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Apr 1, 2009 01:25 PM

*April 2009 COTM* Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: Tray Bakes and Puddings

**April 2009 Cookbook of the Month is Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery by Rose Carrarini.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for TRAY BAKES and PUDDINGS here (all from the TEA section -- see complete list of recipes page 110). Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. I made the APRICOT, ALMOND and RICOTTA SLICES, p. 164

    The recipe calls for fresh, ripe apricots, but since I made this in March there didn't seem to be a lot of ripe apricots in the market. So I used dried apricots soaked in water.

    This tray bake consists of 6 eggs (separated), butter, sugar, ground almonds, a bit of wheat flour, ricotta cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest and the aforementioned apricots.

    The butter and sugar are beaten until light and then the yolks are added one at a time, then the lemon zest and juice.

    The ground almonds, wheat flour and salt are sifted. I had a bit of a problem here since some of the almond meal got stuck in the mesh. I ended up whisking these ingreds. together. This is now folded into the egg/ricotta mixture.

    The egg whites are beaten until they form stiff peaks and then folded into almond egg yolk mixture.

    Finally, the ricotta cheese is folded in.

    The batter is then poured into an 8" x 11" pan which has been buttered. Parchment paper is placed over the butter. After the batter is poured into the pan and evenly spread out, the apricots are placed skin side down in rows on the batter and pressed down a little. Sprinkle sugar lightly over all and then bake in a 350 deg. oven for about 45 minutes.

    She says they sometimes brush the apricots with an apricot glaze. I didn't bother.

    I also cut the squares so that 1/2 an apricot was in each square.

    I love the combo of nut meal and ricotta in baking. These are dense but very moist, almost like a cheesecake (the old-fashioned kind that are more cake than pie). These are not cloyingly sweet either.

    10 Replies
    1. re: oakjoan

      this sounds tasty - esp the apricot almond combo.
      When I am sifting to mix and aerate ingredients rather than as part of measuring flour (sifting into a cup) I usually leave my sifter in the closet and use a whisk with stiff wires instead. Wont get your mesh gummed up what way.

      1. re: jen kalb

        Yeah, I know. Luckily, I noticed pretty early.

      2. re: oakjoan

        That sounds old-fashioned, unusual, delicious and definitely something I'd like to try...

        Might just have to spring for this book after all, despite the fact that I'm off to the caribbean for 2 weeks on Sunday:):):) In the meantime, I look forward to your reports!

        1. re: oakjoan

          Interesting idea, using dried apricots. Do you think it suffered at all for it?

          Also, do you think I could use lowfat, even nonfat ricotta for this?


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            No and yes.

            Actually, since I have never made it using fresh apricots (which she touts to the sky), I don't know if it suffered. I thought it was just delicious.

            I used low fat ricotta. Didn't notice at the time that that was what I had, but the finished product was quite delicious.

            1. re: oakjoan

              Good answers. :) At least they were the ones I was looking for, anyway.

              Thank you!


          2. re: oakjoan

            I feel silly asking this, because for once in my life I actually sold this book after buying it for COTM, not finding it very interesting . but now I want to make this recipe again and its doesnt appear to be online. Could someone with the book indicate the proportions for this recipe. of sugar, ricotta, almond meal, flour? I think I can work through the rest and probably will wind up guessing on the whole thing, but I would like to have the correct proportions.

            thanks folks!

            1. re: jen kalb

              Bah, don't feel silly. Why keep a book you don't adore?

              Apricot, Almond & Ricotta Slices
              250 g (generous 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
              240g (scant 1 1/4 cups) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
              6 eggs, separated
              grated zest & juice of 3 lemons
              250g (2 1/2 cups) ground almonds
              100g (2/3 cup) all purpose flour
              pinch salt
              350g (1 1/2 cups) ricotta cheese
              12-14 apricots, halved and stoned
              Apricot glaze (optional)

              Good luck!


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                thanks a million, TDQ
                I will be making this again tomorrow - it at least appealed to us

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  with TDQ's help I made these slices for the second time. We had liked them quite a lot before, not too sweet. nutty, rich and lemony with a good tang from the apricot contrast. The TJ ground almonds we used also added texture and color interest.
                  On this second go-round, I used powdered almonds from an Indian store - it was very finely ground and golden. I also beat the whole eggs into the butter sugar mix rather than separating and beating and adding the whites at the end - I always find this an annoying step. The product this time was more refined, a very delicate buttery, lemony, moist almondy cake - maybe a little denser than it would have been if I had not omitted the folded-in egg whote step but absolutely acceptable. A very nice, sophisticated cake, highly recommended.

            2. I made the cheesecake brownies a while ago, and I had a real problem with the recipe, which did not turn out looking anything like the photo in the book. Thaough the brownies were very tasty, the problem concerned the cheesecake mixture that was to be swirled into the brownie mixture. I think that in adding the 5 tablespoons of heavy cream to the ricotta/cream cheese mixture, the cheese mixture was far too thin to swirl, and as I dropped in in spoonfulls onto the chocolate part, it just puddled. It was almost impossible mix in any attractive way. If I were to make this again, I would use less heavy cream or more cream cheese, and instead of putting the chocolate mixture in first, I would try putting spoonfuls of the cheese cake mixture along side of spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture. As I said, this was definitely tasty and I would certainly try to give it another go.

