Friday, June 22, 2012

Strawberry Pie

When berries are so yummy on their own, it feels wrong to use them as an ingredient. Why add sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice, etc? Well, I was worried my strawberries would go bad. I suppose I could've frozen them for later, but I didn't.

And I'm glad because this pie is terrific. It's creamy, tart and sweet. It's also ridiculously simple to make, especially since I didn't bother putting the berries in the food processor, or slicing them/arranging them in a pretty pattern on top (my pie is a bit rustic!).

I had a slice of pie for my afternoon snack today. And another this evening. And perhaps I will have another slice for breakfast tomorrow. Perhaps. Thanks, Jer, for sharing your pie recipe.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Happy Father's Day! We went strawberry picking this morning, and brought home far too many strawberries. We will undoubtedly eat a bunch (till our fingers turn bright red), but they will disintegrate unless we do something with them ASAP! Which begs the question... what is your favorite strawberry recipe?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Amaretti Treats

I have one of Tamasin Day-Lewis's Tart cookbooks. I picked up her newest cookbook called "Food You Can't Say No To" from the library. I thought I'd try this Amaretti recipe which required minimal effort and Mike can pop as many of these as he pleases without a Lactaid. It's like a marzipan cookie that is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Going to add this to my "staples" recipes, next to the Biscotti di prato Cath introduced me to in Philadelphia.

Amaretti Cookies
Makes about 20
200 grams ground almonds (almond meal)
200 grams vanilla sugar ( I just used regular sugar and 1/2 t. of vanilla extract)
1 tsp almond extract
3-4 egg whites
powdered sugar to sprinkle

Mix ground almonds and sugar together. Stir in almond (and vanilla extract). Gradually stir in the egg whites ( don't beat them first). The texture should be like wet sand-quite firm and not too sticky.
Roll the mexture into small balls, the size of a walnut. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten the tops slightly with your thumb. Sift powdered sugar on top and leave in cool place overnight ( or put in refrigerator for at least 1 hr) to ensure they will hold their shape and have the cracked appearance after baking.
Preheat oven to 170C. Bake amaretti for 20-25 min or until pale golden brown. Leave for a few min to allow the amaretti to firm up before putting on a cooling rack.
Notes: For Citrus Amaretti, add finely grated zest of 2 lemons and 2 oranges. Replace one of the egg whites with 1 T. lemon juice and 1 T orange juice.

There are a couple more of her recipes I want to try and perhaps you will get to them before I do. Here you go:

Summer Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Corn-utopia Salsa
Serves 4

600g flank steak
salt and pepper

for the chimichurri
small bunch of parsley, chopped
1 med. red onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red pepper, diced or 4 roasted piquillo peppers from jar, diced
1 tomato, deseeded and finely diced
1 T oregano leaves, chopped
1 t. paprika
1 t. bay leaves, shredded
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
tiny pinch of dried chili flakes
50 mL water
100 mL olive oil
50 mL red wine vinegar
Add all ingredients together except for oil and vinegar. Let sit for 30 min. Add oil and vinegar before serving.

for the corn-utopia salsa
2 corn on the cobs, boiled for 15 min and cut off cob
3-4 tomatoes, immerse in boiled water for 30 sec, peel, deseed and dice.
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 T olive oil
Add all ingredients together.

Season flank steak with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 min on one side. Flip and grill on other side for 4 min for med-rare. Transfer to plate and rest covered with foil for 5 min. Carve against the grain very thinly. Drizzle chimichurri sauce across the meat. Accompany with salsa.

Passionfruit coconut lime sorbet
Serves 6-8
120 g. sugar
600 mL water
9 passionfruits
finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
200 mL of coconut cream, from the can
Bring sugar and water to a boil. until sugar has dissolved. Boil for 5 more min to create sugar syrup. Leave to cool.
Set aside 2 t. of passionfruit seeds. Scoop out rest of passionfruit flesh into a sieve. Press with back of a spoon to extract as much juice as you can. Take remaining pulp from sieve and warm in microwave for a couple seconds and put through sieve again. Stir sieved juice and lime juice into cooled sugar syrup along with the coconut cream. Churn in ice cream maker until slushy. Add the lime zest and reserved passion fruit seeds. Continue to churn until sorbet is firm.Serve right away or keep in sealed container in freezer, taking it out 10 min before serving to soften slightly. Eat within a week.

