Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Several years ago, I posted a Mini Cheesecake recipe in honor of my sister, Donna, who passed away on April 3, 2013. That recipe was quite simple, using a vanilla wafer for the bottom ‘crust’ with the mini cheesecakes baked in cupcake wrappers.

When I recently saw this recipe for Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes in Cooking Light magazine, I was inspired to take my cheesecake skills to the next level. This recipe uses a Mini Cheesecake pan (by Chicago Metallic) which yields 12 stunningly cute cheesecakes- and they are easy to lift out too! If you don’t have one of these specialty pans, you could also use a cupcake or muffin pan.

Mini cheesecakes

I decided to use my own simple recipe for the crust, which combines graham cracker crumbs, crushed ginger snaps and melted butter. The cheesecake is baked and then topped with a raspberry purée and several fresh raspberries. You could also use blueberries or strawberries as a substitute.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, these mini cheesecakes would certainly liven up your holiday table!

mini-cheesecake

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes
Serves 12
Adorable mini cheesecakes topped with fresh raspberries
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Crust
  1. 1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
  2. 1 cup Ginger Snap cookies, crushed
  3. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Filling
  1. 16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
  2. ½ cup sugar
  3. ½ cup sour cream
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 tsp lemon juice
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1 tbsp. white flour
Topping
  1. 3 cups fresh raspberries, divided
  2. 2 tbsps. water
  3. ¼ cup sugar
  4. 1 tbsp. corn starch (mixed with a little water)
  5. Mint leaves (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F (160 C). Coat the inside of the mini cheesecake pan (or muffin pan) with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the Graham Cracker crumbs, crushed Ginger Snap cookies and melted butter in a bowl. Press about 1 tablespoon of the packed ‘dough’ into the bottom of each well, filling it 1/3 of the way up the sides of the well. Set the pan aside while you prepare the filling.
  3. Soften the cream cheese by placing it in the microwave for about 15 seconds (should be softened but not runny). Combine the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice, eggs and flower; beat with electric beaters until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the crust, filling to just below the top of each well. Bake for about 20 minutes or until set and slightly puffed (the filling will deflate slightly after you remove the pan from the oven).
  4. To prepare the topping, heat 2 cups of fresh raspberries and 2 tbsps. of water together on the stovetop. Heat for several minutes until the fruit becomes soft and liquidy. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer to remove the raspberry seeds. Make a paste by mixing the corn starch with a little water; add this to the strained raspberries along with the sugar. Heat until the mixture thickens and becomes like a syrup, then let cool.
  5. Remove the mini cheesecakes from the pan onto a serving dish. Top each cheesecake with 1 ½ tablespoons berry syrup and 2-3 fresh raspberries; add a mint leaf, if desired.
Notes
  1. If you don;t have a 12-well Mini Cheesecake pan, you could also use a regular muffin pan. Line the individual wells with baking paper to help lift out the cheesecakes after baking.
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Dutch Apple Pie- from my Grandma’s 1909 diary

I was recently going through some old family papers and found my grandmother’s diary from 1909. The diary wasn’t bound in a fancy book, it was simply 50 loose pages of paper that thankfully stayed in tact after more than 100 years.

Grandma was a farmer’s wife- she and Grandpa lived on a farm in Payne’s Point, Illinois near Rockford. She had a rather hard life, complaining of having to clean the thick grease off the kitchen walls and of the terrible headaches that made her bedridden for days on end. But Grandma played a very important role on her farm, preparing three meals a day for her family and the hungry farmhands who worked at threshing time.

One diary entry describes the amount of food she had to cook for the threshers:

August 11, 1909

Had threshers for dinner. Anna and I worked like dogs all day: 4 Dutch Apple pies, 4 cakes, doughnuts, bread, 4 chickens and 2 kettles of potatoes. Had lots of stuff left, all ready for supper. Had some terrible hot weather the last three weeks, everything dried up and dusty.

One thing that struck me in her food entries was the important role that pie played in her cooking. Pie was a way to provide comfort and happiness to her family and farmhands  at the end of a long day- it also provided a feeling of community and a sense of being home. I can just picture my Grandma’s table over a hundred years ago: spread with chickens, corn cobs, bread, doughnuts, potatoes and vegetables. But it was the pie at the end of the meal that probably sent each person away with a little more happiness.

