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    Entries in Australia (53)

    Thursday
    Jan112018

    Golden Gaytime "The Crumbs"

                                        golden gaytime "the crumbs'

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    'It's hard to have a Gaytime on your own' 

    Streets ice-cream advertising slogan

    First released in 1959 a Golden Gaytime is an ice-cream centre, choc dipped and biscuit crumbed on a stick.

    The flavour most identifiable with a Golden Gaytime is toffee and vanilla, although it was originally Strawberry Shortcake, Cassata Roma (I would have like to try that one!), Raspberry Rough and Turkish Delight before the 1970's saw the Golden Gaytime actually become a bit more golden with it's now iconic toffee/vanilla combo. 

    Now days it's available in what most of think as original toffee/vanilla, on sticks, in tubs and as an ice-cream sandwich. Plus new flavours like Pina Colada, Choc Mint, Cappucino and Unicorn. 

    And now for the "crumbs" the smart marketing department at Streets released limited edition tins of the crumbs that coat the ice-cream. Yep, a tin of crumbs. 

    Open the tin and as expected "crumbs". Guess what I put in the Christmas stocking this year along with the *limited release vegemite! 

    For Aussies this is the taste of Golden Gaytime, especially when you pair it with vanilla, toffee and a bit of milk chocolate. 

    Think choc dipping cubes of toffee swirled vanilla cheesecake and topping with the crumbs, invent a cocktail and toffee dip the rim of a cocktail glass and dip into the crumbs, swirl toffee into vanilla yogurt and sprinkle on the crumbs... few choc flakes too if you are starting the New Year living dangerously. 

    Any patisserie application where you would use Paillete Feuilletine flakes for crunch. 

    My first try using them was coating the inside of a choux buns with milk chocolate, a scoop of store bought vanilla ice-cream and a good drizzle of toffee with the crumbs on top. 

    I scrapped my usual toffee sauce, I love it but it belongs in a sticky date pud not summery ice-cream. Ended up going with a butterscotch sauce from Taste where I used golden syrup replace some of the sugar. It's a quickie to avoid hot days in kitchen over summer.

    Butterscotch... moving towards toffee sauce. 

    Ingredients

    2/3 cups of pouring cream

    1/2 cup of packed brown sugar

    1/4 cup of golden syrup (it can be maple or honey... each adds a hint of that flavour)

    2 1/2 tablespoons of cubed butter

    2 teaspoons of vanilla 

    Method

    Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes until well combined.

    Watch for toffee rising up in pot, don't be tempted to multi task you don't want the toffee covered stove. Keep stirring to prevent catching. 

    Increase heat and bring to boil, once boiling reduce heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring often until sauce thickens slightly. Takes about 5 minutes. 

    Once cooked the bubbles subside and you have your sauce.

    Set aside to cool for a couple of hours. Serve at room temperature... swirling it over your creation... top with crumbs. 

     

    This sauce keeps in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week or so. It does set firmer in fridge so bring to room temperature before serving.

    *the tins of crumbs were a limited Christmas release... if you missed out try the end of this year or give Streets a call and see if a bakery near you can supply you with any from a bulk lot. 

    Happy Baking :) 

    Friday
    Dec292017

    Posh Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls

                     posh vegemite and cheese scrolls

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    "Buying bread from a man in Brussels
    He was six foot four and full of muscle
    I said, "Do you speak my language?"
    He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich"

     Land Down Under Colin Hay and Ron Strykert


    We love vegemite in Australia, in all it's black, tarry and salty glory... so when a special edition 'Blend 17' was released this Christmas I not only bought a jar of it for myself, it became the stocking filler of the year. 

     

    From Port Melbourne in my home state 'Blend 17' and the beloved yellow and red standard spread.

    Vegemite even has it's own street 

    I'm baking todays scrolls as snacks for the summer cricket season here, no not Jiminy but rather the game with bat, ball and stumps. 

     

    It's these guys... plus others that look the same as these guys. 

    The Guardian:  Steve Smith goes through for a run during a Tom Curran over on day four at the MCG. Photograph: Jason O'Brien/PA 

    It's the fourth day of the fourth test today, it's pouring with rain and they have probably stopped play, maybe they have gone to bed. That's it for all my cricket knowledge except for the "being Australian" comes with compulsory (forced, against your will or at least mine) playing of said game at family get togethers. 

    Time for the little bit posh (or at least the vegemite is) scrolls that pair perfectly with beer to eat during the cricket or anytime you are craving a salty hit.

    I've used a little wholemeal *spelt for extra flavour and differentiate from the bakery bought varieties here. 

    Posh Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls (more commonly known as cheesymite scrolls)

    Ingredients 

     2 tsp instant yeast (7g sachet)

    280ml of luke warm water (that's barely warm guys)

    1 medium egg (room temperature and lightly beaten to break up yolk/white)

    350g white bread flour

    100g wholemeal spelt four

    25g of caster sugar (superfine)

    1/2 tsp salt

    50g unsalted butter melted and cooled

    Oil for covering rising dough

    1 cup of *grated mature cheddar

    optional extra 2/3 cup of grated cheese for the tops

    1 and 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of *vegemite Blend 17 (some recipes on net use FIVE tablespoons of vegemite... much stronger Australians than I am!!) 

    Method

    preheat oven to 220cel or 200cel fan-forced

    Line two baking trays with non stick baking paper if making separate buns or line one tray if making pull apart buns. 

    Place the white bread flour, spelt flour, instant yeast and sugar in a bowl. 

    Whisk lightly to combine and then add salt, whisk again and then attach bowl to stand mixer...I'm using an electric mixer with dough hook attached to do the work, you can make by hand if preferred. With the mixer on low add the warm water slowly, then the beaten egg, then add the melted butter. You are just mixing to the rough dough stage, it will look like this.

    Cover the bowl loosely and leave for 10 minutes, after ten minutes turn the mixer back on low (never over 2 on KitcheAid) and continue to knead for 7 minutes on 2 or until you have smooth ball of dough. Remove bowl from mixer and lightly oil the ball of dough keeping it in the bowl. Cover and leave until risen by half. 

    With oiled hands punch the dough down and bring together in the bowl before turning out on lightly floured surface.

    Roll out to approx 42cm x 30 cm, spread on Vegemite leaving a the border free. The first thing I noticed about the Blend 17 Vegemite was that it is more spreadable, perfect for spreading on raw bread dough with hardly any pull.  I used 2 tablespoons of vegemite. Yep, it's not the most attractive stuff.

    Sprinkle on one cup of cheese.

    Roll up dough tightly to produce a large scroll, cut slices ... I cut mine fairly thin around 2cm but you can go up to three for larger scrolls.

    Most people will put them close together on tray and they will join together for a pull apart tray of scrolls... you can do that if you prefer, I wanted smaller separated scrolls so put them on two trays well spaced apart. For final rise lightly cover and put aside somewhere warm to they are doubled in size. 

    here a third through the final rise

    Ok here comes the optional cheese choice ... you can take the scrolls out of the oven and 3-4 minutes before they have finished baking and add grated cheese. Cons: it covers the scroll pattern Pros: you can acutally taste the cheese, otherwise the vegemite has overwhelmed the flavour. 

    Bake for around 15 minutes for two or one tray... check then if golden brown and cooked... if using two trays you may have to swap trays around for the last few minutes. 

    Eat warm the same day. 

    The 2 tsp's of yeast ensures a no fail light interior texture. 

     

    Vegemite ownership was returned to Australia this year after Bega purchased the Vegemite brand from international giant Mondelez. Grated cheese in scrolls is a *strong vintage Bega cheddar. 

    I couldn't fit all the vegemite recipes today so there will be sweet and a Japanese inspired savoury in months to come... but first another Australian odd thing coming up soon that is sweet with a sauce everyone can use. 

