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Sweet Cherry Yorkshire Puddings

 

I love making and eating Yorkshire puddings. They’re great hot served with roast beef or other things. I sometimes make Jamie Oliver’s Baby Yorkshire puds with smoked trout and horseradish pate (see here for recipe).

As readers of the blog will know, I’m fond of anything sweet, so a couple of weeks ago I created a great breakfast or brunch recipe, basically sweet Yorkshire puddings filled with cherries. They worked a treat, and were delicious warm from the oven and also at room temperature. I served them with Greek yoghurt and more cherries.

Ingredients

Extra light olive oil
3 large free-range eggs
115 grams plain flour
A pinch of salt
1 tbls caster sugar
285 mls milk
1 cup frozen cherries

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Pour a small amount of oil into a 12 cup muffin tin, so you have a thin layer covering the bottom of each muffin mold. Put the tin onto the top shelf in the hot oven for around 10 minutes so the oil gets really hot.

Beat eggs, flour, salt, caster sugar and milk together, either by hand or in a food processor, until light and smooth.  You can make this ahead of time  – the mixture actually improves in the fridge.

When you are ready to bake the puddings, stir the cherries through the batter.  You mightn’t get 12  – it’s more important to really fill up some of the molds full than fill all of them.

Carefully take the tin out of the hot oven and quickly and confidently pour the batter into the hot muffin tin, filling each mold reasonably full. Return the tin to the top shelf of the oven to cook for around 10 to 12 minutes, or until the puddings have risen and are a golden brown. But don’t open the oven door, otherwise your puddings will deflate!

Once cooked, remove from the oven. Carefully slide out of the molds. Eat warm or at room temperature. When you break open the muffins you will get a lovely cherry ooze.

Serve with yoghurt or creme fraiche,  honey or cinnamon sugar and more cherries. A delicious take on the traditional Yorkshire pudding.

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Cherry Cheesecake Semifreddo

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If you’re looking for cold pud ideas for Christmas lunch , this is what I did last year. Jamie Oliver had come up with a delightful frozen ice cream bombe using seasonal fresh cherries (at least for us in the Southern Hemisphere). But you could use frozen cherries if you are living in northern climes.

Cherries + cheesecake mixture =  cherry cheesecake semifreddo bombe, spectacular when frozen in a domed bowl and then turned out. Utterly delicious to eat…

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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A Tale of Two Puddings

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For Christmas lunch  2014 I couldn’t decide between a traditional Christmas pudding and the Jamie Oliver Christmas bombe, see here for his recipe. I made the latter a couple of years ago and Quirky Sister the Elder made a special request for its return this year.  As one Christmas pudding is never enough, I made both!
The hot pudding is a tropical take on the classic as it’s filled with pineapple and rum… yum. The Christmas bombe is pudding shaped and filled with panettone, ice cream and glacé fruit and alcohol, finished with a dark chocolate glaze. Both are delicious!

Pineapple Christmas Pudding

I found this recipe in a little book of pudding recipes published by the Women’s Weekly, which I have had for many years.

Ingredients
450g can of pineapple (crushed or pieces) in syrup – crushed  gives a smoother texture, pieces gives you chunks of pineapple.
250g butter, chopped
200g firmly packed brown sugar
250g sultanas
250g raisins
125g dried currants
100g glace cherries
4 eggs, lightly beaten
110g plain flour
110g self raising flour
35g stale breadcrumbs

Rum Syrup
110g sugar
125 ml rum

Method

Grease a 2 litre pudding bowl.

Drain pineapple well, reserve 125ml of pineapple syrup. Place pineapple on absorbent paper, pat dry. Combine butter and sugar in large pan; stir over medium heat without boiling, until sugar is dissolved.

To make Rum Syrup, add sugar to small saucepan, heat gently, stirring until sugar is dissolved and browned. Carefully add rum and reserved pineapple syrup. Mixture will bubble. Continue stirring until the toffee like mixture dissolves. Stir in half the Rum Syrup to butter and sugar mixture and bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Stir in all the fruit and pineapple; cool to room temperature. The rest of the Rum Syrup can be used to make a sauce for the pudding or added to cakes or muffins as a flavouring.

Place the fruit mixture in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, sifted flours and breadcrumbs. Spoon pudding mixture into greased pudding bowl.

Top with foil-lined baking paper or if you don’t have this, use baking paper plus foil. Make sure you cut a piece large enough to allow the pudding to expand when cooked – you can make a pleat in the paper which will allow this expansion. Secure with string round the top of the pudding bowl.  You can make an easy handling device by simply folding a piece of foil lengthways with 4 thicknesses and placing this under the bowl in the pot rather like a handle. Place pudding bowl in a large pot with boiling water to come halfway up the side of the bowl. Cover with a tight fitting lid; boil for 6 hours. Replenish with hot water from a kettle as needed.

