Sunday, 22 May 2022

simple vanilla and orange no-bake cheesecake


I've been slow to embrace the cheesecake, but now I'm a convert. Baked or not, Basque style, made in a tray and cut into bars, I'm a fan. This is a really easy no bake cheesecake, wonderfully light, and so easy to adapt, a fabulous start for a cheesecake journey.



Vanilla and Orange no-bake Cheesecake
serves 12

250g scotch finger biscuits
100g butter, melted
zest of 1 orange, divided in 2
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2g gelatin
30ml boiling water
300ml thickened cream (approx 36% fat)
500g strawberries
250g raspberries
25g caster sugar
50ml orange liqueur
juice half an orange

• line the base of a 20cm springform cake pan with baking paper, lightly grease the inside
• break the biscuits into a food processor, blitz to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and half of the orange zest, pulse until combined 
• tip the crumbs into the cake pan, give the pan a shake to level them out, use the base of a flat glass or similar to press the crumbs into the base and up the side of the pan, then pop in the fridge while you prepare the filling
• in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the boiling water, mix until evenly dissolved, set aside
• add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and remaining orange zest to the bowl of a stand mixer (a hand held electric mixer will work well too) use the paddle attachment to beat until smooth, then add the gelatin and beat until combined
• whip the cream to soft peaks, then fold 1/3 through the cream cheese mixture to loosen, gently fold in the remaining cream, then pour over the crust. Use an off set palette knife or the back of a spoon to smooth the top, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
• half an hour before you want to serve the cheesecake, take it out of the fridge and prepare the berries
• remove the stalks and cut the strawberries in half. Combine half of the strawberries, and half of the raspberries in a bowl with the caster sugar, orange liqueur and orange juice, keep at room temperature, lightly tossing every five minutes or so. When you are ready to serve, add the remaining berries to the bowl, stir briefly to combine
• heap some berries on top of the cheesecake, and serve with the extra berries on the side
• store leftover cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge; the cheesecake will keep for 4 days, provided the use by dates on the cream and cream cheese do not expire before





Tuesday, 5 April 2022

coconut custard scrolls



Coconut custard scrolls, made from a soft pillowy dough, swirled with sweet coconut custard, then shaped like bunnies for a fun Easter treat! The dough is super soft thanks to the tangzhong method, and can be tricky to handle, so while you could skip the chilling stage, I don't recommend it!

coconut custard

320 ml milk
30g desiccated coconut
3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
25g cornflour
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
25g butter

• tip the milk and coconut into a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and leave to steep for an hour. Strain into a measuring jug, you'll need 270ml of milk, discard any excess, if your coconut was super thirsty you may need to top up with a little extra milk. Give the pan a quick clean, then bring the 270ml milk to a simmer
• meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla; set the bowl on a damp cloth to stop it dancing around, gradually add the hot milk, whisking enthusiastically
• tip the custard mixture back into the pan, and with the heat on low, whisk continuously. The custard will thicken quickly, once it starts to bubble, whisk for another minute then take off the heat. Add the butter, whisking until smooth
• push the custard through a sieve into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the custard, then place in the fridge to cool.




dough

for the tangzhong:
30g bread flour
130 ml milk

240ml milk
25g sugar
6g yeast
360g bread flour
5g salt
60g butter, at room temperature

coconut custard icing, recipe below
icing sugar, for decoration
20g shredded coconut


