Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Caramel Cake

At first glance you may think that these are just more cupcakes, but these delicious Caramel Cupcakes are the Daring Baker challenge for November. The Caramel Cake with caramelised butter icing was chosen by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity and her co-hosts Alex of Blonde and Brownie and jenny of Foray Into Food. The recipe is courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon and you can find it here.

We were allowed to make our cake in whatever shape we wanted, the only requirement being to include make the cake recipe and also the caramelised butter icing. The first step was to make the caramel which was the base for both the cake and the icing. This was made simple by boiling sugar and water until it turned a dark amber colour, then pouring in more water to make a thick golden syrup like caramel syrup. The instructions were to wear long sleeves because the caramel splutters a lot. It was a warm day here (we are definitely heading into summer!) and I was wearing a singlet top. Luckily I am fairly hardy and the bits of caramel that spluttered up (some onto my neck!) didn’t burn.

The cake was made in the usual way, with the caramel added. You could be forgiven in thinking that these cakes look very plain, but the taste was absolutely delicious! They tasted like little golden syrup steamed pudding! The icing was so yummy as well. You made it by cooking butter until it turned a nut brown colour – this adds real depth of flavour. You then beat in the icing sugar and some of the caramel syrup. This is so good! It has a real caramel flavour. I used the rest of the caramel syrup to drizzle over the cakes. I was hoping that this would set into a little round drizzle pattern, but it kind of melted all over the top of the cakes. Still, it tasted great!

The builders and blocklayers got most of these cakes and by all accounts, they went down well. My husband, Mum and I all loved them too, so I will definitely be making them again!!!

See how the other Daring Bakers cakes turned out here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

5th birthday party cupcakes

We are heading into the busy season, so I havent had a lot of time to be baking this week. These are some cupcakes I did for a 5 year old birthday party last week. I made vanilla cupcakes topped with pink buttercream icing and a little royal icing flower. There were 6 boys at the party, so I did plain white icing for them and little blue fondant stars. The cakes were sent home in loot bags. I think cupcakes are a good thing for children’s parties, as they look pretty and you don’t have to worry about cutting a cake etc.

This week my Mum has been staying. She loves fresh fish, but doesn’t cook it much herself. So, on Saturday night we had salmon and on Monday night we had terakihi. I hot roasted the terakihi in the oven as I usually do, topping it with chopped hazelnuts, a little melted butter and lemon juice. We had it with gorgeous new season jersey benne potatoes which I roasted with black and green olives. Very yummy, as the saltiness in the olives gives the potatoes a lovely flavour. We also had a salad made with baby spinach, grilled eggplant, roasted almonds, feta and avocado. It was delicious!

Thanks so much to Peggy from Pantry Revisited who has passed on this lovely butterfly award to me. Peggy is a fellow TWDer and has a fabulous blog herself – you need to check it out. Thanks Peggy! I am meant to pass this on to 10 bloggers, but I am just going to pass it on to Gaye from Laws of the Kitchen. Gaye is a real sweetheart, a fellow antipodean blogger and also a lawyer. Check out Gaye’s blog here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November Cookie Carnival

The November cookie carnival recipe is for the Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies. As you know, I am always looking for another perfect CCC recipe, so I was keen to try this one out and I knew it would be something else that the builders would enjoy!

I did make a couple of changes to the recipe – one, I used only one egg, rather than the two the recipe called for. I don’t like really wet cookie mixture, as I don’t like cookies that spread too much. Because I cut down on the wet ingredients, I also dropped ½ a cup of the flour. The cookie dough was perfect to scoop into balls and drop onto the baking trays. I used a block of Whittakers 62% chocolate as my chocolate chunks. This chocolate is perfect for cookies as it is not too dark, but also not too sweet.

The cookies baked beautifully. They spread a little, but not too much. I left them to cool a little on the trays before I cooled them completely on racks. I think they were a little soft for my tastes, but that is something that could probably be remedied by leaving them on the baking trays for a little longer.

Thanks Kate for organising another great cookie carnival!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TWD - Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

This week’s TWD recipe is Thanksgiving Twofer Pie chosen by Vibi of La Casserole carree. The pie combines two traditional thanksgiving pies – pumpkin pie and pecan pie, into one. Thanksgiving is obviously an American celebration and not celebrated here in NZ, so I didn’t wait and make this pie for Thanksgiving. I haven never made pecan pie or pumpkin pie before (in fact I don’t think I have tasted pumpkin pie before!) so I got to make both kinds of pies in one go.

