Results Cake

Two of my new study friends and I decided we needed a catch up now we were all well into our study break. It’s been a good 2 weeks since our exam and after seeing each other weekly it was a little lonely without them so the catch up was much anticipated! We didn’t realise until the night, but the date coincided with our result release day so it turned into a celebration catchup

The venue of choice was one a home cooked meal rather then out on the town and I was placed in charge of dessert. Not too bad I think, until I remember that one of the crew follows a gluten and dairy free diet! What on earth do you make for dessert without cutting up pieces of fruit?

I consulted my gluten intolerant sister in law and my celiac friend’s partner for “expert” advise but wasn’t hitting much luck. The night before the dinner I started to trawl the internet for recipes and stumbled across a few that didn’t require ridiculous things like soy flour to make, I decided on a Persian Orange & Almond Syrup Cake.

It was quite an interesting recipe as you end up boiling the orange three times then whizzing up the whole orange, skin and all to create the “wet” part of your cake. A bit lengthy in the process but definitely worth it! The mixing the cake was actually quite simple and when I pulled it out of the oven it looked and smelt about right so I was quite pleased. The only thing I deviated from in the recipe was putting the zest into the syrup, mostly because i hate zest chunks and don’t care if others do 🙂

I carried my lovely cake along to dinner and when the time came, drizzled in the lovely syrup and sliced up. I always get concerned about gluten free cakes being dry but this one was very wet and didn’t need much of the additional syrup at all. The taste was a strong orange with the cardamon cutting through. If I made this again I would probably cut down a little on the Cardamon though as I found it to be a little too much. I would also be interested to try it whenever oranges are supposed to be at their sweetest.

I must say though, for a gluten and dairy free dessert, it was actually quite good! And my friends made all the right noises!

Cheers to good Uni results!

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*Recipe courtesy of taste.com.au

Gluten Free Persian Orange & Almond Cake

Ingredients:

2 Oranges

4 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Caster Sugar

3 Cups Almond Meal

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Cardamon

Mascarpone, to serve ** I chose Double Cream for us diary eaters instead

Orange Blossom Syrup

1 Orange

1/2 Cup Caster Sugar

1/4 Cup Water

1 tsp Orange Blossom Water

Method

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 20cm round springform pan and line the base with baking paper

Place oranges in a large saucepan, cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes. Drain. Return to the pan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Drain and repeat once more or until very tender. Drain. Coarsely chop and discard any pips

Place orange in food processor and process until smooth. Use an electric mixer to whisk eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Add orange, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom; gently fold until just combined. Spoon into prepared pan; smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan to cool completely

To make syrup, use a zester to remove rind from orange. Juice orange. Place the juice, sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Add orange blossom water and zest. Set aside to cool.

Drizzle the cake with syrup. Cut into wedges and serve with mascarpone.

 

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Shank and Scroll Sunday

Term is over!!! Hooray! Last presentation completed yesterday, only an exam in mid June to study for…

So what do I do now? Especially on the weekends? Generally I’m running around between class, the library, group meetings and catching up with friends (if I have time) that it got to this morning and I was out!

I had been to brekkie with mum and was pretty up to date with my housework… now what? AHA! Time to spare you say? crisp sunny winter day you say? LETS BAKE I SAY!!!!

So I did! I flipped through my new Donna Hay and Delicious and came up with the following sunday challenges:

Beer-braised lamb shanks with cauliflower smash; and

Cinnamon Sticky Buns

Why not! I had all afternoon, I might as well try something labour intensive! It actually turned out that the two recipes complimented each other in terms of preparation. Because I had to wait for the dough to rise for the sticky buns I started that first. The only problem was finding a warm spot to let it double in size. Unfortunately we had decided to open the house up for fresh air meaning the only good place was in the bathroom under the heat lamps!

While the yeast worked its magic in my dough I prepared the stew, chopping the veges and browning the lamb shanks before combining it all together and putting in the oven to slow cook for 2 hours.

