söndag 18 november 2018

Crispy glutenfree pizza dough

This pizza dough is clearly superior to any gluten free pizza dough I have baked before. Those have been quite "doughy" "gummy" like. Not so good that is. This one dough was very crispy and all of us in the family were amazingly impressed!
So let me just note down what we actually had in it, as we did not follow the original recipe.
The amounts given will give 3 square pizzas (Swedish oven size). If you think it is too much, just scale down the amounts to what you want to eat. But you be warned: it was sooo good that two of us nearly ate a whole pizza in one shot.
Crusty gluten free pizza

Ingredients

16 dl gluten free flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons olive oil
6 dl cold water
1 dl cooking water
1 dl cold water
100gr yeast

Instructions

Mix the flour with the salt. Add the olive oil. 
Mix the 6 dl cold water with 1 dl cooking water. Then add the yeast and make sure it melts in the water. Mix then the yeast water with the flour with care for a while. Then mix in the 1 dl cold water and the baking powder and mix again.

To be honest I think it should work to actually mix in the baking powder in the flour to begin with. But as I was actually following another recipe and the dough seemed to be far too compact so I added the 1 dl cold water at the end and the baking powder afterwards, this is how I described it above.
I am not sure if it makes a difference or not. But just to be sure so :)

Oven temperature 210 degrees with ventilation (as we baked multiple pizzas at the same time) and baking time was about 25 minutes, but keep an eye on the progress in case you need shorter time.

söndag 18 februari 2018

Pesto sauce

This is a good recipe for pesto really. It tastes very near the original recipe but is somewhat easier to do. Making this recipy dairy free makes the taste very different from the original recipe unfortunately, but sometimes, you simply do not have a choice, do you?
The pesto can be eaten as a topping to whatever you want, but, of course, the most typical use for pesto is as a sauce for pasta. If you want a gluten free dish, use gluten free pasta. Personally, we use Semper Linguine.

Ingredients

30 grams pine nuts
80 grams basil leaves (I normally use frozen ones, but of course the fresh ones taste more)
2 cloves garlic
1 dl + 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons salted pasta water
1/2 teaspoon salt

If you cannot eat dairy, just leave out the parmesan. Otherwise add
75 grams grated parmesan
If you want to be little posh, you can substitute a little of the grated parmesan on pasta with some shaved parmesan as a decoration

Instructions
Just mix everything together. If someone in the family cannot eat dairy, wait to mix the parmesan until the end or leave the parmesan out altogether. Note though that the taste will not be great then.... :/



Quinoa pie crust

This pie crust is really really really suuuuper. Best pie crust I have ever eaten. Honest!
Give it a good try!

Ingredients
Crust
4dl cooked quinoa
2dl almond flour
1dl potato flour
50gr butter
1 egg
For an egg free alternative, see Quinoa pie crust (Dairy free and egg free).


Instructions
Warm up the oven at 200degrees Celsius.
Mix the ingredients for the shell in a mixer and distribute it in a pie dish.
Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes.
Use your preferred filling and bake it again for about 40 mins or so depending on the filling.

Quinoa pie crust (egg free and dairy free)

Ingredients
Crust
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoons water
4dl cooked quinoa
2dl almond flour
1dl potato flour
50gr milk free margarine
If you can eat eggs and milk/lactose, see the regular recipe.

Instructions
Warm up the oven at 200degrees Celsius.
Put the chia seeds and the water in the mixer and let it be there for some 15 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients in a mixer and distribute it in a pie dish.
Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes.
Use your preferred filling and bake it again for about 40 mins or so depending on the filling.

Feta, salami and tomato pie

Ingredients
Shell
4dl cooked quinoa
2dl almond flour
1dl potato flour
50gr butter
1 egg

Filling
4 eggs
4dl double cream
150gr Neaples salami
150gr feta cheese
150gr green olives without kernels
10 small tomatos

Instructions
Warm up the oven at 200degrees Celsius.
Mix the ingredients for the shell in a mixer and distribute it in a pie dish.
Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes.
Cut tomatoes in cubes and heat it up in a pan so that the water goes away and put it in the pie crust after its first bake.
Make small crumbles out of the feta cheese and distribute it in the pie crust.
Cut salami slices in pieces and distribute it in the pie crust.
Slice the olives. and distribute them in the pie crust.
Mix eggs and cream and pour the mix in the pie crust.
Bake for 40 more minutes or until the filling is stiff.


söndag 4 februari 2018

Quinoa and zucchini dairy-free salmon

I created a recipe that I really loved, but being my baby allergic to dairy products (milk protein), I did a variation of it just for him. It is not as tasty as the original recipe, but I do dare to state that it does taste rather good anyway. If you are though not on an healthy streak, nor allergic to dairy and milk protein, nor scared of fats, it might be a better option to follow the original recipe.

Ingredients

800gr salmon filé
600gr zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 dl cooked quinoa
1,5 dl oats cream
2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Grate the zucchini on a large grater. If it is old zucchini, try to press out as much water as possible. If it is small zucchinis, it is not necessary as they do not contain so much water. Fry it in the olive oil and grate garlic into it. Make sure the water from the zucchini is gone and they taste done.
In the meantime, put some olive oil in a form. Cut the salmon in 8 pieces and put it in the form.
Mix all remaining ingredients together with the zucchini and put the mixture on the salmon so it is completely covered by the mixture.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Quinoa and zucchini salmon

This dish is very very tasty. I found a (completely different) recipe that sounded somewhat weird to me, but it inspired me to do something good out of if instead. Here is my suggestion.
If you are scared of fats, are on a healthy streak or are allergic to dairy or milk protein, you can follow my dairy free alternative, which is also quite good (but not as tasty).


Ingredients

800gr salmon filé
600gr zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 dl cooked quinoa
2 dl creme fraiche
2 dl grated parmesan
2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Grate the zucchini on a large grater. If it is old zucchini, try to press out as much water as possible. If it is small zucchinis, it is not necessary as they do not contain so much water. Fry it in the olive oil and grate garlic into it. Make sure the water from the zucchini is gone and they taste done.
In the meantime, put some olive oil in a form. Cut the salmon in 8 pieces and put it in the form.
Mix all remaining ingredients together with the zucchini and put the mixture on the salmon so it is completely covered by the mixture.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

söndag 22 oktober 2017

Pear tree flower bed

After many years, it felt absolutely necessary to freshen up the flower bed around the pear tree.
So we reused the soil we had dug up in the past (which in the meantime had become from the crappy soil it was to useful soil again) and compost.  This lifted up the level of the soil some 10-20 cm. After that, we planted quite a few Automn bulbs.
Tulip Apeldoorn 
(10 pieces)

Planting instructions
Distance: 10 cm
Depth: 10 cm
To be planted in September or October
Height:  55 cm
Flowering period: April-May
Tulip Queen of Night 
(10 pieces)

