Category Archives: dessert

Devil’s Food Cake (Or: a birthday must always equal cake)

This here blog might be a little quiet over the coming weeks as half the New Fat Ladies team is off on an adventure.

In S-J’s absence I will do my best (even though she might join us from parts unknown if she has the time/internet) to entertain you for the interim!

A 30th birthday has occurred and this means cake, that is one thing I know is true in my universe. I sadly missed the cake on the party day (I went to Perth and ate wedding cake instead – which was very excellent!) so I made a little cake for the birthday lady for the day of her birth!

She likes chocolate, because she’s pretty smart. I didn’t have any of my cookbooks with me as I wasn’t in my own kitchen, but luckily I had NFL supplies on hand. So, I pulled out a book of S-J’s for this recipe, the CWA one that I am holding in our “promo shots” in fact. This recipe was for a Devil’s Food Cake but honestly I have changed it so much that it is not even close to recognisable anymore. But inspiration is important, so it gets a shout out!

You can make it more simple by using storebought jam for the filling or subbing out the frosting for your favourite go-to icing. I leave that up to you. But just make cake, and then eat it. It’s the best plan.

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Apple Strudel (Or: I really like apples)

In a lovely coincidence, I happened to make Apple Strudel the same week that the lovely lads and ladies on the Great British Bake Off had a strudel challenge. It’s like it was meant to be. It probably had more to do with the 1kg of apples I had picked up at the market the week before that were judging me from their fancy fruitbowl. Whatever the reason, strudel was made and I carted it off to a dinner party/games night at a lovely friend’s home and it was a tasty to ending to a deliciously autumnal meal (yes, spring is here, no, I don’t accept it, AUTUMN FOR PRESIDENT).

Disclaimer: We are a cooking blog, but we are people too. I find that I have things in my life that I prefer to do that don’t involve the multi-hour process to create butter puff pastry, so I tend to buy the fanciest brand I can afford from the frozen section and call it a day. If you can actually tell the difference, you impress me, because I’ve made many kinds and I really can’t. It is just not worth it to me for a casual meal, and if you can play with store-bought and get it to do what you want, I say take that extra time you have to drink a cider, eat some good cheese and pat yourself on the back for your excellent time management choices.

One day we’ll probably do puff pastry and I’ll be all “IT’S SO WONDERFUL I DON’T KNOW WHY I DON’T MAKE IT ALL THE TIME”, and you can point me back to this post and heckle me if you like, I won’t care though, because no matter what, in the end, I’ll have a belly full of pastry!

So, back to the strudel. I have a fear of runny liquid insides ruining my strudel, so these apples are cooked twice before they are rolled inside pastry for the final filling. This means that it is a very soft filling once cooked for the second time. All the apples collapse into the raisins and disappear into your tummy in seconds.

I made two, and the four of us ate it all.

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Apple and Cherry Crumble

Apples and cherries should just get married, they’re so perfect together. I enjoy eating this crumble so much, and have been making it fairly regularly through Winter and into Spring. It is friendly to variations like subbing out either of the fruits for apricots/blueberries/rhubarb (with extra sugar)/plums/peaches but the cherry and apple combo is my favourite.

You can leave the apple peel on if you like (as I’ve done here), but if you’re being fancy, or like me you enjoy it when the fruit collapses all willy-nilly into itself, then peeling the apples is your best bet.

Apple and Cherry Crumble

Time: 20 mins prep, plus 35 cooking time
Yield: Serves 4 – 6 with cream/icecream

1 kg apples (I like Granny Smith’s)
500g box  frozen cherries (or about 700 grams of fresh cherries, which you’ll need to pit)
1 lemon (or 1 tsp lemon juice)
3 tbsps brown sugar
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tablespoon cornflour

for the crumble topping:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsps brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
100gms butter, cubed

Do ahead

Grab a large pie dish, using one of the cubes of butter, rub all over the inside of the pie dish and lick your buttery fingers.

Preheat your oven to 190C (fan forced)

Prep the fruit

In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cornflour, using a fork to break up any lumps.

Peel, core and chop the apples into about a 1 inch dice (or the size of your cherries). Squeeze half of the lemon over the apples to stop them from browning.

If you are using fresh cherries, wash and pit them. If you are using frozen cherries, give each of them a quick squeeze as you drop them into the bowl to make sure the pit has been removed.

In a large bowl, combine the lemony apples, cherries, and the sugary spiced mixture. Using your hands, mix gently to coat the fruit.

Pour the fruit ino the buttered pie dish. Push it down so that there is a small lip around the edge for the crumble to sit in and then you really want the fruit to sit up above the lip  a little in the middle, so mound it up, as it will collapse a bit during cooking.

I was trying to be fancy and cut the fruit into thin slices, don’t be like me, it went to mush. Boo.

Making the Crumble

Add the flour, sugars, cinnamon and butter to a bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until you have a sort of rubble texture.

Carefully pour/plop/pat this on top of the fruit mixture. Pat down firmly.