I prepared the maple glaze and cinnamon butter for the sticky buns in time for my dough to be ready to roll. The dough was hard work getting out into the size that was requested and I didn’t quite get there in the end but I was close enough! Out came 12 lovely scrolls that fit in the pan nicely. And then to let it rise again giving me an opportunity to sit down!

After the second rise of the scrolls I put them in the oven and removed my lamb shanks to slowly reduce on the stove top and thicken the sauce. 

Just after I pulled the scrolls out of the oven to cool slightly I was ready to make the cauliflower mash to go with the lamb shanks. And that’s how it worked… the timing for everything was perfect… until the end! Its always ok until the end  when liquid issues struck me haha!

The cauliflower mash called for cream in it but it ended up making it liquid-y and not very appetizing so I tried to cook it off which actually gave me a little more time for the lamb shank sauce to thicken up as that was taking forever and I ended up adding a bit of flour to help it along.

It was still a little too liquid for my liking but it worked in the end… it was a yummy dinner but I think I prefer my lamb shanks with a heavier sauce then pale ale.

 

 

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Luckily the cinnamon sticky buns came out great and not at all too liquid but actually rather well. I was nervous they hadn’t risen enough but here they are filling the try and looking sticky and tasty ready to be eaten!

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In honor of Steve, for all those desperate to make the buns, they are from the Jun/Jul 2013 Issue of Donna Hay and this is the recipe:

Basic Dough

1 1/4 tspn (7g) active dry yeast

2/3 cup lukewarm milk

2 tspn vanilla extract

3 cups plain flour

1/4 cup caster sugar

1/4 tspn fine seas salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

125g unsalted butter, melted

Maple Glaze

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

75g unsalted butter, chopped

Cinnamon Butter

100g unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tspn ground cinnamon

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

 

STEP 1 – To make the dough, place the yeast, milk and vanilla in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface. Place the flour, sugar, salt, egg, butter and yeast mixture in an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and beat on low for 1 minute until just combined. Increase to high and beat for 4-5 minutes or until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

STEP 2 –  To make the maple glaze, place the maple syrup, sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium, bring to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until smooth. Pour into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm tin and set aside.

STEP 3 – To make the cinnamon butter, place the butter, sugar and cinnamon in an electric mixer and beat on high for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Set aside. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to make a 60cm x 25cm rectangle. Spread with the cinnamon butter, leaving a 1cm border, and sprinkler with the pecans. Starting with the longest side, roll tightly to enclose the filling.

STEP 4 – Trim the edges of the bun and cut into 12 even pieces. Place the pieces, side by side and scroll side up, in the tin. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the tin on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil  and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool

And with that… its time to sit back, relax and indulge in a tea and sticky scroll!

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Study Scones

It’s almost the end of semester, in fact there are only 5 days to go! The last few weeks have been hectic for me with assessments coming at me left right and centre.  I’ll definitely be ready to take a breath this weekend!

I actually have a test today on my most loathed subject accounting, maybe if they made the question related to baking I’d be ok? Haha!

I needed a break for the books so decided to whip up some scones which I have been craving for weeks now, luckily its one of those things that you usually have all the ingredients for!

So with the help of my year 8 cook book I quickly made these little babies to get through the rest of study time..

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Study scones

Nothing like a little Devonshire tea to make contribution margin slightly more interesting!

Mothers Day

After a trip interstate and deadlines for assignments its been a while since I’ve been in the baking way but Mothers day provided a good opportunity to shake out the cobwebs.

Mum wanted a nice dinner at home with her brood so my brother and I set out to create a yummy dinner for us all. I baggsed the dessert from the start, and thinking about what mum liked for desserts I went with a creme brulee.

But I wanted a little surprise at the bottom. Even though traditional creme brulee is deeelicious there are always ways to improve. I think I have seen it before or tried it before where you crack the top of the brulee, dig in past the custard and find a layer of fruit at the bottom. I couldnt remember if it was a compote, jam or fresh fruit but figured I have had great success with all my jams so went with that option.

