Tag Archives: Sweets

TWD- Tale of two custards

For this weeks TWD Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles– chose Lemon Cup Custard on page 387 of Baking From My Home To Yours by the fabulous Dorie Greenspan.

This is a simple baked egg custard, spiked with subtle add-ins.   I tried the original lemon and the coffee cinnamon variation.


I read the message board before trying this recipe.  It seems for some this just wasn’t their cup of custard.  Something to note are Australians are much keener baked custard eaters than pudding eaters.  I am a big fan of the coffee cinnamon but Matthew (and Liam) were all about the simple lemon cup.

I used an immersion mixer to really squeeze all the lemony goodness out and since it was out, it did a great job of mixing the hot milk into the egg and sugar mixture.


A slow bake in a water bath and a rest in the fridge and these were done.

img_0523So go check out the other variations on theme out there on the TWD Blogroll. By the way loving the macro on my new camera.  Still working it all out.  But it is lots of fun.

TWD- Floating Islands

This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie choice is made by  Shari of Whisk: a food blog.  She chose Floating Islands, on page 401-402 from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan.


Floating Islands are a lovely mix of smooth creme anglaise (Matt says just call it custard),  meringue poached in milk topped with strands of crispy caramel.  This is a lovely desert.  My only drama is I may have cooked my caramel too long.  Fab flavour but not happy to form itself into polite strands in the Darwin humidity.

I just tried to upload pictures for this and it wouldn’t work.  This leads me to another tech drama story.  I am currently using my good husbands computer.  This is because all my mac would do is flash a folder with a question mark at me.  I have been told this probably means my hard drive is gone.  Thankfully it is all backed up  (and under warranty)  BUT, I need a computer to house all that data so I am playing the waiting game.

So maybe I will post pictures soon.  Until then I will sigh in the general direction of the expensive gadgets that I dearly love but that have let me down.  In the scheme of things it is not that bad but annoying all the same.

Now go check out the TWD blogroll to see the pretty floating island pictures.

TWD- Berry Surprise Cake


Mary Ann of  Meet Me in the Kitchen chose Berry Surprise Cake on pages 273-275 of Baking from My Home From Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

This desert is made up of a genoise sponge cake filled with cream cheese lightened with whipped cream and berries.  Dorie also suggested covering the confection with sweetened whipped cream but I took just one step back from that and topped out with ‘just’ the filling.

I decided to make 4x 4inch cakes.  Sadly my genoise fell.  I have made a few (with RLB recipe) and this is the first time it has happened to me.  I even used some of my precious bleached flour in this and weighed everything.   My eggs and sugar needed closer to 7 minutes to get properly ribbony


The only brightside is out of the 4 cakes 2 fell down to 1/3 of the time and the other 2 were at 2/3’s they also had slightly raised edges which meant I could in fact just sandwich them together with no tricksy carving.  I had a bit of batter left over and I made cupcakes in silicone cups.  The interesting thing is they didn’t fall. So I guess it wasn’t the leavening or temperature.  I can see that others had problems with the cake falling and Dorie suggests a bit of centre sinkage is normal.

I will consider problem solving another day.


This was a nice tasting cake.   I still have the grumbles about the genoise falling so it does impact on my general love in for this project.  I used frozen mixed berries and some cherry liquer to moisten the cake.  Genoise really does sparkle with syrup and doesn’t live up to it’s potential without it.


I may try some whipped cream on top for tomorrows cake (the advantage of making some smaller cakes he, he!)

Now go and check out the TWD blogroll for the other berry surprises!

Daring Bakers- French Yule Log


This months Daring Bakers was a lovely challenge.  The French Yule log is in over simplified terms an ice cream cake with quite a few upgrades.

This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand

I made the stock standard version in a silicon loaf mold.  This is not to snear at the standard recipe but it had 6 components and I wanted to see how they worked together before I started messing about with variations.  Also, I lurve dark chocolate.

So the Yule log is made up of a chocolate glaze, daquoise cake layer chocolate mousse,  crisp praline (yummy crispy layer) more mousse, a baked custard layer, more mousse and then some ganache and finally another daquoise layer.

I was deeply pleased with this dessert. As were my Christmas brunch attendees.

My only need to do better areas in them are…  need to make bottom daquoise layer a bit bigger.  I made a template to suit the top layer of the mold but didn’t remember to flare the bottom layer to suit my loaf mold.  Also, the custard layer had ice crystals in it and that was a bit distracting for me.

This was a lovely challenge and perfect for a summer Christmas.

Now go and check the Daring Bakers Blogroll and see what other delicious treats the DB  have come up with.

TWD- Thanksgiving Twofer Pie


Welcome to this weeks installment of Tuesday With Dorie, Vibi of La casserole carrée has chosen,Thanksgiving Twofer Pie on page 321 of Dorie Greenspans Baking From My Home to Yours.