    Happy Baking :)

    *marmite, standard vegemite or other similar yeast extract can be used. 

    *substitute 50% reduced fat vintage cheddar if preferred. 

    *you can substitute plain wholemeal (whole wheat) flour for wholemeal spelt. 

    Sunday
    Dec182016

    Perfect Christmas Stollen - ABC

    Carrots for the reindeer, a shot of rum and "Perfect Christmas" Stollen for Santa. 

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    Baking along with a talented group of bakers that are a part of ABC (Avid Baker's Challenge), this month 'Perfect Christmas' Stollen. 

    This is gorgeous, the stollen that is... moist, light and aromatic, a far cry from the one you pop in your trolley at the supermarket each year.

    Starting with making the "sweetener" a mixture of sugar, lemon and orange zest that along with homemade marzipan can be made many weeks ahead if desired. 

    The marizpan is simply ground white almonds, sugar and lemon zest mixed with water.

    Dried fruit is soaked, then drained. I used hot water with a splash of rum to soak mine.

    The dough starts by making almost a sponge, an enriched starter of half the flour, yeast, egg yolk and warm milk. *Link to full recipe and the end of post.

    After 30 minutes, the other half of the flour, salt, prepared sweetener and softened butter are added. The KitchenAid does it's thing now and kneads the dough for 5-7 minutes (or 10 to 15 by hand) until you have a soft and supple dough. 

    The lovely Hanaâ from Hanaâ's Kitchen recommended the following you tube video on how to easily incorporate the fruit into your dough. The video is in Dutch, fast forward to the 1.15 point to watch the fruit being rolled in... and it works!!

    Starting to fold and roll the fruit into the dough. 

    Sprinkling the last of the fruit to be rolled into the dough. 

    The the dough is rolled into a ball and allowed to rest, covered and in a warm spot for 20 minutes. 

    After that the ball is shaped into a loaf and you guessed it, loosely covered, put in a warm spot and rests for 20 minutes.

    Now you add some egg (and butter if you wish) to your marzipan, your marzipan is then rolled into a sausage shape.

    Your loaf shape is now rolled and the sausage of marzipan lain down the center, fold, press to seal and bake.

    Once out of the oven you can brush the baked stollen with melted butter and sift over some icing sugar. I used snow sugar which is great for when you are shipping sugared baked goods or just need the presentation sugar to last without having to go into sweet over kill sugaring the top again.

    The Avid Bakers Group (ABC) is using the recipes from Weekend Bakery... here is the *link to the full stollen recipe.

    Happy Baking :)

    Want to know more about snow sugar and white sugars? I write about them here.

    Or feeling more like gingerbread custard ice-cream?

    Friday
    Dec092016

    Rich and Creamy Ginger Scones: Rose's Bread Bible Bakers

    Rich and Creamy Ginger Scones 'The Bread Bible'

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    Scones. Ginger Scones. Rich and Creamy Ginger Scones!! 

    These little suckers live up to their name, they are "rich and creamy" and certainly ginger-y with ginger coming from two forms "ground and candied".

    Australia has a history of ginger farming/production, dating back to pre world war one.

    early photo of ginger cutters working for Buderim -Queensland Australia

    I love Australian Buderim candied ginger in all it's forms.

    I used the middle one today, glace ginger for the 'Rich and Creamy Ginger Scones'.

    You needed super cold cubed butter and chilled cream whipped to soft peaks to start today's scones.

    cubed butter ready to go into the freezer to chill

    Flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, turbinado sugar, lemon zest are whizzed together in a food processor before the cold butter is added for another whizz until the mixture resembles fine meal. 

    The flour mixture is tipped in a bowl, where you add the chopped ginger pieces, make a well and add the whipped cream.  The resulting dough is briefly kneaded and chilled before cutting.

