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Tag Archives: salted caramel

Borough Market London – Foodie Heaven!

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The Borough Market in Southwark, London, was a destination I was really looking forward to when visiting the UK in December.

I’m a huge fan of markets, enjoying visiting local farmers’ markets in country New South Wales, as well as the city equivalent in Sydney. Orange Grove Market, mentioned in other  posts, is a great Saturday excursion to pick up organic fruit and veg, hot smoked fish, French cheese, farmers’ free range eggs and pastry and bread galore!

I’ve been following the Borough Market online for a while to prepare for the visit. I went twice, on a Saturday a couple of weeks before Christmas and a week or so later midweek. Saturday was buzzing, busy, and a bit tricky to navigate, but still heaps of fun! The next visit was a pleasant stroll and I got to see much more of the market’s delights.

The Borough Market is a little bit of old world London in that sophisticated metropolis. Arches and passageways, nooks and crannies, keep you guessing at what comes next, as you make your way around the market. After my two visits I finally got the hang of the geography. The charm of the Market lies in the mix of the old world with a plethora of multi cultural cuisines.

There is so much produce! I was bowled over by cheese vendor upon cheese vendor! And then the patisseries and bread stalls, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat of every kind, sausages and stews and curries.

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I liberally sampled the baked goods, filled focaccia, croissants, large sticky buns, packed full of fruit, that looked like miniature Christmas puddings, and real muffins.

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I found a little stall selling dried fruit and nuts, and wonderful candied fruit. Whole candied clementines were a great Christmas treat! Another stall sold home made fudge, of every conceivable flavour, which you could pick and mix yourself.

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Two highlights  – a salted caramel milkshake with Bath milk, and robust, fragrant Colombian coffee, much appreciated by this writer, who had been craving really good coffee since my arrival in London.

It was fun to be at the Market at Christmas – there was a buzzy, gregarious mood, and everyone seemed to be having fun shopping for the festive season.

 

 

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Banana and Date Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Icing

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Recently I made Figgy Banana Bread from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food. I love it because it’s got nuts and seeds, and I’m mad on both. Plus the banana, figs and apple in the recipe give it a beautiful natural sweetness. It tastes great and feels healthy.

I decided to make banana bread using the principle of the Jamie recipe with a few changes. I changed the figs for dates for a start as I wanted the kind of caramel flavor that dates bring. And I made it as a cake, or rather 2 small cakes, one round, one square. I iced the little cakes with luscious salted caramel buttercream icing. The “healthy” benefits may have been put to one side, but hay, you don’t have to be good all the time!

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So here is the recipe. The quantities make one one medium size cake or two small cakes. You could even make this cake in a loaf tin and forgo the icing and you will have nice  banana and date bread…

Ingredients

Cake

170g pitted dates

75ml vegetable oil

125g natural yoghurt

1 tbs vanilla extract

4 ripe bananas

2 large free-range eggs

150g wholemeal self-raising flour

1 heaped tsp baking powder

100g ground almonds

1 tbs sesame seeds

1tsp ground ginger

Buttercream Icing

100g softened butter

200g icing sugar

1 tbs salted caramel sauce (you can make your own – recipe below, or simply use dulce de leche or any caramel sauce with a little salt added)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease one round baking tin or two small tins or bake the mixture in a large loaf tin for the more conventional banana bread look.

Place the dates in a food processor and blitz till the dates are  really finely chopped. The add the oil, yoghurt, vanilla extract, peeled and roughly chopped bananas and eggs, and blitz until smooth.

Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, sesame seeds and ground ginger and pulse until only just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin(s) and spread out evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes for the large cake or 25 t0 30 minutes for the small cakes or until until a skewer inserted into the cake(s) comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

When cool, remove from the tin(s) and ice generously with the salted caramel icing. I also drizzled the cakes with extra caramel sauce.

Buttercream Icing

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer or you can even use a food processor  When light, fluffy and creamy stir in the salted caramel.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

200g white sugar

90g salted butter, in small pieces

120ml cream

1 tsp salt

Method

Heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed  saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar turns into a tea coloured liquid as you continue to stir. At this stage the toffee/caramel flavour is achieved. If you take the liquid to a slightly darker brown colour, you will achieve that “burnt’ flavour – but beware it is really easy to actually burn the caramel!

