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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

crust:
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

filling:
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

sauce:
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.

Intense chocolate cookies

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

A couple of weeks ago Swedish television was broadcasting Nigella Express during weekday evenings. After watching the episode with Nigella’s intense chocolate cookies, which can be seen on youtube, I felt an immediate urge to bake the cookies. The recipe is quick and simple and I quickly made a batch before starting to watch Grey’s Anatomy. I changed the quantities of the recipe, I especially cut down on the chocolate as I didn’t want the cookies to be too intense and I also added some white chocolate. The result was delicious chocolate cookies, however very rich so one is really enough.


    Intense chocolate cookies

    (Adapted from Intense chocolate cookies from Nigella Express, quantities and method slightly changed. Results in 12 large cookies)

    125 gram dark chocolate, chopped
    150 gram flour
    30 gram cocoa, sifted
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    125 gram salted butter, softened
    60 gram light brown sugar
    60 gram caster sugar
    1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
    1 free-range egg, cold from the fridge
    200 g dark and white chocolate chocolate, cut in chunks

    Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

    Melt 125 gram of dark chocolate in the microwave.

    Combine flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl.
    In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter and brown and white sugar until light and fluffy. Change to slow speed and add the melted chocolate. At the same speed, add the vanilla seeds and the egg. Let it blend in well. Remove the bowl from the machine and by hand mix in the flour mixture. Finally add the chocolate.

    Scoop out 12 balls of the cookie dough and divide them between two baking sheets covered with baking sheet paper, without flattening the cookies.

    Let the cookies bake for 18 minutes. A skewer should come out semi-clean and not wet with batter. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.

    Don’t forget to save the vanilla bean for your own vanilla sugar. Just put it in a jar together with caster sugar.

Lemon sorbet

Sunday, May 4th, 2008


Lemon sorbet in lemon-poppy seed cookie cups (for the cookie cup recipe please refer to one of my favourite cook books: “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz).

This is a simple and very refreshing lemon sorbet, not to forget a cheap one for those on a budget. It’s one of my favourite recipes that I often come back to. The recipe is from the pamplet that followed with the ice cream maker when it was bought around 15 years ago (!).

I know that adding a raw egg white to ice cream may sound crazy, especially in countries with high numbers of Salmonella contaminated eggs, so omit it if you’re in one of thoose countries. However the sorbet will not be as creamy and fluffy without the whipped egg white. Luckily for me Sweden has one of the lowest Salmonella infection rates and it’s very uncommon with contaminated Swedish eggs.

Lemon sorbet
(requires an ice cream maker)

300 ml water
150 ml caster sugar
150 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg white, whipped

Bring water and caster sugar to boil and let simmer for 2 minutes. Let cool. Add lemon juice and put the mixture in the fridge until completely cool. Add the whipped egg white, don’t worry about the lumps, pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When the sorbet is firm and done, scoop it out and let rest in the freezer until it’s time to serve. Don’t keep the sorbet in the freezer for more than 24 hours as it will loose it’s creaminess.

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake pops

Sunday, April 27th, 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 Cheesecake pops from “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey” by Jill O’Connor, and the recipe was picked by Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. I love cheesecake but I didn’t find this specific cheesecake recipe to be the perfect one, but it was good. The recipe is straith forward and I didn’t encounter any problems. I did a half batch and ended up with 14 cheesecake pops. I added a bit lemon to the batter and I omited shortening in the chocolate. For coating I used different sanding sugars, chopped hazelnuts, chopped Toblerone and chopped Daim. The pops would be perfect for a party as they are so pretty and as they are so sweet (depending on chosen coating) one is enough to eat. A tip would be to make a few pops next time you have some left over cheesecake.

Cheesecake Pops
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Lime roses with lime icing

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I find sponge cakes a bit boring, unlike F that really likes them. He especially likes tiger cake which he gets very seldom as I don’t bother to do them very often. Actually there’s nothing wrong with sponge cakes, but they are so plain… To solve this I try to use funny molds, in shape of bears or Moomins, which makes the baking more amusing. I made up this recipe as I wanted just a few cakes and as I wanted to use my new italian silicon rose molds, and the result was very good. We had a lot of limes left from the homestyling of the apartment (!) so I decided to use some of them in the cakes. They came out very moist and delicious with a fresh flavour, perfect now during spring. The tangy lemon frosting was literally “the icing on the cake”.

Lime roses with lime icing
(results in 5-8 cakes, depending on molds. My molds fit around 100 ml each and I got 5 cakes.)

cake:
100 gram vanilla infused caster sugar
50 gram butter
1 egg
50 ml milk
200 ml flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest and juice from one lime

frosting:
juice from one lime
200 ml icing sugar

decoration:
lime zest

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Add egg. Fold in flour and baking powder. Add milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and combine.

Spoon batter up to 2/3 of the molds. Bake for 15-17 minutes depending on size, until a tooth pick or potato stick comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the molds for at least 10 minutes, but don’t leave them in the molds too long or they will get soggy.

Combine icing sugar and lime juice until smooth. Spoon over the cakes and decorate with grated lime zest.

Raspberry and cardamon muffins with crumbles

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

These lovely and moist muffins filled with raspberries are inspired by the ones that I like to buy with my take away-coffee at Espresso House. They don’t look especially pretty but don’t be tricked. l love the idea of crumbles on top of a muffin, however I don’t like the big size of the original ones and I prefer more raspberries. So I decided to bake the muffins at home, using more raspberries and crumbles, and the result was amazing and is definitly my kind of muffins. The cardamon flavour is quite subtile and the tartness of the raspberries goes perfect with the sweet crumbles. Just make sure to have high paper cups so you’ll have enough space for all your crumbles.

