Tuesday, November 5, 2019

TWD - Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookie Bars

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookie Bars.  These comprise a shortbread base topped with chocolate pecan pie filling.

These bars are absolutely scrumptious. (Sorry Good Food Guide, this word is perfect in this context.)

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Aquafaba Meringue Ghosts for Halloween

It is Halloween, the night of ghouls and ghosts and trick or treating. To celebrate Halloween, I decided it was time to try my hand at making aquafaba meringues, which I could then fashion as ghosts.

Aquafaba means “bean water”, and is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. The protein from the chickpeas leaches into the liquid, giving it similar properties to egg whites. This makes it ideal for making vegan meringues.

To make aquafaba meringues, whip 160ml of aquafaba with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, then gradually beat in 1 cup of white sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe the meringues using a piping bag onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, and bake in an oven pre-heated to 120 degrees Celsius for an hour and a half or until the meringues are set. Remove the meringues from the oven and allow to cool on the tray.

Once the meringues are cooled, add eyes to make ghosts by slightly melting the base of chocolate chips against the side of a warm kettle, and sticking to the meringue melted side down.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Perfect Banana Cake with Maple Cinnamon Glaze - QBC

This fortnight’s Queen Baking Club challenge is Perfect Banana Cake - the recipe is here.

The Perfect Banana Cake is not too sweet and not too banana-y.

It is an easy cake to make, and Queen suggests a number of variations. I added the Maple Cinnamon Glaze, which added a delicious contrasting caramel layer to the cake.

This cake would be perfect with a cuppa for a mid-day treat.

You can join the Queen Baking Club on Facebook.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rhubarb, Rosewater & Custard Tart

Rhubarb and custard is such a classic combination.  As a child, I didn't like the slightly bitter edge of rhubarb's taste, but as an adult, I can appreciate it against sweeter background notes, and I adore its gorgeous ruby red colour.

A little while ago, the New Zealand Cuisine magazine newsletter featured a recipe for Rhubarb, Rosewater and Custard Tart.  It sounded too good to pass up, so I duly made it.

The rhubarb is roasted in the oven, and in the original, it is used to top a custard tart, which is baked separately.  I decided to embed my rhubarb in the tart instead, so I cut it more finely than in the recipe.  Although not as pretty as having the rhubarb separately on top, I think it turned out well:  

To make this tart, you will need:

500g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
200g sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater
300ml milk
125ml cream
4 eggs, 1 separated 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 x 23cm tart shell, unbaked 

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Put the rhubarb into a baking dish and sprinkle with 75g of sugar.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft.  

Remove the rhubarb from the oven and sprinkle it with the rosewater.

Put the milk and cream and heat it until just before it boils.  

In a large bowl, whisk together the 3 whole ggs, the yolk from the separated egg, the remaining 125g of sugar, the vanilla and the salt.  Whisking continuously, slowly trickle the hot milk into the egg mixture until well combined.

Brush the bottom and the sides of the unbaked tart shell with egg white and put it into the oven for one minute to set, then remove it from the oven.  

Put the rhubarb into the base of the tart shell, them pour the custard on top.

Put the tart into the oven for 20-25 minutes to bake, or until set and slightly wobbly in the centre.

Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Slice and serve!  I did not use all of the rhubarb in the tart, so I served the tart with some extra roasted rhubarb on the side and a little cream.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

TWD - Petite Apple Croustades

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Petite Apple Croustades.

These adorable little packages comprise strips of phyllo pastry, buttered and sugared, then laid out to line a muffin tin hole, filled with caramelised apple, then twisted closed to conceal the gems of apple within: 

These are like a delicate, more refined version of an apple turnover, and are so delicious - the perfect dessert for one.  The crisp, caramelised, flaky pastry gives way under your fork,  and when combined with the luscious cooked apple, is just devine. 

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mud Cake for Bill's Retirement

Recently, Bill retired after working with our business for nearly 35 years.  Bill was a friendly face around the office who was always up for a pleasant chat.

A few people organised an office morning tea for Bill to wish him all the best in his retirement.  I could not attend the morning tea, but I wanted to make Bill a cake for the morning tea to thank him and to wish him well.  

I saw a mud cake on Instagram from Adelaide Bakes, which I though would be the perfect cake for Bill.  You can find the recipe online here. I made my cake in a 22cm cake tin, so it is not as tall as the one on the source website.

I covered the cake with ganache (using Dorie Greenspan's recommended one is to one ratio of chocolate and cream), and decorated it with fondant shapes made by pressing fondant into silicone moulds.  The plant and leaves allude to the fact that one of Bill's presents was a plant, while the tea pot, cups and cupcakes represent the morning tea.   

Here is Bill cutting his cake, with his plant in the foreground:

Fifty or so people attended Bill's morning tea, which shows what a treasure he is.  We wish you all the best in your retirement Bill, and you will be missed around the office.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Vanilla, Ricotta and Almond Cake with Poached Fruit - Queen Baking Club

One of the loveliest cakes I have eaten in a while was a Vanilla,  Ricotta and Almond Cake with Poached Fruit, a recent Queen Baking Club challenge.  You can find the recipe online here.

This wonderful cake contains ricotta, which makes it smooth and moist; it contains almond meal, to give it a little nuttiness and texture; and lush berries, to give it sweetness and additional moistness.  The underlying cake is complemented by the poached fruit (in my case, pears) and berries on top, which make the cake decorative and add additional flavour.   

This is one of those cakes you have to walk away from so that you don't eat the whole thing.  It is such a moist and luscious cake that it is difficult to stop at just one piece.

This cake would be lovely served with cream, crème fraiche or icecream.  However, I served it just with a drizzle of the pear poaching syrup as suggested by Queen (but be warned, it is very sweet). 

If you like fruity cakes, I highly recommend making this one.