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Posts from the ‘cakes’ Category

A New Years Trifle of Gingerbread & Nectarine

 (3)Now don’t fall off you’re perch’s because I’m posting twice in one week.  This is not a New Years resolution either so no one get too excited please. The next post could be a month away. I have just had more time over Christmas with the shop closed till the 7th but I am already writing my lists for shopping, preparing and baking to be done Monday. This was our New Years Eve dessert which followed Braised beef cheek and ribs, Mexican spiced. Accompanied with a piquant coleslaw,  bean & corn salad and homemade tacos. It was a gloriously sunny evening, we ate outside and lit the outdoor fire as the sunset so we could spend the rest of the evening outdoors. I have to confess, we didn’t see the New Year, I’m not much good with late nights, even on special occasions. Does it really matter if one doesn’t stay up till after midnight?

The recipe will made 6 individual servings or one medium sized trifle bowl. You can prepare all the components of the trifle or buy some of them depending how you feel and how much time you have. I have offered recipes for each part if you are feeling adventurous. I thought of buying a gingerbread loaf when contemplating the recipe, cursing that I hadn’t frozen some from my shop before we closed for Christmas, but when I looked at what the supermarket had to offer I couldn’t bring myself to buy it.

I’m also submitting this for our monthly Sweet New Zealand blogging event which is hosted this month by Alessandra If you pop over you will find more delectable sweet treats by fellow bloggers.

Simple Gingerbread Sponge

Preheat oven 160C, Line approx 18cm cake tin or tray with greaseproof.

100g butter, melted, 100g golden syrup, 1 free range egg, 100g self raising flour, handful crystalized ginger, roughly chopped. Save a few pieces of ginger for slicing and decorating the trifles.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter. Add the egg and beat mixture again. Add the chopped ginger and flour and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into lined cake tin and bake to 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before using in the trifle. Crumble sponge roughly once cool.

Creme Anglaise

200ml cream or milk, 2 medium free range eggs, 1 heaped Tbsp castor sugar, seeds of 1 vanilla pod

Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. In a saucepan heat cream or milk and vanilla bean seeds over a medium heat to a simmer. Pour hot milk/cream over the egg mix and whisk while pouring to prevent eggs scrambling (easier if you get an extra hand to help you). Turn heat down to low and pour the mixture back into the saucepan, cook over the low heat whisking all the time until sauce thickens. It’s important to keep whisking to prevent sauce sticking to bottom of pan. Once thickened pour into a clean bowl and cover with lid or plastic wrap to cool.

Poached Nectarines

6 nectarines (or you could use peaches), 1 vanilla pod (I use an empty pod that has already had its seeds used above)

Half and de-stone the nectarines. Place them in a pan and cover with water. Add the vanilla pod and place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. I don’t add sugar to the water as the tart fruit contrast well with the other sweeter ingredients in the trifle. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow fruit to cool in water. If fruit is quite ripe then you may only need to simmer for 5 minutes or use the fruit fresh. Once cool slice nectarines into wedges, approx 12 wedges per nectarine.

Whipped Cream

150ml whipping cream whipped to soft peak. Or you can use more cream if you prefer a thicker layer of cream!

Assembly

Layer nectarines, sponge, creme Anglais then cream. A few slices of crystalized ginger for decoration.

sweetnz

Pumpkin Pie with a Caramel Crunch

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A lovely lady from the US emailed me about this recipe asking if I had a conversion for the measurements to suit the US.  Since I have deserted you the past few weeks and many may not have see this recipe anyway I thought you wouldn’t mind if I re-blogged it. Particularly since it is autumn in half of the world and fast approaching Thanks Giving for the US, it’s the perfect pumpkin pie recipe. Well I thought so, the bitter caramel balances out the sweet pie. I’ve even converted it to suit US measurements ( they aren’t a direct conversion but a measurement ratio that will work). I hope some of you get to enjoy it. Have a great Thanks Giving!

Ingredients – Pastry
180g of flour or 8oz
110g butter or 4oz
1 medium free range egg
50g of icing sugar or 2 Tbsp
Extra butter and flour for lining the tin

Method – Pastry
Preheat oven on ‘bake’ to 170C.
Butter and flour a 24cm loose bottom tart tin
Place the flour, sugar & butter in a bowl and rub the ingredients together with your finger tips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Or use a food processor to whiz them together.
Add the egg and bring dough together, (you may need a few additional tablespoons of chilled water particularly the ounce measurements) into a ball then flatten slightly.
Rest dough in fridge for 20 minutes before rolling out.
Roll out pastry dough thinly to fit tart tin.