    Raspberry and cardamon muffins with crumbles
    (makes 14 medium sized. Use high paper cups)

    muffins:
    130 gram butter, room temperatured
    200 ml caster sugar (of which half is vanilla infused)
    2 eggs
    100 ml milk
    180 gram flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp ground cardamon
    200 gram frozen unthawed raspberries

    crumble:
    50 gram caster sugar
    100 gram flour
    50 gram butter

    Crumble:
    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.

    Muffins:
    In a bowl beat butter and sugar with an electric beater until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time while beating. Add milk. Combine the flour, cardamon and baking powder in a separate bowl and then fold into the egg/butter/sugar/milk bowl. Add the raspberries and combine. Spoon the batter into high paper cups, fill the cups to 2/3.

    Sprinkle the crumbles over the muffins and bake in 175 degrees C (convection oven) for 20-25 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Daring Bakers: Lemon Meringue Pie

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Lemon meringue pie

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! Due to postponing December’s challenge until last minute and then catching a really bad cold on the day for publishing, I didn’t manage to bake the yule log that everyone was supposed to bake. But it feels good to have done the first challenge of 2008. 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 28th of January.

This month’s challenge was to bake a lemon meringue pie from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, and the recipe was picked by Jen from The Canadian Baker. I like lemon meringue pie but in the past, when I was around 14 years old, me and my mother took turns in making it once a week and gradually we got tired of our favourite pie. So these small lemon meringue pies were the first since then and it was like meeting an old friend again. I love the tart lemon filling and the crispy crust, and between the bites I asked myself how I could have neglected this lovely pie for such a long time.

The pie is very sweet, but the sweetness is balanced a bit thanks to the tartness of the lemons. It was nice to try a new recipe for lemon meringue pie and I had no problems what so ever, even though I just as usual waited with the challenge until the last minute. Both the filling and meringue came out perfect, however I must admit that I didn’t follow the recipe completely as I decided to cover the lemon filling while it was still warm. I’m not sure if that really matters, but it didn’t feel like a good idea to put the meringue on a cold filling as I thought that the bottom of the meringue would take longer time to cook. I choose to make 6 small pies instead of one large as the pie can get a bit messy after cutting it. But I felt that the servings were too big, so I would recommend to do more and smaller pies if you want to do individual ones.

Edit: The pies were perfect even on the day after baking. I kept them in the fridge, but completely uncovered. The meringue and filling were still perfect without any liquid, and the crust was great as well. The meringue didn’t sweat at all.

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie or 6 small ones.
    Recipe from: Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver.

    For the Crust:
    3/4 cup (170 gram) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
    2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
    1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
    1/3 cup (80 mL) ice water

    For the Filling:
    2 cups (475 mL) water
    1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
    5 egg yolks, beaten
    1/4 cup (50 gram) butter
    3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
    1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
    1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

    For the Meringue:
    5 egg whites, room temperature
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
    1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
    3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

    To Make the Crust:
    Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

    Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (0.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling. [I have a convection oven and baked the crusts in 175ºC.]

    To Make the Filling:
    Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature. [I didn't let the filling cool, but did the meringue and covered the pies directly]

    To Make the Meringue:
    Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust. [Here I did a misstake, I forgot to change the oven temperature so I baked them in 175ºC for 15 minutes. But the result was great.]

Chocolate cake with yellow beets

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

This week I received yellow beets in my organic vegetable box. I was thrilled and thought about making a yellow beet soup, until I found a recipe for chocolate cake with yellow beets. And as I felt I needed to follow my Garfield quote in the blog header I promptly decided to make the cake instead. And as a matter of fact I still have 500 grams of yellow beets left, which I can use for something else (soup, beets with chèvre, yellow beet cookies?).

I decided to decrease the sugar amount in the original recipe from 400 gram to 300 gram and I also omitted to pre-boil the beets before grating them as I didn’t want all vitamines to evaporate by first boiling and then baking them. To make the cake look prettier I put some walnuts on top of the chocolate glaze. My husband was confused when I served the cake, beets and chocolate? It is in fact a very good combination as the beets are sweet and make the cake moist, but the cake has a distinct beet flavour and if you don’t like carrot cakes you won’t like this one as the amount of vegetables is high. But if you like those kinds of cakes you’ll definitly like this one.

If you don’t have yellow beets you can substitute them with red ones. The differences (that I know about) are that the yellow ones are sweeter and that they don’t bleed when you slice them. And who doesn’t like the beautiful sunny yellow colour now during winter? The colour is so pretty that it makes you smile when grating the beets.


Grated yellow beets.

    Chocolate cake with yellow beets
    (adapted from Ica-Kuriren)

    Cake:
    3 eggs
    300 g caster sugar
    125 ml canola oil
    1 tsp vanilla sugar
    300 ml flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 pinch of salt
    150 g dark chocolate
    400 g yellow beets

    Butter and bread crumbs for the pan

    Glaze:
    100 ml cream
    100 g dark chocolate

    Walnuts for decoration

    Butter and bread the pan (~1.5 litre). Peel and grate the beets. Melt the chocolate in the microwave.

    Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric beater until fluffy and white. Fold in oil, vanilla sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add melted chocolate and grated yellow beets.

    Pour the batter into the pan. Bake in 175 degrees C for 40-60 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean. On the otherhand you want the cake moist so don’t keep it in the oven too long.

    Un-mold the cake and let it cool.

    Bring the cream to boil, then add the chocolate. Stir until combined. Spread glaze over the top of the cake and let it stiffen in the fridge.