Set pie dish on a tray/cookie sheet covered in baking paper and put into the middle of your preheated over for 25 – 40 minutes. If the top starts to brown too much, remove the crumble from the oven, break the topping up a little and then place back into the oven (this lets ALL of the crumble bits have a chance to brown).

Serve with cream or icecream.

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Sticky Caramel Scrolls (or: the best cinnamon scrolls you will ever stuff into your mouth)

S-J and I are both a little bit silly, and decided that after work on a Wednesday night is the PERFECT time to try out a multi-step, dough based, multiple rising recipe. Honestly, what could go wrong with that logic? But, it was an excellent idea after all! These delicious little scrolls are, if possible, actually more delicious the next day so I would encourage you to try this as a make-ahead for a breakfast or morning tea.

Sticky Caramel Scrolls

Adapted from Feast Magazine (online version found HERE)

Time: 3 hrs, including rising time
Yield: 20 scrolls

Dough
7g dried yeast
75g caster sugar (divided – take 1 tbsp out for the yeast activating part of the recipe)
125ml lukewarm milk
2 eggs
375g plain flour, plus extra, to dust
1 tsp salt
135g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature (or, straight from the fridge and microwaved a little bit)

Saucy Business
125g unsalted butter
75g dark brown sugar
125ml whipping cream
60ml maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
150g roughly chopped walnuts, toasted

Squishy Buttery Filling Goodness
125g unsalted butter (very soft, for spreading)
165g (¾ cup firmly packed) dark brown sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp salt

Making the dough

In the bowl of your stand mixer (if you have one, or a large bowl if not) gently combine the separate 1 tbsp caster sugar, yeast and lukewarm milk. Sit the bowl in a warm place for 5 minutes or so to activate (when it starts to bubble, you’re good to go!).

Whisk eggs lightly with a fork, then whisk into yeast mixture until smooth.

Fit the dough hook onto your mixer. In the same bowl, combine yeast mixture with the remaining sugar, flour and 1 tsp salt. Stick the bowl back on the mixer. Mix on low speed until a very soft, sticky dough forms. With the mixer running, add 125g chopped butter, one cube at a time, ensuring each piece is mixed through before adding the next. I needed to do a lot of stopping and scraping down the hook and bowl through this process.

Knead, using the mixer, on medium–high speed for 8 minutes (or your super strong arms), until dough is soft and silky. It is a VERY sticky dough to start off, I think I checked with S-J approximately 11 times whether or not we had added all the flour yet, but, it does all comes together after all that kneading and gets pretty sturdy.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Melt remaining 10g butter and brush over the top of dough (or if you can’t find the brush because you’re in someone else’s kitchen like I was, rub the butter on with your fingers and then attack the cat with butter fingers). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1½ hours or until the ball of dough doubles in size.

Making the sauce

Heat up a medium fry pan on over a low heat, add chopped walnuts, and shaking the pan fairly constantly, toast on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make caramel, stir butter, brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, vanilla and 1 tsp salt in a small saucepan over high heat until combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 – 10 mins, or until reduced and shiny. Pour two-thirds of the luscious sauce into your baking dish, tilting to coat bottom and sides, then sprinkle half of the toasted walnuts.

Leave the left over sauce in a warm place until the scrolls are baked (if it cools too much, reheat very gently over a low heat, just until runny enough to pour). Remaining walnuts are for the filling.

Making the filling

Clean the dough bowl and replace it in your mixer, with the whisk attachment fitted. Beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ½ tsp salt for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Stir through the remaining walnuts.

Assemble!

Punch down your gloriously risen dough! Turn out onto a lightly floured bench. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll out to a 1/3 cm-thick rectangle, or using gentle stretches, pull it into a thin dough sheet over the floured surface. Spoon small amounts of the filling over the dough and using your nice warm fingers, begin spreading the filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1 cm border (Note: HA! Evenly! A filling with sharp and nubbly bits of nuts pushed over a thin and delicate dough? NOT SO EVEN.).

Do you have four hands? If not, grab a friend and start rolling, this part was the easiest it’s ever been for either of us with the benefit of four hands! Starting from the edge closest to yourself, begin to tightly roll up the filling covered dough like a Swiss roll, then trim edges and cut into 20 even-sized pieces. Place cut-side up on top of caramel in prepared baking dish. (Note: you may want to vary the size/number of your pieces depending on the size of your baking dish as well, these scrolls are on the small/medium side.)

Place a slightly damp tea towel over the pan and place in a lukewarm oven (like one you made dinner in, then turned off and remembered about 20 minutes later) to rise for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven while it preheats.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until buns are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. If the buns are browning too quickly, cover with foil. Cool for 5 minutes, then spoon over the leftover caramel sauce that is hopefully still warm. Eat!

These are excellent the next day as well. I imagine they would freeze quite well at either fully baked stage, or before the final rising – if freezing before rising, allow to defrost at room temperature and then bake, once risen, for 30 minutes.

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Tart Me Up. (Alternative Title: Two Tarts and a Tart.)

