Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

If I could only use one herb or spice for the rest of my life, seasoning aside, I would have to (pun intended) stick with cinnamon.

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Spice prized for both flavour and medicinal properties; the brown coloured, woody spice is evocatively aromatic with warming sweet and savoury notes at the same time.

Ancient Romans used cinnamon to make their bitter wine palatable and Ancient Greeks used cinnamon to season meat and vegetable dishes.  The Arabic world used it to flavour tea and now include it in most sweet and savoury dishes.  The rest of the world add it to baked goods and continue to sprinkle it over sweet treats and desserts.

Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and contains anti-inflammatory properties; it helps protect cognitive function, the heart and fight diabetes.  Regular cinnamon use, such as sprinkled over your morning porridge, can help lower your glycemic load and even help you to lose weight.

In cooking, the sweet-spicy flavour and warmth of cinnamon enhances the taste of fruits and vegetables, is a perfect partner for chocolate and no apple pie would be worth eating without cinnamon.

When baking with cinnamon, the entire house smells comforting and feels safe, warm and homely.

As the temperature drops and autumn makes itself known to us it’s this feeling of comfort and warmth that I’m trying to evoke through my food but I’m not ready for hot custard over fruit crumbles sprinkled with cinnamon nor hearty stews infused with cinnamon stick; something sweet to accompany a morning coffee sounds just right and there is nothing better than a cinnamon roll in the morning (or at any other time of day!)

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Proper cinnamon rolls can be cumbersome to make as you need to make an enriched dough, allow time to prove etc. as can be seen above but they are seriously good to eat.  However, there are a couple of cheats that make this easy to do for breakfast without even having changed out of your PJ’s.

Cheat Cinnamon Rolls

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Ingredients:
1 Pack of Puff Pastry
Melted butter
Brown Sugar
Cinnamon powder
Icing Sugar and water for the glaze

Method:
1st: Spread the melted butter over the unrolled puff pastry
2nd:  Sprinkle over the brown sugar and cinnamon powder.
3rd: Roll the pastry back up and cut into slices.
Place in a preheated oven at 200˚C for 10-14mins or until puffed and golden.
4th: Allow to cool on a wire rack and once cool prepare your glaze.  Drizzle over your cinnamon rolls.

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Pear

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“Ui que freski!” can be heard as people pop out of their warm houses into the cool work morning air.

Midday temperatures climbing and sunny (though not unbearably hot) sunsets disappearing in the blink of an eye and evenings creeping in sooner.  Sorry folks but autumn is setting up camp for the next few months.

Fruit and veg has grown full to bursting soaking up every last bit of summer sunshine getting itself ready for the harvest.  Thankfully making its abundance present in our kitchens.

pearsA quintessential autumnal fruit is the pear.  Once I see pears-a-plenty I know autumn is here.  And I don’t mean long haul, greenhouse grown perfect pears; dry and hard to the bite.  I mean pears of varying shapes and sizes, soft to the touch, buttery and bursting with juice.

Outshined by apples every year, however, I find the pear just as versatile in the kitchen – it can be baked into cakes, used to top cheesecakes, used in salads, pureed, transformed into a chutney/relish, poached, used in main dishes as well as desserts.  A great accompaniment to cheese, especially if it’s blue and let’s be honest, perry (pear cider) really is that much better than apple cider.

So in a bid to extol the virtues of the underdog, I’ve created a few simple pear recipes to get your autumn pear imagination flowing.

  • Pear, gorgonzola, prosciutto and walnut galette
  • Pear, ginger and cinnamon tart

You can make both of these recipes simultaneously as they require similar ingredients and cooking times but their eatability is just as desireable!

Serves 2 as a 2 course dinner but quantities can be easily doubled.

Ingredients: 1 block of puff pastry and 2 pears (whether serving 4 or 2 as a two-course dinner)

Pear, gorgonzola, prosciutto and walnut galettePear and Blue Cheese Tart

  • Blue cheese (or other blue cheese)
  • Prosciutto (or other cured ham)
  • Rocket leaves
  • Walnuts
  • Honey and olive oil dressing
  • Seasoning

Method:

1st: Roll the block of puff pastry out onto a well floured board.

2nd: Cut the pastry into quarters and score the pastry with the tip of a knife creating a 1cm border around the outer edge (do not cut all the way through).
If creating both the sweet and savory version, leave 2 quarters to one side.

3rd: Crumble the gorgonzola into a bowl and beat with a palette knife until soft.  Spread a layer of this over inside of the border of each of your quarters.

4th: Slice half a pear per quarter and place ontop of the gorgonzola.  Brush the border with either milk or an egg-wash.

5th: Place into a preheated oven at 200°C for 15-20mins or until golden brown.

6th: Add slices of prosciutto, rocket leaves and walnut halves over before dressing and seasoning to taste.

Pear, Ginger and Cinnamon galettePear, ginger and cinnamon tart

  • Cinnamon
  • Light brown sugar
  • Stem ginger in syurp
  • Flake almonds
  • Cream / Ice cream to serve

Complete stages 1 & 2 as above.

1st: Brush the inside of the quarters with egg-wash and sprinkle cinnamon, sugar and a piece of stem ginger per quarter (chopped finely).

2nd: Slice the pears finely and arrange half a pear per quarter.

3rd: Sprinkle with a bit more sugar and cinnamon.

4th: Egg wash the border and place into a preheated oven at 200°C for 15-20mins or until golden brown.

5th: Serve with flaked almonds and either cream (with some of the ginger syrup mixed in) or ice cream.

Optional Extra – sprinkle the tart with ground ginger for added depth and warmth.

Click on the following links to view previous recipes posted on http://www.gastrorob.com

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Try any of the following or create some of your own; why not post your recipes here?

Pearfect!