Milk 120 g
Water 120 g
Salt 5 ml
Extra fine granulated sugar 10 g
Unsalted butter, cubed 120 g
All purpose flour 135 g
Eggs, loosely beaten 240 g (about 5)
In a saucepan bring to a boil the water, milk, sugar, salt and butter.
Remove from heat and immediately add the sifted flour.
Stir well until combined.
Return to heat and stir until the dough releases from the sides and bottom. This part takes only a minute or two. do not overcook or the batter will not puff up.
Place the mixture into a bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed gradually add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl often. This can also be done manually.
Once 220g of the eggs are added examine the batter, it should be smooth and have a light sheen. It should be firm enough to hold it’s shape when piped. If need add the remainder of the eggs.
Pipe the batter using a large french star (no804 or similar) tip on parchment lined sheet pans.
Brush with egg wash lightly if desired. Place in the oven at 350F (180C). When the products are well expanded, open the oven door slightly to let the steam escape. Close again and continue baking until the products are crisp when pressed on the sides. About 35 minutes for éclairs.
- 150g butter (soft)
- 30g all purpose flour
- 200ml milk
- 2 Tbsp. white sugar
- ½ Tsp. salt
- 1 ½ Tsp. instant dry yeast
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- Mix 30g all purpose into the butter to make a paste
- Spread the butter paste onto a piece of parchment paper 6” x 12” in diameter and freeze, the sheet of butter must become hard
- Mix together 2 cups of all purpose flour and the yeast
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, sugar and salt. Heat to 115 degrees F (43 degrees C), or just warm, but not hot to the touch
- Beat the eggs into the milk
- Mix the warm milk and egg mixture into the flour and yeast mixture with a fork – the dough will be sticky
- Measure out 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour onto the table and knead the flour into the dough
- Rest the dough for 20 minutes
- Roll the dough out into a square shape, large enough so that the sheet of butter can covered by the dough like the cover of a book. Seal edges by pressing with fingers
- Roll the dough out to a 20x 12 inch rectangle, then fold into thirds by folding the long sides in over the center
- Repeat rolling into a large rectangle, and folding into thirds. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
- Remove from the refrigerator and roll and fold two more times. Return to the refrigerator to chill again before shaping. If the butter gets too warm, the dough will become difficult to manage
- Cut the dough into the desired Danish shape (turn overs, large braid, individual braid, windmills, envelopes etc. and add your favorite filling (cherry, apple, chocolate, peach, rhubarb etc.
- Let the dough rise until doubled. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Danishes can be brushed with egg white for a shiny finish.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms are golden brown
Humming Bird Cake
For the cake:
1 cup (238 mL) vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons (350 g) self raising flour
1 teaspoon – 15ml cinnamon
1 3/4 cups 350g fine (caster/fruit sugar) sugar
4 medium, very ripe bananas
16 ounces (450 g) canned pineapple, drained and diced – you can use fresh too
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (50 g) pecans (optional)
For the icing:
3 cups (400 g) powdered/icing sugar
11 Tablespoons (150 g) unsalted butter, at room temp
7 ounces (200 g) cream cheese
For the brittle:
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (50 g) pecans
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fº or 165 degrees Cº. Grease two 9-inch (23 cm) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt (or table salt). Combine it all together and set aside.
Peel and mash the bananas in another mixing bowl. Add the pineapple (drained and diced), oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined thoroughly. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Finely chop the pecans and fold them into the batter.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Run a knife around the edges and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing. Turn out on cooling rack.
While the cakes are baking, sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and add the butter. Beat until pale and creamy. Add the cream cheese, the zest of one lime, and the lime juice. Beat until fluffy – do not over beat. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the brittle, place the sugar in a non-stick frying pan or sauce pan over medium heat. Add just enough water to begin dissolving the sugar (sludgy consistency). Leave the sugar alone, over medium heat, don’t stir. You can shake your pan back and forth a bit. Take care not to burn it – once sugar starts caramelizing it will burn quickly. Once the sugar turns lightly golden, add a pinch of salt and the pecans. Swirl the pan so the pecans are coated. Now pour the mixture out onto a greased parchment paper. Be very careful as this is very hot.
Allow the brittle to cool, then smash it up as fine as possible, you can use a pestle or rolling pin.
Assemble your cake on a cake board or cake stand. Layer the cake into 2 or 4 layers. Spread the icing in between the layers. Spread the rest of the icing on top with loose peaks. Decorate the cake with Pecan brittle and lime zest. Enjoy!
Melktart is the Afrikaans word for Milktart and is a traditional dessert of South Africa. One source mentions that Melktert has come straight from Dutch Medieval cooking, via the Dutch settlers who started settling in the Cape in 1652. Some people have traced it origin back to Thomas van der Noot in 1510 in his recipe book, “Een notabel boexcken van cokeryen” (A Notable Book of Cookery.
Traditionally the tart is made with a rich shortcrust pastry and filled with a milk custard flavoured with cinnamon and mandarin peel. You can use any citrus peel or zest to add flavour, the cinnamon is a must. There are many recipes out there with slight variations. An alternative to using shortcrust pastry is puff pastry.
