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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Paris-Brest with Pistachio Cream and Banana Caramel


My first “real” cake. I thought about it all week, had endless debates with my sister regarding combination of flavors, memorized a chapter from a culinary bible on the compatibility of pistachios with other flavors… 🙂 In the end, that’s what I got – Paris-Brest with Pistachio Cream, Banana Caramel and Cardamon/Pistachio Praline.

A little bit of history: this cake is named after a Paris – Brest – Paris long-distance bicycle racing event. Today this is officially the oldest bicycle event that still takes place.

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Below ingredients yield 2 cakes 22-centimeters in diameter each, I took the cake base idea from Maria Selyanina.

Choux Pastry Ring:

100 g water
150 gr. milk
5 g salt
5 g of sugar
100 g butter
150 g flour
5 eggs (230 gr.)
50 gr. chopped pistachios
Regular sugar
Powdered sugar

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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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Challah Bread


As opposed to most of the bakery recipes I publish on this blog, these breads take quite some time to prepare. On the positive side, they are amazingly good, and every time I make them, they get eaten within a matter of hours. So, if you’d like to take up a challenge – lets bake a filled Challah.

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The original idea of making such a bread is not mine. It belongs to Erez Komarovsky, a chef/baker that started as an owner of a bakery, then developed it into a network of bakeries, then added restaurants, and then sold them all in order to move to a quiet and peaceful Galilee to continue cooking (and teaching others) there.

The idea of baking a Pâte à pain roll filled with vegetables (or meat, or cheese) is, of course, far from being original. The innovation here is taking the same approach with a Challah bread. For those not familiar with the concept, let me say a couple of words about Challah: it is a kind of bread loaf, prepared for festive days according to Jewish tradition. (Saturday, for instance, is a festive day). It is a kind of very soft (and, in many cases sweet) pastry, that is very aromatic. In fact, for many Jewish families, the aroma of freshly baked Challah is intrinsically connected with the aroma of “home”. The goal Erez has defined for himself was to keep these very important qualities of Challah, but to create a filled version, where the filling would combine naturally with the dough.

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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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Green Peas and Sausages Cake


This is a very quick and tasty salty cake. I’ve had the recipe for a long time in my favorites folder, and recently, I picked it up. The result was so great that I ended up making one variation after another. As always, I’ve taken the original recipe as an inspiration and modified it.

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Ingredients:

3 eggs
100 gr. butter, melted and then chilled to room temperature
100 ml. milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
200 gr. flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
200 gr. green peas (if you are using frozen ones, no need to unfreeze them before the cooking)
100 gr. cabanos sausages cut into “narrow” rings
100 gr. grated hard cheese

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Mini Eggplant and Bell Pepper Quiches


Following-up on the mini-quiches theme started by Mini Pumpkin and Three Cheese Quiches post. Below is the recipe for very quick eggplant quiches.

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Ingredients:

(For 7 quiches)

1 medium-sized eggplant
1 medium-sized red bell pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. sour cream
120 gr. feta cheese
2 eggs
1 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 branch of basil and 1 branch of thyme
salt, pepper

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