Coconut Bavarois with Mango Curd

I was looking through the freshly pressed section of wordpress one day and saw this really amazing dessert. It was lychee bavarois with coconut and chocolate and strawberries. I had never seen, or heard of, a bavarois before. It looked so tall and yet fluffy and light. What the hell was that? How could it be? And, more importantly, how can I make it?

After it had so rudely entered my subconscious, I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about a version of this dessert that I wanted to make. Coconut bavarois with some sort of mango glaze (I settled on mango curd because I have NO idea how to make glazes) and some chocolate flourishes. I did a bunch of research and decided on a basic recipe that I tweaked ever so slightly and the results turned out wonderfully!

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Coconut Bavarois

1 cup milk

meat from 1 fresh coconut, puréed

2 eggs, separated

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup whipped cream

1/2 ounce gelatin

 

Beat the egg whites and sugar together until fully mixed, set aside.

Whisk the cream, set aside. Whisk the egg whites until dry, set aside.

In a thick bottomed sauce pan, slowly bring the milk and puréed coconut to a boil. Do not scald. Remove from heat. Separate the coconut from the milk, use a wooden spoon to press all of the liquid from the coconut shavings. Set aside.

Whisk the egg whites and the milk together. Once incorporated, return to the stovetop and heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This cooks a bit like a custard and, like a custard, you don’t want it to actually boil. Once the mixture is thick enough, remove from heat and let it cool.

Lightly oil a cake pan with vegetable oil and set aside.

When the mixture is cool and about to set, add the gelatin. Mix thoroughly until it is completely dissolved. Then fold in the whipped cream and then the egg whites. Take about 1/2 cup of the puréed coconut and fold it into the bavarois. Put the bavarois into the cake pan and set it in the fridge until set.

Mango Curd

1 very ripe mango, cut up

1/2 TBSP butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg white

Put all the ingredients into a thick bottomed sauce pan and cook on medium heat. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. It’s ok if the curd comes to a boil. It’s done when the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat and strain the mixture to get rid of the long stringy mango bits. Use a spoon to press the curd through, it takes a few minutes but it separates easily.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

When you’re ready to serve the bavarois, remove it from the fridge and turn it onto a plate. Even with oiling the mold, the bavarois may stick. Use a knife to loosen at the edges. If this doesn’t work, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the mold. If this still doesn’t work, set the mold in warm water for 10 to 15 seconds. Keeping it under or using water that’s too warm will start to melt the bavarois. If that happens put it immediately in the fridge for a few minutes and then remove to continue assembly.

Spread the mango curd evenly on top of the bavarois.

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If you have chocolate bits to add, do so. I added a few chocolate drops but afterwords found that it tastes much better just with the fruit. I’ll leave it to you to decide.

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This is a dessert with great flavors that aren’t too overpowering and it isn’t too sweet. It’s also quite cool and light, something we’ll all look forward to in the upcoming summer heat! Enjoy!

 

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Mini Carrot Cup Cakes

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I made these on a whim for my co workers as we approached Easter weekend. Historically, I’ve always had issues with making cream cheese frosting and this is the first time I’ve been really happy with the results!

Heat oven to 325 F.

Carrot Cake

1.5 cups flour

1.5 tsp xantham gum

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

2/3 c oil

1 cup sugar

2 beaten eggs

.5 cups chopped nuts

.5 cups raisins

1.5 cups grated carrots

Sift the flour, gum, baking soda and spices together. Set aside in a large bowl.

Mix together the oil, sugar and beaten eggs and add to the flour mix. The dough appeared a bit dry so I added a splash of milk, I was afraid that it wouldn’t incorporate well but it actually did.

Add the nuts, raisins and carrots. Put into a greased cake pan and bake for 1 hour or put it into cupcake sheets and bake for 25 minutes each (if normal cupcakes) and 15 minutes each (if miniature).

