Tag Archives: recipe

Neil’s Three Milk Cake

A dessert I’ve been unable to resist at visits to Spice Temple is the three milk cake.  So I was excited to see that it was included in Neil Perry’s Spice Temple Cookbook.  I tried to make it and my first attempt was pretty good.  You’ll feed a big crowd with this, at least a dozen.  The cake needs to be made the night before so there’s less prep to do on the day of serving.  If you’re not a fan of meringue or don’t have time to make it I think it is still a really lovely dessert without it.  Here’s the end result

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And here’s the restaurant original – I didn’t do too bad for a first go, though I didn’t quite have enough of the garnishes on hand as no quantities were specified.

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Three-milk cake (make day ahead)
300 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of fine salt
6 eggs, separated
275 g caster sugar
125 ml milk
30 ml rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
375 ml pouring cream
550 ml evaporated milk
500 ml condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter and flour a 30 cm × 20 cm Pyrex dish or cake tin.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then whisk in the sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time, ensuring each is well incorporated before adding the next. Alternately fold in spoonfuls of the milk and the flour mixture, mixing to a smooth batter. Finally, fold in the rum and vanilla. Pour into the prepared dish or tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, but leave it in the dish. Use a skewer to prick the cake all over.

Mix together the pouring cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk, then gradually pour over the cake, letting it gradually absorb before pouring on more (if you just try and pour it all at once it will go everywhere!). Leave the cake to cool, then cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Meringue (make when ready to serve)
100 ml water
2 tsp lemon juice
300 g caster sugar
180 g egg whites (from about 4–5 eggs)
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp rose water

Place the water, lemon juice and all but 3 tbs of the sugar in a small non- reactive saucepan. Place over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook the syrup without stirring until it reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then whisk in the remaining sugar and the cream of tartar to make a meringue. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in a quarter of the sugar syrup and whisk to combine.

Continue adding the syrup in this way, whisking well each time, until it is all incorporated, then add the rose water and whisk on medium speed for a few minutes until smooth and glossy.

Three-milk sauce (for serving)
280 ml evaporated milk
240 ml condensed milk
140 ml pouring cream

Combine all three ingredients in a jug

To serve
Finely grated lime zest
Roasted flaked almonds
Roasted unsalted pistachios
Freeze-dried raspberries

Cut the cake into squares and place a square on each plate, then pour some three milk sauce around the cake. Scoop a large spoonful of the meringue onto the top of each cake square and garnish with grated lime zest, flaked almonds, pistachios and raspberries.

Today’s cake – Italian apple cake

The Marito is a big apple dessert fan, and I used to make this cake for him regularly when we first got married.  But somehow I forgot about it, and recently finding myself with excess apples, made it and remembered how good it was.  It’s almost custard like in the centre.  I have used Granny Smith and Golden Delicious for this, but you could also use a mixture of varieties depending what you have in the fridge.   Strega is an Italian liquor (and a favourite of Mamma Rosa) the addition of which is optional.

applecake

Ingredients
5 medium apples
Juice of 1 large lemon
Grated rind of 1 large lemon
4 eggs
150g plain flour
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt.
20ml Strega liquor
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Icing sugar for dusting

Making it
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced. Grease a 20cm cake tine and line the base with baking paper.

2. Core and peel the apples, halve and slice thinly. Place in a bowl and cover with the lemon juice.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and fluffy. Add the lemon rind and Strega and combine.

4. Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and sale. Carefully drizzle in the melted butter and gently combine, then finally add the apples and gently fold in.

5. Place the mixture in the prepared tin and level it out. Bake four about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cake is browning too much on the top and not cooked in centre, cover with foil. Remove from oven, rest in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Trifle of poached pear, mascarpone and pistachio

Recently I bought a tray of Corella pears and I thought I’d turn them into a trifle.  I made it first thing in the morning to serve that evening, but even better make it the night before.  You’ll serve a good crowd of a dozen or more with this. The pear brandy I used was the German Weis, which is available in most bottle shops. Any left over syrup can be stored in the fridge and drizzled over ice cream or other fruit.

Poached pears
700g caster sugar
Thinly peeled rind of 1 orange
Thinly peeled rind and juice of 1 large lemon
2 cinnamon quills
2 star anise
1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
100ml Vin Santo or other dessert wine
10 small Corella pears, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons pear brandy

Combine sugar, rinds, lemon juice, spices, vanilla and 1 litre of water in a large enough pot, stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add the pears, cut a round of baking paper to fit the pot, place over the pears and weigh down with a plate and gently simmer until pears are tender (25 minutes or so). Remove pears from pot and set aside in a bowl.

Strain cooking liquid from the pot into a heavy based saucepan and simmer on medium high heat for about 40-45 minutes. Turn off the heat, add Vin Santo, stir, then allow to cool. Once cool mixture will thicken and should be a golden caramel coloured syrup. Stir in the pear brandy.

Mascarpone cream
500g mascarpone
2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar
2 egg yolks
350ml thickened cream
4 tablespoons pear brandy

Using at electric mixer, beat the eggs, icing sugar, mascarpone and brandy until combined. Add the cream and beat until thickened, be careful not to over whip.

Other ingredients
Half a packet or so of savoiardi biscuits
180g of natural pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped or whole as desired

You’re now ready to assemble

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Assembly
Place a layer of savoiardi on the bottom of your trifle dish.  At the bottom of the reserved bowl of pears there should be a little juice – drizzle a couple of tablespoons over the savoiardi. Then drizzle over some of the caramel syrup. Next add a layer of pears, drizzle over a little more syrup and then sprinkle over a third of the pistachios.