Planting instructions
Distance: 10 cm
Depth: 10 cm
To be planted in September or October
Height:  60 cm
Flowering period: April-May

Tulip Sunlover 
(10 pieces)

Planting instructions
Distance: 10 cm
Depth: 10 cm
To be planted in September or October
Height:  40 cm
Flowering period: April-May
White tulip of some kind 
(some unknown amount, likely around 15 pieces)

Allium aftanutense 
(some unknown amount, maybe around 10-15?)
In the past, there were quite a few Alliums planted there but I guess the whole digging and filling up with new soil probably made the old alliums disappear too low under ground.

lördag 6 juni 2015

Broccoli pasta

One day you get up hungry. Hungry. Hungry. Or actually, you do not get up at all. You simply lie down hungry. Hungry. Hungry. You start reading Elle À la Carte, Swedish Edition. Nooot a good decision. End of the story, you are just forced to cook something out of it. Not necessarily the healthiest recipe, you might guess....
Broccoli pasta
 Anyway. Here is the result of my cooking activities: a broccoli pasta! Not really as it was described in the original recipe, but well... If you want the original one, go buy Elle À la Carte. It is a wonderful and inspiring newspaper anyway.
The pasta was rather good. Not a carbonara, but well....

Ingredients 

For 1 (hungry) person
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 anchovy filés
200gr broccoli
1/2 stock cube (I actually would use salt instead)
1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
Salt
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil (to top the pasta with)
3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
100gr pasta (I used spelt spaghetti, but probably any whole wheat spaghetti or linguini would be good)

Instructions


Boil the broccoli in pieces with some salt water until they are done. Spare the water from the broccoli.
Mush the anchovies and the garlic and let them melt in the oil at medium temperature in a frying pan. Then add the sunflower seeds until they become a little more golden.
Add the broccoli. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice, some of the broccoli water and also the stock cube. Personally, if I cook this pasta again, I will use salt instead! The stock cube just gives that artificial tone to everything...
I reused the broccoli water to cook the pasta, just to spare some energy and time maintaining some of the broccoli taste and vitamins, if you get what I mean...
When the pasta was done, I just sealed it but kept the pasta water, threw the pasta in the pan and mixed it together with the dressing.
Added the parmesan and some of the water to help the creaminess of the pasta. At the end, added necessary salt and the half spoon olive oil.



måndag 11 augusti 2014

Raspberry and vanilla custard pie

This recipe is kind of a mixture of recipes and ideas. Mommy likes fruit cakes and likes custard. So what else would be more ideal than this specific pie for her birthday?!

I think though the size of the pie dish I used was probably far too small. I used a 26cm dish and had some of the dough left for an additional little pie dish. So maybe a 28-29cm would have been somewhat more ideal?
I actually used 600gr raspberries, but I actually did not have enough space in my dish so I used it for the small dish, too.

Ingredients

600gr raspberries
6 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 portion Sweet pie dough
1 portion Baking vanilla custard

Raspberries for decoration

Instructions

Mix the raspberries with the sugar and the potato starch.
Put the sweet pie dough in a pie dish of about 28cm.
Add some of the baking vanilla custard in the bottom of the dish over the dough.
Add the raspberry mixture.
Fill the dish with the rest of the custard.
Bake at 220 degrees Celsius without fan. I did bake it with ventilation and I burnt the shit... :(
After 20-25 minutes, the pie should be done.
 

Baking vanilla custard

This custard is meant to be used in pies and should be baked with the pie. It is not meant as vanilla custard to be eaten as is.

Ingredients

300gr milk (1,5% fat)
180gr cream (40% fat)
240gr caster sugar
145gr egg yolks
30gr potato starch

Instructions

Mix sugar and starch with egg yolks. Whip it until well mixed.
In the meantime, cook up the mixture of milk and cream. When it cooks up, take it off the heat, put in the egg and sugar mixture, cook up again and whisk together. Remove from heat.


Sweet pie dough

This is a recipe for pie dough. The recipe is originally French, but the Italians do use a similar recipe for doing a pie called "crostata".

Ingredients

250gr flour
125gr butter
75gr sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg

Instructions

Mix flour, sugar, salt and butter together until you get a sandy mixture. Add the egg and mix until you get a dough. Put it in a plastic bag for food and distribute the dough so it gets thin. It will cool down quicker.
After half an hour, take out the dough from the frigde and mix it again with your hands to get an elastic consistence. At this point you can use for your pies.

Note! I have had the less smart idea to make it a little sweeter by adding some additional sugar. Bad idea. The pie gets more crunchy and the taste is less enjoyable.

tisdag 13 maj 2014

Spirea × cinerea 'Grefsheim'

Having an orange house requires some white flowers that tone down and contrast the house colour. We had seen these pretty beautiful plants flourishing around town and decided it would be the best of choices. Don't you agree? This plant is called in Swedish "Norsk brudspirera 'Grefsheim'".
1st May 2014, Spirea x cinerea 'Grefsheim'

From the beginning we believed that we did not want a real hedge so we just decided to go for some plants sparsely distributed in the corner area of the garden. The result looked little phony to be really honest. I remember a night some years after after we had put up a wall and planted the same kind of plant around the whole corner area and they had started to grow bigger and bigger. We then looked back at the pictures from the first plants we had and nearly cried from laughing.

Anyway, what we learnt from that is that it is a good thing to have a wall or similar to make sure that the "weeds" cannot attack the poor hedge from multiple sides.
Actually, after we planted the hedge, the ground sank and the plants landed far too low. Again, learning from your own mistakes, remember to use existing ground, too, when planting an hedge and also make sure that you plant way above where you want them to be. Taking the plants out and putting them back in was both costly and very time consuming and the plants took a big hit from it the same year.
Fertilizing did help recovery a lot.
1st May 2014, the hedge these days
Quite a few years later, 7 years I would say, this is the result. And it seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

I actually wonder how much bigger it will get.










If you look at how this plant looks like, you will see that there are very long branches covered with flowers all along.











The small flowers are really cute.
1st May 2014
They are not much larger than a 0,5 cm or so. Mh... Little unsure. Probably I should have put my fingers next to it for comparison. But now unfortunately I didn't so you will have to live with the lack of proportions to compare with it. :)
The plant flowers during a short period of time, maybe 1-2-3 weeks. Little unsure. The photos are taken a few days after the blooming came up.




Today, 13th of May, the blooming is going away. Still it is rather ok. So let us say 2 weeks minimum. But during that period, it is really wonderful.
Furthermore, thereafter, the leaves are also impressive and even though it turns into green, it is still very beautiful and flourishing. Will try to remember to take some picture this weekend and also further down the summer, just to let you see how this really looks like in late summer.

