of work to get it soft enough to roll though as it was quite solid). The mixture for the inside and the assembly was also quite easy. When the pastries came out of the oven the fillings had come out a bit, and didn’t look as together as I had expected. The taste was lovely, and they were best eaten on the day of making.

Jason’s Recipe Source: The nazook is my Aunt Aida’s recipe. I’ve tried a LOT of nazook, and have to say hers is the best I’ve tried. The Armenian nutmeg cake is adapted from a recipe for the same in The Commonsense Cookery Book, by the NSW Cookery Teachers’ Scholarship Fund.

Nazook

Yields 40 pieces

Pastry dough

3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
2½ teaspoons (12½ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) softened butter (room temperature)

Filling

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (210 gm) (7½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (340 gm/12 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) softened butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

Wash

1-2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg)

Directions:

Make the Pastry Dough
1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
3. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
4. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
5. If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.

Make the filling
7. Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the nazook
10. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
11. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
12. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
13. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not
transparent.

14. Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Try to spread the filling as close as possible to the edges on the short sides, but keep some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.

15. From one of the long sides, start slowly rolling the dough across. Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.

16. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
17. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.

18. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

19. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.

20. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Makes one 9”/23cm cake which yields 12 servings

Ingredients

1 cup (240 ml) milk (I use whole, but nonfat or lowfat should be fine; non-dairy might work just fine, as well)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour (I suspect pastry flour or another low-gluten flour might even work better to achieve a light, fluffy crumb)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) baking powder (I used single-acting, because it’s aluminum-free, and it turned out fantastic)
2 cups (480 ml) (400 gm/14 oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) butter, preferably unsalted, cubed
1/2 cup (120 ml) (55 gm/2 oz) walnut pieces, may need a little more
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons (5 to 7 ½ ml) (5 to 8 gm) ground nutmeg (try to grate it fresh yourself; the aroma is enchanting)
1 egg

Directions:

Directions – the Traditional Way (The Fast, Easy Way further down)
1. Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
2. Mix the baking soda (not baking powder; that’s for the next step) into the milk. Set it aside.
3. Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. One sift is fine
4. Add the brown sugar. Go ahead and mix the flour and brown sugar together. Or not.
5. Toss in the cubed butter.

6. Mash the butter with a fork into the dry ingredients (you can also use your fingers if you want). You’ll want to achieve a more-or-less uniform, tan-colored crumbly mixture.

7. Take HALF of this resulting crumbly mixture into your springform (9”/23cm) pan. Press a crust out of it using your fingers and knuckles. It will be easy.

8. Crack an egg into a mixer or bowl.
9. Toss the nutmeg in with the egg.
10. Start mixing slowly with a whisk attachment and then increase to medium speed, or mix with a hand whisk if you’re doing it manually. Once it’s mixed well and frothy (about 1 minute using a standing mixer, or about 2-3 minutes of vigorous beating with a whisk), pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until uniform.
11. Pour in the rest of the crumbly mixture. Mix that well, with either a paddle attachment, or a spatula. Or continue to use the whisk; it won’t make much of a difference, since the resulting batter is very liquidy.

12. Pour the batter over the base in the springform pan.

13. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.

14. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 30-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the top is a golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
15. Allow to cool in the pan, and then release. Enjoy!

An Even Easier Way…if you have a Food Processor

1. Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4 .
2. Mix the baking soda (not baking powder) into the milk. Set aside.
3. Put the flour, baking powder, and the brown sugar into your food processor. Pulse until uniformly mixed.
4. Toss in the cubed butter. Pulse until uniformly mixed into tan-colored crumbs.
5. Pour HALF of the crumbs into your springform (9”/23cm) pan. Press out a crust using your fingers and knuckles.
6. Crack the egg into the food processor with the rest of the crumbs still in it.
7. Grate 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Toss that into the food processor, too. Pulse until well-incorporated.
8. Pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until a slightly lumpy tan batter is formed.
9. Pour the batter over the crust in the springform pan.
10. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
11. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for 30-40 minutes. It’s ready when the top is golden brown, and when it passes the toothpick test (comes out clean).
12. Cool the cake in the pan, and then dig in. Yum yum!

Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips: Nazook will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks, and the Armenian nutmeg cake will keep (covered) at room temperature for 2-3 days. Both taste even better still warm from the oven.

Allow to cool completely before attempting to freeze. Nazook will freeze best if put in a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. Armenian Nutmeg Cake will also freeze fairly well if completely sealed. Both can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Additional Information:

Both recipes might be able to be adapted to be gluten-free and/or vegan, although I have not tried myself. Gluten-free flour, coconut oil (instead of butter), pureed silken tofu (instead of sour cream), and nut milk (instead of egg yolk) might be useful starting points.

Pear and Custard Tart

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Pears have come into season, and are ripening beautifully on the kitchen counter.

This tart is quite easy to make, with the custard being able to be prepared far in advance, and just cut the pear up soon before baking (to prevent browning of the pear).

The pear is not pre-cooked, so retains the fresh pear flavour, so make sure it is a nice ripe and firm pear you choose for your dessert.

The dessert combines crispy pastry, creamy rich hot custard, fresh pear and cold ice cream. I hope you enjoy.

I have entered this into the “What can you pear with a pear” challenge run by the Australian Pear Industry. Although I may not have gone far out of the box (or out of the box at all), I am certainly happy with how this recipe turned out, and managed to make it three times this month. I hope you enjoy this recipe and the others that have been entered into the competition.

Pear and Custard Tart

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Serves: 4

1 sheet puff pastry, cut into 4 squares
1 ripe (and still firm) pear, peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50g) caster sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons (~13g) cornflour
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence)
Vanilla ice cream, home-made or store-bought
Icing sugar or icing sugar mixture, to serve

To prepare custard, heat milk and vanilla bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat until warmed (if using vanilla essence, add at the very end of the custard recipe). Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a small/medium bowl, until lightened in colour and thickened. Slowly pour in the warm milk while whisking the yolk mixture. Strain this mixture back into the saucepan, removing the vanilla pod. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard has thickened. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl (add essence at this point if you are not using a vanilla bean). Place plastic cling film over the custard, touching the custard to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until required. (The custard can be made 1/2 hour, or even a few days, before using).

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place squares of puff pastry on one or two baking trays with baking paper. Place the custard in the middle of the pastry squares, leaving an edge of 2cm. Fan out the thinly cut pear slices over the custard.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (checking after 10-15 minutes, and rotating if necessary). Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, place on plate and dust with icing sugar and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Sans Rival – Daring Bakers Challenge November 2011

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

I can’t believe how close the Christmas and New Year holidays are. This year I was so sure I was going to make a fruit cake – not for myself, but for some of the special people in my life who do like or love fruit cake… I had grand plans of soaking the dried fruit in alcohol for weeks before making the cake and then allowing the taste to mature. I’m not even sure if this is the right way of going about making a fruit cake – so would love any tips from readers who can point me in the direction of some great (and maybe some that are also quick) tasty fruit cake recipes.

If I don’t get around to making fruit cake, I think there are already orders in for custard filled profiteroles with toffee. Hopefully a new Christmas tradition for our family – I know I love it.

I’m also hoping the next daring bakers challenge will be a non time consuming one, due to every weekend being filled with social activities, and days filled with work I want to get done before the quick break.

Luckily for this challenge, I decided to make it as soon as possible, and am glad I did, as the weekends filled up fast. I decided to make the chocolate Sans Rival, and found it to be lovely, but quite rich – it worked well with some vanilla ice cream to cut the richness.

The meringue was very difficult for me to get right, as I only have two spots for trays in the oven, and needed to make 4 layers – I did these on trays rather than cake pans, as I didn’t want to wash up between each bake. I also think I made the buttercream on a particularly hot day, causing a bit more of a butter taste than I would prefer.

You can also see in the background a bouquet I made from flowers from my garden, including a “red” hydrangea, sweet peas and some roses I planted back in July and have now been flowering beautifully.

