Just Desserts

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

You know the feeling when you cook your first “grown up” dessert really well? For me, that was Lemon Meringue Pie. I was in tenth grade at school, taking hospitality class and had the assessment task of making a dessert. I was so nervous but thankfully things went my way and I think it was probably then that I began to truly appreciate my love of cooking desserts. This recipe is easy to follow, tastes amazing and let’s face it, leaves an impressive looking product. Enjoy!

Ingredients – Pastry Case

1 ½ cups (225g) of plain flour

3 teaspoons of icing sugar

140grams cold butter, chopped

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons water (approximately)

 

© 2014 Kate Vista

© 2014 Kate Vista

 

Ingredients – Filling 

½ cup (75g) corn flour

1 cup (220g) caster sugar

½ cup (125mL) lemon juice

1 ¼ cups (310mL) water

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

3 egg yolks

60g butter

 

 

Ingredients – Meringue

3 egg whites

½ cup (110g) caster sugar

 

 

Method

Pastry Shell

  1. Sift flour and icing sugar into a medium bowl and rub in butter. Add yolk and enough water to the ingredients cling together. Press the dough into a ball and knead it gently on a floured surface until it is smooth: cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Dough ball! © 2014 Kate Vista

    Dough ball! © 2014 Kate Vista

  2. Preheat the oven to moderately hot (2000C /1800C fan-forced). Lightly grease a 24cm flat tin or pie dish. Alternatively, you can line a 12 In the example I have included here, I lined a standard 12 cup muffin pan.

    © 2014 Kate Vista

    © 2014 Kate Vista

  3. Roll the dough on a floured surface until it is large enough to line the tin. Lift the pastry into the tin, easing into the sides. Be sure to trip the edges!
  4. Place the tin on the oven try, and line the pastry with baking paper because we are going to be baking blind! For those doing this for the first time, it simply means, adding a little weight to the paper so add some dried beans or uncooked rice onto the baking paper.
  5. Bake for ten minutes and the remove the paper, beans/rice before baking uncovered for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry case is lightly browned.
  6. Remove the pastry case and cool. Reduce the oven temperature to (1800C/1600C fan-forced).

 

 

Filling

  1. Combine the corn flour and sugar into a medium saucepan and gradually stir in the lemon juice and water.

    © 2014 Kate Vista

    © 2014 Kate Vista

  2. Stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens (the mixture should be really thick). Don’t worry if it starts to smell a little funky. That’s normal.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring for 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the lemon rind, egg yolks and butter. Stir until smooth, cover and let it cool to room temperature.

    © 2014 Kate Vista

    © 2014 Kate Vista

 

Meringue

  1. Beat the egg whites in a small bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  2. Gradually add sugar (as in a small amount at a time or it essentially stops the meringue from becoming smooth and glossy) and beat it until it dissolves after each addition.

 

Once the filling and meringue is complete, spread the filling into the pastry case and top with meringue. Bake for 5 minutes or until the meringue is browned lightly. Stand aside for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy!© 2014 Kate Vista

Enjoy!© 2014 Kate Vista

All rights reserved © 2014 Kate Vista

 

 

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Lemon, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Lemon, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake - © 2014 Kate Vista

Lemon, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake – © 2014 Kate Vista

Cheesecake is my partner’s favourite dessert. Absolute favourite. Any special occasion, anniversary or request to bring dessert to a dinner party, cheesecake comes as a suggestion from him. I however, despite my love of food, struggle a little with most cheesecakes, as they are so rich. For this reason, I love this recipe for the lemon/citrus flavor when combined with the raspberries really does make this just as delicious but a little lighter than other cheesecake recipes out there.

White Chocolate Chips - © 2014 Kate Vista

White Chocolate Chips – © 2014 Kate Vista

Ingredients 

  • 600g cream cheese
  • 200g Arnotts Nice Biscuits or digestive biscuits
  • 75g of melted butter
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 150g tub natural yogurt
  • 3 medium eggs
  • finely grated zest 2 lemons, juice of 1
  • 50g plain flour
  • 200g raspberries
  • icing sugar to decorate (if preferable)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 120C/100C fan/gas and line the base of a 20cm round springform tin with greaseproof paper.
  1. Crush the biscuits in a food processor or in my case using a mortar and pestle. Tip into a bowl with the melted butter and mix well.

