Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things turned three in August and to mark the occasion I ate cake for breakfast this morning, and I think I might just eat some more for lunch and dinner. My friend, Pierre Issa, a.k.a. Pepe Saya, has partnered with me in the celebration and, thanks to his generosity, I have a delicious competition and prize giveaway for my readers.
Pepe is renowned as the artisan maker of handcrafted Pepe Saya cultured butter and other good things such as Pepe Saya ghee, buttermilk, mascarpone, crème fraiche and crème Anglaise vanilla pouring custard. Pepe prides himself on the quality of his products and is passionate about the provenance of ingredients. For instance, Pepe Saya cultured butter is made using quality fresh cream from a Picton farm. The cream is cultured with a lactic culture and allowed to ferment. This 'eats up' the sugar in the cream. After churning, the butter is strained, the buttermilk removed and the butter is washed with pure water. The butter is kneaded to further remove the buttermilk and then rolled and wrapped by hand. Pepe Saya products are available from farmer's markets across Australia, together with quality retailers such as Thomas Dux stores, Parap Fine Foods in Darwin and more.
Watch the Pepe Saya story on vimeo...
The celebratory cake...
This weekend, I revived another recipe from my culinary archives: Hungarian vanilla sponge squares (or vaniliás piskóta kocka)... a feather light sponge cake base topped with rich vanilla custard and butter cream. The recipe was given to me many years ago by a Magyar friend, Erzsébet. It's a cake that doesn't look particularly spectacular, but tastes ever-so exquisite. To paint you a picture, one time in the 90s, I took a batch to work for morning tea and a week or so later a colleague, who had dieted herself super-skinny in preparation for a Whitsundays holiday, came to me and said 'Liz, I've been fantasising about that cake ever since I first tasted it, do you think you would mind giving me the recipe?'
Quality ingredients are the key, together with some patience and skill, for there are three steps in the process which, to some, may seem a bit fiddly faddly. Believe me, the end product is worth it, even just for the pleasure of licking the bowl! For best results, use free range eggs, together with Pepe Saya cultured butter, at room temperature. Note, I have cut down the quantity of sugar from the original recipe.
VANILLA SPONGE SQUARES
(Vaniliás Piskóta Kocka)
For the sponge cake:
4 free range eggs separated, plus 1 EXTRA egg white (the yolk* of which is used in the cream)
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup self raising flour, sifted
For the custard cream:
2 cups milk
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk*
1/4 cup plain flour
a few drops vanilla essence
For the butter cream:
225g butter, softened
1/3 cup vanilla sugar, extra
1 - 2 teaspoons cocoa, sifted
To make the cake, combine the egg yolks, ONE egg white and the caster sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat for several minutes until light and creamy. Fold in the self raising flour with a spatula. Beat egg whites till peaks form. Fold into the egg and flour mixture. Spread evenly into a lined and greased 31 x 25cm lamington tray (or slightly smaller). Bake in a moderate oven (around 180 degrees C) for up to 25-30 minutes till cake springs back when touched. Turn out onto a cooling tray lined with baking paper and allow to cool.
To make the custard cream: in a saucepan, combine a little of the milk with the egg yolk, sugar and plain flour. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Gradually stir in the remaining milk and the vanilla essence. Cook over a low heat till thick, stirring constantly until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Allow the custard to cool by standing the saucepan in a bowl of cold water.
To make the butter cream, cream the butter and extra sugar, beating until it is smooth and light in colour. Add this to the cooled custard cream and beat until well combined. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then spread evenly and neatly over the top of the sponge cake. Dust lightly and evenly with sifted cocoa powder. Store in airtight container in refrigerator, serve at room temperature. Cut into neat squares when set.
The process in pictures... for the sponge cake:
While the cake is baking, make the custard and butter creams...
Finally, spread the custard butter cream over the cake...
And now for the Pepe Saya giveaway!
Thanks to the HUGE generosity of Pierre Issa from Pepe Saya, and to celebrate the third birthday/anniversary of Good Things, three lucky readers will WIN a Pepe Saya prize pack containing:
2 x 225gm Butter (The winner can choose salted or unsalted or both)
1 x 300ml Mascarpone
1 x 300ml Crème Fraiche
1 x 180ml Pouring Custard
1 x 300ml Ghee
1 x 1ltr Buttermilk
This pack has a retail value of $60.00! The prize packs will be sent express post 'on ice' to anywhere in Australia.
HOW TO ENTER AND CONDITIONS
The competition is open to Australian residents only (with apologies to my overseas readers) and runs from Sunday, 1 September until midnight on Sunday, 15 September 2013. To enter, sign up to receive Good Things updates (if you haven't already) and then submit a comment below and tell me about your favourite Pepe Saya product and how you cook with it. If you have yet to try Pepe Saya products, tell me why you'd like to win and what dishes you might cook. Please make sure you enter your email address with your comment so you can be reached in the event you're the winner.
Spread the Pepe Saya love...
Pierra Issa of Pepe Saya has very generously sponsored this prize and together we are delighted to be able to offer you the opportunity to win. So please spread the word, get those entries in and good luck!
All entries will be considered in the draw, but if you 'play' on social media I invite you to show your support by following Pepe Saya and myself (bizzylizzycooks) on Twitter (please RT the giveaway), and 'like' my facebook page, as well as liking Pepe Saya's facebook page.
Thank you again to my 'friend in food', Pepe Saya. And, thank you dear readers for supporting Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things over the last three years.
And now it's over to you, best of luck! Thank you everyone who entered, we had such a delicious assortment of entries.
And the three lucky winners are...
Marian, Fiona and Annelise. We will be in contact with you via email and your Pepe Saya prize packs will be shipped to you. Thanks again everyone and stay tuned for more Good Things!
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.