Thanks to our host for this month, I understand how much effort must go into organising these challenges.

Sans Rival

Servings: 12

Ingredients
10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews (about 2/3 finely ground, and 1/3 chopped for decorations)

Directions:
Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.

(Note the more finely ground for folding into meringue. The coarsely ground for is decoration of finished cake.)

5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:

Ingredients
5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like

Directions:
1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.

Assembly:
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. It is easier to cut cold. May freeze.

Pineapple Sorbet and Tropical Granita with Fruit Salad

Thursday, October 6th, 2011


Daylight savings has just begun, it is no longer dark when I get home from work (and only mildly darker when I leave). I am able to stop and smell the roses (and this is not just a saying in my case, as my first roses are opening for the season, and it just so happens to be a double delight rose).

It is starting to feel like summer, with the all the extra light, although I would not wish Spring gone too soon – as it is my favourite season.

More fruits are coming back in season, and we can start eating icy cold sorbets again.

As pineapples are one of my favourite fruits, I started making this pineapple sorbet at least a year ago now. It can certainly be eaten by itself, although it also pairs perfectly with this refreshing tropical granita and the fruit salad.

This is certainly a great way to make a fruit salad stand out a bit more and grab attention.

I have tried to plate the fruit salad artistically. It is simpler to serve it in a bowl, but it looks very pretty this way.

I have only tried the sorbet using an ice cream maker and it becomes almost creamy in texture. It’s amazing how the colour changes too, lightening up and becoming whiter as the mixture thickens. I am sure you could make it using the alternate method of removing the mix from the freezer and mixing it every hour for 3 or more hours and returning to the freezer. Although I am unsure as to whether it will result in the same creamy texture.

I am entering this recipe into a competition held by King of Fruit, a Queensland based business that supplies fresh pineapple to most outlets in Australia. I was lucky enough to be sent 3 lovely pineapples to inspire some recipes. If you have a chance, please check it out and vote for me 🙂 ( I think you only get one vote per email address.)

I have also entered my Herb and Orange Chicken with Pineapple and Capsicum served with Pomegranate, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad recipe into the competition.

Pineapple Sorbet and Tropical Granita with Fruit Salad

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Serves: 4 (with some leftover sorbet and granita)

Pineapple Sorbet

Makes: 1-1.4L sorbet

650g pineapple, cut into pieces
200g sugar (white sugar or castor sugar) (1 cup)
200ml water

Process the pineapple in a food processor. Place the pureed pineapple, sugar and water into a medium saucepan and cook on medium/high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to the boil (this may be difficult to see as the pureed pineapple can create a layer at the top). Boil for 5minutes, then strain into a bowl or jug. Allow to cool and refrigerate for a few hours or preferably overnight until very chilled.

Churn in ice cream maker according to instructions of machine. Eat straight away or freeze in a sealable container until ready to serve. Lasts at least 2 weeks in the freezer.

Tropical Granita

150g caster sugar (3/4 cup)
500 ml water (2 cups)
150g pineapple, cut into pieces
100g strawberries, cut in half
100g passionfruit pulp, fresh or frozen

Process the pineapple and strawberries in a food processor. Place the sugar, water, passionfruit pulp and pureed pineapple and strawberries into a medium saucepan (you can use the saucepan that was used for the pineapple sorbet if you want to save on washing up). Bring to the boil on medium/high and continue to boil for 5min. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place a piece of muslin cloth over a sieve, place this over a large pan that will take more than 1L of liquid (20cm x 30cm x 5cm). Pour the granita mix into the muslin cloth and allow the liquid to pass through. Use a spoon to help more liquid through, or use your hands to squeeze excess liquid out. If you don’t have muslin cloth, using a sieve on its own will work fine.

Place the pan in the freezer until solid (overnight). Use a fork to scratch the granita into fluffy ice crystals. Return to the freezer for another 2 hours (if longer, place in a sealed container) before serving.

