Category Archives: sweet treats

Lamingtons

Sponge, chocolate, coconut. What is not to love?

Sponge, chocolate, coconut. What is not to love?

There was a time in high school we did a lamington drive to raise money for some charity. The organisation we were helping has long left my head but the memory of buying six dozen lamingtons under false names and eating them all myself has not. (See also: Bulimia).

I have banned myself from buying the Woolworths lamington fingers purely because I KNOW I could eat the entire packet. In one sitting. I never have, but the knowledge that I COULD is enough.

What is equally alarming is the fact they are STUPIDLY easy to make. Fiddly? Sure. Messy? My word. But an absolute snap all the same.

This recipe comes from my kitchen bible – Allan Campion & Michele Curtis’s In The Kitchen. I refer to this cookbook more than any other and every single thing I’ve made from it has always worked and been delicious. If you don’t own it, buy it.

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Lamingtons

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 cups dessicated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a lamington tin with greaseproof paper and then grease it and dust with flour
  2. Beat the eggs and caster sugar together until very thick and really pale in colour then gently fold in the flour
  3. Pour into tin, smooth the batter and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden on top
  4. Cool in the tin for a few minutes then lift out and peel off the baking paper. Cool completely
  5. Put the icing sugar, cocoa and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking well
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat and cool a little
  7. Now get ready to get messy.
  8. Set up a workstation with the cake cut into squares, then the chocolate sauce, then a wire rack and then a shallow dish holding the coconut and then another wire rack
  9. Dip the sponge in the chocolate until all covered – I use to forks to turn the cake over in the mixture – then put onto the wire rack to let any excess drip off
  10. Roll the pieces in the coconut then onto the final wire rack to dry.

Try not to eat them all.

 

Onward!

 


Apple Slice

When I was in primary school we lived on Sydney’s North Shore in a suburb called Lindfield. If we won lotto I would probably spontaneously start looking at houses in Lindfield such is my love of that place, nevermind it is 30 years later and it has changed more than I care to accept or that our lives are now firmly etched into Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Lindfield and indeed the North Shore calls me back time and time again.

apple slice layer 2

Every slice needs a good foundation

We had a little row of shops just across from the train station. There was Mr Steenbolm’s chemist, our doctor down the laneway, an old lady’s dress shop, a milk bar (owned by the compulsory and seemingly only Greek family in the area) and best of all, the cake shop. Most Saturday’s mum would take my brother and I to the cake shop for a treat. Mine? A pineapple passionfruit  tart while my brother used to get a sausage roll. My GOD those sausage rolls were good.

There was a glass L-shaped counter, one side taken up solely with display cakes for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Remember when you would get those little figurines to sit on the top of the cake? I still have the ballerinas and Mum still has the cricketers that appeared on our respective cakes for years.

Apple Slice

Appley goodness

The other side was a hotbed of mock cream and sugar. Neenish tarts, Pineapple Passionfruit tarts, those marzipan green frog tarts (which I once begged mum for and proceeded to scar me for life on all things marzipan), palmiers, meringue mice, big fat wedges of vanilla slice, custard tarts showered in nutmeg, gingerbread men and a sugar topped apple slice. I must confess that apple slice never piqued my imagination as there was so much else vying for my attention. But then Fiona at Inner Pickle posted a recipe for an apple slice and all of a sudden I was 8 and back in that cake shop.

Apple Slice Top Layer

Ready for cookin’

This is now on such high rotation in our house that if there is none people, Jasper in particular, get antsy. It is his absolute favourite above all else. It has kicked my lemon curd slice to the curb and THAT is saying something.

Apple Slice adoration

Get in my mouth

Apple Slice
Fiona at Inner Pickle

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of stewed apples (no added sugar)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 27x13cm tin (I just make mine in a 20cm square tin)
  2. Process the flour, baking powder, sugar and butter  in a food processor and then add the egg (don’t worry that the dough seems quite crumbly, it comes together)
  3. Divide the dough in two and roll out to fit the tin
  4. Top with the apple, then roll out the other half of pastry and place over the top (don’t get precious about it, if it breaks it breaks, I call this “rustic”)
  5. Brush the top with some milk and then scatter over caster sugar
  6. Bake for 25minutes
  7. Leave it in the tin and don’t cut it until it’s cool (it will totally fall apart if you do, ask me how I know) then store in the fridge.

So good. So very very good.

 

Apple Slice fresh from the oven

Straight from the oven

 


sour cream streusel cup cakes

Last week I met up with Mrs Woog and Beach Cottage and other lovely ladies at the park so the kids could go and play soccer with a creepy dad and other strangers. I took some of these tasty little numbers with me and Mrs Woog has been asking for the recipe (or me to drop more into her which school holidays has made near impossible).

The recipe comes from my mother-in-law and I’m not sure where it comes from before her. You can make it as a cake, in which case you put half the batter in the tin, cover with the streusel, add the rest of the batter and then top with the rest of the streusel. But there’s something about them as cupcakes – little mouthfuls of contentment.

This recipe can be halved to make one 24cm cake. I’m not sure how many cupcakes it’d make as I always do double. This makes I’ve made the cupcakes two ways – one where I’ve put some batter in the patty pan then streusel then batter then streusel but it’s fiddly and annoying. My advice is to top with a heaped dessert spoon of the streusel and then – oh so delicately (not) – smoosh it in to the batter. (The picture below however is when I did the former rather than the latter) I haven’t doubled the streusel topping as when I did it made LOADS too much – it’d be find if you were making a cake but as cupcakes you don’t need as much.

