Easy Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream

Ice Cream,  summer and a facelift! This mango and passionfruit ice cream is so easy and delicious. While our summer in North Queensland is hot and humid,  lots of ice cream helps us get by. And a face lift – noooooo, not me! Marcellina in Cucina!  And she is  looking pretty good, don’t you think? We have been working hard behind the scenes for the last few weeks and are confident all is well and up and running.  If you are new here, welcome! If you are a return visitor, many thanks. I hope you all enjoy  Marcellina in Cucina at her new and sparkling site.

Mangoes and North Queensland go hand in hand. Driving north up the coast, mango orchards are a common sight. While mangoes are in season, roadside stalls are often spotted selling mangoes by the bucketful. Actually, I have to tell you, with four mangoes trees, I do get sick of mangoes so into the freezer they go.  My freezer is full of surplus mango cheeks and passionfruit pulp so I can make this quick and easy ice cream whenever the desire strikes. Combining mangoes with passionfruit is a no brainer.

Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream

The secret of this mango and passionfruit ice cream is the frozen mango. Whizzing the frozen mango in the food processor creates a delicious pure fruit sorbet. Adding the passionfruit, sugar and cream is elevating it to another level.

Have all your other ingredients well chilled and you can be tucking into luscious mango and passionfruit ice cream in less than 20 minutes. If you prefer a firmer consistency, by all means, pop it into the freezer and allow about 2 hours for a scoopable ice cream. The beauty about the high quantity of mango is that this ice cream never freezes rock hard plus that makes it low in fat which means you can eat more of it. It keeps well for a week or so…hmmm, if you can resist the temptation for that long!

I served the ice cream in my homemade crunchy krumkake cones but in keeping with “easy”, a store bought waffle cone does the trick. If it has been in the freezer for more than a day be sure to take it out a few minutes before you want to serve it so that it is not so icy but then again I love that quality about this ice cream!

Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream

You will need about 3/4 to 1 cup of passionfruit pulp to make the 1/2 cup of juice. This is simply to do – first loosen the seeds from the pulp by pulsing in the food processor  then push the pulp through a sieve and collect the gorgeous, golden juice in a small bowl. Discard the seeds ( or plant them in the garden to grow your own passionfruit).

Whenever you make ice cream or frozen desserts freeze the bowls, utensils and particularly the pan you will be freezing your ice cream in. This tip really helps to keep the ice crystals to a minimum.

Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream

Easy Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream original recipe by Marcellina

Yield 6 servings

Prep Time 20 minutes plus freezing

1/2 cup passionfruit juice, no seeds, chilled
75g/100g sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice, chilled
500g frozen mango, cubed
1/2 cup cream, well chilled

1. In a small bowl mix together the passionfruit juice, sugar and lime juice until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Place the frozen mango in the bowl of a food processor with a metal blade attached. Process until a smooth and thick consistency.

3. With the processor running add the passionfruit juice mixture.

4. Followed by the cream. Process only for 30 seconds to 1 minutes. Don’t over process or the cream could curdle.

5. Serve immediately in cold bowls or freeze in a prechilled shallow pan for 2 hours for a more firm consistency.

Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream

Torta Della Nonna – The Daring Kitchen November, 2016 Challenge

For the month of November we at the Daring Kitchen were challenged by Ginger-Z to make the delicious Torta della Nonna.  This humble Italian cake is seen in many variations, single crusted and double crusted. Many years ago I had clipped a recipe from an Australian magazine Home Beautiful. Actually the clipping is dated 1993! Oops, never got around to making it. For my version, I added a layer of Nutella at the bottom of the pastry and I mean, what is not made better with Nutella! Very similar to Gâteau Basque which featured in “Cucina” over a year ago.

I am sad to report that this will be the second last Daring Kitchen challenge. Daring Kitchen has been an important part of my baking life since 2009 and was the catalyst for starting this blog. Daring Kitchen will close it’s doors following the December challenge. It is with this amazing group of people that I have learnt many baking skills – puff pastry, macarons, croissants, many tortes and delicious treats from around the world. Daring Kitchen will be missed.

Torta della Nonna

Custard

2 1/2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup castor sugar
4 tablespoons plain flour
Nutella, as desired
slivered almonds for topping

Pastry

2 cups flour
pinch salt
2 egg yolks
125g butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the custard, heat the milk and vanilla bean until just starts to boil. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat the egg yolks and sugar well until light and creamy. Stir in the flour. With a whisk gradually add in the warm milk. Strain the milk mixture back into the saucepan. Return to the heat and stir until it thickens. Boil for about a minute to cook the flour. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl covering with plastic wrap touching the custard to prevent a skin forming.

