Caramel Cream

Sometimes, mistakes happen. Sometimes, mistakes are salvageable!

I had whipped cream (about 150ml, thereof); and made some caramel (enough sugar to just cover the bottom of a small pan, covered in water; heated gently until a medium-dark caramel formed).

The theory, was I’d whip the liquid caramel into the cream; and something delicious would result! I was hoping for thin strands of caramel.

Turns out, the caramel liquified the cream; and the cream refused to be whipped back up.

Fear not!

Luckilly, cream comes in 300ml bottles; and I had the rest of the bottle. So, I whipped the remaining cream, then introduced the liquified-caramel-failure slowly; and I ended up with a mousse like dessert treat. Hoorah!

It ended up being quite bittersweet; tasting a little bit coffee-like.

Cupcakes

I had intended on making these on Tuesday; but with the cat, it didn’t end up happening. However, since it’s Jesses’ birthday on Saturday, and my co-worker Geoffs’ birthday on Friday, I made a batch of cupcakes this evening instead.

The cupcakes are made from the Night and Day cupcake recipe in Nigella Lawsons book; however instead of the icing in the recipe, I made one of my own devising – it’s a splendiferous bittersweet chocolate icing. The pink and white are both white chocolate.

Cherry Clafouti

Cherry Clafouti, I know you’re in there! Come out, with your hands up!

I saw a picture of a cherry clafouti when I was poking about on eGullet in the past week or so. It was handsome. So when I saw there were cherries at the supermarket this evening, I decided that I was going to make cherry clafouti!

There’s always a catch to any good story.

It turns out that I don’t have an appropriate dish for making clafouti. My first choice of dish, a springform pan, was a predictable mistake. Faced with a leaky springform pan full (but emptying) of batter, I had to find a second choice, and fast!

It turns out that I don’t have that much in the way of “things for baking food in”. However, among the things I do have for baking food in, were muffin tins. And by some bizarre fluke of the universe, a muffin tray was precisely the right amount of space for the reduced quantity of batter that I made! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here.

At the supermarket, when I decided that cherry clafouti would be mine (oh yes, it would be mine); I wasn’t too sure what was actually involved – I knew there was some kind of doughy mixture with cherries poking out. I figured that to make the doughy mixture, I’d find the ingredients in my pantry. This was almost correct; but I wasn’t missing anything that I couldn’t substitute. I’m digressing again, aren’t I. Lets jump forward in time to when I started looking at recipes.

When it comes down to it, clafouti is batter over fruit (cherries, in this case). It shouldn’t be that hard to make. That doesn’t stop some people from having convoluted recipes with eggs and yolks, or ground almonds or all sorts of other little complications. I ended up going with the simplest batter recipe that I came across, with an important variation: There’s only one of me, and while I regard dessert as being the most important meal of the day, I can only eat so much dessert. Instead of making the dessert as in the recipe, I ended up making roughly a third of the recipe (One egg worth, non-divisible things that they are. (That’s not strictly true – it’s just a pain to split an egg)). On with the procedure!

Start off with roughly two heaped tablespoons of flour, with just a pinch of salt. Then, make a well in the middle, and add the egg. Whisk the egg into the flour until it’s a smooth paste. Next, take about one cup of milk; and whisk it into the paste. Once the milk has been incorporated, add a splash of kirsch (or in my kitchen, I decided the best substitute for kirsch was probably going to be cognac), and about a tablespoon of caster sugar (the fine stuff; but not too fine!).

Take a muffin tray with cups that hold about one cup. Place two to three cherries in the bottom of six cups (I’d read that leaving the stones in was better for dessert, but less good for guests; so left the stones in. Next time, I think I might pit them, though – having the cherry juice run through the batter seems like a good thing); then pour in enough of the batter to reach about 2/3 the way up the cherries.

Cook the baby clafouti for about 35 minutes in a 190C oven – until the tops have puffed and turned brown.

[Once the clafouti are cooked, doom awaits you! they’re a pain to extract from the muffin pan without making a mess. I have a feeling that lining each of the cups with aluminium foil (with handy tabs for lifting out of the muffin tray) will make this easier. Something to consider next time, anyway. You did read to the end of the recipe before beginning, right?]

Doing the Hokey Pokey

Sometimes, you just have an urge to make some hokey pokey.

Hokey Pokey? What is this so called Hokey Pokey; you might ask?

You take 5 tablespoons of sugar, and dissolve it in 2 tablespoons of golden syrup over a low heat. Then, once the sugar is all dissolved, increase the heat; and boil until it is a deep orange colour. Take it off the heat, then stir in 1 tablespoon of baking soda. It will puff up. Quickly get it into either a buttered tray, or onto a non-stick sheet. Leave it for a little while to get cold, then eat. Hoorah! Luckilly, since hokey pokey is made almost entirely of sugar, it’s extremely easy to get the pot clean – filling it with warm water will deal to most of it. Bonus.

hokey pokey

Mille Feuille

Mille Feuille has to be among my favourites to cart out of the kitchen – it’s… impressive to look at. Usually, Mille Feuille is made with puff pastry; however the recipe I use (http://www.cuisine.co.nz/index.cfm?pageId=27734, uses filo/phyllo instead.

I understand that the name Mille Feuille roughly translates to “Thousand Layers”; and also that one can make a savoury Mille Feuille, traditionally using fish.

Mille Feuille

This appeared in Delish, back in the day; so if you read Delish then, this is nothing new. I was just poking about in my web stats and noticed Mille Feuille was something people were finding on my site, via search engines

Afghans

(Not to be confused with the dog of the same name )

200g softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups cornflakes

If you wanted to go the whole way; you’d also want chocolate icing and walnuts.

Whatchawannado is this: cream the butter and sugar until it’s all fluffy. (But not like a bunny. Bunnies are fluffy in a completely different way.). Then, you want to sift the cocoa and flour together so that it’s all unlumpy and interracially combined. (I’m sure people used to have wars about that kind of thing.)
Anyway! You want to stir the floury-cocoa (or is it cocoa-flour?) into the fluffy buttery stuff (but not fluffy like bunnies). And then, you want to fold the cornflakes into the buttery-sugary-cocoay-floury stuff.

Personally, I’d be tempted just to eat the cookie mix at this point.

Oh, but. If your following the recipe; you want to put mounds of the cookie-stuff onto a greased tray, and cook for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees.

And if you’re really making afghans, rather than just biscuits with cornflakes… when the afghans have cooled down, ice them with chocolate icing, then decorate with a walnut.

Chocolate icing goes like this…. Sift 2 cups of icing sugar + 1 tablespoon of cocoa into a bowl; and add 1/4 teaspoon of softened butter and just enough water to get it spreadable. To that, add about a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Fudging About

Who’s the best cow-orker ever? I’m the best cow-orker ever. Behold, part of the fudging process.

Take 2 cups of sugar and three tablespoons of dutch-processed cocoa and combine them. Add a 1/2 cup of milk and a couple of knobs of butter; then heat gently until everything has melted and dissolved. Boil until it smells chocolatey, then add about a shot of cointreau. Wait a few minutes, then beat the crap out of it until it loses its shine, then pour into a tray.