Monday, January 26, 2015

australia day lamington cupcakes

Happy Australia Day every-one.

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A few months back I found photos and a recipe for lamington angel cupcakes on this website and decided to make some for Australia Day.

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For those of you who've not made lamingtons before, it's a bit of a process. You bake a slab cake the day before which you freeze as it's easier to dip the cake if it's frozen. Each square is dipped into chocolate icing then rolled in coconut. You end up with as much icing and coconut on your fingers as you do on the lamingtons.

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If you want to speed up the process you can make lamington cupcakes. You make cupcakes, remove the liners from the cakes, then dip and roll. It's as simple as that. I like to add some melted chocolate to the cocoa based icing to make it a bit more luxe before rolling in coconut. Plain old desiccated coconut is traditional but I only had shredded coconut in the cupboard so that's what I used.

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The plan was to cut the cupcakes in half before filling with some berry jam and cream but that's when the plan came unstuck. When push came to shove I couldn't be bothered with all the fiddling involved, so the cream stayed unwhipped in the fridge and the jam pot, untouched. I hope you don't mind too much.

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Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make traditional lamingtons, double the cake mixture and bake in a lamington tin (11 x 8 inch) for about 30 minutes. When cool, freeze the cake for a few hours before cutting the cake into small rectangles. Dip each square in chocolate icing before rolling in coconut. The quantity of icing and coconut should be enough for a batch of lamingtons but have some extra coconut on hand, just in case!

Lamington Cupcakes (Makes 6 - 12) 

Butter Cake
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup self raising flour
¼ cup plain flour
60 mls (¼ cup) milk


Chocolate icing
10g (2 tsp) butter
60g (2oz) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sifted icing sugar
¼ cup (25g) cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (125 ml) milk

Decoration
2 cups desiccated coconut

Cake
Preheat oven to moderate (180°C conventional).

Line a 6-hole Texas or 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper cases.

To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined well. Sift the flours together. Add the flour alternately with the milk to make a soft batter. You may not need to use all the milk.

Divide mixture among cases; smooth surface.

Bake large cakes for about 25 minutes, small cakes about 20 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

Remove cakes from cases and place in the freezer for an hour.

Make the chocolate icing. Dip the cakes in the icing; drain off excess, toss cakes in coconut. Keep topping up the coconut if it becomes too chocolate stained. Place cakes on wire rack to set.

Chocolate Icing
Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir sifted icing sugar and cocoa into the chocolate. Add the vanilla extract and enough milk to make an icing of a coating consistency. If the icing thickens too much thin it out with a little more milk or water or you can zap it in the microwave for about 20 seconds on high.

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I hope you all enjoyed your Australia Day Long Weekend. I decided to take a little road trip and went down to Canberra for a few days. Today I'm painting the spare room so I'm covered in paint.

See you all next week with some photos from Canberra.

Bye for now,

Jillian

Monday, January 19, 2015

a nectarine and blackberry cake

Hi every-one,

Here in Sydney it's summer so we're in the midst of the stone fruit season. Plums, peaches and nectarines abound in the fruit shop. I just love this time of year! Last weekend I made this cake to bring into work, my first for the year. I was planning on making a nectarine and raspberry cake but when I spied punnets of blackberries in the shop, I changed my plans.


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I adapted my regular butter cake recipe a little and replaced some of the flour with almond meal. It makes for a really moist cake.

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I sliced the nectarines and placed a layer inside the cake and topped the cake with some more sliced nectarines, a few of the blackberries and a sprinkling of flaked almonds.

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It's such a lovely simple cake and you can use any seasonal soft fruit or even frozen berries. I've made variations of this recipe using plums, blueberries, apricots, raspberries and even rhubarb and each version has been delicious.

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I snaffled a few slices for myself and as hoped, the cake was lovely and moist.


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Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. If you want to make a 9 inch/23 cm cake, double all the ingredients and bake the cake for the same length of time.

Nectarine and Blackberry Cake (makes one 18 cm cake)

Cake Ingredients 
3 nectarines
1 tablespoon caster sugar 
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter 
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar 
Grated rind ½ lemon
1 egg
¾ cup self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup almond meal
60 – 90 mls (¼ - ⅓ cup) milk
150 g punnet blackberries or raspberries
Flaked almonds
Optional – icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

Cake 
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F conventional oven. Grease and flour a 18 cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper.

Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Slice each nectarine into quarters, put into a small bowl and sprinkle over the tablespoon of caster sugar. Set aside.

