Category Archives: Kitchen adventures

All kippers and curtains…

… yeah, I looked that phrase up 😉 It’s very fitting, though – with the kippers being bland butter cream, and the curtains being the flashy structure and noble-looking fondant exterior.

I followed a certain Dr. Oetker’s recipe closely, having had a lot of good results with them so far. Every run of luck has to end somewhere, or sometime, I suppose. It’s just a bit sad that it happened to be a birthday cake, of all things…

No way will I post the recipe here, since it was such a disappointment with regard to taste (the best thing were the chocolate peanuts hidden inside). I admit that I was and still am fascinated with the fundamental idea of a hollow surprise-cake, though; and so I have planned out a vastly improved version of this, where I am going to replace the absolutely tasteless butter cream with something yummy, and – even more importantly – the fondant (YUCK, seriously, HOW does anyone eat that stuff!?) with almond paste, or just a thick crust of chocolate 😀

So, for now enjoy the pictures, and imagine it tastes as lovely as it looks…

Darling Florentine

Because these are probably the best-loved and most frequently demanded baked goods in my house, I would like to share them with you. I know, they’re rather Christmas-y, but what the hell. There’s going to be a new Christmas soon enough, and maybe you, like me, have too much baking ingredients left still that you won’t regret using to try these!
Their original German name goes more like Florentine Fingers, by the way 😉

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Jane-Inspired Daim Cheesecake

Well. This was quite the adventure! What came out is like the illegitimate child of Jane’s Malt Chocolate Cheesecake and her Toblerone Cheesecake… which suffers from some congenital defects (no Toblerone, OR Maltesers) and was born on the hottest day of the year, to boot. BUT. It’s the sweetest thing 😉

I basically followed Jane’s procedure for her No-Bake Malt Chocolate Cheesecake, deviating every here and there to the No-Bake Toblerone Cheesecake. I totally would have made a Toblerone Cheesecake IF I had been able to get hold of the necessary ingredients, but – and that WAS a surprise –  there was no Toblerone to be had anywhere. O.o Nor Maltesers, actually. Imagine me staring desolately at the supermarket shelves for minutes, then grabbing random chocolates, sizing them up for Cheesecake-iness… The best I could do was Daim. Also, there were the usual slight deviations due to differences in the dairy product range. So, there’s the list of ingredients I worked with:

  • 250 g of Biscoff biscuits, which I chose for their caramel flavour
  • 150 g of butter
  • 250 g of Mascarpone
  • 150 g of cream cheese
  • 150 g of milk chocolate
  • 150 g of dark chocolate
  • 50 g of icing sugar
  • 100 g of cocoa powder (which accounts for the much darker look)
  • 200 g of creme fraiche + 100 g of cream (instead of 300 g of double cream)
  • 1 packet of whip-it
  • 200 g of chopped Daim chocolates
  • the remaining 100 g of cream for decoration
  • the left-over Daims, too

There’s no need to drescribe the procedure, really, just follow Jane’s recipes I pointed out above. They’re brilliant! Also, they’re an excellent source for making your own variations, as this experiment proved. I really cannot wait to try out another of her recipes, OR create a new chimaera. I’m pretty sure she’ll forgive me 😉

Quick (and delicious) Pear Butter

I don’t think I’ve made anything this simple that noentheless made such an impact and left such an impression at the table. That is true efficiency!

All you need are:

  • 1 kg of good pears, not yet too ripe
  • juice of a lemon half
  • vanilla pulp from two beans (?), and those beans themselves
  • one stick of cinnamon
  • 500 g of caster sugar
  • and if you are of that particularly persuasion, a small piece of ginger

The process is as simple as can be.

Prepare your ingredients by peeling and dicing the pears, cleaning and chopping the ginger and scraping out the vanilla pulp.
Put everything minus the pears, but plus 100 ml of water into  a pot and let boil for a minute. Add the pears and simmer at medium heat until they’re soft.

Prepare your canning jars.

Remove vanilla beans and cinnamon stick before mashing up things with your immersion blender. Add the sugar and cook the mixture at a rolling boil for a minute or two.

Pour the (hopefully) slushy Pear Butter into your prepared jars, close immediately and turn them upside down for at least five minutes.