I made little individual tarts rather than one big pie. I halved all of the mixtures. The base is a shortcrust base, with a pumpkin pie filling. The filling is made from pumpkin (I steamed and mashed this as we don’t have canned pumpkin here), cream and spices. You then top that with pecans and a caramel style mixture of brown sugar and eggs. You are also meant to use corn syrup, but that isn’t a cupboard staple in NZ and I forgot to buy some, so I used extra brown sugar instead.

The wee tarts turned out perfectly. They are really yummy, but I couldn’t really taste the pumpkin too much. I think I would prefer more filling and I would have got that effect if I had baked the pies in deeper dishes. I did enjoy making this little piece of America, and I hope that the TWDers in the States enjoy this Thanksgiving treat!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Catching up woth Dorie....

I think I only have about 5 recipes to make that either were made before I joined Tuesdays With Dorie, or where I have missed a challenge (I have missed three challenges over the 8 months I have been a member). I made one of these recipes, hidden berry cream cheese torte, on Saturday when my cousin and his young family came for a bbq. Our current accommodation is pretty small and doesn’t really lend itself to entertaining, but we did manage to fit everyone in for a bbq.

The bbq was pretty simple – marinated steak, a beetroot and bulghar wheat salad and an asparagus, avocado, almond and spinach salad with a raspberry dressing, then the torte for pudding. The torte is like a light cheesecake – a lovely shortbread style base covered with thick jam (I used my own home made blackberry) and a cheesecake topping which is lightened by the addition of cottage cheese. I made 2/3 of the recipe and made it in a rectangular tart tin. I didn’t need all the cheesecake filling, so I poured that into a small ramekin and baked it. It was delicious.

The torte was yummy – even my cousin’s two year old son had a piece. I served it with whipped cream, but as I took the photo of the torte the next morning, the cream looks a bit over whipped – it wasn’t at the time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wilton Course three

On Tuesday night it was my second night of the Wilton Course 3, which is cake decorating with fondant. I was very excited all day about decorating my cake. I copied a picture in one of my Peggy Porschen books and I must say, I am so pleased with the way it turned out!!!! The cake itself is a chocolate cake – a really delicious chocolate cake I might add!! I used the recipe in the confetti cakes book which I borrowed from the library. Actually I love this book so much, I have just ordered a copy for me.

Not much writing today – just lots of photos.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trying them all out.....

It seems that builders like cookies the best and despite my attempts at some interesting baking, chocolate chip cookies have remained a favourite. I have made double batches of my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe made with condensed milk, but have also tried some other varieties.

The cookie pictured above is meant to be a chocolate, apricot and almond cookie. The recipe came from Dish magazine. However, they didn’t turn out as I had hoped. The method was to heat the golden syrup, butter and sugar together and then pour over the dry ingredients. I obviously didn’t leave my hot mixture to cool for ling enough, as the heat melted my chocolate chips, giving me just chocolate cookies rather than chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were also very soft and I don’t really like soft cookies – I like some crunch somewhere. I won’t make these again.

The second cookie was great. It is a double chocolate cookie from Nigella Lawson’s book, Nigella Express. The cookie is almost like a brownie in cookie form, as it is dense and fudgy and almost a little cake like. There is a degree of crunch, but only in that it envelopes the fudginess inside. The perfect accompaniment is a glass of milk. These will be made again.

Lastly there is the chocolate chip and salted cashew cookie. I bought cashew nuts especially to make this recipe after seeing it on Peabody’s blog. I love nuts and I was lucky to have enough left to make the cookies. These cookies had a good combination of crispiness and chewiness. I can’t say that I love them though or that I will be racing to make them again. I actually found them a little sugary – I did cut back on the sugar, but it was still too much for me.

If you have a favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, please let me know!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TWD - arborio rice pudding

This week’s TWD recipe is Arborio rice pudding and is chosen by Isabelle of Les Gourmandises d’isa. I love rice pudding, although it is only latterly that I have come to enjoy it. My earliest memory of rice pudding is my Grandma making it and it having that horrible “skin” on top. I hate that kind of thing, although I know some people like it.

Dorie’s rice pudding recipe uses Arborio rice – the short grain rice usually used for making risotto. I have used Arborio rice to make rice pudding before. You do need to use short grain rice as it gives a much creamier result – it must be a bit more starchy than long grain rice. Dorie’s recipe par-boiled the rice before adding it to the hot milk. Dorie specified full cream milk for the pudding, but I used calci-trim (a calcium fortified low fat milk) with success. Even using full fat milk, rice pudding is a fairly low fat and relatively healthy pudding as the amount of sugar used is minimal and the only fat is in the milk.

