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Raspberry Cupcakes

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I made these colourful and flavourful bright pink raspberry cupcakes a while back when I was experimenting with colour in cakes. I’m posting again, as it’s such a simple and eye-catching recipe. The cake mixture has frozen raspberries in it and a drop or two of red food colouring.

The buttercream icing has raspberry fondant creme mixed through, plus a touch more red food colouring.  Fondant creme or paste is available at specialty kitchen shops. I get mine from The Essential Ingredient in Sydney. If you can’t get the fondant creme, just leave it out – red food colouring will easily give you the colour you need.

I decorated with a few crystallized rose petals – fresh petals would be pretty too!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

Handful of frozen raspberries

Raspberry Buttercream Icing

50g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tblsp raspberry fondant creme

A drop of red food colouring

Method

Cupcakes

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

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

Carefully fold in the raspberries.

Spoon mixture into the cases, filling the cases equally.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 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 raspberry buttercream icing.

Raspberry Buttercream Icing

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until combined, then add the lemon juice, raspberry fondant creme and a drop of red food colouring, beating continuously.

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Double Chocolate Tart

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I call this Double Chocolate Tart as it has a rich dark biscuit pastry chocolate shell, filled with  – wait for it – dark and milk chocolate! So maybe it’s a triple chocolate tart?

This was our dessert for Easter Sunday lunch, on March 27. It’s rich, dense, bitter sweet and a little goes a long way.

I served the tart with strawberries, some of them chocolate dipped, and fresh figs, which in Sydney in our warm and sunny Autumn, are ripe and plentiful. And whipped cream, just to cut through the “chocolateyness”.

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Ingredients

For the pastry:

175g unsalted butter
75g icing sugar
2  free-range egg yolks
200g plain flour
50g dutch cocoa

For the filling:

150g milk chocolate
150g dark chocolate
400ml cream
2 free range eggs +1 egg yolk lightly beaten

To decorate:

Strawberries, dark chocolate, fresh figs, or any other fresh fruit of your choosing. Orange segments would be lovely!

Method

I make this pastry recipe in the food processor, but you could do it in an electric mixer or by hand. I use the food processor because it’s easy.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Cream the butter and icing sugar together in a food processor. Add the eggs and yolk and mix thoroughly. Sift the flour and cocoa. Have 25ml of cold water ready. Add a little of the water and all of the flour/cocoa mix and pulse using the processor, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add as much of the water as you need so that the pastry comes together into a ball. Remove from the processor, wrap in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a surface dusted with flour  until about 5mm thick. This pastry is quite soft and delicate, be gentle, and you may need a little extra flour for rolling out. Line a 18cm or 20cm loose-bottomed tin with a circle of baking paper. The smaller tin gives you a slightly higher filling, the bigger a flatter tart.

Carefully line the tin with the pastry. Have a bit of overhang of pastry at the top – you can trim this after baking. Chill for 30 minutes. Line the pastry case with more baking paper and baking beans or rice and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans and return the pastry case to the oven for 5 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin, then trim any pastry edges.

To make the filling, place both kinds of chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan on the stovetop and gently bring to a simmer. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes while the chocolate melts, then stir to make sure the chocolate and cream is combined.  Stir through the lightly beaten eggs, then pour the mixture into the tart shell.

Put into the oven, turn the temperature down to 140 degrees C. Bake for 1 hour or until the filling is just set and wobbles in the middle if you gently move the tin. The shallower the filling, the less time the tart will take. As with so much cooking, your cook’s judgment is needed here to know when the filling is just right!

Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin. Place in the fridge and chill for at least an hour. I made the chocolate tart the day before and chilled overnight. Bring the tart to room temperature before serving.

Serve with any fresh fruit you fancy. I dipped some strawberries in melted chocolate, and scattered these with fresh strawberries and fig quarters on the the top of the cake. A dollop of whipped cream looked good too.

