Tuesday, September 17, 2019

TWD - Sweet or Savoury Cream Cheese- Honey-Nut Wafers

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Sweet or Savoury Cream Cheese-Honey Nut Wafers. These biscuits comprise a cream cheese dough base, topped with either jam or blue cheese (depending on whether they are sweet or savoury), then topped again with a delicious walnut-honey mixture.

I made the sweet version and used up some quince and ginger jam on four of myy biscuits. For the rest, I straddled sweet and savoury by using fig and port chutney.  Both versions were delicious - I could not really tell which were which. 

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

TWD - Caramel Topped Rice Pudding Cake

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I have made Caramel Topped Rice Pudding Cake.  When I was growing up, rice pudding was a regular dessert in our household.  Mum's rice pudding was thick, creamy and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Fast forward to Dorie's recipe for Caramel Topped Rice Pudding Cake, and I will say that while cinnamon is good on top of rice pudding, citrus-tinged caramel trumps it.

Rice pudding cake involves making a rice pudding, then adding eggs and vanilla and baking it in the oven in a tin that has been lined with caramel.  It is rice pudding in slice and serve form - yum!

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

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Toffee Apple Cake with Maple Apple Caramel

I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make
Hugh Jackman, A Million Dreams 

The words above are from a song featured in The Greatest Showman, a movie about PT Barnam and the founding of the Barnam and Bailey Circus.  It is a hopeful and uplifting song, which we are currently singing in the community choir that I have joined.  After a hard day, it makes me believe that being together with the people that I love, the world can be a better place.

When I was little, going to the Show or going to the circus always meant that Mum would buy me a toffee apple.  I think at the time I underappreciated the toffee apple because underneath it all, it was just fruit, but as a grown up, I rather enjoy the crunch of the toffee apple and the contrast of the sweet toffee with the tartness of the apple.

Going back a little while, I made a Toffee Apple Cake with Maple Apple Caramel from the May 2019 edition of Delicious magazine.  This cake reminded me fondly of the toffee apples of my childhood, so I had to make it.  My cake is not as grand as the original (which you can see here), as I only made one layer of cake and had one apple on top (although I made three).  Frankly, for a day to day cake, that was enough - a grand cake like the one in the magazine would perhaps be good for a special occasion, but was too OTT for me to make just for fun.

The cake itself is moist as it contains grated apple and buttermilk: 

Here is the finished product - one single layer made from a half recipe of cake, with a single (imperfect) toffee apple adorning the top:

I thought the cake was pretty good, and could be readily made without the fuss of the toffee apples if desired:

Oooh, and do make the maple apple caramel sauce - it is delicious and adds additional moistness to the cake: 

To make the cake my way, you will need:

350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
250g butter
300g sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
2 apples, peeled and coarsely grated

For the maple apple caramel

125ml apple juice
125ml maple syrup

For the toffee apples + praline

3 small red apples 
1 cup sugar
30g almonds

For the icing

250g cream cheese, softened
92g butter, softened
70g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line one 23cm cake tin.

 Sift the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

Add the flour and mix in on low.  Fold in the grated apple with a rubber spatula.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for one and a half hours or until cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin.

For the icing, beat all of the ingredients together in a stand mixer until smooth.

For the maple apple caramel, put the apple juice and maple syrup into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by a third.

For the toffee apples, line 2 baking trays with alfoil, grease the trays, and place a greased wire rack over the top of one tray.

Melt the sugar in a saucepan and wait until the sugar turns golden brown  before using tongs to dip each apple into the toffee, and swirling to coat completely (work quickly as the toffee sets hard quickly).  Place each apple onto the greased wire rack to cool completely.

Pour the rest of the caramel over the foil lined tray and scatter over the almonds.  Once the toffee has set, finely grind up the almond mixture in a food processor.

To assemble, ice the cooled cake with the cream cheese icing, sprinkle the top of the cake with the almond praline, and top with one or more toffee apples. 

Serve the cake in slices drizzled with maple apple caramel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

TWD - Cocoa Almond "Uglies" (Brutti ma Buoni)

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cocoa Almond "Uglies" or "brutta ma buoni" (ugly but good).  These biscuits are really easy to make with icing sugar, almond meal, egg whites, cocoa, slivered almonds (or in my case, flaked almonds) and chocolate.  I used a part of a Ferrero Rocher Easter Egg as my chocolate.

You mix everything together then place heaped mounds on a baking sheet, et voila, delicious cookies.  They don't spread much and are super delicious.  These are my kind of biscuits.

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

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Pork, Caramelised Apple and Caraway Sausage Rolls

Today is Father's Day in Australia.  If you want to help your meat-loving Dad celebrate with some food treats, you can't go past the Pork, Caramelised Apple and Fennel Sausage Rolls in the Tivoli Road Baker book. 

These sausage rolls have an absolutely delicious filling, and go down a treat with a dipper of tomato sauce.

Me being me, I substituted the fennel seeds for caraway seeds (because that is what I had), and on top of the sausage rolls, I used a mixture of sesame seeds and poppy seeds that I had from another project (again in substitution for fennel seeds). 

