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FAIL! June challenge which I forgot to post!

People, people I apologise unreservedly! In the swamp of a 5,000 word essay and a portfolio due, I completely forgot to post last month's challenge!

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.

Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.

The version we’re daring you to make is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.

I used a lemon butter, which I made :) yum. yum. yum. yum. YUM.

THe tart cut beautifully, it wasn't too sweet, and all elements of it had the most scrumptions crisp but giving texture...a wonderful dessert.

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Daring Bakers April Challenge

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.


I really don't like cheesecake. HOWEVER. I absolutely LOVED this one! Beautifully soft, and very light, this cheesecake was delicious. I made honey-cinnamon mini cheesecakes with stewed quinces and a gingernut biscuit base.

Here is the basic recipe; the honey-cinnamon variation as provided by Jenny. Thank you Jenny!

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I used gingernuts biscuits, crushed)
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

For Honey-Cinnamon:
Replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon.

For the Quinces:

Peel and core one quince. Cut into small chunks.

Put in a saucepan with a little water and sugar to taste.

Bring to the boil and then reduce. Simmer until the quinces are soft.

When soft, switch off the heat and mix in a knob of butter.

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Daring Bakers February Challenge

Chocolate Valentino and Vanilla Ice Cream

Oh my goodness.

Soooooo good.

Such fun making it too :)


The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.


Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.


Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)

1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.


1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy. 3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)
By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)



Daring Bakers January Challenge

The challenge for January was: Tuiles!

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

I made them three times. The first time was with Melbournefoood Geek, where my camera ran out of battery *facepalm* But she sent me some photos :) This time I made them, I used raspberry and lemon cream cheese filling.


This was from the last time I made them, with pastry cream and tinned peaches (I know. So unclassy but I am house sitting and a bit skint).

Tuiles with pastry cream and peaches

For the tuiles:

Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 180C / 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

Alternative Baking:
Either un-glutenize the batter given substituting the flour for any nut meal or oat flour, or as an alternative use one of the following batters below:

I won't include the recipe for pastry cream as I pretty much played it by ear. Find a recipe for egg custard and add 1 tbsp (or so) of cornflour to the recipe. Pipe on to the tuiles.

For the Raspberry-Lemon cream cheese filling:

250g cream cheese (I used Philidelphia)
150g sour cream
Lemon juice to taste
Sifted icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) to taste
100g raspberries

Beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until light, fluffy and smooth.

Beat in the sugar and the lemon juice a little at a time until it tastes as you like it.

Crush the raspberries a little and stir them in to the mixture.

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Rosewater Madelines and Casa Iberica

With mum being Timorese-Portuguese, she sometimes finds the need to get authentic ingredients and Portuguese snacks that you just can't get at the supermarket here. She always goes to Casa Iberica at 25 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. That shop sells the most excellent Portuguese and Spanish everything, including delicatessan meats (if you want a real Spanish or Portuguese chorizo, this is the place to get it, as well as prosciutto, which I can't for the life of me remeber how to spell in Portuguese) and Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata) which are the real McCoy. Last time mum and I went there, as well as Pasteis de Nata I got mum to buy a bottle of rosewater (I know. Not Spanish or Portuguese).

I've had this bottle of Rosewater in our cupboard for well over a year now, unopened and begging to be used. Today was the day because:

a) I thought we had roses in our garden, and
b) I thought we had a teacup set with roses on it.

Beautiful pictures, I thought. How well I had decieved myself and made the mistake of checking for both these elements *after* making the madelines and finding them very indeedly absent.

I've also never made madelines before. It was surprisingly simple. I had assumed they'd just be shell-shaped cupcakes, but they were even easier than that, and much faster cooking than cupcakes.

I used the recipe from La Bella Cook with a couple of modifications (not many...just the time taken for the batter to stand), and given the lack of rose-related items to photograph, I used the pink sugar design from I can't remember for the life of me where, so, person if you're reading this, comment and I'll credit you immediately.