As Beth Howard says in her book Ms. American Pie:

There is always someone who could use a homemade pie to remind them that life still holds some hope, promise, and a little taste of happiness. And so I get busy baking …

In order to honor the spirit of my grandma’s love of Dutch Apple Pie, I am providing a recipe adapted from Beth Howard’s book. There is nothing better than Dutch Apple pie- if you like apple crisp or apple crumble, you’ll like this pie!

Here are a few helpful hints about making pie:

  • pie is not complicated- if our grandmothers, pilgrims and pioneers could make pies (with no electric stoves or refrigerators available), we can too!
  • don’t be afraid to ‘get you hands dirty’ when making pies- use your bare hands to mold the butter into the flour to make the dough.
  • Be a little flexible and don’t worry about measuring things precisely. If your dough is a little too dry, then try adding a little more cold water, etc.
  • For more tips on pie crust making, refer to my post on Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie.

 

Dutch Apple Pie
Serves 8
Traditional Apple Pie topped with a cinnamon apple crumble that melts in your mouth!
Write a review
Print
For the pie crust
  1. 2 1/2 cups (300 g) white flour
  2. 11 tbsps (150 g) cold butter, cubed
  3. 1 1/2 eggs
  4. 2 - 3 tbsp. cold water
For the pie filling
  1. 7 to 10 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced (number of apples depends on the size of your pie)
  2. ½ tsp salt
  3. 1 to 2 tsp cinnamon
  4. ¾ cup sugar
  5. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  6. ¼ cup corn starch
For the crumble topping
  1. 1 cup (120 g) flour
  2. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into marble-sized chunks
  3. ½ cup brown sugar
  4. ¼ cup pecans, crushed (optional)
To prepare the pie crust
  1. Place flour in large bowl. Add cold butter cubes and rub mixture with palms and finger tips until mixture resembles fine sand. Alternatively, place flour and butter in food processor bowl and pulse until mixture resembles texture of fine sand.
  2. Add 1 1/2 eggs and stir until mixture starts to form a ball. If required, add 2-3 tbsps. of ice cold water and mix until dough hangs together in firm ball shape.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times until it forms a firm ball. Wrap in plastic and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it measures about 1.5 inches larger than the dimensions of your pie pan. Trim the dough using kitchen scissors so that 1 inch of dough overhangs the pie pan. Tuck the edges of the dough under at the edges and then form into fluted edges. Set the dough aside.
For the pie filling
  1. Peel, core and slice the apples into pieces about 1 inch long. In a large bowl, combine the apples, salt, cinnamon, lemon juice and corn starch.
For the crumble topping
  1. In a separate bowl, rub the chilled butter, flour, brown sugar and crushed pecans (optional) together with your fingers until the texture resembles marbles. (If the butter becomes too soft, the mixture will become like a ‘melted, sticky glob.’ In this case, place the mixture in the fridge for a few minutes until the butter hardens again).
  2. Pour the apple filling into the prepared pie dough until it reaches the rim of the pie pan. Top with the crumble mixture. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C) for 10 minutes, then reduce to 375 F (190 C) for another approximate 25 minutes, or until the apples turn soft when inserted with a fork or probe. If the crust starts to burn, cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time. Cool slightly and serve plain or with whipped cream or ice cream.
Notes
  1. The crushed pecans are optional but they do add a bit of added texture to the crumble topping.
Adapted from Beth Howard's 'Ms. American Pie' recipe book
Adapted from Beth Howard's 'Ms. American Pie' recipe book
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Mixed Berries and Cream Cheese Mug Crumble

Mug crumbles are fast and easy to make. A few ingredients are added to a mug, microwaved then finished off with a crumble on top. Being a non-coffee drinker, I used to eye my husband’s coffee mugs lying around the house with suspicion, now the mug is my new best friend!

This recipe contains some of the ingredients you would use to make a cheese cake, such as cream cheese, fruit and a crumb mixture. But if you want to have your dessert ready in less than 10 minutes, give this method a try instead!

There are many ‘mug recipe’ variations- how about a ‘Pear and Chocolate Mug Crumble’ or ‘Apple and Caramel Mug Crumble’?- the possibilities are endless!

Mug Crumbles require a minimum of equipment and less than 3 minutes in the microwave. To make a successful crumble mixture, rub the ingredients together using your finger tips, rather than using a spoon.

To make my crumb mixture I used Lotus ® biscuits, a light caramelized cookie with a light cinnamon flavor. If you can’t find that brand in your supermarket, you could also use a shortbread or gingersnap cookie instead.

lotus-biscoff-caramelised-biscuits

Mixed Berries and Cream Cheese Mug Crumble
Serves 2
Mixed Berries , lemon-flavored cream cheese and a crumble prepared in a mug- ready in less than 3 minutes in the microwave.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Fruit
  1. 6 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 4 tsp caster sugar
  4. 1 apple, cored and diced
  5. 4 tbsps mixed berries, fresh or frozen
Crumble
  1. ½ inch slice of salted butter (30 g)
  2. 2 tbsps soft brown sugar
  3. 6 Lotus® caramelized biscuits (cookies) or 45 g shortbread cookies, crushed
  4. 2 heaping tbsp. white flour
  5. Zest of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, lemon juice, 2 tsp of the sugar. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of two mugs. Add the apple slices on top, then the mixed berries; sprinkle 1 tsp sugar each onto the top of the mixture. Cover the mugs with plastic wrap, pierce the wrap several times, then microwave for about 1 minute 15 seconds.
For the crumble
  1. Slice the cold butter into small cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add the brown sugar, crushed biscuits (cookies) flour and lemon zest. Work the mixture with your fingertips to form the dough. Crumble it into the mug and microwave for 1 minute. Let cool for a little before serving.
Adapted from Mug Crumbles by Christelle Huet-Gomez
Adapted from Mug Crumbles by Christelle Huet-Gomez
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Chocolate + Peanut Butter Molten Lava Cake

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake (akaEasy Chocolate Fondant’) was my very first blog post over three years ago. I keep on coming back to this recipe since it is rather easy (only 5 ingredients) and it’s also awe-despairingly delicious. At that time, I didn’t know much about photography: I just pushed the ‘automatic’ button on the camera and hoped for the best:

My first blog post- February 2013

Chocolate Fondant

To experiment further, I thought, “What would happen if I added a dab of peanut butter to the cake batter?” Well, the ‘molten lava’ continued to flow from the cake, but this time it was even more rich and decadent, with the peanut butter weaving through the flow of chocolate.

To make the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Molten Lava Cake, the process is the same; first you prepare your molds by brushing the insides with melted butter then dusting with some cocoa powder. The butter and chocolate are then melted together over a pan of simmering water and the eggs and sugar are beaten together until frothy. The flour is then folded into the combined ingredients.

To get the special peanut butter and chocolate lava effect, you first fill each mold halfway with batter, then add a dab of peanut butter, followed by more batter. In other words, the peanut butter is ‘sandwiched’ in the middle.

Note: for my molten lava cakes, I used a rather large mold: about 4 inches wide and 3 inches deep. This helped to create the effect of the center of the cake ‘collapsing’ inward. You could also use the smaller dariole type molds, although the effect will not be as great.

Also, baking time depends on the size of your molds; for my larger molds, I baked them for 13 minutes and only 11 minutes for the smaller dariole molds. To test for ‘doneness’, the center of the cake should spring back when pressed with your finger.

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lava Cake
Serves 8
Chocolate and Peanut Butter lava flowing from a decadent chocolate cake
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
13 min
Total Time
43 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
13 min
Total Time
43 min
Ingredients
  1. Melted butter for greasing – Cocoa powder for dusting the ramekins
  2. 1/2 cup butter (110 grams)
  3. 200 grams (7 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  4. 1/2 cup white sugar (100 grams)
  5. 4 eggs
  6. 4 egg yolks
  7. 1 cup plain flour (110 grams), sifted
  8. 1 tbsp peanut butter for each mold
  9. Thickened cream to serve, icing sugar to dust (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 360 °F (180° C). Grease ramekins (pudding molds) with melted butter and dust insides with cocoa powder. Place on baking tray.
  2. Place a round piece of baking paper to fit the bottom of each ramekin to ensure the fondant lifts out easily after baking.
  3. Combine the butter and chocolate together and place over a saucepan of simmering water- stir until melted.
  4. In a separate bowl, add together 4 eggs and 4 separated egg yolks with the sugar- mix on high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and foamy (but not stiff).
  5. Now gradually add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, folding in small amounts at a time until glossy and smooth.
  6. Fold in the flour until smooth. Fill each mold half-way with the batter, add 1 tbsp peanut butter, then finish filling the mold almost to the top. Place the molds in fridge for at least 1/2 hour or until ready to serve.
  7. Bake for 11- 13 minutes on a tray – fondants should appear to be cooked on top but do not over-cook. The center of the cake should spring back slightly when touched.
  8. Remove from oven and let stand for several minutes – then run a knife gently around the rim of each mold and turn each fondant out onto a serving plate or bowl.
  9. Sprinkle with white icing sugar; add thick cream on the side if desired, for extra ‘yumminess.’
Notes
  1. This recipe will yield about 5 serves if you use the larger molds and about 8 serves if you use the smaller dariole molds
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Mango and Banana Caramel Tart

