Baked Raspberry Jam Custard Pie

pie

So this was my first time making a baked custard pie, and for the most part, I’m pleased with how it turned out. I had a few issues with the pastry, which is what I get for using shop bought pastry I suppose, but this is a cheat’s pie, so its meant to be simple to make. Just be careful what brand you choose, as the one I chose kept cracking. In addition to this, I recommend not touching or wobbling, however tempting, your pie until 40 minutes is up, as I think that’s what led to some of the jam coming to the top on my pie. Also, I think I needed to butter the dish so that the pastry didn’t stick to it, or simply crimp it differently around the edges. The one thing that was my saving grace however, was the taste, so I think a second attempt at this pie is in order. Anyway, here’s the recipe from The Pie Project:

Ingredients

435g frozen creme vanilla bean pastry, thawed, or other bought sweet shortcrust rolled to a thickness of 3mm

2 Tbsp vanilla custard powder

1 Tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp natural vanilla extract

500ml (2 C) pouring (single/light) cream

160g (1/2 C) good-quality raspberry jam

Method

  1. Line a 22cm pie dish with the pastry and trim the edges, leaving a 3cm overhang. Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the overhang of the pastry to form a fluted edge. Freeze for 1 hour. Fluted edge, for those, who like me had no idea what this meant:2011_Decorative-Pie-Crust_fluteedges
  2. Whisk together the custard powder, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the cream and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining cream. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 minutes or until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool completely to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, fan forced. Line the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking beads. Place the pie dish in the oven on a large baking tray and cook for 10 minutes or until just dry, then remove the baking beads and paper and bake for 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Cool slightly then spread the jam over the base of the pastry and top with the custard. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the custard is set but still has a wobble in the centre. Cool completely, then chill until cold.

I ended up covering my pie with foil so the pastry around the edges didn’t burn, so I thought I’d add that in there.

 

 

 

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Extra Dark Chocolate Gelato

gelato

My first time making gelato did not go without a hitch. I had quite a few hiccups, which meant I had to improvise, and also that the gelato didn’t really taste how gelato should. Part of the problem was that the recipe wasn’t nearly detailed enough, and possibly uses the wrong quantities for certain ingredients. So now that I’ve blamed the recipe, I’m also going to blame my equipment and go ahead and say that I think the fact that I seem to have lost the splash guard on my ice cream maker might also have contributed to the rather unfortunate end result. Anyway, I’m going to attempt to write out this recipe how I think it should have been written, although in the future, I think I will just use a completely different one.

Ingredients

500ml/ 2 C whole milk

165ml/2/3 cup whipping cream

80g (100g) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped

160g caster sugar

1 egg white

200g (I think 80-120g is more appropriate) unsweetened cocoa powder

Method

  1. Put the milk and whipping cream in a small saucepan and heat gently until it reaches boiling point. Pour the mixture into a heat-resistant bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  3. In a large mixing bowl and using an electric hand whisk, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then gradually add in the sugar and cocoa powder, along with the melted dark chocolate. Add the chilled milk milk mixture and whisk for a further 20 seconds until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the gelato maker and churn freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. The gelato is best served immediately or can be kept in the freezer for up to 3-4 days.

So the main issue I had was with step 3, which actually said to beat everything together until soft peaks formed. I followed these instructions and ended up with a crumble-like mixture, as there was way too much cocoa powder. I think possibly the quantities for the chocolate and the cocoa powder have been mixed up, or that the recipe meant for you to beat the egg whites first and then add the sugar and cocoa, like you do when making a meringue. Either way, I ended up taking everything out of the bowl, adding another egg white and beating that until soft peaks, spooning in the cocoa powder crumble mess, pouring in the milk halfway through and having to strain the mixture through a sieve to get rid of the lumps of cocoa. I then also had to clean splats of gelato mixture off the wall because I lost the splash guard, as I mentioned earlier. So it’s safe to say I had a very eventful day in the kitchen, but I’m determined to nail gelato eventually.

 

 

Sonia’s Order

Today I spent almost all day in the kitchen listening to music and baking, which is one of my favourite pastimes, despite how sore my feet always get. Because I was baking for a customer I made passionfruit melting moments, rocky road, cinnamon and chocolate chip cookies, and citrus and coconut cupcakes. All of which, turned out pretty well I’d say. The rocky road and citrus cupcake recipes are new so I’ll write them out below.

