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7 Easy Desserts To Bake This Quarantine From Bestselling Cookbook Author Donna Hay

Get some baking inspiration from this international cookbook author and host of cooking show “Basics to Brilliance” on Metro Channel

One of the most important rule of quarantine baking: easy and delicious. And that’s the specialty of international bestselling cookbook author, Donna Hay. 


Donna Hay has quickly risen to the ranks of Jamie Oliver and and Rachel Ray in the kitchen, thanks to her popular TV show, Donna Hay: Basics to Brilliance, which is currently airing on Metro Channel. But before she rose to TV stardom, she wrote 27 bestselling cookbooks including The New Easy, The New Classics, The Instant Cook, and Basics to Brilliance, selling over 6 million copies worldwide.



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Many of us have taken up baking—either for the first time or returning to the craft after quite some time—thanks to the enormous amount of time that we currently have on our hands. So if you’re looking for easy recipes that produce the best results, we’ve picked up some dessert favorites from Donna Hay’s cooking show to get you inspired. 


Some of these recipes are buildable, which means that you can use them for more than one dessert.



Creamy Caramel | SBS Food

Creamy Caramel


This is an easy creamy caramel that you can use for many caramel-based treats, including some of the dessert recipes below. This recipes makes 3 1/2 cups.


1 1/2 cups (375 ml)  single (pouring) cream

180 grams unsalted butter

3 cups (660 grams) caster sugar

1 cup (250 ml) water


1. Place the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.


2. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook, stirring with a metal spoon until combined. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 180°C (350°F) on a sugar thermometer and the mixture is deep golden in color.


3. Remove from the heat and, working quickly, add the butter mixture in a thin steady stream, stirring to combine. 


4. Return the pan to low heat and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the caramel has thickened slightly.


5. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature.



Salted Chocolate Caramel Tarts | SBS Food

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tarts


Mouthfuls of chocolate and caramel, using the creamy caramel recipe above. Makes four tarts.


250 grams store-bought biscuits

100 grams unsalted butter, melted

1/2 quantity of the creamy caramel recipe

80 grams dark chocolate, melted

sea salt, for sprinkling


1. Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the butter and process until well combined. Press the mixture into the base and sides of 4 x 11 cm round loose-bottomed fluted tart tins and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.


2. Divide the caramel between the tart bases and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until set.


3. Spoon the chocolate onto the tarts and allow to set. Remove from the tins and sprinkle with salt to serve.


Chocolate Fudge Cake | SBS Food

Donna Hay's Chocolate Fudge Cake


A signature Donna Hay recipe for a decadent, fudgy, and moist cake. 


250 grams unsalted butter, chopped

300 grams dark (70%) chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa, sifted

1/2 cup (125 ml) milk

6 eggs

1 cup caster (superfine) sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour


1. Place the butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Add the cocoa and milk and stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.


2. Place the eggs and both the sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes or until pale, thick and creamy.


3. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and whisk, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until just combined. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and whisk until just combined.


4. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).


5. Lightly grease a 22-cm round springform cake tin and line with nonstick baking paper.


6. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely in the tin.


7. Remove the cake from the tin to serve.


Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake | SBS Food

Chocolate Fudge and Salted Caramel Layer Cake


Level up your chocolate with a creamy caramel layer.


1 quantity of the chocolate fudge cake recipe

3/4 cup creamy caramel recipe

sea salt, for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Lightly grease 2 x 20-cm round springform cake tins and line with nonstick baking paper. Divide the cake mixture evenly between the tins and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set to the touch.


2. Allow to cool completely in the tins. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Remove the cakes from the tins and, using a serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally.


3. To make the whipped chocolate ganache, place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling. Place the chocolate in a large bowl and add the cream, stirring once to remove any chocolate from the base of the bowl. Allow to stand for 2 minutes. Stir gently until just combined. Place the ganache over a bowl of iced water. Whisk gently for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.


4. To assemble, place a base layer of cake, cut-side up, on a cake stand or plate. Spread with 1/2 cup (125ml) of the ganache and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the caramel. Repeat twice more and top with the final layer of cake, cut-side down. Spread the remaining ganache onto the cake and sprinkle with salt to serve.


Apple Tarte Tatin | SBS Food

Apple Tarte Tatin


Something sweet, but with less guilt. Serves 4-6.


1 sheet (375 grams) store-bought all butter puff pastry, thawed

1/2 cup creamy caramel recipe, plus extra to serve

3 Granny Smith (green) apples (540 grams), peeled, quartered, cored and cut into 1-cm wedges

vanilla ice-cream, to serve


 

1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Using a small sharp knife, trim the pastry into a 30-cm round and make a small cross incision in the center. Refrigerate until ready to use.


2. Place the caramel in a 26cm round ovenproof nonstick frying pan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the apple and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until just softened. Remove from the heat and top with the pastry round. Place the pan on an oven tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed. Allow to cool slightly.


3. Invert onto a lightly greased baking tray lined with nonstick baking paper. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until the apples are golden and caramelized. Serve warm with ice-cream and extra caramel. 


Molten Choc-Chunk Brownies | SBS Food

Donna Hay's Molten Choc-Chunk Brownies


Crusty on top, molten and gooey in the middle—this brownie recipe is a Donna Hay classic and can be recreated in different variations, which we’ll show below. Makes up to 16 servings. 


1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/3 cups caster (superfine) sugar

175 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

125 grams dark chocolate, chopped


1. Place the flour, cocoa, both the sugars, the butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Mix until smooth.


2. Add the chocolate and stir to combine.


3. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).


4. Lightly grease and line a 20-cm square tin with nonstick baking paper.


5. Spread the mixture into the tin.


6. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the brownie is set.


7. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before slicing into squares and serving warm, or allow to cool completely in the tin.


Salted Caramel Brownies | SBS Food

Salted Caramel Brownies


They’re sweet, salty, and delicious. An upgrade of the Donna Hay's molten choc-chunk brownies. Makes up to 16 servings.


140 grams store-bought caramel fudge, roughly chopped

1 quantity of the molten choc-chunk brownie mixture

1 teaspoon sea salt 


1. Make the brownie recipe.


2. Sprinkle the fudge over the brownie mixture, pressing in gently. Sprinkle with the salt. 


3. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the brownie is set. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before slicing into squares and serving warm, or allow to cool completely in the tin.


Watch Donna Hay make these recipes and more on Donna Hay – Basics to Brilliance, airing Sundays, 6:30 p.m. on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. Catch replays throughout the week.

Images from SBS Food