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Easter: Put a Twist on Easter Favourites

Easter: Put a Twist on Easter Favourites

Come Easter, Aussie bakers don’t need to limit themselves to hot cross buns and chocolate eggs. Australian Baking Business catches up with four baking bloggers to hear about a new wave of food favourites that are gaining a reputation across the country.

SOMETHING FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART

Cake pops may be a hit with children, but they are also proving to be an increasingly popular trend with adults who want a light and tasty treat.For bakers, the cake-on-a-stick creations are a godsend – they’re cute, fun, versatile and cheap.

Tina Huynh, author of Sydney-based food and travel blog Bite Me Show Me, says cake pops offer an easy and crowd-pleasing option for Easter functions and display cabinets.

“Like cupcakes, cake pops can take on a range of Easter themes – from cute bunnies to sophisticatedly decorated eggs – so they can appeal to wide customer base,” says Tina, who credits cake pop entrepreneur Angie Dudley of cake blog Bakerella as her inspiration.

“This is why cake pops will be another massive trend that will hit our shores.”

“The decorating part isn’t rocket science, and you can just use the off-cuts of cake, the crumbs essentially, as well as left over frosting. It’s easy!”

EASTER BUNNY CAKE POPS

by Tina Huynh

Method:

1 Bake a cake (any type of basic cake will do – from scratch or from leftover mixture) and let cool completely;

2 Break cake into fine crumbs with fingertips;

3 Mix in frosting a tablespoon at a time until a ball can be rolled and hold its shape (you don’t want it too dry that it crumbles, or too moist so that it becomes too soft that it melts in your hands);

4 Refrigerate until firm;

5 Insert paper lollipop stick about 1/3 way through, with the end dipped in melted chocolate (so when it cools, it sets and should be stable enough for the cake ball to remain on the stick);

6 Decorate as desired. For the bunny pops, the process is as follows:

7 Dip cake pop into white chocolate and before it sets, stick two white chocolate covered raspberry bullets (purchased from Woolworths) as the bunnies ears at the top of the cake pop;Note, you may need to hold it in position for about 30-60 seconds whilst the chocolate sets.

8 Stick a mini marshmallow on one side for the bunny’s tale and use melted chocolate as the sticking agent;

9 Draw a face with edible pen markets (purchased from cake decorating stores);

10 Stick a love heart (edible decorations) as the nose, and voila!

Adapt the decorations for each hoilday; Christmas, Halloween, Easter and Valentine’s Day, or for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings or baby showers.

 

INDULGE IN QUALITY CHOCOLATE

Easter is synonymous with chocolate,nonetheless it needn’t be all about mass-produced eggs. chocolate truffles are a sophisticated way to manage the March chocolate-frenzy; plus their low price point makes them easy-to-sell and perfect to package up in gift boxes.

“Easter is meant to be a time of gathering with family and friends. Unfortunately the reality for chocolatiers, bakers and chefs is it’s a period of stress, last minute shopping and panic,”says Paul Hegeman, chef and director of online recipe website Chefs Pencil.

“But before you go for that big bag of eggs or box of bunnies, give this recipe a go. Truffles are easy to prepare and there are only four ingredients! They are guaranteed to please.”

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

by Paul Hegeman

Serves 20

Ingredients:
• 200g dark or milk chocolate buds, chopped
• 80g cream, freshest possible with the longest shelf life
• 20g liqueur or essence of your choice
• Coating ingredient of your choice nuts, cocoa, coconut etc.

Method:

1 Add the chocolate and cream to a large mixing bowl;

2 Set atop a pot of steaming water, do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl;

3 Stir with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until all lumps have melted;

4 Fold through the liqueur or flavouring;

5 Remove the bowl from the steam and place it in the fridge;

6 Allow the mix to set, 1-2 hours;

7 Meanwhile toast and cool any nuts or coconut with which you may wish to coat the truffles;

8 Once the mixture is set and firm remove from the fridge;

9 Take teaspoon size scoops and roll the mix into balls, (can be larger or smaller depending on your preference);

10 Place on lined trays, may need to be placed back in fridge if it is a warm day;

11 Wash and dry your hands;

12 Roll balls in mix of your choice, nuts will need to be pressed on as you roll and for finer ingredients like cocoa you can just toss the ball in a bowl of sifted cocoa;

13 Kept in the fridge, they will keep up to two weeks. Kept out of the fridge they will last 4-5 days; and15 Serve at room temperature.

TAKE INSPIRATION FROM EUROPE

Babka is a brioche-like sweet yeast bread made with citrus zests and raisins, and iced or left plain.This popular bread is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday in Poland, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania and for the major holidays in Romania.

Nonetheless, creator of US baking website The Baking Pan carol Lynn Arroyo says the recipe’s disctinctly Slavic flavour and aromatic qualities are well-suited to a range of celebrations.