Healthy granola bars

I normally sit too late at work and then get hungry. I also often have evening activities such as dancing. And even, like today, I come home hungry from a free diving training starving. I often crave for some quick energy. Normally, I find it in some huge amount of food. Huge amounts of food make your stomach far too big, which implies that you can eat even more next time you eat. You become insatiable.

Now I got the idea of doing some healthy granola bars Not sure of what is really healthy, but I guess that fruits and nuts are healthy and if topped with some olive oil and honey, they still should be healthy.

So let us give it a try. This is my first granola bar test.

Ingredients

500gr raspberries (actually, mine were frozen, but it should not be a big difference)
270gr oat flakes
200gr peanuts (rinced of salt with water)
100gr sesame seeds
50gr peanuts as they come (with salt and fat) to give the mixture a somewhat salty touch
100gr sunflower seeds
50gr flax seeds
75gr hazelnuts + 50gr walnuts (actually, I tried to use the Christmas nuts I still had and cracked what I had. Actually in the amount of hazelnuts, a few peanuts were used, too)
gr apples
gr pears
130gr honey (this is what I had, but I highly recommend you double the amount as the thing became quite tasteless with this amount)
2dl water

Instructions

Turn on the oven at 225 degrees Celsius. When the oven is heated, I sank the temperature to 150 degrees Celcius and baked the apples and pears for about 35 minutes.
 In the meantime I mixed the rest of things apart from the water and the honey, which I actually melted together first and then into the mixture. The apples and pears were also mixed up all together into the oat mixture.

I put the dough into 2 pans, one little and one large. I tried to have the mixture to 1cm thick.

Then I put the pans in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius with fan.

Hydrangea petiolaris

One day I walked through the little part of the town I live in with my whole family. It was winter time and the snow had fallen in great amounts and the cold had really taken over.
And at some point, I simply saw the most beautiful of flower. It had a wonderful form. It was frozen and had taken a brownish colour. But still you could see the whole beauty of it. I could not take my eyes off it. After some further investigation, I came to the conclusion it needs to be hydrangea petiolaris.
2nd May 2014, Hydrangea petiolaris

And I also came to the conclusion that I also needed to  buy such a flower for my garden.

Unfortunately, after further investigation, it turned out that that flower had the tendency to spread out a lot and I have never found a suitable place for it. So the dreams went on for years.

And one day, it just happened. I went to Bauhaus and they had it. Well, everyone actually has it... But this time, logical thinking did not stop me. So I hit the cash register with a pot of hydrangea petiolaris.

I placed in a regular flower bed. No peat. I have the feeling it would need peat. But well... Now, it's too late. I had the feeling it required something to cling onto and I only had one such a place. 

So now the next step will be to find a plant that covers its lower parts as, according to the instructions, the first 35cm from ground should be protected from sunlight so that the plant does not get burned by sunlight.

It is also interesting to find out whether it will grow well there or not.

lördag 1 februari 2014

Carrot and nut muffins

One day I was sitting on my ass and thinking about my new healthy life, my stomach only filled with broccoli soup and somebody writes something about carrot cake. Carrot cake must be healthy. Good for my eyes. Nuts are healthy, too. Good for my skeleton. So, just to start my healthy life with full power, I decided to go ahead and try a new recipe. So what is the result?! The batter is indeed amazing. The baked muffins are not so amazingly good or anything. To be honest, I wish I simply would have licked off the whole batter raw instead. But well.... At the beginning, I was thinking I would make cupcakes out of this baking production. But how much I tried to imagine this, I cannot see how they would fit together with cream cheese frosting! So... well... no frosting on these guys...

Ingredients

125gr butter
1,5dl sugar
3 eggs


100gr nuts (walnuts, pecan nuts, hazelnuts, etc - can be mixed)
300gr finely grated carrots
4dl flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1,5 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1dl milk
Optional filling: pears (apple would do, too)

Instructions

Turn on the oven at 175 degrees Celsius with ventilation.
Make sure that butter and eggs are kept at room temperature for a while (not that I did that, but it seems the result could have been slightly better if I had done it).
Make sure that the nuts are just reduced to a fine crumble and the carrots are finely grated.
Mix butter with sugar. Add one egg at the time. Mix until fluffy.
Mix in the walnuts and the carrots. Add 2dl flour and mix little. Add 1dl milk and mix little. Add the rest of the flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar.
If you want, fill with a piece of pear (or apple).
Put in muffin forms and bake for about 25 minutes.


lördag 4 januari 2014

Boiling eggs to perfection

If you ask me, the most difficult task a person can have to do in a kitchen is to boil eggs to perfection, whatever perfection might be. Probably a question of taste.
Me, myself, I love soft boiled eggs, where the the white is hard boiled but the yolk is only somewhat a little thicker than normal. That is  my perfection. But somebody else might like it differently.

For some reason, I never get it as desired. Never. Or nearly never. And I am saying.... NEVER.

So the new year has come and this is when I will do some empiric studies about cooking eggs.

Actually, this idea came up to me while cooking eggs for breakfast this morning. And just because I wrote "NEVER" multiple times and actually stressed it, I did succeed amazingly well (not perfect, but near enough) with at least one of the eggs.
This is though in no way an empirically proven way to achieve an exact timing. But until the measurements are done with precision, this will have to do.
I have an induction stove so the changes in temperature are immediate.
This is what I did: Small pot filled with water at room temperature. Eggs were completely under water.

Cooking up water to boiling temperature on my stove at maximum regular speed (9 out of 9).
When the water cooked, I turned it down to 2 (out of 9). Left it on for 5 minutes.


I think 4 minutes and 30 seconds would have been ideal. I left the eggs on during the time I tasted the one first egg and they became far too hard. If you ask me. That can have taken 1 minute or so. Faar tooooo crazily sensitive if you ask me.... :(

But well... Let me see...
Pot as before
1,5 liter water at room temperature
Put eggs in from the beginning
Cook at speed 9 until boiling
Measure time to do so.
Test different speeds from that moment on and different times:
Speed 0: 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 7 minutes
Speed 2: 4,5 minutes, 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 7 minutes
Speed 4: 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 7 minutes
If no perfection is yet achieved with the above try different times and speeds.

onsdag 25 december 2013

Tiramisu'

This is the weirdest of things. You can look up tiramisu' recipes around the world and not manage to find the best recipe around. The best recipe is my cousin Cristina's. She was the one that made tiramisu' for me for the first time. I was over ten then already. How have I even made it to survive the world for so many years without tiramisu, that is really unclear to me. Anyway back to the track: all recipes are different. Still none reminds of Cristina's. And, unfortunately, she does not do "Facebook" so it is basically impossible to get her original recipe. Remember she lives somewhere out in the bushes, too. Anyway. I made tiramisu today. Following some modified recipe of one of the many Internet recipes. And it came to me. I think my favourite recipe went like you find in the following.  I will make sure to use it next time. In the meantime, you are on your own. You might be lucky and have the chance to eat the most amazing tiramisu' or you will get stuck with a crappy one due to a lapse of my memory.

