Friday Food: Yotam's Chocolate Cake

Best chocolate cake everI think I bake more chocolate cakes, biscuits and slices than anything else. I think this is because I can't eat chocolate, and I fulfill my cravings by baking chocolate things for all my friends. I read an article about Yotam Ottolenghi's new Sweet book and it asked if this chocolate cake was the best ever. I wanted to know if it was the best ever too, and so dear reader, I baked this cake!!

The ingredients are very simple for the cake and ganache and I chose not to make the optional espresso cinnamon marscapone cream. I used 70% Nestle dark chocolate and fresh eggs from the three chickens over the road.  The cake took a little longer to cook than the recipe said, so I turned the temperature down 20*C and baked it for a further 10 minutes. Our oven is fan-forced, so maybe this made a difference? The top of the cake cracked, the recipe said it would, and the ganache covered it up nicely.

Is this the best chocolate cake ever? I asked MrsDrWho and her dinner guests and they said it was a good cake, but not the best. The cake was fudgy and rich, but the ganache set quite hard, even at room temperature. It looks softer in the photo with the recipe, perhaps it is our colder weather? I can recommend this cake, it is easy to make (melt and mix) and cooks quickly. It is a great cake for dessert or just with a cup of tea or coffee.

 

Yotam Ottolenghi's World's Best Chocolate Cake       serves 12

For the cake:

  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature cut into 2cm cubes
  • 200g  70% dark chocolate, broken into 2cm pieces
  • 1 1/2 tspns instant coffee, dissolved in 350ml of boiling water
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 240g self raising flour
  • 30g Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/4 tspn salt

For the ganache:

  • 200g  70% dark chocolate, chopped roughly
  • 200ml thickened cream
  • 3 tspn golden syrup
  • 3 tspn unsalted butter, at room temperature

 

Preheat the oven to 170*C and grease and line with baking paper a 23cm spring-form tin.

Melt

Put the butter, chocolate and coffee mixture into a bowl and mix well until everything is smooth and combined. Then add the sugar and whisk in to dissolve. I added the sugar with the other ingredients. I don't think this was a terrible error.

Add eggs

Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until smooth and combined. There is a lot of whisking in this recipe, but it is not onerous.

Dry ingredients

Sift, then mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Add dry to wet

Finally add the dry to the wet ingredients and whisk together. It is a very liquid batter, but this is the way it is supposed to be.

And bake

Pour into the lined tin and bake for an hour. It is baked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean: no crumbs or wet batter. My cake was still very jiggly after an hour so I turned the temperature down to 150*C and baked it for a further 10 minutes and it was done. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Ganache

Begin the ganache by putting the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream and golden syrup in the microwave until tiny bubbles form around the circumference and then pour over the chocolate. I put a plate over the bowl and let it sit for a minute or so, I believe it traps the heat and optimises the melting. Stir until almost melted and add the butter. Stir some more until the butter is melted and the ganache is shiny. You can also make this in a food processor, the recipe has both methods.

Pour the ganache over the cake, or let it sit for a couple of hours at room temperature and then spread it over the cake. On reflection, if you like a softer ganache it would be a good idea to make it just prior to serving. You can see the fudgy texture of the cake and the generous chocolate topping. All in all, this is a very good cake, but probably not The World's Best. What do you think?

Yotam cake


Instant-gram

There was no Friday Food last week because my cold was still too nasty. I baked a cake by Yotam Ottolenghi, and the recipe asked if this was the best ever chocolate cake. I gave the cake to MrsDrWho for her and her dinner guests, so I will tell you the verdict on Friday in my Friday Food post.

Best chocolate cake ever

Today is the first day I haven't had a residual cold headache. I had an almost four hour nap (not quite sure you can call that amount of sleep a nap?) after my new Exercise Physiologist ran me through some assessment tasks. I can balance on each foot for 45 seconds. If you need a balancer, I'm your woman!!!

If you want mud, then surprisingly, Lorelai Gilmore is your Labrador:

Gilly loves to be muddy

She was in the puddle at the dam with Hedy, but came out the muddier of the two.

