Thursday, March 29, 2012

Homemade Yogurt

I watched an episode of the River Cottage with my 5 year old Molly (when she should have been in bed) and they made yogurt so we decided to give it a go. I always knew you could make your own yogurt but for some reason I didn't think it would be that good... I was wrong. We made a plain sweetened yogurt and it is delicious, the kids devoured bowls of it! They enjoyed it plain and with various additions including lemon curd, pureed mango, passionfruit and jam, I have been sending it in their lunchboxes all week. I am going to have trouble paying a fortune for flavoured yogurt for the kids from now on.
Homemade yogurt
I suggest scaling the recipe to fit whatever thermos you have, mine holds about 900ml so I made a bit less than the recipe below. Most recipes suggest adding powdered milk to make the yogurt thicker, I didn't have any and it still worked but was a pouring yogurt consistency. I drained half my finished yogurt through muslin for a few hours and was left with beautifully thick yogurt, this is what greek yogurt is.

1 L milk (I used full cream but I have read that skim will work)
1/2 C natural yogurt with live cultures
Optional extras
1/4 C powdered milk (makes thicker yogurt)
3 T sugar (for sweetened yogurt)
vanilla bean or extract
thermos ~ 1 L capacity
small saucepan
heatproof spatula
strainer and muslin or new chux cloth

Fill the thermos with boiling water and leave to heat.

Heat the milk in the saucepan, stirring to prevent it scalding on the bottom, to 95C or until almost boiling, that is when bubbles are just appearing around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and add the powdered milk, sugar and/or vanilla if using, stir to dissolve.

Cool until it reaches 43°C or when the milk is just cool enough for you to comfortably hold your finger in it for 10 seconds. Place the saucepan in a sink/bowl of cold water if you are in a hurry.

Add a slurp of warm milk to the yogurt in a bowl and mix until smooth. Return to the warm milk and combine.

Empty the water from the thermos and fill with the mixture. Seal and leave overnight. Some recipes I read said it may set in 3 hours, mine wasn't so I left it till the morning. The longer you leave it, the more tart it will become. Ours was only mildly tart after 12 hours.

Store in the fridge.

If you want thicker yogurt drain in a muslin lined strainer in the fridge.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lemon Delicious in the Slow Cooker or Oven

Lemon Delicious is my absolute favourite dessert and tonight I successfully made it in the slow cooker for the first time. To those unfamiliar with it, this is a lemon self saucing pudding with a light sponge cake layer on top of a runny lemon custard, I like it with a generous serve of cream. It takes one hour to cook in the oven and the batter needs to be made shortly before cooking so the egg whites don't deflate, so this means it needs to be made just before you serve dinner which isn't exactly convenient. In the slow cooker it takes 2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low meaning you can make it hours before your guests even arrive and you can eat it in summer without heating up the kitchen.

Whichever way you make it, you have to try this! The
passionfruit version is also a good option.

Lemon Delicious

serves 4
Most recipes where you beat egg whites have you beat the butter and sugar first then the egg whites meaning you need to wash the bowl in between which drives me crazy. I have written this recipe so there is no washing in the middle - you beat the egg whites first and as long as you have everything measured and work quickly they won't deflate.

50g butter

grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons flour, sifted
1 C milk

Preheat the oven to 160ÂșC. Grease a small casserole dish that fits in your slow cooker or a roasting tin. Boil the kettle.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff, scrape into another bowl and set aside.

In the same bowl cream the butter with the lemon rind and sugar. When it is creamy and light, beat in the egg yolks. Stir in the sifted floured alternately with the milk.

Fold the whites into the mixture with the lemon juice, lightly yet thoroughly. Pour into the prepared dish. Place the dish in your slow cooker or roasting tin and pour boiling water half way up the sides.

Cook in the oven for 1 hour or in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low. It is cooked with the top sponge layer is cooked and there is a runny custard beneath. If you cook it too long the custard will set and the top layer will dry out; still edible but not as good.

Serve with cream or icecream or both!