Category Archives: Custard

Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

Holiday plans work like coffee for me. Gives me that instant high, feeling all excited, imagining a whole new world of endless possibility.

Then there’s work.

Work isn’t bad. Work gives us the financial support for such day dreams of glorious sightseeing, late mornings and waking up in a place that allows you to be a new person; even if it’s just for a week. Work also makes the holidays so much better, it’s a bonus really! It’s like you paid the same amount as the dude next door, but because your job works you that much harder, you feel this much better. Score!

I like to make believe my work week gets lifted to loftier heights when I manage to squeeze in a bake session. Probably makes it even better when I feel utterly inspired and do something like whisk dried lavender flowers into my creme patisserie. And then it gets way groovier when I now have dessert sorted for the movie marathon with my man tomorrow.

What? It’s not Friday yet?!

Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

250g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
160g unsalted butter, softened
120g brown sugar
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or  sorghum or buckwheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
400g plums, re-seeded and sliced about 1cm thick
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 18 x 28cm baking pan with greaseproof paper.

2) Add cream cheese, vanilla, caster sugar and 1 egg to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

3) Place butter, brown sugar, flour and remaining 3 eggs in a clean bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Spread the flour mixture in the tray followed by half the cream cheese mixture, swirling gently to combine. Top with half the plums. Repeat the process with remaining flour mixture, cream cheese mixture and plums. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the cake and bake until golden. About 50-60 minutes.

4) Remove the plum tray bake from the oven, allow to cool, dust with some icing sugar and serve warm with custard.

Lavender and White Chocolate Custard

1 cup milk
300ml thickened cream
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp dried lavender flower buds
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g white chocolate, chopped

1) Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan until almost boiling. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar and egg yolks together int a bowl until lightened. Slowly pour the hot milk/cream into the egg yolk mixture, all the while whisking to ensure the yolks don’t screamble.

2) Return the mixture to the pot and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly. Add in the vanilla and dried lavender flower buds. When mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat immediately, whisking vigorously. Fold in the white chocolate until it has all melted. Run the custard through a sieve to remove lumps and flower buds. Serve with tray bake.

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Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Custard, Fruit, Inspired, Recipes

Chocolate Eclairs

Do you ever feel that sometimes people want you to be afraid. They wish fear upon you and although they say otherwise, they mostly don’t ever mean for you to feel better. And fear seems to be a while lot easier to learn than un-learn. Bravery are for those who stand up and say “You know what? Just go away.”

Then will we be left alone? Without these someones around. Suddenly you feel that maybe fear’s okay, better than being alone. But what would the brave ones say?

Don’t know; I don’t have the answer yet. All I can do is make an attempt at doing something difficult, to raise my bravery status. I tried to make baked vegan doughnuts but that was a flop. Chocolate eclairs are a lot cooperative. They even keep creamy secrets. And the dunking of chocolate is therapeutic; so’s the eating too.

Pate a Choux (adapted from Joanna Chang’s Flour Bakery Cookbook)

1 cup GF flour blend
2 tbsp corn flour
1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup warm water
4 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 200°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper or Silpat.

2) In a medium bowl, mix the flours and xantham gum together

3) In a medium saucepan, mix the butter, water and sugar together. Set over a medium flame and heat until butter is melted. Do not bring to a boil as the water will evaporate.

4) Immediately pour the flour mix into the butter mixture and stir to combine (I use a wooden spoon for this). It will come together in a ball and keep ‘roasting’ it by pushing the ball around the pan. Once you see an even film of coating over the bottom of the pan, remove the pot from heat and tip the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat the dough for 2 minutes to cool it down.

5) Beat the eggs in one at a time. It will look like it’ll never come together and be smooth but it will after the addition of the last egg. Keep beating until you get a smooth custardy looking batter. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 12mm round tip and pipe 5cm logs on your baking paper. Bake for 15minutes before reducing the temperature to 160°C and bake for 25-30 minutes until it’s golden brown. This ensures the insides dry out properly.

6) Remove from tray and allow to cool completely before filling and dipping the tops into chocolate ganache.

Custard Cream Filling

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk
2 tbsp GF flour blend
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp rum

3/4 cup whipping cream

1) Heat the milk in a medium sauce over a medium flame.