    Ahhh I here comes the Australian bit, I just don't understand the trianglular shape of American scones so I'm going "British" and I cut small round ones instead of triangles. 

    I froze my rounds at this point because I had to have perfect "round" shapes ha ha. The little pieces of chilled butter in the dough will result in the light, short and melt in the mouth quality of the finished scones. 

    I didn't put extra sugar on top of the scones before baking as I was going to be serving with peach fruit preserve. 

    Scones are baked in a hot oven until evenly browned but still soft and moist inside. They are the first scones I've eaten that literally melt in your mouth they are so tender. I love the flavour of these, even though they a bit on the "too rich" side for me I can imagine them being popular for a brunch or afternoon tea served with plenty of black tea and lemon. 

    Today has been one of the 'Rose's Bread Bible Bakers' bakes where a group of fabulous bakers get together and bake from the pages of 'The Bread Bible'.

    The Bread Bibleby Rose Levy Beranbaum is available from Amazon and all discerning book stores. 

    Happy Baking :)

    You might also be interested in Aunty Clare's chocolate frog grog.  

    Saturday
    Mar052016

    No Bake Speculoos Tarts 

                                                 no bake speculoos (biscoff) tarts

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    What are Speculoos? A lightly spiced caramelised biscuit (cookie). You can buy them in biscuit form or as a jarred cookie paste (butter). I'm using the popular Lotus brand speculoos/biscoff paste and biscuits from Belgium in these no bake "pantry ingredients" tarts. 

     

    'Speculoos' in Flemish and 'Biscoff' in English

    The world is in love with cookie butters. Available in smooth or crunchy, spread on bread straight from the jar it looks like peanut butter but tastes... umm, well like "squooshed up cookies". 

    Lets get started, today I've used four 11 cm x 6 cm (4.5 inches x 2.5 inches) individual tart tins. You could also use 8 smaller tart tins. The recipe is easily doubled so if your loving your cookie butter go for it!! 

    Little tart tins; a gift from Ireland .. thank you Emer, I love them!!  

     

    Ingredients

    1 packet (124 grams) Biscoff/Speculoos biscuits 

    62 grams (2.18 oz) unsalted butter melted

    80 grams (2.82 oz) chopped dark chocolate

    8 tsps of homemade or store bought dulce de leche or thick caramel sauce

    500 ml (16.90 oz) whipping cream

    400 g jar of Speculoo/Biscoff cookie paste

    Biscoff biscuits (cookies) in Australia come in 124 gram packets. 

    A basic crumb crust for cheesecakes and desserts is half the ratio of melted butter to biscuit crumbs.

    So for 124 grams of biscuit crumbs I used 62 grams of butter.

     

    Method 

    Crush the biscuits, by either pulsing in a food processor or popping in a zip lock bag and bashing with a rolling pin. Place the crushed biscuits in a medium mixing bowl. 

    Melt the butter. Make a well in the biscuit crumbs and *quickly mix together with a wooden spoon.

    Divide mixture between the tart tins you have chosen and press firmly with your finger tips or small spoon. covering the bases and sides. Chill for 20 minutes.

    Melt your chopped chocolate. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon coat the inside of the shells with melted chocolate. Chill until chocolate sets. 

    Spread two teaspoons of caramel per tart tin (one teaspoon each if using eight smaller tins). Refrigerate whilst you prepare filling.

    To make the filling put the whipping cream and speculoos/biscoff paste into a bowl.

    Whip (briefly) to combine. You are just "combining" it is literally seconds not minutes, your mixture will thicken almost immediately. Do not over beat you don't want your mixture to split. 

    Pipe or plonk. Probably best suited to plonking more than piping, but you can pipe if desired. If you are plonking, spread a generous amount of filling in each tart shell and either swirl or lift up soft peaks with a small flat knife. If piping, you get a soft "almost hold" finish.  Pop them in the fridge for a final chill.