To make the pastry, in a food processor place the flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, sugar and vanilla. Process until the mixture just starts to come together. Remove and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.

When ready, grease a 20cm pie plate and preheat the oven to 180C. Divide the dough in two pieces, with on slightly larger. Roll out the larger piece between to pieces of non stick baking paper until large enough to fit the pie plate. Carefully lift the pastry and press into the pie plate, trimming the edges. Spread the base with Nutella, as much as you wish, then top with the prepared custard. Brush the edges with water. Roll out the second piece of pastry as you did with the first and fit over the custard, pressing the edges to seal and then trim off excess. Brush the top with water and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Allow to cool and dust with abundant icing sugar. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

 

 

Mocha Cake with Coffee Liqueur Syrup and Chocolate Glaze

Mocha Cake with Coffee Liqueur Syrup and Chocolate Glaze.

Well that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? 

But when I came up with this cake that’s exactly what I wanted. This cake was for my sister’s birthday and the request was for a “simple chocolate cake”. The cooking and baking tradition in our family is never “simple”. We always like to stretch ourselves a bit. So it was never going to be a “simple chocolate cake”. However, it is a fairly basic cake. The tenderness comes from the sour cream, the hit of coffee and liqueur comes from the syrup and the glaze just adds to the chocolate element. 

Mocha Cake with Coffee Liqueur Syrup and Chocolate Glaze (adapted from The Perfect Pantry)

The Cake
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons espresso powder
125g butter
1 cup castor sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

The Syrup
100ml strong brewed coffee, hot
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I used Tia Maria you could also use Kahlua)

The Glaze
100g dark chocolate,chopped
50g unsalted butter, chopped

Coffee beans to decorate

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 6 cup kugelhopf  pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I like to sift the dry ingredients onto a sheet of baking paper…it keeps the washing up to a minimum!

 In a small bowl, mix the cocoa and instant espresso powder with 1 1/2 tablespoons of warm water. Stir until well combined and dissolved.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the vanilla. Alternately fold in the dry ingredients with the sour cream. When combined add in the cocoa/coffee mixture. Be gentle, don’t overmix. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth out with a spatula. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

In the meantime prepare the syrup by combining all the ingredients until the sugar dissolves. Replace the cake into the pan and pour over the by-now cooled syrup. Allow to soak into the cake. This won’t take long, maybe 10-15 minutes.

Now is the time to prepare the glaze by heating the chocolate and butter over a double boiler or in the microwave on low stirring frequently until smooth.

Ready to assemble and eat! Place a serving plate over the cake pan and tip the cake onto the plate. This will catch any syrup that hasn’t absorbed. With a teaspoon drizzle the glaze over the cake and decorate with coffee beans.

Nutella Puff Pastry Flower

Do you consider yourself a good baker? Or do all of those measurements and precision get to you?
If you fall into the latter, then this recipe is for you!
Read on and impress! 

First preheat you oven to 220C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
All you need is three sheets of frozen puff pastry. Allow  to thaw and use a large plate to cut a circle out of each of the sheets.  Start assembling on the lined baking tray. Spread one circle of pastry with Nutella, top with another pastry circle. Spread that one with Nutella and top with a pastry sheet. You will have two layers of Nutella and three layers of pastry.

Now take a glass and push it lightly into the centre. With a sharp knife cut first into quarters. Cut each quarter in half to make eighths then each of those in half to make sixteen cuts.

Lift each piece and twist twice. Yep, this bit gets messy! When you have finished, brush with egg wash.

 Bake for 20-30 minutes until well browned and puffed.

Dust with icing sugar and enjoy! 

Pavlova – Daring Kitchen challenge for August 2016

This month I hosted a Daring Kitchen challenge and challenged the members of the Daring Kitchen to make a pavlova. I know, not that daring really, is it? But that was the whole point. I wanted this to be more of a creative challenge…take the main ingredient of a pavlova and let your culinary  imagination go wild. Daring Kitchen members came up with some wonderful creations. Have a look here. Or have a look at these wonderful blogs here, here, here or here.