Hedy and Gilly in the puddle

And here we have Rafa, Gilly and Hedy at the top of the 'hill' on our walk. It is the place we used to stop to farewell Sandy and his dad as they continued up the hill to their car and we went back down to ours. Hedy is doing a very good job of being a puppy dog!! We have turned Rafa to The Labrador Side and he wants a biscuit now too.

Rafa Gilly Hedy

The weather has been Spring-y. We had some more wild, windy, wet weather and when we went to the dam today, there was a tree half across the road. The Ranger must have been there because some of the tree had been trimmed already.

Tree down

Hedy has been, not very secretly, eating something she shouldn't be eating at home. Well, the plain flour in the shopping bag: the flour on her nose was a dead give away, but she is happily unaware!!

What's on Hedy's nose....

 I have started sewing the Jelly roll quilt as you go baby quilt. Phew, that's a long name...JRQAYGBQ, and the acronym looks like gobbledygook. I used a batik jelly roll MrsDrWho gave me for my birthday and some flannel for the backing. I used spray adhesive to 'baste' the backing and batting together as I am still a bit wary of my injured finger becoming more injured: which is has, which finger do you think The Labradors squashed against the fence and made bleed?? You'd be right if you thought my injured one. It had a bandaid and antiseptic and seems to be healing well.

Quilt as you go baby quilt

I think I am ready to start knitting again. I have some normal feeling in my fingertip, still pins and needles, touch-the-freezer-in-the-supermarket at the sides, but I am going to give it a go. I have some lovely wool, Katia Darling, from the wool shop. MrsDrWho picked it out. They had some new sparkly Opal, but I had just knitted her a glittery pair, which I realise I have no photo of: ahhh, maybe they don't exist??

Katia darling

I have joined The Instagram. I have resisted The Twitter and The Facebook, but it suddenly struck me that people whose blogs I used to follow, now have The Instagram. I can keep up with them through a new medium. And so I joined and then before I knew it I was on The Instagram. I am not sure how to properly drive The Instagram, but I had a quick lesson from the lovely WoolShopDesigner, and she said I am doing OK! I am not at all sure about Instagram Etiquette. When I searched it was all about following and then un-following or some such strategy. I don't want to gain followers, that's not my goal. I just want to keep up. Trying something new makes my brain work hard and keeps it on its toes.

And have I shared my birthday shoes? My sister sent me money to buy a specific pair, or two, of green shoes she had found, but they didn't come in my size. Bah humbug. So I ordered some shoes from The Homyped people. I have to wear sensible shoes because I have a sore knee and it seems silly to endure pain for a high heel. Well I think so. I bought two pairs of shoes, one is a mineral metallic which goes with everything and the other a darker olive than the photo, which I am very pleased with. My sister is very kind!!

Z birthday shoes

 

 

Our Council has instigated a Food and Garden Organics kerbside collection: FOGO. Our bin arrived in the wrong place, but our kind neighbour pulled it all the way around the corner and up the back of our house. We have three bins now: the ordinary Monte Carlo biscuit filling colour regular bin, the yellow lid for recycling and this new bin has a green lid, so we are chuffed. There is also a little FOGO caddy to keep in the kitchen and carry up to the big bin. We don't have a lot of FOGO waste, but I have already put some lettuce core scraps and banana peel into the caddy. It is not a big change, but it might help make a difference.

FOGO


Friday Food: Super Chunky Milo Choc Chip Biscuits/Cookies

Chunky milo choc chip biscuitsI made Milo brownies a few weeks ago for Mrs Reno and the rest of the tin of Milo was hanging about doing nothing. I can't have Milo and so it was serendipity when NotQuiteNigella's Lorraine posted this recipe. I made a batch that very same day and took them to the doctors and nurses at The Vet, and also to the lovely chemist who has been checking my injured finger every second day. Phew, that was a lot of information!

