Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding

This delicate dessert has all the looks of showstopper without the forty steps of a complicated recipe. I love custards and especially a french egg and vanilla bean creme pastry but this milk pudding is egg free and thicken with cornflour. Ive gone a little off the norm by using stevia to add sweetness and poached fruit.

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Lets start with I don’t know the exact origins of this pudding and at the risk of looking it up on Wikipedia it appears as a dessert loved by many different cultures. Lets face is desserts should have no boundaries. Flavoured with lemon in Italy, rose water in the Middle Eastern also called “Muhalbiyah”.

The Greek pudding called “Alevria” which can also be lactose free is often made with a reduction of grape juice to make a syrup or the milk version flavoured with mastic or orange blossom water. It is the Greek versions that I am most familiar with and most probably the first ever custard I ate as a child.

A variety of toppings common in to both the Middle east and the Mediterranean almost always include crushed walnuts or pistachios and spices like cinnamon.

Ive add poached fruit and its juices for freshness, like apricot halves but peaches are also perfect and if you preferred passionfruit or a raspberry coulis then go for it.

This pudding is flavoured with orange blossom water and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios and for added decadence Ive added a few dry edible rose petals.

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“Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding”

4-5 serves

Ingredients

500ml Milk

40g Stevia

35g Cornflour

1 tablespoon Orange Blossom water

5-6 Poached Apricot halves reserve the juices

50g Pistachios – Crushed

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan add the stevia and the cornflour mix well.
  2. Add Milk and whisk together till no lumps of cornflour are visible.
  3. Continuously stir to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Mix while on medium heat till it thickens and large bubbles rise to the top and keep mixing for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water stir to combine.
  4. Pour the pudding into individual heat proof ramekins
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature then cool in the refrigerator
  6. Top with an apricot half, pour a little syrup over the top and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.

*For extra decadence Ive used edible dry tea rose for a little WOW! Factor 🙂 …………………..(I purchased the roses from T2 the tea shop)

*This recipe can be doubled if required

*Fresh edible flowers can be used (please be mindful to purchase these for consumption purposes as you do not want to be serving up flowers sprayed with pesticides)

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“Kolokithopita”….Greek Ruffle Sweet Pumpkin Pie

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Now I know there aren’t that many ingredients and well the method seams relatively simple but trust me this is BIG on flavour.

This is my favourite childhood dessert. My mother was taught by my grandmother and I make it for my friends and family too. I love pumpkin and I’ve made this pie for friends that have never enjoyed eating this glorious orange coloured vegetable as a savoury addition to a meal  let alone as a dessert…….and “they have loved it”. The aroma of it baking in the oven, the butter caramelising the fillo pastry and the smell of the sweet spiced pumpkin makes for one heavenly combination.

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Utensils:
1 large bowl
1 Vegetable grater
1 Deep baking pan 25cm x 25cm x 5cm (a little bigger is ok)
1 pastry brush

Ingredients:
600g Pumpkin (peel and seed discarded the pumpkin flesh grated)
80g Sugar (I like to use Coconut Sugar)
80g Currants
1/2 Tbs Cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp Clove powder
1/2 Orange Zest only (optional)
1/2 tsp Salt
1pkt Fillo pastry
100g Unsalted butter melted (cooled to room temperature)
30g  Rice Bran oil

Method:
1: Grate the pumpkin and place in a deep bowl

2: Add the sugar, currants, spices, salt and orange zest mix well cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for approximately 30 minutes.

When you are ready to assemble preheat the oven 170 Degrees(fan forced)

3: Butter the deep baking pan. Lay flat 1 sheet of fillo pastry and brush 
with butter line the inside of the baking dish then repeat with the next 
filo pastry sheet till you have 4 pastry sheets lining the base and edges. 

*You will need to be a little creative when you lay out the sheets making  sure to cover the edges and leave any excess hang over the lip of your 
baking dish as you will flip it over when you have added the filling.

