Sunday, 2 June 2013

Small Wonders!

Budino di Yogurt & Vaniglia, con Cache e Marmalata di Mirtilli Rossi
Vanilla Yogurt Custards with Persimmon & Cranberry Jam

Desserts are definitely not my forté as you will probably have noticed, but I sometimes dare to try my luck with them. I had noticed a number of recipes for baked custards online, made using yogurt and found the idea to be intriguing... I love sweets that are delicious but not sinful and crammed full of fat, sugar and calories as you know...
I could lie and tell you that I used real vanilla to flavor my little custards... but the truth of the matter is, that as it was an experiment in the first place, I made things easier still by using a vanilla flavored yogurt. I know, I know, you will get all up in arms about that with me! But be still I say! It didn't taste half bad ;-) I just wanted to know if it would work at all... and work it did! So next time we will do the real deal with fresh vanilla... but for now, let me tell you how this version was made...

For 2 small (but perfectly formed ;-) ) portions, I took 125g of vanilla yogurt, added 2 egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of corn flour, a little cinnamon, a little Stevia and teaspoon of honey and whisked it at the highest setting for 2-3 minutes until it was completely smooth. And I hate to tell you this guys and gals... but that was IT. Finito. That is all there is to it! I was equally dumbfounded when I saw the other recipes and methods, and basically they were all the same- - in the ingredients go, whizz-whizz and how cool and easy is that?

So the custard mixture was ready- the next step was as simple as could be too- the persimmon had to be peeled and sliced. I did that by cutting off the leafy top part, halving it and then using a vegetable peeler to make sure I only took off the thin, outer peel... especially as this was a very small one! I then cut the halve in half and then cut slices from the quarters...

I poured a little of the custard into each ramekin, then laid out 4 slices of persimmon, covered those with custard and then lay another 4 slices on top. Easy. And then into a hot oven they went, at 300°F for 25-30 minutes, after which time they were baked-through and had puffed-up nicely. But not to worry, you will fetch them out of the oven, set them on a cooling tray, feel proud of yourselves, leave the kitchen for a minute or two and then return to discover that they will have collapsed- just like these did! And that's normal ;-) They are custards after all and not soufflés!

Once they were cool enough, I transferred them to the fridge to cool properly. They didn't look incredibly attractive I will have to admit- and I had 2 options: I could either sprinkle them with brown sugar and flame them off a la creme brulée, or, do what I did and add a fruity topping of some kind- in this case a cranberry preserve... and this was most definitely the better choice!

And lo and behold. with a little sprig of mint as a garnish, an elegant looking and pretty delicious dessert was there as if from nowhere! The persimmon that had been below the surface of the custard was nice and soft and the slices that peeped out above a little firmer, but sweeter through the direct heat of the baking... and with a hint of sweet and sour tanginess from the cranberries- well this was as yummy a dessert as you could wish for! And even do-able by amateurs like me! You are going to manage it with one hand tied behind your backs- just see if your don't!

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