Tag Archive: Dessert


Stawberry Flan


You don’t have to go far to tell of my love for all things Spanish – Read God must be Spanish.

A friend was hosting a get-together at his place and I suggested that there be a theme – Spanish food. I offered to put together a Menu for him and hold your breath – execute it and plate it up! This probably had to be my most daring challenge to date. That in a nutshell is me – Foolhardy. Throw down the gauntlet nonchalantly and then wonder why the hell did I do it? Well, now that the invites were on their way and there was an air of expectation, there was no backing out. Game on! I thought to myself.

After the usual recipe search on the net and pouring through cook books I settled on the three courses I would serve up:

1) Alioli Potatoe as Tapas
2) A Vegetarian Paella for the Main (I see a few raised eyebrows already, and I agree this is as bastardized as the original seafood paella can get.)
3) A Strawberry Flan for Dessert.

I shall deal with the first two courses of meal in another post, and talk about my favourite – Strawberry flan. As easy as it sounded to make this dessert, I’d never used a “bano Maria” or simply a water bath.
I was excited to give it a go and when I unmolded those beauties out of the ramekins, I was all smiles :).

Strawberry Flan

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 cups fresh, ripe strawberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 can (400 grams) can condensed milk
  • 6 eggs

caramelized sugar topping:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • mint leaves – optional garnish

Optional: Reserve about 4-5 diced fresh strawberries for garnish.

Method

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Put a heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
  • With the back of a wooden spoon, keep sugar moving constantly in skillet until sugar is completely melted, and of a rich medium brown color (caramelized).
  • Pour caramelized sugar into each of the ramekins. Set aside.
  • Wash the strawberries and remove the stem.
  • Place the strawberries, sugar eggs and condensed milk in to a food processor or blender and blend until strawberries are minced and all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
  •  Ladle the strawberry mixture into each ramekin. Cover each ramekin with aluminum foil.
  • Place each ramekin into a large open, oven-proof pan, such as a broiler pan. Add very hot water to the pan. The ramekins should be submerged approximately 3/4 in the water.
  • Carefully place the pan on to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully remove each ramekin from the water, uncover and to allow to cool.
  • Once cool, place in refrigerator to chill.
  • When you are ready to serve, run a paring knife around the outside of each ramekin to loosen the flan. Then, place the serving plate on top of each one and flip it over. It may be necessary to tap the ramekin to force the flan to fall out onto the plate.
  •  Garnish with fresh strawberries and mint.

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Banana.
Banana who?
Knock knock
Who’s there?
Banana.
Banana who?
Knock knock
Who’s there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana ?

I’ve done lamer versions of Knock knock, but this always seems to work.

We’ll jump straight into one of my stock cakes that I fall back on when I am in a hurry. Not so much a ‘Wham bam, thank you ma’am outcome when it comes to the end result.
This cake is just right on many counts. Fluffy, not overtly overpowering in flavours and leaves you with the nice warm feeling after you’ve tucked it away.

Spotted Orange Yogurt Cake

Ingredients ( serves 12 )
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons finely chopped or grated orange zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional syrup:
1/3 cup orange juice (strained if freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Method


1. Heat the oven to 180°C.

2. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and use a stand mixer to cream until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the eggs, vanilla, yogurt, orange juice, poppy seeds and orange zest and beat 1 minute.

4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well.

5. Pour the batter into a greased 9″  mold (I  used a bundt mold in this instance) and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Ovens vary, so start checking after about 45 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then carefully remove it from the pan.

6. If desired, combine the orange juice and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, then spoon or brush it over the cake. Slice and serve! This cake will keep at room temperature for 3 days or can be frozen.


Strains of Marvin Gaye stream in the background.

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough, baby

One of those days when I felt like the Energizer bunny. It was a dear friends birthday and I had decided to fix her a treat. In preperation I had my ingredients list ready (One of those rare times I must admit.It usually is a two pitstop strategy to the supermarket to pick up an ingredient, that I had tucked away in a corner of my mind and forgotten conviniently the first time), The stand mixer was in the boot of the car and I rocked into work fairly early. I played out the steps for the recipe in my mind a couple of times and it was down to crunching some numbers at work. After I knocked off work, I whizzed down to the supermarket and after some snappy shopping, I was on my way to A & R’s place. After the surprise knock on the door and customary wishes, I set shop and got down to work. After a good two hours of toiling, out came the golden baby – a hint of cinnamon in the air, a crusty top and a soft moist center – Apple and Berry crumble cake!

Apple Berry Crumble Cake.

You're old enough now, no more pacifier.

Bubba time!