4: Pour the pumpkin filling in spread evenly. Fold over any over hanging 
pastry. Butter 2 more sheets of pastry and lay them over the top of the filling - make sure to fold over and execs pastry this time so that all the 
top layer is nice and flat.

5: Butter 2 more sheets this time you will need to cut them to size so thatthey fit perfectly. Make fillo ruffles by gently making folds and gently 
scrunching then together and placing on top. Repeat the till the top is 
completely covered. You will need about 7 sheets or more. 

6: Bake for approximately 35 - 45 minutes or till the pastry is golden 
brown. 

Ive always served this dessert at room temperature dusted with icing sugar or you could try agave powder and just a little more cinnamon powder. if you would like to serve it hot then a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream is     perfect.
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I hope you all enjoy my very own child hood favourite. 

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Note: 
tps = teaspoon
TBS = Tablespoon

 

 

 

Toasted Almond and Pecan Frangipani

A Dainty Dessert without the fuss…..”Sounds like my type of recipe”

“Toasted Almond and Pecan Frangipani”

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Some of my best ever recipes might be considered fuss free but never lack all the delightful qualities of a great home bake.

With a crumb thats both moist and has a heavenly aromatic warmth that only roasted nuts can give. A crunchy crust which can only be described as….”Balance has been restored in the universe of baking”. If you are partial to pecans and almonds as I am, then Im thinking you will love this recipe.

Crunchy crust coating:

1 x 20cm round baking pan

10g room temperature unsalted butter                                                                                                                  40g flaked almonds                                                                                                                                                        2 Tablespoons caster sugar

Spread the butter all over the base and sides of the baking pan.

Spread the almonds and sugar around the edges and base and set aside.

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For the Frangipani:                                 

75 g whole Almonds toasted                                                                                                                                       75 g whole Pecans toasted
140 g Caster sugar (optional use French Caster Sugar – CSR Sugars of the World)
3 eggs
115 g butter at room temperature
50 g Plain/All purpose flour                                                                                                                                         1 pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Topping:                                                                                                                                                                      40g Flaked Almonds

Preheat oven to 170 ° C (fan forced).

In the bowl of your food processor fitted with the cutting blade place the toasted almonds, pecans and sugar pulse till the nuts are and even crumble.

Add eggs and butter and the pinch of salt pulse the food processor for 30 seconds.

Finally add the flour mixed and baking powder, pulse again till everything is well combined.

Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and sprinkle the 40g of flaked almonds evenly over the top of the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, till the cake is golden.

Let the cake cool completely before removing from the cake pan.

Dust with a little icing sugar and serve. 🙂

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French Sugar – Apple and Almond Loaf

 

French Sugar – Apple and Almond Loaf

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Ingredients:

190g soft butter

130 g French Caster sugar (White Beet Sugar – CSR Sugars of the World)
3 eggs
190 g Plain flour
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
60g ground almonds
30g Sour Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean Paste

1 Large Granny Smith apple pealed with core removed and cut into 8 wedges.

Method: 

Preheat oven to 190 ° C.

Firstly peal and core the apple, cut into wedges squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the apple pieces and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place the coated apple pieces in a bowl and set aside for the moment.

Using a standard mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar till fluffy and pale in colour then begin adding the eggs one by one. Be sure that they are well combined before adding the next egg.

Add the sour cream and vanilla bean paste.

Sift together the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add to the butter and egg batter. Mix till all ingredients are well combined.

Place cake batter in cake tin lined with baking paper, place apple slices along the top of the cake batter and sprinkle with French caster sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes then lower the thermostat to 170 ° C for 25-30 minutes. Or until a wooden skewer can pierce through the centre of the cake and is clear of any wet batter when removed.

Allow the cake to cool in the cake tin then remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar and serve.

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Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

There is a true beauty to baking in general, yet nothing surpasses the aroma of freshly baked bread penetrating into every corner of your home. The aroma likened to a warm hug or a heartfelt smile from a loved one you have been longing to see. For myself its been the longing to walk past the village bakery in Greece to relive a moment that has lasted a life time.

