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Whisky salted caramel pecan pie squares

23 Apr

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The saying ‘better than sex’ is thrown around a lot in relation to certain foods. This pie – served as squares – with the addition of whiskey caramel sauce, may not be better than sex but it sure is up there with some of the best PG-rated times you’ll ever have.  Continue reading

Rocky road brownie tart birthday cake

27 Jan

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It was my niece’s birthday and she had flown down from her home near the Queensland border to catch up with her fav cousins (misses 7 and 9) and her nana. Naturally a cake was in order but the biggest decision of the moment was the nature of the cake. As the niece is a self-confessed a sweet tooth (her mum made her a cake that used 2 kilos of icing sugar!) a chocolate cake was in order but that didn’t really help – have you SEEN how many recipes for chocolate cake lurk on the web?

The idea of rocky road crept into my mind… Continue reading

Easy raspberry and almond squares recipe

25 Jul

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It is so cold in Sydney at the moment that I’m spending most of my time in the kitchen baking. Standing in front of a lovely warm oven is the best way to while a way a bit of time. The downside is I’m burning through flour, milk, eggs and butter at a rate of knots! Oh well…
Recently I flicked through some of my so-huge-it-needs-to-be-culled cookbook collection and landed on a recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly book, The Baking Collection. This marvellous book is, as they say in certain circles, all thriller – no filler. Page after page of tempting bakes to make and I could think of no happier way to spend a day than creating some of these treats.
I chose the recipe for raspberry and walnut slice, though I used ground almonds instead of ground walnuts. I think any ground nut [or nut meal] would work here so feel free to experiment. The recipe called for ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon but I am such a lover of this scented spice that I just freehanded a massive amount.

 

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GATHER:
150g butter, diced and softened
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 ¾ cup plain flour
at least one teaspoon ground cinnamon [more if you prefer]
½ cup ground almonds
300g frozen raspberries

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LET’S GET TO IT:
Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a 20cm x 30cm rectangular slice pan.
In bowl of electric mixer beat butter and icing sugar until pale [you may need to scrape down sides of bowl a few times]
Stir in sifted flour, cinnamon and nut meal until mixture is crumble [do not over-mix].
Set aside one cup of crumble mix, then place the rest of the crumble mix in the pan and use the base of a glass to firmly pat down. Sprinkle over raspberries, then sprinkle over remaining mix.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until golden.
Inhale – the smell is amazing.
Allow to cool in tin before slicing into squares.

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Nigella Lawson French cake – Gateau Breton

26 May

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Many, many moons ago, when I was an unfortunate-looking teenager, my dad went on a holiday to France. My envy was palpable – growing up in a run-of-the-mill Sydney suburb all one ever heard about France was the chicness of the population, the deliciousness of the food and the classic style of the clothing. Continue reading

Chocolate brownie s’mores pie with caramelised marshmallow

24 Mar

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You’d think by now I would have learnt my lesson regarding taking photos of my baked goods but nope – I still tend to bake then serve the item to friends before I’ve had a chance to take any photos.

Such was the situation with this ooey, gooey, decadent pie. When The Hungry Mum family descended upon America last year we hit many a supermarket, stocking up on all manner of baking goods unavailable in Australia. One of my fav purchases was ginormous marshmallows, the kind of which simply aren’t seen in the Antipodes. I’d been stashing them away, waiting for the perfect recipe and it soon presented itself. Thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction and her delectable s’mores brownie pie my packet of behemoth marshmallows got cracked open. See her fab recipe here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/06/smores-brownie-pie/

I made this for a recent gathering of friends and managed to snap a few pics before it was cooked. Afterwards was a blur of people almost charging each other over in order to get a slice. As this desert is so rich a teeny sliver goes a long way.

I do also have a box of the legendary graham crackers which this recipe called for but decided to keep these for another day. I used plain sweet bickies so didn’t need the sugar as called for in the original recipe used. I also reduced the amount of sugar in the brownie as I knew the marshmallows would make the pie very sweet.

In any case this was such a hit that I reckon I’ll be called upon again to serve this delish creation.

