Sharing the love of food and trying new recipes...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Swedish gingerbread (mjuk pepparkaka)

a slice of gingerbread served with whipped cream and lingonberry jam

the whole gingerbread with Swedish Jultomtar

Around this time of the year, gingerbread is a popular treat in many countries, especially in Northern Europe. In Sweden, I discovered a soft gingerbread cake that the bakery in Ljunghusen makes and I love it. I would have it every time I'd go to Sweden! Then this month with all the holiday and pre-Christmas dinners around, I decided to try and make it myself and share it with my friends.

I mixed and adapted several recipes to finally have one that I found equally soft and moist as the one I bought in the baker shop and made it spicy enough to have a strong taste of Holidays :-) The cake is really easy to make: it takes approximately 10 min to mix ingredients, and then 30 min to bake in the oven: very straightforward and a great cake for December to share with family and friends!

Recipe for a mjuk pepparkaka / gingerbread:

2 eggs
2 dl sugar
2.5 tsp cloves
2.5 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
3 dl flour
100 g butter
1.5 dl sour cream / yoghurt

Whip up eggs and sugar until almost white. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Melt the butter, let it cool down and then add the sour cream/yoghurt to it. Add dry ingredients + dairy to the egg-sugar mix and mix only until uniform (don't overdo it). Transfer the dough to a buttered and floured Bundt cake form. Bake in the oven 27-30 min at 175 C.
Serve with whipped cream and lingonberries (or lingonberry jam). Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pear tart with almond filling

Last night I had my close friends over for dinner. I wanted to make a Fall-Winter-like dessert, yet something relatively light and with fruits. I remembered an excellent pear tart with almond filling that we often buy in the mountains in the Winter so I went on to try and replicate that delicious dessert.

In the end I came up with a simple recipe composed of a sweet shortcrust dough, juicy pears, and a very easy almond filling composed of eggs, butter, sugar and ground almonds. The trick here is to choose juicy and/or ripe pears because hard pears do not soften while baking and a tart with hard pears is not as pleasant. Else it's a very easy recipe to follow and takes about 1.5 hrs to prepare and bake in total. And it's great both in Summer and in Winter! And with vanilla ice-cream the pear-almond tart tastes even better :-D

Recipe for a big pear tart (28 cm form)

1 portion shortcrust dough (pâte brisée):
240 g flour
1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar
140 g cold butter
1 dl water

3-4 juicy pears

Almond filling:
100 g butter, room T
100 g sugar
100 g ground+peeled almonds
2 eggs, beaten up

Prepare the dough as previously described and refrigerate it for 30 min. Peel and clean pears, cut them in 2 and slice them evenly (short side).
Beat up butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add ground almonds and beaten up eggs, mix.
Prepare a pie form with butter + flour. Roll out the dough, fold in edges, and prick it with a fork. Place pear halves evenly (geometrically) onto the dough and add the almond filling in between the pears. Bake in the oven 30 min at 200C.
Decorate the tart with sliced almonds and serve with vanilla ice-cream! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Schaffhausen-style onion pie (Bölletünne)

I love quiches and salty tarts. I find them nutritious and an excellent dish filled with proteins, vegetables, carbs and dairy: a whole meal in one! This onion tart is a scpecialty from the Schaffhausen canton in Switzerland and is also called Schaffhauser Bölletünne. It contains bacon lardons and lots and lots of onions. The pie is typically made with standard yellow onions, but here I mixed them with red onions and shallots too because I thought it might be more colorful and more tasty.

It takes a bit of time to prepare all the ingredients and bake it in the oven, count 1.5-2 hrs in total from start to end. You can serve it warm with a fresh salad but it is also excellent cold as snack! I hope you enjoy it and you can also check out my Quiche Lorraine!

Recipe for a big onion pie (28 cm)

1 portion pâte brisée (shortcrust dough)

240 g flour
1 tsp salt
140 g cold butter
1 dl water

750 g onions (yellow, red, shallots)
100 g bacon lardons

2 dl cream
1 dl milk
2 eggs
nutmeg (optional)

Prepare the shortcrust dough as previously described and refrigerate 30 min. Peel and slice onions (I chose to use several kinds of onions together), cook them with some butter in a pan until they become transparent (low-mid heat). Let them cool down. Grill the bacon lardons until golden and let them cool on kitchen paper to soak extra fat. In a bowl add milk and cream, and add eggs one by one while whisking. Add some pepper and nutmeg if you like.