 

The resulting Pear Butter tastes incredible, all by itself, on fresh white bread, or on butter, or – my personal favourite – on cream cheese! Yummy in the extreme. And a tiny bit Christmas-y for the intense vanilla and cinnamon notes…
The next time I’ll use this recipe, I’ll try and make my butter a little bit more creamy, though; it stayed a bit too liquid this time round and tends to run off the bread when I’m not looking 😉

Garlic & Rosemary Braided Bread (#9)

If you are as much into savoury breads as I am, you’ll definitely love this simple, yet sophisticated-looking braided bread; though it’s really just a twisted bread, come to think about it…

Besides the excellent smell, what’s maybe best about this bread is its very short and commonplace list of ingredients, so you can spontaneously decide to make it, AND the fact that it’s finished within less than two hours, so no need to plan a day ahead, either!

Grab the following things:

Continue reading Garlic & Rosemary Braided Bread (#9)

Chocolates & Fudge 2: Dad’s Delight

This, to everyone’s surprise, turned out to be the jubilee’s favourite. The list of ingredients is delightfully short, though I had a hard time buying créme double hereabouts. Apparently no one wants to buy the really fatty god of cream anymore…

  • 75 g of créme double
  • 50 g of butter
  • 225 g of high-quality white chocolate
  • about 150 g of coating chocolate of your choice
  • a pleasing quantity of orange liqueur
  • a deep baking dish lined with baking paper

The preparatory process is straighforward and pretty much fool-proof:

Measure cream and butter into a small pot and melt.

Add the white chocolate broken into realtively small bits and stir occasionally until you have one homogenous creamy soup.

Take off the stove, wait a little and mix in the liqueur (I went with about two tablespoons but will probably give it a bit more next time round) and stir well once more.

Pour it into a well-lined baking dish  – I used a glass one here…

Let cool a bit, then place in the fridge and wait for about two hours.

Cut the slab into equal-sized chunks (I went with 20 for this recipe). The mass is softer than a chocolate bar, but far less so than almond paste, for example.

While you form the little chocolate balls with your palms – and yes, it’s a sticky business, – slowly heat the chocolate for the outside in a bain-marie.

It might become necessary to place the white chocolate cores in the fridge for a little again, before you can dip them in the coating chocolate.

Let the outside chocolate cool down a bit, as well. I had some difficulty, at first, to make it stick to the balls, because it simply was too hot and slid off… Otherwise, it’s just dipping them in, rescuing them with two forks, and if you want to give them the usual “chocolat truffles” look use those same forks to create little spikes all over the surface – something that also only works well if the coating chocolate is more tarry in consistency than soupy.

These chocolates turned out to RULE the after-dinner table. They are unexpectedly creamy on the inside, and the dark chocolate contrasted nicely with the sweat cream. I will experiment with these again, I am sure. And again, and again!

Chocolates & Fudge 1: Rum Yum Truffles

Part one of a little series on my chocolates experiments in honour of my father’s birthday.
As a matter of fact, I have made a fair number of chocolates before, but this time, there were severe restrictions due to the jubilee’s tastes: I was not allowed to use nuts in any form, nor almond paste… DUH!
So I could basically just throw out all my tested recipes and find new ones. This is the first I decided to try.

  • 500 g of biscuit crumbs (I went with a mix of 300 g of egg biscuits and 200 g of ladyfingers biscuits)
  • some real rum
  • 250 ml of water
  • 125 g of shortening (the solid sort, preferrably from coconut oil)
  • 65 g of icing sugar
  • 20 g of cocoa powder (for baking)
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
  • 1 little flask of rum extracts
  • 1 egg
  • about 100 g of chocolate sprinkles of your choice

The process is pretty simple, and doesn’t take long, either:

Crush your biscuits (and ladyfingers) in a bag using a rolling pin, a bottle of water or a pestle AND quite some force and patience. Place in a bowl.
Mix your (real) rum and the water, then pour over the crumbs.

Melt the cocoa shortening in a small pot and let it cool down for a while.

Sift icing sugar and cocoa in another bowl, then add vanilla sugar and rum extracts. Mix well with the egg and the shortening.

Now combine the dark cream with the crumbs; the result should be neither too dry nor too soft. If necessary, add some more rum, or some biscuit crumbs respectively.

Now form little rum orbs. While the recipe I used mentions 15, I got more than 40 out of this amount, so, well… Just make them as large, or as small, as you like. But don’t foget to roll them around in the chocolate sprinkles 😉

This is a really useful everyday recipe. I can’t see where it might not work, since you can always save it with some small addition here or there. It’s also comparatively cheap, but the professional-looking, and tasting, result will make sure no one thinks about that!
I want to try this with a different sort of liqueur now, such as Baileys’, or Sheridan’s – and with a coat of chopped almonds, maybe. Hmmmmm……