Creamy Eclairs

Classic me! I had some thickened cream in the fridge from a previous dessert and honestly didn’t want to waste it, like it usually happens. It was pretty early in the morning also, so what could I make that is quick and still delicious?!

ECLAIRS! And yes, it is the easiest and simplest as many of us, more often than not, already have ALL the ingredients for these treats in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS: (makes 10 depending on size)

Choux Pastry:

80 gr butter

250 water

150 flour

3 eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:

200gr thickened cream

1tbsp icing sugar

200gr dark or milk chocolate

Turn oven on 180°. Put butter and water in a saucepan at medium heat. When the butter has melted and the water starts boiling, take off the heat and mix in the flour with a wooden spoon. It should become a compact ball. Then put back on the heat for 1-2 minutes, whilst stirring and moving around the saucepan not to make it burn.

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Take off the heat once again, letting it rest for a couple of minutes and stir in the eggs. Be quick with this process as you don’t want the eggs to cook. It will be very liquid initially but the harder you stir, the quicker it will all combine, becoming a bit sticky ball of pastry.

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Spoon it all in a FABRIC piping bag. It has to be fabric!! The pastry is still very hot, and if you make the mistake, that I once made, of placing it in a plastic one, it will blister and melt open making it all very messy.

Cover a tray with parchment and Pipe long sausage like shapes.

To make both ends even, wet you finger with some water and then gently tap the extremities of the pastry to make it round. Bake for 20 minutes.

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Take out and cut slits on the pastry, lengthwise and let them cool. Melt the chocolate. You can either spoon the chocolate on top of the eclairs or dip the top part in the chocolate directly. Whatever is easiest. Put in the fridge to set.

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Whip the cream still stiff, put in a piping bag with any nozzle you like, to give it some shape. Pipe the cream inside the eclairs from the slits previously made. And you are done! Put in the fridge until ready to serve.

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They are so light and delicious! Had to stop myself from eating them all 🙂

Ciao for now! xox

Sfogliatelle Ricce

Ever since Mike and I started dating, he was always showing off his cooking skills, mainly making fresh pasta to impress the Italian chick! It worked obviously 🙂

He has this Italian Cook Book with the recipe for Sfogliatelle. However, we never got around making them as they take forever to make and they are a bit expensive. Or so we thought. After reading that recipe more carefully, it was clear that the dosage of the ingredients were to make A LOT more than what we wanted and that is why it would’ve been ridiculous. I conducted a little research and found a few other recipes, all very similar, the only thing that changes is the timing to work the pastry. Some say to let it rest for 24 hours others for less.

We learnt what to do and what not to as we started making them. So I will avoid you the pain of doing what we did and actually simplify the process. We were ambitious and thought it would be easy to make the pastry while having it 5 meters long! Here are some pics to prove this ahaha It was fun but it was very challenging to actually roll it into the shapes when that long and heavy to hold.

mike pastry

Please note that this recipe takes almost all day to make.

INGREDIENTS: (makes 20 small approx)

Pastry-

500 gr flour

200 ml water

1 tbsp honey

pinch of salt

250 gr lard

Filling-

175 gr semolina

220gr ricotta

1 egg

1/2 Cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

525ml water

Start with the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl, add the honey, salt and the water little by little. The dough has to result grainy. Compact the dough into a ball, without kneading it. Grease with lard and cover with a damp tea towel. Let rest for 30minutes.

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Knead the pastry without adding any flour, lard or water. It might take a bit of work but knead until it is smooth and has no clumps in it. Make into a ball. Grease with lard, cling wrap it and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

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Roll it out with a rolling pin to give it a rectangular shape. Cut off sections of the pastry and pass them through a pasta machine. The pastry has to be extra thin, so tighten the machine up to the last number available.

