Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: cheese

Mini Curd Cakes with Mixed Berries

IMG_4977

Cooking is both an art form and a science and is constantly evolving. I am always evaluating recipes, altering and tweaking to suit new conditions or just to try to perfect.

Having made some more fresh curd cheese on the weekend, I decided to make curd cake again. But this time I made mini curd cakes as a result of just this kind of recipe evaluation mentioned above.

Also I wanted to try out a beautiful baking tin from Baker’s Secret that I had recently acquired. It has 12 holes with removable bottoms. It’s meant for pies or puddings but would do just as well for cakes!

IMG_4943

I was aware that the River Cottage Australia recipe I quoted in my previous post uses quantities based around 1 kg of cheese:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/09/27/fresh-curd-cake-with-strawberry-conserve/

However the curd recipe from the same source seems to make only 400-500gms of curd from 2 litres of milk.

I’m not sure whether my inexperience as a cheese maker has meant I get less curds from the milk, or whether indeed the lesser quantity is what you actually end up with.

So this time I made cheese with 2 litres of milk and ended up with 400gms of curd. Not having enough cheese for a large cake I made mini cheese cakes and adjusted all the quantities appropriately, roughly halving them.

You may note in comparing the recipes that I used 3 eggs not 2 and suggested increasing the cream quantity. From my experience, the extra egg gives richness to the mixture and increasing the cream is necessary if the mixture is a little stiff.

I also adjusted the oven temperature down to 170 degrees C, as I thought the result of my previous baking was a little overcooked, and I prefer to control this through temperature rather than less baking time.

In the photos I stacked the cakes on top of each other for visual and serving appeal. The mixture yielded 4 large mini cakes.

IMG_4990 lighten

Ingredients
400-500 gms fresh curd
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4-1/2 cup cream
3 large free-range eggs
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line the bases of Baker’s Secret mini tins (as in the photo) with baking paper or just use ordinary muffin tins.
Place the curd, sugar and cream in the bowl of a food processer and process until smooth.
Add the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla paste and process until thoroughly mixed.
Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown and the mixture is set. Timing will depend on the heat of your particular oven. You will need to watch carefully as these little cakes will cook quickly.
Serve warm or at room temperature, but not completely cold, with any kind of fresh or cooked fruit.

IMG_4955

Advertisements

Home Made Fresh Curd Cheese

IMG_4909

I have made this fresh curd cheese three times this week. Having never made it before, I was keen to perfect the technique. It’s important to use full cream non-homogenized milk. This milk has a creamy top to it, has a lovely rich flavour and produces stronger curds which separate from the whey quite distinctly.

It’s important to use a thermometer and watch the temperature keenly. The magic number is 80 degrees C.

This recipe is based on that of Paul West from River Cottage Australia.

Ingredients
2 litres of full  cream non-homonogenized milk – the fresher the better

1/2 tsp of salt

1 cup cream (optional – will produce a creamier cheese, I have made the cheese with and without the cream)

1/4 cup cider or white wine vinegar

Method
Add 1/2 tsp of salt to the 2 litres of milk in a large saucepan. Add the cream also if you want a creamier mix.

IMG_4809

IMG_4814

Heat the milk slowly over medium heat to 80 degrees C. Measure the vinegar.IMG_4818

As soon as the milk reaches temperature, add the vinegar. Give it a gentle stir but be careful not to stir too much as this will result in a squeaky curd. Agitate it just enough to incorporate the vinegar into the milk. You should see the curds start to separate from the whey and move to the top of the saucepan.

IMG_4838

Leave for about for about 5 minutes, and watch for any cracks that start to form or any swelling bubbles about to pop on the surface of the pan. You want to maintain the temperature at just below boiling point so pour a small amount of cold water into those spots as you see them pop up.

IMG_4841

Remove the pan from the heat. It should now be done, and have a clear separation between the green-ish colored whey and the curds. The curd is the cheese.

Pour the mixture carefully into a colander or sieve, lined with muslin, set over a large bowl. The whey will drain into the bowl, leaving behind the fresh curd in the colander or sieve.