• thangzhong: combine the flour and water in a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk until the mixture forms a thick paste
• transfer the flour paste to the bowl of a stand mixture, leave to cool for 10 minutes. Add the milk, sugar, yeast, flour and salt, using the dough hook, mix on the lowest setting for a couple of minutes. Increase the speed slightly and continue mixing for an additional 10 minutes.  Add the butter and mix for a further 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth, shiny and elastic 
• transfer the dough to a greased container, cover and place in the fridge to proof overnight, it should double in size
• line two baking trays with baking paper
• take the coconut custard of the fridge, give it a quick whisk to smooth it out, put 100g of custard in a medium sized bowl, cover and return to the fridge
• tip the chilled dough onto a floured bench, divide in half, return one half to the fridge
• roll the half portion of dough into a rectangle approximately 24cmx40cm
• spread half of the remaining custard over the dough rectangle, leaving a 1cm gap at the top edge, roll the dough away from you to form a 24cm log, keep the roll as tight as possible. Carefully lift the log onto a baking tray or chopping board, lightly cover and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes or so
• meanwhile, take the remaining portion of dough, roll on a lightly floured sheet of baking paper into a 32cmx24cm rectangle, spread the other half of the custard over the bottom half of the rectangle, fold the top over the custardy half, giving you a 32cmx12cm custard/dough sandwich. Use the baking paper to lift the dough onto a board or tray and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes
• remove the log from the fridge, and divide into 8 equal pieces, use a sharp serrated knife or dental floss for the neatest cuts. Place 4 scrolls on each lined baking tray, give them lots of space
• remove the dough rectangle from the fridge, use a pizza wheel to cut into 16 2cmx12cm strips, these are the bunny ears. Give each scroll 2 ears, dabbing the scroll with a little water to stick the ears in place. Cover each tray with plastic wrap and leave to proof in a warm spot for 30-40 minutes
• heat your oven to 180ºC fan and bake the scrolls for 25 minutes. 
• remove the scrolls from the oven, cool on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
• dust your bunny scrolls with icing sugar, then pipe a blob of icing in the centre of each scroll, top with shredded coconut to form the fluffy bunny tails
• scrolls are best eaten as soon as possible, store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, allow to come to room temperature before eating



coconut custard icing

100g coconut custard, reserved earlier, at room temperature
60g cream cheese, at room temperature
20g icing sugar

• combine the ingredients in a medium, beat until smooth
















































Recipe developed for Harris Farm Markets

Sunday, 13 March 2022

coconut tres leches cake



Tres leches cake is a Latin American delight, an airy sponge cake soaked with a mixture of 3 milks; condensed, evaporated and regular. The cake is essentially a chiffon sponge, be still my beating heart, and requires a little babying to achieve its airy lightness. A plain aluminium 8 by 2 inch sandwich pan is ideal, you want the cake to stick to the pan; once cooked the cake is inverted to cool, then cut from the pan. It's worth the fiddling, after its overnight in the fridge you'll have a cake that's wonderfully soft and light, creamy and moist, so moist it sometimes sits in a puddle, yet slices like a dream. It's a conundrum, and I'm happily confounded.

I used to steer well clear of "soggy sponge" but this, like tiramisu and the famed flour and stone lamington is not wet, but more damp, with a beautifully soft texture equally suited to a fork or spoon. This version is flavoured with coconut extract and vanilla, swaps the evaporated milk for coconut milk, and is topped with whipped cream and crisp toasted coconut flakes, tres leches, tres coco! 

Take care with the milk mixture, the thickness of both the coconut and condensed milk can vary. You are looking for the consistency of regular pouring (single) cream, adjust as you go, thinning with regular milk where necessary, but remember to use a maximum of 210ml for the soak.

This cake was developed for Harris Farm Markets all the ingredients can be found in store, and home delivered, which is fabulous if like us you are stuck in covid isolation...

 


cake:

3 eggs, separated
120g caster, halved
80g plain flour
3/4 tsp (3g) baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/2 tsp coconut extract
55ml full fat milk
200ml thickened cream, whipped to soft peaks
2 tbsp (10g) coconut flakes
2 tbsp (10g) desiccated coconut

soak:

90ml coconut milk
90ml condensed milk
30ml milk

• preheat oven to 170ºC fan, cut a circle of baking paper to fit a not non stick 8 inch sandwich cake pan, set aside
• whisk egg whites on medium high to soft peaks, slowly add 60g caster sugar and whisk to firm peaks
• tip the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl, whisk briefly to combine
• in another bowl, use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 60g of sugar until pale, thick and creamy. Add the vanilla paste, coconut extract, and milk, mix to combine, then sift in the flour mixture, and mix until smooth
• add 1/3 egg whites to the batter, fold through, add the remaining egg whites, gently folding until there are no streaks of white
• drop a heaped teaspoon of cake batter into the cake pan, use a pastry brush to spread almost to the edge, then press the baking paper on top. Tip the cake batter into the pan, bake in the centre of your oven for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out cleanly
• remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Cooling the cake upside down helps prevent it shrinking, keeping the cake super light and moist
• while the cake cools, make the soak. Whisk the 3 milks together until smooth, set aside
• when the cake has cooled completely, run a sharp knife around the inside of the cake tin, then ease a palette knife down the side of the cake and between the baking paper and the base of the tin, gently wiggling to lever the cake out
• set the cake aside while you wash and dry the cake tin, then return the cake to the tin and carefully poke all over with a skewer. Pour half of the milk mix over the cake, leave to soak for 5 minutes, then pour the remaining milk over. Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is ideal.
• half and hour or so before you want to serve the cake, spread the coconut flakes and desiccated coconut onto a lined baking tray, toast in a 180ºC fan oven for 5-10 minutes until lightly golden, watch like a hawk as it colours very quickly, leave to cool 
• when you ready to serve, top the cake with the whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut
• keep leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days







