Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Dessert (Cold)’ Category

Whatever else is on offer, a Trifle is an essential dessert for New Year’s Day (at least that is my personal opinion though I am more than happy to serve it at other times of the year.)  At New Year meals in past years I have offered Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle, Black Forest Trifle and Chocolate Orange Trifle (yet to appear on this site).  This year it was the turn of a Mulled Plum Trifle. (Should probably rename it Mulled ‘Yum’ Trifle actually!)

This recipe is my own, an experiment which I knew would be fine – after all what could be wrong with a combination of plums and custard/cream with the obligatory slug of alcohol!  I am sure that any plums would be fine, but I used the type of hard round plums that are readily available throughout most of the year in the UK with colours ranging from cerise red to a deep ‘plummy’ maroon with golden or reddish flesh.  We find that these are not particularly good to eat uncooked but I often serve them for dessert as Mulled Plums, stewing them in a similar method to that below.  See also my previous post on Mulled Stewed Fruit.  This year I served Mulled Plum Trifle to my very forgiving extended family, with Candlemas Crumble as a hot alternative.  Most people ate both and I sent my guests home with a portion each of Mulled Plum Trifle for tea the next day.  I find the combination of almond and goes well with plums so I soaked the trifle sponges in the bottom of the dish with a sherry glass of Carina brand Cremandorla: Crema aux Amandes, a Sicilian almond flavoured aperitif made with Marsala wine, which we buy when on holiday in France.  It can be found in many French supermarkets: Leclerc, Super-U, Carrefour, Intermarche…  My sister in law uses an Italian almond flavoured (amaretto) liqueur called Disarono which is similar and available, I think, in the UK.  Most trifles have sherry or marsala and this can, of course, be substituted.  This is a jelly free trifle and actually I think it does not need either jelly or gelatine.  However, if you wish, a complementary flavoured jelly can be used – for example raspberry or blackcurrant – or alternatively gelatine can be used to set the liquid without adding another flavour.  In both cases the cooked plums should be strained and the cooking liquid made up with enough extra water to make a strong jelly mixture.  It is helpful if you remember how many pieces of whole spice you have used as they will be removed when the plums are added to the trifle – either that or give a prize to the person who finds a piece in their mouthful!)

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mulled Plum Trifle
(Serves 6-8)

10 or 12 Trifle sponge fingers/Boudoir biscuits to cover base of dish
2-3 tbsp Almond Liqueur or dry sherry (optional) – see note above
2-2½lbs/1-1.25kg plums, halved and pitted (more if you wish)
Zest & juice of ½ lemon
2-3 thick slices fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 cloves
1-2 star anise
1 bay leaf
3-4 tbsp demerara sugar
¼pint/5fl ozs/150ml water
1 pint of custard made with custard powder and milk – sugared to taste
284ml/10fl oz carton Elmlea double or whipping cream
For decoration
Small handful of blanched split almonds
Sugar dragees or stars (optional)

1.  Quarter the plums, remove the stones and place in a shallow pan (I use my large frying pan) along with the lemon zest and juice, ginger slices, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise and bay leaf.  Sprinkle over the sugar, add the water and bring to the boil.  Put on the lid and turn the heat down low.  Stew very gently for about 10 minutes until the plums are soft and the liquid is syrupy.  Remove the lid and boil briefly if the liquid needs to be reduced.  A little extra water can be added but only if absolutely necessary as although it will soak into the sponge too much liquid will make the trifle watery (remember that this trifle is not set with jelly or gelatine).  Remove pan from the heat and leave to cool.  This step can be done in advance the the plums refrigerated.

2.  Make up a pint of custard, varying the amount of sugar used according to the sweetness of the base layer.  Leave to cool.

3. Toast the almonds either under a hot grill, in a dry frying pan or for about 5 minutes in the oven if it is on.  Leave to cool.

4.  Line the base of a transparent glass dish with trifle sponge fingers/Boudoir biscuits and soak with the almond liqueur or sherry.

5.  Spoon the plums and their juice into the bowl, distributing evenly and removing the spices and bay leaf as you come across them.

6.  Spoon the cooled custard carefully over the plums, distributing evenly and smoothing carefully.  Try to avoid the dark plum juice ‘bleeding’ through the surface of the custard.