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Then a layer of half the cream. Then again a layer of savoiardi, pear juice from bowl, syrup, pears, syrup, pistachios, cream and sprinkle remaining pistachios on top. Cover tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Lychee granita with mango, ice cream and mint

This very easy and lovely little recipe which appeared in Good Food just before Christmas is a perfect Summer refreshing dessert.  I personally prefer Kensington Pride mangoes, but you can use any variety you like. Serves four.

lycheegranita

Ingredients
Vanilla ice-cream
3 mangoes, peeled and diced
Handful of baby mint leaves
1 quantity lychee granita

For the lychee granita
560g tin lychees
30g castor sugar
1½ tsp fresh lime juice

Making it
1. Drain lychees, reserving the tin liquid, and purée in a whiz or food processor until very fine. Strain through a fine sieve into a 250ml cup measure; add liquid from tin to fill the cup.

2. In a small pot, gently heat sugar in 30ml water until dissolved. Allow to cool.

3. Combine purée, sugar syrup and lime juice to taste. Pour into a shallow metal container and place in the freezer. When almost frozen, scrape with a fork to create a fluffy texture then return to the freezer so that it is fully frozen.

4. Place a scoop of ice-cream in a chilled glass, then a spoonful of mango, a few mint leaves and a spoonful of granita. Repeat. Garnish with mint

My sugar free granola

A new year has rolled round and with that comes the usual spate of resolutions.  Eat less, exercise more, read something vaguely intelligent, buy less stuff and so on.  On the eat less front, sugar is something we are told should be high on the list.  Fats are not necessarily the enemy we thought, but sugar is.   One of the worst sugar culprits is often breakfast cereals, granola among them – have a look at sugar content in the supermarket and you’ll be surprised – even though we think it is ‘healthy’.

I love the texture and crunch of granola, but I’m not that keen on the sweetness.  In the pre-made ones, even if there is no added sugar, there is almost always maple syrup or honey which I don’t particularly fancy, I’d prefer to get my sweetness from fresh fruit.  After a couple of trials I came up with this version, which you could almost call savoury granola. I soaked the nuts overnight because I found they burn otherwise and taste unpleasant. You can probably use any nuts you like. The egg white is optional, but if you like “clumps” in your granola, this is an easy way to achieve it.

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained
1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Ground spices of your choice (I used nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 egg white, whipped to soft peaks (optional)

Making it
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Place the oats, nuts, and seeds in a bowl. Add the vanilla, spices, and coconut oil and stir well so that everything is coated. Add the egg white and combine. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and spread in a layer, and bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Its then ready to eat any time, either with milk or yoghurt and fresh fruit, or as is as a snack.

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Roasted salmon and beetroot

This lovely and simple recipe comes courtesy of Curtis Stone’s Good Food, Good Life cookbook. In it he calls for golden beetroot, but I don’t come across them much so went for the standard red variety; I used the thinnest setting on my mandoline (0.75mm) for slicing.  He also suggests using one large 750g salmon fillet, which I tried the first time I made it, and while this looks nicer from a presentation perspective, it is easier to get an even cooking result with individual portions.  The tarragon is lovely, it is not a herb I use much, and I forgot how fragrant it is.  A nice green salad would go well on the side. Serves four.

salmonbeetroot

Ingredients
4 medium beetroot (about 500g) scrubbed and very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 individual salmon fillet portions
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

Making it
1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Toss the beetroot with 1 tablespoon of the oil, season, and lay on the baking tray slightly overlapping. Roast for 20 minutes and remove from oven

3. Place the salmon on top of the beetroot, brush with olive oil and season. In a small bowl combine the herbs and then sprinkle over the salmon. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until salmon cooked to medium rare (should be pink in the centre). Remove from the oven and serve.

Panettone and Pandoro

To me, it never feels like Christmas is coming until I open the first panettone.  In late November, the Italian delis around Sydney are filled with different varieties shipped from the big brand Italian bakeries – the more traditional with candied fruit or sultanas, or more recent varieties with flavours like limoncello cream and chocolate.  I am a bit  particular about the ones I buy, and that means mostly avoiding the ones you’ll find in the major supermarket chains. Among the mass produced ones, brands I like include Motta, Paluani and Bauli, which you’ll typically buy for $10-$15. Pay up and you’ll get something more bespoke or artisan.

There are lots of stories about the origin of panettone, including one that it was named after some bloke called Tony (“pane di toni”). In any case it is known that it originated in Milan and was always made for Christmas and New Year, with Angelo Motta becoming one of the early large producers back in 1919.  Pandoro (“bread of gold”) on the other hand comes from Verona, and, as its name implies, is a golden fluffy sweet bread without any fruit.  Typically made in a star formation, give it a shake in the bag with the provided icing sugar and it is meant to resemble snow falling down a mountain.

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If you are ambitious, you could try and make some of your own, but its a three day proving process and a real labour of love.  I’ll leave it to the experts thank you very much; but if you’re up for it, you’ll find a recipe in a book I have and really like, The Italian Baker.

I love my panettone and pandoro straight up with a good espresso.  But there are plenty of other things you can do with it, starting with making it French toast for breakfast. Slice your pandoro or panettone to the desired thickness; in a bowl beat an egg, a little milk, a little icing sugar and some vanilla extract, dip your pandoro and fry in a pan with melted butter.  Add some yoghurt and fresh fruit and dust with icing sugar.  Buonissimo.

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Then there are plenty of desserts, like this Amalfi lemon delicious with limoncello custard, recipe here.

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Or this caramelised panettone with grilled peaches, recipe here

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For a very rich and very extravagant dessert that will feed a crowd, try this blueberry, mango and praline trifle, recipe here

napoliblueberrytrifle

A family favourite is this Torta di Verona recipe.

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How ever you have it, you can’t go too far wrong. Buon natale!