Sunday 10 May 2015

Alfajores with Dulche De Leche - Biscuits with a Difference (Digital Pressure Cooker Recipe)

Alfajores are meltingly tender little cornflour based biscuit / cookies, typically filled with Dulce de leche. They look robust, but are actually very very delicate and need handling with care.

Take a bite and you will find that from the instant your teeth touch the surface, they practically disappear like a puff of smoke. If you like Viennese fingers / whirls, then you will adore these. Alfajores are far lighter still and a cut above the rest. Given they are filled with Dulche de leche, you would think they would be ultra sweet, but surprisingly not so.

Makes 20 cookies

85g caster sugar
200g salted butter
140g plain flour
210g cornflour
1.1/2 tsp baking powder
1 can of dulce de leche (or condensed milk - to be cooked)
small amount of Malibu or water
dessicated coconut (about 3 > 4 tbsp)

First of all, if you do not have any dulce de leche - we need to make this. Typically, I make 3 or 4 cans at a time as although this method does not involve boiling on the stove for many hours - the cans need to sit for a while before use. Once cooked, the unopened tins will quite happily store in your store cupboard for several months (check expiry date before removing labels).

Ideally, it's something to do on an evening shortly before bed.

Put either a pad of foil (length folded 3 or 4 times) or a tea towel inside your pressure cooker pot and place the cans on top. I can cook up to 4 cans at a time in my 6ltr electric pressure cooker. I forgot to take the labels off last time. I figured it wouldn't be a problem, but the extra gluey residue on the inside of the pot was a pain to clean afterwards - so I recommend removing labels !

Put enough water in the pressure cooker to cover the cans about 1" over the top. Seal the lid and set pressure to 20 > 25 mins depending on how deep a caramelisation you would like. When cooking time is up, switch the oven off at the wall (or pull the plug out) and just leave your electric pressure cooker, unopened until morning. 

These tins were cooked at pressure for 25 mins.

For the biscuits :

Cream butter and sugar together. Sift in flour, cornflour and baking powder, then mix in with a wooden spoon. It needs to come together as a dough, so you will need to add some liquid. I used Malibu (coconut rum) though you could use water. Don't add too much - just enough to bring it together. I needed about 3 tablespoons, but amount may vary depending on your flour.

Wrap and chill dough in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Roll out to around 4 or 5mm thickness. If you use 50mm diameter cutters, you should get enough to make 20 > 22 sandwich cookies.

Bake in a fan oven at 160deg C for 8 minutes, then allow to totally cool before filling.

Take care when filling. Put the dulce de leche in a disposable piping bag (or sandwich bag with a corner cut off) and pipe on to the base of one cookie right to the edge. Place a second cookie on top and give a little wiggle. Do NOT press down or they'll basically fall apart.

Once filled, sprinkle a little dessicated coconut on the edges of the dulce de leche.

These little cookies really need eaten the same day they are filled. If you have more than you need, the dough will happily keep wrapped in the fridge for a week or two uncooked. If you cook all the cookies at once, store unfilled in an airtight box and put any opened dulce de leche in the fridge so you can fill when required.

Sarah-Jane Nash - May 2015

Saturday 9 May 2015

New York Cheesecake With Oreo Cookie Crust and Salt Caramel - Digital Pressure Cooker Recipe

Yesterday, I made a baked New York style cheesecake in my digital pressure cooker.

Don't believe me ? I swear - this was one of the tastiest and easiest cheesecakes I've ever made and it didn't even go near my oven. I've been using my electric pressure cooker more and more for all sorts of things.... From curries to soups, one pot meals, pasta, rice, puddings. It's such a handy appliance that I'd be lost without it. 

This cheesecake was made in a 6" dia x 3" deep loose bottomed tin. I do not have a trivet for my pressure cooker, so I folded a length of foil over 3 or 4 times to make a pad to go on the bottom. 

(adapted from Pressure Cooking Today)
All ingredients should be room temperature before you start.

1 x 154g packet of Oreos (minus 3 cookies) - filling removed
25g salted butter (melted)
400g of full fat cream cheese
80g of double cream
80g of greek yogurt
160g of caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of flour

Prep your baking tin by greasing the inside with butter or spray with cake release.

Crush the oreo cookies and mix with the melted butter. Don't use the whole packet (you will have three left) - or there will be too much mix for the tin Pack the crumbs into the bottom of a 6" x 3" high loose ring base or springform tin using something with a flat base - such as a glass or mug.

Chill in the fridge whilst you make the filling.

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in cream, yogurt and vanilla - followed by sifted flour. Add eggs last, one at a time and beat as little as is required to get them to blend in.

Remove tin from fridge. Put a piece of foil over base and up sides.

Pour in mix.....


Take another piece of foil and grease the underside or spray with cake release. Put a pleat in the middle and then put this over the top of your cake tin with the cheesecake mix.

Put a trivet (if you have one) in the bottom of your electric pressure cooker with 2 cups of water. If you do not have one, a pad of folded foil or a folded tea towel will work perfectly as a substitute.

You may wish to use a sling made from tin foil to lower your tin into the pressure cooker. Leave the sling in place and it will make for easy removal after cooking.

Cook at pressure for 35mins and then wait 10 minutes more for natural pressure release.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before refrigerating overnight.

I decorated the top with drizzled salt caramel (recipe on blog here), fudge chunks and grated chocolate.

This cheesecake is very deep and very rich. Although only 6" diameter, it will easily serve 6 to 8 people.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - May 2015