Archive for the 'FOOD EVENTS:' Category

Daring Bakers: Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Milk chocolate and caramel tart decorated with caramel containing ground hazelnuts

This is my second 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. 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 August. This month’s challenge was a Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart consisting of a pastry with hazelnuts, cocoa and cinnamon which was filled with caramel mixture and then milk chocolate mousse topped with pieces of caramel. The recipe was picked by Veronica and Patricia.

How it all went:
I love the beginning of every month as that is when the new Daring Bakers challenge is presented. I always get enthusiastic, thinking a lot about the recipe. This time I was looking forward to bake the tart, as always, but the days passed by and I baked all sorts of cakes and cookies instead of the challenge. Eventually the month end was getting closer and last Sunday evening I finally made the dough. On Monday evening after work I made the caramel filling, which started really fine using the dry method when melting the caster sugar. I was pretty scared though, as I got a really nasty burn when making sugar candies many years ago. When I added the room temperatured cream to the melted sugar I instantly got a hard sugar layer on top of the cream. I was sure that everything would just explode in my face as the cream beneath the sugar started to simmer. I tried to calm down and started stirring the hard sugar and cream on a low temperature until I finally managed the sugar to melt again. After baking the filling in the oven I noticed that the filling was way too loose, so I had it in the oven for an additional 8 or even 10 minutes. It was still very wobbly when I took it out but I thought that it would set fine after being refrigerated (but it didn’t set completely. I still don’t know if it’s the fan ovens fault or what I did wrong). As the caramel filling was cooling, I made the caramel for the decoration. Anne had mentioned that hazelnuts made the creation less sweet so I added some ground hazelnuts and the sugar came out very well and I managed not to burn myself. Then I started on the chocolate mousse. I melted my chocolate in the micro wave and let it cool a bit. I stirred it every now and then when I suddenly noticed that it was starting to stiffen even though it was still quite warm. So I took the stupid decision to combine it with the whipped cream, which of course kind of separated from the heat. Maybe separated it the wrong word, but it looked a bit weird. I had no problems with putting the mousse on top of the caramel filling and left the cake in the fridge until Tuesday evening when I decorated the cake with the burnt sugar and finally served it to Fredrik and a friend. And today Wednesday I’m writing the post :-)

The tart is absolutely too sweet. Although my “jury” agreed on that the tart would be pretty good if cut in really small pieces and served with strong coffee.The milk chocolate mousse set very nicely but was way too sweet even if I tried hard with finding a not too sweet and yet not over priced milk chocolate. And also as I wrote earlier it kind of separated. I thought that the caramel filling would get firmer after spending almost 24 hours in the fridge, but it was quite loose and you definetly can’t hold up a piece of the cake with a fork in the caramel filling, like on the original photo which was provided when the Daring Bakers received the recipe.

Lessons learned (nb that some of these lessons should have been learned already last month):
1. Don’t start baking too late in the evening.
2. Bake the cake on a weekend and not in the evening after work.
3. Make sure to use milk chocolate that isn’t too sweet.
4. Don’t be cocky and think that it’s easy peasy, there are always things that can go wrong when baking a cake with so many parts.
5. Sometimes room temperatured ingredients just are not enough. In the case with the caramel filling I should have heated the cream before pouring it on the melted sugar.
6. You can’t always succeed :-)

Will I do this tart again?
Probably some day in the future, with a few modifications though; at least a less sweet chocolate and less cinnamon.

To see how the other Daring Bakers managed the challenge, check out our blog roll.

    Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart
    (The August challenge for the Daring Bakers. Source: Sweet and Savory tarts by Eric Kayser)

    Preparation time: 40 minutes
    Baking Time: 30 minutes
    Refrigeration time: 1 hour
    One 9-inch(24-cm) square pan; 1 10-inch (26-cm) round baking pan

    ½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe below)
    1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
    1 cup (250 g) heavy cream (30-40 percent butterfat) or crème fraiche
    ¼ cup (50 g) butter
    2 whole eggs
    1 egg yolk
    2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
    1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
    ½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate

    1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
    2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes.
    3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.
    4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.
    5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.
    6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
    7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.
    8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

    To decorate: melt ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar in a saucepan until it reaches an amber color. Pour it onto waxed paper laid out on a flat surface. Leave to cool. Break it into small fragments and stick them lightly into the top of the tart.

