Category Archives: Dessert

The best cheesecake I ever had

I am not sure how to write this blog piece. Cause I think I could spend 24 hours thinking about it and still I would not be able to describe this cheesecake. Does it say enough when I tell you this cheesecake was eaten by the two of us in just one day? Although I bake regularly I mostly share it with friends and relatives, since I am not really a sweet toot myself. But this cheesecake was like kryptonite to me. This cheesecake was also the reason I bought BBC Good Food magazine for the first time ever. It cost me 11 euro’s but the cheesecake makes it the best spend 11 euro ever. Good food serves it with a nice summer berry mix… I don’t. The cake doesn’t need it. It’s a star all by itself. I honestly think it is even better without anything else on top of it! And yes I tried… I munched a part down with some strawberry sauce and I ate part just plain. Plain for the win!

 INGREDIËNTS

200 grams of shortbread cookies
50 grams melted butter
600 grams of soft cheese (I used Philadelphia)
200 grams of crème fraiche
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
175 grams of golden caster sugar
2 tablespoons of plain flour
2 eggs
 

 Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.

The recipe states that you need to tip the shortbread in a food processor. And I agree that it is the easiest way to crumble it down. But it isn’t the funnest way. I tipped my shortbread into a zip lock bag and bashed it down with a bottle. Yes I have a food processor, but bashing with a bottle is a lot more fun!

Add the melted butter and mix well. Then press the mix into the base of the loaf tin.

Beat the cheese, crème fraiche, vanilla and sugar until smooth, then mix in the flour and the eggs until smooth again.  Poor the mix into the tin and smooth the top with a knife. 
Bake the cake in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to 120 degrees Celsius and bake for another 80 minutes. The cake is done when there is just s light wobble in the centre. Turn of the heat and let de cake cool completely in the oven.
Place it in the refrigerator to firm up.

Recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine August 2010

Advertisements

Daring bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake Pina Colada style

I was totally thrilled when I saw the new daring bakers challenge this month. Sunita from Sunita’s World – Life and food challenged us into making a Swiss Swirl Ice Cream cake. The moment I read the challenge it was about 25 degrees celcius in Belgium Perfect weather for ice cream and some baking. The day I actually made the cake it was about 35 degrees and I almost melted away in my kitchen. But it was worth it! Every drop of sweat, every hot breeze from my oven.. I forgot about it when I finally took a bite of the cake. It was divine, completely divine! One bite brought me into Ice Cream Cake heaven. I even forgot how scared I was about this recipe. I had nightmares about rolling a cake. Asleep I saw the cake fall into pieces when rolling. But this cake was so easy to make and I will certainly try it again.
Because of the tropical heat and the fact that summer holidays have started over here I made a Pina Colada version of the cake.
Like I mentioned in a previous blog post I am the proud owner of an ancient ice cream maker who I fell deeply in love with. I used my dearly beloved machine to make the creamy coconut ice cream and the pineapple sorbet, but don’t be afraid. You can make ice cream without a machine!

One last warning before digging into the mysteries of the Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake. don’t try to make this in one day. Its just to much. J It took me 3 days to complete the challenge. The first two days I made my ice cream. It could be done in one day though, but my machine was not cold enough to make two sets of ice cream. The third day I made the cake and assembled the who thing. On the fourth day I was in ice cream heaven.

 INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWISS ROLLS

6 medium sized eggs
225 grams caster sugar
45 grams all purpose flour
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
30 ml boiling water
30 ml rum essence
500 ml of whipping cream
70 grams caster sugar

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CREAMY COCONUT ICECREAM

3 dl coconut milk
4 egg yolks
75 grams of caster sugar
3 dl whipping cream

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PINEAPPLE SORBET

100 grams caster sugar
100 ml cold water
100 ml pineapple juice
250 grams pineapple

FOR THE SWISS ROLLS

Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. The recipe states that you should use 2 square baking pans from 11 inches by 9 inches each. I did not have that and I just used my regular round baking pans, what work pretty well, but I am convinced that square pans would make a better result. Brush whatever baking pan you are using with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper.

 In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and the sugar and beat till very thick. When you lift the beaters out of the mixture they should leave a trail for at least 10 seconds. I timed my beating and it took me about 12 minutes to get the right consistency.

 Now add the flour mixture in three batches while folding it gently in with a spatula.
Then fold in the boiling water!