Tiramisù for Christmas - 2013-12-25

Ingredients

250gr mascarpone cheese
2 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar

Savoiardi cookies
Strong coffee

Cocoa

Instructions

Whip egg yolks with the sugar until very fluffy. Add some mascarpone at the time. Mix together. Whip the egg whites. Add some egg whites in the mascarpone fluff. Add then the mascarpone fluff in the whipped egg whites lightly until blended.

Put the cream in a rectangular container. I have used glasses sometimes for individual portions. 
Dip cookies in coffee. Layer it with the cream. I prefer the cookies to be well soaked and also to have a cream to cookie ratio above average. 

When done, use a little sieve and cover with a thin layer of cocoa.

Cocoa powder on the top - 2013-12-25

Ready and out.

söndag 3 november 2013

Brownie cake

The brownie idea has been there since the beginning. I wanted some "chocolatey" cake to decorate. The question was what to fill it with. So I decided to try different fillings and let somebody be judge of it. I tried to fill the brownie with caramel whipped cream and sprinkle it with caramel sauce. I also tried a filling with Nutella whipped cream. Both were good. But the one with Nutella was clearly very chocolatey. And I really loved the caramel whipped cream myself. And everybody that tried that one actually voted for it.

When I was doing the real cake, I forgot the sprinkling with caramel sauce. Probably due to the fact that I actually knew the sugar paste would be very sweet already. If I do this again, I will do the following: Multiply the brownie recipe with 1,5. Only cut it in half. Fill it with caramel cream and cover it completely with cream. Make fluff tops. Sprinkle with the caramel sauce. Will be sooo good I believe. Nothing more than that.

But well, that is the future. Here, as the cake was for a Christening, I just felt some kind of decoration and sugar paste kind of cover was required. So this is the recipe for the cake. I actually served with passion fruit on the side. Personally, I was not so excited about the combination. But well....The fact that the brownie was baked a little too long did not help either.
2013-10-26
And by the way, next time I have to bake a cake for a baby or something and come up with the idea of making a bear, please stop me... Those bears of mine always look somewhat ugly. Not creepy. But they do not get any cuter... Whatever I do.... Especially not with sugar paste that falls apart... :(
2013-10-26
Or if I really want to do bears... then please force me to do some exercising before the "big day"...

Ingredients

Brownie cake (please use 1,5 times the given ingredients)
Caramel cream (make it 1,5 times also)
Italian Marengue Buttercream (a third of the recipe will be enough to cover it once externally)
Sugar paste (I would guess that more or less half of the recipe will be needed to cover this cake including some decoration.)

 Instructions

I coloured the sugar paste with brown colour as I wanted it to become  kind of cappuccino coloured. It turned out an ugly orange. Added more brown colour. Became too fluid. Added more sugar. Became too cracked up. Hopeless. The colour at the end became some kind of brownish-orange Autumn-like colour. Not really the "Christening" theme of choice (of anybody's choice...). As the amount of sugar paste was too little and it cracked up, it was very difficult to have any decoration to go with the cake. So well. As you see, it did look somewhat weird and ugly. And it was somewhat very much one colour only. Hey... I am not a baker... Get a grip. What did you expect from me?!

The buttercream was necessary as the sugarpaste kind of melts on regular whipped cream.

The brownie cake can be prepared in advance and frozen. As the brownie cake was completely unstable, I decided to follow the following procedure.

Cover the pan you baked the brownie in with plastic foil. Wetting up the pan will make this operation much easier. Put some of the cream at the bottom of the pan. Put the brownie cake in it. I tried to cut it in half, but it was extremely difficult and crumbled a lot. I recommend once more to make 1,5 times the amount for a a 26cm pan. Then more cream. Remember the caramel sauce I forgot. Then the cake again. If possible cover the cake again with more cream. I did not have enough cream unfortunately.
25/10-2013

Freeze in for a couple of hours. Remove from the pan. Cover with the buttercream. I am not sure why but the cream kind of slipped over the cream. Not so easy. But it worked out anyway. Put on the sugar paste on the top of it and decorate as desired. This technique makes the cake more stable.

This is how the cake looks like in the inside after a few cake eaters have been on to it.

Italian Marengue Butter Cream

This is a butter cream. So it is not low fat! And definitively not low sugar....
But if you use sugar paste, you need to have something that protects it from becoming sloppy. And butter cream is it. If you use regular cream, it will not keep "fresh" and it might sort of melt.

The taste is good. But I have some difficulties with butter cream in general. Little too heavy. But all right. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

200gr egg whites (which maps to 7 average size eggs or 6 big)
300gr caster sugar
80ml water
450gr unsalted butter (keep at room temperature until soft)
1 tsp vanilla powder

Instructions

Whip the egg whites. They do not need to be perfectly stiff as they will have to keep being whipped after you add the hot sugar. Cook the water with the sugar until it reaches the temperature of 118 degrees Celsius. While whipping, add the hot sugar. Be careful as it is very hot. Make sure you do not hit the whips.... That might become seriously dangerous. Keep whipping until the marengue becomes cold. It will take a very long while so I recommend to use a Kitchen Aid or similar tool. Then add the vanilla powder and add little of the butter at the time. When you do that, make sure to use the lowest speed on the blender. It is supposed to become fluffy and stable butter cream.


For some reason it does not become as hard as other butter cream. Guess it has to do with the air in the egg whites. But I am not sure how long it can be in the fridge before you spread it out. I have had some in the fridge since more than one week and it still tastes delicious to be honest. But it is hard. I will maybe try to take it out of the fridge and see if it becomes softer one day... :)

Rumours go that it can "go wild". But that has not happened to me.


Caramel cream filling

This is my own recipe. Nothing off the shelf. But I did steal some tips and tricks from other recipes. For instance, for stabilizing the cream I use piping gel in minimum amounts as it does give an unwanted flavour/smell otherwise.

Ingredients

100gr caramel sauce
350gr cream
1tbs piping gel

Instructions

Heat up some 100gr cream and melt the caramel sauce in it. Let it cool in the fridge. Remember. The cream needs to be cold to whip up as desired. Put the piping gel in it. Add the rest of the cream.
Whip slowly until stable. I use my Kitchen Aid at speed 2 (even if that makes me a little nervous and sometimes I just turn it higher for some moments). Be careful and do not distract yourself. Had to throw away a whole batch because I forgot it there and it whipped to a gritty thing that could not be used for anything.... :( So again... Be very very careful... ;)

söndag 27 oktober 2013

Brownies

I found a good brownie recipe. I used this recipe when baking a cake. Actually, I then reduced the amount of sugar, as the rest of the cake was so sweet. But maybe it was not necessary?! Still unsure.
Remember though. If you want to make a cake out of it, you need to be on the clear side that it is not really easy to keep it "whole". The brownie seems to have a tendency to go into pieces, really. Next time, I think I will do a caramel whip and make a cake out of it that I freeze. Then I will decorate it with caramel sauce.

