Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

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.

Quince pie

February 6, 2008

This post is over due, I know. The quinces are quickly – here anyways – disappearing from the stores, and actually- hush! don’t tell – it has been a while since I made the pie. So much for the fast and furious internet…

I made the pie from the last apple quinces I could get my hands on. Yes, I know, I’ve been babbling on and on about quinces ever since I started this blog, but I just can’t help it. Really, I try – and then there they are again, ideas bumping around in my head of what to do with these fruits of magic. There is just something elusive and magical about them, that keeps on stirring my interest. Maybe it’s the way they are unapproachable when uncooked, maybe their sweet apple-like aromas?

Quinces take quite a while cooking and a lot of sugar, too. I made the pie partly from a recipe, partly on the spur of the moment. First, I made a quince compote. That took a while. And then a while longer. Actually, so long, that I had to stop cooking and continue the day after. So if you plan to do this, make sure you have at least three hours on hand.

The idea is the following: Wash the quinces (for a 24 cm pan 3 if using apple quinces, half as much if using regular) and remove the pit. Dice into 3 cm cubes and put into a pot and cover with water, two handfulls of sugar or so. Now, decide on what kind of spice you want to use. I recommend vanilla and lemon zest – both is great with quinces. Cinnamon is another, but after Christmas, you might have had enough. I know I have. Lemon zest is essential, I think, as the fruits need a little acidity.

Cook the quinces slowly until reaching a compote like consistency. It might take a while, as I mentioned. The pieces should retain their shape, you’re not making mash here. When happy with the compote, drain completely. Keep the liquid, it’s great on yoghurt or other places where you use sweet sirups.

Meanwhile, make the pie dough and refrigerate. You probably have your own favorite recipe for that, so I won’t bother. I didn’t prebake the pie, lazy me… – and the world didn’t come to a stop and the pie was great. So up to you. Fill the pastry shell with the compote and slice up a couple of apples very finely, discarding the pit, and cover the pie. Bake for 30 min. or so at 180 C until nice and golden. Serve with a little whipped cream and maybe a drizzle of the left over sirup. Tea is nice, too. Not fruity but black, Ceylon would be my choice.

After Christmas Chocolates

January 11, 2008

Yes, I’m sure they make decent chocolate in Paris. I’ve heard they even make some in the US. And of course Valrhona isn’t a bad choice, but really when it comes down to serious business, there really is only one.

Summerbird chocolate

Well, in my humble opinion anyways. Jokes aside, there are tons of great chocolatiers around, and we’re lucky enough to have a couple close at hand. Summerbird is our absolute favorite with their innovative twist on the chocolate side of life. It’s never over the top but always a little different than those mainstream products you pick at the gas station because you forgot the gift for grand ma.

The star of the trio above is the egg covered in white chocolate. The inspiration is the spices of the Middle Ages, it may sound a bit strange but any reservation will be put to instant shame by this complex chocolate ganache filled baby – try one!

Merry Christmas – and something crispy

December 23, 2007

So it’s almost there! And this will be the last post before Christmas and probably for a while since the calender is full of days with the family. But before I take my leave, I’ll share this great and simple recipe for sour dough waffles. It’s easy, yes, but it takes a little planning as you have to start one day early and have a wheat sour dough starter at hand. (For those of you Danish readers, a wheat starter is available at Emmerys). We had them for brunch today – just to get going before the big day of preparations. After that start I was ready for baking, braising and diaper change!

I love baking and do pretty much all our wheat bread baking. So of course I bought Nancy Silverston’s book Breads from La Brea Bakery – if there ever was a classic on artisan bread baking this is a safe bet. It’s a good book but honestly, I just don’t have the patience for her very complicated recipes. But this one is great! It’s easy-peasy and turns out crisp waffles like I’ve never seen before. The result isn’t too sweet, actually the recipe is a little too sour for my taste – it could be that my starter is more sour than hers? So I add a little extra sugar. Eat the waffles with maple syrup and your Christmas stress-o-meter is sure to drop a notch!

Sour dough waffles (6-7 waffles)
adapted from Nancy Silverton Breads from La Brea Bakery

Day 1

30g butter
125ml whole fat milk
125ml wheat starter
1 tbsp moscovado sugar
75ml flour

Melt the butter and milk. When cool add the rest and whisk together. Cover and leave at room temperature over night.