7.  To serve: Whip the cream and spread evenly on top of the custard.  Just before serving sprinkle over the cooled almonds (this way they will retain their crunch) and any other decoration such as dragees or stars.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

When faced with a choice at the French patisserie counter it’s always difficult.  I have already posted a recipe for Tarte au Citron so now, as promised some time ago, here is Tarte aux Poires.  Both are candidates for the title of our favourite, but the jury is still out…  It is a crisp pastry shell filled with cooked pear halves, a delicious soft almondy filling and a top scattered with toasted split almonds and is a relatively straightforward recipe.  Arranging the pears decoratively is not too difficult, just a bit fiddly, but it is worth it for both the positive comments of guests and being able to produce something to keep the family happy!  Another often seen title for Tarte aux Poires is Pear Frangipane Tart, the word frangipane relating to the addition of ground almonds. (More information about this can be found with the recipe for Mincemeat & Almond Delight).  The original recipe I used was called by another relatively common name, Pear Pie Bourdaloue, but the many variations of spelling make the meaning of the name difficult to trace.  Some sources credit a Parisien baker called Coquelin, owner of La Pâtisserie Bourdaloue named after the street in which it stands, who in 1909 baked the first Tarte Bourdaloue aux Poires.  Whatever its origins, however, the numerous recipes for this classic french pear and almond tart all agree with us: it is delicious!

The original version of this recipe Tarte aux Poires comes from the French recipe website Meilleur du chef which is also available translated into English where it is called Cuisine French.  The recipe translation is not perfect – for example it suggests the dish is finished with ‘blond coating’ (nappage blond). This appears to be a product commercially available containing sugar, water and a little apricot flavouring, which gives a slightly sticky finish to the tart.  I substituted a sugar and water glaze, which as far as I can see gives a similar result but is not absolutely necessary.  On many occasions have forgotten to add it or have simply run out of time.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Tarte aux Poires Bourdaloue (Pear Frangipane Tart/Pear Pie Bourdaloue)

Shortcrust Pastry – enough to line a 20cm/8inch flan case
100g butter
100g sugar
100g ground almonds
20g flour
40g whipping cream – single if whipping not available
2 eggs
1 or 2 tins pears (enough to give six halves of roughly equal size)
or
Gently poach three whole sweet pears and cut into six halves, removing the cores.
Split almonds to decorate
Granulated sugar dissolved in a little water to make a light syrup (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4.

2.  Line the flan tin with shortcrust pastry, prick with a fork, fill with dried beans and bake blind for about 10 minutes until the pastry starts to set and colour.  Remove beans and set to one side.

3.  Reduce the oven heat to 150oC/300oF/Gas 2

4.  To make the almond cream filling cream together the butter and sugar until it is pale and thick.

5.  Stir in the ground almonds.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Beat well.

6.  Mix in the cream and flour and then beat well to fully combine.

7.  Spoon this almond cream mixture into the blind baked shell, making sure it is level as possible.

8.  Taking each pear half, carefully cut splits lengthways down each piece leaving each slice joined at the top.  Gently ease each half into a fan shape.

9.  Arrange each piece of pear evenly around the dish, carefully easing out the fan shapes.  Some dishes would allow the six pieces in a circle with the points towards the centre.  If the pears are fat and round in shape there may only be space for five pears in the circle in which case the sixth piece can go in the centre.  Gently fan out the pear pieces before you place them on top of the almond cream mixture taking care not to separate them at the point.

10. If not using the sweet coating: Scatter a small handful of split almonds over the tart.  The quantity is up to you – I like to be reasonably generous.  If you intend to add the sugar coating the split almonds are added at the end just before serving and should have been carefully toasted in the oven or under a hot grill.  They burn very quickly and need to be watched as they toast.  Once toasted remove from the tin onto a cold plate to cool.

11.  Bake the tart in a warm oven for 40 to 50 minutes and remove when the top of the tart is golden. The split almonds should be starting to colour but not burn. The low heat will allow the tart to colour slowly whilst the shortcrust pastry bakes thoroughly. The almond cream will rise a little and gradually brown.

12.  Allow the tart to cool.

13.  Optional coating: Dissolve about 2tsp sugar in a very little boiling water.  Alternatively this can be done in a microwave oven.  Brush over the surface of the finished pie for a slightly sticky finish.

