Monday, November 29, 2010

Jam buns

Jam buns / Pãezinhos recheados com geléia

Yeasted challenged, fear not: these buns are absolutely easy to make and good to finish up that jar of jam that has been around your fridge for weeks (months, maybe?). :D

It’s not even right for me to take the credit over these – the standing ovation should go to my stand mixer.

Jam buns / Pãezinhos recheados com geléia

Jam buns
from Donna Hay magazine

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
5 tablespoons caster sugar
¾ cup (180ml) lukewarm whole milk
2 1/3 cups + 1 tablespoon (337g) all purpose flour
3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup raspberry jam or your favorite flavor
1 egg yolk, extra
2 tablespoons heavy cream
icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Place the yeast, 2 teaspoons of the sugar and the milk in a large bowl and mix to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface.
Add the flour, butter, yolk and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture and mix until a soft dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding a little flour to the dough if it becomes too sticky – avoid adding too much flour or the dough will become tough. Make a ball with the dough, place in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Butter a large baking sheet. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll into balls. Press out into circles measuring about 12cm (5in) in diameter and spoon 1 teaspoon of the ham into the center of each. Carefully fold over the dough to enclose the filling and pinch to seal. Place pinched side down onto prepared sheet.
Using a sharp knife, make a small cut in the top of each roll. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Whisk together the yolk and the cream and brush over the buns. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dark golden. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with the icing sugar – the jam is extremely hot when the buns first come out of the oven, so handle and eat with care.

Makes 16

Friday, November 26, 2010

Butter cake (like the ones grandma used to make)

Butter cake / Bolo amanteigado com cara de bolo de avó

Let’s take a sweet turn on the simple recipe subject: a delicious and tender cake, that goes wonderfully with a cup of tea or coffee – making it could not be easier: you just throw all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well; no elbow grease needed – the electric mixer will take care of that for you.

The icing here is completely optional – you can go for a dust of icing sugar – but I wanted the cake to look exactly like the ones my grandmother used to make when I was a kid. :D

Butter cake / Bolo amanteigado com cara de bolo de avó

Butter cake
from Modern Classics Book 2: Cookies, Biscuits & Slices, Small Cakes, Cakes, Desserts, Hot Puddings, Pies & Tarts (Morrow Cookbooks)

½ cup + 1 tablespoon (127g) unsalted butter, very well softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (218g) caster sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups + 1 ½ tablespoons (225g) all purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking soda, sifted
pinch of salt
½ cup (120ml) whole milk, room temperature

1 cup (140g) icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice or water

Preheat the oven to 160°C; butter a 20cm (8in) round cake pan, line the bottom with baking paper and butter the paper as well.
Place the butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and milk in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low speed until combined.
Scrape the sides of the bowl, then beat in high speed until the mixture is just smooth.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until risen, golden and cooked through when tested with a toothpick. Allow to cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 5 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack. Let cool completely.
Make the icing: place the sugar in a small bowl and gradually add the juice/water, mixing until smooth (add more liquid if necessary). Drizzle over the cake.

Serves 8

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tomato, arugula and grana padano tart and a Sunday miracle

Tomato, arugula and grana padano tart / Torta de tomate, rúcula e grana padano

A miracle happened in my house last Sunday – I said I was going to make this tart for lunch and Joao said he was going to eat it, too. :D
After lunch, he said the tart was delicious, which made me both surprised and happy – those of you with picky eaters at home know the feeling... :)

It’s a very simple recipe, with almost no cooking involved, but I had to share it with you.

Tomato, arugula and grana padano tart
from Australian Gourmet Traveller

Grana padano pastry*:
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
100g chilled unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (34g) finely grated grana padano – or use parmesan as in the original recipe

Mustard dressing:
½ tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper

500g mixed baby tomatoes, such as yellow grape, cherry and baby Roma – halve the larger ones and leave the small ones whole
1 small bunch of arugula
shaved grana padano, to serve

For grana padano pastry, process flour and butter in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add grana padano, process to combine, add 2 tablespoons (or more) iced water, pulsing to form a dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead lightly to form a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (1 hour). Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 35cm-diameter round and line a lightly buttered 24cm-diameter tart pan, trim edges and prick base with a fork. Freeze for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter the shiny side of a large piece of aluminum foil place it, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Fill with baking weights/dried beans. Bake pastry until light golden (15-25 minutes), then carefully remove paper and weights and bake until golden and crisp (5-10 minutes). Set aside to cool completely.
For mustard dressing, whisk ingredients in a large bowl to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Add tomato to dressing, toss lightly to combine, then transfer to pastry case. Toss the arugula leaves in the dressing too and place some leaves over the tomatoes (you’ll serve the remaining leaves with the tart slices). Scatter over grana padano shaves and serve immediately.

