Archive for July, 2007


Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Aebleskiver covered in powdered sugar and served with jam.

I first encountered Aebleskiver when I was in the Danish city Fredrikshavn with my mother many years ago. At that time, I guess that it was 20 years ago, we used to take the car on the 3 hour long ferry ride between Göteborg and Fredrikshavn and then packed the car full of groceries once every month during the colder months. We shopped meat, Danish sausages and liver pâté, thick delicious fruit yoghurt and other food. The food in Denmark at that time was really cheap compared with the Swedish one, it was long before all those cheap LL, Willy’s, Lidl and Netto stores and my mother saved a lot of money making the groceries for our family of 5 hungry persons. And as she often pointed out, the Danish food tasted and was much better and she was right. As she can’t stand the Swedish liver pâté she used to buy loads of the Danish one instead. I still remember the yummy sandwiches with creamy liver pâté that I loved to eat, together with a glass of thick yoghurt.

During one of those many trips over to Denmark when I accompanied my mother, we followed the lovely smell from a café where we went in and ordered Aebleskiver and tea. We didn’t really know what we ordered, we thought it was some kind of apple cake due to the name, as aebleskiver means apple slices in Danish. But we didn’t get any apple cake or any apples at all. Instead we got delicious and warm Danish doughnut holes, covered with powdered sugar and served with jam in which we dipped the aebleskiver. We were thrilled and in love with these fluffy fried little balls and after a conversation with the staff me and my mother went out shopping again, this time on hunt after a special thing: an aebleskiver baker. We searched around the city and finally we found the very last aebleskiver pan, at least that day or week. An aeble skiver pan is either in cast iron and used on the stove or electric. We got an electric one and this spring when my sweet mother was up in Stockholm to visit me she had the aebleskiver pan with her as a gift. She still had the original box and I was so glad that she gave it to me.

The machine used to bake the aebleskiver.

The Danish aebleskiver are most often eaten during the winter months, especially around Christmas. As the weather this summer was really crappy I made some aebleskiver during a rainy day to get in mood. My husband hadn’t eat aebleskiver before but was really excited and thought that they were delicious. He said that they were the best doughnut holes and doughnuts ever. Myself I thought of my childhood memories with every yummy bite.

This post is also an entry for That crazy kitchen gadget by Not Eating Out in New York. Maybe the pan isn’t that crazy, but it’s unusual and it’s the craziest thing I have in my kitchen except for the curry loving cat Yoshi ;-) The round-up can be read here.

    (makes 40-50. Demands an aebleskiver pan. Adapted from Kerstin Kokk)

    250 gram flour
    125 gram butter, melted
    375 ml lukewarm milk
    3 eggs divided into yolks and eggwhites
    1 tsp salt
    0.5 tsp cardamom
    2 tsp baking powder
    1.5 tbsp vanilla infused caster sugar

Combine the milk with the egg yolks. Add flour, salt, cardamom and baking powder. Mix and then add the melted butter. Mix the batter until everything is well mixed.

In a separate bowl, whip the eggwhites until stiff and then gently fold them into the batter. Let the batter rest while you heat your aebleskiver pan. I don’t need any butter for my pan but if you have a cast iron one you probably need some butter. Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter in each hole and fry until browned and crisp on bottom. Turn them over with the help of a chopstick or fork. For me this went really quickly, as soon as I had filled all holes in my pan it was time to start turning the first one, but that all depends on your pan.

Serve the aebleskiver while still warm, with powdered sugar and jam.

Daring Bakers: Strawberry Mirror Cake

Monday, July 30th, 2007

I’m proud to announce that I from this month am a member of the amazing Daring Bakers. Thank you all very much for letting me join. The Daring bakers consist of proud women and men that love to bake and are not afraid of baking challenges. The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day, this time on the 30th of June.

The challenge for the month of July was a Strawberry mirror cake and was picked by Peabody. When I first read the recipe I thought that it sounded rather easy as I’ve baked quite many cakes with mirrors. But I would soon realise that it wasn’t that easy, especially when I noticed that the bavarian cream was custard based… I’ve lost track of how many times during the baking of the cake I said to my husband: “You better not like this cake because I’ll never ever bake it again. It’s just not worth the effort!”. Apart from the mild strawberry taste, the Strawberry bavarian cream was creamy and light; very yummy. The best part of the cake was the mirror, as I wrote earlier I’ve done a lot of cakes with mirrors but thanks to the homemade strawberry juice this one was outstanding. I will definitly use this mirror recipe for other cakes.

