Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mini buckwheat pancakes

Mini buckwheat pancakes / Panquequinhas de trigo sarraceno

For some people, retail therapy means lots of clothes, shoes, DVDs... To me, it means ingredients for my recipes. :)

After buying this beautiful book, I went crazy and started buying lots of different types of flour: buckwheat, barley, rye... Time went by and I haven’t baked with them as I should have. Not good, Patricia. Not good.

Buckwheat flour begging to be used + Bill Granger’s recipe + my obsession with teeny-weeny food = these pancakes. :)

Mini buckwheat pancakes
from bills open kitchen

1 cup + 2 ½ tablespoons (165g) buckwheat flour
6 tablespoons (60g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons caster sugar
pinch of salt
4 eggs, separated
2 cups (480ml) buttermilk
butter, for greasing the pan
to serve: yogurt, maple syrup, honey, fresh fruit or jam

Preheat the oven to 120°C/248°F. Place the buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the egg yolks and buttermilk in another bowl and stir well to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and mix lightly until just combined. A few lumps are fine, so do not overmix. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gently fold them into the batter.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush with a small portion of butter. For each mini pancake, ladle 1 tablespoon of batter* into the pan and cook for 30-40 seconds or until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Turn the pancakes and cook for another 20-30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven while you make the remaining pancakes.
Serve with whatever strikes your fancy.

*to make larger pancakes, use ¼ cup of batter per pancake

Serves 4

Friday, February 25, 2011

President Clinton’s oatmeal cookies

President Clinton’s oatmeal cookies / Cookies de aveia do Presidente Clinton

I swear I’m not trying to get a job as an oatmeal poster girl, and I’d already decided on which oatmeal cookies were my favorite, but tell me: would you resist making a recipe with such great reputation? :)

These cookies are so delicious I regretted halving the recipe. Mr. Clinton’s taste in cookies is far superior to his taste in... Never mind. :D

President Clinton’s oatmeal cookies / Cookies de aveia do Presidente Clinton

President Clinton’s oatmeal cookies
from Desserts by the Yard

Fat raisins:
1 ½ cups (232g) golden raisins
¾ cup (180ml) dry white wine
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 ½ tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar

1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ sticks (198g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 cup (175g) light brown sugar, packed
1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups (354g) rolled oats
1 recipe (1 ½ cups) fat raisins

Start by preparing the fat raisins: combine the raisins, wine, orange juice, rum and sugar in a small heavy saucepan; bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring all the while. Lower the heat so that the liquid is at a bare simmer and poach for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to cool completely. If not using right away, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Now, the cookies: preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter on high speed until lemony yellow, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle/beaters. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Beat until creamy and scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Beat on low speed for 15-30 seconds or until the eggs are incorporated. On low speed, add the sifted ingredients, beating until they’re absorbed. Mix in the oats and raisins.
Place 1 leveled tablespoon of dough per cookie onto prepared sheets, 5cm (2in) apart. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheet, then bake for another 5-8 minutes or until nicely browned. Carefully slice the baking paper off the sheet and directly onto your work surface. Cool completely.
Cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 80 small cookies (about 5cm/2in each) – I halved the recipe above and regret it (the cookies were too good!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chocolate chip bread pudding

Chocolate chip bread pudding / Pudim de pão com gotas de chocolate

My sister made me watch the awful “Season of the Witch” – I have to say that putting up with Nicolas Cage for 1 ½ hours is huge proof of my love for her. :)
When the movie was over and Dominic Sena’s name appeared on the screen it all made sense to me – a bad director could not deliver a good movie. :)

On the other hand, I always expect great recipes from Nigella – and this bread pudding is no exception. I have a piece of advice, though: make it only when you have other people around the house. :)

Chocolate chip bread pudding
from Nigella Kitchen

250g (9oz) stale bread, cut into 2.5cm (1in) cubes (approx. 5 ½ cups of cubes)
½ cup (92g) dark chocolate chips
3 eggs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons dark rum
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
2 cups (480ml) whole milk
4 teaspoons demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 9x2 ½ in* round pie dish lightly with butter. Tip in the stale bread cubes. Toss in the chocolate chips evenly among the bread cubes.
Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, rum, heavy cream and milk. Pour this mixture over the bread and press the cubes down to coat them in the liquid. Leave all this to soak for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden and firm.