I find that if I leave Milo, or coffee or some other powdered drink, too long in the cupboard, it goes rock hard and is spoiled. If you don't have Milo you can use cocoa, drinking chocolate, Ovaltine, or maybe Quik. Lorraine calls for milk and dark chocolate to be melted together, and I did this, but you can buy Cadbury Dark Milk chocolate in a bar now. That would save some melting, cooling and chopping time.

I followed the recipe faithfully and I was very pleased with the way the biscuits turned out.  I used a 20ml tablespoon to measure out the dough and I made 28 biscuits. I think these would keep quite well in an airtight container for about a week.

 

Super Chunky Milo Choc Chip Biscuits/Cookies       makes about 28

  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 125g milk chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Milo
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • extra 2-40ml milk in case the mixture is too dry

 

Melt chocolate

At least an hour before you want to start baking the actual biscuits, break the chocolate into chunks and melt in the microwave for 1 minute and then stir well. Melt in 20 second increments, stirring well. It only took 1 minute 40 seconds, and you should still have a few small lumps of chocolate and stir those into submission.

Cool and chunky

Spread onto some baking paper on a tray and leave to cool and set. I put mine in the freezer because I am impatient. Once cold, chop the chocolate into chunks and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 160*C and line two trays with baking paper.

Dry ingredients

Put the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, Milo and salt, into a bowl and whisk together.

Wet ingredients

In another bowl or jug mix the melted and cooled butter, egg and vanilla extract. Also whisk this together.

Combine wet and dry

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix together and a dough will form. If the dough is too dry, and mine was, add the extra milk until the dough comes together. It needs to be not too dry and not too sticky.

Add chocolate chunks

Finally, mix in the chocolate chunks and the dough is ready to go.

Make biscuits and bake

Use a tablespoon to measure out the dough and then roll into balls and press flat on the tray. I did find these spread a little I fitted 12 on a tray. Bake for 12 minutes, I turned and swapped the tray half way through. Allow to cool slightly on the tray or they will break apart. When they are set, move them to a cooling rack.

MrsDrWho has not tasted these, but I made some chunky chocolate brownies and she said they were best when the chocolate was cold and hard and you could taste the chunks. However, you might like the chocolate to be warm and oozy: these biscuits do double duty.

Super chunky milo biscuits


Friday Food: Hoisin Pak Choi Rice

Pak choi hoisin riceI refuse to re-title my Friday Food, Saturday Food. I am allowing myself some leeway. This is another recipe from Jamie Oliver's book 5 Ingredients. I made this last week and it is so delicious: tangy, hot, sour and sweet. It is ready in the time it takes to cook the rice, I used the rice cooker, so 10-15 minutes. The recipe serves two generously, but it is easily doubled or tripled to serve more people. I especially appreciate that most of the five ingredients used in recipes are easily found in the supermarket. I don't have to seek out something special or tricky. My Pak Choi were larger, last week I had a bundle with three that were smaller. The recipe asks for salt, pepper and red wine vinegar outside of the 5 ingredients.

Once the rice and Pak Choi are cooked, you drizzle over a tangy hot dressing made from the chillies, onion and vinegar. It is perfect. There's nothing else to say. I love this, it is a great lunch (or dinner after you have been to the Burger Junkie for lunch) And you can also add any meat or fish to make it a main meal. I'm definitely adding this to my recipe repertoire.

 

Hoisin Pak Choi Rice             serves 2

 

  • 150g basmati or jasmine rice (about a cup)
  • 4 spring onions
  • 2 chilli, mixed colours just for the eye
  • 2 Pak Choi (250g)
  • 40ml Hoisin sauce

 

  • salt, pepper
  • 20ml red wine vinegar
  • 20ml olive oil

 

Rice onion chilli

Cook the rice using the method you favour. Gather your onions and chillies.

Dressing and glaze

Trim the spring onions and thinly slice, separating the white and green parts. De-seed and finely chop the chillies. Place the white part of the spring onions, the chillies and the red wine vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir together to make the dressing. Add the green part of the onions to the hoisin sauce and set aside.