Thanks Peabody for choosing this month’s recipe for the Daring Bakers! I had great fun even though I was very frustated when the clock passed midnight with no hope of getting a whole edible cake for the fika I was planning the day after. But I made it and can’t wait to get the info for next month’s challenge!

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t start baking an advanced recipe too late in the evening or you’ll get very tired. Especially if you’ll encouter any problems.
2. Make sure to make the conversions from cups to milliliters and grams correctly.
3. Learn to make custard. Obviously using room temperatured products and stiring constantly on a low heat isn’t enough. I’ve failed several times, including other recipes and I never seem to learn.
4. READ the recipe carefully. Once, twice, three times and even up to ten times.
5. Make sure to have all ingredients at home. Especially if you start baking in the evening. Or just make sure to have a husband that will go shopping for you in the middle of the night (assumable that you have a grocery or 7-eleven store that’s open).

Number of times I had to make the Strawberry Bavarian Cream:
3, yes THREE.
First attempt: I used the wrong amount of sugar (please refer to point 2 under “lessons learned”) but still decided to go on and then the custard curdled.
Second attempt: I ran out of milk (please refer to point 5 under “lessons learned”) so I had to ask my husband to go shopping milk (and eggs just in case I would’t make it on the second attempt either). And of course my custard curdled again, even though all ingredients were at a room temperature.
Third attempt: At this point I was really glad that I’ve had asked my husband to buy extra eggs. With the new eggs I also realised that the earlier egg yolks were really small compared to the new ones. I googled and read everything about making custard and asked my husband to do so as well. I think that I made it correctly, but I can’t be sure. I didn’t really understand how thick the cream should be, but I guess that it’s was OK as the cake turned out really well. But as I was very stressed and tired (it was past midnight) I forgot to strain the strawberry puree which I didn’t realise until the cake was eaten and gone… Oh well.

What I didn’t like about the recipe:
1. Very time consuming, but most of it was my fault due to the problems with the Strawberry bavarian cream.
2. Food colouring. Why use it when this cake is naturally beautiful?
3. Baking the cake in a jelly roll pan and then cutting out circles. To my husbands delight there were a lot of left overs, but I would have prefered to bake the cake in two spring forms.

What I forgot:
1. To strain the strawberries for the puree.

What I didn’t have at home:
1. Cardboard.
2. Food colouring (and I refused to buy it as the strawberries were so pretty and naturally coloured. Sorry daring bakers!)
3. Kirsch (I substituted with transparent raspberry vodka)
4. Aluminium foil for the bottom.

Eggs used for this recipe (including the extra ten eggs due to me failing with the bavarian cream):

To see all Strawberry Mirror Cakes made by the other Daring Bakers, just go to the Daring Bakers Blog Roll site.

    Strawberry Mirror Cake
    (A Daring Bakers challenge. Adapted from Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993)

    3 eggs
    3 egg yolks
    ¾ cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3 egg whites
    1/8 tsp cream of tartar (I bought my jar at “The English Shop” in Söderhallarna)
    2 TBSP sugar
    2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not to be found anywhere so I used 60 gram normal flour and 5 gram maizena/cornstarch)
    ½ cup water
    1/3 cups sugar
    2 TBSP kirsch or strawberry liqueur

    Strawberry Bavarian Cream:
    2 ½ TBSP unflavored gelatin
    1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree(1 ½ baskets)
    5 egg yolks
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 ½ cups milk
    1 TBSP lemon juice
    several drops of red food coloring
    1 ¾ cups whipping cream

    Strawberry Mirror:
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 TBSP kirsch
    1 TBSP water
    1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
    Few drops of red food coloring

    Strawberry Juice:
    1 ½ pints of strawberries(18 oz)
    ¾ cup sugar
    ¾ cup water

    1.Preheat oven to 450F. Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 inch jelly roll pan(rimmed baking sheet). Line bottom of pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.
    2.Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.
    3.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, ad cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 TBSP sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks(do not over beat).
    4.Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in . Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.
    5.Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until light brown and springy to touch(7 to 10 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake. Wrap the cake layers, separated with waxed paper, and set aside. Cake may be frozen at this point.
    6.To make soaking syrup: Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur. Set aside or refrigerate in glass jar until ready to use.
    7.To assemble cake: Brush sides of 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten(not drench) the cake; set aside.
    8.Prepare Strawberry Bavarian Cream. Immediately pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets(1 to 2 hours).
    9.Prepare the Strawberry Mirror.
    10.To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Strawberry Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake. Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.

