Monday, January 28, 2008

Fast Tiramisu Tartlets

Tiramisu is an Italian treat that means 'pick me up', so no prizes for guessing you need coffee to make this simple sensational recipe. These tartlets do not require refrigeration - you can serve them immediately.

4 tablespoons of mascarpone
1 tablespoon of sifted icing sugar
4 amaretti biscuits
2 shots of strong black coffee
small pastry shells
Put 4 tablespoons of mascarpone in a medium mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of sifted icing sugar and stir to combine. Crumble 4 amaretti biscuits into a small bowl and drizzle with 2 shots of strong black coffee. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes then add to the mascarpone mixture with 2 tablespoons of finely grated dark chocolate. Stir until just combined, to make a marbled cream. Spoon the mixture into small pastry shells and sprinkle with a little extra grated or drinking chocolate.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The Pavlova is a meringue-like dessert made from egg whites, frequently served with cream and fruit (usually kiwifruit and / or berries). The Pavlova was first created in the early 1930s in honor of the ballerina Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina, the most celebrated dancer of her time, who was visiting New Zealand.

4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 cup of caster sugar
1 cup whipped cream
Fruit to decorate

Line a baking tray with foil or baking paper. On the foil or paper draw a circle with a 22 cm (9") diameter. In a glass or china bowl beat egg whites, vanilla and vinegar (or lemon juice) until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar, one tablespoonful at a time. When sugar is fully dissolved into egg mixture pile it onto the baking tray, keeping the mixture within the circle. Smooth the top but leave a slight hollow in the central area.

Bake at 120° Celsius (250° F) for approximately 1 and 1/4 hours. When cooked, the Pavlova should be a very light beige colour. Turn off the oven. Leave Pavlova to cool in the oven.

When cold, top with whipped cream and decorate with fruit.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Chocolate Chunksicles

This is a fun recipe for a casual summer BBQ and is great for the kids - small or big!

2 cups whole milk
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 bars (1.5 ounces each) dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
3 bars (1.5 ounces each) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 can (16 ½ ounces) cherries, drained and halved
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped

8 small empty juice drink boxes and popsicle sticks

Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in mixing bowl until thick and pale-colored. Add one-third of hot milk to yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture sticks to the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour into metal bowl and cool. Stir in vanilla and heavy cream. Freeze for 4 hours.

Cut off top off 8 small empty juice drink boxes and place on a baking sheet in freezer. Place the chopped chocolate, cherries and almonds on baking sheet in freezer.

When the chocolate custard mixture is semi-frozen, turn into food processor bowl. Cover and process until slushy. Stir in frozen chocolate, cherries and almonds. Divide mixture into 8 juice drink boxes, filling to the top. Place in freezer for 15 minutes. Insert popsicle stick in each and freeze for 3 hours more.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

White Chocolate Tiramisu Trifle

Great trifles dont need to be difficult. This recipe is little more than melting the white chocolate, mixing it with mascarpone, letting it cool, then layering it with the sponge and pears. Delicious.

1 410g canned pears in syrup, drained
7 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup pear brandy
1/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
3 3-ounce packages soft sponge fingers

Combine white chocolate, pear brandy, and 1/4 cup water in a metal bowl set over simmering water. Stir until smooth (mixture will be very liquidy). Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard bean. Transfer white chocolate mixture to large bowl; gradually add mascarpone, whisking until mixture is smooth. Cool mascarpone mixture until barely lukewarm.

Beat 1 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture in 4 additions. Cover and chill white chocolate mousse until set, about 3 hours. Mousse can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Cut pear halves lengthwise into slices. Arrange sponge fingers in single layer in bottom of trifle dish. Spread 1/3 of white chocolate mousse over sponge, making layer slightly thicker around outer edges of dish to allow mousse to be more visible. Top this layer with pear slices. Repeat layering of sponge, mousse, and pears 2 more times. Can be made 1 day ahead.

White chocolate curls can be made by putting a block of white chocolate in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time until soft enough to peel into unbroken curls using a vegetable peeler. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Chocolate Custard Tart

This is a rich and creamy tart that makes a sinfully delicious dessert.

1 ½ cups finely ground chocolate cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

7 oz extra-bitter chocolate, chopped
1 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Brandy Whipped Cream
1 3/4 cups double cream, chilled
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons brandy, or to taste

In a bowl, mix the chocolate cookie crumbs and butter. Press into the base of a 9" springform pan. Place in refridgerator to chill while preparing the filling.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Add the mixture, a third at a time, to the chocolate, stirring each addition until combined. Beat the egg in a large bowl. Whisk in a quarter of the chocolate-milk mixture until just combined, and add to the remaining chocolate. Tap the bowl to get rid of any air bubbles. Pour the custard into the tart shell, filling it to the top.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotate front-to-back, and bake for another 20 minutes or until the custard is set around the edges but jiggly in the center. Serve with brandy whipped cream.

Brandy Whipped Cream
Whip the cream and sugar together in a bowl until soft peaks almost form, add the brandy, and continue beating until stiff.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

This recipe makes 6 individual cheesecakes using Fleur de sel, or sea salt. The large salt crystals give the cheesecake a delicious tangyness that contrasts the sweet caramel perfectly. This recipe can be refridgerated for 2 days.

1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream

6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the sour cream. Pour the batter into six 5-ounce ramekins or custard cups.

Set the ramekins in a small pan and set the pan in the center of the oven. Add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the cheesecakes for 10 minutes, until set at the edges but still quite jiggly in the center. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecakes in for 1 hour. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, heat the corn syrup in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar and cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until a deep amber caramel forms (about 9 minutes). Off the heat, carefully stir in the butter with a long-handled wooden spoon. Stir in the cream in a thin stream. Transfer the caramel to a heatproof pitcher and let cool. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon of fleur de sel.

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of the caramel over each cheesecake and swirl to coat the tops. If the caramel is too thick, warm it in a microwave oven at 10-second intervals. Refrigerate the cheesecakes until chilled, at least 3 hours. Sprinkle with fleur de sel just before serving.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cranberry Sorbet

Cranberry sorbet is not too sweet and a little on the tart side. It's delicious on its own but also goes well with tropical fruit.

4 cups fresh cranberries (about 1 1/2 twelve oz. bags)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Zest from 1 orange
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup limoncello

Rinse cranberries and throw out any debris and shriveled or discolored cranberries. Place cranberries and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 8 minutes. Cranberries will pop when they cook, so cover slightly to protect from splattering. Pour hot mixture into blender with sugar and, with your hand securely holding the lid on the blender, purée until smooth. Add orange zest and continue to blend. Pour hot mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Place bowl in an ice bath to chill. While sorbet is chilling in ice bath, juice 2 lemons. Pour juice through sieve to remove seeds and pulp and add this to the sorbet. Add limoncello and stir until blended.

Chill base and then freeze in ice cream maker.
Chill mixture in ice bath until less than 45° F. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to your maker's instructions. Once chilled, remove from ice cream maker and place in dedicated (odor-free) container to let ripen in the freezer for several hours. Because of the alcohol, it will always be a tiny bit soft.

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