Slather the wafer thin pastry with lard and roll it on its self. (The original recipe said to roll it on a rolling pin first then on itself, but we found it to be long and unnecessary step). Wrap two or three of the piece you’ve cut and thinned together. So when you are done rolling one sheet, you work another piece and roll it on the first. We made three rolls in total.

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Wrap in cling and put in the fridge for 4 hours.

 

Make the filling. Boil the water with the salt. Add the semolina and mix quickly. Cook for a few minutes and then let it cool. In another bowl, mix the ricotta, vanilla, sugar and the egg. Add the semolina. Put in the fridge.

Turn oven on 180°. Line some trays. Unwrap the pastry and cut into 2 cm rolls.

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LOOK at those layers!

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Use some lard to grease the outside and help you make the cone shape. Hold the roll horizontally. Push the roll upwards with your thumbs. Careful not to break or divide the layers and make it as even as you can.

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Fill with the ricotta mix and place on the tray.

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Bake for 20 minutes.

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When cooled down, sift icing sugar on top. And they are ready to be devoured!!!These are so yummy, Mike has three on the first go. They do taste like home.

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Enjoy. Ciao for now xox

Cream Puffs Ring Cake

Two Saturdays ago had been a whole day of intense baking. Benedetta and I made two very very different cakes for very different reasons. Both cakes have been taken from Taste.com.au site, this one with slight alterations and the other one, the Pavlova Cheesecake, we had to follow word for word… kinda 😛

This cake was a request from Benedetta her friend’s birthday, so I sadly didn’t try any of the finished product. However I did try each component individually 🙂 This is a really simple dessert.

INGREDIENTS:

60gr butter

185ml water

115 gr flour

3 eggs

300gr custard (ready made)

300gr thickened cream

1 tbsp icing sugar

100gr of chocolate buttons (dark or milk)

1 packet of Oreos (crushed/blitzed into crumbs)

Turn oven on 210°. In a saucepan, melt the butter and the water. When it comes to the boil, sift the flour into it and mix with a wooden spoon. It should become a ball. Let it cook for a couple of minutes, mixing occasionally to move it around the saucepan. Transfer the pastry into a bowl. Add the eggs and beat with an electric whisk until combined. It will be sticky and thick.

Put the pastry in a piping bag. You don’t need a nozzle for this. I greased and lines a round cake tray and piped the pastry into it, following the shape of the tray. In hindsight, I would’ve left a little space between one ball and the other, as they grow in the oven. But it looks really good anyway.

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Put in the oven for 40minutes and let it cool.

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Pour the cream in a bowl, add the icing sugar and beat until whipped and place in a piping bag with a star nozzle.

Cut the cake in half horizontally. Be careful as each piece will detach from each other. Try to keep it as intact as possible.

Fill the base with custard. Pipe the cream on top of the custard in order to see the stars on the outside also, once the cake is covered.

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Cover with the top layer. Melt the chocolate (either in the microwave, 30secs at the time or on the stove). With a fork, distribute the chocolate on the top of the cake so that it falls on the sides also. The messier the better!

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To finish off, cover with the crushed Oreos! YUMMMMMMMMMM the alternative to cookies and cream 🙂

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Ciao for now! xox

Danish Pastries

These days on Food Network they have been advertising this new program about Denmark and Danish foods, from desserts to savoury dishes. They obviously all look amazingly delicious. Remembering my days at uni in the UK, when I would always have breakfast with £1 coffee and £2 apple danish, I felt a bit of nostalgia. I decided to make danish pastry and give it a try. I also had a beach trip organised for Saturday and was ready to make breakfast for everyone on the trip 🙂

You can find the puff pastry recipe here. It is the same one I used for the croissants and it is great. I did find some variations but this was the one I really liked at first and the one that needs the least ingredients, so I am also guessing it is lighter than other that use eggs.