Dorie suggested flavouring the rice pudding with vanilla or with chocolate, or splitting the pudding and doing half chocolate and half vanilla. I have always wanted to make chocolate rice pudding, but for some reason have never got round to it, so I went the half and half way. I used vanilla paste to flavour my vanilla half and I love the little flecks of vanilla you can see through the pudding. I actually didn’t really like the chocolate pudding. I found it a bit too rich (there aren’t very many things I can say that about!), so I am pleased that I tried both. I had read that many TWDers had found that there was too much milk in the recipe, so even though I made a half batch, I kept the full amount of rice and I found that worked well.

I thought this was delicious – see if the other TWDers thought so here and check out the recipe on Isabelle’s blog.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cut Out Dolls

It’s been a while since I have done any card making, but last week, I pulled out my bits of paper and did some cutting and pasting while I was watching TV. There is something quite soothing about cutting and gluing – it must be a reversion to my childhood. I was never that arty, but I loved my cut out dolls. I would play with them for hours – I liked them way better than my barbie or Daisy doll. So, in some ways, I guess cutting out my vintage ladies is a bit like playing with my cut out dolls!

Yesterday we met friends for brunch at Clevedon and went to the Clevedon farmers market. This is a market that I have been wanting to go to for some time. We are getting pretty spoilt in NZ now with lots of farmers markets being dotted round the country side. I didn’t do too much purchasing - strawberries, artichokes and the buffalo mozzarella that is being made in Clevedon. I look forward to trying it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A dollop of Nostalgia

One of my favourite things is cream. I much prefer it to ice cream and to me no pudding is complete with a good dollop of cream on the side. However, I often end up with a half bottle of cream in the fridge. Last week I had a bottle of cream about to expire, which only had a couple of tablespoons (used for ganache) out of it. Cream is still relatively cheap, but I do hate to waste things and so I made butterfly cakes and used the cream to fill the wee cakes.

Butterfly cakes are the type of thing that you used to see in the tea rooms (before we had cafes!). A treat for us in the school holidays was to go into town and have afternoon tea in the tea rooms at H & J Smiths, the department store in Invercargill where I grew up. A cream cake was always my choice and I used to love their butterfly cakes, which were more like sponge drops, piled high with cream and a small square of jelly dotted between the butterfly “wings”. Yum, I would love one of those right now! The ratio of cream to cake was about 3:1 which is just perfect as far as I am concerned!

The recipe for these butterfly cakes came from Ladies, A Plate, my book which has the collection of kiwi classic baking recipes. The cakes are little vanilla cakes (a bit heavier than a sponge cake) and I baked them in cases which are smaller than regular cupcake cases. I topped mine with a wee dollop of raspberry jam and also put some raspberry jam in them before I filled them with cream. My work colleagues enjoyed them for morning tea – not only do they look lovely, they have that perfect hint of nostalgia!

Butterfly Cakes (from Ladies a Plate)

115g butter
115g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
170g flour
1tsp baking powder
2 tbsp warm milk

· Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time and vanilla
· Fold in flour and baking powder, and milk if required to give a not too thick consistency (I only used one tbsp milk)
· Spoon into cases and bake at 180c for 12 minutes. I got 15 butterfly cakes from the mixture
When cold, slice off the top of each cake, spoon a little jam into the centres (I used raspberry) and then fill with whipped cream. Cut the tops in two and position on the cream like butterfly wings. Dot about ¼ tsp jam in between the wings

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lemon Crumble Loaf

This week the builders got good old chocolate chip cookies (which my husband tells me have been the most popular piece of baking yet – these are real kiwi favourites!) and this lemon crumble loaf. The loaf was very easy to make ( as are most loaves). It is simply a plain loaf with the addition of lemon juice to the batter and a crumble on top of flaked almonds and lemon zest. Like any loaf it is versatile and could double as pudding if served warm with a big dollop of cream on the side. I adapted the recipe from one I ripped from an Australian Womens Weekly some time ago.