    Chocolate Shortbread Pastry

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Refrigeration :overnight
    To make 3 tarts, 9 ½ inches (24 cm) square
    or 10 inches (26 cm round)

    1 cup (250g ) unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
    ½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
    2 level teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
    2 eggs
    4 ½ cups (400 g) cake flour
    2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
    1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) cocoa powder

    A day ahead
    1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.
    2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together
    3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly
    4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.
    5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight.

Daring Bakers: Strawberry Mirror Cake

Monday, July 30th, 2007

I’m proud to announce that I from this month am a member of the amazing Daring Bakers. Thank you all very much for letting me join. 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. 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 June.

The challenge for the month of July was a Strawberry mirror cake and was picked by Peabody. When I first read the recipe I thought that it sounded rather easy as I’ve baked quite many cakes with mirrors. But I would soon realise that it wasn’t that easy, especially when I noticed that the bavarian cream was custard based… I’ve lost track of how many times during the baking of the cake I said to my husband: “You better not like this cake because I’ll never ever bake it again. It’s just not worth the effort!”. Apart from the mild strawberry taste, the Strawberry bavarian cream was creamy and light; very yummy. The best part of the cake was the mirror, as I wrote earlier I’ve done a lot of cakes with mirrors but thanks to the homemade strawberry juice this one was outstanding. I will definitly use this mirror recipe for other cakes.

Thanks Peabody for choosing this month’s recipe for the Daring Bakers! I had great fun even though I was very frustated when the clock passed midnight with no hope of getting a whole edible cake for the fika I was planning the day after. But I made it and can’t wait to get the info for next month’s challenge!

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t start baking an advanced recipe too late in the evening or you’ll get very tired. Especially if you’ll encouter any problems.
2. Make sure to make the conversions from cups to milliliters and grams correctly.
3. Learn to make custard. Obviously using room temperatured products and stiring constantly on a low heat isn’t enough. I’ve failed several times, including other recipes and I never seem to learn.
4. READ the recipe carefully. Once, twice, three times and even up to ten times.
5. Make sure to have all ingredients at home. Especially if you start baking in the evening. Or just make sure to have a husband that will go shopping for you in the middle of the night (assumable that you have a grocery or 7-eleven store that’s open).

Number of times I had to make the Strawberry Bavarian Cream:
3, yes THREE.
First attempt: I used the wrong amount of sugar (please refer to point 2 under “lessons learned”) but still decided to go on and then the custard curdled.
Second attempt: I ran out of milk (please refer to point 5 under “lessons learned”) so I had to ask my husband to go shopping milk (and eggs just in case I would’t make it on the second attempt either). And of course my custard curdled again, even though all ingredients were at a room temperature.
Third attempt: At this point I was really glad that I’ve had asked my husband to buy extra eggs. With the new eggs I also realised that the earlier egg yolks were really small compared to the new ones. I googled and read everything about making custard and asked my husband to do so as well. I think that I made it correctly, but I can’t be sure. I didn’t really understand how thick the cream should be, but I guess that it’s was OK as the cake turned out really well. But as I was very stressed and tired (it was past midnight) I forgot to strain the strawberry puree which I didn’t realise until the cake was eaten and gone… Oh well.

What I didn’t like about the recipe:
1. Very time consuming, but most of it was my fault due to the problems with the Strawberry bavarian cream.
2. Food colouring. Why use it when this cake is naturally beautiful?
3. Baking the cake in a jelly roll pan and then cutting out circles. To my husbands delight there were a lot of left overs, but I would have prefered to bake the cake in two spring forms.

