food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘cakes & desserts’ Category

torta di cioccolata

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This Italian-style flourless chocolate cake has a crisp crust, a wonderful rich dark chocolate flavour and a light, moist, melt-in-the mouth centre. I prefer my cakes not too sweet so I reduced the sugar in this recipe which comes from one of my favourite cake books, Bake your cake & eat it too! by Tamara Millstein.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and prepare a 22cm (8″) springform tin by greasing and lining the bottom with baking paper. In a heat-proof bowl over a bain marie, melt 350g (12⅓ oz) of good quality chocolate pieces and 100g (3½ oz) of chopped butter until smooth and glossy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of dutch cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of instant coffee and set aside. In another bowl beat 5 large eggs with 220g (7¾ oz) of caster sugar until thick and pale. Add 5 tablespoons of ground walnuts and 100g (3½ oz) of walnut pieces. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture until well combined. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. Switch off the oven and leave the cake in the closed oven until completely cool. When cool, remove from the pan. Combine 1 tablespoon each of cocoa powder and icing sugar and dust the top of the cake to serve.

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Written by michelle picker

October 11, 2017 at 12:26 am

baclava cheesecake

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My friend Deborah made this for a recent celebration. What a brilliant combination of two delicious cakes!

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350ºF). Place ⅓ of a cup each of blanched almonds and hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 5-8 minutes until toasted. Meanwhile, make the honey syrup by combining ½ a cup each of caster sugar and honey, ⅔ of a cup of water and a cinnamon quill in a saucepan. Place over medium heat until the sugar dissolves then simmer without stirring for approximately 15 minutes until syrup thickens slightly. Discard the cinnamon and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (320ºF). Butter a 22cm (8″) springform pan and line the bottom with baking paper. Finely chop the almonds and hazelnuts plus ¼ of a cup of walnuts in a food processor and transfer to a large bowl. Add ½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Now add ¼ of a cup of the honey syrup to the nut mixture and stir to combine. Clean the food processor and add 500g (1 lb) of cream cheese (at room temperature), 300g (10½ oz) of sour cream and ¾ of a cup of caster sugar. Process until smooth. Add 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla essence and combine. To assemble you will need approximately 10 sheets of filo pastry and melted butter. Brush the first sheet with some melted butter then fold it in half. Place it in the pan allowing it to overhang slightly. Repeat with the remaining filo and melted butter, turning and overlapping each sheet slightly to line the pan completely. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into the pastry and top with the nut mixture. Pour in the remaining cheese mixture then fold the edges of the pastry over the top of the filling. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the centre is just set. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and leave cheesecake inside until cooled completely. Chill in the fridge for 6 hours and serve with the remaining honey syrup.

* This recipe is from Taste.com.au

Written by michelle picker

September 20, 2017 at 12:17 am

blood limes

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I’ve been interested in native Australian finger limes for a while so I chose to plant a blood lime as it suits the cool climate here. A cross between red finger lime and Ellendale mandarin, their colour ranges from lime to burgundy and they’re a little sweeter then standard limes. The skin and flesh can both be eaten and the juice is both in and around the little vesicles which pop in your mouth. As they’re so small, I thought laterally about how to juice them and I came up with the idea of a garlic press! It’s a bit like a mini Mexican-style lime squeezer and as long as it’s stainless steel the garlic taste won’t linger.

 

I decided to make a blood lime and coconut ice cream. First, squeeze the limes (any limes will work) and keep the skins. Measure 2 cups of milk and take out 2 tablespoons to make a slurry with 2 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch) and set this aside. Heat the rest of the milk in a saucepan with 1¼ cups of heavy cream, ⅔ of a cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of glucose, 1 cup of desicaated coconut and all the lime skins. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour in the cornflour slurry. Stir and return to the heat to thicken. Meanwhile heat the lime juice with 2 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar has dissolved. In another bowl whisk 3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese with ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Pour the hot milk mixture and the lime syrup into the bowl and mix until smooth. Cool the mixture down by placing the bowl in an ice bath. When the mixture is cold, strain to remove the coconut and lime skins and it’s ready to churn.

