Thursday, September 28, 2017

Felicity Cloake's Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake

I love Felicity Cloake's "The Perfect ..." baking columns in The Guardian, and look for them each Thursday.  Last week, Felicity's recipe was for The Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake.

For those not familiar with Felicity's column, she chooses a different baked (or in this case, non-baked) good each week, and tries out different recipes.  Felicity then selects what she thinks are the best elements from her experiments with other recipes, and puts together her own recipe which she deems to be "the perfect" version of that item.

This no-bake cheesecake unusually has a cornflake crumb crust, which I have never worked with before.   I really enjoyed the cornflake flavour, but did find that the base became a little soggy over time - this is definitely one to be eaten as soon as possible.

The ricotta and cream cheese filling was silky smooth, but a little blander than the no-bake cheesecakes that I am used to from the Philadelphia cream cheese packets.  It really is a vehicle for the topping - I used Duncan Hines cherry pie filling just because I had it, but fresh fruit would be lovely.  I was surprised that the cheesecake set very nicely without gelatine. 

I enjoyed Felicity's cheesecake recipe, but I don't think it will replace my usual no-bake recipe based on cream cheese, which is denser but has a bit more tang.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

TWD - Simplest Plum Tart

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Simplest Plum Tart.

It is what it says on the tin - a tart shell sprinkled with biscuit crumbs to soak up the juices from the plums that fill it, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

I had to use tinned plums as it is a long time before plum season here.  This meant that my tart was not as pretty as it would have been with fresh fruit,  but it was still good.

I found this tart perhaps a little too plain to be a favourite, but it disappeared promptly at work, so I'll take that as a tick of approval.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the Tuesday with Dorie website.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wattleseed Blinis - Red Tractor September

This month's recipe from my Red Tractor calendar is Wattleseed Blinis.   As the name suggests, these blinis are flavoured with wattleseed, from the native wattle tree.  Wattleseed gives a mild coffee flavour. 

Here is the calendar quote for this month, appropriately referencing the wattle:

These blinis were easy to make, but don't taste as good as my favourite blini recipe.  The wattleseed is a novel flavour that you could add to any blini recipe.

To make these blinis, you will need:

1 tablespoon wattleseeds 
1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg 
50g melted butter
mashed avocado and smoked salmon to top the blinis

Toast the wattleseed in a frypan and grind in a mortar and pestle.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and wattleseed in a large bowl.  Combine the egg and milk in a jug, then whisk into the dry ingredients, then half the melted butter.

Rest the mixture for 30 minutes to soften the wattleseed.

Heat a large frying pan, then brush the pan with some of the remaining melted butter.  Drop two teaspoons of batter into the frypan for each blini (don't overcrowd the pan), and cook until bubbles appear on the surface.  Gently flip each blini and cook the blinis on the other side, and repeat with the rest of the batter.

Top the blinis with mashed avocado, smoked salmon and ground pepper to serve.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TWD - Graham Cracker Cookies

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Graham Cracker Cookies.  Graham crackers are not something that is sold in Australia, but to me, the taste and texture of these cookies resembled Arnotts Shredded Wheatmeal biscuits.

These cookies were simple to make.  I made a half batch and only froze them for an hour before cutting and baking (instead of three hours).  

I am pleased to have them as next week's Dorie recipe is a tart with a Graham cracker base - that worked well.

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Cake

For my birthday this year, I thought it would be apt to make a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds themed cake, it being 50 years since Sergeant Pepper came out (I am younger than Sergeant Pepper!).  One of my favourite songs on the Sergeant Pepper album is Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and the imagery that accompanies that song  in the Yellow Submarine movie lends itself well to cake decorating.  

In Yellow Submarine, the cartoon Beatles find themselves in the foothills of the headlands, when John strikes up singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  The first image in that song is a woman (presumably Lucy) inside the heads in two different colour schemes.  That is the image I used on my cake, using coloured rolled fondant.

I was too lazy to colour my own fondant, so I just used colours that I could buy in the supermarket.  It was interesting the different textures that different brands of fondant had - some was hard to roll out, like elephant hide, while some was very sticky and fragile. 

I drew on Lucy's features with edible pens.

The underlying cake was a chocolate cake recipe that I had not used before from Chocolate Coffee Caramel - A Cook's Book of Decadence.  I chose it because it contained blackberry jam, like Nigella's chocolate cake. Here is the inside of the cake:

To make this chocolate cake, you will need:

125g butter
125g sugar
40g icing sugar
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g blackberry jam
155g self raising flour
60g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250ml milk

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, vanilla and jam and beat 'til combined. Fold in the sifted flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda alternately with the milk in three batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. 

Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through.  Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.

Decorate as desired once cool.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TWD - Brown Butter Peach Tourte

This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Baking Chez Moi) recipe is Brown Butter Peach Tourte.  This luscious creation involves encasing peaches marinated in browned butter in Dorie's sweet shortcrust pastry:  

It's still cold here so fresh peaches were not an option, so I used canned peaches which I drained and patted dry.  I also rolled out Dorie's Sweet Shortcrust dough for the first time - I normally go for the press-in version, but the rolled out version was easy enough to do.   

The resulting pie was just delish - I served it warm without any accompaniments, as none were necessary.

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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ottolenghi's Coffee and Walnut Financiers

I am an avid reader of The Guardian's recipe section, and was delighted to find an article on the release of a new book by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sweet, which is released in Australia today. As the name suggests, this book, by Ottolenghi and Emily Goh, is a book about making sweet treats.

The article contains 10 recipes, and I couldn't wait to set to work making the Coffee and Walnut Financiers.  (I am glad I did as I have just discovered that the gas lighter on the oven in my rented property has stopped working - so these pages might be a bit slow until that is hopefully fixed.)

I had all of the ingredients for the financiers, give or take.  Take the expresso powder, which I left out, as I didn't have any and there is plenty of coffee flavour from the coffee granules.  Substitute ground almonds for ground macadamias, as that is what I had!

These were so caramelly and delicious.  I ate one and took the rest to work.  I went to get a coffee at around 10.30am and saw that there were one and a half of them left - when I came back, they were all gone.  Glad people liked them!!

I loved the icing recipe because it set hard.  (The above photos were taken before the icing set.) The secret must be the liquid glucose, because ordinary glace icing does not set hard and tends to wrinkle when disturbed.  The glucose trick is one that I will apply often.

I now have my trigger finger on the button to buy Sweet - if the recipe sample in The Guardian is anything to go by, it will be amazing.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

TWD - Two- Bite One-Chip Cookies

This week's Dorie's Cookies recipe is Two-Bite One-Chip Cookies.  The name says it all - these are light, small cookies embracing a single chocolate chip, that you can eat in just two bites.

I quartered the recipe to make roughly twenty cookies.  Instead if dark chocolate chips, I used the white chocolate chips that I already had.

The resulting cookies were delicious.  I was a little dubious as there is no rising agent in these cookies and they are so small, but they bake up into tasty morsels - I ate four in a row, no problems.    These would be great for filling gift boxes as they are small enough to fill spaces without awkwardness.

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