Showing posts with label Bread and Yeast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bread and Yeast. Show all posts

Monday, September 30, 2013

Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast

Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast

On the weekend of my birthday this year, we sat around my best friend's kitchen drinking red wine. We excitedly booked my flight to New York and agreed that it would be a year to 'do fun shit'. And only three months into 25, I've certainly managed a lot of fun shit. A lot has changed. I mean, a lot. I'm hardly the same person that I was when the clock ticked over to 2013.

I had a lot of untangling to do from the person I thought I was, having grown so close to someone else and from the job I defined myself by. I'm learning a lot about myself now that my future looks very different to how I'd pictured it.

I'm learning to trust my gut because it usually knows what's what before my brain does. I'm learning to ask for help and guidance, not to over-think everything, to be more present and not stress about the past or the future, to surround myself with true friends that just get me, to be strong in my convictions but gentler with myself and to use my inner critic to push me to be better, not talk me out of potentially fabulous opportunities.

Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast

I've said it before, spring time is usually a period of inspiration and change for me, and it seems more true than ever right now. I don't really have a plan, and that scares me a lot. But I have goals and dreams, and it's going to be a pretty interesting journey to see what unfolds as I try to get closer to them.

And you're probably wondering, what does all of this have to do with French Toast? The morning after that night in the kitchen, she woke up early to make me a decadent birthday breakfast. She made her signature dish - French Toast - which we ate in the sunshine with glasses of champagne. It's a day I'll remember for a long time to come.

The next time we'd drink champagne together would be in San Francisco.

The next time I'd eat French Toast was the day after I quit my job.

Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast

If I'm making a lazy weekend brunch, I'm usually more of a pancakes kinda girl. But I wanted to put another spin on this famous breakfast, by sandwiching brioche slices with a vanilla and blueberry cheesecake mixture. It was even more delicious than I expected, and went down a treat with everyone who tried it. I think it would also be delicious with other fruit - strawberries, raspberries and cherries perhaps?

Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spicy Chocolate Doughnuts

spicy chocolate doughnuts
So perhaps 5 posts in 5 days was a little bit ambitious! Life and work got in the way a little last week, but I still have two recipes left to share from my week of spicy birthday posts and they're both pretty cracking, if I do say so myself!

Of course I had to do a recipe that combined chocolate and chilli, and I had already made spicy ice cream! So of course, I decided to turn it into a doughnut... With a secret ingredient... Chilli P! Okay, yes, I have been re-watching Breaking Bad...

spicy chocolate doughnuts
I had never made chocolate doughnuts before but it definitely won't be the last time. I can see a world of possibility for potential flavour combinations. Originally I was going to coat them in a chilli/sugar mixture but ended up using a glaze for maximum chocolate-ness. As with most instances where chilli is used in baked goods, the heat comes through as more of a warm aftertaste than actually being spicy, and it works so well with the chocolate.

You could of course add any spices you like instead of the chilli in the glaze too, or omit the spice completely if you're after a classic chocolate doughnut. Top with sprinkles for the kids (or those of us who are kids at heart) or if you're game, some chilli flakes!

Stay tuned for the last recipe in the spicy series. I don't want to give too much away, but let me say that it's one of my favourite creations so far this year! xx

spicy chocolate doughnuts

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chai Spiced Rolls with Cinnamon Glaze

chai spiced rolls
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever figure this whole grown up work/life balance thing out. The last few months have been crazy with work, freelance and managing three blogs (PS, you should all go check out the other two) but also so rewarding with a promotion to Senior Designer (!) and getting to work on some great projects with my clients. I think it's easier to become a workaholic when you love what you do, but the constant deadlines, lack of sleep and having to be creatively switched on all the time is a little draining.

Yet still, somehow, baking is like a never-fail mood enhancer. I woke up bright and early on Sunday and started making dough. While kneading, I didn't think about all the other crap I had to do, and while making the filling with the warm scent of the spices filled the air, I resisted the urge to check my email again. Stressed is just desserts spelled backwards, right?

  chai spiced rolls
The second recipe in my very spicy birthday week is a twist on one of my all-time favourites from my archives, originally published in Bon Appetit by Molly from Orangette, whose blog I've been reading for as long as I've had my own. I've made it a few times over the years and decided that it would be delicious with chai flavours in addition to the cinnamon. And oh boy, it was!

