Thursday, December 31, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of "Very Small Anna" and Y of "Lemonpi" who chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a "Gingerbread House" from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.
Making a "Gingerbread House" was a big first for me. Although I love baking, I'm not too keen on decorating cakes or cookies. The reason is that I'm not skilled in that domain and lack experience. It is my weak point, yet I'd love to learn how to decorate baked goods and the like. Anything having to do with being an artist when it comes to food sends shivers down my spine and scares me to the highest point...
Anyway, I was not going to let myself get impressed by the task and started the job without thinking about the challenge that was awaiting me. I made my gingerbread dough using Beatrice Ojakangas' recipe, rolled it, cut it in the desired shapes and baked it. Then, I decorated each part and built the house as best as I could.
I really put all my heart to the task and it showed. The final result was rather stunning and it filled me up with pride. My house actually looked like a house and was pretty enough to be exposed right next to my miniature Chritsmas tree!
I wish to thank Anna and Y for having chosen such a great recipe! I really enjoyed making that "Gingerbread House" and was so happy to have proved myself capable of having certain decorating skills...
~ Gingerbread House ~
Adapted from "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book" by Beatrice Ojakangas.
5-10 minutes to mix the dough
2 hours to chill
5 minutes to roll
10 to cut 15 minutes to bake
Estimated 4-7 hours from start to finish including chilling
Stand or handheld electric mixer (not required but it will make mixing the dough a lot easier and faster)
Cardboard cake board or sheet of thick cardboard
Foil, if desired
Small pastry brush (optional)
Piping bag with small round tip, or paper cornets if you're comfortable with them.
1 Cup 8226g) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Cup (220g) Light brown sugar, well packed
2 Tbs Ground cinnamon
4 Tsps Ground ginger
3 Tsps Ground cloves
2 Tsps Baking soda
1/2 Cup boiling water
5 Cups (875g) All-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place (I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick - which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked-, cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end).
4. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet
1 Large egg white
220g Powdered sugar
1 Tsp Almond extract
1. Beat egg white until frothy, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency.
2. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling (If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time).
2 Cups Sugar
1. Place in a small saucepan and heat until just boiling and the sugar dissolves.
2. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together (If the syrup crystallizes, remake it).
***************Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!
C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le blog mentionné ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
So, as I had been dying to try mahlep since a long while, I thought that it would be a good idea if I baked something with that special spice. I was really eager to try it out and wanted to make cookies for Christmas so I baked a batch of "Koulourakia" cookies (pronounced: koo-loo-RAHK-yah).
Those traditional sesame topped Greek cookies are generally made at Easter time. Mostly shaped like a twisted rope, these cookies are also often shaped into figure eights, braids or twisted wreaths. They are a kind of shortbread, a bit crunchy, buttery but not too sweet.
"Koulourakia" are maybe simple cookies, but they taste heavenly nonetheless. The mahlep spice which is made from black cherry kernels somewhat tastes like cherries and almonds. It adds a very unique, distinctive and delicate flavor that is uncomparable, thus making those cookies irresistible.
~ Koulourakia ~
Recipe found on the blog "World In Our Oven" (India).
Makes about 30 cookies.
1/2 Cup (120g) Unsalted butter
1/2 Cup (105g) Caster sugar
3 Egg yolks
1/4 Cup (60g) Half and half (light cream/see remarks)
2 1/4 Cup (287g) All purpose flour
1 Tsp Baking powder
1/4 Tsp Sea salt
1 Tsp Ground mahlep
2 to 3 Tbsp Sesame seeds
1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar till creamy.
2. Beat in 2 of the egg yolks, one at a time.
3. Mix in 3 tbsps of the half and half.
5. To shape the cookies, pinch off 1-inch balls of dough; roll each into a 7-inch strand. Bring the ends together and twist (or form into a pretzel shape, if preferred).
6. Place slightly apart on a greased baking sheet.
7. Beat remaining egg yolk with remaining half and half; brush lightly over the cookies and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
8. Bake in a 180° C (350° F) oven for 15 minutes till golden.
9. Transfer to racks and cool completely.
10. Store in airtight tins.
I you have any half and half, whisk together half cream (25% fat) and half milk (3% fat).
