Archive for June, 2008

Daring Bakers: Danish braid and pastries

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Danish braid filled with home made vanilla custard and bilberries, and glazing on top.

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! 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 month’s challenge was to bake a Danish Braid from Sherry Yard’s “The Secrets of Baking” and the recipe was picked by Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’?

Before I mention anything else this recipe does not taste like genuine Danish pastries. I love them and I could eat one every day but as they’re not good to your waistline I only eat them every second day… The Daring Baker challenge pastries and braid were good, but they don’t taste like the original ones. The result was nice and I liked them but it wasn’t as I expected. The recipe calls for cardamom and orange zest which is an odd flavour for Danish pastries as they are normaly plain. I had fun baking the challenge but it really wasn’t worth the effort, especially since I know where to get excellent freshly baked Danish pastries (ie in every decent Swedish bakery).

I chose to make a braid and a couple of pin wheel shaped pastries. As I love the classic Danish pastries with vanilla custard I filled the braid with home made vanilla custard (for the first time ever it came out perfect) and bilberries. The pastries were filled with the same vanilla custard, raspberry jam and raspberries.


    Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

    For the dough (Detrempe)
    1 ounce 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 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
    2 large eggs, chilled
    1/4 cup fresh orange juice
    3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt

    For the butter block (Beurrage)
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour

    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. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. 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.

    1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
    2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. 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. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. 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. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
    4. 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. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the 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 tablespoons unsalted butter

    Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 – 8 minutes. 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. 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

    1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
    2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

    For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

    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. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
    2. 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. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
    3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

    Egg Wash
    Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

    Proofing and Baking
    1. 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.
    2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
    3. 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 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. 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 freeze for 1 month.

Something from Pottery Barn

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I guess that most of you figured out what was in the parcel. Thanks to one of the Daring Bakers, Katie at KBK Bakery’s Adventures in Baking I was able to get my hands on the drink dispenser from Pottery Barn that I so much wanted. She kindly helped me with buying and sending the huge 8 litre dispenser that I finally got a few days ago after my struggle with the customs. Thank you so much again Katie for offering your help!

A parcel!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

These past few weeks I’ve had a mutual hate-hate relationship with the Swedish customs office. Finally after 2 postal letters, 3 emails and 2 phone calls to them they released the parcel that I had been waiting for. Any guess what it is? :-) To be continued…

The perfect ice cream

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Vietnamese coffee ice cream

Ice cream season has barely started so once more I would like to remind you about the lovely book “The perfect scoop” by David Lebowitz. If you don’t have it, make sure to get it as soon as possible as it’s the best ice cream book ever and the recipes are gorgeous! Swedish readers can order it from here (however the book is in English). I’ve tried a lot of the recipes and so far I havn’t been dissapointed. Here are some pictures of a few things that I’ve tried from the book.

And when speaking of ice cream, does anyone of you own a Gaggia compressor ice cream maker? I’ve had my eyes on it for a while now, but I can’t really make up my mind. It’s big and needs a permanent location in your kitchen as it can’t be moved for 12 h before making ice cream. But still I would love to make ice cream whenever I want, not having to wait for the freezable part of my current (very old) ice cream maker.

Banana and blueberry sorbet

Nectarine sorbet

Strawberry sour-cream ice cream, my favourite one!

Frozen stracciatella cake with fudge sauce

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Immediatelly when I saw the photos of this fabulous cake over at Cream Puffs in Venice, I knew that I was doing it for Midsummer’s Eve. The cake is not very Midsummery it all, but it looked wonderful and sounded delicious! Another bonus it that it can be prepared in advance (even if I’m a bad planner and somehow always end up cooking everything the same day). It was quick and easy to make, and it does taste divine. The cake is rich but it’s not overwhelming as the fluffy filling quickly melts in your mouth. Now please stop reading this post and go make this cake, you won’t regret it!

Frozen stracciatella cake with fudge sauce
(adapted from Gourmet, ingredients and method changed and recipe converted to the metric system)
serves 6

150 ml finely ground mandelbiskvier (Swedish mini almond cookies. Original recipe calls for amaretti – Italian almond macaroons. Use a food processor)
60 ml sliced almonds with skin, toasted, cooled, and finely ground (in processor)
3 tbsp melted butter

3 large egg whites
60 ml caster sugar (preferably vanilla infused, if you have it)
a pinch of salt
300 ml heavy/double/whipping cream, chilled
2 tbsp macadamia nut syrup
100 gram dark chocolate, grated
50 ml sliced almonds with or without skin, toasted and cooled

50 ml heavy/double/whipping cream
1.5 tbsp light syrup
1.5 tbsp packed light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp instant-espresso powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
50 gram dark chocolate, finely chopped
0.5 vanilla pod, the interior

Butter a loaf pan (arount 12 times 25 cm) and line bottom and short sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving overhang on each end.