    Either way you will have some leftover filling, this can be enjoyed from small dessert glasses with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel, chocolate decorations.... oh and cookies for dipping if you bought extra.  

    Unmould your chilled tarts ready for serving.  Top with a dark chocolate decorations if desired. 

    *Notes: all biscuit (cookie) crumb bases are much easier to press into tins if used quickly whilst the mixture is still warm from the butter. If your room is cold or you were called away briefly you can find it more difficult to get a neat finish. A quick microwave on low for a few seconds will make the mixture easier to work with again. 

    In Australia Biscoff biscuits are available from Coles supermarkets for under $2 a pack. Speculoos (Biscoff) butter is available from Dutch Grocery stores in Australia including "It's all Dutch to me"   "Dutchfood" online and Continental Delicatessens.

    Want to swirl up your own Biscoff Spread? Jamieanne at the Sweetest Kitchen does exactly that swirls up her own out of the biscuits, coconut milk and more. Find her here.   Go a step further and bake your own Speculaas, Martha Stewarts recipe here

    Happy Baking or No Baking :) 

    Tuesday
    Jun302015

    Sugar, Sugar … White Sugar Chart

                                   Love bite 'The Simpsons' cupcake

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    Years have gone by since I last saw an episode of 'The Simpsons', yet I nevertheless felt a sense of melancholia at the news Season 27 will see Marge and Homer legally separate... but hopefully it won't be for long. 

    Homer made me think of donuts, donuts made me think of icing and icing made me think of white sugar... so here we are a white sugar chart.

    1. White sugar (granulated) 2. Caster/Castor (superfine) 3. Pure icing sugar (pure confectioners sugar) 4. Icing sugar mixture (confectioners sugar with corn starch) 5. Pearl sugar (sugar nibs, hail sugar) 6. Snow sugar (snow powder) 7. &  8. Sanding sugar 

    1. White sugar (granulated), the most commonly used and versatile sugar of the bunch and in a pinch you can process granulated sugar into caster or icing sugar. White granulated is the sugar that you will use in much of your cake baking. With an approximate granule size of 0.5mm (0.19 inch) white sugar is the perfect size to aerate you cake batters. Use it to make toffee/pulled sugar work, caramel, cookies, confectionary and to sweeten your latte when you have decorating fatigue! 

    white sugar is used to make dropped sugar work (how to make toffee toppers here

    2. Caster sugar (superfine), is a used extensively in UK, Australian, New Zealand baking. With an approximate granule size of 0.35 (0.13 inch) it's what you use when you need your sugar to dissolve quickly, don't want to develop a sugar crust or need to dissolve in a cold liquid such as cocktails or punch. Using caster sugar in pavlovas will prevent the weeping that can occur with undissolved sugar crystals. 

    caster sugar is used in the blackberry bash meringue (recipe here)

    3. Pure icing sugar (pure confectioners sugar). I use this the most in cake decorating, it's what I use to make my icings, for dusting, piping and for rolling fondant out on. Pure icing sugar is granulated white sugar ground to a powder, it has no additives so is perfect for royal icing work, and sets to a firm finish when making a heated glace icing. It is however "lumpy" without the additives to separate the tiny granules and will always need to be sifted.

    glace icing like I used today in the Love bite cupcake and this raspberry cupcake (recipe here)

    4. Icing sugar mixture (confectioners sugar). Hate sifting or have young cake decorating kids? This is the icing mixture for you with no lumps, fuss or need for sifting. Soft icing sugar mixture is comprised of 96% cane sugar and 4% tapioca or maize starch in Australia. You cannot use icing sugar mixture for royal icing work as the starches can develop mould. The starches also inhibit "setting" that you get with heated pure icing sugar. 

    pure icing sugar and soft icing mixture

    5. Pearl sugar (nibs, hail sugar), is a popular European sugar. Pearl sugar is resistant to melting so you will see it used topping brioches, choquettes and yeasted buns. My step son Daniel and I love this sugar for it's crunch and the touch of sweetness that it adds without being overly sweet. 

