Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

There are a few interesting stories to this chocolate pizza; two involve children, sort of – fitting since I’m pretty sure kids would love this sweet pizza.

Both are cute stories, of how I came to own a box of colourful Dutch sprinkles and a gooey tub of chocolate spread made with cocoa from Ghana.

Months ago, when I was strolling the canals of Amsterdam, my friend N who was expecting a baby at the time, sent me a text asking if I could pick her up some sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles (Muisjes) – auspiciously, I was standing in front of an Albert Heijn and they were the first things I spotted upon entering the store.
I got a pink one and a blue one since I didn’t know the sex of N’s baby.

N’s baby came this January past, a sweet little boy with the most adorable smile. She borrowed the Dutch custom and served guests who came to see the baby, donuts sprinkled with blue and white Muisjes, and I came home to a box of pink and white sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles.

Chocolate Pizza
Chocolate Pizza

Then there’s my little friend E, a passionate nine-year old with a slight obsession with vampires and Goth.
Choco Delight, a chocolate peanut butter spread from Ghana is on her list of favourite things at the moment – it’s better than Nutella, she said and I was intrigued. Her dad graciously got us a tub to try.

I initially wanted to make this chocolate pizza for E; to share with her on one of the evenings she passes by my place on her way to Girls Guide, but our timing was always off and I was sure we’d run out of chocolate spread if I waited for that perfect opportunity.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

So one morning when we would have just had bread with chocolate spread with our tea, I made chocolate pizza instead.
It’s simple really; bread dough slathered in chocolate and baked to perfection with a sprinkle of aniseed.
The sprinkles were an afterthought, but I do love the combination, the chocolate and the subtle liquorice flavour do well together.

I love it with tea; it’s like bread with your favourite chocolate spread, but so much more – it’s soft warm chewy bread with gooey melted chocolate – so good!

I used ’00’ flour for the dough, I got a small bag from the Italian store months ago to try out. I put my bread machine to work using a very simple dough recipe, same one I used here.
The dough can be made by hand too; here is a great step-by-step direction on how to.

I’m hopeful, E and I have set a date this summer, to get together and make chocolate pizza, and I’ll even let her choose the toppings.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Over the holidays, our dear friend J. gave us a box of pears so fragrant and juicy, my mom and I still reminisce about those pears months later.

This headed us into eating pears throughout the season; we’d get pears on our weekly grocery run and snack on them throughout the week or incorporate them into breakfast and salads.

This is the part in the story where I tell you that I have a slight food allergy to raw pears.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious.

I have seasonal allergies, and in the spring when the pollen count is high, pears exacerbate my allergies; it’s a condition called oral allergy syndrome.

Pears for Pie Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Luckily, I was never a great lover of pears; this dalliance grew from one wonderful experience with a box of perfumed luscious pears I couldn’t resist.

We started cooking with them more and more as we slowly eased into spring; we poached, made crumble, galettes and this fantastic pear pie.

This salted caramel pear pie sort of just happened, the way the best desserts sometimes come about.

We had pears that had sat on the counter for far too long and some salted caramel sauce that needed to be used up.

Salted Caramel Pear Pie

If you do make this salted caramel sauce, the recipe, which I’ve included in this post, will make more caramel sauce than you need but really, there’s no such thing as too much caramel sauce.
Use it on ice cream and other desserts, slather it on bread or make fondue…

The pie turned out quite lovely, the delicate baked pears tastes divine with the glorious salted caramel topping.

The dough is lightly spiced with cardamom, cinnamon and a dash of turmeric for a bit of colour.

You want to get together with a friend (or family) and share this pie, while it’s still warm top a healthy slice with a large scoop ice cream, and savour, and have lengthy chats about things that make you happy, perhaps places you’d like to visit.

Afterwards, when it’s all gone, you’d know you couldn’t have come up with a better dessert to end a magical season of pears.

Salted Caramel Pear Pie Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Salted Caramel Pear Pie Salted Caramel Pear Pie


Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Spiced Banana Cake

Spiced Banana Cake

And so begins a gleaming New Year, inspiring and hopeful; when you think about it, the start of the New Year is a little like mornings, both bearing the optimism of a new beginning, except mornings come around daily.
My little end-of-year break sadly ended today, and this morning I got ready for work thinking about resolutions, and how I try not to make them on New Year’s.

I used to think I wasn’t really a resolutions maker, but the fact is, I’ve been making resolutions all my life, just not necessarily at the start of each year.

Spiced Banana Cake by Elsa Brobbey

One resolution I’ve had a hard time keeping is breakfast, for some reason eating in the morning has been a bit of a challenge. So my resolutions for mornings this year is to eat breakfast.

It seemed so easy during our relaxing Christmas holiday, breakfast just seemed to happen naturally; we had our granola on some mornings, mum made her special Hausa koko, then there were those endless pots of coffee and tea to go with panettone, pandoro and this delectable spiced banana cake I made for Christmas morning.

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This cake is truly simple, more like banana bread but fluffier, finely spiced and topped with crushed nuts and dried cranberries.

