Archive for the 'FOOD EVENTS:' Category

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.]

Menu for Hope 4 – last day!

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Don’t miss a chance to win a Moomin baking parcel with lots of Moomin cookie cutters, prize code EU15

Today is the last day to participate in Menu for Hope 4, don’t miss this opportunity to donate money at the same time as you have a chance to win fabulous prizes. Up until this very moment we’ve collected $64,165.00 and we still have one day left!

Important message from Stinky

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Menu for hope 4: Win fabulous Moomin molds and cookie cutters!

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Moomin baking collection, prize code EU15

It’s December and for the fourth year in a row food bloggers from all over the world are raising money to the United Nations World Food Programme by offering wonderful culinary prizes to tempt people to donate money. For every US$10, the donor receives a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of their choice. Last year we collected the incredible sum of $60,925.12!!! This year once again, all money will go to the UN World Food Programme. However this year the money are earmarked to a school’s feeding program in Lesotho. We chose to support the school lunch program because providing food for the children not only keeps them alive, but helps them stay in school so that they learn the skills to feed themselves in the future.

To read more about Menu for Hope 4, who benefits from it, what percentage of the funds actually goes to those we help etc, go to this link on Chez Pim.

So what does A Cat in the Kitchen do to contribute to Menu for Hope 4? Well, I’m donating a very special prize to the raffle, to tempt my dear readers. My prize for Menu for Hope 4 is a baking collection for all Moomin lovers! It’s Moomin Mania, a special irresistible baking collection for all Moomin lovers (prize code EU15) that consists of:

1 Moomintroll cake mold
1 Moomintroll cookie cutter
1 Moominmamma cookie cutter
1 Moominpappa cookie cutter
1 Lilla My cookie cutter
1 Snork maiden cookie cutter
1 Groke cookie cutter
1 Snufkin cookie cutter
1 Hattifatteners cookie cutter
1 Grooke cookie cutter
1 Stinky cookie cutter
3 popsicle molds with Stinky, Snufkin and Moomintroll
Moomin band aid (if you get hurt in the kitchen while cooking)

Everything is brand new in their original packages and I’ve been struggling really hard to prepare this prize. I’ve been searching everywhere for the cookie cutters and luckily I had to go for an unplanned business trip to Helsinki last month where I was finally able to buy the cookie cutters and the cake mold in the official Moomin shop in Helsinki, Finland. The popsicle molds were bought in a small shop in Gothenburg and the band aid was bought in a Swedish pharmacy.

The 9 different cookies come out beautifully with outlines and people just love them. You can make any cut-out cookies with the cutters and decorate them as you wish. The cake mold holds 400 ml and results in a cute Moomin cake. The popsicle molds can be filled with juice, yoghurt or ice cream batter and produces cute Moomin popsicles.

The cute cookie cutters are hard to find outside Finland and occassionally I’ve seen them for very high prices on Ebay, last time I saw them a seller wanted $20 + shipping for a package of 3 cookie cutters. Here you are able to win 9 different cookie cutters, a mold, band aid and 3 popsicle molds!!! I will ship the prize anywhere in the world.

    Donation and raffle ticket buying instructions:

    1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim. Every $10 gives you a raffle ticket.

    2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

    3. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code. The prize code for my Moomin parcel is EU15. IMPORTANT: Please use the following convention when specifying your prize choices in the Personal Message section: “number of tickets” x “prize code” (for example: 3xUE01, 2xAP06).

    4. For US donors: If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

    5. Important: Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

    Check back on Chez Pim on Wednesday, January 9 for the results of the raffle.

    If you’re feeling a bit insecure, the regional host Fanny at Food Beam has a step by step instruction here.

Good luck in the raffle and remember that this is for a very good cause. Thank you for your participation!

An example of what you can bake with the Moomin cookie cutters.

Daring Bakers: Tender potato bread

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Potato buns, decorated with poppy seeds and ready to be baked in the oven

This is my fifth month as a member of the 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 26th of November. This month’s challenge was nothing sweet, but savoury! The challenge was to bake tender potato bread from “Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World” by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, and the recipe was picked by Tanna from My Kitchen in half cups.

As usual I started with the challenge late, quite late or actually just late. So on Sunday evening I finally peeled and cooked the potatoes for the potato bread. I started making the dough and it was quite sticky all the time despite all flour and me struggling. I didn’t want to add more flour than the maximum in the recipe so the dough was very soft. I left it to rise for 2 hours and it grew beautifully.