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Jamie Oliver’s Cherry Cheesecake Semifreddo

 

 

 

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I found this recipe just before Christmas and it seemed the perfect solution to finding a new yummy dessert for Christmas lunch. I already had a sensational Christmas pudding – more of that in another post – and I was looking for something cold and sweet and a bit different.

Jamie has combined three great ideas – cherries because they’re seasonal for us in Australia, cheesecake which is always a winner and semifreddo for all us ice cream lovers!

It’s an easy recipe but you need to be prepared for a quite a few steps. It took me an hour or so on Christmas Eve, then freezing time overnight. It was ready to go for lunch on Christmas Day. I made these changes to the original recipe:

  • I used frozen pitted cherries rather than fresh (simply to save time pitting the fresh cherries)
  • I used ginger nut biscuits for the biscuit crunch component instead of digestive biscuits. This really worked as the biscuit crunch had a great festive ginger flavour!

Ingredients

150g digestive biscuits (I used ginger nuts)
75g unsalted butter
250g fresh cherries (I used frozen pitted cherries)
250g golden caster sugar
1 lemon
4 large free-range eggs
250ml double cream
250g cream cheese
50g dark chocolate
A large handful of cherries or mixed fresh berries

Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until fine. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat and stir in the blitzed biscuits and a good pinch of sea salt.
Empty the mixture into a small baking dish (roughly 15 x 20 cm), pat down and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden and firm. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, halve and de-stone the cherries and place in a small pan with 200g of the caster sugar. (Or use frozen cherries). Finely grate in the lemon zest and squeeze in the juice of half and place over a medium-low heat.
Gently bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until softened and syrupy. Leave to cool completely, then blitz two-thirds of the mixture into a purée in a blender.
When you are ready to assemble the semifreddo, separate the eggs into two large mixing bowls and pour the double cream into a third bowl. Whisk the cream to soft peaks and beat in the cream cheese.
Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar until creamy and pale and doubled in volume.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of sea salt until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the whites into the yolks, using a large metal spoon to keep the mixture as light as possible.
Beat a large spoonful of the egg mixture into the cream cheese mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold through the remaining.
Marble in half the puréed cherries and crumble in most of the biscuit mixture in large and small pieces, then fold through most of the whole cooked cherries. Spoon the semifreddo into a 1.5 litre ceramic bowl, then crumble over the remaining biscuit and ripple through most of the remaining purée. Put the dish into the freezer for at least 6 hours.
When you are ready to serve, dip the bowl 2/3 of the way into a large bowl or pan of just-boiled water, being careful not to submerge completely. Hold until you start to see the semifreddo loosen from the sides of the bowl. Place an upside down cake stand or plate on top of the bowl, and quickly turn over, holding one hand on the bowl and one hand on the cake stand.
The semifreddo should come out in a beautiful dome. Serve garnished with the remaining puree, cooked cherries, shavings of dark chocolate and a handful of fresh cherries or mixed berries.

 

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Jamie Oliver’s Granola Dust and Breakfast Trifle

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Granola Dust is from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food. It’s basically a granola mix blitzed in the food processor until the mix becomes pulverized. Great for serving with fresh fruit, or just sprinkling over muesli to add another texture.

I love adding Granola Dust to muffins as I did in my last post, Blueberry Granola Dust Muffins. They taste quite nutty, and healthy!

In the photo above, I made a breakfast trifle by layering mixed berries, Greek yoghurt and Granola Dust with a drizzle of honey, in a jar. You could do the same thing in a bowl.

These quantities for Granola Dust are what Jamie specifies in his book. I thought that sounded rather a lot, so I made a quarter of the mix – this gave me half a large jar’s worth of Granola Dust.

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Ingredients

1kg porridge oats

250g unsalted mixed nuts such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews

100g mixed seeds such as chia, poppy,sunflower, sesame, linseed, pumpkin

250g mixed dried fruit such as blueberries, cranberries, sour cherries mango, apricots, figs, sultanas

3 tablespoons quality cocoa powder

1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee

1 orange

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Place the oats, nuts and seeds in a large baking tray. Toss together and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway.

