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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tresse for Swiss Sunday breakfast

In Switzerland, the weekend's breakfast - especially Sunday's breakfast -  is not complete without "Tresse". A tresse is a white, butter and milk based bread that is braided or "tressé", hence its name. It is found in Swiss bakeries on the weekends but some people also make it themselves at home.

This Sunday I wanted to prepare a nice brunch so I decided to make a tresse myself and it was too good. I had it with nutella, jam and butter, and honey. And straight out of the oven still fuming! I also made nice sandwiches later in the day with some Gruyère and ham and they were great.

If you want to make someone happy on a Sunday morning and have home-made bread, I suggest you try this. It's not difficult and takes in total less than 2hrs to make, of which 1 hr for the dough to rise during which you can go back to sleep or go for a run :-)

Recipe for one big tresse

20 g fresh yeast
60 g butter
3.5 dl milk
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
500 g flour

how to braid the tresse (from my notebook)

In a bowl break up the yeast in small pieces. Melt the butter, add the milk and warm to finger temperature (37C). Use some of the milk and butter to dissolve the yeast. Add the rest of it to the bowl, with the sugar, salt and flour. Mix well until getting a nice dough that does not stick anymore. Let the dough rise under cover for at least 30 min (I do 1 hr). Then break up the dough in two pieces and roll them into longitudinal sticks. Then braid the dough into a nice tresse (see scheme above) and put it on a plate with parchment paper. Brush the dough with an egg and put in a cold oven. Turn the heat on and bake for 35min at 220C.

Reference: Croqu'menus

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easy apple cake for coffee

oven-sized form

I found this apple cake recipe in an old children's cookbook of mine that I used to bake from over ten years ago. I had made this cake a long time ago so I decided to try it again and it came out to be delicious and really easy to make.

This apple cake is moist, spongy and fits really well as coffee break in the afternoon. The apple and cinnamon combo is unbeatable (I find) but you could make this cake with any fruit that you like. You can keep this cake for a few days without it getting dry or you can even freeze it down so you can have some whenever you want.

Apple cake recipe:
(numbers below are for an oven-sized form, divide by 3 for a springform)

6 eggs
4.5 dl sugar
300 g butter
6 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanillin sugar
8-10 apples (Golden, Boskoop...)

+ some extra sugar and cinnamon

Prepare an oven-sized plate with parchment paper or a springform with butter and flour.
Peel and cut the apples in small pieces or slices.
Melt the butter and allow it to cool a bit.
Beat up the sugar and the eggs until the mix becomes almost white.
Carefully mix all the ingredients together.
Dispose 1/2 of the apples on the cake form, add the cake batter, add the remaining apples and press them in the batter a bit. Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on top of the cake and bake in the oven at 200C approx. 30 min (if the cake darkens and is still not baked put aluminum foil on top of the cake to avoid burning it).

Adapted from: Lätt att baka bröd och kaka, Bisse Grenert, Marianne Lilliér

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Cheesecake...


This week I wanted to try to make a nice tarte tatin, but since I was lacking the right tatin form, I decided to go for a classic: the Cheesecake. Cheesecake is oh so heavenly good when done right, that I had to try it myself. In the end, it can't be that hard to make... you mix cream cheese with some sugar and eggs, and prepare a nice buttery crust.

I made it for dinner and my friends wished they hadn't eaten so much of the main dish beforehands. Not because cheesecake is heavy (it is "a bit" heavy), but because the cheesecake I made was delicious and we all wanted to eat more of it! The leftovers made a nice breakfast the day after anyways, and I would say it tasted even better because it had spent a whole night in the fridge.

You can serve cheesecake with any fresh fruit or fruit compote/sauce that you like. You can also enjoy it plain and taste the mild flavor of lemon and vanilla in it! Try the recipe yourself and share it with friends or family, because this is a big cake :-)

Cheesecake recipe:

150 g melted butter
250 g digestive biscuits (crushed)
115 g sugar
3 tbsp cornflour
900 g cream cheese (at room T)
3 eggs
1.15 dl double cream
1 vanilla pod (seeds)
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange

Mix butter and biscuits in a bowl, and press into the base of a buttered springform. Bake 10 min at 180C and then allow it to cool down.
Beat up sugar, cornflour and cream cheese in a big bowl. Add eggs, beat well. Add the double cream gradually while beating until obtaining a smooth mix. Add the vanilla seeds and the zest, and mix. Pour the mixture into the form and even out the surface. Bake 45 min at 200C until it becomes golden.
Let the cake cool down at room T 2-3 hours and then put it in the fridge to obtain a firm consistency.

1) you can cool down the cake faster by putting it straight in the fridge but then you risk cracking the cake
2) you can swap the cornflour for normal flour
3) you can choose to flavor the cake with either vanilla, lemon or orange... all three together as you like
4) beating while mixing all the ingredients makes the cake more airy and fluffy, thus a bit less heavy (well not calorie-wise lol)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Apple Crumble: easy and always good

The apple crumble is one of my all-time favorite desserts. And it is very easy and quick to make. I wanted to bring a nice dessert to my friends' dinner last night without actually having to bake, so the apple crumble came in handy and made for an excellent wintery dessert.

