Saturday, December 24, 2016

Mango custard Kataifi

This is a seasonal Summer sweet and I've borrowed the basic recipe from Tess Mallos.
Oven temp: 190C or 375 F
Cooking time: 1 hour

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 thin strips of lemon rind
Piece of cinnamon bark
3 teaspoons of lemon juice

1. Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat in a thick based saucepan. 
2. Add lemon rind and cinnamon bark and bring to the boil. 

3. Add lemon juice and boil over medium heat for 15 minutes. Do not stir once syrup is boiling.

4. Strain and leave to cool.

4 cups milk. I used full cream milk.
3/4 cup cornflour
4 eggs, beaten
Pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essense
1/2 cup mashed ripe mango

Method and final preparation
1. Combine milk and cornflour in a heavy pan.
2. Blend in beaten eggs and add salt and sugar. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until thickened and bubbling.

3. Add mashed mango.

4. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla essence and cover top of custard with buttered paper to prevent a skin forming.

5. Place kataifi on bench and gently separate the strands by hand.
6. Grease 20 x 28cm (8 x 11 inch) oven dish. I use an alfoil dish as this dish is usually a gift. 
7. Place half the kataifi over the base and press it so it's compact. I place one layer of filo pastry on the base to keep the custand off the alfoil.

8. Pour the custard evenly on the base layer.
9. Place the remining layer of kataifi over the top of the custard.

10. Pour melted butter on the top layer.
11. Bake for 45 minutes or until brown.
12. Evenly spoon the cold syrup over the top of the hot dessert.
Tomorrow I'll know if this worked - Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kataifi or shredded fillo pastry

It's that time of year when I get to bake. This year I discovered a local deli that stocks shredded fillo pastry or Kataifi.
I used to watch Mum work with this but it wasn't until this week that I tried working with this myself. Being brave with such a delicate pastry has its rewards.

1/2 cup almonds. I used dry roasted almonds.
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Put these into a blender, crushing them until they are course. Don't let them before powder unless that's your preference. I prefer the crunch value in the centre.
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
Thin strip of lemon
Small piece of cinnamon bark

Place these into a small saucepan and slow heat the water until the sugar is dissolved. Then let it gently bubble for 5 minutes and put aside to cool.

Pastry construction guide:
You buy a pack of premade Kataifi. 
It comes in a firm roll so you have to unroll the strands until they can be worked with your hands.
From here on in it's up to you as to how much filling you want and how big you want each roll to be. Use melted unsalted butter on the pastry as you work with it as you would when flat fillo pastry.

The key here is to butt each roll next to each other and have the ends on the under side when you place these into the baking tray. I use alfoil trays because these are usually gifts.
Use lots of unsalted butter over the top of the pastry so they brown nicely as they cook.

Once these are as brown as you like them, take them out of the oven and pour cold syrup over the hot pastry. I like to keep the pastry crunch so I don't drown them in syrup.

Then allow these to cool fully before you pack them into the fridge.

Serve with coffee amongst friends.

Custard filo pie or Galatoboureko

This recipe is from 'The complete Middle Eastern cookbook' by Tess Mallos 2005. The hints are from my very learned godmother who is a filo pastry guru.

Serves: 12
Oven temp: 180C or 350F

1 cup sugar
3/4 water
Piece cinnamon bark
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Dissolve sugar in water over low heat, increase heat to medium and bring to boil. Add cinnamon bark and lemon juice for 10 minutes.
2. Cool syrup and strain.
3. Keep this aside for now.

4 cups milk (full cream)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fine semolina
1/4 cup butter
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon. I used two peels of lemon
Piece of cinnamon bark. I used about 5cm long piece
Pinch of salt
5 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence. If you use a vanilla pod, use this instead. I used plain old essense.

10 sheets fillo pastry. I'm an Antoniou brand devotee.
3/4 cup melted unsalted butter. The fillo baking gurus insist on using unsalted butter, but the choice is yours.

1. Mix milk, sugar, semolina, butter, lemon rind, cinnamon bark and salt in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Let custard bubble gently over low heat for 5 minutes.

2. Take from heat and remove cinnamon stick. I take the cinnamon stick out before the custard begins to thicken. Cover with a piece of buttered paper to prevent skin forming. I use baking sheets so I have less mess. This also peels off easily. When cool, blend in eggs and vanilla essence.