 Now divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread out evenly. (I had to use 3 baking pans to get the job done. If you don’t have that many baking pans, just let them cool down and bake a second batch in the same pan!)

Now place the pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake if for about 10 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch!

 Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle it with a little caster sugar.
Now turn the baked cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges. (If you use round forms like me, you could trim it into a square form like I did.)

Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Place the roll an a rack, seam side down and let it cool down completely.
Keep repeating this for the next cakes.

Now for the filling! In a large bowl add the cream and the sugar and beat it till very thick and fluffy. Be careful don’t beat it into butter! Halfway trough the beating process add the rum essence.

Divide the cream mixture between the now completely cooled cakes.

Open the cake rolls and spread the cream mixture. Make sure it does not go right into the edges, cause it will poor out when you start rolling.

Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour in the fridge. This will firm them up and make the slicing a lot easier on you.

 Creamy Coconut Ice

In a large bowl add the sugar and the egg yolks and beat until they are doubled in size and all the sugar is evaporated in the mixture.
Now spoon under the coconut milk and the whipping cream.
Poor this mixture into the ice machine and let it “cream” for 25 to 30 minutes.
When done place the coconut ice cream for at least 5 hours in the freezer.
The downside on making ice cream yourself is that the ice cream is very rich and creamy, but also very soft. The problem is solved when you freeze the ice cream for at least 5 hours. Then the ice cream gets the hardness that store bought ice has.

Pineapple sorbet

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, the pineapple juice and the water. Place the pan over a medium heat and sit constantly, till the sugar begins to melt into the water. Don’t let it boil, cause it will start to caramelize. When the sugar is totally melted into the water turn down the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
In the mean while mix the pineapple with a blender into a puree.
When the syrup is cooled add the puree to the syrup and poor it into the ice cream machine. Let it cream for about 25 to 30 minutes. When done place the sorbet for at least 5 hours in the freeze.

 Assembly

Cut the Swiss rolls into equal slices (approximately 2 cm each)
Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with plastic wrap.
Arrenge two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides from the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm. (I froze them for about 1 hour)

 Take the creamy coconut ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften up a bit. Then take the bowl out of the freezer and remove the film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides to the bowl. Cover again with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour.

In the original recipe you add to add a layer of fudge sauce between the two layers of ice cream. I left that part out, just because I thought that with the flavours I had chosen it was already rich enough.

 Take the pineapple sorbet out of the freezer and let it soften up a bit. Then take the bowl out of the freezer and remove the film cover. Then add the sorbet on top of the coconut ice cream. Spread it out evenly. Wrap again in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Remove the plastic cover and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic wrap. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water.

Slice the cake with a hot knife and serve!

Fresh Vanilla Ice Cream goes Dame Blanche

The past few days, or is it turning weeks already its been pretty hot in Belgium. Tropical I would even dare to call it. Its so hot that we sleep with all the windows open and without sheets. We eat salads and things that don’t make me stand in the kitchen for longer then 15 minutes. My dearly beloved carnivore and husband even agrees to eat mozzarella with tomatoes for diner. That’s how hot it has been the past few days. And when its hot, I crave Ice cream. No wait, that is not entirely true. I crave Ice cream all year round, but on hot days I have an excuse to indulge myself in lots of ice cream. Midwinter people tend to look at me a little strange when I dive into the freezer and come out with a large bucket of ice cream.
When I was a little girl my mom bought an ice cream machine and made some mango sorbet. I was not very into mango at the time, so I just ate a little scoop and gave the rest to my father, who loved it so much that he brought heavy bags of mango home from work. It was actually the only ice cream my mom ever made and the ice cream machine disappeared onto a shell in the kitchen. But it was still in my mind and my love for ice cream made me ask my mom if I could adopt the ice cream maker. So that’s how I became the proud owner of a 15 year old ice cream machine! The hubby and I tried it out a couple of days ago with big eyes. Would it work? But never underestimate a old timer machine made in the 90’s, when machine where still strong and robust. The old lady made some damm fine ice cream! I can tell you, she wont be enjoying a peaceful retirement anytime some.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE VANILLE ICE CREAM

3 dl whole fat milk
4 egg yolks
75 grams of caster sugar
3 dl whipping cream

1 vanilla pod

 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLAT SAUCE

100 grams dark chocolate
20 grams butter
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
4 tablespoons of milk

In a large bowl add the sugar and the egg yolks and beat until they are doubled in size and all the sugar is evaporated in the mixture.
Now spoon under the whole fat milk and the whipping cream.
Poor this mixture into the ice machine and let it “cream” for 25 to 30 minutes.
When done place the ice cream for at least 5 hours in the freezer.
The downside on making ice cream yourself is that the ice cream is very rich and creamy, but also very soft. The problem is solved when you freeze the ice cream for at least 5 hours. Then the ice cream gets the hardness that store bought ice has.