Now add the butter very carefully – the caramel will bubble up. Stir the caramel until the butter is completely melted.

Pour in the cream while continuing to stir. The mixture will  bubble when cream is added. Allow the mixture to boil for about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the  salt.

Allow to cool before using. The caramel will thicken on cooling and thicken even more in the fridge. To ensure the caramel sauce is pour-able for the pavlovas, VERY carefully microwave to warm up on low heat. Or you could sit the container in a bowl of hot water to warm up.

Pavlova Stack with Burnt Salted Caramel

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This is a great dessert which is relatively easy to make. If you can make meringue, toffee and crème pâtissière,  you can create this rustic spectacular! I call it a pavlova stack, as the meringue layers are like mini pavlovas.

The base of the dessert is 3 layers of pavlova/meringue. They are stacked on top of each other with a filling of crème légère and burnt salted caramel sauce.  You can top the pavlova stack with almond praline shards. You could be very precise in making the cake – piping the meringue and piping the crème légère. Or go rustic and free form and just spoon everything on, smoothing out a few rough edges here and there.

Here are the recipes for the component parts: pavlovas, crème légère, burnt salted caramel sauce and almond praline.

Pavlovas

Ingredients

6 egg whites

300g caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method

Preheat oven to 120 degrees C, 100 Gas 1⁄2. Don’t cook these pavlovas on fan-forced setting.

Place a sheet of baking paper on 2 baking trays. Draw a circle on one sheet, 20cm/8 inches in diameter. Turn the baking paper over so that you can see the pencil marking on the other side. Draw 2 smaller circles on the other sheet of baking paper, 15cm/6 inches and 13cm/5 inches in diameter. Turn the paper over so you can see the circle markings. You should be able to fit the 2 smaller circles on one baking sheet.

Do not grease the baking paper!

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Gradually beat in sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until very stiff. Stir in vanilla and vinegar.

Spoon the mixture onto the 3 paper circles. You can “anchor” the baking paper down by putting a small dob of meringue under each corner of the paper.

Place baking trays in the oven. Bake for 1.5 to 1.75 hours, depending on your oven.  The pavlovas should be quite dry, but still white – if they are brown they have been cooked too long.

Turn oven off, leave in oven a for further hour or you could leave until quite cold.

Crème Légère – Crème légère is crème pâtissière combined with whipped cream. The result is a light, custardy cream great for filling puff pastry items like eclairs or for filling cake layers.

Crème Pâtissière

Ingredients

500g full fat  milk

6 free-range egg yolks

45g cornflour

120g caster sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract/paste

60g salted butter

Method

Put the milk into a saucepan over a medium heat till just simmering. While the milk is heating, place egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla in a bowl, and whisk till combined and you have a smooth paste.  Add half of the just simmered milk into the egg mixture and whisk this just to combine. Essentially, you are tempering the eggs, so that they don’t scramble by adding all the hot milk at once. Then add all this mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, whisking, or stirring with wooden spoon, until the the mixture has thickened considerably. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and leave to cool.

To make the creme légère to sandwich the pavlovas together, combine half the crème pat with 300mls whipped cream. The cream must be whipped past soft peaks stage until it is quite stiff – but be careful it doesn’t turn to butter! The idea is that the cream is stiff enough to incorporate the custard.

Burnt Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

200g white sugar

90g salted butter, in small pieces

120ml cream

1 tsp salt

Method

Heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed  saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar turns into a tea coloured liquid as you continue to stir. At this stage the toffee/caramel flavour is achieved. If you take the liquid to a slightly darker brown colour, you will achieve that “burnt’ flavour – but beware it is really easy to actually burn the caramel!

Now add the butter  very carefully – the caramel will bubble up. Stir the caramel until the butter is completely melted.

Pour in the cream while continuing to stir. The mixture will  bubble when cream is added. Allow the mixture to boil for about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the  salt.

Allow to cool before using. The caramel will thicken on cooling and thicken even more in the fridge. To ensure the caramel sauce is pour-able for the pavlovas, VERY carefully microwave to warm up on low heat. Or you could sit the container in a bowl of hot water to warm up.

