Monday, June 30, 2008


It's really unbelievable. Lately time has been passing so fast that I never got to make this month's "Daring Bakers" recipe until this very weekend! Thankfully, on Friday and Saturday, I was able to squeeze a few hours of baking into my overloaded planning in order to get that wonderful challenge done... Phew, it was really tight!

This month is being hosted by kelly at "Sass & Veracity" (USA) and Ben at "What’s Cookin’?" (USA) who had the "viscious" idea to make us work with 100% homemade, yeasted laminated dough. In that way, they could put our skills, nerves as well as our courage to the test...

There is no need for me to tell you t
hat, as usual, I panicked and stressed at the very sight of the recipe and at the idea of the task that awaited me. I broke out in a cold sweat, my knees started to shake and feel weak ! Oh my God, was I really going to overcome my terror? My enemy number one is butter-laminated dough/pastriy (layered dough created by sandwiching butter between layers of dough) to which I'm totally phobic. Although, I am quite an adventurous and experienced baker, that is one of the only things which I am totally afraid of. Thinking about that makes my heart skip a beat!

As it was the case with all challenges until now, I was able to keep cool, not listen to my inner demons and to detach my mind from what I was making. Thankfully, my zen attitude made me get a hold of the delicate situation, helped me overcome all of my ungrounded fears and realise that, in fact, "Danish Pastries" are much easier to make than I had anticipated/thought...

I must say that, although making laminated dough is quite finicky and extremely time-consuming, especially if the weather is hyper hot (30° C/86° F) and the kitchen has limited space, everything went very smoothly and I encountered no major problem. Strangely, I stayed cool during the whole process and was highly organized as well as motivated, even if I was petrified with fear. Generally, I tend to run in all directions, I am very messy, I get angry and I swear a lot! Maybe "The Daring Bakers" have made me become a better person and helped me to deal with things in a more relaxed way? Who knows...

As recommended by Kelly and Ben, I
made one "Danish Braid" and experimented with "Danish Pastries" with the extra dough (leftover dough). For the filling, I though that apricot puree (half way between apricot jam and compote/the apricots were cooked with very little sugar and cornstarch was added as a thickener, then I pureed the mixture in a mixer and added some cinnamon) and pastry cream (made with milk, egg yolks and flavored with Australian vanilla paste) would be ideal and would go perfectly well together. For the decoration, I decided upon sprinkling sliced almonds on the top of my braid and then drizzling some almond essence icing (1 cup confectioner's sugar with 2 tbs hot water and a few drop almond essence) over my "Danish Braid" and "Danish Pastries", just after having removed them from the oven.

Although I really enjoyed all previous challenges, I must say that, so far, this one is one of my favorite ones as it combines the delightfulness of yeast dough with the exhalirating sweetness of the fillings. And, as I am a big lover of bread and viennoiseries, it was impossible for this luscious recipe to not make me shiver with pleasure while eating that gorgeous "Danish Braid" and those heavenly little "Danish Pastries"!

Guess what. I LOVED those specialities as they are so refined, addictive, versatile, fragrant and terribly delicious! Both the "Danish Braid" and the "Danish Pastries" t asted and looked better than the highly disappointing, dry, tasteless, bland, grainy-textured and ungratifying bakery-bought ones which I have come across until now. I know that it sounds extremely pretentious, but I'm speaking the truth... Most of the time, I've discovered that homemade bakery items are much more soul-uplifting than what you can find in a ny or at least in mostr "boulangeries/pâtisseries"...

Both the "Danish Braid and the "Danish Pastries" were smooth and at the same time. crispy, flaky and puffy. The dough was perfectly laminated. Taste-wise, those delicacies had a complex savor thanks to the dazzling flavors of butter, vanilla, bitter almond, cardamom, orange, apricot and of cinnamon which intermingled exquisitely together. To die for!!!

Thanks to Kelly and Ben for having chosen that marvelous recipe and for having cured my phobia, made me aware of my potential and made me realize that there's no need to be fearful of laminated doughs/pastries!!!

~ Danish Braid ~

From Sherry Yard’s "The Secrets of Baking".