Friday, 11 February 2022

passion fruit, raspberry and brownie tart





I have no idea what to call this, it's not a tart, and definitely not a cake. There's a fudgey brownie disc, heaped with raspberries, hidden beneath a light and tangy passionfruit bavarois. It's simple, elegant, and tastes amazing; passion fruit, raspberry and chocolate are so good together, sweet and tart, rich and mellow. If setting a layer of brownie and berries inside a mousse sounds a bit much, just chop the brownie into cubes, then layer in a dish with the berries and bavarois, a trifle of sorts, go for individual glasses if you're feeling extra.



passion fruit, raspberry brownie bavarois

chocolate brownie, recipe below
passionfruit bavarois, recipe below
250g raspberries

• grease and line the sides of an 8 inch (20cm) springform cake pan with baking paper or acetate
• place the brownie disc in the centre of the cake pan, there will be an approximately 1cm gap between the brownie and the side of the pan
• the brownie should have slightly raised edges forming a shallow bowl, fill the hollow with a layer of raspberries, keeping the leftover berries for serving
• carefully pour the bavarois over the raspberry heaped brownie, it should level itself, give it a gentle shake to help it along 
• cover and return to the fridge to set, approximately 6 hours
• take the bavarois brownie out of the fridge half an hour before you want to serve it; unclip the side of the cake pan, carefully peel away the paper or acetate, leave the bavarois on the base of the cake pan and place it on a serving plate, top with the reserved raspberries and enjoy!
• to cut a neat slice, fill a tall glass with very hot water, dip a sharp knife in the hot water, wipe dry then slice away, wiping and dipping between each cut
• cover any leftovers and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 


brownie disc

30g butter
115g semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 extra large egg
70g caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla paste
pinch espresso powder (optional)
25g plain flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
60g chocolate chips, milk or dark

• grease a 7 inch (18cm) round, shallow cake tin, line the base with baking paper
• preheat the oven to 170ºC
• tip the chocolate and butter into a small pan, stir occasionally until melted and combined, set aside to cool
• beat the egg, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy, add the melted butter/chocolate, and fold gently to combine
• sift together the espresso powder, flour, baking powder and salt, toss the chocolate chips in the floury mixture, then add to the batter and fold through
• tip the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely
• the brownie should have slightly raised edges, forming a shallow bowl to fill with raspberries


passionfruit bavarois

100ml milk
5 jumbo egg yolks
200g caster sugar
150 ml passion fruit juice (approximately 12 passion fruit)*
3 titanium gelatine leaves
300ml thick cream, whipped to soft peaks

• pop the milk in a medium pan and bring to a simmer, meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, add the passion fruit juice, then slowly stream in the hot milk, whisking as you go. Return to the pan, over a low heat, stir continually until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, this can take up to 10 minutes, depending how brave/reckless you are with the heat, take off the heat
• soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, squeeze out the excess water, then add to the hot custard and stir to dissolve. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl, and pop into the fridge for a hour, give it a quick whisk every 10 minutes to prevent it setting around the edges
• after an hour the custard will have almost set, take it out of the fridge, whisk to smooth it out, then using your whisk, fold in the whipped cream

* quick tip for juicing passion fruit; half the passion fruit and scrape the pulp into a food processor, give it a few quick pulses then strain through a sieve. Take care not to over process or you will find gritty seed fragments in the juice.



Friday, 17 December 2021

raspberry and passion fruit trifle



This trifle is one of my Christmas favourites, as a kid in the 80's in the UK, trifle + The Wizard of Oz = Christmas. This one has had a few tweaks over the years; there's no sponge, for no explicable reason, I find damp sponge in tiramisu heaven, but in a trifle it's unbearable, same for the fruit, it's added at serving time, absolutely no fruit suspended in this jelly. The custard has morphed into a light, billowy bavarois, my favourite layer. It can be made a day or 2 ahead, add the whipped cream, meringues and a tumble of berries just before you serve. This trifle feeds a crowd, 16 generous portions, you'll need a large serving bowl, mine is 25cm wide, by 20 cm deep.

