Gastronomically Terrific

February 1, 2016

Tiramisu layer cake

Filed under: Cake, party, pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 2:34 pm

To end my dinner party, I decided to make tiramisu for dessert. I’ve made tiramisu before a number of times, but I had never tried the one in Nigella’s Christmas cookbook. The majority of recipes from this book seem to come out well, and I knew that the likelihood of it being fairly alcoholic was relatively high.

Thankfully, nothing disappointed. The recipe was simple, there was plenty of alcohol, and it made for a great dessert.

I had bought a loaf cake to make this tiramisu with, but I was a little worried it was more coffee than chocolate flavoured, and I knew that without chocolate cake the coffee flavour was likely to be overwhelming. Luckily, earlier that week I had ended up making chocolate sponge traybake with my son, having failed to make sure I had the right ingredients to make apple crumble in the house (or rather, having had the ingredients but then somebody eating all the apples). So I used that in place of the shop-bought loaf I had.

Now, Nigella’s recipe states quite clearly that homemade sponge cake doesn’t tend to soak up the alcohol as well as shop-bought loaf cake. Not so my cake, which soaked up a lot of Kahlua… I had to use three times as much as suggested (I’m not sure what this says about my baking, but it meant extra booze, so I guess it’s a good thing). I was also using Kahlua rather than the suggested Tia Maria; simply because that’s what we had in the house. It seemed to work fine!

Making tiramisu is actually pretty easy – it’s mostly about creating layers. Other than beating together eggs, caster sugar, mascarpone, double cream and the Kahlua, all you need to do is layer up the cake.

Firstly, you soak the sponge in Kahlua. Then you add this to the bottom of a tin before adding a layer of the cream mixture. You basically keep going with soaked sponge and cream layers until you’re done, ensuring you end with a cream layer. It’s a good idea to use a spring-form tin because when you’re done the cream hasn’t set yet – it needs to go in the fridge for at least 12 hours for this to happen. Having a spring-form tin means the cream stays in one place – but once it has set, you can remove the sides and it looks pretty good around the edges. And tastes, hopefully, lovely and boozy!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 93-94

 

November 23, 2015

Rolo cheesecake

Filed under: cheesecake, pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , — lawsonanna @ 10:42 pm

So, over the summer I spent a fair amount of time not baking, due to being in California… and it’s been even longer since I posted to this blog.

Since we returned at the end of September, I have done a fair bit of baking – somewhere between 8 and 10 bakes in total. I think that’s approximately one a week. I’ll try and blog about them all, but it’s entirely possible I’ll forget some along the way.

So, my first bake was this no bake Rolo cheesecake. The recipe had been e-mailed to me during the summer by a Pampered Chef consultant, but having none of the equipment available to me that I have at home, I decided to wait until we got back to the UK.

And what a disappointment this first bake turned out to be. Cheesecake and Rolos. It sounds amazing doesn’t it? What could go wrong? Well, that’s the problem. It’s just cheesecake and Rolos. Sure, you add some vanilla crunch cream biscuits to the base. And some caramel and cream to the filling. But basically, it’s just cheesecake with a whole bunch of Rolos thrown in. In the end, it was all just a bit dull.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: E-mail from a Pampered Chef consultant

 

July 5, 2015

Raspberry ripple cheesecake

RaspberryRippleCheesecake2Wanting to make something for our dating anniversary at the end of June, I went for this no-bake cheesecake which didn’t have too many ingredients, so we wouldn’t end up wasting any before we went away for three months. The recipe is from an Annabel Karmel recipe book, and as such I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult.

Unfortunately, it’s a pretty ‘stagey’ recipe. I knew that before I started. What I didn’t know was that the recipe tried to make each stage simple – too simple, meaning the amounts weren’t really correct.

My first problem was that the recipe uses gelatine. Because hubby is vegetarian, I use vege-gel as a replacement, and, I admit, I don’t get on with that well. I love it when I can use real leaf gelatine, because it’s so easy! With vege-gel, I often seem to end up with clumps of gelatine, and that happened here.

The biscuit base was easy – just digestives and butter. That I can do.

The next stage was to make a raspberry coulis – a mixture of raspberries, icing sugar and cornflour, which you then heat. This seemed to be working well, until I heated the mixture up together. There was way too much cornflour, meaning it became much, much thicker than intended. At least it did thicken I guess. The problem was, this mixture is meant to be blobbed on top of the cream cheese mixture and then swirled to make a pattern. Whilst blobbing it was easy, it was too thick to swirl.

The cream cheese mixture itself was easy to do – just cream cheese, double cream and caster sugar. The problem here was adding the clumpy vege-gel. In the end I had to reheat the vege-gel with some of the cream cheese (I admit, I should have done the vege-gel by itself first…) to get the majority of the lumps out (there were still some). So some of the cream cheese was wetter than it should have been.