* approx. 6 cups (1.5l) capacity

Serves 4-6

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pastel vasco with blackberry compote

Pastel vasco with blackberry compote / Pastel vasco com geléia de amora

I have been using my cookbooks a lot more lately and there’s one person to be “blamed” for that: my baking buddy, the lovely Susan. :)
Putting my cookbooks to good use was one of my New Year’s resolutions and I’m glad it’s one I’ve been able to keep.

This cake has become one of my favorites: it’s already filled when you remove it from the oven and the rum smell is just wonderful; the batter is not very sweet cake – and I think that’s why it goes really well with the compote. I did not toast the cake slices as the recipes calls for, but only because it was gone before I had the chance to. :)

Now I want to know if Susan liked the cake as much as I did - I've had a quick look of her stunning cake and that is making me drool already. :)

Pastel vasco with blackberry compote
from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

Blackberry compote:
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup (80ml) water
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 heaping cups (300g) blackberries – I used frozen, slightly thawed
2 tablespoons brandy

Pastel vasco (cake):
2 ¼ cups + 1 tablespoon (325g) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (212g) granulated sugar + a little extra for sprinkling over the cake
14 tablespoons (196g) unsalted butter, melted + 3 tablespoons (42g) unmelted
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (60ml) fresh orange juice
1 cup heavy cream, to serve

Start by making the compote: pour the sugar into a medium saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the back of the knife to scrape the seeds into the sugar. Add the water and bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring. Cook about 10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture in an amber caramel color.
While the sugar is caramelizing, stir 2 tablespoons of water into the corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside.
When the sugar has reached the desired color, add half the blackberries and the brandy to the pot – be carefully for the mixture will spit. The sugar will harden. Continue cooking for 3-5 minutes, without stirring, over medium-low heat, until the berries release their juices and the sugar dissolves. Strain the berries over a bowl and pour the liquid back to the saucepan. Transfer the cooked berries to the bowl and stir in the remaining uncooked berries. Bring the blackberry caramel back to a boil over medium heat and slowly whisk in the corn starch mixture, a little at a time. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, until the sauce thickens. Pour the thickened juices over the berries and stir to combine. Set aside to cool completely.

Now, the cake: sift the flour and baking powder together. Set aside.
Whisk 3 eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, melted butter, rum, vanilla extract and orange juice. Fold in the dry ingredients, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F, generously butter a loaf pan*.
Pour ¾ of the batter into the prepared pan, and spoon ¾ cup blackberry compote over it. Top with the remaining batter, letting some of the berries show through.
Beat the remaining egg and brush some of it over the batter. Sprinkle with a handful of granulated sugar over the top. Bake for about 1 hour, or until risen and golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (I used a long, thin knife so it would reach the bottom of the pan).
Let the cake cool completely in the pan over a wire rack. Unmold, and then cut into little less than 2cm (¾ in) slices, and butter lightly on both sides.
Warm the remaining compote in a small saucepan over low heat.
Heat a griddle or large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Toast each slice of cake lightly for a minute or two each side, until it’s golden brown and crispy. Arrange the slices on a plate, spoon the warm compote over and serve with a small pitcher of cream.

* since the size of the pan is not mentioned on the book, I made ¾ of the recipe and used a 20x8cm loaf pan

Serves 6-8

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Banana, chocolate and coconut muffins

Banana, chocolate and coconut muffins / Muffins de banana, coco e chocolate

Since you are not tired of my banana recipes, here comes another one, with a special help from good friends coconut and chocolate. :)

Quick to put together and delicious, these muffins are perfect for the rainy day/couch/TV combo – but I can assure you they taste great on a summer day, too. ;)

Banana, chocolate and coconut muffins
slightly adapted from here

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (150g) caster sugar
1 cup (50g) sweetened shredded coconut
½ cup (92g) dark chocolate chips
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (127g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F; butter a 12-hole muffin pan – each hole holds 1/3 cup batter.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the sugar, coconut and chocolate chips.
In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, bananas, eggs and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk lightly with a fork – do not overmix the batter, otherwise you’ll end up with tough muffins.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
Cool slightly in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Makes 12

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blueberry tea cake and cookbooks that make me cry

Blueberry tea cake / Bolo de mirtilos

Something I’d never imagined possible has happened to me – and twice so far: I cried reading cookbooks.