Stir the dried fruit, cocoa and coffee into the mix, finely grate over the orange zest, then in batches, blitz in the food processor till the mixture forms a rough powder or dust.

Transfer to a large glass jar (or jars) to store.

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Mascarpone Ice Cream Terrine

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What to do with lots of mascarpone? On the weekend I made a frozen creation for friends who had excess mascarpone, using a variety of delicious things folded through the cream cheese. The predominant colour vibe was pink and green, using raspberries and strawberries, meringue and pistachio praline.

Very easy to make, and you can include whatever you fancy as the fold-through ingredients.

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Ingredrients

1 quantity of pistachio praline

2  x 250g tubs mascarpone

200g condensed milk

1 tbls orange liqueur

Handful of fresh raspberries and/or strawberries

Meringue pieces (we bought green and pink meringues – any colours will do)

Method

To make pistachio praline, scatter a handful of pistachio nuts on piece of baking paper on a baking sheet.

Heat 1/2 cup of caster sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Be careful not to stir the sugar – tilt the saucepan to help melt the sugar. Cook for several minutes until the sugar turns a deep caramel tea colour and take off the heat. Quickly pour over the pistachios.

Leave to cool and harden. When completely cold, place the praline in a ziplock bag and bash into pieces with a mallet or rolling pin. Make sure you have small fragments and praline powder as well as some large shards for decoration.

Combine the mascarpone and condensed milk in a bowl using a large spoon. Add the orange liqueur. If the mixture is too stiff, you can loosen it a little with some pouring cream.

Add the fold-through ingredients, being careful not to break up the berries.

Line a rectangular plastic container with cling film. Spoon the mixture into the container. Cover with the overhanging cling film. Freeze for several hours or better still overnight.

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Turn out onto serving platter, removing cling film. You will need to leave for a few minutes to soften as the terrine will be hard and difficult to cut.

Serve with the praline shards, berries and crushed meringues.

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Croissants and Danish Pastries

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Continuing my exploration of laminated pastry making, I made a batch of croissant dough. The recipe is very similar to that for Danish pastry.

I followed Paul Hollywood’s recipe for croissants from his well written and very informative book How to Bake.

For croissant dough, you omit the eggs for a lighter, flakier pasty. I substituted semi-skimmed milk for the water in the yeast dough, following a recipe for croissants from another great book, Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets.

I was very happy with the results – light, flaky croissants and Danish pastries that were equally as delicious as my first version.

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Rather than reproducing the recipes in full, I refer you to my previous post. https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/07/25/danish-pastries/

But note: Omit the eggs. Use 300ml semi-skimmed milk in the base dough instead of water and full fat milk.

I made croissants, almond croissants, pain aux raisins and cherry and strawberry danishes.

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Here are Paul’s instructions for how to shape the croissants – the quantities refer to using the whole amount of the dough. To make almond croissants, put a tablespoon of frangipane (recipe in my previous post) at the base of the croissant triangle and roll as for ordinary croissants. Scatter some flaked almonds on the top before baking.

Method

When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 30cm wide; it should be about 7mm thick. Trim the edges to neaten them.

Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 15cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.

Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. Now starting at the thick end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.

Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.

Heat your oven to 200°C.

Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.

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Paul Hollywood’s Danish Pastries

IMG_4134I’m on a long holiday at the moment which has given me the time for lots of experimental cooking.

I love pastry so learning how to make laminated pastry seemed appropriate. It’s a lengthy but not difficult process – you just need some uninterrupted time and lots of patience!

I followed the recipes from the god of baking Paul Hollywood, from his book How to Bake: http://paulhollywood.com/books/

I can thoroughly recommend his step by step guide to making Danish pastry dough complete with excellent pictures as well as his individual recipes.

I made the basic dough and then created Pain aux Raisins, Almond Pastries and Berry Danishes as three sweet and delicious pastry morsels. I have also included the recipes for crème pâtissière and frangipane, typical pastry fillings.

