Microwave Cake? – Passionfruit Sponge with Marinated Berries and Whipped Cream

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Market fresh Aussie passionfruit mmmmm!

C’mon,  I’ve baked for many, many (toooo many!) years, and yes, I’ve owned and loved using a microwave for at least 25 years.

yuk calvin face
Like, really?  Microwave cake??

But, babe!  You know it, I know it, how come everyone on Masterchef doesn’t know it?  YOU CAN’T BAKE A CAKE WITH A MICROWAVE.  What is going on people?

There has been the inevitable, take over of the world, of microwave mug recipes.  Late night or quick dessert fixes, I get it;  I really do!  I even bought my daughter a mug cake recipe book for Christmas.  But, microwave sponges seem to be the biggest thing since Matt Preston, himself!  I am dragging my ‘Vans’, I know, but traditional techniques are what I taught myself, so even though this recipe is from 2014…

http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/masterchef/recipes/80-40-20–passionfruit-sponge–marinated-berries–whipped-cream

I’m testing it out, ‘coz I have been sucked in by the hype, over 1500 people have rated it 4 stars, and I NEED to know!!

How ironic that my ramekins were too big and I had to use teacups!
After 40 seconds in a 1100 watt microwave and it isn’t cooked
Another 20 seconds has done it
Ran a knife around the edges but it is still a little rustic when turned out

 

Texture was a little dense and rubbery but quite acceptable to eat warm with cream and berry compote as the recipe suggests.

 

Cooled to stale cake consistency after about an hour, dry and hard

 

Bliss

“Definitely a mug cake.  Great eaten warm but a little bouncy and slightly dense.  Tastes great and is a perfect, quick treat for pudding.  Cools to stale cake consistency within an hour.”

Taste heart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

Texture heart emojiheart emoji

Do I have a good recipe for…heart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

DeleteRedNot a recipe I would do gluten free.  The texture would suffer even more with any substitutions

tickUnrefined sugar substitution suitable.  Raw castor sugar or Stevia would work well.

tickRecipe as written, is nut free.

 tickI would be happy to substitute any kind of vegetable or nut oil for the butter in this recipe

when nothing goes right go  left
Image from www.upnorth.com

What would I change? Hmmm, probably it’s name!  It is a great warm pudding or mug cake but would I call it a sponge cake?  Probably not.  It also needed 50-60 seconds in my 1100 watt microwave on high, not the 40 seconds as written in the recipe.

The flavour was great and would definitely have been great with the Chantilly cream. I personally wouldn’t want to serve the passionfruit pudding with berry coulis though.

To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with double or triple cream or even a custard.  I think a matcha infused custard with white chocolate, would have been gorgeous with this little pudding!

This recipe has definitely not convinced me that I can make cake in a microwave.

I hope you  have enjoyed this recipe review, and found it useful?  Would love to hear what you think.

See you next time😉 X

Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake

Have you dared to try it?
I’ve put it off for years but the time for testing and tasting is finally here!

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Beetroot in a cake??!!!

‘Chocolate beetroot cake,’ has been a phrase that has both intrigued and repulsed me for YEARS!   No, I just couldn’t do it.  So many opportunities to do a trial and so many reasons to not go there. Please, don’t get me wrong, I am a big beetroot fan in its many of its guises; most importantly; a burger is no burger of mine without it.  But, no matter how many people said a beetroot chocolate cake was all kinds of wonderful, I just couldn’t make the leap….until today.

When I decided to listen to my family and post reviews of the recipes I tested, I knew there were 2 recipes that I have avoided for decades yet, never been able to let go of.

Time to make the plunge; this Moist Chocolate Beet Cake recipe is originally by Nigel Slater but I found it via David Lebovitz website.  I followed the recipe to the letter, although I did not have an 8 inch springform so used a 7 inch and had batter left over.  You definitely need an 8 inch and in fact I probably could have used a 9 inch pan.