Ingredients Pumpkin Custard
250ml milk / 1/2 pint
1 cup chopped pumpkin = 1/2 small butternut pumpkin
2 Tbsp honey or castor sugar
Seeds of one vanilla bean
3 medium free range eggs

Method – Pumpkin Custard
Steam or simmer the pumpkin in a pot of water for 10 minutes until soft then drain any liquid away.
Allow pumpkin to cool.
Whizz all the custard ingredients together in a food processor and pour into the tart case.
Place the filled tart on a lower shelf in your oven to cook the base through.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until tart is firm and started to puff slightly.
Remove from oven and chill completely before adding the toffee crunch.

Ingredients – Toffee Crunch
100g / 1 cup castor sugar
50ml / 1/2 cup water

Method – Toffee Crunch
Place the water and sugar in a small pan over a low heat until sugar has dissolved.
Turn the heat up so the syrup is gently boiling.
Boil the syrup until it starts to turn golden brown, approx 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let it stand for a minute, it will continue to cook and turn a darker brown.
Pour onto the chilled pumpkin custard, you may need a spoon to spread it but work quickly as it will set immediately it cools.
Don’t worry if it is a bit messy, you are going to take the back of a spoon and tap it so the surface cracks and is easier to portion the tart.

Custard & Raspberry Jam Doughnuts

DSC_0017I’m afraid I am going to torture you with a photograph only today and no recipe. The pictured doughnuts are rapidly becoming the most popular item on my patisserie list so I am being mean and not sharing it’s secret, not just yet anyway. Well I don’t want you all making your own and no longer visiting me at my stall do I? That would be sad to not see your faces every Saturday or Sunday.

The end of the week is a crazy one, making all my own pastries for all the goodies to sell on Saturday and Sunday; puff, shortcrust, hot water, croissant, brioche dough and bread. It’s very rewarding though as it comes out the oven and the neighbours knock on the door when they get a waft of the sweet and savoury aromas.  As well as the market stall on Sunday I have a growing list of orders from Muriwai locals who stop by my kitchen on Saturday and collect their weekend treats.

So instead of a recipe I leave you with this weeks menu, in hope some of you Auckland locals reading this will pop Hobsonville Point Market by and say hello! Happy weekend!

Savoury Pastries

Seasonal Galettes – Leek,Walnut Pesto, Halloumi & Roasted Tomato. Roasted Beetroot & Feta. Caramelised Onion, Halloumi & Field Mushroom

Handmade Traditional Pork Pies

Cornish Pasties – Beef & Mustard. Chicken, Leek & Tarragon
Large Croissant Cheese Twists/Stick
Bacon & Egg Pies

Pork & fennel Sausage Rolls

Multigrain loaf (500g) – $5 (please order

Sweet Pastries
French Caramel Apple Tart
Eccles Cakes

Crisp Palmiers

Apricot Danish

Pacific Panforte– Mango, Macadamia, Coconut

Vanilla Custard & Raspberry Filled Doughnuts

Sour Cherry & Walnut Brownie

DSC_0006What do I like about this brownie? Everything! The crisp sugary crust as you take the first bite, the gooey chocolate centre is so rich it clings to the roof of your mouth and you wonder if you can get through a whole piece. Then a tang of the sour cherry hits, balanced with the earthy walnut and you know you will managed another bite…maybe even another slice!

Would you buy these brownies if you stumbled across them at a Farmers Market? Well you may get the opportunity soon as the Gourmet Gannet plans to be selling sweet and savoury pastries pies and other treats from Hobsonville Point Farmers Market, Auckland starting this Sunday 17th Feb, 9am – 1pm and then every Sunday after that date. Come along and visit me!  In the meantime I’ll let you have my recipe….

Ingredients

200g Dark chocolate (70% cacao), broken into pieces

50g butter

300g soft brown sugar

5 free range eggs

80g Plain Flour

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

100g sour cherries (dried)

100g walnuts

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200C and grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter & chocolate together in short burst in a microwave. Stir in between each burst.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar & eggs till they go pale.

Pour the melted but cooled chocolate & butter into the sugar mix and whisk briefly to combine.

Add the walnuts & cherries to the cake mixture and stir through.