It's fabulously adaptable, the flavours of the jelly and bavarois layers are easy to tinker, substitute the raspberries in the jelly for any seasonal berry, peaches are delicious; swap the passionfruit juice in the bavarois for orange juice, pureed strawberries, or extra milk with vanilla. Adding flavours to the meringue is simple too, toss in a handful of chopped chocolate or nuts, pistachios would be oh so Christmassy! When cherries are at their peak I'll make a black forest version, cherry jelly, chocolate bavarois, dark chocolate studded meringues, and a crumbled flake. Whatever the flavour, portion it carefully, trifle for Boxing Day breakfast is another cherished tradition.




The layers
(serves 16)

raspberry jelly, recipe below
passion fruit bavarois, recipe below
600ml whipped cream
3 additional punnets raspberries to serve

• follow the instructions for the jelly and bavarois layers, and the meringues below
• when you ready to serve, top the bavarois with roughly half the whipped cream, a handful of raspberries, and 6-8 meringues. Serve immediately with the additional meringues, berries and cream on the side

raspberry jelly

350g caster sugar
juice of a lemon (max 50ml)
500g raspberries
4 titanium strength gelatine leaves

• tip the sugar, lemon juice and 650ml water into a saucepan, stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a boil. Add the raspberries and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool in the pan, then pop it into the fridge for a couple of hours, even overnight, to develop the flavours.
• place a muslin lined sieve over a large bowl, carefully tip the raspberry liquid into the sieve, and leave to strain. Do not press the fruit, just leave it to gravity and you should have a nice clear syrup.
• soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, meanwhile pop about 1/3 of the raspberry liquid into a small pan and bring to a simmer, squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves, take the pan off the heat, add the gelatine and stir to dissolve. Combine the raspberry gelatine liquid with the rest of the raspberry syrup and pour into your serving dish, cover and place in the fridge for approximately 6 hours to set. 

passionfruit bavarois

190ml milk
6 jumbo egg yolks
225g caster sugar
150 ml passion fruit juice (approximately 12 passion fruit)
2 1/2 titanium gelatine leaves
375ml thick cream, whipped to soft peaks

• pop the milk in a medium pan and bring to a simmer, meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, add the passion fruit juice, then slowly stream in the hot milk, whisking as you go. Return to the pan, over a low heat, stir continually until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, take off the heat
• soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, squeeze out the excess water, then add to the custard and stir to dissolve. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl, and pop into the fridge for a hour, give it a quick whisk every 10 minutes to prevent it setting around the edges
• after an hour the custard will have almost set, take it out of the fridge, whisk to smooth it out, then using your whisk, fold in the whipped cream
• carefully pour the bavarois over your jelly layer, it should level itself, you can help it along with a palette knife or the back of a spoon if necessary
• cover and return to the fridge to set, approximately 4 hours

meringues

3 egg whites
165g caster sugar
pinch cream of tartar

• pre-heat oven to 100ºC, line a baking sheet with baking paper
 put the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer, lightly whisk together to break up the sugar
 place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl does not touch the water, whisk the egg whites until the sugar has dissolved, they have increased in volume and feel hot
 put the bowl on the stand mixer, add the cream of tartar and whisk until the egg whites are marshmallowy and are cool
 drop small spoonfuls of meringue onto the lined tray, bake for approximately an hour, until the meringues feel crisp and dry
 store in an airtight container, the meringues will keep for 2 weeks








Monday, 25 October 2021

eggnog cream, my festive mvp



Eggnog cream, or more specifically eggnog creme diplomat, is a super Christmassy side kick for all your festive favourites. Top a pavlova with a billowy mound, fill choux buns, doughnuts, sandwich between sponges, open a box of mice pies and add a spoonful. I tested the recipe with little 3 layer ginger sponge, it's giving me all the yuletide feels. Yes it's an accompaniment, not even a side dish, but it elevates the Christmassiness of whatever it graces, and it's my sweet festive MVP.  

