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Stollen for New Year’s Day

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Friends and family were doing a lot of baking over Christmas and New Year. There were lots of lovely seasonal offerings as  well as well some new innovative dishes. A great Asian inspired duck salad springs to mind from Doctor Rosemary – and will feature soon on this blog.

This blogger is very keen on any form of baking which involves yeast. Bread, brioche, Danish pastries, croissants, I love making them all. I haven’t tried making stollen yet and find the store bought version rather sweet and stodgy.

This festive season friend and colleague Ruth L made stollen for New Year’s Day 2016 and I am very pleased to present her recipe and her lovely photos.

Wikipedia says: ” Stollen is a cake like fruit bread made with yeast, water and flour, and usually with zest added to the dough. Candied orange peel and candied citrus peel, raisins and almonds and different spices such as cardamom and cinnamon are added. Other ingredients, such as milk, sugar, butter, salt, rum, eggs, vanilla, other dried fruits and nuts and marzipan may also be added to the dough. The finished bread is sprinkled with icing sugar.”

Here is Ruth’s Stollen:

Ingredients
200g
 sultanas, currants
110g cherries, and citrus peel
110g
 dried cranberries
125ml
 dark rum

2 x 7g
 sachets dried yeast
75g
 sugar
185ml
 warm milk
350g
 plain wholemeal flour
150g
 plain flour
1½tsp
 ground cinnamon
½ tsp
 ground ginger
1 
 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
200g
 butter
1 orange, zested
1
 lemon, zested
250g homemade marzipan*

100g melted butter
50g icing sugar
50g flaked almonds to decorate

Method

Combine all dried fruits, and rum in a cover bowl to soak for at least 24 hours.

To make dough, combine yeast, 1 tbsp caster sugar and milk in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture bubbles.

When ready mix flour, remaining 55 g caster sugar, spices, 200 g butter, egg and the yeast mixture until mixture just starts to come together. This should be knead into a smooth and elastic dough it could take 20 minutes by hand or 7 minutes in a machine with a dough hook. Place in a greased bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for 1½ hours or until dough doubles in size.

Knock back, stir in the soaked dried fruit(don’t add the left over rum if you think it will make the mixture to wet) as well as the orange and lemon zests into the dough. Knead until just combined. Place back in a greased bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for a further 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2. Roll each portion out to a 30cm x 22 cm rectangle. Divide the marzipan in half and roll each piece into a 25cm log. Place each piece in the centre of each rectangle and roll up dough to enclose the marzipan.

Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper, cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until slightly risen.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, bake until loaves are golden brown approx 40 mins. From the oven brush with the 100g of melted butter and cover with icing sugar press in a handful of flaked almonds to each loaf.

Cool completely then wrap each stollen in plastic or store in an airtight container for 2 days before eating.

*Marzipan recipe

Ingredients

90g caster sugar
140g icing sugar
220g ground almonds
1 orange
1 free-range egg

Method

Mix the caster sugar, icing sugar and ground almonds together in a large bowl, then stir in the orange zest and beaten egg and mix again until the ingredients are well combined and have come together as a thick paste.

Turn out the paste onto a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, then knead until smooth. Roll the marzipan into a ball, then wrap in cling film and chill until needed.

 

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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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Christmas Cake 2015

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I make the same Christmas cake each year. I make it really late in the year and it never stays round for long. It’s a recipe that’s been in my family for ages.

I blogged the recipe this time last year – so why blog it again? Nothing’s changed, except this time I made it round, not square! I love making the cake, so I’ve written about it again and with photos of the process to show how easy the cake is to make. I even make this cake in the food processor, to simplify it further. It’s rich with glace, crystallized and dried fruit and it’s iced with an almond (marzipan) icing topped with royal icing.

While watching a Great British Bakeoff Christmas special, I noticed the similarities between Mary Berry‘s recipe and my cake. The recipe below is our family one but I decided to use Mary’s royal icing recipe with a good result.

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Ingredients

250 gms butter
250 gms brown sugar
315 gms plain flour
375 gms raisins
375 gms sultanas
125 gms  glacé cherries
65 gms glacé peaches
65 gms glacé pears
125 gms glacé apricots
65 gms glacé pineapple
65 gms crystallised ginger
65 gms mixed peel (optional)
6 large free range eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond essence
1/2 tsp glycerine
Juice of half an orange
Finely grated peel of half an orange
1/4 cup of good brandy/whisky – extra 1/4 cup of brandy/whisky to pour over the hot cake when it comes out of the oven.