Sift the flour & cocoa into the cake mixture and stir through till combined.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25 minutes. The centre should still feel a little wobbly and when you insert a skewer it will come out sticky. The top will be crisp. it will set when cooled but have a gooey centre. Don’t be tempted to cook longer otherwise it will just be like a cake.

Allow to cool before cutting.

Brownie will keep in the fridge for at least a week if you can resist!

Fig & Brownie Truffle Birthday Slice

DSC_0063Do most food bloggers make their own birthday cake? I think they probably do. Here is mine, it’s a slice this year rather than a cake but I had something I wanted to try out and what better than to try it out on my birthday. You see, I had these amazing chocolates at Christmas which were figs stuffed with a chocolate truffle filling then the whole fig dipped in more chocolate. I couldn’t get enough of them and did think of making my own but shapely mini figs are not easy to find and it would be a bit fiddly to do. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t have something similar did it? My mind started wandering along how to convert all the ingredients into a cake. A layer of brownie as a stable base, next a layer of silky ganache combined with blended seed popping figs and finally a thin layer of ganache to give it a smooth finish.

It came out exactly how I envisioned it! So here it is, my Fig & Brownie Truffle Slice. It’s very rich but not too sweet because of the 70% cocoa chocolate. It’s a cake to share for sure and holds well in the fridge, you just need to let it come to room temperature before you eat it. Day four and we are still eating the slice, tasting as good as day one, so I would say it will keep for a week in the fridge in an airtight container.

Brownie Base – Ingredients

120g butter
100g 70% cocoa chocolate
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 free range eggs
180g castor sugar
150g plain flour

Method

Preheat oven to 180C

Grease & line a 20cm square cake tin.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan then remove from the heat

Add the chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate has melted.

Add the the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.

Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar and  flour to a smooth batter.

Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Fig Truffle Centre Layer – Ingredients
150g 70% cocoa chocolate
100ml single or whipping cream
250g dried figs
Method
Heat the cream in a small pan then remove from the heat.

Add the chocolate and stir till melted .

Put the figs (remove stalk if there is any) in a food processor and blitz till finely chopped.

Add the cream and chocolate to the figs in processor and blend together.

Spread the warm fig mixture over the warm brownie, there is no need to let cake cool at this stage.

Chocolate Ganache Top Layer – Ingredients
50g 70% cocoa chocolate
40ml single or whipping cream
Method
Heat the cream in a small pan then remove from the heat.

Add the chocolate to the hot cream and stir till melted. Pour the Ganache over cooled fig layer of cake.

Place in the fridge to cool until you want to serve the cake.

Little & Friday’s Chocolate Cherry Cake & New Residents

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Happy New Year Everyone!

I have a little obsession for Little & Friday cakes, fortunately I don’t venture close to their cafes often otherwise I may look as round as this chocolate cake. For those of you who live in Auckland you may have already visited one of their little cake shops and experienced their baking delights. They’re what I call ‘real’ cakes, they are cakes with substance, traditional in texture but modern in appearance.

I have not listed the recipe as I have not bought the book yet, although it is on my wish list. National Radio have the recipe here, permission given to publish by the owner. The recipe came out exactly how I had experienced them at Little & Friday, although I did use cherries instead of raspberries.

We have new residents at our house, Beryl, Thelma and Nerys. They are three adopted hens which had been abandoned and we happily gave them a new home…. well actually a very elaborate coop and free range of the garden. They were all a little scruffy and dirty when they arrived and we were told they weren’t laying eggs but we have big hearts and decided even if they don’t lay we would look after them. A good bath, yes we bathed them! A good diet and they are now laying and they donated the eggs for my chocolate cake.

If you come from Northern England you might recognise their name? They come from the cast and actors of a TV series called the Liver Birds which was set in Liverpool, my beautiful home town. The Liver Birds are also an iconic emblem that represents the city of Liverpool, dating back to the 1300s. Two statues can aslo be see towering above the port on the Royal Liver Buildings.

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A Pacific Wedding Cake

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This little cake is going on a flight today with friends who are attending their son’s wedding. A short flight thankfully to the Great Barrier Island which lies just off the East coast of Auckland (20 mins by plane maybe, I have only been by boat). It’s a beach wedding and the request was for something ‘untraditional’ to match the mood and venue.  Looking at the weather forecast for the next few days it will be Pacific sunny days too.