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Beautiful, just set and wobbly in the centre
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Sank a little while cooling. Not a big deal. Maybe another 5 minutes in the oven?
IMG_5821 cropped
Looking pretty with the entire tub of creme fraiche poured over it, and sprinkled with poppy seeds

 

 

Bliss

 

“A beautifully textured cake, full of deep chocolate flavour and just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cocoa. If you  like chocolate and beetroot paired, this is a spectacular recipe!  For the adventurous, definitely try it, you might find you enjoy it.”

Taste heart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

Texture heart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

Do I have a good recipe for…heart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

tickGluten free substitution suitable.   I would feel happy to bake this cake with a gluten free flour substitute.  It may have a slightly gummy feel to it though.  Another option would be to substitute half almond meal and half gluten free flour.  I feel all almond meal would change the texture too much.

tickUnrefined sugar substitution suitable.  This cake would actually take on a whole new complexity of flavour using coconut sugar or rapadura sugar.  The caramel flavours of these sugars would really give you a lovely depth of flavour.  To avoid grittiness, process the sugar until it is finer before you use them.  Raw castor sugar or Stevia would also work.

tickRecipe as written, is nut free.

DeleteRed Not dairy free.  The flavour that is added by this amount of butter would make it difficult to change out for anything else.

when nothing goes right go  left
Image from www.upnorth.com

What would I change?  As a chocolate beet cake it was beautiful, I wouldn’t change it at all.  Although, I found the flavour of beetroot had mellowed even more after 2-3 days.Since I am a big believer of allowing chocolate cakes time to develop in flavour, I would even consider making it 2 days ahead of serving.

I personally, would consider cutting the beetroot with some green apple to help smooth the transition between chocolate and beetroot.  But hey, that’s just me!

To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with sour cream on the side to give it a punchier flavour and a creamier accompaniment.  Creme fraiche was a little bit delicate in flavour and texture for me and I didn’t really think the poppy seeds did anything for it.  I would consider a really airy cream cheese frosting for it as well, but it would definitely have to be whipped within an inch of its life!

Wow, so there it is; Nigel Slater’s Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake.  What a great start!

I hope you  have enjoyed my first recipe review, and found it useful?  Would love to hear what you think.

See you next time😉 X

PS if you are looking to get a springform pan, it is definitely worth spending a little bit more money to get one that won’t leak!
This is a link to Amazon.com, for a particularly highly rated tin by Kaiser, that won’t break the bank.


Kaiser Bakeware Noblesse 8-Inch Round Non-Stick Springform Pan

Have you got a good recipe for…?

Trials and tribulations, we all have them; they never stop coming at us.

But, when we go looking for trials…well, that is another matter altogether!  Usually, I am not expecting tribulations to come along with these trials though🙂

Lucille Ball chocolate face
Yep, sometimes things just don’t work out!

I get asked for recipes, A LOT!  And, since the only way I actually find good recipes is by trialling them, I thought you might like to see what I trial, how they turn out and how I rate them.

In fact, the internet is so choc-a-block full of recipes that it is nearly impossible for you to know if they are really any good so, if you have any recipes that you have had your eye on and you would like me to trial and rate, send them through to0!  I’ll pick and choose some to bake up and post.

I’m also going to pop a little tick box section about whether the recipe is, or can, substitute ingredients for;

gluten free

unrefined sugar

dairy free

nut free

I have yet to come across a really good substitute for egg so at this point I don’t feel confident to add that to the list.  (if you have any recipes you would like me to trial for eggless cake, PLEASE shoot it through!  I’ve trialled some really bad ones blech!!!)

I am aiming to post my first recipe review on Saturday, and I would love your feedback!.

Cheers L x

 

Josephine Baker Jaffa

Allen’s Jaffas, staple of all Aussie kid’s lolly bags; that was all this cake was going to be about.Simple to make, accessible and relatable, that’s what we want, isn’t it?

