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Passionfruit Soufflé

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I rarely make soufflés. I was inspired today by watching Monica Galetti on UK Masterchef: The Professionals, as she set a soufflé as a skills test for some young chefs, as well as making the souffle herself.

I was impressed by the simplicity of her instructions: make a crème pâtissière then a meringue mixture, combine and bake.

The following recipe is based on some recipes from Monica I found online and my own tweaking.

http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/recipes/monica-galettis-crepe-souffle-recipe#image-rotator-1

http://www.allaboutyou.com/food/recipefinder/advanced/Monica-galetti-chocolate-souffle-recipe

Of course there are many tricks to watch out for – cool down your creme pat before adding the meringue, don’t add too much sugar to the meringue so that it’s not to heavy and get the balance right of creme pat to meringue, which is cook’s judgment as much as recipe.

And make sure to fill the molds to the top – I made that mistake and the soufflés didn’t quite rise high enough over the rim.

However I am keen to try again and hopefully next time you will see the improvements!

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Ingredients
Crème Pâtissière
6 free range egg yolks
125 gms sugar
40 gms  flour
500 mls milk
1 vanilla pod, split
A little butter or icing sugar, for cooling

Meringue
5 free range egg whites
60 gms  sugar

3-4 passionfruit

Method
Butter and lightly dust with icing sugar 4 soufflé molds . This will help the soufflés to rise.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Place the egg yolks and about one third of the sugar in a bowl and whisk until they are pale and form a light ribbon. Sift in the flour and mix well.
Combine the milk, the remaining sugar and the split vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture bubbles, pour about one third onto the egg mixture, stirring all the time.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over gentle heat, stirring continuously. Boil for 2 minutes, then tip the custard into a bowl.
Flake a little butter over the surface or dust lightly with icing sugar to prevent a skin forming as the custard cools.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding the sugar in whilst whisking.

In a clean bowl, whisk the crème pat mixture to remove any lumps.

Gently fold in the pulp of 3-4 passionfruit into the crème pat mixture, then fold in the meringue mixture.

Place the mixture in the molds and tap the base to remove any air bubbles then smooth the tops off with a spatula before placing in the oven for about 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately dusted with icing sugar and with fruit, cream or ice-cream, to taste.

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Passionfruit Cake with Passionfruit Butter

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This is my latest tweaking on the passionfruit cake theme. I used the vanilla butter cake recipe from the post: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/21/vanilla-butter-cake-with-white-chocolate-and-hundreds-and-thousands/. On this occasion I omitted the hundreds and thousand of course!

I halved the white chocolate, adding 50 gms only, and added a generous tablespoon of sour cream.

Because of the high butter content, the butter/sugar mixture needs lots of creaming. The resulting cake texture, with so much butter and the white chocolate and sour cream, is incredibly moist!

I served the cake with a passionfruit icing, pasionfruit butter and cream. Very moorish!

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Butter Cake

Ingredients

250 gms butter softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups caster sugar

3 eggs

2 1/4 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup milk

50 gms white chocolate, melted

1 tbl sour cream

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line a 22 cm round cake tin.

Beat butter, extract and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in flour and milk in 2 batches.  Stir in melted white chocolate and sour cream.

Spread mixture into the tin. Bake about 45-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of  cake comes out clean. Stand in cake tin until cake is cool. Turn out onto wire rack.

Icing

2-3 passionfruit, depending on the size and juiciness of the fruit

Enough icing sugar to make a stiff but spreadable icing

Method

Mix the passionfruit pulp with the icing sugar, adding more icing sugar as necessary to make a smooth paste.

Ice the top of the cake, letting a little of the icing drip down the sides of the cake.

Passionfruit Butter

Ingredients

4 tbls sugar

2 tbls butter

Pulp from 3-4 passionfruit, depending on size and juiciness

2 egg yolks

Method

Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Bring water to the boil over a medium heat.

Turn heat down to medium-low. Add butter and sugar to bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to melt and combine.

Mix together passionfruit pulp and eggs in a small mixing bowl. Add to butter/sugar mixture and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. This should take about 10-12 minutes over a medium-low heat.

Once thickened, remove bowl from heat and allow butter to cool completely before storing in a sterilized airtight jar.

Refrigerate to store.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

 IMG_5931I’m currently researching lemon cakes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! I love any cakes with lemon or yoghurt or white chocolate or sour cream and that incorporate a lemon syrup.

I’ve made Jamie Oliver’s Greek Semolina cake and the always wonderful Le Pirate’s Lemon White Chocolate cake recently, both with my own Quirky tweaks.

And I have been making Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern orange cake for many years. So I made a cake which incorporated the Claudia Roden idea of cooking the whole fruit, with a yoghurt and oil based cake. Lemon drizzle syrup and a passionfruit icing gave a tangy sweetness.