Coconut and Citrus Cupcakes

These can be found here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/coconut-citrus-cupcakes/bfe1a072-19dc-445d-9771-374efabe377c

Firstly, I love how elegant these look with the use of edible flowers and lime rind as decoration, but also how good the cream cheese icing tastes with the coconut and citrus cupcakes. I couldn’t stop eating them, which is why it’s good I was making them for a customer, because I was limited to the rejects. Secondly, the original recipe is for medium sized cupcakes, but it works when making mini cupcakes too, so long as you’re careful about not over filling the party cases. Anyway, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature

155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated citrus rind (combined lemon rind and lime rind, plus extra lime rind, to serve)

1 teaspoon coconut essence

190g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour

45g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut

125ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk

Fresh flowers, to decorate

FROSTING

250g cream cheese, at room temperature

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime rind

345g (2 1/4 cups) icing sugar mixture, sifted

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Line a 12-hole, 80ml (1⁄3 cup) capacity muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Use electric beaters to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the rind and essence. Add flour, coconut and milk, in alternating batches, stirring until just combined. Divide among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. For the frosting, use electric beaters to beat the cream cheese, butter and rind in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the sugar in 2 batches, beating well after each addition until smooth. Beat in the juice until combined.
4. Use a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with a little extra lime rind and decorate with fresh flowers.

Easy Rocky Road

This recipe, was not only super easy as the name implies, but super tasty. I love the nutty flavour of it, which is created by the use of peanut butter in the mix. The recipe can be found here: https://www.spendwithpennies.com/easy-rocky-road/

Here it is written out:

Ingredients

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup peanut butter

3 cups mini marshmallows

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cups peanuts, chopped

Method

1. Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with foil.

2. Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter over low heat until smooth.

3. Stir in nuts and remove from heat. Allow to cool 3-4 minutes.

4. Add marshmallows and stir to coat.

5. Spread in pan and refrigerate until firm.

Berry Pavlova

Given that it was Australia Day recently I felt the need to finally attempt a pavlova, and I must say I’m pretty darn pleased with myself. The recipe I used was very simple as was the decoration of the pav. There’s just something about berries that is so vibrant and appealing. Anyway, here is the link to the recipe on taste: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/berry-pavlova-2/83cd2d8f-e774-4c93-95a9-70159143e41f

And here is the recipe:

Ingredients

4 egg whites

1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp vanilla essence

300ml cream

250g strawberries

125g raspberries

125g blueberries

Method

1. Preheat oven to 120°C or 100°C fan and grease a large oven tray (a round pizza tray works best for this). On a sheet of baking paper the size of the tray, use a plate as a guide to draw a 23cm circle, then a 13cm circle inside it. Place the paper on the tray, pencil-side-down.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar, a spoonful at a time, beating until dissolved between each addition until the mixture is thick and glossy. Add cornflour and vanilla and beat briefly, until just combined.
3. Using the pencil lines as a guide, scoop large spoonfuls of meringue onto the tray to form a wreath shape, as shown below. Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the top of meringue, all the way around the centre. Bake for 1½ hrs, then turn off the oven, prop the door open slightly and leave to cool completely.
4. To serve, carefully run a large knife between the pavlova and the paper to loosen it, then slide onto a serving plate. Whip the cream to soft peaks and spoon over the top of the pavlova. Top with the berries.

Transformer Cupcakes

Today I made some transformer cupcakes for a customer. It was my first time using edible wafer paper, and edible wafer paper with transformers on it at that, which I sourced online. The recipes I used for both the cupcakes and the buttercream were excellent, which was a relief given it was my first time making them. Here is the link to the blog that the recipes are from: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/06/22/super-moist-chocolate-cupcakes/

I don’t think the recipe needs any additional detail because it was easy to follow, but I’ll write it out anyway.

Ingredients

3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thin.

3. Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (this is imperative! only halfway!) to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

4. Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used Wilton 1M piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Classic Chocolate Eclairs

IMG_0531

So yesterday I attempted eclairs for the second time, and had a little more luck than last time at actually making something that vaguely resembles an eclair. However, I’ve still got a bit to go. My eclairs, while more risen than last time, were a bit dense and didn’t rise as much as they should have. I think this has to do with the flour I used, as the recipe called for a 50/50 mix of plain flour and strong white bread-making flour, but it could also be possible that I didn’t get my ingredients to room temperature before I used them as this affects the moisture content of the choux pastry (according to my Perfecting Patisserie book). I also found that the icing was a bit weird, as it turned out a little lumpy and more like a sticky toffee than icing, but that could be me following the recipe incorrectly. Next time I think I will stick to a chocolate mirror glaze or ganache to coat the eclairs in. The creme patissiere, on the other hand, turned out rather well. I used a recipe given to me by a friend in the industry, as the recipe calls for store-bought creme patisserie, which seems almost impossible to find. However, any plain creme patissiere recipe will work if store-bought creme patissiere is not accessible. Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe as written in the Perfecting Patisserie cookbook:

Ingredients

Choux Pastry

100g butter

125ml milk

125 ml water

2 pinches salt

15g caster sugar

150g plain flour (or 50/50 plain/stong white bread-making flour

approx. 4 medium eggs (see method), plus extra for glazing

Chocolate Creme Patissiere

100ml double cream

100g dark chocolate (approx. 60% cocoa solids), finely chopped

1 quantity of store-bought creme patissiere

Chocolate Icing

300g fondant frosting (also known as sugar paste)