Apart from the puff pastry ingredients, to make the danishes you will need:

INGREDIENTS:

For the glaze-

1 cup of icing sugar (you won’t use it all, have surplus just in case)

1-2 tbsp water

For the cream cheese filling- ( you will a lot more than needed, but you can use this for other recipes or even smear it on top of the already baked pastries as a cream)

220gr cream cheese

10gr butter, melted

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp sugar

For the topping-

canned apricots and/or frozen mixed berries

Make the puff pastry first.

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Now while it is resting in the fridge, after the folding it at least three times, make the cream cheese filling. Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. You can put it in the fridge until the pastry is ready to fill.

Now, I made different shapes for this just to try them out. Roll the pastry out making it at least 1 cm high. It will keep on growing even once you rolled it out.

 

Cut the first square. Cut the corners diagonally towards the centre. Fold each of the outer corners towards the centre and set aside on a greased parchment and cover.

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Cut another square and fold the corners towards the centre. Set aside with others.

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Lastly, cut yet another square. Cut the inside of the top left corner as to make a frame and then cut the bottom right corner the same way. Fold each corner to the opposite side, one on top of the other. Use all the pastry to make these different shapes.

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Turn oven on 180°. Let them rise for at least another 10 minutes and then top with cream cheese and the chosen fruit. Put in the oven for 15mins.

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Now prepare the glaze. Start with a 1 tbsp of water and then add as much icing sugar as needed (usually 3-4tbsp) to reach a thick, white glaze. To make the glaze thicker add sugar, to make it more liquid add water.

 

With a fork, let the glaze drip on the pastry with back-forward movement.IMG_1839

And there you have it. If you are not planning on eating them the same day, I recommend putting them in the fridge as they do have cream cheese on them. You can microwave them (30secs) or put them in the oven for brekkie or a snack. They are still really good.

 

Ciao for now! xox

Lemon Meringue Profiteroles-Bignè

Second day in a row of baking, it has been a great weekend so far! Another dinner and more food to eat and prepare! I have made these desserts separately and in different ways but I’ve combined them and they actually worked really well together, had a very balanced taste, with very lemony flavours inside the profiteroles and marshmallow top 🙂

INGREDIENTS:Makes 15-16

For the Curd 

Juice of two lemons

3/4 sugar

3 eggs (beaten)

60gr butter

For the profiteroles 

50gr butter

125ml water

80gr flour

2 eggs (beat

For the meringue/marshmallow  

3 egg whites

3/4 sugar

1 tsp lemon juice (you can get this from the previous 2 lemons)

1 tsp cream of tartar

en)Make the curd first of all. Place a saucepan on medium heat and mix in eggs, sugar and juice. Leave on for 2-3 minutes or until it simmers and starts become of a dense consistency. Stir continuously. Take off the heat and sieve in a new clean bowl to eliminate the over cooked egg bits. While still hot, melt in the butter until completely dissolved. Cover with cling wrap and let it cool.

For the profiteroles. Turn on oven at 180°. In a saucepan on medium heat, place water and butter. Once it starts simmering, add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon . It should become a ball quite quickly and let it cook over the stove for a minute or 2, then remove it from the heat.

Add the eggs and quickly mix . it will be very liquid and clumpy at the beginning but keep on mixing until it is all well combined and has a sticky consistency but compact.

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Pour the pastry in a piping bag. I used a macaroon tray to make them all the same size. However, what I usually do, is line a normal flat tray with parchment and then pipe the profiteroles there. I sprayed the tray and piped in each space.

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Seen as they have those pointy tops, wet your finger with some water and gently tap the tip down to make it rounder. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

 

Place on a cooling rack and with a knife make holes at the bottom of the pastries where the curd will be piped in.

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While they are cooling make the meringue. Beat the egg whites, and slowly add in sugar, cream of tartar and lemon juice until it reaches a fluffy and stiff consistency.

Pour the curd in a piping bag (it will be quite liquid since I didn’t put it in the fridge and added an extra lemon, but it’s perfect for this!) and pipe in the pastries 🙂

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Turn the oven to grill. Place all the pastries on a tray (doesn’t have to be greased or lines) and pipe the meringue on them.

