Archive for October, 2007

Daring Bakers: Bostini Cream Pie

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Bostini Cream Pie, mini variant

This is my fourth month as a member of the amazing Daring Bakers. 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 without any modifications except where specifically allowed. 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 29th of Otober. This month’s challenge is Bostini Cream Pie which consists of a orange chiffon cake served on vanilla custard and then topped with a chocolate glaze. The recipe is from Donna Scala and Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni (in the Napa Valley) and Scala’s Bistro (in San Francisco) and was picked as this month’s challenge by Mary at Alpineberry.

Bostini Cream Pie, mini variant. You can only see the top half of the chiffon cake, as the rest of the cake is in the lovely custard.

I must admit that this month’s challenge has been the most delicious so far, but oh so rich. I already feel much heavier due to the delicous vanilla custard! I halfed the recipe and still got 4 generous servings and 3 mini servings. I’m always nervous when cooking custard but it turned out perfect. The orange chiffon cakes were easy too make. I had some troubles getting them out from the ramekins though, I probably greased the ramekins too little. For the mini variants I cut out hearts with a cookie cutter and for the normal servings I just used the whole cake from each ramekin. The chiffon cakes were very light and fluffy even though they sank quite a lot after they were taken out from the oven. I used a little too bitter chocolate for the chocolate glaze, but actually I think that was good as the dessert might have been too sweet otherwise.

Bostini Cream Pie, mini variant

The verdict is very positive! This is a simple yet delicious dessert, it’s perfect for parties as you can prepare all parts in advance and then just assemble them as the guests are waiting for the dessert. Thanks Mary for this month’s challenge! To see how the other Daring Bakers managed this month’s challenge, go to the Daring Bakers blog roll.

Bostini Cream Pie, regular size. The size of the red casserole is 250 ml.

    Bostini Cream Pie
    (from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala’s Bistro)
    (makes 8 generous servings)

    Custard (Pastry Cream)
    3/4 cup whole milk
    2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 whole egg, beaten
    9 egg yolks, beaten
    3 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
    1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
    1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

    Chiffon Cake
    1 1/2 cups cake flour
    3/4 cup superfine sugar
    1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
    1/3 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup canola oil
    1/3 cup beaten egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks)
    3/4 cup fresh orange juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
    1 teaspoon cream of tartar

    Chocolate Glaze
    8 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
    8 ounces unsalted butter


    To prepare the custard (pastry cream):
    Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.

    To prepare the chiffon cakes:
    Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 8 molds with nonstick cooking spray. You may use 7-ounce custard cups, ovenproof wide mugs or even large foil cups. Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups.

    Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat.

    Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter. Fill the sprayed molds nearly to the top with the batter.

    Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.

    To prepare the glaze:
    Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.

    To assemble:
    Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.

Bostini Cream Pie, regular size

Help with restaurant recommendations for Paris?

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

We’ll be spending New Year’s Eve in beautiful Paris!! I would be really grateful for restaurant recommendations, especially for la Saint-Sylvestre (as New Year’s Eve is called in French), but also for the other days we’ll be in Paris.

Thanks in advance!!

Café Blikle, Warszawa

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Delicious tasting pączki, polish doughnuts.

I’m sorry for my long absence. Last Sunday we came home after spending a long weekend in Warsaw. My plan was to prepare some automatical posting for the days I was gone, but I didn’t have any time to prepare the posts. And the day after we came home I caught the flu. I still don’t feel fully recovered, but at least I have the energy to blog!

A fantastic poppy seed cake decorated with different kinds of raisins.

Our weekend trip to Warsaw was fabulous, but too short. We arrived on Wednesday late evening and came home on Sunday afternoon. My dad came home to us and took care of the cats which was very sweet of him. We met both family and friends in Warsaw and we had a lovely time. I hadn’t meet my relatives since ages and for F it was his first visit in Poland. As always in Poland we ate delicious and hearty food, mostly at home at relatives and friends but we did have time for a visit at Café Blikle and a visit to a pierogi restaurant were they serve polish dumplings. We also visited a weird but very cosy café together with my cousin A, but I’ll write about that one and the pierogi restaurant in separate posts.

Outside Café Blikle.

Café Blikle is a classic and traditional café situated on one of the most popular streets in Warsaw called Nowy Świat (meaning new world). The business was started in 1869 by Antoni Blikle and has been in the same building since then. Just beside the café is a A.Blikle pastry shop and a A.Blikle delicatessen, which can also bee found on other locations in Poland. The brand is very famous for their pączki (Polish doughnuts) but don’t miss the rest of their delicious pastries and cakes. In the café menu you can also find breakfast and lunch alternatives, but we went there only for a coffee and something sweet.

Café Blikle has a large variety of tea but we opted for some coffee which was excellent, F had an Irish coffee and I had a cappuccino. We ordered two pączki which had the classic filling of rose bud marmelade and we shared a poppy seed cake. The pączki were really lovely and the poppy seed cake was the best one I’ve ever tasted and I’ve had a lot of poppy seed cakes :-) I love cafés with waiters which isn’t very common in Sweden and the service here was great and the waiters were very professional. The café is quite expensive in polish measures but it’s a classic venue that everyone should visit at least once when in Warsaw.

