Kitchen Therapy


9 Comments

Chocolate Coconut Tart

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe comes from Baking Chez Moi.
The tart shell is made, fully cooked, cooled and then filled with a coconut pastry cream and topped with a silky smooth layer of chocolate ganache.
I love that Dorie Greenspan includes tips about storing and making things ahead.
One day I made the pastry case and froze it in the tin. I also made the coconut pastry cream and stored it in an air tight container in the fridge.
The next day I just baked the pastry shell and once it cooled I filled it with the pastry cream and topped it with the ganache. The steps were simple to do, however there was time needed for things to cool and rest, so doing it over two days made it feel leisurely!

It’s also really hot and humid here in Sydney. I look out over to the ocean and most days there is a fog over the water. (In the photo the ocean is mean to be where the fog is!) Some days you cannot see the water as you’re walking along the shoreline! I’m not sure if it’s living close to the ocean but the house feels wet. The clothes feel like they’re not dry, the furniture feels damp and the floors feel like they’ve just been mopped. The salt is coming out of the grinder in wet clumps instead of light flakes. I tried making a gelatine for Christmas and the powder I used would not set. The moisture has been terrible! I was happy to see that this tart turned out so good! And straight out of the refrigerator is a wonderful cold treat!

When I read Dorie’s inspiration for this tart I immediately thought of bounty chocolate bars which I love! I love all things coconut!
I enjoyed the tart however I found the coconut taste too delicate for the chocolate topping, and I’m not that keen on chocolate. I think to make it perfect for me I would need double the amount of coconut filling 🙂

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of their recipes for the week!


6 Comments

Double Buckwheat Double Chocolate Cookies

I like Buckwheat!
However I’m not really that much of a chocolate fan.
Which is strange considering I seem to make a lot of chocolate things!

I thought these were good.
I would not make them again however I did like the activated bukinis that went into the cookies. I couldn’t find the kasha however I think the bikinis did the trick!

These cookies were part of the Tuesdays with Dorie group recipe of the week.
They are from Dorie Greenspan’s Book, Dorie’s Cookies.

I wasn’t that taken by these however I am interested to read about what the rest of the group thought!


5 Comments

Cast Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

fullsizeoutput_1185
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies is for Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.
These are caramelised and crispy around the edges, soft and chewy in the centre.
The dried apricots soaked in hot water and the shredded moist coconut in the recipe add sweetness and depth of flavour.
It tastes like a wonderful chocolate chip cookie yet has the texture of a moist, chewy, muesli bar.
I found this playful and delicious.
The whole family loved this week’s recipe!
IMG_7819

It is the first day of school holidays for us here so I don’t expect these will last long in our house!
To see the rest of the group’s thoughts on this week’s recipes click here!

 


5 Comments

Chocolate Brownies – Sebastian’s Remarkably Wonderful Brownies

fullsizeoutput_1104.jpeg
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Swedish Visiting Cake Bars.
I didn’t make these! I really wanted to.
They sound delicious.
And full of almonds.
I love almonds, however two out of my three children have a nut allergy.
Some nuts are absolutely no problem, like hazelnuts, which means Nutella is ok!
However almonds are not on our friendly nut list.
So I thought I’d take this opportunity to catch up on one of the recipes I have missed.

fullsizeoutput_1103.jpeg

I keep saying I’m not a fan of chocolate and then I choose the most chocolatey thing I can find to bake! Like the Chocolate, Prune and Whiskey Cake a couple of weeks ago.
Well this was just as decadent and rich as that cake. However while that cake bordered on bitterness from the chocolate, I found this tray of brownies waaaaayyy to sweet for me. The recipe does have 2 cups of sugar!
The family loved it however.
I made it mostly for them, they are all fans of chocolate.
For chocolate lovers this seemed to be a success!
I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone thought of their Swedish Visiting Cake Bars, now they are definitely more up my alley 🙂

 


6 Comments

Chocolate, Prune and Whiskey Cake

IMG_7035.JPGThis cake is for grown ups.
It is rich, decadent and alcohol infused.
There is something about soaking dry fruit in liquor, and then having to wait until it becomes plump and moist, that excites me!
I’m not a big drinker, however my husband has an every growing scotch and whiskey collection that I’ve grown to enjoy the smell of.
The Macallan Edition No.2 Single Malt Scotch Whiskey caught my eye for this recipe as it was a limited edition release by Macallan Master Whiskey Blender Bob Dalgarno and the chefs behind El Celler de Can Roca, the 3 Michelin starred restaurant in Spain.
I can smell the fruity and even chocolatey notes in the alcohol and thought they would be wonderful paired with prunes in this cake.
(Having said that, the recipe calls for Irish whiskey so I’ve already strayed!)

The cake has almond flour so I decided to experiment (which I enjoy) and make a nut free version using plain flour, however I added my favourite bourbon for cooking, Maker’s Mark in this second version making it a Chocolate, Prune and Bourbon Cake.

fullsizeoutput_10c9.jpeg
I think the psychologist in me revels when there’s any form of experimentation happening. I found it interesting that with time, the Macallan seemed to absorb the flavours of the prunes and they melded together to make me think of a Christmas Pudding. However the prunes with the Maker’s Mark smelled consistently of just the bourbon.
Both cakes came out of the oven at the 35 minute mark (which was the high end of the recommended cooking time) and in hindsight I think it would have been perfect to remove them 5 minutes earlier to get an even more gooey centre.
The result was a beautiful cake.
IMG_7031
Rich, dense, moist, decadent yet not overly sweet, in fact, most of the sweetness came from the alcohol infused prunes. Surprisingly, while the cake was definitely luscious and satisfying, it still left you wanting more, looking for another hit of sweetness and whiskey from the succulent prunes.