              24 Replies
              1. re: roxlet

                Isn't heavy cream less thick than the European equivalent, double cream? Maybe that's the reason.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  Huh. Interesting. I wonder if using creme fraiche instead of heavy cream would be better?


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    or sour cream (the cheesecake classic)
                    are you using regular creamcheese or "light"?

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      jen, your question is for roxlet, right?


                      1. re: jen kalb

                        Yes Jen, I used regular cream cheese and some really beautiful, very thick ricotta I buy on Arthur Avenue at the latticini there. I frequently make cheesecakes, so I think that next time I will just monkey with the cheesecake filling until it resembles the texture of the cheesecake I usually make. The idea of using creme fraiche is interesting, as well as possibly the double cream you sometimes see in specialty markets. Having not a lot of experience with non "translated" British cookbooks, I am not sure whether double cream would be meant if the recipe just said cream.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          The recipe specifies double cream.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            In the USA it's called heavy cream.

                            1. re: Gio

                              I think roxlet was under the impression that the recipe just said "cream". Usually British recipes specify which type of cream to use, as double (heavy) cream is a lot thicker (and more calorific!). My understanding is that double cream and heavy cream are not exactly the same thing, as double cream has a 48% fat content - significantly more than heavy cream which is generally around 38% fat. :-)

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Yes, you're correct. However, the term heavy cream is usually interpreted to be a substitute for double cream. I've read that double cream is also called whipping cream in some parts of this country, though the butterfat content is even less than 38%. Confusing.....

                                1. re: Gio

                                  The website I looked at said that British-style double cream is rarely available in the States. Fellow Chowhound limster, who used to live in Boston and is now in London, confirmed that dairy products here are quite different. I'm just thinking that might account for the problems some folks had with the recipe.

                                2. re: greedygirl

                                  Yes, you are correct since the recipe did say that it was double (heavy) cream. Since we have light cream as well, my assumption was that heavy cream was what was asked for. Since I don't readily run into "double cream," I think that I will monkey with the recipe the next time I make it until the cheesecake mixture has the same viscosity as the chocolate mixture. Even then, I think that I will spoon the filling into the pan, alternating the brownie mixture with the cheesecake mixture. I think that if I tap the pan on the counter and then swirl, I will get something approximating the photo in the book.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Interesting post on how to make your own higher-fat cream to substitute for double cream.


                                    Hope someone tries this and lets us know how it works out—both texture and flavor.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Interesting, but it seems like a lot of work for a try of brownies!

                                    2. re: roxlet

                                      roxlet: Having had the same problem you did with the brownies, I wonder if you could drop blobs of chocolate or vanilla (whichever is being stirred in -- I forget since I made it more than a year ago) and then just slightly moved a bit.

                                      What about using mascarpone?

                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                        Oh yes. I also mentioned that above about dropping blobs of batter, but the viscosity of the two batters need to be similar in order for each to hold its own!

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    I agree with greedygirl that double cream is not the same as heavy cream. I do see jars of clotted cream here in Manhattan, but I think that is a different kind of cream as well.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Not complete, but a little more information on the subject.


                                      Light Whipping Cream, the form most commonly available, contains at least 30 percent, but no more than 36 percent milkfat. Cream must contain at least 30 percent milkfat to produce whipped cream. Whipping cream will double in volume when whipped.

                                      Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream must contain at least 36 percent milkfat. It can be readily whipped and retain its whipped state longer than that of light whipping cream. Manufacturer's Cream contains 36-40 percent milkfat and is AVAILABLE TO FOOD SERVICE but not retail.

                                      Clotted Cream, a specialty of England, is made by gently heating rich, unpasteurized milk until a semisolid layer of cream forms on the surface. After cooling, the thickened cream is removed.

                                    2. re: Gio

                                      Believe me, our heavy cream is not nearly as thick as English double cream!

                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        I wonder if gently whipping the cream before stirring in would help. Also, here in Califa, we have Strauss Creamery which sells a half and half which has a large layer of verrrrry thick cream on top. Perhaps that'd work.

                          2. re: roxlet

                            roxlet: I had the same problemwith those brownies. It was quite tasty, but the beautiful pattern never appeared. Instead it was a sort-of light brownish muddy color. The subbing of cream cheese for some of the cream is a good idea.

                            I'm thinking of writing to Rose C. to complain about that recipe. Maybe she'll enlighten me. Yeah, right.

                            Now that I see the other responses, I think they're on to something. I also used regular cream and that may be too thin.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              You know, I'll bet she would.

                              This might work. She almost speaks American and she'd probably be happy to hear from you.
                              011+33 01 42 82 12 80
                              011+33 01 49 96 54 01

                              The second number is the new location. I think I have those prefixes right.