Ingredients

175gr unsalted butter
225 gr dark chocolate
180gr caster sugar
3 medium eggs (separated)
65gr plain flour
50gr chopped pecan nuts

Instructions

Heat the oven to 180degrees Celsius.

Use a pan of 20cm to 26cm. If you do it in the smaller pan, it will be a more chubby and soft cake. So after I have tried the large pan, I do recommend the small one... ;)
Butter the pan and cover it with a baking sheet. It will make it much easier to get the brownie out of the cake.

Melt the butter. Add the sugar and wait until it has melted. Add 175gr chocolate and melt it in the mixture. Cool down the mixture.
Mix in the egg yolks. Add the flour. Also break the chocolate into small pieces and add it to the mixture together with the nuts.
Whip the egg whites. Mix some of the whipped egg whites in the chocolate mixture so that it gets somewhat fluffy and somewhat easier to mix with the egg whites. Then put the chocolate mixture in the bowl with the whipped egg whites and mix them together lightly so you do not loose the air in the whites.
Dough after adding the egg whites 2013-10-19
Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the top is crusty. I think if you are using the 26cm pan, you can actually have to take it out already after 30-35 minutes.
Baked brownie in the pan covered with baking paper 2013-10-19

You can freeze the brownie and it will still taste good afterwards. I have only eaten it cold, but it is supposed to be good warm with ice cream, too.
It gets a really funny bubbly surface... See... :)
Bubbly surface of the brownie cake 2013-10-19

Coffee swirl cheesecake

Some days, some decisions are tougher than others... I was up for a huge challenge. Decide what cheesecake to bake for the Christening of a baby. Well, not any baby... Just a specific one, a real cuty. The kid of two classmates of mine. Ok, former classmates of mine to be completely honest... Done studying since a couple of years back without being too specific... ;) Anyway, let us come to the point.
Point is... among all potential flavours and recipes there are for cheesecakes, how the hell do you come to the best choice? So... obviously doing a pre-taste of a few different ones and ask somebody to taste. The more people, the safer the choice. To do the pre-baking efficient, I tried to bake ONE cheesecake with different flavours and use the same basic recipe. And if you think that was an easy task, you are definitively wrong. How do you think you can efficiently keep the fillings separated from each other? As far as I know, you can't. So no picture of the trial cheesecake. Looked like crap. But gave a good idea of what people liked! The cheesecakes on trial were raspberry and white chocolate flavour, coffee flavour and a Nutella flavour. Most people preferred the raspberry one. The coffee one became somewhat too strong (too much coffee) and Nutella ones were undecided. Different opinions across the board. But one good idea by an original friend. Why not have two layers? One coffee layer and then the "regular cheesecake" at the top. Swirls that had appeared in the parts where the different cheesecake flavours merged gave the idea and they were deemed cool by my friend.
Coffee swirl cheesecake 2013-10-26


So here is the final recipe!

Ingredients

Crust
250gr digestive cookies (if you live in Sweden, go for the Göteborgs Original ones. Far better than what you will get when you use Original Americal McVities!)
150gr butter

Filling
2 eggs
180gr caster sugar
400gr Philadelphia cheese
1 tbs Espresso Nescafe
1 tbs hot water
Less than 1/2 tbs coffee powder (for decorative purposes)

Instructions

Heat up the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. I use the fan in the oven for more even heat.

Crumble the digestive cookies. I use a food processor with blades. Melt the butter. Please, make sure you do not heat it up too much, otherwise the crumble may become completely fluid. I promise you... ;)
Add the melted butter to the crushed cookies and mix until you get something you can actually cover a springform pan. As I am lazy and don't like to have my dough stick to the pan, I do put a baking sheet on the bottom of the pan and then also butter in the pan. Then put the crumble mix in it evenly. I always try to avoid getting too thick corners. Bake the crust for about 6-7 minutes.

Whisk eggs and sugar. Add Philadelphia cheese until incorporated. On the side mix both kinds of coffee with the water. Then add it to 2/3 of the mixture.

Put the mixture with the coffee at the bottom of the pre-baked crust. Add the remaining 1/3 of the mixture without any additional flavouring at the top. Do it carefully and try to cover the coffee completely.When you have done it, you can try to swirl a little.
"Raw" coffee cheesecake after having swirled the two mixtures together 2013-10-23
Or you don't... It's a free world. But fact is, I do think it will be very difficult to keep a clean cut in the two layers. And then it won't be a coffee swirl cheesecake any longer. Bake for 30 more minutes or so (maybe some additional 5 minutes can be needed).
Baked coffee cheesecake with swirls 2013-10-23
Cool to settle. I have personally only eaten cheesecakes one day after I have baked them, so they have always got one night in the fridge to settle. Unsure if it is necessary tough. It also keeps very well in the fridge so you do not need to eat it up in one shot. No excuses... ;)

If I had had some coffee beans, I would have probably distributed a couple of those in the middle or on the side for decoration purposes. Or if I had had some time to waste, I would have done some out of chocolate and sprinkled it over the cake in the middle or on the side for the same purpose. But now I had neither time nor coffee beans so it had to do without any decoration.







Lemon lime pie

My neighboor, my lovely neighboor, had baked for her birthday party. Cakes were baked. I was invited over on a regular Friday evening to actually help out clearing out the rests... What a good way to conclude a boring Friday evening. By the way, guys, who ever has rests to be cleared out, I am always willing to help out and prove myself a helpful person as usual... Anyway, back to the story. My lovely neighbour had baked this lemon lime pie and a huge amount of different chocolate cakes. Which, of course, were also very good. But this one just kind of stuck out.

So when I was asked (ok, I actually asked, to be really honest with you) to bake for two friends' baby's Christening, this one was an obvious surprise addition to the predefined cakes. And as I had no cream left at home, I actually did the final baking when at the venue. Quick recipe if you ask me. Just count with some lead time as the crust needs to be in the fridge for about half an hour and then you need the pie to bake for 30 more minutes. And do not forget it needs to cool down first to stabilise, too. Which might also take some 1,5-2 hours... Total lead time 3 hours?! Working time. Maximum 30 minutes.

So here you get the recipe. It is very very easy to do, so even I succeeded!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this. I think I will have to bake it soon again and complete this post with some pictures.

Ingredients

Crust
180gr (3dl) flour
36gr (3 tbs) caster sugar
125gr butter
1 egg yolk

Filling
3 eggs
180gr (2dl) caster sugar
2dl heavy cream (36%-40% fat)
18gr (2 tbs) flour
Lemon  zest from 1 lemon
Lime zest from 1 lime
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
Lime juice from 1 lime

Decoration
Powdered sugar
1/2 sliced lime

Instructions

Mix flour and sugar. Put the butter in in small pieces. Butter should be taken out of the freezer some minutes earlier, but it should not become too soft. Mix quickly with your hands until you get a crumbly mixture. Add the egg yolk and mix until you get a dough.
Distribute it in a buttered springform pan and cool in fridge for about 30 minutes.

