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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Towards the end of summer last year, we went on holiday. We checked and double-checked the apartment, turning off unnecessary electricals, turned on the automatic feeder for the tropical fish, and headed off for 10 days. We came back to discover that my checking and double-checking in the kitchen had been so thorough that I had switched off the fridge and freezer.

Horrors.

Words cannot describe how I felt when I realised that all the Ben & Jerry’s I had been stockpiling had been reduced to a sad, gloopy puddle. The frozen worms for feeding the fish had also defrosted. Gross.

I had moved on from the tragedy a little when I discovered that the precious, end-of-season rhubarb I had lovingly cut up, bagged and placed in the freezer for a burst of sunshine in the winter months was also a casualty of my enthusiastic switch-flicking. Sob. You see, I really really love rhubarb. I remember a friend once remarked how apples are “poor man’s rhubarb”.  Ha!  It’s true, though.While I do love apples in all their cakey, bakey forms, rhubarb really takes things up a notch.  So I was very excited to see some in the supermarket last weekend. I thought about making another fabulous Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake, but decided I’d try something new with this precious new season rhubarb. This is quite a tart flan (heh), meaning if you like your desserts sugary, then this might not be to your taste. The lemon filling is just sweet enough to balance the tang of the rhubarb, but only just.  If you do make it and find it too tangy, a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream will go a long way to sorting that out.

Question: why is all the rhubarb I’ve ever seen here the green-y coloured rhubarb, and not the lovely pink-y coloured rhubarb that photographs so wonderfully? Am I just looking in the wrong places? It tastes the same, but green rhubarb just doesn’t look as appetizing. See above photo. The flan is actually tasty, I swear.

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It began last week. I started thinking about apple turnovers. You know, the puff pastry, icing sugar-dredged, appley confection to be found in any self-respecting bakery in Ireland. You bite in, the pastry flakes everywhere. Someone makes you laugh mid-bite, you exhale rapidly out your nose sending icing sugar and flaky pastry flying onto your lap, into your tea, everywhere. Ah, the humble apple turnover.

I needed one. Now.

I wasn’t near an establishment that sells them (the University needs a bakery), so instead I had some cake. The cake was good (it was tart actually, bakewell. yum indeed), but it wasn’t an apple turnover.

I was craving them by now. So I bought some apples. And I took the frozen sheets of puff pastry out of the freezer – the sheets that I had been saving for some special savoury inspiration. Feck savoury, I wanted sweet, sweet apple!

I made the first batch using raw, cubed apple and a few frozen raspberries. They dripped everywhere in the oven and could have done with a bit more sugar. For the second batch, I stewed the apple and let it cool before using. The result was better, sweeter (I added more sugar to the cooked apple) and just as drippy in the oven.

Moral of today’s baking lesson: if you’re trying this at home, cook the apple first, add more sugar than you’d think, and use less filling than you’d think (or they will explode mid-baking. not a dramatic explosion, but still, you’ll need to clean up).

They tasted great even if they weren’t so photogenic. 😉 Alternatively, save yourself the hassle (and the washing up), take the easy route and just walk into town to buy some.

But then, this blog has never been about taking the easy route. 🙂

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The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. There are many recipes for pasta frolla and different ideas about how to make it. Simona gave us two versions. They have been inspired by those in the book La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene by Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911). The book was first published in 1891, and is available in English translation as Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

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Tasty Dutch Apple Pie

I’m so behind with my blogging lately!  There’s such a backlog of recipes and photos to add to the blog – college (and eating all the things I’ve been baking!) is taking all my time. Plus we got a new little kitten. She is seriously cute, and now definitely a ‘she’ – the vet confirmed it this morning. And yes, there was some confusion about that for the last week. Heh. To celebrate the arrival of kitty, I made this Dutch Apple Pie.  Any excuse for a celebratory dessert!  We have a huge amount of apples in the back garden – the trees are just laden down with them! We’ve picked all that we can reach without a ladder, so the next job is to get up to the high branches for the rest of the apples. And then we will have far too many apples for two people (and a kitty). Any ideas for preserves involving apples?

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Nutty and toasty meets cool and creamy…that’s the theme of this month’s daring bakers Challenge! The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

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The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

You can find the recipe and a downloadable pdf on the Daring Kitchen webpage.

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This is my first attempt at a baked cheesecake. Or any cheesecake actually – I’ve never even made one of the ones that just set in the fridge. Sheltered life, eh? So I thought I would start with a cheesecake so rich it alone could induce a heart attack. This is seriously chocolatey. Good for an event where there’s alot of people because a little of this goes a long way.  It took the two of us several days to get through it while pawning off some on every unsuspecting visitor to arrive at the door. Not that they were complaining 🙂

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