“This bread is usually prepared around Easter but it is delicious any time of year,” carol says.

The recipe gives off a warm, yeasty, freshly-baked bread smell, which by many accounts, is significantly boosted by the aroma of strong coffee. It’s a homely and comforting smell, which is fitting because Babka is Polish for ‘grandmother’. In fact, the corrugations in the bread are commonly thought to represent an elderly woman’s skirt pleats.

BABKA

by Carol Lynn Arroyo.

Ingredients:

Dough:
1 cup warm milk
2 packages active dry yeast
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 cup raisins

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 4 teaspoons water

Garnish:
Candied cherry halves

Method:

Dough:
1 In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine warm milk and yeast; stir and let sit until yeast is dissolved (usually about 10 minutes). Add sugar, salt, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; stir on low speed to mix. Add flour; beat 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed until well mixed and smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add orange zest, lemon zest, and raisins, stir on low speed until combined. The dough will be like a thick cake batter consistency;

2 Cover the bowl with a small kitchen towel and let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, one to two hours;

3 Prepare one 9 inch bundt pan or fluted tube pan; generously grease the pan with shortening;

4 Stir the risen dough down, then spoon into the prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, and dough almost reaches the top of the pan, one to two hours;

5 Preheat oven to 190 °C.

Bake:
1 Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown. Cover with a sheet of foil about halfway through the baking time if the surface begins to brown too quickly. Remove pan from oven, and cool on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes then remove Babka from the pan and finish cooling on wire rack;

Lemon Glaze and Garnish:
1 In a small mixing bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar and lemon zest. Add lemon juice and two teaspoons water and stir until smooth. Add additional teaspoons of water if needed to make a good drizzling consistency. The glaze should be like a soft icing, but thin enough that it will run down over the sides of the bread; and

2 Drizzle glaze over the cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Decorate the top with candied cherry halves. Let the glaze set before serving.

USE THE INGREDIENTS YOU LOVE

For Kara Conaty, Easter baking not only presents a unique opportunity to embrace bunny motifs, fluffy chicken toppers and pastel colours; it’s also a great time to experiment with traditional flavours.

“Take macarons for example, they have taken off in the last 12 months and they are now even sold in supermarkets. With so many out there, why not put your own stamp on your recipe?” says kara, who runs Brisbane-based baking blog Butter Hearts Sugar.

“Cadbury Creme Eggs hold special significance for me because as children my brother and I would receive an Easter basket filled with eggs and we would always save the creme Eggs until last.”

The same mentality when into Kara’s Raspberry and White chocolate Hot cross Buns. “I always liked the look and smell of hot cross buns, but I couldn’t stomach the sultanas. Instead of the dried fruit, the raspberries allow the sweet-spiced flavour to be retained and also create a pretty pink swirl.

CREME EGG MACARONS 

by Kara Conaty

Ingredients:

Filling:
6 Cadbury Creme Eggs
50ml cream
The macarons are vanilla filled with chocolate eggshell ganache and creme egg ‘goo’.

Method:
To make the macarons look like eggs, set aside two tablespoons of mixture before filling the piping bag;

Dye the set aside; mix with a little yellow food colouring and spoon a tiny bit on top of each macaron immediately after piping;

Scoop out the creme eggs. Cut each in half, spoon the insides (goo) into one bowl and place the chocolate shells in another;

Bring creme to the boil in a small saucepan and pour over chocolate shells. Whisk together until the mixture forms a smooth and glossy ganache;

Using a piping bag, pipe a ring of ganache around the insides on the macaron bottoms, using a small spoon fill the centres with creme egg goo; andGently place the macaron tops.

 

RASPBERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE HOT CROSS BUNS

by Kara Conaty

Ingredients:

Paste for crosses:
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon caster sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water

Glaze:
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon gelatine
1 teaspoon gelatine

Method:

To make the buns place the yeast, 2 teaspoons of the flour, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and warm water in a small bowl and mix well. Leave the bowl in a warm place for about 10 minutes, until the mix is frothy;

Sift the rest of the flour and spices into a large bowl, stir in the sugar and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir through raspberries and chocolate;

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, stir in yeast mixture and up to 3/4 cup of water;

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth;

Place dough into a large floured bowl and cover with cling-wrap. Sit the bowl in a warm draught free place for 30-40 minutes until the dough has doubled in size;

Preheat oven to 200°C. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently;

Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll into balls. Place the balls of dough on the baking tray just touching each other. Cover loosely with cling-wrap and leave to sit in a warm place until nearly doubled in size. Prepare the paste for the crosses;

Pipe crosses over the tops of the buns and bake the buns for about 20 minutes or until golden brown;

Brush the glaze over hot buns and allow to cool’

To make crosses – mix all ingredients in a small bowl to form a smooth paste; and

To make the glaze – heat all ingredients in a small saucepan until dissolved.


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