14.  Finish the tart by sprinkling over the roasted split almonds.

15.  Serve with cream, ice cream or crème fraîche – or alternatively just as it is.  It makes a delicious dessert, cooled but not long from the oven and can also be served at tea time.  A really good dessert when entertaining, especially as it can be made a little in advance.

Alternatives:
Can be made as individual tarts containing one pear fan each.
Other fruits are often substituted for the pears: especially apricot, apple, plums and blueberries – near Christmas I often make Mincemeat & Almond Delight which is similar but with a sweet mincemeat based filling
Other ground nuts can be substituted for the almonds. Pistachio is particularly delicious and pale green in colour even when baked.

Read Full Post »

Chinese cuisine, as a rule, is not known for having an extensive dessert repertoire.  I remember one of my first visits to a Chinese restaurant where there was a choice of pineapple or banana fritters, sticky stem ginger with vanilla ice cream or ‘chow chow’, a mixture of candied fruits in ginger syrup.  It is a long time since I have seen any of those on the menu.  Whatever happened to chow chow – can anyone shed any light?  (I mean the dessert of candied fruits in ginger syrup that used to be part of the dessert menu in UK Chinese restaurants 30 or so years ago – not the mixed pickled vegetable or the Chinese dog!)  It was one of my favourites but it has completely disappeared with just one reference to it on the web, also by a puzzled enquirer.  These days mostly there is a selection of ice creams and sorbets that have been bought in ready made: my favourites are the hollowed half coconut shell filled with coconut ice cream or the similar pineapple version.  One other dessert I remember from days gone by is a simple bowl of lychees, probably ready stoned and tinned in syrup. Light and fragrant, lychees are a perfect fruit to end a chinese meal so when I came across this recipe it seemed to fit the bill very well.  This sorbet would also be refreshing served after a spicy curry.

The original recipe for lychee sorbet came from food writer Nigel Slater, published in the food and drink pages of the Guardian Newspaper online.  I used fresh lychees from our market, which are readily available in the Autumn and around Christmas.  Tinned lychees are available as well and Nigel Slater suggests substituting a 400g tin, using both fruit syrup.  The result will be good but the flavour less delicate than if you use fresh lychees.  On the plus side, you will avoid having to peel the fruit, but it is not much of a hardship.   This is a delicious and simple recipe with the lime juice a necessary addition as it cuts through the extreme sweetness of the lychees.  Be sure to liquidise the lychees thoroughly.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Lychee Sorbet
(Serves 4)

500g/1lb 1oz lychees (unpeeled & unstoned weight – see note on using tinned fruit)
100g/30zs sugar, granulated or caster
400ml/14fl ozs water
2 tbsp lime juice
To serve:
250g/8ozs lychees, peeled & stoned

1.  Peel the lychees and count them.  Without removing the stones put them in a pan with the sugar and water.

2.  Add the sugar and water.  Bring to the boil.  Once the liquid is boiling and the sugar has all dissolved, turn off the heat and leave to cool.

3.  When it is cool enough remove the stones from of the fruit and discard them.  Reserve the syrup.

4.  Return the lychee flesh to the syrup and add the lime juice. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

5.  Liquidise in a blender or food processor until smooth.

6.  Pour the mixture into an ice-cream machine and process until it starts to freeze.  Transfer to a box and place in the freezer.  (Alternatively the mixture can be placed straight into the freezer, removed once or twice and stirred well as it starts to freeze, until it has set properly.)

7.  Peel and stone some of the reserved lychees.  Serve alongside scoops of the soft-frozen sorbet.

Read Full Post »

Here in the UK, rice pudding has long been associated with nursery food (blame the Victorians, perhaps), school dinners or, at best, comfort food for the Winter.  When slowly baked in the oven the milk reduces, the rice becomes thick and a brown skin forms on the top.  The flavouring, apart from sugar, comes from a sprinkling of nutmeg and sometimes (rather unusually) a bay leaf.  Safe, but unexciting – and to some people a complete turn off.  Spanish rice pudding, however, is something entirely different and it would be so easy for the uninitiated to miss out on a treat.  Spaniards appear to have a very sweet tooth and love their creamy desserts.  The sweet vanilla custards crema catalana (a version of the French crème brûlée) and flan (similar to crème caramel) are both very popular, as is this very un-British rice pudding.  Flavoured with vanilla, coconut, cinnamon, lemon and orange rind it is served chilled and is a popular sweetener at the end of the meal in restaurants and tapas bars.  This is not a dish for a winter day (or the nursery) but ideal to finish off a summery meal.  My family’s verdict was that this was really delicious so I shall certainly be making it again, especially as it was so easy.  I would definitely serve it as part of a Spanish themed meal, possibly with some fresh fruit.  Caramel oranges would be ideal and in keeping with the Spanish theme.  A Spanish biscuit or small churro as an extra would be a good addition in place of some of the suggested serving toppings.

