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Plum tray bake with cheesecake ripple

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

I picked up this great recipe at Waitrose in September but I didn’t come around to actually bake it until the other day. This a real “Dagmar recipe” with two favourites: cheesecake and plums. I love the combination of moist sponge cake, creamy parts of cheesecake ripple and lovely juicy plums. You could easily subsitute the plums with another fruit depending on the season. Or add a spice, why not cinnamon or cardamom?

    Plum tray bake with cheesecake ripple
    (adapted from a Waitrose recipe, makes 10 squares)

    200 gram cream cheese
    1 vanilla bean, the interior
    3 tbsp caster sugar
    4 medium eggs
    175 gram butter, softened
    175 gram dark muscovado sugar
    200 gram flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    400 ripe plums, halved, stoned and roughly chopped

Icing sugar to dust the cake

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C.

Grease and line a 28×18 cm shallow baking tin with baking parchment. Make sure that the paper comes higher than the rim of the tin.

Beat cream cheese, vanilla, caster sugar and one of the eggs with an electric beater, until smooth.

In another bowl, beat remaining eggs, butter, muscovado sugar, flour and baking powder with an electric beater for 2 minutes until creamy.

Spread half of the creamed flour mixture onto the base of the baking tin. Dollop half of the cream cheese mixture over it. Scatter with half of the chopped plums. Spoon the remaining creamed flour mixture on top and dot with the rest of the cream cheese mixture. Scatter the remaining plums on the cake. Bake for around 35 minutes until the cake has risen and is just firm to touch. Make sure not to over-bake. Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve it warm or cold with vanilla ice cream.

Mini orange cupcakes with chocolate

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Although I made these lovely cupcakes for Halloween, as you can see on the Halloween themed paper cups, they can be made and eaten any time of the year. The orange flavour goes perfectly with some melted chocolate on top, sprinkled with orange flavoured hundreds-and-thousands.

    Mini orange cupcakes with chocolate
    Makes around 25 mini cupcakes (either use mini papercups from Wilton or Swedish “småbrödsformar”).

    100 gram butter
    50 ml sour cream
    150 ml caster sugar infused with vanilla
    2 eggs
    300 ml flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    juice and zest from 1 organic orange

    75 gram dark chocolate
    orange flavoured hundreds-and-thousands (sprinkles)

    Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C. Beat butter and sugar with an electric beater until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add sourcream, orange juice and zest and combine. Finally add flour and baking powder.

    Divide batter between the mini paper cups with the help of a teaspoon. Only fill each paper cup to 2/3. Bake in the oven for 6-8, don’t overbake or they will get dry.

    Melt the chocolate ( I prefer using the microwave). Pour some chocolate on top of each cupcake and sprinkle some hundreds and thousands.

Halloween cookies with cardamom

Friday, October 31st, 2008

For the last years Halloween has become more and more popular to celebrate in Sweden. During the last week I’ve seen a lot of Halloween related merchandise and even ghost and pumpkin pastries in our local bakery. This year, my first in a house, we’ve carved a pumpkin and we’ve bought candies for the children that might come to trick or treat. I’m not so sure if anyone will pass by, but you never know.

I was very eager to try the new pumpkin shaped cookie cutter that I received in my blogging my mail parcel the other day, so I tried to find a good cut out cookie recipe. I decided to try a recipe from Allrecipes that I adjusted a bit, the biggest change was to add cardamom. The recipe is super simple and the cookies taste great; I believe it’s one of the best cut out recipes that I’ve tried. I decorated stems with melted chocolate and I piped faces with icing that I made with orange food colouring, icing sugar and a tiny splash of water.

    Cut out cookies
    adapted from Allrecipes

    1 1/2 cups butter, softened
    2 cups vanilla infused sugar
    4 eggs
    5 cups flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1.5 tsp ground cardamom

    Beat butter and sugar with an electric beater until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add flour, cardamom and baking powder. Combine. Cover dough and chill in the fridge for one hour.
    Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Roll out dough on floured surface, about 1 cm thick. Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter. Place cookies on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 6-10 minutes, make sure not to burn. Let cool before decorating.

Gooseberry thumbprint cookies

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

The gooseberry plant that I planted in spring was a huge disappointment as I only got five berries. Yes, five fem pięć cinque 5. Luckily for me there is gooseberry jam at IKEA.

    Gooseberry thumbprint cookies
    30 cookies

    450 ml flour
    100 ml sugar (vanilla infused)
    1 tsp baking powder
    200 gram butter

    Around 100-200 ml gooseberry jam

    Pre-heat convection oven to 175 degrees C.
    Mix butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder.
    Divide dough in 30 walnut sized pieces and roll each to a ball.
    Put each cookie in a small paper cup (småbrödsform in Swedish).
    Press a thumb in the center of each cookie and fill with jam.
    Bake the cookies until lightly golden, around 10-15 minutes.

Pacman cake

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Another year has passed and yesterday it was time to prepare a new birthday cake for dear F who’s turning 30 today. Every year he wishes a Nonstop (the Swedish variant of Smarties) cake as birthday cake, which he of course never gets. It’s a kid’s cake for crying out load! So instead I made this even more childish Pacman cake, to follow the 1up Mushroom cake I made last year :-) This year I learned a valuable lesson when using sugarpaste on a cake, don’t omit the buttercream. Without the buttercream it was impossible to get the cake smooth, but I must admit it tasted much better. The first cake filling consists of Dumle-fluff, which is done by melting Dumle (soft toffee covered in milk chocolate) together with whipping cream. Let cool during the night and then whip. It tastes heavenly! The other layer consists of whipped cream, sugar and raspberries. The best part of making the Pacman cake is the wedge you need to cut to create his mouth, you can guess where it went….

Recipe further down.

    Pacman cake

    Cake:
    4 eggs
    200 ml sugar
    2 tsp baking powder
    100 ml potato flour
    100 ml flour

    Heat oven (convection) to 175 degrees C. Butter and bread a round pan with removable bottom. In a bowl beat eggs and sugar with an electric beater until white and fluffy. Add sifted flour and baking powder, and combine carefully so the batter remains fluffy and airy. Pour patter in pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and then remove from pan and let cool completely.

    Dumle fluff (needs to be prepared the evening before):
    180 gram Dumle (soft toffee covered in milk chocolate)
    300 ml whipping/heavy cream

    Heat the cream in a pan, add toffee and stir until it’s completely melted. Don’t boil!
    Let cool in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours. When completly cool, beat with an electric beater just as you would beat ordinary cream.


    Raspberry filling:

    200 ml whipping/heavy cream
    250 gram raspberries
    sugar

    Beat cream with electric beater until fluffy. Don’t mix with the raspberries as they will be put on top after the cream has been spread on one of the cake layers.

    For assembly:
    Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
    Sugar paste
    yellow, pink, red and turquoise food colour
    black food pen
    melted unsalted butter or butter cream

    Reserve a small amount of sugar paste for the eyes. Take 4 pieces of the sugar paste and colour them pink, turquoise, red and orange (use yellow and red). Colour the rest of the sugar paste yellow.

    Assembly:
    Cut the cake in 3 even layers. Sprinkle the first layer with Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur). Spread Dumle fluff evenly and cover with the second cake layer. Sprinkle Frangelico over cake and spread whipped cream evenly. Place all raspberries on the cream and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Cover with the third and last cake layer. Sprinkle Frangelico.

    Cut a wedge in the cake and taste it while rolling out the yellow sugar paste. Before covering the cake with sugar paste, brush melted unsalted butter underneath. This is done to avoid the sugar paste from sweating when coming in contact with the whipped cream. However it will be hard to get the cake smooth without butter cream. If looks are more important than taste, make sure to cover the whole cake with butter cream before covering with sugar paste.

    Roll out the remaining coloured sugar paste and cut out ghosts with a knife. “Glue” them on the cake with a small amount of water. Make eyes with white sugar paste and paint a black dot with a food colouring pen. Don’t forget Pacman’s eye as well.