Finally, I had to put more blobs of the raspberry coulis on top of the cream cheese mixture. This time, I didn’t even try to swirl it. I did cover the whole thing in strawberries and blackberries, with a hint of melted white chocolate, so you couldn’t see that pattern anyway.

In the end, the cheesecake, on the whole, tasted fairly good – even if it didn’t look quite as good as it should have. But it was a very faffy recipe for a not brilliant result. I’ve made much better cheesecakes (in terms of taste and looks) with a lot less effort. This isn’t one that will be added to my ‘go-to’ recipes.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Annabel Karmel book

July 2, 2015

Easter meringue tart

Filed under: pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 11:04 am

Easter meringue tart very CUWanting to make a slightly different, interesting pudding for when mum was visiting, I decided to make this Easter meringue tart (even though it was in no way close to Eater). I made it the night before she arrived, and we ate it over the course of the week she was with us, as it was rather large.

The first thing I did was make a flan case using the recipe in the same book for cuddura, which is basically a sweet pastry made from flour, icing sugar and butter. That was fairly easy to do.

Once I had made that and used it to line the base, I made the rice filling – basically a rice pudding made with milk, rice, caster sugar and almond essence. That took ages because I had to wait for the rice to cook in the milk. I got a bit bored waiting. I then added egg yolks and waited for the mixture to thicken, which was much faster!

Once that was done, I covered the flan base with cherry jam, and added the rice pudding mixture.

Finally, I made the meringue mixture (by whisking the egg whites and then adding the caster sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon) and added this to the top of the tart. Once the tart was assembled, the whole thing was baked in the oven for an hour at 110C.

Whilst the tart was fun to make, and looked pretty good, it did taste a little odd. The rice filling didn’t really feel like it belonged, and we were all in agreement that really it would have been nicer (and much more normal) if it had been a standard lemon meringue tart.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter! By Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 26-29

June 8, 2015

Tiramisu

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:14 pm
Tiramisu

… nearly all gone.

I’ve made this before, a number of times, but not for a while now. I love tiramisu, and this is a really easy, cheat-type version – so I decided it was time to make it again.

To make it, you put together a coffee and marsala mixture, then tip some sponge fingers into this. This makes up the sponge layers of the tiramisu. You then beat together cream and icing sugar, and fold in some mascarpone cream and marsala. This is spread over the layers of sponge fingers, ensuring you end with a layer of the cream mixture. Finally, sprinkle some chocolate over the top and leave in the fridge for all the marsala to soak up into the pudding.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Cheesecakes pavlovas & trifles, Australian Women’s Weekly, pg. 51

February 18, 2015

Strawberries and cream cheesecake

Filed under: Cake, pudding, Valentines Day — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:03 pm

Strawberries and cream cheesecake slice CUI haven’t done a lot of baking recently, but Valentines Day is generally an excuse for tasty cake in our house – and baked cheesecake is hubby’s favourite, so that’s what I made. Buying the ingredients and preparing the cake was, by necessity, all last minute – with a new baby due to arrive any day I didn’t want a bunch of ingredients sitting around in the fridge not being used because I was otherwise occupied. Luckily for hubby, baby did not make an appearance on Friday 13th.

This is a fairly easy cheesecake to make, although there are a few stages to it. For starters, you do the standard ‘melt butter/ bash up biscuits/ mix together and put in the fridge to set’.

Stage 2 is making the actual cheesecake mixture. Again, fairly simple – just mix together 600g cream cheese, an egg and 100g caster sugar. What you do need to do is add a boiled strawberry mixture to this. The strawberry mixture contains (funnily enough) 200g strawberries, 80g caster sugar and 30ml water. (Having said that, this nearly ended up being a cherry mixture because the first shop I went to had no strawberries. It probably would have worked, but I’m glad I found strawberries in the next shop because I don’t like messing up gift bakes)!  You boil all this together and then wait for the strawberries to go soft and the liquid to reduce by half. Once the strawberry mix is cool, add it to the cream cheese mixture. Then pour the whole shebang on top of the biscuit base and bake in the oven for about 30 mins on 160C.

Third stage: once the cheesecake is cool and has been in the fridge for a couple of hours, whip together 100g of mascarpone cheese and 20g of icing sugar. Then add in 100ml of whipped double cream, and cover the whole cheesecake with this topping. Pop it back in the fridge to set overnight.

