Tag Archives: Dessert

Fig Filo Tart

Fig Filo Tart

Fig Filo Tart

I’m a huge fan of a puddingy type of tart.  What’s that?  Well, there probably isn’t a correct definition because I made up the word, but what I mean is something that’s got a custard or a nice soft filling.  I’ve always loved a good pudding or custard and this is a more grown up version of that kind of dessert.  This recipe is really easy to make, a gentle mix of the custard, some chopping of fruit and the oven does the rest.  So far I’ve only tried this with figs, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be really nice with other soft fruits like peaches or plums – think I’ll give them a try too.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes to an hour

Serves 6 to 8
3 x sheets of filo pastry (I use 40cm / 16in. x 40cm / 16in.), if frozen, thaw them out first.
4 x tbsp of unsalted butter – melted
6 x medium figs, each cut into 6 or 8 wedges
50gr / 1.7 oz. plain flour
50gr / 1.7 oz. caster sugar
4 x eggs
400ml / 13.5 fl. oz. milk (full fat)
The seeds of one vanilla pod
A little icing sugar for dusting

 Method

  1. Set your oven to heat to 190°C / 375°F.
  2. Brush a baking tray (29cm / 11.5in. x 19cm / 7.5in.  ) with the melted butter and lay the sheets of filo in it, brushing each layer with butter.  With the size of sheets I use I normally cut about a third off, and layer it up that way so that I get about 6 layers in total.  Cut any large pieces excess filo off with scissors.
  3. Place the figs evenly over the filo base.
  4. Put the flour and sugar into a bowl, then add the eggs and about ¼ of the milk. Whisk until smooth and then whisk in the rest of the milk and the vanilla until everything is incorporated evenly.
  5. Pour over the custard mix over the figs and place in the oven.
  6. Bake for an hour or until the filo is brown and crispy and the custard is golden and has set. This time may vary depending on your oven, so check after about 45 minutes.

 Tips and Variations

  • Ripe figs give the tastiest result.
  • Remember not to leave your filo lying around as it will dry out very quickly and you won’t be able to use it. If you need time, lay it out and keep it covered with a damp tea towel.

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Fig Filo Tart

Yogurt Berry Ice

Yogurt Berry Ice

Yogurt Berry Ice

I have a weakness for ice-cream.  No, I am obsessed with ice-cream.  No, I am powerless over my addiction for ice-cream.  Ok, you get the picture, I have a bit of a problem with ice-cream.  The problem is, I can’t get enough.  Summer or Winter I don’t care, I can demolish litres of the stuff without even thinking.  For this reason I’ve never made it, never bought an ice-cream maker, I couldn’t – I’d eat myself to death.  I don’t have tubs of ice-cream in the house, I can’t, I’d finish them.  I have to ration myself and only have it as the occasional treat.

I do though, sometimes, make a very simple version, it’s healthier too and nice and fresh and tangy on a hot day.  It’s base is yogurt and fruit and it’s super simple to make, but there is a naughty little element – come on I need something cheeky right?

Preparation Time: Less than 10 minutes
Freezing Time: 4 to 5 hours

Serves 6 to 8
500gr / 1.1lb frozen berries
500gr / 1.1lb full fat yogurt
6 to 8 tbsps honey (to taste)
8 to 10 tbsp limoncello (to taste)
Juice and zest of a lemon
8 basil leaves (optional) 

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a dish and place in the freezer until frozen.

 Tips and Variations

  • Mangoes work really well too.
  • This Ice will freeze really hard so when you want to serve, you may need to take it out of the freezer for a little while beforehand.

Yogurt Berry Ice

Favourite Amsterdam Ice-Creams

Favourite Amsterdam Ice-Creams

Favourite Amsterdam Ice-Creams

There’s something about ice-cream, cold and melt in the mouth, the way you can mix and match flavours.  It’s been my favourite sweet treat since childhood and I don’t mess around when it comes to a quality cone, so take it from me I’ve done my research and here’s my favourite 5 in Amsterdam

Venetië Ijs
Scheldestraat 68
No website available

The first place I ate ice-cream in Amsterdam on a visit in 1995.  Back then I had no idea I’d be moving to the city, but I really loved the ice-cream and have been eating it ever since.  In fact their ice-cream is my top favourite and compared to a lot of ice-cream (believe me, a lot) I’ve eaten in Italy, this is much better.  This ice-cream parlour has been handed down through generations of the same Italian family who open from April to September – roughly, it depends a bit on their circumstances and the weather.  In the winter they go back to Italy where they have other jobs.