Riciarelli (not sure how it will be different from the Amaretti)
Makes 10-12
180 g. ground almonds
2 egg whites
15 g. flour
1/2 t baking powder
120 g. powdered sugar, pus extra for dusting
a few drops of almond extract

Preheat to 220C. Whisk egg whites until stiff. Fold in flour and baking powder. Sift powdered sugar over mixture and fold in. Add ground almonds and almond extract to make soft paste. Dust work surface generously in powdered sugar. Roll dessertspoonful of mixture into oblong shape using palm of hand. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake 10-12 min until golden and slightly cracked on surface, yet soft inside. Cool.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kaoru: Cold Coconut Tapioca & Fruit

I'm totally in love with this dessert. The coconut pudding part is so creamy and delicious, and the tapioca pearls are great fun. It really is quite refreshing and a terrific chilled dessert that can easily be made/assembled in advance. I'll be making many coconut tapioca desserts this summer! Thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Australian slice

Australians are into their "slice"...comparable to our dessert "bars". Like a lemon bar or a chocolate peanut butter bar. However a "banana slice" is a square slice of thin banana cake with icing. My friend brought over some Chocolate Caramel slice. It was soooooo good! So I of course had to try and make it. Its super easy and cuts so beautifully out of the refrigerator.

Chocolate caramel slice
225g unsalted butter
125g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
90g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
100g brown sugar
400ml tin condensed milk
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g good-quality dark chocolate
15g unsalted butter, extra

Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin with non-stick baking paper.

Melt 125g of the butter. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add coconut, caster sugar and melted butter and stir until well combined.

Press the mixture firmly into the base of tin, place in oven and bake for 12 minutes or until light golden.

Meanwhile, place the remaining butter, brown sugar, condensed milk, golden syrup and vanilla extract in a medium size saucepan over a low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, bring to the boil then continue to cook, stirring over a low heat, for a further 5 minutes or until light golden. Remove from heat and pour evenly over base.

Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Once caramel is cool, place chocolate and the extra butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally until chocolate has melted. Spread chocolate evenly over the caramel.

When chocolate has set, cut into squares.

Makes about 20 squares

These are two other "slice" recipes I wanted to share with you that I have not had the time to try yet.If you do get to this before I do, please post.

Coconut and raspberry slice
For the base

125g unsalted butter
60g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
185g (11/2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
60ml (1/4 cup) milkFor the filling
175g (1/2 cup) raspberry jam
250g (1 cup) raspberries

For the topping

100g unsalted butter|
80g caster sugar
2 eggs
225g (21/2 cups) desiccated coconut
60g (1/2 cup) plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the base Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir in with the milk.

Flour your hands and press the base evenly into a greased and lined 20 x 30cm baking tin. Spread the base evenly with jam and sprinkle with raspberries. To make the topping Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Stir in the coconut and 1 tbsp sifted flour, then stir in the remaining flour. Spread the topping evenly over the raspberries.

Bake the slice for 30 minutes or until golden. Cover with foil and cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Cut into squares. Makes 20

Lemon slice
For the base

200g unsalted butter, softened and chopped
30g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
250g (2 cups) plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling

6 eggs
375g (11/2 cups) caster sugar
60g (1/2 cup) plain flour
125ml (1/2 cup) lemon juice
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
Icing sugar, for dusting

Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin with non-stick baking paper.To make the base Place the butter, icing sugar and flour in a food processor (alternatively, do this by hand) and whiz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and process until a smooth ball. Press the dough into the base of the lined tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes until pale and golden.For the filling As the base is cooking, whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, flour and lemon juice and zest. Whisk until well combined.

Pour over the base and bake for 20 minutes or until the filling is set and lightly golden on top.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To serve, cut the lemon slice into rectangles and dust with the icing sugar.

Makes 18 rectangles

Cold Coconut Tapioca & Fruit

I tried the most refreshing dessert after our meal at Gingerboy. It was a dessert I would have never ordered. However, it ended up being something I loved so much, I wanted to recreate that next day. This is as close as I got to replicating it. They topped it with a grapefruit sorbet as well. The consistency was in between a delicate tapioca soup and a rich tapioca pudding. I prefer more tapioca and less soup. Serve them in chinese tea cups or ramekins. Great ending to an asian inspired meal for your summer entertaining...and can be made days in advance too. 

Coconut Tapioca  & fruit

Serves 8-12

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup 1mm small dried tapioca pearls
1 cup whole milk
2 cups full fat coconut milk
2 cups 1/2 inch diced fruit (dragonfruit,passionfruit or mango)
mint  chiffonade(optional)

In a medium sized pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil. When boiling, turn the heat to low and stir in the milk. When the mixture returns to a boil, turn off the heat and stir in the coconut milk. Make sure that you are not boiling the coconut milk (which would make it oily) Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Soak tapioca pearls in cold water for 20 minutes. The pearls will expand and turn bright white. Drain. In a medium pot, add about a quart of water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add the drained tapioca pearls and stir constantly for 1 1/2 minutes. Immediately drain in fine mesh sieve and run cold water through the sieve to stop the tapioca pearls from cooking further. Combine with the coconut milk mixture and continue to chill in refrigerator. You can prepare everything above up to 3 days in advance.

To serve, ladle the sweet coconut milk with tapioca into a bowl and add a big spoonful of diced, fresh fruit and mint.