Pototo buns, decorated with sesame seeds and ready to bake.

My plan was to make buns, but actually braided or decorated in some way. But my dough was too soft to shape so I just made round buns. After the second rise I decorated half of the buns with poppy seeds and the other half with sesame seeds. Then, when it was time to put the three sheets with buns in the oven I first didn’t react. Then I suddenly realised that the TV was totally quiet and when I turned to the oven I just frooze. POWER FAILURE!!!!

And now you may ask, didn’t I notice the darkness? No, since this was only a partial power failure which took out one third of our appartment: only some of the lights, the TV, the fridge (but not the freezer), the washing machine and THE OVEN!!!! After a lot of effort we came to the conclusion that the error was nothing we could fix, so Fredrik quickly connected the fridge to a working socket. And what about the bread? Well, 6 of the buns was put in the freezer. One whole sheet I put in the fridge with hope that the power would come back and one sheet was left on the counter (those buns looked like tortilla breads this morning). And we, instead of having freshly baked potato buns as evening snack, microwaved some pizza instead. However not any pizza, but homemade pizza with buffallo mozzarella and spicy sausages which I made the evening before. We ate the pizza in the light of three candles and with Yoshi staring. It was almost the “perfect” power failure: a working fridge and a microwave is all you need :-)

This morning we still had the partial power failure, so I couldn’t bake the buns that I put in the fridge. The problem is reported and if the power gets back this evening I’ll bake them tonight otherwise I’ll de-frost the frozen ones and bake them when ever the power comes back.

I hope that all other Daring Bakers enjoyed their bread. I regret not getting to taste it, but I think it’s in the spirit of the Daring Bakers to cook so hard the power blows… :-)

EDIT 26th November:
On Monday evening we got back the one third of the power that was missing. I know that it sounds weird that we only had partial power failure, but we have three incoming power inflows to the appartment and they are independent of each other. Someone asked about heating, but that is done separate so we still had a warm and cosy appartment. Anyway, the buns didn’t look good after being in the fridge for 20 hours, they had collapsed into rather flat buns and it didn’t help to keep them in room temperature for an hour before baking. The baked buns were quite soft but still a bit cheewy and I’m sure that they would have come out much better if baked directly after the second rise. So I don’t really have any verdict, I need to make them from scratch again. And I’ll also try to de-frost the frozen ones and see if they’ll come out better then the ones keept in the fridge.

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

Daring Bakers: Cinnamon sticky buns

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Sticky buns with pecans.

This is my third 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 30th of September. This month’s challenge was Cinnamon buns and sticky buns. The recipe was picked by Marce at Pip in the City.

Marce let us choose between baking cinnamon buns or sticky buns, or both. I chose to bake sticky buns as that’s something we don’t have in Sweden contrary to cinnamon buns that are pretty much the first thing children learn to bake here. Cinnamon buns are very popular in Sweden and we even have a cinnamon bun day (4th of October), but we don’t have any fondant glaze on top, just nib sugar. And another thing that differs (at least compared with the Daring Baker’s challenge) is that we use butter in the cinnamon and sugar filling. Anyway, it was fun to try a new cinnamon bun recipe as I’ve been using the same one as long as I can remember.

My changes – within the DB rules:
-I used fresh yeast (20 gram) instead of instant yest.
-For the filling I used cinnamon sugar but I also added an additional teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of cardamon.
-I used chopped pecan nuts on top of the caramel glaze.
-I made the smaller variants, so I had to use two baking pans.
-I substituted the corn syrup for the caramel glaze with a Swedish syrup (ljus sirap) instead.
-I only baked my buns for 25 minutes instead of 30-40 minutes as the recipe says.

-The dough was very easy to make, but I didn’t like the amount of time these buns needed to rise; first 2 hours and then 90 minutes. That is just too long when you have an instant craving for cinnamon buns.

-I missed the cardamon that I normally always add to my cinnamon bun dough. But the lemon zest was refreshing and added a nice touch.

-I really liked the buns, they were delicious, probably because of the caramel glaze and pecans. They are soft and the fantastic caramel glaze goes so well with the buns. I will definintly bake them more times. I’m very glad that I did the sticky bun variant though and not the ones with the fondant glaze as I frankly wouldn’t call them cinnamon buns as I know them; without the caramel glaze they would have been too dry and there wasn’t enough cinnamon in them. I guess that I’m just old fashioned and prefer my classic cinnamon buns in the Swedish way :-) But the sticky buns were great.