You can leave out the ground mahlep if you want.
You can also roll those cookies and cut them out with cookie cutters.
Serve with a cup of Turkish coffee.
More festive recipes over here...
Recette trouvée sur le blog "World In Our Oven" (Inde).
Pour environ 30 biscuits.
120g de Beurre non-salé
105g de Sucre cristallisé
3 Jaunes d'oeufs
60g de Crème à café (voir remarques)
287g de Farine blanche
1 CC de Poudre à lever
1/4 se CC de Sel marin
1 CC de Mahleb en poudre
2 à 3 CS de Graines de sésame
1. A l'aide d'un mixer, battre le beurre avec le sucre afin d'obtenir un mélange mousseux.
2. Incorporer 2 jaunes d'oeufs, l'un après l'autre.
3. Incorporer 3 CS de crème à café.
5. Former des boules de la taille d'une noix, puis confectionner de minces lanières de 18cm de longueur. Pliez chaque lanière en deux et tournez les pour former une torsade.
6. Mettre sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulurisé en laissant un espace entre chaque biscuit.
7. Battre le jaune d'oeuf restant avec le reste de crème à café et badigeonner les biscuits avec ce mélange. Saupoudrer avec les graines de sésame.
8. Cuire à 180° C pendant 15 minutes jusqu'à ce que les biscuits soient dorés.
9. Mettre les biscuits sur une grille afin qu'ils refroidissent.
10. Conserver dans des boites en métal.
Si vous n'avez pas de crème à café, alors mélanger une moitié de lait avec une moitié de crème à 25%.
Le mahlep n'est pas obligatoire dans cette recette.
Ces cookies peuvent être découpés à l'aide d'emporte-pièces une fois la pâte étalée.
Idées de présentation:
Servir ces biscuits aved du café turc.
Pour plus de recettes festives, suivez le lien, merci.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Unfortunately, although the concept was good, not many people contributed to my little event. Was it a bad time of the year to lauch it? I don't know...
Anyhow, I still received a few gorgeous contributions and I wish to thank all participants for having taken part in that event and baked magnificent creations!
Prunes filled with ricotta and flavored with orange blossom water and lemon zest.
Ivy @ Kopiaste To Greek Hospitality (Greece) - Kourabiedes With Stakovoutyro
Little Greek shortbread cookies coated with powder sugar.
Ivy @ Kopiaste To Greek Hospitality (Greece) - Limoncello Kaltousnia or Lychnarakia
A Cretan sweet cheese pie flavored with limoncello.
Arlette @ Phoenician Gourmet (Canada) - Flower Cookies
Flower shaped Middle Eastern semolina cookies filled with pistacchio and drenched in syrup.
Yasmeen @ Health Nut (USA) - Dates Chocolate Rugelach
A Jewish treat that is always baked for New Year (Rosh Hashanah). Hers are filled with chocolate, dates, nuts and spices.
Yasmeen @ Health Nut (USA) - Kunafa
A Jordanian sweet pastry that is made by superposing layers of crispy kataifi and fresh cheese.
Sudha @ Malaysian Delicacies (Malaysia) - Churros
Spanish doughnut fingers dusted with orange-flavored sugar.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed information.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
This country's cuisine is so interesting, delicious, yet so underrated and overlooked. Unfortunately, many people think that it is not worth the attention or that it's totally gross when, in fact, it is fabulous and has much to offer. It is for that reason that my aim is to show you England's rich as well as diverse culinary heritage through my future posts.
"Potted Cheese" is a humble as well as rustical dish that I have been enjoying since a very tender age. It is a kind of cheese terrine that is easily made, which doesn't cost much, is versatile and practical.
It is an excellent way to use up odd bits of cheese and can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks. So, if ever you have semi-hard cheese leftovers and don't know what to do with them, then "Potted Cheese" is the solution!
Without having to fuss around in the kitchen, you'll be able to serve a toothsome appetitzer that goes perfectly well with bread, crackers and raw vegetables (especially with celery stalks).
The advantage with that paste is that you can flavor it in many ways (as it pleases you) and always have a pot on stock somewhere in the fridge. So, next time you have impromptu guests that show up inexpectedly at your place, you'll always have something fine at hand to offer them!
