Category Archives: dessert

Rum Balls (Redux)

I can’t remember the last time I made these but I was reminded of them recently, when I visited a local European grocery store. They were charging $2.99 per piece for the large size. I was horrified, and since I had just restocked my supply of rum, I made a quick half batch today. The recipe was shared with me by my BFF, Ann, more than 50 years ago, from her family recipes.

I didn’t have much in the way of items to roll the rum balls in so I made do with scraps from my baking supplies. I had less than a tablespoon of two different kinds of candy shot so I rolled the rest of the balls in finely chopped walnuts and icing sugar.



   

Ann’s Rum Balls – makes 7 dozen 1″ balls**

2 x 7 oz (200 gm) pkgs chocolate wafers (1 box of Oreo baking crumbs)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup rum, light or dark

Additional icing sugar for rolling.

Crush wafers to equal 4 1/2 cups. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 10 min. Coat hands in icing sugar and roll the mixture into small (~1″ diameter) balls.

Decorate balls by rolling in icing sugar or chocolate shot. Best if aged for a week before eating them so they become truffle like and the rum flavour mellows a bit.

May be frozen but also keep well in an air tight container in a cool place.

** Half batch made 16 balls. I used a 1 inch melon baller.

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Peach Pie

Haven’t made a pie in a while and since peaches were in season … and on sale, I bought some last week and finally got around to making a pie today. I used a recipe for the filling that I found on line here.

I was quite happy with the results. I’d probably make the pie earlier than I did as the peaches kept softening in the fridge.

Rum Baba (Trial 1)

I’ve enjoyed the rum baba (baba au rhum) bought at a local Italian bakery over the years and kept meaning to try making them myself, but the cost of the molds kept me from the attempt. And then I retired and decided to splurge.

This was my first attempt. I used a recipe I found on line which has now disappeared. It was fine EXCEPT for the fact that it called for a crazy amount of salt. But I followed the recipe – bought the bread flour called for too – even though my baking ‘sense’ was flashing RED. And I was right. The babas took forever to rise and, even after soaking in the rum syrup, they were salty. I ate a couple and then tossed the rest. Now that I have the molds, I’ll probably make them again. Someday. And use a lot less salt.

Soaked baba ready for the cut and a channel cut into the baba for the whipped cream

Prepared mold and risen batter

Baked babas and soaking in the rum syrup

 

Japanese Duo and Basque Burnt Cheesecake

It’s been six seven months and I got bored so I thought I’d post a couple of pictures of things I made lately. I’ve made both dishes before and posted them on my LJ and my blog.

Japanese chicken curry using a boxed curry roux.

And some inarizushi (seasoned fried tofu pockets filled with sushi rice). One has pickled plum stirred into the rice and the other has green onion and rice seasoning in it.

PS: I also baked a Burnt Basque cheesecake a few days ago and am slowly making my way through it. This is a new dish in my cooking repertoire. I found the recipe here.

No Churn Ice Cream Duo – Anko and Nutella-Chocolate

I haven’t bought any ice cream lately but had cravings so I dug out my last can (10 oz in Canada) of sweetened condensed milk and a container of whipping cream and looked through my ‘meal ideas’ file.

I came up with this Japanese inspired anko (red bean paste) ice cream …

and a decadent Nutella-chocolate ice cream.

Anko Ice Cream – makes 2 cups. Whip 3/4 cup whipping cream in medium sized bowl until forms stiff peaks. In a 2nd medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 tbsp vodka or other neutral alcohol, and 100 gm coarse anko paste. Gently fold whipping cream into condensed milk mixture until no white areas remain and trying not to deflate the whipping cream. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for 6 hrs or overnight. Serve.

Nutella-chocolate – makes 2 1/2 cups. Replace the anko, from the recipe above, with 1/4 cup of Nutella and add 2-3 tbsp of finely shaved dark chocolate.

Orange Castella Cake

The Castella cake is a light sponge cake popular in Japan and seems to be sold often as a plain bar cake. It is classified as a kind of ‘wagashi‘ or Japanese traditional confectionery, according to Wikipedia.

I found a recipe on Youtube that seemed simple enough and flavoured with orange juice and zest for a unique touch.

Of course, with such a simple palate to work with, adding garnishes like fruits and berries and sauces seems obvious. The cake itself is only slightly sweetened. This plating used fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis combining the tartness of the fresh berries with the sweet raspberry sauce.

The recipe was transcribed from the ingredients given in the Youtube video and the instructions described what I actually did to achieve the results above.

Orange Cotton Sponge Cake/Castella Cake – 18 cm x 18 cm x 6 cm/8 inch square glass pan, ended up 4 cm/1 1/4 inches tall after cooling and some shrinking
by LoveSweets

Egg Yolk Mixture

5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
50 ml/3 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
65 ml orange juice
2-3 tbsp orange zest
75 gm cake flour**

Egg White Mixture

5 egg whites
60 gm caster sugar (try increasing sugar to 90-100 gm)
1/4 tsp lemon juice

** I didn’t have any cake flour so I substituted it with 60 gm all purpose flour (Canadian Red Roses, 13% protein) and 15 gm cornstarch sifted together.

Oil the glass pan and line it carefully with two cross-wise strips of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 5 egg yolks and the whole egg. Add the vegetable oil. Whisk in the orange juice. Add the zest.

Sift in the cake flour. Whisk in gently until you have a homogeneous mixture.

In a large bowl whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add the lemon juice and sugar and beat until you have stiff peaks. Fold in about 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the egg yolk mixture. Add the rest of the whites and gently fold in.

Preheat the oven to 140 deg C/285 deg F.

Smooth the surface using an off-set spatula. Place the pan into a larger pan for a water bath and fill with water about 3 cm/1 inch deep.

Bake 70-80 min. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean and dry, the cake is done.

Remove the pan from the oven and then the cake pan from water bath. Bang the pan firmly on the counter (to set the cake??).

Let the cake pan rest for 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing the cake from the cake pan. Peel off the parchment paper. Let cool to room temperature before cutting.

Pizza … and a Teaser

For spikesgirl58:

This is the pizza I made today. It was delicious. Just my usual pizza dough, frozen, thawed in the fridge overnight and baked today. I threw everything I had on top. Hot Italian sausages, spicy pepperoni, green pepper, mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese on a jarred portabello mushroom sauce.

And this is a Japanese orange Castella/sponge cake I made back in May. I’ve wanted to make a Castella cake for a while and this was the result. Because it’s a very simple, barely sweet, cake, it benefits from some garnishes. I had no fresh berries or mint so I put a scoop of French vanilla ice cream on top, warmed up some plum jam and diluted it with water and poured it over the top.

I really should do a proper post of this cake, one of these days.