Tag Archives: gingerbread

Christmas Time

Hoorah! December is finally upon us again. There’s something in the air at Christmas time, for me it’s the prospect of the end of another year’s hard work and the beginning of a new – as well as a fun-filled summer holiday break away from everyday life.

Christmas in New Zealand is slightly different from that in other parts of the world. The days are long, sunny and warm (in saying that, it’s currently pouring with rain and a chilly 9 degress celcius outside). It’s the perfect weather for barbeques, salads and ice cream – all on the beach.  School is finished for the year, with around a 6 week well-earned holiday break for us kids – although longer for those of us in high school, as we have ‘study break’ leading up to, and around our end of year exams.

There are some things that stay the same – the decorations go up in streets, and carols start ringing throughout malls and shops, Santa pops up everywhere – and we still devour a delicious Christmas dinner or lunch, even if desert is a pavlova rather than a pudding (one of my favourite times of the year I must admit). In fact it’s all rather materialistic if you look at it, but to be honest, it’s about the only time of year that it happens for me personally.

This year, I decided to get a bit creativly festive, as I’ve had a lot of time off with exams (which has been FANTASTIC). I took inspiration from the many times we’ve been to Hawaii for Christmas. Although the weather is much the same as home, the Christmas atmosphere is totally different – the decorations are amazingly beautiful, and one thing that always impresses me is the array of gingerbread villages. Seriously, some of them are huge!  It’s something I’ve never done before but can now check off my list.

I’m quite pleased with my house – although it lacks in doors and windows and is comparitivly bite sized to the ones in Hawaii. It’s certainly unique, it kind of reminds me of something from Hansel and Gretel. I even got a few gingerbread men out of the left-over dough. I got pretty excited over the decorating aspect too – I finally I had a use for my royal icing recipe. I spent the whole afternoon and into the night on it, with breaks of course.

I havent yet tried it – I will – but for now I think I can trust that it tastes good. I left it out on the bench by accident the other night, and when I woke up, the roof has been nibbled at by mice – holiday cheer for all.

Merry Christmas everyone 🙂 !

 

 

 

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Cherry Streusel Flan (Cherry Cheesecake Flan)

 

The website is fantastic for finding any recipe you could possibly want. I’ve got so many cook books, but to be honest they rarely get used – which is a shame. I want a recipe, I simply google it and pick the one with either a good picture, or good reveiws. Even so, recently, I haven’t been so lucky with my internet searching for a particular recipe – or cook book searching.

There is a bakery in Christchurch which is one of my mum and mine’s humble favourites. It’s a ‘european’ bakery, and the food is always good – as in, really good. It’s not overly high class, yet it’s a far cry from your typical corner bakery. My personal favourite is either mud cake, carrot cake, cheesecake (yes, I like cake) or gingerbread men. My mum, on the other hand, prefers the almond rondo’s, apple pies and a particular flan called baked cherry streusel.

This is where it gets complicated in my recipe searching. A ‘streusel’, to my knowledge, is like a crumble, therefore you may think a cherry streusel would be like apple crumble, but it’s not. Baked cherry streusel, is a long skinny flan, with a delicious butter crust, filled, with baked cheesecake and topped with big plump cherry’s. Sounds simple enough, but according to the web, and all my cookbooks, this tasty desert simple does not exist.

Although it’s not one of my personal favourites, I’m always up for a challenge, and to please others – so I decided to see if I could do a better job of it. I searched for hours (literally). I couldnt find anything that even came close to recreating the ‘cherry streusel’ – untill I resorted to simple making up my own recipe of butter crust, baked cheesecake and cherry’s – which was when I found this post http://www.cookitsimply.com/recipe-0010-014q800.html . Not exactly cherry streusel, but it sounded just about right.

After making it, and some sampling, mum decided it was pretty close, I had the idea – although I was bitterly dissapointed I added the cinnamon, the original ‘cherry streusel’ deffinatly does not have cinnamon. I thought it was rather nice, but it simply wasn’t the same as the original due to the cinnamon – it’s sitting in the freezer at the moment, waiting for another morning tea.

So, if anyone reading this has heard of anything similar – let me know! There must be another name for it – and I’m pretty keen to try and make another one. If not – thanks for reading, and have a great weekend 🙂 !

Cherry Tart (Cherry Streusel Flan)
 
175 g (6 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
450 g (1 lb) cooking (sour) cherries, stoned or a 675 g (1 1/2 lb) jar (or cans) of dark morello cherries
150 ml (1/4 pint) sour cream
225 g (8 oz) cream cheese
1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
55 g (2 oz) light soft brown sugar
3 tablespoons good quality morello cherry jam (preferably no-added-sugar jam)
1 tablespoon demerara sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, to finish
 
Method
 
1. Line a shallow 23 cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind.2. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

3. If using fresh cherries, remove the stones and stalks from three-quarters of the cherries. This requires patience but is very rewarding if undertaken sitting at a table with a good friend-and sipping something reviving. If using bottled or canned cherries, drain them thoroughly and soak up any excess liquid on kitchen paper.

4. Place the sour cream, cream cheese, cinnamon, lemon zest, eggs and soft brown sugar in a bowl and mix well to remove all the lumps of cheese. This will produce a thickish liquid mess.

5. Assemble the tart by spreading a thin layer of cherry jam on the pastry base, spoon the cheese mixture over the top, then drop the prepared fresh cherries or three-quarters of the bottled or canned cherries into the liquid. They will all but disappear with just a bit of some tops showing.

6. Sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar mixed with the cinnamon. Bake in the oven for about 35 – 40 minutes or until the filling has firmed up (the top of the cherries may look a little wizened, but a good dusting of icing sugar when cool will hide the wrinkles, if they worry you).

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