IMG_4860

Once you have all of the curd in the colander or sieve, set it aside to cool and finish draining to your desired consistency. To facilitate the draining I tied the muslin cloth and gently squeezed the whey from the muslin bag. This is not strictly necessary – it just sped up the process.

IMG_4868

Refrigerate in a container with as little air as possible. Or you can cover with olive oil in a container if you are going to use the cheese in a savoury way.

Use the cheese as you would ricotta. The Fresh Curd Cake in the previous post is a fantastic use of the cheese.

IMG_4906

IMG_4878

Winter Pies: Beef and red wine pasties + Ham, leek and mushroom baby pies

 

IMG_0434

IMG_0572

Beef and Red Wine Pasties

Ingredients
For the beef and red wine stew:
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl plain flour
300 gms shin beef cut into small pieces
4 eschallots, chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 glass red wine
1 tsp vegemite dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
Sea salt, black pepper and a big pinch of sugar to season

For the rough puff pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

To finish:
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for glazing

Method
Beef Stew
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top. Dust the beef pieces in the flour by placing both in a zip lock bag and shake.

Fry the beef in small quantities to avoid “stewing” the meat, until brown on all sides. Remove the beef to a plate, add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, and fry the eschallots and carrot.

Return the  meat to the casserole. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping as you mix in to the casserole. Add the red wine and vegemite and water.
Season to taste.

Cook on a medium heat with lid off for 5 minutes, then transfer the casserole, with lid on, to the pre-heated oven. Cook for about 1. 5 hours or until beef is very tender.

Remove from oven, leave to cool before filling pasties. The stew can be refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to use.

Rough Puff Pastry (This recipe is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s from River Cottage Everyday – and I think it is much better than the recipe I described in my Custard Slice post).
Mix the flour with the salt, then add the cubed butter and toss until the pieces are coated with flour. Stir in just enough ice water (8 to 10 tablespoons) to bring the mixture together into a fairly firm dough.

Shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands and, on a well-floured surface, roll it out in one direction, away from you, so you end up with a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick. Fold the far third towards you, then fold the nearest third over that (rather like folding a business letter), so that you now have a rectangle made up of 3 equal layers. Give the pastry a quarter-turn, then repeat the rolling, folding, and turning process 5 more times. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and rest it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 3mm thick. Using a plate or a cake tin as a template, cut out four 20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get your fourth circle.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Eat pasties warm or cold.

IMG_0427

Ham, Leek and Mushroom Baby Pies

IMG_0555

Ingredients
Pastry
3 sheets ready rolled butter puff pastry *
1 egg +1 tbs water mixed together for an egg wash

White Sauce
1 tbl butter
1 tbl plain flour
1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
Handful of grated cheddar cheese
Sea salt to season

Filling
A knob of butter
1 medium size leek, sliced thinly
Sea salt
6 button mushrooms sliced thinly
150 gms free range leg ham

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Cut circles from 2 of the puff pastry sheets with a cutter or plate as guide, big enough to line the holes in a regular muffin tin. Grease the holes, and gently ease the pastry circles into the holes. These pies are rustic, so a perfect fit isn’t important. Brush each pastry circle with the egg wash.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly brown and puffed. Remove from the oven to cool.

IMG_0533

While the pastry is cooling, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the flour, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon to make sure there are no lumps. Cook the flour out for a minute or so. Add the milk, and cook gently, stirring all the time, until the sauce thickens. Add the cheese and salt to taste, stirring until cheese is well incorporated.

For the filling, heat the butter in frying pan, sweat the leeks with a little sea salt until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are just softened also. Roughly chop the ham. Combine the filings ingredients in a bowl with the white sauce.  You may not need all the white sauce – remember you don’t want the pie filling too sloppy.

Fill the pastry cases with a generous amount of the filling. Cut out circles from the remaining puff pastry sheet, big enough to cover each pie. Brush the lids with more egg wash.

IMG_0540

Return the pies to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the pastry lids are lightly brown and puffed.

Serve warm or cold – delicious either way!

* NOTE You can re-roll any left over scraps of pastry both for the pastry cases and lids. And if you really find you don’t have quite enough pastry, then just use another sheet.

 

%d bloggers like this: