Spiced Chocolate Crème Caramel

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This fall I have been loving everything warm and spicy. Everything that brings comfort – that warm, fuzzy feeling. And there’s something about this spiced chocolate crème caramel that makes it absolutely perfect for October’s stormy days. A dark just-set custard, fragranced with soft undertones of cardamom and cinnamon, served in a pool of bitter caramel. It’s a dessert that is rich and indulgent, yet mellow and light.

Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

For the caramel:

  1. 65 g sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon cold water
  3. ⅔ tablespoon hot water

For the chocolate custard:

  1. 1½ cups whole milk
  2. 1½ tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean, split
  4. 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  5. 2 black pepper pods, crushed
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 60 g dark chocolate
  8. 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Coat the insides of 4 ramekins with cooking oil.
  2. To make the caramel, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar and cold water over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, swirl the pan occasionally until the caramel has reached a dark golden colour.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Pour the caramel equally into the 4 ramekins. Do this quickly as the caramel will start to set. In case the caramel has hardened, heat it again for a few seconds until it reaches a pouring consistency. Set the ramekins aside.
  5. In a larger saucepan, add the milk, vanilla bean + seeds, cardamom pods, black pepper pods and cinnamon stick. Let the milk come to a light boil and remove from the heat.
  6. Add in the chopped chocolate and whisk together.
  7. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.
  8. Once cool, sieve the mixture.
  9. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate milk and mix until combined. If there is any foam on top, use a spoon to skim it.
  10. In a deep baking tray, place the ramekins and then pour in the chocolate mixture into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the baking tray. Cooking these in a bath ensures even cooking.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes. A good way of testing if they are done is to giggle the ramekins. The centre should be almost set, not fully.
  12. Let the ramekins cool completely and then set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  13. To un-mould, dip the ramekins in hot water for a few seconds. Then run a knife along the edge of the custard and flip onto a plate.

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Chocolate-dipped Orange Cookies

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These soft, chewy orange cookies are probably one of my favourite cookies ever. But they’re not just orange cookies. They’re orange cookies dipped in bitter dark chocolate and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Lightly fragranced with fresh oranges, they’re bright and sunshiny. But it’s the luscious, dark, bitter chocolate that makes this cookie for me. It’s the kind of cookie that’ll take to straight to cookie heaven, and that’s a place I’m sure we all want to be in.

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Makes about 15 medium sized cookies

Ingredients:

  1. 70 g butter
  2. 30 g sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon honey
  4. 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  5. 1 teaspoon orange zest
  6. 80 g flour
  7. 20 g almond meal
  8. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  9. 100 g dark chocolate
  10. ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  11. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar, honey and orange juice.
  3. Sift in the flour, almond meal and baking soda. If the mixture looks too wet, add a little more flour. It should come together to form a slightly wet dough.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 equal sized balls. Then, flatten by pressing each ball of dough between your palms.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are dry to touch but not hard. Let the cookies cool at room temperature and then place in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. This helps the chocolate glaze stay on the cookies.
  6. In a saucepan, over low heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden. Leave to cool.
  7. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Add in the coconut oil and stir.
  8. Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Immediately sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  9. Place the cookies in the fridge to help the chocolate set.

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream / No Churn

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Lately, I have been loving turning all my favourite desserts into ice creams. This ice cream has all the flavours of a key lime pie, in frozen form, and it’s kind of the best thing ever. The ice cream, soft and velvety, with it’s refreshing aromatic tartness, is perfection. A creamy, tart, citrusy heaven. The digestive biscuits bring with them a toasty crunch, which pairs extremely well with the zesty, creamy notes. It’s the kind of ice cream you can’t have just one scoop of. It’s the kind of ice cream you want to eat straight out of the tub, and finish all in one sitting.

Ingredients:

For the ice cream base:

  1. cup whipping cream
  2. ½ cups milk
  3. ½ cup sugar
  4. 1 lime (juice + zest)
  5. 2-3 lime leaves, crushed
  6. 1 teaspoon cornflour

For the biscuit layer:

  1. ½ cup digestive biscuits, crushed
  2. 2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the lime curd:

  1. 1 egg
  2. 1 lime (juice + zest)
  3. 25 g butter
  4. 30 g sugar

Method:

    1. Add the milk, sugar and lime leaves into a saucepan and place over medium-low heat.
    2. Add the cornflour to a small bowl and add in a tablespoon of the milk. Mix and set aside.
    3. Cook the milk and sugar, stirring continuously for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced to about a cup.
    4. Add in the cornflour mixture and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of condensed milk.
    5. Take it off the heat, remove the lime leaves. Let it come to room temperature and then place in the fridge or freezer to cool.
    6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    7. In another bowl, mix the crushed digestive biscuits and melted butter until well incorporated.
    8. Spread the biscuit mixture on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    9. For the lime curd, place the sugar, egg and lime juice in a heat-proof bowl and set over a pan with simmering water.
    10. Whisk continuously as you cook the mixture, until it has thickened.
    11. Take off the heat and add cubes of the butter and lime zest, whisk until combined. Set aside to cool.
    12. Add the whipping cream to a large bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cold milk and sugar mixture, and the lime zest and juice.