 

Written by michelle picker

August 31, 2017 at 5:28 am

coconut and pineapple upside down cake

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Wonderfully caramelised ripe pineapple crowns this coconut cake.

Preheat your oven to 175ºC (350ºF) and grease a 20cm (8″) round, deep-sided cake tin. Peel and slice half a very ripe pineapple into thin slices. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a large pan over medium-high heat and cook the pineapple slices for 3 minutes on each side or until lightly caramelised. Arrange them in the base of the prepared cake tin, overlapping them so no gap remains. In a bowl beat 200g (7 oz) of butter and 150g (5¼ oz) of sugar until fluffy and pale. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time, then add 200g (7 oz) of plain flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 45g (1½ oz) of desiccated coconut, 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix to combine well. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin over the pineapple and bake for 50 minutes or until the cake tests clean. Cool in the tin before turning out.

* Adapted from a Jill Dupleix recipe on delicious.com.au.

Written by michelle picker

August 13, 2017 at 5:25 am

stewed rhubarb with vanilla yoghurt

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An excellent version of a classic from Jamie Oliver. Serve it for breakfast or dessert.

Place 750g (1.6 lbs) of chopped fresh rhubarb in a medium-sized saucepan with the juice and zest of 1 large orange, 100g (3½ oz) of caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and 2 pieces of finely diced or grated fresh ginger. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and cooked but still holds its shape. Meanwhile, scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod and mix them into 1 cup of natural yoghurt, adding 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Serve the warm rhubarb topped with a large dollop of vanilla yoghurt.

Written by michelle picker

July 26, 2017 at 5:41 am

bingsoo / bingsu

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This Korean dessert of shaved ice was traditionally served with only a few ingredients such as red beans, condensed milk, fruit syrup and fresh fruit. Today Bingsoo is a popular dessert served in specialised restaurants with a myriad variety of ingredients. We enjoyed these two sophisticated versions in The Lounge at the Seoul Park Hyatt.

Honey Bingsoo with shaved milk ice, Warak Mountain honeycomb, chantilly cream, roasted apple puree and pecans.

Mango Bingsoo  with shaved mango milk ice, fresh mango, coconut jelly, cardamom crumble, yogurt ice cream and mango coulis.

Altogether too delicious!

 

Written by michelle picker

June 20, 2017 at 5:51 am

salty-sweet orange and tahini pretzels

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Another delight from Honey & Co The Baking Book by Sarit Packer & Itmar Srulovich and my first attempt at pretzels.

Mix together 200g (7 oz) of strong white flour, 150g (5⅓ oz) of plain flour, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of icing sugar. Warm 140ml (4¾ fl oz) of milk to blood temperature and add 4½ teaspoons of dry active yeast, the grated zest of 1 orange and 50g (1¾ oz) of date molasses or dark honey. Stir to dissolve then add this liquid to the dry ingredients and knead together to form a ball. Slowly incorporate 80g (2¾ oz) of tahini paste then 50g (1¾ oz) of unsalted butter (diced and at room temperature). Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for at least 1 hour. On an un-floured work surface, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each one into a long 40-45cm (16-17″) snake. Lie the snake in a semi-circle with the 2 ends facing you. Lift the ends only and twist them around each other then lower them towards the remaining half circle and press the ends down gently. Carefully flip the pretzel onto a prepared, paper-covered baking sheet so that the ends are underneath. Repeat the process until you have 8 pretzels, allowing a little space between each pretzel. Prove for a further 90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (390ºF). Brush the pretzels with an egg yolk beaten with a pinch of sugar and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they have a dark golden brown crust. Delicious at any time of day.

Written by michelle picker

June 2, 2017 at 5:30 am