I have been making Pavlova for many years and it is standard dessert fare at many Australian gatherings. The classic Pavlova is a dessert consisting of a crisp, light meringue base topped with fruit and cream. Most often the centre of the meringue is of a marshmallowy consistency. However Pavlova can be stacked layers, mini Pavlovas, or lightly baked and rolled with a filling. The meringue can be flavoured with nuts, spices, chocolate, cocoa or coffee powder and filled with custards, mousses, bavarians, mascarpone, fruit curds or yoghurt.
The recipe I provided is one I have used for many years, so long that I don’t know where it came from but it is very similar to most recipes for the Classic Pavlova. I prefer my Pavlova baked to quite crunchy with little marshmallow in the centre. I usually top with fresh whipped Chantilly cream and fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwi fruit and passionfruit. On this occasion I made a passionfruit curd to drizzle over the cream and topped with green and gold kiwi fruit and toasted shredded coconut.

Notes:
This recipe can be halved or increased quite easily just keep in mind that the cooking time will vary. I often make this into a 6 egg white pavlova.
Make sure your whisking bowl is clean and greasefree. If in doubt rub with paper towel dipped in white vinegar or lemon juice before use.
Have everything ready on the bench because once you start mixing, your pavlova you can’t be interrupted.
Use eggs at room temperature to ensure the best whip. The egg whites must not contain even a trace of yolk. To be sure separate each egg individually.
I like to use cream of tartar to stablise the whites. I have read that a ½ teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice or even a pinch of salt can be substituted but I
can’t verify this.
If you can’t get superfine sugar, whiz regular sugar in the food processor.
Do not open the door during the cooking then when baled. allow to cool slowly in the oven with the door ajar.

Recipe 1: Pavlova

Servings: 8 to 10 serves or less if your guests are hungry
Ingredients
4 egg whites (approx. 120g or 8 Tbsp using 57g / 2oz eggs), at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup / 225g / 8oz caster/ superfine sugar
3 tsp / 8g cornstarch (Australia ­ cornflour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
Directions:
Preheat the oven 135°C / 275°F / Gas Mark 1 and prepare a large flat tray by lining with nonstick baking paper.
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar one tablespoon at a
time. Continue beating until the meringue is thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved.

Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still “gritty” with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the sifted cornstarch, followed by the vanilla and the vinegar.
Pile the mixture onto the baking paper lined flat tray. It should be about a 20 ­ 25cm / 8 ­ 10″ circle. Hollow out the centre a little.

Bake for 1 ¼ hours. If your oven runs hot and the pavlova is colouring simply lower the temperature by 5 or 10 degrees.
Cool in the oven with the door ajar.

Once cool store in an airtight container unless using straight away.

To Assemble the Pavlova just before serving

1 baked and cooled pavlova, as per recipe
2 green kiwi fruit and 2 gold kiwi fruit, sliced, or you choice of fruit
1/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted
Passionfruit curd, recipe below
Chantilly cream, recipe below
Remove the baking paper from the pavlova and place on a serving tray. (I recently saw Nigella Lawson prepare a pavlova and she simply turned it upside down
on a serving tray, removed the baking paper and decorated the pavlova. Once decorated no one could tell it was upside down.)
Spread the Chantilly cream over the pavlova, drizzle with as much of the curd as you like, decorate with slice kiwi fruit and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Recipe 2: Passionfruit Curd


Makes: 2 ½ cups / 600ml / 20 fl oz
Ingredients
150ml / approx. 1/2 cup + 2tsp strained passionfruit pulp
2 Tablespoons of passionfruit seeds
20ml / 1 metric Tbsp / 1 US Tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
170g / 1 1/2 sticks / 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chopped
200g / 9/10 cup caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
Directions:
In a medium saucepan place passionfruit pulp, lemon juice, butter and sugar. Cook over a medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
In a bowl place eggs and additional egg yolks and whisk eggs until combined.

Whisk the eggs and slowly pour in the passionfruit mixture. It is important to keep whisking while you do this. Strain the passionfruit curd mixture through a
sieve back into the saucepan to remove any “eggy bits”.

Add the passionfruit seeds and continue to cook over a low/medium heat until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. At low heat this can
take as long as 10 minutes. At medium heat it can take as little as 5 minutes.
Be careful not to overheat and overcook the mixture – you will then have passionfruit flavoured scrambled eggs. I like to not risk further cooking of the curd
by pouring the cooked mixture into a glass jug until cooled.

