Posts Tagged ‘berries’
Trifles was one of the first desserts I ever ate. Or made at home. My mom would only make them in the months of Ramadan. I remember waiting in anticipation as she assembled the different layers. First she would make the jelly layer and pour into a white and blue ceramic platter. A platter she still has to this day. One I may need to steal on my next visit to Dar.
I would poke the jelly in the fridge every few minutes and lick my finger, pink tell tale signs on my pointing finger to give away my crimes. Of course, if the jelly had set, my mom would never be surprised to find holes where I’d been poking around.
She would then put a layer of cake, my most favorite part. I would always make sure to take a scoop from the edge where she would hide the extra cake scraps. Then the thick creamy canary yellow custard would be poured on followed by chopped apples and bananas. She would leave all this to soak from morning and by night, the custard would have partly penetrated the cake. Those soggy parts were my absolute favourite.
That was her way. This is mine. Lots of cake soaked with raspberry jam and raspberries. Juicy peaches topped with dollops of creamy custard. And a generous helping of cream. But a few things remain the same. Thick luscious custard and moist pudding like cake. Some things never change.
Peach Melba Trifle
100 g raspberries
60 g raspberry jam
40 ml pineapple juice
330 g Madeira cake, sliced
4 saturn peaches, sliced
500 ml thick custard
280 ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
chopped pistachio nuts for garnishing
In a bowl, mix together the raspberries, jam and pineapple juice. Use a fork to muddle the berries slightly. Arrange the sliced cake at the bottom of the trifle dish. Top with berry mix followed by the sliced peaches. Pour the custard over the fruit and chill in the fridge for a few hours (2 hours at least for the cake to soak up the berry juices). Whip the cream with icing sugar until stiff peaks form. Top the custard with cream when it’s time to serve and garnish with pistachios.
Baking has become a much sought luxury in our house. With temperatures searing, the last thing I want to do is cook, let alone turn the oven on. Besides, we just moved this weekend. For the 10th time in 12 years. I think I’ve become good at it, requiring only 3 days to unpack all my boxes. My mother in law has been kind enough to feed us during this time.
Such a luxury it is to not have to cook sometimes. However, when it’s a tiny 4 year old with hungry eyes looking up to you and asking for a treat, you have no choice but to oblige. Last week, Maryam decided she wanted to fast. Seeing her enthusiasm, I didn’t want to say no. To the fasting as well as the cooking.
Besides, I think it’s a good thing for her to become religiously aware so I agreed for her to fast till 1pm. I promised her a present and a menu decided by her. She chose a Minion Rush model, a water gun and a Hello Kitty puzzle. And to top that she also had her menu set out. Chicken nuggets with jelly and a strawberry cake.
Thus began the task to bargain, on presents and menus. We debated whether she really needs three presents for a half day fast. Apparently, at four years of age, she does. After much debate, we whittled it down to a water gun. Perfect for the current weather. Of course, Hassan needed one too, fast or no fast.
On to menus, turning the oven on was not an option. I kid you not when I say the temperature was 46 degrees Centigrade. ‘How about doughnuts? Strawberry doughnuts with springles’ as she calls them. Hmmmmm. It seemed the theme was strawberries….and pink!
So we settled on this cheesecake. Well, it was a cake, it had strawberries but best of all, it required no baking. Maryam happy, mummy happy. The cheesecake was light, yet satisfying. The lemony freshness went harmoniously with the strawberries. And there were hints of pink and red. Trust me when I say everyone was satisfied.
So proud of my little lamb! She now wants to fast again so she can get her Minion Rush model!
250 g digestive biscuits
100 g butter, melted
300 g cream cheese
120 g sour cream
125 g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
300 ml double cream
420 g strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp water
Butter and line a 9 inch springform or loose bottom baking tin with parchment. Put the biscuits into a bag and pound with a rolling pin until crushed to crumbs. Pour into a bowl and mix with the melted butter until thoroughly incorporated. Tip into prepared tin, pressing down gently, and refrigerate until firm. About 1 hour.
