Archive for March, 2008

Cinnamon bread

March 24, 2008

Spring was supposed to arrive last weekend as Easter week came marching in. Alas, it didn’t. The week started out nicely with sunshine and temps hovering around 10-15 degrees, and I had my mind set on things crunchy, lemony and Spring like. It ended in the candle-lit-brunch-with heavy-rains-and-the-like department. Fortunately, there are remedies for these situations. In this particular moment we turned to cinnamon, butter and moscovado.

L had an all-day baking workshop with kitchen guru Camilla a couple of weeks ago, so it only seemed natural to try out one of the things they didn’t get around making do a repeat of one of the stars of the day: cinnamon bread packed with cardamom and buttery-sugar filling. Cinnamon rolls are a breakfast stable at many a Danish breakfast table on weekends, as it is in other parts of the gastronomic world. (Check out Keiko’s flawless cinnabon look-a-likes here). In stead of the normal roll-shape, this is a rather different take where you change a little and end up with a rather different result. The bread/loaf – call it what you like – is great for serving as the sweet part of brunch. We also used it alongside a traditional saffron infused bread (more on that later on when A Taste of Yellow approaches) for an afternoon treat.

Cinnamon bread
350g flour
10g fresh yeast
50g melted butter
1 egg
50ml sugar
half a tsp of salt

an egg for the egg wash

Dissolve the yeast in the luke warm milk; add the rest and knead thoroughly. Hold back on the flour, you might not need it all – keep the dough on the sticky side. Let the dough rest until doubled.

Filling (remonce)

75g softened butter
150 ml sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardemom

Combine all the ingredients.

On a floured surface or silipat roll out the dough into a square shape that will fit the bread pan when rolled up (approx. 20cm will fit this portion.) Spread the filling evenly and roll the dough. Make sure the ends aren’t opon. Otherwise all the filling will ooze out during baking. Place the dough in a buttered/non-stick/lined baking form and cover with egg wash. Let it rise until wobbly and bake at 200 C for 25-30 minutes.


Pears, beer and ice-cream

March 11, 2008

Yes, I know. It sounds like a funny combination, doesn’t it? The thing is, that lately – well maybe not that lately, more like for quite a while now – I’ve been cooking with beer trying to keep up with the ever so popular and trendy Nordic cuisine trend. I’ve baked, stewed and tried to sneak in a little beer where ever I saw fit. A month or so, I ventured into beer ice-cream, or to be more precise: Vanilla ice-cream with a little beer added at the end for flavor and that touch of Nordic’ness, that seems so right, these days. And was it nice? Indeed!

In stead of using a porter, as the recipe called for (I turned to everpresent Claus Meyer, for Danish speakers, check out his homepage for the original recipe), I used a stronger, darker and umpf’er imperial stout from the magnificent Norwegian brewery, Nøgne Ø. The result was great, but I thought it could be better. I wanted to stress the caramel tones and hints of dark, unrefined sugar. Making a beer-pear syrup did the trick. Pears are pretty much over and out this time a year, but if you’re lucky enough, like me, to get your hand on a couple Doyenne de Comice. Don’t you hesitate – slice ’em up and bath them in beer!

By the way, this is not the place to cut down on sugar, cream or egg yolks. They all need to be there to balance out the bitterness of the beer.

Pears in dark beer
Peel and pit a couple of pears, then slice then into 1-2 cm slices. Meanwhile heat half a bottle of dark beer (I used Nøgne Ø’s Imperial Stout) with 150 ml moscovado sugar and 50 ml of ordinary light cane sugar. (Using two kinds of sugar provides you the zing of ordinary sugar and the deep, dark aromas of moscovado; please note, that different beers might need different amounts of sugar.) When the mixture is boiling, add the pears and simmer gently until cooked. They don’t take long, and you don’t want mush but texture. Remove the pears and reduce the liquid into a syrup.

Ice-cream with beer
150g sugar
8 egg yolks
500ml full fat milk
250ml cream
1 vanilla pod

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. In a small saucepan combine milk, cream and the pod and seeds of the vanilla and bring to the boil. Discard the pod and slowly and while whisking, pour the mixture over the eggs. Return to the saucepan and gently (VERY gently!) simmer until it thickens. Using a thermometer might do your nerves a world of good: when it reads 84 C pour the mixture into another bowl to stop it cooking. Let the cream cool in the fridge and add as much of the syrup as you like. Start out with 50ml or so.

Churn the mixture in an ice-cream maker and enjoy on a windy, cold night. Luckily, they are almost outnumbered now, but better to be on the safe side and keep a little ice-cream in the fridge. Besides, it isn’t bad in sunshine either.