My starting point for this recipe was a combination of two found online.  The first – my main source – was from The Times Online: Cinnamon Rice Pudding with a few ideas from the Canadian site Lululuathome, although I did not add either the egg or condensed milk suggested in this second recipe.  The first time I used part milk and part coconut milk made from 25g dessicated coconut soaked in 250ml boiling water.  A better alternative, which avoids having to discard the coconut, is to use all milk and add 1oz/25g coconut powder.  Another alternative would be to use a can of coconut milk, which is available in a low fat version, topped up with milk.  I took my quantities from the Times recipe, which is supposed to serve 4-6 but this would give very small portions: I prefer to think of it as for 3-4 people, even though it is rich.  If it was cooked for slightly less time the portions would be larger but a little more runny.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Arroz con Leche
Spanish Style Rice Pudding
(Serves 3-4)

1¾ pints/1 litre milk (whole or half fat)
1 small/medium cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves or a tiny pinch of ground cloves (optional)
Zest strips peeled from a lemon
Zest strips peeled from an orange (plus a few thin zest strips – see below)
4ozs/125g 
short-grain rice (Spanish Calasparra or UK Pudding Rice)
3ozs/100g caster sugar (could reduce a little)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon to serve
A few thin orange zest strips to serve (optional)
A little dessicated coconut (optional)

1.  Remove the zest from the fruit with a potato peeler, making sure no white pith is included.  Put the milk, cinnamon stick and clove (if using) in a saucepan along with the lemon and orange zests.  Bring to the boil then take off the heat and put to one side.

2.  Leave for the flavours to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and throw away the rinds and cinnamon stick.

3.  Return the milk and heat through in the saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and then add the rice.

4.  Cook on a low to medium heat.  Stir the rice and milk regularly for 10 minutes so it does not start to stick or burn.  Add the sugar and vanilla extract.  Continue to cook, stirring regularly for a further 10 minutes.

5.  When the rice mixture has thickened and the grains are cooked (they should be soft when squeezed between a thumb and finger) remove from the heat.

6.  Allow the rice mixture to cool and then chill in the  fridge.

7.  Serve chilled in small dishes dusted with cinnamon and a few strips of orange zest and/or dessicated coconut.

Read Full Post »

So, here we are in a New Year with Christmas over and just a few remnants of festive foods lurking in the fridge and cupboard.  This recipe is one of the best I know for using up the last of the mincemeat, but actually I would happily open a new jar to make this.  There are two recipes for sweet mincemeat on this site.  Most recently I have added a delicious Suet Free Mincemeat which is ideal for this recipe.  There is also Last Minute Mincemeat, a method for augmenting a standard shop bought jar and very helpful if you have just small amount left over from Christmas.  (For a small quantity for each 4tbsp mincemeat add around 3tbsp dried mixed fruit, 1tbsp brandy, 2tbsp orange juice and 4 chopped glace cherries.)  About half a jar full is needed for the recipe, but if it is slightly less don’t worry.  If you are just slightly short of the quantity required, a third and very quick method would be to simply add a scattering of mixed dried fruit.  For the record, another good way of using up leftover sweet mincemeat is in a Candlemas Crumble, which is good at any time, not just on 2nd February!  I served a large (double sized) version of Mincemeat & Almond Delight at this year’s New Year’s Day meal for our extended family as an alternative to a Sherry Berry Jelly Trifle.  Most people ate seconds, coming back for the pudding they had not tried first time round! 

