Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’

20131023-151549.jpgSo I’m scanning yahoo the other day and came across this really easy Mexican dessert recipe.  I took a quick look at the list of ingredients and saw that there was cheese involved with the dessert which sounded interesting… plus one of the comments on the bottom mentioned that the consistency/texture is similar to flan, but with nowhere near the amount of calories which really started to get my attention.
Talk about one of the more simple recipes out there!  I’ve included the info below:
Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
5 ounces of Mexican/Latin cheese (I went with a mixture of cojita cheese and queso fresco which you can find in any latin grocery store)
 Butter to spread on the baking dish20131023-151534.jpg
I mixed the eggs, milk, sugar, and cojita cheese/queso fresco in a blender but I also added some cayenne pepper just to give it a little heat with the sweet of the sugar and the saltiness of the cheese.  I then preheated the oven to 350F andrubbed the butter along the bottom and sides/corners of a square glass pyrex dish.
Threw in the blended mixture and placed it in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top was golden brown.  Let it stand to cool then I threw it in the fridge with a cover.
20131023-151525.jpgAfter a few hours, I had some for dessert that night and it really was like flan but a little bit more “chunky” because of thecojita cheese.  I thought it tasted great but I might be a little bias!  If you think you’d like a cheesy kind of flan, then give it a try.  The cayenne gave it a nice kick but I would enjoy it without the pepper as well.  I even put some in a bowl and threw on some chocolate syrup which gave it a nice chocolate flavor as well.
Enjoy!

Mums Apple Pie.jpgSince my unexpected arrival back in Australia 2 weeks ago, I have been bunkering down at my parents’ house.  It has always been a place that I feel at home, get taken care of and can take some time to get my head on straight. I was fortunate to have one of my Apples.jpgclosest friends K and her baby and husband come up the first weekend for Sunday lunch. This was a wonderful distraction and enjoyable afternoon, a great way to get my mind of my own troubles.

I managed to help Mum whip up some food, making a mushroom risotto and some fresh bread. However in my less than stellar state I let Ingredients.jpgMum cook dessert. Mum’s apple pie (that is actually her sister’s husband’s grandmother’s recipe… yes it is one of those recipes) is sweet, delicious and not like the apple pies you get in the US. It has a sweet shortcrust pastry rather than the more savoury kind you get in the US.Pastry.jpg

Firstly put on the apples to stew… Just peel and slice up some granny smith apples and add them to a pot with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

For the pastry, beat 125 grams of butter and ¾ cup of sugar together until creamy. Add in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Next mix in 1 teaspoon of vanilla Rolling.jpgand a pinch of salt. Then gradually mix in 2 cups of self-raising flour, ½ cup of plain flour and ½ cup of cornflour. Mix this until everything is combined.

Filling.jpg

The rest is simply rolling out the dough for the base and the top. Filling the pie with thecooled apples and then baking.

It bakes in a 180C oven for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. The great thing is that because the apples are cooked you’re Pie.jpgjust cooking the pastry until it is crispy.

This is now my new go to sweet choice for when I am down… not chocolate or icecream… Mum’s apple pie. Served with a dollop of icecream or fresh cream, it is just the perfect way to end a Sunday lunch or any lunch or dinner or breakfast… my new comfort food. Thankfully though it isn’t hard to make it is just time consuming enough for me not to make it too often… otherwise I could be in big trouble! Delicious, sweet and crispy… give it a try, it is guaranteed to help warm your heart!

Slice of pie.jpg

 

Time to eatBeing the foodie in our office has lead to me bringing in cakes for birthdays. Fortunately we have a staff of 6 so it doesn’t happen too often. Earlier in the year I made a Mum’s Sticky Chocolate cake for everyone which was a huge success. This time around I gave the birthday girl a few choices and she went with the Triple Chocolate Marble Mud Cake… well really, who wouldn’t!?

Step 1

The only problem… I had never made it before! How difficult could it be.

