Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Clafoutis/Flaugnarde - Apple Cranberry





















I love discovering desserts that are easy and economical to create at home. Finding one that is also quick to whip up is an even bigger bonus. Clafuotis are all of that.

Clafoutis are a French dessert, a delicious baked custard topped with fruits. It's dense enough to be sliced yet is still beautifully soft and light. Traditionally they are topped with cherries but are suited to so many other combinations. When fruits other than cherries are used then the dessert should be called a Flaugnarde, but it's still common in English speaking countries to still call it a clafoutis. But being technical is getting boring, so let's just call it amazing. Other fruits or berries are great substitutes for cherries. You can also add nuts or dried fruits that have been steeped in alcohol or juice. It's great fun to experiment with what you have in the cupboards or what is seasonal in your area.

I definitely recommend giving this recipe a go, once you see how simple and delicious it is it might become one you your favourite's too.

CLAFOUTIS / FLAUGNARDE

This version was made with apple and cranberries but feel free to substitute.

Ingredients:

1 or two apples, sliced
Handful of cranberries
Zest of 1 orange
3 eggs
250ml
milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
75g butter, softened
125g sugar
75g flour
pinch of salt
 -icing sugar, to dust on top once baked-

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius.
Butter a baking dish or a few small ramekins. I like to use a silicon loaf tin. Anything is fine as long as it has the capacity to contain approx 3 cups of batter.
Blend or whisk all of the ingredients until the batter is smooth.
Pour into your greased baking dish/es.
Place the fruits (and nuts if using) on top.
Bake approx 30 minutes or until set.
It will puff up during baking but will drop again on cooling.
Let cool for a little bit and serve lukewarm, dust with icing sugar before serving.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Swiss Schenkeli - Deep Fried Cookies



It's summertime in New Zealand and Christmas is just around the corner. So like most years I've headed back to my hometown to spend this time with my parents. And a visit with them would not be complete without stealing one of their recipes. Not only is my mum an awesome cook, but my dad is a pretty keen baker too. Though I think it's more because he's a pretty keen eater! So today's recipe is actually one from my dad's repertoire.

Schenkeli are a traditional Swiss treat. I'm not sure how I should describe them as calling them a cookie feels wrong as they are soft and cake-like in the middle, but not doughy like a doughnut. I guess they have the taste and texture of a deep-fried cake. With their hint of lemon they are very reminiscent of a lemon cake...just deep fried. They look pretty unassuming but be warned they are completely moreish. Traditionally they would not be made at Christmas, they are made for other festivals. However,  having come from Switzerland to NZ, traditions are bound to be merged or altered. It's all good.

My dad was kind enough to translate his recipe and let me document how he makes them. So here it is. Oh by the way Schenkeli translates to 'Little Thighs' (Swiss baking often has weird names, these being another weird one).

SCHENKELI


Ingredients:

125 g butter, softened
250 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 lemon, grated zest only
500 g flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon. kirsch
2 tablespoons cream
Oil for deep-frying

Method:

Beat  butter until soft and creamy.
Add sugar, salt and eggs alternately and beat thoroughly.
Add the lemon zest.
Mix flour with the baking powder and then add to mixture along with kirsch and cream.
Mix and add more flour if needed. The dough should be relatively firm.
Wrap in foil and refrigerate for about 1-2 hours.
Divide the dough into portions, shape them into rolls with a diameter of 2 cm and cut them into pieces about 5 cm long. Roll the ends.


Deep fry in vegetable oil at 170 Celsius. Temperature control is important; if the oil is too hot, the inside will not be cooked; if the oil is too cool, a lot of oil will soak into the dough. So just test it out with your first batch. We find 7 minutes is ideal, but this will vary so just use your discretion. Just make sure to fry until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Makes approx 40.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Marmalade: small quantity, big flavour




I recently was given some oranges, lemons and limes. It was a no brainer that I would then turn them into marmalade. My last jar was just about to run out and it was perfect timing. It was just meant to be.

I thought I'd share this recipe that I came up with because I'm definitely no expert in jam making but this wee combo works well for me every time. It's super easy and quick and makes enough for one decent sized jar. Great if you love marmalade but don't want your shelves stacked with the stuff. Plus it saves you heaps of faffing around. Definite bonus.

This recipe makes approximately enough to fill one 700g jar (or two 350g jars). It's adaptable too, you can alter the types of citrus, or add other ingredients like fresh ginger (I love this and definitely recommend it!). You don't even have to use the brown sugar if you don't have it handy; you can switch it out for white, but I reckon it's worth it as it gives a richer colour and extra taste. Anyway enough rambling, on to the recipe...

NO FUSS MARMALADE


Ingredients:

500g of whole citrus fruits, (I generally like to use 2 oranges and a lemon and/or  lime)
125g brown sugar
375g white sugar
option: can also add grated fresh ginger, about 25g

Method:

Grab your fruits and wash the skins well. Next you need to decide how chunky you want your marmalade and chop the rind up to suit. You can either take the quick way and use a food processor to blitz them up, or you can cut by hand or grate them. Key is you want to get the rinds as small as you would be comfortable eating. Either way just make sure you don't have any giant pieces of rind or fruit. For the marmalade in the picture I chopped by hand, but it's way simpler just to wizz in blender and works well too. If using ginger just grate it up and add with the fruits.

Next, add all the chopped fruits and rinds to a pot along with the sugars. Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes until the sugar has melted then bring it to the bring it to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Take it off the heat and set it aside for 5 minutes then stir it and pour into a clean jar.

Keep it in the fridge, stays good for up to 6 months or so.

Hint: Remove any seeds as you come across them, they'll often float to the surface during cooking.