This time I made a very simple cinnamon glaze to accompany the rolls, but the cream cheese version from the original would be absolutely delicious here as well. Make sure you have heaps of friends around for brunch when you make these, because the recipe makes about 18 rolls and they taste best the day they're made. Serve with lots of warm chai, of course.

chai spiced rolls


Friday, May 11, 2012

Earl Grey, Apple and Chocolate Bread Pudding

bread-pudding-3 If I were to pick my favourite ingredients to bake with, it would be a tough choice for sure, but tea (and booze!) would be right up there near the top. Every time I make something with Chai, Matcha or Earl Grey I wonder why I don't do it more often. Tea is usually a subtle but beautiful taste that seems to work well with almost everything, from chocolate to fruit and especially with creams and custards. I decided to combine all of the above in this recipe, although I can’t take all the credit – the genius idea came from the gorgeous blog Our Kitchen, by the talented team at Fisher and Paykel. Go and check it out!

When I made this bread pudding, my kitchen smelled positively ambrosial. I used T2 French Earl Grey because it’s my favourite and smells absolutely wonderful. The tea is infused into the milk and cream which then becomes the base for the custard, but I also decided to add some Earl Grey poached apple pieces and sultanas between the layers. I love the idea of using crossiants for the bread component. The buttery flaky pastries work really well to soak up that custard mixture.

earl grey, apple and chocolate bread pudding Served warm, in thick slices with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream, this is a fabulous dessert to make as we go into winter here in the Southern Hemisphere and would be very adaptable to almost any kind of flavours you want to put into it. Infuse the cream mixture with cinnamon and spices, or some lemon zest? Delicious. Throw in some frozen berries or chopped hazelnuts between the layers? Even better.

I think it would be lovely to make for Mothers Day too. My mum loved it, and mentioned that her Mum used to make a similar thing when she was young, albiet with white bread and sultanas, not crossiants and chocolate! Have a lovely weekend everyone! xxx

The beautiful apples used in this recipe were sent to me from Bite Communications

Also, it's time to announce the winner of my cookbook competition! Congratulations to Hannah from Wayfaring Chocolate! You've won a copy of David Herbert's 'Best Ever Baking Recipes' and will be receiving an email from me shortly :)

bread-pudding-2

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hot Cross Doughnuts

hot cross doughnuts

I love the idea of transforming classic sweets into a completely different form, and these days my choice of form seems to be doughnuts. After my Lamington Doughnuts were such a success for Australia Day, I wanted to try my hand at Hot Cross Bun Doughnuts for Easter. Yes, I am shameless, but can you blame me? They're so cute! And trust me, they taste even better.

hot cross doughnuts

I made a batch of my usual go-to doughnut recipe, and then filled them with a spiced custard and brandy-soaked currants before finally dipping the tops in dark chocolate and piping the signature cross in white chocolate. They were a tiny bit fiddly I'll admit, but I reckon they're completely worth it. And assembling these for Easter dessert is made much easier if you make the custard and soak the currants in advance.

hot cross doughnuts

I can't get over how much they actually taste like hot cross buns thanks to the fruit and that awesome custard, which is flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and cloves. I hope I don't have to do too much convincing to get you guys to try these ;)

I hope every one of you has a fabulous Easter break! I'm heading over to Perth early tomorrow, where I hear the weather is going to be lovely. See you next week!

hot cross doughnuts

Hot Cross Doughnuts
Makes about 20

Doughnuts
(adapted from Gourmet Traveller)
• 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
• 60ml (1/4 cup milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 225g (1 ½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tablespoon dried yeast
• 30g caster sugar
• Vegetable oil for deep frying
• Dark chocolate, for dipping
• White chocolate, for piping crosses

Spiced Custard (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup cream
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ½ ground cloves, optional
• 6 large egg yolks
• ½ cup sugar
• 1/3 cup cornflour
• 3 ½ tablespoons butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Booze Soaked Currants
• 1/4 cup currants
• 3 tablespoons brandy

To make the spiced custard, bring the milk and cream to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, spices, cover and allow to infuse for 45 minutes. Reheat to just before boiling point before continuing.

Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, pour about ¼ cup of the milk mixture through a sieve into the egg yolks – this will temper or warm the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk through the sieve. Pour back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat, and whisking vigorously and constantly (making sure to get into the edges of the pot) bring the mixture to a boil.

Keep at a boil, still whisking for 1-2 minutes until thickened, then remove the pan from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape into a bowl and press a plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate until cold. It can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For the booze soaked currants, combine currants and brandy in a bowl. Cover and allow to soak at least overnight.

For the doughnuts, combine cream, milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds - 1minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in a large bowl. Add cream mixture and stir to combine. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a lighly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).

Knock back the dough and roll out on a floured surface to 2cm thick. Cut out 5cm circles, place on trays lined with baking paper, cover with a clean towel and stand for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oil in a deep fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towel and allow to cool slightly.

Make a small hole and pipe in spiced custard into each of the doughnuts. Through the hole, add some currants, pushing them inside with a chopstick. Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl, and dip the top of each doughnut into the chocolate. Place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to set. In the meantime, melt the white chocolate and place into a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip. Pipe crosses onto each of the doughnuts and place in the fridge for another 10-20 minutes to set.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lamington Doughnuts

lamington doughnuts

Given that today is Australia Day, I wanted to make something suitably patriotic to celebrate. I wanted to have a bit of fun, with a twist on a classic Australian icon, and given my predilection towards cake, choosing the lamington was a no brainer! I’ve had plenty of average lamingtons in my time, and I’ve learned that nothing beats homemade.

That’s where these Lamington Doughnuts come in. Imagine a fresh, fluffy, perfectly cooked doughnut, filled with warm jam and dipped in a rich chocolate glaze, then tossed in coconut. And they were seriously good.

lamington doughnuts

I’ve listed the jam as optional below, because I won’t lie, I made a complete mess of my kitchen while trying to fill them. I had jam all over my hands, all over my shirt, and all over the kitchen bench! It’s also a good idea not to use a chunky jam because the fruit will block your piping bag. The doughnuts were still delicious without it.

I hope you’re all enjoying your Australia Day with BBQ’s and beers and good times with your mates today! I'll see you back here next week for a nice summery dessert.

lamington doughnuts

Lamington Doughnuts
Makes about 20

Doughnuts
(adapted from Gourmet Traveller)
• 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
• 60ml (1/4 cup milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 225g (1 ½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tablespoon dried yeast
• 30g caster sugar
• Vegetable oil for deep frying
• ¾ cup strawberry jam, slightly warmed (optional)
• 1 ½ cups coconut (shredded or desiccated)

Chocolate Icing
• 2 cups icing sugar
• ¼ cup cocoa powder
• 10g butter
• ½ cup milk

For the doughnuts, combine cream, milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds - 1minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in a large bowl. Add cream mixture and stir to combine. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a lighly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).

Knock back the dough and roll out on a floured surface to 2cm thick. Cut out 5cm circles, place on trays lined with baking paper, cover with a clean towel and stand for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oil in a deep fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towel and allow to cool slightly.

Fill a piping bag with slightly warmed jam and pipe into the center of each doughnut, being careful not to overfill.

To make the chocolate icing, sift icing sugar and cocoa into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the butter and milk. Stand the bowl over simmering water and stir until icing is of a good consistency. Place coconut in a small bowl. Hold each doughnut on a bamboo skewer or toothpick. Dip into the chocolate icing then toss in coconut, one at a time, to cover. Stand lamington doughnuts on a wire rack until set.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Popcorn Doughnuts

popcorn doughnuts

It’s taken me over four years, but I’ve finally made it to 300 posts!! To celebrate, I wanted to make something special, and what better than doughnuts! I’ve gained quite the reputation these days as the ‘Doughnut Queen,’ which I have no qualms with, especially when it inspires me to come up with a combination such as this one.