The days are definitely heating up – in fact my summer tan is coming on already! So, we are definitely into bbq season. Last night I marinated some free range boneless chicken thighs which my husband bbqed. I much prefer thighs to breast as even though they don’t look so uniform and pretty, they are so much more flavoursome. I often find chicken breast quite bland. To go with the chicken breasts I made this beetroot, blue cheese, walnut and rocket salad. I love beetroot!! I remember as a child Dad preserving beetroot. He cut it into thick wedges, which I know I would love now, but at the time all I wanted was the thin stuff out of a can! I also remember the beetroot stains which seemed to cover everything – the stove, the wall…… Dad reads my blog, so I bet I get an indignant phone call from him saying that never happened - but it did! I love roasted beetroot, but it does take a long time to cook. I often steam it in the microwave first to soften it a bit and then roast for about half an hour to give it that lovely caramelised taste. Beetroot goes really well with walnuts and also with blue cheese. It is also very good with feta. The salad is simply those four ingredients combined and coated with a simple vinaigrette made with white wine vinegar, olive oil and Dijon mustard.

Lemon Crumble Loaf
125g butter
zest of a lemon and juice of half a lemon
¾ c sugar
2 eggs
¾ c flour
½ c self raising flour
¼ c milk

· Cream butter, zest and sugar, add in eggs one at a time
· Stir in remaining ingredients. Put in lined loaf tin and top with crumble mixture made by rubbing together 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp flour and 30 g butter and then stirring in 2 tsp lemon zest and 2 tbsp flaked almonds
Bake at 160c for 45 minutes or until the blade of a thing knife comes out clean when inserted

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Easy Peasy!

These little buck eyes are something I have been wanting to make for ages. They are essentially like little peanut butter truffles – the perfect treat for a peanut butter lover like me. I actually made them to take as a thank you gift to friends for dinner on Sunday night. My friend loves peanut butter too so I thought she would like these.

The recipe is pretty basic – combine 1 ½ c icing sugar with 1/2c peanutbutter and then mix in 50g melted butter. Yes, not exactly the weight watchers special, but yummy! I found the best thing to mix the ingredients with was my hands. You then chill the mixture, roll into balls, chill again and half dip in chocolate. Absolutely delicious and so easy.

Another easy thing is this quick pasta dish I made for dinner last week. Pasta is always my stand by for when I am home from work late or have to make dinner in a hurry. This particular dish is broccoli and rocket pesto pasta. Sometimes I like to make rocket pesto instead of the traditional basil. I don’t know about you, but I often end up with a small amount of rocket left in the bottom of one of those pre-washed bags and it normally gets thrown out after being left a few days to turn into sludge. One way of using it up is to make pesto in the same way you make basil pesto, using the rocket instead of basil. I find that the rocket makes a lovely light peppery pesto, rather than the sometimes cloying flavour that basil pesto sometimes has.

So, the pasta dish is just pasta tossed with broccoli florets (cooked with the pasta in its last three minutes of cooking time), pesto and scattered with parmesan cheese. I actually used the end of two different types of pasta, which is why yuo can see oriechette and tagliatelle mixed in there. I wouldnt do that for guests, but I dont mind if it's just the two of us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TWD - Kugelhopf

This week’s TWD recipe is chosen by Yolanda, the All Purpose Girl and is kugelhopf. Kugelhopf is a German or Austrian cake style bread. It is usually made in a kugelhopf tin, which is a tall fluted tin with a hole in the middle. I don’t have a kugelhopf or even a bundt tin, so I made mini kugelhopf in mini brioche tins. This was quite fitting as kugelhopf has many similarities to brioche.

The recipe is similar to brioche in that it is a yeasted bread enriched with eggs and butter. However, the texture when cooked is somewhat different (or at least mine was!) being lighter and airier than the denser brioche. Dorie added rum soaked raisins to her kugelhopf. I left those out (of course!) and added chocolate chips. I made the dough on Saturday and gave it a slow rise over night in the fridge. I see that some other TWDers had trouble with their dough rising etc. Mine was ok – I did put it in quite a sunny spot in the kitchen which probably helped.

The kugelhopf was brushed with melted butter upon taking it from the oven and then sprinkled with sugar. They were yummy when warm, but then what yeasted sweet treat isn’t?! I don’t think I would rush to make these again though. I prefer the doughiness of brioche to the lightness of the kugelhopf – or maybe that is just how mine turned out?

See what the other TWDers thought here(there are well over 300 of us now and the doors have closed – no more people are able to join TWD).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Decorating Cookies

I really want to get more into cookie decorating. It looks so effective, but it is just finding the time to practice! These are some cookies that I did last week. The wee “onsies” are a for a friend who just had a baby boy.

I should have piped in white round the edges to make them look more finished, but I was still quite pleased with the simple look.

