Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 34: Blueberry Crumb Cake

I usually steer clear of any desserts that contain fruit- such a health freak, I know.  One fruit I absolutely love in baked goods though is blueberries.  I can sit and eat a punnet of blueberries very easily, but this can prove to be an expensive habit.  The great thing about Tuesdays with Dorie, is that there are so many recipes that call for blueberries (or can be replaced with blueberries).  At the moment, we haven't got the best tasting blueberries, which is a shame.  You can find this week's recipe at Sihan's blog- Befuddlement (thanks for choosing a great recipe).

Well, as you probably guessed, I loved this cake.  I knew that it would be a hit in our house, so I even made the whole recipe (shock horror).  Even though this cake would have looked ridiculously cute in my mini springform tins, I resisted temptation.  I found that baking it in a pyrex square dish resulted in much more cake to crumble ratio, which worked perfectly together. 

I did find the cake a little on the dry side, but I think coffee cakes usually are.  Either that or I slightly over baked it- which I am absolutely anal about NOT doing.  So this cake would be perfect for morning or afternoon tea.  Or as a snack.  Or for breakfast.  Or for dessert in our case.  Heck, this cake would be good anytime of day.  Please bake it.  For your own good.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strawberry Ice Cream

Recently I've begun to love using my Kitchenaid ice cream attachment once again.  This newly reclaimed love is a little out of season, as we have just entered Autumn.  I absolutely love ice cream though, so no matter the season, I'm always eating it.

Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from Tartlette

4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 vanilla bean
1 punnet of strawberries, hulled and quartered

1.  In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and one cup of sugar until thick and pale yellow.  In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the cream and vanilla bean seeds and pod to a simmer- do not let boil.

2.  Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolk mixture while whisking, to temper the egg yolks.  Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of a spoon.  The mixture should reach 170F on a candy thermometer.  Let cool completely, strain and refrigerate until cold.

3.  While the custard is cooling, prepare the strawberries.  Place the strawberries in a food processor and process until relatively smooth.  If you don't want any strawberry chunks, process until smooth.  I left it so that there were still some small chunks, however, next time I will process until smooth as the chunks of strawberries were a little icy.  

4.  Fold the strawberry puree through the cooled custard and process the custard mixture according to your ice cream maker's manufacturing instructions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 33: French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze

This is a recipe I have been looking forward to baking for a long time.  Honestly, I didn't have much clue about what the cake would be like, but the name just sounded delicious to me.  Luckily, Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction chose it for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe.

This is the type of cake that you can just keep eating and eating.  There's a savouryness to it that comes from the yogurt, but it is still sweet enough to satisfy those cravings.  It is also incredibly moist- due to the addition of oil, and also from the glaze.  Dorie recommends a Lemon Marmalade glaze, however I just used Orange Marmalade, as that is what I had on hand.  This cake would be really good with a dollop of Lemon Cream on top too.

Traditionally, this cake is meant to be baked in a loaf tin, however I have been dying to try out my new mini bundt pan and this has been the first chance I've had to use it so I couldn't resist!  They turned out really cute, and they are the perfect size for a quick snack.  Next on my list is a mini loaf tin.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lemon Custard Cakes

While browsing on Martha Stewart the other day, I found a section on lemon desserts.  Since lemon is one of S's favourite flavours, I decided to make him a nice treat.

I've never heard of a 'custard cake' before, but to me, it seemed similar to a self saucing pudding- which I love.  Anyway, the thought of lemon cake and lemon custard together sounded delicious.

And I was right.  These lemon custard cakes were really yummy.  The cake itself has a souffle like quality, and hidden underneath is a deliciously creamy lemon custard.  It is suggested to eat these warm or at room temperature, but we couldn't help ourselves and devoured one not long out of the oven.  The next day I ate one straight from the fridge too.  Either way, they were both good.  I can see this becoming a staple in our house for not only its taste, but its ease as well.

Lemon Custard Cakes
serves 6

Unsalted butter, room temperature, for buttering custard cups
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2-3 teaspoons grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
1/4 fresh lemon juice
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1.  Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius.  Set a kettle of water to boil.  Butter six 6 ounce custard cups and place in a tea towel-lined baking dish.

