Monthly Archives: November 2012

Janet’s (Incredible) Pineapple Cheesecake

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A colleague sent around an email late yesterday afternoon to say that our company was having a bake sale today to raise money for our colleagues in NY who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. This gave me the perfect opportunity to make one of my most favourite childhood food memories a reality again… My mama grew up in New Zealand and one of her dearest childhood friends, Janet, shared this Pineapple Cheesecake recipe with her. Mama used to make this recipe for us growing up and I can (without a single doubt) say that this is one of my favourite cakes of all time. The texture of the pineapple and the bite of the lemon come together like a seductive tango on the tongue which will leave you with a grin that will last for some time.. It is one of those cakes that is so good, you don’t want to share it with the fear of having none for later, but yet want everyone to experience the delicious taste you have dancing around in your mouth… do yourself a favour and give this a go! 🙂

Ingredients:

Base:
– 1 packet ginger nut biscuits – crushed
– 100 gms melted butter
Filling:
– 250gms whipped cream
– 2x 250gms cartons smooth cream cheese
– 1 tin condensed milk
– 1 tin drained crushed pinapple
– 2 dessert spoons gelatine dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
– juice of 2 medium lemons
Method:
1. Combine together the biscuits and melted butter and press in the bottom of a greased springform tin.
2. Mix cream cheese, lemon juice and condensed milk together in bowl.
3.  Add crushed pineapple and mix.

4. Add the gelatine dissolved in boiling water, mixing while adding.
5. Fold in whipped cream with a big spoon to keep the mixture light.
6. Pour into prepared tin with ginger biscuit base.  Smooth out.
7. Refrigerate overnight. (always best although if you’re in a hurry, 3-4 hrs in fridge)
8. I decorated with a bit of zested lemon rind but Mama usually adds a pretty flower in the middle. 🙂
Enjoy!

Chocolate and Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits

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I have recently been sharing a lot of my baking pictures with my three year old nephew for two main reasons; Firstly, every new picture I show him he gasps a bigger and better “Wooooow’ which makes me feel like I have created something out of this world 🙂 and secondly, it is great to hear the new and fantastic ideas that kids come up with which helps the adult imagination to find ways to fulfil these ideas in projects to come. As you know, I saw him on Saturday – without the Sugared Preztels (see previous post)… although I did share the pics 🙂 I told him I would make something really cool for him and that’s what inspired me to try this fun Mary Berry recipe. I rushed them a bit so they are not as neat as they could possibly be but the chocolate & vanilla compliment each other so well that you forget that they are a bit messy… Enjoy!

Ingredients:  

For the Vanilla Biscuit Mixture
– 50g softened butter
– 25g castor sugar
– 25g cornflour
– 50g plain flour
– 1/2 large egg
– a few drops of vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Biscuit Mixture
– 50g softened butter
– 25g caster sugar
– 25g corn flour
– 40g plain flour
– 1/2 egg
– 15g cocoa powder

Method:

1. Lightly grease a baking tray
2. Measure all the ingredients for the vanilla biscuit mixture into a bowl and mix to form a soft dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes until firm.
3. Make the chocolate mixture in the same way, then wrap and chill.
4. On a highly floured surface, roll out both pieces of dough to rectangles about 25 x 18cm.
5. Place the vanilla biscuit dough on top of the chocolate dough and then roll up (tightly) the two together from the narrow edge.
6. Wrap in cling film and chill again for 30mins.
7. Preheat the oven to 180C.
8. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into slices and place on the prepared baking tray.

9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20mins until the vanilla biscuit is golden in colour.
10. Lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

Saturday Morning Sugared Pretzels

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I woke this morning at 6:30 and as per the usual situation, the one day I get to sleep in, I couldn’t get back to sleep… Anyway, It didn’t turn out too bad as I ended up making these little bites of heaven… I had plans to go past my sisters house this afternoon for the rugby and thought I might as well make something to take with… BUT, once I put one of these in my mouth, the delicious giggle that followed told me there was now way that I was going to be sharing these goodies with anyone… 🙂 The method is simple although I found getting the pretzel shape a little fiddly as they are meant to be quite small.. Do yourself a favour and please try this recipe..  The only thing I would do differently next time is double the recipe 😉 A must for the cookie jar this winter! Enjoy!

Ingredients
– 115g plain flour
– 65g butter
– 25g caster sugar
– 1 large egg, beaten
– a few drops of vanilla essence/extract
– icing sugar for dusting

Method

1. Measure the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Stir in the sugar and then the egg and vanilla extract and mix until the pastry comes together.
3. Knead very gently on a lightly floured surface until smooth.

4. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C and lightly grease a baking tray.
6. Divide the dough into pieces about the size of a walnut.

7. Roll each piece into a thin sausage shape and then twist into the traditional pretzel shape, like a loose knot, and place onto a baking tray.

8. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 7/8 minutes or until barely changing colour. Lift onto a wire rack and dust thickly with icing sugar while still hot.

Decadent Florentines

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As you can see, it has been some time since my last post.. The good news is that although I have been extremely busy and not posting, I have still had time to create a few goodies in the kitchen 🙂 These little dreams were recently inspired by three things; I had been thinking about my one sister abroad a lot recently and I know how much she loves Florentines, I had just been given a gorgeous cookbook stand which (obviously) just had to be used and I have always wanted to make these.. To be honest, they look so amazing and I always thought they would be so difficult to make – I couldn’t have been more wrong 🙂 Find the key to these delish gems below – perfect for the festive season and a great show stopper for afternoon tea 🙂

Ingredients
– 50g unsalted butter
– 125 ml double cream
– 125g sugar
– 40g glacé cherries, rinsed in hot water and cut into quarters
– 150g blanched almonds finely chopped
– 50g slivered almonds
– 100g candied orange peel, finely chopped
– 50g plain flour
– 250g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids (preferably Blacks & Green), broken into pieces)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and butter and flour the baking sheets.
2. Melt the butter with the cream and sugar and bring slowly to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cherries, the chopped and slivered almonds and the candied peel, and sift in the flour.
3. Drop a teaspoonful of the mixture on to the baking sheets, spacing well apart, and flatten each one with a fork dipped in cold water. They will double in size as they cook.
4. Bake for 5-6 minutes, remove from the oven and coax them into a circular shape by placing a biscuit cutter over them (I just used a spoon to do this). Return to the oven and bake for a further 5-6 minutes until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to set for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then use a palette knife to transfer them to the rack to cool.

5. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl suspended over a saucepan barely simmering with water.

6. Spread the smooth undersides of the florentines with the chocolate using a palette  knife. When it is on the point of setting, you can create wavy lines across the chocolate by dragging a serrated knife from side to side across the chocolate.(I prefer mine smoothe) 🙂

7. Leave to set before enjoying these treats 🙂