Method
Grease a cake tin and line with baking paper or aluminum foil. I use an 18cm or 7″ square tin  or a 18cm or 7″ diameter round tin. You may end up with left over mixture with this size, so you could go up a size. I like a high cake and this cake doesn’t rise so you can fill the smaller tins fairly full.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C then turn back to 135 degrees C.  The principle of cooking a rich fruitcake is to put the cake into a preheated oven and cook very slowly. This size cake does take a long time!
The original recipe says to mix by hand in a large basin. This was lots of fun when we were growing up making the family Christmas cake but now I suggest using an electric mixer.
Cream butter and sugar and beat in the eggs one at a time.

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Mix in the sifted flour lightly. Stir in spices, essences, glycerine, fruit juice and brandy/whisky, and finally stir in the fruit the larger varieties of which have previously been cut roughly. There is no need to wash the fruit. If the fruit is wet it tends to sink to the bottom of the cake.

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Bake about 1- 2 hours or until the top is pale brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.  It’s a little hard to be more precise than this as the weather, the quality of the flour and individual ovens have a lot to do with cooking time. You can put a piece of foil over the top of the cake during the last hour of cooking if the cake browns too quickly.
When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and pierce all over with a skewer. Pour 1/2 a cup of brandy/whisky over the hot cake and wrap in a towel till cool.
Turn out of the tin onto a board or large flat plate.

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Almond Icing
250 gms ground almonds
375 gms icing sugar
1 egg white
Juice of  1/2  lemon

Mix all the ingredients to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into sections – one large ball for the top of the cake, the rest for the sides of the cake.
Brush the cake with apricot jam which will help the almond paste to stick. Let the cake rest for a day.

Royal Icing – Mary Berry recipe

Ingredients

675 g icing sugar
3 free range egg whits
3 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp glycerine

Method

Sieve the icing sugar. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they become frothy. Add the icing sugar to the egg whites, a spoonful at a time, and fold in. Add the lemon juice and glycerine and stir. Beat the icing until it is very stiff and white and stands up in peaks. Spread over the top and sides of the cake and rough up the icing with a spatula so that it forms peaks.

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Christmas Cake

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This is the recipe for my family’s Christmas cake. I’ve been making it for a number of years and my mother made it for many years before I started making it – it’s been in the family a very long time.

It’s a traditional English Christmas cake, with marzipan or almond icing covered with royal icing. Our version is full of glacé fruit as well as dried fruit. We don’t make the cake very far ahead and we don’t soak the fruit in the alcohol – but doing either of these things is fine if that’s what you’re used to.  The cake has always been sensational without that forward planning.

It sometimes seems incongruous to be making this most traditional of northern hemisphere cakes in the hot summer days of Christmas week in Sydney. The weather is always lovely and the sun shines as I decorate the cake with its “snowy” icing. Making the cake in summer means that the almond paste icing dries quickly and sometimes if pushed for time I can do both icings in one day. However letting the cake rest for a day before you apply the royal icing is recommended.

Over the years of making I have tweaked the basic recipe, adding in things I love. I tend to put more glacé fruit in the mix; I love ginger so it appears in both crystallized form and as a spice in my cake.  I don’t stick to whisky and brandy for alcohol – I often add Grand Marnier and I have sometimes put a couple of tablespoons of Pedro Ximinez sherry as well as whisky into the cake.

This the “mother” of the baby Christmas cakes already featured on this blog – I give the muffin sized cakes to work colleagues every year as little  Christmas gifts.

It’s a VERY big cake. I actually halve the recipe and still end up with a decent sized cake, but if you have a cast of thousands to feed, the big size is the one for you.

Helpfully to save you the calculations I am including the quantities for the halved version!

The photos are of the halved version plus I got enough out of the mixture to make a little one too.

The recipe is SO versatile  – you can make so many different sizes.