Cook’s note: I have found with this cake and previous versions that you need to drench the cake with lemon syrup to make sure it’s very moist. Maybe I need to adjust my flour quantities or my cooking times? I would welcome some thoughts!

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Greek yoghurt
2 cups self raising flour

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 24 cm spring form tin and line the base with baking paper.

Place the lemon in a saucepan with water and boil gently till soft- about 1 hour. When cooked, leave to cool, then blitz in a food processor until pureed.
Place the caster sugar in the food processor, blitz until well combined.  Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Stir in the yoghurt, followed by the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin. It will be quite loose.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly in the tin, and then turn out onto a rack.

Lemon Syrup

Combine 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup caster sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.

Pierce the cake all over with a skewer. While the cake is still warm, drizzle the lemon sugar syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in.

Passionfruit Icing

Place 1 cup icing sugar in a bowl with 2 passionfruit. Mix carefully to make a smooth, flowing icing. Ice the cake, allowing the icing to flow over the sides of the cake.

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Tropical Pavlova

Pavlova has to be one of my favourite desserts. I love any meringue concoction – light and fluffy pavs, meringues layered with cream, chocolate, berries or nuts like vacherin or dacquoise, or little meringues sandwiched together with cream in the form of meringue kisses. They are all delightful!

I was making a pavlova for friends recently. Everyone loves a pavlova filled with cream and strawberries, but this time I wanted to fill the pav with some seasonal flavours. There is an abundance of tropical fruit available in farmers’ markets and supermarkets at the moment, which is wonderful as we swelter through a hot, late summer in Sydney.

Pineapple, mango and passionfruit were the obvious choices. Pineapples in particular are fantastic – ripe, sweet and juicy.

I also love lemon curd as a filler for pavlova, and this time I made a passionfruit/lemon curd to top the cream and provide a base for the tropical fruit. Toasted coconut added the finishing touch!

I made the pavlova as a tranche – a long rectangle. It’s great for serving a crowd. The quantities here would also make a two layer round pavlova, or a very large round one for a party.

Ingredients

Pavlova
8 egg whites
450g caster sugar
1 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons cornflour, sifted

Passionfruit/Lemon Curd
You need one whole quantity of the curd, plus most of second quantity. I suggest making the curd in 2 lots, as I think it’s a bit tricky to make a really big amount. These are the ingredients to make 1 quantity.

Juice of 2 lemons
Juice and seeds of 2 passionfruit
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks, beaten lightly

1 small pineapple
2 mangoes
2 passionfruit
A handful of coconut shavings

600mls cream
½ teaspoon vanilla paste

Method

Pavlova
Preheat oven to 120 degrees C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. You will need a tray large enough for a rectangle (roughly) 35cm x 20cms or 14in x 8in.

Place egg whites in the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 3-4 minutes to soft peaks.

Add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next, whisking until mixture is glossy. The meringue will be shiny and will hold stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. 

Reduce speed to low, then add vinegar and cornflour, beating for about 30 seconds to combine.

Spread ¾ of the mixture over the baking paper in a rectangle, smoothing the top. Place the remaining mixture in a large plastic piping bag and snip 1cm/½in off the end. Pipe the meringue onto the rectangle, in little blobs along all the sides, to make a rim.

Bake for about 1½ hours or until the meringue can be lifted easily off the paper without sticking. Turn off the oven, and leave in the oven for several hours, or even overnight, until the meringue is cold.

Passionfruit/Lemon Curd
Place all the ingredients except the passionfruit seeds in a double boiler or bain marie. Cook over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and stir through the passionfruit seeds, and set aside to cool. When cool, refrigerate until ready to use.

Cut the pineapple and mangoes into small chunks. You can, if you like, cook the pineapple in a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar and a couple of tablespoons of dark rum in a frying pan, until the pineapple is slightly softened. I think the pineapple is fine, though, without cooking.

You will need to lightly dry roast the coconut shavings in a hot frying pan for a few minutes until the coconut has some colour.

Whip the cream to soft peaks, with the vanilla paste.

To assemble, place the pavlova tranche on a large serving plate or board. Spoon the cream onto the pavlova, then top with the passionfruit/lemon curd. Place the fruit pieces on top of the curd, scattering the seeds of the other passionfruit. Finally scatter the toasted coconut over the pavlova.

The pavlova should be left for a couple of hours before serving. I think a pavlova is nicest the next day, when the flavours have had a chance to mature. A little bit messy, a little bit gooey, but definitely yummy!

Walnut Cake with Caramelised Figs

Figs are plentiful in the height of summer here in Sydney. I love cooking with seasonal fruit, particularly at this time of year when there are a multitude of summer fruits available. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, pineapples and mangoes, peaches and nectarines, my absolute favourite passionfruit, and of course delicious figs.