It tasted just as nice as it looked. Served as a perfect treat for A on her birthday and seemingly so Ria liked my dessert over R’s gift- A money plant 🙂

Ingredients ( serves 8 )

Apple and Berry Layer
3 medium Granny Smith apples
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
75g fresh or frozen blueberries, 75 g fresh or frozen raspberries

Crumble Topping
100g plain flour
80g cold butter, chopped (salted butter)
80g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g cold butter (salted butter)
180g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
100g plain flour

Method

  • Peel apples. Cut apples into quarters and remove the cores. Slice each quarter lengthways into four or five pieces.
  •  Place apple in a medium saucepan. Add water and 1 tablespoon sugar to the saucepan.
  •  Cover saucepan with a lid. Place saucepan over high heat, and when the water boils, reduce heat so that the mixture simmers.
  • Cook apple for about 12-15 minutes, until tender (the point of a knife should pierce the apple easily).
  • Transfer apple mixture to a heatproof bowl and place in the fridge or freezer while preparing the other ingredients.
  • When assembling the slice, the apple needs to be cold or at room temperature. It will probably take about 40 minutes for the apple to cool in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced).
  • Move oven rack to the middle shelf position (not necessary for a fan-forced oven).
  • Grease an 18cm by 27.5cm (top inside measurement) slice pan that is at least 3cm deep.
  • Line with baking paper, extending the paper about 2cm above the sides of the pan. The excess paper can be used as handles to lift the slice out of the pan.
  • To make the crumble topping, place crumble ingredients in a stand mixer and process on medium speed until the ingredients are combined and the mixture starts to form clumps (about 20-40 seconds).
  • Tip crumble mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate while preparing the cake batter.
  • In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, eggs and vanilla.
  • Place butter, caster sugar and flours in the stand mixer and process on medium speed until no large pieces of butter remain (about 30 seconds). The mixture should look similar to almond meal.
  • Add sour cream mixture to the food processor and process on medium speed until combined into a thick batter (about 10 seconds).
  • Scrape down the side and base of the processor and process again for about 10 seconds.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread batter evenly over the base of the pan.
  • Place the cooled, cooked apple over the batter.
  • Sprinkle the berries over the apple.
  • Sprinkle crumble topping over the fruit.

Bake cake for about 50-55 minutes, or until a thin-bladed knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out without any batter attached. The cake should spring back when lightly pressed in the centre and the crumble should be lightly browned.

Serve cake warm or at room temperature, on its own or with cream and/or ice cream.

Here’s another time when I made the Apple Berry Crumble in ramekins.

Apple Berry Crumble.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.


For someone who loves to bake, I seldom can go beyond two spoonfuls when it is plated up. It is easier to get away with it when it is your own creation, but I have had to endure being on sticky wickets when friends serve up a plateful and I have that sheepish look on my face. All that goes out the window for one dessert – Molten chocolate lava cake. I’d be more than happy to dig into this one with both my hands!

 This goes back some time. My first tryst with this decadent desert was at an Italian restaurant named Meli Melo in St Kilda. I fell hopelessly in love with it. The restaurant shut shop a year later, and although I hunted for a like for like all around the city, no one even came close.

 When I started baking, I looked all over the net for a good recipe. Either, I just wasn’t doing it right or the recipes just didn’t cut it. After some 4 vain attempts, I stumbled upon this recipe on an innocuous looking website. Nothing fancy, just a simple recipe. After tinkering around with the recipe for a couple of times, I hit the jackpot one late night at a friend’s place.

 There are two reasons I love going over to R & A’s place. R is an accomplished pastry chef by trade and I find it reassuring to have him by my side to hand me tips and tricks that a recipe off the net doesn’t. I must mention, that for somebody that makes a living out of baking, I have rarely seen R in action in the kitchen. The credit perhaps should go to A, for playing the super-mum, Which brings me to the more important reason – Ria. R & A’s two and a bit year old bundle of joy. I could spend hours together with her and not know of the time. Here’s a snap of the happy family.                                

R, A and Ria.

 

After a hard grind at putting together a Gingerbread house (I’ll save this for another time), I set about baking this evil delight at 11 PM. When it came out of the oven and onto the plates, I just couldn’t help but swoon. There were a few happy tummies and the sugar rush kept us awake into wee hours of the morning.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 200g Semi-Sweet Baking chocolate
  • 170g Butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Liberally butter four individual ramekins.
  • Melt chocolate on very low flame in a double boiler.
  • Add diced butter; stir until melted.
  • In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until it starts to whiten.
  • Stir in melted chocolate and then the flour (Ensure the molten chocolate isn’t as hot as to cook the eggs).
  • Pour into ramekins.
  • Bake for 10 -12 minutes (Take the ramekins out when the top starts to form a skin but still wobbly when you give the ramekins a shake).
  • Tip ramekins upside down onto dessert plates.
  • Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or some whipped cream.

Here’s a snap from another time of a happy customer!

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