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Big Cake Ingredients


500 gms butter
500 gms brown sugar
625 gms plain flour
750 gms raisins
750 gms sultanas
250 gms glace cherries
125 gms glace peaches
125 gms glace pears
250 gms glace apricots
125 gms glace pineapple
125 gms crystallized ginger
125 gms mixed peel (optional)
12 large eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons almond essence
1 teaspoon glycerine
Juice of an orange
Finely grated peel of the orange
1/2 cup of good brandy/whisky – extra 1/2 cup of brandy/whisky to pour over the hot cake when it comes out of the oven.

Medium Cake Ingredients

250 gms butter
250 gms brown sugar
315 gms plain flour
375 gms raisins
375 gms sultanas
125 gms  glacé cherries
65 gms glacé peaches
65 gms glacé pears
125 gms glacé apricots
65 gms glacé pineapple
65 gms crystallised ginger
65 gms mixed peel (optional)
6 large free range eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond essence
1/2 tsp glycerine
Juice of half an orange
Finely grated peel of half an orange
1/4 cup of good brandy/whisky – extra 1/4 cup of brandy/whisky to pour over the hot cake when it comes out of the oven.

Method for both sizes
Grease a cake tin and line with baking paper or aluminum foil. I use a 28cm or 11″ square tin  or a 28cm or 11″ diameter round tin for the big cake. For the medium cake I use a 18cm or 7″ square tin  or a 18cm or 7″ diameter round tin. You may end up with left over mixture with this size, so you could go up a size. I like a high cake and this cake doesn’t rise so you can fill the smaller tins fairly full.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C then turn back to 135 degrees C.  The principle of cooking a rich fruitcake is to put the cake into a preheated oven and cook very slowly. This size cake does take a long time!
The original recipe says to mix by hand in a large basin. This was lots of fun when we were growing up making the family Christmas cake but now I suggest using an electric mixer.
Cream butter and sugar and beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sifted flour lightly. Stir in spices, essences, glycerine, fruit juice and brandy/whisky, and finally stir in the fruit the larger varieties of which have previously been cut roughly. There is no need to wash the fruit. If the fruit is wet it tends to sink to the bottom of the cake.
Bake about 3 – 4 hours (big cake) 1- 2 hours (medium cake) or until the top is pale brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.  It’s a little hard to be more precise than this as the weather, the quality of the flour and individual ovens have a lot to do with cooking time. You can put a piece of foil over the top of the cake during the last hour of cooking if the cake browns too quickly.
When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and pierce all over with a skewer. Pour 1/2 a cup of brandy/whisky over the hot cake and wrap in a towel till cool.
Turn out of the tin onto a board or large flat plate.

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Almond Icing

Big Cake
500 gms ground almonds
750 gms icing sugar
2 egg whites
Juice of a lemon

Medium Cake
250 gms ground almonds
375 gms icing sugar
1 egg white
Juice of  1/2  lemon

Mix all the ingredients to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into sections – one large ball for the top of the cake, the rest for the sides of the cake.
Brush the cake with apricot jam which will help the almond paste to stick. Let the cake rest for a day.

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Royal Icing
 for both cakes

The original recipe says :”2 eggs whites and the juice of a lemon to every pound of icing sugar”. This doesn’t tell you how much of these ingredients you will need.

Having just made the medium cake, it took all of the above quantities, so the big cake would need more. Make up the base recipe and if it isn’t enough – make some more – use your judgement!

2 egg whites
500 gms icing sugar
Juice of a lemon

Beat eggs lightly, add icing sugar and lemon juice.
Apply to cake with a palette knife. Be generous with this icing, to create a “snowy” effect.
Leave to set for at least a couple of hours.
The cake keeps well –  up to a year – although it is at its best when eaten within 3 months.

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Christmas Rocky Road

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I love Rocky Road and I make it quite often, using different kinds of chocolate, glace fruit and nuts depending on who I’m making it for or what’s in the store cupboard.

This recipe is based on Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road. I substituted ginger nut biscuits for amaretti biscuits and used a mixture of brazil nuts, cashews and pecans. It’s an “adult” version  – more dark chocolate than milk, ginger biscuits and no peanuts!