Reading about Barbara Lynch’s childhood years brought tears to my eyes; I became a huge fan of hers even before trying her recipes. But it all started with John Barricelli’s beautiful book: a couple of lines about him growing up without his parents and I was crying like a baby – maybe because I know the feeling so well.

After wiping out the tears I went to the kitchen and baked this cake.

Blueberry tea cake
from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook

2 ½ cups (350g) all purpose flour + 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (175g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
2 cups blueberries – I used frozen, unthawed
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups (280g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan. Set aside.
Make the cake: in a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 ½ cups flour and the baking powder. Set aside.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat just until the flour is absorbed.
In a bowl, toss the blueberries and lemon zest with the remaining 1 teaspoon flour, and fold into the batter with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert the pan on the rack to turn the cake out. Let cool completely on the rack.
Make the glaze: in a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice into the confectioners’ sugar, adding the second tablespoon gradually, so that the glaze is just liquid enough to pour easily but still opaque. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, then allow it to firm completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.

Serves 12 – I halved the recipe above and used a regular 6-cup capacity ring pan

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lemon raspberry crème brûlée

Lemon raspberry crème brûlée / Crème brûlée de limão siciliano com framboesa

The lovely Sabrina is the one responsible for my preparing this dessert – she commented on one of my posts one day, asking for a lemon crème brûlée. That’s when I realized that I’d tried orange, but not lemon yet. Shame on me. ;)

These little pots of heaven were devoured in no time (I halved the recipe below)– the addition of raspberries made them extra special.

Lemon raspberry crème brûlée
adapted from Luscious Lemon Desserts and from The Craft of Baking

36 raspberries, fresh or frozen – I used frozen
2 ¾ cups (660ml) heavy cream
¼ cup finely grated lemon zest
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup (67g) + 3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
pinch of salt
¼ cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 320°F/160°C. Have ready six 200ml capacity ramekins and a large roasting pan. Boil some water for the water bath. Divide the raspberries among the ramekins (6 per ramekin).
Bring the heavy cream and zest to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the salt. Add ½ cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking to avoid cooking the eggs. Pour in the remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in the lemon juice.
Pour the custard through a strainer into a large jar. Skim any foam from the top of the mixture. Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins, topping the berries. Place the dishes in the roasting pan, then place the pan in the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the custard is just set around the edges and still jiggly in the center. Do not overbake. Remove the pan from the oven and let the custard stand in the water bath for 10 minutes. carefully and using thongs or a wide spatula, remove the ramekins from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, loosely covered, for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Divide the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar equally over the tops of the custards then caramelize it with a blow torch.

Serves 6

Sunday, February 13, 2011

White chocolate passion fruit truffles

White chocolate passion fruit truffles / Trufas de chocolate branco e maracujá

You may think that I’m on a passion fruit kick, but what really happened is that I got carried away, bought a load of passion fruit and therefore had to use them all. :)

These truffles are soft, delicious, and the zing of the passion fruit perfectly balances the sweetness of the white chocolate. You can follow Candace’s recipe and dip the truffles in melted chocolate, but I wasn’t bold enough to try that on a 32°C (89.6°F) day. :)

White chocolate passion fruit truffles
recipe from here; inspiration for making truffles from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

560g (20oz) good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
¾ cup (180ml) passion fruit pulp – I kept the seeds
icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the cream and passion fruit pulp to a boil separately in small containers – it is important to heat the cream and pulp separately, as the acid in the pulp will likely curdle the cream.
Pour the hot cream and half of the passion fruit pulp over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute and then gently stir with a rubber spatula. Once the mixture is creamy and combined, add the remaining passion fruit pulp and stir again until smooth. Refrigerate for a few hours until firm.
Using a very small cookie scoop or spoon, portion out 2.5cm (1in) balls of the firm white chocolate mixture onto a parchment lined sheet pan. If the truffle mixture gets too soft, place back into the refrigerator to firm up. Gently and quickly roll each into a well rounded ball. Refrigerate the balls until they are firm again, then gently roll them in the icing sugar. Refrigerate.