Basically you chop up apples in small pieces, put them in a pyrex dish and cover them with some sugar and lemon juice. Then you mix the ingredients for the crumble and spread it over the fruits before cooking in the oven. The base crumble is made with sugar, butter, and flour, but here there are pecan nuts and rolled oats to give the crumble an added crispy taste.

This recipe can be adapted to any kind of seasonal fruit you like, like apples, rhubarb, berries, apricots, etc. And you can also mix different fruits together, like rhubarb and apples, blueberries and raspberries, and apricots and prunes.
I recommend serving the apple crumble with some crème double de la Gruyère, a specialty of the Swiss canton Fribourg, or with vanilla ice-cream, which will make a nice warm-cold contrast with the warm fruits.

Recipe for the apple crumble:

For the fruits:

1 kg (or more) of apples
some white sugar
some butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

For the crumble:

1.8 dl brown (cane) sugar
1.2 dl flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1.2 dl oats
1.2 dl pecan nuts (chopped up)
6 tbsp butter

Cover the bottom and sides of a pyrex dish with some butter. Chop up the fruits in small pieces and add them to the dish. Add the lemon juice and zest, and cover the fruits with some white sugar.
Mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour in a bowl. Add the wheat flakes and the pecan nuts. Mix by hands to form some crumbs/clumps. Add the mix on top of the fruits and bake in the oven 45-50 min at 180C.

Reference (adapted from):

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Carrot cake "Argovian" style

If you have not so fresh anymore carrots in your fridge and you don't know what to do with them, then make a cake with them! That was my case last night so I baked a carrot cake "à l'argovienne".

Aargau (or Argovia) is a canton in the North of Switzerland and is known as the carrot-canton (Rüebliland). There is no actual reason for Aargau to be the carrot canton except that carrots used to be cultivated there centuries ago, and today the carrot is the symbol of this canton.

This cake is easy to make, does not contain any butter, and is a perfect cake for a birthday. Its main ingredients are carrots, sugar, and ground almonds (you can swap them with hazelnuts if you prefer). It is then covered with apricot jam and a lemon icing which give it an added taste which fits perfectly with the carrots. And the must or final touch is the marzipan carrots as decoration, the carrot cake wouldn't be complete without them :-)

Recipe for the carrot cake:

5 eggyolks
200 g sugar
zest of half a lemon
250 g ground almonds
250 - 300 g grated carrots
75 g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of cloves (powder)
5 eggwhites
a pinch of salt

Beat up the eggyolks, sugar and zest until it becomes pale yellow. Add the almonds and carrots, mix. Mix the flour, baking powder and spices and then add to the mix. Beat up the eggwhites with the salt and then carefully incorporate them to the mix with a spatula. Pour the dough in a buttered and floured spring form and bake in the oven at 180C 50-55 min.

For the icing:

100 g apricot jam

Heat up the jam in a saucepan and press it through a sieve to get a homogenous warm jam. Spread it on the warm cake (on the top and side of the cake) and then let the cake cool down.

250 g powder sugar
2.5 - 3 tbsp lemon juice

Mix the powder sugar and lemon juice until getting a homogenous and viscous mix. Pour it on the cold cake and spread it on the top and side of it (note: add enough lemon juice so that you can actually spread the icing). Once the icing has dried, decorate the cake with carrots in marzipan. Et voilà! Enjoy!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dark chocolate mousse for dessert

This week I had friends over for dinner so I decided to prepare for them my favorite and "optimized" dark chocolate mousse. I say optimized because I have been making chocolate mousses for over a year now and have tried many different recipes. And I also mixed recipes and tried different things, such as changing the eggyolk to eggwhite ratio, changing chocolate kind and brand, as well as trying with and without cream, sugar and butter. So here is my personal recipe and I love it (and my guests did too).
So try it yourself and let me know what you think!

Recipe (for 4-6 people)

200 g dark chocolate (baking chocolate)
40 g butter
2-3 eggyolks (1)
5-6 eggwhites (2)
40 g sugar
a few drops of lemon juice (3)

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain-marie. Add the eggyolks to the chocolate and mix to have a shiny uniform mix. In a bowl, beat up the eggwhites and towards the end add the sugar and lemon while beating. Gently incorporate the eggwhites with a spatula to the chocolate bit by bit until obtaining an airy mix. Pour the mousse in small cups or glasses and refrigerate at least 3 hours. Serve and decorate with thin biscuits or berries, as you prefer.

* Notes: 
  1. if you have big eggs use 2 yolks and 5 whites, else use 3 yolks and 6 whites of smaller eggs
  2. the more eggwhites you add, the more airy your mousse becomes (i.e. better)
  3. the lemon juice helps get rid of the eggy taste