Pak choi

Cut the Pak Choi in half and soak in some cold water to remove any dirt. There wasn't much in mine, but the first time round I didn't do this and there was a tiny crunch. I don't like that at all.

Char

Heat a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat and pour in 20ml of olive oil. Carefully place the Pak Choi into the pan, cut side down, and leave to char. Char as much, or as little, as you like. I went for medium. It will take maybe 3 minutes?

Glaze

Add the hoisin sauce and green onions and toss to coat the vegetables for 1 minute. It will be nicely glazed.

Add rice then

Add the rice and mix together gently for 1 more minute. Remove from the pat and spoon over the chilli dressing and serve. I could have eaten both serves!!! I do think this would keep well overnight and be a delicious lunch the next day.

Hoisin pak choi rice


Friday Food: Flaky Pastry Pesto Chicken

Pesto chickenFriday Food on Saturday. I am almost keeping up with Friday Food, so I feel I am managing a bit better. I bought myself Jamie Oliver's 5 Ingredients as it was on super special at The KMart for $24. I do like the way each recipe is set out, with the five ingredients photographed and arrayed to the left of the page and the recipe next to them. And one whole page for the photo. I really like having a picture. This recipe was very easy to make, though I think I tucked the puff pastry strips too far under the chicken and it was a tad under-cooked. So do 'just' tuck them under. It was easy to buy the ingredients, but I had to cut the chicken breasts as ours are much larger then the ones he uses.

I used one sheet of frozen butter puff pastry. I just cut strips in a kind of pattern and hoped for the best!

Other than that, I was very pleased. The flavours went very well together and it was exceedingly tasty. If I was serving this to my family I would add some potatoes, because I don't think it is a proper Australian tea-sized portion. If you don't like pesto, you could use a red pesto, wholegrain mustard, some relish or pate.

 

Flaky Pastry Pesto Chicken      serves 4

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, I used butter puff
  • about 500g chicken breasts, cut into approx 125g portions
  • 4 heaped teaspoons of green pesto
  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes, on the vine if you can
  • 400g green beans
  • salt and pepper*
  • olive oil*

 

*These don't count as part of the 5 ingredients. I am OK with that.

 

Chicken flatten

Preheat the oven to 220*C and prepare two oven trays. Flatten the chicken breasts with your hand, or in my case the jar of peanut butter, so the fat end is about the same thickness as the thin end. I sandwiched the chicken breasts between some baking paper to do this. Place on the roasting tray and season with salt and pepper.

Pesto and pastry

Cut the pastry into strips. Spread a teaspoon of pesto over each piece of chicken ( and I somehow missed this photo) Then lay 4 strips overlapping on each breast, 'just' tucking the ends under.

And bake

On another tray, season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle them with olive oil too. Place the chicken on a top shelf and the tomatoes underneath and bake for 20 minutes. I turned the trays half way through. In retrospect the pastry could have been a little browner, but I was hungry and decided it would do.

Tomatoes and beans

While the food is baking, trim the ends of the beans and boil them in salted water for 7 minutes. I microwaved them for 5 minutes.

To serve, remove the tomatoes from the vine, squash half on a board or platter ( or each plate) and toss in the beans. Slice the chicken on an angle and serve on top of the beans, with the remaining whole tomatoes.

Chicken pesto


Friday Food: Baci Di Dama


Gallery_export_1504958126_1504958162I found this recipe in the September BBC Good Food magazine, through the Zinio for Libraries app. I liked this recipe because it could be made without any electrical mixers. Basically you cream butter and sugar with a spoon, or spatula in my case, and then mix in the rest of the ingredients and bring the dough together with your hands. It is a version of the Italian Baci, or kiss, biscuits. They are usually made with hazelnut meal, but these substitute almond meal and add chocolate. They are called Lady's Kisses.

The recipe made 100 individual biscuits and 50 sandwiched together. I was quite scrupulous and used a measuring teaspoon. The recipe says you can make 40 sandwiched biscuits. I found that 15 minutes was plenty of time to cook these, perhaps because they were smaller as I made 100 instead of 80.

