Chocolate, Date and Nut Torte

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This cake has been a favourite in my house for a few years now. My mum has made it a number of times and I’m excited to share it with you🙂 It’s sort of like a meringue cake with lots of chopped up dates, nuts and chocolate chips mixed through it. Very yummy😛 Enjoy!

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Chocolate, Date and Nut Torte

Adapted from the Delicious ‘Cafe Food 2008’ recipe book.
Ingredients:

6 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup caster sugar
250g pitted dates, roughly chopped
320g raw nuts (I used hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios), roughly chopped
230g dark chocolate chips
Method:

Preheat the oven to 170°  C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin.

Whisk the egg whites and salt using an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, with the mixer still running. Continue to whisk until the sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form.

Place the dates and nuts in a food processor and pulse to break down a little. Then add the chocolate chips and pulse mixture until it resembles course breadcrumbs.

Transfer the date mixture to a large bowl. Mix in a little of the meringue mixture to loosen, then gently fold in the remaining meringue. Spread mixture evenly into springform tin and smooth surface. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the torte is firm on the outside and slightly moist in the centre. Cool in pan.

Remove torte from pan. Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chocolate chips if desired.

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Baked Lemon Cheesecake

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Happy Monday everyone! I’ve decided to share with you a baked Lemon Cheesecake to cheer you up this Monday. It’s a gorgeous winter day in Melbourne so I took my dog for a walk and am now sitting inside next to the window soaking up that warm winter sunshine🙂 I feel like it’s going to be a great week🙂 I went back to culinary school last week after having a 4 week break and I’m so glad to be back! We made cheesecakes in class on Friday so I thought I would post this cheesecake recipe after learning a few tricks in class🙂

This cheesecake is a deliciously rich, creamy and tangy dessert and you only need a little piece! This one I made was a hit! I took it to work to share and everyone loved it🙂

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Baked Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon curd recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction.

Ingredients:

For the base:
250g plain sweet biscuits
125g butter, melted

For the filling:
Lemon curd (recipe below). If using bought lemon curd, you will need 2 cups.
1/3 cup caster sugar
500g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g cornflour ( 1/4 cup + 1 tbs)
4 eggs

For the lemon curd:
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
zest of 3 lemons
125g butter, chopped

Method:

For the lemon curd:
Place sugar and eggs into a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter.

Place over medium heat on stovetop and whisk continuously until butter has melted and mixture comes to boil and thickens. You know it’s ready when the curd coats the back of a spoon.

Strain mixture into bowl and cover with plastic wrap right onto the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until cold.

For the base:
Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin. Pulse biscuits in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture firmly into the base of the tin and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

For the filling:
Pre heat the oven to 160°C. Place the chilled lemon curd, sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and cornflour into an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Pour cheesecake filling over base and bake for an 1 hour or until the top is golden and the cheesecake is set but still a little wobbly in the middle. Leave cake in switched-off oven with door slightly ajar to cool completely. Remove cheesecake from tin when completely cool and dust with icing sugar to serve.
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Sour Cherry Pie

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Winter means the perfect pie season🙂 I was looking through the posts I have done so far, trying to decide on a dessert to share with you that I haven’t done yet. I was feeling cold and miserable in this Melbourne winter and thought pie was the perfect thing to make to warm me up from the inside🙂

This has got a sour cherry filling and the pastry is to die for! It’s one of those pie pastries where you get to that last edge bit of your piece of pie and it’s the best bit because it’s crumbly, buttery, golden and delicious even without any filling left to eat it with🙂 I mentioned in my very first post when I made a Chocolate and Pecan tart, that I was on a mission to find the best short-crust pastry recipe. So far, this one is definitely the best🙂 It will seem a bit dry and crumbly when your making it, but persist in bringing it together because it will work! And the result will be worth it🙂

I’ve also included at the bottom, a link to a diagram which shows you how to do the lattice pattern on top with the pastry if you haven’t done it before🙂

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Sour Cherry Pie

Pastry adapted from William Angliss Institute ‘Produce Pastries’ workbook.
Filling adapted from Butter Baking.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:
3 + 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
250g butter, cold and cubed
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs water

For the filling:
2 x 700g jars morello cherries
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cornflour

Method:

For the pastry, place the flour and sugar into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks, vanilla and water and process until it starts to come together.

Turn out onto bench and shape into 2 balls. One of them two thirds of the dough and the other one third of the dough. The smaller will make your lattice pattern on top. The mixture will seem crumbly and dry but it does come together! It becomes easier when rolling it out. Place the pastry to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Pre heat the oven to 180°C and grease a pie dish. Roll out the larger pastry ball between 2 sheets of baking paper to about 3-4mm in thickness to fit into the pie dish. If the pastry is still a little crumbly and bits break off, just use excess to fill in holes and press in to even out the thickness. Trim overhanging pastry and fill with baking paper and pastry weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pastry weights and bake for an extra 5 minutes to dry out the base.