Van Soest
Utrechtsestraat 143
Van Soest

My favourite chocolate shop extends their product assortment to include delicious hand made ice-creams during the warmer months.  Again roughly from about April to end of September, but it depends on the weather.  I was very pleased when Rachel told me a few years ago they would be doing this, I mean, the chocolate is fantastic, so I knew the ice-cream would be too.

Pasticceria
Van Woustraat 138
No website available

This is a cute little cafe in the Pijp area of Amsterdam.  They’ve got nice coffee and lots of sandwiches and snacks, but I go for the ice-cream.  They have excellent home-made creamy creamy ice-cream and a nice little sit out area to enjoy it on a sunny day or evening.

Banketbakkerij van der Linde
Nieuwendijk 183
No website available

This is the most ‘Amsterdam’ place on my list.  It’s not about trendy ice-cream, lots of flavours or an artisan product.  But it is good, really good.  The Amsterdammers call the ice-cream at Van der Linde ‘cream ice’, because that’s what you taste.  This is an old bakers, famous for their cream truffles too.  They’ve been open since 1937, and have never been closed or moved premises.  Keep your eyes open because it’s really easy to walk past it in the busy (not so nice) shopping street.

Ijscuypje
Various Addresses, but I normally go to the one at Eerste van der Helststraat 27
Ijscuypje
Situated in various places throughout the city these guys have proven themselves firm favourites.  They use top quality ingredients and have a base selection of ice-creams and yogurt ices (which as a firm ice-cream lover I can say are not bad at all), to which they add specials.  Be prepared to queue at my local Ijscuypje, the word is most definitely out.

Amsterdam Private Food Tours

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Favourite Amsterdam Ice-Creams

Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble:

This is the first time I’ve made rhubarb crumble since I came to live in the Netherlands!  Oh, I’ve made other crumbles, my apple is a firm favourite, or with mixed berries, and I have a great recipe for a savoury Vegetable and Ham Crumble.  But rhubarb?  No – why?  Well very simple, price.  The price of rhubarb here is extortionate and I mean it, so expensive, I refuse to pay so much for a product that grew wild in our garden back home on Bute.  It grew everywhere, you could hardly step out the door for tripping over rhubarb.  Ok, yes, yes that was then, this is now …  Anyway, no worries this year because for whatever reason (I must look into it) the price has dropped.  I paid 2.50 Euro for a kilo at the market the other day, so to my great joy rhubarb crumble is back on the menu!

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for 4 to 6 Servings
For the Rhubarb Filling
600gr / 1.3 lb. rhubarb chopped into chunks about the length of your thumb.
100gr / 3.5 oz. light brown muscavado sugar
For the Crumble Topping
300gr / 10.5 oz. plain flour
125gr / 4.5 oz. light brown muscavado sugar
125gr / 4.5 oz. butter
1 x tbsp extra sugar for sprinkling

Rhubarb Crumble

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  2. Place the rhubarb with its sugar pan and cook on a medium high heat until it softens but still keeps its shape. Stir now and then, just check that the mix is not sticking. This should take about 7 minutes.
  3. When the rhubarb is ready, check for sweetness and add a little sugar if needed, stir through.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour, butter and sugar together by rubbing it through your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  5. Place the rhubarb in your oven proof dish, sprinkle the crumble over the top. The best thing is to keep it rustic and resist the temptation to make it neat.  If you smooth it out, you won’t get such a nice crunch.
  6. Sprinkle over the remaining sugar and place in the oven for about 20 to 25 (check after 15) or until the crumble topping is nice and brown and crispy.

