23 September 2016

QUINCE AND WALNUT JAM

Quince is quite possibly my favourite fruit. Wonderful and fragrant, a bit sour, and absolutely delicious. They are also fantastic for jams, because of the high pectin content. This jam does require a bit of time and patience, as quinces are rather dry and do not have a lot of liquid. You need to occasionally pour additional water and mix them thoroughly. But even though it requires a bit more work than an average jam, the result is beyond delicious. The jam is a lovely amber colour, rich taste, with lots of toasted walnuts throughout it. It's not an overly sweet jam, as none of my jams are, therefore it's a great compliment to a cup of tea.

Quince and walnut jam recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
For the syrup
250 grams granulated sugar
120 ml cold water
For the jam
700 grams quinces, cored and cleaned
750 ml water, divided
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ vanilla bean
300 grams jam sugar (2:1)
200 grams toasted walnuts, finely chopped

Quince and walnut jam recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Preparation:
Thoroughly wash the quinces, cut them in half and remove the cores and the pips. You need 700 grams of cleaned and prepared quinces. Coarsely grate them and toss them with the cinnamon. Take a heavy bottomed pot, add the granulated sugar in an even layer, then pour in the 120 ml of cold water. Place the pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Let the syrup boil, without stirring, for 9 minutes, then add 250 ml cold water. Let it cook for a minute, then add the quinces, and the beans from a vanilla pod, and mix well. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, cook the mixture for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
While the jam is cooking, place the walnut pieces on a dry pan and toast them over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, until slightly darker in colour and fragrant. Remove them from the heat and coarsely grind them. After the initial 15 minutes of cooking, add another 250 ml of water to the pot with the fruit, mix well and cook for another 15 minutes. Mix the fruit often while it's cooking, to prevent any sticking to the pot or burning. When the jam has slightly thickened, and it's nearly ready, add the final 250 ml of water and cook it for 5 more minutes. Finally, sprinkle in the jam sugar and cook, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and add the toasted walnuts. Mix well and pour the jam into sterilized jars. Yields about 500 grams of jam.

16 September 2016

PEACH ICE-CREAM

As you know, I can’t have egg yolks. Most ice-creams do start off with a rich custard base, which involves many yolks. This ice-cream does not. It has a refreshing fresh peach taste, with just a hint of tartness from the orange marmalade. It’s very pure in taste and quite simple to make, you just need to make sure you pick only the ripest, juiciest peaches you can find. They are an amazing fruit, and make this ice-cream so very delicious.

Fresh peach ice-cream recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
500 grams fresh peaches, peeled and stones removed
120 ml cold water
100 grams sugar
100 ml cold water
3 tablespoons orange marmalade

Preparation
Start by preparing the simple syrup. Place the sugar in a small saucepan, pour in the water, and place the pan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, and let it simmer until the sugar completely dissolves (about 5 minutes). Let the simple syrup cool to at least room temperature. Next, peel the peaches and remove the stones. The easiest way of peeling the peaches is to bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, carefully add in only a few peaches at a time, and only for about 30 seconds. Quickly remove them and dunk them in cold water. Gently rub off the peach skin, using a small knife if necessary.
Once they are prepped, place them into a blender, along with 120 ml of cold water. Blend on high until completely smooth. Turn the blender off and add the simple syrup, and blend again. Once more, turn the blender off and add the orange marmalade. Blend on high for about a minute, to combine everything together. Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, then pour it into your ice-cream machine and let it churn. It will probably take about 30 minutes, depending on your machine. You can serve it right away, soft-served, or you can let it freeze for 3-4 hours. Yields 900 grams of ice-cream.

09 September 2016

COCONUT BONBONS

One of the easiest and tastiest desserts you can make. Just a few ingredients and about an hour, and they are ready to be served. I recommend making them small, as the main ingredients is sweetened condensed milk, and it can be rather overpowering as far as the sweetness goes. Keep in mind that, although they are so very delicious the minute they are made, the taste develops as they sit in the refrigerator, so my recommendation is to serve them after an overnight chill.

Homemade coconut bonbons recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
150 grams desiccated coconut
120 grams icing sugar
350 grams sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon coconut extract

Preparation
Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add in the desiccated coconut, and mix briefly. Pour in half of the sweetened condensed milk, along with vanilla bean paste and coconut extract. Start folding the mixture with a wooden spoon, trying to moisten the coconut as much as possible. Start drizzling in the rest of the sweetened condensed milk, mixing with a wooden spoon as you pour.
The batter will soon become really thick, and it will almost resemble a stiff dough. Knead it briefly with your hands to combine. Take out teaspoons of the batter, and form little bonbons. As soon as you form a bonbon, roll it in more desiccated coconut. Keep forming bonbons and coating them in additional coconut, until you use up all of the mixture. Let them cool down and firm up in the refrigerator for about an hour or two, and serve. Yields 45 small bonbons.
Note: If the sweetened condensed milk you are using is too thick, you might have to add another tablespoon or two more, so the batter could be soft and pliable, and not crumbly.

