Monday, July 30, 2012

Strawberry and Rhubarb Free Form Tarts

You know how you see a particular ingredient and think to yourself  'I'll get that next time and make something with it', then when you go back that next time its never there. Well that happened to me with rhubarb, I always looked it in the store and thought to myself I'll get some when I have an idea to use it. There I was idea in mind but rhubarb was no where to be found.

We went on a trip to the local butcher/ deli/ fruit and veg store the other weekend on the hunt for brisket, I know I should have asked the friendly butcher for help but got distracted when some smokey BBQ beef ribs caught my eye.  

Sometimes I worry boyfriend might get embarrassed while shopping with me. I tend to gasp excitedly or loudly exclaim things like 'OOO RHUBARB!', which is exactly what happened when I spied the pretty red and green bundles in the fruit and veg section. 
These perfect looking strawberries, pretty much jumping at me from the shelves, made an easy choice to pair with my stalks of rhubarb. I didn't end up with brisket, but happily returned home with my arms full of rhubarb, strawberries, and smokey BBQ beef ribs.  If you were wondering, dinner that night was delicious! Slow cooked smokey ribs, with grilled corn and potato salad and to top things off rhubarb and strawberry tarts, with warm vanilla custard. 
I had never cooked or eaten rhubarb before, but it was something I've been infatuated with for awhile now. I knew for my first rhubarb experiment I wanted to make little tarts and ended up really loving the results. The filling is not overly sweet letting the flavours of the fresh fruit shine through. The sweetness of the strawberries is the perfect counter to the tanginess of the rhubarb and the mixture of pinky reds look fantastic shown off in these open topped rustic tarts.  

Lucky for me I'm now seeing rhubarb everywhere (It always happens like that) and can't wait to try the next recipe.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Free Form Tarts
(complete recipe at end of post)
For the Pastry
125 grams unsalted butter (cubed and softened)
90 grams icing sugar
1 egg
30 grams ground almonds
250 grams sifted plain flour

To make the Pastry- Add the butter, icing sugar, egg and almond meal to a large mixer bowl, beat with a paddle attachment until light and smooth.
Continue mixing at a low speed and gradually add the flour. Stop mixing as soon as the flour is combined.
Empty the dough out onto a sheet of cling wrap, form the dough into a disk and wrap up. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least half and hour before using. (You can make the dough the day before you need it, take the dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling so it has time to soften)

For the Tarts
2 cups rhubarb (washed and chopped into 1cm pieces)
2 cups strawberries (washed, hulled and cut into quarters)
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup cornflour
6 teaspoons ground almond
1 tablespoon caster sugar (for sprinkling)
1 egg beaten

To make the Tarts- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. and line two trays with baking paper.

Chop up the rhubarb and strawberries and combine both to a large bowl.
Add the flour and sugar and stir through. Set aside while you prepare the pastry rounds.

Roll the pastry to about 1/2 cm thickness and cut out 18cm rounds. I used a butter plate as a template but if you have a large round cutter that would work perfectly.
Arrange the pastry rounds on the prepared baking trays. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of ground almond over the middle of each pastry round.
Stir the fruit mixture once more and divide between the pastry circles with a fork, keeping it toward the centers. It is normal to have left over syrup in the bottom of the bowl, too much syrup in the tarts would make them soggy.
Using your hands fold the edges of the pastry over the filling, leaving the middle exposed.
Brush the pastry with a little bit of beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Bake the tarts for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Enjoy them hot, enjoy them cold, enjoy them with ice-cream or if you're like me enjoy them warm with vanilla custard.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Mini Free-form Tarts (makes 6)
Pastry
125 grams unsalted butter (cubed and softened)
90 grams icing sugar
1 egg
30 grams ground almonds
250 grams sifted plain flour
  • To make the pastry add the butter, icing sugar, egg and almond meal to a large mixer bowl, beat with a paddle attachment until light and smooth.
  • Continue mixing at a low speed and gradually add the flour. Stop mixing as soon as the flour is combined.
  • Empty the dough out onto a sheet of cling wrap, form the dough into a disk and wrap up. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least half and hour before using. (You can make the dough the day before you need it, take the dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before you need to roll it so it has time to soften)
Tart Filling
2 cups rhubarb (washed and chopped into 1cm pieces)
2 cups strawberries (washed, hulled and cut into quarters)
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup cornflour
6 teaspoons ground almond
1 tablespoon caster sugar (for sprinkling)
1 egg beaten
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. and line two trays with baking paper.
  • Chop up the rhubarb and strawberries and combine both to a large bowl.
  • Add the flour and sugar and stir through. Set aside and prepare the pastry rounds.
  • Roll the pastry to about 1/2 cm thickness and cut out 18cm rounds. I used a butter plate as a template but if you have a large round cutter that would work perfectly.
  • Arrange the pastry rounds on the prepared baking trays. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of ground almond over the middle of each pastry round.
  • Stir the fruit mixture once more and divide between the pastry circles, keeping it toward the centers.
  • Using your hands fold the edges of the pastry over the filling, leaving the middle exposed.
  • Brush the pastry with a little bit of beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  • Bake the tarts for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

I've been so lucky to do a whole bunch of fun cakes lately and this one is the latest. I'll share the previous ones soon swapping between cake posts and baking posts.

 This dinosaur cake was for a little boy's 4th birthday, inspired by cute dinosaur invitations and printables from Fairydust Stationery.
The cake was my favorite fluffy vanilla cake, I know I use this one a lot, its just that darn good! The cake was iced with vanilla buttercream and covered with fondant.
 Happy Birthday Taj!
I was very happy to hear the birthday boy loved his cake and had a fantastic day. Check out that cute excited face!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

Let me tell you about a couple of things that I know.

I know is has been cold and rainy more often then not lately.

And I know that cold and rainy means perfect hot chocolate weather.

So guess what I made. Marshmallows!! Hot chocolate is pretty awesome and is even more so when it has marshmallows in it, especially when they're homemade. I paired the marshmallows with some chocolate spoons for the little extra hot chocolate fun, but really it was an excuse to buy a silicon spoon mould. 
The last time I made marshmallows was when I was quite young. I helped my Nanna make the marshmallows and was so devastated about having to go home before they were set, I didn't even get to taste them.
Being kind of a grown up now and allowed near a hot stove on my own, I made some marshmallows of my very own and then because the best part is eating them I did that too.
If you've never had homemade marshmallows you've totally missed out. Unlike store bought marshmallows that are often kind of hard on the outside and chewy on the inside, homemade are all fluffy, all dreamy, little soft clouds on sweet vanilla awesomeness!

For the Marshmallow (complete recipe at the end of post)
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons powerdered gelatine
6 tablespoons water
400g white sugar
250 mls water
50g golden syrup
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pink food colouring

To make the Marshmallows- Mix the icing sugar and cornflour together in a small bowl.

Lightly grease a 23x23cm square pan with oil (I used rice bran oil) and dust with some of the icing sugar cornflour mixture. Keep the remaining mixture for dusting the marshmallows.
Add water to a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatine over the water and set aside. The gelatine will soak up all the water.
In a medium sized saucepan, add the sugar, water and golden syrup, stir over medium heat until dissolved. Bring to the boil then turn down slightly so the mixture is at a simmer, continue cooking until the syrup reaches 120c (250f) on a candy thermometer. (If you don't have a candy thermometer totally get one, its one of the best things I've ever bought.
Once the syrup mixture reaches temperature, remove from the heat and stir through the soaked gelatine until melted and smooth.
Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), continue beating until the whites form stiff peaks.
Continue beating while adding the vanilla and gelatin mixture in a steady stream, with the mixer on high beat for a further 4-5 minutes.
The mixture will expand and get lighter and colour as it's whisked.
 The marshmallow mixture is done when it will hold a ribbon of mixture on the surface.
Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the remaining mixture and stir through. Gently pour the pink marshmallow mixture over the top on the white and smooth over with a spatula.
Put the pan of marshmallow aside and allow to set, for about 2 hours.

Once the marshmallow has set, turn out onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with some of the remaining icing sugar and cornflour mixture. Using a sharp knife cut the marshmallow into little squares. Dust the marshmallows with a little icing sugar and cornflour the stop them sticking together.
Enjoy them as they are or pop them into a hot chocolate for an extra yummy treat.

Vanilla Marshmallows
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons powerdered gelatine
6 tablespoons water
400g white sugar
250 mls water
50g golden syrup
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pink food colouring

  • Mix the icing sugar and cornflour together in a small bowl.
  • Lightly grease a 23x23cm square pan with oil and dust with some of the icing sugar cornflour mixture. Keep the remaining mixture for dusting the marshmallows.
  • Add water to a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatine over the water and set aside. 
  • In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, water and golden syrup, stir over medium heat until dissolved. Bring to the boil then turn down slightly so the mixture is at a simmer, continue cooking until the syrup reaches 120c (250f) on a candy thermometer.
  • Once the syrup mixture reaches temperature, remove from the heat and stir through the soaked gelatine until melted and smooth.
  • Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), continue beating until the whites form stiff peaks.
  • Continue beating while adding the vanilla and gelatine mixture in a steady stream, with the mixer on high beat for a further 4-5 minutes. The mixture will expand and get lighter and colour as it's whisked, it is done when it will hold a ribbon of mixture on the surface.
  • Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the remaining mixture and stir through. Gently pour the pink marshmallow mixture over the top on the white,smooth with a spatula.
  • Put the pan of marshmallow aside and allow to set, for about 2 hours. 
  • Once the marshmallow has set, turn out onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with some of the remaining icing sugar and cornflour mixture.
  •  Using a sharp knife cut the marshmallow into little squares. Dust icing sugar and cornflour the stop them sticking together.
  • Monday, July 9, 2012

    Baby Shower Onesie Cookies

    Just a quick post so no one thinks I've fallen of the face of the earth. I have some great new recipes to share shortly, as soon as I get a chance to sit down and write something.
    I made these cookies a few weeks ago for a friend to take to a baby shower.
    They make me want to go shopping for onesis and booties but I doubt my cat would appreciate being dressed in baby clothes.
    Happy New Baby!!