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Now I know that you might be looking at these pictures thinking …..”she’s made rings, as well as rolls”, true I took the opportunity to make the Turkish “Simit” a bread ring that is heavily crusted with sesame seeds (which I was totally obsessed with eating at all hours of the day while in Turkey a few years ago).     I uses the same method of baking as the rolls. So be brave and try something different …ps they make the perfect edible napkin rings 🙂

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Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:
1 Tbs milk powder
250ml water
40g Rice Bran Oil
40g Unsalted Butter melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
500g Bakers flour

Honey Wash:
2 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons water

Topping: Sesame seeds

Method:
Place in a bowl the flour, milk powder, dry yeast, sugar and salt mix well to combine all. Add the water, oil, melted butter, egg and mix. Using a standard mixer with a dough hook attachment knead till the dough looks smooth and elastic – on medium speed for approximately 6-8 minutes.

Cover the dough with cling film  to prevent forming a skin and leave to rest about 15 -20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 60g portion sized pieces. Shape each into a ball and allow to rest again for a further 10 minutes. Take each individual dough ball and press with your hand to open the dough to form a circle about the size of a teacup saucer. Then roll back again to the dinner roll shape.

Dissolve the honey and water. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a small baking tray or flat dish.

Brush the tops of each dinner roll with the honey wash then roll the wet side in the sesame seeds.

Place on baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.

Allow the dough rolls a further 30 – 35 minutes to rise.

Preheated oven at least 15 minutes prior to use at 200 degrees Celsius. 

Just before baking, use a water filled spray bottle to spray a fine mist of water over all the dough rolls. Reduce the oven temperature at 170 degrees and bake the bread rolls until golden brown approximate baking time 12 – 18minute. (All depends how big you make to rolls)

Once baked place the rolls on cooling racks.

The only thing let to do is head to the fridge reach out for the butter, rip one of those freshly backed beauties apart and lay on the butter.

Pure Joy!

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“Kiwi Fruit and Banana Booster”

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Ok now don’t knock it till you try it.

“Kiwi Fruit and Banana Booster” 

1small Banana
1 Kiwi Fruit, (Green or Gold) plea and stem removed
1/2 cup fresh Spinach
1cm piece of fresh ginger 
Zest of half a lemon
1/2 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon white Chia Seeds
1 cup cold Almond Milk

Method
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth. 

Enjoy!

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Strawberry Fields

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“Strawberry Fields” 

Makes one serve, but feel free to share!
1 cup Strawberries (washed and stems removed)
1 cup Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 pinch Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter)

Method

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
Enjoy!

My Best Ever “Banana and Walnut Cake”

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Banana and Walnut Cake

85g butter (room temperature)

150g Sri Lankan Rapadura Sugar

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1 egg

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200g ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 2 ripe bananas)

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125g natural Greek yoghurt

30ml rice bran oil

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220g flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

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60g walnuts, chopped

1: Preheat oven to 180°C, or if it’s fan-forced, 170°C.

2: Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with baking paper. Set aside for the moment.

3: Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes then add the egg. Don’t forget to scrap down the sides.

4: Mix together the mashed banana, yoghurt and oil. With the mixer on low speed, add to the batter. Beat for a further 4 to 6 minutes or until the batter is light and fluffy.

5: Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the batter and then the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Give the bottom of the pan a tap to even out the batter and release any large air bubbles. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6: Leave on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Make like Maria and try these sugars in your favourite recipes. Discover the new Sugars of the World range in Coles, Woolworths and Independent retailers nationally. www.sugarsoftheworld.com

Enjoy!

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The Perfect Little Princess – Cake Expo Melbourne

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Swedish Princess Cake.

It’s perfect for a special occasion. It is a delicate cake, and looks best with simple decorations.

