Utensils: stand mixer, plastic wrap, oven, rolling pin, pie dish, pie weights, parchment paper, cutting board, knife, large bowl, cooking spoon, pastry brush
360 g butter – 500 g flour – 1 egg yolk – ½ tsp salt – 120 g sugar – 60 ml water
Cut butter into large pieces and add to a stand mixer with most of flour, egg yolk, salt, and sugar.
Beat for approx. 2 – 3 min. until crumbly. Then, slowly add water, reserving a small amount for the final step, and continue to beat for another 1 – 2 min. until dough is smooth and uniform in consistency.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator. Allow to set for approx. 1 h. 40 min.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Cut dough into two even rounds. Then, flour work surface, place dough on top, and roll out, one at a time, using a rolling pin until rounds are larger than your pie dish.
Flour both sides of dough and transfer to pie dish. Press evenly into all edges of dish and then remove excess dough. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of dish and fill with pie weights.
Place in preheated oven at 180°C/350°F and blind bake for approx. 10 min.
Peel, core, and quarter apples. Then, cut crosswise into medallion-sized pieces.
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, sugar, and brown sugar.
Transfer apple slices to pie dish and spread out evenly. Cut remainder of butter into pieces and place on top of apples. Cover pie with rest of dough. Make a small hole in the middle, so air can escape.
Mix together egg white and water and brush on top. Return to oven and bake at 180°C/350°F for approx. 50 – 55 min. until golden brown. Enjoy
Ever starting cutting up a beautiful birthday cake and found by the third slice it looks a little less than beautiful? So what to do?
An easy solution is to warm up the knife in hot water to allow it to cut through the icing cleanly.
So how do you warm up the knife easily? Just place some hot water in a measuring jug, dip the knife in for a few seconds, slice through with ease, wipe off the knife with paper towel, re-dip and continue to cut, repeating the dip and wipe with each slice.
The result? Lovely clean slices that do justice to the cake. Woohoo.
Summer days are meant for ice-cream. Cool taste sensations and flavours that delight the tongue, what could be more exciting?
Sometimes though, store bought ice-cream can reveal a whole lot of interesting additives, flavours, extenders (water, vegetable shortening, wheat starch) which I prefer to leave on the shelves, not in my stomach. So how you get your ice-cream fix without the stress? The joy that is no-churn ice-cream!
That’s right, no longer do you need to pull your mix out of the freezer and bend your beaters (a lesson I learnt all too well…use the heavy duty paddle next time Luisa…). With this recipe you just mix, whip, fold and freeze. Easy. I will include the traditional recipe as well if you do own a churner as these are also fabulous and a churner does make life a lot easier when creating fantastic ice-cream creations!
So why use sweetened condensed milk in these recipes? The ingredients of condensed milk are just milk, milk solids and sugar. When making traditional ice-cream you use milk, cream, sugar and eggs so this is great for those with egg allergies and there are no thickeners, additives, colours or preservatives. The condensed milk stabilises the ice-cream mix the way eggs do in the traditional recipes allowing you to have the same smooth texture without the fuss. The only difference for me was it is quite rich so a couple of spoons will do.
When creating your own mix, don’t be afraid to get creative with flavours for exciting combinations. Here are some of my favourites:
Hazlenut and chocolate – add a generous scoop of nutella to the mix. If making no churn stir into the condensed milk, if making custard add to the milk and cream mix
White chocolate and passionfruit – for no churn add 100g melted white chocolate and 100ml of passionfruit puree. For the churn, double the amount and add the chocolate to the milk when heating and passionfruit at end.
Strawberry – to make puree blend 150g strawberries with 2 tbsp of icing sugar and strain – add to mix
Malt – for the no churn dissolve 2 tbsp malt in 5tbsp of the pure cream warmed and add to the condensed milk. For the churned add the malt powder to the milk and cream mix when heating
Stay tuned for further recipes teaching you how to make praline mix in’s, fun serving ideas and home made toppings. Yum!
