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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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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Quick Figs and Goat Cheese Honey Tart


Recently I saw a lot of blog articles on bakery with figs. Here’s my super-simple idea.

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All you need to do is take a Puff Pastry dough and cut it into rectangles. Then you will need to form edges for your rectangles – you can either use strips of the dough, or use the method illustrated and explained below:

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Cut out the inner square, retreating from the edge approximately for 1cm. Then tuck in the edges and the corners in a manner similar to making an origami “boat”. Bake in oven for 15 minutes at 180C.

This is how they look when coming out of the oven:

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Now all that remains is to press the center of our improvised “plate” a bit, add the figs and the cheese and pour some honey on the top. Then bake it for 5 more minutes, the cheese will become a bit brownish and the figs will become softer.

Did you like this recipe? Do you think that you are going to cook it anytime soon? Have you already tried it?

Please leave us comments about your experience…..

Passion-fruit Tiramisu


This dessert was made for a dairy dinner celebrating 1st birthday of our youngest daughter Amy. This is a quick version of tiramisu, based on biscuits prepared (or even purchased :-)) in advance….

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Ingredients:

400 gr. “lady finger” biscuits

For the mousse:

75 gr. Passoa liqueur
75 gr. water
100 gr. sugar
3 egg yolks
500 gr. mascarpone
250 gr. cream

For the liquid used for soaking the biscuits:

40 g. lemon juice
25 gr. Passoa liqueur
15 gr. water
50 oz. sugar

3 passion-fruits

Preparation:

  1. First the liquid for soaking the biscuits – mix all the ingredients in the bowl and dissolve the sugar
  2. Warm the liquid a bit, but no need to boil it
  3. Now to the mousse/cream – start with beating/whipping the mascarpone and the cream in separate bowls
  4. Mix the liqueur with water and sugar in a pan, while stirring and bring to boiling. Then remove from the heat
  5. With a mixer (in a bowl), beat the egg yolks on high speed, and then, without stopping the rotating mixer start pouring in the syrup obtained in #4. The volume of the resulting substance will grow significantly at this stage
  6. Take the resulting (in #5) cream, first using about 1/3 of it, and, using a spoon, mix it into the whipped mascarpone, until obtaining a uniform mass. Then repeat the operation with the remaining part of the cream
  7. Afterwards, do the same with the whipped cream
  8. Now to the biscuits – soak them quickly in the soaking liquid and lay them out at the bottom of the form (we usually use a rectangular baking form). On top of the formed layer, spread approximately 1/2 of the mixed mascarpone/cream
  9. Cut the passion-fruits in halves, remove the pulp from 3 halves and spread it on top of the cream
  10. Repeat the same layers as in #8 and #9
  11. Keep it in refrigerator for a day, after which the tiramisu will keep its form and it will be very easy to cut it into serving portions

* The above process has been inspired by the Mango Tiramisu preparation by La Patissiere, but the ingredients and the proportions were modified/adjusted

 

Did you like this recipe? Do you think that you are going to cook it anytime soon? Have you already tried it?

Please leave us comments about your experience…..

3 variants of Watermelon Ice-cream Sorbet


The warm season is approaching, and, speaking from experience, having a decent ice-cream making machine at home is a huge asset. Cold watermelon or cold lemonade are among our favorite ways to cope with warm weather, and combining them into something could only make it even better 🙂

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Mint – Watermelon – Nectarine Ice-Cream

(Nectarine is a close relative of a peach, but with a different type of skin)

250 gr. watermelon “flesh”
150 gr. nectarine “flesh”
Leaves from 2 mint branches
1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

80 gr. sugar (depending on the natural sweetness of the watermelon)

Lemon – Watermelon

400 gr. watermelon “flesh”
2 tbsp. lemon jam (originally – “confiture“)
70 gr. sugar

“Just” Watermelon

370 gr. watermelon “flesh”
30 gr. any kind of fruit liqueur  (like, Passoa or Alize)
100 gr. sugar

The process for all of them is really simple – mix all ingredients in a blender and freeze / turn into ice-cream in an ice-cream making machine.

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If you liked this dessert, check out the following related recipes:

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Did you like this recipe? Do you think that you are going to cook it anytime soon? Have you already tried it?

Please leave us comments about your experience…..

Wine Marmalade


Very fragrant and unusual marmalade. You’d never guess the main ingredient, as there are no traces of alcohol whatsoever in the resulting product. Done practically within minutes and doesn’t require any usual hard marmalade-making work. One important boundary that can’t be crossed – pectin is an absolute must.

The original recipe was using grape juice with a small comment that using wine is also an option. This has triggered my curiosity and this marmalade was created as a side for a pate.

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In order to achieve this attractive pink color I took some figs and blanched them in dry white wine. Then I took the figs out (to prepare a cake) and used the resulting colored wine for the marmalade.

Ingredients:

250 ml. dry white wine
200+50 gr. sugar
30 ml. lemon juice
1.5 tbsp. pectin
3 cloves (optionally)

Process:

Start with mixing 50 grams of sugar with pectin. Then bring the wine and the remaining 200 grams of sugar to boiling in a small pan. First add the lemon juice, bring to boiling again and then stir in the sugar-pectin mixture. After quick stir turn off the heat and let it chill. Actually, that’s all – the mixture will become a marmalade when it cools down. If you are looking for a more liquid result use less pectin.

Important note: if you happen to stir in the pectin without pre-mixing it with sugar, it will create lumps that you won’t be able to dissolve. Sugar helps it dissolve uniformly. Stirring in using a whisk contributes to the same cause – a uniform substance. 

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 Try this marmalade with one of the below cakes:

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Did you like this recipe? Do you think that you are going to cook it anytime soon? Have you already tried it?

Please leave us comments about your experience…..

Sweet Pumpkin Pie


This pie was originally conceived in September 2010. When working on it, the filling was actually prepared by our (then) 2.5 years-old daughter.

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Ingredients for the pie base:

270 gr. flour
150 gr. cold butter
25 gr. sugar powder
A pinch of salt
6 tablespoons of ice-cold water (*)

Ingredients for the filling:

400 gr. pumpkin puree
10 gr. (small pack) of vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence)
7-8 tbsp sugar
4 eggs
1 full spoon of  starch
Juice of half a lemon
Orange peel from two oranges

Pie baking form – 28cm is diameter.

Pie Base:

Sift flour with salt and sugar powder. Cut the butter into small cubes. Mix them all together and with a knife create a formation similar to bread crumbs (this can be done inside a food processor using a blade attachment). Put the resulting crumbs into a bowl, add the water and stir the eventual dough (quickly). For the dough into a ball shape, wrap with kitchen cellophane wrap and put into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

The Filling:

I did not weigh the pumpkin, therefore I can only talk about the amount of the resulting mash.

Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and cook in a covered pot over low heat until tender, about 30 minutes (without salt or sugar, you can add a tablespoon of water). Turn the resulting tender mass into a puree with a blender until smooth. Let the puree rest until it reaches room temperature.

Add all the remaining ingredients stirring them in until the sugar is dissolved completely and a uniform mass is obtained.

Splash the pie baking form with a bit of oil. Roll the dough to the size of the form, put in shape and cut off the edges. In order to avoid the possibility of liquids from the mash soaking into the basis, I baked the basis for 20 minutes (under weight) at 200C (392F).

Pour the filling at the baked foundation and cook for 30 additional minutes at 180C (356F). In the end, the filling should be have an “elastic” touch (you can see my fingerprint in the photo below, as I checked it ahead of time – be careful).

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Leave in the refrigerator for a night before consumption. Make an effort not to eat it all at once 🙂

*My way of making ice-cold water: pour room-temperature water into a cup and add some ice cubes from the freezer.