The cake has a chocolate fudge base and lemon yoghurt top, no recipe today sorry just a pic. As I started to place the flower motifs onto the cake I thought..OMG, it’s going to look awful, nothing like the picture they showed me but once all together I think it looks pretty good. It’s a gift from the parents of the groom and the wedding couple haven’t seen it yet, I hope they like it.

Christmas Mince Pie Pops

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As we hurtle towards Christmas I feel like a spectator on the sideline watching everyone in a frenzy of shopping, pre Christmas gatherings, work functions etc. I would normally take part, I love Christmas with it’s trees and decorations, carols, yummy treats and families coming together. This year has been different, I don’t seem to be able to muster the enthusiasm but instead just find myself bobbing along with the flow of things. It’s been an exhausting year, endless travel with quite a stressful and busy job. Making far too many people redundant as the business down sizes only to have my own employment in the balance next year. Keeping positive, perhaps the universe is telling me it’s time for a fresh start, time to do something else? So instead of revving up I find myself slowing down, putting my feet up, taking time out for a lazy surf and chilling at the beach. The Christmas menu hasn’t even been thought of but it will happen…no worries as we say here. Hardly a Christmas treat has graced my ovens let alone my blog (except for the 47 Christmas cakes I have baked and sold but that’s part of a business). As we prepare to kiss 2012 behind and relish new beginnings in 2013 I leave you with a small treat, Christmas Mince Pie Pops.

I first saw pie pops over at Linda’s beautiful blog Call Me Cupcake, only then to find I am so behind and they are common knowledge in other countries. They even have pie pop makers, oh my goodness which rock have I been hiding under! So here is my version of pie pops, filled with a sweet Christmas fruit mince and chocolate. You can use your favourite Christmas pie filling or try mine. My shortcrust pastry has a little more butter in it than the regular half fat to flour. A tip from a French chef I worked with. It guarantees a short crust but if you have ‘hot’ hands’ I recommend you use a food processor for the crumb rather than the old fashioned way. It’ll keep the butter from melting.

So hows your year been and what are you hoping for next year?

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season where ever you are and however you celebrate and I will see you back in 2013!

This is also my submission to our monthly Sweet New Zealand challenge which is hosted this month by Lydia over at Lydia Bakes where you will find a lot more Kiwi sweet treats.

Ingredients – makes 12

300g sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe here)

200g sweet mince pie filling (recipe here)

12 pop sticks (bake proof not plastic)

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C

Roll pastry out to 1/2 cm thick

Using a cookie cutter approx 8cm diametre, cut out 24 pastry rings. Re-roll any bits and pieces to make more circles.

In half the circles cut out a star shape (or whatever mini cutter shape you have) for the lid of the pie.

Take the other half of the circles and place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre.

Wet the outer ring with a little water so the base and lid will stick together.

Lay the pop stick half way across the pie and fruit and press slightly into the pastry.

Place the lid on top of the pie and press the edges together, particularly around the pop stick so it will hold when baked.

Place on a 2 non stick trays and bale for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from tray when cooled. If any pie filling oozes out onto the tray loosen pie pop from tray before it cools so it doesn’t stick.

sweetnz

Christmas Pudding Cake Pops

photo (1)I’ve had cake pops on my ‘to do list’ for a while and finally got the opportunity when visiting a friend down in New Plymouth the other week. She has two daughters who were keen to help make them and even more importantly eat them. It’s a fun activity to do with kids, fairly easy but a bit fiddly. For those younger than 8 years you will need to assist with the moulding of the cake balls and inserting the sticks into the cake pops gently so not to break the already moulded cake. The dipping and decorating is the easy bit and I would suggest letting them have ‘free reign’ on how they want them to look and not worry too much about the perfect looking pop for your blog!

The girls did an amazing job, we made a few Christmas pudding style pops and then the creativity started. Sprinkles, cachous and mini fondant shape Christmas tree, gingerbread men and stars where more popular as their creativity flowed.

You can use any cake as the base, bought or homemade even gluten free but I would suggest you use a heavier cake similar to Madeira. We used 70% chocolate but milk chocolate would work just as well if that is preferred. There are many images of cake pops on the internet so if you are looking for decorating ideas just Google ‘cake pops’.

 

Ingredients – Cake Pop

Makes approx 12

200g Madeira or Chocolate Cake

160g dark or milk chocolate (I used 70%)

50ml single cream

Ingredients – Decoration

250g dark or milk chocolate

50g white chocolate

Sprinkles, cachous or fondant flowers to decorate

Method

Crumble the cake into fine crumbs.