    Prep Work:

    Strawberry Bavarian Cream
    1.Sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.
    2.Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl’ beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture ans stir with a wooden spoon(it doesn’t say so but I would temper the egg mixture first to be safe). Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon.(Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Pour into a stainless steel bowl places over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
    3.While gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatin mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

    Strawberry Mirror
    1.Prepare strawberry juice (see further down).
    2.Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.
    3.Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve gelatin. Tint to desired color with red food coloring. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell); remove from ice water.
    4.When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

    Strawberry Juice
    Wash and hull strawberries; coarsely chop. Place strawberries in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes(Do not press down on fruit).


Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Systerkaka (cinnamon rolls) with almond paste, cinnamon,
nib sugar and pink strawberry icing.

In Sweden, the common way of baking cinnamon rolls (kanelbullar) is to put them in individual paper cups before baking. There is however a version where the rolls are put really close to each other in a pan, resulting in a large cake. A cake like that is often called Butterkaka (not refering to the Swedish word for sullen but the word butter in English or German) or Systerkaka (sister cake). I can’t really tell the difference between them, they are probably quite a like. I call my own version sister cake due to the pink strawberry icing which maybe is a bit unecessary I also use nib sugar, but it makes the rolls very pretty and girly which suits a sister cake!


    50 gram butter
    125 ml milk
    25 gram fresh yeast
    500 ml flour (= 300 gram flour)
    1 egg
    1 tbsp vanilla infused caster sugar
    0.5 tsp cardamom, ground

    60 gram butter, softened
    2 tsp sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon, ground
    80 gram almond paste, grated (can be substituted with marzipan which however contains more sugar than almond paste).

    topping, before baking:
    1 egg, whisked
    nib/pearl sugar

    topping, after baking:
    icing (made of a small amount of water and 4 tbsp icing sugar, I used strawberry icing sugar)

    Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, add the milk and make sure that the mixture is around 37 degrees C. Place the yeast in a bowl and pour the milk and butter mixture over it. Mix well until the yeast has dissolved. Add flour, sugar, cardamom and egg. Combine to a soft dough and knead a few minutes until it’s smooth and shiny. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes until the dough has almost doubled in size.

    Take the dough and use a rolling pin to roll out a large rectangle, about 30 cm * 40 cm wide. Spread the soft butter over the rectangle and then sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and grated almond paste over it. Carefully roll up the dough, starting with the long edge. Cut 3 cm wide slices with a sharp knife. Tightly place the slices cut side up in a quite small, about 20-22 cm wide, greased cake pan. I used a square one, but a round one is fine as well. Let the rolls rise for 40-50 minutes until they fill the pan generously. Brush the rolls with a whisked egg and sprinkle nib sugar evenly.

    Bake in 175 degrees C, fan oven (or around 200 degrees C if using a normal oven), for about 18 – 20 minutes. When the cake cools, pour icing over it (mix a small amount of water with 4 tbsp icing sugar).


Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Unfortunately, in last minute due to health reasons, we had to cancel our planned trip to Warsaw this summer. In a desperate way to try to make up for it I tried some comfort shopping as soon as I felt better which resulted in the below very (?) necessary kitchen stuff. To my defence some of the things were real bargains in opposite to the expensive baguette pan…

1 glass cover, Åhlens 99 sek.
1 cat mug (the only thing I collect) with a matching tin, Gekås 25 sek.
4 ramekins, Gekås 25 sek for all 4 (I saw equivalent ones at Cordon Bleu for 40 sek each).
4 Crème Brûlée ramekins, Gekås 8.90 sek each (!).
1 baguette pan, Cordon Bleu 250 sek (it was the last one and it looked very lonely on the shelf so I had to buy it…).
1 10″ spring form, for a daring baker’s challenge, Cordon Bleu 160 sek.

Nectarine and raspberry crumble

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

When I took out this nectarine and raspberry crumble from the oven, a divine smell spread all over the appartment that woke up the cats from their lazy naps. Nectarines and raspberries are a winner combination and makes a perfect summer day even more perfect. Take a large serving with some vanilla custard, find a good spot in your garden, balcony or window and indulge.

    Nectarine and raspberry crumble

    125 gram butter
    300 ml flour
    100 ml caster sugar (of which half is vanilla infused, i.e. from a sealed jar with caster sugar and vanilla pods)

    5 ripe nectarines
    200-250 gram raspberries
    2 pinches of sugar
    5 pinches of potato flour

    Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

    Peel the nectarines and slice thinly. Place the nectarine slices and raspberries in a baking pan. Sprinkle sugar and potato flour over the fruit.