Ingredients
250 gms dark chocolate
150 gms milk chocolate
175 gms soft butter
4 tbls golden syrup
200 gms ginger nut biscuits
150 gms brazil nuts, cashews and pecans
150 gms red glace cherries
125 gms mini marshmallows or whole marshamllows cut in half
Edible glitter  and icing sugar to decorate

Method
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and then put into a heavy-based saucepan to melt with the butter and syrup over a gentle heat.
Put the biscuits into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin to get big and little pieces. Put the mixed nuts into another freezer bag and bash them to  get different sized nut pieces.
Take the saucepan off the heat, and add the crushed biscuits and nuts, whole glacé cherries and marshmallows,  turning carefully to coat everything with the chocolate.
Tip into a foil tray 236mm x 296mm / 9¼” x 12″.  Smooth the top,  not too much as the rough look is what you want.
Refrigerate until firm enough to cut, at least 2 hours, the longer the better.  Remove the set Rocky Road from the foil tray  and cut into squares or slabs – whatever you prefer.
To decorate, sprinkle the top of the Rocky Road with edible glitter –  I used gold.  Dust with icing sugar for a snowy effect. Or you can just leave unadorned – the squares are pretty enough on their own.

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Christmas Day Trifle

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This is my traditional dessert for a cold Christmas lunch on what is usually a hot Australian Christmas day. The day, this year, 2013, was a little cooler than usual, but the trifle was well received as a “lighter” offering after our numerous savoury courses.

The photos are of the large trifle and a smaller one I also made.

This is a rough method for the making of the trifle rather than a recipe!

My version of trifle consists of butter cake, broken into chunks, which line a glass bowl. The cake is then soaked in Grand Marnier  – any sweet liqueur would work well.

Layer some raspberry jelly over the cake, followed by “real” custard, a good recipe from Jamie Oliver for which is written below.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours. Spoon whipped cream over the trifle, and top with fresh strawberries or other berries.

Leave in the fridge for several hours, up to a day, for the flavours to meld.

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Custard
Adapted from “Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook” by Jamie Oliver

Ingredients
500 ml whole milk
500 m heavy cream
6 tbls sugar
1 vanilla bean, scored lengthways
8 large free range egg yolks

Method
Mix cream, milk, and four tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat.
Scrape out all the seeds in the vanilla bean into the saucepan, including the bean.
Stir with a wooden spoon until it boils and then turn off the heat.
Let it sit for a few minutes to let the vanilla infuse with the cream and milk mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar until pale yellow in colour.
Remove the bean from the saucepan and slowly add one ladle of the cream mixture to the  yolks while whisking them together.
Keep whisking and slowly add a couple more ladles.
Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with cream and milk and stir with a wooden spoon under medium heat.
As the eggs cook, the custard will thicken in several minutes. It is thick enough if it coats the back of the wooden spoon.
Chill the custard before pouring over the jelly and cake.

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Jamie Oliver Christmas Pudding Bombe

Christmas Pudding Bombe

Christmas Pudding Bombe
This is Jamie Oliver’s recipe. My version included half rum and raisin ice-cream with vanilla ice-cream. In retrospect the rum and raisin ice-cream was too sweet, all vanilla would work better.

Ingredients
• 1 litre good-quality vanilla ice cream
• 1 kg panettone
• 125 ml vin santo
• 3 heaped tablespoons raspberry jam
• 25 g shelled pistachios
• 75 g tinned sour cherries, drained
• 40 g glacé clementines (or other glacé fruit), thinly sliced
• 2 clementines, 1 peeled and sliced into rounds
• 200 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), bashed up

Method
Get your ice cream out of the freezer so it can soften a little while you get things ready. Line a 2 litre pudding bowl with 3 layers of cling film. Use a serrated knife to slice four 2cm thick rounds off of your 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 Vin Santo around the sponge so it soaks in, then use the back of a spoon to smear the jam over the sponge. 

Add 1 tub of ice cream to the bowl and use the spoon to spread it around in a thick layer. Sprinkle in the pistachios, cherries and glacé fruit then layer the clementine slices on top. Add the other tub of 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 Vin Santo then cover the bowl tightly with cling film. Press a plate down on top to press everything down, then freeze overnight, or longer. 

When you’re ready to serve it, put the bashed-up chocolate in a bowl and get that over a pan of simmering water on a really low heat. Leave the chocolate to melt while you unwrap your amazing winter bombe and carefully turn it onto a beautiful serving dish. Add a few gratings of clementine zest to the chocolate and when it’s nicely melted, pour it over the top so it oozes down the sides and looks delicious.

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