    13. In an air-tight container, first pour a layer of the whipped cream mixture, followed by a layer of the lime curd and then a layer of the biscuits. Repeat this process, finish with a layer of biscuits. Freeze the ice cream for at least 6 hours or overnight.

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Apple Pie

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Apple pie. These words are enough to bring a smile to my face.  With a perfectly flaky crust and an interior of soft, cinnamon-spiced apples, this pie is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. In my opinion, eating this pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is kind of mandatory. Okay, it’s not mandatory, but I highlyyy recommend it. It beautifully cuts through all the richness by providing a cool, subtle compliment to the buttery filling.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
  1. 200 g flour
  2. 25 g sugar
  3. 100 g butter
  4. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
  1. 500 g apples (cored and diced)
  2. 75 g sugar
  3. ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Use a 9 inch loose bottom pie tin for this recipe.
  2. Sieve the flour, baking powder and sugar.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs. Leave in some pea-sized bits of butter (this results in a flakier crust).
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water and bring together. Do not knead.
  5. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Put the diced apples into a saucepan and cover with the sugar. Add in the cinnamon. Cook till the apples are soft. Set aside to cool.
  7. Roll out the dough into two 1/8″ circles. Make one bigger than the other.
  8. Place the bigger one in the pie tin.
  9. Coat the bottom with some egg white and add in the apple filling.
  10. Take the smaller circle and cut out strips. Use these to create a lattice pattern on top of the pie. Brush the top with some egg white.
  11. Bake at 180°C for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.

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Summer Berry Cake

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Berries make me happy. And baking with berries, even happier. I could put them (and eat them) in pretty much anything – ice cream, tarts, sorbets…but this cake wins it for me. It’s a cake, so simple, it far exceeds delicious. Lightly fragranced with vanilla and cinnamon, it lets the berries shine. As the berries bake, they release little bursts of tartness in little crevices of the cake, which creates a medley of flavours that sing of summer.

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Ingredients:

  1. 85 g unsalted butter
  2. 180 g flour
  3. 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  4. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 170 g sugar
  7. 1 egg
  8. ½ cup milk
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. ½ cup assorted berries

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 9-inch tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add in the milk, whisking continuously.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients one-third at a time. Mix until there are no lumps.
  5. Transfer the batter into the prepared tin.
  6. Coat the berries in a little bit of flour and arrange on top of the batter.
  7. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 150°C and bake for another 30-35 minutes.

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Persian Rose and Pistachio Cake / Gluten Free

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There is something so special, almost magical about this cake. It brings together two fragranced and mellow flavours that work together like magic, pistachio and rose. These comforting, familiar flavours always take me back to my grandmother’s Phirni. It’s a combination that forever has a place in my heart. But, inside a cake, this combination works just as well, if not better. This Persian cake is delicately flavoured with toasty notes of almonds and pistachios. It’s bright and floral, decadent and fragrant. Or to put it simply, it’s delicious.

Ingredients:

  1. 75 g butter
  2. 80 g sugar
  3. ½ tablespoon lime zest

  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. ¼ teaspoon rose extract
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 90 g ground almonds
  8. 65 g ground pistachios

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a small loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, lime zest, vanilla and rose extracts in a mixing bowl. Cream together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Fold in the ground almonds and ground pistachios.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.

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Mango Ice Cream / No Churn

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One of my favourite things about summer has to be mangoes. I love everything about mangoes. However, this mango ice cream in particular has my heart. Filled with sunshine and summer, it’s a dream. With a smooth-as-anything texture, intensely flavoured and fragranced with the juiciest mangoes, you can’t not fall in love with this ice cream.

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Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup mango (puréed)
  2. ¼ cup mango (cut into small cubes)
  3. cup whipping cream
  4. ½ cups milk
  5. ½ cup sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon cornflour
  7. ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:

    1. Add the milk and sugar into a saucepan and place over medium-low heat.
    2. Add the cornflour to a small bowl and add in a tablespoon of the milk. Mix and set aside.
    3. Cook the milk and sugar, stirring continuously for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced to about a cup.
    4. Add in the cornflour mixture and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of condensed milk.
    5. Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla extract.
    6. Let it come to room temperature and then place in the fridge or freezer to cool.
    7. Add the whipping cream to a large bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cold milk and sugar mixture.

    8. Fold in the mango purée and cubes and then pour into an air-tight container. Freeze the ice cream for at least 6 hours or overnight.

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