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Tag Archives: vanilla bean

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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Preserved Cumquats: Cumquats in Sugar Syrup

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I have had a bumper crop of cumquats this winter from one little tree – best ever! So I have had to be inventive with ways to use all the wonderful fruit – hence there a few cumquat recipes recently posted on this blog.

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I made a few jars of cumquat marmalade early in the season, and then the tree delivered a second fruiting. I rather fancied having some candied cumquats at hand, and began to consult my preserving books for recipes. True candied cumquats seem to be whole fruit that has been cooked in a sugar syrup several times over a number of days. A rather lengthy process.

However I found a couple of recipes that simply involve cooking the cut fruit once in a sugar syrup, letting the fruit soak in the syrup for a couple of hours, then draining the fruit and reducing the liquid to a sticky preserving consistency. Much simpler, but Cumquats in Sugar Syrup is a better description than Candied Cumquats for this method.

Ingredients
1 kg cumquats
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 vanilla bean (optional)

Method
Cut the cumquats in half, leaving very small fruit whole.
Place sugar and water in a large saucepan and dissolve sugar over a medium heat. Bring the syrup to a boil, and place cut cumquats in the saucepan.
For a vanilla infused syrup, add the vanilla bean, cut in half longways, scraping the seeds into the syrup. Simmer the fruit until it is tender, about 20 minutes.
The fruit will have softened but will still have some resistance when cut with a knife.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave the fruit to cool in the syrup for at least 2 hours.

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Strain the fruit from the syrup into a bowl, and return the syrup to the saucepan. Boil gently for 5-10 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly and is thick and “syrupy”!
Place the fruit in sterilised jars, including part of the vanilla pod for extra flavour. Pour the hot syrup over the fruit. Seal the jars and store with your other preserves, then once opened, store in the refrigerator.
The fruit is both sweet and slightly bitter and can be used as a dessert over ice-cream, or with cream, or in steamed puddings, or baked into tarts and cakes. eg Blueberry and Cumquat Cake with Sugared Pecans:
https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/07/14/blueberry-and-cumquat-cake-with-sugared-pecans/
The cumquats are also great as a sweet/ sour relish with ham, chicken or even fish.

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