Roll out the dough onto a buttered + floured pie form, fold in the edges and prick it with a fork. Bake in the oven 8 min at 200 C. Spread the bacon lardons on the pre-baked dough, add the cooked onions and finally the egg-cream mix. Bake in the oven approximately 30 min at 200 C. Serve with a small salad.

Adapted from:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin pie in the lab :-)

Now that I made a big stock of pumpkin purée I decided to use it further to make pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is great in November and especially for Thanksgiving, which wouldn't be a proper Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie.
I tried several recipes until getting one from my friend Scott and adapting it slightly to my taste. It's a soft and spicy pie based on homemade pumpkin purée and shortcrust dough. It's very easy and quick to prepare, takes about an hour to bake, and in the end it's delicious and fast to eat :-)

Recipe for a big pumpkin pie

5 dl pumpkin purée
4 dl (or 2x300 g tubes) of sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs, beaten up
1.5 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp ginger
0.5 tsp nutmeg
0.5 tsp cardamom
1 pinch of cloves
0.5 tsp salt
1.8 dl brown sugar
4-5 tbsp flour

Mix eggs, condensed milk, and pumpkin purée. Add spices and mix. Add sugar and flour and whisk. Roll out pâte brisée* into a buttered and floured pie form. Prick it with a fork and pour the batter in the pie form. Bake in the oven 15 min at 220 C then 50 min at 180 C.
Let it cool down and serve with whipped cream.

*Pâte brisée
240 g flour
140 g cold butter
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 dl cold water
Mix sugar, salt and flour. Mix butter in the flour with your hands and make crumbs. Add water and mix fast to make a dough. Refrigerate 30 min.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting

November is Movember month for men and is Pumpkin month for Laura. I really like pumpkin in all its forms and shapes, whether as cake, pie, soup, purée, muffin etc, and that started when I used to live in the US. I chose a nice big "Cucurbita moschata" pumpkin (musquée de Provence), made a purée out of it, and then used it to bake a wonderful pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.

This cake is made in a Bundt cake form and is extremely easy to execute. Once you have your stock of pumpkin purée, it takes 10 min to mix and prepare the batter. Then you need to wait 1h30 or so for the cake to bake and to cool down, and then another 10 min for the frosting. Try it now, it's the perfect season and great as afternoon snack with coffee or tea. Enjoy :-D

Recipe for a big pumpkin cake

2 dl brown sugar
2 dl white sugar
2.4 dl fat (oil or melted butter)*
5 dl pumpkin purée**
4 eggs

Mix fat, sugar, and pumpkin. Add eggs one by one while beating.
* I do half colza oil half melted butter, for something more moist use only oil and for something more dry use only butter.

4.8 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to wet mix while beating. Pour batter into a floured + buttered Bundt cake shape. Bake in the oven 50-55 min at 180 C. Unmold the cake and let it cool down.

Cream cheese frosting

113 g cream cheese
60 g (4 tbsp) butter at room T
4.8 dl powder sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
some milk
pecan nuts or walnuts

Beat up cream cheese and butter together. Add powder sugar + cinnamon and beat. Add a few drops of milk to make the mix more fluid if necessary. Spread the frosting on top of the cake and decorate with some walnuts or pecan nuts.

**Pumpkin purée

Cut + clean a pumpkin (remove the seeds). Bake in the oven on parchment paper with a little bit of oil until soft (approximately 1 hour at 180 C. Peel off the skin, mix the pumpkin in a bowl without adding anything. Et voila! A great base for cakes and soups.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

La tarte Tatin

Many years ago when I was at Yale, I was taught how to make tarte Tatin (an upside-down caramelized apple tart). It was a quick and easy approximate recipe which I clearly never was able to reproduce. So I went on to try different recipes to get the same result but was never quite satisfied. Until last week! The major issue was the caramel: it has to be really well done, dark enough to get nicely caramelized apples but not overcooked either unless your apples become bitter and ruin your tart.

The choice of apples is debatable but I would go for hard apples that do not give rise to a compote when cooked, so either granny smith or greenish golden apples. Also you need a nice tarte Tatin form that can go both on a hot plate and in the oven (avoid spring forms as caramel can easily leak out from edges). I hope you enjoy this recipe, it is one of my favorites, and I would say this tarte Tatin is even better than the one I was taught to make :-)

Recipe for the tarte Tatin (28 cm)

Shortcrust dough:
240 g flour
137 g butter
1 dl cold water

Mix flour, sugar, salt. Cut cold butter in pieces, add to flour and mix with your fingers to make crumbs. Add cold water and mix fast with a wooden spoon. Make the dough, cover and refrigerate it 30 min.