While the base is baking, make the filling. Strain the cherries and mix them in a bowl with the sugar and cornflour. You can also prepare the lattice top in this time. Roll out the smaller pastry disc to a round that is 3-4mm in thickness. Cut into 1 cm strips.

When pie base is ready remove from oven and fill with cherry filling. Then arrange pastry strips into a lattice pattern on top. If you’re not sure how to do this, I have linked a diagram of how to arrange a lattice pattern below. Trim any excess pastry and bake for an hour or until golden. If you need the filling to be set, cool the pie completely in the dish before cutting up to serve. If you don’t mind a bit of cherry juice running out, enjoy while warm🙂

How to arrange a lattice pattern: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9RgkLgEPz-E/UM8pNo3v2EI/AAAAAAAABuE/KNjAul5H2RE/s640/299596814_7362d81fc4.jpg

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Salted Caramel Panna Cotta with Macadamia Praline

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I have been wanting to share something with salted caramel in it for ages! I mentioned in my Coffee, Hazelnut and Mocha slice post that I would soon share something with salted caramel…And here it is! Salted caramel panna cotta🙂

The salt in the caramel cuts through the sweetness and makes this a delicious dessert. I have finished it off with a macadamia praline which is super easy to make! The panna cotta itself only takes about 15 minutes to put together and the praline about 5 minutes🙂 It just needs to be made in advance because it takes a few hours to set in the fridge.

I went out especially to find something to present this dessert in. I found these gorgeous little glass tea cups and saucers and I think they look super cute and are a perfect portion size for dessert🙂. This recipe made enough to fill 8 of these little tea cups. Enjoy!

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Salted Caramel Panna Cotta with Macadamia Praline

Adapted from Manu’s Menu.

Makes 450ml

Ingredients:
3 gelatine leaves
1/3 cup caster sugar
300ml cream
100ml milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways with seeds scraped out
1/2 cup caster sugar, extra
1 + 1/2 tsp salt

For the praline:
1/2 cup macadamias, roasted and chopped
1/4 cup caster sugar

Method:

Place the gelatine leaves submerged in a bowl of cold water and set aside.

Put the 1/3 cup sugar, cream, milk, vanilla bean seeds and the whole vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat and heat until bubble begin to appear around the edges and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Place the 1/2 cup caster sugar in another medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Melt the sugar until it all dissolves and becomes a dark amber colour. Do not stir this mixture. You can swirl the pan to mix it in if needed.

Slowly pour the warm cream mixture into the caramel, whisking constantly. Be careful as the mixture will bubbles and rise. Add the salt and mix.

Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and whisk into the hot caramel mixture until dissolved. Strain the mixture into a pouring jug and divide between mini glasses/ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set.

For the praline, prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place the caster sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Melt the sugar until it all dissolves and becomes a dark amber colour. Do not stir this mixture. You can swirl the pan to mix it in if needed. Add the chopped macadamias and mix until combined. Spread the mixture onto the tray lined with baking paper into a thin layer and allow to set hard. Then chop into small shards to garnish the panna cotta when ready.

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Raspberry and White Chocolate Torte

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This is the recipe I have been dying to put on the blog for you. It just took me a few weeks to tweak the recipe and make sure it’s easy to read and understand for you! But I’m really excited about it! I’m quite proud of it because I thought of each layer and researched recipes and had to really think about whether it would all work together in terms of flavour balance and structure. And it does!

This is one of the cakes I made for my boyfriend’s 21st a few weeks ago🙂 And it was a hit! White chocolate and raspberry are a winning combination. The raspberries really compliment the white chocolate by cutting through it’s rich sweetness. So this torte has a white chocolate mud cake base, a raspberry pastry cream middle layer and is finished with a white chocolate mousse, topped with fresh raspberries. It takes 2 days to make so leave yourself plenty of time to make it🙂 Enjoy!

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Raspberry and White Chocolate Torte

White Chocolate Mud Cake base adapted from Delicious Sweet book.
Raspberry Pastry Cream adapted from Butter Baking.
White Chocolate Mousse adapted from William Angliss Institute ‘Produce gateaux, tortes and cakes’ workbook.

Ingredients:

For the White Chocolate Mud Cake base
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
75g white chocolate
100g unsalted butter, softened and chopped in cubes
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk

For the Raspberry Pastry Cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1 gelatine leaf
1 + 1/4 cups (310ml) milk
1 vanilla bean
30g butter
300g frozen raspberries

For the White Chocolate Mousse
2 gelatine leaves
200g white chocolate
2 + 1/2 tbs caster sugar
5 egg yolks
3 tsp cornflour
250ml thickened cream
1 + 1/2 egg whites
1/4 cup + 2tbs caster sugar
25ml water

To finish
250g punnet fresh raspberries

Method:

For the White Chocolate Mud Cake base
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm springform tin and line bottom and sides with baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water without letting the bowl touch the water then set aside to cool slightly.

