Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Breakfast Biscotti

It's Dorie's Cookies week at Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD). The selected bake is Breakfast Biscotti. I like eating biscotti. They are great for snacking anytime. Crispy, crunchy, and especially good with a cup of hot coffee or tea. 

I have made biscotti with sticky dough before, but Dorie's Breakfast Biscotti dough is easy to work with. The dough is soft but not sticky. The only change I've made, is to reduce the sugar from 150gm to 100gm. I have used my homemade granola using Dorie's recipe, Crispy Granola from Baking Chez Moi. The granola was so good, that I had to reserve a cup to make this biscotti, before they are all gone.

The dough is divided into two, spaced them well apart on a parchment lined baking tray. They really spread quite a bit after baking. Cool them for about 20 minutes before slicing into 1/2-inch slices. I used a serrated knife and the baked dough fell apart. The outer crust was crispy after baking, so I left it overnight to cool down completely before the final baking. The next morning, I used a serrated knife again to slice the baked dough, and they still fall apart. I then switched to a regular sharp kitchen knife, and the slices are perfectly sliced without any bits falling off. 

A tray of sliced biscotti about to go into the oven for the final baking.

These biscotti baked to a lovely golden brown. They are crispy, crunchy and delicious, but just a tad sweet for us even though I have reduced the sugar. The next time when I make this again, I will reduce maybe another 2 tablespoons of sugar. I like that they are not hard crispy, but with a  light crispy crunch. A winner!  I've enjoyed a few slices with a cup of black unsweetened coffee and it was good!

Recipe for these cookies can be obtained from Dorie's website, here. To see what other bakers thought of these cookies, please visit the links at TWD.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lemon Ice Cream

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), it is our Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge, and for this month it is Lemons! or any citrus. We may select any recipe that uses lemon or citrus from any of our past or present featured chefs. I've made Tessa Kiros's, Lemon Ice Cream, from her beautiful book "Falling Cloudberries". There are fifteen featured chefs at IHCC, and Tessa Kiros is easily in the top three of my favourite chefs. 

Tessa Kiros's Lemon Ice Cream recipe uses fresh sage leaves. I, however, have forgotten to buy sage leaves and I'm not about to make a trip to the supermarket again as it was already late in the evening. So I use fresh pandanus (screwpine) leaves, which I have a healthy bush growing at my backyard. Pandanus leaves are extremely fragrant and we use it a lot in sweet desserts and savoury dishes. 

I snipped the pandanus leaves to small pieces and boil together with the whipping cream, lemon zest and sugar. Once the mixture comes to a boil, and the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat, and leave to cool. The pandan leaves would fill your kitchen with it's wonderful fragrance. Once cooled, I remove the pandanus leaves with a pair of chopsticks which is rather easy and quick. I did not strain the mixture over a sieve as I want the lemon zest in the ice cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, the mixture will curdle and thicken a little, but keep whisking and it will come together, chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I churn the mixture in the ice cream machine.

I did change a little of the steps in the recipe, making it a little easier and simpler for me. Refer to the recipe instructions (below) for the changes I've made (as above). Sugar is reduced to half and the sweetness was just right for us.

This creamy Lemon Ice Cream is so yummy! The fragrance of the pandan and the lemony taste of the lemon zest and juice, blends perfectly together. If you have not tried using pandanus leaves in your dessert making, I urge you to try and get some, you will love it's heady fragrance aroma.

Lemon Ice Cream
(Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)
serves 4
500ml (2 cups) pouring (single) cream (whipping cream)
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves **
160gm (2/3) cup caster (superfine) sugar (1/3 cup)

** I replaced the sage leaves with pandanus leaves (screwpine leaves). I used 2 long leaves, snipped to small pieces.

Put the cream, lemon rind and sage (pandanus leaves snipped to small pieces) in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Set aside to cool and infuse the lemon and sage (pandanus) flavours into the cream.
Meanwhile, whisk the sugar with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the cream mixture until the sugar dissolves. (I added the sugar to the cream, in the first step, allowing it to boil together). Add the remaining cream mixture and whisk well for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and put in the freezer. (Remove the pandanus leaves, whisk in the lemon juice and chill the mixture overnight, covered, in the refrigerator).
After an hour, remove the bowl from the freezer, give an energetic whisk with a hand whisk or electric mixer and return the bowl to the freeser. Whisk again after another couple of hours. When it is nearly firm, give one last whisk, transfer to a suitable freezing container with a lid and let it set in the freezer until it is firm. (I skipped these steps, and use the ice cream machine to churn the mixture the next morning).
Alternatively, pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and freeze, following the manufacturer's instructions.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
January Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredients Challenge : Lemons!