But, as I wandered around the market, all I could see were ‘slurp-alicious’, juicy, sweet navel oranges. Fresh juice and zest with Dutch cocoa, were always going to be a part of a Jaffa cake but the more I thought about it the more I needed to make some home made, fresh orange juice jelly to give it zing. I smothered it all in dark chocolate ganache and KAPOW🙂, I had it.

Rich, fudgy, full of real, fresh, flavours.

Zingy, fresh orange juice jelly cuts through a rich and fudgy, jaffa flavoured, chocolate cake.
Zingy, fresh orange juice jelly cuts through a rich and fudgy, jaffa flavoured, chocolate cake.

Now I had caked myself into a corner; with all this real, home made style flavour and texture; how was I going to incorporate my bag of supermarket lollies?  Jaffas are most notable as being the confection of choice in the day, to be rolled down cinema aisles (yes, pre-carpet!) and thrown at people from the balconies?!  Besides eat the whole lot myself I just couldn’t see how I was going to use them.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love my supermarket lollies, or else I wouldn’t have bought them to make the cake in the first place, but I was feeling really stuck now.

As I was playing around, a  little skirt of Jaffas started building up around the cake and suddenly….
I thought of Josephine Baker!

Beautiful, graceful and elegant Josephine Baker
Beautiful, graceful and elegant Josephine Baker

Her incredible style, grace and beauty contrasted with her sense of humour and willingness to do (and wear) the bizarre and ridiculous; the idea just somehow seemed to work with this juxtaposition of home made and commercial flavours and textures.

Josephine's famous banana skirt!
Josephine’s famous banana skirt!

Call me mad, but I topped the cocoa dusted cake with a little kiss curl of Jaffas and some pretty flowers, and thought it worked great!  All in the Josephine Baker tradition of  beauty and artistic expression through the quirky, and the contrasting.

 

Crazy combination that works... I think?!
Crazy combination that works… I think?!

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Kooky, quirky and humorous Josephine Baker.  What would she think?
Kooky, quirky and humorous Josephine Baker. What would she think?
    Bliss’ delicious Josephine Baker Jaffa Cake, what do you think Jo Jo?

Feel free to drop me a comment if you would like me to post the recipe!

If you are enjoying being ‘blissed’, don’t forget to subscribe to my email list or follow me on wordpress to see all my latest ramblings🙂

 

 

“Princess”, The ‘Pain In The Arse’ Sourdough Starter

Once upon a time, there was an innocent, novice, bread baker who started to notice a little chill in the air. The days began to grow shorter, and the leaves on the trees turned yellow. She knew Autumn had arrived, and those long cold days of Winter were only just around the corner.
As always, her thoughts turned to food. She reminisced fondly of the previous Winter; great steaming bowls of veggie packed soups, served with toasted slices of sourdough bread, mmmmm. That simple combination made for delicious and healthy lunches, while fulfilling the comfort factor that was required to satisfy her soul in the middle of Winter, even when served over the stainless steel bench of the staff cafeteria.

Hot and hearty soup with a slice or two of sourdough on the side. Ooooh, great Winter lunch!
Hot and hearty soup with a slice or two of sourdough on the side. Ooooh, great Winter lunch!

But wait, a marvellous thought came to our idealistic baking heroine! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to bake her own sourdough bread, warm and inviting, ready to be sliced and toasted, to serve with nourishing bowls of goodness ladled from great steaming pots. Her minds eye could see the great soup vat sitting atop the old wood fired, kitchen stove, wafting steam and emanating wonderful aromas, that seemed to be an invisible invitation to all and sundry; “Come, pull up a chair around the great wooden table and sup ’til you are filled.” A truly vivid imagination does our innocent bread baker have, given that she knows full well only 2 people in her entire extended family of 10, will come anywhere close to eating sourdough bread with soup for a meal. (and, she has no such wood fired stove!)
But, our heroine is nothing if not tenacious. Her single minded determination, to make a sourdough bread that she felt was of standard, led her to reach her hand into the dark recesses of the fridge and pull out a sourdough starter that had taken up residence in the back of the fridge.
Oh what a sad, sorry and *’hooch’ drowned sight that starter was! Our novice bread baker had neglected the poor starter due to ignorance (and a punishing work/family schedule!), and was immediately faced with a long, slow road to try and breathe life back into the struggling mass of living beings she had so cheerfully thrown together several months before.
She dutifully fed and watered said mess, and waited…and waited. Not surprisingly, in hindsight, nothing much happened.