When cool enough to handle, take pudding bowl out of the pot and the pudding out of the bowl. Wrap in cling wrap and store in a cool place – in summer in the fridge.

To reheat, remove the cling wrap and return the pudding to its bowl and the bowl to the pot filled with water as before. Steam for  1/2 – 1 hour as above to gently reheat.

Carefully remove the bowl from the pot and turn out the hot pudding on to a plate. Serve at the table flamed with brandy or whisky and with hard sauce or brandy butter.

Jamie’s Christmas Ice Cream Bombe

Ingredients
• 1 litre good-quality vanilla ice cream
• 1 kg panettone
• 125 ml vin santo or sweet sherry or any nice liqueur ( I used my favourite Pedro Ximinez)
• 3 tbs raspberry jam
• 50g  glacé cherries  whole
• 50g glacé fruit thinly sliced – I used glacé pineapple, apricots and pears to contrast in colour with the cherries
• 200g good-quality dark chocolate, bashed up

Method
Take the ice cream out of the freezer so it can soften a little.  Line a 2 litre pudding bowl with 3 layers of cling film. Using a serrated knife,  cut four 2cm thick rounds off of the panettone then cut them in half. You’ll have some panettone left over, so keep this for another time. Arrange six of the slices in a single layer around the bowl and push them down if they overlap.

Drizzle some of the alcohol around the panettone slices so it soaks in, then use the back of a spoon to smear the jam over the panettone. 

Add 1/2  the ice cream to the bowl and spread it around in a thick layer. Spoon in the cherries and glacé fruit, gently pushing them into the ice cream – some pieces will be submerged and some will sit on the top. Add the rest of the ice cream. Spread it out, working quickly so the ice cream doesn’t completely melt. Put the rest of the panettone slices on top of the ice cream, drizzle over some more alcohol then cover the bowl tightly with the cling film that is overhanging the bowl. Cover with a final layer of cling film. Press a plate down on top to press everything down, then freeze overnight, or longer.

Take out of the freezer, unwrap the bombe and put in the fridge for 1/2 – 1 hour before serving.  Put the bashed-up chocolate in a bowl and melt gently over a pan of simmering water on a  low heat.  Add some grated orange or mandarin zest to the chocolate. Place the bombe on a serving platter or plate.  When the chocolate is melted, pour it over the top of the bombe and serve immediately while the chocolate is still warm.

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Cherry Frangipane Tart

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This is a lovely almond filled tart, a traditional French sweet treat. The base is pastry, layered with jam, then topped with a thick almond custard like cream. I added some cherries  to the frangipane for texture and tartness.

“Frangipane is a filling made from or flavoured with almonds.This filling can be used in a variety of ways including cakes, tarts and other assorted pastries…Originally designated as a custard tart flavoured by almonds or pistchios it came later to designate a filling that could be used in a variety of confections and baked goods…It is normally made of butter, sugar eggs and ground almonds.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frangipane

My version uses a shortcake pastry base, to give a little more substance to the base. I cooked the tart in a springform tin. I think it might have better to cook the mixture in a traditional tart mold or tin. My cake tin version was quite deep, resulting in tart that took a long time to cook in the middle and overcooked a little on the base and sides.

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Ingredients

Shortcake Pastry Base
70g unsalted butter
70g castor sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Tart
3 tbls cherry jam*
225g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla paste
225g caster sugar
5 free range eggs
225g ground almonds
Handful of whole cherries, plus more to decorate

Method
For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick. Carefully line a 23cm springform tin with the pastry, pressing the pastry into the edges of the tin.

Spread the jam over the base of the tart, then place in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.

To make the frangipane, beat the butter, vanilla paste and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until all of the eggs have been fully incorporated into the mixture. Fold in the ground almonds carefully by hand.

Top the pastry base with the almond mixture and smooth to the edges. Placer some halved fresh cherries on top of the mixture, pushing them gently into the mixture. They should still be partially visible.  Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 40 45 minutes, or until the filling has risen, is cooked through and the surface is pale golden brown.

* I made a simple cherry jam by placing 6 or tablespoons of morello bottled cherries with their juices in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Bring to the boil and cook till the cherries are jammy and the liquid is reduced.

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Baked Cheesecake with a Sour Cream Topping

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This is a baked cheese cake and was first made by one of Quirky’s siblings, a very good if somewhat infrequent cook. The recipe hails from the Sydney County Council in the 1960s.

This version comes from a handwritten recipe from a family cookbook. I have left the measurements in Imperial, as this rather adds to the charm of the recipe. They can be easily converted.

I would suggest using vanilla extract or vanilla paste, and would also recommend the use of a food processor.

