Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sweet and Tempting

Using the remains of a can of condensed milk was discussed recently and here are three more suggestions. The first recipe makes a topping for chosen cooked or fresh fruits; the second is a dessert in its own right. The third is a filling intended to go onto a biscuit base to make a cheesecake, but if a little gelatine was added and stiffly whipped whites of eggs folded in at the end, it could turn into a mousse?
Pistachio Cream Topping: makes 6 helpings
4 -5 fl.oz (125 -150ml) condensed milk
11 fl.oz (300ml) whipping cream
3 oz (75g) amaretti or macaroon biscuits, crushed
2 oz (50g) pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped
Lightly whip the condensed milk and the cream together, then fold in the crushed biscuits and the nuts. Chill until ready to spoon a dollop over prepared fruits.

Saint Clement's Pannacotta: serves 3
half a 405g can of Condensed Milk
2 oz (50g) creme fraiche
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
5 fl oz fresh orange juice
2 tsp orange flower water (optional)
half a 15g sachet of gelatine
Whisk together the condensed milk and the creme fraiche, gradually beating in the lemon zest and juice, the orange juice and the orange flower water (if using). Dissolve the gelatine as per instructions, allowing to cool but not set, then whisk it into the mixture.
Pour into 3 individual pudding basins, ramekin dishes or small teacups, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until set. Dip each container briefly into hot water to loosen, then turn out onto a plate. Serve with orange segments or what you will.
Tip: to make a low fat version, use Condensed Milk Light, and low-fat creme fraiche.

Citrus Cheesecake Filling: serves 6 -8 when completed
6 oz (150g) Condensed Milk
6 oz (150g) soft cream cheese or fromage frais
zest and juice of one lemon
zest and juice of one lime
Mix together the condensed milk, cheese and citrus zests together. Gradually beat in the juices until the mixture has thickened (at this point it would be poured onto a biscuit base and left to set into a cheesecake).
To turn it into a mousse, dissolve half a packet of gelatine in the warmed fruit juices, then cool before beating in. Lighten to a mousse by folding in one or two beaten egg whites.

This next recipe is for a starter, although made half- or even quarter-sized could make a good buffet 'bite' to end the meal.
Caramelised Pears with Feta: serves 4 as a starter
1 small ciabatta loaf (or French Stick)
olive oil
1 oz (25g) butter
1 tblsp caster sugar
4 small pears, peeled, halved and cored
4 tblsp Marsala
rocket leaves
4 oz (100g) feta cheese
Slice the ciabatta diagonally into four slices (each about an inch thick). If making buffet bites, then take 8 or more slices from a French stick. Brush the bread with olive oil and place on a baking sheet and crisp up in an oven 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Put the butter and sugar into a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter begins to foam, then place in the pears, toss to coat and cook, stirring gently, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook on for a few minutes longer until the pears are coated in a thick syrup and just tender. Leave to cool slightly.
Slice the feta thinly into bite-sized pieces. Place rocket leaves on top of the bruschetta. lay a few feta slices over the leaves and cover with two warm pear halves (or one pear half - or quarter - if making buffet bites). Drizzle over any remaining syrup and serve immediately.

The final recipe today should suit all you biscuit and chocolate lovers. Easily made but a mite tedious to cook as they are baked in small batches, but infinitely rewarding, and a very good way of making an economy ice-cream look more-than. The bonus is they can be frozen.
Chocolate-tipped Cigarettes Russes: (F)
2 egg whites
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
2 oz (50g) plain flour
2 oz (50g) butter, melted
4 oz (100g) dark chocolate
Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat in the sugar, then stir in the flour. Gently stir in the cooled butter. Drop teaspoons of the mixture, well apart, on a greased baking sheet, spreading them into oblongs with the back of the spoon. Only bake 3 or 4 at a time or they will harden too quickly. Bake at 220C, 425F, gas 7 for about 4 minutes or until golden brown at the edges. Working quickly, remove each biscuit with a fish slice and wrap around a greased wooden spoon handle (if you want them thinner use a thick wooden knitting needle). Hold in place for a few seconds until set, then slide off onto a wire rack and continue with the next (if the handle/needle is long enough you can wrap around more than one at a time).
When all biscuits are baked and cooled, melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, and dip/coat half the biscuit. Stand upright in a glass or mug to allow the chocolate to set.
These can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.
To freeze: when cold pack into a rigid container, packing any spaces with tissue or kitchen paper to prevent them breaking. Seal and use within 3 months. To serve, thaw on a cake airer for about 10 minutes.