Caramel Croissant Pudding with Spiced Rum and a sneaky cocktail

So I feel like I begin every post here with an apology for not posting more frequently. This time i’ll keep it short and sweet.

 

SORRY!

And give you a big piece of this!

Its a Caramel Croissant Pudding from a recipe by Nigella Lawson. I thought that since it’s the festive season I would spice it up with a little splash of Captain Morgans Spiced Rum. Which I then used in a delicious apple cocktail that i’m going to show you later.

Its pretty much just a normal easy peasy bread and butter pudding but its lifted by the addition of buttery, flakey croissants. The caramel custard that gives it a deeper, richer flavour. If you’re scared of making caramel, I totally understand. I’ve thrown out enough caramel that turned mysteriously black and stinky in the blink of an eye and i’ve also been disappointed by many an anaemic looking caramel that had barely turned vaguely golden before I panicked and took it off the heat.

So, make sure that you have everything ready before you start to make your caramel custard. That means tearing up your croissants and squishing them into the baking dish.

Like this!

Once you’ve done that you need to bite the bullet and make your caramel. I’ll share with you my two tips for nervous caramel makers:

1. Go slow! It might take significantly longer but I would rather have the heat a little lower and have more control over it than blast the heat and watch in horror as my caramel turns into a black smoking mess

2. Keep a close eye on it! It might seem like it is taking forever to turn golden but you can guarantee that the moment you leave your pot to go answer the phone, brush your hair, do whatever else you want to be doing, that will be the moment that you will be in trouble!

The only problem you might have is that when you pour the cream in the caramel will solidify. If you just keep it on the heat and keep stirring it will melt down again and be absolutely fine. Trust me!

and it will look like this!

And then, after it has been baked it will look like this…

and smell delicious!

Isn’t that one of the greatest things about baking? When the whole house smells delicious? Sometimes I find myself wanting to bake something just for the scent I know will permeate the house. Who needs scented candles or disgusting fake air fresheners when you have an oven?

So, my lovelies, what do you like to smell as its cooking? Weird question, I know!

p.s. I know I said i’d give you a cocktail recipe but you might just have to check back tomorrow!

Caramel Croissant Pudding with Spice Rum (Adapted from Nigella Lawson)

Ingredients

5-6 croissants – stale is better
200 grams caster sugar
4 tablespoons water
250 ml thickened cream
250 ml full cream milk
4 tablespoons spiced rum
4 medium eggs (beaten)

 

Method

  1. Tear the croissants into pieces and arrange in a large baking dish. One that can fit 1-2 L will be ok.
  2. Place the caster sugar and water in a medium sizes saucepan on a medium heat
  3. Let the mixture bubble away but do not stir! You can swirl it around the pan to distribute any dark spots. Wait until it turns a deep gold (the recipe says 3-5 mins but it seems to take much longer for me! Just keep going until you reach the colour you like)
  4. Turn the heat down to low and pour in the cream. It will spit a bit so be careful. Whisk in the milk and rum as well. Remember that it will solidify but if you put it back on the low heat and keep whisking it will dissolve.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and pour in the eggs (while still whisking! You don’t want the eggs to cook!)
  6. Pour the caramel custard over the croissants and leave to steep for 5-10 mins
  7. Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.
  8. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

The post about how I got to the church on time…

For my sisters wedding!

Which I will tell you about as soon as i’ve apologised for my extreme lack of blogging. Again, i’ve been noticeably absent from the interwebs for several months. Unlike the last few times, I had some very legitimate reasons!

Reason #1. was the craziness of extra work on top of my normal load so I was working a normal day then going to do a second lot until 9pm four days then all day saturday. This resulted in be being utterly exhausted to the point of zombification and unable to cook, blog or do anything that constitutes normal living.

Reason #2 was the impending wedding of my beautiful big sister.

I won’t be posting lots of photos of the wedding as they involve many people who don’t want them shared, but I will show you some pics of the wedding day breakfast that I organised for my sister. Partly because everyone likes nice food and champagne, and partly because it would look good in the professional photos! I’m also going to whack a few pics of me in there because i’m a big narcissist and this is my blog. Hah!

so here is the breakfast table

we had some pink bubbly, and left the Veuve for after the wedding. No one likes a tipsy bridal party!

Can you see the cute little Laduree sugared almonds?

so after the wedding we broke out the tea.

Then the champagne!

And the cupcakes and macarons and Haighs chocolates. Nom nom!!

But lets rewind to earlier in the day. A great deal earlier….

it was a VERY early start

but it was very much worth it as the wonderful hairdressers and makeup artist transformed this

to this!

Here we both are, all prettied up

Sorry for the dark pictures. These clearly aren’t the professional pictures!

Let me leave you with one last picture though that was taken by me, of my beautiful sister in the car about to leave for the church.

And yes, she was very much on time!

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Categorized as Life

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding

Its still super freakin cold. In case you didn’t get the memo Sydney peeps. Its the kind of weather that makes you want to have the oven on all the time just to heat the house. The kind of weather that makes you stay in bed until midday, get up for some hot chocolate, then go back to bed. The kind of weather that just requires snuggles. And this pudding.

And butterscotch caramel.

ohhhhhhh butterscotch caramel.

Its no secret that I like Donna Hay recipes. Although I find the magazine a little light on, it is great for simple dishes that work pretty much every time. This recipe came from the June/July 2011 edition of the Donna Hay Magazine but I dug it out the other day when I was sorting through my mountains of cooking magazines. I’m such a sucker for a gooey, sumptuous sweet on the front cover of a magazine. I must be an advertisers dream.

I did originally make this when I bought the magazine last year but it just wasn’t delicious enough to warrant a blog post of its own. I put that down to my own laziness as I couldn’t be bothered making lots of little portions so I just made one big one. That ended up with what seemed to be a lower caramel/pudding ratio. Of which we know no good can come. So this time I made a couple of small changes.