The idea of a popcorn-flavoured doughnut came to me a few months ago, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. Popcorn has been popping up (pardon the pun) in desserts all over the place in the last few years, which I think is great. I love the slightly salty flavour it brings to a sweet dish, and I’ll never forget the popcorn ice cream we had at Vasse Felix.

popcorn doughnuts

I know it’s a big call, but I think these are some of the best doughnuts I’ve ever made! I infused the custard with popcorn, with some salted butter whisked through at the end. And yes, in case you’re wondering, it really does taste as good as it sounds. I loved the buttery custard, and it carried the popcorn flavour really well, but I think my favourite part was the slight crunch of caramel that coated the top of the doughnuts. I ate way too many of these, much to the despair of my waistline.

The recipe below looks really long, but the custard can be made ahead of time to save time on the day. As with all doughnuts, these taste best on the day that they’re made.

I also wanted to say a quick but heartfelt thanks to all of my readers for all of your visits and comments that have inspired me along the way and made the last 300 posts not only possible, but ridiculously fun! I'm looking forward to the next 300! xox

popcorn doughnuts

Popcorn Doughnuts
Makes 18

Popcorn Custard (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup cream
• 2 cups butter popcorn
• 6 large egg yolks
• ½ cup sugar
• 1/3 cup cornflour
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• 3 ½ tablespoons butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Doughnuts (adapted from Gourmet Traveller)
• 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
• 60ml (1/4 cup milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 225g (1 ½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tablespoon dried yeast
• 30g caster sugar
• Vegetable oil for deep frying

To Finish
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
• ¼ cup butter popcorn, finely crumbled

To make the popcorn custard, bring the milk and cream to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the popcorn, cover and allow to infuse for 45 minutes. Reheat to just before boiling point before continuing.

Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, pour about ¼ cup of the milk mixture through a sieve into the egg yolks – this will temper or warm the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk through the sieve. Pour back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat, and whisking vigorously and constantly (making sure to get into the edges of the pot) bring the mixture to a boil.

Keep at a boil, still whisking for 1-2 minutes until thickened, then remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla and salt, and let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape into a bowl and press a plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate until cold. It can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For the doughnuts, combine cream, milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds - 1minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in a large bowl. Add cream mixture and stir to combine. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a lighly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).

Knock back the dough and roll out on a floured surface to 2cm thick. Cut out 5cm circles, place on trays lined with baking paper, cover with a clean towel and stand for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oil in a deep fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towel and allow to cool slightly.

Place custard into a syringe or piping bag and pipe custard into the center of each doughnut, being careful not to overfill.

To finish, place caster sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, without stirring, until sugar dissolves. Swirl pan to colour evenly for about 5 minutes or until syrup is amber in colour. Remove from the heat.

Working quickly and carefully (as caramel is very hot and caramel burns hurt!) dip the tops of the doughnuts into the caramel using tongs. Place on baking paper and quickly sprinkle with crumbled popcorn. Allow caramel to set and serve immediately.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rhubarb and Strawberry Cheat's Danish

rhubarb and strawberry "cheats" danish

It’s a well-known fact that I am a huge fan of rhubarb. If there’s ever a rhubarb dessert on the menu, I just have to order it. It’s one of my favourite things to cook with, and I just love the sweet-tart flavour and the beautiful pink colour. It reminds me of spring, and with the lovely warm weather we’ve been having in Sydney lately, it couldn’t have been more perfect, especially with a nice cup of tea.

I picked up a bunch of rhubarb recently and wanted to try something a little different with it – I’ve done pies, cakes, ice creams and even drinks! This recipe caught my eye – described as a “yeasted cake” and inspired by a recipe from Stephanie Alexander. I just knew it would be lovely.

rhubarb and strawberry "cheats" danish

Sadly, my version wasn’t as pretty as the photo, but it hardly mattered because it was absolutely delicious. I would liken it more to a danish than a cake, thanks to the rich, buttery dough. But if you consider how long it takes to make a proper laminated danish dough, this is a breeze by comparison.