Fruit Salad

2 slices pineapple, cut into wedges
1-2 apples (I used pink lady apples), cut into slices
2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
1 punnet (125g) blueberries
1-2 punnets (250g – 500g) strawberries, cut in half or quarters
1-2 bananas, sliced

Mix all fruit together in a bowl or place artistically on a plate.

To serve the Pineapple Sorbet and Tropical Granita with Fruit Salad, prepare the fruit salad and place the pineapple sorbet on top. Place the granita on the fruit salad just before serving.

Any component of this dessert can be served independently.

Chocolate Truffles and Peanut Butter Fudge – Daring Bakers Challenge August 2011

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

I have just been away for a fabulous 2 week holiday, leaving the rainy Sydney weather and enjoying beautiful 25 degree days in Port Douglas and the sand under my feet. I hope to give a short post on a few of my recommendations of restaurants and activities for those who are going there on a holiday soon.

We came home to lawn that needed mowing and the destruction of the first tulips I have planted in our garden, some fresias, irises, jonquils and snowflakes. We think it was either cockatoos, rabbits or a dog that destroyed some of the flowers and plants, but I am so excited about the flowers that weren’t destroyed and hope to post some of those pics soon as well.

I should get started talking about this month’s challenge though, and I must admit my delight at the array of recipes we were given to choose from for this challenge. We needed to make a chocolate and non-chocolate sweet, and were given methods for tempering chocolate, making truffles, chocolate coated sweets, filled chocolate, jellies and fudge.

Two of the recipes that I really wanted to make required specialised equipment and/or ingredients, which I did not have time to source before the challenge was due, although I am thinking of looking on the internet to find the moulds and ingredients so I can make these in the future.

Due to time constraints, I decided to make some of the easier looking recipes, and I have never made fudge before, so this was also an exciting new recipe to try. I found the truffle recipe a lot easier than a previous truffle recipe I have tried, and the fudge was easy as well, not needing a thermometer.

I woke up this morning and thought perhaps I would just coat my truffles in crushed nuts, but decided to push past my troubles with tempering chocolate, and tried to temper some of the nicest chocolate I have ever bought, using my marble slab. Unfortunately I still have some way to go before I manage to temper chocolate correctly, although I guess practice makes perfect…

Thanks to this month’s hosts. Everyone who has tried these sweets has loved the challenge, and loved that I’m a member of the Daring Bakers! 🙂

Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Truffles

Servings: Makes +- 30 truffles, recipe easily doubled or halved
Adapted from the Cook’s Academy Curriculum, Dublin
Active Time: 1 – 2hrs
Ganache Setting Time: 2 – 4hrs or Overnight

Praline Ingredients:
½ cup (120 ml/2 oz/60 gm) hazelnuts, shelled & skinned (or a combination of nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios)
½ cup (120 ml/4 oz/115 gm) granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water

Making the praline and ganache. Once set, making balls of the set ganache then rolling in crushed hazelnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C / 160°C Fan Assisted (convection oven); 350°F / 320°F convection / Gas Mark 4
2. Place whole hazelnut on a non-stick baking tray and dry roast for 10mins
3. Allow to cool
4. Place hazelnuts in a clean dry kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins
5. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicon mat
6. Place the skinned hazelnuts onto the prepared tray
7. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved
8. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil (do not stir), brushing down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals
9. Boil until the mixture turns amber (160°C – 170°C / 320°F- 340°F on a candy thermometer)
10. Remove from heat immediately and pour the syrup over the hazelnuts
11. Allow to cool completely
12. Break into small pieces
13. Transfer pieces to a food processor and process until desired texture, either fine or rough
14. Set aside

Ganache Ingredients
1¾ cup (9 oz. / 255 g) Milk chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup (4 oz. / 125 ml) Double/Heavy Cream (36% – 46% butterfat content)
2-3 Tablespoons (1-1 ½ oz. / 30ml – 45 ml) Frangelico Liqueur, optional

½ – 1 cup Crushed or Ground Roasted Hazelnuts for coating (I used pistachio and almonds)