02 September 2016

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE MOUSSE PARFAITS

Layer upon layer of fudgy chocolate brownies, and a smooth chocolate mousse. If I had to describe this dessert in as few words as possible, the phrase ’chocolate heaven’ comes to mind. The mousse does not set very firmly, but remains soft and airy, full of tiny air pockets from all the whipped cream gently folded through. Serve them really well chilled and enjoy!

Double chocolate brownie mousse parfaits recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the brownie layer
50 grams dark chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
For the double chocolate mousse
400 grams extra dark chocolate
300 grams milk chocolate
500 ml heavy cream
100 grams butter
200 ml heavy cream, whipped
For the decoration
100 grams dark chocolate


Preparation
To make the brownie layer, chop up the dark chocolate and the cooking chocolate finely, and dice the butter. Take a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place in the butter, and chocolate. Melt them together over medium low heat (or in the microwave). Because it is a very small quantity of chocolate, it can burn quite easily, so do not leave the stove or be tempted to turn the heat up. Once the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the sugar.
Whisk it briefly, then let the batter cool down slightly. Add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking vigorously after each. Finally, sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, and gently fold everything together. Grease a 23 cm (9") round pan, place a piece of baking paper in the bottom of the pan, and pour the batter. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F) for about 10 minutes. The brownie layer is quite thin, so watch it carefully and check it with a toothpick to make sure the brownies is baked, but not dry. Remove from the oven, and let it cool in the pan completely.
Take a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, and add in both extra dark and milk chocolate, chopped. Dice in the butter, then pour the heavy cream over everything. Place the saucepan over low heat, and let everything melt and blend together. This will take some time, because of the sheer quantity of ingredients, to be patient. Stir it gently as it melts, to ensure it doesn't burn on the bottom, and to help melt it evenly.
Once the crème is melted, remove it from the heat, and let it sit at room temperature until it is cold to the touch, and it has a consistency of a chocolate spread. Whip the remaining heavy cream until soft peaks form, then fold it through the crème until blended. Crumble the brownie layer and divide it into four equal parts. Take four dessert glasses and arrange the brownie crumbs on the bottom. Top it generously with the double chocolate mousse, then decorate as desired, and chill well before serving. Yields 4 servings.

26 August 2016

PIZZA POCKETS

Pizza pastry is always a hit, whether it is served at a party, as a snack, or even dinner. These pastries are so soft and delicately crispy, and the filling is full of cheese, tomato sauce and smoked ham. They are quite large, so each one makes a generous serving, and this recipe can easily feed a crowd. You can serve them hot or cold, as you would serve regular pizza.

Giant pizza pockets recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the starter
120 ml lukewarm water
30 grams fresh yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
For the dough
900 grams plain flour
240 ml lukewarm water
250 grams plain yogurt
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
For the filling
200 grams smoked ham, diced
300 grams Edam cheese, shredded
300 grams tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Preparation
To make the starter, crumble the fresh yeast in a medium bowl, sprinkle in the sugar and flour, then gently pour over the lukewarm water. Mix it, and let it sit for about 30 minutes in a warm spot, so the yeast can activate. Once the mixture is bubbling, proceed with the dough. Pour the starter in a large bowl, add the lukewarm water, yogurt, oil, and salt, then start sifting in the flour while you mix with a wooden spoon.
Keep sifting in the flour and mixing until you use up all of the flour and the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle the work surface with flour, turn the dough out and knead it for at least 5 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large, clean bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap, and let it sit until doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and a half. When the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl, and knead it well or a floured work surface. Return it to the bowl, and let it rise again. It should take less than an hour, because the dough always rises more quickly the second time.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Dice the ham (small dice works best), shred the cheese, and mix them in a large bowl. Add the seasoning and mix well. Add the tomato sauce, and mix thoroughly, so that it is distributed as evenly as possible.
Take the risen dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface, gently knead it, then roll it up to about 5mm (¼-inch) thickness. Using a large biscuit cutter, cut out 15 cm (6-inch) circles of dough. Place a part of the filling in the centre of each circle, fold the dough over itself, and tightly press the ends with a tines of the fork, so the filling doesn’t leak out while baking.
Gather all the dough scraps, knead and roll them again, then proceed to cut out circles and fill them until you use up all of the ingredients. Place the pizza pockets or three large baking sheets, and let them rise for about 30 minutes, while the oven is preheating. Brush them with some more extra virgin olive oil just before baking, and bake them in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve them with some additional pizza sauce, if desired. Yields 18 large pizza pastries.