 

Tart 10

I could smell the caramel a mile away when making this recipe. This tart has a calypso feel to it- tropical mangoes and bananas steeped in a rich caramel sauce, then ‘baptized’ in a splash of rum and nutmeg and then anchored in a flaky buttery crust. I’m already howling for more!

I came across this recipe while reading a food magazine near Portland, Victoria in Australia. We had just returned from a ½ mile walk to see a colony of seals and a kangaroo had bolted across our path on our return back. What a great way to finish the day- a close encounter with seals, a kangaroo and now a delicious caramel tart recipe!

The recipe is pretty easy. First, you heat sugar and butter in a fry pan to make a caramel flavored with rum, nutmeg and vanilla bean, then let the mangoes and bananas simmer in the sauce until soft.

Then roll out a pastry dough and place it on top of the caramel mixture- bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

Final step- place a serving plate on top and then invert the tart onto the plate. Serve warm, plain or with a scoop of ice cream.

THE PARTY

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Mango and Banana Caramel Tart
Serves 6
This recipe is like a 'Tarte Tatin' but made with mangoes, bananas and a touch of rum.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Pastry
  1. 1 1/2 cup flour
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. Pinch salt
  4. ¾ cup cold butter, cubed
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 tbsp iced water
Tart Filling
  1. ½ cup caster sugar
  2. 3 tbsp butter
  3. 2 mangoes, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  4. 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped
  5. 1 tbsp dark rum
  6. Pinch nutmeg
  7. 2 bananas, halved, sliced lengthwise
For the Pastry
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Rub the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the egg; mix well with spoon or spatula. Add the iced water and continue to mix; turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until mixture holds its shape. Form into ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for one hour.
For the Tart filling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Place the sugar and butter in an oven-proof fry pan (about 9 inches wide). Over high heat, occasionally shake the pan until the mixture starts to bubble and turn brown, forming a caramel. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the mango, vanilla bean, rum and nutmeg; reduce the heat and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce reduces slightly and the mango caramelises. Add the banana slices and cook for another 5 minutes, turning the bananas gently to coat. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick, then shape the dough so that it is 1 inch wider than the diameter of the fry pan.
  4. Lay the dough over the fruit mixture in the pan and tuck the ends under a bit. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown. Place a serving plate over the fry pan and invert the tart onto the plate. Serve warm plain or with ice cream.
Adapted from Feast Magazine
Adapted from Feast Magazine
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Banana Cupcakes with Butter Cream Icing

 

What to do with a batch of over-ripe bananas that have been sitting on the counter for way too long? Why, use them to make some banana cupcakes, of course! And adding the butter cream icing on top makes them even more delicious.

I recently finished my course in ‘US Foreign Policy’ at Flinders University in Adelaide; after sweating through the exam, I no longer have to think about concepts such as the Cold War or ‘communist containment’- thank goodness I can comfort myself with these banana cupcakes instead!

Banana Cupcakes with Butter Cream Icing
Yields 9
Cupcakes flavored with real banana pulp and topped with a delicious butter cream icing.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
For the Banana Cupcakes
  1. ½ cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup (60 g) softened butter
  3. 3 egg yolks
  4. ½ cup mashed banana pulp
  5. 1 ¼ cup white flour
  6. 1 tbsp baking powder
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. Sprinkle of cinnamon powder
  9. 1 tbsp poppy seeds or chia seeds (optional)
  10. ½ cup milk
For the Butter Cream Icing
  1. ½ cup (125 g) softened butter
  2. 1 ½ cup icing sugar
  3. 2 tbsp milk
  4. 1 tbsp vanilla flavoring
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Cream together the sugar and softened butter using electric beaters. Add the egg yolks and banana pulp and continue to beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and cinnamon. Add this dry mixture to the banana pulp/egg mixture, then add the milk and combine all ingredients using electric beaters.
  2. Line a cupcake pan with patty pan (cupcake) liners. Fill each liner ¾ full with the cupcake mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown on top. Let cool while preparing the icing.
For the icing
  1. Combine the softened butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl; mix using electric beaters until smooth. Place mixture in a piping bag and pipe onto each cupcake. Optional: sprinkle a few poppy or chia seeds on top of each cupcake.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Strawberry Chocolate Box