To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined well. Sift the flour and the baking powder together then mix through the almond meal. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk to make a soft batter. You may not need to use all the milk. Spoon half the batter into the greased and lined tin. Layer a few of the nectarine slices over the top of the batter then sprinkle over a few berries. Gently spoon the remaining batter over the fruit. Arrange the remaining nectarine slices over the top of the cake, scatter the remaining berries and top with some flaked almonds.

Bake the cake for 1 hour or until the cake tests cooked when a skewer is inserted into it. Some of the nectarines may sink to the bottom of the tin while cooking. Cool the cake in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack. If desired, dust the top of the cake with icing sugar.

To make a 9 inch/23 cm cake, double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time.

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I'd planned to photograph this cake last Sunday on a funny tumble down bench in the garden but the weather changed and it poured all day. This happens every time I plan an outdoor shoot so instead I photographed the cake in my sun-room while the rain tumbled down outside.

I hope you enjoyed the weekend however it was spent.

See you all again next week,

Jillian

Monday, January 12, 2015

a rustic plum tart

Hi every-one,

When it's plum season I normally make a plum cake to bring into work. Last year I decided to make a plum tart instead. The images were shot for my September Delicious Bites column on decor8 but the column was cancelled before I had time to post the recipe. 

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My workmates loved the tart so I put the images in a folder waiting for plum season to arrive here in Sydney. I was invited to a BBQ last weekend and as plums have recently appeared in the shops I decided it was time to remake the tart.

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The pastry recipe is my own but the filling comes from Belinda Jeffrey's Plum Crostata recipe from Mix and Bake. Belinda made her crostata on a pizza tray but I decided to make mine in a pie tin. 

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As a pie tin is much smaller than a pizza tray but much deeper, you'll need to layer the fruit, which means the cooking time is close to double the 40 minutes mentioned in the original recipe. It's pretty easy to put together as it's really only half a pie and you don't have to fiddle around making a lid. If making pastry gives you the heebie jeebies, you could always buy some good quality shortcrust pastry and use that instead. 

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Here's the recipe for you -

A Rustic Plum Tart (filling adapted from Belinda Jeffery’s Plum Crostata recipe in ‘Mix & Bake’)

Hazelnut shortcrust pastry
1⅓ cup plain flour
¼ cup hazelnut meal 
¼ cup icing sugar 
110g/4 oz unsalted butter, coarsely chopped 
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of iced water

Place flour, hazelnut meal, icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. With the processor still running, gradually pour in enough of the egg mixture until the pastry starts to form a ball. Stop the processor, tip out the dough and form it into a disc. Wrap in plastic and pop in the fridge to rest for 40 minutes.

Filling
1 kg/2 lbs just ripe plums
¼ cup caster sugar
2 x 20 ml tbs roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped 
¼ cup caster sugar 
2 x 20 tbs plain flour 
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Topping
milk
raw caster sugar for sprinkling

To serve
whipped or double cream

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.

Halve the plums, remove the seeds and thinly slice. Place the sliced plums with ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl. Set to one side.

In a small bowl mix together the hazelnuts, sugar, flour and cinnamon.

Grease a 9 inch pie plate. Unwrap the pastry and roll out on a lightly floured bench to form a thin circle a few inches larger than the pie tin. Place the circle in the pie tin being careful not to trim the overhang as that will form the lid.

Spread half the hazelnut mixture over the base of the pie plate. Arrange half the plum slices, overlapping in concentric circles and liberally sprinkle with remaining hazelnut mixture. Arrange the remaining plums in a second layer and reserve any leftover juice.

Fold the border gently over the plums and brush the edge of the pastry with milk. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the plums and a little on the pastry. Place the plum tart on a baking tray to catch any drips while it’s baking.

Place the tray in the oven and bake the tart for about 1 hour or until the plums have collapsed a little and the pastry turns golden brown. If the plums are still uncooked when tested, cover the edges of the pastry with foil and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes.

Place the leftover plum juice in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until it forms a syrup. Gently glaze the plums with the mixture. The pie can be served warm or at room temperature. The flour really helps the filling to set so you should be able to cut a clean slice once the pie cools.

Serve with whipped cream or double cream.

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I bought a bucket of plums from the fruit shop to make the tart but unbeknownst to me, the top layer was close to ripe but the rest were a little unripe. When I served the pie, I found that unripe plums sure make for a zingy filling. 

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Like most pies, it tastes even better served with a dollop of cream.

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For all my Northern Hemisphere readers, I hope you get the chance to try this recipe when it's your plum season. 