In a small pan I combined 250 grams of chopped, unsalted butter, 2 cups of caster sugar, and 1 cup of hot water. I mixed this until it was all melted and combined. Then I just set this aside to cool for 15 minutes and got on with the rest of the recipe.

Base mixture

While it was cooling I melted 150 grams of white chocolate in a bowl and in another bowl I melted 150 grams of dark chocolate. I used 70% dark so that it wasn’t too sweet. There is so much sugar in this recipe already I didn’t think I need extra in the chocolate. I then set these aside.

Going back to my sugar, butter and water mixture I whisked in 1 cup of plain flour, 1 1/2 cups of self raising flour and a teaspoon of vanilla. I added 2 eggs that I had already lightly beaten and whisked everything together. Now the tricky part… I had to divide the mixture into 2 equal parts, putting them in separate bowls. After a bit of back and forth, I think I got pretty close.

Two mixtures

To the halved mixture I added the melted white chocolate to one and the melted dark chocolate to the other. I just quickly mixed the chocolate into each mixture and the cake was ready to assemble.

Layering

In my large cake tin I spooned a spoonful of the white mixture in one corner and then next to it a spoonful of the dark mixture. It was easy just alternating between the two, layering them on top of eachother, until the mixtures were completely gone.

This went into a preheated 150C degree over for 1 3/4 hours. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, well relatively easy. I then just sat back with a glass of wine and waited for it to cook.

Cream and chocolate - Copy

When I opened the oven I discovered it may not have been as easy as I thought. The middle of the cake had sunk! Oh well, that was what the ganache was for… to fill up the large crater in the cake.

Ganache

I turned it out and let it cool. Of course as it cooled the center dropped more… What could I do? More room ganache is what I say!

When it was cool and ready to coat in ganache, I quickly combined in my double boiler 300 grams of milk chocolate and 3/4 cup of thickened cream. I slowly melted these together over a low simmering pot of water. I stirred this continuously until the chocolate had completely melted and was combined with the cream.

I took it off the heat and set it aside. As I was preparing the cake I realized that the square cake didn’t quite fit in my round Sunken but deliciouscake carrier… being the ideas woman I am, I angled off the corners to make a shape that would fit in the container… Later people in the office commented on how cool it looked – I didn’t tell them it was purely to get it to fit, not make it look pretty.

The ditch

My cake now fit in the container, it was time to ganache it! I poured my ganache onto the cake and filled up the huge crater in the center. I then smoothed it down and around the edges until it was completely covered. It looked great! You couldn’t even tell that the cake looked like it had been hit by a meteor. A few quick decorations with fresh strawberries and I was done!

I held my breath when we cut it in the office, praying that it was actually marbled and that the puddle of ganache wouldn’t run off the cake like a waterfall. Luckily it didn’t!

Iced

The best news is that everyone in the office, including the birthday girl loved it. The cake is moist, dense and incredibly rich (especially the parts in the center with an inch of ganache on top). The cake was an afternoon snack for everyone for the rest of the week. I even managed to sneak J. home a slice. He really liked it, he thinks the texture is like a soft, dense cookie.

For a first attempt at this recipe I think I did well. It wasn’t as great as my mum’s but I rarely make her recipes as well as she does. It was a hit and it was delicious, I couldn’t really ask for more but I think I will need a little more practice to be able to make it as easily and as well as I make my Mum’s Sticky Chocolate.

Close up of marbling

Mango Coconut Panna Cotta.jpgJ. and I like to make bets with each other at different times. Whether it is on the AFL, NFL, the Olympics or who was in a particular movie, it makes for some fun teasing and competitiveness between the two of us which we both enjoy.

Most often the bets will involve payouts of dinners out or dinners made or chores done… I hate to say that I am often on the loosing end of these bets. For example last summer I lost a number in a row and ended up having to change the cats litter box for 2 months straight… not fun.