Here is my go to recipe:
200g powdered sugar
500g all purpose flour
5ml vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon or orange
4 egg yolks
2 – 4 tablespoons cold milk or water
Cream together the butter, salt and icing sugar
Pulse or rub in the flour
Add the egg yolks, zest and vanilla
Mix on low speed until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs
Add the milk and stir a little longer on low speed until the mixture comes together
Pat the dough together into a ball
It is important not to over-handle a pastry dough. The more you handle or beat the dough the tougher the pastry will be. This will cause the dough to shrink when baked in the oven.
Now you can roll the dough into a large sausage covered in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for atleast one hour.
To line your pie dish, cut thin slivers and line the pan by fitting the rounds together. Push the pieces to gather with the tips of your fingers and tidy the edge by push the edge together with your fingers to make a scalloped edge.
Bake in a pre heated oven for 15 minutes at 175Cº or until the pastry has a golden colour
Tip: brush the tart shell with a bit of egg white and bake for 30 seconds to seal the pastry. This will give it a nice waterproof layer and will prevent the shell from becoming soggy.
Custard Filling – for two Milk Tarts
1200 ml milk
120ml all purpose flour
1 cinnamon stick
mandarin or orange peel
5 eggs separated
Line a 9” pie plate with the pastry and bake blind.
Mix the flour and the sugar together in a small bowl
Add a small amount of milk to the flour and sugar and mix into a paste
Separate the eggs
Add the egg yolks to the flour paste and mix
Bring the milk, cinnamon stick and the peel to a boil.
Pour the flour paste into the milk while beating with a whisk and cook the custard until it starts to bubble.
Remove the pot from the stovetop
Beat the egg whites in your stand mixer until they are stiff
Fold the egg whites and a pinch of salt into the custard
Pour the custard into the prepared pie shell and sprinkle the cinnamon on top of the custard
Bake in a preheated moderate oven (160 C) for 20 minutes or until the filling is set
Leave to cool, cut into wedges and enjoy! Can be frozen very successfully.
I am often asked if I make my own “Fondant” and the answer is no. Making your own fondant involves a lot of kneading and it takes quite a bit of time and it is messy. Here is a great fondant recipe for those of you who would like to make it at home.
125ml cup cream
15ml un-flavoured gelatine
250ml corn syrup (clear)
15ml butter or shortening
10ml clear vanilla extract
1.5kg powdered sugar
1. Place the cream in a 500ml measuring cup, sprinkle the gelatine powder slowly over the top of the cream to hydrate.
2. Let the gelatine “bloom” or become firm it will take a few minutes. Make sure to get rid of any lumps.
3. Place the mixture in microwave and heat for about 1 minute on high. Stir. If the gelatine does not become liquid, microwave in 15 second intervals until the gelatine has dissolved. Stir between heating cycles.
4. Add corn syrup, butter, glycerin, vanilla, and salt to the melted gelatine mixture. Stir.
5. Microwave mixture for 2 minutes on high setting. Stir, set aside to cool to a luke-warm temperature.
6. Weigh 900g of powdered sugar into the mixer bowl of your stand mixer. Do not use a hand mixer as the motor will burn out. You can also do this by hand – a little sweat
7. Add gelatine/corn-syrup mixture into the powdered sugar; mix by hand until just blended.
8. Fit the bowl on the mixer, add several cups of powdered sugar, and mix very slowly with the dough hook. Keep the kitchen clean by placing a damp tea towel over the mixer bowl to prevent a cloud of dust.
9. Continue to add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until fondant forms a soft ball. It should not slide down the dough hook and there may be some powdered sugar left in the bottom of the bowl. This is normal.
11. When fondant is ready remove it from the bowl and start kneading on a non-stick surface. You may need to rub your counter with a bit of vegetable shortening. Knead in a small amount of powdered sugar until the fondant is smooth. It will still be slightly soft.
12. Wrap in oil coated plastic wrap; wrap again, and then place in an air tight container such as a zipper bag or plastic tub.
13. Allow fondant to rest at least 6 hours or over night.
14. Knead only the amount required until smooth before rolling out to cover cake or board.
VARIATIONS AND OTHER INFORMATION:
CHOCOLATE – add 170g of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the corn syrup. Follow the recipe as normal. Add brown food coloring to make it darker.
WHITE CHOCOLATE- add 170g of white chocolate chips to the corn syrup. Follow the recipe as normal.
DAIRY-FREE FONDANT – Replace equal amounts of water, non-dairy creamer, fruit juice, or other liquid for the cream. Replace the butter with equal amounts of shortening. This also works for unflavored fondant when only covering cake dummies.
*If the fondant is too soft or stretchy, knead in additional powdered sugar in small amounts until fondant is of the consistency of play dough.
*If the fondant is too stiff knead in small amounts of glycerin until softened. This is easier by working in small batches and then blending the batches together. Keep any unused fondant covered.
*Fondant can be stored at room temperature for at least a month. For longer periods, place well wrapped fondant in the freezer. Allow fondant to come to room temperature slowly before using, usually over night. DO NOT THAW IN THE MICROWAVE.
*The sugar and cooking process preserves the dairy ingredients.
*Chocolate fondant can be a little stiff you may need to add more glycerin.
*Please remember that many things can affect the consistency of the fondant. This includes temperature, humidity and any flavourings that are added. The temperature of your own hands will also affect the pliability of your fondant.
*Colour can be added during the cooking stage or the mixing stage. Adding colour after the fondant has rested is much more difficult, but it can still be done.
*This recipe has a off-white colour. Add white food colour for whiter fondant. Gel colour will change the consistency.