The swirl shortbreads were a thank you present. The decorated part is done with royal icing. The design is very basic, but I was quite pleased with the look. They didn’t take long to do and are a bit more special than just plain shortbread. Hopefully over the next little while I will have a bit more time to practice my decorating skills. I start the third Wilton class on Tuesday night, so really looking forward to that!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Baking for the Builders

The baking I have been doing for the builders hasn’t been all that exciting, but I thought I would do a post so you can see what I have been creating.

The first of these is blueberry friands. I love friands. I think it is their moistness which comes from the ground nuts. I made these friands in little cupcake cases, purely because I was too lazy to clean my friand moulds. They are actually macadamia and blueberry friands. Friands are incredibly easy to make and are a good way of using up those egg whites which seem to accumulate. Incidentally, I always freeze my leftover egg whites. I put them into the smallest of ziplock bags and stick them in the freezer. Sometimes I freeze two to a bag. I usually use a Julie Le Clerc recipe for friands, but my book is packed away. The recipe I use this time is this one.

The second item for the builders are these little passionfruit curd cookies (pictured above). I used a basic cookie recipe of 125g butter, ½ c sugar, 1 egg, 1 dsp golden syrup and 1 ½ c flour, rolled the mixture into balls, and indented with the end of a wooden spoon, filling the centres with leftover passionfruit curd from my passionfruit tart I made in the weekend. You could also fill the wee centres with jam. These biscuits look cute and are really easy to make.

Lastly, I made the builders this apricot and ginger loaf. I wont make this again. It had preserved ginger in it. I don’t really like preserved ginger in the large pieces that this loaf has. The builders have been eating it, but I bet it’s not a favourite. I also don’t think that the spiciness of the loaf is pronounced enough. However, I do think that loaf is a good thing to make for the builders, as it is fairly filling and lasts quite well. I will try some other loaf varieties in the coming weeks.

My husband will be on the building site full time from Monday. He has a real sweet tooth, so I bet I will be baking a lot more!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pistachio Cookies, New Books and a Big Thank You!

I made these wee chocolate pistachio cookies to take as a gift when we went to friends for dinner last week. You can find the recipe here on the Taste website, but I am not sure that I would make them again. The cookies were soft – more like the texture of ginger kisses than firm like a yo-yo. The pistachio filling (a ganache with pistachios added) was yummy. They did look nice as a wee gift though.

I thought that I would also tell you about the books I have been buying lately – and I do say books. I have this nasty cook book addiction and when I see new books by my favourite authors, I have to buy them. My latest acquisitions include:

· Jamie Oliver’s new book - Ministry of Food – this is a good one for everyday meals. The recipes are achievable for a new cook, but there is some interesting stuff there for a seasoned Jamie fan like me. Plus I have all his other books, so could hardly not buy this one!

· Nigella Lawson’s new Christmas book – well, I just love Nigella! It’s not her recipes that I adore, but her writing. She is a fabulous writer and her books are the kind you want by your bed, not just in the kitchen. This new book is beautiful and while it focuses on the Christmas season, many of the recipes are year round ones.

· Ruth Pretty Entertains – Ruth is a well known NZ cook and has her own cooking school (I have been to one of her classes – it was a fabulous experience!) and catering company. I love her style and this book is neatly divided into chapters to reflect different occasions. Her recipes are often broken down into different components and it can take a while to get used to the style, but it is useful for mixing and matching

· Jo Seagar – Recipes from the Cook School – another NZ cooking school owner, Jo Seagar prides herself on “easy peasy” recipes – not usually my thing, but this book is beautiful and is full of fabulous every day recipes and also a good number of baking and dessert recipes. It has a gorgeous cover as well and I look forward to using it

· Baked; New Frontiers in Baking - I bought this book on the strength of a recommendation by Peabody on her blog. It is purely a baking book, but baking with a twist. I am yet to make anything from it, but the recipes looks stunning. Peabody has done a good prĂ©cis of it on her blog so take a look

And lastly, a HUGE thank you to Sarah, an ex-pat kiwi in the US who reads my blog. Sarah’s parents recently visited her and Sarah kindly e-mailed me to see if there is anything I wanted her to send back with them (you have to know that I have never met Sarah before!). I said that I had always wanted to try peanutbutter chips and toffee bits, as we cant get those in NZ. Sarah so kindly sent those back with her parents and I collected them from her sister today. Sarah, you are a complete gem! Thank you so much!!! Now, I want a fantastic recipe to use my precious bits!!! I don’t want to waste them in a mediocre piece of baking, so comments on what I could use them for and suggested recipes would be very welcome!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Loving Asparagus

I love, love, love all vegetables, the exceptions being swede, brussel sprouts and yams, but asparagus is one of my most favourite vegetables. I actually think it might be so special because you can only get it in that small window from late September until January or there abouts. When it is season we have it at least twice a week, sometimes more. If I am in a hurry I simply snap off the ends and steam it, but I also love it roasted, in salads and it also makes a great star in tarts or quiches.