* I kept the pastry in the freezer (well wrapped in plastic) for 1 week; thawed it in the fridge overnight before using – it worked perfectly.

Serves 4 as a light meal – the hubby and I ate the whole thing and there was nothing left. :D

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rhubarb and vanilla crumble

Rhubarb and vanilla crumble / Crumble de ruibarbo e baunilha

If you read this post the fact that I burned my tongue eating this crumble will come as no surprise. :D

I made the crumble before the tartlets, and my curiosity for the rhubarb flavor would not be stopped by a piping hot bowl of dessert, right?

Just so you know it, it was all worth it. :D

Rhubarb and vanilla crumble
from Simple Essentials Fruit

850g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon (162g) demerara sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped with the back of a knife

1 cup + 1 tablespoon (150g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (78g) caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, cold and chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Combine the rhubarb, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a bowl. Transfer to a 6-cup (1.5l) capacity ovenproof dish. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rub with your fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pile the mixture on top of the fruit and bake for 50 minutes or until the topping is golden and the fruit is soft.

Serves 4 – I made 1/3 of the recipe above and used a 2 ½ cup (600ml) capacity bowl

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chock-full of chocolate chip cookies

Chock-full of chocolate chip cookies / Cookies com muuuitas de gotas de chocolate

Yes, people, chocolate chips again – the person behind this blog has serious problems trying to control herself sometimes, and that can result in the purchase of a 2.5kg (over 5oz) bag of chocolate chips. So get ready to see loads of chips around here (luckily the chocolate is excellent and I can melt it to make brownies and such). :)

Speaking of control – or the lack of it – buying a huge bag of chocolate chips is nothing compared to watching 36 episodes of my newest favorite show in 2 weeks – hadn’t things like WORK gotten in the way I could have done that in 3 days. :D

Chock-full of chocolate chip cookies / Cookies com muuuitas de gotas de chocolate

Chock-full of chocolate chip cookies
from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook

1 ¼ cups (175g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (88g) packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons (72g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups (24 oz/672g) semisweet chocolate chips – I used chips with 70% cocoa solids

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 180°C/350°F. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute – the mixture may look curdled, but that’s OK. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Use a tablespoon to drop heaping spoonfuls of dough ( about 3 level tablespoons each) onto prepared sheets, spacing the cookies 7.5cm (3in) apart (I rolled into balls and pressed slightly before baking).
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned and the centers are golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack with a wide metal spatula (cookies will flatten slightly as they cool).
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Makes 27 cookies - I halved the recipe, used 2 leveled tablespoons of dough per cookie and got 17

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lemon-poppy seed cake with vanilla-cream cheese frosting and 4 years of blogging

Lemon-poppy seed cake with vanilla-cream cheese frosting / Bolo de limão siciliano e sementes de papoula com cobertura de baunilha e cream cheese

Thank you all for the birthday wishes! You guys are the best! ♥

I turned 32 a couple of days ago, and this blog turns 4 today – for this double celebration I baked a lemon cake (and please let’s pretend you are surprised with the flavor choice). :D

Lemon-poppy seed cake with vanilla-cream cheese frosting / Bolo de limão siciliano e sementes de papoula com cobertura de baunilha e cream cheese

Lemon-poppy seed cake with vanilla-cream cheese frosting
slightly adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

3 cups (420g) cake flour*
2 cups (400g) caster sugar
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, room temperature, coarsely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 ¼ cups (300ml) buttermilk
5 egg whites
1/3 cup (80ml) water

Vanilla cream cheese frosting:
2 vanilla beans
5 cups (700g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
224g (8oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter three 20cm (8in) round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper and butter the paper.
Combine the flour, 1 ¾ cups (350g) of the sugar, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed to blend the ingredients and break up any lumps, about 30 seconds. Add the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Beat on low – be careful, the flour may fly everywhere – until completely mixed. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes to lighten and aerate the batter.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk; whisk to blend thoroughly. Add this mixture to the batter in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
While the cakes are cooling, make the lemon syrup: in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the remaining ¼ cup (50g) of sugar, the lemon juice and the water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Turn out the cake layers onto wire racks and generously brush them hot lemon syrup over the warm cakes to moisten evenly. Let cool completely.

Make the frosting: split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the sugar with the back of a knife. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat until very fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat well.