Chocolate Box

I haven’t posted anything for awhile since I have been busy finishing up my French paper on Émile Zola’s book The Belly of Paris (Le Ventre de Paris). The story is set in mid-19th century Paris in the old market of Les Halles, the giant iron structure that housed meat, poultry, fish, flowers and charcuterie for sale. In his book, Zola uses vast descriptions of the market- whole pages to describe the vegetables, cheeses, ‘stinking fish,’ and freshly-killed calves ‘swaddled in blankets with just the four bloody stumps sticking out.” If I were to die tomorrow, I feel like those images would still remain in my brain into the after-life.

Unfortunately, Les Halles* was torn down in the early 1970’s and I never got to see it. My husband got to visit there and Julia Child describes the market in her biography. Now, the old market has been replaced by a multi-level sterile shopping center, although new renovations are happening there now.

* For those of you wondering how to pronounce the words Les Halles, the ‘h’ is silent, so you would pronounce it as ‘Lay Alles’.

The old Les Halles– Paris

Les Halles

To celebrate my marathon experience of reading and writing about Zola’s book, I made (and ate) a dessert called Strawberry Chocolate Box. Melted chocolate is first formed into a square box-shape, then filled with some chocolate mousse and then dotted with cointreau-glazed strawberries and whipped cream.This dessert would have fitted in well at the old Les Halles market! It’s not too difficult to make- just getting the edges of the ‘chocolate box’ to form a straight line can take a little bit of effort.

To make this dessert, first you place two pieces of foil cross ways inside a square pan (this makes it easy to lift the dessert out of the pan at the end). Then the pan is lined with a thin layer of melted chocolate, coming to about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan.The chocolate mousse filling is then poured into the chocolate ‘box’ and placed in the fridge until set. After removing the foil, glazed strawberries and whipped cream are then added.

Adding the chocolate mousse to the chocolate-lined pan

Chocolate Box

I don’t mind getting my face smudged with this chocolate dessert!

Chocolate Box

And by the way, if you haven’t already done so, please do ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Strawberry Chocolate Box
Serves 4
Cointreau-glazed strawberries placed inside a chocolate 'box' filled with chocolate mousse
Write a review
Print
Chocolate Box
  1. 5 ounces (150g) dark chocolate
  2. 2 tbsp butter
  3. 1 punnet strawberries
  4. 1 cup thickened cream (to make whipped cream)
For the strawberry glaze
  1. ¼ cup strawberry or cherry jam
  2. 2 tsps Cointreau or brandy
For the Chocolate Filling
  1. 2 ounces (60g) dark chocolate
  2. 1 tbsp Cointreau or brandy (optional)
  3. 2 eggs, separated
  4. ½ cup cream
To make the chocolate mousse filling
  1. Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl placed on top of pan of simmering water (i.e. double boiler). Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in the two egg yolks and Cointreau or brandy (optional). Beat until mixture is smooth and thick. Whip the cream lightly with a fork, then add to the chocolate mixture. Using electric beaters, whip the two egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Set aside.
To make the chocolate box
  1. Place two sheets of foil in a square pan, overlapping cross ways. Bring the foil up over the top of the pan to allow easy removal of the chocolate case when set.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl placed on top of a pan of simmering water. Pour into the foil-lined pan and spread thinly along the base and sides; the chocolate should come about 1 ½ inches up the sides of the pan. Try to keep the top edges of the chocolate as straight as possible to form the box shape. Place pan in fridge for a few minutes until set.
  3. Remove from fridge and then pour the chocolate filling into the pan and spread evenly. Place back in fridge until the mixture sets. Remove from fridge and gently peel the foil from the chocolate- you should now have a square box-like shape. (Don’t worry if the edges of the box are not real straight- try to smooth down the edges by running your wet finger along the edges).
  4. In the meantime, heat the strawberry jam and Cointreau (or brandy) together on the stovetop until the mixture becomes like a syrupy glaze. Hull the strawberries and then coat them with the glaze. Whip 1 cup of cream using electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Place the whipped cream inside a piping bag.
  5. Place the strawberries inside the chocolate box and then pipe in some of the whipped cream around the sides and center of the chocolate box.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