Once mixture has cooled place in a sterilised jar and store in the fridge. Passionfruit curd will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Recipe 3: Chantilly Cream

Ingredients
300ml / 1 1/4 cups / 10 fl oz full fat cream (about 35%)
16g / 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
5ml / 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Combine all ingredients.
Using a hand whisk or electric whisk, beat the cream in a stainless steel or glass or china bowl (not plastic­ doesn’t seem to whip as well).
It is whipped properly when it is still soft and billowy but holds its shape when the whisk is withdrawn.
Once the cream is whipped, cover and store in the fridge.

Nutella Brownie Cups

Early on this year I saw these amazing cookie cups by Lindsay at Life Love and Sugar. Lindsay makes eleven different types of cookie cups – apple, lemon, fruit, peanut butter and snickers just to name a few. I thought these were a great idea and seemed a lot easier than make a delicate pastry, rolling it out and all the drama that goes with pastry. In this case, make a simple cookie-like dough, press into muffin pans, bake and fill. Perfect.

When I made these, I found that they were more like brownies so that’s what I named them. Also extra Nutella in the bottoms enhanced the Nutella experience!

Oh, and if you have a family anything like mine, protect your cooling cups.  I had to make another batch because they seemed to disappear from the wire rack as they cooled.

Nutella Brownie Cups adapted from Life Love and Sugar
makes 16

Printable recipe here

170g butter, room temperature
1 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornflour

Nutella Cheesecake Filling
280g Philly cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella, plus extra
raspberries

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Coat 2 x 12 cup muffin (large cupcake) pans with nonstick cooking spray or butter well.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well to combine. Sift flour, baking soda and cornflour into butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. The mixture will be thick. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture, roll into a ball and press into muffin pans and up the sides a bit. You should get about 16. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. If they cups have puffed up, press down with the back of a teaspoon to form an indentation. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Nutella Cheesecake filling

Beat all the ingredients together until well mixed and smooth.

To assemble cups take a small spoonful of Nutella and spread onto the base of the cups. Pipe or spoon filling in and top with a raspberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Prepare to be inundated!

Red Velvet 21st Birthday Cake

This month my daughter celebrated her 21st birthday. And my 18 year old son has graduated from high school and is embarking on a new beginning. Where has the time gone? I’m feeling a little melancholy but am so fortunate I have been able to spend so much time with my precious children. They have grown to be wonderful, sensitive young adults and I am very proud. It is now time for me to let go and allow them spread their wings. I know, that with God’s grace, they will accomplish what they set out to do with integrity and respect for themselves and others.

The 21st birthday celebration was an understated affair with a simple meal at our home on the front lawn with close family and friends. My daughter has always loved selecting a birthday cake and this one was no exception. It had to be red velvet, multi layered and decorated with lots of colour. And so it was.
Red velvet cake was layered with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream and covered in dark chocolate ganache. It was a riot of colour with cherries, raspberries, blueberries,fresh roses and assorted sweets and biscuits to accompany the homemade decorations.  I made lots of little pink, orange and yellow meringues, red velvet macarons (recipe coming), honeycomb and sugar paste butterflies to decorate the cake.

The sugar paste butterflies are part of this month’s Daring Kitchen challenge hosted by  Shillpa Bhaambri from Cakeline the Journey. Shillpa challenged us to become cake designers using fondant, sugar paste or modeling chocolate to create a design for a cake or cupcake. As I already had a plan for this cake I decided I could incorporate the butterflies into the design. I used homemade sugar paste coloured pink, orange and yellow to cut out butterflies using a cutter. A piece of cardboard bent into shape and covered with non stick baking paper served to shape the butterflies.

After they dried overnight I used a little black colour thinned with vodka edge the wings. Then once that dried a sparkle dust dry brushed on lifted the colour of each butterfly. With a little royal icing (egg white and pure icing sugar) a thin wire was secured to the underside.

Happy birthday to my beautiful girl!

The red velvet cake is a recipe by one of my favourite bakers Summer from Cake Paper Party and the Italian meringue butter cream is by Warren Brown with my adaption of cream cheese.

Struffoli – A Baker’s Odyssey Challenge #39

Today I would like to share with you a delicious sweet treat from A Baker’s Odyssey – Struffoli. 
Several years ago I pick up a copy of A Baker’s Odyssey while on holidays in Brisbane. ( I was in Brisbane to see the show Mamma Mia – I love that show!) This cookbook, written by Greg Patent was published in 2007 but I had never come across it. What I loved was the variety of recipes from across the world brought to  America by immigrants. In the book Greg tells the stories of how he came across the recipes and the people behind the recipes. A true treasure! 
Do we have such a book in Australia? As a first generation Australian, I am fascinated by the immigrants that came to Australia –  the people, their food and their stories.  

Struffoli adapted from A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent
3 eggs
pinch salt
1 tablespoon limoncello (optional)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups plain all purpose flour
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Honey sauce
1 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon orange flower water
1/4 slivered almonds
glace cherries and coloured sprinkles to decorate
In a bowl mix together eggs, salt, limoncello, oil and sugar. Slowly mix in the flour until a firm dough has formed. Turn our onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or so. Wrap in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for about an hour.
Cut the dough into 8 piece and keep covered. Take one piece of dough and roll into a rope about 18 inches or 45 cm long. Cut into small pieces about 1/2 inch size which is just under 1.5cm. Repeat with all the dough. Set aside and heat the oil.
I just used a deep frying pan filled with about 1 inch of oil. Heat the oil to 185C/365F. Prepare a baking tray lined with paper towels.
When the oil is ready fry handfuls of the struffoli, stirring to separate the pieces and allowing them to brown and puff up. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and cool on the paper towel lined baking tray. Repeat with all the dough.
To make the honey sauce, place the honey, sugar and orangeflower water in a wide frying pan or skillett. Heat to dissolve the sugar then bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is glossy and thickens a little. Add the stuffoli and the almonds stir and cook over low-medium heat for 5 minutes until all the struffoli are coated. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a few minutes to cool and thicken. Stir well. 

Then pile on a serving plate and decorate with cherries and coloured spinkles.
As Greg says these are so moreish, people just pluck them off to munch on and keep going back for more.

Oreo Celebration Cake

A celebration always requires cake! 

I have been admiring cakes by a few amazing Australian bakers for some time. Katherine Sabbath, Cakes by Cliff and Unbirthday Bakery are creating amazing edible works of art.

So, as we prepared to celebrate my son’s 18th birthday my mind went to the cake! And my mind boggled over what to do….which cake to bake…how to decorate it…and the big question…would it work? On the other hand my son didn’t care much for the cake..”you can make whatever, Mum, I don’t eat the cake anyway”.

I had a couple of practice runs…testing cakes and frosting….then the day came. Summer from Cakes Paper Party  has some of the most delicious cake recipes I have ever tried. The end result was layers of chocolate and vanilla cake sandwiched with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream (my favourite recipe by Warren Brown) and crushed oreos. Decorations included a chocolate sail and caramel popcorn.
And guess what?
The birthday boy was pretty impressed by the cake and….ate it too!

So to begin with…two layers of vanilla cake and two layers of chocolate cake. These recipe will make 3 layers of each. Freeze the extra layers for later.

Vanilla Cake recipe by Cake Paper Party
Ingredients

16 tablespoons (8 ounces, or 227 grams) unsalted butter softened
12 ounces (340 grams) castor sugar, (superfine)
4 tablespoons (60 mls) sunflower oil
4 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoon (23 milliliters) vanilla extract
6 ounces (170 grams) all-purpose flour
6 ounces (170 grams) cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups (300 mls) buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease and flour 3 8inch cake pans or line with baking paper.
Beat butter, sugar and oil for 2 minutes in a stand mixer then add eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture. Turn the mixer on and mix until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.  Pour equally into the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Then allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rakes to finish cooling.

Chocolate cake by Cake Paper Party

4 ounces (114 grams) dark 70% chocolate, broken or coarsely chopped
4 ounces (120 mls) hot espresso

8 ounces (228 grams) unsalted butter, softened
14 ounces (396 grams) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoon (25 mls) vanilla extract
1 ½ ounce (45 grams)  cocoa powder
8 ounces (227 grams) all-purpose/plain flour
1 teaspoon (5mls) baking soda
½ teaspoon (3 mls) salt
8 ½ ounces (240 grams) sour cream

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease and flour 3 8inch cake pans or line with baking paper.
Mix the espresso with the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Microwave for a few seconds if the chocolate doesn’t melt. Set aside to cool to room temp. Beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes in a stand mixer then add eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients and add half to the butter mixture.  Turn the mixer on and mix until just combined. Add half of the sour cream and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and sour cream.  Pour equally into the prepared pans. Bake for 28-32 minutes. Then allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rakes to finish cooling.

