Angela Day 220513. Picture: Etienne Rothbart.

I was invited to the Morgenster olive farm recently, to witness this season’s olive harvest and oil pressing.

Tasting the olive oil as it came through the press, mopped up with freshly toasted slices of ciabatta bread was exceptional.

I was amazed at how simple the pressing process was. After the crates of olives came in from the fields, they were fed into a machine that washed and crushed them, pips and all, before pressing the pulp to extract the oil. No heat is involved making this cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.

Italian owner Giulio Bertrand is very proud of the fact that his olive oil regularly wins international awards and is rated as one of the top olive oils in the world.

Armed with bottles of this wonderful oil, I headed for the kitchen to see how I could use olive oil other than just for cooking. I found it really good for baking – even in an ice cream.

 

LEMON AND THYME OLIVE OIL BISCUITS

Makes about 26

250ml castor sugar

30ml lemon zest

500ml flour

5ml baking powder

2ml bicarbonate of soda

2ml salt

15ml chopped fresh lemon thyme

160ml lemon infused olive oil

2 eggs

2ml almond essence

30ml fresh lemon juice

extra castor sugar for topping

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until evenly moistened and aromatic. Set aside to infuse for a few minutes.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the thyme and set aside.

Combine the olive oil, eggs, essence and lemon juice and whisk well. Add the lemon-sugar mixture. Beat for 3 to 5 minutes until thick.

Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.

For each cookie, roll spoonfuls of the mixture, which is quite soft, into balls and place on to prepared baking sheets. Butter the bottom of a glass and dip the glass in the extra castor sugar. Press each cookie with the sugared glass to flatten slightly.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until cookies have puffed up slightly but still look pale.

Cool on the baking tray.

 

OLIVE OIL ICE CREAM WITH BALSAMIC SWIRL

Serves 4

250ml milk

large pinch of salt

4 egg yolks

200ml castor sugar

60ml olive oil

Balsamic reduction

125ml balsamic vinegar

60ml sugar

In a saucepan combine the milk and salt and heat to just below boiling point. In a bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar well. Add the hot milk to the sugar mixture while beating.

Return the mixture to the pot and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and thickens. Pour the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until well chilled.

Remove and slowly whisk in the olive oil, until smooth.

Churn in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s directions.

BALSAMIC REDUCTION: Heat vinegar and sugar in a pot and boil until thickened. Allow to cool.

Serve drizzled over the ice cream.

 

OLIVE OIL AND PISTACHIO MUFFINS

Makes 12

500ml flour

10ml baking powder

2ml salt

125ml unrefined sugar

2 extra large eggs

15ml orange zest

15ml lemon zest

30ml balsamic vinegar

125ml milk

125ml lemon infused olive oil

200ml pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Beat the sugar, eggs and zests in a bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beat in the vinegar and milk. Gradually beat in the oil.

Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Add half the pistachio to the batter and stir until mixed.

Spoon into the paper cups. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.

Bake until golden on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

OLIVE OIL CHOCOLATE CHIFFON CAKE

80ml cocoa powder

125ml hot water

250ml flour

10ml baking powder

125ml castor sugar

3ml salt

4 eggs, separated

125ml olive oil

80ml extra castor sugar

Chocolate glaze

100g dark chocolate, chopped

125ml cream

Mix together the cocoa and hot water and set aside to cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolks, olive oil and cooled cocoa mixture. Mix until smooth.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in the extra castor sugar. Fold this mixture into the cocoa mixture.

Pour mixture into an ungreased chiffon cake tin. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and invert the pan on to a cooling rack and leave until completely cold.

Remove from the pan and spread with chocolate glaze.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on 50 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir well until smooth.

Refrigerate until thickened then pour over the cake.

This glaze is thinner than a ganache. Decorate with chocolate balls or as desired.

 

OLIVE OIL AND POMEGRANATE CAKES

Makes 6-8

500ml flour

10ml baking powder

2ml salt

250ml Greek yoghurt

125ml olive oil

200ml sugar

2 limes, zested and juiced, about 60ml

2 eggs

Pomegranate glaze

250ml pomegranate juice

60ml honey

Icing

80g butter

125g thick cream cheese

500ml sifted icing sugar

5ml vanilla extract

15ml pomegranate glaze

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, olive oil, sugar, lime zest and juice. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Add the sifted flour and mix until just combined. Scoop the batter into well greased mini cake tins or extra large muffin pans.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and turn out on to a cooling rack.

Spoon pomegranate glaze over each cake and leave to cool. Spread with pomegranate icing and decorate with pomegranate rubies.

GLAZE: In a saucepan combine the pomegranate juice and honey.

Heat over medium heat until the mixture boils, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Cool slightly. Mixture will thicken as it cools. Reserve 15ml for the icing and drizzle over the cakes.

ICING: Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in icing sugar, vanilla and glaze.

 

ROSEMARY AND OLIVE OIL FOCACCIA

4x250ml flour

10ml salt

10g sachet instant yeast

45ml chopped fresh rosemary

80ml olive oil

30ml honey

300-400ml warm water

extra olive oil

sea salt

sprig of rosemary for garnish

Put flour, salt, yeast and rosemary into a bowl and mix. Add the olive oil.

Add the honey to the water and add enough to mix into a dough that is soft but not sticky.

Knead well until smooth and elastic. Put the dough into an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Remove from the bag and roll out into a rectangle to fit a 20x30cm greased baking tray. Cover with oiled plastic and allow to rise again for 20 minutes.

Use your finger or the back of a wooden spoon to dimple the dough.

Generously drizzle with extra olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake at 200°C for 20 to 30 minutes until golden. Remove and cool. - The Star