*Hooch is the liquid that separates from the starter.

Many, many websites were read, to find the answer to her dilemma, but it was all so confusing!
One writer wrote of the confusion for novice sourdough bakers being that they keep too much starter. Our innocent baker would say that the crux of the confusion for novices is that there is too much freedom in the world of sourdough bread!
What is the one best way to feed a starter? The one best recipe? The one best technique? The one best flour?
It doesn’t exist, of course!
The whole point of sourdough bread is that it is baking bread using only natural yeast, as the ancients did. Which ancients are they, our intrepid heroine asked? Whichever, bread eating ancient civilisation, you may wish to poke a stick at, is the general answer!

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This is the loaf we have liked the best so far. Thick chewy crust, spongey texture, and a mild refined taste.

So, in her Zen sourdough moment, when the light finally penetrated through the fog, the answer was revealed to her.
All techniques, all cultural differences, and all things are equal. You need to find your own path.

The innocent little baker, was delighted! She was free, free to be herself; to learn and create.
Oh, you should have seen her scouring websites with renewed vigour in order to understand the science, trying to digest the ramblings of water and flour ratios. Wrapping her head around the intricacies of activating a fridge bound starter, and since she is actually a biologist at heart; throwing herself into experiments to mark the timing of growth and visually interpreting the different stages of her starter sponge.

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My happy little girl, bubbling and gurgling away. Now that I know how to make her happy!

Then, one afternoon, she stumbled upon the fact, that it is traditional (somewhere or another) to name your starter. Of course…it is a living thing after all!

It was actually an easier task than she had imagined. She had read of people giving their aspirating, wet, doughy lumps, such uncouth names as, “Creature” or “Thing” and no matter how she considered it, that train of thought just didn’t seem right to her. In a flash of genius, over a hot cup of tea, she realized that her starter was;

  • born of white flour and *honey, with a little help from commercial yeast
  • a pain in her arse
  • that she had no idea how to make it happy
  • it had taken a considerable amount of investment on her behalf to learn about its moods
  • it took forever to get ready when she needed it
  • it was refined and didn’t smell too bad😉

and, that no matter all its shortcomings, she loved it!

*Honey is a stupid choice, as it is an antimicrobial and we are trying to grow yeast and bacteria! Who came up with that recipe?

157a4-lumpy-space-princess

“Princess” was an obvious choice🙂

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Princess has now leavened (slowly, ‘though successfully) 4 loaves of mild and refined white, sourdough bread to the bakers great delight! Lovely toasted and perfect for soup, yes, there was success for our happy baker!

Bliss!

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The most beautiful loaf so far! Who is the fairest of them all?

PS: For those who may be interested, I am noting down a few things that I learned about feeding and starting Princess, I hope it helps you in your journey, and if not, at least I have it all written down for my own reference!!

To feed only
Keep 30g of Princess and throw the rest away
Mix in 30g of water, incorporating plenty of air
Mix in 24g of plain flour and 6g of rye flour
Leave to sit on bench for at least an hour
Refrigerate

To build up enough Princess for baking
Take Princess out of the fridge 2 nights before you wish to bake
Empty all of Princess out into large bowl
Mix in 65g water, incorporating plenty of air
Mix in 65g plain flour
Cover loosely and leave overnight

Next morning
Mix in 125g water, incorporating plenty of air
Mix in 125g plain flour
Cover loosely and leave for the day

That evening
Up to 250g of Princess is ready to be mixed into bread recipe to be rested over night!
Spoon 30g of Princess into clean jar and feed according to feed only instructions, ready for next bake.