So without further ado, the no-churn ice-cream:
No Churn Vanilla Ice-Cream
1 can condensed milk (340g)
300ml pure cream
Splash of vanilla essence
Combine vanilla and condensed milk
Whip cream to soft peaks
Fold through cream and milk mixture softly until well combined
And if you’d like to churn your own vanilla ice-cream?
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
Bring the cream, milk, vanilla and half of the sugar to a simmer
Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar until light and fluffy
Mix through the cream and milk with the yolks
Place back on stove in clean pot over low heat and stir until mixture thickens
Strain and allow to cool and chill
Place into churner and follow your machines instructions
Cooking out custard can be a bit tricky so here are some troubleshooting tips
1. It looks like scrambled eggs – your stove was too hot and the egg yolks cooked too quickly. Never fear, the solution is to allow the mix to cool a little, then add it to a blender and whiz until smooth and strain through a fine sieve. Make sure the mixture is cooled before blending otherwise it can overflow and cause burns
2. It looks watery and you’ve been stirring for quite a long time – you may need to increase the heat of your stove – a low to medium heat works well for induction and electric, gas should work quickly on low
3. I need to churn the ice-cream in a hurry – To cool the custard quickly, place the bowl of custard over another bowl filled with ice and water and stir the custard mix until cooled and churn
Don’t worry, this isn’t a personals ad or even a rendition of that song, it’s my tongue in cheek intro to the very in vogue fruit of the moment, the Pineapple. From kitchen to decor, this versatile fruit has a lot going for it.
The cool chill in the air doesn’t exactly conjure images of tropical paradises but there is one fruit that can give you a little slice of beach life and that is our spiky friend the pineapple. Pineapples are a great dessert treat but many are put off my having to tackle the less than appealing hard spiky skin. My advice is to clean up the pineapple as soon as it comes home in your market bags to ensure that when you are after a quick snack it is ready to go and doesn’t become neglected.
Pineapples are also able to be dried easy and their sweetness is intensified for a surprisingly different garnish and dried fruit snack.
My favourite way to enjoy pineapple in winter is to pan roast them with a little butter and sugar as a compliment to ice-cream or even as the offsider to a panna cotta. Of course, a little blended into a pina-colada cocktail never hurts either! The combination of coconut and pineapple is a tropical party combo just waiting to cheer up your winter blues. I have two recipes below, one for a really easy egg free pina-colada ice-cream and the second with a coconut panna cotta and roast pineapple. Take your pick and enjoy them whilst dreaming of sunnier days with your toes in the sand. Enjoy!
700g sour cream
250g icing sugar
440g crushed pineapple (drained)
250ml coconut cream
100ml coconut liquor or essence
150g shredded coconut toasted
Whisk sour cream, coconut cream and icing sugar until well combined
Fold through pineapple and essence/liquor
Lightly fold through 100g of the toasted coconut
Place in bowl and freeze, taking out every hour or two and giving a stir to aerate
After stirring twice, place in loaf tin lined with glad wrap or a brownie tray and freeze until firm
To serve, cut into slices and roll edges in remaining coconut and plate with some fresh diced pineapple and mint or fruit of your choice
NB: If you have an ice-cream churner, follow method as above but fold through the pineapple and shredded coconut at the end before freezing to avoid damage to churning arm
Coconut Panna-cotta with Roasted Pineapple
Now, I have to admit, I went a little retro on this one with my choice of moulds. I have some old school jelly moulds rolling around in the cupboard but they work a treat. They have a seal to stop them from leaking when putting them in the fridge to set and a removable bottom to help poke them out if they are a little shy. As is often said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! and these little babies certainly do the trick to behold my slightly retro version of the panna cotta.
