Saturday, May 31, 2008

Amaretto Baked Apples

Baked Apples is a classic fruit dish, and this recipe uses macaroon biscuits and Amaretto liquor to add an almoney flavour. This dessert is delicious on a winters night with warm custard! Serves 6.

50g dried apricots, chopped
50ml Amaretto liqueur, plus extra for baking
6 medium Granny Smith or Braeburn apples
50g macaroon biscuits, coarsely chopped
30g butter
30g sugar
1/2 cup water

Soak the chopped apricots in the liqueur while you prepare the apples. Wash and core the apples and, with a sharp knife, cut a ring around the skin about halfway down each apple to prevent them splitting randomly.

Mix the soaked apricots with the chopped amaretti biscuits and stuff this mixture into the centres of the apples. Place the apples in a baking dish and set a small knob of butter on top of each and sprinkle with the sugar.

Pour the water into the base of the baking dish with a little extra Amaretto and bake in a moderate oven (180°C) for about 40 minutes until the apples are soft and buttery. Remove the apples from the dish and reduce any remaining juices over a gentle heat until they are syrupy.

Place the apples on serving plates and pour the syrup over. Serve with whipped cream and a small glass of Amaretto liqueur.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Caramel Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert which literally means "cooked cream". These delicious desserts need to be refridgerated until set, and can be made the night before. This quantity makes 6.

200 grams caster sugar
2 leaves gelatine (5 grams each)
2 cups thickened cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways

Place 100gm sugar and 1½ tbsp water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, tilting saucepan, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and becomes golden. Do not stir. Remove from heat, then immediately divide among six 125 ml ramekins, tilting to spread evenly over base and up sides.

Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes or until softened, then squeeze out excess water.

Place cream, remaining sugar, scraped seeds from vanilla bean and bean in a saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, then add softened gelatine to pan and stir until gelatine dissolves. Remove vanilla bean. Divide cream mixture among ramekins, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set.

To serve, run a knife around inner edge of ramekins, then turn out onto plates and serve immediately.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Chocolate Gelato Ice Cream

Gelato is Italian ice cream made from milk and sugar, combined with other flavorings. This recipe requires an Ice Cream maker.

1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 egg yolks, beaten lightly

Place the cherries in a bowl and cover with rum. Allow to soak for several hours or overnight.

Heat the light cream and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved and bubbles begin to form around edge of the pot. Whisk yolks until creamy. Add 1/2 cup of the warm cream to the egg yolks. Pour the warmed yolks back into the half-and-half and continue to cook, stirring, until the custard mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil the mixture or it will curdle. Stir in the vanilla, allow to cool completely, then chill.

Pour into the ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Drain the cherries. When the mixture begins to thicken as it freezes, add the cherries and freeze until ice cream is the properconsistency.

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