A few weeks ago I met a friend in town and we went to a restaurant. The main course was really nice but the dessert was something very special. It was an apricot strudel with tonka bean flavoured ice cream and custard. The inside of the strudel wasn’t normal either, I could taste a kind of marzipan flavour throughout. It had rough chopped almonds in it as well. I went home and on the train I immediately decided I had to bake a strudel just like that one. As usual, there wasn’t any time right away to sit down with pen and paper (yes old school) and write down some recipes ideas. Eventually I did sit down however, to write down two recipe ideas. Instead of apricots I also decided to go for apples as they are currently in season. On the first try, the strudel turned out nice, but didn’t taste quite right in comparison to the one I had at the restaurant. The second recipe however, was bang on! That’s the recipe I want to share with you now – and trust me, it’s so good I have made it twice since then!
Apple strudel for two
1/2 tbsp flour
1 tsp cornflour
Pinch of cinnamon
20g ground almonds
35g chopped almonds
1/2 apple peeled and diced
2 sheets filo pastry, folded in half
2 pie dishes 10cm, greased with oil
Cream butter and sugar until pale. Add egg, flours and cinnamon and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds, chopped almonds and the diced apples.
Line each pie dish with one folded sheet of filo brick. Divide the filling in half and fill into the prepared pie dishes. Bush the overlapping pastry with oil on the inside then fold it over the filling, tucking the edges into the sides of the pie form. Brush with some oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180℃ for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
The strudel can be served warm or cold. Dust with icing sugar and serve with vanilla custard.
When I went food shopping for the weekend it was already past lunch time, I was still hungry and craving a coffee & a piece of cake. While strolling through the isles all I could think of was what kind of cake I would like and which one would be quick to make. There are two cakes I vividly remember from my childhood. One is a Bundt cake that every family member got as a birthaday cake while the other one is my grandmas famous cheesecake. After those two popped into my head, I instantly knew I wanted a slice of the cheesecake, I could already taste it. I also knew that Mr. T and child #1 would be more then happy to share a slice or 3!
German cheesecake dates back to 1598 and there are many different recipes – and believe me when I say I’ve tried a lot of them. I have to say however, this one is still my favourite one. I decided to make a smaller version so I halved the original recipe and used an 18cm loose bottom cake tin. As I have also been trying to reduce sugar as much as possible over the past 4 years, I only used half the amount of sugar the original recipe called for.
63g butter, room temperature
175g sugar (90g if you want to eat less sugar)
2 eggs, egg yolks in one bowl, egg whites in another
1 sachet Bird’s instant custard (or Dr. Oetker’s original Pudding or 37g corn starch)
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
1 tbsp semolina (some more for dusting)
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, juice and zest
Heat the oven 180C/160 fan/gas6. Grease the cake tin and dust with semolina, make sure the sides are covered too. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form and set aside. Take the bowl with the egg yolks, add all other ingredients and mix well. Now fold in the egg whites and mix well. Fill the cake tin evenly and put into the oven on the lowest shelf. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
Delicious – my cravings had been satisfied. It did turn out however that making the smaller version wasn’t the best idea afterall… Child #1 complained the pieces were far too small.
Strawberry cheesecake with Advocaat
A few weeks ago when we had our first ‘heat wave’ – yes we English call every temperature above 20 degrees a heat wave – Anne, a good friend of mine, was supposed to meet me for a coffee to catch up. She is someone I can count on when it comes to loving my food, regardless what I’m cooking. So here I was in my kitchen thinking about what I could make which would go well with coffee and be super delicious. Strawberries and cheesecake, yes that sounded good, but a bit boring. Then I remembered the bottle of Advocaat I had recently bought because it reminded me of my childhood. When I was little, adults used to drink a glass of Advocaat after their coffee and cake on Sunday. Children were allowed to ‘clean’ the glasses by licking the leftovers. Can you imagine allowing your child to do such a thing these days? I am sure you would get more than just an odd look from others. Anyway, this Advocaat needed to be added into the recipe. I hope you will enjoy this cake as much as we did. I had two slices!
Just for those who still wonder what Advocaat is, here a little explanation: Advocaat is originally from The Netherlands, it is a beverage made from eggs, sugar and brandy. It is very similar to eggnog.
Strawberry cheesecake with Advocaat
100g digestive biscuits
250g cream cheese, full fat
1tbsp caster sugar
1tsp vanilla powder
200ml double cream, whipped
For the base crush the digestives, melt the butter and mix together. Line the base of a loose bottom tin (20cm) with the mixture pressing the biscuits with a back of a spoon. Leave to cool. Beat the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla powder. Mix in the whipped cream and then the Advocaat. Spread the mixture evenly over the biscuit base. Put the the fridge for at least 3 hours. Just before serving wash and hull the strawberries. Cut them in half and arrange on top of the cream leaving no spaces. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.