Monthly Archives: January 2012

Lilikoi Cheesecakes

Lilikoi Cheesecakes

Lilikoi Cheesecakes

I love kitchen gadgets and I love deals. So when I saw the mini cheesecake pans at Home Goods I just had to get it. I must say they are really wonderful. The removable bottoms make it a cinch to pop the little things out and cleanup of the pan was really easy. Now you do not need to get the pan to make the mini-cheesecakes, if you have a silicone mini muffin pan it works just as well. Just butter the base and sides of the each cup before you put in the batter.

I started out wanting to make mini-cheesecakes. I have tried a couple of  recipes before and instead of using a tried and tested one I had to go do something different. These came out more tasting more like egg custard cheesecakes. So I added a bit more cream cheese whipped with sugar on top. Then I topped it off with some fresh-cut pineapple and poured a little Lilikoi syrup on top. When Sumier and Altaf came over and tried it there was a bit of confusion as to what it was but they both definitely loved it. Janak called it Sumier’s surprise #3. However, Sumier said he had enough of surprises so I named it Lilikoi Cheesecakes. They also do not really look like cheesecakes and have a wonderful look on the sides as they sort of fold down.

I got the Lilikoi syrup from Hawaii and you can buy it online as well. It is absolutely delicious and works really well with ice cream too!. I hope you enjoy it.

Recipe

makes 12

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter melted
  • 2/3 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 2 tbsp

Topping

  • 3 tbsp cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pineapple chopped
  • lilikoi syrup (passionfruit)

Method

Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly butter the cavities.

Mix the crackers and butter together. Press the mixture into the base of each cavity. Make sure it is pressed down and firm with no gaps. You can use the back of a teaspoon to press down.

Blend the eggs, cream cheese and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Divide equally among the cavities. Bake for 25-30 mins. Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Then pop out the mini cheesecakes. At this point you can refrigerate them.

Before you are ready to serve you can whip the  cream cheese with the sugar. Divide equally among each of the cheesecakes. Then top with chopped pineapple and drizzle with Lilikoi syrup.

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Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee

So here is another dessert I made for the New year’s party – Creme Brulee. I love CB and so many people do. The nice crispy top with a delicious custard inside. I must confess that I have one of those little blow torches which so helps the whole process. Creme Brulee is really easy to make – it just seems like a really difficult dessert. It has just a few ingredients and you just blend and bake.

Now you do not need to have a little blow torch for just this particular task because that is really the only task that I have used it for . However, if you are a kitchen gadget nutter like me you can get it from Bed bath and beyond or keep looking at Home Goods they always turn up there. If you do not have a blow torch just put the custards in a cold oven and then turn on the grill. The torch helps the sugar brulee very evenly.

I used little shallow cups  that I got from Cost Plus. They did not say oven safe but I tried them out and they worked perfectly. They have a little lip at the edge that looks very pretty. The recipe that I used below fills 8 of them. You can use ramekins and I think a 4oz – 6oz ramekin will work.

I used a fresh vanilla bean as I have quite a few of them but you can use vanilla extract as well. If you use vanilla extract two teaspoons should do the trick.

I always use sea salt in most of  my desserts. I like the taste of it better. However, if you do not have sea salt, no worries, just use the salt you have.

Recipe

  • 2 vanilla bean
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  • 3 cups heavy cream (double cream if you are in the UK)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of sea salt

Method

Heat the oven to 275°F.  Split the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds. This is best done on a cutting board. Add the seeds to the egg yolks. Add the confectioners sugar and salt and whisk all of them together.

While whisking add the cream in a stream. Whisk until well blended.

Pour the mixture into the 8 cups. Put the cups into a larger baking tray. Mine fit nice and snugly together. Then pour in boiling water around to come up halfway up the sides of the cups.

My cups were quite shallow so I baked them for about 30 minutes. If you have deeper ramekins where the custard is about 2inches or more deep you must bake it for longer. You will know when it is done by jiggling the cup a little, the custard will be jiggly but not liquidy. Once you take it out and let it cool it will firm up more.

Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and remove the cups from the dish. I used a pair of silicone coated tongs to accomplish the task. Let the cups cool down and then refrigerate them.

To make the sugar crust, put a light dusting of granulated sugar (that is regular sugar) evenly on top of the custard and then blow torch it. Just make sure you have an even light layer of sugar. You can toss out any excess sugar you might have put on. The coating of sugar is very very light. If you are using the blow torch then just go back and forth over the sugar slowly you will see it start burning.

