Strawberry Sorbet

500g strawberries;

1/2 tbs lemon juice;

1/2 – 1 tbs honey (depending on how tart the berries are, and how sweet you would like the finished product to be!)

Wash and hull the strawberries, place in an open container in a single layer and freeze. Depending on the size of the berries this will take about 4-6 hours or you could do it the day before.

Take frozen berries out of freezer and put in the food processor with the juice and honey. I only have a mini processor so I had to be patient (yes I know, difficult, right?) and wait for the berries to partially thaw as they are like little rocks when you first take them out of the freezer. Blitz until smooth.

I used it to jazz up a jelly. Or you could eat it own it’s own, but this quantity only makes enough for 4 people if you are serving it with something else, or 2 people if you are just having the sorbet. If you have the freezer space you can always double the recipe.

Either use straight away, or put in a sealed container and freeze. I wouldn’t keep it long in the freezer (why would you anyway) and you will have to let it soften a little if you refreeze it.

Go on, eat it now – you know you want to!

Gluten free Mocha Tart

If you have one of my Gluten free chocolate, coffee and coconut sweet pie crusts handy, this dessert is halfway done, as the filling doesn’t need baking, just preparation.  Serves 8.

Gluten free Mocha Tart

Gluten free Mocha Tart

 

Gluten free chocolate, coffee and coconut sweet pie crust

100g dark chocolate, chopped or use melts

2 tbsp skim milk

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp instant espresso coffee powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp boiling water

2 eggwhites

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/3 cup light sour cream

For decoration I used cocoa powder for dusting and some strawberries

 

In a bowl, whisk skim milk, cocoa powder, espresso powder, vanilla extract until well combined.  Put a medium sized heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water) and melt chocolate in the bowl.  Mix milk mixture in, and heat, stirring frequently for 3/4 minutes until well combined and slightly thickened.  Add boiling water, stir until combined, remove from heat and set aside to cool while you bet the egg whites.

Beat egg whites in a mixer until soft peaks form.  Slowly add brown sugar and beat until thick and glossy.

Gently mix sour cream into chocolate mixture, then even more gently fold through the egg whites.  Carefully pour into crust and smooth top.  This needs at least four hours to set, the longer the better (so overnight if possible).

When ready to serve, dust with cocoa powder and decorate with strawberries.

 

Strawberry burnt butter tart – gluten free

This is one use for the Gluten free chocolate, coffee and coconut sweet pie crusts.  It can be eaten warm or cold.  Being strawberries, of course it is nice served with cream.

Strawberry burnt butter tart - gluten free

Strawberry burnt butter tart – gluten free

One Gluten free chocolate, coffee and coconut sweet pie crust (a shallow one rather than a deep one)

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Pinch salt

1/4 cup plain gluten free flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

110g unsalted butter, cubed

1 large punnet fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 180 Celcius if fan forced, 200 if not.

Hull and halve the strawberries, and arrange around the base of the crust.

Whisk eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk flour in and beat until smooth.  Melt butter in pan, and stirring frequently (you have to keep monitoring it, as if you turn your back on it, it is sure to froth up and go all over your stovetop) cook until a rich brown colour.  Whisk vigorously into the flour/egg mixture.  Pour over the berries in the crust.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until filling is puffed and golden.

Allow to cool a little – as I have frequently complained, gluten free flours are notoriously crumbly, and if you try to take this out of the tin while it is still hot, it will crumble.  If you let it cool a little, and are very gentle, you will get it out of the tin with the minimum of damage.  If you have a loose bottomed tin, or a silicone “tin” you can allow it to go cold in the tin as it will still be relatively simple to get out.  If it is completely cold, the crust will be less likely to crumble.

Decorate with fresh berries if you have some leftover, and serve with cream.  This should serve about 8 people comfortably.

Gluten free custard tart

This is very easy, particularly if you have a spare Gluten free coconut sweet pie crust handy.  Be gentle getting it out of the tart tin when you are done, as gluten free pastry is very fragile.  Serves 8.

