Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Mousse

Strawberry season came early to Queensland this year so I decided to make my favourite strawberry dessert - mousse.  I don't like using gelatine if possible so this mousse is not as thick as normal however the taste and texture is lovely.  If you prefer a more solid mousse add a few gelatine sheets to the strawberry puree.

Strawberry Mousse

 - 500g strawberries
 - 1/2 lemon-juice
 - 1/2 cup caster sugar
 - 1/2 cup cream
 - 4 egg whites
 - pinch of salt

1. Wash and hull the strawberries and place in a food processor with the caster sugar and lemon juice.  Pulse till strawberries are completely pureed.  Place the strawberry puree into a large bowl
2.  Using a electric beater to whisk the cream until it is very thick.  Slowly fold the cream into the strawberry puree.
3.  In a clean bowl (be sure the bowl and whisk is completely clean and the egg whites have no egg yolks in them) add egg whites and beat until they begin to thicken.  Add a pinch of salt and continue to whip until very stiff peaks form.
4.  Fold half the egg whites into the strawberry mixture.
5.  Gently pour the strawberry mixture into the bowl with half the beaten egg whites and fold very gently.
6.  Place in container and place in the fridge for 2-4 hours before serving.
Enjoy :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Panforte-Traditional Tuscan Cake

At the beginning of the year, Nick and I travelled to Sienna and bought some of the most magnificent panforte I have ever eaten!  It is so hard to find good panforte in Australia so I decided to try to make my own as a gift for dad (as panforte is his favourite dessert).  This recipe is adapted from 'Complete Italian Food', written by one of my favourite Italian chefs, Antonio Carluccio.  This cake will last a very long time but be warned - its very more-ish!

 - 250g skinned, blanched whole almonds
 - 150g walnuts
 - 50g pecan nuts
 - 55g candied citrus peel
 - 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 - 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
 - 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 - 200g plain flour
 - 200g icing sugar
 - 200g honey
 - 1tablespoon water
 - 2-3 sheets of rice paper (enough to line the base of the tray)
 - 2 tablespoons fine vanilla sugar

1.   Preheat the oven to 160°C
2.  Toast the almonds on a frying pan on medium heat (be careful not to burn the nuts).  Slice the candied citrus peel into thin strips.
3.  In a bowl, add the toasted almonds, candied citrus peel, walnuts, pecans, cinnamon, coriander seeds, nutmeg and flour and mix.
4.  Place icing sugar, honey and water in a pot over low heat until dissolved.  Increase the heat to high and allow the mixture to begin to bubble.  Once bubbling use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until a dense, pale brown liquid is formed
5.  Pour the hot caramel over the nut mixture and mix until all the nuts are covered by the caramel.
6.  Line a shallow cake tin (I used a 21cm round tin) with rice paper. Add the mixture and level the top.
7.  Place in the middle of the oven for 30mins.
8.  Allow the panforte to cool in the tin.  Dust with vanilla sugar.
Enjoy :)