What I forgot:
1. To strain the strawberries for the puree.

What I didn’t have at home:
1. Cardboard.
2. Food colouring (and I refused to buy it as the strawberries were so pretty and naturally coloured. Sorry daring bakers!)
3. Kirsch (I substituted with transparent raspberry vodka)
4. Aluminium foil for the bottom.

Eggs used for this recipe (including the extra ten eggs due to me failing with the bavarian cream):

To see all Strawberry Mirror Cakes made by the other Daring Bakers, just go to the Daring Bakers Blog Roll site.

    Strawberry Mirror Cake
    (A Daring Bakers challenge. Adapted from Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993)

    3 eggs
    3 egg yolks
    ¾ cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3 egg whites
    1/8 tsp cream of tartar (I bought my jar at “The English Shop” in Söderhallarna)
    2 TBSP sugar
    2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not to be found anywhere so I used 60 gram normal flour and 5 gram maizena/cornstarch)
    ½ cup water
    1/3 cups sugar
    2 TBSP kirsch or strawberry liqueur

    Strawberry Bavarian Cream:
    2 ½ TBSP unflavored gelatin
    1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree(1 ½ baskets)
    5 egg yolks
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 ½ cups milk
    1 TBSP lemon juice
    several drops of red food coloring
    1 ¾ cups whipping cream

    Strawberry Mirror:
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 TBSP kirsch
    1 TBSP water
    1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
    Few drops of red food coloring

    Strawberry Juice:
    1 ½ pints of strawberries(18 oz)
    ¾ cup sugar
    ¾ cup water

    1.Preheat oven to 450F. Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 inch jelly roll pan(rimmed baking sheet). Line bottom of pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.
    2.Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.
    3.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, ad cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 TBSP sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks(do not over beat).
    4.Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in . Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.
    5.Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until light brown and springy to touch(7 to 10 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake. Wrap the cake layers, separated with waxed paper, and set aside. Cake may be frozen at this point.
    6.To make soaking syrup: Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur. Set aside or refrigerate in glass jar until ready to use.
    7.To assemble cake: Brush sides of 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten(not drench) the cake; set aside.
    8.Prepare Strawberry Bavarian Cream. Immediately pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets(1 to 2 hours).
    9.Prepare the Strawberry Mirror.
    10.To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Strawberry Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake. Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.

    Prep Work:

    Strawberry Bavarian Cream
    1.Sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.
    2.Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl’ beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture ans stir with a wooden spoon(it doesn’t say so but I would temper the egg mixture first to be safe). Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon.(Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Pour into a stainless steel bowl places over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
    3.While gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatin mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

    Strawberry Mirror
    1.Prepare strawberry juice (see further down).
    2.Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.
    3.Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve gelatin. Tint to desired color with red food coloring. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell); remove from ice water.
    4.When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

    Strawberry Juice
    Wash and hull strawberries; coarsely chop. Place strawberries in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes(Do not press down on fruit).

EBBP#7 Childhood Sweets

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Tanuki is smelling the cute marzipan frog from Pille in Estonia.
First a quick introduction what Euro Blogging by Post is all about. Every second month or so, European food bloggers send food parcels to each other. Yes, real food. And we even dare to eat it :-) Every participant gets an e-mail with the receiver’s address from the organiser (this time Johanna), posts a parcel with food to the receiver and then waits for another parcel in return from a secret sender. This is an excellent way of getting to know the other food bloggers and to try foreign food and ingredients. This time EBBP had a theme, childhood sweets. The round-up with all parcels sent and received can be found here.

I was so happy when I read the sender name for my ebbp#7 parcel on the dispatch note from the post office which I received yesterday. Lovely Pille from Nami-Nami, our Canadian apple cake queen from Estonia! And queen of rhubarb of course! The only small downside was that my husband voluntarly went to the postal department in our grocery store to pick up the parcel, but they were already closed so I had to wait until today to actually get the parcel. But the parcel sure was worth waiting for! Pille had prepared a great parcel consisting of her Estonian childhood sweets, a buttering knife from Tallinn, a cute cat fingerdoll and a brochure about Estonian food.

I immediately recognized the sweets with cows on them, Lehmakomm, as there is a Polish equivalent called krowki (small cows) which is one of my favourite childhood sweets! The marzipan frog is so cute that I don’t want to eat him (yes, I’ve decided that it’s a male frog), but as I love marzipan I will have to do it. I really like the sweets that I’ve tested so far and now I’ll have to hide the chocolate from my husband! :-)

Thank you Pille for a wonderful parcel and all effort, I really enjoy everything.

A brochure about Estonian food and a buttering knife from Tallinn.

Marzipan frog and 4 kinds of chocolate.

Lehmakomm and Miisu.

Magus Korsik (sweet bread sticks) and a very cute cat fingerdoll (as Pille wrote: “I know how much you like your cats”).

Smaka på Stockholm 1-6 June 2007

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Overcrowded with an annoying amount of people Smaka på Stockholm, or “Taste Stockholm”, is on again. It’s an annual food event in Kungsträdgården in Stockholm. 27 of of Stockholm’s restaurants offer different dishes starting from 25 SEK and of course a lot of beer, cider and wine. There are competitions, entertainment and wine tastings. The event started on June 1st and will end on June 6th, so you still have time to visit. We passed by yesterday and even if we were curious on some of the dishes being sold we decided to go to a restaurant instead as we didn’t want to stand in queue for ever and then have to eat standing due to all people occupying all tables. For more info on Smaka på Stockholm in English, look here .

WTSIM… apple! (Baked apples with hazelnuts and macadamia syrup)

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Waiter, there is something in my… is a food blogging event which I’ve never participated in earlier. This online event is much more broad then the other food blogging events and should appeal to more people regardless of which cooking level you’re at. Waiter, there is something in my… (WTSIM) is organised by Andrew , Jeanne and Johanna and this is the fifth round with the theme stuffed fruit/vegetables, hosted by Jeanne at Cook Sister! This time I actually was able to remember the event and I choose a really easy thing to do.

Stuffed oven baked apples is one of the first desserts I ever made when I was young. It’s easy, cheap and the variations are endless. In this variant I’m using hazelnuts and macadamia nut syrup which is a great combination. As the apples bake in the oven a delicious gravy is created which is delicious to spoon over the vanilla ice cream which is mandatory when eating oven baked apples.

    Baked apples with hazelnuts and macadamia syrup
    serves 2

    2 apples (Jona Gold)
    2 tbsp butter
    2 tbsp hazelnuts, coursly chopped
    2 tsp macadamia nut syrup
    2 tsp caster sugar

    Pre heat the oven to 175 degrees C.

    Mix all ingredients, except for the apples which you wash.

    Using an apple corer, or a small knife, hollow each apple so you have an vertical hole running through the apple where the core used to be. Save two small end pieces (about 2 cm long) of the apple core, so that you have a sort of cork. Put the “cork” in the bottom of each apple, this will hopefully keep most of the stuffing in the apple when the butter starts to melt in the oven.

    Pack the holes with as much stuffing as they can hold, be careful so that the apple won’t crack. If you’re not able to pack them with all stuffing then put the rest on top of the apples.

    Put the apples in a small baking pan, make sure that they stand up.

    Bake the apples in the oven for 25 minutes or until they are soft. Baste the apples once or twice with the gravy that appears in the baking pan after about 10 minutes.

    Serve the apples warm with vanilla ice cream, topped with the gravy which has been created in the baking pan.

Jamie at home

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

I just wanted to remind all of you living in Sweden that Jamie at home is on air Sundays at 9 pm on channel 5. I wasn’t impressed after the first episode but now I’m hooked and I always take notes while watching. I’ve tried some of his recipes and they are great, especially the oven baked potatoes and red onions in balsamic vinegar. The book with all recipes from the series will be published during the autumn.

Dim Sum cooking class

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Making open face dumplings.