This recipe for walnut cake is based on my almond cake recipe that I usually make with stone fruit. I have a couple of versions on this blog. This time, I used walnuts, as I was looking for a robust flavour to go with some caramelised figs. In the almond cake recipe, I use bought ground almonds, whereas in this recipe I take whole walnuts and whizz them in the food processor to make ground walnuts with some little nutty bits still remaining. This gives the cake a nice texture.

The cake is drizzled with a coffee caramel syrup, and figs which have been poached in this syrup are placed on top. I also put some fresh figs on top which worked well too. But I think the caramelised figs are nicer!

Ingredients

150g butter
100g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
3 free range eggs
I teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon almond essence
150g walnuts
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Coffee Caramel
3 tablespoons caster sugar
75mls good coffee liqueur- I used Mr Black from Botanica Distillery in NSW, a cold brew coffee liquor. Any liqueur is fine!
A few splashes of water up to 50mls to thin syrup to pouring consistency
3 figs, cut in half for poaching, or 2 or 3 fresh figs.

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced. Grease a 20cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper.

Put the walnuts into a food processor and pulse, stopping every so often to make sure you don’t over process. You want some chunky bits as well as some fine ground walnuts. Set aside, but don’t bother washing the processor!

Combine butter and sugar in a food processor, with vanilla extract or paste and almond essence. Add the eggs one at a time and pulse well.
Fold in ground walnuts, plain flour, baking powder and salt.

Put the mixture into the springform and bake for about 45 minutes  or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.

While the cake is baking, make the caramel.

For the coffee caramel, put the caster sugar in a small frying pan or saucepan and dissolve the sugar gently over a low heat. Don’t stir the sugar or it will crystallise! Once the sugar is dissolved, cook until it turns light brown, sort of tea coloured. Take it off the heat and add the coffee liqueur carefully, as the caramel is hot. You can add some water if the syrup is too thick. If the caramel has already turned to toffee, don’t worry. Just gently heat the caramel with the liqueur over low heat and the toffee will dissolve.

Put 6 of the fig halves into the coffee syrup and poach for a couple of minutes over a low heat until the figs are slightly softened.

Once the cake is out of the oven, and while it is still hot, pierce the top a few times with a skewer and pour a few teaspoonfuls of the syrup over the cake.

Serve the cake with the poached figs on top, with a little more syrup drizzled over the figs, and Greek yoghurt or whipped cream or creme fraiche. Or decorate the cake with the plain figs, or a combination of poached and fresh, and a little of the syrup and yoghurt or cream. Either way it’s delicious!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – In Search of Cookie Nirvana

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I have started experimenting with recipes old and new for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Something that’s crisp on the edges, not too soft, but definitely squidgy (a little bit soft) in the middle. I don’t mind whether the cookies are big or small, but I definitely want a little rise rather than pancake flat.

Looking back at my cookie posts, I realized that I have never blogged my go-to-recipe that I have made over the years. So today, I cooked up a batch with mixed results. I realized that these cookies are quite flat  – why have I not addressed this before?? No idea, except perhaps I have been too eager to get stuck into eating the cookies rather than worrying about the rise!

I made one batch of these pancake flat numbers –  still very yummy – then made a second batch to which I added more flour. This seemed to do the trick as the dough was a lot firmer, and the cookies rose nicely. You could even call them plump!

What to with the pancake cookies? Why a pancake cookie stack of course! And two pancake cookies can be sandwiched with icecream.

So here is the basic recipe. For risen cookies, I have included the extra flour; for pancake cookies there’s less flour. Take your pick: risen or pancake, they both taste really good!

Ingredients

125g butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 free-range egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plain flour (risen cookies) 1 cup flour (pancake cookies)

1 tsp baking powder

50g chocolate chips (milk or dark)

50g good quality dark chocolate chopped into little and bigger shards

Method

Note: This is a food processor cookie. It would definitely be great to make it with an electric mixer – and for the purists, you will get really nicely creamed butter and sugar. But the food processor method is super quick – and your cookies are ready in no time.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar in the food processor until light and well, creamy! Add the vanilla extract and egg and process well. Add the flour and baking powder. You can sift them first, I never do. Gently pulse until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and the chopped chocolate.

Drop in dessert spoonfuls for large cookies or teaspoonfuls for smaller cookies on to the baking paper. You need to leave a gap of at least the size of 2 cookies between each (about 3 or 4 cms). Bake until the cookies are lovey and golden brown. This is usually between 12 and 15 minutes. I have found that watching the cookies is a better guide to when they are cooked than simply cooking for a certain number of minutes.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking trays, then finish on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

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To make a pancake cookie stack, pile up cookies with any filling you like – cream, chocolate, or buttercream icing. I made a passionfruit buttercream for this stack.