*I used Macallan Edition No.2 Single Malt Scotch Whiskey instead of the Irish Whiskey called for in the recipe.
*I made a second nut free version substituting plain flour for the almond flour, using the same amount of plain flour as almond flour.
*The second version I also used Maker’s Mark Bourbon to soak the prunes in, so technically making this a Chocolate, Prune and Bourbon Cake
*I’m including the recipe with my findings and my thoughts on the nut free version.

CHOCOLATE, PRUNE AND WHISKEY CAKE
from THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK by CLAIRE PTAK

125g prunes
40ml Irish whiskey (I used scotch whiskey in one version and bourbon in another)
240g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
200g unsalted butter
5 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
150g almonds, ground (or 150g plain flour if making nut free version)
butter, for greasing the tin

1. Soak the prunes in whiskey, if you can do this the night before, all the better.
2. Peheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan).
3. Butter a 20-23cm cake tin and line with baking paper (I used a 21cm tin).
4. Put the dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl or it may spoil the chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, take the pan off the heat to cool slightly but keep away from any draughts.
5. Put the whites and yolks into two separate bowls and, starting with the yolk, add half of the caster sugar and whisk to thicken.
6. Fold the thickened yolk into the melted chocolate and set aside.
7. Chope the prunes into eighths and add to the chocolate mixture along with the ground almonds (or plain flour if making a nut free version).
8. Beat the egg whites with the remaining caster sugar and the sea salt until soft peaks form.
9. Fold into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.
10. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will be slightly soft in the middle but do not overtake it or the gooeyness will be lost. (I cooked my 21cm pans for 35 minutes and the gooeyness was barely there so I recommend 30 minutes).
Serve warm or at room temperature.

CONCLUSION:
Straight from the oven, I was drawn to the nut free version as it seemed to be slightly sweeter. Both cakes are very rich and you are a left looking for some sweetness from the prunes to give you a break from the almost bitter richness of the chocolate.

The original almond version has more moisture and lushness on the tongue, and you can taste the ingredients individually. The almonds, the prunes and the alcohol hold their own integrity and can be tasted in each mouthful.

The nut free version has a more muddled taste. The texture is more dense and as it hits the mouth, it feels almost sticky. The flavours of the cake come next and they are more mild than the almond version and I think more child friendly. There is more sweetness and less of a hit from the alcohol. It’s as if the strong flavours in the cake have fused together and have taken the edge of each individual ingredient and melded into a very pleasant mouthful that is easier to eat than the almond cake that is more intense and has more of a slap to your face intensity!


11 Comments

Cocoa Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunches

fullsizeoutput_db3

We moved house and have been living on take away food for a while now. The tradesmen have practically moved in with us. Every day I buy them pies for lunch and we sit together eating and chatting. The builder has connected my television, my washing machine, dishwasher and he brings me cakes from the Italian pastry shop near his home. My husband knows that I now refer to the builder as my other husband 🙂
We have been relying on Sara Lee (and the builder) for something sweet!

Finally the inside of the house is kind of, almost, pretty much finished.
And the weekend was cold, wet and extremely windy.
Perfect baking weather to try out my new kitchen (it’s a little empty at the moment!)
IMG_6701
I checked the Tuesdays with Dorie baking schedule and knew I had to make these cookies. I love sesame and tahini. I grew up eating halva and often dollop a spoonful (or two or three) of tahini on an apple or just straight into my mouth.

Making the Sesame Crunch was simple, the second time around. Amazing how quickly the sugar goes from light brown to bitter and burnt!
The rest of the cookie was quick and simple. I had all the ingredients I needed on hand.

The family loved these! I have to admit I was a little disappointed I couldn’t taste the sesame as much as I would have liked. They tasted like a chocolate biscuit with a bit of crunch. A very good chocolate biscuit. However I had my heart set on the nutty tahini flavour I loved and I was a little disappointed. The rest of the family were not! They loved the cookies. Maybe next time I will use less cocoa powder…

So good to back in the kitchen! My kitchen 🙂
Can’t wait to see what everyone from the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of these!


8 Comments

Betty’s Chocoholic Cake with Raspberry Filling

IMG_6248

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Betty’s Chocoholic Cake.
Wow! This was a hit with all the chocolate lovers in the family.
The cake is dense and rich, to me it tastes like 3 layers of brownies stacked on top of each other.
Which, according to the kids, is awesome!
Unlike the rest of my family however, I’m not that fussed on chocolate!
So I added a raspberry sauce between the three layers to break up the sweetness.
I blitzed 300g of raspberries, strained them them to remove all the hard bits and then boiled the raspberries with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornflour.  I spread the sauce between the 3 layers and then covered the cake with Dorie’s chocolate ganache.

chocoholic cake 2

I woke everyone early on the weekend and we headed to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and walked from Coogee beach to Bondi beach to try and work off some of the sugar from this cake 🙂
It’s a long and somewhat tough walk but it’s also really pretty so that makes it easier somehow!

coogee

We then felt good about coming home and having more cake!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this month’s recipes!