I highly recommend giving these sausage rolls a go if you are a meat lover.  To make them, you will need (as modified by me):

2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 brown onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
20g butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1.2kg pork mince
65g fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 lightly beaten egg
5 sheets Pampas frozen puff pastry
sesame seeds for sprinkling on top

Toast the caraway seeds in a small dry frypan until fragrant.  Crush in a mortar and pestle, and set aside.

 In a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil.  sweat off the garlic and onions until lightly caramelised.  Add the caraway seeds, rosemary and thyme, cook for a minute, then set aside to cool.

Wipe out the large frypan and melt the butter in it.  Cook the apples in the butter for 2 minutes, then add the sugar to the pan.  Cook until the sugar is caramelised, then deglaze the pan with the vinegar, and set the apples aside to cool.  

Combine the mince, apples, breadcrumbs and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Using your hands, mix through the onion and garlic mixture until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half.  Divide the sausage mixture evenly between each half piece of pastry (10 batches in all), and place the mince along a long edge of each piece of pastry, forming into a sausage shape with your hands which is the length of the pastry.  Brush the other long edge of the pastry with the beaten egg, then roll the pastry from the meat side to the beaten egg side, with the sealed edge on the bottom.  Place each roll on a baking tray, then brush the top of the sausage rolls with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Lightly prick the top of each roll with a fork.  Refrigerate the rolls for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Bake the sausage rolls for 40 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.

Serve warm with tomato sauce on the side.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

TWD - Tiramisu Tart

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Tiramisu Tart. I had been looking forward to making this, but ultimately, it did not delight me as I had hoped it would.

The concept of Tiramisu Tart is exactly as the name says - tiramisu in a tart form. A fully baked tart shell is lined with coffee and rum soaked savoiardi, and smothered in marscapone cream, then topped with chocolate.

Things did not go well for me with this tart from the get go.  I had a lot of trouble buying savoiardi. I know they used to sell them in the supermarket, but because I wanted them, I could not find them. Eventually, after a hot, grumpy walk up the main shopping street in the next suburb, I located them on the top shelf of a gourmet store. I needed someone to come and get them down for me, and they were not cheap. However, it’s not Tiramisu without savoiardi so I sucked it up.

My next problem was that I made a chocolate tart shell, which for unknown reasons had cracks open up in it as it cooled. That will teach me for trying to be fancy.

To top it all off, my filling did not set very well. I froze the tart to try and set it, and I hope that it doesn’t disintegrate into a puddle when it thaws.

So you see, my photos of this tart are all smoke and mirrors, as they feature the frozen tart.

To see how everyone else fared with their Tuesday with Dorie recipe this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Postscript: The freezing of the tart had the desired effect of setting it. It is still fairly soft, but it is no longer an oozing puddle.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Chester Squares (Gur Cake)

When I was growing up, a trip to the local bake shop with my old man always led to him buying a Chester Square.  Initially, being a typical kid, I recoiled in horror from the Chester Square, with its dense, black centre.  However, when I was finally persuaded to try one, I really liked it!  The Chester Square of my memory was made with stale cake and some mystery ingredients sandwiched between two slabs of pastry, and topped with a bright pink buttercream.

Chester Squares are no longer standard bakery fare.  However, I had a slab of fruit cake left over from Christmas, and was determined to turn it into Chester Squares.

It turns out that it is not that easy to find a recipe that reproduces the Chester Squares of my childhood.  The closest recipe that I found came from The Daily Spud, being a recipe for Gur Cake (which is apparently the traditional name for the Chester Square).  My research uncovered that Chester Squares originated in Dublin, Ireland, and were called Gur Cake because boys wagging school would often stop off at the bakery to buy some, it being one of the cheapest things available.

The use of treacle in the filling gave me the familiar black centre that I was looking for.  The Daily Spud did not ice their Gur Cake, but I did because that is the Chester  Square of my memory.

Proportions of ingredients below are approximate, as I used The Daily Spud recipe as inspiration for the filling rather than following it.  

To make your own Chester Squares, you will need:


250g plain flour
125g cold butter, cubed
3 tablespoons water


450g spicy fruit cake
1/4 cup brewed tea
2 tablespoons treacle
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Line a 27cm x 18cm rectangular slice tin with baking paper.

For the pastry, in a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour to form crumbs, then bind together by mixing in the water (more or less as required).  Or just blitz it all together in a food processor, which is what I did.

Divide the pastry in half, and roll out each half between two pieces of baking paper into a rectangle that is large enough to fit your slice tin. Chill for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make your filling.  Crumble the cake coarsely between your fingers into a large bowl.  Stir in the treacle and golden syrup, then add just enough tea so that the mixture binds together but will be soft enough to press into your slice tin.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Remove the pastry from the fridge.  Line the base of your prepared cake tin with one of the pastry rectangles, cutting off any excess so that the pastry neatly fits into the base of the tin.  Press the filling on top of the pastry.  Take the other pastry rectangle and lay it over the top of the filling, smoothing it down to cover the filling, and trim off any excess.  Prick the top of the pastry with a fork, brush the top of the pastry with a little milk to help it brown, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack.  Slather the top of the cooled cake with bright pink buttercream if desired before slicing into squares.