‘Little Black Dress’ Chocolate Cake

 

I’ve frequently read that a ‘little black dress’ is an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe- something that can easily be dressed down or up according to the occasion. I must admit I always felt a little intimidated about wearing a little black dress, preferring a knee-length skirt with perhaps some ‘sensible shoes’ instead.

But no more! I’ve come out of the shadows and now proudly parade my special ‘little black dress’- Chocolate Cake– that is! This cake is almost like eating pure fudge with a chocolate ganache icing. And you can add some bling to your cake (little black dress, that is) by adding a dash of edible silver or gold leaf- which you can find at specialty cake decorating stores.

I found this recipe in Delicious Indulge cookbook by Australian author Valli Little. I was immediately attracted to the title of her cake recipe (Little Black Dress Chocolate Cake) as well as the recipe of her delicious-looking cake. But of course, this recipe is not intended only for women, but for all those who love the taste of chocolate.

Chocolate Cake.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 
  

'Little Black Dress' Chocolate Cake
Serves 10
A rich fudge-like cake and ganache icing turns this dessert into a sexy 'little black dress'!
Write a review
Print
Chocolate Cake
  1. 3 cups (500 g) dark baking chocolate
  2. 9 Tbsp. (125 g) butter, chopped
  3. 6 eggs, separated
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. ½ cup thickened cream
  6. 2 tbsp. dark rum or brandy (optional)
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. Edible silver or gold leaf to serve (optional)
Chocolate Ganache
  1. 1 ½ cup (250 g) dark baking chocolate
  2. 6 Tbsp. (85 g) butter
  3. ½ cup thickened cream
  4. 2 Tbsp. liquid glucose (glucose syrup)
For the cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Butter the insides of an 8-inch (21 cm) springform cake pan and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water- stir until the mixture melts. Set aside and let cool slightly. Whisk the 6 egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture turns a pale yellow color. Add the thickened cream, rum and vanilla extract and cooled chocolate mixture.
  3. Whisk the 6 egg whites in a clean, dry bowl using electric beaters- continue until soft peaks form. In 3 separate batches, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, using a spatula or large spoon. Do not over-mix; try to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water- stir until the mixture melts. In a separate pan, heat the cream and glucose until almost boiling; combine with the chocolate mixture and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the cake from the pan; spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake and garnish with the silver or gold leaf (optional).
Notes
  1. Edible silver or gold leaf decorations can be purchased at specialty cake decorating stores.
Adapted from 'Delicious Indulge' cookbook by Valli Little
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Orange Spice Cake

Ornage cake

I would like to dedicate this recipe to my blogging friend, Maureen, whose grand daughter just passed away. Sometimes we get sad news from friends or family and blogging about another recipe at this time just doesn’t seem right. However, dedicating this recipe to her might just help her to ease her sadness, as well as mine.

I recently saw this recipe for Orange Spice Cakes in Better Homes and Garden magazine. These spice cakes are small and compact, but full of flavor as the candied tangerines, figs and orange syrup yield lip-smacking goodness. If you’re looking for a cake recipe that tastes good but doesn’t require oodles of layers and gallons of icing, then this may be for you!

For this recipe, you can use either fresh figs or dried figs that have been re-hydrated. I found that thinly sliced tangerines work best for the ‘oranges’ because they are small and sweet, although you could also use clementines.

So here’s to you, Maureen- your tears will be slow to dry but in some small way, may this help to soothe you.