 

Crush the biscuits in a food processor or in my case using a mortar and pestle... © 2014 Kate Vista

Crush the biscuits in a food processor or in my case using a mortar and pestle… © 2014 Kate Vista

  1. Push the biscuits into an even layer into the base of the cake tin and chill until needed.

 

Chill until needed. © 2014 Kate Vista

Chill until needed. © 2014 Kate Vista

 

  1. In a separate bowl use an electric whisk to beat the soft cheese with the sugar.

 

  1. Beat in the yoghurt then the eggs one at a time.

 

  1. Finally beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice and flour.

 

  1. Fold through two thirds of the raspberries crushing them very slightly so they start to bleed into the mix then tip the mix on top of the biscuit base and smooth over the top.

 

  1. Bake for 45 mins then turn off the oven, leave the cake inside for another hour then cool at room temperature.

 

  1. Chill overnight.
Chill Overnight © 2014 Kate Vista

Chill Overnight © 2014 Kate Vista

To serve, remove from tin, scatter with remaining raspberries and dust with icing sugar

 

So delicious! © 2014 Kate Vista

So delicious! © 2014 Kate Vista

 

All rights reserved © 2014 Kate Vista

Vanilla Cupcakes

I love a good cupcake.  Seriously. I’ve travelled to Paris to try Bertie’s CupCakery, sampled Sprinkles wares all over the globe and I’ve pilgrimaged to NYC to devour what Magnolia has to offer (before perusing the lanes for street art – New York is awesome for street art).

New York is Awesome for Street Art - © Kate Cameron

New York is Awesome for Street Art – © Kate Vista

 

However, in terms of store bought cupcakes, I really can’t go past My Little Cupcake in Sydney  http://www.mylittlecupcake.com.au It’s the most delightful little store and the cupcakes just melt in your mouth. And, with cupcakes ,as pretty as these they’re almost (but not quite) too pretty to eat.

 

My Little (Chocolate) Cupcake - © Kate Cameron

My Little (Chocolate) Cupcake – © Kate Vista

 

Should you wish to save yourself time and money though this is one of my favourite cupcake recipes. It’s easy to follow and the results are glorious.

Classic Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes

Ingredients

4 1/6 cups all plain flour

¾ tsp baking soda

2 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp coarse salt

1 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (I know!  It does seem like a lot…)

2 ¼ cups sugar

5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature (NB – 8 eggs in total)

2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line muffin tins with liners. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  1. On medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy

 

It should look like this! © Kate Cameron

It should look like this! © Kate Vista

 

  1. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla.

 

  1. Fill each patty case to about ¾ full with batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, about 20 mins.

 

After 10 minutes, hopefully they will look like this.  So rotate!  © Kate Cameron

After 10 minutes, hopefully they will look like this. So rotate! © Kate Vista

5. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool for 10 mins then turn out cupcakes. Cool completely.

6. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with icing.

 

Incredible Icing

 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups pure icing sugar, sifted

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

 

  1. Beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

 

  1. Reduce speed to medium. Add the icing sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 second to aerate frosting, return to medium speed. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.

 

  1. Add vanilla, and beat until icing is smooth. If not using immediately, icing can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 mins.

 

Enjoy! (As you can see, I need to work on applying the icing) - Nevertheless, they taste delicious! © Kate Cameron

Enjoy! (As you can see, I need to work on applying the icing) – Nevertheless, they taste delicious! © Kate Vista

 

All rights reserved © 2014 Kate Vista

Marvellous Macarons

The Marvellous Macaron

Call me arrogant, but this is by far the best recipe for macarons I have ever come across. I think they rival (if not outdo) the macarons of one of my all time heroes Adriano Zumbo http://adrianozumbo.com/ and have left everyone I’ve ever known to taste them wanting more.

I’m not going to lie, macarons require patience, practise and dedication but like all good things, they are worth the effort.

The perfect, bite sized, treat.

The perfect, bite sized, treat.

 

The four key steps that I would strongly recommend for creating the perfect macaron are:

  1. Use aged egg whites – you might think ‘gross’ – but trust me, aged egg whites work best – I would suggest leaving egg whites out at least overnight before using them (I think this has something to do with reducing moisture).
  2. Leave the macarons to sit for at least 20mins piped on trays before baking.
  3. Use heavy/industrial baking trays (alternatively stack two trays together to ‘create’ a heavy tray)
  4. Make and assemble the macarons two days prior to eating (this creates a perfect balance between texture and flavour).

