apple galette with cream cheese and almonds

26 Aug 2019

A few months ago I saw a picture online of a beautiful rustic looking apple galette by Danish chef Mikkel Karstad. It took a bit of tracking down before I found the recipe online. 

It had been translated from Danish and I'm not sure if something was lost in translation because there was very little sugar in the recipe. I followed the recipe and while I liked the pastry, the filling was a bit underwhelming.

Inspired by the ingredients I went back to the drawing board and came up with my own version.

There are a few steps in the process but the pastry and cream cheese filling can be made ahead of time. The apples need to be prepared just before baking.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 10 - 11 inch galette. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Apple Galette with cream cheese and almonds inspired by Mikkel Karstad
1 cup plain flour
⅓ cup oat flour (finely ground oats)
35g whole almonds, finely ground
Pinch salt
30g icing sugar 
112 gm (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten with a few tbs cold water

Cream Cheese Filling
100g cream cheese
1 tbs caster sugar
1-2 tbs yoghurt or cream
½ tsp vanilla

Apple Filling
4 Granny Smith apples
¼ cup caster sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
The juice of half a lemon

In a bowl, combine the flour, oat flour, almond meal, salt and icing sugar. Add the butter and using your fingertips, work into the flour until resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough of the beaten egg mixture until the dough just comes together reserving the leftover mixture. You can also do this process in a food processor. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Have a pizza tray handy as you’ll use one on which to bake the galette. Peel apples, halve and remove the core. Cut the apples into thin slices keeping the shape of the apple. Roll the dough thinly on a piece of baking paper to make a circle about the size of a pizza tray then place the baking paper onto the pizza tray. Centre an 8-9 inch cake tin in the middle of the pastry and press to make an imprint in the pastry. 

Mix the cream cheese with the sugar, yoghurt or cream and vanilla then spread in a thin layer within the template on the pastry. Place the apple halves on the filling so the slices are standing upright and repeat until the filling is completely covered with apple. In a small bowl combine the sugar with the cinnamon and lemon rind. Sprinkle most of the sugar mix over the apple, leaving a little to sprinkle over the edge of the pastry. Drizzle the lemon juice over the apples then gently fold the pastry over the apples, crimping as you go to hold the apples in place. Brush the edges of folded over pastry with the egg wash before sprinkling with the sugar mix.

Place the galette on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then place in the centre of the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. If the apples are taking time to cook through, you may need to cover the apples with foil to create a tent, and the apples will cook in the steam created. Bake a further 15 minutes or until the galette is beautifully golden on top and the crust is crispy. When cooked, take the galette out of the oven and let it cool, before sprinkling with icing sugar. Serve with yoghurt, cream or ice cream.

I had my slice last night topped with cream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce. The verdict? Absolutely delicious.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



gingered apple cake

19 Aug 2019

Growing up I was an indefatigable reader, then somewhere along the line I stopped buying books to read other than cookbooks. I have a 35 minute train journey to and from work and usually spend the time doing crosswords. About a year ago I joined the library and ever since I've been reading voraciously. Recently I borrowed Ruth Reichl's book, My Kitchen Year, which featured a version of this recipe.

Now you know I can never follow a recipe so I adapted this one to suit my taste. I read a few reviews, most of which were glowing, other than one fellow Queenslander complaining that the cake barely tasted of ginger. Well that would never do, so I immediately increased the quantity of ginger and dropped the sugar quantity and used my own caramel sauce recipe.

I stew apples every few days in the microwave and have done so for years so that's how I prepared the apple sauce component of the recipe. I kept my apples kind of chunky but if you want a smooth puree you could always use a stick blender. I've included microwave instructions for you in the recipe.

The cake uses oil rather than butter so it's dairy free; it's made in one bowl and the texture is similar to that of a carrot cake. Ruth states that the caramel glaze used to top the cake isn't necessary but I think it is. The caramel sauce is gorgeous and highly addictive and I'm sure I ate more while tasting than ever made it onto the cake. The caramel sauce, a Belinda Jeffery recipe, does require a thermometer, whilst the original glaze recipe does not.

I have a bit of a thing with bundt cakes at the moment and this one came out of the tin perfectly, always a bit of a concern when using a bundt tin.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. If you'd like to make a large bundt cake, just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time. The caramel sauce makes much more than you need but it keeps well in the fridge. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Gingered apple cake adapted from a Ruth Reichl recipe – makes a small bundt cake
Stewed apples
4-6 apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tbs water
1 stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar

Place all the ingredients in a microwave proof bowl. Cover lightly and cook the apples on high for 11 minutes. By then the apples should be quite soft. Cover the bowl and allow to cool, then remove the cinnamon stick and mash the apples with a fork. If you’d like a smooth puree then use a stick blender to process the apples.

Gingered Apple Cake
1 cup plain flour
¾ tsp bicarb soda
1¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch finely ground black pepper
pinch ground cloves
pinch salt
1 egg
⅓ cup caster sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ tsp grated fresh ginger
⅓ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup stewed apple

Heat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a small bundt pan then place in the fridge.

Sift the dry ingredients into a medium size bowl. Set to one side. In a large bowl mix together the egg, the sugars, the vanilla and the grated ginger. Whisk in the oil and mix until it is smooth. Add the flour followed by the stewed apple in batches to form a runny batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes at 180°C, until golden brown and the cake tests done when a skewer is inserted. Cool the cake for 15 minutes on a rack before turning it out and allowing it to cool.  Make sure the cake is completely cool before glazing it. 

Caramel Sauce
1 cup cream
1 cup brown sugar
⅓ cup caster sugar
¼ cup golden syrup
¼ cup maple or ginger syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

Put the cream, the sugars, syrup and vanilla in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil until a sugar thermometer registers 108°C. Remove from the heat then set aside for 20 minutes before whisking the mixture smooth. Add a pinch of salt to taste. It will still be runny at this stage but the caramel will continue to thicken as it cools. When its reached the desired consistency place the cake, still on the rack, over a sheet of baking paper before drizzling over.

This was a hit at work and best of all I still have jar of caramel sauce in my fridge. See you all again next week with yet another bundt cake.

Bye for now,


basque burnt cheesecake

12 Aug 2019

I was scrolling through instagram last weekend and saw a photo of a Basque burnt cheesecake. I was intrigued because I didn't know it was a thing. I found a few recipes which looked very much like  my Mum's cheesecake recipe but with way more sugar. Mum didn't use cream cheese in the filling though preferring farmer's cheese with it's distinctive tang. Mum glazed the top of her cheesecake with egg yolk before it was baked so a dark brown sheen on the top of the cheesecake was the norm.

The Basque cheesecake doesn't usually have a base but I thought a cheesecake without a base was just wrong so I made my usual shortbread base and for the filling used Mum's recipe using cream cheese instead of farmer's cheese. 

Mum's cheesecake was time consuming - it had a pastry shell that needed to be par-baked and a filling which required separating 8 eggs. With this recipe I made both the base and filling in the food processor and it came together in no time at all. I think lining the tin was the most time consuming part of the process.

If you'd like to make your own Basque burnt cheesecake, here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. If you'd like to make a 23cm cake, just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Basque Burnt Cheesecake inspired by this recipe 
50 grams unsalted butter
1 tbs caster sugar
½ cup plain flour
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a 17cm spring-form pan, then line with baking paper making sure the paper comes at least 2 inches above top of pan on all sides. Grease the baking paper. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and creamy. Mix in the flour and combine until the mixture forms a soft dough. Press the mixture into the base of the tin, bringing it slightly up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes or until the base is lightly golden. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.

375g cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup caster sugar
Pinch salt 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs plain flour
3 large eggs 
100 mls double cream 

Place a rack in middle of oven; increase the oven temperature to 200°C. 

Place the cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla and plain flour in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth. Add eggs and cream and process until the mixture is very smooth and silky. The mixture will be quite runny.

Place the springform pan on a baking sheet then pour the batter into the pan. Bake cheesecake in the preheated 200°C oven until deeply golden brown on top and still jiggly in the centre ~ 50 minutes. If the top is a bit pale, increase the temperature to 220°C and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before unmoulding the tin. 

The cheesecake will rise dramatically then fall, this is normal. Let the cheesecake cool completely before unmoulding and carefully removing the baking paper from sides of the cheesecake. 

The cheesecake can be made a day ahead. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate but let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for several hours before serving. You can top the cheesecake with extra cream if so desired.

The cheesecake is only gently sweet, so if you like a sweet cheesecake you may want to increase the quantity of sugar a little. The cheesecake definitely reminded me of Mum's recipe but without the hard work and I do plan to make it again using Farmer's cheese. 

See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



whole blood orange rosemary olive oil cake

5 Aug 2019

I'm working on a little something for next year's Passover week which uses whole oranges in the cake. When I saw Hetty Mckinnon's recipe for an orange and rosemary olive oil cake I wondered if I could make the cake using that technique. 

I've been waiting for blood oranges to come into season and when they appeared in the fruit shop a week ago I bought 4 and set to work. I've discovered you can cook the oranges in the microwave in just a few minutes rather than boiling them for an hour. Once the puree is made it keeps well in the freezer.

I tweaked the recipe a little to fit into my new purchase, a small copper bundt tin from Williams Sonoma. Isn't it a beauty?

I also added an extra egg because my cake batter needed it. I guess orange puree is less juicy than orange juice. Hetty's cake is topped with a dusting of icing sugar but I just love the look of blood orange icing so I made some. Rosemary flowers are in bloom so I finished the cake with a few of the mauve flowers.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. If you'd like to make a large bundt cake, just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Whole Blood Orange Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake inspired by Hetty Mckinnon
1 large blood orange or 2 small blood oranges
1 cup self-raising flour 
pinch salt
2 large eggs, beaten 
½ cup caster sugar 
2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil or a neutral tasting oil
½ cup Greek yoghurt

Prick the oranges in a few places. Place into a microwave safe bowl with a tablespoon water. Lightly cover and microwave on high for 4-6 minutes. Every orange is different so start checking at 4 minutes. When the oranges are soft allow to cool and when cool, cut into quarters removing any seeds. Chop roughly then blitz the oranges and any juices in a food processor until pureed. You could also boil the oranges until soft if you don’t have a microwave. Measure out 125g of the orange puree and freeze any leftover puree.

Grease and flour a small bundt tin. Place the tin in the fridge until required. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift the flour and salt together into a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix the eggs, sugar and rosemary together in a bowl. Add the oil and mix until well combined. Add the flour, orange puree and yoghurt to the egg mixture in thirds; stir to combine. When just combined, pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert the cake onto the rack to cool completely. When cool, dust with icing sugar or you can top with some blood orange icing.

25g unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sifted icing sugar
3 tsp blood orange juice
Rosemary leaves/flowers

In a small bowl combine the melted butter with the icing sugar and mix until smooth. Add enough blood orange juice to form a thick icing. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cooled cake decorating with a few rosemary leaves and flowers if desired. Allow to set before serving.

The cake unmoulded like a dream and the cake was delicious as well so I had a good day in the kitchen.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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