300ml coconut cream
1 cup icing sugar
5 gold gelatine leaves (see packet for quantities if not sure) soaked in ice water to soften
1 pineapple cut into rounds
1 tbsp sugar
Place cream and coconut cream in a saucepan with sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer
Remove from heat and add soaked gelatine, whisk well
Pour into moulds and allow to cool slightly before refrigerating for at least four hours or overnight
For pineapple, warm a frying pan on a gentle heat, add butter and sugar and allow to caramelise, add pineapple to pan and colour on both sides, leave in pan and remove from heat and allow to cool
Serve cooled pineapple under pannacotta and top with dried pineapple and mint leaves
NB: I used a sunbeam food dryer for my pineapple. I just sliced in finely and dried over night. You can use an oven but it needs to be a very low heat and overnight.
An easy way to prepare the pineapple is to cut into the rounds and use an apple corer to remove the hard centre whilst keeping the circular shape
Autumns and winter aren’t exactly synonymous with luscious fruits. The cool temperatures aren’t the best of friends with warmth dependent fruits such as peaches, mangoes and berries. Their delicate skins can’t withstand chilly frost. Apples, pears and citrus though are winter’s best friend. Their tougher skins don’t mind a little chill so they happily ripen on the trees without the need for a scarf or beanie unlike their human counterparts! This brings us to the second installment of market fresh, seasonal eating how to.
Nothing is more delightful (to me anyway!) than the crisp crunch of an apple. Luckily in my local market I am able to buy waxed fruits which are another delight unto themselves. The surprisingly rough skin allows for an even more earthy delight when biting in. So what to do with surplus apples in the cooler months?
The obvious choices are apple pies or crumbles. But what if you’re after something different? This week I tried my hand at some baking. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy baking but my oven is a bit temperamental. But this week I had access to a far superior oven at Wandering Cooks so I gave some cupcakes and cookies a whirl.
The cupcakes featured apples peeled and diced small whilst the cookies I adapted myself to include an apple puree in place of some of the sugar. The result? Delightful sweet treats which are a little different to the usual offering.
Another idea is to preserve your apples. How? Either through slicing finely and drying in a food drier (mine is a hand me down from Mum but sunbeam has one on the market), or making your own apple puree and bottling it. Apple puree can be used to replace eggs or sugar in some recipes, as a sauce with pork or stirred through porridge. As you can see, apples are very hard workers in the kitchen!
Speaking of porridge, the cookies feature quick oats, another easy kitchen staple. Have your apples and oats as porridge in the morning or as cookies for afternoon tea. Mix the puree through with some larger cooked diced apples, spoon into a dish and make some crumble from the oats and there is your simple dessert. Using your pantry is easy when you have some ideas up your sleeve.
Moral of the story? Sweet or savoury eating in the seasons doesn’t need to be a chore when you can plan ahead or store your recipes according to ingredient. Please feel free to print these recipes and file them so when you have a market trip you know exactly what to do when you get home. Happy shopping!
Recipe One – Apple cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Put the grated apples, sugar, water, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Cool; add flour and soda.
Fill paper lined cupcake tins 2/3 full.
Bake until cupcakes spring back when touched in the center.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
250g cream cheese
2 tbsp apple puree
¼ cup icing sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
Splash of vanilla essence
1/ Whip cream cheese and icing sugar together until softened and combined
2/ Add cinnamon and vanilla and mix well
3/ Swirl through apple sauce for streaky effect
4/ Spoon generously over cupcakes and top with dried apple
5/ Dig in
Recipe Two – Apple and oat cookies
250g butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup apple puree
2 eggs (large)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 cups quick oats
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in eggs and vanilla.
In a bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; gradually add flour mix to creamed mixture and combine well.
Stir in the oats and apple puree
Form into small balls about 1 tbsp in size. Place on baking tray lined with baking paper about 3 cm apart.
Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden. Cool on wire rack and serve for afternoon tea. Or just eat off the tray. That’s what I did 😉
Recipe Three – Preserved apple puree
2 kg apples peeled, cored and diced small
500ml apple juice (preference is to juice your own but otherwise try and source fresh apple juice from the cold section as these shouldn’t have as many preservatives and sugar. Check the different brand for exact quantities)
1/ Bring the apple juice to a simmer, add the apples and reduce heat
2/ Allow to cook over low heat until softened and remove from heat
3/ Allow to cool for ten minutes to blend safely in food processor or with stick blender
4/ Sterilise jars by covering with boiling water for at least ten minutes in a large pot. Remove from pot carefully with tongs and set onto surface to pour apples into.