Makes about 100 truffles – I halved the recipe above, used 1 ½ rounded teaspoons of mixture per truffle and got 30

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fig galettes

Fig galettes / Galettes de figo

It’s been a tough week – I know that hating our job is not a healthy or positive feeling, but that’s how I feel; my patience has been tested so many times in the past 5 days I feel like a hero. :)

What comforts me is that in a couple of hours I’ll be home, on my couch, with a cookbook on my lap, choosing something to bake tomorrow – I guess I’ll use this amazing book again.

Fig galettes
inspired by Elise, pastry recipe from Bon Appetit Desserts

1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
½ tablespoon caster sugar
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
heavy cream, for brushing

2 tablespoons apricot jam
4 figs (about 300g), halved, each half cut in three slices
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Make the pastry: place flour, sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarse meal forms. With the motor running, add the water (more if necessary) until dough comes together. Divide in half and make a disk with each half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F; line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
Roll out one pastry disk between lightly floured sheets of baking paper until you have a 25cm (10in) circle. Carefully transfer to prepared sheet (or roll both pastry circles on the same piece of baking paper and transfer the paper to the baking sheet – I find that easier).
Spread 1 tablespoon apricot jam over the center of the pastry, leaving a 4cm (1 ½in) border. Arrange half of the fig slices over the jam, then sprinkle the fruit with half the demerara sugar. Gently fold the pastry edges over the filling. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Brush edges of the galettes with the heavy cream.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly – do not worry if some of the jam leaks while the galettes are baking, the baking paper will make clean up easy. ;)

Serves 4 (moderately)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Devilish angel food cake with passion fruit curd

Devilish angel food cake with passion fruit curd / Bolo de claras com curd de maracujá

I’m baking with Susan again – and I almost had to call for help to stop eating this cake. :)

I kept lying to myself saying that “this is practically only egg whites” after eating each slice of cake, then Susan wrote me the same thing in an email. You see, it’s not only my fault. ;)

I made some passion fruit curd to serve the cake with, but now I have an eye on Suz’s version with raspberry sauce... Yum!

Devilish angel food cake with passion fruit curd
cake from Desserts by the Yard, curd from Modern Classics Book 2

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (140g) cake flour*
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (224g) caster (superfine) sugar
scant ½ teaspoon baking powder
9 large egg whites (252g)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out with the back of the knife and reserved
½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, melted and still hot

Passion fruit curd:
½ cup passion fruit pulp + some extra seeds to decorate
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (100g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks

Prepare the cake: preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line the bottom of a 6-cup capacity tube pan with a ring of parchment paper – do not grease the pan.
Sift together the flour, ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (112g) of the caster sugar, and the baking powder 2 times and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon of the sugar, then continue to beat while gradually adding the remaining ½ cup (100g) sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Beat until the whites form medium-firm peaks. Stop the mixer. Add the vanilla seeds and continue beating while you quickly stream in the hot butter. Remove from the mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients.
Spoon the batter into the prepared, spreading it evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, rotate the pan from front to back, and bake for 10-15 additional minutes, until the cake is firm to touch and a tester inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and flip the cake pan upside down on a rack. Let sit for 1 hour, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Remove the parchment from the cake.

Make the curd: place the passion fruit pulp and butter in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Whisk in the sugar, the egg and egg yolks and stir constantly over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Pass it through a fine sieve, add the reserved passion fruit seeds and immediately cover with plastic wrap directly in contact with the curd. Let cool then refrigerate**.
Makes 1 ½ cups

Cut the cake into thick slices and serve with the curd.

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

** I thought the curd smelled a little eggy, so I added 1 teaspoon lemon juice to it after it was cool and it worked out fine

Serves 10

Monday, February 7, 2011

Plum sorbet sandwiches with molasses cookies

Plum sorbet sandwiches with molasses cookies / Sanduíches de sorbet de ameixa com cookies de melado

My first ice cream sandwiches – I could not believe how moreish these are. :D

Even thought I thought the cookies overpowered the sorbet flavor a little – I would go for vanilla cookies with this sorbet next time – these sandwiches were pretty good. :)

Speaking of moreish, I’m hoping Natalie Portman gets the Oscar this year: not only because her performance on “Black Swan” is absolutely breathtaking, but also because she delivers the best acceptance speeches – yes, Natalie, it’s not OK to be an a**hole; some people I know should definitely listen to you. :D

