Monday, March 24, 2008

Planning Ahead

Whether or not we have just egg yolks left over, or would prefer to use a whole egg, am offering today a more upmarket version of Poor Knight's of Windsor (traditionally a fried bread and butter sarnie with a jam filling) the recipe will appear at the end of today's chat. Other ways of using up egg yolks can be scrambled (add a little milk or cream), omelette (adding one whole egg to numerous yolks), and making lemon (or other fruit) curd.

With so many of my readers now making their own yogurt, am repeating the quick way to make one of the easiest cheesecakes ever:
Yogurt Cheesecake:
take a 500g of yogurt and stir in 3 tblsp (or more) of dried fruit. Leave overnight, and the fruit will have absorbed the liquid in the yogurt, so the whole thing turns out into a really thick mixture, the texture of cheesecake. All that needs to be done is dollop the yogurt and fruit mixture onto a crumb/butter/sugar base, and smooth the top. Chill and serve.

Wealthy Knight's of Windsor: for 1 serving
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
Nutella chocolate hazlenut spread
beaten egg, or egg yolk and milk
knob of butter
caster sugar
Spread one slice of bread, fairly thickly, with Nutella. Place the other slice on top. Slice into three fingers. Dip both sides of the bread into the egg (if there is enough egg, the bread can be left to soak for a few seconds). Melt the butter in a frying pan, and when hot, lay in the slices of bread and fry until golden, turn and fry the other side. Sprinkle over caster sugar and serve hot, with a dollop of Greek yogurt, cream or custard.
Note: When next making a bread and butter pudding, spread the slices with Nutella instead of the butter and sandwich together before pouring over the egg and milk.

The next recipe for fruit cake can be adapted in several ways. Use white granulated, or dark brown sugar if you prefer, the latter making a moister cake. Or use half the sugar and add a good tblsp of treacle if you wish to have a really dark moist cake. Chopped glace cherries and chopped nuts could also be included in the list of ingredients, but if using, keep the total weight of all fruits and nuts to the 12oz as in the recipe.
In our oven, this cake is always cooked within the hour, despite the original recipe stating it takes one and a half hours to cook, so have kept to my recommended time. But ovens vary, so check with a skewer to make sure it is cooked through before removing from the oven. A good guide to cake making, is - that once you can smell the cake - it is pretty near the end of its cooking time.
Easy Fruit Cake:
12 oz (350g) mixed dried fruit, with or without candied peel
4 oz (100g) butter or margarine (any sort)
4 oz (100g) demerara sugar
5fl.oz (150ml) water
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp mixed spice
Put the dried fruit, cherries, butter/marg, sugar and water into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and leave to stand for half an hour, then tip the mixture into a bowl. Sift the flour with the spice and stir this into the fruit, together with the eggs. When thoroughly mixed, pour into a greased and lined 7" (18cm) cake tin, and bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for approximately one hour. Cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a cake airer. When wrapped in foil, and/or stored in an air-tight tin, this cake keeps well.

Deeply Passionate Cake: makes 1lb cake (F)
5 oz (150g) butter, softened
5 oz (150g) light brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
zest and juice of one medium orange
3 oz (75g) self-raising flour
half tsp baking powder
2 oz (50g) desiccated coconut
3 oz (75g) walnut pieces, roughly chopped
1 tsp mixed spice
5 oz (150g) carrots, grated
4 oz (100g) cream cheese (Philly type)
1 oz (25g) butter
4 oz (100g) icing sugar
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 tsp flour (prevents the mixture curdling) and beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, alternating with the orange juice. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices and gently fold this into the batter, together with the coconut. Finally, stir in 2 oz (50g) chopped walnuts and all the carrots.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks, then fold a little into the cake mixture, and once combined, fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined 1lb (450g) loaf tin and bake for 50 mins at 180C, 350F, gas 4, or until the cake is a deep brown colour and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a cake airer to get completely cold.
If wishing to eat on the same day, beat the cream cheese with the butter and icing sugar and just before serving, spread on the top of the cake, sprinkling over the orange zest and the remaining walnuts.
The cake will keep without the topping for up to a week in an airtight container. It can also be frozen. Thaw thoroughly before serving.