Heat up the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

Whisk eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add lemon and lime zest and juice and mix together. Then add flour. When mixed in, add cream and mix until incorporated. It should not be too fluffy so after you start adding the other ingredients in the egg and sugar fluff, make sure you do it quickly and don't mix too long.

Put in crust and bake all together for 30 minutes.

Cool down the cake, which will allow the filling to settle.

Decorate with slices of lime and sprinkle powder sugar at the top of it. The original recipe recommends to serve with whipped cream. So unnecessary if you ask me!!!!



 


lördag 19 oktober 2013

Basic yellow cake

I have actually used this cake recipe nearly every time I actually have baked a cake in the last years. I think it works. And it tastes good, too. If you ask me...
I normally pick it down from the wilton.com home page, but every single time I wonder: "Do I have it among my recipes?", then, of course, I don't find it and at the end of the story I find myself fighting with American measures... So now, now let us do something against this...

Ingredients

375gr sifted flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
390gr sugar
75gr butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
300gr milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 175degrees Celsius. Grease bottom and walls of a pan (26cm diameter) or two (20cm diameter). Line with baking paper.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder and set it aside.
Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

19/10-2013 Butter and sugar when fluffy...
Add one egg at the time and then add the vanilla and keep beating the mixture. I think it is smart not to add too cold eggs. It mixes much better.
19/10-2013 After having added the eggs
Add milk and the flour mixture alternatively until everything is incorporated. When this is the case, just beat one more minute.
19/10-2013 With flour and milk added

Then the batter is ready to be distributed into the pan(s).
I personally try to use special ribbons wetted with water to cover the external part of the pan so that the cake does not blow up in the middle. It is always good if it can stay flat at the top rather than getting bumps.
Bake for 30-35 minutes when in the small pans and 45-48 minutes when in the large one.

The cake is ideal for decorating. It can be prepared in advance and frozen as it is! When you need to set the cake, you can actually do it before it is completely defrosted as it will be easier to decorate when it is a little frozen.

söndag 22 september 2013

Raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake

I love cheesecake and I love raspberries. But most of all, I love white chocolate. So the idea came over me today when I had some friends for dinner!
I found a recipe that I could not follow as I did not have the ingredients. So I used cream instead of sour cream... That did not go home well... What happened was that when I mixed together the white chocolate with the cream and I poured onto the cake, the fluid cream simply "broke into the cake" and disappeared somewhere in some cake cracks rather than keeping on the top. Not really how I intended it.... :) Again... Furthermore, when serving the cake, the fluid kept drooling off the cake. But well... let us not complain. It might have been a little weird but it did taste good! And the taste of white chocolate did go through the whole cake in some weird way... :) So not sure what to recommend: "follow the original recipe", "make something like the new one but in another order", or just go wild again?! Unsure!

Ingredients

Crust
250gr digestive cookies (note use Göteborgs Original version if you live in Sweden. The McVities do not give any good tasting crust if you ask me)
150gr butter

Original filling
400gr cream cheese
2 eggs
160gr sugar (2dl)
1 lemon zest

3dl raspberries (I actually just used frozen ones....)

3dl creme fraiche
100gr white chocolate

My own variation of the filling
400gr cream cheese
2 eggs
140gr sugar
1 lemon zest (I mostly forget but it works anyway)
140gr white chocolate
frozen raspberries

Instructions

Crush cookies. Melt butter. Mix together. Remember not to heat the butter too much otherwise the crust will be liquid and not good for baking.

Put in a springform pan. It is highly recommended to use baking paper to cover the pan.Make sure to cover the bottom of the pan but also the walls.
Bake in oven at 175degrees for 7 minutes

Original recipe
Mix Philadelphia, eggs, 135gr sugar and zest until smooth. Put in pan, sprinkle with raspberries, cover them and bake 30 more minutes.

Melt chocolate and mix in creme fraiche and remaining sugar. Put on cake also and bake 6 more minutes.

First variation
I actually used the same amount of cream instead. I melted the cream and let the chocolate melt. As I said, this approach seemed a little weird but it did taste good anyway. It is though not recommended to anybody that wants a practical cake to carry around: as you probably saw from the introduction, the cream never became thick and actually dropped around the cake even when cold...

My own variation of the filling
Mix eggs and all sugar and the zest if you remember.
Add Philadelphia and mix until smooth.
Melt the white chocolate. Add some of the mixture to it a little at the time. Mix quickly so the chocolate does not become hard. Add some more of the mixture. When the risk for the white chocolate to become hard while doing it, poor the chocolate mix in the rest of the mixture and stir until fully blended.

Put the raspberries in the crust and add the mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Decoration
I think decorating with some raspberries and some white chocolate shavings recalls the ingredients and looks pretty neat!

lördag 30 mars 2013

Some things simply don't get the form you intended them to....

Like in life so even in the garden things do not ever take the form you expect them to. So when I went out this morning, the plan was to trim this little guy to a rounded form.
2013-03-30 Salix caprea 'Kilmarnock'

One hour later, the little guy was trimmed, all right, but round?! Well, let's see what happens with the little guy after some time...

In all cases, I removed all dried branches (or those I actually saw), which can't be a bad thing, can it?!

söndag 24 mars 2013

Nutella cupcakes - The new diversion

Nutella is my favorite chocolate (yes, you are reading right, you all chocolate snobs...) and Nutella muffins are indeed very good and smooth things. Frosting is also one of my favourite things. And what could then be better than mixing those two together?! So today, Nutella cupcakes came to life for the first (but very likely not the last) time.
Followed the egg free recipe from my friend and my traditional "healthy" (yeah, right) version of cream cheese frosting and here was the result... :O)
Nutella cupcakes 2013-03-24
 And when we were just full as eggs, we just had to chunk in some additional frosting, just to make sure we were not going to get a too low blood sugar level or something....

söndag 3 mars 2013

ISO hell

Ok, now all my Madeira pictures went bad as I happened to configure the ISO value to something basically wrong. So now, remember this:

Sunny day value         ISO 50 - ISO 64
Regular value              ISO 100
Night value from         ISO 400 onward

Again, remember this!

lördag 16 februari 2013

Torta paradiso

The original recipe seems to be from Lombardy, Italy, where I actually come from. I found the recipe on a book I got from my parents that is focusing on Lombardy food.
Torta paradiso 2013-02-16


Talked to my Mom on the phone that spoke about having baked it for Valentine's and my "dinner plans" just materialized. Had butter at home as I have been thinking of baking another Lombardian recipe called "Cremonesi" but as I do not have any malt at home, I decided to wait until I could get fetch of it first. So butter needs to be used in other contexts..
Slice of torta paradiso 2013-02-16

As I know the more cake I bake the more I eat, I decided to do half the recipe. The original recipe is actually based on potato starch and not corn starch... But, hey, you take what you have at home...