I decided to replace the pears used in the original recipe with some lovely winter strawberries. It’s hard to beat that combination, it’s one of my favourites in the world. What I really loved though, was the glaze. With a nice hit of rhubarb flavour and a gorgeous colour, it was the perfect accompaniment to the delicious filling. This cake is best eaten on the day it’s made.

rhubarb and strawberry "cheats" danish

Rhubarb and Strawberry Cheat’s Danish
Serves 10
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 120g butter, coarsely chopped
• 120ml milk
• 250g plain flour
• 10g dried yeast
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk

Rhubarb and Strawberry Filling
• 300g rhubarb, finely chopped
• 125g (about ½ punnet) strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 1/3 cup caster sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Rhubarb Glaze
• 50g caster sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 40g rhubarb, thinly sliced
• 160g pure icing sugar, sifted

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add milk and heat until lukewarm (1 minute). Mix flour, sugar and yeast in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the center and then with motor running, pour milk mixture, egg and yolk into the well and knead until smooth and shiny (2-3 minutes).

Transfer to a buttered bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Knock back dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 20x35cm rectangle. Place on an oven try lined with baking paper and set aside.

For the filling, combine ingredients in a bowl and spread over the dough, leaving a 5cm border along the sides. Cut long sides through to the filling at 3cm intervals using a pair of scissors, then fold long ends over to meet in the centre, pressing the ends to seal. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake until crust is golden and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (25-30 minutes). Cool on tray for 15 minutes, then cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, for rhubarb glaze, stir caster sugar, vanilla and 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, add rhubarb and bring to the simmer. Cook until rhubarb is translucent and liquid is syrupy (4-5 minutes), then strain into a measuring jug (discard solids). Stir icing sugar and rhubarb syrup in a bowl until smooth and thin with a little water to drizzling consistency if necessary. Drizzle over yeast cake and serve.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chai Doughnut Holes

chai doughnuts

I can’t believe that four years ago today, I sat down to write my first blog post. That’s right, today is my blog birthday!! I thought I would make something special to celebrate the occasion. Last year I made “spicy ice cream” and this year I thought I would play with some other spices. Specifically cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger… can you guess where this is going? Chai doughnut holes!

chai doughnuts

I remember my very first cup of chai, and the heady, warm aroma of all the delicious spices. It’s now one of my favourite things, but I especially love it in winter. And it works especially well in this recipe. These doughnuts are absolutely delicious! By infusing the milk, the chai flavour really shines through in both the doughnut itself and also the glaze.

The dough is incredibly easy to make, based on the same recipe I used for these espresso zeppole. It’s a great, versatile recipe, and having tried it both ways, I can attest that it is just as easy to make by hand as it is in a stand mixer. And as you can imagine, they go down very nicely with a cup of hot chai ;)

And to all of my readers - every single one of you - I'd like to thank you for your visits and comments, which never fail to brighten my day!

chai doughnuts

Chai Doughnut Holes
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Makes 24

• 2/3 cup milk
• 2 tablespoons loose leaf chai tea
• ½ cup pouring cream
• 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon dried yeast
• 30g caster sugar
• Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Glaze
• 150g icing sugar, sifted
• 3-4 tablespoons chai-infused milk, reserved
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place milk and chai tea into a saucepan. Warm over low heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and allow to infuse for 1 hour. Strain through a sieve and discard tea.

Measure ¼ cup of the milk and return to the saucepan with the cream, reserving the remaining milk for the glaze. Warm the milk-cream mixture over low heat until lukewarm (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, cinnamon, yeast, caster sugar and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add cream mixture and knead until soft and smooth (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).

Knock back the dough, and roll out to about 2cm thick on a floured bench. Cut rounds of dough with a 6cm round cutter, and place on a lightly floured tray, covered with a tea towel. Stand for 30 mintues or until risen.