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

Ingredients for the "Dough/Détrempe":
1 Ounce (30g) Fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 Cup Whole milk
1/3 Cup Sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 Tsp Ground cardamom
1-1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 Vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 Large eggs (~ 57-60g), chilled
1/4 Cup Fresh orange juice
3-1/4 Cups All-purpose flour
1 Tsp Salt

Ingredients for the "Butter Block/Beurrage":
1/2 Pound (2 sticks/240g) Cold unsalted butter
1/4 Cup All-purpose flour

Method for the "Dough/Détrempe":
(Without a standing mixer) Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk.
2. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well.
3. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain (
Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even).
4. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain.
5. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges.
6. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes (
You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky).
7. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
8. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Method for the "Butter Block/Beurrage":
10. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
11. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free.
12. Set aside at room temperature.
13. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
14. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick (
The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour).
15. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough.
16. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter.

17. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third (The first turn has now been completed).
18. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally.
19. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
20. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface (
The open ends should be to your right and left).
21. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle.
22. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third (
No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough).
23. (
The second turn has now been completed) Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
24. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns (
Make sure you are keeping track of your turns).
25. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight (
The Danish dough is now ready to be used).Remarks:
If you are making the "Dough/Détrempe" with a standing mixer, here's the method: Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky.
How to freeze the "Danish Dough":
If you will not be using the finished (after step 24) dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.



Makes enough for two braids.

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 Vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 Cup Fresh lemon juice
4 Tbs Unsalted butter

Method for the "Apple Filling":
1. Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl.
2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes.
3. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes (
If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape).
4. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid.

If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.
They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet.
After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.


Makes enough for 2 large braids.

Ingredients for the "Danish Braid":
1 Recipe "Danish Dough" (see below)
2 Cups Apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)
Ingredients for the egg wash:
1 Large egg
1 Large egg yolk

Method for the "Danish Braid":
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick (
If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again).
2. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
3. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart.
4. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
5. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle.
6. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. 7. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling (
This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling).
8. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished.
9. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Method for the "Egg Wash":
10. Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.
Method for the "Proofing and Baking":
11. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
12. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 200° C (400° F). Position a rack in the center of the oven.
13. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C (350° F), and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown.
14. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature.

The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with a dollop whipped cream, some custard and/or a ball of homemade vanilla ice cream.

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!!! Je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française:

Chez Marion de "Il En Faut Peu Pour..." (France)
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)
Chez Anne de "A Foody Froggy In Paris" (France)

Fore more "Daring Bakers" recipes, click here...

Saturday, June 28, 2008


This week, Stella at "Stellaluna" (Costa Rica) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #160...

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.

At the moment, we are experiencing a heatwave (30° C +) which is affecting Fridolin (& Maruschka, as well).
He is suddenly very calm and lies like a flat pancake most of the day...
Good for me!!!


... Tastespotting is back!!!!!!!

Same taste, new family.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Although those images depict a cold and gray day in May (all the contrary of what we are experiencing now...), I believe that you are still interested in seeing the rest of the photos I took in the gorgeous town of Fribourg/Freiburg.

I hope you'll enjoy that virtual visit and don't forget to click on the pictures in order to enlarge them!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Didi74 at "Didoumiam" (France) & Louise at "Gato Azul" (Canada) have tagged me for a meme. Thanks for having chosen me!
Didi74 at "Didoumiam" (France) & Louise de "Gato Azul" (Canada) m'ont taguée! Merci de m'avoir choisie!

Six food and blog related questions:

*** Which food or ingredient do you like to cook?/Quel aliment ou nourriture aimez vous le plus cuisiner?:
I love to cook all kinds of foods and ingredients. Whether it is exotic, foreign, refined or regional, simple, farmer-style dishes,
I pretty much enjoy eating as well as cooking everything. I'm very open-minded and adventurous food-wise.../J'adore cuisiner toutes sortes d'aliments ou de nourritures. Que ça soit exotique, étranger, raffiné ou régional, simple, campagnard, j'ai beaucoup de plaisir à cuisiner et manger presque tout car je suis très ouverte et aventureuse en ce qui concerne la cuisine...

*** Which one of your posts/dishes got the most comments?/Laquelle de vos réalisations a réuni le plus de suffrages?:
It was my "Artisan French Bread" post which I submitted as a member of the very successful baking group "The Daring Bakers". It was commented 110 times!!!/J'ai reçu le plus de commentaires pour mon billet concernant mon "Artisan French Bread" que j'ai posté en tant que membre du très célèbre groupe "The Daring Bakers". Il a été commenté 110 fois!!!