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 c (1 stick) butter

Powdered sugar to taste ( I used about 3/4 of a cup)

Start out will all ingredients at room temperature.

Put the cream cheese into the mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Cut the butter into thin slices and add bit by bit at high speed until creamed and mixed evenly. About three minutes. It helps to stop mid through and mix with a spatula so nothing settles to the bottom.

On low speed, add the powdered sugar. Some people love it exceptionally sugary and some don’t so keep tasting and add more or less sugar to get your desired level of sweetness.

Boozy Christmas Pud

Depending on your view of when to make Christmas pudding, this post is either very late, very early or just on time.

As this was my first time to make Christmas pud, I stayed very close to Delia Smith’s traditional recipe. The only real change was that I put in much more citrus than the recipe calls for. I also was quite liberal with spices. But that, really, is the beauty of something like a Christmas pudding. It is a very flexible beast. So long as there is some combination of booze, fruit and nuts then you are good to go!

The most difficult thing, particularly for American bakers, will be the suet. You can source suet from a butcher or you can get vegetable suet from a specialty British shop. The problem, I found, was that the only vegetable suet I could get in the states is from the brand Atora and they coat the veg suet in flour. So unless you have a vegetarian in the family (my dad) then I say go for real suet. If you are a vegetarian or want a vegetarian to be able to partake you can freeze butter, shred it in a grater, chill again and then mix into the recipe. I was worried that this wouldn’t work but I was very happy with the results.

Christmas Pudding

4 oz shredded suet/vegetable suet or butter (I used butter)

2 oz rice flour mix

4 oz gluten free breadcrumbs ( I like Udi white bread)

1.5 TSB Mixed Spice

.5 TSB Nutmeg

.5 TSB Cinnamon

8 oz dark brown sugar

4 oz raisins

4 oz sultanas

10 oz currants ( I couldn’t find any, so I used dried cranberries)

1 oz mixed candied peel, finely chopped

1 oz almonds, skinned and chopped

1 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped

The zest of a large orange

The zest of a large lemon

2 eggs

2.5 oz gluten free stout

2.5 oz brandy

2 TBLS rum

Christmas Pud ingredients

Make the pudding the day before you steam it.

Mix the flour, breadcrumbs, suet, spices and sugar in a large bowl. Once they are thoroughly combined, add in the dried fruit, nuts, chopped apples and zests.

Mix

In a smaller bowl, mix the eggs, stout, brandy and rum. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. It should have a fairly sloppy consistency. Cover and let it sit overnight.

The next day, place the mix in a well greased pudding bowl.

Place parchment paper with a crease in the middle on top and then cover with a piece of aluminum foil.

Fold the foil over the paper and make an edge all around the bowl. Tie it securely with string and use another string to create a handle.

Ready to Steam

Place in a steamer over boiling water or make your own (I did) by inverting a small glass bowl and balancing the pudding on that. When I have the bowl balanced, I keep the simmering water about halfway up the pudding.

Steam the pudding for 8 hours, keep an eye on the water and top up as needed. After it’s being steamed, remove the foil and paper and replace with fresh ones when the pudding is completely cool.

Ready to age

Keep your pudding in a cool, dark room until Christmas. Every other week feed the pudding with some brandy or rum and replace the cover.

On Christmas day, steam the pudding for 2 to 2.5 hours. It is fairly easy to get the pudding out if the bowl has been well greased. Use a palette knife to loosen the pudding and turn it on to a warmed plate.

Now is the time to cover the pudding with brandy and, with the lights dimmed, set it on fire for a showstopper dessert.

Candied Fruit Peel

 

This is fun and easy to make and is good as a treat on it’s own and for use in Christmas-y baking like Christmas Pudding. I used a mix of orange and lemon peel for this. Part of the beauty of this is that you can use what you have on hand and it tastes great. All oranges, all lemons, all grapefruit, you can go crazy and candy lime peel or you can really go out of the box and candy it all at the same time.

