Note: these recipes will be available on goodfood.com.au until midnight on Thursday, October 12, 2017
Blackberry and star anise friands
These look splendid when iced – destined for top ranking on any tiered cake stand – but also work un-iced, in the biscuit tin, for grabbing on a whim. They'll lose their slightly chewy edge after the first day or so, but still taste great. Blueberries or raspberries can be used instead of the blackberries. Don't use strawberries, though: they are too watery.
We use a regular muffin tin here, but all sorts of moulds work: large muffin tins, mini-muffin tins, rectangular or oval moulds.
Un-iced, these will keep for up to four days. If the weather is warm, store them in the fridge and zap them in the microwave for a few seconds (literally three seconds!) to restore their buttery moisture. They can also be frozen for up to three months, then thawed in the fridge and warmed through in a 170C (150C fan-forced) oven for five minutes; this will restore their crisp edges, as well. Once iced, they're best eaten on the same day.
180g unsalted butter, plus an extra 10g, melted, for brushing
60g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g icing sugar
120g ground almonds
1½ tsp ground star anise (or 3 whole star anise, blitzed in a spice grinder and passed through a fine-mesh sieve)
1/8 tsp salt
150g egg whites (from 4 large eggs)
finely grated zest of 1 small orange (1 tsp)
18 whole blackberries (about 120g), cut in half lengthways
60g blackberries (about 8), plus an extra 24 small blackberries, to garnish
¾ tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice
165g icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Brush the 12 holes of a regular muffin tin with the melted butter and sprinkle all over with flour. Tap the tray gently to ensure an even coating of the flour, then turn upside down to remove the excess. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the batter.
2. To brown the butter, place in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until melted. Continue to cook until the butter is foaming, gently swirling the pan from time to time, to allow the solids to brown more evenly. You will see dark brown sediments begin to form on the sides and bottom of the pan. Continue to allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a rich golden brown and smells of toasted nuts and caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for five minutes, to allow the burnt solids to collect at the bottom of the pan. Strain through a fine-mesh (or muslin-lined) sieve, discarding the solids. Allow the browned butter to cool slightly before using. It should still be warm when folding into the mix later: if it is too hot, it will "cook" the egg whites; if it is too cool, it will be difficult to incorporate into the mix.
3. While the butter is cooling, sift the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, star anise and salt into a bowl. Place the egg whites in a small bowl and use a whisk or fork to froth them up for a few seconds – you do not need to whisk them completely. Pour the egg whites into the sifted dry ingredients and stir until they are incorporated. Add the orange zest and browned butter and mix until the batter is smooth.
4. Remove the muffin tin from the fridge and fill the moulds just over two-thirds of the way up the sides. Place three halved blackberries on top, cut side down,and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 210C (190C fan-forced) – starting with a high oven temperature and then bringing it down is the way to achieve the lovely brown crust you want – turn the tray around in the oven for even cooking, and continue to cook for another 8 minutes, until the edges of the friands are golden brown and the centres have a slight peak and spring back when gently prodded. Set aside to cool before removing them from their moulds: you might need to use a small knife to help you release the sides.
5. If you are icing the cakes, place 60g of blackberries in a small bowl with the water and lemon juice. Use a fork to mash them together, then pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to extract as much fruit juice as possible: you should get about 60ml. Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl, pour in the blackberry juice and combine to make a light purple runny icing: it should just be thick enough to form a thin glaze on the tops of the cakes. Spoon the icing over the cakes, spreading it to the edges so that it runs down the sides. Do this on a rack, if you can, as icing them on a plate or sheet of paper means that the icing will pool at the bottom. Place 2 small blackberries on each friand, set aside for 20 or 30 minutes to set, then serve.
Kiwi favourite: Louise cake (note: merely half the meringue topping is pictured). Photo: Peden + Munk
Louise cake with plum and coconut
This is inspired by (but completely different to!) the hugely popular New Zealand tea-time treat known as Louise cake. More of a slice than a cake, it's traditionally made with a thin cakey bottom, a spread of raspberry jam in the middle and a thin layer of coconut meringue on top. We've kept the layers theme but rung a lot of changes.
We sell this in our shops as a "summer slice", using the best stone fruits, from peaches to apricots to cherries, depending on what's in season. Whichever fruit you use, it needs to be ripe but not too soft.
Traditionally, Louise cakes are baked in rectangular tins and cut into fairly thin squares. We've made ours in a high-sided 20-centimetre square tin with a removable base. The resulting slices are about three times the height of the original. We love the height – it makes everyone feel like a kid when presented with a slice – but you can also make it in a 23-centimetre round springform tin instead, if necessary. Wedges are not as neat to cut as squares, but the cake will still work well.
The cake is at its best on the day it's made, but is absolutely fine kept for up to two days in an airtight container in the fridge. The plum juice will make the base a bit soggy after day one, but this won't affect the taste.
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2cm cubes
100g castor sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1 tsp)
3 large egg yolks
125g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
20g desiccated coconut
80ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 medium dark red plums, ripe but firm (450g), or peaches, apricots, cherries, etc.
60g flaked almonds
140g egg whites (from 3½ large eggs)
⅛ tsp salt
185g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
1. Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan-forced).
2. Spread out the flaked almonds for the meringue on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, until they are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 185C (165C fan-forced). Line the base and sides of a high-sided 20cm square or 23cm round tin (with a removable base) with baking paper.
4. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on a medium-high speed, until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl. Add the coconut and stir to combine. With the machine on a low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mix, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin – it will only rise about a fifth of the way up the sides – and smooth the top evenly. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, until the cake is fully cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the plums. Slice each plum vertically in half. Discard the stones and slice each half into four segments so that you have eight segments per plum and 40 segments in total. If you start with a larger quantity of smaller plums, or another smaller stone fruit like cherries, then just quarter each fruit.
6. When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and turn the temperature up to 200C (180C fan-forced). Gently lay the plum segments on top of the cake, close together and cut side down. Don't overlap the fruit, though, as this will make the middle layer too watery.
7. To make the meringue, place the egg whites and salt in a clean bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Beat on a medium-high speed for about 1 minute until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to whisk on a high speed until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour and whisk again until combined. Finally, fold in the toasted flaked almonds.
8. Scrape the meringue into the cake tin, on top of the plums, and spread out evenly over the fruit. Swirl the meringue around so you get rough waves and peaks, then place in the oven. Immediately lower the oven temperature to 180C (160C fan-forced) and bake for 35 minutes, or until the meringue has formed a hard crust and is just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the cake tin for at least 30 minutes before pushing up the removable base to release the cake. Peel away the baking paper, cut into nine squares, place on a platter, and serve.
Victoria sponge cakes sandwiched with strawberries and white chocolate cream. Photo: Peden + Munk
Victoria sponge with strawberries and white chocolate cream
Nothing says "summer garden party" more than this: the light-as-air sponge, the seasonally sweet strawberries, the white chocolate cream ... Add a freshly mown lawn and a cup of tea and you're there. At least that was our vision before these were shot for the book by Peden + Munk. Taylor (the Peden side of the team) delighted in bringing a little bit of anarchy (or "pile up", as he preferred to call it) to some of our more composed presentations. Perfectly organised, neat mini-cakes received the requisite Taylor treatment (see image detail, above), and we could not be more delighted with the results.
The secret to the sponge – which is light as air, but also rich and buttery – is the reliance on air being whipped into the eggs as the raising agent, rather than chemical leaveners. Melted butter is then trickled into the cake batter and folded in for extra richness. All this requires a deft and light hand (and a bit of elbow grease to begin with), but the result is a deliciously versatile sponge for your repertoire. There's something a little bit magic about making a perfect genoise sponge. Behind the magic, though, there's quite a lot of method. None of it is complicated; all of it is important.
White chocolate cream
70g white chocolate, finely chopped
70ml double cream, plus an extra 120ml to finish
4 large eggs
100g castor sugar
scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod (keep the pod for the strawberry jam)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1 tsp)
60g unsalted butter
100g plain flour
⅛ tsp salt
150g hulled strawberries, sliced 0.5cm thick, to serve
1 tsp icing sugar, for dusting
250g hulled strawberries, roughly chopped
70g castor sugar
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
1. To make the white chocolate cream, place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Put the cream in a small, heavy-based saucepan and place over a medium-low heat. Heat until it is just starting to simmer, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave to sit for three minutes, for the chocolate to soften, then stir gently until the chocolate is melted and fully combined. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for one hour until completely cold.
2. To cook the strawberries, place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan (along with the empty vanilla pod) and mix well. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and cook for four to five minutes, stirring regularly, until the sugar has melted and the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan-forced). Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place eight eight-centimetre cake rings, ungreased and unlined, on top and set aside. If making this in a 20-centimetre round springform tin, you don't need the baking tray, but you will need to line the bottom of the tin with baking paper.
4. Put enough water into a medium saucepan so that it rises about five centimetres up the sides: you want the bowl from your electric mixer to be able to fit in the saucepan and sit over the water without actually touching it. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
5. To make the sponge, place the eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water, making sure (again) that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk continuously by hand for about five minutes, until the mixture is frothy, creamy and warm. Remove the bowl and place it on the electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Whisk on a high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and is no longer warm.
6. While the mix is beating in the mixer, melt the butter and set aside to cool. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and sift it twice. When the egg mixture has tripled in volume and is no longer warm, sift half the flour (yes, a third sift!) directly over the mixture and gently fold it in with a large rubber spatula. Sift the remaining flour over the mixture and fold in again. Now drizzle the cooled, melted butter down the sides of the bowl. Fold in gently and swiftly to incorporate.
7. Spoon the mixture into the cake rings – it should be filled two-thirds of the way up the sides – and bake for 15 to 18 minutes (or 25 minutes if baking one large cake), or until the cakes are a light golden brown and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 20 minutes, in the rings, before using a small knife to remove them: take a bit of care here to prevent the cakes tearing or sticking to the sides. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. When ready to assemble, place the white chocolate cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Add the extra 120ml cream and whip on a medium-high speed for about 30 seconds until combined and thick. It should just hold on the whisk – it can over-whip very quickly, so be careful.
9. Cut the cakes horizontally across the centre and spread the cooked strawberries on the cut side of the bottom piece (discard the vanilla pod). Spoon some of the white chocolate cream on top, followed by the sliced strawberries, followed by more of the white chocolate cream. Finish with the top half of the sponge. If you have made one large cake, take care when slicing it in half; you'll need to support it underneath when lifting it back on top of the cream and strawberries. If you have a cake lifter or jumbo cookie spatula, now is the time to use it! Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Serves 8 (eight individual cakes or one large cake)
Extract from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, photography by Peden + Munk 2017, published by Ebury Press, RRP $55.00.
Note: these recipes will be available on goodfood.com.au until midnight on Thursday, October 12, 2017.