Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 7 July 2011 Contents WHAT'S COOKING
Page 12 | 7 July, 2011
Two common ingredients of
desserts and bakes -- cocoa and
vanilla -- have improved. Not so long ago we had a choice of one cocoa
for both cooking and drinking. And vanilla came in small bottles as
natural or imitation. Now we are spoilt for choice.
Cocoa powder is produced from cocoa beans that grow in pods on the
tropical Theobroma tree. Once the beans are fermented, dried, roasted
and hulled, the nibs are ground to extract between 50 and 75 percent
of the cocoa butter leaving a thick brown chocolate liquor. This is dried
then ground into a powder known as unsweetened cocoa.
Dutch cocoa undergoes a further process to neutralize the acids
making it mellower in flavour and much darker. Because it is neutral
and does not react with baking soda, Dutch cocoa should be used
in recipes containing baking powder, unless there are other acidic
ingredients in sufficient quantities. The end results are affected by the
colour of the cocoa powder and the fat content of the cocoa. Standard
cocoa powders contain 10 to 20 percent fat while premium powders
contain around 20 to 24 percent fat.
As with cocoa, vanilla is also derived from dried, cured pods -- this time
pods from a member of the orchid family.
True vanilla is expensive because it is labour intensive, the price varies
depending on the quality of the beans used. Tongan-produced Heilala
Vanilla is the richest grade of vanilla in the Asia Pacific region. Besides
vanilla beans, they produce a strong vanilla extract or essence using a
cold extraction process and a convenient vanilla paste. Equagold vanilla
-- sourced from Tahiti -- is another top quality vanilla.
Imitation vanilla is made from artificial flavorings and has a harsh
aftertaste. Twice as much is required to match the strength of pure
vanilla extract. It is best used in bakes.
The custard may be prepared in
the microwave, if preferred.
½ Heilala Vanilla pod, or 1 small
vanilla pod, split lengthwise
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cornflour
¾ cup sugar
6 eggs yolks
3 sheets ready-rolled flaky pastry
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla
pod. Combine the milk, cornflour,
sugar, vanilla pod and seeds
in a saucepan. Cook, stirring
constantly, until thick.
Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl.
Slowly whisk in a little of the hot
milk mixture. Then whisk back into
the egg yolks. Cook, stirring, for
1-2 minutes. Remove the vanilla
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place
an oven tray in to heat just above
Cut 12 rounds of pastry about
10-11cm in diameter. Lightly oil
a 12-hole muffin pan. Line the
muffin cups with the pastry. Three-
quarters fill with the custard.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the
pastry is golden and the custard
lightly browned on top.
Vanilla custard tarts
Vanilla custard tarts
1 tablespoon treacle
2 cups plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons premium Dutch
cocoa eg Equagold
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons chilli paste or
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Lightly grease a 22-23cm round
cake pan. Line the base with
Place the butter and treacle in a
saucepan and heat gently, stirring
until the butter is melted.
Sift the flour, baking powder and
cocoa into a bowl.
Add the eggs, sugar, chilli, vanilla
paste and baking soda dissolved
in the milk. Beat for 2 minutes
then stir in the treacle and butter
Pour into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes or
until a thin skewer inserted in the
centre comes out clean. Stand for
5 minutes before inverting onto a
When cold the cake can be
iced with chocolate icing or cut
horizontally through the centre
and filled with sweetened cream
Cocoa chilli cake
1¼ cups cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 French stick
25g unsalted butter
½ cup vanilla syrup
Whisk the cream, eggs and vanilla
Slice the bread into 2.5cm rounds.
Arrange in a single layer in a wide,
Pour the egg mixture over to cover
Refrigerate -- covered -- overnight
or for several hours.
Melt the butter in a non-stick
Fry the rounds of the bread until
golden on both sides.
Serve drizzled with a little vanilla
Vanilla French toast
2 cups icing sugar
½ cup milk powder
4 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
½ cup mixed dried fruit or chopped
Lightly grease a 18cm square pan.
Melt the Kremelta over low heat
-- do not overheat. Remove and
sift in the icing sugar, milk powder
and cocoa. Stir well.
Add the vanilla essence and stir
until well combined. Cool. Stir in
the dried fruit or nuts.
Pour into the pan and set in the
refrigerator. Cut into squares or
bars when cold.
Old-fashioned dark chocolate
Excellent served with bacon for brunch or lunch or with berries for dessert.
Links Archive Fiordland Advocate 14 July 2011 Fiordland Advocate 30 June 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page