Saturday, February 26, 2011

Limoncello Panna Cotta with Saffron-Lemon Curd & Florentine Cookies

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
I wanted to make something light and refreshing. I made some macarons and had loads of lemoncurd left from here and so ended up making Limoncello pannacotta layered with saffron-lemoncurd. I was not a big fan of florentine cookies but did love the crunch from my lemon saffron macarons. The pannacotta was perfect with the tangy lemoncurd.
Florentine Cookies (adapted from here)
3/4 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup of Honey
4 tablespoons of Butter
1/4 cup of Cream
1/3 cup of sifted plain flour
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/2 cup Oats
pinch of Fleur de Sel
Preheat the oven to 180C. Put sugar, honey, butter & cream into a heavy saucepan over a low heat and stir until butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture should thicken and darken slightly. Stir in the seeds, flour and the fleur de sel. Place half-tablespoon-sized dollops of the mixture on baking trays lined with a slipat or non stick parchment paper. Be sure to leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread. Bake for about 8 minutes until the florentines are evenly dark and golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray to cool and harden. Once cool, keep in an airtight container.

Lemon-Saffron Curd 
See recipe from my Lemon cupcakes with Saffron Lemon Curd Buttercream 
Limoncello Panna Cotta

120ml water
12grms powdered gelatin (I have used vegetarian gelatine)
250ml double cream
50grms vanilla sugar
pinch salt
2tbsp limoncello
125ml milk

Soak the gelatin in enough water. Heat the cream  & milk with the sugar until it just boils, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Off heat, stir in the gelatin until it is completely melted. Add limencello and cool to room temperature.
Lemon-Saffron Macarons
1 aged egg white from XL eggs (47gms)
1 tsp egg white powder
27 gms caster sugar
80 gms powdered sugar
60gms ground almonds
pinch saffron
1/2 tsp lemon zest
pinch yellow colour

Pulse the almonds,icing sugar,zest, saffron, food colour in a processor and sieve twice. Set aside. Whip the egg white along with whites powder until foamy and gradually add the caster sugar. Whip until you have peaks and get a hair mousse consistency. Fold the dry ingredients in two goes until you have a mixture that falls in ribbons when the spatula is lifted. Fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe circles onto a silpat. Allow to form a skin for about 45-60min. Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 145C. Bake the macarons for 12-15 min depending on the size. Cool on a wire rack and sandwich equal halves with a filling of your choice.
Spoon a layer of saffron-lemoncurd onto the serving glasses and freeze for a bit. Pour the prepared pannacotta upto 1/2 the glass and chill till the panna cotta sets. Spoon another layer of saffron-lemoncurd and chill. Top with remaining panna cotta and leave to set in the fridge for 6-8hrs or overnight. Serve with saffron-lemon macarons and florentine cookies.

Friday, February 18, 2011


 you because of your simplicity.
 you because you are temperamental.
 your gorgeous deliciousness. 
 your perfection. 
 you even if you have failed me many a times. 
♥ you because you inspire me. 
 you more everyday. 
the pitter patter of your tiny feet...
Hang on! Before you jump to any naughty conclusions I was actually talking about my  for macarons... my new found love.
For February’s Mac Attack Jamie and Deeba have asked MacSweethearts to create something for Valentine’s Day. 
Valentines Day is the Dday celebrating love and affection. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by gifting flowers, chocolates or exchanging cards. There is just no choice, no escaping it! Every little shop in town is filled with deep red roses,the colour of love and innumerable confectioneries, fancy greeting cards and gifts.
I chose strawberry, rose and chocolate the eternal combination to express love in my macarons. I find the Italian Meringue method the best to make macarons and will stick to them. The shells have a pale pink from the (have not used any colour) powdered strawberries. I have filled them with a rose-strawberry buttercream and also have a secret  dark chocolate centre to convey the bittersweet and secretive nature of mine ;-). Even 'S', a macaron fiend, loved them. I let my wildly romantic side take over and made them heart shaped (although they seem to have lost their shape while baking) and also painted hearts using melted chocolate. Nothing says I Love You like a sweet little something, the size of a kiss, the flavor of your wildest desire, the macaron. This is for you 'S' to say in my own special way how much you!
For the Strawberry Rose Macarons