Ingredients.jpg

J. won a bet again recently that let him decide on a 3 course, homemade dinner and then chose this past weekend to redeem it! The meal he chose was scallops, followed by roast lamb and potato gratin and then panna cotta for dessert. He really didn’t have any preference for how I cooked the scallops or what flavor panna cotta I made, so I got to play a little.

First I chopped up 2 ripe mangoes and puréed them in the blender. The mixture should become Mango.jpgrelatively smooth. I then set this aside. I added 500ml of thickened cream (whipping cream) and 500ml of coconut cream to a saucepan. This went onto medium heat and I added 1/3 cup of caster sugar to this mixture. I kept stirring this until it was completely heated through, (around 3 minutes) and the sugar had melted.For dessert I decided on a Mango Coconut Panna Cotta… nice and light and very summery. The great thing about panna cotta is that I can make it early on in the day and it just sits in the fridge ready to go for dinner. First thing Saturday morning I got to work.

Cream mixture.jpg

In a small bowl I put 2 tablespoons of boiling water and 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder and stirred this until the gelatin had melted. Setting this aside I went back to the cream mixture.

I added the puréed mango to the cream mixture, mixing until it was completely combined. I put this into a jug (passing it through a sieve to make sure I got out any chunky bits of mango). Finally, I added the gelatin mixture to the jug, stirring quickly until it was completely mixed in.

Ready for pouring.jpg

That’s everything done! It was easy. I just then poured the mixture evenly into 6 ramekins and placed them in the fridge. They took around 5 hours to set but they were in there a lot longer just to make sure.

I removed them from the fridge about 20 minutes before we were going to eat them just to soften them a little. I topped each with some slices of fresh white peaches and grated dark chocolate.

Panna Cotta.jpg

They were delicious! J. really enjoyed it – he love both mango and coconut. I was happy with how they turned out. Perfect consistency and texture and then they tasted pretty amazing as well. A perfect summer dessert…

Chocolate Raspberry Muffin.jpgAfter making the banana muffins last weekend I was inspired into a little more muffin madness. For Valentine’s Day I decided to bake up a batch of Raspberry Chocolate Muffins for J. and I to take into our offices.

This is another Australian Institute of Sport recipe my mother commandeered and just unbelievably delicious!

In a large bowl I sifted 2½ cups of self-raising flour, ¼ cup of good cocoa and ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. I then added in ¾ cup of caster sugar (super fine sugar) and mixed all of this together.

The recipe says to add a ½ cup of Dark Choc Bits but I am not a huge dark chocolate fan so I added in ¾ cup of milk chocolate bits. What harm could a little bit extra chocolate do!?Dry Ingredients.jpg

I mixed all of this together and made a well in the center (pretty much the same instructions as the banana muffins I made earlier in the week).

In a small bowl I melted 1 tablespoon of margarine. I added 1 cup of skim milk to that and then whisked in 1 egg. I then just gently started to fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. When it was nearly completely folded together I added 300 g frozen raspberries. I add these as close to the end as possible because I don’t want them to break Wet ingredients.jpgup to much.

Again, make sure you don’t over mix. Just fold the raspberries through until everything is combined.

I put some paper cupcake liners into my muffin tin and then spooned in the mixture. I filled them to about ¾ because I didn’t want them too large and I needed enough for both of our offices. This made 20 muffins but you could make them larger and only make 12.

I put them into the oven that had been preheated at 350F. They baked for 25 minutes and then I took them out and let Add the Rasberries.jpgthem cool.

We both packed up a bunch each and set off to work. They disappeared in my office very quickly and everyone thought they were delicious. The chocolate bits and the tang of the raspberries really do make them really really good. They are also incredibly moist (still hate that word) from the fruit and chocolate. I have to admit the extra1/4 cup of chocolate did no harm, they probably made them even better!

Ready for the oven.jpgJ’s office didn’t finish them off the way mine did… they were lucky enough to have other treats as well. But those who tried them enjoyed them and more importantly J. preferred my treats over the others that were on offer! Ok, that isn’t sooo important but still nice to know!

