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Posts Tagged ‘cream’

At this time of year where late summer drifts into early autumn and warm, sunny afternoons are punctuated by misty mornings and a slight chill in the air I find myself feeling very happy and content with my lot. I’m looking forward to snuggly winter which will bring a family wedding, my birthday and, hopefully, a finished kitchen. But I’m jumping ahead; there’s so much to enjoy in these harvest months. The squirrels I can see from the window are busy scampering about preparing for winter. Veggie boxes are brimming with goodies and the hedgerows are laden with hazelnuts, sloes and blackberries which I need to hurry up and pick before the Devil spits on them on the 29th!

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Tres leches cake is, so I hear, quite ubiquitous in Latin America and very popular in the US. It is also, apparently, quite the fashion in Albania. I’d love it to become more popular here in blighty since it’s pretty darn good cake. It is, essentially, a light-as-air sponge cake soaked in ‘three milks’: sticky, sweet condensed milk, evaporated milk and rich, fresh cream; and, if you like, a kick of rum. The sponge, being made of eggs whipped up to frothy peaks, is full of tiny bubbles which act as little pockets to hold the milks which means the cake is incredibly moist but not soggy. As you can probably imagine, for something soaked in condensed milk, this cake is quite sweet so it is just perfect topped with softly whipped cream and fresh summer berries which are tart enough to balance out the favours.

Tres leches cake makes a wonderful summer cake for a tea party or dinner; it’s so pretty decorated with a riot of red, pink and purple berries, simple and elegant at the same time. Once it’s been doused in milk, the cake goes in the fridge to chill so it’s cool and remarkably refreshing when served: not what your guest are expecting but a pleasant surprise. And that’s what I really love about tres leches – it’s not your everyday cake, it’s a bit of a surprise. Tell someone you’re serving them sponge cake soaked in milk and they’ll probably think you’re nuts (unless they’ve already been inducted into the tres leches club) but one bite in they’ll wonder how they’d gone so long without this cake in their lives.

Tres leches cake with berries

Adapted very slightly from Simon Rimmer on Saturday Kitchen

Serves 8

For the cake:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 150g sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the milk sauce:

  • 397ml condensed milk
  • 350ml evaporated milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp rum

For the topping:

  • 150ml double cream
  • fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red currants, cherries)

First make the cake. Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 23cm square pan (but not one with a loose base! I used a pyrex dish).

In a spotlessly clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks, add 50g sugar and beat until stiff.

In another large bowl beat the yolks and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift over the flour and baking powder and fold in. Stir in the milk and vanilla.

Fold one-third of the egg whites into the yolk batter to loosen then gently fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30–40 minutes. The cake is ready when it’s golden and a skewer comes out clean.

While the cake is baking stir together the milk sauce ingredients.

As soon as the cake comes out the oven prick it all over with a fork and gradually pour over the majority of the sauce, about ¾. Allow to cool in the baking dish then chill.

Two hours before serving pour over the remaining sauce.

Just before serving turn the cake out and whip the 150ml cream to firm peaks. Spread the cream over the top of the cake and decorate with fresh berries.

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More Italian-inspired food today, this time in the form of a cool, fruity frozen dessert that’s lighter than ice cream but far more rich and creamy than sorbet. It’s also much easier to make than those other two treats – no fancy-schmancy churns needed here but I was glad to be in possession of an electric whisk, I tell you. That’s the secret of a good semifreddo – whisking in air, and lots of it. By trapping as much air as possible in whipped yolks, whites and cream you create a fluffy mousse-like confection (and a lot of washing up!) that stays smooth once frozen. Being a ‘semi’ freddo, or half cold, you need to take your dessert out of the freezer a good half hour before serving to let it start to melt (or in my case, having what we affectionately call the ‘absolute-zero freezer’, a full hour). (more…)

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Gratin dauphinoise is a sinfully good, classic French dish that I wish I could eat everyday. Unfortunately my hips would never forgive such indulgence so this dish is reserved for high days and holidays only. Oh, and those days when you realise you ‘accidentally’ bought too much cream and need a way to use it up. I can’t only be me who does that, right?

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Bread making has always been something I’ve enjoyed but not been particularly good at; I think it all stems from the dismal cookery lessons I had at school where our teacher instructed us to knead rock-solid little balls of dough that baked up so dense not even the park ducks would touch it. Salvation came in March when I finally got to go on an eagerly anticipated bread making course at the Real Food Store in Exeter.

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It’s that time of year again where bloggers around the world unite to profess their love of their favourite chocolate and hazelnut spread. Organized by Sara at Ms Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso, February 5th 2012 is the 6th annual World Nutella Day, let’s celebrate! (more…)

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Every year in July we celebrate my husband’s birthday by hosting a barbecue for our friends. Come rain or shine we sit out in the garden enjoying burgers, sausages and cold beers as well as occasionally throwing Maltesers, singing stupid songs and sending toy hamsters through ‘the ring of fire’. Every year I ask my other half what kind of birthday cake he would like and every year the answer is cheesecake. We’ve seen double chocolate, dulce de leche and tiramisù versions come and go but last year’s cake seems set to stay. Inspired by a dessert he had at a Mexican restaurant well over a year and a half ago, once again the request was made for lime cheesecake with a spicy ginger crust. To lift it from the realms of delicious dessert to birthday-worthy celebration cake it is topped with a cloud of whipped cream, curls of lime zest and a cute flag I found in my favourite card shop.

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