Decorate it and serve. I decorated mine with raspberries.


Rum Balls

Rum Balls

Rum Balls

I will have you know I love Rum – in desserts that is, especially the dark variety. I got this latest bottle when I was on my way back from Puerto Rico. We all went a little crazy there because its they have a duty free shop and you can buy duty free even though PR is a US territory. We bought so much (mine was all for cooking purposes) that they gave us a lovely bag to carry it all. I was wondering what I could use this wonderful rum for and thought at Christmas time these would be simply delightful.

These Rum balls are more like truffles and they dissolve in your mouth and are bursting with flavor – rum that is :-). You can roll them in any sanding sugar because it just sparkles on the ball.

I used my Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment to do the kneading which you could do with your hands.

Recipe

  •   1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, roughly chopped
  •   6 oz  chocolate, finely chopped
  •   3 large eggs
  •   1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  •   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •   1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  •   3/4 cup all-purpose flour sifted
  •   1/4 cup plus a little more of dark rum
  •   Demerara or sanding sugar, for rolling

Method

Step 1 : Bake the cake

Butter a Jelly Roll/rimmed baking sheet (11×16 inch).

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool a little.

Whisk eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt together. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture and then fold in the sifted flour. Pour this into your buttered sheet. Place it in a preheated oven at 350F for about 8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Take it out of the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack.

Step 2 : Now for the rum balls

When the cake is completely cool, peel it off the baking sheet and crumble it into your mixing bowl. With the paddle attachment on start the mixer adding the rum slowly until it starts to come together to form a ball. Here is where you might want to add a little more rum as needed.

Using a cookie scoop (i used small) form little balls. Roll them in the sugar and put them on a tray. Once you are done with all the dough put the tray in the fridge until they are set and firm to the touch. Then you can transfer them to a container and enjoy them. You can serve them either refrigerated or let them sit out of the fridge for about 10 minutes before you serve them.


Irish Coffee Shots

Irish coffee cups

Irish coffee cups

So my friend Lorne came up with this fabulous idea to make mini-desserts for the New Years Party. I am going to do a write-up on all the desserts I made. It was a lot of fun to come up with ideas and try to make different desserts. It was really nice to make a lot of little desserts and everyone loved trying lots of different desserts.

A little note about using gelatine. We get gelatine in a powder format in the US (in Europe and Australia you get it in sheets). To soften gelatine you sprinkle it over water and let it soak for about 4 minutes. I normally use a small cereal bowl so I get the maximum surface to sprinkle the gelatine.

For a couple of twists you can add a cocoa cream layer between layer 2 and layer 3. You can also reduce the amount of alcohol or increase especially if you want something more boozy!

This is a dessert especially for coffee lovers. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends did.

New Years Table

New Years Table

Recipe

For 12 5oz shot glasses. Approx prep time 1 hour

Layer 1

  • 300 ml water
  • 1 sachet instant espresso powder (I used a Starbuck’s sachet)
  • 1/2 cup rum or whisky
  • 1/2 packet gelatine (soaked in 1/2 cup of water)
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Layer 2

  • 1000 ml milk
  • 6 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp instant coffee
  • 4 tbsp sugar

Layer 3

  • 300 ml  heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp Kahlua

Chocolate block for chocolate shavings

Method

Layer 1

Sprinkle the gelatine over the 1/2 cup of water and let it bloom. Heat the 300ml of water then add the espresso powder and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the rum and then the gelatine and stir till the gelatine dissolves. Pour it carefully into the shot glasses. Let them cool on the counter and then refrigerate them while you continue to the next step.

Layer 2

Dissolve the cornstarch in about 100 ml of milk. Heat the rest of the milk, sugar and instant coffee until hot (not boiling). Add the cornstarch milk and lower the heat. Stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and then keep it on for 1-2 more  minutes till it thickens a little more.  Turn off the heat and stir occasionally as it cools so it does not form a skin. Once it is cool you can spoon it into the glasses or use a piping bag. Return to the refrigerator.

Layer 3

Whip the cream till it starts to thicken. Then slowly add the sugar until it just starts to form thick peaks. Add the Kahlua and fold into the cream. Spoon that over layer 2 or pipe it over layer 2.

Using micro-plane shave a block of chocolate onto the whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to server.