Assembling the cake: place one cake layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about a fifth of the frosting over the cake to cover evenly. Repeat with the second cake layer + another fifth of the frosting, then place the third layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with whatever strikes your fancy.

* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch

Serves 12-16 – I made the exact cake recipe above but only 2/3 of the frosting and it was enough to fill and frost the entire cake

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pesto pasta and tuna “meatballs”

Pesto pasta and tuna “meatballs” / Espaguete ao pesto com almôndegas de atum

My grandmother is a very creative cook – sometimes, too creative.

A friend of mine from school once had lunch at my house and told grandma that the breaded fish was delicious, to what granny replied “oh, sweetie, thank you! But that is not fish – it’s banana skin”. :D

After that story I bet that tuna “meatballs” sound perfectly normal to you. :D

Pesto pasta and tuna “meatballs”
adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller

2 x 185g cans tuna, drained
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
¼ cup pine nuts
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pasta and sauce:
400g spaghetti
¼ cup pesto sauce
¾ cup (180ml) heavy cream
finely grated parmesan and fresh basil, to serve

Place tuna, breadcrumbs, parsley, chives, pine nuts, lemon zest and egg in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the tuna meatballs and cook, turning, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Keep warm in the oven.
Cook pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. In the meantime, add the pesto and cream to the saucepan you cooked the meatballs in (remove excess oil if necessary) and heat over medium heat. Drain the pasta, add the sauce and toss gently to combine. Top with the meatballs, sprinkle with parmesan and basil leaves and serve.

Serves 4 – I halved the recipe above, used 1 ½ packed tablespoons of mixture per meatball and got 12 (I used the whole egg and the mixture was easy to roll into balls)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baked’s granola, getting older and embarrassing secrets

Baked's granola / Granola da Baked bakery

I’ve decided to confess some of my deepest secrets today in order to celebrate my 32nd birthday. :)

Secret #1: I don’t like hazelnuts. I used to, but not anymore (only in creamy, chocolatey form). That’s why next time I make this granola I’ll be using almonds only.

Not embarrassing enough? Watching (again) “Miami Vice” the other day I thought that Colin Farrell looked really good as Sonny Crockett, mustache and hair included. :D

Baked's granola / Granola da Baked bakery

Baked’s granola
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

2 cups (230g) rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup (44g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (50g) whole almonds
1/3 cup (48g) whole hazelnuts
2/3 cup (75g) dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: gather up some of the mixture in each hand, and make a fist. Repeat until all the oats are coated with the honey mixture.
Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return to the oven.
Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the granola and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool completely, then sprinkle the cranberries and use your hands to transfer the granola to an airtight container.
The granola will keep for 1 week.

Makes 450g (1 pound)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Almond and jam bars

Almond and jam bars / Barrinhas de geléia e amêndoa

You probably won’t believe me, but the universe conspired for me to make this recipe. :D

I was watching one of Bill’s shows – aren’t his daughters the cutest things ever? – and he made these bars. On the following morning, I found the exact amounts of almonds and jam in my fridge; I considered it a sign – you know how much I’m fond of signs – and started baking the bars right away. :D

Almond and jam bars
from Holiday

Almond topping:
4 ½ tablespoons (63g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup + ½ tablespoon (56g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g flaked or slivered almonds
2 tablespoons whole milk

Base and filling:
2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (112g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups + 1 ½ tablespoons (225g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (40g) corn starch
160g raspberry jam – I used a different flavor, fruits de bois

Preheat an oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly grease a 24x20cm baking pan*, line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on two opposite sides and butter the paper as well – I used foil.
To make the almond topping, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla extract with the almonds and milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the butter has melted, and then leave the mixture out to cool.

Make the base: combine the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Sift the flour with cornstarch into a small bowl and add to the butter mixture in 2 batches, beating on low speed until just mixed – you might want to finish incorporating the dry ingredients with a spatula to avoid overmixing. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove the pastry from the oven and leave it out to cool for 10 minutes.
Carefully spread the raspberry jam over the pastry base, and then spread the cooled almond topping over the jam. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until golden.
Cool completely before cutting.

* I used a square 25cm pan and tried to remove the entire baked good from the pan – using the foil hangers – before cutting: it was a complete disaster; I highly recommend it to be cut inside the pan to avoid breaking the bars

Makes 20

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rhubarb tarts

Rhubarb tarts / Tortinhas de ruibarbo

A dear friend of mine once blogged about “good envy” – is there such thing? I mean, can we associate envy with a positive adjective, even if it’s to show admiration for someone/something?