    6. Snow sugar (snow powder, everlasting sugar). Another popular European sugar, snow sugar is the sugar you use at Christmas for your stollens, snowy Christmas cookies and the like. Shipping your aunt a batch of cookies? snow sugar will ensure they will be as white and snowy as when you packed them. Perfect for stencilling too as your pattern won't disappear. Ingredients in snow sugar differ a little brand to brand, the one I use has a little cornstarch, dextrose and vegetable fat added to pure icing sugar.  It has a less sweet mouth feel than icing sugar alone. 


    pearl sugar used in recent brioche post 

    snow sugar is perfect for Christmas stollens and stencilled sugar designs

    7. and 8. Sanding sugar, coarse white sugar available in different grades. With a sparkly finish, sanding sugar is used for decorating cakes, cookies and sprinkled on raw shortbreads/butter cookies before baking. Sanding sugar comes in a wide range of colours to suit any occassion including Halloween!! 

    black sanding sugar glistens on Halloween cupcake

    Happy Baking :)  

    Monday
    Jun292015

    Praline Pecan Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches Rose's Alpha Bakers

    Praline Pecan Meringue Ice Cream Sandwich 'The Baking Bible'

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    A quick, easy and gluten free go to ice cream sandwich biscuit (cookie) today. 

    I've made brown sugar meringues and meringue ice cream sandwiches before, but it's the combo of brown muscovado sugar and toasted pecans in these cookies that instantly turns a scoop of ice cream into a portable ice cream sundae.

    The recipe called for light muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar, my local Woolies had light and dark muscovado on special this week... and I thought I got one of each, but nah I grabbed two dark muscovado's by mistake so dark it is.  

    If you haven't used muscovado before, it has a wonderful aroma and unique treacle-y flavour that is unmatched in the world of sugars. 

    Start by toasting your pecans, then leave half whole and chop the rest into small pieces.

    Muscovado sugar and egg whites are whipped until thick and light, the cooled pecans are folded in. I divided the mixture as this stage and added choc chips to one half... just because, well "chocolate" hello!  

    Scoops are put on your lined baking tray and gently shaped to discs with a spatula. 

    Baked, cooled and filled with your favourite ice cream flavour, home made or store bought. Rose includes a recipe for 'Rose Blend Ganache Piping Glaze' for topping the ice cream sandwiches, a lovely white/dark ganache mixture that I didn't pipe I more did the "strewn" thing... delicious either way.  

    Think of pairing the biscuits with salted caramel ice cream, bourbon banana for a banana foster ice cream sandwich, chocolate (of course), burnt caramel fig ice cream, coffee (not the sweet Vietnamese coffee type, but rather an Italian espresso type to counter cookie sweetness) or just a scoop of classic vanilla. 

    The meringue mix can also be baked as cookies, just bake in scooped shape for chubby, light and crisp with squidgy centres.  

    Would I bake again? A definite yes!! Loved these cookies, with only three ingredients (or four if you add chocolate) we all need a quick pantry staple cookie. Fabulous they are gluten free.

    Would I change anything? Umm, if I added chocolate I would use a darker higher cocoa ratio variety to play against the sweetness... otherwise no.  

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    Happy Baking :)

    The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum is available from Amazon and where all good books are sold. 

    And for something totally different...  Squid ink grisini recipe.  

    Sunday
    Feb012015

    Brûlée crusted Fig cupcake 

    Brûlée crusted Fig cupcake 

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    Fresh fruit brulee crust ... yummm!

    Not too exciting if you are located in the UK but for Australian's "Yay" a range of Billingtons Sugar is available from Woolworths (at least in Victoria). The range includes the much coveted muscovado and golden caster sugar. 

    Now you can bake cake, desserts and the like from your Nigella, Jamie, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood books without substituting ingredients. Plus the golden caster sugar makes for a fabulous brûlée crust when sprinkled on cut fresh fruit and given a quick torch. 

