All posts by RIta Anastasiou

Banana coconut rum upside down cake (gluten free)

Recipe and photos by Rita Anastasiou.

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It all started with a failed attempt to make a healthy dessert… It was one of those days again,when I was trying so desperately to trick my sweet tooth with plain bananas…! One thing brought another,I realized I had in my pantry Malibu Rum and all the ingredients for a cake. It’s not any kind of cake! It’s one of the most  moist,rich,fluffy upside down cake you’ve ever had! The caramelized bananas pair beautifully with the warm spiced and the coconut rum! The kitchen bathes with the aromas of the baked bananas…  Try to refuse a piece of cake like this!

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banana-coconut upside down cake

Gluten free brioche

A box of Brioche for family dinner
A box of Brioche for a holiday dinner

There is a big love for this bread…! How much I love the beautiful aromas of brioche while are baking,and my little daughter stuck her cute little face in the oven waiting for them to be bake…!Nice,fluffy,buttery,not very sweet,scented with the vanilla and the orange! Perfect for the fall,bake them and offer them as a gift,like I did with mine!

It may look a big and long process,but is very very easy to make!

Brownie sandwich with salted caramel frosting

For weeks, I’ve been trying to make the perfect brownie sandwich. I kept failing, but also kept trying…and,my last attempt was finally,successful!

It’s so hard to copy those recipes. It’s easy for most of the people,but for us( with celiac) is really challenging,even to make a simple vanilla cake.

Thankfully, supermarkets have Gluten free flour for everything,but still,you have to make your own experiments.

Anyway… The sandwiches are really caloric! I’m not going to lie! But they are the most scrumptious,softest and dreamy brownie sandwiches you’ve ever ate!

imageFor the brownie cookies:

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 Pamela’s Artisan Flour or gluten free flour for pastry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds or peanuts or walnuts. I used peanuts.

 

Pre-heat oven to 325 F (165 C).

Melt butter then stir into sugar and cocoa. Add egg and beat until shiny. Mix in flour,salt,baking powder and peanuts.

Put the brownie dough in the fridge for 10-15 minutes until it gets a little bit hard.

Take out of the fridge and scoop a tablespoon of the dough on a greased sheet pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes. To make sure they’re done,just put a toothpick  and if it comes clear,is done.

Let them cool in a rack.

For the salted caramel frosting:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter,room temperature
  • 5 cups powder sugar

In a pan add the sugar and the water under medium-high heat. You can stir it up but once the sugar turns brown,leave it alone. Do not stir. You want the caramel to get a nice dark brown colour,but not too dark. You don’t want  to burn it.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream,the salt and  butter and stir with a wooden spoon.

Do it quick and e careful! You don’t want to have a caramel burn! I’m talking from personal experience!

let it cool completely.

Once the caramel is  cooled,is time to make our frosting.

In a stand mixer,mix the sticks of butter and add gradually the powder sugar,1 cup at a time. When the mixture start looking like a butter cream add the caramel and stir for 2-3 more minutes.

That’s it! If it’s a little bit runny,put it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

Take the brownie cookie and  assemble! Make your sandwiches!

I kept them on the fridge so they can get a little bit harder. Personal preference !

 

 

 

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Berry tartlets with almond crust

Recipe and photography by Rita Anastasiou

When I was a kid and later on as a teenager, my mom was sending me during the summer, to buy tartlets from the local pastry shop. It was some of the few things she never tried to make. Cakes has always been her major! “Fruit tarts is a summer dessert!” She used to say. As a kid I’ve never understood,why summer? Is it so special?

imageYears later, I decided to make fruit tartlets and I remember my mom again…But I’m willing to make some fruit tarts in the winter,too…!!

Ingredients for the almond crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven at 350 F.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pat in a muffin tin.
Bake for 10 minutes,till the crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool down.

 

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For the pastry cream:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Orange zest

Beat the egg yolks well in a bowl,stir in the milk.
In a small sauce pan,mix sugar,cornstarch and salt.
Gradually stir in a small amount of mix mixture in a medium heat. Add the orange zest in the end.
Transfer the cream into a bowl and cover it with a plastic food wrap film. And let it in the fridge to cool completely.

Assemble:

Take the pie crusts,add the cream and the berries on top. I used blueberries and strawberries and I dust them with powder sugar.

 

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The orange zest really brightens up the whole dessert and is the perfect bite!
It took me back to my childhood…

I think I made my mom proud!