T o make a pancake icecream sandwich, put two cookies together with your favourite icecream! I used choc-peanut-salted caramel swirl. Good old vanilla would be fab. Drizzle with chocolate.

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Little Lemon Cakes

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Here is a recipe I have revisited from January 2015.  Little lemon cakes, tiered here for dramatic effect. It’s a basic cupcake mixture, a one bowl recipe. The lemon cupcakes are made with a whole lemon.Cooking a whole lemon, whizzing it, and adding it to the mixture, elevates an ordinary cupcake mixture to new heights, making a really tangy cake. I iced them with a simple buttercream icing. You can flavour it any way, I added passionfruit essence as I wanted a bright yellow icing and a little tang.  Plain old yellow food colouring would be fine too.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

1 whole thin skinned lemon

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

2 tbl milk

Buttercream Icing

125g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

A couple of drops of passionfruit essence and/or  couple of drops of yellow food colouring

Method

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fanforced  and line a muffin or cupcake  tin with cupcake cases.

Put the lemon whole into a small saucepan, covering with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1/2 hour until the lemon has softened. Remove from the saucepan and cool. Cut off the ends of the lemon, cut in half and remove the pips. Put the lemon into the food processor and blitz  – don’t pulverize, you still want a little texture.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the  food processor except the milk and food colouring and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the cases. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and cool on a wire rack. Remove the cases ready for icing.

Ice with the buttercream icing.

Buttercream Icing

In the food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy, then add flavour essence and/or food colour, whizzing continuously.

You can either sandwich together two cakes for the tired effect or serve individually. If you are tiering, you may need to trim the bottom cake to allow the top one to sit straight. You can decorate with whatever you please. I candied some lemon slices and also used edible pansies, which are so pretty on cakes!

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Lemon Cupcakes with a Whole Lemon

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I have been making lots of little cakes after Christmas as an antidote to Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. I have taken my basic cupcake mixture, which is a one bowl recipe, and added different flavours. I’ll be posting some more variations soon.

The lemon cupcakes are made with a whole lemon. They can be served individually or tiered, whatever takes your fancy. Cooking a whole lemon, whizzing it, and adding it to the mixture, elevates an ordinary cupcake mixture to new heights, making a really tangy cake. I iced them with a simple buttercream icing. You can flavour it any way, I added passionfruit essence as I wanted a bright yellow icing and a little tang.  Plain old yellow food colouring would be fine too.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

1 whole thin skinned lemon

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

2 tblsp milk

Buttercream Icing

125g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

A couple of drops of passionfruit essence and/or  couple of drops of yellow food colouring

Method

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fanforced  and line a muffin or cupcake  tin with cupcake cases.

Put the lemon whole into a small saucepan, covering with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1/2 hour until the lemon has softened. Remove from the saucepan and cool. Cut off the ends of the lemon, cut in half and remove the pips. Put the lemon into the food processor and blitz  – don’t pulverize, you still want a little texture.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the  food processor except the milk and food colouring and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the cases. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and cool on a wire rack. Remove the cases ready for icing.

Ice with the buttercream icing.

Buttercream Icing

In the food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy, then add flavour essence and/or food colour, whizzing continuously.

You can either sandwich together two cakes for the tired effect or serve individually. If you are tiering, you may need to trim the bottom cake to allow the top one to sit straight. You can decorate with whatever you please. I candied some lemon slices and also used edible pansies, which are so pretty on cakes!

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Rainbow Party Cakes

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I have been experimenting with flavour essences for cupcakes as well as food colours, creating some pretty heady colours as well as flavours! I have created these for various young tasters but older tasters seem to like them too!

Raspberry, passionfruit and lime are flavourful and vibrant. The raspberry cakes are the most successful, I think. The lime cakes taste a little artificial.

The recipe is Nigella’s standard cupcake recipe, which I use a lot, as it’s an “everything in the food processor” recipe. The frosting is buttercream. Adding flavoured fondant creme is not strictly necessary, but adds more depth.

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Ingredients

Cupcakes

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

A couple of drops of red, yellow or green food colouring

Buttercream Icing

125g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

A couple of drops of raspberry, passionfruit or lime essence

A couple of drops of red, yellow or green food colouring

 

Method

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Put all the ingredients except the milk and food colouring in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Divide the mixture into 3 bowls and beat in food colouring to each bowl.

Spoon mixture into the cases, filling the cases equally.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and golden on top.

Take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Ice with the buttercream icing.

Buttercream Icing

In the food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light an fluffy, then add flavour essence, food colour and fondant if using, whizzing continuously.

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