    Sprinkling cut fruit with *golden caster sugar and "torching" makes for a quick dessert cupcake topper.

    Whether from a kitchenware store or the hardware shop, mini blow torches make quick work of melting sugar into a caramel crust.

    Very ripe fruits only hold the brûlée for a few minutes before they start to dissolve into a lovely caramelly drizzle... perfect topper for dessert cupcakes, cheesecake or even a pavlova. My stepson (when he was old enough to wield a torch) loved making brûlée crusted banana slices to serve with vanilla ice-cream. Brûlée fruit is wickedly good on cornflakes, your porridge or morning yoghurt. 

    Today I used fresh figs, but halves of small ripe plums, or apricots, wedges of fresh peach, banana slices, orange segments and the like make a fab quick dessert. Cupcake bases that work well include almond sponge, vanilla sponge or butter cake, spiced and nut flour cakes. Ummm, something creamy for the topping is good, whipped cream, cream fraiche, a yoghurt whipped cream combo or perhaps your favourite butter cream. 

    Have your cupcakes ready and just before serving lay you pieces of fruit cut side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with golden caster sugar, liberally (but don't go crazy!!). Light your torch, pass the flame over the sugared fruit pieces (almost like spray painting, even sweeps) holding the tip of your torch 7-8 cm (around 3 inches) away from the sugar. You sugar will start to bubble and caramelise. All done,  just wait a few minutes before handling, sugar drips burn! Enjoy. 

    Happy Baking :)

    * can't get golden caster sugar? raw or white caster sugar work well or just plain white sugar in a pinch.  

    Ready to stretch your sugar skills? How about a toffee dipped hazelnuts or banana chips how to...

    Want to know more about brown sugar? Updated chart here 

    Friday
    Nov012013

    Heston Mince Pies with Pine Sugar review

                   pack of six Heston mince pies with pine sugar

    Heston Blumenthal, is an English celebrity chef and owner of The Fat Duck, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the UK. Heston has written many cookery books, appeared in many TV cookery shows including regular appearances on MasterChef Australia. 'Heston' is a ready made range of food produced for Waitrose an upmarket range of British supermarkets .

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    Oh, I missed out on these pies last Christmas so I was excited to see them in the local supermarket today. Straight home to open the pack and popped them into the oven to warm. Ahhh, tragic I know that I'm excited about fruit mince pies but I do love Heston Blumenthal, the theatre, the magic, the great food. 

    Lets start with the pastry on these little fruit mince pies, puff pastry replaces the regular short crust. Now being a lady (I am so!!), my first bite contained pastry, just pastry. It's not particularly buttery, it is umm, nice and "puffy" ;) Back to the "being a lady" your last bite is all pastry too. The kind of pie you need to have a drink with or provide cream/ice-cream to get it down.

    Hmmm, the side of the box promises fruit mince filling with 'the added ingredients of lemon curd, rose water and apple purée'.... the ingredient list includes citrus oils, juices and zest. This is sounds lovely and I want that fruit mince pie, what you actually get tastes pretty much like the filling of any good commercial fruit mince pies... I missed the citrus and the promised rose water.

    The pine sugar for sprinkling does deliver a "fun factor", when sprinkled on the oven warmed pies the aroma is "Christmas" and it provides a much needed flavour boost.  The sugar alone (ok I put it on a spoon and ate it which you aren't going to do) is heading towards loo cleaner... not that I have eaten loo cleaner but you know what I mean. 

    All in all, the pies are just ok, they look pretty and the sugar element is fun. 

    In Australia from Coles Supermarkets

    You might also be interested in fruit caviar 

    Or make some Nutella dust 

    Thursday
    Sep122013

    Honey Joy Cupcakes

                                                       honey joy cupcake 

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    I do love a bit of retro, it makes people happy, it makes me happy :) and can anything be more retro that breakfast cereal? Hmmm, now I've said that you can probably think of examples that are more retro but ssshhh that will spoil the segue into today's story.