Place the cream cheese, sour cream, icing sugar and lemon zest into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the double cream and beat for a further minute or so until well combined. The mixture will thicken slightly but you don’t want to over beat the cream (the consistency will be like cake batter). Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base, making sure there are no gaps or air bubbles. Smooth the top using a spatula. Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Bring the cheesecake to room temperature before unmoulding. Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water and slice all the way round the tin in one smooth action. Open the springform and slip the cake from the base (it will slide easily because of the parchment) to a platter. You can also slide the parchment paper off if you wish.
Combine the strawberries with icing sugar and let it sit whilst the cheesecake is coming to room temperature. When ready to serve, blend half the strawberry mixture with water until smooth. Strain and pour over cheesecake. Top with remaining strawberries and serve immediately.
Notes: The amount of icing sugar in the strawberries will vary depending on how sweet your berries are. Make the strawberry puree on day of serving.
Prep time: 10 minutes plus chilling
Serves: 6-8 people
Early in May of this year, I travelled to Morocco for a blissful ten days. As with any holiday, if my room is good and I can find traditional and authentic food to fill my belly, I can rest assured that my holiday will be a success.
After much searching, we settled on the boutique Riad el Fenn, a charming boutique riad nestled in a bustling corner of the old medina. It did not disappoint. When we first arrived, I was a little concerned by the looming dark entrance. But once inside, it was an oasis of tranquility. The art filled retreat was beautifully decorated in the most saturated shades of terracotta and turquoise.
Each room was filled with quirky details, eclectic art, local decor. I only wished I had gotten to stay in a different room each night. Every morning, we would be greeted by hot tea placed outside our room. This would be accompanied by a small tray of home baked Moroccan sweets. Perfect start to the day, no?
Lazy breakfasts of berber pancakes and cinnamon porridge were had on their rooftop terrace which had views of the Koutubia mosque and it really was the most perfect spot to catch the sun setting every evening. They even had a family of turtles housed in the courtyard that kept both kids highly entertained.
One of my favourite things to do was recline on the large oversized cushions in the courtyard and gaze up at the overgrown citrus trees. Full of ripe oranges and lemons, their heady scent filling the air. Bright pops of orange and yellow against the blue spring skies. Every morning, Maryam would count how many had fallen to the ground and proceed to collect them.
What Maryam and I, even Hassan, looked forward to most was chomping away at the home baked cakes and pastries every afternoon with a steaming cup of mint tea. Every afternoon, the treats were different and all housed in a beautiful bird cage. There was a pear tart, a luscious orange scented cake, baklavas and some dainty coconut crusted concoction.
Ever since we have returned back, Maryam has constantly asked what ‘cake’ we would be having after her nap. Every single afternoon without fail. And so I thought it would only be fair if I made her one to remind her of the fun afternoons spent in the riad’s courtyard. This version has lots of coconut which pairs beautifully with the tart berries.
Now if only I was sitting in in orange scented courtyard with a local cup of freshly brewed mint tea in hand and listening to the distant hustle and bustle of the city of Marrakech!
Raspberry and Coconut Summer Cake
225g butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
175g all purpose flour
1 1/12 tsp baking powder
100g unsweetened shredded coconut
100ml coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Extra raspberries, icing sugar and creme fraiche to serve
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade and butter and flour a 10 inch baking tin (I used two 7 inch pie tins and had extra batter leftover for 4 cupcakes as well).
Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and frothy, about 7 minutes and on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time and scrape the bowl now and then. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and shredded coconut in a separate bowl. Mix together the coconut milk and vanilla extract in a jug. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour and coconut milk alternatively. Pour the batter into the prepared tin (or pie tins) and top with raspberries. Bake for 40 minutes if using the 10 inch baking tin (25 minutes if using 2 pie pans) or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
Decorate with more berries and a sprinkling of icing sugar and serve with creme fraiche on the side.