Orange Cake

Orange Spice Cake
Small and compact orange spice cakes, served with warm syrup
Write a review
Print
For the candied oranges
  1. 3-4 tangerine oranges
  2. 1 ½ cups sugar
  3. ½ cup water
For the cake batter
  1. 1 cup dried figs, stemmed and finely chopped
  2. ½ cup water
  3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 1 ½ cups sugar
  5. 2 tsp allspice
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1 cup butter, melted (2 sticks)
  9. 3 eggs
  10. ½ cup milk
  11. 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice the tangerines (do not peel first). Bring 1 ½ cups sugar and ½ cup water just to boiling, add the tangerine slices, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the mixture becomes like syrup. Remove the orange slices and set the syrup aside to cool. Grease 6 custard cups or muffin tins with softened butter; arrange several candied tangerine slices in the bottom of each and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  3. Over medium heat, cook the figs and water together on the stovetop for 10 minutes, or until the figs soften. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, allspice, baking powder and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth using electric beaters. Fold in the figs and liquid. Add the batter to the prepared cups, filling each ¾ full. Place the cups (or muffin tin) in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool for several minutes, loosen sides of cakes and invert onto serving dish. Spoon reserved syrup over cakes and serve warm.
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie

 

 

Pie (1 of 1) (1 of 1)

Salsipuedes, Baja California

Last week, I went on a drive from San Diego to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico and stopped at a beautiful spot called Salsipuedes, located about 60 miles south of the U.S. border. This spot has beautiful cliffs and stunning coastal views – stopping for a few minutes to drink in the panorama, I wondered at the irony of the name Salsipuedes- which means “Get out, if you can!” in Spanish.

Salsipuedes

What has this got to do with my recipe for Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie? Not much, except that when I sit down to eat this delicious pie, I keep on thinking, “Stop eating this, if you can!” Not an easy thing to do when pumpkin pie happens to be my favourite pie, especially when you add a splash of bourbon and some tasty pecans to the recipe.

A few tips on making the pie crust (see detailed recipe below):

  • Roll out the dough so that about 1.5 inches of dough overhangs the edge of the pie pan. Trim the edge of the dough with kitchen scissors so that one inch remains hanging over the edge.
  • Tuck the ends of the dough under to form a thicker crust edge.
  • To form the fluted edges of the pie crust, pinch the dough together using the thumb and index finger of your left hand- then push your right thumb inward to form the fluted edge.
  • Pour the pureed pumpkin mixture into the pie crust and bake until the mixture sets.

 Pie (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

 P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day!

Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie
Serves 8
Creamy Pumpkin Pie with a splash of bourbon and topped with pecans. Makes one 10-inch pie.
Write a review
Print
For the pie crust
  1. 2 1/2 cups (300 g) white flour
  2. 11 tbsp. (150 g) butter, cubed
  3. 1 1/2 eggs
  4. 2 - 3 tbsp. cold water
For the pumpkin pie filling
  1. 1 15-ounce canned pumpkin purée (or fresh pumpkin)
  2. ½ cup brown sugar
  3. 1 ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  4. 1/4 cup bourbon
  5. 3 tbsp maple syrup
  6. 2 tbsp cinnamon
  7. 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  8. 1 tsp ground cloves
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 5 eggs
For the pecan topping
  1. 1 cup pecan halves (approximate)
  2. 3 tbsp molasses
  3. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  4. 1 tbsp butter
To prepare the pie crust
  1. Place flour in large bowl. Add cold butter cubes and rub mixture with palms and finger tips until mixture resembles fine sand. Alternatively, place flour and butter in food processor bowl and pulse until mixture resembles texture of fine sand. (See following link for detailed instructions on how to make pie crust http://www.gdaysouffle.com/2014/01/12/quiche-lorraine-back-to-the-french-basics/).
  2. Add 1 1/2 eggs and stir until mixture starts to form a ball. If required, add 2-3 tbsps. of cold water and mix until dough hangs together in firm ball shape.
  3. Knead the dough several times on work surface and form into firm ball. Roll out the dough until it measures about 1.5 inches larger than the dimensions of your pie pan. Trim the dough using kitchen scissors so that 1 inch of dough overhangs the pie pan. Tuck the edges of the dough under at the edges and then form into fluted edges. Set the dough aside.
To make the pumpkin pie filling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, condensed milk, bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, cloves and salt. Stir in the eggs until combined.
  3. Place mixture in a blender and blend for 30-60 seconds until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Cover edges with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until edges begin to puff and center is almost set. Remove from oven.
For the pecan topping
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the molasses, brown sugar and butter until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the pecans and stir until they are fully coated- arrange the pecans decoratively on top of the pie and bake for a further 15 minutes until the center of the pie sets. Cool and serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/