Thursday, 31 March 2011

Pecan tart

This tart is a cross between a classic American pecan pie and an English treacle tart. With the dash of Maple syrup you even get a hint of Canada. Now that is what I call multiculturalism in a dish!


sweet pastry base
50g butter
250g golden syrup
100ml maple syrup
150g breadcrumbs
1 orange (zest and juice)
2 apples
fresh ginger
handful of pecans

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Roll out the chilled sweet pastry and line a tart shell. Freeze for 10 minutes. Blind bake for about 7-10 minutes. Leave too cool. In the meantime melt the butter and the syrup in a pan, add the breadcrumbs, finely chopped apple, ginger and pecans. Leave some pecans for decoration later. Add the grated orange zest and juice. Spoon into the pastry case and add the pecans on top. Bake for another 20 minutes until golden. Great served warm with a dollop of sour cream or vanilla ice cream.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Mini cupcakes

Today is Fabian's birthday and I made a selection of mini cupcakes: matcha-pistachio, orange blossom, coffee-chocolate and a lemon and poppy seed version. All use the same base dough that I just divided up into 4 and then added my different flavours. For the icing I made white chocolate buttercream. Yum!

The recipe makes about 40-50 mini cupcakes.


125g unsalted butter
150g sugar
2 eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk

for the buttercream
100g white chocolate
140g unsalted butter
140g icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 150°C. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Now add the flour and the milk. Divide and add your different flavours and about 4 tbsp more liquid (again dived up by how many flavours): lemon juice to go with lemon zest and poppy seeds, orange blossom essence and some orange juice to go with orange zest, coffee to go with cocoa powder and chocolate chips, matcha powder and chopped pistachios. You may need to add 1-2 tbsp more liquid if you add powders like cocoa as they will change the consistency on the thicker side.
Fill into petit four cake cases and bake for 12-15 minutes. Leave to cool. For the buttercream melt the chocolate over a bain marie. Leave to cool for a bit. Beat the butter and icing sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Mix in the chocolate. Put in a piping bag and pipe on the mini cupcakes. Sprinkle with decoration according to taste.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Colour lovers: emerald

Emerald is a light and bright shade of green with a faint bluish cast. Green is not a primary colour but is created out of a mixture of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan. The word green is closely related to the Old English verb growan, "to grow". It reminds us of plants or the ocean and because of that association the colour has a calming effect. It's commonly used on environmentally–friendly products for the same reason. In combination with blue the calming can even be enhanced and it's a harmonious palette. Check out the palette at colourlovers

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Marble cake

This is one of my grandmother's recipes and because of that it's special to me. She is the one who taught me most of my baking (and some cooking) skills and her passion for cakes is infectious. Even at the proud age of 80 she still bakes tarts and cakes and the odd layered one with freshly whipped cream or butter cream for special occasions. Can't take that away from her!
I am not sure how it started, whether it was my grandfathers love for cake or her passion for baking first (classic chicken/egg situation) but either way they complemented each other. He liked his slice of cake and a hot cup of coffee in the morning for breakfast. Not a slice of bread or toast: CAKE. It gave my grandmother a reason to bake cake at least once a week.


200g butter
250g sugar
1 Tsp vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
4 eggs
500g self-raising flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/8 l milk
100g sliced almonds
3-4 Tbsp cocoa powder
2-3 Tbsp rum or amaretto
100g dark chocolate

Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time. Sift the flower and baking powder. Add to the mixture, adding the milk when it becomes too thick. Separate in two lots: add the sliced almonds to the first and the cocoa and rum/amaretto to the other and mix well. Now butter your baking tin and fill with the vanilla layer, followed by the chocolate layer. To create the marble effect use the handle of a spoon, chop stick or a bamboo skewer and swirl it around in the mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Leave to cool. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie and glaze the cake.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Peanut caramel macarons

This is my third attempt at the classic French macaron. Notoriously difficult and I have again learnt some valuable lessons: aging your egg whites (haven't done this but will do it from now on, for at least 24 hours, so just separate your eggs the night before you bake); not too build up the macaronage too much by folding in even more air as you will end up with air bubbles and an uneven shell. I baked at a lower temperature this time but slightly longer and I had let them rest to dry out for longer (for an hour).


3 egg whites
50g light brown sugar
60g ground almonds
50g ground peanuts
200g icing sugar

for the caramel
125 brown sugar
1 vanilla pod
60g salted butter
50ml double cream

Blend the ground almonds, ground peanuts and the icing sugar and sift in a bowl . In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until they start to stiffen and slowly add the sugar. Mix some more until stiff and shiny. With a spatula fold under the nut and sugar mix but don't overwork the mixture. Place into a piping bag and pipe 3cm circles onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Let rest for one hour. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 min, depending on size. Leave to cool.
To make the caramel dissolve the sugar and 3 tbsp water in a pan. Slit open the vanilla pod open lengthways and scrape out the seeds and add. Stir in the butter and raise the temperature until it bubbles and caramel turns toffee colour. Take off the heat and gently stir in the cream. Let cool before applying it on the macaron halves and sandwich together.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


The days are getting longer now and grey will slowly but steady be replaced by colour.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Pizza Bianco

I am currently obsessed with MasterChef Australia. I have just recently discovered the show online and it's great. Season 2 is now almost a year old and I can't wait for season 3 to start. In one of the challenges they had to make a pizza and they later had a master class as well about it where they showed a Pizza Bianco, what literally means white so there is no tomato sauce. When we made pizzas recently I thought I had to give it a go and it's delicious!

So I infused some good olive oil with rosemary and chopped garlic and you lightly brush it on the rolled out pizza dough. Put some grated cheese on it, any cheese you like really. We had a mix of smoked cheddar, gruyere and some parmesan. Very thinly slice your potatoes (I used red ones but more for the optic) and layer on top. Brush the slices with some more of the garlic and rosemary oil and bake in the oven at very high temperature.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Salted caramel peanut and chocolate tart

This recipe makes about 6-8 small pastries.


200g flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
100g butter
2 egg yolks

for the peanut caramel
125 brown sugar
60g salted butter
50ml double cream
handful of salted and roasted peanuts

for the chocolate ganache
100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
1 tbsp butter

To make the pastry mix flour, sugar and cocoa. Add small cubes of cold butter and mix to the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the yolks and work into a dough. Wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30min. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Then roll out the pastry and line small tart tins and prick the base with a fork. Put in the freezer for about 5-10 min. Now blind bake for 15-25 min until baked. Leave to cool on a rack.
To make the caramel dissolve the sugar and 3 tbsp water in a pan. Stir in the butter and the peanuts and raise the temperature until it bubbles and caramel turns toffee colour. Take off the heat and gently stir in the cream. Spoon the caramel in the pastry cases and let cool. To make the ganache heat the cream in a saucepan until it starts to boil. Take off the heat and pour in a bowl over the broken up chocolate. Add the butter and whisk all together. Now spoon over the caramel to form the chocolate layer of the tart and let cool.