Having spent most of the night before finishing off an assignment, I woke early on Sunday morning to get the dessert going. Luckily we were having dinner and not lunch as the recipe called for a 2 hour cooling at room temperature followed by 6 hours in the fridge!

It’s not berry season at the moment so I opted for a cheap and cheerful frozen bag of raspberries which I must say still do the same trick when you are bubbling them down to jam. One of the best investments I have made so far has been in a candy thermometer which tells me exactly when it gets to the right stage, seriously every baker needs one of those! Although I got a little concerned I had burnt the jam towards the end but a quick taste and it was all ok.

The custard part seems to be getting better and better for me, it is the same process to what I do when I make my ice cream and after my first failed attempt and a tutorial form my brother back on Day 1 of ice cream making I seem to be going from strength to strength.

So with the raspberry jam smoothed across the bottom of the ramiken and the custard layered on top, I put my little babies into a waterbath in the oven. Most of them came out perfectly although one of them had deflated a little during the cooking process. I figured it would give an opportunity for people to have a smaller serve… but who wants smaller when it comes to creme brulee??

The moment came after dinner where I got to do the fun part of the creme brulee, I dusted the top with castor sugar and with a kitchen blowtorch I brulee’d those babies to get the delicious sugar coating to crack on the top. I did have one comment that the layer wasnt thick enough but I blame my brother for that who was more conservative on the sugar ratio.

 

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I ended up with a good layer on the serve I got, I tapped lightly on the top before digging in, right to the bottom to get to the jam. The custard was perfect! I was so pleased with how it had turned out, and apparently everyone else was as there was a fight for who got to eat the “extra” one (there goes my morning tea!)

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So for a truly wonderful mum, the day was rounded out with a truly wonderful dessert haha!

Lazy Sundays

Sunday evening standard usually involves a family dinner. This sunday was no different but it was nice relaxed Sunday as I had nothing planned during the day.

Originally we were going to have a curry to match the Melbourne weather which always presents a what would complement a curry for dessert question but we ended up having Beef Schnitzels and veges. A nice compromise as mum makes a darn good Schnitzel amd I always look forward to the school holidays when she pulls this meal out of her repertoire!

Schnitzels are also a lot easier to create a dessert too although I did take awhile to contemplate if I would make a tart or something else. The tart is always a go to for me as I like to get the paatry side right and given I had the time to spend on it I thought it would be a good option but its the size of a tart that doeant suit the need. A tart is just too big for 4 people!!

So I settled on a peanit butter chocolatw fondant. The dessert has graced the cover of the latest Donne Hay for some weeks now and each time I see the picture I always remind myself to make it. I planned to about a month ago but we had over indulged on Roast that noone much felt like dessert.

Luckily I had another opportunity! The dessert is actually extremely easy, the technique comes in the cooking as you cant over cook it so the centre is set but you dont want to under cook either! In the end I pulled them out of the oven 5 minutes before the least time suggested in the recipe and it was good timing as they were starting to over cook.

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fondant

I only tried a mouthful as wasn’t feeling well but man that mouthful was enough. The dessert is rich and has the quality where it sticks to the roof of your mouth and almost demands a hor drink to wash it down. But it was good! Very rich and very very good! My only suggestion would be to use good quality peanut butter instead of the home brand I bought. You live and learn with peanut butter!

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Gooey Goodness

Non traditional Pav

My cousins favorite dessert ever is a Pavlova. So when her birthday came around last week she asked me to make a pavlova for the family lunch. I asked if she wanted a traditional Pav or something different and she left the decision up to me.

I do like a good traditional pavlova, especially homemade ones as you get more chewy meringue then the soft centre of a store bought pav. I always think the chewiness is the best part, that and the flake crumbled across the top!

But I decided to make something a little different, my collection of magazines held a few examples of different pavlovas, one mum had tried was an almond meringue with peaches and I even saw a brown sugar meringue with berries but the one I decided on was a Chocolate Pavlova with Spiced Pears and Butterscotch Sauce.