Almond Praline

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. It’s a fine line between toffee that’s cooked and toffee that’s burnt! *

Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Quickly scatter over a handful of almond flakes.

Leave to cool and harden. When completely cold, break up the praline into jagged shards.

To Assemble the Stack:

Place the largest pavlova on serving plate. It’s best to place with the bottom on the plate, and nice side up – I forgot with this layer and turned the pavlova layer the wrong way up. Smother with about half the crème légère. Drizzle or spoon over, according to taste, a couple of tablespoonfuls of the burnt salted caramel sauce.

Place the middle sized pavlova on top as the next layer. Spoon about quarter of the crème légère over this layer, and drizzle or spoon a tablespoon – or more – of the caramel sauce.  Put the remaining pavlova on top.

At this stage you can refrigerate for a couple of hours until ready serve. There is no reason for not serving the pavlova stack as is – see photo below. It looks pretty good!

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However, to make it utterly delicious and decadent, when you are ready to serve, pile on the remaining crème légère, drizzle with more caramel sauce and decorate with the almond praline shards.

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 *Tip for cleaning the praline saucepan: fill the pan with water and heat on the stove top till just boiling. Turn off heat and leave for a few minutes – the hardened toffee should hopefully dissolve making the pan easy to clean.

 

Pecan Maple Sticky Buns

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Here is another venture into the world of sticky buns, cinnamon scrolls and brown sugar sweet treats. I love my bread making, and I am pretty keen on making enriched dough at the moment.

This recipe is my take on Sticky Buns from the Great British Bakeoff and the inimitable James Morton’s Cinnamon Buns.

It’s an enriched dough filled with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, and topped with MORE brown sugar, butter, maple syrup and pecans!

James Morton cooks his buns in a casserole dish or pot such as a Le Creuset, as the heavy sided baking dish creates softer buns. He’s right – it’s the way to go for beautiful soft unctuous buns, so I recommend you try this baking method. Whatever you bake your buns in, make sure that the dish or pan has a rim, as the topping might flow over during cooking.

Ingredients

Dough

250g plain white flour

250g strong white flour

8g table salt

7g instant yeast

100g sourdough starter (optional)

50g caster sugar

280g milk, warmed until tepid

1 free-range egg, at room temperature

50g unsalted butter

Filling

50g unsalted butter

75g brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Topping

100g butter (salt reduced or salted is fine for that “salted caramel” flavour)

2 tbs maple syrup

100g pecan pieces (walnuts work just as well)

Method

Place the flour, salt, yeast,  sourdough starter if using, sugar, tepid milk, egg and cinnamon into a large bowl and mix them together by hand or you can use an electric mixer with a dough hook. Knead by hand or in the mixer about for 10 minutes.

Melt the butter and add to your dough. Mix it in by hand or use a machine until completely combined. Cover the bowl (I use a disposable shower cap but cling film is fine) and leave the dough to rest for 60-90 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge, until it has grown to roughly double its original size.

Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a big, long rectangle. The rectangle should be about 20cm wide and up to a metre long. Melt the butter and brush over dough. Sprinkle the dough all over with brown sugar and then cinnamon.

Roll up the dough along its long edge into as tight a cylinder you can get, but be careful as the dough is quite fragile. Slice this cylinder into 6-9 roughly equal pieces using a knife.

For the topping, process the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until thoroughly mixed in food processor. Grease a large lidded casserole dish and spread the mixture evenly over the base of the dish. Scatter the chopped nuts over the base of the dish and gently press in.

Arrange the buns cut end down in the casserole dish. Place the lid on the casserole and leave to rise for another hour at room temperature, then check to see that buns have risen.

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30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C fan forced. Put the lid back on the casserole and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes with the lid on and 10 minutes with the lid off.

Remove from the oven and run a knife around the inside of the dish to loosen the buns.

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Leave for 3-4 minutes for the bubbling to subside – no longer as the caramel will set.

Carefully invert the dish onto a plate with a rim, again to stop the topping spilling over. Lift off the baking dish. The buns will be sitting up beautifully covered in the lovely caramel topping!