Inside A.Blikle’s pastry shop, just beside the café.

Inside A.Blikle’s pastry shop, just beside the café.

Inside A.Blikle’s pastry shop, just beside the café.

Inside A.Blikle’s pastry shop, just beside the café.

Nowy Świat, the pretty street were you among others can find the Blikle café.

Café Blikle
ul. Nowy Świat 33
Warszawa, Poland

Mini bilberry crumbles with hazelnuts

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Mini bilberry crumble with hazelnuts and custard.

One of the easiest and most delicious desserts that you can make is a crumble. It’s almost impossible to fail and you can vary the filling depending on your current craving or on which fruit you have available at home. In the summer a gorgeous nectarine and raspberry crumble is exactly what you need and during autumn the perfect crumble contains bilberries accompanied by hazelnuts, which is what I did today. To add some more nut flavour I added toasted oat flour to the crumble, which is called skrädmjöl in Swedish. It’s a brown flour made of toasted oats and since I bought it for the first time not long ago I love to try it out in old recipes as it gives a kind of nutty flavour. Next time I’ll substitute some of the whole wheat flour in sunflower seed cookies with the toasted oat flour, I think it will add a nice touch to the cookies.

    Mini bilberry crumbles with hazelnuts
    (makes 4 small crumbles)

    60 gram butter
    50 ml caster sugar (of which half is vanilla infused)
    200 ml flour (125 ml wheat flour and 75 ml toasted oat flour – skrädmjöl)
    50 ml hazelnuts, chopped

    bilberry filling:
    225 gram bilberries (about 400 ml)
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tsp potato flour

    Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

    Divide the bilberries evenly in four small oven proof ramekins. Divide the sugar and potato flour evenly over the bilberries.

    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. Add the hazelnuts. Cover the bilberries with the crumbles and bake for 15 minutes until the topping is nicely browned. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.

Weekend Cat Blogging

Saturday, October 6th, 2007


The cats havn’t appeared too much lately on the blog, so I though it’s time to show that they are well. Here’s Tanuki and as many cats he loves to lie on and in things; bags, clothes, tablecloths and apparently in – what he thinks – his own little house.

Brownies with salty peanuts

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Autumn in really here now and sometimes I wish that I was a bear so that I could hibernate during winter. Those who know me, know that I’m not kidding. I don’t know if bears eat peanuts, but I do. So I will just take another piece of these rich brownies with salty peanuts and go back to bed with it. And only when I’m finished I’ll maybe reconsider to go outdoors again.

    Brownies with salty peanuts

    170 gram dark chocolate (min. 60 %), chopped
    150 gram butter
    3 eggs
    200 ml sugar (infused with vanilla)
    300 ml flour
    200 ml salty peanuts, roughly chopped

    peanut layer:
    200 ml good quality chunky peanut butter (I use Kung Markatta “American Style”, an ecologic one)
    50 ml icing sugar
    2 tsp vanilla sugar
    50 gram butter, melted

    100 gram dark chocolate (min. 60 %), melted

    Melt the chocolate together with the butter in the microwave. In the meanwhile beat the eggs and the sugar with an electric beater until white and fluffy. Add chocolate and butter mixture and combine. Add flour and salty peanuts. Combine. Pour the batter in a pan (around 30 cm * 30 cm) lined with greased parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes in 170 degrees C. Let the brownies cool.

    Combine peanut butter, icing sugar and vanilla sugar. Add melted butter and mix well. Spread evenly over the brownies. My peanut butter is very hard but if your peanut butter is runny, then reduce the amount of butter.

    Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer.

    Let the brownies set in the fridge for about 1 hour. Cut into small squares and serve.

Apple and Maple Cupcakes with Maple frosting and Totoro!

Monday, October 1st, 2007

I’ve been searching for a new apple recipe for all those lovely autumnal apples and I found one for Maple, Pecan and Apple Cupcakes with Maple Frosting on Cupcake frenzy. I omitted the pecans completely and changed some of the amounts. The result was very sweet even though I reduced the amount of sugar and syrup. The cupcakes smells wonderful and I could easily bake these more times, but with less sugar and maybe even without the frosting which adds more sweetness.

For decoration I made mini Totoros in sugar fondant/paste, which I coloured blue. The eyes and bellies are made from uncoloured white sugar fondant and the details are painted with a food pen. The Totoros are very sweet and I wouldn’t eat them, but you could if you have a sweet tooth :-) The inspiration for the Totoros came from the Totoro tutorial at The Scent of Green Bananas and Hundrednorth’s flicker stream.

    Apple and Maple Cupcakes
    (adapted from Maple, Pecan and Apple Cupcakes at Cupcake Frenzy)

    makes 12

    60g butter, softened
    240 ml flour
    1.5 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp cinnamon
    100 ml firmly packed brown sugar
    50 ml real maple syrup
    2 eggs
    300 ml peeled and coarsely grated tart apples (about 3 small ones)

    Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
    Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add syrup, beat a little more and add the eggs one at a time. Add flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add the grated apples. Fill medium cupcake molds 2/3 full with batter.
    Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks, then spread with maple frosting.

    Maple Frosting
    90g butter, softened
    240 ml icing sugar
    4 tsp real maple syrup

    Beat butter, sifted icing sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy.