Monday, January 26, 2015

Cranberry Orange Bread

This is a quick bread which I made a few months ago for my husband's office Thanksgiving Potluck - it's very festive and has all the perfect flavors for something to bake during the holidays. I heard from him that his colleagues loved it and were asking for the recipe. I then baked a loaf for us to try at home and we were very pleased with the rich taste coupled with the brightness from the cranberries and orange. Easy to put together and tasty - so a winner of a recipe really.

What I love most about this recipe from Anne Burell is that it can be made in no time using a food processor and orange and cranberries go so well together...

CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD

Ingredients:
All purpose flour - 2 cups
White Sugar - 3/4 cup (in one variation I reduced to 1/2 cup)
Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup
Butter - 1 stick, cold (cut into small pieces 1 stick = half cup)
Orange zest - from 1 large orange
Orange juice - 3/4 cup
Orange - chopped segments from 1 orange (I used canned mandarin oranges)
Egg - 1
Craisins (Dried Cranberries) - 1 cup
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
2) In a food processor, combine flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and butter. Pulse until this resembles crumbs. 
3) Add orange juice, orange zest and egg, pulse until just combined.
4) Remove to a bowl, stir in dried cranberries and chopped orange. 
5) Transfer to prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 15 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do remember to rotate the pan once mid-way (for even cooking). 
6) Allow to cool for 20 minutes in pan, before removing... Slice when completely cool. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fruit Tart (Easy and Eggless)

This is such an easy dessert to make and looks so elegant and makes you seem like such an accomplished baker, when in fact this is something that can be put together with just a little effort.  This dessert has been made several times in the past few months and has always been well received... and my kids have declared this to be their favorite. This is also a very versatile recipe and you can change it around to use different fruits that you prefer or are available at any point in time.

Onto the recipe now... this is based on Paula Deen's recipe which I have modified a bit...

FRUIT TART
 


Ingredients:

For the Crust:
All Purpose Flour - 1 cup
Butter, unsalted - 6 tbsp (softened and cut into pieces)
Confectioner's (Powdered) Sugar - 1/3 cup

1) Preheat oven to 350F
2)  In a food processor, or using your hand, combine butter, sugar and flour together until it comes together like a ball.
3) Press this evenly into a 12 inch tart pan... I used 11 inch spring form pan and use a fork to form ridges along the edges and also used the tines of the fork to press holes on the base so it doesn't puff up too much. 
4) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until light golden and set aside to cool.Remove from pan.

For the Glaze:
Lemon/ Orange Juice - quarter cup (I used storebought)
Lemon Juice (fresh) - 1 tbsp
Cornflour - half tbsp
Sugar - 1 tbsp

1) While the crust is baking, in a small pan, heat together the juice, lemon juice, cornflour and sugar on medium heat and cook with frequent stirring until slightly thick and clear.  Allow this to cool down a bit.

For the Filling:
Cream cheese / Mascarpone cheese - 1/2 pack (4 oz), softened, if using cream cheese, which is what I used.
Sugar - half cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

(You could also replace a part of the cream cheese with whipping cream, if you wish to give it a lighter texture and taste, but the slight tartness of the cream cheese helps strikes a good balance with the fruits and helps it keep the tart not too sweet).

1) Beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla till smooth.
2) Spread  this on the cooled crust.

For the Fruit Topping:
Anything that suits you... I once used strawberries, pineapples, kiwi slices and blueberries and another time used cherries, blueberries, strawberries and pineapple.
Arrange the fruit slices on the cream cheese filling in a patter or even just randomly.

Thanks to Amar anna for his shot of the tart (or pie as he remembered it)
Brush the glaze on the fruits and refrigerate for at least 2- 3 hours before serving.



Monday, January 12, 2015

Date Choc-Nut bites

Since the New Year just went by, I'm sure quite a few of us have some resolutions and I think being healthy should definitely be top priority...

Here's a quick, healthy snack that can be whipped up in a few minutes and is sure to please adults and kids alike....

DATE CHOC-NUT BITES



Ingredients
Dates - 12 (pitted)
Nuts - half cup (I used a mix of almonds and walnuts)
Bittersweet chocolate chips - 2 to 3 tbsp
Chocolate Protein Powder - 1/4 cup
Chia seeds - 3 tbsp (you can use flax seeds as a substitute)

Method:
1) Pulse together the dates and nuts (I used my Blendtec processor)
2) When coarse, add in the chocolate chips, chia seeds and protein powder, pulse till well combined.
3) It can stay in an airtight, dry container for a week or so with no issues at room temperature. Refrigerate for a longer shelf life and bring to room temperature before eating.