april: anna’s coconut panna cotta with carrot granita

Panna cotta and granita are both pretty quick, straightforward desserts to make, but I’ve never made either! It takes a little bit of planning, because the panna cotta needs to set and the granita needs to freeze, but the flavours and possibilities are endless!

I recently bought a juicer (a nice addition to my collection of kitchen appliances!), so I thought I would try using carrot juice in my recipe instead of the carrots themselves. When I make fruit and vegetable juice, I love adding ginger. It gives the juice a nice freshness and kick. Ginger also goes well with carrots, so I settled on a carrot and ginger granita.If I’m making juice to drink straightaway, I never strain it, as you can’t really taste the pulp that’s left in the liquid. But if I’m using it for something else (like granita or cocktails), the end result is MUCH better if you strain the juice at least 2 – 3 times. I was actually quite surprised by how much pulp came out of the carrot juice.

Since I used ginger and some other spices in the granita, I thought a little spice in the panna cotta would go well. I decided on panna cotta flavoured with cardamom.

I made the dish to take to a friend’s place across the road, but did a taste test at home first! As a last minute addition, I threw on some roasted brown rice* for some crunch. It added a nice nutty flavor to the dessert and also offset some of the sweetness in the dish. The spices in the dish are not subtle, so keep that in mind, depending on your audience. Luckily, my friends are adventurous eaters too, and the dessert was well received!
* You can buy roasted brown rice at Japanese grocery stores

a new challenge… for you!

happy friday, everyone :) we have some exciting news for you! we’re having heaps of fun in our kitchens and now you can too! in response to some requests to create along with us…

from MAY, you will be able to JOIN OUR CHALLENGES!
here’s how it works:
– we will announce our monthly theme as usual on the 1st of each month
– you can participate by making your own creation
– post a photo up of your creation to your facebook profile
– tag butter sweet symphony in the photo so we know you have participated
– at the end of each month we’ll post your photos here* to share with our readers!

we’re looking forward to seeing your creations! :)
love, anna, jasmine, kerri and lisa

* by tagging us, you are giving us permission to share your photo on butter sweet symphony. we will not use it for any other purpose.

april : lisa’s carrot baklava

This month I was inspired to try something really different. I remember watching an episode of Food Safari a long time ago, where the cuisine being explored was Pakistani. I remember seeing one of the guests creating a dessert using carrots, which seemed to draw a pleasantly surprised reaction from host Maeve O’Meara.

Now I’m not usually a fan of Indian or Pakistani desserts, but I’m willing to give just about  anything a go. I think what turned me off the traditional carrot halwa dessert was presentation. I mean, how can you make what is essentially a pan of orange goo mouthwateringly appetizing?

Hmm, not very appetizing is it?

Enter pastry. My idea was to add some texture to the dish, to give it a little oomph. I think the hint of rose water matches perfectly with the cardamom spiced carrots, and the pistachios and pastry add an exciting crunch. I also reduced the amount of sugar traditionally used in making the halwa as the sugar syrup poured at the end of the cooking process provides more than enough sweetness.

These carrot baklava can be enjoyed as they are, or with an indulgent dollop of cream on the side. Enjoy!

april: Jasmine’s carrot, orange and mint cake

I have always loved carrot cake. While we were growing up, my mum would make carrot cake (the type with cinnamon, all spice and walnuts) with cream cheese icing for special occasions. So, when I came across this recipe for a modern re-make of the classic carrot cake, I was really excited to give it a try! The citrus and mint added a bit of exotic-ness to the classic version. I added raisins to mine, but it’s optional and if you are a fan of walnuts, I think that would work well with this recipe too.

I made this cake as a dessert for a casual lunch gathering, so preferred to present the cake whole and sliced/served in front of my guests. The recipe works well in a muffin tin (for individual sized servings) or a loaf tin (for a brunch).

april: kerri’s carrot cake cookie combo

I love ice cream sandwiches – I fell in love with them as a kid when I had my first Monaco bar in Australia. I think they’re better than cookies and cream ice cream, and so much more fun to eat! When Pat and Stick’s came out a few years ago, I was in ice cream sandwich heaven! Even more so when I could taste test their new flavours at Eveleigh Markets, then buy a box to take home. Here in HK there is a big gap in the ice cream sandwich market – I haven’t found one I like yet. What better inspiration than this to create!

I wanted to do something different to the humble-but-delicious carrot cake for this month’s challenge. With my love of ice cream sandwiches, this month’s creation came together without too much thought. What goes well with carrots? Cream cheese! And what do you think of when you think cream cheese + sweetness? Cheesecake! So what a perfect opportunity to make the cheesecake ice cream recipe I had been eye-ing for months – the perfect filling to my soft and chewy carrot cake cookies!

My creation for this month: carrot cake ice cream sandwiches with cheesecake ice cream plus the traditional carrot cake sandwich cookies (or whoopie cookies as they are known in the US) with cream cheese frosting.

As ice cream sandwiches are so playful and fun, I decided to let my guests get into it too with DIY whoopie cookies :) It was a perfect lick-your-fingers end to a fun, laughter-filled night.

april: carrots

‘Eat your carrots and you’ll have good eyes’ – mothers all over the world … remember when?

No longer forced to eat carrots, see what sweet creations we come up with this month for this perfect for Easter ingredient, thanks to Jasmine! Our minds have been ticking away so watch this space for some yummy treats for April!