Category / Desserts

Desserts

Summer Fruit Pavlova

It is summer…

Time for open-air rock concerts, martini-cocktails on sunny terraces, late night walks with dear friends, deep blue sea-side holidays, sunglasses and ten, dresses and high heals, reading books on the edge of the swimming pool, smelling the fragrant scent of flowers, biting into fresh orange apricots, enjoying the fullness of colors and the sunlight. It is time for summer fruit and summer cakes…

It is time for Pavlova.

A slice of Pavlova cake has been my sinful delight since a couple of months now. Not very often, but occasionally I would try one during my lunch break at work, I would take a bite and all my troubles would disappear. So light and fragile, mellow and creamy, chocolate chip crunchy… the perfect desert. I have fallen in love from a first sight and only naturally I have been thinking of trying to make one at home. This is the end result, based on the BBC Goodfood recipe, a full expression of summer day happiness and my never dying love for summer fruits.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 300g cream
  • 1 package vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 350g suger
  • 300g summer fruits
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp. cornflour
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar

 

Method

1. Heat the oven to 180C. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment. Whisk the egg whites with electric beaters until they just form stiff and shiny peaks. Gradually add 250g sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time and whisk really well between each addition. When all of the sugar is used up continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until the meringue is stiff and glossy and stands up in peaks, then whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment and use a palette knife to make a circle about 20cm in diameter. Put in the oven, turn the temperature down to 120C and cook for 1½ hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside until completely cold (you can make this the day before and leave to cool overnight).

2. Carefully peel off the baking parchment and put the pavlova on a serving dish. Don’t worry if it cracks. Add the cream, vanilla, 100g sugar and lemon zest and softly whip, then spoon onto the pavlova. Mix the berries, spoon the fruit on top of the cream, arrange with fresh mint leaves and serve.

 

Desserts

New York Cheesecake

I remember a year ago, reading an article in on one of my favorite magazines on how to make the perfect New York cheesecake. The pictures alone looked so amazing, making me wish to leave everything I was doing and attempt to try one straight away. Caramel, banana, chocolate flavor… Then the moment passed by and my beautiful magazine remained carefully tugged in my bookcase shelf waiting to be re-discovered and enjoyed one day.

Still cheesecake has been lately on my mind, ever since a week ago when Swa shared with me a similar article by Ruth Rechil with tips and tricks on making the perfect New York vanilla cheesecake. This time, the moment was right and I have left my senses guide me into preparing one following her advise and delicious recipe.

Ingredients

For the crust
  • 200g Grany Hazelnut biscuit crumbs
  • 120g melted butter
For the filling
  • 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 vanilla packages (Dr. Oetker)
For the topping
  • 400g sour cream
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 vanilla packages (Dr. Oetker)

 

Method

1. Bake the crust: Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and press into bottom and sides of a springform pan. Put into the freezer for 15 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, just to crisp the crust. Take out of the oven and let it slightly cool – 10 min.

2. Make and bake the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into crust and bake 50 minutes, on 150 degrees. Take out of the oven and let it slightly cool – 10 min.

3. Top and bake again: Stir together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla and spread over cooled cake. Return to oven for 12 minutes until glossy. Topping will set as the cake cools.

4. Chill: Cool completely, cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours.

 

Desserts

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Light and creamy, simple and divine, is there any other dessert more worthy of gracing the end of a meal then the irresistible Vanilla Panna Cotta?

It is so easy to make yet it is so rich in smoothness and flavor that it is almost sinful not to prepare it frequently at home. Whether enjoyed at the end of sophisticated dinner party or at leisure sampling sweet bites while sitting in the sofa, the Panna Cotta is so quickly transformable to fit any occasion.

Someone once said that it is a sign of cowardness not to turn your Panna Cotta up-side down and to prove this point here is my perfect result.

 

Ingredients

  • 250g cream
  • 250g milk
  • 2 Vanilla packages (Dr. Oetker)
  • 50g sugar
  • 3 glatine leaves
  • A few springs of fresh mint
  • 100g fresh raspberries
  • 100g fresh blueberries

 

Method

1. Place the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar into a pan and bring to a simmer.

2. Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water, no longer then 5 minutes, until soft.

3. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin leaves and one by one add to the pan. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved completely.

4. Pour the mixture in several small coffee cups (or other round shaped forms) and leave to cool. Place into the fridge for at least an hour or over night until completely set.

5. Before serving, dip the panna cotta coffee cups into hot water for a minute and then turn upside down on your serving plate.

