Friday, November 09, 2007

More To Store

Scones are generally best eaten whilst still warm and certainly as fresh as possible, but they do freeze well and can be refreshed by giving them a few minutes at defrost in the microwave. And speaking of which - this particular scone recipe is for microwave baking - which means they can be made in minutes. If you prepare up to the liquid stage, and then bag up the dry ingredients (note: adding only half the coconut - read through the recipe before you start) to store in the freezer (yes, freezers are good for dry ingredients as well as the not-so-dry), this means you can make and bake in less than five minutes as all you need do is add the milk, then cook and enjoy.
Coconut Scones: makes 8 (F)
8 oz (225g) plain flour
pinch salt
1 tblsp baking powder
2 oz (50g) butter, softened
1 tsp caster sugar
3 oz (75g) desiccated coconut
5 fl oz (140ml) milk
Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Rub in the butter until like fine crumbs (this could be done in a food processor if making in bulk). Stir in the sugar and half the coconut (bag up and freeze at this point if wishing to make a dry mix). Mix to a soft dough with the milk.
Knead gently on a floured board and roll into a half inch (1cm) thick round. Cut into 8 triangles, or smaller 2" (5cm) rounds. Preheat a microwave browning dish for 5 minutes then lightly brush this with oil. Place scones on dish, if triangles, points towards the centre, and cook on full power for one minute. Turn over and cook for a further 1 1/2 - 2 minutes longer until firm to the touch. Sprinkle scones with remaining coconut. Serve hot or cold, split and buttered with stewed fruits or jam.
To freeze scones: cool, and open freeze on a baking tray. When frozen, bag up and use within three months. To serve from freezer: microwave on defrost for 15 minutes. Leave to stand for half an hour before eating.

Cheescakes freeze well, so here is the basic recipe with a choice of variations. Instead of making them in round moulds, you could use a loaf tin which makes it easier to cut off a single serving before returning to the freezer. For the base use either all digestive, or all rich tea biscuits, or a mixture of both (or any broken bits from the bottom of the biscuit barrel). Don't miss the bit about freezing cream rosettes.
Basic N0-Bake Cheesecake: serves 8 -10 (F)
8 oz (225g) biscuits, crushed
3 oz (75g) butter
1 tblsp golden syrup
8 oz (225g) cream cheese, softened
8 oz (225g) curd or cottage cheese
3 oz (75g) icing sugar
half an ounce (15g) gelatine crystals
3 tblsp hot water
1 tblsp lemon juice
5 fl.oz (140ml) plain yogurt
2 eggs, separated
Make the base by melting the butter with the syrup and stirring in the biscuit crumbs. Press into a lined, 8" (20cm) loose-based tin. Then chill while making the cheesecake.
Sprinkle the gelatine over the hot water, leave to stand five minutes then stir, by this time it should have dissolved. Leave to cool.
Beat together the cheeses, icing sugar, lemon juice, egg yolks, yogurt and dissolved gelatine. When smooth, at this point chosen flavourings can be added (see below). Whisk egg whites until stiff then fold into the cheesecake mixture. Pour this onto the biscuit base and chill until set. Remove tin and paper. If not intending to freeze, add chosen topping and serve.
To freeze: open freeze until solid (without toppings) then wrap, seal and eat within one month. To serve: unwrap, place onto serving plate and thaw at room temperature for four hours and add chosen topping. Remember, not to add decorations before freezing.
flavouring suggestions:
Citrus: stir the zest and juice of one orange and one lime into the basic mix before folding in the beaten egg whites. Decorate the top when ready to serve with rosettes of whipped cream* and a sprinkle of grated chocolate
honey and coconut: stir 4 tblsp runny honey, and 4 oz (100g) toasted desiccated coconut into the basic mix before folding in whites. Top with a pattern of toasted coconut, cream rosettes if you wish.
coffee and cream: stir 4 tblsp Camp coffee and 2 tblsp coffee liqueur (Tia Maria for example) into the basic mix, before adding the beaten whites. Dissolve 1/2 oz gelatine and 3 more tblsp Camp coffee in 5 fl.oz (140ml) very hot water. Make up to half to threequarters of a pint with iced water. When beginning to thicken, pour over the top of the cheesecake whilst still in the tin. Chill until set, then remove tin and paper. Decorate with rosettes of cream, sprinkling over grated chocolate over the cream.
mint choc chip: stir 4 oz (100g) grated chocolate and 1 -2 tsp peppermint essence into the basic mix, plus a few drops of green food colouring, then fold in the beaten whites. Decorate the top with cream rosettes into which a splinter of an After Eight mint has been tucked. Note: this cuts better using a hot knife.
*Cream Rosettes: Add icing sugar (to taste) to double cream and whip until very thick. Using a piping bag with a large star nozzle, pipe rosettes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, and open freeze. Once firm, bag up. Use with two months - great for decorating desserts, and they thaw quite quickly.