~ Potted Cheese ~
Recipe taken from Jane Grigson's "English Food" and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2009.
250g Cheshire cheese or cheddar cheese, cubed
90g Butter, softened
A pinch paprika
A few drops red Tabasco
2-3 Tbs Red Port, Madeira or sherry
60g Walnuts, roasted and chopped
2. Flavor it with with the paprika, Tabasco and wine.
3. Transfer the paste to a bowl and add the chopped walnuts.
4. Pot and decorate with walnut halves.
5. Store in the refrigerator.
Remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.
If you want to keep it for a while, cover your "Potted Cheese" with clarified butter.
Spread on toast, bread and crackers or serve with vegetable sticks (celery stalks).
~ Terrine de Cheddar ~
Recette tirée du livre "English Food" de Jane Grigson et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2009.
Pour 4 personnes.
250g de Cheddar
90g de Beurre non-salé, à température ambiante
Une pincée de paprika
Quelques gouttes de Tabasco
2-3 CS de Porto, Madère ou sherry
60g de Noix de Grenoble, torréfiées et hachées grossièrement
1. Mettre le fromage et le beurre dans un mixer afin d'obtenir une pâte homogène.
2. Incorporer le paprika, le tabasco et l'alcool.
3. Transférer la pâte dans un bol et bien incorporer les noix.
4. Mettre dans un récipient et décorer avec des noix entières.
5. Garder au frigo.
Sortir du frigo une heure avant de servir.
Si vous voulez garder cette terrine pendant un certain temps, alors couvrez le dessus avec du beurre clarrifié.
Idée de présentation:
Servir cette pâte à tartiner sur du toast, du pain et des crackers ou avec des batonnets de légumes (surtout du céleri).
Sunday, December 6, 2009
If you are interested in participating, the new deadline is the 15th of December 2009. I am really looking forward to your contributions!
A cause de mon emploi du temps chargé de ces dernières semaines, je suis dans l'obligation de repousser la date de publication de mon billet en ce qui concerne le jeu "Pastries For Peace (Pâtisseries Pour La Paix)". Les recettes que vous avez envoyées ne sont en aucun cas perdues!
Si vous vous voulez encore participer, il n'est pas trop tard car je vous accorde un délai jusqu'au 15 décembre 2009. Je suis impatiente de voir vois créations!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Mon blog est en pause forcée pour quelques jours car j'ai commencé un nouveau job. Je mettrai une nouvelle recette d'ici quelques jours...
Merci de votre compréhension!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in his blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact him via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed information.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Anyway, although I am very busy and quite tired at the moment, I have been able to gather enough strength in order to accomplish my challenge in time. I would not want to pass an event as I'm very proud of having never made a hiatus since 2 years and 2 months!
The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of "Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives". She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks "Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen" by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and "The Sopranos Family Cookbook" by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
"Cannoli" are pastry desserts that originate from Sicily. "Cannolo" (singular) in Italian means "little tube". It is called in that way because of the shape of it's shell which are tubular. This speciality is also very popular in America where it is easily findable pretty much anywhere.
"Cannoli" consist deep-fried shells filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese which is blended with a variety of flavorings (Marsala wine, vanilla, cinnamon, etc...) and ingredients (pistachio nuts, chocolate chips, candied orange, etc...).
As I don't have "Cannoli" molds and would not know where to find them here in Geneva, I had to make sheets out of my pastry. I cut out my shapes using a bowl and they turned out really well. Regarding the filling, I followed the recipe, but added cocoa nibs, toasted almonds (instead of pistachio), orange extract and candied orange. My "Cannoli Napoleons" were good looking and so exquisite!
The shells had a gorgeous deep fried flavor and were not too sweet, but wonderfully fragrant thanks to the cinnamon and cocoa used in the pastry. The ricotta filling added a fruity, nutty and fresh note to that refined treat. A heavenly combination that makes you come back for more, and more, and more. As you say in French, this treat has a "goût de reviens-y" ("moreish taste") ...
I wish to thank Lisa Michele of "Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives" (USA) for having chosen such a wonderful recipe! I really enjoyed making "Cannoli" and was so happy to get to do a little deep frying instead of baking. That recipe is definitely a keeper!