An example: during all these years into blogging I’ve been “envying” my lovely friends from Europe and USA for having lots of rhubarb around; now I could finally find it here in São Paulo (thank you, Ana!) and it is absolutely delicious! :D

A non-food related example: I “envy” the Argentineans for their wonderful movies, far superior than ours – and they have Darín, too. ♥

What do you think? Can I call that feeling “good envy”? Any suggestions? :D

rhubarb tarts8

Rhubarb tarts
from Good to the Grain

Rhubarb compote:
2 pounds (900g) rhubarb stalks
1 ¼ cups (218g) dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup (135g) corn flour
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
½ cup (82g) fine cornmeal
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (74g) caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1.25cm (½ inch) pieces
¼ cup (60ml) + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 egg yolks

Start by making the compote: rinse the rhubarb stalks and trim off the very ends. Unless the stalks are very slender, cut them in half lengthwise. Cut the rhubarb on the diagonal into a little less than 2cm (¾ inch) chunks. You’ll have about 6 cups of rhubarb; set 2 cups aside and put the remaining 4 cups in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (with about 4 liter/5 quart capacity).
Add the brown sugar to the saucepan, give the mixture a few stirs, cover, and turn the heat to medium-low (it’s important to begin slowly so the rhubarb warms up and begins to release its liquid). Cook the rhubarb for about 15 minutes, covered, until the mixture is saucy. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium. Cook for 15-17 minutes, stirring continuously, until the rhubarb is completely broken down and thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan.
Add the remaining rhubarb to the saucepan and stir to combine. Immediately pour the compote out onto a large plate or baking dish to cool.
The compote will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Now, the dough: sift the dry ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
Add the butter and using the paddle attachment mix on low speed and mix to break up the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is as coarse as cornmeal. Add the heavy cream and the egg yolks and mix just until combined – the mixture will appear crumbly, but when squeezed between your fingers it will become one mass.
Now, shape the tarts: divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Lightly flour a work surface, grab one piece of dough and using the heel of your hand flatten it into a 13cm (5in) circle.
Spoon ¼ cup of the rhubarb compote into the center of the circle of dough. Fold the edge of the dough toward the filing and up, to create a ruffled edge. Slice a metal spatula underneath the tart and transfer to a baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough, then place the tarts in the freezer to rest until firm, at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F and line two baking sheets with baking paper. Place the tarts onto the prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until the tarts are brown and the filling is bubbling and thick.
Tarts can be eaten warm or at room temperature; they can be kept for up to 2 days if tightly wrapped in plastic.

Makes 10 – I made 1/3 of the recipe above, got 3 tarts and ¼ cup of the compote left

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brown sugar and chocolate chip pound cake with maple glaze

Brown sugar and chocolate chip pound cake with maple glaze / Bolo de açúcar mascavo e gotas de chocolate com cobertura de xarope de bordo

Every once in a while I go through my recipe stash – Joao kindly calls it my “mess” – and find ripped pages/prints I did not remember existed – like this recipe from when I was a Bon Appétit subscriber, ages ago.

It’s a good cake – I expected it to be a bit more tender, but one of my official Guinea pigs said it was great; however, it was the icing that won me over: I left the espresso out and the maple flavor was all over the place. Yum!

Brown sugar and chocolate chip pound cake with maple glaze / Bolo de açúcar mascavo e gotas de chocolate com cobertura de xarope de bordo

Brown sugar and chocolate chip pound cake with maple glaze
from Bon Appetit

1 12-ounce (336g) package semisweet chocolate chips – I used 70% cocoa solids
3 cups (420g) all purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups (262g) light brown sugar, packed
2 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk

1 cup (140g) powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (or more) whipping cream

Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. Butter a 12-cup Bundt pan. Spray pan generously with nonstick spray. Dust pan lightly with flour*. Mix chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of the flour in a medium bowl. Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chip mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly.
Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.

Make the glaze: combine powdered sugar, maple syrup and 2 tablespoons cream in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding more cream by ½ teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Spoon glaze decoratively over top of cake; let stand at room temperature until glaze is firm, about 1 hour (can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature).

* I halved the recipe above and used a regular 6 cup-capacity ring pan, buttered and floured (I did not use cooking spray)

Serves 12

Friday, November 5, 2010

Orange blueberry friands - and Aragorn

Orange blueberry friands / Friands de laranja e mirtilo

Let’s keep on with the sweet posts, because I have a reputation to maintain. :D

On one of my rounds at IMDb, I ended up at “The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring” trivia and read that Stuart Townsend was Peter Jackson’s first idea for the role of Aragorn (which was a complete shock to me). Luckily Viggo *sigh* was chosen instead – talk about a perfect replacement. :D

I have some other great replacements here for you: orange zest for vanilla and blueberries for raspberries.