In a small saucepan on a low heat melt the chocolate together with the butter. You could do this au bain marie, but sometimes I am just to impatient for that. I don’t like messing around with hundred pots and pan. So for me it works perfectly on a low fire while constantly stirring. When the chocolate has melted remove the sauce from the fire and stir in the icing sugar and the milk. Mix well and poor it over the vanilla ice cream. Top of with some freshly whipped cream and serve immediately.

Meringue pie with blueberries

I adore meringue and I adore blueberries. Combine the two and you get a match made in heaven.
There is not a lot I can tell you about this pie. Blueberries are certainly not in season at the moment, but I had a craving for them and they were not at all expensive.
I enjoyed them first just on their own and later decided to just them in this wonderful pie.
Meringue pie is traditionally made with lemon flavor, but I cant be bothered with that. Sure its nice on a hot summers day, but for now I just stick to my berries.

INGREDIENTS

140 grams flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
60 grams of butter (room temperature)
100 grams of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
80 ml milk
250 grams blueberries
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
100 grams of granulated sugar
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Start with beating the butter light and fluffy. To do this right it is so important to let de butter come to room temperature.
Then add the sugar and beat this till you get a nice sugary butter batter.
Now poor in the vanilla and the egg and combine this into one sticky dough.
The time to poor in the flour and the milk has arrived, but be careful, you should add a little bit of flour and a little bit of milk, mix it well and then repeat. Don’t go pouring it all in at once!
Now take a big pie dish (best a shell dish) and place some baking foil on the bottom, the side you grease with some butter of vegetable oil.
Add the blueberries to the cake batter and spoon them in carefully. Don’t break them.
Poor the batter into the dish and place it in a preheated oven on 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime we’ll start making the meringue.
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together. When you start to get soft peaks, drizzle in the sugar while constantly beating. It is very important that you keep beating so that your eggs become very stiff. At the last moment poor in the vanilla extract.

After 30 minutes the pie is ready to come out of the oven. Let the it cool for a couple of minutes before applying the meringue on top of the pie.
Place the pie back into the oven for another 15 minutes (or until the meringue becomes golden brown). Don’t forget to turn the heat down to 150 degrees.
Let the pie cool down to room temperature and pop it into the fridge for another 2 hours.

Daring baker: malaga pudding

I cheated on this daring baker challenge. The reasons for my behaviour?
After stalking 7 butchers in the surrounding area of my home none of them could deliver me any suet. (I used suet before, but the butcher I bought it at is renovating his shop and closed down for 3 months.)
After that I wanted to order some vegetable suet from my british online shop but noticed that the delivery date was set 3 weeks from now. So thank but no thanks.
Surfing the internet looking for a solution for this problem I stumbled upon some wonderful pudding recipes that did not call for any suet but just used plain butter.
Then the next problem arrived.. I did not have the time this month to wait 5 hours for something to steam, boil or cook.
All excuses I know… I am not bringing any honour to my title of daring baker.
Was I just going to give up? Was I gonna throw the towel into the ring?  I can tell you I most definitely was… But then I found this wonderful recipe for rum & raisin pudding on BBC Good Food and I knew that was the pudding I was going to make. Not exactly what Esther challenged us with, but at least I was trying to honour her pudding thoughts.
In stead of rum however I used Malaga dulce. It’s a very sweet fortified wine with almost 600 milligrams of sugar per litre of wine. I love it as a digestive and this time it was a perfect replacement of the rum!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PUDDING

100 grams of dates
112 ml hot milk
100 grams raisins
50 ml Malaga dulce wine
75 ml sunflower oil
2 small eggs, beaten with a fork
1 teaspoon baking soda
125 grams self raising flour
89 grams soft light muscovado sugar

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE

70 grams salted butter
70 grams of light muscovado sugar
150 ml double cream
25 ml Malaga dulce wine
25 grams raisins