Sweet green tomato pies with almond paste and lemon

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

We had a minor storm last night and when I woke up this morning some of the branches on the tomato plants were broken. I went out on the terrace in the pouring rain to raise the fallen plants, thinking about all those green tomatos on the broken branches and what to do with them. I first thought of making a green tomato jam, but after looking in one of the cookbooks I saw a green tomato pie recipe. Aha, perfect! I didn’t follow the recipe at all (except for the fact that I used green unripe tomatos) and decided that the tomatos would go well with almond paste and lemon. So I collected all my unripe tomatos, put on my kitchen music (the best of Dean Martin) and just after hearing the first tones F shouted from the ground flour asking what I was baking. For a second I didn’t know what I should say. Should I tell him about my crazy plan, with the risk of having to eat everything by myself as he sometimes is a bit fuzzy with vegetables and vegetable cakes? But I was honest and he answered that it sounded “interesting” wondering how on earth such a thing could be edible…

I used a Donna Hay recipe for the pastry and the filling was just a gamble that turned out excellent! Next time I’ll try with cinnamon instead of lemon or maybe something else. And there will be a next time because we both really liked these mini pies and I’m sure that by the end of summer I’ll end up with more unripe green tomatoes. If you’re tired of making green tomato jam or fried green tomatoes every time the summer ends to quickly or a storm splits your plants resulting in a lot of unripe tomatoes, bake these sweet and delicious pies. As soon as you taste them you’ll forget all about bad weather and the end of the summer.

Unripe tomatoes of different kinds: yellow pear shaped, black cherry and bloody butcher.

    Mini green tomato pies with almond paste and lemon
    (makes 5 pies, using 12 cm * 2 cm metal pie tins)

    basic vanilla pastry (adapted from Donna Hay):
    250 gram flour
    1 tbsp icing sugar
    180 gram unsalted butter, cold and chopped
    80 ml ice water
    1 vanilla pod, the interior

    Filling:
    180 gram unripe tomatoes, mixed sorts (mostly cherry tomatoes)
    200 gram almond paste
    50 gram unsalted butter, softened
    zest from one lemon
    1 tbsp Grand Marnier
    0.5 tbsp flour

    milk for brushing
    caster sugar to sprinkle on top of pies

    pastry:
    Combine flour, sugar, vanilla and butter in a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. While still running the food processor, add water little by little until a smooth dough is created. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.

    filling:
    Grate almond paste and combine with softened butter. Chop the tomatoes coursly. Add tomatoes, lemon zest, Grand Marnier and flour to the butter/almond paste mixture. Combine.

    Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (convection oven). Lightly grease the metal tins with butter.
    Take 2/3 of the pastry and roll out to 3-4 mm thick. Cut out 5 rounds, around 2 cm wider than the tins. Line the pie tins with the pastry and trim the edges.

    Divide the tomato filling between the pies. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut in strips. Arrange the strips on the pies to a lattice pattern. Press and trim the edges. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pies are golden.

Filling with tomatoes and almond paste

Daring Bakers: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008



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 Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from Carol Walter’s “Great Cakes” and the recipe was picked by Chris of Mele Cotte.


It’s super hot outside and I’m melting so I will keep this post as short as possible. As usual I did the challenge in the very last minute. I baked the cake last night and today during the day I completed the different steps. I decided to do half the recipe, using a smaller spring pan. I used cherry preserves instead of apricot and I omitted the sugar syrup and used Frangelico hazelnut liquour instead. For decoration I used fresh cherries.

I averted two minor catastrophies:

1. My swiss buttercream curdled. But I quickly re-heated it for a couple of seconds, whipped it and it turned out very smooth and nice.

2. After putting the praline buttercream very even on each cake layer and then with the cake in my hand looking for a space in the fridge I discovered the whipped cream that I was suppose to have on each layer of butter cream…. So I gently split the layers and added the cream on my earlier perfect layers. It didn’t turn out too great, but better than I first thought.

The verdict? A gorgeous cake and I’m sure I will make it again in the future. There were many discussions on the private Daring Bakers forum about this very cake, but with over 1000 members it’s a tough choice for the monthly host to pick a recipe that will suit everyone. I’m very glad that Chris picked this recipe, as I would not have tried it otherwise despite the fact that I love hazelnuts all because the fact that I normally don’t like butter cream. But this one was delicious! Thanks!

The recipe can be found here and to see all fabulous versions of this cake go to the Daring Bakers blog roll.



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.

    DANISH DOUGH

    Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

    Ingredients
    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

    DOUGH
    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.

    BUTTER BLOCK
    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.

    APPLE FILLING
    Makes enough for two braids

    Ingredients
    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.

    DANISH BRAID
    Makes enough for 2 large braids

    Ingredients
    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.