Directions:
1. Finely chop the milk chocolate
2. Place into a heatproof medium sized bowl
3. Heat cream in a saucepan until just about to boil
4. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir gently until smooth and melted
5. Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes
6. Stir in the praline and (optional) liqueur
7. Leave to cool and set overnight or for a few hours in the fridge
8. Bring to room temperature to use

Forming the truffles:
1. Using teaspoons or a melon baller, scoop round balls of ganache
2. Roll them between the palms of your hands to round them off
Tip: Handle them as little as possible to avoid melting
Tip: I suggest wearing food safe latex gloves, less messy and slightly less heat from your hands
3. Finish off by rolling the truffle in the crushed roasted hazelnuts
Tip: You can also roll them in hazelnut praline
4. Place on parchment paper and leave to set
Tip: They look great when put into small petit four cases and boxed up as a gift!

Peanut Butter Fudge

Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Yield: 64 squares

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (120ml/115g / 4oz.) Unsalted Butter
2 1/4 cups (540ml/450g / 16oz.) firmly packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) Milk
3/4 cup (180ml/200g / 7oz.) smooth Peanut Butter
1 teaspoon (5ml) Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 cups (840ml/425g / 15oz.) Confectioners’ (Icing) Sugar

Directions:
1. Place butter into a medium saucepan and melt it over medium heat.
2. Add brown sugar and milk, stirring.
3. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla.
6. Place confectioners’ sugar into a large mixing bowl.
7. Pour hot peanut butter mixture over confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.
8. Pour fudge into an 8 by 8 inch (20cm by 20cm) pan.
9. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
10. Cut into 1-inch (25 mm) squares.

Strawberry Fraisier – Daring Bakers Challenge July 2011

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011


Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I’m glad this challenge came this month and not the previous month, as we have just started getting beautiful strawberries back into the fruit stores.

The challenge was quite good, especially being able to make all three components after work, then assemble it the morning, for a lovely weekend dessert.

I had my fingers crossed that the fraisier would stay up by itself once the plastic wrap was removed, but unfortunately it collapsed quite a lot when the first cut was made. I’m not entirely sure where I went wrong, so I may have to do a bit more research.

I used a bigger tin than the one used in the recipe (22cm vs 20cm) and found the cake sunk a bit in the middle once it cooled.
I also needed at least double the pastry cream filling – although only figured this out once it was too late to make more – so I used whipped cream in the middle of the filling. (this extra may have been needed because I used a bigger tin, or very large strawberries.) I didn’t use the almond paste either, as I had none.

It was a beautiful dessert that everyone enjoyed and I would consider making again, although trialling out the filling, to make sure it stayed together more when serving.

Basic Chiffon Cake

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) (5½ oz/155 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) baking powder
3/4 cups (180 ml) (6 oz /170 gm) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) salt, preferably kosher
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (3.17 fl oz/95 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3 gm) lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) cream of tartar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).
Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.
Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Pastry Cream Filling

1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (1/2 ml) (¼ gm) salt, preferably kosher
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm)cornstarch
1/4 cup (60 ml) (2 oz/55 gm) sugar
1 large egg (I used 2 egg yolks – as there were extra from the cake)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz/30 gm) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (4 gm) gelatin
1/2 tablespoon (7½ ml) water
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy cream

Directions:

Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine
Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while the stand mixer is whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for up to five days.
In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.
Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
Measure 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 ml) of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.
Heat the cream until it is 120 F (48.8 C). Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.

Simple Syrup

1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) (2⅔ oz/75 gm) of sugar, flavored or white
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) of water
+ 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Directions:

Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.
Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.
Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.

Fraisier Assembly

Components:
1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
⅓ cup (80 ml) simple syrup or flavored syrup
2 lbs (900 g) strawberries
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
½ cup (120 ml) (5 oz/140 gm) almond paste

Directions:

Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.
Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.


Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.
Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.
Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake.
Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the all but 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of the pastry cream.



Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.
Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the almond paste to a 10-inch (25 cm) round 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Related Posts with Thumbnails