*** Which one of your recipes does your family always ask for?/La recette que votre entourage vous réclame le plus?: There are many as a matter of fact! At my house, lately, one of the most popular dishes is my "Spicy Beef Burritos With Homemade Tortillas, Guacamole And Tomato Salsa". We could eat that nearly every day!!! But there's also my "Mammoth Pizza", "Dirty Hamburgers", "Gravlax", "Maluns", "Ostrich Steak Tartar", "Quick Pizza", "Smoked Salmon And Cream Cheese Bagels", "Spätzli", "Tex-Mex Cornmeal Bread", "Vietnamese Chicken And Grapefruit Salad", "Hummus" and "Thai Yellow Curry" which are always very successful and which I make on a regular basis./En fait, il y a beaucoup de plats qui sont fort populaires chez moi! Dernièrement, mon "Spicy Beef Burritos With Homemade Tortillas, Guacamole And Tomato Salsa" a beaucoup été plébicité. On pourrait manger ce plat presque tout les jours!!!! Autrement, il y a aussi ma "Pizza Géante", mes "Hamburgers", mon "Gravlax", mes "Maluns", mon "Steak Tartar d'Autruche", ma "Pizza Rapide", mes "Bagels Au Saumon Fumé Et Cream Cheese", mes "Spätzli", mon "Cornbread Tex-Mex", ma "Salade Vietnamienne Au poulet et Au Grapefruit", mon "Hummus" et mon "Curry Jaune Thai" que je fait régulièrement et qui rencontrent toujours beaucoup de succès.

*** What is your favorite breakfast item/food?/Votre petit déjeuner préféré?:
I am addicted to bread and cheese, so I'd say that my favorite breakfast/brunch (only on weekends as I very seldom eat anything for breakfast on weekdays) has to be composed of homemade bread (see bread recipes), good quality cheese and dry meat, cherry tomatoes, jam, honey, peanut butter and chocolate spread. I als
o love to eat "Pancakes" for breakfast.../Je suis accro au pain et au fromage, alors mon petit déjeuner (seulement durant le weekend car durant la semaine, je ne mange presque rien au petit déjeuner) doit être composé de pain maison (voir recettes de pain) accompagné de bon fromage, de viande séchée de qualité, de tomates cerises, de confiture, de miel, de beurre d'arachide et de Nutella (acheté ou fait maison). Autrement, j'adore aussi manger des "Pancakes" au petit déjeuner...

*** What is your favorite restaurant or your favorite bakery?/Votre restaurant préféré ou votre patisserie préférée?:
As we have to be very careful with our money, I haven't eaten out since a very long time, nor did I buy anything from a bakery, so I would not be able to answer that question... Our restaurant is at home and we get all our delicious baked goods from our own personal bakery (I am the baker)!!!/Comme nous devons faire très attention à nos sous, ça fait très longtemps que je ne suis pas allée au restaurant ou chez le boulanger/pâtissier, alors il m'est impossible de répondre à cette question... Notre restaurant favorit se trouve à la maison et je suis la boulangère/pâtissière de service!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Today, I've decided to talk about another remarkable recipe which I found in Chef Markus Samuelsson's "The Soul Of A New Cuisine: A Discovery Of The Foods And Flavors Of Africa"...

This cookbook is such a goldmine that I cannot stop going through it and finding new dishes to test! All the recipes I have prepared so far have been very successful and highly satisfying. And as summer has started, I'm pretty sure that I will try many more scrumptious African recipes!

So, after having made "Peanut Bread" (see recipe), "Ethiopian Berbere" (see recipe) and "Ginger Bananas & Honey Ice Cream", my attention was caught by a "Sesame Seed Cookies" recipe which I very much fancied as I love those unique seeds and their mouthwatering as well as captivating and complex flavor.

Those delightful and addictive "Sesame Seed Cookies" made with a very little flour, a small amount of butter and an immense quantity of white roasted sesame seeds are absolutely fantastic! The dough being quite wet and sticky, those wonderful cookies tend to spread a lot while baking, thus being similar to the American "Benne Wafers" (see info & recipe) as, like them, they are extremely fragile, scrumptiously crispy, but slightly lacey and chewy at the same time. In fact, I would say that they are African "Benne Wafers" (in Nigerian "benne" means "sesame"), the ancestor of the reknown Carolina cookies...