2.  In a large bowl, which egg yolks and sugar until light, whisk in flour.  Gradually whisk in lemon juice, then milk and zest.
3.  With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.  Add to lemon batter and fold in gently (batter will be quite liquid).
4.  Divide batter among prepared custard cups; place baking dish in oven and fill with boiling water to reach half way up sides of cups.  Bake until puffed and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 32: La Palette's Strawberry Tart

"La Palette's Strawberry Tart"? you may be asking.  You're not going crazy... yes this recipe has already been completed by Tuesdays with Dorie, and yes, this week's recipe was actually Lemon Custard Cups (chosen by Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles).  Firstly, I just want to say that I hope I don't seem like a piker, and I certainly hope I haven't offended Dorie.  After various comments on the Tuesdays with Dorie blog, I just felt that I really wouldn't enjoy this week's recipe, as many had commented on its 'eggyness'.  Now I usually wouldn't let such an excuse stop me from baking something, as that's what I love about this baking group- I've made so many things that I would never have done so on my own.  So, I am certainly open to try just about anything.  To me, eggyness really is my worst nightmare... I can't even stand those Asian egg custard tarts.  Instead of wasting ingredients on something I was sure I wouldn't enjoy, I thought I would do a rewind.  Might I just add that I didn't get authorisation to do a rewind, this is out of my own accord, therefore this week's post will not count toward my Tuesdays with Dorie participation.

The La Palette's Strawberry Tart was chosen not long before I started Tuesdays with Dorie, and what a real shame it would have been if I'd never got the chance to make this.  The tart is simply delicious.  Actually, that's exactly what I love about it- its simplicity.  Sweet tart crust, strawberry jam, fresh strawberries macerated in sugar, finished with a dollop of sweetened cream- perfection.  I could eat this everyday.

Baking this has made me realise that I have probably missed out on a lot of other delicious treats that were baked before my time with the group.  So, I am hoping to slowly work my way through them so that I can officially say that I have baked every recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours.  Oh, one problem there... I'll have to complete the Lemon Custard Cup... 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Blueberry Pancakes with Bacon

S and I used to be the type of people that loved going out to breakfast with friends on the weekends, but after many years, it finally sunk in that it's very hard to find a place that does good breakfast.  Although it seems like breakfast would be one of the easiest meals to prepare, I actually think it's one of the hardest.  Preparing breakfast for 50 or so diners would be my worst nightmare- I struggle with just S and I.  So we have given up on eating out for breakfast, and now opt for delicious home made delights.

When we used to go out for breakfast, S would always be tempted by the words 'pancakes' or 'waffles' or 'french toast with maple syrup', only to order it, then complain for the next few hours about how sick he felt.  I am definitely a savoury person, especially when it comes to breakfast.  It takes a lot for me to eat something sweet at breakfast... but these pancakes suck me in.  Paired with some salty, smokey bacon, I find I can handle the sweetness.

These pancakes are the best I've ever had.  They are so light and fluffy, due to the incorporation of whipped egg whites.  There is also the slightest amount of cinnamon, which really elevates these pancakes to a new level.  I'm not fussed on adding blueberries, but S insists.

Scotch Pancakes
from Marcus Wareing's, How to cook the perfect...
Makes about 12 pancakes (depending on how big you make them)

225g plain white flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60g caster sugar
4 large egg yolks
500ml milk
90g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 large egg whites
vegetable oil for frying

Sift the flour into a large bowl with the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir in the sugar, keeping back 1 tablespoon for later.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thickened, then gradually whisk in the milk and melted butter.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Slowly pour in the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to make a smooth batter.

Put the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk to soft peaks, adding the reserved sugar halfway through.  Fold into the batter.

Set a large, non stick frying pan over a medium heat.  Splash a little oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat until hot.  Spoon the batter into the pan.  Cook for 2-2.5 minutes until the underside is golden brown, then turn the pancakes over and cook for 1.5 -2 minutes to lightly brown the other side.

Serve straight away with maple syrup.  If you want to add blueberries, after you have poured the batter into the pan, scatter some over the top.  Be careful when you flip the pancake that the blueberries don't fall out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie 31: Chocolate Cointreau Cake- The cake that got Dorie fired

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Lyb of And then I do the dishes.  In fact, it is meant to be a Chocolate Armagnac Cake.  I certainly don't have a handy bottle of Armagnac lying around, so I opted for Cointreau.  Chocolate + Orange = Deliciousness.  As well as providing the recipe, I'm sure if you head over to Lyb's blog, she will further explain the title of the recipe (the cake that got Dorie fired), so I won't be a broken record.  

Is it just me or have I been baking an excessive amount of cakes recently... chocolate ones too.  Quite frankly, I'll be glad if I don't bake another chocolate cake for a few months.  It really isn't a good idea to have full size cakes every week at our house, so I have been halving recipes.  

If you read my last post, you will remember that I have a terrible habit of skimming through recipes far too quickly.  My achilles heel got the better of me this week again- I forgot to add the sugar to the egg yolks!  S was furious!  I wish I hadn't told him in fact... the only reason I did was because he brought it to my attention.  Upon tasting the cake, he told me that it wasn't very sweet.  This was true...  I really need to get on top of this awful habit- starting next week.