Prepare Warren Browns Italian Meringue Buttercream
1 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup water
5 egg whites
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons

Boil 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water over medium heat until it reaches 245. As it cooks begin meringue so it’s ready when syrup is done.
Whip egg whites with a wire whisk in a stand up mixer on high until soft peaks form. About 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup sugar. Beat.
Slowly pour the hot syrup into the meringue steadily with the mixer still on high.
Beat the frosting for 7-10 minutes until the outside of the bowl is room temperature.
Beat in butter by the tablespoon. The butter will deflate the frosting a bit.

To make the Cream cheese Oreo filling

Remove 2/3 of the buttercream and set aside. Take 250g cream cheese, soften and beat well until smooth. With the whisk attachment still attached whisk the cream cheese into the buttercream spoonful by spoonful.
Add 10 crushed oreos and mix in well.

Layer cakes and fill with cream cheese buttercream alternately vanilla cake and chocolate cake.Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes then crumb coat with reserved Italian meringue buttercream. Refrigerate again until firm.

Then frost with remaining buttercream. Crush a few more oreos to decorate the base of the cake. Refrigerate while you prepare the ganache.

Chocolate ganache

250g dark 70% chocolate, coarsely chopped
125ml cream
30g copha, melted

Heat the cream until bubbles form around the edges then pour over chocolate. Stir to melt. Then stir in melted copha. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Pour the ganache over the cake allowing it to drizzle over the edges (encourage drips with a teaspoon or pipe drips while the ganache is pourable).

Decorate as desired.

….hmmm, needs something?

…yes, I know…a dusting of gold powder.

Don’t you think layer cakes just scream celebration!

Ricotta Crumble Tart – November 2015 daring bakers’ challenge

 For the month of November Krista and Nicole of “Two Cups of Sugar.”challenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie.

Cheesecake crumble pie? Sounds rich? Yep, you bet!
 My take on this challenge was to attempt to lighten the dessert by using ricotta for the filling. Ricotta is a wonderful cheese to use in sweet and savoury dishes.  It is lighter in texture and fat than cream cheese and a good source of protein and calcium so makes a great filling for a cheesecake. I had never thought to top it with a crumble but why not and I think it was very successful! Thank you Krista and Nicole of Two Cups of Sugar for hosting this challenge.
To flavour the ricotta filling I delved into my freezer for the glace fruit I have purchased some time ago. These gorgeous little glace oranges would be perfect. So the flavour was decided – orange, dark chocolate with an almond crumble.

Orange, Dark Chocolate and Almond Ricotta Crumble Tart
 (recipe loosely adapted from this recipe from Mindfood)

Pastry

1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
125 g butter, diced
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons chilled water

Process the flour and almond meal with the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs in a food processor. Add the yolk and pulse to combine. Add a little bit of water will the processor is running until the dough comes together in a rough ball. Turn it our onto a floured board and knead lightly until it just comes together. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. Grease a 23cm flan tin with a removable base. Roll out the dough to 3mm thickness between two sheets of baking paper. Line the flan tin with the pastry. This is a very short pastry and for me, it fell apart as I lined the flan tin. However it was easy to patch up here and there. Put in the freezer for 10 minutes. In the meantime preheat the oven to 200C. I actually left the pastry shell in the freezer overnight until I was ready to bake it the next day. Blind bake for 10 minutes them remove paper and weights and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 180C.

Filling

500g ricotta
1/2 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup mascarpone
2 eggs
80g dark chocolate, chopped
140g glace orange
50ml Amaretto liqueur
1 tablespoon cornflour

Process the ricotta and sugar in the food processor until smooth. Add the eggs and whizz until mix in well. Add the Amaretto and cornflour and process to mix. Remove the mixture to a bowl and stir in the dark chocolate and glace orange.

Spoon into the prepare pastry shell and smooth the surface. Bake for 15 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the crumble

1/3 cup plain flour
60g butter
1/3 cup almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Place all ingredients into a processor . Process to combine and roughly chop almonds.

Sprinkle crumble onto the tart and return to bake for another 30 minutes. Turn the oven off. Leave oven door ajar and cool the cheesecake for one hour. Remove from the oven.

Cool before chilling for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!