I really like the idea of putting the melted chocolate for the filling in a piping bag, though I used twice as much chocolate as the recipe said. I just snipped the end and it was a snap to swirl on the chocolate. I think these would also be nice with a little ganache and maybe some orange zest for something different.

These biscuits would keep longer un-filled, and I think they could be frozen that way too. Otherwise keep them for up to a week in an airtight container. 

I am posting from my iPad again. The computer is working well, but I seem to need much more rest as I am healing my finger. So blogging from the iPad it is!!

 

Baci di Dama             makes 40-50

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 150g almond meal
  • 20g Dutch processed cocoa
  • 50-100g dark chocolate

Line two trays with baking paper and set aside. You do not need to preheat the oven at the beginning as the biscuits need to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. I turned the oven on when I started rolling the dough to make the biscuits after they chilled.

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The butter should be soft enough to squish when you poke it with your finger. Beat the caster sugar and butter with a wooden spoon until it is creamed. This should only take a minute as the butter is soft.

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Add the plain flour, almond meal and cocoa and mix well. It will be quite crumbly, but it is easy to bring together with your hands to make a dough.

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Flatten the dough and wrap in cling film or place in a ziplock bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. At the end of the chilling time preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan forced. Roll teaspoons full of the dough into balls and flatten slightly when they are on the tray. The biscuits don't spread very much. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes. I swapped and rotated the trays half way through. Once the biscuits feel firm they are ready, if you cook them too long the chocolate will catch and taste bitter.

Cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then move to a rack to cool completely. They cool quickly, so melt the chocolate and pour into a piping bag and cut off the tip.

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Match the biscuits by size and organise them in pairs. Pipe a swirl of chocolate on the flat side of one biscuit and then sandwich with another. I found it was best if the chocolate had cooled a little, otherwise the top biscuits slid off the bottom biscuit!

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And the Lady's Kisses are ready to serve, perhaps dusted with a little icing sugar. They are a dainty bite, or two.

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Friday Food: Apple Crumble Cookies

 

Gallery_export_1504268287_1504268301I was reading some comments on a YouTube video where people were cross if they searched for a recipe and the person posting the recipe had things to say before the recipe. This is one of those posts, so skip ahead if you want just the recipe!!! 

My finger, chewed by Hedy, is healing well. I shan't put a photo, because it looks awful, but it is doing extremely well. It still hurts and I can't properly write, brush my hair, use keys in locks, bake, sew or knit. But I am getting there.

My iPad broke. The wifi antenna broke, and it would cost $420 to fix it, or $469-ish to buy a new one. I had to wait a fortnight, but I used my birthday money to buy one. MrsDrWho lent me one of her old iPads that she had taken to use at school. I am very grateful. My new iPad is silver and white and all shiny. I also have a military grade(?!?!?) cover to protect it from Labradors. 

Yesterday my computer went for its yearly service and they found it needs a new hard drive or something or other. I am not exactly sure, they did tell me, but I am still a bit swirly in the head.  I still have some birthday money and whatever happens, I have backed up and they can access all my data. 

So that is three things: finger, iPad and computer. I firmly believe that major appliances, and/or body parts now, know when your tax return is coming and they choose that moment to break down. Thank goodness for birthdays!! So I am blogging using my iPad, so please forgive any strangeness, well any more strangeness than usual. I also had a bit of trouble replying to comments, so please, bear with.

 

Gallery_export_1504268990_1504269016And now to the recipe. I bought the new Jamie Oliver book for Uncle Dutch for his birthday. I couldn't finish his hat (finger) but I made some Butterscotch Schnapps Boozy Fudge. I had a flip through Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients and chose the Apple Crumble Cookies. I haven't really baked so this was my first foray. The recipe is exceedingly easy, not so easy because I didn't use a food processor, and of course there are only 5 ingredients. I couldn't buy raw caster sugar anywhere, so I made my own by mixing half and half raw sugar and caster sugar.