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Ingredients:

For the crème patissière:

75g egg yolks (approximately 3 small egg yolks)
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
500ml whole milk
50g cornflour                                                                                                                          45g Butter (Room Temperature)

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For the Jaconde sponge:
3 medium whole eggs
125g icing sugar
125g almond meal (sifted)
3 egg whites
15g caster sugar
40g plain flour

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For the filling:
2 tbsp Good Quality Raspberry Jam
Punnet of raspberries (approximately 150g)

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For the decoration:
400g marzipan
400g white Fondant
Pink food colour (or other colour if you prefer)

Equipment:

Two baking trays with a minimum width of 30cm
15cm half sphere mould
15cm round pastry cutter
Plastic piping bag
6 inch round cake card board

8 inch round cake board
Small non-stick rolling pin
Mould for flower decorations or you can try making a flower by hand
Scalped Edge Cutter
Egg carton or plastic paint palette with wells
Leaf Mould Veiner                                                                                                                                                                  Large Flower Petal Cutter
Plain round 2.5cm pastry cutter

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190°C

Line two baking trays with baking paper.

To make the crème patissière –
Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar in a mixing bowl, then add the cornflour and stir to combine. Place the milk, vanilla seeds and scraped vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Pour about a quarter of the hot milk onto the egg yolk mixture, immediately stirring until smooth.

Add the egg yolk and milk mixture to the pan with the remaining hot milk stir well till combined and smooth. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and bubbles in the centre, stirring well to make sure the crème patissière does not burn on the base of the pan. Taste the crème patissière to check it is cooked; it should not taste floury. The texture should be smooth and thick.

Transfer to a bowl or tray. To prevent a skin from forming, cover tightly with cling film, pressing down firmly to make sure there are no air pockets. Allow to cool to room temperature place back into a clean mixer bowl with a paddle attachment and on medium speed begin adding the room temperature butter in small amounts beat until the butter is well incorporated and the custard is smooth, chill until further use.

To make the Jaconde sponge –
Beat the whole eggs and icing sugar together until pale and fluffy. Sift together the flour and ground almonds, then gently fold into the egg mixture using a spatula.

In a clean dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until they reach soft peaks. Fold the meringue mixture into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking trays and level the surface using a palette knife or the back of a spoon.

Bake for 8–10 minutes on a low shelf, depending on your oven. The sponge is cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and the top is lightly golden brown and springs back to the touch.
Allow to cool outside of the oven but leave the sponges in the baking trays. Once cool, cover with cling film to prevent the sponge sheets from drying out.

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To assemble the cake –
Place the sphere mould on top of a small round cake tin to hold it steady. Line the inside of the mould with clingfilm, overlapping the edges.

Cut out a 30cm round from one of the sponge sheets. Use it to line the inside of the sphere mould, leaving a small overlap around the outside edge. Trim off any excess using a pair of kitchen scissors.

Fill a piping bag with the custard filling. Snip an inch off the tip and pipe a thick layer into the bottom of the cake mould, then place six fresh raspberries evenly over the custard. Pipe another layer of buttercream on top. Continue adding layers of buttercream and fresh raspberries until you have almost reached the top edge of the mould. Level off the last layer of cusard using a palette knife.

Cut out two 15cm rounds from the remaining sponge sheet using a pastry cutter. Sandwich the two rounds of sponge together with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Place the two sponge rounds on top of the buttercream-filled mould. Place a layer of clingfilm over the top then place the 6 inch cake board on top. Trim any excess sponge from around the edges of the mould. Cover all with another layer of cling film over the top tightly. Chill for at least 4–6 hours or preferably overnight.

To make the decoration –
While your cake is setting in the fridge, make the flower decorations.

For the pink-coloured fondant, mix 400g white fondant with few drops of pink food paste colour to blend together a very pale shade. To prevent it from drying out, keep the sugar paste wrapped in cling film until use.

Make 3–4 flowers in different shades of pink fondant with sugar paste hardener added so that the flowers will air dry quicker and hold their shape.

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To decorate
Once the cake has set, remove it from the fridge and turn it out on the 8 inch cake board. Remove the mould and the cling film.

