Friday, February 12, 2010

Time to Begin

The other day noticed a recipe/photo for a dessert which was basically an Apple Strudel, but - instead of being cooked in a long roll - had been made into individual desserts in the form of 'samosas' (triangular shapes). Just because something is cooked in a traditional form, doesn't mean we can't alter it. Suppose there is no reason why the savoury samosas cannot be cooked 'sausage shape' like the Chinese Spring Rolls', or the Spring Rolls themselves cannot be shaped into triangles.
Myself - when making vol-au-vents, prefer to cut the pastry cases into squares or oblongs or even triangles, rather than in the round. This way there is no wasted pastry.

Here is a recipe that could use up the last of the Christmas mincemeat. Make it into a traditional fruit pie using shortcrust pastry, or cook in puff-pastry parcels if you wish. The method given today is a filo pastry triangle (and the 'brique' pastry mentioned a few days ago could be used instead of filo). If you have any dried marzipan cake covering left over from the festive season, this could also be grated and mixed in with the apples and mincemeat.

Fruity Samosas: serves 4
2 large crisp apples, peeled and grated
4 tblsp mincemeat
4 sheets filo pastry
melted butter
creme fraiche or Greek yogurt
Mix the apples with the mincemeat.
Lay one sheet of filo on a board and brush with the melted butter. Fold into three, lengthwise. then lay a quarter of the apple mixture in one corner, and fold the filo diagonally over to the right side, then continue folding until the end of the sheet is reached. Seal by brushing the end with butter, flat against the package. Repeat with remaining sheets of filo and mixture.
Place 'samosas', sealed side down, on a lightly buttered baking sheet, brushing the surface of the samosas with a little more butter, then bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or Greek yogurt.

Although not a recipe proper, here is a suggestion for a really good and speedy dessert to prepare and cook and one worth considering for Shrove Tuesday. All you need are a couple of pancakes per person, and a couple of squares of firmly frozen ice-cream. Home-made ice-cream is best for this as it does tend to freeze into a very solid block.
All that has to be done is put a square of solid ice-cream into the centre of a pancake, and then fold the sides over so that it forms a package. Pop into the basket of a deep fat fryer, fold side down and plunge into the hot fat. Fry for half a minute until the pancake is crisp, then bring out, drain on kitchen paper, and serve immediately.
The pancake insulates the ice-cream and so gives enough time to crisp the pancakes before melting the ice-cream, and - if you wish - these packages could be prepared in advance, covered and stored in the freezer, and cooked immediately on removable.
These packages can also be shallow-fried, fold side down to start, and then turned to crisp the other side.
Depending upon the flavour of the ice-cream, good served with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or just dusted with icing sugar.