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Place in the oven for 2-3minutes. Keep an eye on them or they could burn (like my first ones, I used some testers to see how long it would take). They smell amazing and the whole house smelled like cooked marshmallows 🙂

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Aren’t they cute!?

So there you have it. enjoy ciao for now! xox

Next I think I will try making Bagels 😀

Flaky MilleFeuille

Croissants was only the first step! The real deal has happened today.

This also I left overnight due to time constraints, but this can be done in the same day not a problem.

I have been suggested to add toasted pecans or chocolate drops to make crunchier 🙂 will do next time, thank for the tip mom ❤

INGREDIENTS:

For the puff pastry:

250gr flour

250 gr butter (room temp not melted)

150ml iced water

For the creme patissiere

4 yolks

100gr sugar

40gr flour

500ml milk

lemon zest

icing sugar for dusting

Start with the puff as it will take the longest.

In a bowl sift the flour and rub in the butter. Make sure there are big chunks of butter when you add the water. Mix the dough until it’s combined but still rough. Cover the bowl with cling and put it in the fridge until it sets (20mins).

In the meantime, put the lemon zest in the milk and warm it in the microwave for a minute. Sieve the milk to eliminate the zest.

In a saucepan at medium heat whisk yolks and sugar until pale. Add the flour and then add the milk. Leave on the heat for 3-4 minutes constantly mixing. Remove from heat, cover with cling and let it cool.

Take the dough out. On a floured surface knead the dough. With a rolling pin work it into a rectangle shape (50x25cm). Fold the dough, top and bottom parts towards the middle and then fold on itself. Cover with cling and put in the fridge for 20mins or more if it needs it.

  
 Roll the dough from the short side facing you. This process needs to be repeated 3 times.

Turn the oven on 180°. Flatten the dough into the same rectangle shape, cut off the irregular sides to make it a perfect rectangle. Cut four strips of dough.

  
Place two at the time in a tray and bake for 15mins.

 Once they are cooled, place one layer in a serving dish and cover with the creme. Do this until you finish the layers. Cover the last layer of puff with icing sugar.

 
  Volià! Ready to eat 🙂 🙂  

 

Enjoy..Ciao for now! xox

Buttery Croissants

I had a thousand ideas of what to make this weekend but of course I kept on changing my mind. There is BBQ on Sunday and I wanted to try making a millefeuille with chantilly, (that might be my next post!), but I’ve never tried making puff pastry and all the recipes keep on stating that it is 5stars in difficulty. So…..

Why not try on myself but with something similar… I did follow some of Jamie Oliver’s steps but some I went with the flow.

INGREDIENTS: (this take a while to make, 3-4 hours maybe)

500gr plain flour

7gr dry yeast

1 tsp salt

150ml warm water

200ml warm milk

200gr+50gr butter cold!

Mix dry ingredients and rub in 50gr butter. 

 Make a well in the middle and pour water and milk and start mixing. On a highly floured surface knead the dough, stretching it, making sure the yeast activates. Once it reaches a smooth and elastic consistency, place in a grease bowl, cover it with cling and put aside in a warm place. I put it in the oven with the light on for an hour at least. 

 Get the 200gr butter and place it in the middle of two cling sheets. With a rolling pin, beat it until it flattens out. try to maintain a rectangular shape to it. And put in the fridge again. 

    
   
Once the dough has doubled in size, place it on floured surface and knead. Roll it to reach 50×25 shape 

 Then place the butter in the middle. Close the dough like a parcel, by folding both sides towards the centre. 

    
 Turn it so the short side is facing you and roll it again. Now, fold the top part to the middle and the bottom part and then fold on itself. Cover with cling and put in the fridge until the butter sets again, so 30min-1hour. 

    
 You need to do this process 3-4 times, with resting times in between. I left the dough in the fridge overnight, but you don’t need to.

