Desserts

vanessa martin's tiramisu

COMMENTS: I found this tiramisu by vanessa martin in a food magazine in Canberra. It is heaven but pretty rich so serve in smallish glasses. Perfect for dinner parties as all prepared ahead.

SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS:
6 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
500g mascarpone
hot, strong expresso coffee
Liqueur (Tia Maria, Amaretto, Kahlua)
Pavesini biscuits (a slim version of Savioardi which also work)
small block chocolate for garnish

METHOD:
1. In a bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until white. This will take at least 15 minutes. Add the mascarpone and beat until just combined and smooth.
2. Combine the coffee with the liqueurs. Dip the biscuits in to the liquid a few at a time and set aside on a plate to cool.
3. In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites until thick and stiff. Gently fold into the mascarpone mixture.
4. Alternatively layer the biscuits and cream into individual glasses an refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or preferably longer. Grate chocolate over the top to serve.

APPLE CHEESE DANISH

COMMENTS: This Danish from "A Cozy Kitchen" is super quick & easy & pretty impressive too! Perfect for the last minute desserts. I always keep Careme puff pastry in the freezer.

RASPBERRY MARBLED CHEESECAKE

COMMENTS: This delicious cheesecake from Donna Hay magazine was really simple to prepare. I served it with left over raspberry puree & fresh raspberries.

SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS:
200g frozen or fresh raspberries
1/4 cup caster sugar

Base
85g shortbread biscuits, crushed
1/2 cup almond meal
45g butter, melted

Filling
600g cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:
Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor and press through a sieve to remove the seeds. Place the puree in a small saucepan with the sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until thick, then set aside to cool.
To make the base, combine the biscuits, almond meal and butter and press over the base of a 22cm springform tin. Refrigerate until required.
Preheat the oven to 140*C. To make the filling, process the crea cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the base, then spoon the raspberry mixture over and swirl lightly with a palette knife or butter knife. Bake for 1 hour or until set, then chill and serve cold. 

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT MACAROON TORTE

COMMENTS: I made this simple yet impressive dessert from Smitten Kitchen for my friend Lisa H's birthday this year. It is gluten free too which is always good these days.

FREE FORM PEACH TART

COMMENTS: This tart, from "italyonmymind" blog is perfect for those of you whom, like me, are terrified of pastry. This pastry is all made by hand in a bowl, comes together easily and, no matter what it looks like, tastes crumbly & divine. You can even use peaches that are a little over-ripe. Serve with vanilla ice cream or mascarpone.

RUBY RED PLUM & AMARETTI CRUMBLE

COMMENTS: This delicious but very simple dessert from "Nigellissima" is a winner with vanilla ice cream.

CONDENSED MILK, LEMON & GINGERNUT

COMMENTS: This ridiculously easy dessert from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book 'Three Good Things on a Plate' is perfect for when you suddenly have people over and want to whip up a little dessert. I served mine in little jars but tea cups or ramekins work too.

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS
4 large lemons
395g can condensed milk
150ml double thick cream
12 gingernut biscuits

METHOD:
Finely grate zest of 2 lemons. Squeeze the juice from all the lemons and strain it to remove any pips & fibres. Measure out 150ml strained juice.
Tip the condensed milk into a large bowl and stir in the cream. Add the lemon zest and juice, then stir until the mixture is thick and smooth.
Divide evenly among 6 small cups or glasses and chill for 2-3 hours until set. 
Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs and scatter thickly over the puds to serve.

LEMON DELICIOUS

COMMENTS:
This recipe comes from an old copy of House & Garden magazine. It is very, very lemony, the top has a golden crust and the bottom is oozy lemon curd. Absolutely delicious served with vanilla icecream.

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS: 
4 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
50g butter, softened
lemon zest from 2 lemons
1/3 cup (50g) self raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup lemon juice (3 lemons)
1 1/2 cups milk
vanilla icecream to serve

METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 160*C. In a large bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup caster sugar, a little at a time, beating continuously until sugar is fully incorporated and mixture is glossy.
2. In another bowl cream butter with remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and lemon zest. Add yolks, flour, lemon juice and milk. Mix thoroughly. Stir in a little of the egg white mixture, then gently fold in remaining.
3. Pour into a 10 cup capacity baking dish or 6 jars.  Place the dish/jars into a larger baking tray and fill halfway with hot tap water.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until top has set and is lightly browned. 

LEMON, LIME & ORANGE DELICIOUS

COMMENTS: This twist on the absolute classic pudding comes from "The Food Dept" blog.