If you are enjoying being ‘blissed’, don’t forget to subscribe to my email list or follow me on wordpress to see all my latest ramblings🙂

 

“You know nothing, John Snow!” Chocolate and Brandied Dates, Butterscotch Pudding- Recipe

I’m so excited, I can’t breathe and yet it is still a month away….give me back Game of Thrones….puhleeeeese.

(Sorry, I needed to keep that original sentence in, even though the new season started 3 weeks ago!  Sometimes, nothing but pure passion can really reflect a moment in time!)

I have been wanting to put together an inspired dessert since the last season ended and no matter how I cut it. I couldn’t stop thinking about John Snow. Okay, young, handsome, committed to the greater cause, and just a touch innocent, I am sure that had nothing to do with my choice…at all!

Ahhhh, you know nothing, until you try chocolate ganache butterscotch cake.
Ahhhh, you know nothing, until you try chocolate and brandied dates, butterscotch pudding.

 

This dessert came to me completely instinctually, brandied dates and chocolate just kept coming up as the heart, so I went with it. Dusky and warm with a distinctly individual sweetness, mmm I can see how a little bit of Master Snow has crept into my foodie subconscious!
Wrap it all in an innocent and meltingly, smile inducing, butterscotch pudding, you know, the kind that puts a little smile on your face just thinking about it? You know, the same feelings, that your first crush used to give you?

Ha ha ha!  Let’s give it a go then, I don’t see how it can’t work🙂

I know that there is nothing medieval about this recipe at all, in fact the base pudding recipe is so common you could find it on a million websites (ok, yes I changed it just a tiny bit!).  But, who cares when this recipe is so easy, you can make it, dish it out and curl up on your couch, just in time to revel in adding a whole extra layer of enjoyment to watching this great epic!

John Snow Pudding Recipe

4 dried dates

1-2 tablespoons of good quality brandy

approx 150g  50% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped

Pudding
1 cup self raising flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
60g melted butter
1/2 cup milk

Sauce
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1.2 cups water
30g butter

  1. Preheat oven to 170 Celsius.
  2. Soak chopped dates in brandy for about 20 minutes and place into the base of 4 greased ramekins.
  3. Place all pudding ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Stir through chopped chocolate.
  4. Divide pudding mix into the 4 ramekins
  5. Place all sauce ingredients into a small saucepan over a medium heat.  Stir until butter has melted.
  6. Pour sauce over the back of a spoon, onto the pudding mix.  Equally divide sauce into the 4 ramekins.
  7. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and spoon a dollop of triple cream on top.

Fluff your cushions, grab a spoon, make sure your remote control is within reach, turn on Game of thrones,  take your first mouthful…now you know!

John Snow Chocolate and Brandied dates, Butterscotch Pudding mmmmmm🙂

 

 

Could You Have The Time To Make Mini Chocolate Brioche Rolls for Brunch? Bliss ‘How To’ Recipe For Busy People

Warm Brioche, soft and buttery. Indulgent breakfast food :) It's a far cry from muesli!!
Warm Brioche, soft and buttery. Indulgent breakfast food🙂 It’s a far cry from muesli!!


Brrrriiiiiioche
, even the act of saying the word is sexy and indulgent.  It was the kind of bread my mother turned her nose up at, “too rich, too much butter….”,  and if that is your belief, this post is not for you.  However, if like me, you believe those phrases were invented purely to pique your interest, please, come into my parlour! 

I had dreamed of brioche, and fantasized about it’s buttery delights long before it was available here in Melbourne.  At that time, I could only use my imagination to envisage how magical this egg and butter enriched, fluffy bun must be.  I would, as I grew, be able to travel halfway across the city to buy croissants, freshly baked, by a real French baker, but being ever so entranced by my croissants, I never did ask to buy a brioche!  It would be many years until I would be brave enough to try my hand at baking bread, and since I never fancied myself as any good, I always left the brioche of my fantasies, right where it had always been, only in my dreams.

