Nov 26 2019

Apple Sauce-Based Brownies

No milk, no eggs, no fats: if you are sceptical like I am when trying “healthier” versions of consolidated myths, you will be stunned by these low cal brownies, which use the creamy consistency of the apple sauce to become as good as the classic type. It really is an option for the weight watchers.

Serves 6

  • 800 gr Golden Delicious apples
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • juice of a half lemon
  • 40 gr cocoa powder
  • 100 gr self raising flour
  • 1/2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60 gr caster or brown sugar
  • 100 gr dark chocolate, knife sliced
  • 70 gr walnuts, chopped
  • 250 ml coconut milk

Prepare the applesauce: peel, deseed and quarter the apples, place in a heavy-based pot with the lemon juice, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp of water. Cover with a lid and let cook over low heat for around 30 minutes, occasionally stirring. When the apples are almost reduced to a puréè the apple sauce is ready. Let it cool to room temperature, then weigh 250 gr and transfer in a bowl.

Spinkle over the flour and cocoa powder (using a sieve), sugar, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, chocolate, walnuts and coconut milk.

The mix should be on the running side; if you have a particularly thick apple sauce, add some water or extra coconut milk. Be careful to not overwork the dough, or the brownies will be tough once ready.

Line a square cake tin with non-stick baking paper and spoon in the mixture. Bake in the oven at 180° for  15-18 minutes until the surface is set but the inner is still a little soft. Let cool on a rack, then cut into squares and serve.

 

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Posted in Desserts, Recipes, Light recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian
Aug 19 2019

Super Crunchy Fig and Ricotta Cheese Gratin

What is better than figs dipped in a sea of creamy ricotta cheese mix and surprisingly, deliciously crunchy? Either prepared the day ahead and refrigerated or eaten lukewarm, this is a cake you will treasure.

Serves 8

  • 500 gr fresh ricotta cheese
  • 800 gr figs, ripe but not too soft
  • 200 gr caster sugar
  • 40 gr brown sugar
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 6 amaretti biscuits (optional) or 50 gr almonds, skin on, coarsely crushed
  • 50 gr butter

In a large bowl mix the ricotta, egg yolks and caster sugar working with a fork.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and glossy, then incorporate into the ricotta mix.

Grease a ceramic baking dish with some butter, scatter with a few breadcrumbs discarding the excess, then pour the batter. Place the figs halfway in the batter, forming a circle.

Scatter the butter flakes on top, sprinkle the brown sugar and bake in the oven at 190°C for 15 minutes. Now sprinkle the amaretti, crushed with a mortar and pestle, or with the almonds, and bake for an additional 30 minutes. If the gratin becomes too golden, cover with aluminum foil.

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Jul 13 2019

Aubergine and Coconut Millefeuille Cake

 If you like it different, try this recipe! It is an unusual dessert, with a very festive Sicilian touch in the combination of chocolate and aubergines (did you know that the original Caponata included some cocoa as well?)  and besides, it is perfect for summertime when aubergines have the best flavour and colour.

Serves 4

  • 2 round aubergines
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated or sliced coconut
  • 150 gr dark chocolate (70% cocoa), better if flavoured with red chilli pepper, chopped with a knife
  • 150 gr double cream
  • 1 tin coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 125 ml whole milk
  • 50 gr rice flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • peanuts oil for frying

Wash, drain and dry the aubergines, then slice them thin. Fry in hot oil and place over kitchen paper and pat dry in order to eliminate any exceeding oil.

In a saucepan pour the two milks, whisking well with the sugar and flour. Cook over low heat,  always working with your whisk, until as thick and smooth as a béchamel. Cover with cling film, placed directly on the surface so that the cream won’t crack.  Let it reach room temperature, then rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

In another saucepan pour the double cream and bring to a boil over an extremely low heat: be careful not to burn the cream.  Incorporate the chocolate and  mix thoroughly until the ganache is glossy and any chocolate lumps are perfectly melted. Set aside.

Start composing the millefeuille cake: place one slice of aubergine onto a serving dish, scoop some coconut cream over (see above) and repeat until you reach the height you like. At the end pour the ganache, scatter the fresh coconut on top and serve immediately.

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May 7 2019

Cuban Flan

This wondrous recipe is the Cuban version of the universally known European Créme Caramel , which, despite its French name, was born in Spain. The classical recipe is based on just milk, eggs and sugar; the Cubans substituted the fresh milk with powdered and condensed milk, probably easier to find, thus creating a dramatically different texture. Richer and creamier, trust me, it is a dream come true.

Serves 6

  • 1 tin condensed milk (397 gr)
  • 200 gr powdered milk
  • 3 whole free-range eggs
  • 1 tbsp natural vanilla powder (or, half a vanilla bean, halved and scraped)
  • 125 ml water
  • 200 caster sugar for the caramel

 

In a small saucepan place the sugar, put  on low heat and let it caramelize: do not stir the sugar until melted and darkened. Coat a 1.2 liter baking tin with the caramel and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the powdered milk with the water and whisk well; add the condensed milk and mix thoroughly  through in order to eliminate any lumps (you can use an immersion blender to reach this goal perfectly), then add the eggs.

Add the vanilla, combine everything together and pour the mixture in the caramelized tin using a sieve to remove any remaining lumps and, especially, any bubbles.

Cover with aluminum foil, put the tin in a baking pan with boiling water and bake bain-marie in the oven, still, at 180°C for 75 minutes. Check the surface: if the flan is set, take it out of the oven, otherwise prolong the baking for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the tin from the pan, let it cool to room temperature then place in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

To unmold the flan, gently scrape along the edges with a round-bladed knife, then turn upside down on a dish. Serve cold.

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Nov 30 2018

Low Cal Chocolate Mousse with Lemony Salt Flakes

Quick and easy to prepare (you can make it the day before), luscious to taste and light on your figure: isn’t that a dream? Let’s try this dessert and you will find that dreams do come true… sometimes.

Serves 4

  • 100 gr top quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) + 20 gr for decoration
  • 50 gr brown sugar
  • 4 free range eggs (you will need only the whites)
  • 1 fat free Greek yougurt (170 gr)
  • less than a 1/2 tsp lemony salt flakes (or plain salt flakes if you prefer to go easy)

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in double boiler (a bowl set over a pan of simmering water). Let it cool to room temperature then add the sugar and yougurt. If you fancy a stronger flavour, omit the sugar. Mix well and set aside.

In a perfectly clean bowl pour the egg whites (it is important for it to be clean in order to have perfectly done egg whites, as any kind of grease can block the process) and whisk with and eletric hand mixer to medium-stiff peaks.

Using a whisk or a spatula, very gently mix together the whites with the melted chocolate and yougurt.

Divide the mix into four ramekins and leave to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving.

Scatter the surface of the mousse with grated chocolate and some salt flakes.

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Posted in Desserts, Recipes, Light recipes, Vegetarian
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