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS:
• 
80g butter
•  ½ cup caster sugar
• 3 eggs, separated
• juice and rind of 1 lemon
• rind only of 1 lime
• juice and rind of 1 orange
• ¼ cup self raising flour
• 1 ½ cups milk
• extra ½ cup cater sugar

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Grease 6 x 1 cup oven proof ramekins.
2. Using and electric mixer cream the butter, sugar for 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time then mix through the zest. Mix through the flour, milk and juices.
3. Whisk the egg whites until soft peak then gradually add the extra caster sugar and beat until the sugar has dissolved. Gently fold half of the egg whites and sugar into the mixture, then gently fold through the remaining egg whites and sugar.
4. Pour into ramekins and them bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve immediately with double cream.

ICECREAM CAKE

COMMENTS:
My kids have always loved icecream cake. They get that from me, it's genetic. Now, I am not ashamed to admit that in a former life (when I worked far too hard and that elusive work/life balance wasn't quite right) I may have purchased the green Freddo icecream cake from Woollies or Coles for a birthday party or two.  You know what, the four and five year olds loved it. They weren't to know I didn't make it. Well, even though my kids are a lot older than that now, they still request icecream cake for their birthdays.  These days, however, they request that I make this icecream cake from Nigella Express.  It is so YUM I can't describe it adequately so make it and try for yourself.  I sprinkle a Flake bar over the top instead of biscuit crumbs just to make it even better.  It is also delicious without the chocolate or caramel sauce.

YOGHURT & MIXED BERRY PUDDING

COMMENTS: This quick and simple pudding from "delicious baking" is perfect for a last minute dessert to feed some unexpected guests or for a mid-week sweet fix. I didn't have time to thaw the berries and it turned out fine. If you butter is too hard, just grate it.

SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS:
125g caster sugar
300g fresh or frozen mixed berries, thawed
50g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
100g thick Greek style yoghurt, plus extra to serve
125g self-raising flour, sifted
2 tablespoons flaked almonds
icing sugar to dust

METHOD:
Pre-heat the oven to 160*C. Grease the base of an 800mls baking dish.
In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the berries and pour into the base of the baking dish.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and remaining sugar until thick and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In three batches fold the yoghurt and flour into the egg mixture, alternating between the two, until smooth.
Pour the batter over the berries and scatter with the flaked almonds.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and the sponge springs back when touched. Dust with icing sugar and serve pudding warm with extra yoghurt.
 

S'MORES

COMMENTS: These American treats are usually made around a fire. You toast a marshmallow on a stick in the fire. Then you wedge the toasted marshmallow between two of your favourite chocolate chip & oat cookies with a piece of milk chocolate. The hot marshmallow melts the chocolate - it is HEAVEN! Wendy used this recipe from Donna Hay. 

SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE

COMMENTS:
This delicious cheesecake from Joy the Baker's blog combines sweet & salty perfectly. It is simple to make and keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.

APPLE & BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE WITH ROASTED ALMOND & PEANUT TOPPING

COMMENTS: I LOVE a crumble, and this one from Katie Quinn Davies in June delicious is deliciously sweet and nutty. Another prepare ahead and pop in the oven as you sit down to dinner dessert perfect for a wintery night. I have to have ice cream with my crumble!

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS:
4 (about 850g) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 2cm cubes
500g frozen blueberries, thawed
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar and pure (thin) cream, to serve

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup (80g) wholemeal flour
2 tablespoons plain flour
50g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup (55g) roasted whole almonds
1/3 cup (50g) unsalted roasted peanuts, plus extra 2 tablespoons, chopped
1/2 cup (40g) flaked almonds

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 180*C. 
For the crumble topping, place the flours and butter in a food processor and whiz for a minute or until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add brown sugar and pulse to combine - if the mixture looks too clumpy, add an extra 1-2 tablespoons wholemeal flour. add the whole almonds and 1/3 cup (50g) peanuts, then pulse until coarsely chopped. Set aside.
Place apple, blueberries, caster sugar and vanilla in a bowl and stir well to coat. Tip into a 1.5L baking dish, then scatter over the crumble topping. Sprinkle the crumble with flaked almonds and extra 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until crumble is golden and bubbling. Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.

SPICY POACHED RHUBARB & STRAWBERRIES

COMMENTS: This recipe came from George Sinclair of Yellow Bistro at a cooking course at Accoutrement a few years ago. The syrup is just heavenly with its cinnamon & orange flavours. It is delicious at breakfast with yogurt or, for dessert, with vanilla anglaise or topped with some crumble.

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS:
300g rhubarb
250mls orange juice
250mls water
100g sugar
3 cardamon pods
1 cinnamon stick
zest of 1 orange
250g strawberries

METHOD:

Place water, orange juice, sugar, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick and zest in a pot and bring to the boil. Meanwhile cut rhubarb into 7cm lengths and place them in a small baking tray. Pour over the poaching syrup and cover with foil which has a few small holes punched in it. Bake at 150*C for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove rhubarb & cardamon pods then place syrup on top of the stove over a medium flame to reduce by 1/3. Slice strawberries, combine with rhubarb and cover with syrup when cool. Allow to macerate until required.


LEMON CURD & BLUEBERRY TARTLETS

COMMENTS:
These little tartlets from "High Tea" are made with ready-rolled sheets of shortcrust pastry or you can just buy tart cases like I did. Chef Laurent is a good brand. The lemon curd is also delicious on ice cream.

MAKES 48

INGREDIENTS:
4 sheets ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
48 blueberries

Lemon Curd
150mls lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
6 egg yolks
110g caster sugar
100g  unsalted butter cut into cubes

METHOD:
To make the lemon curd, whisk the lemon juice and zest, egg yolks and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over low heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Gradually add the butter, stirring constantly, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until thick. Remove from the heat and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 180*C. Lightly grease 24, 3 cm tartlet tins. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut 48 rounds from the pastry with a 5cm cutter. Place half the rounds on the prepared baking tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Press the remaining pastry rounds into the prepared tins. Bake cases for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Repeat with the remaining rounds. Allow to cool completely.
When cool dust each tartlet case with icing sugar then spoon in 1 teaspoon of the lemon curd and top with a blueberry.

These tartlets are best eaten the day they are assembled within 1 hour. The cases can be baked up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container. To revive them, bake in a 180*C oven for 5 minutes. The curd can be made 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge.

HONEYCOMB & CHOC CHIP ICECREAM

COMMENTS:
This icecream is sooooo delicious. Be warned! I made icecream sandwiches using wafer biscuits from Thomas Dux. 

SERVES MANY

INGREDIENTS:
4 litres vanilla icecream, softened
1 packet Milk Arrowruit biscuits
250g honeycomb
250g white chocolate chips
250g milk chocolate chips

METHOD:
Put biscuits & honeycomb in a large snap lock bag and smash up with a rolling pin. Put softened icecream in a bowl with the smashed biscuits & honeycomb and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Place in a container and freeze.

ETON MESS

COMMENTS: You know it's easy but don't dismiss this old favourite for kids and adults. When you don't have any time or inclination to get into serious cooking, this is a delicious classic. DO NOT make the meringue, it's not the same without the store bought ones which are so dry & crumbly. I like Nigella's version to which I added some blueberries because I had them fresh from the markets. I also tend to sweeten the cream with some icing sugar if I can find some.

LIMONCELLO TRIFLE

COMMENTS: My sister-in-law Jane S made this GORGEOUS trifle for Xmas Day and it tasted even better than it looks. She made an almond praline and crushed it for the top instead of the flaked almonds. Serve in your most beautiful bowl - it will feed at least 10 with some ice-cream. 

MARGARITA ICE CREAM

COMMENTS:
This no churn ice cream from "Nigella Express" is so simple to prepare and is a really creamy delicious ice cream. I did sift my icing sugar to make it easier for the sugar to dissolve. Serve with Tequila shots and lime wedges.

LEMON MERINGUE CAKE

COMMENTS:
Well you know already we are big lemon fans in our family so this recipe from Nigella, which combines them with another family favourite, meringue, was always going to be a big hit. Very tart and sweet at the same time.

CHOCOLATE CLOUD CAKE

COMMENTS:
This flourless chocolate cake from Nigella Bites is intensely chocolaty but at the same time light and fluffy. I served it with raspberries on top.



PAVLOVA

COMMENTS:
Everyone loves a good Pav. but a lot of people get a little terrified about making a Pav.  I have tried many Pav recipes (with an embarrassingly large amount of failures along the way), each with slightly different ratios of egg whites to caster sugar, however this meringue recipe from Bill Granger's "Sydney Food", with some tips and ideas from Jamie Oliver's "Cook with Jamie" thrown in, is fail safe. You do need to be a little bit careful with a few things though:

*bowl must be clean (yes check it) & dry. A friend of mine told me on Sat night to wipe the bowl out with a cut lemon first to make it really clean.
* eggs at room temp not from fridge
* you must not, repeat MUST NOT, get any egg yolk or egg shell in the egg white. Do them one at a time into a little bowl/coffee cup so that if you have any disasters you only throw out one egg.

SERVES 8-10
INGREDIENTS
Meringue -
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (leave out if adding vanilla bean to topping)

Toppings -
Option 1
400mls thickened cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean
1 punnet strawberries
3 kiwi fruit peeled & sliced

Option 2 
300mls thickened cream
2 tablespoons marscapone
3 tablespoons Grande Manier or Brandy
1 punnet strawberries
1 Flake bar

METHOD
Preheat oven to 220*C (425*F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place egg whites, cream of tartar & vanilla into a clean dry bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.  Add sugar in tablespoons at a time beating until all sugar is added & meringue is smooth & glossy. It should take about 10 mins in total. (Rub a bit of meringue between your fingers and you shouldn't feel any sugar but don't beat for too long as the pav will collapse.) Stir in the cornflour, arrowroot & vinegar by hand.