 

Peel the fruit and cut the peel into thin strips.

For every cup of peel, you’re going to want 3/4 cup of water to boil it in. Put the peel and the water into a pan and slowly bring to a boil, turn the water down to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for ten minutes. Drain the water and repeat the process 3-5 times depending on how much bitterness you want in the candy.

Before moving on to the next step, have a shallow flat bowl filled with powdered sugar nearby to cover the candied peel and racks or a cookie tray covered with parchment paper where the peel can dry.

 

For the cup of peel make a syrup of :

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

Mix the syrup in the saucepan, add the peel and slowly bring to a boil. Cook until the peel is translucent and the syrup is soaked up in the peel. Be sure not to burn the mixture. When it’s ready, take it off the heat and put a few pieces of peel into the powdered sugar, coat and set on the tray or racks to dry.

 

Store in an airtight container. These candies last well for about a week.

Apple Pancakes

I have a bit of a thing for apples, at least partly because we have an apple tree that’s determined to mass produce granny smith apples at a ridiculous rate. I seriously can’t keep up. Our fridge and garage are filled with apples, we give apples away, we make applesauce, I cook with apples and yet there’s still an abundance of them waiting to be eaten. Not that I’m complaining.

I won’t lie, in this recipe I cheated a bit. Bisquick has come out with a gluten free mix and, frankly, it’s an amazing time saver. It tastes really good but this recipe/idea works really well with any pancake batter be it gluten free or not. However, in my experience, it’s much better to make sure the batter is thinner so that the batter under the apple actually cooks.

You will need a 2-3 apples, cinnamon (optional) and pancake batter.

Mix up the batter and set it aside. Peel, core and cut the apples into rings. Put them in a nonstick pan with some water (roughly a tablespoon worth) and cook until soft. Set them aside.

Heat up a griddle or a pan to cook the batter. Put an apple ring in the middle of each pancake and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook the way you’d normally cook pancakes.

 

The batter in this batch is actually a bit thicker than it should be. The first time that I made them, I made the batter thinner and I didn’t have any problems with undercooked batter. Even though I’m usually a fan of thick pancakes, in this case it works a bit better to have thin pancakes.

 

Serve warm. If you don’t eat them all, store them in a fridge. They have lasted me for a week and may be able to go a bit longer. Just heat them up before serving. They taste incredibly good with maple syrup.

Chocolate Soufflé

Soufflés are one of my favorite desserts and something that I have greatly missed after going gluten free. When I was about fourteen, my grandparents took my best friend and I to a really nice restaurant called “Le Chat Noir” before we went with them to see a ballet performance. We had an amazing dinner and decided to indulge in a chocolate soufflé afterwards.The soufflé towered high above it’s dish and when it was served, the waiter cut a whole in the center with a spoon, poured in some cream and then plopped a whallop of fresh whipped cream (the wonderful  kind that isn’t cloyingly sweet) on top. It was heaven.

I remember watching with jealousy as friends would order this spectacular dessert at restaurants. For awhile I played with the idea of attempting the recipe myself, but it took awhile for me to gather the courage and try it gluten free. I was a little intimidated, and my first attempt was by no means a rousing success but the second time (the ones I’m showing you) made me quite pleased. This recipe is meant for one, if you have small ramekins (like me) it can work for two but it’s just as easy to clean them off on your own.

This recipe closely follows a Julia Child recipe (from “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”, 2009) though I have made some very slight adjustments. This particular soufflé is made with a bouillie base.

To prepare the ramekin, coat it with butter and then a dusting of sugar and cocoa. I didn’t have any cocoa powder so I grated some extra baking chocolate that I had. Take the eggs out of the fridge to warm them up to room temperature and remove all the shelves in your oven. The soufflé should sit at the very bottom of the oven, preferably on the floor of your oven, but the lowest shelf works too. This will help set the bottom of the soufflé without creating a crust on top so that the soufflé will have a strong base and be able to rise.

Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 204 C.

Chocolate Bouillie Base:

2 1/4 TSP gluten free flour mix

1 TBSP milk

1/2 TBSP vanilla extract

2 TBSP sugar

1 3/4 oz. semisweet chocolate

1 egg yolk

Melt the chocolate. I cheated and used a microwave. Normally I prefer to melt it over a double boiler but I just didn’t want to do that many dishes.

In a saucepan whisk the milk and half the flour until smooth. Add the remaining milk and the sugar, continue to whisk. Bring to a boil slowly, continue whisking, for about half a minute. Remove the saucepan and wait for the bouillie to cool slightly. Add in the egg yolk, vanilla extract and melted chocolate. When it’s well blended, set aside.

Soufflé Base:

2 egg whites

1 1/2 TBSP sugar

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the sugar and whip until you have shiny peaks.

Whisk a quarter of the whites into the sauce to lighten it. Fold in the rest of the egg whites (delicately). Pour into the prepared ramekins. Be sure to leave the mixture about 2 cm (roughly 3/4 inch) from the top and be sure to clean up any spills or it won’t rise. I also used a knife to slightly separate the top of the soufflé from the ramekin, you can see the slight diagonal edge in the finished soufflé.

Put the ramekins in the oven and reduce heat to 375 F/ 190 C. It will take about 25 minutes to bake. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

I know it’s hokey, but if there’s ever a time to say it, it’s now: Bon Appétit!

Pumpkin Pie – from Pumpkin

Apologies for the delay in a new post. I went up to visit friends in Canada and had the opportunity to try my hand at baking a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin! I was a little apprehensive about it but it ended up being very tasty.

Making a pumpkin pie from scratch takes a bit more time than using canned pumpkin. I used a fairly small pumpkin and it had enough flesh to make two pies (albeit the second pie wasn’t as full as I would like). Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C and cut the pumpkin in half.

 Remove the seeds. I like to soak them overnight in water to separate them from the fibrous strands. Then I mix them with salt or any seasonings I have on hand and roast them. When the pumpkin half is cleaned, place them skin side up on a pan, cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft and easily removed from the skin.

While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare the pie shell. I used a slightly different flour mix because of what I had available. It turned out pretty well. Of course, the other mix provided works just as well.

Flour Mix:

1 1/4 c Brown Rice Flour

1 1/4 c White Rice Flour

1 c Tapioca Flour

1 c Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Mix

2 Tsp Xantham Gum

Pie Dough:

1 1/3 c Flour

1 tsp salt

1 TBSP sugar (optional)

6 TBSP unsalted butter

6-8 TBSP ice water

In a mixer, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add in the cubes of butter and mix until the butter resembles small peas. Slowly add in the water and wait for when the dough clumps together and forms a ball on its own.

Separate the dough into two balls, warp in plastic and let the dough chill for at least 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Filling:

1/2 c sugar

1 can evaporated milk

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2-3 eggs

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

When the pumpkin is cooked, scoop the flesh from the skin into a bowl. It’s ok if there is some liquid as that will cook off but if there is a lot of water, drain it out and then proceed with the recipe.

Add the eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar and spices and mix together. When it’s all mixed together, purée the mixture. I actually didn’t purée the mix to see what would happen. It tastes good, it surprisingly wasn’t fibrous but it didn’t look as pretty as when the mix is puréed.

Heat the oven to 425 F or 218 C. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out. I don’t always bake the shell before I make the pie and it turns out great but if it’s your preference bake the shell for 3 to 5 minutes or until the crust is hot to the touch.

 

Pour the filling into the shell and cook for 15 minutes at 425 F and then reduce the temperature to 350 F or 176 C and bake for another 45 minutes. The pie is done when you can insert a knife into it and it comes out clean. If you want to add dough on top as decorations wait for the pie to have cooked at least 15 minutes or when it is thick enough to support the dough, otherwise it will sink into the pie.