Sour Cream Streusel Cake

Cake

  • 250g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bi-carb
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream

Streusel

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup nuts (I’ve used mixed nuts, pecans and pistachios. I’ve chopped them up in a processor or chopped them roughly. Basically do whatever floats your boat.)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line patty pans with liners (it will make 15-18)
  2. Put all the ingredients for the cake in a food processor and blend until smooth and pale.
  3. Combine the streusel ingredients
  4. Place a heaped dessert spoon in your patty pan liners, top with a heaped spoon of streusel and smoosh into the batter a bit.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes

 


Triple Chocolate Praline Tart

Several years ago now (I KNOW!) a became friends with some remarkable women through this blog. A few weeks ago one of those, the MIGHTY Eleanor (from the commentbox) hosted a lunch at which we were honoured to meet some of her ‘real life’ friends.

Naturally I had a fillerbuster of a day getting there, trying to fit in way too many things before heading across town. I arrived in a complete snit after leaving home late and then being held up by some first-time-in-60-years resurfacing of the Harbour Bridge and stupid Eastern Suburbs traffic in which everyone must drive nice and slowly so everyone else can notice they’re driving the latest Lexus, Mercedes or BMW. That and the small but important issue of me taking a wrong turn. Details.

But as I walked into Eleanor’s serene abode (also alarmingly devoid of dust, I think she could be a witch) the blood pressure dropped, the tension in my shoulders eased and I proceeded to spend a sublime number of hours in the company of smart, funny women. Truly divine.

I was on dessert duty and on offering a fruit, custard or chocolate option our host chose chocolate.

Making this tart does not require any special cooking talents but it does require time. As that afternoon at Eleanor’s reminded me, sometimes the best thing to do is stop. Slow down. Take one step at a time and savour each step.

It’s one of the reasons I love making things like this – you have no option but to slow down and in slowing down you take more care, enjoying the process as much as the outcome.

Having made this twice I can say that the flavour is more developed – ie better – the next day.

I also use pecans as I am obsessed with them.

So gather your ingredients, set aside some time and make something outrageously decadent with love. It makes everything better.

Triple chocolate praline tart

From Australian Gourmet Traveller

Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 60 pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 30g Dutch-process cocoa
  • 100g cold butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks

Filling

  • 150 gm hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed
  • 175 gm raw caster sugar
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 400 gm milk chocolate, finely chopped

Ganache

  • 160 ml pouring cream
  • 40 ml milk
  • 200 gm dark chocolate (61% cocoa solids), finely chopped

For the pastry

  1. In a food processor combine everything except the egg yolks
  2. Once combined add the egg yolks and pulse until it comes together in a ball
  3. Give it a knead – it is very short and I found it needs a bit of working to get it into a pliable ball – then wrap in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 and roll the dough out to 3mm thick to line a 28cm tart case. I find the trick to this is to let the dough come back to room temperature and to then roll out between two sheets of baking paper. It is a really short pastry so don’t worry if it breaks, just smoosh the edges together.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour and then bake blind for 8-10 minutes. Remove paper and weights and then bake for a further 8-10 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s cracked, the filling is solid enough it won’t pour out and turn the whole thing into a red hot mess.

For the filling

  1. Spread the hazelnuts (or your nuts of choice, mine are pecans) on an oiled baking tray and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook until dark caramel in colour (4-5 minutes) then pour over nuts.
  3. Stand until cool and set (8-10 minutes) and then process in a food processor until finely ground.
  4. Bring the cream to the simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in two-thirds of the praline mixture (reserving the remaining to serve).
  6. Spoon into pastry case, smooth top, refrigerate until just set (1½-2 hours).

 

For the ganache

  1. Combine cream and milk in a small saucepan, bring to the simmer then add the dark chocolate.
  2. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Spread over the tart and refrigerate until just set (45 minutes-1 hour).

Cut into wedges with a hot knife and serve immediately scattered with reserved praline.

 

Seriously, it’s a tart that makes everything better.

 

Onward!


Dulce de leche ice cream with toasted, salted and buttered pecans. You’re welcome.

 

You guys all know Inner Pickle right? She’s basically living the life I want to live so you know, I stalk her in a completely creepy and inapropriate way. You’re welcome.

 

Apart from the fact she offers up a new slice recipe every Wednesday, she also cooks things I love to cook. Or make. And she does so without fanfare or fuss, just the way I like it.

 

So a few weeks back she posted a recipe for easy chocolate ice cream and even though I didn’t concentrate when making it and put in too much cream (as IF there’s such a thing) it was delicious. In the comments was a post from one of her neighbours who’d given her the recipe in the first place, mentioning dulce de leche and well, I had those jars of condensed milk boiling on the stove quicker than Black Caviar passes the winning post.

 

 

 

I didn’t mix the dulce de leche through completely, choosing to drop dollops in the last few minutes of churning with the nuts. Next time I would mix one tin through the cream/milk mix and then do the dollopy thing with another. Maybe not a whole tin, but you could just eat the left off the spoon. Because I know you want to.

 

Dulce de leche icecream with toasted buttered salted pecans

From Darren at Green-Change via Inner Pickle’s blogging of his chocolate ice cream.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 600ml cream
  • 1 tin dulce de leche*
  • 1 packet (180 g**) pecan halves, toasted with a few dabs of butter and a smattering of sea salt then chopped
  1. Combine the milk and cream and dulce de leche
  2. Churn in an ice-cream mixer for 30 minutes, adding the pecans for the final 2-3 minutes
  3. Scoop into a container and freeze.

 

* to make dulce de leche cover a can of sweetened condensed milk with water and boil for three hours, checking regularly to ensure it is still covered with water.  You could, at a pinch, use the ‘pie caramel’ you can get in the cake decorating/cooking chocolate section of the supermarket.

** this is because I am addicted to pecans – a 110g packet would probably be ample.

 

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