Combine ground cookies, ground almonds and butter in a food processor. Firrmly press over bottom of the loaf pan. Freeze.

Make the cake filling by beating eggwhites with caster sugar and salt with an electric beater until egg whites hold stiff peaks.

In a another bowl beat cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold in macadamia nut syrup and half of meringue gently but thoroughly. Fold in remaining meringue along with chocolate. Spoon over crust, smoothing top with offset spatula. Sprinkle the came with almonds. Freeze the cake uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.

The sauce can either be made in advance and then heated just before serving, or you can make it just before serving the cake. Bring cream, syrup, muscovado sugar, espresso powder, cocoa, salt, and half of the chopped chocolate to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the interior of the vanilla pod and the remaining chocolate until smooth. Cool to warm.

To serve: Remove the cake from the freezer. Carefully hold the bottom of the loaf pan under warm tap water for a few seconds. Transfer the cake to a cutting board and remove the paper. Cut cake into 6 triangular wedges. Let stand a few minutes and then serve with warm fudge sauce.

Food blogger brunch

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Courtney and Anne.

One of the best parts of being a food blogger is all the people that you get to know from all over the world. And it’s extra fun when you actually get to meet them in person. I havn’t met that many food bloggers yet, but I meet Anne at a regular basis and I’ve met Pille and Kristina. Last Sunday I had the opportunity to meet Courtney from Coco Cooks, who was visiting Sweden. We went for a brunch together with Anne and Courtney’s host Britt-Helene. The weather was lovely and we had a wonderful time at Hasselbacken, where we sat on the terrace eating brunch and talking about all sorts of things, but of course with a big focus on food. I hope to see lovely Courtney soon again and of course other food bloggers! Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a huge international food blogger meeting somewhere?

(more photos from the brunch can be seen at the end of Courtney’s post about her Sweden visit).

A part of the dessert table.


Mom’s smoked salmon rolls

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Smoked salmon is a must on every buffet table in our family regardless of the occasion. Christmas, birthdays or Easter, smoked salmon is always one of the dishes that we eat. Due to this I’ve become a bit bored of it. It’s good, but I prefer the other dishes on the buffet table or at least prefered until my mother made these salmon rolls. Now I’ll definitly eat salmon at our next family buffet, as long it’s in shape of these delicious salmon rolls filled with creamy and biting mixture.

    Mom’s smoked salmon rolls

    400 gram smoked salmon, cut in thin slices
    200 gram cream cheese
    2 tbsp grated horseradish
    salt and pepper to taste
    chopped fresh chives for decoration.

    Mix cream cheese, horseradish, salt and pepper in a bowl.

    Cover your counter with plastic wrap. Overlap the salmon slices on the plastic wrap, creating a rectangle. Spread the mixture evenly on the salmon.
    Roll the salmon, starting at the long side until you have a roll. It can be a bit messy so just do it slowly and use the plastic wrap to help you. Put the salmon roll in the fridge for at least two hours, or over night.

    Take out the salmon roll and cut it into pieces with a sharp knife. If the roll is too soft to cut, then put the salmon in the freezer for a while.

    Arrange the salmon rolls on a serving plate with the cut side up. Decorate with chopped chives.

Life in the country side

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

From living here….

…to here.

I’m trying to get used to the calmness here at the house. I can’t get rid of that “vacation feeling” that I constantly have since we’ve moved here, but I guess that that is because of the nice weather, being able to get out on the terrace and the sea and forest. The hot summer weather in combination with the move have not been optimal from a baking or cooking point of view. Our new green Weber grill is frequently used for quick and easy food such as hamburgers (I really recommend the ones from Taylor’s and Jones) and sausages. We still don’t have any internet connection, except for the neighbour’s unsecured one that we borrow from time to time, however the connection is really low, gets disconnected a lot and can only be reached from the terrace. Hopefully our own internet will be up and running very soon, and then I’ll show you the kitchen and kitchen garden. Have a nice weekend!