Day 2

1 large egg
1/8 tsp baking soda

Add the ingredients to the batter and bake straight away at a heated waffle iron. Grease the iron the first time, after that you shouldn’t need to. Much away – and Merry Christmas!

Marshmellows

November 27, 2007

What’s not to like? Fluffy, sweet and heavenly scented with vanilla. Anyways the three cousins that we had over the other weekend loved them, not to mention making them. It’s a straight forward and easy recipe. We’ve also tried substituting some of the water with cherry vinegar ending up with pink ‘mellows!

The recipe is from Camilla Plum’s Ælle bælle frikadelle

Marshmellows

210g water
400g sugar
1 vanilla pod
34g gelatin
200g powdered sugar

Split the pod and combine the vanilla with the sugar and water. Bring to the boil in a heavy saucepan. Soften the gelatin in water for 5 minutes, wring off excess water and put into the liquid. Simmer for 20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a mixer and mix at high speed. The longer you mix, the better texture you get. Pour the thick substance into a dish cowered with the powdered sugar. Cover the subtance with more sugar and cut into cubes.

Apple mash

November 15, 2007

I had totally forgotten how yummy it is! Apples cooked with a little water, sugar and vanilla topped with preserved cowberries. It’s one of those everyday things you whip up in a couple of minutes but brings you bundles of joy. There really isnt’t much to it. Peel one and a half apple per person, remove the pit and chop roughly. Put in a saucepan with a splash of water, one tablespoon of sugar depending on how sweet the apples are. Add vanilla to taste, I like it specked with little black dots all over! Cook until the apples are tender and mash it up with a spoon or fork until a fluffy mash is formed.

I used Belle de Boskoop apples, great for cooking, not for eating.  Together with the vanilla, the apples are just plain ol’ comforting on a cold November night!

The topping is preserved cowberries. The berries are sour as h…. but preserving them with sugar make them an all time favorite and stable in our house. Use equal amounts of berries and sugar, mix together and let stand for 5 or so days at room temperature until the sugar has disolved. Mix every now and then. Put in sterilized jars and keep at a cool temperature. The preserve is great on the apple mash, on yoghurt, with preserved pears etc.

Chocolate tart

November 12, 2007

I met up with a couple of friends from uni the other day. The occasion was one of the guys going off to Copenhagen. He has enrolled in the army as a language officer and will probably be going to Afghanistan in a couple of years. I’m not sure really, how I feel about the whole thing, but we had a great time talking about old times and the upcoming elections. Jacques, the head chef of our little group, dished up with braised shanks of lamb with roasted potatoes and various sides. I chipped in with a chocolate tart for dessert.

While I was preparing the tart, I thought about naming this post something like “Never bake a pastry shell with a 6 months old”. I must admit that my initial thoughts about just whipping up a delicate, crisp pastry shell filled with moist chocolate filling had its blows. But thankfully it all turned out great. Jakob, the little sport, slept for a couple of hours just when I needed them the most. The tart turned out great – the apricot filling complementing the chocolate nicely. I used organic and thus non sulfur-treated apricots. They are sweeter than the non-organic variety and I’m not really sure what I prefer. I’ve made the cake once before using the non-organic kind and it seemed to me, that the tarter filling paired up better with the overall taste.

Anyways, the recipe is a breeze from the always superb Moro (I can’t wait to try out their new cookbook!). If you can’t find amradeen – I couldn’t – chop up apricots finely and sautee them in a little water until soft, then puree in a blender and add a little lemon juice for balance. It’s not the same as amradeen, the rolls of dried apricot paste I have seen in bazaars in Turkey and Syria, but it’s close enough.

Chocolate and apricot tart

1 sweet pastry tart shell – use your favorite recipe.

Filling
180g apricot paste/amradeen
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
135g butter
110g dark chocolate (I used Valrhona Caraibe 66%)
2 large eggs
60g sugar

Place amradeen, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat until the amradeen is soft. Spread on the prebaked pastry shell.

Melt butter and chocolate in a bain-marie. In a seperate bowl mix eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy. Combine the two, it takes a little time folding them together. Fill the pastry shell with the chocolate filling and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-25 minutes. The filling should still be a little wobbly when you take it out of the oven. Cool and enjoy!