Tag Archives: coconut

Out-Baking Minnie Mouse – Little Coconut and Cherry Cakes

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Who knew that watching The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse could provide one with the inspiration for a brand new cake recipe? Well, it came as a surprise to me as well.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when my Little Greedy Tadpole came down with chicken pox. She obviously had to be quarantined, so I ended up spending a few days holed up in the house with my poorly offspring. She was quite feverish and mostly wanted to snuggle up with me on the couch and watch cartoons, and as a result I ended up sitting through a lot more Mickey Mouse, Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank than I really wanted to.

One particular episode of Mickey Mouse featured a summery picnic; it looked beautiful, with a brightly coloured rug covered with all manners of appetising goodies, among which were several types of cakes. The cakes looked amazing, with their rainbow-coloured layers and icing, and cherries on top. In fact they looked so good that I immediately wanted one, and  I decided there and then that my next project would be to come up with a new cake worthy of Minnie Mouse’s recipe book.

For a little while, I had been toying with the idea of rehydrating dessicated coconut and using it in a cake batter, and this seemed like the perfect recipe for trying it. I struggled a bit at first with the ratio of coconut to milk, and working out just the right amount of cherries, but after a lot of tweaking and a few disappointing batches, I finally ended up with the version below, which received enthusiastic thumbs up from my long-suffering testers.

I know I might be blowing my own trumpet ever so slightly here, but I think these would definitely steal the show at Mickey Mouse’s next picnic.

Eat your heart out Minnie!
You will need (for 12 individual cakes):

50 g coconut
120 ml milk
80 g glacé cherries, halved, plus 12 whole ones
1 tbsp Kirsch or other spirit (optional)
180 g self-raising flour
150 g caster sugar
150 g unsalted butter, softened and diced
2 eggs

To decorate:
6 glacé cherries, halved
500 g icing sugar

Method:

In a small bowl, mix the milk and coconut and leave for at least 2 h until the coconut has absorbed most of the liquid (or leave overnight in the fridge).

Mix the halved cherries with the alcohol, if using. Reserve.

Grease and flour a 12-hole muffin tin.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/ fan 170ºC/ Gas 5.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Add the butter and mix until almost smooth, then add the eggs one by one and mix thoroughly. Stir in the coconut and about 2 tbsp of the leftover liquid, then carefully fold the cherries in the batter.

Divide between the 12 holes in the tin. Gently push a whole cherry into the middle of each hole, then with your fingers spread a little bit of batter back over the cherries.

Bake for about 20 min or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 min then turn out onto a rack. Leave to cool completely before decorating.

To decorate:
Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, and add warm water, a teaspoonfull at a time, until you get a thick, glossy icing.

Drop a tablespoonful of icing onto each cake and spread it a little, without being too neat. Top with the cherry halves.

Leave to set for a couple of hours.

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Seriously Addictive Coconut Christmas Biscuits

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This is a traditional recipe from Lorraine, where I come from. A lot of people make these in the run-up to Christmas, and there are as many different recipes as there are families.

These biscuits are seriously addictive; I brought a tin-full to work, and they disappeared in about 5 minutes flat. In fact I barely had a chance to eat some myself!

Traditionally, the dough isn’t rolled out and stamped out with cutters. Instead, it is pushed through a meat mincer with a special attachment fitted, and comes out looking like this:
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Photo Credit

As I haven’t got the right equipment (yet), I had to get creative and decided to use cutters instead.

This is a rather coarse dough, so for best results stick to simple shapes when choosing which cutters to use. I used a heart-shaped one and a circle, and they turned out great, but fiddly snowflakes or animal shapes would come out with ragged edges.

You will need (for about 80 biscuits):

400 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
250 g butter, very soft
2 eggs
250 g caster sugar
200 g dessicated coconut

Method:

In a large bowl, rub the flour, baking powder and butter together until you get a breadcrumb-like consistency. Mix in the coconut.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add them to the flour and butter mix. Mix thoroughly using a large wooden spoon.

Let the preparation rest somewhere cool for 2 to 3 hours, covering the bowl with a tea towel (not in the fridge, you want cool not cold).

Preheat your oven to 200C/ fan 190C /Gas 6.

Roll out the dough in small sections to the thickness of a pound coin, and stamp out the shapes of your choice. Re-roll the trimmings and repeat.

Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake for 10 to 15 min or until nice and golden.

Cool on a wire rack then store in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks.

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Raspberry and coconut meringue tart

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This tart takes a little bit of time to make, but it is well worth the effort.

It really looks the part too, so it would be ideal if you are trying to impress a special someone.

Fresh or frozen raspberries work equally well here, and you can make the pastry and filling the day before, then just add the meringue topping on the day.

You will need:

For the pastry:
350g plain flour
50g shredded coconut
120g icing sugar (sifted)
140g diced unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
700g raspberries
160g caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp corn flour
50g melted butter
4 egg yolks (keep 3 of the whites to make the meringue)

For the meringue:
3 egg whites
160g caster sugar
40g shredded coconut

Method:

Make the pastry. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, coconut, and icing sugar. Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until you get a crumb-like appearance. Alternatively, blitz together in a food processor.

Add the beaten eggs, incorporate them gently and gather together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 min.

Preheat the oven to 200C/ fan 180C/ gas 6.

Roll the pastry out to fit a tart tin roughly 26 cm across and 3.5 cm high. You can roll the leftover pastry into a ball, wrap well in cling film and freeze for another time.image

Fill the lined tin with a sheet of foil topped with baking beans. image

Bake blind for 12 min, then remove the foil and beans and bake for 5 min more. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large pan, mix together the raspberries, lemon juice and zest and 70g of the sugar. Put on a gentle heat and stir regularly until the raspberries are cooked (they will look very mushy and juicy).

Transfer to a blender and blend thoroughly. Place a fine sieve over a clean, large pan, and pour the mixture into the sieve. Using a large spoon, push the raspberry pulp through the mesh. It will take a few minutes, but you will eventually end up with a smooth purée in the pan, and a sieve-full of seeds.image

Mix the corn flour and the rest of the sugar with a few spoonfuls of raspberry purée to dissolve. Add this mixture back to the pan and heat up on a medium heat until it starts bubbling.

Off the heat, add the melted butter mixed with the yolks, mix well. When cool, cover and chill.

Turn the oven down to 190 C/ fan 170 C/ gas 5.

Fill the pastry case with the raspberry curd, and bake for about 30 min. Make sure the top doesn’t start to brown, if it does, cover the tart with foil.

Take out of the oven and leave to cool. image

When the tart is roughly at room temperature, prepare the meringue. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar one spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Finish by adding the coconut.

Pile onto the tart, spreading all the way to the edge, making sure there are plenty of little peaks on the meringue.image

Return to the oven for about 15 min or until golden on top.

Cool, then keep chilled until ready to serve.image

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