Special Dessert for Holidays Season


This is my pumpkin-orange spicy-flavored XMAS-tree dessert. The idea to make a dessert shaped like an XMAS tree was raised in the 3rd round of “Chefs Battle Winter” competition. As there were no limitations whatsoever defining the ingredients, I first tried to think of the final image of my tree. Simple googling brought up the idea of a tree-over-cupcake/muffin 🙂 As I don’t like butter-made frosting, both for amount of calories and for flat flavor, I decided to use whipped cream instead – it’s much easier to work with, and you can give it almost any twist you like. And to make it even simpler – you don’t really have to make the cone by yourself as I did. Just tale ready-to-use ice-cream cones and fill them either with my pumpkin batter, or your favorite English cake batter, and then bake. The result would do the job as well.

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So, let’s start working. Btw, don’t be afraid of the length of the recepie – I wanted it to be as details as possible. It’s really quite easy to make. Would you believe me if I said that I did the decoration of the tree for the first time in my life? 🙂

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Classic French Apple Tart


After a long busy period, here’s the latest of my creative cooking. This French apple tart was prepared for the “Chefs Battle Winter” competition. I’ve finished baking it in the evening, and took the below pictures the morning after. The credit for this recipe belongs to Beth Le Manach.
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The recipe and all the ingredients are targeted for a round baking form 24 centimeters in diameter.

Base

  • 150 grams of flour
  • 100 grams of cold butter
  • 10 grams of sugar powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30 ml water

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Sweet Challah Bread


This is a second post in my Challah Bread series. In the previous one, I have shown how to make a salty filled Challah in two variants – with mushrooms or spinach filling. This time we will deal with the sweet variant – both the dough and, naturally, the filling are going to be different. The history and the meaning of the meal are the same, so, if this is the first post you are reading, I really suggest to read the background here.

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Ingredients:

(For 3 loafs)

850 gr. white flour
150 gr. whole rye flour
1 egg
100 gr. brown sugar, preferably Demerara
2 tbsp. lemon zest
560 ml. water
300 gr. cold butter cut into cubes
1.25 tbsp. salt

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Lemon Cake with Poppy Seeds


Here’s another cake that I make over and over again at home, and it keeps being one of the favorites for my family members, just like the Orange Cake I’ve written about previously. The cake keeps moist (thanks to lemon syrup) with clear yellow presence of lemon zest and crunchy touch of poppy seeds. Personally, for me, this is the absolute “apogee” of home bakery – light, tasty, unpresumptuous and very simple to make. Sort-of the ultimate answer to a question like “What do you have for tee?”. The best part is that, probably, most of the ingredients could easily be found at almost any kitchen.

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The inspiration for this recipe is coming from a book about baking bread. Still, I dare to claim that this one is a cake and not a bread. I have modified the technique around beating the bread with the sugar for the dough (instead of mixing, as suggested in the original recipe). This cake can be baked either in English-cake form, or in a form for baking muffins, in addition to the round form as shown in the photo above.

Ingredients:

(For a round form of 22 cms in diameter, like the one in the photo, or for a deep English-cake form):
Dough:
3 tbsp. poppy seeds
1/2 glass of milk
75 gr. butter (at room temperature)
1 glass of sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Zest from 2 lemons
1/4 tsp. salt

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Orange Cake with Poppy Seeds


This cake could either be called a “Orange Cake with Poppy Seeds” or, alternatively, a “Poppy Seeds Cake with Oranges”. Both of the ingredients (we will be using a combination of orange jam, zest and juice) are equally prominent in this lovely cake, complement each other and equally contribute to the eventual result. I saw an original idea in ideasfordinner blog, but then I almost forgot about it. One day I had a craving for something just like this, and, gladly, I managed to find the recipe and make it. The cake turns out being very soft and moist – extremely pleasant. In our family it was eaten in less than two days. I will present the recipe I’ve modified and cooked. The original one can be seen here.

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Ingredients:

3 tbsp. orange jam
150 gr. sour cream
3 eggs
150 gr. sugar
200 gr. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
175 gr. butter (at room temperature)
Zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp. poppy seeds

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Passion Fruit Cheese Cake with White Chocolate and Basil


This cake has participated in a grand cheesecakes competition in my workplace last year, reaching the final and receiving lots of feedback from tens/hundreds of people. It took me about a week to come up with a complete recipe, deciding on with the basis quite quickly, but spending lots of time on decoration. In fact, the final variant got “materialized” only when baking the cake.

Special thanks to Maria Selyanina for the excellent idea of using aromatic herbs. The cake itself is very simple to make and doesn’t even require a mixer.

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Ingredients:

Base:
150 gr. flour
40 gr. sugar powder
100 gr. cold butter cut into cubes
30 gr. cold milk
1/2 tsp. passion fruit extract

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Quince Jam


Believe it or not, but this was the first jam I’ve ever made. I spent some time home with a nasty cold/flu, and I thought of making a jam for more medicinal reasons than culinary. I’ve been curious about quince jams before, especially being impressed by their color. Somehow, I was avoiding making jams because of an assumption that it would be complicated. I couldn’t have been more wrong! It is very easy and the attractive color just occurs by itself (some sort of mystical transformation). So, if someone wants to try, I definitely recommend this method.

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Ingredients:

2 large quince fruits (in my case their combined weight was 1kg and they yielded 920 grams of fruit)
700 gr. sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp. of Cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg powder

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Lemon Curd Macarons / Luxemburgerli


I know that there are lots of Macaron (or Luxemburgerli) recipes all around (and, therefore, it is far from being original to make one), but my niece simply informed me that we were baking Macarons together, leaving me with very little choice.

The technique we used was influenced by this blog (and originally developed by Alain Ducasse). Below you can find our variant with full comments. Although this requires a lot of work, the result is very tasty making it all worthwhile…

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Ingredients:

For the Macarons:
110 gr. almond flour
225 gr. sugar powder
125 gr. aged egg whites
50 gr. sugar
*3 drops of yellow food colorant

For the Lemon Curd:

4 egg yolks
100 gr. sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
70 ml. lemon juice (roughly, a joice of 1.5 average lemons)
Pinch of salt
70 gr. butter cut into small cubes
3 gr. gelatin (sheet)

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Cake with Figs Cooked in White Wine


Originally, preparing figs for this cake was done as a part of preparing the Wine Marmalade recipe. The cake was inspired by this recipe (completely different), but I had to be true to myself and change the things.

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Ingredients:

200 gr. flour for baking (with baking powder)
200 gr. soft butter
130 gr. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of cloves
700 gr. (approximately) figs

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Bilberry Cake (inspired by Blueberry Muffins)


Not being modest here (actually, not all the credit is mine), this is a simply wonderful cake. It has it all: fun crisp, airy crumb, juicy bilberry and fruity citrus aroma. I have read this recipe for Blueberry Muffins a long time ago, and I kept it in my favorites folder to prepare one day. And then one day it finally happened: my husband (unfortunately, or, maybe luckily) bought bilberries instead of blueberries and, at the same time, I remembered the muffins idea. The technique there was very similar to one used for cakes, so I decided to take an English-cake form and make this into a cake. You can judge the result yourselves….

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Ingredients:

For English-cake baking form 30cms long and 10cms wide:
3 cups of flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
140 gr. butter (warmed to room temperature)
1 glass of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of natural yogurt
1 tsp. citrus zest
1 1/2 glasses of bilberries (fresh or frozen)

1 tablespoon of flour for mixing with bilberries

For the glaze:
30 gr. sugar powder
1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

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