Finally, decorate the cheesecake with strawberries (and, if you’re me and bought them in anticipation of having no strawberries, cherries as well). I was planning on writing out ‘LOVE’ in the middle of the cake because it was Valentines Day, but that didn’t really fit – so I went with a ring of chopped strawberries around the edge and the outline of a heart done with cherries in the middle. Although you could just chop and throw I guess! The end result wasn’t bad – it looks OK and between the two of us we’ve managed to eat almost the entire thing (it fitted in a 9 inch based tin) in about 4 days…

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, Tarek Malouf, pg. 120-121

January 4, 2015

Star-topped mince pies with cranberry-studded mincemeat

Filed under: Cake, Christmas, pudding, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:51 am

10 Mini mince piesI’ve made these before, back in June of this year in fact. They were a trial run to determine whether or not I was happy to make the same mince pies for Christmas. I decided I was, which led to me making them again in November (and then freezing them ready for Christmas).

The one difference this time was that, because it was Christmas, I used cranberries instead of a cooking apple for the mincemeat. I like traditional mince pies, but I’m not really a traditionalist, and the only reason I didn’t use fresh cranberries in June is because I couldn’t find any. They’re easier to come by in November. Besides, I prefer the taste of cranberries to that of apple!

One other note – I actually got less mince pies out of both the pastry and the mincemeat mixture this time. Luckily, it still matched – I managed 24 pies in total. Which worked out well, because I have a 24-piece mini pie tin. So it did make my life quite easy – but it did mean 12 less pies than I had anticipated.

The end result was, again, pretty positive – nice and tasty with a hint of Christmas because of the cranberry filling. The tiny size meant that they were also perfect for a small pudding after our Boxing Day dinner, served with either clotted cream or brandy butter (left-over from the Christmas pudding served on Christmas Day).

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 186-189

January 2, 2015

Christmas pudding

Filed under: Christmas, pudding — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:00 pm

Christmas pudding sliceAnother make-in-advance recipe, I made two small Christmas puddings at the end of October ready for Christmas. Christmas puddings aren’t difficult – but they do take a while to cook, because you have to steam them for so long (about 2 hours each for the size puddings I made).

The actual mixing, however, is pretty simple. You just put it all together in a bowl, stir it up and then add a greaseproof paper and tin foil lid before steaming the pudding. The only (slightly) time-consuming tasks are creating the breadcrumbs and zesting the lemon. And adding all the ingredients together of course, because in total there are 14 or 15 of them.

Once I had steamed the puddings, they just sat in bowls waiting for Christmas Day. On Christmas Day itself, there were two options – steam the pudding for a further 30 mins or so to reheat it, or stick it in the microwave for about 3 minutes. I went with the second, super-easy, option. It tasted fine – and adding a slug of brandy and setting light to the pudding just added to the Christmassy feel! Adding incredibly boozy brandy butter helped a lot too (although there was also clotted cream on offer for those who didn’t want the brandy butter).

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: My mum’s!

December 3, 2014

Chocolate cranberry sponge

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 8:26 pm

Another pudding that I thought I would make for Dan and I, this looked pretty similar to the hot chocolate pudding, but was actually quite a different thing to bake – although still not terribly complex.

You start by placing cranberries and chopped up cooking apple in the base of a pudding bowl. You then mix together butter, dark brown sugar, eggs, flour and cocoa powder and pour this over the fruits. You then steam the whole thing for at least an hour (the recipe claimed an hour – it took closer to two on my hob, which was a little frustrating).

Finally, once the pudding is ready, you make a chocolate sauce to cover it; the sauce is simply double cream and chocolate with vanilla and almond essence mixed it. Overall, a pretty tasty chocolate sponge, and great if you want some added fruit. But still not Nigella’s chocolate pudding for Christmas pudding haters with hot chocolate sauce.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Daily CookBook, 1 December, pg. 294

November 25, 2014

Hot chocolate pudding

Filed under: Cake, pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , — lawsonanna @ 7:16 pm

This is another recipe that I made for Dan and I in the run-up to Christmas. Whilst I have been doing a lot of Christmas baking, I didn’t want Dan and I to end up with no tasty treats whilst this was going on. I fear it might have had the opposite effect and I’ve been baking a little too much… but we’ve ended up with some tasty treats because of it!

Another thing I’m afraid I don’t have a photo of, possibly because we were both far too desperate to eat the chocolate pudding the minute it appeared!

Again, it’s not a difficult pudding to make. You melt some chocolate, add eggs and sugar, then fold in some flour. It then takes approx. 10 minutes to bake in the oven; the whole thing only takes half an hour or so to put together, and tastes pretty good. There’s nothing particularly spectacular about it, but if you want a chocolate hit, you could do worse. Of course, if you want a really big chocolate hit, you should be making Nigella’s chocolate pudding for Christmas pudding haters with hot chocolate sauce.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Chocolate!, pg. 43

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