Here you’ll find links to all Daring Bakers if you want to see their cinnamon and sticky buns.

Before fermentation.

After fermentation.

After baking. Beware of that what you see here are the bottoms,
you flip the sticky buns over to the other side when serving.

Sticky buns cut loose and then flipped over to the “right” side.
Ready to be served!

    Cinnamon buns and sticky buns
    (from Peter Reinhart´s The Break Baker´s Apprentice)


    15 minutes mixing; 3 1/2 hours fermentation, shaping and proofing; 20 to 40 minutes baking.

    Yield: Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon or sticky buns


    6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
    1 large egg, slightly beaten
    1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
    3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons instant yeast*
    1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
    1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
    White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns or caramel glaze for sticky buns (at the end of the recipe.)
    Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts (for sticky buns.)
    Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (for sticky buns, optional.)

    *Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.

    1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand); if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast. Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

    2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

    3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo on the left for shaping the buns.

    (Transcription: (A) Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. (B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)

    4. For cinnamon buns, line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.

    For sticky buns, coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.

    5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

    6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.

    7. Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.

    8. For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving. For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

    White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns

    Cinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings.

    Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

    When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)

    Caramel glaze for sticky buns

    Caramel glaze is essentially some combination of sugar and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and the glaze turns dark brown, it will cool to a hard, crack-your-teeth consistency. Most sticky bun glazes contain other ingredients to influence flavor and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and flavor extracts or oils, such as vanilla or lemon. This version makes the best sticky bun glaze of any I´ve tried. It was developed by my wife, Susan, for Brother Juniper´s Cafe in Forestville, California.
    NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.

    2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

    3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.

A food blogger meeting in Tallinn

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

From left to right: Me, Kristina from Clivia’s Cusine, Anne from Anne’s food and Pille from Nami-nami.

On Monday evening I, Anne from Anne’s food and Kristina from Clivia’s cuisine took the ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn in Estonia to meet Pille from Nami-nami. The monday evening and night was spent on the ferry and on Tuesday morning we arrived in Tallinn.

We first went for a morning coffee at Double Coffee in the shopping mall Viru Keskus where I enjoyed a banana latte, with whipped cream and banana liquer, which wasn’t quite what I had expected but it was really good. Maybe not the ideal breakfast though :-)

Pille, Kristina and Anne at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts.

After some strolling in the shops it was finally time to meet up with Pille at the Town Hall. It was so nice to finally meet sweet Pille and she directly took us for lunch at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts, a restaurant with traditional Estonian food, where we first exchanged gifts and then had a lovely lunch. We got Estonian recipes and a nice soap that smells like tar (!) which will be perfect when I’ll go for a sauna with Fredrik to the bath house the next time. Kristina and Anne received marzipan figures while I got a cute clay cat as I had already received a marzipan frog with the blogging for post parcel that Pille sent me before summer. And we gave Pille cups from Höganäs to match with her teapot.

Meat in jelly with potatos and a very hot tasty Estonian mustard.

For starters we shared meat in jelly with potato and a very hot Estonian mustard, which I really liked. Pille told us that the dish is very typical in Estonia especially for special occasions; just as in Poland. For main I had a great casserole with chicken liver and mashed potoates which was very nice. Liver is underestimated and really tasty.

Chicken liver casserole.

I enjoyed the food very much at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts, it was hearty and delicious. Instead of eating dessert at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts, Pille showed us beautiful Tallinn and we then went to Chocolats de Pierre where we had lovely chocolates and desserts together with coffee. I loved the interior and I wish that we had a place like this in Stockholm. After the coffee we had some more sightseeing and shopping and then it was finally time to get back to the ferry again. Thank you so much kind Pille for our lovely day and that you took your time with us. Thank you for the lunch, the gifts and for showing us Tallinn! And a big thanks to Anne and Kristina for the great travel company.

Coffee, cake and chocolates at Chocolats de Pierre.

The cosy interior at Chocolats de Pierre.

A view over beautiful Tallinn.

Spiced almonds outside Olde Hansa. My husband loved these and luckily Pille has a good recipe on her site.