The recipe for Mincemeat & Almond Delight comes from The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook.  It is a shortcrust pastry flan case filled with Mincemeat and sliced banana and covered with an almond mixture similar to that in Bakewell Tart, known as crème d’amande (almond cream).  French Style Pear Tart/Pear Pie Bordalue (Tarte aux Poires), also with crème d’amande, uses a similar method and a recipe will eventually also be posted here.  I am indebted to Clothilde at Chocolate & Zucchini (one of my favourite blogs) in her post  about Galette des Rois (something else I fully intend to make one day!)  She helpfully writes:

“There is a lot of confusion between crème d’amande, and frangipane, so here’s the difference: crème d’amande (almond cream) is a simple mix of butter, sugar, ground almonds, and eggs, more or less in equal parts. Frangipane, on the other hand, is a blend of crème d’amande and crème pâtissière (pastry cream), which is made with eggs, milk, sugar, and flour or cornstarch.” 

So now you – and I – know the difference.  Having written that the filling for this recipe and the Pear Pie Bordalue was Frangipane I now stand corrected and I have amended my words accordingly.  Thanks Clothilde!  The original recipe used a butter rich pastry crust, but I opted for a standard Shortcrust Pastry using my usual method.  I also finished the tart with a sprinkling of split almonds, toasted as the tart baked, which gave a Bakewell Tart appearance.  This recipe can also be made as individual sized tarts for tea time. 

Mincemeat & Almond Delight
(Serves 6)

Shortcrust Pastry to line a 20cm/8inch flan case
50g/2ozs butter
50g/2ozs caster or soft brown sugar
50g/2ozs ground almonds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
a few drops almond essence, extract if you can get it
225g/8ozs mincemeat (about half a jar – see details above)
2 bananas, thinly sliced 
25g/1oz split almonds to finish (optional)

1.  Make the shortcrust pastry (I used 6ozs flour and 3ozs fat). Wrap in plastic and leave in the fridge to chill for at least 30minutes.

2.  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6.   Roll out the pastry and line the greased and floured flan case.   Fill with beans and bake blind for 10minutes.  When cool enough, remove the beans and when cool store for another use.

3.  Reduce the oven heat to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4.

4.  Make the almond cream. Cream the butter and sugar together.  Gradually beat in the egg.  Add the ground almonds and almond essence and mix together well.

5.  Spread the mincemeat evenly into the pastry case and cover with the slices of banana.

6.  Pile the almond cream on top of the banana and spread evenly to the edges of the case.

7.  Sprinkle with almonds and bake for 35-40minutes until golden brown. 

8.  Best served hot or warm, but also good cold.  Serve with custard and/or cream, crème fraîche or soured cream.  If you have leftover brandy butter it can be served with this tart.

Read Full Post »

A few weeks ago we went to a church shared lunch.  I took Le Far Breton which was much enjoyed.  Gwyn, one of the church members took this delicious and refreshing Apple Mousse.  She said it was very simple, so we exchanged recipes.  When she emailed me the instructions Gwyn wrote:

“My recipe was cut out of a magazine many years ago.  As a young keen housewife, I used to find easy good recipes which I cut out of magazines and stuck into an old school exercise book. I still dig it out of the archives occasionally, but it is a bit dilapidated now!  Of course, times have changed, and I sometimes get recipes from the internet now.” 

Actually I confess that I have a file of cut outs from old magazines as well – and also now get recipes from the internet.  I expect we are both not alone.  Gwyn said she got the recipe from a magazine and I discovered I had something that looks identical in my own cuttings file.  In my case the recipe seems to come from a leaflet advertising British apples.  I wonder … it may even be the same source!

This is my own slight variation of Gwyn’s recipe.  Her original used a lemon block type jelly and for a double quantity Gwyn recommended using one lemon and one lime jelly, mainly for the apple-green colouring.  (I suppose two half jellies could be used, reserving the two remaining halves for another occasion.)   I discovered that Hartleys make sachets of Lemon & Lime sugar free jelly and found these to be ideal.  If I make jelly I mostly use sachets rather than blocks.  These need no extra sweetener as they contain a sugar substitute but most block jellies contain sugar so no extra should be needed.  The original recipe does add sugar though we found it unnecessary, however I suppose a little added sugar could be added to suit a very sweet tooth.   It really depends on the tartness of the apples you use so I advise you taste well and add carefully.  Do be generous with the apples and if using windfalls, allow some extra weight to compensate for the unusable parts of the fruit.  I also substituted half fat Elmlea single cream for the full fat double cream of the original.  Serve the apple jelly with blackberries (fresh or from the freezer) mascerated with a little sugar, then lightly cooked and cooled plus some fresh apple slices.  Gwyn also notes that if she is making the mousse for a party or special occasion she decorates it with whipped cream and apple slices, which should be coated well in lemon juice to prevent them from browning.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Apple Mousse
(Serves 4-6)

