Antonia Landi

Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Baked Alaska – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on November 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Picture: bbcgoodfood.com

Ever put ice cream in the oven? No? You should try it, it’s delicious!

Now, before you call me mad, I should add that the ice cream is protected by a thick layer of whipped egg whites – that is unless your first attempt fails, just like mine did!

The video you are watching is actually the second attempt at this dessert. In my first video, I thought it might be nice to put a layer of jam over the top of the ice cream, so that it would create a nice red rim around the ice cream once you cut into the baked Alaska. What I hadn’t considered is that it caused the egg white to slide away from the ice cream, causing a big rip to appear in my meringue. The heat seeped into the centre of the cake and you can imagine what the end result looked like… Messy, to say the least. But we all make mistakes, and after a night of sulking I simply made another one. Nothing like a bit of cake to cheer yourself up, right?

Now, apart from having a freezer full of baked Alaska, I’m actually quite glad that this little disaster took place. If it hadn’t, I probably would’ve never talked to you about what happens when things go wrong in the kitchen! This in itself is such a big topic, that I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one article. I have, however, put some very useful links at the bottom of this page, so do check them out. To make sure that you succeed, take good care when whipping the egg whites. Your bowl and whisk should be absolutely free of any oil – the best way of doing this is running a wedge of lemon across your equipment just before starting. Make sure you separate the eggs correctly – you will be at the mercy of your egg whites, so be really careful not to drop any yolk into it. As a little pointer: it is easiest to separate an egg when it’s cold, but egg whites are best whisked at room temperature. And if things do go wrong in your kitchen, start from the top and remember: this happens to the best of us!

Makes 1 baked Alaska:

1 flan case (approx 6 inches, or 100g – often referred to as medium flan case)

3 egg whites

Half tub of dairy ice cream (500ml)

Raspberry jam

150g caster sugar

Approx 60-70g frozen berries per person

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

And finally, have a look at these great links for inspiration and information.

If you’re in the kitchen often enough, chances are that at some point you’ve either burnt, broken or over-salted something. While at the time this might seem like the end of the world, do have a look at this website before you bin everything – you might be able to save it after all!

For some baked Alaska related info and a lovely recipe for dainty mini versions of this dessert, click this link (and do ignore the apostrophe mistakes…).

When making meringue, you can never read up too much about it. From failing to separate eggs to over-whisking, the truth is that a lot can go wrong. But there are great little tricks that prevent you from making these silly mistakes! You can find some of them here.

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

Advertisements

Tiramisù – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on September 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Picture: bbcgoodfood.com

 

You can’t deny the fact that you’re back at uni now, Christmas holidays are still a world away, the weather’s getting worse and all you really want is a little pick me up to get you through the week… And what better way to cheer yourself up than a little tiramisù!

Tiramisù is the staple of any Italian restaurant’s dessert menu, even though its origins are not quite clear. With its lovely medley of mild mascarpone, strong coffee and a hint of chocolate, it is easy to see why it’s literally called ‘pick me up’! Some people prefer it with alcohol, some people add subtle flavours along the way – this version is the plainest and simplest possible. This way, you can enjoy it as it is, or really make it your own by playing around with various flavours. If you would like your tiramisù to be a bit boozy, try adding a bit of rum or amaretto – Marsala wine (which is similar to port) is the standard, but any of these will go. Don’t add too much alcohol to your recipe – I would suggest a swig or a tablespoon to be precise. Tiramisù is a rather delicate dessert, despite its strong coffee, so make sure you don’t use anything too overpowering.

Apart from the savoiardi (which are just ladyfingers or ‘sponge fingers’) the coffee is the star of this dessert. The higher quality your coffee is, the better your dessert will taste. Now, I know that we are all students here but please refrain from using filtered or even instant coffee. It will taste horrible, and we both know it. You don’t need to have a pump espresso maker to make good coffee at home. You can get a small coffee machine for the hob, such as the moka express by Bialetti, or if this is just a one off, go down your local coffee shop for some espresso shots.

If you’re not keen on the idea of having coffee, you can try and substitute the coffee for some chocolate milk. I would suggest avoiding overly sweet brands as this could affect the overall sweetness of the dessert. This is also a good alternative for a children’s version of tiramisù. Finally, if you want to add subtle flavours such as vanilla or a hint of orange, do so in the mascarpone. Simply add the seeds of a vanilla pod or some grated orange peel into the mascarpone and you will be surprised to see how far just a little tweaking can take you.

 

Feeds 6-8 (enough for a 25x25cm dish or equivalent)

500g mascarpone

5 egg yolks

50g sugar

1 pack savoiardi (200g)

approx 500ml espresso or very strong coffee

cocoa to dust

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

Mascarpudding (with berries!) – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on May 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Fancy something sweet? Me too!

Since this is already my fourth video, I thought it was time to whip up something deliciously sweet. Today we’re going to make Mascarpudding, which doesn’t actually exist – until now! The main ingredient for this dessert is of course mascarpone, and mascarpone is something nobody can really explain.

It’s a bit like the Italian take on clotted cream, but is often referred to as soft cheese, which it definitely isn’t. Mascarpone is incredibly versatile and can be used in sweet as well as savoury dishes. Now before you start running away from this highly exotic mystery non-cheese I should probably tell you that you’ve already tried it! Mascarpone is most commonly used to make Tiramisù, an Italian favourite.

I have decided to use berries in my recipe today for three reasons:

1. Due to the wonderful early spring we’ve had, Britain will experience a wave of sweet (straw)berries that are desperate to be bought.

2. There are so many berries you can choose from! Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries… (ahem)

3. They will forever be my favourite kind of fruit.

This isn’t to say that you can’t mix it up a bit. For a more summery take on my mascarpudding, try using mangoes and pineapples instead, and flavouring the mascarpone with honey instead of vanilla! There are no boundaries to your imagination – you could even try using a rhubarb and apple compote with cinnamon if you’re feeling brave.

Feeds 2

400g mascarpone, lightly whipped (if you find it’s still too stiff after 5 minutes, add a spot of milk)

400g berries, or fruit of your choice

4 flat tbsp sugar (add the sugar to the berry mix 10 minutes before layering)

1 vanilla pod

For best results, let the dessert set in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

%d bloggers like this: