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Category Archives: Devilish Desserts

Caramelised Banana & Peach Pancakes

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Sugar, butter, a dash of vanilla extract, maybe a little cream?

It’s hard to imagine any fruit on this earth not tasting amazing after being gently cooked until tender and lusciously sweet, glistening in a caramelised glaze.

I chose banana and peach because I was feeling all summery sashaying about the kitchen in my floral summery dress, but almost any fruit, especially stone fruits would go well with this style of dish. Think stewed, cinnamon and clove-scented apples or orange segments (add some brandy if you’re feeling particularly fancy)… Or maybe even nectaries, pineapple or pear?

Sweet fruit, fluffy pancakes, topped with some crunchy walnuts, this recipe is sweet and indulgent.

So if you’re feeling like a particularly naughty start to the weekend or feel like indulging in a sweet dessert after a hard day, but don’t want to feel completely guilty (hey, it has fruit in it, okay!!!), read on.

This recipe serves 2 hungry beasts.

Ingredients

Basic Pancake Mix:

  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

For the fruit:

  • 1 peach, cut into wedges (leave the skin on)
  • 1 banana, peeled and halved
  • 2 tbsp butter (you’re supposed to use unsalted, but I like using salted butter)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A dash of cream, if you so desire (this makes a more smooth, velvety caramel)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds
  • Ice-cream or double cream, to serve

Method

  1. Make the pancakes first. Combine flour, salt, milk, eggs, butter and vanilla extract (if you are using it). Whisk until well combined.
  2. Get your non-stick frying pan started over a low-medium heat. I don’t grease the pan prior to cooking my pancakes, but feel free to if that’s your thing.
  3. Using a soup ladle or some other kind of scoop or measuring cup to ensure consistency (unlike me, who freestyled it and it shows), pour the pancake batter into the pan. When it begins to bubble on top, flip them over gently. Once both sides are golden brown, remove them and set them aside to keep warm while you continue on making more pancakes.
  4. If you’re really good at multitasking, start with the fruit. It doesn’t take very long to cook and can burn really easily so it needs your undivided attention. Over low heat, melt the butter in a non-stick, deep frying pan. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and wait for it to develop a slightly richer, darker colour. Add your peaches and banana and fry for about 2-5 minutes per side, until glossy and the caramel mixture has thickened a little.
  5. If you want to add cream for a more velvety caramel, remove the fruit and then whisk in your cream after turning the pan off.
  6. Stack your pancakes (about 2-3 per serve) and top with caramelised fruit. Drizzle remaining caramel over the fruit and pancakes. Top with toasted nuts. Serve with a dollop of ice-cream or double cream.
  7. Start your diet tomorrow.
 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Beautiful Brekkies, Devilish Desserts

 

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Strawberry & Pistachio Tarts

I hate making pastry. If I can get it from the frozen food section at the supermarket, why would I bother with the mixing, kneading, rolling, blah, blah, blah, right?

But sometimes, you just NEED to make pastry from scratch otherwise the recipe just isn’t the same. This is one of those recipes.

If you are lazy pressed for time, then I’m sure this delectable tart will be pleasantly acceptable with some pre-made frozen shortcrust pastry. But if you want a va-va-voom, toe-curling, eye-rolling explosion in your mouth, make it from scratch. I promise I will never force you to do it again.

I used Ina Garten’s recipe. Ina’s recipe calls for pretty, shelled and halved pistachios. I pounded the crap out of mine in a bag with a rolling pin for a little more texture. Between the sweet berries, crumbly buttery pastry and crunch of the pistachios, this is a great recipe for when you want to impress and worth the extra effort.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cold shortening (recommended: Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
  • 2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/3 cup apricot jelly
  • 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, optional

Method

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2-inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don’t stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  4. Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tarts. Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.

Pastry Cream:

  • 5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cognac
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.
  2. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.
 

Challah French Toast with Blueberry Compote

Lazy weekend breakfasts are my thing.

It took me a while, but I’ve learned to love breakfast. It should be special and I think that people don’t celebrate it enough anymore. It should be the highlight of the weekend, a time to congregate around the table with your loved ones, reflect on the week and unwind while enjoying scrumptious food.

Our Saturday morning breakfast was messy, runny and ever so delish. The Challah was the perfect bread for these thick slices of French Toast- soft yet absorbent, it mopped the cinnamon-scented egg and milk mixture right up and even after the frying process, it was beautiful and soft and melt-in-your-mouth.

 

INGREDIENTS

For the French Toast:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Challah or Brioche loaf, cut into 6-8 thick slices
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the blueberry compote:

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

METHOD

  1. First, get your blueberry compote started. Combine 1 cup of the blueberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the blueberries and cook for 8 minutes more, stirring frequently. Cover and keep warm until you’re ready to serve it over the French Toast.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large, shallow bowl.
  5. Dip each slice of bread into the mixture, ensuring that both sides have soaked up the liquid.
  6. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat and melt a tablespoon of butter.
  7. Cook the bread in batches until both sides are golden. Transfer them to a baking dish and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining slices.
  8. Serve the French Toast with a few spoonfuls of the warm blueberry compote. If you’re feeling extra naughty, a scoop of ice-cream or whipped cream and maple syrup would be perfect too.
 

