Pumpkin and Blueberry Tart

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Yet another tart from my kitchen combining the autumnal goodness of cinnamon, oats and pumpkin ๐Ÿ˜€ (the other one is here)

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The addition of blueberries made a nice fruity match, and I’m sure cranberries or boysenberries would do just the same ๐Ÿ™‚ The texture of the filling is quite thick and almost fudgy; I haven’t had an authentic pumpkin pie yet so I’m still learning. I made my own ground oats for the tart crust using the food processor; I don’t think you could just substitute oat flour as it wasn’t quite fine enough. It doesn’t take too long anyway, and then you just add all the rest of the crust ingredients into the processor after! It’s amazing served with yogurt, but cream or ice cream would do the trick too.

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Pumpkin and Blueberry Tart
Ingredients:
Crust:
3 cups oats (2 cups oat flour in the end)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch cardamom
100g butter, cold
Filling:
1 cup blueberries
1/2 tin condensed milk
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
2 eggs
2 cups plain pumpkin puree

Instructions:
In a food processor, whizz up the oats until quite fine, like ground almonds. Measure out two cups of it and pulse with the brown sugar and spices to combine. Chop the butter into little cubes and pulse with the oats until the butter is dispersed and the mixture begins to clump. Press the mixture into a 30x10cm tart tin, and freeze for about 20 minutes.

Heat the blueberries until they are thick and syrupy, then chill until cool completely.ย Preheat the oven in the meanwhile, to 170 degrees Celsius. Whisk together the filling ingredients apart from the blueberries. Spread most of the blueberry mixture into the bottom of the tart crust. Spread the pumpkin filling on top and then drizzle some blueberry compote on top and swirl. Bake for 25 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cool in the tin. Serve with some blueberry compote and yogurt.

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Apple-Oat Dessert Cake (Vegan!)

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Just a quick wee recipe to get you through the week! If it is fall/autumn in your area of the world, then these apples will be a hit, I’m sure ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus it’s all one bowl! In half an hour, you can have morning or afternoon tea on the table. I had mine with some leftover caramel sauce (use coconut cream instead of cream if you are making vegan caramel sauce).

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Have a good week everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€
Vegan Apple Dessert Cake
Ingredients:
250g wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
100g brown sugar
210g apple, chopped
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oats to top

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a 20cm square baking tin.

In a large bowl, mix in the flour, baking powder and baking soda, ginger and sugar, followed by the apples. Make a well in he middle and mix in the vinegar, oil and water until all combined. Pour into the tin and top with some oats, Bake for 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out with only a few crumbs.

Cut and enjoy!

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Divine Sweet Vanilla Risotto with Red Fruits and Cinnamon

I present to you your next dessert or breakfast. It is delicious as either. Or maybe lunch, a snack, up to you!

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I had one in a cafe and was determined to recreate it at home. For once I think I did it better……..

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I have never tried or made rice pudding so I can’t compare then but I have a feeling they are similar. Also it is gluten free, which makes it a good alternative to porridge. I’d have it any day! I admit we were a bit lazy and used plums and berries that were already poached but you can use any fruit, fresh or cooked. I have a lot of ideas for sweet risottos now!

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It is a bit of a labour love but I found it doesn’t take as long as a savoury risotto so bonus! It’s worth the try at least once ๐Ÿ™‚ Here is the recipe:

Divine Sweet Vanilla Risotto with Red Fruits and Cinnamon
Ingredients:
Risotto:
About 2 cups milk
1/4 cup (or so) of sugar
1 cup risotto rice
Vanilla paste or essence
Knob of butter/margarine
To top:
Poached red fruits like berries and plums
Some cinnamon

Instructions:
In a medium sauce pan, gently heat about one cup of the milk with the sugar and vanilla until the sugar has dissolved. Add all of the rice and start mixing/ massaging the rice over the low heat. The rice will begin to plump up and absorb the delicious vanilla-scented milk. When the milk has almost been absorbed, add some more and keep stirring. After about 25-30 minutes, taste it to see how the rice is cooked. If it’s still too raw for your liking, keep adding milk until it is perfect. When it is done (you may like it firm to the bite or super creamy), take it off the heat and mix in the butter/margarine. Get out those plates and serve the risotto into it. Pour some fruits on top and dust with cinnamon!

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Makes about 4 servings and it lasts well in the fridge, you can heat it up the next day.

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Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake

I laughed because when I looked at what I wrote about this cheesecake a few years ago, I said it was its own level on the food pyramid. It’s true.

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I liked it so much I even went to the effort of putting up a sheet to photograph it! I am sure you will love it too, especially if you are a lover of both chocolate AND cheesecake.

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This is my dad’s recipe and specialty ๐Ÿ™‚

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The gingernuts in the base give a nice tangy contrast to the rich sweet filling, but I am sure you can switch them with another plain biscuit if you like.

Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe
Ingredients:
Base:
125g malt biscuits
125g gingernuts
100g butter
Filling:
250g dark chocolate
250g cream cheese
ยฝ cup (100g) caster sugar
150mls cream
2 eggs

Instructions:

Line a 23cm diameter spring-form cake tin with tin foil.

Crush the biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Melt the butter and mix with the biscuits until combined.ย  Press onto the bottom and the sides of the tin with a glass or your fingers. Refrigerate until set.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cool slightly. Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Set aside. Separate the eggs and whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Set aside. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Set aside. Beat the egg yolks slightly. Set aside. Beat the egg yolks into the cream cheese mixture. Slowly beat the chocolate in a bit at a time. Working quickly so the chocolate doesnโ€™t melt, carefully fold in the egg whites, then the cream. Pour into the cake tin cover in tin foil. Refrigerate 4 hours until set.

