Monday, May 31, 2010

Strawberry tarte tatins

Strawberry tarte tatins / Tarte tatins de morango

I’ve been watching some episodes of “Brothers and Sisters” and have to say I feel like I could become addicted to it – actually, the idea of getting all the DVDs to watch the show from the start has crossed my mind once or twice already. :)
Even though I’ve been enjoying the show, it makes me quite emotional – so thank you, “Brothers and Sisters”, for making me almost cry every time I listen to “Never say never”, including when I’m driving to work. :S

There’s someone else I’d like to thank today: Donna Hay, for introducing me to strawberry tarte tatins – what a delicious dessert. And now I’m not being ironic. :)

Strawberry tarte tatins / Tarte tatins de morango

Strawberry tarte tatins
from Donna Hay magazine

2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
¼ cup (50g) caster sugar
1 ½ tablespoons water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
butter, for greasing
500g strawberries, hulled and sliced in half if too large
300g all butter puff pastry, thawed*
whipped cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F. Place the butter, sugar, water and vanilla (seeds and bean) in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean.
Lightly grease four 10cm round pie dishes with the butter. Place the strawberries in the dishes and pour over the caramel.
Place the pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 5mm thick. Cut four 11cm rounds from the pastry and place on top of the strawberries. Place the dishes on a baking tray and bake the tarts for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Turn the tarts out onto plates and top with whipped cream to serve – be careful not to get burned by the piping hot juices when unmolding the tarts.

* inspired by my friend Ana Elisa, I made her take on Flo Braker’s Pretty Darn Quick Puff Pastry (from this book) and it worked wonderfully; half her recipe is enough for the four tarte tatins

Serves 4

Strawberry tarte tatins / Tarte tatins de morango

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Milk chocolate cookies

Milk chocolate cookies / Cookies de chocolate ao leite

Everyone is talking about “Lost” these days and I feel completely left out – I did not watch the show when it started and therefore never followed the episodes.:(

Since I cannot write about that popular show, I’ll choose something even more popular: chocolate. This is one of Lizzie’s gorgeous cookie recipes – the buttered rum meltaways are next on my list.

Milk chocolate cookies

1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (45g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
340g (12oz) good-quality milk chocolate, 170g (6oz) coarsely chopped and 170g (6oz) cut into 6mm (¼ in) chunks
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Melt 170g (6oz) of the coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; let cool slightly.
Put chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks*.
Using a 3.75cm (1½ in) ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 5cm (2 in) apart. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces crack, about 15 minutes (cookies should be soft). Let cool on paper on wire racks.
Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

* if you want, chop a little more chocolate and place 2-3 chunks on the top of each cookie before baking them

Makes about 3 dozen – I halved the recipe above, used ½ tablespoon (leveled) of dough per cookie and got 34

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sour lime cake

Sour lime cake / Bolo de limão azedinho

A lovely Brazilian blogger friend of mine has been having lots of fun in the kitchen lately, but she still doesn’t have a very close relationship with her mixer – that’s why I think these little cakes are perfect for her: they’re tender, delicious and very moist and all one needs to prepare them is a bowl and a wooden spoon. Really simple.

I got the recipe from the DH mag #44 and used limes instead of lemons, to change things up a little.

Quéroul, sweetie, hope you like these!

Sour lime cake
from Donna Hay magazine

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups + 2 ½ tablespoons (330g) caster sugar
2 eggs
½ cup (130g) plain yogurt
¼ cup (60ml) lime juice
finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 cups + 2 tablespoons (300g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Lime icing:
2 ¼ cups (315g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon boiling water

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Butter well two 4 cup capacity (960ml) Bundt pans.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, lime juice and zest in a bowl and whisk to combine. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and whisk until smooth.
Spoon into prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden and cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes then carefully unmold onto a wire rack. Cool completely.
Make the icing: place the icing sugar, juice and water in a bowl and mix to combine. Spoon over cakes to serve.

Serves 8-10 – I halved the recipe above and used four 1-cup (240ml) capacity mini Bundt pans

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vanilla rice pudding with Port syrup

Vanilla rice pudding with Port syrup / Arroz doce com baunilha e caldinha de Porto

One of the things I love about watching now movies I saw for the first time on my teen days is seeing known, acclaimed actors at the beginning of their careers. I watched “Witness” last week again, after so many years, and saw Viggo Mortensen as one of the Amish guys (those of you who have been reading me for a while know I’m a huge fan – he is part of my acting Olympus, along with Mr. Fiennes and Mr. Roth). :)
I did not remember Viggo was at that movie, but I once read something here that I completely agree with: even then one could see he had potential, and now, after working with great directors – pairing up beautifully with another favorite of mine – he’s one of the best out there.