5/ Return the apple puree to heat and bring to boil, pour carefully into hot jars and seal lids. Place in pot with tea towel on bottom, cover with boiling water and simmer for half an hour. Allow to cool in water. Test seal has vacuumed down. Store in cool dry area for about 2 months.
Finding inspiration can be a little elusive sometimes but I have been lucky lately and had it handed to me each day. I have been participating in Stephanie Alexander’s A to Z food photo challenge – A letter a day relating to food. It has been lots of fun and today was the letter L. Of course the obvious is Lemons! Who doesn’t love this citrus fruit? It has so many uses, freshening up a salad, tarting up a dessert, giving a kick to a marinade! Lemons do it all. My favourite application though? Lemon curd.
It’s tart, its buttery and it tastes so good when you like the bowl. Or the spoon. Or your fingers when you dip them in the bowl. But shhh…don’t tell anyone 😉
I am fortunate enough to have access to a lemon tree that has large, juicy and non-waxed/pesticide skin. They are as lemony as lemons can be and they have such an intense flavour. If you can get access to organic or as close to it does make a difference to have the juicier lemons and to use the skin in cooking without worrying what’s in it.
Lemon curd is easy peasy but there are a few hints:
1. Use a low to medium heat as there are a lot of eggs in this recipe and they can over cook very quickly
2. If the mixture seems to be cooking too quick, remove from heat and keep stirring whilst it thickens and finishes cooking
3. Cut your butter into small cubes to allow it to melt and mix into the cooked egg mixture evenly
4. If there appears to be large cooked egg bits in the mix if you had the heat too high, don’t despair! Either give it a quick blend with a bar mix or pop it in a blender and give it a quick whiz to mix together before adding the butter. Pass through a fine sieve and add the butter as normal
5. If you’re really unsure, place the mix into a bowl over simmering water and cook out slowly – it make take up to ten minutes to thicken so be patient
6. If you’d like to store the butter for future use (I don’t know how you can’t help but eat it with a spoon right away!) then follow the usual preserving rules – boil the bottle and lids first and place on clean tea towel to air dry, pour the curd mix into the jar when still hot and place a lid on straight away and leave to cool. The cooling action will create a vacuum. I would recommend keeping the jar in the fridge to err on the side of caution, but with this method it will last at least two weeks unopened. Opened use within a couple of days.
So the recipe: (the photos feature a 1/4 amount of this recipe – this will make enough for one large lemon tart)
500ml lemon juice
1. Separate eggs and mix yolks with whole eggs.
2. Put sugar and lemon juice in pan, bring to simmer and stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Add lemon sugar mix to eggs slowly and whisk together.
4. Put into wide based saucepan, stir egg mix over stove until thickened, approx 5 minutes
5. Remove from heat, stir in diced butter until well combined
6. Strain through fine sieve and bottle if saving for later or put into container ready to spoon over scones, sponge, into a tart shell or just go right ahead and stick a spoon in. I did 🙂
I have to attribute this idea to a pinterest post I found when lying in bed trying not to salivate as I explored some recipe inspiration. Her blog is found on navywifecook.com and is rather cute and interesting to explore.
So the recipe. Essentially Nutella French Toast….I had you at Nutella right? My last post was about classic food combinations, I forgot to mention chocolate and just about anything right? Especially hazelnuts thus the love of nutella. French toast is usually one piece of bread dipped in egg and milk/cream mix and fried in a pan but this recipe calls for two slices and a healthy dollop of nutella in between. Irresistible right? Add some delicious strawberries and we have dessert deliciousness.