1lb/454g Bramley Cooking Apples – be generous
3 tbsp/45ml cold water
1 sachet Lemon & Lime sugar free jelly 
   or
1 block Lemon jelly (& 1 block Lime if doubling)
¼ pint/5fl ozs/150ml Elmlea single cream (original recipe used double cream)
(Only if really needed – up to 2oz/60g granulated sugar)

1.  Peel, core and slice the apples.

2.  Cook the apples in the 3 tbsp water until they are soft.  If the apples are very tart then add a little sugar but I found any extra sweetness unnecessary.

3. The apples need to become a smoothish pulp.  I simply used a whisk in the saucepan as the apples were very soft.  The original recipe suggests this is done either by pushing the fruit through a sieve or by blending in a liquidiser. 

4.  Dissolve the jelly in ½ pint boiling water.  (The instructions are usually that the jelly – powder or block type – should be dissolved in 1pint water.)

5.  Leave the apple pulp and jelly until they are cool, but watch that the jelly does not set.  If using double cream then whip until it is just beginning to firm – single cream should not be whipped.

6.  Whisk the apple mixture, jelly and cream together.

7.  Pour into one large bowl or mould or individual dishes.

8.  Leave in refrigerator to set before serving.

Read Full Post »

Having made Crab Apple Jelly my recipe recommended that the remaining pulp in the jelly bag be made into Crab Apple cheese, a thick sweet puree, so never one to be wasteful I gave it a go.   Fruit cheeses can be so thick that they can be turned out with slices cut from them and were a feature of Victorian dinner tables.  Crab Apple cheese was eaten at Christmas time as a dessert, studded with hazelnuts and decorated with whipped cream, alongside a second dark coloured cheese made from Damsons.  As with apple sauce, it can also be served with cold meats.   The instruction was to sieve the apple pulp to remove the peel, cores and seeds.  These had not been removed as they were necessary to give a high pectin content to the jelly.  There was a sizeable amount of pulp but sieving the pulp was very time consuming and in the end I gave up.  I think an old fashioned mouli blender may have been more successful (the sort that used to be used before the advent of liquidisers and food processors.  In the end I opted to remove the pieces of peel, which thankfully were quite large, by hand, taking out any large pieces of core and seeds as well.  Then I used my metal potato masher to turn the whole mixture into a puree. 

The recipe, as with the one for Crab Apple Jelly, was from The Penguin Book of Jams, Pickles & Chutneys by David & Rose Mabey.  The resulting puree was very sweet indeed.  We ate it with pork but we have also found it is equally as good eaten as jam.  I think it would be good spread on slices of bread and made into a Bread & Butter Pudding.  This version is simply apple and sugar, with no other flavourings as recommended by the original recipe which said the wonderful flavour of the apples would speak for themselves. I have seen other versions which are flavoured with cinnamon or ginger.  Would I make this again?  Probably, just because I don’t like to see waste, however I would have to think of a way of making it less time consuming, perhaps by removing the peels, cores and seeds but still cooking them in a small bag within the jelly bag, possibly.  I wonder if anyone reading this has had a similar experience and how they solved the lengthy sieving process?  Your comments and thoughts would be welcomed!

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Crab Apple Cheese

Puree left over from Crab Apple Jelly
Sugar (amount equal to weight of sieved puree)
Straight sided jars, or similar, so that the cheese can be turned out.

1.  After making the Crab Apple Jelly, turn out the puree in the jelly bag and sieve to remove pips and skins.  These are laborious to remove but it is important that they are included in the mixture as they add to the flavour. 

2.  For each 1lb/545g of pulp weigh out 1lb/545g of sugar.

3.  Discard the peels and pips and place the pulp in a saucepan.  Stir in the sugar and cook until it is dissolved.  Cook until very thick. 

4.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

9.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.  The cheese should be kept for several months and may shrink slightly in storage, which is normal.  Serve as a dessert or with cold meats.