30g (2 Tbsp) cocoa powder

3-4 Tbsp (45-60ml) water

Method

  1. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Warm the butter in a saucepan with the milk, water, salt and sugar. Ensure the liquid doesn’t boil until the butter is melted. Once all the butter is melted, bring to the boil for 10 seconds.
  2. Remove saucepan from the heat and add the flour in one go. Sit slowly to start with to ensure the flour doesn’t spill, then as the paste comes together, return to a medium heat and cook, stirring all the time. The paste needs to come together as one ball, but it also needs to develop a slight shine or gloss to its surface. This takes 30 to 60 seconds of beating on the heat.
  3. Tip the paste into a clean bowl or the bowl of a free-standing mixer and beat for 30 seconds. This cools the paste a little and releases steam. Continue to beat the paste and add the eggs a little at a time. Ensure the paste is smooth and well combined before adding the next amount of egg. The exact amount of egg required will vary. The final pastry needs to be smooth, glossy and easily piped, but it also needs to be thick enough to support itself. If too much egg is added the pastry will spread after piping, producing flattened and poorly risen choux. A good way to judge if you have added enough egg is to lift the pastry from the bowl on a large spoon of spatula. The pastry should adhere to well to the spatula but then fall back into the bowl with a clean snap. If too little egg is added the pastry will adhere but then quickly run back into the bowl, dripping off the spatula.
  4. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and and place an empty metal baking tray on the bottom of the oven. Using a piping bag is the best way to shape the pastry for baking, and using a template is a great way of producing uniformly shaped and sized choux. Fit a piping bag with a plain or fluted nozzle approx. 2.5 cm in diameter. Holding the nozzle slightly above the parchment or tray and at a 45 degree angle, pipe 15 cm lengths of pastry. It helps to stop squeezing the piping bag 1-2.5 cm from the end of each eclair and gently flick the end of the nozzle in the opposite direction, cleanly finishing the eclair. Another technique is to pipe long strips of pastry on a baking sheet and freeze them. Once frozen, the pastry may be cut into precise 15 cm lengths. Allow the pastry to defrost completely before baking (I would recommend using this method as I found it very hard to pipe the eclairs neatly and precisely). Once piped, brush the pastry with egg wash to give a glossy finish.
  5. Pour 2 cups of warm water into the baking tray on the bottom of the oven. This creates steam and a humid environment to help the pastry rise. Bake the pastry in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Do not open the door to check on it for at least 45 minutes as the drop in temperature and humidity will cause the pastry to collapse. After 1 hour, check the pastry. The shells should sound hollow when tapped and be an even golden colour. If not, return to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, warm the cream in a small saucepan until it just begins to boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth, If any lumps of chocolate remain, stick blend the mix until smooth. Combine this chocolate ganache with the creme patissiere and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  7. Next warm the fondant in a small saucepan until it flows. Stir in the cocoa powder. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until you have a smooth paste.
  8. To assemble the eclairs, make 3 small holes in the base of each eclair with a 1 cm round piping nozzle. Fill a piping bag with the chocolate creme patissiere and fill the eclair, starting at one end and moving along to fill the middle and opposite end holes in turn (alternatively a doughnut syringe can be used to fill the eclairs).
  9. Ensure the chocolate icing is still warm and flows. Invert the eclair and dip it into the frosting. Turn the eclair the right way up but held at a 45 degree angle over the bowl of frosting. Gently run your finger along the top, pushing off any excess. Clean your finger on a cloth then run it along both sides of the frosting to given a clean, even line along the side of the eclair. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

And there you have it.

 

 

Muffins for Nika

So this morning I got up at 5am to bake 70 muffins in my grandparents tiny kitchen, for a friend’s 21st, and considering my weariness having just woken up and my limited space, I think I did alright. I made 35 apple and cinnamon muffins, which I believe have been posted on here before, and 35 cheese and bacon muffins, which I’d never made until today. As a result, I’ll just be writing up the savoury muffin recipe, which is from taste.com. For the original recipe go to:http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/bacon-cheese-muffins/349632be-f45a-4f16-bd94-dd48a7c8039f

And here is the recipe with some minor adjustments:

Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil

4 rashers of rindless bacon, finely chopped

2 1/2 C self raising flour

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1 1/2 C grated tasty cheese, extra to put on top

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 C (250ml) milk

50g butter, melted

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/ 170 degrees Celsius fan-forced. Line a 12 hole, 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes or until crisp. Allow to cool.

3. Combine the sifted flour with pepper, cheese, chives and bacon in a medium sized bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add remaining ingredients stirring until combined.

4. Spoon mixture into paper cases. Top with more grated cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

So mostly with this recipe I found that it didn’t have enough bacon and pepper and wasn’t cheesy enough, which is why I adjusted the ingredient quantities a little. Otherwise the flavour and texture was nice, and the recipe easy to follow.