IMG_3937Danish Pastry Dough

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

10g salt

80g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

2 medium eggs

90ml cool water

125ml tepid full-fat milk

250g chilled unsalted butter

Method

Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the eggs, water and milk and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes.

Tip the flour out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Dust with flour, put into a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out your chilled dough to a rectangle, about 50 x 20cm and about 1cm thick. Flatten the butter to a rectangle, about 33 x 19cm, by bashing it with a rolling pin. Lay the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of it. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.

Fold the exposed dough at the top down one-third of the butter. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the bottom half of the dough up. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill for an hour to harden butter.

Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured surface with the short end towards you. Now roll it out to a rectangle, about 50 x 20cm, as before. This time fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top. This is called a single turn. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill for another hour. Repeat this stage twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge between turns.

The dough now needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly. It is then ready to use.

I divided the dough into three, using a third for each pastry type.

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Ingredients

1/3 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity crème pâtissière

80g raisins

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 medium free range egg, beaten

Method

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle, about 7mm thick. Turn it 90°, if necessary, so a long edge is facing you. Smear half the crème pâtissière over the dough, leaving a clear 5cm margin along the near edge. Sprinkle half the raisins and cinnamon over the crème. Roll the dough towards you into a sausage, keeping it as tight as possible – give a gentle tug each time you roll to tighten the dough and give it a little tension. When you reach the end, roll the sausage back and forth a few times to seal the join.

Cut the roll into 3cm slices. Lay cut side up and apart on the baking trays and put each inside a clean plastic bag. Leave to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24 degrees C) until at least doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat your oven to 200 degrees C. Brush the risen pastries with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and drizzles with lemon icing. I left them plain this time.

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Ingredients

1/3 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity frangipane

50g flaked almonds

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

Method

Line baking tray with baking paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 20cm square, approximately 5mm thick. Cut into 10cm squares. If you make them a little smaller, and roll the dough a fraction bigger, you can squeeze 6 out of the dough. Fold the corners into the middle and press down lightly with your finger so the fold sticks.

Put the pastries onto the baking tray, spacing them apart. Put the tray into a clean plastic bag, leaving to rise at cool room temperature  (18 – 24 degrees C)  until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Place about 1tbsp of frangipane in the middle of each risen pastry and sprinkle with flaked almonds.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and optionally drizzles with orange icing. Again, I left them plain this time.

IMG_4062 2Berry Danishes

Ingredients

1 quantity Danish pastry dough, chilled

Flour for dusting

1/3 quantity crème pâtissière

100g mixed berries

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

Method

Line baking tray with baking paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a rectangle, about 30 x15cm and approximately 7mm thick. Cut into 7cm squares. on eaxc square, make cuts from each corner going diagonally almost to the centre so you have 4 triangles. Fold one corner from each triangle into the centre to create a star shape.

Put the stars onto the baking tray, spacing them apart to allow room for spreading. Put the tray into a clean plastic bag, leaving to rise at cool room temperature  (18 – 24 degrees C)  until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Put 1tbsp of crème pâtissière in the middle of each risen pastry and top with a couple of berries.  Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Paul glazes with apricot jam and drizzles with lemon icing. I left them plain.

Crème pâtissière

Ingredients

500m milk

1 vanilla pod, split down the middle and seeds scraped out

100g caster sugar

4 free-range eggs, yolks only

40g cornflour

40g butter

Method

Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the split vanilla pod and its seeds. Bring the milk mixture to the boil, then remove from the heat.

Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together in a large bowl.

Pour out a little of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well-combined, then return to the saucepan.

Cook the mixture over a gentle heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture becomes thick. It will just come to the boil.

Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted and thoroughly combined.

Leave to cool, cover with clingfilm and then chill before using.

Frangipane

Ingredients

100g butter, softened

75g caster sugar

40g plain flour

2 large eggs, beaten

60g ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp almond extract

Method

Put the butter and sugar into a food processor and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and one tablespoon of flour and mix well. Add the remaining flour, ground almonds, baking powder and almond extract and process until combined. Chill before using to make it easier to shape.

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