Read Full Post »

Although some sources try to connect these pastries with Napoleon I of France, it is more likely that they originated from Naples in Italy with the connection with the Emperor made at a later date.  Mille-feuille a French word is translated literally ‘thousand leaves’, referring to the fine layers of puff pastry.  In the UK  the most common version contains thick cream or custard (and sometimes jam as well) plus a feathered decorative icing, when it is is often given the name Cream, Vanilla or Custard Slice.  Whatever the name this pâtisserie is relatively simple to make, especially as if uses ready made puff pastry (make your own if you wish), with the pastry layers made in advance and the layering done within an hour or so of eating to avoid losing the crispness.  This last stage is rather fiddly and time consuming but well worth the effort and should earn appreciative comments from those you are serving!

This recipe called Napoléons with Lemon Cream and Strawberries was found in a small book from the library: French Desserts by Laura Washburn.  It is a variation on the original plainer versions and containing layers of lemon cream and strawberries.  I felt that the finished Napoléons, whilst delicious, could be rather too acidic in flavour for some people.  Using a sweeter, less acidic, lemon curd mixed with extra cream and well sugared strawberries (rather than unsugared) could go some way to solving this.  In my version of the recipe I have substituted my own lemon curd (still lemony but milder), sugaring the strawberries well to counteract their natural sharpness. Thinking further, it would be interesting to try some more combinations using curd and cream mixtures with fruit: orange curd would go well with apricot and lime curd with stem ginger and both could have added chocolate shavings, for example.  If the curd was omitted and the cream was increased then flower flavourings such as rosewater or orange flower water would be delicious in combination with fruit. Dainty individual servings of just a bite each would make an ideal finger buffet snack or single element of a multi part dessert. There are many possibilities for these Napoléons and I shall definitely be doing some experimenting.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mille-feuilles Napoléon with Lemon Cream & Strawberries
Napoléons au citron et aux fraises
(Makes 10-12 pastries)

500g packet of Puff Pastry (or home made if you wish)
Milk, just a little for brushing
Caster sugar, just a little for sprinkling
2lb/900g strawberries, aproximately
4 or 5 tbsp sugar, depending on sweetness of Strawberries, more if needed
For the lemon cream:
1 jar of lemon curd, home made if possible or good quality
150ml whipping cream, Elmlea half fat if possible
Icing sugar, to dust

1.  Preheat oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6

2.  This step can be done well in advance, leaving just the finishing to be done closer to serving.  Roll the Pastry into a large oblong on a floured board and cut into 15 to 18 equally sized 2 x 4 inch/5 x 10cm rectangles.  Place these, spaced out, on baking trays.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 10-15minutes, or until golden.  Carefully lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

3.  Slice the strawberries into thin layers, sprinkle generously with sugar and leave to one side.

4.  Within an hour or two before eating whip the cream well and thoroughly combine with the lemon curd.

5.  The pastry rectangles must be completely cool before filling.  Slice each carefully in half.  This is easiest with a serrated knife.  The pastries are made in three layers so choose the best looking top pieces and keep to one side.  The remaining pieces, either tops or bottoms, form the other layers.

5.  Layer the Napoléons together.  First put about 2 teaspoons of cream mixture on a bottom layer.  Cover with about 8 strawberry pieces.  Add a second pastry layer (this will be either a bottom or a top of the halved pieces). Follow again with lemon cream and strawberry pieces.  Finally, add one of the selected top pieces as a lid.

6.  Move each Napoléon to a serving dish as it is completed.

7.  Just before serving dust the completed plate of Napoléons generously with icing sugar.

8.  Serve with additional strawberries and extra cream.  Allow 1 or 2 Napoléons per person, depending on size of serving and appetites of diners.

Read Full Post »

The simplest recipes are often the best – I think I may have written this line before …  This dessert is a quickly made citrus flavoured cream, to which fruit pulp can be added, which is then served with or without additional fruit.  It would certainly be worth substituting lemon or orange (possibly tangerine too) for the lime and then partner the mousse with other fruits.  I intend to experiment with this idea and add variations on this page as they arise.  I have already combined lemon and strawberry in another recipe and know that to be a delicious combination.

