Brown Butter Creamy Apple Tart

brown butter creamy apple tartI made this apple tart this morning and then proceeded to eat half of it for lunch. Oops. So much for trying to stick to a healthy diet. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow right?

I bought this tart tin a few weeks ago on sale at Myer and have been so excited to use it since. I knew I wanted to make something that incorporated brown butter because it seems to be all the rage in the baking world these days. I had to find out what all the fuss was about myself.

brown butter creamy apple tart

This tart was a breeze to make and the brown butter really did make it that much more delicious. It was only subtle but it added another dimension of flavour to this otherwise regular (but still yummy!) tasting apple tart.

Brown Butter Creamy Apple Tart (for 8-inch tart tin)

brown butter creamy apple tart

Sweet Tart Crust Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
113g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.

Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.

Tart Filling Recipe

Apple Filling
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (3 large)

Topping
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 200°C.

In a small saucepan, cook 1/4 cup butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the egg with wire whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in cooled butter. Gently stir in apples. Pour into frozen tart shell.

In a medium bowl, stir together all topping ingredients except butter. With a fork, cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Place pie on cookie sheet in oven.

Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C, and cover edge tart with foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes longer or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cool 2 hours.

Enjoy!

brown butter creamy apple tart

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Easiest 5 Minute Chocolate Cake

Okay, this isn’t exactly the best looking cake around but what it lacks in aesthetics is made up for by the fact that this is one of the easiest recipes you will ever find – it takes 5 minutes to put together from start to finish and you cook it using the microwave! If you’re the type to get sudden rushes of cake cravings in the middle of the night but can’t be bothered to get off your butt and into the kitchen to bake then this is the recipe for you. The best thing is in order to satisfy your craving there’s no need to make one giant sized mountain of a cake – this recipe serves one.

The difference between making this an average tasting cake and a great tasting cake lies in the amount of chocolate chips you put in. You’ll need at least 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips to make this awesome. If you don’t have chocolate chips then just crush up any other chocolate bar you have lying around. Just make sure you put in enough otherwise it might be a little on the bland side. Also, the instructions below are what I used for my 1100W microwave. You’ll need to adjust the amount of cooking time depending on how powerful your microwave is.

Easiest 5 Minute Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

4 tablespoons flour (any type of flour is fine)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons whisked egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (if you don’t have chocolate chips, try a broken up chocolate bar – I can’t stress how much this amps the awesomeness of your cake)
splash vanilla essence or other flavoring – try peppermint or cinnamon

love in a mug: (left) pre-microwave, (right) post-microwave

Method

Add all of the dry ingredients to the mug and mix.
Add the egg and combine well.
Stir in milk and oil.
Add chocolate chips and splash of vanilla. Stir well.
Microwave for 3 minutes on medium in a 1100w oven, or 4 minutes in a 700w oven.
It will start to crown over the top of the mug. Don’t panic! It will collapse once the heat stops.

Enjoy!

HP Sauce Onion Rings

crunchy goodness

I love sauce. Given the chance I will put sauce on anything and everything. And lots of it. This recipe caught my eye because 1) it uses HP sauce as its flavour base, and 2) because I love onion rings. ONION RINGS!!! Oh and 3) these are baked not fried so they’re relatively healthy. If this isn’t the perfect snack recipe then I don’t know what is.

I think HP Sauce originates from the UK but I’m pretty sure it can be found quite easily in Coles or Woolies in Australia. For those who aren’t familiar with this sauce, it’s usually used as an accompaniment for steaks and is made of malt vinegar, tomato, dates, tamarind extract, and spices. I’ve included a substitute in the recipe if you don’t have HP sauce readily available.

Baked HP Sauce Onion Rings

Ingredients
2 medium brown onions, sliced into rings
3 tbs flour (doesn’t really matter what kind)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup HP Sauce (or ketchup mixed with Worcestershire sauce and BBQ sauce)
1 large egg
dash of hot sauce (Tabasco is perfect for this)
1 cup (enough to coat rings) crushed cereal or bread crumbs

Method
Place a rack in the centre and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 200C.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, HP sauce, and hot sauce.

In a separate bowl, place bread crumbs/crushed cereal.

Slice onion into rings, and separate into individual rings.

Dip onion rings into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then coat in bread crumbs/cereal.

Place in a single layer across the prepared baking sheets. Spray them with cooking spray (this will make them taste fried) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully flip the onion rings, and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, until rings are browned and crisp.

Remove onion rings from the oven and serve immediately. Dip them in the sauce of your choice.

Enjoy!

Tiramisu Charlotte Cake (Eggless)

Before 2011 ends I just wanted to do one last post. I made this cake for my Mum’s, Aunt’s and Better Half’s birthdays so a lot of love went into this creation. It’s actually much easier to make than it looks, no baking is required! Also, for people who can’t stand the thought of raw eggs in desserts this recipe awesome because it’s eggless :)

The tricky part is getting the texture right – you don’t want the sponge fingers too soggy or cream too runny. In order to avoid running into these problems the trick is to soak the sponge fingers in the espresso syrup for no more than one second, and with the cream ensure it is full fat cream as you want to be able to whip it to the soft peak stage (when the whisk is quickly lifted from the egg whites you should be able to see a droopy tip).

egg whites at soft peak stage

To make the little love heart in the middle I cut out some baking paper into the shape of a heart, stuck it on to the top of the cake and then sprinkled over some shaved dark chocolate. I used a pair of tweezers to quickly remove the baking paper and voilà a cute little love heart appeared before my eyes.