Though they are sweet and sugary there is a lot less fat than normal muffins too which you just have to love. I strongly encourage you to give these a try… they are incredible!

Baileys Chocolate Balls.jpgEvery year for as long as I can remember my mother would make rum balls for Christmas. I would even spend hours in the kitchen helping her make them… getting my hands all sticky rolling the balls and covering them in coconut. When I was young I was never tempted by them and then when I got to an age where things with alcohol in them were mighty attractive I found out I had a bad reaction to rum… (not just from drinking too much). So even after all these years I hadn’t ever enjoyed these delicious bites. This year I thought I was going to make rum balls but make them so I could eat them.

I started this process by checking out what alcohol we had in Fruit in baileys.jpgthe house… bourbon, whiskey, vodka and Baileys… the obvious choice to me was the Baileys, plus it is really the only one J. would like. Yes, I drink the other things. I also had the challenge of replacing weatbix, which mum uses in her recipe, that I can’t find here in the US. I decided to use a plain cookie as a substitute for these. I just picked up some plain butter cookies from Cost Plus World Market

Cookies.jpgNow the problems have been solved… time to cook.

In a sealable container I put 2 cups of mixed dried berries, I used cherries, cranberries and raisins. To this I added 1 cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream and mixed everything together. I then refrigerated this for 24 hours…

24 hours later…Dry ingredients.jpg

I took the berries out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. In a large bowl I put 2 tablespoons of cocoa, 1/2 cup of shredded coconut and 1 packet of plain cookies that I had already blitzed in the food processor so it was a chunky crumble. I added the berries and Bailey’s mixture to the bowl and mixed everything together Condensed Milk.jpguntil it was all combined.

Last thing for the mixture was to add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and stir everything together. This is of course where it gets very sticky and quite difficult to mix together. If necessary get in there with your hands to make sure everything is evenly combined.Ready to roll.jpg

Now it gets really messy. I had to roll teaspoons of the mixture in my hands and then drop them into a bowl of chocolate sprinkles and cover them completely. I found the trick to rolling these successfully was to keep a bowl of hot water next to me that I could regularly dip my hands in to clean them Rolling.jpgoff. So I rolled and rolled and rolled and 70 balls later, yes 70, I had finished.

I put them into the refrigerator to harden and sat down and relaxed! J. was my guinea pig and I gave him one to try. He really liked them, he is not a big alcohol person so this was a success. If he didn’t think they were too boozy then everyone, including people at his office, would be fine with them. I must admit they were really tasty… just tiny, single bites Chocolate Sprinkles.jpgof boozy, chocolaty goodness! These got added to my little boxes and bags of goodies for friends, something decadent and a little different too.

So I finally tasted rum balls, well kind of… I am calling these Bailey’s Chocolate Balls… my favorite new invention!

Box of Goodies.jpg

I have this thing about the word moist. Always have had for some reason. It makes me giggle like a girl but when it comes to this chocolate cake I am afraid there is no other word to describe it.

This is Mum’s Sticky Chocolate Cake… I know many people will claim theirs is the best chocolate cake you will taste. Those people LIE!! Liars all of them. This cake is a sit down, knees weak, party goes silent, GOOD chocolate cake.

As my Thanksgiving present to you all I am going to share this melt in your mouth chocolaty recipe! As a disclaimer the photos do not do this justice!

We only have a single cake tin here so I make this recipe twice for the 2 layers. I don’t like letting the mixture sit while one layer cooks. So if you are lucky and have 2 same sized cake tins just double the recipe.

Firstly, in a large bowl I sifted 1 1/2 cups of self raising flour, 4 tablespoons of good dutch cocoa and 2/3 of a cup of sugar. I stirred all of this together, forming a well in the centre and then set aside.

