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الخميس، 8 مايو، 2014

Pumpkin pie / My twist on the spicy American classic

I've swapped the pumpkin for butternut squash – much easier to get hold of and just as tasty

Serves: 8
Cook time: 40 m

Ingredients
  • 500 g ready-made dessert pastry
  • 1 large butternut squash, quartered and seeds reserved
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 200 ml double cream
Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Roll the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. Get a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin, line with the pastry and bake blind for 20 minutes. Set aside. 

Lay the squash in a baking tray. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon and drizzle with the maple syrup. Cover the tray tightly with a double layer of tinfoil and bake for 45 minutes until soft. Reduce the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. 


Allow the pieces of squash to cool, then scoop out the flesh. You should have about 600g of cooked squash flesh. Don't forget to scrape out the bits in the tray and the maple syrup. Put in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the eggs. Mix well and stir in the cream. 


Fill the cooled tart case with the mix and bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, wash the stringy bits of squash off the seeds, dry them and lay them flat on a tray. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and place in the oven with the pie for the last 10 minutes until crispy. 



Remove the tart from the oven. Sprinkle with the seeds when cool. Serve with cream or ice cream, if you're feeling naughty.

Bloomin' easy vanilla cheesecake / With fruity cherry compote

This is a gorgeous all-American cheesecake, made with stuff you've probably got in the cupboard

Serves: 12
1h 25m (plus cooling time)

Ingredients
For the cheesecake
  • 150 g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 250 g digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 900 g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 115 ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways and seeds removed, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
For the cherry compote
  • 400 g stoned cherries
  • 3 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 swig port or whisky, optional
  • icing sugar, for dusting
Method
This recipe somehow made its way on to the menu in the Fifteen Trattoria (I don't know of many Italian trattorias that have American cheesecake on their menus!) and I'm glad that it did because it's absolutely delicious. As you can see, the ingredients are all pretty everyday things. However, my tip for getting the very best out of this recipe is to make sure that you try and get the best ingredients that you possibly can.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4, and grease and line the bottom and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin. Mix the biscuits and butter in a bowl, press into the base of the prepared tin and cook for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Turn the oven up to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Combine the sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Add the cream cheese and beat, ideally with an electric whisk, until creamy. Add the eggs and beat well. Gradually add the cream, beating until smooth, then beat in the vanilla seeds or extract and lemon and orange zest.

Scrape the mixture on to the biscuit base, and gently shake it to level out the surface. Put the cheesecake in the centre of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling has set around the edges. (A piece of foil over the top will stop it browning too much.) Let it cool at room temperature and serve after 2 or 3 hours, or, for a slightly firmer texture, put it in the fridge until it's nice and cold.

Before serving, put the cherries in a pan, sprinkle over the sugar and add a splash of water. Put on a low to medium heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. If you've got some port or whisky handy, feel free to add some. When the compote has reduced down it may be a little dry, so add a splash of water to loosen it. Remove from the heat and let it cool down, then serve spooned over the cheesecake with a dusting of icing sugar.

الثلاثاء، 6 مايو، 2014

Flourless Lemon Almond Cake Recipe

A gluten-free, light and airy lemon cake make with almond flour, eggs, and sugar.
It helps to separate the eggs first, while they are cold, and then let them sit to come to room temperature as you prep the other ingredients.  Eggs are easier to separate when cold, and they perform better as leavening agents when at room temperature. When whipping egg whites, make sure your equipment is perfectly clean. Any fat (or even bits of egg yolk in the whites) can keep the egg whites from properly whipping up.

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 8.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar, divided 1/4 cup (50 g) and 1/4 cup (50 g)
  • 1 1/2 cup (170 g) finely ground almond flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure your baking powder is fresh!)
  • 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

METHOD

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 °C).  Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, and grease it and the sides of the pan with butter or cooking spray.
2 In a large bowl, beat together with a wooden spoon the egg yolks, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.
3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, ground cardamom, and baking powder.   Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth.
4 With an electric mixer with a very clean bowl and clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed. When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of vinegar (both the salt and the vinegar will help the beaten egg whites maintain better structure, as will the sugar in the next step). As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, a little at a time, as you continue to beat the eggs whites.  Beat until soft peaks form.
5 Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture a large scoopful at a time.  You won't get much lift with the first third of the egg whites, but as you add more, you'll be able to gently fold in the whites in such a way as to create a light batter.
6 Gently scoop the batter into a the prepared springform pan and place in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake helping it to separate from the side of the pan. Release the springform pan sides, and gently move the cake (on parchment) to a cake serving plate. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar before serving.

الأحد، 4 مايو، 2014

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake


YIELD: Serves 12
ACTIVE TIME:15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 4 hours
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: 8-inch springform pan

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces chocolate cookie wafers (such as Nabisco Famous wafers)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
Procedures
  1. Pulse cookie crumbs and granulated sugar in food processor until fine. Place in a large bowl and toss with melted butter until moistened. Firmly press into the bottom and 1 1/2-inches up sides of an 8-inch springform pan.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and mix in vanilla, sour cream, and melted chocolate until smooth and homogenous.
  3. Spoon mixture into crust and smooth top. Chill until set, about 4 hours. Dust with cocoa powder and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

السبت، 3 مايو، 2014

SWEETHEART PALMIERS

This crisp and delicate cookie is made with puff pastry dough sprinkled with sugar and rolled into the shape of palm leaves.  Serve them with coffee or tea, or with your favorite dessert sampling.

THAW: 40 minutes  PREP: 15 minutes
BAKE: 15 minutes  CHILL: 30 minutes
COOL: 10 minutes  SERVES: 18

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 6 tbsp. red decorating sugar
  • 1 pkg. (17.3 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.
  2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar on the work surface.  Unfold 1 pastry sheet on the work surface.  Brush the pastry sheet with the egg mixture and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.  Roll up 2 opposite short sides towards the center, leaving a 1/2-inch space in the center.  Fold the pastry in half, placing one roll on top of the other.  The 2 rolls on one side form the top of the "heart".  Pinch the center along the length of the opposite side to form the point of the "heart".  Wrap the roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet
  3. Heat the oven to 400°F.  Cut each roll into 18 (about 1/2-inch) slices.  Place the pastries, cut-side down, onto 2 baking sheets. 
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.

الجمعة، 2 مايو، 2014

LEMON RASPBERRY TART

A chocolate-coated puff pastry crust is filled with homemade lemon curd and topped with fresh raspberries for a dessert that will make your guests rave!

THAW: 40 minutes  CHILL: 2 hours
PREP: 25 minutes  BAKE: 20 minutes
COOL: 10 minutes
SERVES: 8

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 sq (1 ounce each) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 pt. fresh raspberry
  • Fresh mint leaves


DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.  Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl with a fork or whisk.
  2. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 12-inch square.  Cut off the corners to make a circle.  Press the pastry into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Trim the excess pastry.  Prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork.  Place a piece of aluminum foil onto the pastry.  Add dried beans or pie weights
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Remove the foil and beans.  Let the pastry cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat the lemon juice and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the butter and stir until melted.  Gradually stir half the lemon mixture into the egg yolks.  Return the egg mixture to the saucepan.  Cook and stir for 1 minute
  5. Spread the chocolate on the pastry.  Spoon the lemon mixture over the chocolate.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.
  6. Arrange the raspberries on the tart.  Garnish with the mint.