I guess I can say the same about this dessert: rice pudding is already good and comforting, but gets even better made with real vanilla and topped with this Port syrup.

Vanilla rice pudding with Port syrup
slightly adapted from Donna Hay magazine

1 cup Arborio rice
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 cups (960ml) whole milk
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (212g) caster sugar

Sticky Port syrup*:
½ cup (88g) brown sugar, packed
¼ cup (60ml) Port wine

Place the rice, cinnamon, vanilla (seeds and bean), milk, cream and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes or until rice is al dente. Discard the vanilla bean**.
Make the syrup: place the brown sugar and the Port in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute or until syrupy – it will thicken as it cools.
Divide the rice pudding between six cups or small bowl and top with the sticky Port syrup.

* the original recipes calls for Marsala

** rinse the vanilla bean and remove any traces of cream/milk. Let it dry naturally then place it in your sugar jar

Serves 6

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Apricot and almond tart

Apricot and almond tart / Torta de amêndoa e geléia de damasco

Apricot jam instantly makes me think of fall and winter. And not only until very recently I understood why: I suddenly remembered some of my childhood days, when I’d visit my godmother. In cold, rainy afternoons we’d have tea together, with toasts and apricot jam. She’d have the table so beautifully set, with gorgeous china and all the trimmings... That was pretty amazing for a 7 year old. :)

Cold days here in Sao Paulo + this tart + good childhood memories = a very happy 31 year old girl. :)

Apricot and almond tart / Torta de amêndoa e geléia de damasco

Apricot and almond tart
slightly adapted from Baking by Flavor

1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 tablespoons (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)

2/3 cup apricot preserves
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F; Butter a 21cm (8½ in) fluted round tart pan* (with a removable bottom) and place it on a baking sheet.

Sift the all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a small bowl. Set aside.
Cream the butter in a large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1-2 minutes. Blend in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to keep the mixture even-textured. Blend in the almond flour.
On low speed, add the sifted mixture in two additions, beating until the dough comes together in large and small curds. Remove the bowl from the stand. With a rubber spatula, work the mixture until it comes together in a dough, pressing sections together. Using your hands, lightly knead the dough on a work surface for 1 minute – the dough should be buttery and firm, but workable.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Lightly form each portion into a rounded cake.
Roll one portion of dough between two sheets of baking paper to a round about 24cm (9½ in) in diameter. Place the dough (still between the paper sheets) on a cookie sheet and freeze for 5-10 minutes while you work with the other portion of dough.
Roll out the remaining dough between sheets of baking paper to a round measuring about 23cm (9in) in diameter. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough disk onto the tart pan. Peel off the second sheet of paper.
Lightly press the dough onto the bottom and sides of the tart pan.
Combine the apricot preserves and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Spoon the preserves on the layer of dough and spread on the bottom with a small offset palette knife.
Remove the dough from the freezer and peel off the top sheet of paper. Using a 3.75cm (1½ in) cookie cutter (such as a heart cutter), stamp out 33 pieces of dough as close as possible to each other**.
Place the cut outs around the perimeter of the tart (the edge of the dough), then follow with a second ring of cut outs in the middle of the tart, and finally fill in the center with 3 cut outs. Overlap the remaining cut outs attractively in the middle.
Place the tart on the cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the apricot filling is bubbly and the cut outs are golden. The tart must be fully baked and golden or it will be pasty textured in the center.
Carefully transfer the tart pan to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Carefully unmold and serve cut into wedges.

* I used a 24cm tart pan;

** I covered the tart with the cut outs but did not want to overlap them – instead, I baked the extra cut outs as cookies (photo below)

Serves 8

Apricot and almond tart / Torta de amêndoa e geléia de damasco

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pistachio lime cookies

Pistachio lime cookies / Biscoitinhos de pistache e limão

I’d promised myself I would stop buying cookbooks – because I have so many already – but I’m a very weak person and the so called promise lasted a couple of months, only. :S

In order to feel less of a failure, I’ve switched that promise for another one, much more feasible: start using more the books I already own. Beginning with one I bought several months ago but hadn’t used yet.