Taste-wise, they are incomparable. The sesame seeds confer them a strong, smoky, distinctive, nutty, rich and intense, yet delicate fragrance which reminds me of Tahini Paste or Halvah. Those "Sesame Seed Cookies" also have an intoxicating hint of butter and vanilla which makes them even more luscious.

If you make those marvelous "Sesame Seed Cookies", I can guarantee that you'll not stop reaching for the cookie box until it's empty as they are very tempting, lip-smacking and heavenly little toasty goodnesses!!!

~ Sesame Cookies ~
Recipe taken from "The Soul Of A New Cuisine" written by Marcus Samuelsson and slightly adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

1/2 Cup (64g) + 2 Tbs Plain white flour

1/2 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
4 Tbs (1/2 stick/60g) Unsalted butter

1 Cup (240g) Light brown sugar, packed
1 Large egg (~60g)

1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract or paste
1 Tsp Fresh lemon juice
1 Cup (150g) Sesame seeds, toasted

1. Combine the (sieved) flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Using an electric stand mixer, hand mixer or spatula (by hand)
, cream the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon juice and beat until thouroughly blended, about 30 seconds.
4. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until inco
5. Beat in/incorporate the sesame seeds.

6. Allow the dough to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).

8. Line two baking pans/sheets with parchment paper.
9. Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons onto the baking sheets/pans, leaving about 7cm (2.8 inches) between the cookies.
10. Bake the cookies until golden, about 7-9 minutes, turning the bakin
g sheets around midway through baking.
11. Remove delicately from the baking sheets/pans and cool on a wir
e rack.

I used vanilla paste to make those cookies.

I recommend you to bake those cookies one baking sheet/pan at a time and to keep the dough in the fridge in the meantime.
Those cookies tend to spread a lot, so give them a lot of space (one batch = 12 cookies).

Serving suggestions:
Those cookies can be eaten at any time.

They are particularly delicious with a good cup of tea or coffee or as accompaniment to homemade ice cream (vanilla or honey) and a seasonal fruit salad.


~ Cookies Au Sésame ~
Recette tirée du livre "The Soul Of A New Cuisine" de Marcus Samuelsson et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Pour environ 36 cookies.

1/2 Tasse (64g) + 2 CS de Farine blanche/fleur
1/2 CC de Poudre à lever
1/2 CC de Sel
4 CS (60g) de Beurre non-salé
1 Tasse (240g) de Sucre brun clair, tassé
1 Oeuf large (~60g)
1/2 CC d'Extrait de vanille ou de pâte de vanille
1 CC de Jus de citron
1 Tasse (150g) de Graines de sésame clair

1. Dans un petit bol, mélanger ensemble la farine (tamisée), la poudre à lever et le sel. Mettre de côté.
2. A l'aide d'un mixer ou d'une spatule (à la main), fouetter le beurre et le sucre brun en pommade jusqu'à ce qu'elle deviennent légère et pâle.
3. Ajouter l'oeuf, l'extrait de vanille et le jus de citron, puis fouetter pendant 30 secondes, jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit homogène.
4. A basse vitesse, ajouter lentement le mélange farine/poudre à lever/sel et mélanger jusqu'à ce qu'il soit bien incorporé (sans battre).

5. Incorporer les graines de sésame.
6. Laisser reposer la pâte pendant 1 heure au frigo.
7. Préchauffer le four à 180° C (350° F).
8. Recouvrir deux plaques de feuille de papier sulfurisé
9. Déposer des petits tas (1 CC) de pâte sur les plaques, en laissant un espace d'environ 7cm (2.8 inches) entre les cookies.
10. Cuire jusqu'à ce que les cookies soient dorés, pendant environ 7 à 9 minutes et tourner les plaques en milieu de cuisson.
11. Déposer les cookies (délicatement) sur une grille et laisser refroidir.

J'ai utilisé de la pâte de vanille pour faire ces cookies.
Je vous recommande de cuire ces cookies une plaque à la fois et de garder le reste de pâte au frais lors de la cuisson.
Ces cookies ont tendance à s'étendre lors de la cuisson, alors faites bien attention de les espacer suffisemment (une plaque = 12 cookies).

Idées de présentation:
Ces cookies sont délicieux à toute heure de la journée.
Ils sont particulièrement bons avec une bonne tasse de thé ou de café, ou une boule de glace maison (vanille ou miel) et une salade de fruits de saison.