6. Garnish with fresh fruit and mint leaves.

 

Desserts

Upside-down pear cake

Sweet and velvety caramel and soft and melting pears. Yes, its official. This is indeed a marriage made in heaven.

{Original recipe from Delicious Magazine.}

Nutritional info
Per serving: 708kcals, 30g fat (18.7g saturated), 4.3g protein, 106.2g carbs (83.5g sugars), 0.8g salt, 4.3g fibre

 

Ingredients

  • 375g caster sugar
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 4 pears, peeled, halved and cored

 

 Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan150°C/gas 3½. Put 200g of the sugar and 125ml water into an ovenproof 25cm sauté or frying pan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat and cook without stirring until the syrup caramelizes to a golden brown, swirling the pan to even it out if necessary.

2. Meanwhile, watching the caramel, put the butter, the remaining sugar and flour into the bowl of an electric food processor, whizz for a couple of seconds, then add the eggs and stop as soon as the mix comes together. (If you don’t have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar by hand, adding the eggs one by one, then mix in the flour.)

3. Take the caramel off the heat and carefully arrange the pears cut-side down in a single layer over the caramel (this will be the top of the cake when it’s cooked).

4. Spread the cake mixture in an even layer over the pears in the pan, then bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. The centre should be firm to the touch, the edges should have shrunk a little from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake will come out clean.

5. Run a knife around the edges to make sure it hasn’t stuck anywhere. Leave it to sit for 2 minutes before turning out.

 

Desserts

Apple Cake

If our home should have a name of a dish, this would be Apple Cake. Apple cake, is not just apple cake. It is our symbol for love, cosiness and care. It graces our table almost every weekend, and once the freshly backed apple cake aromas come out of the oven they whisper “Home” and “I love you”.

The recipe remains the same, but from time to time we either make one cake or split the mixture into mini cakes.

 

Ingredients

  • 250g self-raizing flour
  • 220g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 vanillas
  • 4 eggs
  • 20g brown sugar
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

 

Method

1. Melt the butter.

2. Whisk the melted butter, the sugar and the vanilla. Gradually, one by one, add the eggs continuously whisking. Whisk in the flour adding a little bit at a time.

3. Peal the apple and cut it into thin slices.

4. Grease and flour the backing dish. Sprinkle half of the brow sugar at the bottom of the backing dish and carefully arrange the slices of apple over. Sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar and the cinnamon. Poor over the apple cake mixture.

5. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes on 175C. When ready, take the cake out of the oven and let it rest for 2min in the form, then take it and turn it upside down on a plate. Serve warm with a spoon of vanilla ice cream, or cold.

 

Desserts

Coconut Pink Cookie Hearts

There is something so sweet and nostalgic looking at the Victorian Valentine cards. I can see the anticipation, I can see the longing and the shy expression of affection, peeping though the frozen doors of etiquette to offer the unmistakable “I love you”.

Thankfully, nowadays we are liberated from such formal restrictions. Yet, I wonder, why are so many people so shy in saying their “I do”s?

Whether we are extravagant with exuberant bouquets of red roses, delicious gourmet dinners or little signs of affection like home made coconut pink cookie hearts, all that really matters is our hearts reaching the other’s with this unspeakably beautiful mystery called Love.

 

Ingredients

For the Royal Icing
  • 1 medium free-range egg white
  • 225g powder sugar
For the Cookies
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 packages vanilla sugar essence Dr. Oetker
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 drops of red food colouring
  • 100g coco powder
  • 1 tsp backing powder
  • 3 tbsp clear honey

 

Method

1. Cream the butter, caster sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix the eggs with the honey, and sift the flour with the baking powder and a pinch of salt in separate bowls. Add the flour and enough of the honey and egg mixture to the creamed mixture to make a soft dough. If it seems a little sticky, mix in a little more flour, but don’t let the dough get too stiff and dry. Add to the mixture the food colouring.

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide into 2 and knead each piece briefly until smooth. Shape into flat discs, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Using 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out hearts, using a floured cutter, and lift onto baking sheets lined with baking paper. Re-knead and roll the trimmings to make more biscuits.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Carefully lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

5. For the decoration, put the egg white into a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to break it up a little. Sift in the pouder sugar and mix to give a slightly stiff but still pipeable mixture. Spoon the mixture into a small nylon or baking paper piping bag fitted with a number 3 or number 4 plain nozzle. Pipe heart designs around the edge of the cookies and dip them into the coconut mixture. Leave to set.