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry doughnuts in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (about 3-4 minutes). Be careful as oil may spit. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, to make the glaze, place icing sugar in a bowl with chai-infused milk and vanilla extract and whisk to make a smooth, pourable glaze. Dip cooled doughnuts into glaze and place onto a cooling rack with a tray placed underneath to catch stray drips of glaze. These doughnuts are best eaten on the day they’re made.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Espresso Zeppole with Vanilla Mascarpone

espresso zeppole with vanilla mascarpone

Sometimes when life gets tough, or when I’ve had a really bad day, I come here to my blog – my little space on the internet (or, alternately, I visit the Daily Puppy for some cuteness overload!) Here, I share some of my favourite recipes. I read your lovely comments and they make me smile, every time without fail.

That’s what I did today, when nothing went as planned. So, I just wanted to say thank you to all my lovely readers, especially those who take the time to comment. You brightened my day, and for that I give you doughnuts!

I made these little Italian doughnuts, called zeppole when I was in Perth over Easter, a fitting end to a fantastic dinner. For some people, making doughnuts can seem a little scary, what with the yeasted dough and deep-frying. But this is one of the most well-behaved (and delicious) doughs I’ve ever worked with. It comes together so easily, whether you’re mixing by hand, as I did, or in a stand mixer.

For the sugar-espresso coating, I opted to simplify the recipe by simply mixing finely ground espresso with the caster sugar, as you would make cinnamon sugar for regular doughnuts. I was a little worried it would be bitter or grainy but it worked perfectly and was actually quite a subtle coffee flavour. The mascarpone, with hints of vanilla and rum was the perfect accompaniment. I substituted the Marsala used in the original recipe for rum.

espresso zeppole with vanilla mascarpone

Espresso Zeppole with Vanilla Mascarpone
Serves 16-20
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
• 60ml (1/4 cup milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 225g (1 ½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tablespoon dried yeast
• 30g caster sugar
• Vegetable oil for deep frying

Espresso Sugar
• 5 tablespoons caster sugar
• 1 tablespoons espresso

Mascarpone
• 250g mascarpone
• 2 tablespoons rum
• ¼ cup pure icing sugar, sifted
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For espresso sugar, combined caster sugar and espresso in a container and
shake to combine.

For zeppole, combine cream, milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds - 1minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in a large bowl. Add cream mixture and stir to combine. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a lighly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).

Knock back dough, divide into walnut sized pieces and roll into smooth balls. Place on a lighly floured tray, cover with a tea towel and stand for 30 minutes or until risen.

Meanwhile, whisk mascarpone, rum, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth and combined. Refrigerate until required.

Preheat oil in a deep fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes) Drain with a metal sieve, toss in espresso sugar and serve hot with mascarpone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns

I like big buns and I can not lie…

Hot cross buns just must be my favourite Easter treat. I absolutely love the spicy, fruity buns, toasted with plenty of butter. I make them almost every Easter, but I think this year’s efforts are the best yet, and needless to say, so much better than store-bought.

Traditionally, hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday with the cross as a symbol of the Crucifixion, but some believe they even pre-date Christianity. There’s all sorts of crazy folklore surrounding these delicious buns, some believed that if you took some on a sea voyage, they would protect against shipwreck. Or that if you hung one up in your kitchen, you would have no fires and make perfect bread for the whole year ahead.

This year I used a Gourmet Traveller recipe that was a little twist on the traditional, using dried apples in the mixture with a spicy cinnamon glaze. They were totally delicious, a big hit with everyone who tried them.

Working with yeast can be a little bit nerve-wracking for new bakers, but it’s really easy and absolutely worth the effort for beautiful fresh hot cross buns straight out of the oven! I’ve put together a step-by-step photo tutorial of how I made these awesome buns. I hope it will inspire you to make some!

Apple and cinnamon hot cross buns
Serves 16
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 325g raw caster sugar
• 1 lemon
• 1 ½ Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
• 750g plain flour
• 150g sultanas
• 50g dried apple, diced
• 30g candied orange, diced
• 14g (2 sachets) dried yeast
• 3 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon allspice
• ½ teaspoon ginger
• 380ml milk
• 100g butter, coarsely chopped
• 1 egg

hot cross buns
1. Combine 260g and 275ml water in a saucepan, then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 5mm thick slices.

hot cross buns
2. Add to pan with apple and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes).

hot cross buns
3. Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple and set aside.