Ingredients for the "Shells":
2 Cups (250g/16 ounces) All-purpose flour
2 Tbs (28 grams/1 ounce) Castor sugar
1 Tsp (5g/0.06 ounces) Unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 Tsp (1.15g/0.04 ounces) Ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) Salt
3 Tbs (42g/1.5 ounces) Vegetable or olive oil
1 Tsp (5g/0.18 ounces) White wine vinegar
~1/2 cup (approx. 59g/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125ml) Sweet Marsala, red Porto or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 Large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk) Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 Cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 Cup (approx. 62g/2 ounces) Toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for the garnish
If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).
Directions for the "Shells":
1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.
2. Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.
3. Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, oiled..lol). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.
4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.
5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.
6. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.
7. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.
Directions for "Stacked Cannoli":
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).
2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.
2 lbs (approx. 3.5 Cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) Ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 Cups (160g/6 ounces) Confectioner’s sugar (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 Tsp (1.15g/0.04 ounces) Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp (4g/0.15 ounces) Pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 Tbs (approx. 28g/approx. 1 ounce) Finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 Tbs (12g/0.42 ounces) Finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 Tbs (23g/0.81 ounce) Toasted, finely chopped pistachios
If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.
Directions for the "Filling":
1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.
2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm (The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).
ASSEMBLE THE CANNOLI:
1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.
2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.
TIPS AND NOTES:
- Dough must be stiff and well kneaded - Rolling the dough to paper thinness, using either a rolling pin or pasta machine, is very important. If the dough is not rolled thin enough, it will not blister, and good cannoli should have a blistered surface.
- Initially, this dough is VERY stubborn, but keep rolling, it eventually gives in. Before cutting the shapes, let the dough rest a bit, covered, as it tends to spring back into a smaller shapes once cut. Then again, you can also roll circles larger after they’re cut, and/or into ovals, which gives you more space for filling.
- Your basic set of round cutters usually doesn’t contain a 5-inch cutter. Try a plastic container top, bowl etc, or just roll each circle to 5 inches. There will always be something in your kitchen that’s round and 5-inches if you want large cannoli.
- Oil should be at least 3 inches deep and hot – 360°F-375°F, or you’ll end up with greasy shells. I prefer 350°F - 360°F because I felt the shells darkened too quickly at 375°F.
- If using the cannoli forms, when you drop the dough on the form into the oil, they tend to sink to the bottom, resulting in one side darkening more. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently lift and roll them while frying.
- DO NOT crowd the pan. Cannoli should be fried 2-4 at a time, depending on the width of your saucepan or deep fryer. Turn them once, and lift them out gently with a slotted spoon/wire skimmer and tongs. Just use a wire strainer or slotted spoon for flat cannoli shapes.
- When the cannoli turns light brown - uniform in color, watch it closely or remove it. If it’s already a deep brown when you remove it, you might end up with a really dark or slightly burnt shell.
- Depending on how much scrap you have left after cutting out all of your cannoli shapes, you can either fry them up and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a crispy treat, or let the scraps rest under plastic wrap and a towel, then re-roll and cut more cannoli shapes.
- Push forms out of cannoli very gently, being careful not to break the shells as they are very delicate. DO NOT let the cannoli cool on the form, or you may never get it off without it breaking. Try to take it off while still hot. Hold it with a cloth in the center, and push the form out with a butter knife or the back of a spoon.
- When adding the confectioner’s sugar to the filling.
- You may like it sweeter than what the recipe calls for, or less sweet, so add in increments.
- Fill cannoli right before serving! If you fill them an hour or so prior, you’ll end up with soggy cannoli shells.
- If you want to prepare the shells ahead of time, store them in an airtight container, then re-crisp in a 350°F (176 °C) oven for a few minutes, before filling.
- Practice makes perfect. My first batch of shells came out less than spectacular, and that’s an understatement. As you go along, you’ll see what will make them more aesthetically pleasing, and adjust accordingly when rolling. Don’t give up!!!
Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteur s et blogueurs francophones!
C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.
Chez Jasmine de "Jasmine Cuisine" (Canada)
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)