 Tips and Variations

  • Try adding a little ginger to the rhubarb it’s a classic flavour combination – just grate as much as you want into the pan with the rhubarb and sugar.
  • Serve with cream, custard or vanilla ice-cream.
  • If you keep the crumble topping a bit rough and ready, that is, not mix it too perfectly, leaving a couple of lumps of butter (not too much of course), you get a better result.

 

Strawberry Pavlova

Strawberry Pavlova

Strawberry Pavlova :

I can hardly write the words Strawberry Pavlova without using an exclamation mark.  It just gives me that feeling.  The ultimate happy dessert.  It doesn’t just make me happy to eat it, although that is a huge part of the experience of course (HUGE).  It makes me very happy to make this dessert as well.  It starts with the meringue.  Whipping the egg whites and seeing them fluff gives me a lift too.  Then dolloping the egg mix into the middle of my baking tray, I have to resist doing this with my hands.  When the meringue comes out of the oven it’s all I can do to stop myself clapping with joy as the magic has happened again.  Then of course strawberries and cream, well, is there anything more cheerful than that combination?  Summer, warm days, friends, crispy gooey meringue, silky cream and lively sweet strawberries.  Bliss.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours

Serves 6 to 8
For the Meringue
6 egg whites from large eggs
A squeeze of lemon juice
175gr / 6 oz. Caster sugar
50gr / 1.7 oz. sifted icing sugar

Strawberry Pavlova

For the Fruit and Cream
400gr / 14 oz. strawberries roughly chopped
500ml / 17.6 fl. oz (UK) / 1 pt. (US) of double cream whipped to stiff peaks
Optional: Some icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract

Strawberry Pavlova

For Strawberry Sauce
150gr / 5oz. strawberries
2 x tsp icing sugar (or to taste)
Optional: A couple of drops of vanilla extract

Strawberry Pavlova

Method

  1. For the meringue, heat the oven to 120°C / 250°F and place greaseproof paper on a baking tray.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice for about a couple of minutes until they form soft peaks.
  3. Add the caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition for about 10 seconds. When all the caster sugar has been added whisk until the mix is glossy and stiff.  Be careful not to over whisk or the mixture will lose its volume and become watery.
  4. Using a large metal spoon, fold the icing sugar into the mixture. Being gentle keeps the air in your meringue mix.
  5. Pour the mix onto the middle of your lined baking tray, spread it gently around and make a nest shape by creating a dip in the middle to hold the cream and fruit. Keep this meringue base quite thick.
  6. Place the meringue in the oven for about 2 hours. This meringue will come out a light caramel colour which I love, but if you want it pure white, bake it at 100°C / 210°F for 3 hours.
  7. To make the strawberry sauce, simply whizz the strawberries to a purée in a liquidizer, then pass this through a sieve and add the icing sugar. The amount of sugar really depends on how ripe your strawberries are.  Strawberries in season will always be sweeter.
  8. When the meringue is ready, leave it to cool completely, and then move it to your serving plate. I often serve on a big wooden chopping board as it’s easy to transfer from the baking sheet and also my pavlova tends to always be bigger than my serving plates!
  9. Fill the dip in the “nest” of the meringue with the whipped cream, arrange/sprinkle/tumble the chopped strawberries over the cream and then drizzle over the sauce. This should be done just before serving so that the meringue doesn’t get soggy with the cream.

 Tips

  • Pavlova’s are at their best with summer berries, be creative with what is in season.
  • This meringue will give a soft centre with a little bounce.
  • The other great fruit topping is passion fruit, but make sure they are ripe.
  • If you want to make it lighter, use Greek Yogurt instead of cream. You can use this completely to replace the cream or you can mix it with cream or crème fraiche.  You may need to mix your fruits with a little icing sugar to compensate for the acidity in the yogurt though.
  • For a super healthy version, don’t use any dairy at all, just fill your pavlova with lots of different fruit. In this case it is best to macerate first. (Macerate = put all fruit in a bowl with about 4 x tsps caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon and leave for about half an hour before serving.  This process draws the juices from the fruit and sweetens them)

Strawberry Pavlova