This first recipe is a variation on the original, Mango Lime Mousse by chef Nick Nairn found on the BBC Food website.  The earthiness of the mango certainly complements the lime beautifully.  Although called Mango Lime Mousse, it was actually a lime mousse served with mango.  When I made it my mango was very soft and I ended up with pulp rather than recognisable pieces.  I decided to combine the fruit with the lime mousse and then to cut up another mango, which was firmer, to serve alongside.  The original recipe called for half a mango: I ended up using two, so the whole mango and lime balance of this recipe has been altered from the original.  This recipe uses half a tub of cream and generously served three people.  For four people it would be necessary to use the whole tub of cream and the proportions of the other ingredients either increased or kept the same, depending on personal preference.  For six people I would add another mango, half as purée and half as cubes or slices. I see no reason why a fruit and cream mixture could not be churned in an ice cream machine (or for those without a machine, semi frozen and then well stirred once or twice to break up the crystals before the final freeze).

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mango & Lime Mousse
(Serves 3)

For the citrus mousse:
150ml/5¼fl oz double cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 lime, zest and juice only 

For a mango & citrus mousse add:
1 mango, pulped or puréed 

To finish the dish:
1 mango, peeled and either cubed or sliced
honey, to drizzle
sprig of mint, to garnish 

1.  Whisk the cream and sugar together in a bowl until thickened. 

2.  Zest and squeeze the lime.  Fold into the cream mixture until well combined. 

3.  Pulp or purée the softest mango (this is a good way to use an over ripe fruit) and whisk into the lime cream.  Place cream mixture in the refrigerator until it is to be served. 

4.  Arrange some cubes or slices of mango in each serving plate or dish. 

5.  Spoon the lime mixture on top, drizzle with honey and decorate with a sprig of mint.

Read Full Post »

Cider ice lollies have always been one of my favourites and invariably my choice from the shop ice cream cabinet.   I was delighted, therefore, to find this recipe.  The sorbet is smooth from the apple puree and soft as the alcohol content stops it from freezing too hard.  We felt that it seemed extra cold even when soft, so it was very cooling and refreshing. 

The recipe comes from my favourite Ice Cream book: Making Ice Creams & Desserts by Joanna Farrow & Sara Lewis. I changed the title from Apple Sorbet to Cider-Apple Sorbet to indicate the inclusion of cider as some may prefer a recipe without alcohol.  The original recipe suggested that the apples were cored but unpeeled but I found removing the pieces of peel rather time consuming.  It may be that there is a nutritional, colour or flavour value from cooking apple peel, so I suggest first removing the apple peel but still cooking it with the fruit.  Peelings can easily be removed from the pan before the apple is pureed.  Originally the apples were cooked in half of the water with the remainder added before freezing, but I simplified this adding all the water at once.  Also, some green food colour was suggested to give a green tint, however I’m not too sure about additives.  Anyway I like the gentle sandy beige/pale cider colour, a similar but much paler version of commercial cider ice lollies.  If you do use colour, the book recommends making the colour just a little darker than you want when finished as Sorbet turns paler as it freezes.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Cider-Apple Sorbet
(Serves 6-8)

500g/1¼lb Granny Smith apples (be generous!)
150g/5ozs sugar
300ml/½pint water
250ml/8fl ozs strong dry Cider
A few drops Green food colouring (optional)
Thin strips of lime rind or (reserved uncooked) apple peel to decorate

1.  Peel and core the apples.  Roughly chop the fruit and place in a saucepan with the peel, but not the cores. 

2.  Add the caster sugar and the water.  Cover and simmer for around 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.

3.  Remove the apple peel and puree the fruit (or push it through a sieve placed over a bowl).

4.  Stir the cider into the apple puree and the boiling water from the apples.  Add a very small amount of green colouring.  Omitting this will produce a soft beige/pale cider colour.  Sorbet goes lighter as it freezes so make the colour just a little darker than you want when finished.

5. Ice Cream maker:
Pour into machine and churn.   When the mixture is slushy transfer to a container and freeze.

6. By hand:
If you do not have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a plastic container and freeze until slushy.  Remove once or twice and whisk to break up the ice crystals.  Return to freezer for at least four hours.

7. To serve:
Defrost in the fridge for about 20minutes before serving. Serve garnished with the lime rind or twists of apple peel reserved from earlier.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: