Fig, Walnut & Chocolate Tart

My mother has always bought her pie-crust pastry at a French grocery store called Eleclerc, firstly because it’s the best and secondly because it’s a convenient place to go. The pastry there comes wrapped in both plastic and in a thicker paper with recipe ideas for tarts and pies. This recipe here has always been an instant success in our household, mainly because of the delicious hidden chocolate layer, I wonder why?! The original recipe from the pastry packaging uses slices of pears on top, but the type of fruit is really up to you, peaches, cherries, apples, plums… The choice is endless. Hope you enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • pie-crust pastry (230g)
  • 15-20 fresh figs, halved and lightly dusted with 1 packet vanilla sugar
  • 100g semisweet chocolate
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 125g ground walnuts
  • 125g caster sugar

 

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. In a bowl, mix together softened butter, ground walnuts and sugar until combined. Add eggs and mix well.
  3. Melt the chocolate on top of a double boiler; add a tablespoon of butter if desired.
  4. Place the lined pastry in your pie dish, then create an even layer of melted chocolate, followed by the walnut layer, and then top it all with fresh figs.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the middle of your oven. Bon appetit!
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Coconut Strawberry Tiramisu (dairy-free)

Scrumptious dairy-free tiramisu, served with fresh raspberry sauce and toasted almonds. Hope you give it a try! And Happy Easter! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 150 g strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200 g ladyfingers
  • 40 g sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 2 tins full-fat coconut milk, chilled for 24-48 hours
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup forest fruits juice

 

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mix sliced strawberries with 1-2 tbsp sugar (if necessary) and 1-2 tbsp lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Open the coconut milk tins. Separate the semi-solid/solid coconut cream from the coconut water; save the water for another recipe. Whip the cream until thick and creamy.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks, add a pinch of salt in continue until stiff peaks.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with 3 tbsp sugar until thick, light and pale, about 5 minutes. Gently stir in 1 tbsp Marsala and vanilla extract.
  5. Gently fold the whipped coconut cream into the egg yolk mixture in two batches, then fold the egg whites, also in 2 batches. Set aside.
  6.  Layer one layer of ladyfingers on the bottom of one 3 x 18 cm (9 x 7 inch) dish. Liberally brush with a mixture of the forest fruits juice and 1 tbsp Marsala.
  7. Spoon half of the coconut mixture on top of the soaked ladyfingers, then add a layer of strawberries.
  8. Arrange another layer of ladyfingers, equally brushed in fruit juice and then finish with the remaining coconut mixture. Garnish with strawberries and toasted almonds. Cover and chill for 3 hours. Enjoy!

Tip: Mix the second half of the coconut mixture with 3 tbsp raspberry sauce to make it extra special! Recipe below.

 

FRESH RASPBERRY SAUCE:

You will need:

  • 250 g raspberries
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau liqueur

Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until berries soften and release their juices. Reduce until it coats a wooden spoon. Mix in the Cointreau.

 

 

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Please note:
This recipe is partially an adaptation of The Best Gluten- & Dairy-Free Tiramisu Ever! from: https://honeyandspice.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/the-best-ever-tiramisu-gluten-dairy-refined-sugar-soy-gum-free/.

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Oatmeal Nut Bars

A perfect coffee-time dessert to share with your loved ones. Moist, chewy and delicious!

You will need (for 36 bars):

  • 13- by 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan, greased
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup shortening, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped or ground nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, beat shortening and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Stir in cooled coffee. Blend in flour mixture. Stir in nuts.
  4. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown (but do not overbake!). Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars and enjoy! 🙂

 

coffee oeatmeal nut bars 2

 

Please note: This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe for Coffee Raisin Nut Bars from Esther Brody’s 500 Best Cookies, Bars & Squares (Robert Rose Inc: 2004. pg. 228).