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GATHER:

*Crust

10 plain biscuits [such as Marie], snapped in half

90grams melted butter

Place biscuits in bowl of food processor and wizz until it looks like big crumbs. Add butter and combine until it resembles wet sand. Press into a glass pie dish and place in fridge while you prepare the brownie filling.

*brownies

150g diced butter

¾ cup caster sugar

¾ cup sifted cocoa powder

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

½ cup plain flour

25 large marshmallows

LET’S GET TO IT:

Melt butter, sugar and cocoa in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time until melted and smooth when stirred. It will look gritty. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Stir in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time.

Add flour, gently stirring, until fully incorporated. Ensure you don’t overbeat.

Tip into pie crust and use a spatula to level the top.

Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove from oven and neatly decoare the top with marshmallows. Bake for a nother two minutes but watch closely to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Allow to cool before serving.

How to make custard tart from scratch

19 Jan

 

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Merle Parrish is a legend in Australian baking circles – not only has she been baking [and winning] at country shows since a teenager but she has endeared herself as a judge on MasterChef Australia.

I received a copy of Merle’s Country Show Baking And Other Favourites in my day job as a journalist at The Leader newspaper, where I review cookbooks as part of My Hungry column.

I instantly loved the book as it is crammed full of nostalgic baking recipes. Continue reading

Chocolate hot toddy tarts – a warming dessert with whisky

2 Sep

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Have I told you about the amazing book Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth? Subtitled ‘recipes and tips from a modern artisan bakery’ it is an incredible collection of fantastical baked goods with gorgeous photos to match. I was sent a review copy in my day job as a journalist and I couldn’t wait to get this book into my kitchen to try out the recipes. If you have a loved one who is into baking, buy them this book. Continue reading

Mmmm, homemade pumpkin pie from scratch

1 May

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I adore pumpkin and love it in any incarnation. In Australia it is not really used in desserts but I know pumpkin pie is a true American tradition. Many moons ago I had pumpkin pie in Canada and loved it. I’d been wanting to make it for ages but most recipes seem to start with ‘one can of pumpkin puree’ – that’s not a thing in Australia.

The I stumbled across the magnificent book ‘Bake’ by pastry chef Alison Thompson and lo and behold – a pumpkin pie recipe. This book makes you want to stop everything and get into the kitchen to bake. Highly recommend it.

My iphone pictures do not do this delicious dessert justice. Note to self: use a better camera…

The pastry recipe is the easiest I’ve ever made [and I have a bit of a phobia about making pastry as it always seem so fragile and delicate but this is a hardy yet gorgeous pastry].

GATHER:

Sweet shortcrust pastry

225g sifted plain flour

60g sifted icing sugar

100g diced unsalted butter at room temperature

2 egg yolks

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the flour, icing sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until no lumps of butter are visible. Add the egg yolks and mix on low speed until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

Wrap dough in cling wrap place in fridge for at least two hours

Filling

1kg pumpkin, peeled and cut into small pieces

125mL pouring cream

3 eggs

60g brown sugar

60g caster sugar

½ teaspoon ground ginger

pinch of ground cloves [I didn’t have any so used nutmeg instead]

 LET’S GET TO IT

Make your dough. Leave in fridge for two hours.

Preheat oven to 170C.

Place pumpkin on baking tray, cover with foil and bake until pumpkin is very soft [Alison Thompson said around an hour, mine took about 1.5 hours. Maybe my pieces were too big].

While pumpkin is cooking take pastry out of fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.

Place sheet of baking paper on bench, unwrap pastry and using a rolling pin roll out to shape of non-stick tart tin with removable base [I used a rectangle tin approx 35cmx11cm]. Gently place in tart tin.

Place in fridge for half an hour.

Remove pumpkin carefully from oven [there may be water and steam] and place in bowl.

Increase oven temp to 180C.

Meanwhile place baking paper over pastry, fill with baking weights and bake until pastry is golden. Remove paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Remove to bench; allow to cool for ten minutes.

Using a stick blender puree pumpkin until smooth and measure out 500ml of puree and pour into a bowl.

Whisk in cream, then the eggs, sugars and spices.

Pour into tart case, bake for 40 minutes until the filling is set.

Serve warm [or cold or eaten straight from the left over container at room temperature – it is amazing!]

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