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Posts Tagged ‘desserts’

Cannoli (November Daring Bakers challenge)

10 Jan

I made these cannoli ages ago and have just been too busy to blog about them so this will be testing my memory a little. I do however vividly remember the sweetened ricotta filling and could have eaten all of it by itself. Mental note to self: Write up blog straight away this year.

We were given the option to either deep fry them or bake them. Seeing as I was trying to be good and eat healthy food in the lead up to my wedding I decided to go with the baking option which turned out fine. I used my pasta machine for the 2nd time ever to roll the pastry dough very thin. Much thinner than I tried to get with the rolling pin, which was satisfying because I got heaps more cannoli’s out of it. Shops sell cannoli forms which you can wrap the pastry around to get the right the right shape but I used well oiled cannelloni pasta tubes which worked well. They made a cute lil festive gift for my neighbours, a lucky friend and family.

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book. For the recipe see here http://thedaringkitchen.com/recipe/cannoli

 

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Related posts:
  1. Macarons (October Daring Bakers challenge)
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  3. Salmon en croute (December Daring Cooks challenge)

Baked delights in Sydney – Bacco, Zumbo, Laurent and Bourke St Bakery

08 Jan

It feels like I haven’t done a post in awhile…probably because I haven’t! Just been a busy bee lately but I have loads of foodie goodness to come this year.

My visit back to Sydney in September was full of foodie delights and I was lucky enough to sample a few baked treats. My sis and the other half of noredmeat.com loves chocolate, (especially in baked goods) just as much as me! So when she achieved her goal of running the Sydney running festival half marathon in under 2 hours, I surprised her with this exquisite Concorde cake from Bacco Pasticceria in Chiefly Plaza. Surrounding the chocolate and hazelnut (I think!) mousse were columns of chocolate meringue. The internal layers of meringue added a nice crunch to the silky mousses.

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This concorde was one of many delights on offer from Bacco, so if you are lucky enough to work or study nearby, then get on down to the Chiefly Plaza and bag yourself some goodness!

LG03, Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney NSW 2000

As I have been living in London, I haven’t seen the Australian version of Masterchef, but I have still managed to hear all about the genius that is Adriano Zumbo. So scheduling in a visit to his Balmain store was always on the cards. By the time we arrived it was late afternoon and so the selection was pretty slim. After some debating, we settled on two very chocolatey choices.

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The first one was an intense chocolate sacher. Whoa! As I said…intense! I’m not too sure what all the layers were but it was basically layer upon layer of rich mudcake-type sponge layered with a ganache. As mum would say, it was ‘wicked’. Not for the feint hearted!

The second one called  ‘Danny has tickets to her box office’ consisted of a chocolate pop rock and popcorn disc, vanilla almond chantilly, dulce de leche, flourless chocolate sponge and almond feulletine. This was pretty exciting to eat as the chocolate pop rock emitted slight explosions into your mouth. And the popcorn pieces gave it a real ‘night at the movies’ feel.

It would be nice to taste some of Zumbo’s other treats – next time we may even branch out of the chocolate spectrum!

Now I have heard Anita gush about Laurent Patisserie, but when I actually saw the shop in Bondi Westfield, it was like an awakening. This little treat called ‘Christine’ was like a trip to Paris. Laurent is a French patisserie with another store on Manly wharf and a bunch in Melbourne…lucky things. Christine herself was decadent. Brownie biscuit, valrhona milk chocolate mousse and a touch of creme brulee. Check out the cross section – this was heaven!

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The Bondi store is in Westfield at Kiosk K107 Westfield 500 Oxford Street Bondi Junction, NSW 2022, (02) 9386 5181.

A few hours before I had to fly back to London, Anita and I did a last minute dash to Bourke Street Bakery. As it was late afternoon there wasn’t too much left, but we did manage to get our paws on these luscious pear tarts! The bakery now has a massive cookbook on sale which looks like it has many of the recipes they use. It is quite fun to peer into the window and salivate at all the goodies on display. Next time we will have to get down there early so we can have a larger selection to umm and ahhh over!

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633 Bourke Street Surry Hills (Corner Devonshire Street)
Tel: +61 (02) 9699-1011.
Open Tue-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm
Also located at 130 Broadway, tel: 92813113

Please note that not all of these baked treats were enjoyed on the same day. I don’t think even foodies such as us are up to that!

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  2. Billu’s Indian Eatery, Harris Park, Sydney.
 

Macarons (October Daring Bakers challenge)

29 Oct

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

I only tried my first macaron recently at Adriano Zumbo in Balmain. My sister has been raving about Macarons, especially those from Laduree in Paris. I guess living across the channel from France makes it easier to have the pleasure of trying French macarons. Zumbo’s macaron was a pleasant 1st experience and I was keen to try and make some of these babies at home.

I set aside the first week of my school holidays as ‘cooking week’. I was so excited about having the time to not have to worry about rushing about with work and I could take my time to ‘master the mac’. It was lucky I did have this time because as it turns out macarons are hard to make. It took me 3 attempts before they were half decent. By round 4 I was adding flavouring to them and by round 5 they were both flavoured and coloured. Although the food colouring was supposed to be red so I thought if I used a tiny bit they would be pink. It ended up being orange coloured powder and even though I only used ¼ tsp they turned out bright orange. Haha

I think if I wasn’t part of the Daring Bakers I would have given up after round 1. I am extremely grateful for the time and effort that other bakers spent to give me feedback and tips, especially Audax and Helen.