3. Butter a 33 x 23 cm (13 x 9inch) oven dish. I use alfoil dishes because I usually make this dish as a gift, hence no need to retrieve a loved container later. Place half of the fillo pastry sheets in the dish, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Once you get used to the way the pastry sheets handle, this will be easy to do in future.

4. Pour custard and top with remaining sheets, again brushing each with butter as it is plae in position. Brush top with remaining butter and score through top three sheets of fillip in 3" squares or diamonds. Sprinkle top lightly with water. I think this stops the pastry from shrinking.

5. Trim edges and bake in moderate oven for 45 minutes until the pasty is golden brown and custard is set when tested with a knife. I tucked the edges under as I don't like to waste pastry.

6. Remove from oven. Then I spooned on cold syrup over the hot dish so it was evenly distributed.

Serve cold with coffee.

Now the trick here is to let this to cool throughly before covering it and then placing it in the fridge. If it is covered before it cools, the steam condenses on the lid and then wets the pastry. This makes the pastry soft.

Enjoy yours soon and eat responsibly. Stopping at just one piece is advised but it's more important to enjoy the company over a piece of pie.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Gluten-free Greek walnut cake

This is the first time I've deliberately made anything Gluten-free.
Preheat the oven to 160C fan forced. 
This cake takes almost an hour to cook. 

I'm still working out how long this cake should cook for. I originally checked it at 40 minutes but it needed another 30 minutes to cook through, so my cooking time isn't reliable #justsayin.

Syrup ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves
  • some lemon rind

Syrup method:

  1. Put all these ingredients in a small pan and cook them on the stove top for 5 minutes.
  2. The syrup should be running and not thickened.
  3. Allow the syrup to cool before spooning it on the cooked cake. 
Remember the cake should be warm when you spoon the syrup over it.

Cake ingredients:
6 eggs
250 gm butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
2 cups of gluten-free bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups of walnuts - pre-crushed if that suits your blender

Cake method:

  1. Grease the tin well. I used a 25cm round tin.
  2. Blend the butter, eggs and sugar together in the blender first.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Blend these until the ingredients are spread through evenly.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and spread is so the top is even. You can leave it looking rough because it doesn't settle.
  6. Bake until it's golden brown.
  7. Let the cake rest in the tin for 5 minutes before turning it out.
  8. Spoon the syrup one ladle at a time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cheese and spinach triangles

These are a family party-starter staple and I usually make these for everyone. That's the only time I love cooking - for family and friends.
While making this recipe on a rainy, humid Saturday, I took went a bit IG crazy, and snapped each step. 
I think to be fair I should have put this recipe here before I got snap happy.
 Sometimes the construction is easier to show using pictures instead of writing it.
 And it can be hard to convince a novice cook to butt each piece together on the baking tray for a better result, hence these pics. My aunties taught me that you put the uneven folds underneath so the tops are all smooth looking.
As you can see, these triangles are all nicely tanned and there were no cheese break outs.

Traditionally these are a pure spinach and cheese filling with an egg and some herbs. This filling has frozen spinach, mint, shallots, an egg, 400gm ricotta cheese and 400gm fetta.
I was always taught to use unsalted butter for the folds and to brown the outside.

The pastry is fillo pastry and I always use Antoniou fillo because it's consistent.

The oven is usually at 190C and these take 20 minutes to cook. 

PS: I have an uncooked batch in the freezer for the next family get-together.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cinnamon cream oysters

If you want to avoid cream, fill these with jam instead. The cinnamon 'oyster' is not very sweet.

2 eggs
1/4 sugar
2t golden syrup
6T plain flour
1t baking powder
1t baking soda
1t cinnamon
1/2t ground ginger
whipped cream to serve

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

  1. Grease 12 shallow patty tins.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar until thick.
  3. Add golden syrup and beat well.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger.
  5. Fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.
  6. Spoon small amounts of mixture evenly into prepared tins.
  7. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the surface springs back when lightly touched.
  8. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
  9. Just before serving, cut oysters open horizontally (shuck them) with a sharp knife and fill with whipped cream.
Makes 12.

This recipe is adapted from Timeless Edmonds - Celebrating 125 years of baking, 2004, Hodder Mao Beckett Publishers Ltd.