Hullo! Welcome! Please help yourself to a complimentary cheesy nibbly thing! We are the New Fat Ladies and this is our Very First Post!

In what is probably a fairly good indicator of what is to come, I am now going to attempt to write up our Very First Recipe . . . which we made six weeks ago. THINGS HAPPENED, OK?! WE GOT BUSY! YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF US! I mean, um, we are totally going to get better at this ‘blog as you go’ thing otherwise this is likely to not only be the Very First Post but also the Only Post.

So, here we go.

Apologies for iPhone photos. We had a slight mishap with our many, many other photos and these are what we have left. Thank goodness for Instagram and our obsessive blogging of every second of our lives.

Katie and I know each other through a mutual friend, Jen (who is about to start performing at the Edinburgh Fringe! You should go and see her show if you are there!). We bonded over Camp Rock and food and being generally fairly awesome. This past summer, Katie joined Aquaporko, the fat synchronised swimming team that I am in and also moved to live one suburb over. Thus, many cookings and talkings about food were made. And then the brainwave: if you blog with another person, you probably need to have some sort of responsibility (sorry, poor neglected solo blog).

Partial tart

If only these were slightly more in focus . . .

Via the medium of work emails, we decided that we would start with a cherry pie to ‘pop our blog cherry’ – ho ho, we are hilarious. Sadly, it is winter in Australia and we felt that we couldn’t start with a frozen thing on our Very First Post and Recipe. (Don’t worry, we are planning elaborate cherry pies for summer. I bought a cherry pitter and everything.)

The planning went something like this:

Pears! Pears are in season! PEARS AND CHOCOLATE! PATE SUCRE! CHAMBORD! OMFG!

Pear and Chocolate Tart and Icebox Cake

Please try and ignore the delicious icebox cake that is also on that plate. Yes, we did need a backup dessert.

And so, we present,

Chambord-Poached Pear and Chocolate Tart

Inspired by Vegan Chambord Poached Pear Tart Bittersweet Chocolate Tart & Chocolate-Caramel Tart

Full disclosure: we weren’t huge fans of this pastry at all. It was very dense and made way too much. If you halved (or even thirded) it, it would probably be the light, crispy pastry of our dreams. All the other bits are ace, though.

For the pastry (this makes two shells. see details above and below.)

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 250g butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons thickened cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the poached pears

  • 4 pears, peeled, cored and halved (we used Josephine pears as they are the shapeliest.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup Chambord
  • 1 cup raspberries (we used frozen but fresh would work too.)
  • 2 teaspoons Raspberry Cordial (or just use more Chambord! Your call.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the chocolate ganache filling

  • 225g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 20g caster sugar

Make the pastry: 

Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt and butter in a stand mixer and mix on low speed until you make it to ‘coarse crumbs’. (Obviously, you can do this without a stand mixer but, by gum, it makes things easier.) In a separate bowl, combine the egg, cream and vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Add the wet to the dry mixture and mix until just combined. This is where you are meant to knead it together and make magic happen. Here is a direct quote from our notes about this stage: “mash together with hope. believe it will be crust and LO, it is.” Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour in the fridge (or, if you are us, 15 minutes in the freezer because we were disorganised.)

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and cocoa and roll the dough out in a circle to hang over the edges of your tart tin. Ours was approx 2/3cm thick but this was probably a bit too thick. Place in your tin and trim excess. This was the point when we realised that this made enough pastry for two tart shells.

Bake the tart in the oven for 12 minutes and allow to cool completely before adding the filling mixture.

Poach the pears: 

Peel, core and halve the pears and then dip them in the sugar and make sure they are evenly coated. (Katie wants to add that the sugar left after this stage was pretty much the greatest thing ever and that she still have Pear Sugar Feels.)

Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over a medium-high heat until bubbly and golden. Add the sugared pears and caramelize for 6 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side. With our second batch of pears, we added a bit more butter and they really only need 2 minutes each side.

Add the Chambord, remaining sugar, water, raspberries, cordial and lemon juice. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes basting and turning pears, as needed. Poach until tender, remove the pears and cool.

Reduce liquid until thickened, coating the back of a spoon, making it a delicious Chambord-y jelly. Push jelly through a mesh strainer to remove the raspberry seeds. Cool and reserve.

Make the chocolate ganache filling: 

Combine chocolate and cream in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until melted.

Combine yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl and whisk over a saucepan of simmering water for 6 minutes or until thick and pale.

Remove from heat, fold through chocolate mixture and whisk, using an electric mixer for 6 minutes or until cold.

Put it all together into a delicious tart:

Take your baked and now cooled tart shell and put 2/3 of the Chambord pear jelly in the shell. To quote Katie, “wiggle to coat” and then pop in the freezer for five minutes.

When it is done, pour the chocolate ganache in and then, sadly, return it to the fridge until the ganache is set.

When that is done, arrange the pears on the ganache and glaze the whole lot with what is left of the jelly that you have reheated.

Sit back and look at your fabulous tart. And then eat it. Yes, indeed.

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