I baked the first batch of biscuits at 200*C for 10 minutes but the dried apple pieces on top caught. I baked the second batch at 180*C for 8 minutes and also flattened the biscuits a little more. They turned out well, and I didn't bother with the extra dried apple on top.

The biscuits do taste apple crumbly, and are very moreish. They are quick and easy and really did make 24 as promised.

 

Apple Crumble Cookies.       Makes 24

  • 100g dried apples, finely chopped
  • 100g raw caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • and a pinch of salt, which makes 6 ingredients really

This is how I made the biscuits without a food processor, I'll put the food processor method at the end.

Preheat the oven to 200*C or 180*C fan forced and line two trays with baking paper.

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If you can't buy raw caster sugar, make your own by mixing together 50g of raw sugar and 50g of caster sugar.

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Add the cubed butter, self raising flour and a pinch of salt, and rub into the sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Finally add the dried apple.

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Make a well in the centre, add the egg and then mix. I brought it together and kneaded it with my hands. My dough weighed about 480g, so it was easy to divide it into 24 balls, each 20g.

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Flatten each ball into a 4cm diameter biscuit. Press into some extra chopped dried apple. This is the first tray I baked. The dried apple caught.

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I recommend really flattening the biscuits and then baking them for 8 minutes at 180*C in a fan forced oven. Cool slightly, and then place on a rack to cool completely.

The biscuits should keep for about a week in an airtight container. I ate mine with a cup of tea  and Gilly and Hedy had one each when I knocked the first tray of biscuits on the floor!!

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To make the recipe the recipe using a food processor, whiz the dried apples until finely chopped and then add the cubed butter, flour, sugar and pinch of salt. Process for a minute until a fine crumb is formed. Add the egg and pulse until combined. Scrape down the sides as needed and continue on as in the recipe above, rolling balls of the mixture to make the biscuits.

I accidentally pressed Publish prematurely, so I had to go back and add this part in. 


Friday Food: White Chocolate & Raspberry Scones

SconeThe August Coles magazine has this recipe for scones made with lemonade and cream, but no butter. I made a plain version of these scones in 2010. I followed this recipe faithfully, except for the raspberries: I used frozen boysenberries or Loganberries from MrsReno's garden.

I found the dough to be very sticky and it was difficult to cut out the scones. I placed them close together and they sort of melded into one large segmented tessellated scone. Happily, once the scones cooled a little I was able to cut around each one and so make individual scones. MrsDrWho tasted the scones and declared them delicious. They are very light, but don't keep very well. This is an easy recipe to halve if you only want eight scones. I made 15 scones, and was too lazy to cobble together the leftovers to make scone 16.

The recipe calls for 600ml of cream, 250ml of which is used in the dough and the rest is for brushing on the scones, and whipped for serving.

The Typepad is working as normal today. There are no bullet points or numbered lists on my Compose page and I can't click and drag pictures to make them bigger or smaller. I have asked why, but I have to wait for Help.

 

 

Raspberry & White Chocolate Scones           Makes 16

 

3 cups (450g) self raising flour

1 cup (250ml) lemonade, chilled

1 cup (250ml) thickened cream, plus 350ml more

150g white chocolate, finely chopped

150g raspberries, fresh or frozen.

 

 

Well and liquid

Preheat the oven to 220*C and line a tray with baking paper. Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the lemonade and cream.

  Add berries and choc

Here is where you also add the chocolate and berries before you fold the ingredients together. I forgot, and added them when I remembered. Use a butter knife, or flat non-serrated knife, to fold the ingredients gently together. It will be a quite sticky dough.

  Dough

Tip the dough out onto a board and use floured hands to gently bring the dough together. Press out until is is 3cm thick. Use a 5cm floured scone cutter and cut out each scone and carefully place it on the tray. I placed mine close together and I would do the same next time, even though they spread. Brush the tops and sides with some of the remaining cream.

  And bake

Bake for 12-15 minutes. I actually baked mine for 20 minutes. Allow the scones to cool slightly on the tray. I cut around my scones to separate them. Whip the remaining cream and serve with the warm, or hot scones.