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Baked Cheesecake with Salted Praline and Salted Caramel Sauce

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A beautiful spring day in Palm Beach NSW and lunch to celebrate the birthday of the Architect. As dessert maker for the day I wanted to create something special. My baked cheesecake, the subject of a previous blog post, plus salted caramel, combined very nicely in a luscious and velvety cheesecake with the piquancy of salted praline and caramel sauce.

Cheesecake

Ingredients

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

Cream Cheese Filling
500g cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 free-range eggs

Topping
1 carton (280ml) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 level tablespoon sugar

Method

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 biscuit crumbs.

Press firmly into greased 22cm springform tin bringing mixture at least half way up the sides of the tin.

Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in the food processor and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whizzing after each addition.

Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees C 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.

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Salted  Praline

Heat 1 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. It’s a fine line between toffee that’s cooked and toffee that’s burnt!

Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt flakes and pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Quickly scatter over a handful of flaked almonds.

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, larger pieces, and some large shards for decoration.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients
200g sugar
75ml double cream
50g butter, cubed
½ tsp sea salt flakes

Method

Put the sugar in a  saucepan with 50ml water. Gently heat on low, swirling the pan but not stirring, until just melted.  Simmer gently, swirling regularly, until the liquid is very dark golden caramel. Remove the saucepan from the heat then carefully and quickly whisk in the cream and butter. Be careful as the mixture will splutter. Keep whisking until smooth, then beat in the salt. Let cool. You can make the caramel in advance.  Put in the refrigerator but bring back to room temperature before using.

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Salted Praline Ice Cream

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This is an incredibly easy recipe to make – no-churn ice cream in minutes, plus  of course the obligatory freezing time!

Whipped cream, egg yolks and egg whites, sugar and flavourings and you have the basis for a scrumptious ice cream. In this case, the flavour is salted nutty caramel in the form of crushed praline. The sea salt offsets the toffee sweetness really well.

Ingredients

2 free-range eggs, separated
7 tbsp caster sugar, divided in half
1 tbsp boiling water
1 1/2 cups cream
Pecan praline, crushed into small and larger pieces

Method

Line a medium sized plastic container with cling film or 4 ramekins or small molds.

Beat the egg whites until frothy then add  3 1/2 tblsp of sugar and beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy and of a meringue like consistency. Remove the mixture to another bowl. Using the original bowl – no need to clean –  beat the egg yolks, remaining 3 1/2 tblsp  of sugar and boiling water until the mixture is really thick and pale.

In a third bowl whip the cream till it holds soft peaks.

Gently fold first the egg yolk mixture into the cream, then the egg white mixture, being careful not to knock too much air from the mixture. Lastly fold in the crushed praline pieces.

Pour the ice cream mixture into the container or ramekins, and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer, and gently unmold onto a plate, peeling off the plastic  wrap.

Serve as individual ice creams or as scoopfuls from the larger mixture. Decorate with shards of praline.

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 Pecan Praline

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. It’s a fine line between toffee that’s cooked and toffee that’s burnt! *

Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt flakes and pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Quickly scatter over a handful of chopped pecans.

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, larger pieces, and some large shards for decoration.

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*Tip for cleaning the toffee saucepan: fill the pan with water and heat on the stove top till just boiling. Turn off heat and leave for a few minutes – the hardened toffee should hopefully dissolve making the pan easy to clean.

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Blondies

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Peanut butter is the next best thing to salted caramel in a traybake or blondies. And mix that with white chocolate and you have a delicious combination!

My mission is now to combine peanut butter, caramel and chocolate – white or milk – in a traybake.

I  found this recipe on Rachel Allen’s television show Rachel Allen Bake!: http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/tv/rachel-allen-bake/

Ingredients

125g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g  butter, softened

50g crunchy peanut butter

175g  soft light brown sugar

1 free range egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

75g white chocolate, chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease a square or rectangular tin and line the base with baking paper.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter together until very soft. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and mix to form a dough. Carefully stir in the chopped chocolate.

Place the dough in the prepared tin, smoothing the top, and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown and almost firm in the centre. Be careful not to overbake – the centre should be not quite cooked.

Allow to cool in the tin, before removing and cutting into squares.IMG_3744

 

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