Chocolate Peppermint Log

This was an old post originally published in August 2010, however I have had a few friends ask me about it so I thought I’d edit the post, put some new more recent pictures with it….and promise to start my diet tomorrow.

The original post continues below.

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When I go out to eat, I always, without hesitation, order the fanciest, most overdone, pretentious, bordering on ridiculous dessert I can find on the menu.

A part of me takes joy in the destruction of such works of delectable art. It’s a power trip of epic proportions. I break the desserts apart, burrow through them with my spoon like I’m digging for long lost treasure and smoosh everything together on the spoon while trying to get a bit of every single flavour into my mouth at once (always attempted in a lady like fashion, of course). That is part of the fun of eating out.

So when I’m home it’s quite the opposite. I don’t have the time, energy or patience for intricate desserts. Rough and dirty baby, that’s how I like ’em. Unlike the awful things I do to the pretty restaurant desserts, mine look ravaged prior to being served up. Cue recipe for the Chocolate Peppermint Log.

I like to think of this one as an Aussie Christmas tradition- someone will undoubtedly bring one to every Christmas lunch. Now, we can turn our noses up at the chocolate biscuit and whipped cream creation and act like we’re way above it all, but deep down, we’d all happily sit down and demolish a slice of this log without hesitation. I’ll keep your secret if you keep mine.

The chocolate peppermint log may not be ostentatious, it may not take half an hour to plate up or present as delicately and intricately as some of the other desserts out there, but it’s flavourful, quick, easy and the kids love to help make it. See, that’s what I’m all about. Bringing the family together. For sugary, chocolately, fat-laden treats. That’s me. I’m going to be a great mother one day….

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of Chocolate Ripple biscuits (plain chocolate biscuits can also be used)
  • 450ml thickened cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 Peppermint Crisp chocolate bar, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 Cadbury Flake chocolate bar, finely chopped (I also use Peppermint Aero instead of Flake)

Method

  1. Combine cream, caster sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Mix with electric beaters on med-high setting until  peaks form and cream is whipped enough to spread with a knife. Add half of the chopped/grated Peppermint Crisp chocolate.
  2. Take a chocolate biscuit and spread thickly with whipped cream. Repeat with a second biscuit. “Glue” the biscuits together and repeat the process, spreading whipped cream on one side of each biscuit and gluing together to form a log shape.
  3. Once you’ve formed the log, take the remaining whipped cream and smother all over the log, covering it generously. You dont want to see any of the biscuits peeking out. Make sure you smooth the cream down the sides and all the way to the bottom.
  4. Sprinkle remaining Peppermint Crisp chocolate down the middle of the log and top with Flake chocolate. Refrigerate for 6 hours.
  5. To serve, slice the cake on a diagonal angle so you can see all the lovely layers of chocolate and cream.
 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Devilish Desserts

 

Brandy Snaps with Orange & Ricotta Cream

I’ve always wanted to make brandy snaps. For years, they’ve been a Christmastime treat, but they always struck me as too difficult, too fiddly, too poncy to make.

So this year I decided I am going to make them myself for next Christmas, but knowing me, I’d need a bit of practice because they just seemed too hard, so I propped myself on the couch and watched an hour of Youtube videos on how to shape them. That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back, but it gave me some confidence to try it!

Mine are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, some were deformed and I struggled a little with consistency, so next time I’ll try to perfect those things, but overall, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be! I recommend you giving it a try if you’ve been reluctant like I was. It totally opened up a new door to me once I did it and I got excited thinking about all the possible future recipes I could create after learning such a simple technique.

For a spin on the traditional whipped cream filling, I chose an orange and ricotta cream- orange and brandy seem to go well together and I chose to halve the whipped cream intake by adding ricotta… I’m not sure if a dietician would approve, but it sounded good in my head. And tasted even better on my lips! MM MMM!

 

INGREDIENTS

For the brandy snaps:

  • 1 stick of salted butter (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup (or molasses)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp brandy or cognac

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice or Cointreau

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. To start on the brandy snaps, place butter, sugar, syrup and brandy in a medium saucepan over low heat; cook and stir until butter is melted. Stir in flour slowly and mix until it’s smooth.
  3. To ensure consistency, use a measuring spoon for 1 tbsp of batter. Drop the batter about 3-4 inches apart on a lined tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.Keep an eye on the oven because everyone’s oven is different and these can go wrong so fast…I should know!
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to touch- about a minute or so. Gently peel the ‘biscuit’ from the tray and quickly wrap it around something with a tubular shape- a fat wooden spoon or cooking utensil, etc. If they get hard and uncooperative, pop them back in the oven for about 10 seconds and they’ll be pliable again.
  5. Allow the biscuit to cool around the mould and then gently remove and set aside.
  6. While the biscuits are cooling, start on the filling. Beat together butter, ricotta, cream, caster sugar, orange zest and orange juice/Cointreau until it’s smooth and glossy and beautiful. You want the cream to be light and fluffy.
  7. Get your piping bag ready! Pipe the filling into cooled brandy snaps just before you’re ready to serve them.
  8. Sit back and enjoy praise from husband while telling him how difficult they are to make and hinting you need a foot massage.
 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Devilish Desserts, Sinful snacks

 

Banana & Coconut Hotcakes

Happy New Year!