See you all again soon,

Jillian

Monday, January 05, 2015

chocolate cinnamon snails

Happy New Year every-one. I've just had a 3 week break from work. I spent time in Brisbane with my family and have just had a week at home in Sydney doing stuff around the house. I assembled a piece of IKEA furniture on my own without swearing or shedding tears, which I consider a bit of a triumph. I finally buckled down and started to repaint my spare room which has been on my to-do list for a while. I've done plenty of painting in the past but I can't say it's my favourite thing to do especially in the middle of summer. To date I have more paint on the walls than on the floor or in my hair so it's coming along.

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I received a few cook books for Christmas, one Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi was a Christmas gift from a friend, whilst the other, Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahneman was a gift to myself. You see I've been trying to track down a recipe since my trip to Copenhagen in May. I stayed in a little flat while I was there and each day I'd buy a chocolate cinnamon snail from the Emmery's on the corner. Emmery's have the recipe in their own cookbook but as I don't read Danish I decided not to buy the book. Once I arrived home I regretted my decision as the scrolls were delicious and I wanted to try making them at home. I was hoping Trine's book would unlock the secrets for me.

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Unfortunately there wasn't a similar recipe in the book, but Trine gave very detailed instructions for the preparation of danish pastry. Using those instructions and a Claus Meyer recipe I found online, I cobbled together a recipe for chocolate cinnamon snails.

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Making danish pastry is a bit of a process so the snails took me 2 days to make. As it's so hot in Sydney at the moment, resting the dough for 30 minutes didn't allow time for the butter to firm, so I needed to allow an hour's resting time in the fridge between each bout of folding and rolling. I let the dough rest overnight before rising early one morning to put the scrolls together. I used half the dough and the remainder is in the freezer waiting to turn into rhubarb danishes, my favourite kind.

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I thought it only fitting to use my little Royal Copenhagen cups.

Here's the recipe for you -

Cinnamon Snails - makes 12

Dough
500 g of cold flour (stored in the freezer overnight)
30 g fresh (15 g dried) yeast
60g sugar
7 g of sea salt
50 g softened butter
250 ml cold water
1 egg
200g cold butter

Filling
50 g almond meal
125 g brown sugar
125 g softened butter
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp golden syrup
4 tsp ground cinnamon

Topping
12 chocolate buttons

Dough
Combine flour, yeast, sugar and sea salt in a stand mixer. Add 50 gm softened butter, the egg and water and mix for 3-5 minutes to form a smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight. Meanwhile, beat remaining butter between two sheets of baking paper with a rolling pin to soften, roll into a 15cm square, ensuring edges are even, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 30cm square, stretching corners out slightly. Lay butter square in centre of dough at a 45-degree angle. Fold corners of dough over butter to enclose, pinch to seal, then roll out to a 25cm x 45cm rectangle. With a short side facing you, fold bottom third up, fold top third down to cover, wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate to rest (1 hour). Starting with a short side facing you, repeat the rolling, folding and resting twice.

Filling
Beat almond meal and brown sugar in a bowl ensuring there are no lumps. Add the softened butter, the lemon rind, golden syrup and cinnamon. Take care not to over mix the filling.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place the dough on a floured board and roll it out into a rectangle about 40 x 25 cm. Spread almond mixture evenly over pastry leaving about 5cm free at the top end. Start rolling up from the bottom end; just before you complete the roll, brush the top edge with a little water to secure it to the roll. Cut the roll into 12 slices. Place the snails on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel and set aside until doubled in size (1-2 hours).

Preheat oven to 220C. Bake the snails for 12-14 minutes. Take the snails from the oven and immediately place a chocolate button in the centre of the snail. Let the snails cool on the baking sheet.

Adapted from this recipe.

I've had 2 of the snails now and whilst they're absolutely delicious they're not the same as the Emmery's snails. Maybe it's flour I used; maybe Emmery's use some sourdough as part of the raising agent; maybe they use marzipan in the filling. I'm not sure but at least now I've learned how to make danish pastry!


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P.S I baked another snail for a special treat. Instead of topping it with chocolate, I iced it with some glace icing made with icing sugar, buttermilk and a tiny dab of butter. The buttermilk iced snail was absolutely delicious.


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I hope you all had a good break from work and are feeling refreshed for the New Year.

Bye for now,

Jillian

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Seasons Greetings 2014

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I've been home in Brisbane for Christmas for just over a week now. In what's become a bit of a tradition I made a few batches of mince pies. I couldn't find any cornflour in my parents kitchen so I changed the pastry recipe a little. I think this pastry recipe is better than the original so I'm sharing it with you.

The filling makes enough for 2 dozen mince pies but keeps well in the fridge. As always for my cooking, I use a 250 ml cup; a 20 ml tablespoon; 60 gm eggs and I don't use a fan force oven so remember to adjust the baking temperature down. 

