Monday, November 29, 2010

Dutch Apple Cake

Caught Rachel Allen on cable TV a couple of nights ago and she was teaching a bunch of students to bake this Dutch Apple Cake.

What attracted me was the way the butter and milk was incorporated into the eggs. The eggs and sugar was whisked to the usual figure of 8 stage and then the hot melted butter/milk misture was whisked in before the flour was folded in. Apple slices were then laid over the batter and sugar sprinkled over the top just before baking.

The only thing that 'went wrong' was that the apple slices did not sink to the bottom of the cake. Yes, it was supposed to sink into the batter and not sit prettily ontop of the baked cake. I do not know why? Perhaps my apple slices were too light or sliced apples were just contented to float happily on the spongy batter. Whatever the cause, the cake turned out very moist and buttery with a delicious hint of cinnamon.


Just for the fun of it. I packed some slices into these pretty Chinese Take Out boxes for the gang at the office.


A Baby Shower Cake

I have not decorated a fondant cake for ages. So when I received an invitation to a baby shower, I took the opportunity to make one. As I am no good in making fondant figurines. I dropped the idea of making fondant baby or cutesy teddies. The only thing that I am comfortable with in making is the baby bootees. I have made them several times and I was confident that although I have not made them for a long time, I would not have a problem doing so.

Here is my very simple Bootee Baby Shower Cake for Jing Ying, the adorable baby girl of my colleague.

The cake is a moist and fudgy chocolate cherry cake sandwiched with a cherry buttercream.



Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Caramelised Onion & Prosciutto Quiche

Is it an Onion Tart or is it an Onion Quiche. Anyway, it does not really matter so long as it tastes great.
Quiche; Onions; Eggs

These tartletts are really good. It is an explosion of flavors ~ sweet from the caramelised onion, tangy from the sour cream and salty bits from the prosciutto ham. As I was making alot of the mini tarts/quiche for a party, I took the lazy way out by using store bought frozen shortcrust pastry, which have been pre-rolled. I am glad I 'cheated' as the rolled pastry is a cinch to use! Just defrost it slightly, cut out the rounds with a pastry cutter and then line the disposable foil cups.

Making the fillings is a bit more time consuming though as the onions needed to be sliced ever so thinly. It does not help that I tripled the recipe and so you can imagine how much my eyes teared as I laboriously slice away. Cooking the onions needed a bit of tender loving care as you have to stir it every so often to prevent sticking and burning. In fact, I did burned my onions black! I was attending to something else and have happily forgotten about the onions. By the time I remembered, a layer of onions had turned black at the bottom. I had to empty the nice onions onto a plate and then spent the next 20 minutes scrapping and srubbing at the pan before resuming the cooking. However, once the onions are caramelised, the rest is easy peasy.

This was made the next day, finishing up the balance onion fillings. This is when I decided to add some mustard to the fillings and I think it greatly enhanced the flavor too.
Quiche; Onions; Eggs

This is for you Joanna.

Caramelised Onion & Prosciutto Quiche

Ingredients for the Pastry:
185g plain flour
125g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp icy cold water

1) Process flour and cold butter until crumby. Add the egg yolk and the cold water and process in short bursts until the mixture comes together.
2) Turn out onto tabletop and gather into a ball
3) Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes

Ingredients for the Fillings:
800g onions, thinly sliced
75g butter
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
185ml sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp dry Mustard powder (optional)
Pepper and sea salt to taste
50g Prosciutto, cut into strips
40g grated mature Cheddar cheese
2 tsp thyme leaves

1) Blanch the onions in boiling water for 2 mintues. Drain very well.
2) Melt butter in a pan and cook the onions over low heat for 25 minutes or until soft.
3) Add the brown sugar and cook for a further 15 miunutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Onions are ready when they are a light toffee color.
4) Preheat oven to 200 deg C and grease a 22.5cm loose-based quiche/flan pan.
5) Roll out the pastry to fit the tin and trim off the excess using a sharp knife.
6) Cover base with baking paper and weigh it down with some baking beads or dry beans.
7) Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, remove paper and continue baking for a furter 5 minutes. Cool slightly.
8) Lightly beat the sour cream and eggs together, add the prosciutto, cheese and thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
9) Fill the pastry shell with the mixture and bake for 40 minutes or unti set. If the pastry overbrowns, cover with foil.

1) I made them into mini tarts and skipped the step of baking the tartletts shell blind.
2) I just filled the uncooked shells with the fillings and bake for 20 to 25 minutes till fillings is set.