  White choc and berry scones

 

 


Friday Food: Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars

The lemon curd cheesecake barsMrsDrWho's sister is on holiday and I passed over my iPad so she could choose a recipe. She saw the Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars and didn't go any further. In a way, I was quite pleased, because this is such an easy recipe. It is from the August Fast Donna Hay issue. I believe it is the recipes that are fast, and not Donna. 

This week I have been very social and also rather crafty with some sewing and appliqué, and I didn't make my own lemon curd. Again. I am pleased I can buy some decent curd in the supermarket and I don't feel guilty at all. 

The recipe says to use a food processor, but I just mixed the softened cream cheese and melted chocolate with a large spoon. No machines needed at all. The cheesecake mixture is not very thick, but it is a bar and not a cheesecake per se. I used Granita biscuits because they are so easy to crush and ordinary desiccated coconut. You should use full fat cream cheese, I used Philadelphia. 1 cup of the lemon curd is mixed into the cream cheese and the other 1/2 a cup is swirled on top.

There isn't anything else to say: a few easy ingredients and a few easy steps and the cheesecake bars are chilling in the fridge and ready in 2 hours. The cheesecake is a softly set one, and needs to be well refrigerated.

I discovered just tonight that we could lie in bed and I could write my post on the iPad. The Typepad has made the Compose page mobile friendly. Now of course we all have to get up so I can transfer the photos from my camera to the computer and insert them. I am not sure what font or colour this text will be, or if I can save it here and it will appear on my computer. Ah, technology! I hope today it is here to help me!!! Yes it is, the text is green and the correct font, so I count this as a win.

 

 

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars          makes 20 pieces

 

  • 300g plain sweet biscuits, crushed to crumbs
  • 1 cup (75g) shredded coconut
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 500g full fat cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups (525g) lemon curd
  • 180g white chocolate, melted

 

Line the base and sides of a 20 x 30cm tin with baking paper. My tin was about 5cm high at the side.

  Making the base

Mix the crushed biscuits, coconut and melted butter together. 

  Chill the base

Press firmly into the base base of the tin. I used my silicone spatula to press it into the corners and then smooth it out. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

  Cheesecake

While the base is chilling, mix together the softened cream cheese, melted white chocolate and 1 cup of the lemon curd. Use a food processor, a hand mixer or just a spoon or spatula as I did. 

  Fill and swirl

Once it is smooth, pour the cheesecake mixture over the base and level it out. Dollop the rest of the lemon curd over the top and use a knife or the handle of a spoon to swirl the curd. Refrigerate for at least two hours, then cut into slices and serve. It is that easy. I think it would be nice with some cream, and maybe some candied lemon zest strips, to tizzy it up for a fancier dessert.

Lemon curd cheesecake bars


Friday Food: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie

Lemon meringue cheesecake pieThis month the August Super Food Ideas magazine had a section with mash-up desserts: two desserts, Frankenstein monstered together. I made this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie. I will not lie, it has A Lot of steps and there is a lot of chilling time involved. Nevertheless, I have made it twice and it has been very popular. Reviews have been glowing and people were eagerly eyeing off the leftovers. If you can't face making pastry, I think this would be great with a biscuit base:  250g plain sweet biscuits crushed to a fine crumb and mixed with 100g melted butter. Press into the base of a lined spring-form tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes. My spring-form tin is 23cm in diameter.

I found I needed to add another 4 teaspoons of chilled water to bring my pastry together, I added one at a time until I felt it was correct. MrsDrWho's mum says she always seems to need more water in her pastry too, so I don't feel wanting in that department. After I put the pastry into the tin, I used the scraps to roll a long thin sausage of pastry and I used that to level and even off the edge of the top of the pastry. I did this as an experiment the first time, and the second time because it worked so well

I used my new yellow Americolor food colour to tint the cheesecake filling. It might be just a lot too yellow, but the colour is optional. There is gelatine in the filling. I used the best lemon curd I could buy in the supermarket, in a perfect world I would have made my own. I only used two egg-whites for the meringue topping as it isn't baked. I thought there was just too much uncooked egg-white meringue on top and it would not taste very nice at all. This is the photo from the magazine.

Magazine photo

I used two egg-whites and it baked perfectly under the grill in less than a minute. I checked every 5 or 10 seconds as I was worried it would burn. You can also use a kitchen blowtorch, but I am afraid of them. This would work with a Swiss or Italian meringue though.

I don't believe this cheesecake pie will keep well in the fridge. Maybe a day or two, as the meringue topping could weep and the pastry soften. It really is best eaten as soon as it is topped with meringue.

 

 

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie      serves 12

 

For the pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour, plus a little for dusting
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 125g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-6 teaspoons of chilled water

 

For the filling:

  • 250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 140g lemon curd
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) caster sugar
  • 1 tspn lemon zest
  • 2 tspn lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 1 1/2 tspn powdered gelatine
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) boiling water
  • yellow food colouring, optional

 

For the meringue topping:

  • 2 egg-whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar

 

 

Rub butter in

Begin the pastry by putting the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rubbing the butter in until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. You can do this in a food processor.

Add egg and water

Add the egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of the chilled water and bring together, adding more water as needed. It will start to form a ball.

Bring together

Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured bench and knead gently and briefly until it is smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll pastry

When the pastry comes out of the fridge it may be too hard to roll, so leave it for 10 minutes to soften. Roll it out between two pieces of baking paper, that way you don't add too much flour. Roll the pastry out to a circle that is the diameter of your spring-form tin and at least an extra 6 cm for the sides (3 cm each) My tin is 23cm, so I rolled it out to a circle quite larger than 29cm. The pastry should be 5mm thick.

Place pastry in tin

I turn the base of my spring-form tin upside down and then sandwich the baking paper between the sides and the base when I clip it together. It makes it easier to remove the pie from the base at the end. I also greased the sides and lined them with baking paper that was not as high as the sides of the tin.  Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and the roll it out and lower it into the tin. Quickly support it and press it into the sides and base, making sure the "corners" are pressed in too.

Edge pastry

Trim the height of the sides, I made mine about 3-4cm and then I re-rolled the scraps into a long thin sausage and pressed that around the top to make a nice even edge. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Turn on the oven and preheat to200*C/180*C.

Refrigerate blind bake

After 15 minutes, press some clean baking paper inside the pastry case and fill with dry rice, or bean or baking beads. Whatever you have that will keep the pastry flat while you blind bake. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper and rice/weights and bake for another 1-0-12 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Cool in the tin.

Filling begins

The filling is very easy. Place the cream cheese, lemon curd, lemon zest and sugar in a bowl and beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes. It should be smooth and creamy.

Add cream and gelatine

Sprinkle the gelatine over the boiling water in a cup or heatproof bowl or jug. Whisk until the gelatine is dissolved and slightly cool. Add the cream, lemon juice and gelatine mixture,  and beat until combined and add the colour if you so desire.

Fill and chill

Spoon the filling into the cooled pastry base and spread out evenly. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm. My filling was firm in about 4 hours, so do check.

Make meringue

When you are about to serve the cheesecake pie, make the meringue topping. Whisk the egg-whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat until it is glossy and smooth and you can't feel any gritty sugar when you run a little mixture between your finger and thumb.

Top and grill

Spoon the meringue over the filling, trying to cover it evenly and then use a fork to pull the meringue into little peaks all over. This will give it a very pleasing look when it grills.  I made sure none of the baking paper had the chance to catch fire under the grill: I removed the lining paper from the sides, and tucked or tore away the base lining that was outside the tin. Place under the heated grill and check Very Frequently, every 5-10 seconds until it is browned to your desired brown-ness. Cool for 10 minutes and then cut into slices and serve. 

It is delicious and really doesn't need anything else, but you could add some ice-cream, cream or berries. they would all be marvellous.

Piece of lemon meringue cheesecake pie