Jan 31, 2011

Blueberry sorbet

Blueberry sorbet

1-1/4 cups water
1 / 2 cup sugar
3 cups frozen blueberries
juice of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons Creme de Cassis or Limoncello.

Dissolve sugar in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool, then add lemon juice and liqueur.

Put the blueberries and sugar syrup to the blender and process until smooth. For the smooth consistency put the mixture through a strainer.

Put the mixture into a deep dish and freeze, whisking with a fork every 20 minutes. Or use the ice-cream machine according to instructions. Transfer sorbet to a container you plan to store it in (or simply cover the bowl you've frozen it in) and freeze.

Blueberry sorbet

Decorate with berries and mint if desired and serve immediately. It melts so quickly!

Jan 27, 2011

Poached Cherry Zuccotto

cherry zucotto

Zuccotto is a traditional Italian desert with origins in Florence. Some say the cupola shape was inspired by the Duomo in Florence, Italy; others speculate that zuccotto is a play on zucca, which is the Italian word for pumpkin. Zuccotto is a wonderful dessert for a festive occasion. Make it up to three days in advance – it improves with time. It's not too sweet inside and I like it, but if you like it sweet feel free to add  more sugar. Also, I recommend to add a little bit of pink food colouring into the central part of the filling.


4 medium eggs
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
100g flour
30g cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
25g butter, melted
500g cherries, stones removed
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1 orange
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur or brandy
200g ricotta
4 tablespoons icing sugar
¼ cup finely chopped candied orange peel
300ml double cream
food colouring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter a 30cm x 20cm Swiss roll tin and a 20 cm round tin, then line the base with baking paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt until thick and pale. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together over the mixture and gently fold in then fold in the butter. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 15 minutes. Turn out and cool on a rack.

Put the cherries in a saucepan with the sugar and orange juice. Cover and simmer over a very low heat for 10 minutes until tender. Strain the cherries and set aside, reserving the juice. When the juice is cool, add 2 tablespoons of the Grand Marnier and set aside.

Line a 6-7 cup pudding basin or bowl with plenty of plastic wrap. Cut the sponge into long triangular pieces and use to line the inside of the basin. Moisten the sponge, including the piece for the top, with the reserved cherry juice.

Place the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of the icing sugar and the remaining tablespoon of Grand Marnier in a bowl and beat until smooth. Fold in the orange peel and half the poached cherries. Whisk the cream to just beyond soft peaks (it should be firm but not overwhipped). Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the ricotta mixture and fold in gently. Spread this mixture over the sponge.

Place the remaining cherries, food colouring and icing sugar in a food processor and blend to a purée. Place the cherry purée in a bowl and fold in the remaining whipped cream. Fill the centre of the sponge with this mixture. Place the remaining piece of sponge on the top then cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 3 days.

Turn out on to a plate to serve.

Serves 8-10

Poached cherry zucotto

Jan 15, 2011

Three milk cake with pomegranate & pistachio

Beautiful and light cake with fantastic marshmallow topping and bright crystals of  pomegranate & pistachio. Perfect treat for summer time. Yes, it's a summer here in New Zealand. 
Start with recipe at least 1 day ahead. This is an original recipe from Cuisine magazine, but I usually divide the cake dough between two equal tins to make a two not too high cakes. Also I like to double the marshmallow topping.

For the cake:
225 gr flour,
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 large eggs, separated
225 gr caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup full-cream milk

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a 21x21 loaf or cake tin and line with baking paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk to firm peaks with a mixer. While still whisking, gradually add the sugar.
Turn the motor to the lowest speed and whisk in the egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice.
Fold in the flour mix and the milk. Spoon into the tin and bake for 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

For the three milks
200 ml condenced milk
150 ml cream
150 ml full-cream milk

Combine all the ingredients in a jug. Turn the baked cake on to a wire rack and cool for about 10 minutes. Cut off the dark sides and discard. Place the cake in a dish slightly bigger than the cake and poke holes in the top with a skewer. Pour half oh the milk mix over, reserving the remainder. Cool overnight to soak up the milks.

For the marshmallow topping:
2 egg whites,
125 gr caster sugar,
1 tsp lemon juice,
1/2 tsp rose water,
2 sheets leaf gelatine (or 1,5 teaspoons powdered)
125 ml boiling water

Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks then gradually whisk in the sugar and finally the lemon juice and rose water. Soak the leaf gelatine in a dish of cold water for 2 minutes. Squeeze out the excess moisture then dissolve the gelatine (or add powdered here) in the boiling water. Slowly pour the gelatine into the agg mixture while whisking. Continue whisking until the mix is cool and firm (about 8 minutes).
Pile the marshmallow mixture on top of the cake. It doesn't matter if the sides are uneven as you can tide these up after it has set. Chill for at least 1 hour or for up to a day.

To serve:
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds,
1/2 cup pistachios, lightly roasted and chopped.

Remove the cake from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Using a knife dipped in hot water, tidy up the sides oh the marshmallow if desired then cut the cake into 6-8 pieces. Place each in a bowl and pour a little extra three-milk mix. Sprinkle with pomegranate and pistachios.


Jan 13, 2011

Simple & delicious: Figs, goats cheese & honey

Recently, I was really surprised, when I found a few ripe figs in our garden. That's a quite unusual for this time, but what a pleasure to enjoy this simple light salad for lunch!

So, there's no recipe, just a couple figs drizzled with liquid honey and 3-4 tablespoons of fresh goats cheese on top of it. So simple, so good!

I'm desperately waiting for rest of our fig harvest. So many ideas in my head.

Jan 11, 2011

Banana and chocolate cakes with creamy banana frosting

Banana and chocolate cakes:
2 very ripe bananas,
2 eggs,
180 gr flour,
70 gr fine coconut,
50 ml vegetable oil (I used grape seed oil)
4 tbsp sour cream or buttermilk,
100 gr brown sugar,
pinch of salt,
1 tsp baking powder,
2 tbsp banana liqueur (orange liqueur or use a few drops of banana essence),
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.

Preheat oven to 200C

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and coconut.

Mash bananas with a potato masher, add sour cream and liqueur, stir well and set aside.

Beat eggs with sugar until fluffy, add oil and beat again. Add egg mixture to bananas, stir until combined, then add flour and stir.

Put 1/3 of the dough in a different bowl, add cocoa powder, stir.

Spoon the mixture into medium greased muffin pans leaving space for chocolate mixture. Spoon the chocolate mixture in the centre of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Creamy banana frosting
80 gr cream cheese at room temperature,
150 ml cream,
3 tbsp brown sugar,
3 tbsp instant banana pudding,
2 tbsp banana liqueur,
few drops of yellow food colouring (optional).

Beat cream cheese with sugar until fluffy, add cream and pudding, beat until soft peaks, then add liqueur and food coloring.

Use frosting to decorate completely cooled cakes.

Jan 8, 2011

Almond and blueberry cookies

100 g butter, softened
1 egg
100 ml sugar
100 ml  almond flour
200 ml flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp grated lemon zest
few drops of almond extract or 1 tbsp amaretto
100 ml dried blueberries
pinch of salt

Cream together butter, sugar, zest and almond extract. Then incorporate the egg, followed by almond flour and flour with baking powder and pinch of salt. When the dough is done, gently mix in the blueberries.

Roll the dough into a log, wrap up in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or freeze.

Slice the dough into slices about 1/8" thick and place them on the sheets about an inch apart.

Bake in a pre-heated oven (175°C/350°F) for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden.
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