A creme diplomat is simply pastry cream lightened with softly whipped cream, adding a few splashes of brandy, and a grating of nutmeg gives you eggnog cream, and it's glorious. The pastry cream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge, when you're ready, give it a quick beat, add the whipped cream, grate nutmeg over top, and Bob's your tipsy Christmas uncle!

eggnog creme diplomat

170ml milk
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
15g cornflour
1 tsp Queen vanilla paste
15g butter
30 ml brandy
30 ml bourbon
grated fresh nutmeg
150ml thickened cream

• in a small pan, over medium heat, bring the milk to just below boiling point, you'll see little lines form on the surface
• meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla; set the bowl on a damp cloth to stop it dancing around, gradually add the hot milk, whisking enthusiastically
• tip the custard back into the pan, and with the heat on low, whisk continuously.  The custard will thicken quickly, once it starts to bubble, whisk for a further minute then take off the heat.  Add the butter, whisking until smooth, then add the brandy, bourbon, and finally vanilla, again whisking to combine
• push the custard through a sieve into a small bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard, place in the fridge to cool
• while the custard is cooling, whip the cream to soft peaks
• remove the cold custard from the fridge and give it a good whisk to smooth it out, use the whisk to fold through the whipped cream until just combined, grate the fresh nutmeg over the top and stir through
• use immediately, or store covered in the fridge until required. Will keep for up to 3 days. 



Tuesday, 19 October 2021

coconut tart with Bonne Maman Mango-Peach Conserve


I'm a jam on toast girl, but I'm also here for jam sandwiched sponges, scones with jam and cream, and definitely jam baked in a pie. Bonne Maman mango and peach conserve is lovely in this tart, the perfect sweet yet slightly sour foil for the moist coconut frangipane and crisp, buttery pastry. It has me thinking about stone fruit, one of my favourite things about summer in Sydney. 

The tart is delicious warm from the oven with ice cream or custard, but on a balmy summer evening I'll serve it with coconut cream, whipped chilled from the fridge, fresh mango and peaches, and the tart hit of raspberries. 

I think I need to stop for a while with the bakewell inspired recipes, very happy to finish with this beauty.


coconut tart 

150g caster sugar
60g desiccated coconut
70g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
pinch salt
150g butter, soft at room temperature
3 large eggs, 150g shelled
1/2 tsp coconut extract
125g Bonne Maman Mango-Peach Conserve
tart shell, recipe below

• preheat oven to 170ºC, 150ºC fan
• add the caster sugar, desiccated coconut, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter, eggs and coconut extract and blitz until smooth, 20-30 seconds
• spread the jam over the base of the tart shell, pour the batter over the jam and level with the back of a spoon
• bake for 45 minutes until puffed and golden, and the centre of the tart feels firm when pressed gently, remove from the oven and leave on a rack to cool
• serve warm or at room temperature with whipped coconut cream, whipped cream, ice cream or enjoy as is
• store in an airtight container for up to 4 days




tart shell

190g plain flour
100g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
40g icing sugar
1 large egg yolk, reserve the white to use as a wash
1-2 tbsp cold water

• have your tart pan handy, I use a 20cm by 4.5cm loose bottom tin
• tip the four and butter into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, pulse until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs, add the icing sugar and give it a quick pulse to combine
• use a fork to whisk together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of iced water, add to the food processor, pulse in long bursts until the mixture starts to clump, you may need to add the second tablespoon of water, perhaps more if your flour is particularly absorbent
• tip the clumpy mix onto your bench and use your hands to bring it together into a ball, flatten the ball into a disc, about 1cm thick, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour
• remove the pastry from the fridge, let it sit on the bench for 10 minutes, then roll on a lightly floured bench to 3-4mm thick, turning as you go. Carefully place the pastry over the tin, ease into base and up the sides, be sure to gently press the into the join where the base meets the sides. Roll a rolling pin over the tart tin to trim the excess pastry, a slight bulge may appear in the pastry at the edge of the tin, gently press to flatten, then return the tart shell to the fridge for half an hour. Keep the pastry off cuts, just in case, for repairs
• towards the end of the chilling time, preheat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) and place a baking tray in the centre of the oven
• take a sheet of baking paper slightly larger than the tin, screw it into a ball and open it a few times to soften it, line the pastry case with the paper, and fill with pastry weights right up to the rim (I use a mix of dried lentils and beans). Place the tin in the oven on the hot tray and bake for 20 minutes, remove the paper and weights, use the reserved pasty to mend any holes or cracks that have appeared, gently prick the base all over with the tines of a fork, and return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the base no longer looks wet. Whisk the reserved egg white and a teaspoon of water with a fork, use a pastry brush to paint the inside of the tart shell with the egg white wash. Return the tart shell to the oven for a final 10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack, when completely cold it is ready to fill