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Posts Tagged ‘milk’

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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Horray! It looks as though we’re through the ‘hungry gap’ where the last of the winter vegetables are running low and the first of the spring veggies are not quite ready. If you subscribe to a veggie box or community agriculture scheme the hungry gap can play havoc with your menu plan: unexpected frosts can spoil crops, supplies can run out early and you end up with the occasional unexpected substitution. Last week was one such occasion when I had made planned to make pumpkin falafels and ended up with a cauliflower. Granted, it was a lovely cauli but I struggled to come up with an interesting idea for dinner that went beyond the standard cheese pairing. (more…)

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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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I’m calling time on this miserable, chilly month with some sunshine in a bowl. January has seen me trying out various ways of transporting my soup to work without it leaking all over the inside of my handbag; my thermos has given up the ghost after one to many bumps. I’m quite pleased with my bargain (£3.49!) bento-type box, it doesn’t keep food hot very long but can go straight in the microwave, no decanting required. Unfortunately it’s quite bulky and won’t fit in my bag like the thermos did and, since it’s white, everyone thinks I’m toting around a loo roll. I’m tempted by one of the uber-cute Fuel flasks, complete with dry section for crackers or crûtons, but the price is rather high and they look a tad small. Does anyone out there in the blogosphere have any recommendations?

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This has to be one of my all-time favourite soups. When I was little my mum used to ask my brother and I for meal and lunch requests; I would ask for leek and potato soup pretty much every week and, now I’m grown up and moved out, I call her for the recipe on an equally regular basis. Whenever it’s cold and I want a taste of home I make this soup so it’s about time that I actually documented the recipe (I’m sure I’ll just find another reason to call mum).

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I’ve been wanting to try making my own cheese for some time now but have never quite plucked up the courage. I wasn’t sure how or where to get my mits on some rennet and didn’t even know if it would work without unpasteurized milk. But this week, during some food blog browsing, I happened upon a recipe for ricotta that didn’t call for any strange ingredients and looked ridiculously simple. In fact, I had everything on hand except the milk.

Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe was holding off making it until the end of the week so it would be fresh for a herb tart. Although there was another incentive driving me to hold out, this week a great little food shop opened in Exeter selling locally produced and sourced ingredients for a reasonable price. I popped in after work and picked up some creamy, fresh milk from cows living half an hour down the road. I was sorely tempted by the beautiful, rustic bread but instead picked up a bundle of pink rhubarb (destined for a Mother’s Day dessert) before heading home.

So anyway, back to the cheese. How can something so quick and easy taste so good? It had a delicate milky flavour like a good mozzarella and was smooth and soft unlike dried-out ricotta you get from the supermarket. I couldn’t resist spreading the still-warm cheese onto the first cracker I came across and wished I’d bought that bread. Next time (and there will be a next time) I want to try adding some fresh herbs, maybe thyme or chives.

Homemade Ricotta

From David Lebovitz on Simply Recipes

  • 3 pints full cream milk
  • 250ml live yoghurt (low-fat worked fine)
  • 125ml double cream
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1tsp salt

In a large pan bring all the ingredients to the boil. Boil gently for 2 minutes, the curd should separate from the whey.

Line a sieve with cheese cloth or muslin and set over a large bowl or jug. Pour in the curds and whey and leave to drain for 15 minutes.

Gather together the edges of the cheese cloth and gently squeeze out the excess liquid. The more you drain the cheese, the grainier and dryer it will be.

Allow to cool. Store in the fridge for up to three days.

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Some things just don’t translate well between cultures. What may seem perfectly normal to one country is perfectly foreign to another. Take twinkies for example. Despite them cropping up in so many American films and shows, I had no idea what one actually was until I visited the States a few years ago. Likewise, my concept of pudding is vast oceans away from the beloved stateside treat. I tend to use ‘pudding’ as a generic term for dessert; any good country pub will have a ‘pudding board’ displaying the day’s dessert choices. I even went on a ‘pudding crawl’ for my birthday once, hopping (which eventually turned into waddling) between restaurants ordering only sweets.

But lo and behold, to our American friends pudding is a homely concoction of milk, sugar and cornflour with the occasional egg thrown in for good measure. Sort of like a light set custard. I owe this discovery to the wonderful Deb at Smitten Kitchen who has recipes for several flavours of pudding including this unctuous vanilla version. Of course I could resist fiddling with the recipe by adding a spiced plum compote topping.  I decided not to add sugar the compote, the tartness works very well paired with the sweet milky pudding. Delicious! I recommend doubling the quantity of the compote and eating the leftovers stirred into porridge for breakfast.

Let’s hear it for intercultural understanding by means of dessert! Woop!

Spiced plum compote

(Makes enough to top 6 portions of pudding)

  • 3 ripe plums
  • 50ml orange juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground all spice

Remove the stones from the plums and cut in to small (1cm) pieces. Place in a small pan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.

Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 20 mins until the fruit is soft and the liquid is syrupy.

Leave to cool and spoon over the vanilla pudding.

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