hot cross buns
4. Combine 700g flour, sultanas, dried apple, candied orange, yeast, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, allspice, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

hot cross buns
5. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in egg, then add milk mixture to the flour.

hot cross buns
6. Stir to form a soft dough.

hot cross buns
7. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes)

hot cross buns
hot cross buns
8. Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

hot cross buns
9. Knock back dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

hot cross buns
10. Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F). Combine remaining flour and 70ml cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.

hot cross buns
11. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200°C (390°F) and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (8-10 minutes).

hot cross buns
12. Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup and remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy and combined. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Potato and Rosemary Pizza

potato & rosemary pizza

If there was one thing I could eat almost every day and not get tired of, it would probably be pizza. A thin, crisp base topped with almost anything you can imagine, what could be better than that? It helps too, that it is so easy to make from scratch. If you’ve never cooked with yeast before, this is a great way to start. They are a far cry from the oily, sloppy and seriously unhealthy chain fast food alternatives. At home we make pizzas at least once a month, quite often more. I’ve even taught the boyfriend how to make this recipe, and he does a spectacular job!

I’ve wanted to share my favourite pizza base recipe here for so long, but somehow I never managed to snap a photo of the finished product before we dug in and demolished it. The recipe comes from John Lanzafame’s ‘Pizza Modo Mio’, which I’ve been using for nearly three years. It’s one of the easiest yeasted doughs in the world to work with and can be kneaded by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. The hardest part is waiting patiently for it to rise! Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can put together a step-by-step video of how to make this awesome pizza dough.

As for toppings, you can put almost any combination of meat, vegetables and cheese that you fancy, but here are some of my favourites:
• Eggplant Margherita: grilled eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and basil on a homemade tomato sauce base.
• Duck Pizza: inspired by the Australian Heritage Hotel, we’ve tried recreating this at home with great success. BBQ duck (bought pre-made), bok choy and sesame seeds on a plum sauce base.

The recipe I’m sharing today is another of my all-time favourites, and is very popular with everyone who’s tried it. Thin slices of potato are par-cooked and then layered onto the base, scattered with fresh rosemary and cheese, then sprinkled liberally with salt and cracked black pepper. It’s a carbohydrate overload, and it’s seriously delicious. It also works really well with thyme if you don’t have rosemary available and is lovely with a rocket and Parmesan side salad for a delicious dinner. And like all good pizzas, the leftovers taste awesome the next day.

So tell me, what is your favourite pizza topping?

potato & rosemary pizza

Plain Pizza Dough
Recipe from ‘Pizza Modo Mio’ by John Lanzafame
Makes 1 30cm pizza (multiply recipe as desired)

• 1 teaspoon dried yeast
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 100ml warm water
• 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing
• 160g plain flour, sifted

Put the yeast, salt and warm water in a bowl and whisk until just combined. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble. Add the flour and knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Rub the inside of a large bowl with olive oil. Roll the dough around in the bowl to coat it with olive oil, then place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draught-free spot for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down to expel trapped air. At this stage the dough can be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or frozen, bring back to room temperature before continuing. Place the dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and leave in a draught-free spot for 15 minutes or until risen by half again. The dough is now ready to use.

Potato and Rosemary Pizza
Makes 1 pizza

• 1 quantity pizza dough (recipe above)
• 2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
• 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
• Mozzarella cheese, torn
• Salt & cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and place pizza stone inside to heat.
Roll out pizza dough on a sheet of baking paper into a 30cm circle. I like to roll mine out to about 5-8mm thick. Place sliced potatoes on a plate. Cover with another inverted plate and place in the microwave for 5-6 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Sprinkle base with mozzarella cheese. Arrange potato slices evenly on pizza base. Sprinkle with rosemary and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and base is golden brown. Serve hot, cut into slices.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Baked Lemon Doughnuts

lemon doughnuts (12th June)

Baked doughnuts. It’s almost an anomaly, like non-alcoholic beer, or decaffeinated coffee! Aren’t doughnuts supposed to be deep-fried to golden brown, and terribly bad for you? I have to admit, I was a little sceptical when I saw the recipe for Lemon and Ricotta Baked Doughnuts in this month’s Gourmet Traveller. But the flavour combination sounded sublime, and so I decided to give them a try anyway. The recipe was not without its problems, which I’ll talk about later, but the best thing about it was actually the fabulous texture of the baked doughnuts!

I decided to make my own ricotta for the recipe, which is actually one of the easiest things you’re ever likely to make in your kitchen. I heated two litres of milk in a saucepan and added a teaspoon of citric acid, which I find is more effective than vinegar or lemon juice. The curds separate, and then all you need to do it scoop them out with a slotted spoon into a muslin-lined sieve and drain in the fridge over a bowl overnight. That is then thrown into a food processor with some sugar, the juice and zest of one lemon and an egg and whizzed until smooth. The mixture was quite runny, and that caused a few problems later on in the recipe.

lemon doughnuts

The dough itself was easy to make, similar to any other sweet, yeasted dough (brioche or cinnamon buns, etc) although the recipe itself was written quite poorly, and I ended up mis-reading it and adding far too much butter, rather than reserving some of it for a later use. But luckily that misstep didn’t cause too many problems as far as I could tell. The dough is left to prove, then rolled out and cut into rounds. I didn’t have 7cm and 8cm cutters as the recipe stated, so I used my 5cm and 6cm cutters to make smaller doughnuts. When I placed a teaspoon of the ricotta filling onto the smaller rounds and tried to press the bigger one down on top of it, the filling oozed out everywhere. I wasn’t sure how much was left in the doughnut itself!

If the filling had been thicker (maybe leaving out the egg would help), this wouldn’t have been an issue. It turned out that there really wasn’t much filling left inside the doughnuts themselves, but I thought they were great even without it! Perhaps you could pipe in the filling after they’re cooked like you would with custard doughnuts. Or omit it completely, I’ll leave it to your own discretion! The doughnuts baked up perfectly into little orbs of fluffy goodness. Not as gorgeous and crispy as deep-fried doughnuts but absolutely delicious nonetheless. The lemon sugar was a fabulous addition, and eating one of these doughnuts was like sunshine for your tastebuds.

I really love making doughnuts, there is something about them that reminds me to have fun when I’m cooking and not to take things too seriously. If you haven’t seen the Doughnut feature in this month’s Gourmet Traveller, check it out! It’s not often that I’m so inspired by the pages of a magazine. All of the recipes look fabulous and I’m looking forward to trying some of the others over the next few weeks. In the words of the Great Homer Simpson, mmmmm doughnuts.

lemon doughnuts

Lemon and Ricotta Baked Doughnuts
Makes 12 large or about 20 small doughnuts
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 750g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 140g raw caster sugar
• 7g dried yeast
• Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
• 250ml (1 cup) lukewarm milk, plus extra for brushing
• 80l (1/3 cup) buttermilk
• 2 eggs, at room temperature
• 30g butter, melted
• Oil, for greasing

Lemon Ricotta Filling
• 250g ricotta
• 55g (1/4 cup) raw caster sugar
• Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 egg

Lemon Sugar
• 1 cup caster sugar
• Finely grated rind of 1 ½ lemons
• 50g butter, melted for dipping

To make the doughnuts, combine flour, sugar, yeast and lemon rind in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix to combine. Whisk together milk, buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and, with motor running, add to flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic (4-5 minutes). Shape into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1 – 1½ hours)

Meanwhile, for ricotta lemon filling, process ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until required.

Knock back the dough, turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll to 5mm thick. Cut an equal number of rounds with a 5cm and 6cm round cutter, re-rolling scraps if necessary. Place the smaller rounds 5cm apart on baking trays lined with non-stick paper. Place a heaped teaspoon of lemon ricotta filling in the center of each. Brush edges with milk, cover with larger rounds and press to seal edges well. Trim with a 5cm cutter. Cover and stand in a warm place until risen (1 – 1½ hours)

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Bake doughnuts for 8-10 minutes or until just golden.

For lemon sugar, combine sugar and lemon rind in a bowl. Spread on a tray. Dip hot doughnuts immediately in melted butter and toss in lemon sugar. Serve hot.

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