Here's the recipe for you.

Mince Pie Recipe (makes 12)

Pastry 
100 gm (3 oz) butter 
¼ cup sifted icing sugar 
1 egg, lightly beaten 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1½ cups plain flour 
½ tsp baking powder 

Filling 
1¼ cups fruit mince (1 bottle) 
1 green apple, peeled and grated 
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind 
30 gm (1 oz) melted butter 
1 tablespoon thick cut orange marmalade 
a handful of chopped nuts (I use macadamias or almonds) 
1 additional egg, lightly beaten or milk 
Caster sugar 
Shallow round based patty tins 

Method 
* Cream the butter with the icing sugar. Add the egg and beat well. Sift the flour together with the baking powder and stir into the creamed mixture. Knead lightly on a floured board. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. 

* Put the fruit mince into a mixing bowl. Add the apple, the grated rind, the marmalade then the melted butter and mix until well combined. You’ll need about half of the fruit mince mixture for this recipe. Store the rest in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge. It will keep for ages.

* Preheat the oven to 190°C. Roll the pastry out thinly between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and cut into rounds. Line the lightly greased patty tin with the pastry. Cut the same number of slightly smaller circles to fit the tops of the pies. 

* Put 1 teaspoon of fruit mince into each pie then moisten the edges with the beaten egg or milk. Make a small slit in each pastry lid or cut out with a small star cutter. Top each filled pie with a lid and press edges of pastry well to seal. Glaze with the remaining beaten egg or milk if using and sprinkle caster sugar over the top of the pies. 

* Bake the pies in the preheated oven for 15- 20 minutes or until pale golden brown. Cool the pies for 10 minutes before placing on a wire cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar while still warm.

* When completely cool, store the pies in an airtight container.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers. See you all again some time in the New Year with some more of my adventures in baking.

Bye for now,

Jillian

Friday, December 19, 2014

sour cherry cheesecake - 5 days of Christmas

Welcome to the final day of the 5 Days of Christmas 2014. I know I've made a lot of cheesecakes this year but this one is a special one just for Christmas. About a year ago I featured pictures of a Sour Cherry Cheesecake on the blog but I wasn't happy with the end result and promised I’d work on the recipe before sharing it with you. It's taken a year but here it is.

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The cheesecake I made last year tasted fine but it didn’t look so special. If you notice, there have been a few crumble topped cheesecakes during the year as I've been working on perfecting ‘the look’. In the end I came up with a cheesecake topped with a nutty crumble, a dusting of icing sugar and a bit of cream to hold the whole thing together! There were plans for it to be crowned with fresh cherries but in the end I decided to go with something a little more simple and achievable for those people not blessed with cherries at this time of year.

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I like to use a mixture of soft white cheese for this cheesecake but you don't have to. You could use all farm cottage cheese or all cream cheese or even well drained ricotta cheese if you like. I grew up making a European cheese cake where we always separated the eggs so I like the soft texture produced by folding in the beaten egg whites at the end. If the whole egg separating business is too much for you, just whizz all the filling ingredientsin a food processor, apart from the cherries of course and the end result will still be lovely.

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For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon and 60 gm eggs. The quantities listed will make a 16 cm (6½ inch) cake but if you want to make a 23 cm (9 inch) cheesecake, just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time. I'm not keen on over sweet desserts, so the quantity of sugar is a suggestion. Please taste as you go and add sugar to taste.

Here’s the recipe for you -

Sour Cherry Cheesecake
Base
110 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour

Crumble Topping
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tbl brown sugar
60g (2 oz) pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped

To make the crumble, line a baking tray with baking paper. For the cheesecake, grease, flour and line the base of a 16 cm spring-form tin with baking paper.

In a food processor, combine the butter, vanilla and caster sugar until softened. Add the flour and vanilla and process until a soft dough forms around the blade. Take out half the mixture and gently knead in the cinnamon, the brown sugar and chopped nuts and chill the mixture for an hour. This will form the crumble. Press the remaining mixture into the base of the greased spring-form tin, bringing it slightly up the sides.

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C.

Bake the shortbread base in the preheated 180⁰C oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Set to one side and allow the base to cool.

Coarsely scatter the crumble mix over the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden. You can do this at the same time the cheesecake base is cooking. Allow the crumble topping to cool on a tray. When cool place in an airtight container until serving time. You won't need all the crumble for this recipe so store in an airtight container to use later.