Dreamy brioche with a gooey chocolate heart. Straight out of the oven.
Dreamy brioche with a gooey chocolate heart. Straight out of the oven.

If I had followed my food dreams as a teen, I certainly would have apprenticed as a patissier. When I look back, the number of cookbooks I picked up when I was younger, and the number of recipes I tried to emulate astounds me. Yes, a ‘can do’ attitude will lead you to mistakes and disappointment, as I discovered when I tried to make my own croissants at the age of 16, in the middle of a hot Melbourne Summer, with no airconditioning! 

However, the call of patisserie has been like a Siren song across the years, something I would succumb to and, dabble in occasionally, but always with the hard-won, knowledge that pastry making was developed for those with time and patience.  Yep, something that busy working Mum’s are never in great supply of!

So, armed with Bernard Clayton Jr’s recipe for brioche, (yes, a practical and highly regarded, American baker), and an eye on the clock, I am providing a ‘how to’ guide for getting brioche’s hot out of the oven for Sunday brunch.

Bernard Clayton’s Brioche (yeah okay, I made some very, very minor changes!)

Friday or Saturday Night (approx. 20 minutes of work time) :

a) Before you start cooking dinner, (if you sleep early, or if you have very young kids). 

b) Or, After you have finished dinner, and before you start anything else (maybe sitting down to watch TV?!);

4 cups plain flour

3 Tblspns (15ml) sugar

2  Tspns salt

1 package of dry yeast

1/4 cup full cream milk powder

1/2 cup warm water

230g butter (room temp)

4 extra large eggs

Into a large mixer bowl pour 1 cup of flour, the other dry ingredients, anbd water.  Beat in the mixer for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add the butter and continue beating to blend together.

Add a second cup of flour. Mix thoroughly.  Add the eggs, one at a time and the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time beating after each addition.

The dough will be soft and sticky, and it must be beaten until all ingredients have been well incorporated..

Attach a dough hook to your mixer.

Turn the mixer on medium.  The dough hook will seem to turn aimlessly, but soon the dough will begin to come away from the sides.  Be patient.  Mix for a total of 10 minutes. 

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 2 hrs.

Later that evening (approx. 10 minutes of work time) :

a) After cooking, eating and possibly clearing up after dinner, (but definitely before you do little kids bath and bedtime). 

b) Or, after about 1 1/2 -2 hrs of clearing dinner, and other ‘stuff’ (reading, surfing or watching TV if you are lucky!);

Marvel at how your dough has risen to about double the size!

Take off plastic wrap and keep it aside.

Grab dough and give it a squish or two with your hands, or as Bernard says, “stir down dough” if you know what that means?!

Wrap dough in the plastic wrap you took off the bowl.

Put it in the fridge and go to bed.  Yes, you can keep it there until Sunday if you are making dough on Friday night, or you could just bake it Saturday morning if you want!

Sunday morning 8 am (approximately 30 min of work time):

a) If you are an early riser, or have young kids, get up, make them breakfast, throw the laundry in the machine, make yourself a cup of tea, tell your partner to watch the kids, and then see below;

b) If you don’t normally get up early, sorry, you need to get up around 8.30- 9.00am (you can go back to bed in a few minutes!);

50% Cocoa chocolate bits or a bar that is roughly chopped, approximately 2 cups.

1 egg beaten with 1 Tblspn (15ml) milk to brush.

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Place one onto floured work surface, keep remaining pieces wrapped in refrigerator.

Press and roll dough into a narrow rectangle approximately 1cm thick.

Cut strip of dough into rectangles approximately 5cm x 10-15 cm.  (I actually use a stainless steel ruler to cut straight lines, although I don’t actually measure!)

Place chocolate bits approximately 1 cm down from the narrow edge of the piece of dough. Pick up narrow edge, roll over chocolate bits and keep going until you have a neat little roll.