Even though we have lived most of our lives in Australia we still celebrate Thanksgiving.  We often don’t have the dinner on the Thursday but on the weekend following.  It is not a holiday here and the only thing more challenging than coming up with the feast is fitting it in after work!

I was pleased to see we were given a bit of latitude in posting date. Thanks Laurie!

I like pumpkin pie but I am in the minority in the family.  Generally the Australians we married or partnered think we are very odd to be eating a perfectly good custard pie with pumpkin mixed in.  More for me.


Our standard family recipe for pumpkin pie comes from a real estate company cookbook (H.E.R. for the record).  Similar proportions to Dories base recipe but evaporated milk used rather than cream and lots of nutmeg oh, and a distinct lack of rum.

But Dorie ups the ante and goes pecan pie on top with a touch of cinnamon in it to tie it together.


I will have a quick moan about the heat and how it sabotagues my pastry.  The a/c in my house is down the other end of the room and just takes the sting out by the time it gets to the kitchen.  I may have to take my pastry mat to the display house with an a/c sensibly directed directly at the kitchen bench.  It also has proper insulation and a power board that can take another a/c (trust me I considered installing another one until I heard about the cost of upgrading my almost overfull fuse box).   I know Dories recipe works a treat and can even be laticed- just not when it is 35C.

The monsoon will start soon and it will cool down overnight.

I made the pumpkin filling and the pecan pie goo the night before.  I was going to bake my pie crust thenight before but the poor thing deeply needed a rest in the fridge to set up and let the gluten ‘chill out’ again.


Sliced the pie is not visually a stunner.  But it is tasty.  I think I still like pecan pie best on its own but it was neat to mix things up a bit.

Now go check out the TWD blogroll and see if you develop pie eyes!

Daring Bakers- Caramel Cake


This cake is a homage to a simple mixture of sugar and water carefully cooked into a deep dark syrup to maximize flavour.  I really wish temperatures had been given, but I was pleased with the results.


I took my time whipping the sugar and butter and had no problems with the cake batter.  Here is a photo of it just before it got portioned out.

pb040271I could tell from the recipe that these cakes would be uber sweet so I decided to make smaller portions.

pb040276And to see how they grew in the oven…

pb040279The aroma was just too tempting so one had to be cut in half for the crumb shot.


I also made the caramels from Alice Murdoch’s The Sweet Spot.

I never cease to be amazed at how much the mixture bubbles up when the cream is added.


These caramels are lovely I cooked them to the harder stage as I have to fight the humidity.  As it stands we are storing our extras in the freezer just to get a bit of firmness to it.


I lovingly renamed the icing for this cake as ‘optional caramel coma’.


I had a bit of fun with the pyramid shaped cakes.

pb040284This was great fun.  The caramel cake is stunning.  I made the caramel icing as directed but I still like cooked sugar icings so much more.  I recently made RLB Caramel Silk Merengue buttercream of which I liked the texture more but I need to figure out if the browned butter can be substituted in.  That’s one of the many joys of cooking.  There is no shortage of things to experiment on.

So to wrap up, to show proper respect for the hard work put in by the author of the recipe and the organisers of the Daring Bakers challenges there is now a format all the DB need to follow so should you be so very, very tempted by the lucisious photos and stories you can find the source and have a red hot go yourself!

– Name of the Cookbook – Shuna Fish Lyndon’s recipe – (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/)
– Name of the Author – Shuna Fish Lyndon
– Hosts for the month – Dolores the host (http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com/) with Co-hosts Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo: http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/), Jenny of Foray into Food (http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/). And since none of us know jack about alternative baking, we’ve once again turned to Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go (http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com/) to assist us.

Now go check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll and see what other caramel delights await you.

TWD- Black and White Cake

I am going to post the official recipe for this week “Twofer Pie” after our family Thanksgiving.  However, I made the Black and White for my brothers birthday back in October and this is the perfect way to catch up on some of the recipes from before I started with the TWD crew.  Not quite a rewind but defintely a catch up!

img_0007Apologies about the quality of photos.  Camera got left behind by mistake and the iphone isn’t as good at food porn!

pa140271White chocolate being added into the lightly whipped cream.

pa140275Whipped cream is a challenging medium to work with when it is a constant 32C+.  Wait, a chance to use one of my recent cooking aquisition…  To the fridge stat!

pa140277The cake ring was the saving grace of this cake.  The white chocolate cream never set very firmly but the cake rings gave it the support to not slide around like a drunken sailor.

Although the photo is not clear I put flake chocolate on top.  The chocolate custard was lovely and the cake was a great match between rich and light.  The cake torted with no troubles at all.  Everyone really liked it but the cream layers were really tricky to work with in the Darwin heat.