Ingredients

Crumb Crust
I/2 lb plain sweet biscuits
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
3 oz butter

Cream Cheese Filling
1 lb cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 eggs

Topping
1 carton (1/2 pint) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 level tablespoon sugar

Method

Crush biscuits very finely and add nutmeg and cinnamon. Melt butter in a saucepan, remove from heat and quickly stir in biscuit crumbs.

Press firmly into greased 8″ springform tin bringing mixture within 1/2 ‘ from the top of the tin.

Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

Beat together the topping ingredients and pour over hot cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool, then store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Decoration

Decorate with sugar frosted fresh fruit and chocolate leaves. I used cherries, strawberries and black grapes for this particular birthday cheesecake. To make the sugar frosted fruit, coat fruit in lightly beaten egg white then dip in caster sugar.

To make the chocolate leaves, dip camellia leaves in melted dark chocolate, leave to set in the fridge, then gently peel away the leaves leaving the chocolate imprint intact.

Serves 10 -12.

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Cherry Sponge

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This sponge cake recipe is really simple – an all in one food processor mix – my favourite form of cooking!
The recipe derives from the wonderful English food writer Mary Berry. I have been addicted lately to The Great British Bakeoff television series: http://www.thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/about.php
                                                      Mary Berry and co-host Paul Hollywod are utterly charming and fabulous cooks in their own right.
I added Morello cherries to the sponge mixture before baking which makes the sponge a little like a clafoutis.

Ingredients
100 gms butter
100 gms caster sugar
2 free range eggs
100 gms self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 gms ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 tsp milk
A good handful of bottled or tinned Morello cherries
1 tsp flour
1tbl icing sugar for dusting
Method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease a 20 cm round cake tin.

Process the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a food processor until smooth, slightly lighter in colour and glossy looking.

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Stir in the vanilla extract and milk. Dust the cherries with a little flour to prevent them sticking and add to the mixture.

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Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen, springy to the touch and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then loosen the cake from the sides with a round bladed knife, turn it out and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Dust the top with icing sugar –  I use a sugar shaker and dust from a height.

Serve with fresh cherries, cream or just on its own.

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Meringues

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Meringues – the quickest party food to make at short notice, and so easy. There are a myriad of things you can do with them – serve them on their own, make meringue sandwiches with a cream filling, flavour them, colour them, or pile them high into a meringue mountain which is my favourite thing to do.
Best served with champagne to cut through the cloying sweetness.

Meringue Mountain

Make meringues – flavour and colour of your choice – and pile up croquembouche style sandwiched together with vanilla cream.

Here is my no fail meringue recipe, originally from Margaret Fulton, via an old recipe of my mother.

Meringues

Ingredients
3 egg free range whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to very slow – 135 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Beat egg whites at low speed with an electric mixer until frothy, add cream of tartar and beat on highest speed until peaks hold their shape. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons of the measured sugar and continue beating for 2-3 minutes. Add all the remaining sugar at once, fold in quickly and lightly with a metal spoon.

Add your flavouring at this point or food colour. In the images below I made pink rosewater meringues as well as plain ones.

Spoon or pipe onto prepared trays. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Leave in oven for a further 1/2 hour or until dry – longer is better.  When cool, store in an airtight container.

As this Quirky writer is a fan of all things rustic, I like my meringues free form  – but you could certainly pipe them for a more formal effect!

Assemble your meringue mountain in whatever way takes your fancy. I decorated the pink and white rosewater meringue mountain with crystallized rose petals.

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The concept for “Meringue Mountain” originated with the sister of Quirky, a very creative and colourful cook!

Note from Quirky sister:

“I make an even easier version using plain meringues cemented with vanilla flavoured whipped cream. This is great for children’s parties, afternoon teas or to serve at a dinner party. The mountain can be either passed around and individual meringues plucked from it or the meringues can be served in clumps in bowls.

I sometimes colour the cream pale pink or green and decorate the spaces between the meringues. I have used crystallised violets and rose petals – but easier and I think more effective are fresh flowers providing of course they are not remotely poisonous.

For an afternoon tea for another of Quirky’s sister’s 70th birthday I used pink plum blossom. The drought had killed most of our violets and I needed to improvise. Violet leaves or vine leaves can also be arranged in a circle to frame the base of the mountain to great effect. These are just some of the things which I do. I am sure other mountain makers will have loads more ideas.

One thing I have promised myself I will do one day is to use chocolate as decoration by moulding dark chocolate on camellia leaves. This technique was first shown to me by our former neighbour, a conservator and always consummately creative.”

The meringue mountain below is made up of sour cherry meringues and chocolate meringues. The recipes for these meringues are from delicious. December2012/January2013.

Meringue Mountain

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