Place brioche rolls, seam side down on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. 

Repeat process until all the rolls are made.

Brush all the rolls with the egg and milk mixture.

(This whole shaping process takes about 2o – 30 minutes)

Turn on oven to preheat, at 180 degrees Celcius.  Don’t put the rolls in yet!!!

Leave rolls in a warm place to rise for 30 – 45 minutes

a) & b)  Whether you have kids or not, go back to bed, with a cup of tea and the paper, maybe?   Okay, reality bites, hang out the laundry, sweep the floor, clear away the kids breakfast (or feed them the cold leftovers!) and stack the dishwasher.

Sunday Morning 10am (approx 5 minutes of work time then 20 minutes baking time)

Brush rolls a second time with egg and milk mixture and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack or just devour them steaming hot!

Left overs can be reheated in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and if you have more than you can eat, freeze them for next week’s brunch!

Et voila, a time managed indulgence for the family, or maybe just for you and a special someone. 

Home made, French patisserie before 10.30am on a Sunday morning, Bliss!

Tell me how you go with this 'time managed' recipe.  If I can mange the occasional treat of home made, brioche for brekky, so can you! :)
Please tell me how you go with this ‘time managed’ recipe. I think that you could indulge in the occasional home made, brioche brekky too! xxx L

If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a line with any feedback or comments!  I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.

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Whose tradition is it anyway? Bread for Toni, Lemon Myrtle and White Chocolate, Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Please don’t judge me. I have a confession to make… it is the middle of January and I still have half a panettone left.
It is difficult to explain but no one else in my family will eat it, and since I enjoy a slice only at breakfast, lightly toasted, with a cup of tea, there is really only so much one can get through!!

However, it seems, that I may actually be the odd one out here, as there is an entire school of thought that believes panettone is a an inedible passing food fad Are they right? How many of us are actually secretly hiding, unopened or rather large chunks of left over panettone, in the pantry or refrigerator? Or is yours just out in the open, (like mine) taking up square footage on the kitchen counter?

Am I perpetuating the myth that no one eats panettone?  Here is another great recipe idea for left over panettone!
Am I perpetuating the myth that no one eats panettone? Here is another great recipe idea for left over panettone!

I’m not convinced though, try telling the Italians that panettone is a passing fad! It seems that the original, flatter, and probably much smaller (aka manageable) version has been around since the fifteenth century. Hmmm, five hundred years give or take, it seems like a fairly strong trend to me!
All traditional festive foods have a legend or 10 behind them and my favourite story of the origins of this paradox, of slightly dry yet buttery fruit bread is this one;

“Does the name “Panettone” derive from Pan de Toni? According to tradition, Toni, lowly scullion at the service of Ludovico il Moro, was the inventor of one of the most typical sweets of the Italian tradition. On Christmas Eve, the chef of the Sforza burned the cake prepared for the feast. Toni decided to offer the mother yeast that he had kept aside for himself for Christmas. He kneaded it several times with flour, eggs, sugar, raisins and candied fruit, until obtaining a soft and leavened dough. The result was a great success and Ludovico il Moro called it Pan de Toni to honor its inventor.

Truly generous act on behalf of Toni I think, as I am sure that as a lowly scullion, to be able to make bread and have yeast available for his family, was not a trifling luxury. Secondly, it must have surely been a charitable master to not only name the sweet invention after Toni, but to not send the entire kitchen staff to the gallows for burning the Christmas cake in the first place!! Ha ha, I like it, and I pay due respect to all, who, when faced with dire need, fall back on creative dessert making!

The Italian cultural influence in Melbourne, which peaked with Italian migration back in the late 60’s and early ’70’s really helped give birth to Victoria’s current food and European style cafe culture. You can see the influence in our streets with the number of coffee shops per capita, it is truly astounding to most overseas visitors as to how many coffee machines they can spot in one quiet suburban shopping strip. You can also see it in the basis of so many ‘modern’ Australian menus which have strong Italian foundations. Who would have imagined that the home made antipasti found in the sandwiches of first generation migrant kids, school lunches, would now be routinely served up anywhere you care to eat? Everywhere from lowly cafeteries, to gourmet modern Australian eateries offer such a wide range of ethnically diverse dishes, that it would be strange not to see it on the menu!