Gluten free custard tart

Gluten free custard tart

Pie crust

3 large eggs

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg (plus extra for dusting)

2 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 150 Celcius for a fan forced oven – 170 if not fan forced.

Lightly whisk the eggs, then beat in all other ingredients, ensuring the nutmeg is evenly distributed.  Pour into pie shell and put in preheated oven for approximately 30 – 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with extra nutmeg.

If using gluten free crusts, because they are so crumbly, I let this go cold in the tart tin before trying to remove it, as they are even more crumbly when warm. I prefer this cold, although you could try cutting it in the tin if you want to serve it while still warm.

Gluten free Black Bottomed pie

This is my version of that classic American pie.  I used one of my gluten free coconut sweet pie crusts (although a slightly larger one – the filling requires a deep dish with a 22 cm diameter).  This pie will comfortably serve 12.  I also tried tricking one up for Halloween with some ‘worms’ coming out of the mud – have a look at the pictures.

Black Bottomed Pie

Black Bottomed Pie

Black bottomed pie - whole

Black bottomed pie – whole

Worms in your pie?

Worms in your pie?

Sweet pie crust

2 & 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbs gluten free cornflour

4 tsp gelatine powder

4 egg yolks (freeze the whites individually for something else another time)

125g dark chocolate, chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

300 ml thickened cream

 

Mix 1/2 cup of the milk and the egg yolks in a jug, sprinkle the gelatine powder over the top.  Leave stand a minute then stir vigorously to ensure the gelatine is evenly distributed and not lumpy.

Mix the sugar and cornflour in a medium pot, then whisk in the remainder of the milk into it.  Stir over a medium heat for approximately five minutes until the mixture boils then thickens.  Take off the heat, and while whisking, whisk in the milk/egg/gelatine mixture.  Divide the custard into two bowls.  In one, put the chocolate and stir until it has melted.  Pour into the pie shell and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Leave the white custard mixture on the bench to cool to room temperature.  Towards the end of the chilling period for the chocolate custard, beat the cream until stiff, then fold through the white custard.  Gently pour onto the chocolate custard in the shell.  Return to the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably longer if you have time.

Creamy Lime Mousse

As we are currently enjoying some unseasonably warm weather, I can squeeze in one more ‘summer’ dessert before we return to hot puddings and the like.  This is a favourite of mine, it is very quick and easy to make with just a little forward planning.

This mousse began its life as a sort of cheesecake, but when himself was diagnosed as a coeliac, I decided to dispense with the crumb crust, putting the ‘filling’ in a bowl as it is quite light in texture so is really more of a mousse than a cheesecake anyway  (it doesn’t have much cheese in it at all).  Although this version is lime flavoured, since the colour of the jelly suggests the flavour and most of the flavour comes from the jelly with just a hint of juice to cut through the sweetness, you could really make this any flavour, depending on what jelly you have in the cupboard.  I have also taken this to a friend’s Grand Final Party, adjusting the jelly to suit the colour of the team and decorating it as well – so you can be inventive with this.

The reason I said there’s a bit of forward planning in this is that the evaporated milk beats up best when it is chilled – I put the tin in the freezer for up to an hour before I need it, then shake it well before I open it (you want to mix any crystals back into the liquid).  Don’t forget it – I never have but the urban myth says “Boom!” so don’t find out the hard way if tins really DO explode when they are left in the freezer.  (Likewise you can also freeze the unused half of the evaporated milk, but take it out well in advance to give it time to defrost).  It should only be just forming crystals – if it is frozen it won’t beat successfully.

 

Creamy Lime Mousse

Creamy Lime Mousse

Creamy Lime Mousse

1 X 85g packet lime jelly crystals

1 cup boiling water

125g cream cheese

½ cup caster sugar

Half a 375ml tin of evaporated milk

Squeeze of lime juice (you can use lemon juice if this is all you have – it is the tang you are seeking to reduce the sweetness from the other ingredients rather than the authentic lime flavour)

 

Make up the jelly with the boiling water (do not use 2 cups as most jelly packets say as it will be too liquid for this recipe) – leave until it is almost set – it should be still liquid but getting wobbly.  It won’t take very long because you have used a reduced amount of water.