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #13 hosted by 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pesto Pinwheel

These bready pinwheels are lovely with a cup of warm tea, for tea-time snack. According to Rachel Allen, "A smart way of using white yeast dough, pinwheels would make a luxurious snack". It is from her cookbook Rachel's Everyday Kitchen, one that I purchased almost two years ago and have not made any recipes from it, until now. 

Rachel has given the option to use either tapenade or pesto for the filling, and I have used Basil Pesto, following her recipe she has given in the book, but I made my pesto a little coarse instead of a smooth paste. You could however, use any of your favourite pesto. The bread is easy enough to make, it is a basic white bread dough with two risings. The dough is easy to work with. Best prepare the pesto before you start with the bread dough. The dough is rolled out, and the pesto is spread over the dough. Roll the dough up Swiss roll style, slice into pieces, place onto baking trays, and leave to prove until doubled in size. 

Sprinkle some grated cheese over the pieces and bake until golden brown.

These Pesto Pinwheels are lovely when eaten warm, minutes from the oven.

The crumbs of the bread is soft with cripsy crust. Very tasty with the pesto and cheese. I had two while they are still warm, minutes after baking, with a cup of warm tea in the afternoon. I rewarm the leftovers in the oven for a few minutes for breakfast the next morning. 

Pesto Pinwheels
(Rachel's Everyday Kitchen, by Rachel Allen)
makes 20 pinwheels
215ml (7fl oz) warm water
1 tsp caster sugar
1-1/2 tsp dried yeast or 15gm (1/2 oz) fresh yeast
or 1 x 7gm sachet of fast-action yeast
350gm (12 oz) strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
75gm (3oz) mozzarella, grated
75gm (3 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
75gm (3oz) tapenade or pesto

In a measuring jug, mix the warm water with the sugar and yeast and leave to stand in a warm place for 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy. If using fast-action yeast, there is no need to let the mixture stand.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric food mixer fitted with a dough hook, and make a well in the centre. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, then pour into the well and mix together by hand or using the food mixer until the dough has come together and is slightly wet and sticky (add a little more water if it seems too dry).
Knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch. (If kneading in the electric food mixer, 5 minutes is usually long enough). Grease the bowl with olive oil and put the dough back into it, then cover the top tightly with cling film and place somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size. This may take up to 2 or even (on a cold day) 3 hours.
Meanwhile, grease a large baking sheet with olive oil and mix together the two grated cheeses in a bowl.
When the dough has doubled in size, transfer to a work surface dusted in flour. Sprinkle some flour over the dough and roll it out into a rectangle measuring roughly 20x25cm (8x10in). Spread the tapenade or pesto over the dough to cover it, then roll up like a Swiss roll, starting at one of the longer edges.
Cut the rolled-up dough into 20 even-sized slices, then place, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet, well spaced apart, and sprinkle each one with the cheese. Set aside and leave to prove for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas Mark 6.
When the pinwheels have doubled in size, place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.

Rachel's Tips :

  • To give you more time, you can mix cold instead of warm water with the yeast and leave the dough in the fridge to double in size. It will take 16-24 hours for the first rising (when the dough is in the bowl) and about 6 hours for the second rising/proving (when the dough is shaped).
  • Once made, the pinwheels will keep in an airtight container for up to four days. They are best if reheated in a moderate oven (preheated to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4) for about 5 minutes.
  • The quantities in this recipe can easily be multiplied.

Makes about 150gm (5oz)
50gm (2 oz) basil, chopped
25gm (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
25gm (1oz) pine nuts
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
75ml (3fl oz) olive oil, plus extra to cover

Place the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and whiz together. With the machine still running, add the olive oil and blend to a smooth paste.
Add salt to taste, then pour into a sterilized jar and top with enough olive oil to cover the pesto by 1cm (1/2 inch) before sealing the jar shut. Store in the fridge.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #13 hosted by 


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