On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll the marzipan out to a thickness 3–4mm. It must be large enough to cover the dome. Using a rolling pin, lift the rolled marzipan and lay it over the dome cake. Smooth the marzipan down the sides of the dome using your fingers. Tuck the edges down and trim away any excess marzipan using a kitchen knife.

Roll out the pink sugar fondant and place over the marzipan the same way. Trim away any excess sugar paste as before.

Cut a 2.5cm wide strip or scalloped edge that is long enough to go all around the base of the dome to create a swag border.

To finish, placed a flower on top of the dome. Be creative its up to you but keep it simple!

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This cake has a shelf life of 3 days when stored in the fridge, however the decoration may become soft and sticky in cold humid conditions. Therefore, I recommend making the cake no more than 2 days in advance of serving and consuming it.

within 1 day.

This recipe was inspired by the wonderful Dome Cake by Peggy Porschen.

Get ready to “RUM BALL”!

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This recipe came about one Chiristmas many years ago when it was almost customary to give a Christmas cake as a gift to celebrate the festive season. Overwhelmed with the rich fruity and spice aroma of these gorgeous home baked fruit cakes and having been given a generous quantity…….”Well the truth be said there is only so much fruit cake you can eat”!

So the mother of invention had to intervine to produce a new Christmas tradition. Inspired to use what I had, which at the time included Chocolate and all those fruit cakes, and no baking!

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Thus the Rum Ball has now become a firm inclusion to the Christmas desserts list in my household, not to mention they make an excelent gift. One year I made them all look like minature puddings diping them firstly into the dark chocolate and then using white chocolate as the custard and a small piece of red glace cherry on top to finish. Christmas after Christmas the little rum balls took on a more refined and simplistic look perhaps the K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid) had finally dawned apon me. I was confronted by the subtle hints from friends and family that had enjoyed them from a previous Christmas that they loved receiving them as gifts. What a great idea!

Edible glitter transformed a little bit of Christmas into a sparkling delight for the eyes, and when all boxed, they sparkle and glisten ……”let the Christmas celebrations begin”.

Rum Ball Truffles
 Quick and Easy

Rum Balls

Ingredients:

1  x 800g Dark Chocolate Fruit Cake

1  x 480g Double Chocolate Buttercake

30ml Freshly brewed Espresso Coffee

1-2 Tablespoons Rum Extract (this is optional)

2 x 375 pkts of Dark Chocolate Melts

You will need:

Food processor (if you don’t have a Food Processor do not worry you can use your hands and a large bowl)

Small or Large Icecream Scoop (I say either, depending on how big you want to make them)

Baking Tray lined with Baking Paper (to set the Rum Balls on)

Heat proof bowl to melt the chocolate in (use the microwave using short bursts (30second) of heat, mix heat again and mix till all the chocolate has melted)

Method:

1. Crumble the fruit cake and the chocolate cake into the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times till the cakes have become small crumbles.

2. Add the Rum essence or if you would like the adult version, add a tablespoon or two of the real alcoholic version. Add half the coffee at first, and pulse all. If the mix looks a little dry, add a little more coffee till it all comes together.

3. Scoop equal amounts of the cake mix onto the baking paper lined tray using the icecream scoop.

4. Gently roll the individual balls till nice and smooth, placing them back onto the tray and then place them into the refrigerator to set.

5. Meanwhile melt the chocolate (I use dark chocolate because I like it, but there is no reason why you shouldnt use Milk or White Chocolate…..it’s time for indulgence after all!)

6. Gently dip the balls into the melted chocolate and then ease them onto the baking paper again. I use a couple of forks to help me out with this process (at this stage you might like a second tray prepared for this purpose) as the rum ball mix was in the fridge you will find that they will set quickly.

7. Once the chocolate has set, I’ve used a little brush to add some red edible glitter. Now they are ready, well after you have enjoyed one or two. 🙂

Enjoy my ultimate Christmas Treat!