Pistachio lime cookies
from Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup (170g/1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
finely grated zest of 4 limes
1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (133g) unsalted pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and chopped

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter with the lime zest on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar in a steady stream and mix until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks, then add the lime juice and vanilla, mixing well for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two additions mixing until almost combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the pistachios and finish mixing by hand.
Shape the dough into a mound, divide into quarters and roll each into a log 3.75cm (1 ½ in) in diameter - about 15cm (6 in) long. Wrap the logs with plastic*, twisting the ends tightly to secure. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm (this dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or may be frozen for 1 month).
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the logs into 6mm (¼ in) thick slices, turning the roll every two or three cuts, and place 5cm (2in) apart on the prepared sheets.
Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let stand for 2-3 minutes before loosening from the paper with a thin metal spatula. Transfer to a wire rack.
Store the cookies in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks.

* I always use baking paper and a ruler to shape cookie dough logs, like Martha does here – it works really well.

Makes about 60

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Passion fruit macarons

Passion fruit macarons / Macarons de maracujá

My whole life I've heard that being persistent pays off – and I should say it’s true. That works in several levels in life, but today I’ll stick to the culinary side of the story. :)

After getting two not so good batches – and tossing many others – I finally made beautiful macacons, with feet! I sure looked like a crazy woman dancing around my kitchen after taking these out of the oven. :)

I have to tell you that my successful macaron adventure was only possible due to Ms. Humble rich, complete and very detailed post – pay her a visit because she has lots of delicious recipes there, besides gorgeous macarons.

The delicious ganache is a courtesy of the lovely Julia.

Passion fruit macarons

150g almond meal
150g confectioners’ sugar
120g egg whites (room temperature)
185g granulated sugar
50g water
gel food coloring (optional)

Passion fruit ganache:
140g dark chocolate, chopped*
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
4 tablespoons passion fruit pulp

You will need 2-3 baking sheets for these , depending on how closely you pipe them; make sure you use good quality aluminum pans – if they’re too thin, the macarons might crack on top. I followed Ms. Humble’s tip and double layered the pans. I also used baking paper, this baking mat and this one and got the best results with the teflon one.

Prep a large pastry bag with a #11 Ateco tip (or a similar medium sized round tip, little under 1cm) – I did not use a tip, I just cut the tip of the pastry bag. Pre-heat your oven to 160-162°C (320-325°F) – I wouldn’t recommend making macarons with an oven thermometer.

You will need a candy thermometer for this method, as it will require bringing the sugar syrup to a precise temperature. Half of the whites I used had been in the fridge for 4 days (and had been previously frozen for 2 weeks) and half was from fresh eggs.

Weigh out your confectioners’ sugar and almond meal and give them a whirl for a minute, pulsing in a food processor. Pour the almond/sugar mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

Weigh out 60g of egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer (make sure the whites are yolk free and your mixer's bowl and whisk attachment are very clean and free of any traces of oil). Also measure out 35g of granulated sugar into a small bowl and set it near the mixer.
Weigh out another 60g of egg whites into a small bowl and set aside.

Weigh out 150g of the granulated sugar into a small sauce pan. Add 50g of water to the sugar, attach your candy thermometer and place it over medium heat – use a very small saucepan so its tip will be immersed in the syrup.
When the sugar hits 87°C/190°F, start beating the egg whites in your mixer on medium low speed until foamy, while keeping a close eye on the sugar syrup. No need to stir the syrup, just let it come to a boil over medium heat (you're aiming for 110°C/230°F). Once the eggs are foamy, slowly add the 35g of sugar and beat to soft peaks on medium speed.

When your sugar mixture hits 110°C/230°F pull it off the heat, increase the speed of your mixer to medium high, and slowly pour in the syrup. You want to let the mixture trickle down the side of the bowl, so it doesn't splatter and get tossed onto the sides of the bowl. You want the sugar in your meringue, not a candy coated bowl.

Now you can relax, the hard part is over. Allow the mixer to beat the meringue for about 5-8 minutes until cool.

While waiting for your meringue to cool, combine the remaining 60g of egg whites with the sugar/almond mixture and mix until well combined. Add any food coloring you wish to use now, aim for a little darker than your goal as it will lighten considerably when the meringue is added.

Once the meringue is ready, add it to the almond/sugar mixture and quickly fold it together. You should fold until it is just barely uniform, using as few strokes as possible. It is very, very important you don't over mix as the batter will thin considerably with each stroke of the spatula. Your batter is perfect when you lift your spatula and a thick ribbon slowly cascades off, back into the bowl.
Now you're ready to fill your piping bag. If the mixture is just right, it will ooze from the tip slowly under its own weight. (If it oozes out quickly, something went horribly wrong and you'll need to start over.)