12-15 apples
(I have tried and liked Gala and Pink Lady apples, Boscoop apples are not good here but rather for compote, and Granny Smith apples are too hard and sour)

Peel apples and cut them in 2 (in quarters if you prefer).

150 g butter
300 g sugar

Place sugar and pieces of butter in a Tatin form. Place the form on a warm plate and let sugar and butter melt on medium/high heat (3-4/6). Mix with a wooden spoon until obtaining caramel: remove the form from the heat source when you are happy with the color. Note: it will go from light yellow when melting to amber color when sugar fuses, to light brown when the caramel starts forming: then it only gets darker with time. I like a real brown color such that apples will have that color once baked (but if you let your caramel darken too much it will become bitter).

Place apples really tight together (vertically) on the caramel in the Tatin form (and fill possible holes in between apples with more apples because when they bake apples shrink and you don't want random empty spaces in your tart). Put the form back on the fire and let apples bake and get impregnated with the caramel for 7-8min on high heat (5-6/6). Put aside and sprinkle the apples with some cinnamon.

Roll out the dough on a floured table (approx 4 mm thick) and transfer onto the Tatin form on top of the apples. Fold in the edges of the dough such that it does not go on the form itself. Bake in the oven 35 min at 180-200 C. Flip the tart over when still warm (else the apples will stick to the form).

Serve lukewarm as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I think it is even better :-D Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Linzer Torte

The other day I made some shortbread biscuits with different jams and my friend said "Ah you made a Linzer Torte?". No I did not but after her question I realized I like that cake and never tried to make it before. Also, given that the dough contains hazelnut, I thought I might prefer it over plain shortbread.

So I went ahead and made a Linzer Torte, an Austrian cake also known as the oldest known cake in the world! It's composed of crumbly hazelnut short pastry, filled with raspberry or redcurrant jam, and then decorated with criss-crossed short pastry strips. It is relatively easy to make but takes a bit of time because the dough has to sit in the fridge 30 min and baking is approximately 40 min.

Linzer Torte Recipe:

150 g butter, room T
150 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of cloves
zest of 1/2 lemon
150 g flour
150 g ground hazelnuts

200 g raspberry or redcurrant jam*
1 beaten egg
some extra flour (4-5 tbsp)

In a bowl beat up butter. Add sugar and salt and mix. Add the egg, spices, and lemon zest and beat up. Add pre-mixed flour and hazelnuts and mix together into a dough (sticky). Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 min.

Weigh your refrigerated dough and prepare a springform

Transfer a bit over 1/3 of the dough onto the base of the form

Roll out the dough directly on the base of the springform

The dough covers the whole base of the springform

Put back the edge of the springform

Take another 1/3 of the dough and add 1-2 tbsp flour

Roll out dough by hand to make two sticks

Transfer dough sticks to form edge of the cake

Flatten the dough edge a bit with a fork

Fill the space between the base and the edge with raspberry jam

Take last 1/3 of dough and add 1-2 tbsp flour

Roll it out onto a heavily floured table and cut out 2cm-wide stripes

Transfer stripes to cake (make them a bit long and then cut the extra dough with scissors)

Transfer 2nd layer of stripes making a lattice (diamond-shaped holes)

Paint the dough with a beaten egg

The baked Linzer Torte has a nice golden color
Weigh your dough (it should be around 670 g) and prepare a 22 cmspringform (greased and floured). Roll out a bit more than 1/3 of the dough (230 g or so) onto the base of the springform and then put the edge of the springform back on.
Take another 1/3 of the dough and add 1-2 tbsp flour to make it less sticky. Roll it out into 2 thin sticks to make the edge of the cake all around. Flatten it nicely and regularly with a fork (not too flat because it is the edge of the cake).
Fill the space between the dough base and the edge with raspberry jam.
Take the last 1/3 of the dough, add 1-2 tbsp flour to it and roll it out on a (very) floured table. Cut out 2 cm wide strips and decorate the cake with them making a lattice design (diamond shaped holes):
- You can use a wide knife to help transfer the stripes
- Make the stripes a bit longer than needed and then cut the extra dough with scissors
- Start with a middle stripe and then add a stripe to the right and one to the left; repeat for the stripes on top
Paint the cake (dough) with a beaten egg.
Bake in the oven 40 min at 180 C.
Serve lukewarm or cold as dessert or with coffee or tea in the afternoon. Enjoy!

*You can use another red fruit jam if you prefer
**If you have dough leftover use it for a mini-Linzer torte :-)

mini-Linzer Torte in a mini-cocotte

Betti Bossy