Once that is done, roll it out as much as you can leaving a thickness of 5mm approx. Cut the edges off, as they will be irregular. Now, I was not following any pictures or anything so I made it up as I went. Cut triangles from the strip of dough you made. 

   
If the triangles are a bit uneven, you can pull them slightly to reach the desired shape. I made all mine different sizes, which was not done on purpose but it’s the taste that counts right now! 😛

Take the shortest side and roll it towards the tip and then tuck in delicately.   

  You can see from the sides that the layers have been successfully achieved!  
Place all these beauties on a grease and floured parchment, cover with a DRY tea towel and leave for another hour at least. 

   
Once they have risen. you can bake them for 15min at 180°.

And Voilà! Aren’t they cute!!! 🙂 And they taste AMAZING. So simple, yet so time consuming! 

   
Enjoy! Ciao for now! xox

Apple Roses

Happy Monday everyone!

yes… I am writing this as procrastination from my assignments… to be fair I finished one (and have other 6 to go) BUT I can take a small break for now 🙂

I’ve seen these a couple of months ago and decided to give it a try. They are super easy to make and it took me 20 mins (plus 30 mins in the oven)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 12 roses)

Jam (whichever you fancy, I used strawberry as usual!)

juice from a Lemon (I used the bottled lemon juice)

2 apples (depending on how many you want to make  you can add more)

puff pastry sheets (depending on how big they are you might need more or less, with one sheet i made 6 roses)

flour for the puff

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turn oven on 180°.

Cut the apple in half and take heart and end off with a knife. Cut them in very thin slices.

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Place in a saucepan with the lemon juice, cover and let it simmer in low heat. Once the apples are soft, take off the heat and drain them.

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Work on the puff pastry, stretch it out with a rolling pin and cut in 6 thin strips. Mix the jam with a tsp of water to make it more liquid, and spread it on the strips. Get the apples slices and place them on the top half of the strips. Place each slice one next the other and have each slightly overlapping the next.

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now you can start rolling 🙂 Be careful not to let the apple slices slip out!

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Once you are done you can slightly pull out the slices to give it more of a rose shape.

I put all the roses in the cupcake tray in a cupcake liner, so it wouldn’t be too messy.

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Put in the oven for 20-30 mins.

Take out and sprinkle with some icing sugar and Voilà!

B.E.A.Utiful! 🙂

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Enjoy! Coming up next, recipes for the Biggest Morning Tea charity against cancer.

Ciao for now! xox

Chocolate wraps

Good morning!

It has been indeed a long time.. too long actually. As usual whilst trying and hoping for some inspiration to hit me to write a self reflection (why the hell do they make us write these things?) I found something else to do 🙂

I found an italian recipe but I changed it and made some sort of cookie instead.

INGREDIENTS:

250 g flour+ some extra to work with whilst kneading

30 g sugar+ extra to sprinkle

125ml milk

50 gr soft butter

1 egg yolk

200 gr chocolate (jam or chocolate spread)

Oven on at 220°

In a bowl mix flour, sugar milk and combine until it becomes a smooth dough then add the butter. Make a ball and let it rest for half an hour. Sprinkle some flour on a counter top and knead the dough. Roll the dough out, make it 1-2 cm thick and then cut it into rectangles.

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I made half of the dough rectangles and half squares so I could make different shapes 🙂

Once you have all your squares, place chocolate in the middle and fold. There is no right or wrong way of doing it so you can be as creative as you like.

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Once folded, place on a baking tray, brush the egg yolk over the cookie and sprinkle with some sugar

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Leave in the over for 15 mins.

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If I could make some suggestions:

make them much smaller! Maybe so they can contain only one square of chocolate, once they are cooked they are pretty heavy.

Hope you enjoy!

Coming up next, 50 chocolate cupcakes with a special design! 🙂

Ciao for now! xx