 Preheat the oven to 180°C before starting to actually make the pudding. I know it is tempting to dive in and whisk up that lovely batter. But just take a second and first heat up the oven.
Is the oven on? Wonderful lets go and make that pudding then!
Mix the chopped dates with the hot milk and set aside for 20 minutes. Now mix the raisins with the Malaga dulce and set aside for 20 minutes also. (A little tip heat the Malaga wine for a few minutes. It does not need to boil or anything but the hot liquid will make the raisins tender and they ll soak up all that lovely wine!)  I know it seems a long wait and you thought you were ready to start. While waiting you can just as well grease the small pudding moulds (I used a muffin tin) and sit them in a deep roasting tin. You can even put your kettle on, so you ll have warm water ready.

After 20 minutes you are really ready to actually start assembling the pudding. So here we go!!
Whizz the dates and the milk together in a food processor until you have a smooth puree. Scrape the puree into a large bowl and mix with the oil and eggs. Now stir in the baking soda, the flour and the sugar. You see it actually starts to look like a thick fragrant batter! Lovely isn’t it?

Now take the Malaga dulce soaked (and now slightly drunk) raisins and fold them into the batter together with any wine that is left in the bowl.

Now divide the batter into the moulds and then carefully poor your boiling water into the tin so it comes halfway up to the sides of the moulds.
Now pop this in your oven for about 20 to 25 minutes on a low shelf in the oven.

After 20 minutes check the puddings with a skewer. If the skewer comes out neat and clean the pudding is ready. If not… give it another 5 minutes.
When they are done you can lift them out of their hot tub and give them some cool down time on a rack.

In the meanwhile its time to make the sauce that goes with this pudding from heaven. Take a saucepan and melt the butter, the sugar and the cream together.
Whisk it a few times and turn up the heat! The sauce needs to start bubbling and come together into a smooth, shiny sauce. Now stir in the wine and the raisins and let the sauce cool.

When the pudding moulds or cold enough to handle it is time for la moment supreme. Getting the puddings out of their form!
Scraping around the sides of each little mould is a wonderful idea. Then toss them over on a baking dish and cover them with cling film.
When you pop this into the fridge you can keep the sauce and the puddings for up to 24 hours.

But if you are anything like me, they won’t survive 24 hours. You will plunge in right after diner and maybe with some luck leave one or two for the following day.
Just spoon over a little sauce over de puddings and poor the rest of the sauce around it. Cover the whole dish with a new piece of foil and pop this into a preheated oven of 120 degrees for about 30 minutes.
You ‘ll know when they are ready anyway… cause your mouth will start to water from that wonderful sweet smell that fills your kitchen. Top it of with a good spoon of whipped cream and enjoy its total divineness.

Easy Peazy Diner: Dessert

Choosing a dessert was very easy this time around. My father in law bought me a crème brulee burner last year in Spain. After years of trying to get a nice result using the grill of our oven, I could finally serve the perfect crème brulee. On our last visit the casa in-laws they told us they were tired of hearing how wonderful the burner and the crème was and wanted to taste for themselves. So crème brulee it was!
Not a problem for me cause I just love crème brulee. It really is one of my favorit dessert. Maybe the only dessert I will finish completely. I just love to indulge myself with that dark brown caramel layer which you have to crack before getting to the smooth, creamy thickness of that yellow cream.
And its even a lot of fun to make. Not much work to be done to be quiet honest, although I admit it needs quit some time in the oven. But don’t be put off by that. A home made crème brulee is so divine you wont believe you have never tried it before!

INGREDIENTS6 egg yolks
75 grams caster sugar
½ liter full fat milk
½ liter cream
1 vanilla pod
cane sugar
Beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until the egg turns with and you have swirl of egg hanging from your mixer. (In Flemish we call this beating it ruban.)
Now mix the cream and milk together and bring them to the boil together with the vanilla pad.
When the cream/milk mixture boils pour this over the beaten eggs with constantly beating this. (Don’t to this the other way around cause your crème will not thicken!)
Now poor the crème into low fire resistant cups. (Its very important that you use low cubs. The heat needs to be spread evenly. When you use large cups the top will be burned, while the middle will still be runny.)
Place these cups into a oven tray and fill it up with boiling water. (Be careful not to spill any water in your custard!)
Bake this for about 45 minutes in an oven at 140 degrees Celsius.
Let the crème cool before burning it.

