Posts Tagged ‘dessert

30
Dec
11

Green and Black Fruit Salad

This salad is a continuously tasty one to pack in bag lunches. Before I worked from home, I ate it just about every day for dessert at work, and it helped me avoid the crash I’d get if I indulged with a snack from the vending machine. It’s inspired by a fruit salad I had at Nectar Fine Teas here in Ottawa as part of their high tea. What makes it unique is the syrup the salad is dressed with – at Nectar, it was a jasmine tea and lime syrup. At home, I make a syrup with Stash green tea and lime zest, which really brightens the flavour of the fruit. Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of melon in fruit salad, but the honeydew works well here.

Fruit_salad

Green and Black Fruit Salad

Makes 2 generous servings

1/2 pint container of blackberries

2 kiwifruits, peeled and diced

A large handful of grapes, halved

1/4 honeydew melon, peeled, seeded and diced, or balled with a melon baller

2 tablespoons Green Tea and Lime Syrup (recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine the blackberries, diced kiwifruits, grapes, and melon. Toss together to evenly distribute the fruit. Drizzle the syrup over and toss to combine. Serve.

Syrup

Green Tea and Lime Syrup

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

zest of 1 lime

1 green tea bag

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. (Note: if you like your syrup to have a lighter consistency, add 1 cup water). Bring to a boil over medium heat, then shut off the heat. Add the lime zest and tea bag and remove saucepan from heat. Let steep for 10 minutes. Taste and let steep longer if necessary. Remove tea bag and decant into a bottle or jar. The syrup will keep for a few months in the fridge. The syrup can also be used to flavour and sweeten cocktails and tea.

19
Nov
11

Haunted Forest Cake (Happy Birthday, Northern Army!)

October 27th was local design agency Northern Army‘s first birthday, and I was asked to make them a cake to commemorate the occasion, ideally incorporating their logo. I’d recently been toying with the idea of a spicy black forest cake, and this seemed like the ideal opportunity to finalize the recipe.

I made 3 square cake layers using the recipe below. The icing was a similar combination to the one I used for my Cupcake Camp Cupcakes – I find it eliminates the chalky mouthfeel I get from using a simple buttercream. I layered the cake with thick layers of frosting (next time, I’m making the icing batch bigger so I can get a better ratio of cake to icing). I printed out the Northern Army letters at about 320 pt Helvetica Bold, cut them out, and laid them on rolled-out white fondant. I cut the letters out of the white, then rolled out a full tub of Duff’s Black Fondant that I got at Michaels. I covered the cake, then cut the letters out of the black. I laid the white letters where the black cutouts were to make a relatively flush surface. To make it shiny, I brushed the cake all over with kirsch.

Haunted Forest Cake with Cherry-Kirsch Frosting

3/4 cups cocoa, sifted

1 1/4 cups hot water

2/3 cup sour cream

3 cups pastry flour or type 00 flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tbsp instant espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease 3 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa and instant espresso powder. Add the hot water and whisk until smooth. Add the sour cream and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Whisk to ensure ingredients are combined.

In a large bowl, cream the softened butter. Add the granulated and brown sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla bean paste.

In 2 or 3 additions, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the cocoa. Begin and end with the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake at 325º F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan to cool completely before frosting.

Cherry-Kirsch frosting

Adapted from Demolition Desserts

1 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons whipping cream

5 cups sifted icing sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons kirsch, divided

3 egg whites, at room temperature

pinch salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons invert sugar

1 cup cherry jam

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until creamy. Add the whipping cream and mix. Reduce speed to low and add icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix in the salt, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of the kirsch. Set buttercream frosting aside.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, salt, granulated sugar and invert sugar. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Using a hand mixer, mix for seven minutes, or until white, glossy, and thick. Remove from heat and add kirsch. Let cool slightly.

Purée cherry jam until smooth. Mix into the buttercream frosting until thoroughly incorporated. Fold the seven-minute frosting into the buttercream mixture until combined.

Use this mixture to frost the haunted forest cakes. Garnish or decorate cakes as desired and serve.

Makes 1 3-layer cake or 6 dozen mini cupcakes.

18
Nov
11

Frangelico Balls

For a recent Fancy Party, I wanted to make rum balls. However, I wanted to make them taste a little more nuanced and elegant, so I decided to base the flavour profile on hazelnuts and spices. For the liquor, I used Frangelico, and I replaced the usual vanilla wafer or Oreo crumbs with Speculaas crumbs, using a delicious recipe from Baked. I think gingersnap or gingerbread crumbs would also work well here.

Frangelico_balls

Frangelico Balls

1 cup Speculaas cookies, chopped to crumbs in a food processor

1 cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts, chopped

1 cup sifted icing sugar

2 tbsp Dutch process cocoa

1/4 cup Frangelico

1 1/2 tbsp invert sugar, honey, or corn syrup

water

chocolate sprinkles, ground hazelnuts, or other coating

In a food processor, pulse together the Speculaas crumbs, hazelnuts, icing sugar and cocoa until uniform.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Frangelico and invert sugar. Add to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until a dough comes together. Cover the dough and chill the mixture for at least 4 hours.

Place some water in a bowl and the coating in a shallow dish. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Dunk in the water, then roll in the chocolate sprinkles. Repeat until all the dough is rolled.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes about 70 Frangelico balls.