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Tag Archives: pineapple

Little Ginger Caramel Cheesecakes

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31CFED5D-F980-41F1-9953-28FE10746308Cheesecake! A big favourite, but an indulgence I enjoy in moderation, as it’s SO moreish I can eat too much…

So mini cheesecakes are the perfect sweet treat to end a meal or a as little pick me-up at afternoon tea time.

The recipe is my go-to recipe for baked cheesecake, blogged here many times. I substituted mascarpone for cream cheese, for no other reason than I had some in the fridge and thought it would go well in cheesecake!

I added crystallized ginger to my little cheesecakes as well as ginger caramel, but plain caramel would be fine too.

To serve, I put some chunks of fresh pineapple on the top of each little cheesecake. This complemented the ginger flavour beautifully!

Ingredients

Crumb Crust
230g sweet biscuits (half plain, half ginger nut)
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
85g butter

Mascarpone Filling
500g mascarpone
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbls ginger or plain caramel or dulche de leche (jar or tin is fine, don’t bother making it)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 free-range eggs
6 pieces crystallized ginger (a small handful), chopped finely  + extra for decorating

Pineapple chunks to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 170 degrees fan-forced.

Butter individual molds with a removable base, see photo. If you don’t have these molds, you could use ordinary muffin or cupcake  molds. You would just need to be careful easing them out of the molds.

I filled 8 of my removable bottom molds. You would fill at least 8 or even 10 ordinary muffin molds.

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

Press firmly into greased molds, covering the bases with a good layer of biscuit crumb.

Put mascarpone, sugar and caramel in the food processor and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whizzing after each addition.  Stir in the crystallized ginger pieces.

Pour mixture into the individual molds on top of the biscuit crumb bases.  Fill each mold to about 3/4 full.  Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheesecake is just set. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.

Carefully remove each cheesecake from its mold. Store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight to completely firm up.

Serve cold, with chunks of pineapple on top of each cheesecake, and extra slivers of crystallized ginger. You could drizzle a little warmed caramel over the top too, for a truly caramel experience!

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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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Jamie Oliver’s Hummingbird Cake

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This has to be the best cake: it’s super easy, looks spectacular and is really, really delish!

I have been keen to make this cake from Jamie Oliver’s great new book Comfort Food. It’s a special occasion cake and the special occasion it was made for, was the (early) birthday celebration for Katrina, friend and colleague, newly wed and faithful follower of this blog.

Here is the website page: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/hummingbird-cake/

I love this book and thoroughly recommend it – if you haven’t acquired a Jamie book yet, this is a lovely one with which to start your library.

Here is the recipe “un-tweaked”as Jamie’s instructions are accurate and really easy to follow.

Jamie suggests serving “in a bluebell wood on a fallen tree”; my garden, in leafy Rozelle, with a riot of over grown spring flowers, was my setting. And there was even a humming bird…

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Ingredients

250 ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing

350 g self-raising flour

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

350 g golden caster sugar

4 medium-sized very ripe bananas

1 x 425 g tin of pineapple chunks

2 large free-range eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

50 g pecans

For the icing:

400 g icing sugar

150 g unsalted butter, (at room temperature)

200 g cream cheese

2 limes

For the brittle:

100 g caster sugar

50 g pecans

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Grease and line two 23cm round cake tins. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt. Peel the bananas and mash them up with a fork in another bowl. Drain and finely chop the pineapple and add to the bananas with the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, then fold into the dry mixture until smooth. Finely chop the pecans and gently fold in, then divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden and the sponges spring back when touched lightly in the centre. Run a knife around the edge of the tins, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a free-standing electric mixer, add the butter and beat until pale and creamy. Add the cream cheese, finely grate in the zest of 1 lime and add a squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth – it’s really important not to over-mix it. Keep in the fridge until needed. To make a brittle topping, place the caster sugar and a splash of water in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Shake flat and don’t stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally until dissolved and lightly golden. Add the pecans and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat, and when nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of oiled greaseproof paper to set (check out the how-to video below). Once cool, smash up to a dust (you’ll need about half to top the cake – save the rest for sprinkling over ice cream.

To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand and spread with half the icing. Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate over the zest of the remaining lime. Scatter over the brittle dust and decorate with a few edible flowers, such as violas, borage or herb flowers, if you feel that way inclined. With a cup of tea on the side, this will make everyone who eats it extremely happy. Serve in a bluebell wood on a fallen tree, as you do.

 

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Carrots

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I found this recipe in a fabulous cook book of mine, the Silver Palate Cookbook. This book, plus the follow up The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, are treasure troves of stunning recipes; some hearty, some fancy, some healthy, some decadent!
The carrot cake recipe is unusual is that it contains cooked carrots. These give the cake a deep, slightly caramelized, flavour.
I have added ground ginger as well as cinnamon, as ginger works well with carrot. You can omit the walnuts, as I did in the pictured cake, for your nut free friends.
The candied baby carrots were my addition, and they looked really pretty and tasted great!
Ingredients
Carrot Cake

3 cups plain flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tbl bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 1/2 walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/3 cup pureed cooked carrots
3/4cup drained crushed pineapple

Cream Cheese Frosting

250gms cream cheese, at room temperature
100gms reduced salt butter, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla pate
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease two 23 cm springform tins.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in the walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Place on the centre rack of the oven and bake until the edges have pulled away from the sides and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, about  50 minutes.

Cool on a cake rack for 3 hours. Fill and frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting.

Cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl. Slowly sift in the icing sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. Mixture should be free of lumps. Stir in vanilla, and lemon juice if desired.

Decorate with candied carrots and sifted icing sugar.

Candied Carrots

Take 6 baby carrots, trim, leaving some green tops.
Keep smaller carrots whole and slice larger carrots in halves or quarters through the length of carrot.

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Add carrots, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until carrots are translucent, about 25 minutes.

In another small saucepan, combine 1.5 cups of sugar with .5 cup water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. When the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer candied carrots from the syrup in which they boiled to this new sugar syrup. Let stand until completely cooled; discard the old syrup.

Transfer carrots to some baking paper, gently pat dry with kitchen towel. The carrots can be used to decorate the cake or stored for a couple of days in an airtight container.

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