Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cecilia's Orange Cream Tarts

This is a reworking of the lemon cream tart, using orange instead.

Ingredients: Filling
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 oranges

Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly squeezed Valencia orange juice
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1.25 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 Tbs. cold water
2.75 sticks of butter, at room temp, cut into 1 Tbs pieces.

Ingredients: Tart Base(s)
1.25 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Method: Tart Base
1. Preheat oven to 375F or 190C.
2. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter, and process until large moist crumbs form.
3. Transfer the dough to a round tart pan (9inch or 13cm in diameter or like I did in small tart pans).
4. With floured fingers press the dough into the pan.
5. Freeze until firm (around 15min, can also be left overnight)
6. Take out the freezer, and prick all over with a fork.
7. Cover with aluminum foil (butter the shiny side and place the buttered side down over the crust.
8. Bake for 25 min (or if making smaller tarts, bake for 15 min and then check).
9. Slowly remove foil, and gently press down any bubbles with the back of a spoon. Let cool down to room temp (keep in the tart pan).

Method: Filling
Have an instant read thermometer, a strainer and a blender at hand.
1.Bring a few inches of water to boil in a saucepan.
2. Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl (that will fit inside your saucepan of simmering water). Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, and very aromatic.
3. Whisk in the eggs, and then add the lemon juice and orange juice.
4. Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid.
5. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180F(around 82C) whisk the lemon cream the whole time.
6. Once it has reached 180F, remove it from the saucepan of simmering water and strain it into the blender. Throw away the lemon and orange zest.
7. Put the gelatin in a small bowl and add the cold water to it.
8. Microwave for 15seconds, and pour into the filling. Pulse the blender once to mix.
9. Wait until the temperature of the orange cream is 140F before turning the blender on.
10. Once it is 140F, turn on the blender, and proceed to feed the butter into the lemon cream 5 Tbs at a time. Make sure you periodically scrape down the sides of the blender.
11. Blend for 3 min. on the highest setting - this makes the cream lighter and airier.

12. Refrigerate for at least 4hours.

1. Remove the orange cream from fridge, and whisk briskly until smooth and mailable.
2. Pour into tart bases.
3. Cut fresh orange into thin slices and place on top of tartletts.
4. Serve
Taken from Dorie Greenspans book "Baking: From My Home to Yours" pp. 331-33.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


So, I'm going to be a horrid blogger for awhile. I'm back at school and probably won't have a heap of time to dedicate to baking. I'll still bake, but not at the frantic pace of the past few months.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Vanilla Slice

I love these. Back home we used to have a bakery down the street where I'd go to get this treat (or an apple cake mmm) maybe once every couple of weeks, unfortunately I haven't seen these delectables anywhere I've been in the States. They are easy to make, and really tasty to eat.

2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed and cut to fit a 9 X 9 inch baking tin
7.5 oz vanilla custard powder
3 cups milk
2.25 cups cream
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup salted butter (cut into pieces)

1. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Place the puff pastry sheets on the parchment, in a single layer. Place a second baking tray over the top.

2. Bake on 350F for around 25-30 min or until the sheets have puffed up, and golden.

3. While the sheets are baking, make the custard filling. In a bowl place the custard powder and sugar, and a small amount of milk and whisk until there are no lumps.

4. In a medium saucepan, put in the milk, the cream, and the custard mixture. Stir constantly until it thickens, and then add the butter.

5. Allow to cool.

6. Place the baked puff pastry on a cooling rack.

7. When both the pastry and the custard are fairly cool, place one of the puff pastry sheets on the bottom of the baking tin.

8. Pour over the thick custard mixture, and smooth with the back of a spoon.

9. Place the other puff pastry on top.

10. Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

11. Cut into slices, and serve with icing sugar sprinkled over the top.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

I messed up on this one because I overcooked the caramel. But I think this would have been a wonderful cake if I could have gotten the caramel right. So I'm going to post it anyway - because I'd make it again.

Ingredients: Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick of butter (cut into 8 pieces)
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. light corn syrup
1.2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients: Topping
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1.5 Tbs. light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. unsalted butter. at room temp.
1 cup salted, roasted peanuts

Method: Cake
1. Center a rack in the oven, and preheat to 350F.
2. Grease a springform tin (I used a 9-inch), dust the inside with flour, and line the base with parchment paper.
3. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
4. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
5. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, put the butter and chocolate in a bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are just melted.
6. Remove the bowl from the heat.
7. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended.
8. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla.
9. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate.
10. Still using a whisk, add the flour mix. Combine until just incorporated.
11. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Jiggle the pan to get an even batter.
12. Bake the cake for 35-40 min, or until a thin knife inserted into the center almost comes out clean.
13. Let the cake cool for 15min on a rack.
14. Run a knife along the edges, and remove the sides of the pan. Once the cake is completely cool you can remove the base.

Method: Topping
1. Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan., stir to just combine the ingredients.
2. Heat, without stirring, until the caramel turns a deep amber. 5-10min, depending on the size of the saucepan and the intensity of the heat.
3. Lower the heat a bit and standing back from the saucepan, add the cream and butter.
4. Stir to combine.
5. Stir in the peanuts, and place in a pouring jug.

Method: Assembly
1. Spoon the peanuts out of the hot syrup and put them on the cake.
2. Spoon over enough hot syrup to cover the nuts,
3. Allow topping to set at room temperature (20 or so min).

From Dorrie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours, pp. 264-5.

Black Forest Cake

This is a very special cake to me. My nana and opa would make this for special occasions, I loved the cream, and chocolate outside combined with the slightly sour cherries in the middle. This is a simple cake with only one layer. You easily can up the snobbery by adding more layers, you may have to make more of the cherry filling, or you can simply fill those layers with cream.

Ingredients: Sponge
3/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup dutch-process cocoa
1/8 tsp. baking soda
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup warm (100-110F) clarified butter

Ingredients: Brandy Syrup
1/4 cup brandy
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Ingredients: Cherry Filling
1 jar (24 fluid oz) of sour cherries (I use
2 Tbs. corn starch
1 Tbs. Brandy
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Ingredients: Cream and fixin's
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. sugar
Grated semi-sweet Chocolate (optional)
8 maraschino cherries (optional)

Method: Sponge
1. Preheat oven to 350F (put a rack on the lower 1/3 of the oven).
2. Generously grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
3. Sift the flour , cocoa, and baking soda together 4 times.
4. Place a bowl over slightly simmering water, put in the eggs (including the two yolks) and the sugar and mix to just combine - but do not whisk together.
5. Stir for 3-5 min until the colour darkens, the mixture is slightly runny, and the temperature of the eggs is between 110-120F.
6. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and place the egg mixture in a large bowl.
7. Using a whisk, whisk the eggs on high speed until they are cool. This should take between 4-5min. The mixture should be light, and thick (when you run a finger through the eggs, you should see a dent).
8. Reduce the mixer to med. and add the vanilla extract. Whip for 2-3 min more.
9. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
10. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 2-3 Tbs. worth of the flour mixture at a time (this should take around 10-12 folds for each addition).
11. Before the last addition of the flour, pour in the butter over the mixture, then immediately add the last batch of the flour mixture. Fold into the batter, using around 12-15 turns.
12. Place the batter in the prepared springform pan. Tap the pan on the bench a couple of times, and then place on a baking sheet. Finally place in the preheated oven.
13. Bake for between 30-40 min. The cake is done when it is springy to the touch, and has come away from the sides of the pan.
14. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Wait 10 min before removing the springform pan.
15. Allow to cool to room temp.
16. Cut in half (or thirds etc).

Method: Cherry Filling
1. Drain the cherries, and keep the drained juice.
2. In a saucepan, dissolve the cornstarch with a small amount of the juice (2-3Tbs.)
3. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved cherry juice, and stir till combined.
4. Place over med/low heat until the mixture thickens and reaches a slow boil.
5. Remove from heat, and add the brandy and lemon juice. Then gently add the cherries.
6. Set aside to cool.

Method: Brandy Syrup
1. Place all the ingredients in a pan, and slowly bring to a boil.