Pipe 3cm macarons onto your prepared baking sheets, spacing them a few centimeters apart.

Once you complete a full pan, knock it on the counter gently, to bring up any bubbles and quickly pop them with toothpick (I forgot to do that).

Allow the macarons to rest like this for 15 minutes. (They can sit longer if you want to bake one or two sheets at a time, but will develop slightly thicker shells).
Bake at 160-162°C/320-325°F for 14 minutes.

Once done, remove from the pans using the silicone baking mat and allow to cool completely (about an hour) before carefully attempting to remove them from the mat. If you're having trouble even after an hour, pop the sheet into the freezer for about 5 minutes and they should pop off easily.

Make the ganache: heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir. Cool slightly and add the passion fruit pulp. Cover and refrigerate until thick.
Fill a piping bag with the passion fruit ganache and use to sandwich your macarons.

To store, keep the shells chilled in an air tight container. Bring the macarons to room temperature and then fill before serving.

* I used chocolate with 70% cocoa solids and the filling wasn’t too sweet – if you prefer something sweeter, I recommend using semisweet chocolate (54% cocoa solids or so)

Makes about 50 macarons (already filled)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sticky caramel buns

Sticky caramel buns / Pãezinhos com especiarias e caramelo

A couple of weeks ago the lovely Ana Elisa and I had coffee together and it was so good! We talked a lot, discovered several things in common... I already liked her in the virtual world and confirmed that she is a dear in the real world, too. :)

Then I saw that she’d drawn me on her Moleskine and that made my day. :)

Breads remind me of Ana – she’s an expert in making them – and that is why I’m posting these buns, which I adapted from here.

Sticky caramel buns
adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller

5g dried yeast
2/3 cup (160ml) lukewarm whole milk
2 ½ cups (350g) all purpose flour
7 cloves
½ cup (100g) caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup + 2 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter, softened
extra butter and brown sugar, for the pans

Caramel spice mix:
1/3 cup + ½ tablespoon (82g) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (58g) brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Caramel glaze:
1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (218g) caster sugar
1 ½ tablespoons (21g) unsalted butter, coarsely chopped

Combine yeast with half the milk (1/3 cup) in a bowl, stir until yeast dissolves, then stir in 2 ½ tablespoons (25g) of the flour until smooth. Cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30 minutes).
Meanwhile, combine cloves and 3 tablespoons boiling water in a heatproof bowl, cover and stand to infuse (15-20 minutes), strain and reserve liquid.
Combine sugar, orange zest, butter, remaining flour, remaining milk and yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix until a rough dough forms (2-3 minutes), then add a little reserved clove liquid at a time, kneading until a smooth sticky dough forms (4-5 minutes; you may not need all the liquid). Transfer to a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (45 minutes-1 hour).

Meanwhile, for caramel spice mix, combine ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Knock back dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an 18cm x 50cm (7x20in) rectangle – the dough was very tender, so I rolled it on a large piece of lightly floured baking paper, which was very useful to roll the dough into a cylinder. Spread evenly with caramel spice mix and, with longest side facing you, roll into a cylinder. Cut into 12 even pieces and place each piece, cut-side up, in a canelé mould well buttered and heavily dusted with brown sugar*. Place molds on an oven tray and stand for 10 minutes, then bake until risen and golden (25-30 minutes; cover with foil if buns get too dark). Turn out of moulds immediately (be careful of hot caramel) and cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, for caramel glaze, combine sugar and 1/3 cup (80ml) water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Cook until dark caramel (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, add butter and ¼ cup (60ml) water (be careful; hot caramel may spit) and stir to combine. Serve buns warm or at room temperature, topped with caramel glaze.
Sticky caramel buns are best eaten on day of making.