Filling
250g (8 oz) cream cheese
125 g (4 oz) farm style dry cottage cheese
⅓ - ½ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tsp plain flour
⅓ cup cream or sour cream
2 eggs, separated
⅓ cup halved drained, pitted sour cherries
additional 2 tble caster sugar

Lower the oven temperature to 160⁰C.

Process the cheeses with the sugar and vanilla and flour in a food processor and whiz until smooth.

Add the egg yolks and the sour cream and again process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the filling into a medium sized bowl and add the cherries and gently fold through the cheesecake mixture.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar to form a meringue then mix in a few tablespoons of the egg white into the cheesecake mixture to lighten. Carefully fold through the remaining egg whites until well combined. Test for sweetness and add a little extra sugar if needed. Pour the filling over the cooled base.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour until the filling is almost set. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the turned off oven. Remove the cake from the oven after 1 hour. When cool, the cheesecake can be stored in the fridge.

To serve
1 cup sour cream, whipped cream or double cream
Crumble topping
Icing sugar

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature. Spread the cream over the top of the cooled cheesecake leaving a 1-2 cm rim. Sprinkle the icing sugar over the edges of the cheesecake. Lavishly sprinkle the crumble topping over the cream and dust with a little more icing sugar if you like.

Serves 8

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I just love this flavour combination. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do.

Following a 12 hour drive, I'm currently in Brisbane for the Christmas break. It's been a long year; I'm tired and I have a bedroom to paint when I return to Sydney so I'm planning to take a 2-3 week break from blogging.

I might drop by next week to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year but for now I have a batch of mince pies to make.

See you all again soon,

Jillian

Thursday, December 18, 2014

sour cherry panforte - 5 days of Christmas

Hi every-one and welcome to Day 4 of the 5 Days of Christmas. Last year I made candies for the 5 days of Christmas. Some items were a great success, like the Peppermint Bark, whilst others (white chocolate and rosemary nougat and pan pepato you know I’m talking about you) were a bit of a disaster. I recently remade the white chocolate nougat and it was much more successful the second time around. 

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Last year the pan pepato although delicious would not set no matter how long I baked it in the oven. I don't like to be defeated by a recipe so I decided to find another recipe and slightly adapted the Siena Cake recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly Italian cookbook

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I changed some of the fruits and added a pinch of black pepper to the mix and decided to bake the cakes in four 10 cm tins. I toasted the hazelnuts but forgot to lower the oven temperature when the time came to bake the cakes. Then I forgot to reduce the baking time so although the cake tastes delicious it's a little dry. Next time I’ll cook the mini panforte for about 20 minutes.

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For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Here's the adapted recipe for you -

Sour Cherry Panforte - makes one 8 inch (20 cm) cake

Ingredients
125g (4oz) blanched almonds
125g (4oz) roasted hazelnuts
60g (2oz) dried figs
60g (2oz) dried sour cherries
60g (2oz) candied orange peel
⅔ cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch black pepper
60g (2oz) dark chocolate
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup honey
icing sugar or cocoa

METHOD
Spread almonds on an oven tray, put into a moderate oven (180°C/350°F) for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly golden. Chop hazelnuts and almonds roughly, combine in a bowl with the chopped figs, the dried sour cherries, the chopped candied orange peel, the sifted flour, the sifted cocoa and cinnamon then mix well.

Cut a strip of greaseproof paper 8cm (3in) wider than depth of 20cm (8in) round cake tin and long enough to go around tin. Fold over 2.5cm (1 in) of paper strip on long side, cut this folded piece into 2.5cm (1 in) diagonal pieces to enable paper to fit around curve of tin. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit in base of tin, grease before placing paper in tin, press firmly on base over the cut paper.

Melt chocolate in top of double saucepan over simmering water. Put sugar and honey in separate saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved, brushing down sides of saucepan with brush dipped in hot water to dissolve any sugar crystals. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered approximately 5 minutes or until syrup forms a soft ball when a few drops are dropped into a glass of cold water. Add syrup and melted chocolate to fruit and nut mixture, mix them well.

Spread mixture quickly and evenly into prepared tin. Bake in moderately slow oven (
170°C/325°F) for 35 minutes, remove from oven and cool in the tin. Turn out, remove paper then wrap the panforte in aluminium foil. Leave at least one day before cutting. Before serving, sift icing sugar or cocoa thickly over top.

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These would make lovely little Christmas gifts but I decided to be selfish and have kept all four for myself. I've already eaten one panforte and I have a few stored away for those moments when you need a piece of something sweet to go with a cup of tea. 

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See you all again tomorrow with something special for the last of the 5 Days of Christmas.

Jillian