Serves 20 (or 5 for 4 days……!) (well it really depends on how hungry you are. It’s pretty rich).

Lasts for about a week

Enjoy my lovelies!

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Orange Custard Parfaits

The name ‘parfait’ always makes me chuckle a bit because it means ‘perfect’ in French. So now every time I say “c’est parfait!”, I think of this:
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Anyway, it is now Autumn down in the Southern Hemisphere, for us in NZ. It certainly is beginning to feel like it! This dessert reminds me of it, the colours and the tastes (quite delicious by the way, although don’t go overboard with the orange zest on top or you won’t be able to taste other flavours).

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We had an Italian over for lunch (hence the Italian books in the background, we were showing him what we had always wanted to make and hadn’t), so I thought I would make something light and special for afterwards. It doesn’t take that long to make, I made it while he was stirring a delicious risotto in the kitchen! ย I let people choose if they wanted white chocolate or dark chocolate on top, because we all have preferences…… haha I can imagine some of your rolling your eyes at that. Bakers are too often the victim of chocolate-debates, including ‘White chocolate isn’t real chocolate!’.

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But if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it.

Don’t be alarmed by the components in this recipe, it’s all small batches and you have no egg whites or yolks leftover!
Here is the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

Orange Custard Parfaits

Ingredients:
Meringues:
2 egg whites
ยผ tsp cream of tartar
100g castor sugar
Custard:
400mls milk
Orange zest
100g sugar
2 eggs
55g cornflour
100ml fresh orange juice
To serve:
100mls whipping cream
Chopped white and dark chocolate
Orange zest

Instructions:
Start with the meringue! Line a baking tray and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a super clean glass or metal bowl, whip the egg whites until bubbly, then add the cream of tartar. Whip faster, and add the sugar a bit at a time, whipping until glossy between each addition. When all the sugar is added, continue to whip until the mixture is thick and at stiff peak stage. Spoon onto the tray into about golfball sized blobs. TURN DOWN THE OVEN TEMPERATURE to 120 degrees Celsius and bake the meringues until crusty, about 30 minutes. Cool on the tray.
Meanwhile, make the custard. Heat the milk and the orange zest over low heat until boiling, and in another bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs and cornflour until thick and light/pale. When the milk has boiled, mix the milk slowly into the egg mixture until combined, then pour back into the saucepan and stir continuously over low heat. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so that the custard doesnโ€™t catch. When nice and thick, take off the heat and mix in the orange juice a bit at a time. Cool.
When ready to serve, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Pick out your serving bowls or glasses, between 6 and 8 of them. Start with spooning the custard into the bottom, then crumble over some meringue. Spoon over some cream, then top off with the chopped chocolate and a tad of orange zest. Done!

Valentine’s Summer Pavlova (Pansy Pav)

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Happy early Valentine’s day to all of you!
My lovely friend Valentina (brilliant name, I know) came over the other day and we made you a treat ๐Ÿ™‚ Val had never made pavlova before so I think this was a pretty good first time job!
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The glory of egg whites, sugar, air and time before it goes into the oven (^) and after (v).

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We never really set out to make anything fancy (not that fancy means difficult!) but when we were dolloping the billowy white meringue onto the tray, we sort of just ended up making a heart shape. Then I remembered all the pansies I had outside….. and voila!
Sadly as it was a spur of the moment decision, I didn’t have time to crystallise them as I would have liked, but they are edible and you can’t really taste them. If the idea of eating these beauties doesn’t really appeal to you, either try using rose petals, decorating with fruit or just marvel in their prettiness then push them to the side of the plate.
Val and I arranged the pansies by colour roughly on the table before we decorated so that we were sure we had enough colours. There is some more advice about this in the instructions so don;t worry! To top it all off, we spiked the cream with a bit of lemoncello to add it the flavour. Delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

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Pansy Pavlova
Ingredients:
Pavlova:
5 eggs whites (room temperature is best)
225g sugar
1 Tbsp cornflour
To top:
200mls cream
1 Tbsp limoncello (or to taste!)
+
Lots of pansies to decorate (a big bowlful!)

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to about 110 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with a baking mat or baking paper.
Make sure the bowl you will be beating the whites in is nice and clean! Start by beating the whites until they are light and bubbly. Then increase the speed to high and add the sugar one tablespoonful at a time. Only add the next one after the sugar has dissolved. Continue this until the sugar is used up. This is a long process but worth it in the end if you want a big puffy pavlova! Beat the mixture until thick, glossy and stiff peaks form. Mix in the cornflour (this gives it the marshmallow texture in the middle). Spoon onto the baking tray and spread the meringue thickly into a heart shape. Bake for an hour, until the pavlova has a firm crust but is not browned. Cool on the tray.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, you have some time to go and collect your pansies. Giving them a wee wash first is recommended. You can arrange them onto a table or tray to make sure you have enough to cover the pav, or if you have enough colours (if you are going for the gradient option that is). When the pavlova was cooled, Val and I took the time to have a practice run and arrange the pansies on the pavlova without cream on top, then taking them all off again. This is by no means compulsory!
To assemble, whip the cream to almost stiff peaks then mix in the lemoncello, making sure to give it a taste! Spread it on top of the pavlova evenly, not too close to the edge, then arrange the pansies on top. Done!
You are best to serve this soon after decorating as the flowers do wilt after about an hour. The pav by itself can be kept (when airtight) fresh for a few days! Serves a crowd.

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Have a lovely week everyone ๐Ÿ™‚