    Place the sugar, butter and flour in a bowl. With the tips of your fingers rub the ingredients together until you have a crumbly mixture. Cover the fruit with the crumbles and bake for 25 minutes until the topping is nicely browned. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.

Polish cottage cheese salad (twarożek z szczypiorkem i rzodkiewką)

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

This simple and refreshing summer salad with cottage cheese is very popular in Poland. I’ve eaten it every summer since childhood and will continue to do so. I make the salad exactly as my mother does, the way she learnt to do it from her mother, my dear granny.

    Polish cottage cheese salad
    (twarożek z szczypiorkem i rzodkiewką)

    3 spring unions
    12 large radishes
    400 gram cottage cheese
    150 ml crème fraîche (or sour cream)

    Slice the spring onions. Grate the radishes. Combine spring onions, radishes, cottage cheese and crème fraîche. Salt and pepper. Serve with freshly baked bread.

Creamy Pineapple Tart

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Simple pineapple tart decorated with a rose from my balcony, made to go thereby the single use pan.

Sometimes you want to bake something fast and simple with ingredients you have at home instead of going shopping groceries. Well, then this popular recipe with unknown origin is perfect if you have canned pineapple. The original recipe calls for much more sugar, but the below amounts are enough. I’ve also added lemon zest and lemon juice to freshen it up a bit. The tart itself looks quite boring, so don’t hesitate to decorate it with (edible) flowers or fresh fruit. Serve with vanilla ice cream or vanilla custard.

    Creamy Pineapple Tart

    150 gram butter
    3 tbsp vanilla infused caster sugar
    300 ml flour
    1 tsp baking powder

    1 egg
    200 ml Crème fraîche (15% or 34%)
    50 ml vanilla infused caster sugar
    2 cans (227 gram each) of canned crushed pineapple with juice
    1 tsp lemon zest (lemon zest from 1 lemon)
    2 tbsp lemon juice

    Heat the oven to 170 °C.

    Strain the crushed pineapple and set aside, don’t discard the juice: drink it!

    Blend the ingredients for the crust in a food processor until the dough form clumps, it will take about 1 minute. Place the dough in a tart pan and using your fingertips, evenly press the dough onto the sides and bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes.

    Prebake the crust for about 14 minutes.

    Combine the ingredients for the filling and pour them into the crust. Bake the tart for another 20 minutes.

Raspberries and wild strawberries from the balcony

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Raspberries on the balcony.
For many years I didn’t have any balcony and was dreaming about one all the time. On all my walks I always had my head turned up in the air looking at other people’s balconies. When we searched for an appartment here in Stockholm my most important demand was a balcony and I was thrilled when we finally bought one appartment with a small balcony but also two separate french double doors (were there is no space for any plants). The balcony is small, 2.8 square meters which is about 30 square feet. Most people would only buy one small plant for this kind of balcony, tops and that would be it. Well, I’ve already shown you my rhubarb plant which by the way is ready to be harvested again. Today I’ll show you my raspberry plant, my two wild strawberry plants and the flowers. The raspberry I bought was and is marked as Allgold, which is supposed to give yellow raspberries but today I finally had to realize that it was incorrectly tagged in the garden center and that it’s a normal red raspberry plant. Here you can read more about Allgold and as you can see it’s far from my pictures… I’m a bit dissapointed but the raspberries are still delicious!

The wild strawberry plants are quite small and therefor planted in two smaller pots and everytime I pass by I pick a sweet red berry. The wild strawberry plants are not demanding at all and just continue to bloom and give berries. I’m not sure how they will survive winter as it’s harder with small plants, but I’ll try to “dress” them warm when snow comes.

Besides of the rhubarb, raspberry and wild strawberries I also have a climbing rose called New Dawn which blooms continuously during the summer, a clematis called Multi Blue which blooms from spring to autumn, a bamboo plant for the cats and finally a Lilac called Palibin which is very suitable for pots. Well, all my plants are suitable for pots and grow very well so I really recommend them, just make sure to have pots and containers that are as large as possible. You can plant pretty much everything in pots, including fruits, veggies and berries. You can imagine how many more plants I would have if I had a larger balcony :-)

And last but not least we have two chairs and one table, so we can eat breakfast in the morning or have a nice dinner outside. All on 2.8 square meters. What do you have on your balcony?

The climbing rose New Dawn and the clematis Multi Blue.

The raspberry plant.

Bowser attacking the bamboo plant, which is safe for cats but not from them.

The lilac blooms and smells divine during spring.