2) In another bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolk, flour and sugar together.

3) When the milk is almost at a boil, pour it slowly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain the mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan. Heat over a small-medium flame, whisking constantly until it starts to thicken (3-4 minutes). Once it resembles a watery custard, remove from heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard and allow to chill for 2-3 hours.

4) Once it’s completely chilled, whip the cream until firm peaks form. Fold it into the custard. Use it to fill the eclairs.

Chocolate Ganache

150g couverture chocolate, 55%
120ml heavy cream

1) Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until almost boiling. Pour the cream into the chocolate in 2 additions, stirring gently between each once. Allow to cool to room temperature, until ganache is slightly firm but still liquid enough to coat the eclairs evenly.

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Filed under Chocolate, Custard, Pastry, Recipes

Florentine Doughnuts with Vanilla Custard

…Or Bomboloni are Italian yeasted doughnuts. They are delicious.

Well, I’m sure they are far better made by a person who actually knows how this is suppose to taste like, but my own effort doesn’t look too off (I googled images of other people’s!!!)

I then realise that, similar to a cupcake, these little dough babies can be spruced up with a thick pastry cream topping or perhaps filled with fresh berry jam. I even saw one in a cupcake wrapper, topped with frosting and shards of toasted coconut. This is getting way too exciting for my socks.

But first, I need give myself a pat on the back for daring to work with yeast. It’s been a fear of mine but the thought of dipping fried doughnuts into custard got the better of me. Turns out, it’s not THAT SCARY. I think the gluten-free part might instill more fear. The images I looked at for reference seems fluffier, though some were similar looking to mine. Either way, I’ll keep working on making these fluffy (mine were slightly dense), and if anyone has a hint or two, please share! :) Please also note that I didn’t like the custard as much as I would like pastry cream so I’ll be serving that with these doughnuts from now on.

But I’ll definitely be making these again because bombolini is too cute a word to pass up.


Bombolini con Crema di Vaniglia (adapted from Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma)

1/4 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (not fast rising)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup +2 tbsp warm milk
2 1/2 cup sorghum flour blend*
3/4 cup GF Flour blend (available at supermarkets)
1 tsp xantham gum
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg (I didn’t use this)
2 large eggs
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
Oil, for frying
Icing sugar, for dusting
Vanilla Custard

1) Place the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar and stir to dissolve the yeast. Set the bowl aside and allow the yeast to proof until foamy about 4 minutes.

2) Place the sorghum flour mix and the GF flour blend, sugar, salt and spices in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Make a well in the centre and add in the yeast mixture, warm milk and eggs. Beat on medium until a smooth dough forms. Add in the butter and beat until combined. Dough will be soft and somewhat elastic. Switch to a medium speed and mix for 2 minutes. Turn dough out into a grease bowl and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free spot, for 2 hours.

3) Gently deflate the dough by pulling it from the sides of the bowl. Now, Gina suggests rolling it out and cutting it with cutters but the dough seemed somewhat sticky so I shaped them into golf ball sized balls with floured hands instead. Allow them to proof on a baking sheet dusted with flour and cover them with plastic wrap. Meanwhile, heat the oil.

4) Heat about 4-6 cups of oil to 180°C. Fry the doughnuts in batches of 5-6 in the hot oil until very golden brown and cooked through. The first one is usually the guinea pig so cut open to see if it’s cooked on the inside.

5) Drain the doughnuts on paper towels and spinrkle with icing sugar while still warm.

Vanilla Cream

3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp cornstarch

1) Pour the milk and cream into a medium saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds with the blunt side of a small knife. Add to pan along with the bean and vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of the sugar.

2) In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar, salt and cornstarch. When milk mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and slowly pour into the egg yolk mixture, all the while stirring. Transfer custard back to saucepan and place over low heat. Keep whisking to prevent it from scorching. While it has thickened somewhat, remove from heat and strain it through a sieve. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water to chill it, whisking occasionally as it cools.  Press a piece of plastic onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

*I used Carol Fenster’s Sorghum flour mix which you can find here.

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Filed under Custard, Doughnuts, Recipes