Plum sorbet sandwiches with molasses cookies
sorbet from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, cookies from Flour

450g (1 pound) very ripe juicy plums
½ cup (100g) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons honey
juice of ½ lemon

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¼ cups (220g) light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup unsulphured dark molasses
1 egg
granulated sugar, for coating

Start by making the sorbet: cut the plums in half, remove the pits, then cut the halves into quarters. Toss the plums with the sugar and honey and let sit for 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender and purée until very smooth – I tried using a food processor, but the mixture was still to chunky, to I used the processor after that. Season with lemon juice, to taste.
Chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator, then process the purée in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Now, the cookies: in a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg in low speed for about 10 seconds or until well combined. Add the dry ingredients at once and stir just until they’re totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed. Scrape the dough into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper. Scoop out 1 leveled tablespoon of dough and roll gently the granulated sugar – if the dough is very cold you’ll be able to roll the dough into balls using your hands before rolling them in the sugar.
Place onto prepared pans, spacing them 2.5 inches apart. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the cookies crack on top and are just barely firm to the touch – mine never cracked, so I remove them from the oven when they were lightly golden on the bottom. Let cool on the baking sheet, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 50 cookies

Assembling the sandwiches: scoop about 2 ½ tablespoons of the sorbet onto the bottom side of one cookie, then place the bottom side of a second cookie over the sorbet pressing gently to make a sandwich. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

Makes about 15 sandwiches – there will be some cookies left; they can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Venetian carrot cake

Venetian carrot cake / Bolo de cenoura veneziano

I’m not one of those people who think that one has to love everything about their country just because they were born there – no, definitely not my style. There are lots and lots of things about Brazil I’m not fond of, lots of things that need to change.

That said, I have to be honest with you: Nigella’s Venetian carrot cake is good, but our Brazilian carrot cake wins by a landslide. ;)

Venetian carrot cake / Bolo de cenoura veneziano

Venetian carrot cake
slightly adapted from Nigella Kitchen

½ cup (77g) golden raisins
¼ cup (60ml) rum
¾ cup (150g) caster (superfine) sugar
½ cup (120ml) regular olive oil, not extra-virgin, plus more for oiling pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 ½ cups (250g) almond meal (ground almonds)
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 medium carrots, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Cinnamon scented cream:
1 cup (240m) heavy cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line the base of a 23cm (9in) springform pan with baking paper, then grease the paper and the sides of the pan with olive oil.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the rum, and bring to the boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Whisk the sugar and ½ cup of olive oil in a stand mixer or by hand, until creamily and airily mixed together. Whisk in the vanilla and eggs. Fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, grated carrots, raisins (and any rum that clings to them) and finally the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very shallow in the tin. Sprinkle with the almonds and bake until the top is risen and golden and a cake tester comes out sticky but otherwise more or less clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides. Let cool until ready to serve. Transfer the cake to a serving platter.
Place the cream, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
Serve the cake with the cinnamon cream.

Serves 8-10 – I made 2/3 of the recipe above and used a 20cm (8in) round cake pan with a removable bottom

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Plum and cinnamon jellies

Plum and cinnamon jellies / Gelatina de ameixa e canela

Plum jellies – to me, this dessert sounded so unusual; my thoughts exactly after reading, a long time ago, that Sean Penn would play a gay man in a movie. Turns out he was perfect for the part and the movie was excellent – and I’m not even a fan of Gus Van Sant.

As for the jellies, I ate 3 out of the 4 portions – I thought you should know that. :)

Plum and cinnamon jellies
from Kitchen: The Best of the Best

6 large plums, stoned and quartered
1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (218g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped with the back of the knife
750ml water
juice of 1-2 oranges
6 gelatin leaves
sweetened whipped cream, to serve

Put the plums, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla seeds and bean and the water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the syrup through a fine sieve into a measuring jug. Add enough orange juice to make 600ml plum syrup*.
Soak the gelatin leaves in a large bowl of cold water for 10-15 minutes or until very soft. Return the syrup to the saucepan over low heat, until the syrup is warm. Squeeze any excess liquid from the gelatin leaves, then stir them into the warm syrup. Pour the jelly into four 150ml capacity molds and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Serve with cream.

*I got 600ml without having to add any orange juice

Serves 4

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