Next I needed to melt 90 grams of butter in a small saucepan. While this was melting, in a small bowl I dissolved 2 tablespoons of golden syrup (can be found at Cost Plus World Market!! Yay!) in 1 1/4 cups of hot water.

When the syrup was completely dissolved I added 1 teaspoon of bi-carbonate soda to it and let it foam briefly. I then added that mixture to the butter.

Last thing to do is to add the butter and syrup mixture to the well of the dry ingredients, along with a drop of vanilla essence. You need to be gentle as you then fold the dry and wet ingredients together. DO NO BEAT AND DO NOT OVER MIX.

I then put this into my greased cake tin and bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 350F degree oven.

Once this is out of the oven I let it cool in the pan. They are difficult to remove when warm. Once it is cool I then do all of this all over again for the second layer.

Ok, so my second layer is out of the oven and cooling… Time to make the butter cream filling and topping.

In a bowl I combine 120 grams of butter, 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar, 1/2 a cup of cocoa, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix this together until there are no lumps. The mixture needs to be smooth and easy to spread. Add milk or icing sugar as necessary to make sure you have the right consistency.

When both cakes had cooled I assembled the cake. I placed the first layer top down and then smothered it with the butter cream, probably around 1/4 inch thick. Then I placed the second layer on top with top facing up, this means the bases of the cakes are facing eachother. Last thing is to lather the remaining butter cream over the top and the sides.

My mum would top this with coconut and I have often used grated white chocolate on top. However this time around I left it plain because J. and I don’t care, we just want to eat it.

I know I have talked this cake up but I am not exaggerating. We shared this with some friends who didn’t believe me and they thought it was incredible… That was when it was nearly a week old so imagine what it tastes like fresh! They have even requested that I make this for their birthdays!

Mum’s Sticky Chocolate Cake is so moist and rich. The cake is so delicate yet flavorful and the buttercream just adds to the moistness of it! I am learning to embrace the word moist! Out of every recipe I have spoken about on this blog this has to be my favorite so far! Try it, I’m not lying!!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately today’s blog is not about the mighty pig. I thought I would share the dessert I cooked from Saturday’s dinner. I went for something a little different but not so much so that the boys wouldn’t like it. I made Rasberry, Rhubarb and Apple Ginger Crumble with Vanilla Custard. Yummy, warming and not too adventurous for the cautious eaters at our table Saturday night.

I started out by peeling, coring and cutting up 4 green apples. Cut them into bite size pieces I put these is a large pot and let them begin to stew with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water.

Next I added 450 grams of frozen rhubarb. We couldn’t find any fresh rhubarb in the stores so had to settle for the frozen. The apple and the rhubarb need to cook down a little, they need to be soft but don’t necessarily need to be cooked so much they loose their shape.

When these were cooked I added 400 grams of fresh raspberries. I stirred these through. You don’t need to cook the raspberries at all, I just stir them through the hot apple and rhubarb and leave the mixture to cool.

Next I needed to start on the crumble. In the food processor I put 200 grams of gingersnaps (ginger nuts in Australia), 1/2 cup of self raising flour and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. I pulsed this until the cookies had crumbled and everything was mixed together well. I put the mixture into a large bowl and using my hands rubbed in 110 grams of butter. You only need to rub this through until the mixture is a good crumbly texture.

Lastly I just put the fruit into a large pyrex dish and spread the yummy crumble evenly over the top. Then 30 minutes in a 400 F degree oven and it is ready. I actually made this earlier on Saturday and then put it back in the oven while we ate dinner to reheat. It took about 20 minutes on 300F degrees to reheat.

I served this with a plain vanilla custard and the boys loved it! They were all kind of stuffed by the end of the dinner and ready to sleep I think. There were a couple of them slipping into food comas. I love this dessert, the tartness mixing with the crunchy sweetness is just fabulous! Such a great winter dessert too… warms you up. It is also great as leftovers the next day – if there are any leftovers!