And, of course, before shaking it out of the pan, it needs cooling. But desperation and hunger does not really always allow for patience... So if you wonder why it looks mistreated, then guess how hungry I was when I pulled it out of the oven... ;)

Ingredients
115gr butter
115gr sugar
60gr flour
60gr corn starch (original recipe calls for potato starch actually...)
1 egg
2 egg yolks
salt
vanilla powder

Instructions
I whipped the butter until soft with the sugar. Original recipe does not contemplate whipping but only mixing butter soft and then adding the sugar. I kept whipping in the one egg first and then each egg yolk at the time. No whipping is implied in the original recipe, only mixing together slowly. Add the flours and mix. Add salt and vanilla powder at the end.
I baked it at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes but the original recipe says 180 degrees for 35 minutes. I changed it as the quantity was halved.
Put the mixture in a buttered spring form
When done, remove from the pan

I personally felt it turned out dry. Could though be due to the fact that the eggs were too small.

So let us recap for next time:
- Use big eggs
- Use either smaller pot or do full size
- Use the 180 degrees oven temperature
- Use potato starch and not corn starch
Not sure these were the errors but we have to start from somewhere?!


onsdag 6 februari 2013

Black rice risotto

This is the weirdest recipe I have come up with for a while now. But I personally think it did not taste that bad. The concoction was born on a day with focus on savings. Used black rice that went old one year ago or two, used coconut milk that went bad for some reason (even though the Best before date was actually still "ok"), re-used the rests from juicing apples and carrots, took the chocolate that was stuck in a pot since last baking and I have not had any chance of actually using it. It was not going to make it to a three star in the Michelin guide, but well.

Ingredients
3dl black rice
6dl water
5dl water
4 stock cubes
2 cans of coconut milk
50gr dark chocolate
1kg carrots (remains after juicing 1kg carrots)
1kg apples (remains after juicing 1kg apples)

Instructions
Boil up 6dl water and rice for 15 minutes. Top the rice with the rests of the carrots and apples. Let it cook for 5 more minutes so the rests become warmer and mix it in. Add at the top the 2 cans of coconut milk.  Let it cook some minutes until the milk "melts" and add the remaining 5dl cooking water and the stock cubes. Mix thoroughly. Add the chocolate. The rice should cook in total around 30 minutes.

måndag 7 januari 2013

Pork loin à l'orange

This recipe has no story at all. Just found something very similar on the internet and modified it (as usual) to fit my taste buds and my limited available time. Just to give some anecdote anyway, I can tell you that not everything went as expected when working towards this course... The meat had originally to cook for about 4 hours in the oven at 100 degrees. I actually came home less than 4 hours before the dinner and found this recipe. Wanted to go shopping in a hurry when I realized the kind of time pressure I had. But got stuck in front of the internet instead. Took myself out somewhat 2,5 hours before dinner had to be ready (-1,5 hours behind budget), went to the shop and did not find the necessary piece of meat. Went to the next shop, which luckily had it, otherwise I would have had to add 30 minutes to get the next potential place that could have had it in. In a hurry I found it, paid and got home. Just to find out I left the meat and the spices at the cashier. Calling the shop, I found out they found the spices, but someone had stolen my piece of meat. So I had to go back and buy a new one. By the time I was home, I hardly had 1 hour before the dinner. And nothing prepared. So 200 degrees it was and a cooking time of one hour made it. Maybe somewhat drier but who cares. Nobody had to starve at the end anyway.


Ingredients
800 g pork loin (in one piece, with some fat coating)
1,5 teaspoon grill spice
1 pressed garlic (solo)
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 orange
0,5 teaspoon cinnamon (you can leave it out. Gives somewhat a special taste you might not want)
Grounded white pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

2dl whole milk
2dl cream (38-40% fat)
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1,5 tablespoon orange liqueur (e.g. Cointreau or Grand Marnier)

Instructions
Mix the grill spice, pressed garlic, grated zest of the orange and if you want the cinnamon into a paste. Rub it in on the pork loin as evenly as possible and place it in a oven-safe dish. Sprinkle the olive oil over the meat.
Place it in the oven. Ideal temperature seemed to be 100 degrees but 4 hours were required. With 200 degrees less then one hour will do. Temperature should be under 80 degrees Celsius when you take out the steak from the oven. Whatever temperature you decide you go for in between, keep the meat under 80 degrees. The lower the temperature, the more tender the meat will get, but the longer the baking time will be.

When it is done, take it out of the oven and let the meat rest during the time you are cooking the sauce.

Take 1,5 deciliters from the juices that came out of the meat. Cook it with the juice of the orange until the quantity is reduced to half.

Mix the corn starch with 1dl cold milk. Mix it in the juice. Add the remaining milk, the cream and the soy. Add the orange liqueur and cook at a high temperature until the alcohol has vaporised. Make sure you keep stirring the sauce with a manual beater just to make sure the sauce won't stick. If you have a pot with antiadherent coating, it will be much easier to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Slice the meat thinly and put it on a serving plate.

Serve with baked broccoli or sweet potato chips or whatever comes to mind.

tisdag 1 januari 2013

Chocolate gelatine cheese cake

This recipe was published by a very old pen pal of mine (not referring to her age but rather to the amount of years we have known each other, of course!) from Finland. She is genius when it comes to anything that has to do with foods and baking! And I got to steal it with pride.

I actually made this recipe in a modified form for New Year's Eve dinner to celebrate the new 2013 year coming together with friends. That explains the decoration I guess... :O)


Ingredients
Cookie bottom
15 Oreo cookies
50g unsalted butter

White chocolate filling
200g white chocolate (probably better with 250g or even more)
200g Philadelphia cheese
4 sheets gelatine (I would try to reduce it to maybe 3,5 or even less next time)
300g whipped cream

Dark chocolate filling
200g milk chocolate (probably better with 250g or even more)
200g Philadelphia cheese
4 sheets gelatine (I would try to reduce it to maybe 3,5 or even less next time)
300g whipped cream
According to the original recipe also add a bag of Fazer Marianne crushed bonbons. They seem to be some mint chocolate bonbon of some kind. Me not liking mint chocolate and not having a clue of where to get those, I actually left that detail out.
(or actually leave this out or reduce this to a half amount)


Instructions
Put the sheets of gelatine in cold water to soften up.

Mix the Oreo cookies with the melted butter until fully blended. Put it in a spring form. If you want your life to be easier, cover the bottom of the form with plastic film. Put the form in the fridge until you do the rest of the cake.

Whip the cream.
 