My Macarons from batch #1 were flat, had no feet and stuck to the baking paper so their insides fell out. They still tasted nice so I have frozen them to use in a future layered dessert.

 

Batch # 2 were slightly better, but still no feet and they had a few holes and cracks. I filled these babies with Crème Caramel Baileys ganache. I could have eaten this by the spoonful. Cleaning up after this batch was yum.

For batch #3 I decided try a recipe by Syrup & Tang after reading about the success of other bakers. This recipe had more sugar in the meringue, which I think worked a lot better. I finally got feet! I filled these cuties with either an orange buttercream, to please Brett’s jaffa passion, a dark chocolate ganache or a chilli chocolate ganache for a bit of a twist.

For batch #4 I added Twinings Blackcurrant & Apple tea to flavour the macarons. The blackcurrant flavour was amazing. I filled these beauties with either a dark chocolate ganache or a vanilla buttercream.

My final batch #5 was flavoured with strawberry & mango tea and filled with vanilla buttercream. These macarons had the best shape and texture out of the lot, even though they were bright orange. They tasted really nice too.

Making macarons also means you have to learn your oven and experiment with different oven temperatures. After the disappointing result from batch #1 I invested in an oven thermometer. I also added all the extra tips other bakers had given me into the following recipe so I wouldn’t forget them. This recipe worked for me but be prepared to give it a few try’s to work out your oven. Happy baking!

Macarons

Makes 1 dozen filled macarons

  1. Trace a 20 cent piece onto baking paper in alternate lines. Flip it over and use the back of the paper. Set aside.
  2. Weigh egg white and then scale the recipe appropriately using syrup and tangs formula. For example:
    Ingredient Formula Example
    Almond meal 1.3 x egg white 1.3 x 46 = 60 gm
    Icing sugar 1.6 x egg white 1.6 x 46 = 74 gm
    Castor sugar 0.8 x egg white 0.8 x 46 = 37 gm
  3. Place egg whites in a microwaveable bowl and put them in the microwave for 5 seconds on a medium setting. (This is a quicker alternative to leaving the egg whites overnight).
  4. Weigh almond meal and icing sugar. Sift twice and process at high speed. (Add powdered colour or flavouring at this step). I added 1 teabag which was 1 ts & ¼ ts red powdered colour.
  5. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add castor sugar a little at a time until stiff peaks form.
  6. Add half of the dry mixture and count strokes. (approx 18 strokes for 2 egg whites) Add remaining dry mixture. (Some tips from Audax: The consistency should be like cold thick honey, (inspect closely the look and feel of the batter), check by placing a tablespoon of batter in a line on the remaining mixture and it should disappear into the batter in about 30-60 secs. It better to under mix than to over mix. Take a spoonful out after about 35 strokes and putting it on a plate to see how it flattens out. If the peak doesn’t settle after about 30 seconds, I give it a couple more and try again).
  7. Spoon the batter into piping bag and pipe onto prepared baking paper on top of 2 stacked baking trays.
  8. Confidently bang baking trays on counter.
  9. Leave on bench top to dry for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 175C. My oven thermometer said it was 180.
  11. Put the shells in the oven and turn the temperature down to 160C. Since my oven is actually hotter than the dial says I turned it to 150C.
  12. After 6 minutes, swap the top & bottom trays.
  13. Bake for another 4 mins & check. Total baking time should be 10 -12 mins. (Another tip from Audax: At the 5 minute mark the shells should have lifted and developed ‘feet’. At the 6-7 minute mark they should be starting to colour just slightly. They are probably ready if a shell moves only reluctantly on its foot when you lightly nudge it with a finger).
  14. Remove from oven and leave on the tray for a minute or two then transfer to a wire rack.
  15. Make filling

Orange Buttercream

  • 80g icing sugar, sifted
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoons orange juice

To make the orange buttercream, place 1 cup of the icing sugar, the butter, zest and orange juice in a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric beaters until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and beat until the cream is thick.

Baileys Ganache

  • 100 ml cream
  • 130g Dark chocolate
  • 1 Tb Baileys

Boil the cream. Add the Couverture. Add the Baileys and bar mix.

Note: I am posting this late. Oh no! Yes I missed the reveal date by 2 days. Brett and I attended a very boring pre-marriage course the other night and last night I went an my 3rd orienteering run. So much fun! At the moment exercise is taking priority in the lead up to the wedding and I also have to cut back on desserts so unfortunately no more macaron making for me, except maybe for a few Christmas presents. It will be hard to not eat a few though.

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Baking session

22 Jun

I have recently received a few new cookbooks and so of course the recipes must be tested!

First up were the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Those who sampled were all impressed (or so they said) but we devoured them before I had the chance to take some photographic evidence… soooo I will just have to make them again soon! Check out http://www.hummingbirdbakery.com for deets.

I also baked the brownies which came out super moist and fudgy and amazingly indulgent. It’s crazy how after a few tiny “slivers” of a piece almost the entire piece is gone! These are definitely one to bake again.

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Still in a baking mood I decided to give macaroons a go… with chocolate still on the brain I went with a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Just Desserts book. While they didn’t turn out looking quite like the perfect macaroons from Ladureethey were still pretty tasty! Check it out if you’re ever in Paris (or Harrods)!

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