Saturday, October 31, 2020

Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream

Today is Halloween. It is a festival day that is fairly new to Australia and was not celebrated here when I was a child. However, it has take off in recent years and is popular with children and adults.

I don’t celebrate Halloween but thiught it would be fun to bake a Halloween inspired cake. Looking through my cookbooks, I found Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream from Heavenly Cakes. It was cute and I had bought pumpkin especially to make a Halloween cake, so I went with it.

The full cake is made in a two piece 3D pumpkin shaped pan and feeds 16! For one person, this could not be justified, so inspired by Rose’s suggestion to bake the cake in a bundt tin, I baked a quarter of the cake recipe in mini bundt tins:

The cake is a pumpkin walnut spice sponge, with cinnamon and nutmeg. These little cakes were easy enough to bake

The painful part was making the buttercream. It is made in three parts - a caramel creme anglaise, an Italian meringue buttercream and finally, the two are beaten together with butter and an orange concentrate (which I had to make). The buttercream is then coloured in two different shades of orange. 

I had to make the creme anglaise twice, as the first attempt was a dismal failure. The second time around, I ditched the thermometer and went with experience in making caramel and creme anglaise instead.

Two mini bundts are joined with buttercream, then the whole lot is iced with buttercream. A small amount of darker orange buttercream is then used to make contrasting stripes in the cake. 

Finally, to make the cake look like a pumpkin, you make a stem and tendril out of marzipan tinted brown by rolling it in cocoa, and hand cut leaves with green tinted buttercream.

It is definitely a labour of love, and I only made one.

My buttercream was not quite right, but it did the job. Taste-wise, I would prefer my usual buttercream, which is also a lot easier to make.

It was fun to do this once, but I won’t be doing it again.

I think the pumpkin bundts would go nicely with cream cheese icing, or warmed up and served with vanilla icecream.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

TWD - Macaron Biscotti - Not

 This week’s TWD “recipe” (Dorie herself said it’s not a recipe) are Macaron Biscotti. You are meant to take unfilled macaron shells and bake them again in butter.

I did not know when I made macarons two weeks ago that this would be our next recipe. I didn’t have any leftover macaron shells and I was not making any more to do this - sorry.

Instead, please enjoy my macarons from last time and imagine what they’d be like unfilled,  dipped in butter and baked again.

If you want to see Macaron Biscotti, the other bakers may have made them - visit the TWD website.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

My Mum’s Meatballs in Tomato Soup

 I had a hankering recently for the meatballs baked in tomato soup that my mum makes. I rang her for the recipe so I could make them. It always makes me laugh when she gives me a recipe because the quantities are so I exact.

There is not much else to say about these meatballs except that they are good! If you would like to try them, you will need:

500g beef mince
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
1 egg
2 slices bread, processed into crumbs
1 x 400g tin tomato soup
plain flour or dried breadcrumbs to roll the meatballs in
1/2 soup can of cold water
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the soup, water and flour.  Make balls of the desired size from the mixture with wet hands.

Roll the meatballs in flour (or dried breadcrumbs) and place in a large casserole dish. Pour over the tomato soup, then the water.

Bake the meatballs in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with rice and vegetables.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Honey-and-Tea Jammers

 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Honey-and-Tea Jammers. Jammers are one of Dorie’s  signature cookies, and we have made a different version before.

Jammers comprise a sable cookie topped with a jam centre surrounded by streusel. These Jammers have a tea and honey flavoured cookie base. I used T2 Strawberries and Cream tea, given to  me by my friend Swee, to flavour my cookies. As suggested, I used strawberry jam for all but 4 of my Jammers, as I ran out of it, and blackcurrant jam for the final 4. I actually liked the blackcurrant ones the best, but all of them were good. 

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

TWD - Parisian Macarons

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Parisian Macarons. These delicate, pretty
treats had a moment a few years back as the successor to the cupcake, and they are still very popular.

I have made macarons before here and here. I have even gone out of my way to try macarons made by patissiers here and here.

It is more than 10 years since I last made macarons, so I think it was time. Dorie’s recipe turned out well for me, with feet and all.

I tinted my half recipe of macarons pale pink, which required more colouring than I expected. I filled some of them with musk flavoured ganache (using the aptly named Flamingo Fantasy flavouring) made with pink chocolate melts:


Flamingo Fantasy is the perfect way to describe these macarons:

I filled the remainder of the macarons with strawberry jam:

I may have piped my macarons a tad too large so some of them spread into one another, but they were devine nevertheless.

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

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Yoghurt Pudding with Mango and Medjool Dates

Despite the gloomy news just about everywhere, today the sun is shining after a cold, wet grey week. Let’s enjoy this beautiful day and be happy.

Beautiful sunny days should start with beautiful sunny breakfasts, and I think Helen Goh’s recipe for Yoghurt Pudding with Mango and Medjool Dates fits the bill.

Helen says you can add icing sugar for sweetness, but I thought it was perfect without. I liked this pudding because it tastes delicious, has contrasting textures and is packed with good stuff - yoghurt, fruit, nuts and spice. You need to make it the night before you want to eat it, as it needs 4 hours to chill.

Tempted?  You will need (for 4-6 serves):

500g plain yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Zest and juice of a lime
120ml pouring cream
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons icing sugar (optional)
160g mango flesh, puréed in a food processor
4 pitted Medjool dates, finely sliced
20g toasted almonds, roughly chopped
20g pistachios, roughly chopped
Sea salt flakes

First, strain the yoghurt.  Put a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a clean Chux dishcloth over a large bowl. Put the yoghurt into the cloth, and twist the cloth around the yoghurt. Put a weight (eg a small plate Weighed down by cans) on top of the cloth-wrapped yoghurt, and put in a cool place to drain for an hour.

Once the yoghurt has drained, discard the liquid, and put the drained yoghurt In a large bowl. Stir in the cardamom, lime juice and zest, and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the cream, honey and icing sugar (if using) until soft waves form. Fold the cream mixture into the yoghurt. Fold through 100g of the mango purée.

Spoon the pudding into one large bowl or 4-6 individual bowls or cocktail glasses. Cover each bowl with cling film, and chill in the fridge for 4 hours.

Just before serving, spoon the remaining mango purée over the puddings, and swirl it through with a butter knife. Scatter the dates and nuts evenly over the top of each pudding, and sprinkle with salt. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

TWD - Thanksgiving Bars

 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Thanksgiving Bars. They comprise a chocolate walnut cookie base, filled with a homemade jam and fresh raspberries.

The jam is meant to be made with fresh or frozen cranberries, but those are like unicorns here, so I used red currants for the jam instead.

These were quite luscious.

I was a sad when I made these bars, as my downstairs neighbour, who I have been sharing my baking with in lockdown, passed away last week. This is the first TWD in lockdown without him. I enjoyed the brief interactions that we had through my baking, and it feels a little bit lonelier in this corner of the world.

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

Monday, October 5, 2020

One-Pot Sticky Salmon

Recently, searching for new ways to cook salmon, I found this One-Pot Sticky Salmon on I liked this recipe because the salmon is flavoured with oranges.

Not only does it taste good, but it looks pretty:

If you would like to try this dish, you will need:

4 salmon fillets

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons cornflour 

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (I skipped these)

1/3 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 orange, thinly sliced

Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and cook the salmon, roughly 3 minutes per side, over medium high heat.

In a jug, combine the cornflour, garlic, fennel seeds, stock, orange juice and maple syrup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the maple syrup mixture over the salmon, and cook for 4 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.

Top the salmon with the sliced orange. (I cooked the orange for a minute or so in the pan.)

Serve with rice and vegetables.