Tuesday, June 19, 2018

TWD - Swedish Visiting Cake Bars


This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie's Cookies) recipe is Swedish Visiting Cake Bars.  These are a riff on Dorie's Swedish Visiting Cake.  I could not remember making the cake, but I am in awe of how bad my photos were when I made it!

In essence, these bars comprise an almond flavoured cake topped with a crunchy almond meringue topping.  They are tasty without being ostentatious.  I also liked that they were relatively simple to make.

I chose to cut my bars into triangles as suggested by Dorie, so I got twice as many bars for my effort.  That way, there was more to go around, and the size of the square bar was quite large. 

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Orange Cheesecake with Candied Kumquats


Tim's family has a kumquat tree in their backyard.  When Tim kindly offered to give me some kumquats, I was immediately on board.  Now what to make!

After some enthusiastic Internet searches, I decided to make this Orange Cheesecake with Candied Kumquats. While my candied kumquats were nowhere near firm enough to make my topping look like the source photo,  I was pretty happy with the end result, and it tasted sensational:


The cheesecake was so creamy, and the candied kumquats added just the right amount of tartness and texture.  I only made half of the cheesecake filling, as I find American style cheesecakes can be just a little too much.

Tempted?  Here is the recipe:

Base

2 cups plain biscuit crumbs (~1 packet Arrowroot biscuits)


1/3 cup brown sugar


100g butter, melted

Filling
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
500g cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
Candied kumquats
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
255g kumquats, thinly sliced horizontally, seeds removed
For the candied kumquats:
Mix the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the kumquats, and reduce the heat to simmer until the kumquats are translucent. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and allow the kumquats to cool in the syrup. Strain the kumquats, reserving the syrup. Combine the kumquats and 1/4 cup of the syrup in a small bowl. Return the remaining syrup to the saucepan and boil it until reduced to 1¼ cups.
For the base:
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base of a 9" springform pan.Combine the biscuit crumbs and brown sugar in a bowl, then pour over the melted butter and mix well. Press the biscuit mixture evenly across the bottom and 1 inch up sides of the springform pan. Bake the base until set and the edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow the base to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Keep the oven on, and wrap the outside of the springform pan tightly with alfoil to stop water from getting into it.


For the filling:

Combine 1/4 cup of the sugar and the orange peel in a small saucepan. Rub with your fingers until the sugar is moist, then add the orange juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup. Chill the mixture in the fridge until cool.

In the meantime, cube the cream cheese and beat it in a stand mixer with the remaining 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Add the sour cream, flour, and salt and beat until just combined. Beat in the eggs, then fold through the cooled orange juice mixture. Pour the filling into the base, and place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up sides of the pan.

Place the roasting pan into the oven and bake for 1 1/4 hours or until the filling is just set.
Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour. 


Remove the cheesecake in the springform pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Once cool, place the cheesecake in the fridge to chill overnight.

Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the sides of the springform pan, then unlatch the sides of the pan. Place the cheesecake onto a plate and arrange the candied kumquats on top. Serve drizzled with some kumquat syrup, if desired.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

TWD - Cowgirl Cornmeal Pecan Financiers



This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cowgirl Cornmeal Pecan Financiers.  The name is not delicate but these little cakes are.  They contain toasted ground pecans, cornmeal and browned butter, making for  taste sensation.

I had a bit of a shopping excursion for the ingredients for these financiers, as neither cornmeal nor pecans are sold at my regular supermarket.  The cornmeal I understand (it is not an ingredient used that much in Australia), but the pecans I do not.  Coles is the only supermarket where I have reliably been able to get pecans in normal quantities.  The cornmeal came from an IGA, which also sold pecans, but only in industrial quantities.   

I wasn't thrilled at first to be making these financiers, but I changed my mind when I tasted them.  The are light and bursting with flavour.

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

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Apricot and pumpkin seed biscuits


I recently saw an intriguing recipe for Persimmon and Pumpkin Seed Biscuits on Stuff.com.  The recipe contains dried persimmons.  I knew that I would never be able to buy dried persimmons here, so I was pleased that the recipe suggested dried apricots as an alternative.