I thought I would share two ways in which we had asparagus last week! The first (pictured above) was a delicious hot smoked salmon, cannellini bean and asparagus salad. It was quick and easy. I blanched the asparagus in boiling water and then cut each stem into three. I tossed the asparagus with two drained cans of cannellini beans, some chopped hazelnuts (toasted), halved cherry tomatoes, plenty of chopped parsley and flaked hot smoked salmon. I then drizzled the lot with a simple vinaigrette made with a crushed clove of garlic, lemon juice, good olive oil and salt and pepper. It was delicious!

The second meal is a very speedy version of frittata. Once again, I blanched my asparagus (I found some purple asparagus in the fruit and veg shop which I used for this), sprayed a ceramic dish (pyrex would be fine) with oil spray, placed the asparagus in the bottom, dotted over blue cheese, then pour over 6 eggs beaten with salt and pepper and about ½ c milk. Sprinkle over some grated parmesan and bake at 200c for about 20 minutes or until just set. This is a very quick Thursday night dinner with a bag of triple washed salad mix and some nice bread.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD - rugelach

Rugelach is this week’s TWD recipe and was chosen by Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal. Rugelach is something that I have always wanted to make, but haven’t, so thank you to Piggy for making me take the plunge!

Rugelach is a type of cookie with a cream cheese pastry, filled with jam, nuts and chocolate and rolled into the trademark crescent shape. I filled mine with raspberry jam, chopped pecans, chopped bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon sugar. The cream cheese dough is very soft which means that it has to be quite chilled to work with. Dorie suggested rolling out two circles and then cutting each circle into wedges. I saw that someone else had suggested rolling out the dough in a rectangle and then cutting wedges from that. That is the way I did it, but next time I think I will go the circle way. I didn’t roll out my dough thinly enough - I think I was a bit impatient, and some of my wedges were not very wedge like, so there were only a handful of my rugelach that looked like rugelach!

The rugelach tasted delicious though. You could hardly taste the raspberry jam (which is a good thing in my view as I don’t like jam), but it gave the biscuits a nice sweetness. I liked the combination of chocolate and pecansh. I really want to make rugelach again, but next time I will try and take my time (how many times do I say that!!!). There are also a myriad of flavours that I could try. I bet lots of the other TWDers were more adventurous than me – take a look here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

You Want Pies with That? Fashion Statement

This month’s theme for “You Want Pies with That” is Pies as a Fashion Statement. Gosh, I did find this quite a hard theme. I had a few ideas, but after my sisters bought me a huge punnet of strawberries up from the Hawkes Bay, I went with my very first idea. When I was little my Mum made me a dress from material that I chose myself. The dress was yellow gingham with little strawberries dotted all over it. It was sleeveless with red bias binding round the sleeves and two patch pockets with bias binding across the top of them. I loved that dress and I still love it – in fact I still have it! Unfortunately it is packed away, so I couldn’t photograph it for my blog.

So, my fashion statement pie resembles my favourite dress! I made lemon and passionfruit tarts with strawberries on top. The yellow of course representing the yellow gingham. I made the tart crusts from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry, but you could buy ready made. The lemon and passionfruit curd is a perfect combination of sweet and tart. I made 8 cm tarts, but you could make one big one or even mini tarts in mini muffin tins. These tarts sing of summer and they really do remind me of my favourite dress! The fabric in the background is actually similar to my yellow dress - it is my favourite apron - I bought the fabric to make it beacuse it reminded me of my favourite dress!!

My favourite Dress Tarts

· Line six 8cm tart tins with shortcrust pastry, prick the bottoms and freeze. Bake from frozen for 15 minutes at 180c
· When cool, fill the tart cases with lemon and passionfruit curd (recipe follows) then top with sliced strawberries
Lemon and Passionfruit Curd

½ c sugar
½ c passionfuit pulp
juice of 5 lemons
6 egg yolks
200g butter

combine all ingredients in a small pot and warm over a low heat, continually whisking until smooth – don’t let the mixture boil. Cool before storing in the fridge.