Rosewater Madelines and Tea Overhead

Rosewater Madelines


For the madelines:
1/4 cup of melted butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon of rosewater

Some extra melted butter for greasing
1 madeline tin

For the pink sugar lips:
1 dessert spoon of caster sugar
A few drops of cochineal or pink food dye
2 teaspoons of plain icing sugar
2 teaspoons of rosewater


Preheat oven to 175ºC.

Beat the egg, salt and sugar until thick, foamey, and a very light yellow colour (I used an electric beater. You don't have to, but it takes longer). Sift in the flour and gently fold through.
Add the butter, fold until well combined. Add the rosewater, same deal as the butter.

Put into the fridge for 20 mins.

Grease the tins with the extra melted butter.

Spoon the mixture into the madeline tins, filling the moulds about 3/4 their capacity each.

Bake for 5-10 minutes. Keep your eye on them. They may not look done, but trust me, they will be. Stick a skewer in one of them if you don't believe me. You should end up with feathery golden-yellow shell-shaped cakes which smell divine.

Turn them out onto a rack to cool. If you have no patience for the pink sugar lips, dust with icing sugar and stuff your face. If you do have the patience, pray, read on.

While the madelines are cooling, put the caster sugar (set aside for the icing) in a zip-lock bag or sandwich bag (in which case, hold it tightly closed when the time comes). Add a couple of drops of cochineal or pink food dye, seal (or hold closed) the bag and shake, squeeze, whatever it takes to get all the sugar a uniform colour. If it is not pink enough for you, add more colouring, but try not to make it into a pink mush (unless this is what you want). Put in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix together the icing sugar and the rosewater, until you get a slurry (if it's too stiff, put in a little more rosewater, too thin, then put in some more icing sugar). Paint the tips of the big edge of the madelines with this slurry, then dip them into the pink sugar. Tap off any excess.

Serve with tea. They were really good with tea.

Rosewater Madelines and Tea
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Super-Happy Punch and discussions on strawberries

Super-Happy Punch

Superhappy long

A cross between punch and anime :D Considering it's damnebly hot today, so I thought I'd post about it. It's a thing I made up a while ago which I actually bothered measuring today so I could convey the recipe to other people. These measurements are tailored to my taste, and usually I just pour, taste, pour, taste until it tastes right, so if you don't like the way I've done it, by all means go nuts and pour and taste :) Which brings me to another thing: strawberries. I wish I had a paid account so I could do a poll, because I have this wondering: which tastes better, large strawberries or small? I prefer small. They seem to taste better, and have a juicier texture. But comment and tell me what you think :) Anyway.


1 punnet of strawberries
600mL Pineapple juice (I use unsweetened pineapple juice)
350mL Raspberry Cordial
350mL Lemonade (plain, rather than lemon-flavoured)
1-1 1/2 dessert spoon of finely chopped mint
Juice of 1-2 limes

Quarter the strawberries (if small) or chop into 6 (if huge). Put them in a jug which hopefully fits everything (if it doesn't fit these measurements, then reduce proportionately). Chop and add the mint. Add the pineapple juice, cordial and lemonade. Stir. Taste. Adjust to your taste. Squeeze in one lime, and chop the lime carcass into 12 and pop that in too. Taste. Add more lime if you want. Stick some ice in a glass and pour in the punch. Garnish if you're feeling creative with a slice of lime :)

Little tips:

1. Let the punch stand for 5 mins or so before you serve it so the mint can soften up. If you don't, your punch-sipping friends will be choking in no time.

2. If the limes feel like they can knock out someone if you threw it at their head, microwave it for 10 seconds (but not longer, or it'll explode :s), or roll it hard with the palm of your hand on a hard surface.

3. If you're feeling generally alcoholic, add some vodka. Go on, you know you want to! :)

4. Don't panic if it turns from red to yellow after a while. Just stick some more cordial in, and adjust the taste.


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