27g egg whites
75g caster sugar
20g water
1tsp rose water
75g ground almonds
75g powdered sugar
1tsp strawberry powder
27g egg whites
Pulse the almonds,strawberry powder and icing sugar in a processor until fine. Sieve twice. Mix one part of the egg whites to this. Meanwhile whisk whites till frothy. Bring the sugar and water to boil and let it reach 115-118 C in a candy thermometer. Add this to the whites and whisking all the while on high as you pour till it form glossy peaks. Add the rose water. Mix a part of the whites to the almond mixture gently folding it. Mix in the remaining whites till you get a smooth mixture that forms ribbons when lifted. Do not over-mix as the mixture will turn liquidy and difficult to pipe. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe onto a baking sheet with silpat/ non-stick sheet. Leave it to form a skin for 30 minutes. When you touch them they should not stick to your hand at this point, if they do leave them for some more time. Preheat oven to 140C and bake these babies for 12-15 min depending on size. They should come off the sheet once cooked. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Pipe desired filling and sandwich the macarons.
For the Filling
Strawberry Rose Buttercream and Chocolate centre

I have used the recipe from here and have added powdered strawberries and few drops of rose water instead of lemoncurd.
50g of dark chocolate melted
Once the macarons are cool fill a pastry bag with the buttercream and pipe small starts using a small nozzle all over the sides and fill melted chocolate in the centre. Top with another matching macaron.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes with Saffron-Lemon-Curd Buttercream

Things have been so mad lately that I seem to have forgotten the very existence of my blog. Not that I haven't baked..I did make gorgeous Macs for the Mactweets, but have still not got around to photograph them. Blame the poor light in my part of the world! Ughhhhh. Although I do love cozy winters, I am ready for spring now though I sure will miss the time spent near warm fire with steaming bowls of soup, fresh home-made bread, catching up with movies/tv shows, not to forget ultimate nirvana with my new found electric blanket....staying cozy as I watch 'S' leave early to work. Evil you think? Nah...
Ever since I bought these gorgeous Turkish Lemons from the market, all I could think of was Lemonades, Macs and Lemoncurd. So to welcome spring I made these Lemon cupcakes with home-made Saffron-Lemon curd Buttercream. Saffron gives the lemon curd a gorgeous colour and flavour. And the icing is to die for, I couldn't stop licking it off the bowl. The cake was more of everything but the kitchen sink cake. I had some leftover buttermilk, sourcream, mascarpone so chucked it all in a bowl along with some fresh lemon juice,zest,butter, eggs and a dash of limoncello. I will write the recipe once I remember what I added in what quantities. Happy Valentine's Day!
Lemon cupcakes with home-made Saffron-Lemon curd Buttercream
Lemon-Curd (adapted from Helen)
125 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
100grms sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs+1 yolk
30grms butter
pinch saffron threads
Combine the juice, zest, saffron and sugar in a saucepan on low heat, Bring the mixture to a simmer making sure the sugar is dissolved. Whisk the eggs for a minute and once the lemon mixture is hot, slowly pour it over the eggs whisking like mad to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Pour everything back into the pan and cook on low heat stirring continuously until thick and coats the back of a spoon. Take it off heat and stir in the butter until it is fully melted. Let cool and transfer to sterilized jars.
For the Lemoncurd (Swiss)Buttercream(adapted from Helen)

200grms sugar
120grms egg whites
180grms unsalted butter
Homemade Saffron Lemon-Curd

Heat sugar and egg whites over bain marie whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves. Whisk the mixture on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue (10 minutes). Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Beat the buttercream until smooth and shiny. If using buttercream immediately, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature,if not transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature and beat on the lowest speed until smooth. Add upto 1/4 cup or more of the lemoncurd and whisk. You could adjust this depending on how strong you want your icing. Ice the cakes liberally with the buttercream.
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