1. I used my kitchen aid! Yay! This baby is seriously the best thing since sliced bread. I love that I can switch it on and leave it to mix and  come back with it all tripled in volume and ready for the next stage.

then I used a whole jar of butterscotch spread

is there a more delicious sight than that?

No? Glad we’re on the same page here.

The mixture was much lighter and more aerated after using the kitchenaid rather than just my normal hand mixer. Look at those little clouds of cocoa!

so light that the cooked little cocoa caps just pop up off the top of the ramekin.

Juuuust enough for some caramel butterscotch to peek out

And that isn’t even the best part. Don’t believe me?

the molten pool of caramel butterscotch at the bottom is the best part

you can dip the crunchy/fluffy chocolate pudding top back into the butterscotch for extra deliciousness

or if you’re EXTRA fancy you can top it all off with a scoop of ice-cream.

Damn straight.

So what do you think my lovelies? Can there ever be too much when it comes to butterscotch and chocolate? Hint: if you say yes, then I have no idea how you made it this far…

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding – Adapted from the June/July 2011 Issue of Donna Hay Magazine

Ingredients

1 jar Butterscotch spread (I bought mine from Dijons Castle Hill and Harris Farm Broadway)

1/3 cup (80ml) thickened cream

200g dark chocolate

60g butter

3 eggs

1/2 cup (90g) brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup (60g) almond meal

optional: ice cream to serve

Method

1. Place the butterscotch in a bowl with the cream and mix well until combined

2. Spoon the butterscotch mixture into the bottom of 6 1/2 cup capacity ramekins

3. Melt the chocolate and butter together and mix until combined

4. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high for 8-10 mins or until the mixture has doubled in size

5. Fold in the chocolate mixture and almond meal then divide the mix between the ramekins

6. place the ramekins on a baking tray and cook at 200 degrees celsius for 12-18 minutes or until risen

7. Stand for a few minutes then top with a scoop of your favourite ice cream!

Birthday Macarons – You can never have too many sprinkles…

Soooooo I made some Birthday Macarons for my good friend Sonia. Because our friendship is characterised by laughter, fun and whimsy, I thought that these Birthday Macarons with Vanilla Sprinkles Buttercream would be the best way to reflect this. Macarons were the perfect present for someone who was gluten intolerant and the added confetti sprinkles on top made them quite the celebration treat, don’t you think?

Gravity defying!

As a child I loved fairy bread and often upped the ration of sprinkles to bread X infinity. As you do… because sprinkles are not only cutely colourful but they make you feel happy! This buttercream was reminiscent of those delicious memories and, while the sprinkles don’t actually add much to the taste, they definitely add to the aesthetic and there is a richness of those recalled memories. After I had decided to put confetti sprinkles on top of my vanilla macarons, I thought I may as well go all the way and mix some into my vanilla buttercream. How whimsical!

Just two tablespoons are all you need, although i’m not going to hold it against you if you want to add more!

at first the buttercream is quite crunchy because of the sprinkles, but after a day they absorb some of the moisture of the buttercream and the texture becomes much more soft. Thats if you can wait a whole day to scoff these babies.

Go on, I dare you.

these ones got packaged up into a pretty box for the birthday girl

see?

and these ones got stacked on a pretty glass stand.

Love those macarons!

So, my lovelies, what birthday treats do you like to eat? Don’t you just think that everything tastes better with sprinkles?

p.s. that was a rhetorical question, there won’t be anyone answering ‘no’ to that one. I freakin hope.

Macaron Recipe – from Zumbo 

Ingredients

300g almond meal

300g icing sugar

110g egg whites

300g caster sugar

75g water

2g powdered egg whites

110g egg whites

sprinkles to go on top of half of the macarons

Method

1. Combine almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl. Sieve the mixture thoroughly at least twice.

2. Put the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment

3. Put the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved

4. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat until the mixture is boiling and reaches 118 degrees celsius

5. When the sugar syrup is close to the required temperature, place the powdered egg whites into the mixer bowl with the real egg whites and mix until frothy

6. When the sugar syrup is at the required temperature, pour the sugar syrup in a slow and steady stream down the inside of the mixer bowl while the machine is still mixing. Turn the speed up to high and mix for about 8 minutes (or until the mix has gone from very hot to just warm)

7. Stir the extra egg whites into the sieved almond and icing sugar mix

8. Add the meringue mixture to the almond mixture and fold through. Once it is all combined, continue to fold until the mixture has loosened and is more ‘lava like’. You don’t need to be gentle here like you would with a normal meringue, the aim is to soften the mixture rather than to keep all the air in it

9. Pipe 4cm circles of mixture onto a baking tray making sure that there is enough space between each macaron as they will spread slightly. Sprinkle a few… sprinkles on top of half of the macaron shells

10. Leave the trays for 30 mins to form a skin on the top. This will be how your macarons gain their ‘feet’ as the skin makes sure that they rise evenly and pop those little feet out the bottom (after 10 mins of resting, turn your oven on to 135 degrees celsius)

11. Place trays in the oven for 16 minutes or until they have a firm outer shell. Remove from the oven and set aside for 2 minutes. Carefully remove one macaron shell from the tray to check if the base is cool and dry. If it is still sticky on the bottom, put the tray back in the oven for another couple of minutes. When they are done, cool them on the trays.

Vanilla Sprinkles Buttercream – Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

200g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 tbsp sprinkles

 

Method

1. whisk butter with an electric mixer until the butter is pale and creamy

2. Add sifted icing sugar and vanilla paste and mix for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy

3. Add the sprinkles and mix with a spatula until combined

4. Pipe onto the bottom of one macaron half, the sandwich with another one.