Since I’ve moved to Stockholm I’ve attended two cooking classes at Medborgarskolan. Both were 4 hours classes given on either a weekday night or on daytime during a weekend, so there are no problems with combining them with work. The first one was Modern cakes and even though the teacher was skilled the level was too low for me. I didn’t learn a lot but at least I tried some new recipes and got a lot of cakes back home. For those of you that feel a bit insecure when baking cakes I really recommend the class though. The second class, Dim Sum, I really enjoyed. The teacher for the Dim Sum class, Jonas Arbman, was very talented and his recipes were delicious. We made steamed chicken buns with cilantro sauce, Nem (deep fried Vietnamese spring rolls) with a dipping sauce called Nuoc Cham, deep fried wonton dumplings called Tung Tong with a peanut dipping sauce named Nam Jim, pot sticker dumplings (first fried and then steamed) with a dipping sauce and Mandu which are Korean dumplings with a dipping sauce named Yang Nyeom Jang. I always thought that Dim Sum dishes are way to difficult to make, but I learnt that it isn’t that hard, just a bit fiddly. After the class I feel much more confident and I’ll experiment with different fillings and dipping sauces. For more cooking classes check Medborgarskolan’s homepage. And for those of you that are interested, Jonas is planning to give an advanced class in Dim Sum next year which I wouldn’t mind attending. Here are some more photos from the class:

Pot sticker Mandus and dumplings.

Nems with shrimps, before deep frying.

Nems, wrapped in fresh lettuce and mint, and the hot sauce Nuoc Cham.

Frying the stuffing to the buns and dumplings.

Students working hard.

Making a chicken stuffed bun.

Preparing to steam the chicken buns.

The steamers used for steaming buns and dumplings.

The teacher Jonas Arbman, deep frying Nems.

Deep fried Tung Tongs with pork and other goodies.

Time to eat all goodies; here you see all the different dipping sauces, chicken buns, Tung tongs and dumplings.

Västerbottensoststipendiet 2007

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Jesper Kansten, winner of Västerbottensoststipendiet 2007

Västerbottensost is a Swedish hard cheese aged for at least 12 months and is one of my very favourite cheeses. It has a rich and heavy flavour and some people say that it reminds of young parmesan cheese. It’s quite salty and a bit fruity with a vague hint of toffee, but I have to admit that I never analyse the taste, I just eat it. But today on the seminar on Västerbotten cheese, which was given by the producer Norrmejerier due to the Västerbotten cheese scholarship, there were discussions on the characteristic taste while we tasted it. Apparently the cheese also has an element of umami, which you probably know is the 5th basic taste. After the seminar we had a nice buffet, and of course all dishes had Västerbotten cheese in them. Following the buffet, the winner of the Västerbotten cheese scholarship was announced. The scholarship is a competition between students from the restaurant high schools, where the purpose is to create and cook a modern dish with Västerbotten cheese. Furthermore the price per serving may not exceed 20 SEK.

Jesper’s winner dish: Warm terrine consisting of hand of pork, apple and mushrooms with a celery and Västerbotten cheese crème, Västerbotten cheese sticks and pearl onions in saurkraut.

This year’s winner was Jesper Kansten who won 3 weeks of internship at Erwin Lauterbach’s restaurant Saison in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jesper’s dish can be seen on the photo above. We weren’t able to taste the creation, but at least it was on display.

Food from the buffet: Asparagus tart, Chicken and Mango salad, Roasted pepper soup with grilled scampi, bread with Västerbotten cheese butter and Vegetarian Carpaccio with Västerbotten cheese.

I had a nice time at the event together with Anne from Anne’s Food. We got recipes for all of the dishes, both from the buffet and the three finalists creations, and also some other interesting recipes containing Västerbotten cheese. We also received a signed book (Lust, en bok om livets salt) written by the conferencier, Steffo Törnquist, a big piece of Västerbotten cheese and a bag of grated Västerbotten cheese. Thanks to Prime PR for the invitation!