* I used twelve 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans

Makes 12

Friday, May 14, 2010

Turtle brownies

Turtle brownies

I’ve been a good girl the entire week, offering you fruit based baked goods, which, to be honest, are my favorite. But since you’re all so dear to me and treat me so well, and I know you like chocolate a lot, I bring you brownies today – it is Friday after all and you deserve to start the weekend in a very sweet way. :)

Turtle brownies
from here

¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
84g (3oz) good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup (70g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (200g) caster sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup (60ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (200g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 cup (110g) coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. Line a buttered 20cm (8in) square baking pan with foil, allowing a 5cm (2in) overhang. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set aside.
Make batter: Put chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in another medium bowl; set aside.
Put sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture, milk, and vanilla, and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until well combined.
Pour batter into prepared dish. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of brownies comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Make topping: Bring 1/3 cup (80ml) water and the sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. When mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring, and wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally, until medium amber, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove from heat, and immediately add cream, vanilla, and salt. Gently stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until smooth. Add pecans; stir until caramel begins to cool and thickens slightly, about 1 minute.
Pour caramel over cool brownies; spread with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until cold, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Lift out the brownies from the pan and cut into 16 squares, wiping knife with a hot, damp cloth between each cut. Let brownies stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes before serving.
Brownies can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days – I kept mine in the fridge all the time because of the runny topping.

Makes 16

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pear almond pies in cups

Pear almond pies in cups / Tortinhas de pêra e amêndoas em xícaras

One of my all time favorite writers wrote in one of his plays: “I can resist anything except temptation”. Well, I can say that the moment I saw these cute pies I knew I’d not resist – I would have to make them.

I hope you don’t resist them, either. :)

Pear almond pies in cups / Tortinhas de pêra e amêndoas em xícaras

Pear almond pies in cups
from Simple Essentials Fruit

4 firm pears, peeled, with stems intact
1 cup (200g) caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cups (960ml) water

Almond filling:
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon (162g) caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (180ml) heavy cream
2 eggs, separated
1 cup (100g) almond meal (finely ground almonds)
¼ cup + ½ tablespoon (40g) self raising flour, sifted

Place the pears, sugar, cinnamon and water in a saucepan. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 or until the pears are just soft - if your pears are not too firm, less time is required. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Place sugar, butter, vanilla, cream, egg yolks, almond meal and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until thick. Place the egg whites in a bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the almond mixture and spoon into four 1 ½ cup (360ml) ovenproof dishes*. Press a pear into each and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is firm and golden.

* I used slightly smaller cups, that’s why they seem to be so full

Serves 4

Monday, May 10, 2010

Banana poppy seed cake with lemon glaze

Banana poppy seed cake with lemon glaze / Bolo de banana com sementes de papoula e calda de limão siciliano

Last week my lovely Brazilian blogger friend Ana Elisa asked her followers if they wanted an apple or a banana recipe on her blog – I voted for banana, but the apple post won at the end and she published these mouthwatering apple fritters (I bookmarked the recipe immediately). :)

We’ll have bananas here, then, as a very tender and deliciously moist cake, made with bananas that had been in my freezer for 2 months.

Banana poppy seed cake with lemon glaze / Bolo de banana com sementes de papoula e calda de limão siciliano

Banana poppy seed cake with lemon glaze
slightly adapted from Baking for All Occasions

1 ¾ cups (245g) cake flour*
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
¾ cup (170g/2 small or 1 large) mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (90ml) well shaken buttermilk
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup (70g) icing sugar, sifted
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Center a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a 25x5cm (10x2in) round cake pan (10 cup capacity), line the bottom with baking paper, butter the paper then flour everything, tapping to remove any excess**. Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a small bowl; add the poppy seeds and set aside. In another small bowl, stir together the bananas and buttermilk.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-low speed until creamy and smooth, 30-45 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, add the sugar in a steady stream and continue beating until the mixture is lighter in color and texture, 2-3 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, about 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing after each addition until incorporated. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and pale ivory. The entire process of adding and beating the eggs should take about 2 minutes. On the lowest speed, add the banana-buttermilk mixture until blended. Turn off the mixer and using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture in three additions. With each addition, scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until the batter is smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until golden, springs back when gently touched in the center and the sides are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, 35-40 minutes (start checking at 30). Transfer the pan to a wire rack, let cool for 10 minutes, then carefully unmold onto another wire rack. Peel off the baking paper and let cool completely.
Make the glaze: in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and zest. Gradually add the lemon juice, stirring, until the desired consistency. Drizzle the cake with the glaze.
* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch

** I used a 6-cup capacity ring cake pan

Serves 8-10

Friday, May 7, 2010

Macadamia maple sticky bars

Macadamia maple sticky bars / Barrinhas de macadâmia e xarope de bordo

I have received several emails – especially from my Brazilian readers – with great suggestions for the blog, such as subscription via email, a print button for the recipes... As much as I liked them all, it took me a long time to actually add all those widgets here – you know, I’m not much of a techie. :)

Now they’re all finally up – I hope you enjoy them! And let me know if something is not working properly, please.

Speaking of time, I made these bars in almost none, and could even get some rest on the couch, watching TV – “Jaws”, to be more precise – while the base chilled in the refrigerator.

Macadamia maple sticky bars / Barrinhas de macadâmia e xarope de bordo

Macadamia maple sticky bars
slightly adapted from here

1 ¼ cups (175g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (35g) coarsely chopped toasted macadamia nuts
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup (44g) light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (140g) coarsely chopped toasted macadamia nuts
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¼ cup + 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Butter a 20cm (8in) square baking pan; line with foil, allowing a 5cm (2in) overhang on 2 sides. Butter lining (not overhang); set aside.
Start by making the base: whisk flour, salt and macadamia nuts in a bowl.
Put butter and brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in flour mixture and maple syrup. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Bake until set in center and pale golden, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool slightly.

Now, the topping: put butter and macadamia nuts into a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until butter is very foamy and nuts are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, granulated sugar, corn syrup and cream. Boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Spread over crust. Let cool completely. Run a knife around non-parchment sides; lift out of dish by overhang. Cut into sixteen 5cm (2in) squares – I refrigerated the whole square before cutting it into bars so the caramel would be firmer.
Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Makes 16

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vanilla cupcakes with rosewater icing

Vanilla cupcakes with rosewater icing / Cupcakes de baunilha com cobertura de água de rosas

I finally watched “Alice in Wonderland”, but can’t say I liked it... I found it too busy, hysterical, even for Burton.

The highlights of the movie to me were Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar – gotta love that man’s voice – and Helena Bonham Carter; even though I used rather fair roses in these cupcakes I find the Red Queen and her obsession for red roses much more fun. :)

Vanilla cupcakes with rosewater icing / Cupcakes de baunilha com cobertura de água de rosas

Vanilla cupcakes with rosewater icing
from Donna Hay magazine

250g unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups + 2 tablespoons (274g) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 eggs
2 ¼ cups + 2 tablespoons (335g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (240ml) whole milk

Rosewater icing:
1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (218g) caster sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon rosewater
3 egg whites
2-3 drops rose pink food coloring
24 sugared flower cake decorations or crystallized rose petals*, to top the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds/paste in the bowl o an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Sift over the flour and baking powder and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and spoon the mixture into two 12-hole ½ cup capacity muffin pans lined with paper cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool on wire racks.
To make the rosewater icing, place the sugar, water, cream of tartar and rosewater in a saucepan over high heat and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil – at this point, do not stir – reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. While the motor is running, gradually add the sugar mixture to the whites and beat until slightly cooler, thick and glossy. Stir in the food coloring until well combined.
Spread the icing over the cupcakes with a palette knife and top with a sugared flower decoration/crystallized rose petal.

*to crystallize the petals: place an egg white in a small bowl and beat it lightly with a fork. Brush the clean, dry petals with the egg white and cover with caster sugar, shaking to remove any excess. Set aside to dry. Make sure you use unsprayed flowers

Makes 24 – I got 5 cupcakes making ¼ of the cake recipe above, using 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans and 1/3 of the icing recipe

Monday, May 3, 2010

Orange crème brûlée

Orange crème brûlée / Crème brûlée de laranja

I tried to write a nice post for today’s recipe but all I can think of is that my coconut ice cream photo came in second in April's DMBLGIT! :)

I’ve taken part in several DMBLGIT editions, but had never won anything – it is so good to be there. And to see my lovely friend Meeta there, too, with her gorgeous brioche- yum!

A special thank you to Julia for hosting the event so beautifully, and to the super talented judges.

Orange crème brûlée / Crème brûlée de laranja

Orange crème brûlée
adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller

¾ cup (180ml) heavy cream
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
a 5cm (2in) piece orange zest
1 tablespoon Cointreau
¼ cup (50g) caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
4 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F. Combine cream, milk and orange zest in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and bring almost to the boil. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes. Add the Cointreau.
Reheat the cream mixture. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and pale. Whisking continuously, add half the hot cream mixture, then stir in the rest. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, then ladle into four 100ml cup-capacity ramekins. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Check brûlées throughout cooking process to ensure they are not cooking too quickly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm.
Scatter brûlées with caster sugar and caramelize with a blow torch or under a hot grill.

Serves 4

Related Posts with Thumbnails