Chunky Chocolate Orange Muffins

Orange and chocolate heaven! Hope you give them a try. 🙂

You will need:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 orange/peach juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • extra chocolate and butter for the chocolate glaze
  • sprinkles of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. In a bowl, combine butter and sugar; cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add orange zest and orange juice; mix well.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture; stir gently just until blended. Fold in chocolate.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling three-quarters full. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Set aside to cool.
  5. For the chocolate glaze, just melt some chocolate and a little butter in a saucepan, pop the tops of your muffins into the chocolate and decorate with sprinkles. Enjoy!

Please note: This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe for Wholesome Banana Granola Drops from Esther Brody’s 500 Best Muffin Recipes (Robert Rose Inc: 2003. pg. 38).

Please note: Sadly there was not enough time to take a decent photo; this photo is from: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=3740.

Vanilla Pots de Crème with Strawberries

Have you guessed yet that my father really loves strawberries? I made him two small portions of both this recipe and the Strawberry Soufflé recipe for his name’s day this year. So tasty!

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1 (3-inch) piece vanilla bean, or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • strawberries, to garnish
  • vanilla sugar
  • lime juice
  • a few tbsp Kirsch or similar liqueur

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat 1 3/4 cups of the cream with the vanilla bean (if using), cool. Beat egg yolks until light and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in sugar and salt, the remaining 1/4 cup cream and the vanilla extract (if vanilla bean was not used). Gradually beat in the warm cream. Strain mixture into ramekins.
  2. Place pots in a baking pan. Pour in hot water to depth of 1 inch. Cover the pots with aluminium foil. Bake in a preheated oven (160°C/325°F) for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and chill before serving.
  3. Slice strawberries, add a little vanilla-scented sugar and lime juice, toss to blend.
  4. If desired (and if you still have room in your ramekins), you can upgrade your dessert by making a simple English cream, mixed with simple, crushed cookies. And a few shavings of chocolate on top. 🙂

Please note: This recipe is an adaptation of the following recipe: Vanilla Pots de Crème from Henri-Paul Pellaprat’s work of art, Art culinaire moderne in the English version: The great book of French cuisine / Henri-Paul Pellaprat, edited and introduced by Jerimiah Tower – Rev. ed.

PS: Again, I didn’t have a chance to take a photo (I have three super hungry brothers who can’t bear to wait to eat their dessert haha). The photo is taken from: http://www.two-tarts.com/2013/08/pots-de-creme-with-strawberries.html

Strawberry Soufflé with Sliced Strawberries

SERIOUSLY AMAZING. But don’t forget the sliced strawberries on top!

Hey! On the occasion of my father’s name’s day, I made the family a real treat. Hope you try it out.

Yield: Makes 4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 12-ounce basket of strawberries
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 large egg whites

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Spray 4-6 ramekins (4 “big” or 6 “small”) with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Coarsely puree 3/4 of the strawberries, 2 tbsp sugar and cornstarch in food processor. Transfer to small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, about 3 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Slice remaining strawberries. Transfer to medium bowl, add vanilla-scented sugar if needed and some lime juice. Toss to blend.
  4. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar; beat until stiff but not dry.
  5. Fold puree into whites in three additions.
  6. Transfer to ramekins. Bake until the soufflés are puffed and golden, about 13-15 minutes. Serve immediately with sliced strawberries.

Please note: This is an adaptation of the following recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/strawberry-souffle-with-sliced-strawberries-5247.

PS: It was so yummy I didn’t have a chance to pull out a camera before it was all gone. So I took the liberty of using this picture, not far from the original: http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2012/05/strawberry-souffles-with-fresh-berries-guest-post-with-that-skinny-chick-can-bake.html. 🙂

Wholesome Banana Oatmeal Drops

Today, I decided to do some festive baking. Enjoy! 🙂

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 cup oats
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and anise.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add egg, vanilla and bananas and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in oats.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls (15 mL), about 2 inches (5 cm) apart, onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen.

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Please note: This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe for Wholesome Banana Granola Drops from Esther Brody’s 500 Best Cookies, Bars & Squares (Robert Rose Inc: 2004. pg. 19).