Now dust the crème brulee with the cane sugar and burn it with the burner till you have a nice golden brown caramel crust. (For people who don’t have a burner, you can use the grill of your oven. Its not quiet the same, but it will do.)

Dessert Pallet

Inspired by my previous post on my New Years Eve menu and my promise to share more recipes of that evening, I decided to share my dessert plate with you today.
I need to confess that I am a little dish person. I just love to make little dishes for the aperitif and dessert.
Why? I have no idea. Maybe because I think its cute? Maybe because I have a collection of tiny glasses, cups, spoons and plates where any restaurant would be jealous of.  I think it is meanly because I get bored easily. When we go out to eat I order “the walk trought the menu” every single time and as a dessert I want “a selection of…”
A one flavour dessert does not bring me the happiness 4 little nibbles give me. So when you come to my place for dinner, you can be sure of the fact that I serve you a dessert pallet.

This time my dessert pallet consisted of 3 white dessert, rice pudding, mojito cheesecake and mascarpone mousse.
Three very different flavours, but combined together a marvellous trio.
The rice pudding I used for this dessert was a white rice pudding, which means I did not add any saffron.

INGREDIENTS RICE PUDDING

1 l full fat milk
125 grams dessert rice
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 sack of vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon of custard powder
a little bit of butter

INGREDIENTS MOJITO CHEESECAKE

100 grams of biscuits
50 grams of melted butter
4 limes
120 grams sugar
4 tablespoons of white rum
1 hand of mint leaves
250 grams cream cheese
100 grams of cream
250 grams mascarpone

INGREDIENTS MASCARPONE MOUSSE

250 grams mascarpone
65 grams powder sugar
2 egg whites
50 grams cream
speculaas ( A dutch spiced biscuit)

RICE PUDDING

Set aside 25 centilitre milk and bring the rest of the milk to the boil together with a nut of butter.

When the milk starts to boil, add the dessert rice and let it simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes on medium heat. Stir regularly, so the rice does not get a chance to stick to the bottom of your cooking pot.
Mix the remaining milk with the custard powder. This should become a thick paste like mixture.
When the rice is almost ready add the custard mixture. Let this boil for a minute under constant stirring. While you stir you should feel the resistance building up, because the pudding starts to thicken.
Take the rice pudding of the fire and poor it into the little pots and put them for a couple hours in the fridge.
Just before serving you can decorate the pudding with a little bit of light brown sugar.

MOJITO CHEESECAKE

Take a cooking pot with a thick base (very, very, very important!) and heat in this pot the sugar with 5 tablespoons of water. You are actually making a thick sugar syrup. Let this boil for about 2 minutes without stirring. Now add the juice and the zest of 3 limes, the rum and the mint leaves to the syrup. Take this almost immediately of the stove, stir well and place the pot into a bad of cold water. This will make the syrup cool a lot faster.

Now add the biscuits to a Ziploc bag and bash them into crumps. (I used a bottle of wine to do this. One has got to help themselves with original kitchen tools!)
Now add the crumps to the melted butter and mix it together. Now fill the serving cups with a spoon of this mixture. The biscuit-butter mixture is mend as the bottom of your cake.

Poor the syrup through a sieve. (don’t forget to push the leaves and the zest, so you get all that jummie flavours out!) Now poor the syrup into a large bowl.
Beat the cream until it is stiff and has creamy peaks.
Now add the cream cheese and the mascarpone to the syrup and mix it all with a wooden spoon. Then add the beaten cream and mix carefully, you don’t want to loose the lightness in your paste.

Now poor in the cheese mixture on top of the biscuits and place the little cheesecakes into the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving you can decorate the cheesecakes with some fresh mint leaves.


Mascarpone Speculaas mousse

Speculaas is a sort of short crust biscuit that is very popular in The Netherlands and Belgium. The dough of the cookie combines lots of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. Other ingredients are butter, flour and brown sugar. Gingerbread is not the same thing as speculaas, but could be used as a substituted.

Beat the egg whites until the are stiff and have high peaks like the snow-white alps! You should be able to hold the eggs above your head without any accidents happening!
Now mix the mascarpone cheese with the icing sugar.
Add the speculaas to a Ziploc and beat into crumps.
Now add with a wooden spoon the egg whites to the mascarpone mixture.

Now start building your dessert. Start with a layer of speculaas crumbs, then mascarpone, crumbs, mascarpone… always end with a layer of crumbs!