Ingredients (serves four)
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp sugar
8 slices bread
butter for frying (1-2 tbsp)
Whisk egg and milk together until combined
Add sugar and vanilla to egg mix and combine
Cut crusts off bread and spread with nutella
Sandwich two slices together nutella side facing
Warm a frying pan to medium heat and melt 1 teaspoon butter per sandwich
Dip bread in egg mix and fry in pan approx 1-2 min each side until golden
Remove from pan and keep warm under low heat oven grill or by wrapping in foil until all sandwiches are cooked
Cut in half and serve with quartered strawberries and dust with icing sugar
Take a bite and enjoy the gooey hazelnutty chocolately toasty goodness. You can tell I enjoy this recipe right? 😉
It was my turn to do dessert again and chocolate fondant was the dessert of the day at work so I thought, why not make some for home too? Mmmm….What is chocolate fondant you ask? Well it is a hot chocolate pudding that has a sumptuous melting middle of chocolatey gooeyness. Now who wouldn’t want that?! For a little special twist instead of just using cream or ice-cream on the side I used marscapone and raspberries. Delicious!
– Marscapone is an Italian cream cheese found in the cottage/cream cheese section of the dairy aisle
– Fondants are supposed to be quite runny in the middle so ensure you cook for time given as a few minutes more will cook the pudding through – not a big drama but not really the point of the dessert.
– Ensure you grease the moulds well as the puddings need to slip out easily as if they catch and burst the runny middle will spill out spoiling the surprise – gentle hands also help!
– You can add some instant coffee for a mocha twist
– Brushing butter upwards in a mould creates tracks for the mix to cling to when it rises thus the upwards strokes ensure the batter clings up evenly not to the side and over the top!
200 g dark chocolate – the better the quality the better the dessert – i use Lindt cooking chocolate
200 g butter softened and cut into cubes
200 g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
200 g plain flour
1 Grease the moulds for the pudding and coat with cocoa powder or flour for easily removal. Ensure your brush with upward strokes to ensure the puddings rise evenly
2 Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, add the butter and chocolate and allow to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when fully melted, stir to combine and allow to cool for five minutes
3 Whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until mixture becomes thick and pale, sift the flour into the eggs, beat mix together.
4 Pour the melted butter and chocolate into the egg mixture in increments beating well between each addition until the all the mix is in and the mixture is completely combined. It willl be slightly runny
5 Pour the mix into the moulds evenly and allow to chill for at least half an hour up to 24 hours in advance. The chilling process assists with creating the crusty outside and gooey inside by keeping the inside of the mix cool whilst the outside cooks
6 Bake the mix for ten minutes until the top is firm and the mix starts to come away from the sides of the moulds. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for one minute before gently turning it out on the plate.
7 To make raspberry marscapone cream whisk some icing sugar into the cream and then gently fold through the raspberries. If fresh raspberries aren’t available I defrost frozen raspberries on paper towel which works just as well.
8 Serve cream to the side with the puddings and enjoy!
Winter puddings are some of my favourite desserts. That and chocolate but I’m not always fussy. I have always been a fan of sticky date pudding and after a quick google I found Donna Hay’s recipe and away I went. I always enjoy reading recipes to get some inspiration and ideas and Donna’s recipe seemed simple and easy but I always like to add an element of personal touch. A restaurant I used to work in had a sticky date pudding on the menu which I enjoyed but it had a lot of butter in it so could be a date heavy and greasy at times. We also used to soak the dates in coffee, a twist I still like to do as it adds a little oomph to the dessert. Also in Donna’s recipe she uses a food processor to combine the ingredients. This means the dates will be well incorporated into the dessert thus for a bit of texture I used some chopped walnuts for texture. If you’re not a nut fan you could always hand chop half of the dates and fold these through the batter at the end instead of processing the whole amount.
So the recipe:
sticky date pudding by donna hay
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
100g butter, chopped
¾ cup (135g) brown sugar
1 cup (150g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
double (thick) cream
150g butter, chopped
1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
1 ½ cup (265g) brown sugar
Preheat oven to 180ºC (355ºF). Place the dates, water and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Place the date mixture in the bowl of a food processor with the butter and sugar and process until well combined. Add the eggs and flour and process until just combined. Pour into a lightly greased 26cm x 16cm tin lined with non-stick baking paper.
Bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Cut into squares.To make the toffee sauce, place butter, cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter is melted. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Spoon over puddings and top with cream. Serves 6
Enjoy with custard or ice-cream as you desire. Nom Nom!
Some notes from me:
– With the coffee soaking I just added a tablespoon of instant coffee to the boiling water. Alternatively just prepare some coffee as you desire and measure out a cup of it
– If your butter is straight from the fridge you may find that it will not quite blend as well as room temperature butter. This is not a bad thing as it will all come together with the addition of the flour and eggs but if you are worried at the look of it don’t be, it is normal!
– I made individual puddings in ramekins and I buttered and floured the moulds to ensure they come out easily. You could also use muffin moulds as well to create individual puddings
– the puddings can be frozen if you only require a few or want to make a larger batch and have some more on hand
It was my besties birthday thus something sweet and tasty was in order. I am not shabby at making birthday cakes but my oven can be unreliable in the baking process thus I figured something a little more fail safe was in order. The inspiration was also Donna Hay’s recipe in the Sunday paper liftout. I did deviate from the original recipe (shock horror i know!) to create my own version. The main difference is in the pastry as I am a puritan in the butter, sugar, flour, egg ratio as opposed to using water and icing sugar. This is my favourite sweet crust recipe and I have been using it for years. The lemon curd of Donna Hay’s recipe was easy to make but we all agreed it needed more lemon to create a distinct tartness compared to the ultra sweet meringue. Her curd recipe is made and cooled as opposed to baked in shell and it’s an italian meringue as well which is also ultra sweet. Thus the recipes I am including here are my own lemon curd/butter and sweet paste as opposed to hers. I figured it would be nice to try something new and if you don’t like your lemon curd lemony by all means use hers. Otherwise, happy cooking and enjoy this sweet treat.
2 egg yolks
Lemon Curd: (my way)
250ml lemon juice
4 egg whites
Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl and with paddle attachment mix together until light and fluffy. Add flour and mix until just combine and crumbly. Add yolks and mix until just together. Remove from bowl and bring together by hand. You can also use a food processor for this processor or by hand – by hand add the sugar after rubbing the butter into the flour. Roll into log and wrap in cling film, refrigerate for 10-15mins. After resting roll out pastry to size of pan and press into, trimming top. Prick with a fork to allow air bubbles to escape during baking. Bake in over for about 10 mins at 170 degrees. You don’t need to cover the pastry as you want it cooked through as it wont be rebaked. If the edges are browning before the base remove from oven and cover the sides with alfoil strips and continuing baking until a golden biscuit colour. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from pan. If you have used a ceramic pie dish and like the look by all means keep the pastry in the pan. I used a mental pan thus turned mine out onto my plate.
Bring sugar and lemon juice to gentle simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk eggs and yolks together and add sugar and juice mix to bowl. Whisk until well combined. Put back on low heat and stir gently until mix thickens. Ensure you don’t boil the mix as it will scramble the eggs. This is where recipes that use milk and cornflour to assist in thickening can be safer for first time makers but this method is like making custard – gentle heat and constant movement should create success. When mixture thickly coasts the back of a spoon remove from heat and strain through fine sieve into a bowl. Add cubed butter and stir until melted and combined. Pour into the cooled base until just below the lip and place in fridge for at least two hours to set.
Place sugar and water into heavy based pan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for about 5 minutes until syrup thickens.
Whisk the whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks. Slowly pour in sugar syrup whilst still whisking whites and continue whisking until mix has cooled.
Spoon the meringue over the cooled and set lemon mix forming peaks. If you have you have a blowtorch carmelise the peaks until golden. Otherwise place the pie under a hot grill allowing meringue to carmelise. Due to the high sugar content this will happen quickly so keep and eye on the pie and rotate if required.