It gets its yellowish hue from turmeric, a mildly fragrant warm spice with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
I love the colour it lends to the cake, also, it boosts the flavour of the cake with earthy hints and and a faint peppery flavour.

I try to add turmeric to my cooking as often as I can since it’s such a powerful healing spice.

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What I do is mix all the spices; cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and turmeric together to make a rich warm mixture and then add it to my flour before the wet ingredients.

And when it’s baking, the smell of the bananas and the spices sweetly wafts through the kitchen and fills everywhere, that’s how you know something wonderful is baking.

It’s perfect with tea for wintry mornings, the spices aren’t overpowering, hints of ginger, cardamom and cinnamon comes thorough, balancing with the delicate aromas of bananas and vanilla.

This cake makes me hopeful, that maybe breakfasts wouldn’t be so hard after all.

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Slice of Spiced Banana Cake IMG_8391


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Spiced Strawberry Pie with Crumble Topping

 
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There are certain movies that stay with you long after you’ve watched them, they aren’t necessarily the best, or your typical Oscar-worthy movies; sometimes it’s just because the themes in the movies are relatable.

I watched Higher Ground last year, a 2011 movie starring Vera Farmiga as a woman who suffers a crisis of faith in her tight-knit born-again Christian community.

Coming from an insanely religious culture, I connected with the heroine’s struggle with religion, faith, identity and doubt – I’ve been where she’s been, and basically came to the same realizations.
Every once in a while, something happens that makes me think back on this movie.

There’s also the song from which the movie gets its title, which brings back so many memories… there was a version sung in Twi that my dad played all the time, I can almost hear the singer’s raspy voice hauntingly sing of longing for a ‘higher ground’ – a far better place than she’s found; it made me dream then.

The reason why I’m bringing up the movie is because there’s a scene in it where the women gather for bible study, one of the ‘sisters’ is very excited that someone brought home-made carob-chip cookies to share.

Corrine, our heroine asks her friend; “Do you know what carob tastes like?”
“Chocolate?” her friend asks
“Disappointment” Corrine answers.

I thought about that scene when I started looking into making pie crust without the traditional animal fats (butter, lard) or vegetable shortening that contain trans fat.
I googled ‘vegan pie crust’ and coconut oil came up as an alternative. The challenge was to make a buttery and flaky crust that didn’t taste like disappointment, using coconut oil.

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I love coconut oil, I use it in everything – from soups to conditioning my hair, and I’ve used it for baking with great results. Coconut oil stays solid at certain temperatures (76 degrees F. melting point) and can be cut into flour in its solid state just like conventional shortening.

I chill mine in the fridge for a few minutes, cut it into pieces and whirl it with my flour and salt in the food processor for a few seconds, add apple cider vinegar and a few tablespoons of water.

The dough comes together much like any other pie dough, bakes flawlessly and tastes… buttery and flaky.

I made apple hand pies for work using the coconut oil dough, it got high praise, and no one could tell it had coconut oil in it.

This strawberry pie is what I do with the strawberries that are just coming in from California; I wish I knew how to resist them – they’re pretty tempting but not as tasty as BC strawberries in the summer.

There are so many delicious facets to this pie; the crust, perfect textured crumble topping, and the strawberry filling generously spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom for a rustic and flavourful taste – the warm spices and strawberries are perfect together; delightfully so, I love it especially during this time when we’re transitioning into warmer temperatures.

IMG_5197 Spiced Strawberry Pie

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Apple Crisp with Custard Sauce

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In the past few days, the city has been covered in a thick blanket of fog. It was sort of my idea of the Pacific Northwest when I considered moving here; I imagined long rejuvenating walks in the woods on foggy misty mornings before the city wakes.
Where I come from, the mist from the morning fog is believed to have restorative properties; the fresh dewy smell always reminds me of early morning walks with my grandmother when I was little. I guess that explains the yearning to go out in the fog…

Last night, just before dark, I went for a walk along the seawall. The quiet, the fog, the dusk and the reflection of the city lights on the water made for a hauntingly beautiful scene, I walked for bit, and just like that, all was well with the world again,
I went back home feeling like myself again, ready for dessert, craving something soothing, warm, sweet and light… to go with my mood.

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IMG_3456 Apple Crumble with Custard

I thought about this apple crisp, I usually make it in the summer from big shipment of Envy apples from New Zealand, but this weekend I found some fragrant crisp sweet BC apples on sale at the market and I couldn’t pass up.
This crisp is awesome with ice cream, but on nights like these, this light creamy custard does the trick.

Apple Crumble with Custard IMG_3504

To make Bird’s Custard Sauce: Mix the 2 tablespoons Custard Powder and 1/4 cup sugar with a small amount of milk (from 2 cups of milk) to form a smooth paste. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil in a non-stick saucepan on medium heat. Gently whisk / stir the custard paste into the boiling milk. Bring back to the boil; stir until the custard begins to thicken. Add more milk if you prefer your custard thinner.


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