Today I write of failure, my lofty goals not met. Usually failure will leave a bitter taste in my mouth but this one left the sweetest, most delicious taste. I more often than not make imperfect things with lots of mistakes in the kitchen, the chocolate pudding for example had sunk in the center, the Anzac biscuits were too flat. However this was worse than anything I had done before. It didn’t even come close to representing a true Lilikoi Chiffon Pie, yet somehow is still tasted great!

A few years ago J. and I went to Kauai, Hawaii to celebrate our 30th birthdays. It was such an amazing trip, beautiful surroundings, great beaches and fabulous food! I am sure I will do some retrospective blogs about our time on the island at some stage but this blog is about my attempt to recreate a little taste of the island at home in Arizona.

At a small noodle restaurant, Hamura’s Saimin we discoved the sweet deliciousness that is Lilikoi pie. This is a pie made predominantly out of passionfruit and eggs. It was light, fluffy and amazing! Although passionfruit are impossible to find here in Phoenix, I had brought some canned passionfruit nectar over from Australia to use at different times (pavlova uses some passionfruit on top). I decided a few weeks ago I would make the pie we had eaten a couple of years ago.

I researched recipes and found one I liked, I am not going to share it here because it didn’t work (not the recipes fault), but I will share it once I have succeeded.

Instead of a light fluffy filling for my pie I ended up with a sticky, thick jello like filling. I would like to blame the eggs, maybe they were a bit old and the egg whites didn’t fluff up enough… or I could blame the bowl I whipped them in, maybe it was a bit greasy and that affected the egg whites forming stiff peaks.

To be completely honest, I think I got a bit impatient and that added to the issue. The egg whites weren’t fluffy enough and the egg yolk and passionfruit custard wasn’t thick enough. However my store bought graham cracker crust was perfect. At least something worked out.

Fortunately the filling set even though it wasn’t light and fluffy, and we were able to eat it. Whatever the cause of my failure it was not the same amazing eating experience we had in Kauai but it was still delicious. The fill was sweet and the passionfruit flavour was so refreshing, we ate every last bite.

Here is a what real Lilikoi Pie should look like. I hate failure but think perfection is overated, imperfection is much more interesting, at least that is what I am telling myself today. I will attempt to make this again, I will not be defeated… I hope that next time though I can write about the sweet taste of sucess!

I have had a weekend of cooking inspired by Autumn, which is strange since Autumn has barely arrived here in Phoenix and has such little affect on the temperature, trees and surrounds one might barely notice.

First up there was the Spicy Vegetable Soup for dinner Saturday night, and then Sunday night I decided to make a Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding as a surprise dessert for J. I chose this dessert in particular because we are having friends over on Friday night who aren’t as adventurous as we are when it comes to food and this dessert offers no unusual food challenges… and it is delicious!

In a bowl cream together 100 grams of softened unsalted Pudding mixture.jpgbutter and 1/2 a cup of sugar. Beat until it is pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence. Beat until completely combined.

In a separate bowl sift together 1 cup of self-raising flour, 2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa and a pinch of salt. Slowly fold this into the egg and sugar mixture. Be gentle. Alternate between dry ingredients and adding 3 tablespoons of milk. Fold until completely combined. Place the pudding mixture in a greased ovenproof dish.

It is incredibly easy to make the self-saucing part of this recipe. In a small bowl combine 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cocoa. Mix together until combined. Carefully sprinkle this across the top of the pudding mixture, spreading it evenly and gently over the top. Gently pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over the top until the sugar and cocoa mixture is completely covered.

All done! Now just bake it in a preheated 180C degree oven for 30 minutes. A crunchy crust should form on top of the pudding.

It is best served with vanilla icecream but we didn’t have any in the freezer Sunday night. We will have to get some for our dinner on Friday night since J. thinks our friends will really love this. It is rich, warm, gooey and the slight crunch the crust on the top offers makes for such a variety of textures. Perfect for a cool autumn evening or for any night really!