It is so universally accepted that Italian cuisine is part if the strong foundation of modern Australian food, that when I recently asked an overseas visitor, “What is your favourite Australian dessert?”, they replied, ” Tiramisu.”

Looks a little like tartufo! How could you resist an Italian ice cream based dessert?
Looks a little like tartufo! How could you resist an Italian ice cream based dessert?

So, here is my recipe that I dedicate to ‘Toni’. I don’t actually know an Italian Toni, but to all my Italian friends, I hope you enjoy my Bliss, Australian take on, enjoying panettone well into January.

I am giving this blissed, ice cream cake, panettone, lovely citrus aromas by using lemon myrtle. Lemon myrtle has a flavour very, very much like lemon grass. It is green and woody with a good citrus kick to it but with none of the acid associated with lemons, so there is only a heightening of the already rich flavours in the panetonne. Lemon myrtle pairs so nicely with white chocolate that it only makes sense to marry them up and serve everything with ice cream! Since no one needs a reason for ice cream; ice cream is my choice for this new Aussie summer dessert. Heston’s recipe, from ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’, seems as good a place as any to start, given the unusual pairings and the nature of this creative dessert, so here is another great culinary genius’ recipe thrown into the Bliss grinder ;P. May be you can serve it for Australia Day? After all, who’s tradition is it anyway?

Panettone and Lemon Myrtle Ice Cream Cake
3 thick slices panettone, cut to the size of a small, loose bottomed cake tin (approximately 6 inch round)

Chocolate Ganache
150g 35% cocoa chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
Bring cream to boiling point. Add in chocolate, stir occassionally until melted and smooth. Leave to cool and thicken, stirring occassionally (at least an hour).

Lemon Myrtle White chocolate Ice Cream
180g Full Cream Milk
70g Caster Sugar
35g Milk Powder
420g Whipping Cream
90g White Chocolate
1 tspn Lemon Myrtle (or 1/2 tspn lemon zest, if you can’t get Aussie herbs!)

Heat milk, sugar and milk powder over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Add cream and bring to the boil.
Add white chocolate and lemon myrtle or lemon zest, stirring occasionally until chocolate has dissolved.
Cool thoroughly.
Turn on your ice cream machine and churn for about 45 minutes or until the beater can no longer turn.

Work quickly to;
Place a layer of panettone into the botom of your cake tin.
Spoon a layer of ice cream over it, and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
Place second layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Spoon a second layer of ice cream over the panettone, as above.
Place third layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Cover the cake tin in glad wrap and place in the freezer.

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When chocolate ganache has cooled to a runny fudge sauce consistency.
Take cake tin out of the freezer and run a knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the ice cream and turn the ‘cake’ out onto a plate.
Pour a generous amount of ganache over the top of the cake and smooth it out towards the edges allowing it to run over the sides of the cake.
Place ‘cake’ back into freezer.
Place remaining ganache into fridge to firm up (at least an hour)
Use a melon baller to scoop little balls of ice cream, and place them onto a cold tray and place ice cream balls back into freezer to firm up.
When ganache has become firm but not hard, use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop spoonfuls of ganache and roll them in Dutch cocoa powder, and keep them in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, place mini ice cream scoops and ganache balls on top. The panettone is even drier, coming out of the freezer, but in combination with the ice cream and the ganache, it is a great textural compliment and the flavours work beautifully together!

Happy Birthday Australia xxx

Can you see the Southern Cross?  Happy Birthday Australia in all the finest, chocolatey, tradition :)
Can you see the Southern Cross? Happy Birthday Australia in all the finest, chocolatey, tradition🙂

If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a comment with any feedback or comments!  I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.

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