    Okay, cereal/childhood, childhood/cereal, those TV advertisements with Tigers, Monkey's, Roosters and Toucans to boot... little toys and collectibles hidden in the colourful boxes and those cute individual cereal packs that you always wanted your mum to buy you.

    That's probably a slightly glossed over version of childhood memories, no soggy flakes floating in milk today but rather a small vanilla cupcake, brushed with warmed honey, swirl of milky white chocolate ganache and topped with a mini honey joy.

    Honey Joys are a "side of the box" corn flake recipe that has been popular with Australian kids for generations. The Aussie alternative to the marshmallow rice krispies treats in the US perhaps? 

    Simple and inexpensive to make, honey joys are usually baked in cupcake paper liners in a cupcake pan. Today I've used silicone half sphere baking pans to make mini honey joys, but a buttered mini cupcake pan would also be suitable. 

    silcone sphere baking pan, standard honey joy, baked mini honey joys

    Honey Joys 

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups corn flakes (breakfast cereal)
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 90g  (3.17 OZ) butter or margarine

    Method

    Preheat oven to 150C - 302F  (130C/266F fan)

    Melt butter, sugar and honey together in a saucepan until frothy. Add corn flakes and mix well. Working quickly spoon into the holes of silicone pans or buttered mini cupcake pans. Bake in a slow oven 150°C for 10 minutes for silicone or 7 to 9 for minis. Cool. Store in a single layer. 

    Cake batter

    Preheat oven to 180C/350F (160C/320F  fan)

    Ahhh, being a bit "Australian" sizing today because I've used smaller than standard cupcake but bigger than mini paper liners. Patty cake/Fairy cake sized... though I'm not really sure what the correct name for them is. You can use a mini cupcake tin and paper liners for a slightly small result.

    Line two 12 cup trays with paper liners (the small patty/fairy cake size)

    Ingredients

    125g butter (4.4oz)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup (150g) castor sugar (superfine)
    3 eggs
    1½ cups (225g) *self-raising flour
    ¼ cup milk (60ml)

    optional

    1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey warmed in microwave until runny

    Method

    Beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, sifted flour & milk on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium & beat for 3 minutes until smooth and pale in colour.

    Drop spoonfuls of mixture into the paper liners. Bake about 20 minutes for patty cake sized and 15 to 17 for mini cupcake size. The cakes will be lightly golden with a slight spring when the centers are gently touched.

    Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes removing to a wire rack. Brush tops of cakes with warm honey is using. Leave cakes to cool.

    Ganache

    Ingredients

    250 grams (8.8 OZ) white chocolate (finely chopped)

    125 mls (4.2 fluid OZ) cream 

    Method

    Combine the chopped white chocolate and cream in a dry and heat proof bowl over simmering water. (Do not let the water touch the bowl). 

    Stir occasionally until both chocolate and cream are almost all combined, but you can still see a little chocolate unmelted. 

    Remove bowl from heat and stir until the chocolate and cream are fully combined.

    Refrigerate until the ganache thickens and reaches piping consistency.

    Stir the ganache and either fill your piping bag and pipe a donut shape on top of each cake with a large round piping tip or use a teaspoon to drop a spoonful of ganache in the center of each cake.

    *Store any remaining ganache in the refrigerator. 

    Top each cupcake with a honey joy just before serving. 

    *can't find self-raising/rising flour where you are? 

    From the Australian Women's Weekly this easy conversion; To convert plain flour into self-raising flour, add two teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of plain flour. Adding one teaspoon of cream of tartar and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to one cup of plain flour gives the same result.

    *left over ganache can be rolled into truffles or gently melted in the microwave for a white chocolate sauce. 

    Happy Baking :)

    You might also be interested in chocolate scones 

    or Little Lime Lemon Lamingtons  

    I'd love to see on Facebook too.