If I made this again I would try a bit of gelatin in the cream.  I need to really work on RLB super stabilised cream from the Cake Bible I think.

This week may be a bit drips and drabs with posting for the TWD blogroll, but my twofer pie will be up by Sunday.

TWD- Arborio Rice Pudding

For the TWD group hug this week, Isabelle of Les gourmandises d’Isa has picked,

Arborio Rice Pudding, White, Black (Or Both) on pages 412 and 413 from Dorie Greenspans Baking From My Home To Yours.

pb170291I am so glad I had a look at the discussion board before I made this.  There is a small error in the instructions – this very simple recipe needs 55 minutes of gentle simmering not 30 minutes.

This recipe has you par boil the Arborio rice for 5 minutes. Then take the milk and sugar to a boil then add the parboiled rice and simmer for 55 minutes.

The first time I attempted this I thought I followed instructions.  I remember looking at the milk bubbling away on the stove at 40 minutes thinking it hadn’t thickened up at all.  Then I went to do the washing up and noticed the drained rice in the sink.  Give me a 15 step super complicated recipe and I do well.  Give me 6 ingredients and 3 steps and I will try and forget something.

pb160283Take two went without incident.  I added vanilla bean paste to my cooked rice pudding.

pb160286This did thicken up a bit overnight.  That said it had a chowder like consistency.

Now to the critique I missed the extra starch that the parboil removed.  I don’t like gluggy rice pudding but I do preferred a more full bodied texture.  The arborio rice does maintain its texture and I like that.  This is a lovely light rice pudding.

So now off to the TWD blogroll to see the other rice puddings floating in the blog-sphere.

TWD- Kuglehopf


For this weeks Tuesday’s With Dorie, Yolanda of The All-Purpose Girl has selected, Kugelhopf on pages 61-63 of Baking From My Home to Yours By Dorie Greenspan.

The brioche family of breads just feel so silky and sexy once all the butter has been slowly added in.

pb070305We won’t linger too long on the before shot…

pb070302Golly, I love my mixer.  I also love seeing ingredients become more than the sum of their parts.

I was sent to Freedom Furniture to find some fresh cushions for the display house I work in.  Low and behold- they had silicone Kuglehopf pans.  It was kismet.  If I walked away and didn’t buy them I would be thumbing my nose at the kitchen gods who were smiling down upon me.  I am not the kind of girl to show disrespect to the kitchen gods so I bought one.

My dough had a days rest in the fridge.  While it was fridge cold I stretched it out as a long snake to coil inside the mold.


I got too hungry to let this proof any further.  Not sure it had too much more to give.  I didn’t get too much oven spring.


This is seriously good, but like all brioche breads depends very much on the quality of your eggs and butter.

pb090331I didn’t have an opportunity to see how well this kept.  I almost lost fingers with the rate my boys ate it up for breakfast.  I got a great crumb structure with little gossamer like stands that made me happy.

pb090339Now go check out the TWD blogroll and check out the 300 or so other dedicated bakers.

TWD- Rugelach

Thanks to Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal,for picking Rugelach from pages 150 and 151 of Baking From My Home To Yours By Dorie Greenspan.  Check out her site for the recipe.

I am very fortunate that I do not have too many baking disasters.  Much like a person who has taken a defensive driving class and practised around the track a few times, I can usually see when things are about to take a bad turn and take evasive action.

I had my suspicions that this Rugelach recipe may be a bit challenging.  It is 93F degrees here every day and at it’s coolest at night it is still 74F.  I had such success in making pie crusts when I was in Europe this summer.  I forgot that the reason I don’t make pie often is pastry is a bugger in the tropics!

The rugelach base is essentially a butter and cream cheese rich pastry.  It had 2 states in my kitchen.  Completely solid (bash with a rolling pin and crack) or far too soft to work with.  I tried it fresh from the fridge, morning and night.  Poor air con was trying to take some of the heat out but not enough to facilitate working with butter rich pastry.  I also put an ice filled baking tray on the granite bench to not much result.  I may try again but only roll out to 10 inches.

I reminded myself that Dories recipe probably worked a treat for people who didn’t live in a sauna.

That aside, I did kind of make some rough crescent shapes.  The pastry cracked and just didn’t play the game.  I also tried a rugelach pizza with some of the pieces that just clearly were not going to roll up.  That was a bit less trying and just as tasty.

 I used a mix of milk, dark and white chocolate (mostly dark) that were left over in the fridge.  I was surprised to find a bit of Easter chocolate lurking towards the back.  I don’t tend to eat much chocolate by itself but bake with it a lot.  I am glad I tried the chocolate version but much like Mrs. Strauss, back to jam and dried fruit for me.

Now I will try these again in the dry season, when I don’t have to fight against the environment so much. Now do check out the TWD blogroll and see what twists and turns the other Dorie Bakers have had!