Melt the white chocolate. Mix in the Philadelphia cheese. Add the gelatine to to mixture. Add half of the whipped cream. Start by putting in it some heaped spoon of it and mix it well to give the basic mixture some "air" and the add the rest mixing from bottom down not to loose the air from the cream.

Put the white chocolate mixture into the form and put the form back in the fridge to cool down and get somewhat more stable before adding the next mixture.

Melt the milk chocolate. Mix in the Philadelphia cheese. Add the gelatine to the mixture. Add the other half of the whipped cream as for the previous mixture. If you have those, also add the crushed Marianne bonbons.

After removing the spring form 31/12-2012
Add in the form and put it in the fridge.

If you want a clear cut, it is recommended to put the cake in the freezer for some time or at least prepare the cake the day before serving otherwise it will not be "hard enough" to guarantee a reasonable look.
If you remove it from the refrigerator, it is a good idea to actually warm up the sides of the cake with your hands before removing them. It makes your life much easier!

Decorate as you desire. My friend did a wonderful decoration with not sure what with Santa and Christmas tree. I obviously kept it simple due to my limited craftmanship and only used some melted white chocolate to write something and to sprinke out some white decoration. In order to make it easier on myself I actually used a sharp knife to write the words on the cake and then when over them with the white chocolate later. Then I did not have to think how to write with hot chocolate, which in my opinion is not that easy (unless you are Montersino, as the guy can do anything....).


To be modified until next time
The cake was good, but I personally felt it was very very very much to melt down after a full dinner. So I probably think next time I will try to do less of it and furthermore make some changes to make it more exciting. The original recipe probably was  more exiting in itself given the Marianne bonbons which I left out. But without them, it can be a little, well, let us say boring.
Following alternatives may be viable and triable:
- Only use the white chocolate mixture and skip the other one. Or make only half of the other one just to top the whole a little and give it some color. But all of it was really too much. The cookies at the bottom were good, but too little compared with the cheese cake part. Reducing or eliminating the darker chocolate mixture will rebalance the proportions.
- I personally think little less gelatine might also do some good. Let us try to eliminate 0,5 or 1 sheet of gelatine next time from each mixture.
- I also thought the white chocolate taste was a little too subtle so next time let us add 50g more (or maybe even 75-100g, who knows)

Bigné alias Vanilla petits choux

These small delicacies are sold at any pastry shop in Milan. They are my favourite mignons and I could eat tons of them. They are called bigné.

You can actually get different variations of it with different fillings, among others you can buy some with chocolate fillings instead and glased with sugar. But the simple ones with vanilla custard are definitively and by far my all time favorites.

Petits choux to be filled 30/12-2012
Ingredients
Petits choux
Vanilla custard
Powdered sugar (if you have it, you can have "vanilla tasting powdered sugar")

For the recipes, follow the links above! 30 petits choux or some more will require vanilla custard made of around 0,5 liter milk+cream.




Instructions

Put the vanilla custard in a decorating bag with a decorating tip with a round hole. Stick the decorating tip through the bottom of each petit choux as far up as possible (might require a decisive insertion) and make sure to fill it completely by pulling out the tip slowly while the choux is filled.. Sometimes, this process might create some "leak" somewhere else in the petit choux, but that is no drama really. Just remove the exceeding amount of cream that has leaked.
Bigné with vanilla custard 31/12-2012

Sprinkle the vanilla flavoured powdered sugar over the petits choux before serving.

Vanilla custard

In Italy, you can get the most delicious vanilla custard at any patisserie. I have been trying to reproduce the same effect for ages. And never succeeded. But today I think that I kind of know the answer. When you try to do your own vanilla custard, you always use the real ingredients: egg yolks, sugar, cream, milk.... But I think the pros do not use all those eggs as it would be much too expensive to do some little amount of custard. So my guess is they use some other emulsifier instead. I think the vegegel from Dr. Oetker's is a very interesting kind of product that gives a texture similar to the purchase cream.
In the meantime, until I get to test my theory, here is the recipe with original ingredients.

Ingredients
400g milk
100g cream (38-40% fat)
150g egg yolks
150g sugar
17g corn starch
17g rice starch (I could never find this so I used rice flour instead)
1/2 vanilla flower

Instructions
Whip sugar and egg yolks. Add starches and vanilla flower powder.
Cook milk and cream. When the liquid is boiling through in the mixture above and then whip it up neatly for about 1 minute. If you wait too long to whip, the eggs might scramble up themselves giving an omelette taste to the custard (believe my word... :O( ) resulting in a less smooth custard and a less enjoyable taste.
You will notice that the whipped mixture will actually float in the liquid keeping the whole from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Note: do not use flour as an emulsifier as the flour can make the custard liquify. Also the rice and the corn starch give different texture so it is good to mix them it seems (I have never tasted how the custard would taste with only one of those actually, but well, I simply follow the recipe.). And by the way, next time I might give it a try to actually use the vegegel from Dr. Oetker's I think. That texture reminds me of both vanilla custard from Royal my mom used to do for me when I was a child and the custard you could find in the purchased petits choux.


Petits choux

Blurred baked petits choux 30/12-2012
This dish is actually very famous in Italy. Every patisserie in Milan offers these fantastic mignons and out of any mignon, these are my favorite. In Italian they are called bignè.

I have tried to make them at home when I was a little girl with hardly any positive result. Now I got the urge to give it another try. Found the recipe in my Montersino confectioner's school CD and thoughts might even try it for this year's New Year's Eve dinner.

Ingredients
165g Butter (unsalted)
185g Water
175g Flour (weak, with as little proteins as possible, and very refined)
Pinch of salt
25g Whole Milk
270g Eggs

Instructions
Put water and butter in a big pot and bring to boil and melt.
Important tip: make sure to put butter in small pieces in the pot so it melts before the water cooks. If it is not melted by then remove from the stove and make sure it does. The reason is you do not want too much water to vaporize as it would modify the proportions in the recipe.
Add flour.
Important tip: make sure the water cooks up thoroughly before pouring in the whole flour at once.
Mix with a wooden spoon with a very quick movement until the whole dough detach from the pot.
Dough out of the Kitchen Aid treatment 30/12-2012
Put in the Kitchen Aid using the butterfly mixer.
Add the milk while mixing.
Then add a few eggs at the time until absorbed. Check before adding the last egg that the dough is not too soft. The dough should look somewhat as custard. It might be even necessary to add some additional egg to reach the right dough.
On a baking plate distribute melted butter. Then dry it up with paper as the utter needs to be as little as possible in order for the guys to be able to grow.
Piped dough ready to bake 30/12-2012
Pipe the dough with a round pipe making sure that the starting point is the plate and going up  (not from the top as you would expect.
Important tip: do not use baking paper under them as they need to stick to the surface in order to grow properly in the oven.
Bake at 220 degrees Celsius until golden.
Important tip: use oven without ventilation for a professional result and an even surface.




Note to self: CD 10 - Pasta per bignè