Changing the seasons with a lime yogurt pudding

(Lime yogurt pudding)

A few weeks ago I bought the last of the cheap and flavoursome blueberries from the shops and stored them in the freezer for future consumption (a bit weird I know, but I like snacking on berries and grapes while they’re still semi-frozen).

Now that the days have gotten cooler, and the short sleeves have gone back into storage, I’ve been thinking of things I can bake with fleshy persimmons, custard apples and new season apples. This is the season when the dreamer in me also hopes to spend an afternoon at an apple farm, picking sweet and impossibly crisp apples to be later transformed into a hot pie or crumble.

In the meantime, the reality is that as I rarely have time to cook at home and usually obtain most of my produce more locally. It’s hardly romantic to enthuse about the bag of apples and limes you bought from the supermarket, but that’s what I ended up with the last time I went shopping. With the lime zest, I made a tangy and creamy yogurt pudding. The juice was reserved for a curd which I’ll feature in a future post.

We had the pudding with spoonfuls of apple compote, frosted blueberries and wheat-free Finnish cookies. A nice way to segue into a season of scarves, cups of tea, fallen leaves and if truth be told, also the season to find yourself side-stepping spiders!

Lime yogurt pudding :
(serves 6; based on a recipe in Wild Weed Pie by Janni Kyritsis)

4 sheets gold strength (10g) leaf gelatine, soaked
200ml 35%-fat cream
80g caster sugar
zest 2 limes
600ml plain yogurt

Combine half the cream with the sugar and lime zest in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring. Meanwhile, whip the remaining cream and keep chilled. Squeeze the gelatine to remove as much water as possible, then add to the heated cream and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little before whisking in the yogurt and finally folding in the whipped cream.

Divide the yogurt mixture between 6 greased dariole moulds or cups and refrigerate until set.

[NB : I set the whole mixture in a large bowl from which we scooped as much or as little as we wanted]

Finnish Barley Cookies (Ohrapiparit) :
(makes about 4 dozen cookies ; recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups barley flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a large bowl, whip the egg and sugar. Add the melted butter and cinnamon. Combine the flour and baking soda and mix in until a smooth dough forms. Chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 200’C.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch or 3-inch rounds, then cut each round into halves to make half-circles. Place on lined baking sheets and bake until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

[NB : Instead of cutting into rounds, I cut the cookies with a rectangular cookie cutter]

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Keeping your wheats about you

(Wheat-free lemon poppyseed cake)

A decade or so ago, I met and befriended an investment banker who frequented the sandwich shop I worked at. My job was a short-lived part time distraction I loved, which earned me a bit of spending money while I was still studying. His was a boring job, earning obscene amounts of money (his words) and he looked the part to boot. Very Mad Men, now that I think about it. Complete with grey fedora.

We hung out a few times and he spoke wistfully of wanting to travel around the country. One day, he paid for his sandwich and said that he wasn’t going to be back as he had quit his job to chase a dream. We didn’t keep in touch which was a shame, because I still wonder if he’s living his dream. If I met him again, I’d also like to tell him that I’m managing to slowly chase mine.

I never did like studying much. Perhaps it was because my parents placed so much emphasis on it as a sign of success. School, piano lessons, violin lessons, computer classes. None of it seems to amount to what I enjoy doing now, but I don’t regret any of it. Doing what you don’t like sometimes leads to the discovery of what you do like. After I graduated from University, I approached a few restaurants looking for a job and finally someone did give me a break. There have been many ups and downs since but I’m still making things with my hands, still feeding people and hopefully bringing smiles to faces.

Life before cake was happy and sweet. Life after cake is just as good. But with cake.

Wheat-free lemon poppyseed cake :
(based on a recipe in Flour by Joanne Chang)

120g brown rice flour
120g barley flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
150g unsalted butter, melted
60g cream (35% fat)
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
4 eggs
220g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 175’C. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with baking paper.

Sift the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt together.

In another bowl, combine the melted butter, cream, lemon zest, juice and poppyseeds.

In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and caster sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Fold in the flour mixture, then the butter mixture, until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool slightly before glazing the still-warm cake with a lemon icing.

For the glaze, mix 70g icing sugar with 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and spread it over the cake.

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