Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Viennese Swirls





My good friend Aramide, who is a brilliant cook and baker in his own right, sent me an SOS Facebook message claiming he had spent the entire weekend making Viennese Swirls only to fail miserably each time. He requested that I have a go using a different recipe. To quote him “I think my recipe book is a liar!”.

According to him, his recipe yielded a crumbly mess. I remember reading somewhere that the fat content when making these delicate biscuits was what determined the outcome and texture. After doing some research and mixing it up a bit, I have the perfect Viennese Swirl recipe.

Viennese Swirls are basically short shortbread. Its a lovely fine-textured biscuits that literally melts in your mouth and a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.

I made two varieties, a chocolate coated one, and a jam filled one.

It took me all of an hour to prepare the mix, bake, and decorate these lovelies.

I hope this solves your predicament Ram!

* Sorry for the lack of photos! Bath has been dreary and rainy the past few days. To make matters worse, I read in the newspapers this morning that its been predicted that it is going to snow in October! How about that.

Viennese Swirls

Yields 16-20 swirls


Ingredients


250 grams butter, softened.

55 grams icing sugar

225 grams plain flour

75 grams corn flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

100 grams dark chocolate (optional)

Strawberry/Raspberry Jam (optional)


Method 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. 
  2. Soften the butter by either microwaving it for 5-10 seconds, or leaving it out in the open for a few hours. Add the icing sugar, plain flour and corn flour into a bowl and give it a quick mix. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix it quickly until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. It is important not to over-mix the batter as too much air will affect the texture.
  4. Using a star nozzle, pipe the mixture onto a parchment paper or a silicone sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the biscuits take on a golden colour.
  5. Once swirls have cooled, melt dark chocolate and dip half the swirl in. The chocolate has to be quite runny - I had to add a few teaspoons of milk to chocolate to get the perfect consistency.
  6. For round swirls, dollop some jam onto the middle and sprinkle with icing sugar.





Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Cokodok - Mashed Banana Fritter



Cokodok, also called Kuih Kodok, is a traditional Malaysian tea-time snack which can be found being freshly fried in road side stalls all over Malaysia. A cokodok is essentially a mashed banana fritter which is round in shape.

My attempt is somewhat of a failure as the fritters didn’t hold its shape instead forming flat patties which almost resembled a banana pancake. Taste-wise however, it was spot on!

I would recommend using a lot more flour than the measly 3 tablespoons – in hindsight, and advice from mum, I realised the batter has to be very thick.

The way to test if the batter has the right consistency is to scoop up a tablespoon’s worth of batter and if it keeps it shape, you’ve got it right (source: mum)

Other than that, this is a perfect way of using up bruised or overripe bananas and it is perfect with a cup of tea!

Cokodok

Yields 5-6 pieces


Ingredients


2 ripe bananas

3 tablespoons flour

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp baking flour

Pinch of salt



Method


1. Mash the bananas.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

3. Heat oil in a pan and drop in spoonfuls of batter.

4. Fry till golden brown on each side.

5. Best served warm.



Sunday, 11 September 2011

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Ginger nut Base



Chocolate swirl cheesecake with a ginger nut base. Have I got your attention yet?

This recipe produces a wonderfully simple no-bake cheesecake that is guaranteed to impress with each mouthful. This cheesecake is rich and creamy just as a cheesecake should be! And it’s made a little more decadent by swirls of melted dark/milk chocolate.
The marbled effect looks stunning on its own and will definitely ‘wow’.

The ginger nut base is a wonderful contrast to the slightly lemony cheese filling which somehow manages to reduce the richness of the flavours. This is possibly my new favourite base to work with!

As I adamantly refuse to use gelatine or gelatine based products, this recipe is ideal. Lots of no-bake cheesecake recipes add gelatine to the cream cheese mixture to give it a firmer texture. I find the combination of well whipped double cream and a long chilling period works just as well.
For a healthier option, feel free to use low-fat cream cheese but mind you, a low-free cheesecake is never as satisfying as a proper indulgent full-fat one! 

I used a 22cm spring-form pan for this recipe but ideally it would work better using a smaller pan, allowing the cake to have a thicker layer of cheese filling.




Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Ginger nut Base

Ingredients

Base
200 grams ginger nut biscuits, crushed
60 grams melted butter

Swirls
150 gram dark/milk chocolate

Cheese Filling
600 grams cream cheese, room temperature
150 grams caster sugar
200 grams double cream
Juice and rind of half a lemon

Method
  1. Mix the crushed biscuits with butter and fill the base of a spring-form tin. Press down the crumb mixture forcefully and ensure the edges of the pan are covered. Chill for an hour.
  2. Halfway through the chilling process, melt the chocolate and let it cool.
  3. Beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the double cream and sugar and continue to beat until medium peaks appear.
  4. Add lemon juice and rind and give the mixture a quick whisk. 
  5. To assemble, fill the pan with a layer of cream cheese and smoothen. Drizzle the melted chocolate sporadically.
  6. Continue the layering process until three layers of each component is formed.
  7. To create the marbled effect, put a chopstick or a skewer through the mixture and swirl it around until satisfied with the design.