Orange blueberry friands / Friands de laranja e mirtilo

Orange blueberry friands

175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (100g) ground almonds
6 egg whites, lightly beaten
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1 ½ cups (210g) icing sugar, sifted
½ cup (70g) all purpose flour, sifted
¾ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen – I used frozen
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Butter well ten ¾-cup (180ml) capacity mini cake or muffin pans.
Place the butter, ground almonds, egg whites, orange zest, icing sugar and flour in a large bowl and stir just until combined.
Spoon the mixture into prepared pans – they should be just over ½ full. Top each friand with 4-5 blueberries. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to stand in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Makes 10 – I made 1/3 of the recipe above, used 3-tablespoon-capacity pans and got 7 tiny friands

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oatmeal raisin ice cream

Oatmeal raisin ice cream / Sorvete de praliné de aveia e passas

I know, I know... An ice cream post right after the salad and whole karma cleansing speech. What can I say? I am a lost cause. :D

In my defense, this ice cream has oats – even though they’re enrobed in caramel, they’re still oats. And oats are good for you. :D
If I were to make this recipe again I would double the amount of oatmeal praliné and skip the raisins; actually, I would triple the amount so I could nibble on some praliné while making the custard – this stuff is so delicious I almost ate it all before adding it to the ice cream.

Oatmeal raisin ice cream
from The Perfect Scoop

¼ cup (60ml) water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
½ cup (78g) raisins
2 teaspoons whiskey

Oatmeal praliné:
¾ cup (86g) rolled oats, not instant
½ cup (100g) caster sugar

Ice cream:
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups (480ml) heavy cream
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (70g) light brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the raisins: heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Add the raising and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until all about but 2 tablespoons of the syrup has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the whiskey and let cool completely.
Now, the oatmeal praliné: preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the oats evenly on the sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until the oats are fragrant and nicely toasted. Remove from the oven.
Spread the sugar in a medium, heavy bottomed skillet and cook over medium heat, watching it carefully. When it begins to liquefy and darken at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to stir it very gently, encouraging the heat of the liquefied sugar to moisten the sugar crystals in the center.
Tilt the pan and stir gently until all the sugar is melted and the caramel begins to smoke. Once the mixture is deep golden, remove it from the heat and immediately add the oats (lift the foil to guide them in quickly). Return the foil to the sheet.
Stir the oats gently but quickly, coating them with the caramel. Scrape the oats onto the foil and spread them as well as possible. Let cool completely. Once firm, break into small pieces by pulsing them in a food processor or placing the praline in a heavy-duty plastic bag and smacking them with a mallet or rolling pin.
Make the ice cream base: warm the milk, granulated sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk the cream, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour over the warm milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and stir until cool over an ice bath (I simply let it cool over the counter then refrigerated it).
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning add the raisins and oatmeal praliné.

Makes about 1 quart

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tomato, feta and wheat salad

Tomato, feta  and wheat salad / Salada de tomate, feta e trigo

Today’s post is a totally selfish act: I’m just trying to clean up my karma (a bit) after making everyone get fat with so many sweet recipes in a row. :D

The inspiration for this salad comes from Gourmet Traveller, but the idea of grilling the feta comes from Donna Hay (another salad I love and have made dozens of time).

Tomato, feta and wheat salad
inspired by Australian Gourmet Traveller

Sumac salt:
2 teaspoons sea salt (like Maldon), or ¾ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon sumac
finely grated zest of ½ lemon

500g cherry tomatoes
¼ cup wheat, soaked overnight
200g firm feta cheese
generous handful of basil
handful of parsley leaves
olive oil, for drizzling
lemon juice

For sumac salt, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with freshly ground pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; line a small baking sheet with foil.
Halve half of the tomatoes, place cut-side up on prepared sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with a little sumac salt. Roast until tender (30-35 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, place wheat in a saucepan, cover generously with cold water and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender (35-40 minutes). Drain, refresh under cold running water, then drain well and set aside to cool.
Add olive oil and lemon juice (to taste) to the remaining sumac salt in order to make a dressing. Mix well.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Fry the feta for 1–2 minutes each side or until golden. Chop into large pieces.
Halve the remaining tomatoes, mix with the roasted ones and place in a serving dish. Mix in the wheat, feta, basil and parsley. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Serves 2

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