Using an electric standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar for 5 minutes on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. On low speed, add the melted chocolate and beat well until combined. Remove bowl from standing mixer and alternately add the flour mixture and milk, folding in until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 mins until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool completely in tin.

For the Raspberry Pastry Cream
Mix the sugar, cornflour and salt in a small bowl. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the flour mixture one tablespoon at a time. Place the gelatine leaf in a bowl of cold water to soften.

Split the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put this, including the vanilla pod into a medium saucepan with the milk. Place over high heat on the stove and heat until little bubbles start to appear around the edges. This is called scalding the milk. Pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously until combined.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a medium heat. Continuously whisk the mixture until it becomes thick and begins to bubble. Then whisk vigorously for 10 seconds and remove from the heat. Strain the gelatine leaf from the water and squeeze out any excess water before adding to the custard. Whisk this in along with the butter until melted then strain the mixture through a sieve into a heatproof bowl, discarding the vanilla pod. Cover right onto the whole surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap (this prevents a skin forming) and set aside. Puree the raspberries with a stick blender and mix into the pastry cream. Spread this mixture over the mud cake base and place into the freezer until set solid. This will take about 2 hours.

For the White Chocolate Mousse
Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water to soften and set aside.

Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water without letting the bowl touch the water. Set aside to cool slightly.

Mix the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together in a bowl then add to the melted white chocolate to make a custard. Drain the gelatine leaves and squeeze any excess water out of them before adding to the custard mixture and whisking in to dissolve. Cool the custard to warm.

Whip the cream using an electric mixer to soft peaks and fold into the custard.

Make an italian meringue with the egg whites, sugar and water. Place the egg whites in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix the sugar and water together in a saucepan and brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar on the sides. Over a medium-high heat, bring the sugar syrup to 118°C. When the syrup starts to boil, turn the mixer on medium speed to whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. When the sugar syrup is ready, pour it slowly in a steady stream down the side of the bowl into the egg whites with the mixer still on. Continue whisking the meringue mixture for 3 minutes.

Fold the meringue into the mousse and spread over raspberry pastry cream layer and place in freezer for 2-3 hours until set.

Remove cake from freezer and place into the refrigerator over night to thaw out. When ready to serve, remove from springform tin and decorate with fresh raspberries.

I think my dog wouldn’t mind a piece of that cake🙂.

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Carrot Cake

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I have been wanting to make a carrot cake for ages! They are just so delicious! It’s such a soft cake, that’s great with chunky nuts and spices. And of course it’s all made 10 times better with the cream cheese icing!

I’m going to be honest with you, the carrot cake I have made for you today isn’t the best carrot cake I’ve ever had but it’s up there! I’m yet to discover the secret to making the best carrot cake🙂 I’m still working on it.

I really like making this sort of cake in a loaf tin. It looks great and is easy to slice up for an afternoon tea with guests🙂

Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake

Adapted from Donna Hay.

Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 cups grated carrot (about 5 medium carrots)
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 cup extra walnuts, roughly chopped for garnish

For the icing:
250g cream cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23cm x 13cm loaf tin with baking paper.

Place the sugar and oil in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low-medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Remove bowl from mixer and sift the flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and spices into the mixture and fold in until just combined. Add the carrot and nuts and fold in until just incorporated.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 55-60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool cake in tin.

For the icing, process the cream cheese in a food processor fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and add the lemon juice and process until smooth. Spread the icing on the top of the cooled cake and sprinkle with extra chopped walnuts.

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Strawberry and Pistachio Crumble Cake

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I created this delicious cake because it’s along the same lines as the Lemon and Coconut tea cake I made a few weeks ago🙂 It’s got the same cake base as this cake but with a fresh strawberry filling and a pistachio crumble topping! So yummy! It’s easy to whip up for an afternoon tea with girlfriends🙂 Enjoy xx

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Strawberry and Pistachio Crumble Cake

Inspired by Butter Baking.

Ingredients:
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
90g butter, chopped
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

For the strawberry filling:
500g strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs cornflour

For the crumble:
1 1/4 cups plain flour
2/3 cup demerara sugar
80g pistachios
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
110g melted butter

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 160°C, grease a 23cm springform pan and line with baking paper.

For the cake, sift the flour into a bowl, add the sugar, then rub the butter into this mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg and vanilla to form a soft dough. Press the mixture into the base of the cake tin.

For the crumble, process the pistachios in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a fork until all incorporated. Spread the mixture onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper to about 1cm in thickness. Bake crumble for about 20-25 minutes or until just starting to golden around the edges then remove from oven. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C.

For the strawberry filling, hull and quarter the strawberries then mix in the sugar and cornflour until the strawberries are evenly coated. Scatter over the cake batter in the tin. Spread the crumble in an even layer over the strawberries in the cake pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden.

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