Chocolate was optional in the recipe, but I am glad that I used it.  Without the chocolate, these biscuits would have tasted almost healthful - to me, biscuits should taste a bit decadent.

If you are interested in trying out these biscuits for something  a little different, you will need:

⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
100g softened butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 small egg
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup chopped dried persimmons or apricots
50g chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan until golden, then transfer onto a plate to cool.

Place the butter, sugar and honey into a stand mixer and beat until creamy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt, and fold in to combine. Add the toasted pumpkin seeds, dried persimmons or apricots, and chocolate and mix until just combined.

Roll the mixture into 12 walnut-sized balls and arrange, evenly spaced, on the baking tray. Gently press the balls to flatten a little. Bake for 12 minutes.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Moroccan Tagine


The chilly weather in Melbourne continues, with blasts of icy cold winds and sunny but warmthless skies.

It is truly soup and stew weather, so I was pleased when the latest newsletter from my physiotherapist linked to both a soup and a stew recipe. Naturally, I made them both.

The  stew recipe is a Moroccan Tagine from Taste.com.au. It is full of flavour and suitably hearty for cold nights.

To make it, you will need:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 750g gravy beef, trimmed, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, halved, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups Massel beef stock
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • Brown rice, to serve
  • Cooked green beans, to serve

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Brown the beef in batches, then transfer to a plate.  

Heat the remaining oil in the casserole dish. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, until onion has softened. Return the beef to the dish. Add the  flour and seasoning, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon.

Stir in the stock and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to the boil. TCover the casserole dish and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 1 and a half hours.

Remove the stew from the oven and stir in the chickpeas. Return the stew to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the beef is tender. Take the stew out of the oven and discard the cinnamon and bay leaves.

Serve with rice and beans. 
 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

TWD - Cocoa-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunch



It is now June, and in Oz, it is the start of winter.  "Up north", it is still warm, but the southern states where I am are really feeling the chill. This makes for good baking weather.

Our first Tuesday with Dorie recipe for the month of June is Cocoa-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunch.  These are rather delicious cookies flavoured by crushed caramelised sesame seeds, cocoa, dark chocolate and tahini.

Despite  these cookies being easy enough to make and extraordinarily good, I did find making the sesame crunch a bit of a faff, and it went everywhere when I was chopping it up for the biscuits.  I think the sesame wafers that you buy would be a good substitute.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Pumpkin Orange and Ginger Cake with Creamy Maple Icing


Brrrr ... It was the first day of winter yesterday, and boy am I feeling it.  By the standards of other continents, we don't get that cold, but I am not used to the cold so for me, the weather here at present is bitter. I often meet people who do not mind the cold, but I am strictly a sunshine and warmth girl.

On of the few good things about winter is that it is the time for awesome comfort food - soups, stews, casseroles, roasts and puddings.  An ingredient in many of these dishes is the humble pumpkin.  There are so many great pumpkin recipes out there, both sweet and savoury, and now is the time to  try them out.

I recently came across a  great recipe for Pumpkin Orange and Ginger Cake with Creamy Maple Icing.  As well as pumpkin, it features that winter staple, orange.  The ginger is in the form of ground ginger. 

This is one delicious cake.  I love the unusual flavours, and it is the perfect cake to cosy up with together with a piping cup of coffee under a blanket on a cold afternoon.


To make it, you will need:

200g mashed roast pumpkin, cooled
200g softened butter
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of ½ an orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 ½ cups almond meal
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Icing
75g softened butter
200g softened cream cheese, at room temperature
4 teaspoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Finely grated zest of ½ an orange
(I also added half a cup of icing sugar)
Preheat your oven to 180C and grease and line a 23cm round cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar together  in the bowl of a stand mixer until very light and fluffy. Add the orange zest and vanilla and beat well, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined.
Using a rubber spatula, fold through the almond meal, ginger, baking powder and salt. Fold in the mashed pumpkin until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer comes out cleanly. (Mine took quite a bit longer.) Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out to a wire rack to cool.
For the icing, put all the ingredients except the orange zest in a bowl and beat until smooth. Spread over the cake, sprinkle over the orange zest.
Slice and enjoy with a cup of joe!