The best thing about macarons – your imagination is the limit in terms of flavours and colours. But – beware the sugar hit!

It's a delicate balance!

It’s a delicate balance!

 

Basic Macaron Batter

Makes about 2 doz

2/3 cup (85g) ground almonds

1 ½ cups (150g) pure icing sugar

3 large aged egg whites, at room temperature

5 tbsp (65g) caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract – or other flavouring of preference

Colouring of preference

Prep: If you want perfectly sized macarons I would suggest that you draw circles (about 2.5cm in diameter) on the underside of the baking paper, spacing them at least 1.5cm apart.

  1. Process almonds and icing sugar together to a fine mixture. Sift mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Add vanilla/flavouring and colour and stir lightly.
  3. Add ½ the sifted almond mixture, stir with spatula. Add the remaining mixture in a light circular motion.
  4. Press and spread out the batter against the bowls sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down about 15 times. When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it the mixture is done.
  5. Attach a 1cm tip to the pastry bag. Twist the bag at the tip to prevent the batter from leaking out. Pour batter into bag, clip the top to prevent batter from coming out.
  6. Pipe batter onto centre of circles on the baking paper (batter will spread). Rap the trap firmly against the counter. Dry batter at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes (avoid rainy days).  No tips should be seen in the circles.
  7. Place oven racks in the centre of the oven. Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius.
  8. Use heavy trays or double trays (stack 2 trays together) and put macarons into the oven for 15-18 minutes. Rotate trays mid way.
  9. If the insides of the macarons are still soft after 15 mins, lower temperature to 100 degrees C and cover the tray with aluminium foil and bake for another 2-3 minutes. The macarons should come off the baking paper easily.
  10. Cool macarons on the trays.
  11. Once cool, assemble macarons by joining two circles together with a filling.

 

NB: Alternative flavours for meringues:

a)    Coconut – add 2 tbsp (30g) dry coconut powder to the almond powder mix prior to processing.

b)    Green tea – add 1 tsp matcha to the almond powder mix prior to processing. Add green food colouring to glossy meringue (do not over mix).

c)     Raspberry – add 2tbsp (30g) dried raspberries, ground in a food processor, to the almond powder mix prior to processing. Add red food colouring to glossy meringue (do not over mix).

 

FILLINGS

Macarons can be filled with almost anything, whipped cream, jam, lemon curd, butter cream, or ganache (my favourite). Below are some recipes you may wish to use.

 

Dark chocolate ganache

100ml thickened cream

100g dark chocolate, chopped

  1. Bring cream to the boil. Add cream to chocolate, mix slowly with a whisk. Cool.

 

White chocolate and rose ganache

100ml thickened cream

100g white chocolate, chopped

1 tsp rose water

  1. Bring cream to the boil. Add cream to chocolate, mix slowly with a whisk. Add rose water. Cool.

 

Passionfruit butter cream (Makes enough for 45 macarons)

7 tbsp (100g) unsalted butter

3 tbsp (40ml) water

3 tbsp (40g) granulated sugar

1 egg

3.5 tbsp (50g) passionfruit

  1. Cut butter into pieces 5mm thick and place them in a heat-resistant bowl. Heat in the microwave (500W) for 10 seconds.
  2. Take the bowl out of the microwave and check the hardness of the butter. If the pieces are soft enough for your fingers to press into them, the butter is done. If they are still hard, heat them for another 5 seconds.
  3. Stir the bitter with a spatula until it becomes smooth and creamy like mayonnaise.
  4. Put water and sugar together in a bowl and stir well. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir until dissolved. Heat for another 4 minutes. Stir.
  5. Scoop some syrup with a spoon and drop it into a small amount of water. Then try to scoop the syrup out of the water and make a ball with it using fingers. If you can do this, the syrup has the right density.
  6. While heating the syrup, beat egg lightly with a mixer.
  7. Pour the syrup like a thread into the egg and beat at high speed. Reduce the speed to medium and then to slow, and continue beating until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot, and the mixture becomes white and heavy.
  8. Divide the butter prepared in step 3, adding it to the syrup in two or three batches. Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed each time you add the butter. When the butter is well mixed , the process is done. (During this process bubbles may appear – keep beating).
  9. Stir a drop or two of vanilla extract into the mixture. When the mixture is well stirred, it is done. Wrap leftover of cream with plastic wrap and place in freezer – it can be kept for at least a month.

Enjoy!

All rights reserved © 2014 Kate Vista