Eggless Tiramisu Charlotte Cake

Espresso Syrup
1 tablespoon instant espresso/strong coffee powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
1 tablespoon Marsala (I used rum)

Filling
250g mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala (I used rum)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy/whipping cream

about 24 sponge fingers (savoiardo)
50g dark chocolate

cocoa powder, to dust
dark chocolate shavings (optional)
strawberries for decoration (optional)

Method

Espresso Syrup: Dissolve instant espresso coffee powder, sugar in boiling water. Leave to cool. Stir in 1 tablespoon rum. Set aside.

Filling: In a mixing bowl, with a manual whisk, whisk mascarpone cheese with icing sugar, vanilla extract, rum and 3 tablespoons of the espresso syrup until blended.

With an electric mixer whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks (do not over whip). With a spatula, fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and mix gently to combine. Fold in the remaining whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture.

Assembly: Cut off one end of the sponge fingers so that each one is about 3″ in length. Line the sides of a 7″ round baking pan* (with a removable base or use a springform pan) with the sponge fingers (do not dip these in the espresso syrup). You will need about 17 sponge fingers (depending on the type/brand). If the last sponge finger cannot fit in nicely, trim away part of it to fit it in. Save the leftover small pieces.

One at a time, gently dip (do not soak) one side of the sponge fingers in the espresso syrup and use them to line the base of the pan. Cut the sponge fingers into shorter lengths if necessary. Use the leftover pieces to fill the gaps.

Spoon over half of the mascarpone filling. Spread evenly. Grate the dark chocolate over the filling. Repeat with another layer of sponge fingers and spoon over the remaining filling. Spread and smooth the top. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best left overnight.

Just before serving, unmold the cake and dust the top with cocoa powder. Decorate with dark chocolate shavings and strawberries (as desired).

Enjoy!

Baked White Chocolate & Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Hello World! Welcome to my humble food blog where I’ll be posting recipes and photos of all things yummy. I’ve been through a few websites/blogs during my highschool and uni years but nothing too major or serious. They weren’t really about anything specific, just general rants and ramblings about every day life. So yep! This will be my very first food blog and I’m so excited about it! I’m going to try my best to keep this blog updated as much as possible – hopefully at least one post a week? I tend to do a lot of baking & cooking on the weekends so it shouldn’t be too hard.

I bought myself a new DSLR yesterday (my first so I’m so freaking excited!) to give my food the opportunity to look their prettiest. I ordered it online so I don’t think it will be shipped to me until early next year so for the meantime I’ll have to make do with pics taken on my humble iphone.

Anyway, on to the recipe – I made this white chocolate & raspberry swirl cheesecake for a dinner party last week. It’s the perfect cake to make as it’s not overly hard to whip up plus it looks pretty :) The white chocolate is subtle and not at all overpowering, and the raspberry syrup adds the perfect touch of tangyness to cut through the richness of the cream cheese. YUM!

Baked White Chocolate & Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Recipe

Raspberry Syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

Base
250g Digestive Biscuits
5 tablespoons butter

Filling
375g cream cheese, softened
82g (1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon) caster sugar
3 large eggs (minimum weight of 59g)
185g white chocolate, melted
225g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla essence)
Strawberries to decorate (optional)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (145 degrees for fan-forced).

Line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) springform cake pan with baking paper.

Raspberry Sauce: In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Stir in cold water and add raspberries. Cook over medium heat whisking often until raspberries break down and sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and force sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove seeds, set aside.

Base: Finely crush biscuits in a blender or food processor. Combine crushed biscuits with butter and firmly press mixture over the base of the prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Filling: Using a food processor or electric mixer, beat cream cheese with sugar. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to prevent lumpiness. When mixture is smooth, beat in eggs one at a time.

Quickly stir sour cream into melted white chocolate, stirring until smooth. Add to cream cheese mixture along with the vanilla. Beat until ingredients are combined.

Assembly: Pour half the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base and spread evenly over biscuit base. Drizzle or spoon over 2 tablespoons raspberry sauce. Slowly ladle remaining cheesecake mixture over the drizzled raspberry sauce, covering the raspberry sauce completely (you don’t want it to show through). Swirl cheesecake with a toothpick or knife (you’re just swirling that inside layer of sauce for now, be careful not to let the sauce show through). Carefully jiggle the pan to even out the top.

Fill a clean medicine syringe with raspberry sauce and begin to pipe small circles randomly over cheesecake. Take a toothpick or sharp pointy knife and run the tip through the centre of each circle creating a swirl pattern and transforming the circles into hearts –  tag all the circles before lifting out the toothpick.

Bake for about one hour – the cheesecake is ready when the centre (around 4cm radius) is a bit wobbly. Leave cheesecake at room temperature for one hour then cover and refrigerate for several hours, or until cold and set.

Decorate with strawberries if desired. Store any leftover cheesecake in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!