Finally, the last of the festivities has passed on by. Routines are back to normal, leftovers in the fridge have dwindled and fruits and veggies that you stockpiled in preparation for the big feasts are either overripe or ready for the bin!

It’s a shame to see produce go to waste and one of my new year’s resolutions is to try not to be so wasteful in the kitchen. So I had some overripe bananas that were facing a death sentence straight into the trash- but they were saved at the eleventh hour by some quick thinking and a sweet tooth.

Summer sure didn’t miss the memo that it’s now January, it showed up bright and early on New Years Day and we’ve been suffering through some scorching heat ever since. So what better way to make the most out of this stinking weather than with some tropical flavours? Pina Coladas are frowned upon at 10am, but I still managed to get my tropical flavour cravings sated with the delightful combination of banana and coconut.

For consistency to ensure they all came out the same size, I used a vintage Margaret Fulton Bessemer pikelet/egg frying pan, handed down to me from my mum (pictured right).

I’m not sure if you can still get them (they have some on eBay, I checked!!), but they’re the best thing since sliced bread and perfect for these sorts of recipes! Pikelets, fritters, eggs, blinis, you name it 🙂

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup SR flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • Melted butter, for greasing

 

METHOD

  1. Place egg, coconut milk, canola oil and maple syrup in a bowl and beat until well combined.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix well until the batter is smoothe and glossy.
  3. Brush the pan with butter and ladle a few tablespoons of batter for each hotcake. Wait about 1 minute, until the mixture has firmed up and isn’t a sloppy, runny mess and then gently lay a few banana slices in the batter (for presentation purposes in future, I would add mashed banana into the batter mix to prevent this).
  4. Cook until golden underneath and then gently flip and cook for a brief period banana-side down  (if you cook them too long, the banana will caramelise and quickly burn).
  5. Serve with maple syrup and a dollop of cream or ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Trifle

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers and subscribers!

I hope you are all sufficiently pot-bellied and relaxed after your delish Christmas lunches and dinners. What was on the menu at your feast?

I had the pleasure of putting on the Christmas feast this year and even though I made a selection of desserts for the family to enjoy, we all were excited about mum’s trifle.

Trifle is of English origin and a great Aussie fave. To the uninitiated , it can be a little frightening at first glance. A right royal mess- layers of booze soaked sponge cake, custard, jelly, cream and fruit. Haven’t you ever heard that sometimes the most unappealing looking food is the tastiest? Well, it’s definitely true in this case!

This dessert is fairly easy to prepare, with basic ingredients. Presentation can be a bit of a challenge, but if you have a pretty bowl and layer everything as neatly as possible, it can look great.

No matter who you talk to, they will all have a different Trifle variation. Do you have a family Trifle variation?

Ours has remained constant throughout the years with only a few tweaks here and there.

Here’s the recipe for my mum’s trifle. Love it or hate it, Trifle combines all my favourite things- custard, cream, fruit, booze and jelly in a layered wonderland of flavours.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Jam Rollette sponge or sponge cake, sliced into 2-3cm pieces
  • 2 cups prepared custard (we make ours from custard powder, the pre-made one in cartons can be a little too sweet, but certainly useable)
  • 1 packet of port wine jelly
  • 1 packet of raspberry jelly (make ahead if possible)
  • 1/2 cup marsala
  • 1 can sliced peaches
  • 2 cups double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 Flake chocolate bar, crumbled
  • 1 punnet strawberries, washed, hulled and halved

 

METHOD

1. Arrange sliced jam roll or sponge in the bottom of a deep glass bowl.

2. Prepare packet of port wine jelly according to directions, stirring to dissolve well. Add marsala and pour over the sponge to soak.

3. Arrange sliced peaches over the sponge.

4. Pour cooled custard over the sliced peaches. Refrigerate until the custard has set.

5. Break up refrigerated raspberry jelly with a fork and layer it on top of the cold custard.

6. The next layer is the cream. It can be whipped or you can use thicker double cream. Stir the icing sugar into the cream and spread it evenly over the jelly.

7. Top with crumbled flake chocolate and sliced strawberries and refrigerate at least 1-2 hours before serving.

 

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Devilish Desserts

 
 
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