Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Unfortunately I probably won't be able to post for a month or so. I apologize for the time with no posts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Whole Lemon Tart - Myer Lemons

This is from the wonderful Dorrie Greenspan book - well some of it is. I also used an old favorite tart base that hasn't failed me yet from "everyday food" the little mag in the supermarkets. This tart is sweet, and aptly it is also tart. The inclusion of every part of the lemon (bar the seeds) makes the filling zesty and a tad bitter (I'd like to say it's a little "perky").

Ingredients: Crust
1.25 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Ingredients: Filling
2 Myer lemons
1.5 cups sugar
1 large egg, at room temp.
2 large egg yolks, at room temp.
1.5 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled

Method: Crust
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).

4. With floured fingers press the dough into the pan (you can use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust into the pan).

5. Freeze until firm (around 15min).

6. Take out the freezer, and prick all over with a fork and cover with aluminium foil.

7. Bake until golden for 25 min.

8. Take off the foil and press down the crust with the back of a spoon.

9. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

10. Place on a baking tray.

Method: Filling
1. Preheat the oven to 325F.

2. Scrub the lemons and dry.

3. Cut the lemons into small pieces.

4. Place the lemon pieces and sugar together in a blender and process until a regular consistency (you will need to scrape down the blender with a rubber spatula multiple times, to make sure the lemon and sugar are integrated).

5. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until a smooth consistency has been formed.

6. Tap the blender on your bench top a few times to eliminate some of the bubble and pour into the tart crust.

7. Transfer the tart pan and baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20 min.

8. Increase the temperature to 350F and bake for another 25-30 min. When the tart has finished baking it should be fairly set, and the top will have a sugary crust.

9. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temp.

10. This can be served at room temp. or chilled (it can be served two days after it has been made as long as it's kept in the fridge).

Taken from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From my home to yours" p. 336. As well as "Everyday Food" I forget the page - refer to the blueberry tart post if you'd like more details.

Double Choc Cookies

These smelled unbelievable - like a hot chocolate. They were soft and chewy and had a lovely textural change due to the choc chips. I used bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate, although you could have used any combo of contrasting chocolates (eg. milk and dark, semi sweet and bittersweet).
8oz butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2.25 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
4.5 oz milk chocolate, either chips or broken into pieces
4.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, either chips or broken into pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
2. Place the butter and the two types of sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment beat until light and creamy.
3. Add one egg at a time, and beat for 1 min between each addition.
4. Add the flour, baking powder, and cocoa and mix together well.
5. Add the chocolate pieces/chips and combine.
6. Using 1 heaped Tbs. of the mixture make into rough round balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper (make sure there is a decent amount of rooms between the cookies as these guys spread).
7. Bake for around 20-25 min (maybe even longer 30 min). They are cooked when they are brown on the bottom.
Taken from Donna Hay's Modern Classics: Book 2" pp. 30, 32.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Danish Pastries

These were pretty amazing, a flaky buttery pastry filled with two fillings - pineapple and kaimir (a vodka, brandy and vanilla liquor) and a blueberry and kirchwasser filling. These weren't as hard as I thought they would be to make. I used a simplified danish pastry method that worked brilliantly!

Ingredients: Danish Pastry
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temprature
1.25 cups white bread flour
1 package dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, sliced thinly

Ingredients: Filling - Pineapple and Kaimir
1 can (15.25 oz or 432g) of crushed pineapple, preferably in it's own juice
3 Tbs. corn starch
1 Tbs. cold water
1-3 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. Kaimir

Ingredients: Filling - Blueberry and Kirchwasser
1 can (15oz or 425g) blueberries in light syrup or in own juice
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. cold water
1 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. kirchwasser

Ingredients: Egg Wash
1 egg
1 Tbs water
Ingredients: Sugar Syrup
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Method: Pastry
1. In a small bowl add the water, milk and egg and whisk together with a fork. Set aside.

2. Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse once to mix.
3. Add the cold slices of butter and process for a short time. You want the butter to still be fairly large (1/2 inch pieces).
4. Place the contents of the food processor into a large bowl.

5. Add the egg/milk/water mixture and using your hands or a rubber spatula combine the dry and wet ingredients. Don't mix it too much, you still want chunky butter bits left.

6. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight (it can be placed in the fridge for 4 days).

7. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temp (for me this took around an hour).

8. Roll the pastry into a 20 inch square.

9. Fold the dough into thirds (draw three horizontal lines on the dough, fold the top down, then the bottom one towards the middle - like folding a letter).

10. Repeat this process three times.

11. Cut the dough in half, and wrap each half and place in the fridge for 30 min before using.

Method Filling: Pineapple
1. Place the can of pineapple in a small saucepan and put over medium high heat.

2. in a small bowl combine the corn starch and cold water to make a paste.

3. Add the vanilla liquor and sugar (keep tasting until the balance is right).

4. Once the pineapple is hot stir in the corn starch mixture.

5. Bring to a boil, and keep stirring until thickened.

6. Let the filling cool before use.
Method Filling: Blueberry
1. Place the can of blueberries in a small saucepan over medium high heat.

2. Add the sugar and kirchwasser (once again keep tasting in this process making sure the balance is right for you).

3. In a small bowl add the corn starch and water and combine to make a thick paste.

4. Once the blueberries are hot, add the corn starch and stir.

5. Keep stirring until the mixture has thickened.

6. Allow to cool before use.

Method: Egg Wash
1. Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl.

Method: Assembly
1. Using half the danish pastry roll out into a square.

2. Cut the square in half, and then into thirds making 6 small squares.

3. Place 1 Tbs of filling in the center of the square.

4. At each corner of the square use a sharp knife to cut towards the filling stopping around 1 cm away from the filling (see picture).

5. Pick up one corner and place in the center, then another, until all 4 corners have been placed in the center (see picture).

6. Put a little of the egg wash on the center and squeeze together lightly to hold it down.

7. Place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.

8. Cover with a clean tea towel and place in a warm draft free area, and let rise for 1.5 hours.

9. Preheat the oven to 350F.

10. Just before baking use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the pastry.

11. Bake for 15-18 min until puffy and golden.

12. Make the sugar syrup by placing the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

13. When the pastries are out of the oven and still a little warm brush them with the sugar syrup.

14. These will keep in an airtight container for 1 day.

Adapted from "How to Be a Domestic Goddess?: Baking and the Art of Comfort Food" by Nigella Lawson, pp 326-8.

Walnut Orange Cake

A simple butter cake that has been infused with walnuts and and orange liquor topped off with a chocolate orange icing. This cake is a rather dry cake, and in order for the flavors to seep in I'd recommend waiting until it's cool, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and letting it sit at room temperature overnight before making the icing and serving it.
Ingredients: Cake
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 eggs
1.5 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbs. orange liquor (I used gran gala)

Ingredients: Icing
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate (chopped)
1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs. orange liquor
orange zest from 1/2 an orange
handful of chopped walnuts
Method: Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 8 inch springform tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2.Using a paddle attachment and a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar together for 5 min until thick and creamy.

3. Add one egg and then beat on medium for 1 min and then add the next. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4. Fold in 1/2 the flour, and then add half the milk, and then the remaining flour and then milk.

5. Add the walnuts and fold in until just combined.

6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down the top.

7. Bake for 35 min (check at 25 when a thin knife inserted into the center should come out clean).

8. Leave in the pan for 5 min, then run a knife around the edge and remove from the pan.

Method: Icing
1. In a bain marie add the oil, chocolate, orange liquor and orange zest.

2. Stir until melted.

3. Cool for 10 min.

4. Spread on top of the cool cake and add additional walnuts if desired.

Adapted from "Sweet Food" ed. Kay Scarlett pp 110-111.

Liquor #2

Sooo - if anyone has any ideas for the use of liquors I'd be more then willing to try some! I have bourbon, kirchwasser (brandy distilled from cherries), brandy proper, myer's rum, single malt scotch whisky, kamir (brandy + vodka + vanilla), gran gala (triple orange liquor made with brandy), and peppermint schnapps. Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I was walking along on my way home and I spotted a liquor store. I though I may as well go in as I needed to by some bourbon for some recipe I wanted to try (I still can't recall what recipe but it stuck in my head anyway). And I found the "mini bar" section with all the tinsy liquors in wonderful bottles, and so I bought up big in order to try them out in some recipes. I haven't really a clue in what recipes exactly, but in the next few weeks (months) I'll be attempting to use the liquors instead of the more conventional flavors (lemon, orange, vanilla) or in conjunction with them (eg. peppermint schnapps and chocolate). Wish me luck!

ANZAC Biscuits (cookies)

These biscuits are chewy and buttery and, as they last a while they are a great hiking biscuit. They are a traditional Australian and New Zealand biscuit (ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and they were used in wartime (specifically WWI) as a nutritional snack that would survive the trip over to the war front. Now, they are traditionally eaten on April 25th which is ANZAC day (the equivalent of Veterans day).

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup shredded coconut (try the unsweetened variety)
2 Tbs. golden syrup (available at world market in the USA and other stores that specialize in English food and ingredients)
4oz butter
1/2 tsp. bicarb soda
1 Tbs. hot water

1. Preheat the oven to 325F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl place the oats, flour, sugar and coconut and mix with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.

3. Place the butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan over low heat, and let them melt together.

4. In a small bowl stir the hot water and bicarbonate soda together.

5. Pour the water and bicarb soda mixture into the butter mixture.

6. Pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients.

7. Mix well using a wooden spoon.

8. Using a tablespoon to measure out the amount place 1 Tbs of the mixture in your palms and then roll together into a ball. Place on the baking trays with enough room for expansion (these do flatten out quite a lot).

9. Bake for between 10-15 min (check after 10min) until they are golden brown.

10. Allow to cool for 5 min and then remove the biscuits and place on a wire rack to cool down completely.

Taken from: Donna Hay "Modern Classics Book 2" p.16.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Food things I Love

I haven't yet made this blog a very personal blog, and so I intend to make it a little more personal. I have many favorite things, but when I think of food I can name some right away:

1. Rice Pudding. I grew up with this dish. It wasn't like what I see other people make where cinnamon is integrated into the pudding. Instead it involves very few ingredients, and a two step process. You first cook the rice in the milk with a little salt, and then you melt salty butter in a fry pan until it begins to brown (the smell is nutty) and then you. You squish the rice on a plate and pour on the butter (I know how wonderfully healthy this must sound) and then you add the cinnamon and sugar on top of the butter where it soaks up the butter. This is my favourite dish in the world. Oh if life could be like a good rice pudding!

2. Black Liquorice. I grew up with this stuff (isn't it funny that the stuff we loved as a kid can have such sticking power as an adult?) My particular favorite thing with liquorice is licorice bullets. Liquorice covered in milk chocolate! Delectable!

3. Rose hip Jam. A thick delectable concoction - doesn't really taste very rosy, but has a mellow earthy flavor a good one isn't too sweet either, more on the savory side. Eat with warm toast smeared with salty butter and then jam on top. Yum!

4. Vegemite. Yes I am Australian and yes this is a tad cliche but it can be really good (although it can be really bad as well). I'm of the school which states 'a little goes a long way'. Vegemite isn't to be used like a jam, or peanut butter. For me I have it on toast, bread or biscuits (by this I mean something like an Australia salada - dry water type cracker). A must is a layer or salty butter, and then a very small amount of Vegemite smeared over the top really nice. Try it with a piece of cheese on it (preferably Cheddar), the two flavors (salty, milky) work really well.

5. Tea. I love black tea - adore it in fact. A good cup of strong black tea, made slightly murky by milk and sweet with sugar - delicious!

6. Marzipan. Chocolate covered marzipan...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Butter Almond Cake

I love baking and trying new cook books - especially those with wonderful illustrations to all of the recipes. However I really don't enjoy baking when times are off, especially baking times. This one was off by 30min at guess. I do love the idea of a soft spongy base, with a hard crisp layer of buttery almonds, and eventually this cake did deliver some of those expectations, however it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. I'll write out the recipe with a few changes to the one from the book, including times, and one taste difference (they used 1 tsp.vanilla extract which when the cake was made was utterly overwhelming, I would reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 tsp and allow the butter flavor of the almonds to come through. Or alternatively I would add 2 Tbs. of rum to the batter instead, or even 1 Tbs of vanilla sugar).
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbs. cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup almonds (slivered or thinly sliced)

Method: Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Grease a 9 inch springform tin and lightly dust with flour

3. In a small saucepan heat 1/2 the butter and all but 2 Tbs. of the milk. Heat until the butter has melted.

4. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the eggs, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla extract and mix on medium until the mixture has become light and fluffy (around 3 - 5 min).

5. Add the milk and butter mixture and combine for 1 min on medium speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

6. Sift in all but 1Tbs. of the plain flour into the mixture, and add in the baking powder.

7. Mix on medium until all the dry ingredients have been well incorporated.

8. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix once again (around 30 seconds).

9. Scrape batter into prepared tin.

10. Bake for 20-25 min, or until the center of the cake is a little undercooked, but the sides are baked.

Method: Topping (to be make when the cake is in the oven)
1. Melt the rest of the butter in a medium fry pan.

2. Add the almonds, the remainder of the sugar (1.25 cups), the 1 Tbs. of flour, 2 Tbs. of milk and the 2 Tbs. of cream and mix until warm and malleable.

Method: Assembly
1. Remove the cake from the oven and quickly apply the topping to the cake.

2. Place back in the oven and bake until the almond topping is a light golden brown (around 15 min).

3. Remove and place on a wire rack.

4. After cooling for 5 min, remove the sides of the pan, and then the base, and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from "Sweet Food" ed. Kay Scarlett pp. 220-1.