Melt the cream and dark chocolate together in a microwave, using short 30 second bursts. Stir in between each heat and continue process till melted. Stir into the cake crumbs.

To form the cake balls, take enough cake mixture to a ping pong sized ball. Roll gently in your hands to create a smooth surface and place on a large plate. If it doesn’t come together in a ball you may need to add more melted chocolate.

Place cake balls in the fridge to set (approx 20 minutes).

Melt the dark chocolate from the ingredients list. Dip the end of a lolly stick into the melted chocolate and gently poke half way into the cake ball with a twisting movement.

Place them back on the plate and into the fridge to set again for a few minutes.

Dip the cake pops one at a time into the melted chocolate, letting any excess chocolate drip off.

Stand the cake pops in a mug or a piece of polystyrene making sure they don’t tough each other and allow to set. If you set them in the fridge the chocolate will go dull but depending on your weather or patience you may have no choice but to use the fridge to set the chocolate

Melt the white chocolate in a microwave with the same method as the dark chocolate.

Spoon a teaspoon of white chocolate onto the top of each cake pop, tipping the cake pop back and forth so the white chocolate runs down the sides.

Decorate with sprinkles, cachous or fondant holly or flowers.

If you ‘google’ cake pops on the internet you will find lots more ideas of how to decorate them.

Have fun!photo (2)photo (3)

Salted Caramel Doughnuts & Salted Caramel Apples on Stick – Happy Halloween!

I’m still on my salted caramel crusade, I think I probably just need to buy a box of the Bohemian chocolates that we sampled at the Chocolate Festival in Wellington and get over it. I mean a batch of doughnuts and caramel toffee apples in one weekend for a household of two is ridiculous and hubby doesn’t eat fruit and also decided he didn’t like salted caramel either… a little strange I know. I became the good neighbour, fobbing off my wares, sharing the love and the calories…cough..cough, that’s what friends are for right? I fried these doughnuts this time but I have been known to bake them in the past just like a bread roll and they are still rather good.

The toffee apples are for Halloween, it’s a funny treat isn’t it? An apple a day keeps the dentist away they say, I’m sure the dentist has a heart attack over these apples but no more so than when we get to pay our dentist bill. I went last week, just a routine check and teeth clean by the hygienist and it cost more than a whole orchard of apples and the toffee together, I should have taken him some toffee apples so we could all have broken out in a cold sweat together.

Ingredients – Doughnuts, makes 8

350g plain flour

70g brown sugar

1tsp instant yeast

165ml luke warm milk

1 free range eggs

70g butter, melted

vegetable oil for frying

Method

Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl.

Add the yeast to the milk and put aside for a few minutes until it starts to ferment. Then whisk the yeasty milk together with the eggs and melted butter. Add to the flour mix and combine into a dough ball.

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes and press dough out on a floured working surface to approximately an inch thick.

Using a medium & very small cookie cutter, cut the doughnuts out with the large cutter and the cut the centres out of each doughnut with the small cutter. Place the doughnuts and the ‘whole’ separately on an oiled tray to prove, leaving enough space between them to double in size.

Oil the top if the doughnuts and cover the whole tray with a plastic bag, you’ll need to use 2 trays

Re-knead any dough left over and cut out further doughnuts.

Once dough is doubled in size they are ready to bake.

Heat approximately 300ml of vegetable oil to 190C in a heavy bottom pan, enough to be half the depth of the doughnuts. If you don’t have a themometre just do a test with a little piece of dough to check when it is hot enough. Its should slowly brown.

Add 2 to 3 to the pan and fry the doughnuts for approximately 1 minute then turn and fry for the same amount of time on second side.

Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon and allow doughnuts to cool on kitchen paper.

Make the caramel at this stage and once it is ready the doughnuts will be cool enough to dip.

Ingredients – Caramel

1 cup brown sugar

100g butter

3 Tbsp water

1tsp salt

Method -Caramel

Combine the sugar, butter & water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar has melted, stirring constantly.

Increase the heat and bring the caramel up to 146C (you will need a sugar thermometre)

Once it has reached temperature turn the heat off and lett it settle for a minute then dip both the doughnuts & apples into the caramel.

You can add an extra sprinkle of salt to the caramel if you wish.

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