                              1. re: yayadave

                                What would you have to lose by trying, other than 15 minutes out of your life writing a letter? Sure, that's 15 minutes away from chowhound, but, still... for the COTM, it would be worth it!


                              2. re: oakjoan

                                Hi oakjoan, well I'm glad it wasn't just me. though I'm sorry that yours turned out muddy-looking like mine! I have to say that I was drawn to the recipe because of the way it looked in the book, so having mine look so unattractive was disappointing despite the fact that they tasted good -- though not really cheesecake-y like I expected!

                            2. Quick question -- What are "tray bakes." What we would call bars? I assume they are some kind of dessert type things you might have with tea?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: karykat

                                Yep, bars. And, yes, they are brownies and such. In the "tea" section of the book.


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Hi. I have been a voyeur on COTM for many months, but have rarely posted. I have enjoyed following along on COTM and have tried many recipes that have been recommended over the months. I don't have this book, so I decided to try the date squares from the link on the voting thread. I just guessed on the thread to post on - hope this is the right one.

                                  The date squares are delicious. The recipe is very clear and easy.

                                  The dates are boiled with water until incorporporated (before boiling, I blended this mixture in the FP for a few seconds to chop the dates). The dough is a crumbly mixture that is divided into 1/3 and 2/3 portions. I pressed the bottom layer quite firmly into the pan - I left the top layer a bit more crumbly. The squares are baked for 40 minutes, cooled, refrigerated for an hour in the pan and then cut into squares. They are a great snack because the kids love them too! I might need to order this book - for now I look forward to trying more of the online recipes.

                                  1. re: tartetatin

                                    Wow! Delicious and easy! You can't go wrong with that combo. Tartetatin--welcome to COTM! For those of you following along in the book, the date squares are pg. 160 and, indeed, this is the correct thread to post in. I can't wait to read about what you try next!


                                    1. re: tartetatin

                                      Welcome tartetatin and thanks for posting your experience with the date squares. You can also post summaries of other recipes you have tried in the past on any of the previous COTM threads. :) I know a lot of us refer back to those threads, frequently and with gusto! Again, welcome, and hope to read more from you!

                                      1. re: foxy fairy

                                        Thanks foxy fairy and TDQ. I have an obcene amount of cookbooks (I need a support group!) and I loved reading along with and cooking from Dunlop and Schneider (A New Way to Cook). Most of the recipes I tried in Dunlop were well documented here.
                                        I will definitely post again if I cook from Carrarini's book. I look forward to seeing what everyone else is trying too! thanks.

                                        1. re: tartetatin

                                          We are SO not the people to come to if you want a support group for having too many cookbooks ... (but welcome, we feel your pain).

                                2. Hazlenut brownies

                                  Wow! This is one rich and fudgy brownie! However I did have a few problems.

                                  Toast hazlenuts in the oven for about 15 mins and then rub off the skins. Chop and place in the bottom of a greased and lined baking tin. I used silicone, so didn't bother with the greasing and lining. Take a whole pack of butter (250g) and melt with the same volume of dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Cool a little. Beat together six eggs and some caster sugar, and then add the chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in sifted plain flour and a little salt and vanilla extract. Pour into the baking pan and bake for around 25 mins.

                                  Now, she says not to worry if the brownies seem undercooked as they need to be moist and fudgy in the middle, and will carry on cooking in the tin. I thought mine seemed excessively liquid so after some deliberating I baked them for an extra five minutes. I let the brownies cool overnight before turning out and cutting.

                                  They certainly are very moist in the middle, and a little bit crumbly. Delicious flavour. However, they seem to have a thin layer of butter on the bottom, almost as though some of the butter sank to the bottom of the tin. I don't know whether this is because I let the brownies sit for a little while in the tin before baking, as I had some bread in the oven at a higher temperature and needed to wait until it was finished, and then let the oven cool a little. It doesn't effect the taste, obviously, but looks somewhat unappetising.

                                  Anyway, great texture as I like my brownies fudgy, and lovely chocolatey taste. Not really surprising given that list of ingredients! I used mainly 70% cocoa fairtrade chocolate with a little bit of 85% thrown in for good measure. They'd be great slightly warm as dessert with vanilla ice cream. I'm taking them to an Easter gathering this afternoon so will have more feedback then.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    Maybe it was the use of the silicone pan. Since silicone doesn't heat up, you were probably right to keeps the brownies in longer since there would be no residual heat from the pan to help continue cooking the brownies. As for the layer of butter, maybe the heat of a regular pan would help that to disperse more throughly. I'm kind of stumped about that one, but I am assuming that silicone would affect how things bake since there is a difference between baking in Pyrex and baking in a regular aluminum pan.

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      That's interesting, roxlet. You may well be right. I'll try it with a regular cake tin next time. I just like silicone because it's so easy to turn things out

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Don't you find silicone very difficult to clean? I hate that slightly greasy feeling that silicone as well as some teflon seem to hold on to no matter how hot the water and how soapy the sponge.

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          I know what you mean but I like the fact you don't have to grease or line it (I am lazy)...

                                  2. My taste team (work colleagues) loved these brownies. One of them has asked me for the recipe.