Pile onto the lined baking tray in a 20cm diametre.  Turn over to 150*C (300*F) and bake for 1 hr 20 minutes or until the outside is firm but not brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. 

TOPPING
Option 1 -
Place cream, vanilla beans scraped from pod, sifted icing sugar in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Spread over cooled pavlova and add cut strawberries and kiwi fruit.

Option 2 - 
Place cream, marscapone & Grande Manier/Brandy in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.  Spread over cooled pavlova and add cut strawberries before sprinkling flake over the top.

VERJUICE POACHED PEARS WITH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

COMMENTS:
I'm not a huge fan of pears poached in red wine but these pears poached in verjuice and vanilla by Valli Little are so sweet and are perfectly matched with the chocolate mousse. Use a pear corer and it is super quick and easy to prepare the pears. I use the amazing vanilla beans I brought back from Vanuatu. If you go there you must get some, otherwise use as good a quality vanilla bean as you can get your hands on. Same for the Verjuice, get a good one if you can.  Perfect for a dinner party as it is all done in advance. You can keep and freeze the poaching syrup and use it the next time to poach the pears in.

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS:
4 pears
400g caster sugar
325mls verjuice
1 vanilla bean split & seeds scraped
1 lemon halved

METHOD:
Peel the pears, halve and core.  Rub the exposed flesh with the lemon so it doesn't brown. Place the sugar and verjuice in a saucepan with the vanilla bean and seeds and stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar.  Add the pears and if the liquid doesn't quite cover the pears then add some water and cover with a cartouche. Poach for 10-15 minutes (depending of the ripeness of the pear). Use a skewer to test the pear.  Allow the pears to cool in the syrup. Keep chilled until ready to serve.  Serve with chocolate mousse below.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE IN THE BLENDER

COMMENTS:
This chocolate mousse from Valli Little is made in the blender without the 3 different bowls usually required for chocolate mousse. The LOVE THAT! It tastes great just like chocolate mousse should and is lows fuss and easy - EXACTLY what I'm after!

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS:
200g dark chocolate, finely chopped plus extra grated to serve
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons brandy (or could use dark rum)
3 egg whites
3/4 cup (185mls) thickened cream plus extra to serve

METHOD:
Place finely chopped chocolate in a blender.

Place the sugar, coffee, brandy and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan over medium low heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and coffee.

With the blender running, carefully pour the hot liquid into the blender through the feeder tube, blending until the chocolate has melted.  Add the egg whites and cream and pulse the blender several times until just combined.

Pour the mousse into 4 serving glasses and chill for 4 hours or overnight.

Serve topped with extra grated chocolate and whipped cream.

TOFFEE APPLE & PEAR CRUMBLE

This crumble is a lick the spoon and your plate clean number.  The combination of the apple, pear & toffee plus the orange juice, figs & dates just make it a bit different to your average crumble.  Serve it at the table so they can see all the toffee oozing out when you serve. Thank you, thank you Sophie Dahl!

HOT STRAWBERRIES IN GRAND MARNIER SAUCE

COMMENTS:
I colleague of mine gave me this photocopied recipe about 17 years ago and I can't even see which book it came from but the combination of strawberries, orange & Grand Marnier is sublime! You whip it up for dessert while your guests are still at the table, it is so quick and easy with nothing to do before hand and it uses simple ingredients that you are likely to have already.  Perfect for mid-week entertaining.  When you have more time you can also serve over crepes.

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS:
2 punnets, 500g strawberries
30g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons Grand Manier
ice cream to serve

METHOD:
Wash and hull the strawberries & set aside.  Place butter & sugar in a saucepan and cook until butter is foaming.  The sugar won't melt completely which is OK but ensure it doesn't brown. Add the orange juice and cook gently for a few minutes until sugar dissolved.  Add the strawberries turning them to coat and heat through for a minute.  Add the Grand Marnier, mix and heat then serve immediately over ice cream.

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Alice | Reply 23.10.2011 10.21

Hi Sam,
I have ocean trout in the fridge and have turned to your website for inspiration!! Going to try them with the blue eye cod recipe, Alice x

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17.05 | 21:12

very nice

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18.02 | 07:27

i would like a small turkey breast and turkey neck recipe - not dietic

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30.07 | 18:59

Excellent salad recipes and not time consuming to prepare ,Ursula

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14.01 | 23:22

Hi Sam, I would love to receive updates for your fabulous blog. Keep up the great work!

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