Meanwhile:

Beat the evaporated milk until it doubles in size.

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar.

Fold the cream cheese/sugar mix into the evaporated milk, then fold in the cooled, thickening  jelly. Once combined, gently fold in the lime juice.

Gently spoon mixture into a bowl, it will take about 2-3 hours to set.  If you are going to leave it in the fridge overnight, cover with cling film so it doesn’t dry out.

You can decorate with sugared sprinkles, lime leaves, fruit, anything you fancy.

Easy peasey desserts

Sometimes we have a hankering for something sweet, but although I will often put in an effort for a really good dessert, there are times when I just can’t be bothered (more often than I care to admit).

One of the quickest desserts to make for cooler weather is my Lemon Impossible Pie.   It takes all of five minutes to mix, and just over half an hour to bake.  Although to make it properly I should be mixing it in a bowl and then pouring it into a sprayed or greased dish, when I am really really tired or just sick of dirty dishes, I mix it straight into the dish that I will be cooking it in!

 

Lemon Impossible Pie:

Lemon Impossible Pie

Lemon Impossible Pie

4 generous servings – your baking dish will need to be at least 5 cup capacity.

1/3 cup lemon juice;

1 cup caster sugar;

4 eggs;

1 cup dessicated coconut;

½ cup plain flour;

1 2/3 cup milk.

Mix all ingredients together, pour into greased deep pie dish or soufflé dish.  Bake in a 200 degree celcius oven, or 180 degree fan forced oven for approximately 35 minutes or until set.

Can be served with cream or ice-cream, but best with cream and eaten warm.

 

In hotter weather, we love a dessert that I call “The Best Bits”.  This came about because every Christmas out would come the obligatory trifle, but I don’t really like soggy, alcohol soaked cake, or fruit served mixed in with the other ingredients.  I like my cake firm, served on its own, and a good fruit salad, but not all mushed together.  I would always find myself trying to spoon out “the best bits” – being the custard, the jelly and the cream.  So then I thought – “why not make a dessert with just the best bits?”  This is really basic to make, and the only real time involved is the setting time for the jelly.  The beauty of this dessert is that you can pour the jelly in before it has completely set to get it to go in “all the crevices” as I have in this photo, or allow it to set and chop it up so that it is distinct from the custard.

With the varieties of coloured jellies on the market, you can even theme your jellies.  For Australia Day you could make up green and gold jellies, if you wanted the red, white and blue of many national flags, you could use less custard – putting it in the middle and putting cream around the edges of the bowl –  perhaps crushing through some meringue for texture (think Eton Mess).  But I have explained how I made this one.  And yes, I did put in a couple of strawberries, but only because my strawberry plant had a couple of ripe ones, and I wanted to beat the insects to them! (Something has eaten all my mint, and has now moved on to the strawberry leaves – how rude!)

 

“The Best Bits”:

The Best Bits

The Best Bits

6  – 8 servings, depending on how greedy you are!

I packet berry blue jelly;

I packet raspberry jelly;

900g tub of double thick custard;

300ml thickened cream;

Optional fruit or cake sprinkles for decoration.

 

Make up blue jelly as per packet instructions and allow to cool.  Pour into transparent straight edged bowl and put in fridge to set.  Make up raspberry jelly and allow to cool.  When blue jelly is set, spread custard over.  When raspberry jelly is cool, gently pour into the dish over the back of a spoon to reduce the impact of the liquid on the custard.  Insert strawberries into raspberry jelly if chosen.  Put in fridge to set.  When set, whip cream until thick but not completely stiff (it should have at least doubled).  Plop over top of raspberry layer, and decorate.

 

My strawberry plant

My strawberry plant