The recipe was pretty straight forward, it did call for 9 eggwhites which is a little concerning as to what to do with the egg yolks! I dont like to waste things so need to come up with a yolky recipe fast!

It was the first time I’d poached pears and it was really quite easy although there is that moment when you cant quite tell if its poached enough or needs a little more… In the end the slimmer pieces were perfect but the thicker ones could have done with a bit more time.. I think the trick may be to actually cut the pair wedges all the same size! haha!

I’m not 100% convinced that the pavlova part came out the way it should as it didn’t seem to be fluffy enough when I put it onto the trays but it was delicious and chewy with little bits of chocolate scattered through it.

I chose the smart option this time around and decided to put the dessert together at my Aunty’s house instead of trying to transfer a fully dressed decadent layered Pav. When it came time to putting the dessert together the recipe had called for three layers of meringue but by the time I got to the second it was already tall and decadent looking and I didnt want a repeat of my leaning tower of Chocolate cake from my birthday so I left off the third layer. I’m so glad I did as it was just perfect to cut and to eat without being too much!

I’m really happy with the way this turned out, even more so after my Easter Sunday disaster and even better I got to make a slightly different version of Pavlova for my gorgeous cousin,

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Happy Birthday Katie xx

 

**Recipe courtesy of Katie Quinn Davies via April 2013 Delicious Magazine

Easter Sunday

A very happy Easter to all! A time for family, melted butter on hot cross buns and the inevitable chocolate induced coma!

Easter was a little different for my family this  year with my mum and her sister interstate with their Dad. For some reason it just never feels the same without them at family occasions. Easter Sunday is usually at mum and dads house but we mixed it up a little and headed over to my brothers.

After trawling through some recent Donna Hay magazines, we decided on a “finger food” option and asked everyone to bring along a dish for a late lunch. There was so much delicious food including Crispy Chicken San Choy Bau, Spanish Meatballs and an amazing Chorizo and Goats Feta Rocket Salad.

I of course was charged with the dessert component (self inflicted as much as expected!) It was actually a tough day to decide on what to make! I knew it had to involve some format of chocolate but I didn’t want to go too decadent as it was supposed to be a lighter version of our standard family lunch extravaganzas.

Mum had recently presented me with a copy of The Australian Women’s Weekly “Show-stopper Desserts” and in there I found a great idea for chocolate Panna Cotta with rhubarb jelly. Nice and light… and if served in smaller glasses not too heavy right? I mixed the recipe up a little to raspberry jelly, on the pure basis that I dint like rhubarb and had some success with the raspberry jelly centers of the Marshmallows I had made recently (see Adult Marshmallows for a Special Birthday)

Such a great idea, such a visually appealing dessert with delicious flavors that marry together. Add in the idea of a little Biscotti on the side for some texture and I was on a winner!

Until the day. When the Panna Cotta didn’t set… it was either that the gelatine wasn’t enough (recipe called for two teaspoons of powdered gelatine sprinkled in and I only put one gold strength sheet) or that when I poured the Panna Cotta onto the jelly it was still too warm which then melted the jelly and mixed it in with the Panna Cotta. Either way I ended up with semi liquid raspberry jelly and a chocolate milk floating on top.

I was incredibly disappointed that my great dessert was a flop. I even considered scrapping the whole thing on the morning and whipping something else up quickly but I don’t like food waste so decided to just go with it. My brother suggested I should have put a straw in it and made it a Heston type dish where the flavors are right but the consistency is completely different. Such a good idea that I almost went out and  bought some funky paper straws!

So we spooned / drank our desserts on Easter Sunday. The flavors were there, it was almost like a cherry ripe with the mixture of dark chocolate and raspberry and the honey and pistachio Biscotti I made were perfect for dipping into the liquid Panna Cotta! It is definitely a dessert I will try again although with a few minor changes to get the jelly and Panna Cotta set.Image

At least we can always rely on Cadbury to make a perfect mini easter egg to sit on the side of the dish 🙂

*Recipes courtesy of The Australian Women’s Weekly Show-stopper Desserts and www.taste.com.au