Method: Cream
1. Place the cream in a bowl.
2. whisk a little, then add the vanilla extract and sugar, and then whisk until quite thick.

Method: Assembly
1. Prick the base and top of the cake with a toothpick.
2. Using a pastry brush, brush the brandy syrup on both halves.
3. Using a piping bag filled with cream, pipe a circle of cream around the bottom half of the cake.
4. Place the cherry mixture in the center of the circle, and spread out to fill.
5. Place some cream on top of the cherries and spread out the cream with a butter knife.
6. Place the second half of the cake on top.
7. Spread the cream over the top of the cake, beginning with the top, and smoothing over the sides.
8. Estimate where you will slice the cake and make small cream 'hills' for the maraschino cherries to sit in.
9. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the grated chocolate, and put chocolate in your hands, and then place your hands on the sides of the cake to place chocolate on the sides of the cake.
10. Place the cherries in the little 'hills'.
11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This cake keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

This is a rich cheesecake with the slight taste of blueberries. I had some issues baking this one. The picture above is of the cake before it was baked, the one below is when it was baked. I baked it for around 3 hours - far, far over the 50-60min baking time. I'm sure there are better recipes out there for a cheesecake, but I would absolutely make the blueberry syrup again, as I think it's stunning!

Ingredients: Base
2.5 oz shortbread cookies
1/2 cup almond meal
1.5 oz melted butter

Ingredients: Blueberry syrup
7.5 oz fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar

Ingredients: Filling
20 oz cream cheese, at room temp
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method: Syrup
1. Process the blueberries in a food processor and press through a sieve (you should end up with 1/2 cup of puree).

2. Place the puree and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Rapidly simmer for 8 or so min, until it thickens.

3. Set aside to cool.

Method: Base
1. Process the cookies in a food processor until crushed.

2. Add the almond meal, and butter and process until combined.

3. Grease a 9 inch springform pan, and line the base with parchment paper.

4. Press the crumb mixture over the base and place in the fridge.

Method: Filling
1. Preheat the oven to 280F.

2. Process the cream cheese either with a paddle attachment or in a food processor until very smooth, make sure there are no lumps, and make sure that you use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom.

3. Add the sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla, and process till smooth.

Method: Assembly
1. Pour the filling over the base.

2. Drizzle the blueberry mixture over the top and swirl lightly with a butter knife.

3. Bake for 1 hour (or until set - not having made many cheesecakes before this was an ambigious remark- which confused me to no end. If it's wiggly - is it set? How solid does it have to be to be set?!)

4. Refridgerate and serve cold.

Taken from the sometimes good, but very pretty Donna Hay Modern Classics Book 2: Cookies, Biscuits + Slices, Small Cakes, Cakes, Desserts, Hot Puddings, Pies + Tarts, p. 86.

Beetroot Cake

This cake turned out to be a moist, dense and rather rich cake, especially served with the cream fraiche sauce.

Ingredients: Cake
1 lb. 2 oz raw beets (I used yellow beets)
2 thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 large eggs, separated
5.5 fluid oz. honey
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 heaping tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup polenta
zest and orange juice of 1 orange
pinch of salt
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of cinnamon
1.25 cups of all-purpose flour

Ingredients: Topping (optional)
7 oz creme fraiche
1 wineglass of vin santo, Marsala or sherry
2 heaped Tbs. sugar

Method: Cake
1. Boil the beets until soft, and then drain and allow to cool a little. Rub the skins off, and then mash until smooth.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
3. Put the beet puree, ginger, egg yolks, honey, vanilla extract and olive oil in a bowl, Whisk together.
4. Add the baking powder, polenta, orange juice and juice, salt, allspice, cinnamon and flour and mix.
5. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, and fold them into the mixture.
6. In a 10-inch springform pan (I only have a 9 inch) grease and flour the cake tin.
7. Pour in the mixture. Bake for around 35min until spongy. (a toothpick should come out clean).
8. Allow to cool.

Method: Topping
1. Whisk together creme fraiche, with the alcohol, add the sugar, and perhaps add some vanilla extract. Adjust to taste.

From Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Kitchen, pp. 278-9.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fruit Buns

I love fruit buns, warm and with lots of salty butter - a heart attacks delight. These were alright, they did however, need some salt, whether it comes from the use of salty butter in the dough, or the addition of salt, it really needed the salt once they were baked. Otherwise these were tasty buns.

1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cups warm milk
4.5 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
2 tsp. mixed spice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1.5 oz. melted butter
1 egg
1.5 cups raisins
1/3 cup candied mixed peel (I didn't use this)

1. Place the yeast, 2 Tsp. of the sugar and all of the milk in a large bowl.
2. Set aside for 5 min, or until the mixture starts to foam.
3. Add the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, butter, egg, raisins, mixed peel, and remaining sugar to the mixture.
4. Using a butter knife mix until a sticky dough forms.
5. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured bench, and knead for around 8 min (or until the dough feels elastic).
6. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let it rise fro 1 hour or until it has doubled in bulk.
7. Divide the dough in 12 pieces (I made giant buns, so I divided it into 8). Roll the dough into balls.
8. Grease a tray with sides (it is recommended that you use a 9-inch square cake tin, and line the bottom of it with parchment paper.
9. Place the dough balls onto the parchment paper.
10. Cover, and allow to rise again for 30 min.
11. Preheat oven to 400F.
Bake for 35 min, or until well browned and springy to the touch.
12. Serve warm with butter.
From the beautiful Modern Classics 2: Cookies, Biscuits + Slices, Small Cakes, Cakes, Desserts, Hot Puddings, Pies + Tarts, Donna Hay, pp.50-

Raspberry Sorbet

This was surprisingly easy to make, even without an ice-cream maker. It is slightly sweet and slightly tangy. It is best to leave it at room temp. for around 15 min. before attempting to serve it.

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
23 oz fresh or frozen raspberries*
1/4 cup lime juice

1. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat.
2. Stir without boiling, until the sugar dissolves.
3. Increase the heat, and bring to the boil for 1 min.
4. Set aside to cool.
5. Put the raspberries in a food processor.
6. Press the raspberries through a sieve, until you extract around 1.75 cups worth of puree.
7. Combine the fruit puree, sugar syrup and lime juice.
8. Place in a metal bowl or cake tin. Cover and freeze for 1 hour.
9. Beat with an electric mixer or a whisk, and return the the freezer.
10. Repeat 3 times hourly until the sorbet is thick and smooth.

*You can also try:
peach sorbet: 6 peaches, which should be 2.5 cups of puree (add 1/3 cup lemon juice).
mango sorbet: 14oz fresh mango, which should yield 2.5 cups of puree (add 1/2 cup lime juice).
strawberry sorbet: 1.75lb. fresh strawberries, which should yield 2.5 cups of puree (add 1/2 cup lime juice).

From: Donna Hay Modern Classics Book 2: Cookies, Biscuits + Slices, Small Cakes, Cakes, Desserts, Hot Puddings, Pies + Tarts. pp. 102-3

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Double Apple Bundt Cake

This cake tastes like it is home baked - it has a wholesome flavor that is simple and full. A wonderfully moist cake that will last days when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1.25 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp.
1.5 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup store bought apple butter (for me the more spices the better, and as with most things I always try and buy organic)
2 medium apples (I used fuji), peeled, cored and grated
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup moist raisins
Confectioners sugar for dusting

1. Center a rack in the oven, and preheat to 350F.
2. Lightly butter a bundt pan (if non-stick, otherwise, lightly butter and flour it).
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
4. With a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed until the mixture is smooth, thick and pale.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 min after each egg.
6. Reduce the mixture speed to low, and beat in the apple butter.
7. Add the grated apples and mix until they are well blended.
8. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are combined.
9. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the raisins, and walnuts.
10. Pour into the bundt pan, and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.
11. Bake for 50-55 min. or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
12. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool for 5 min before removing the bundt pan.
13. Before serving, sift confectioners sugar onto the to of the cake.

Taken from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours, pp 184-5.