Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tippaleipä - csurgatott fánk - dribbled donuts

Phew.. What a project.. After such a long skiing brake you missed something healthy, didn't you? Well, I did :D.
So, I decided to engage in a long planned project, the donuts known in the Transylvanian kitchen as csurgatott fánk = dribbled donuts, and in the Finnish as tippaleipä = drop bread.

I found two good looking recipes and of course I did them both. I remembered there was no yeast in my grandma's csurgatott fánk, so I started with the recipe without yeast. Next I wouldn't bother trying the other, but you can have them both, and decide for yourself (the one with yeast coming soon). You won't thank me for neither of them though :D, I'm afraid, unless you like food made with lot of fuss, or you are Finnish, missing the taste of home on 1st of May..
It doesn't necessarily last long but it is tricky to learn to dribble the batter properly, remove the forms, turn, and avoid burning yourself ALL at the same time. I'm born blond, you know what I mean :D.
OK, it is not soo dramatic, but practice is practice, and I need some more.. 

Thanks to the tip of using a ketchup bottle I found on Kotikokki, I didn't end up dribbling the whole kitchen with the batter while frying the dribbled donuts, but I managed to do other stupid things, no worries. At the end of the frying my kitchen deserved some "under construction" labels, with oil all over the floor and fried!! dribbled donuts spread everywhere. The doggie thanked me for them, though...
If I add to this, that the csurgatott fánk - tippaleipä - donuts are MUCH more oily than the Hungarian szalagos fánk or csöröge as it gets in contact with the oil on a bigger surface,  you'll immediately understand why I needed a glass of cold dry wine right after.

The csurgatott fánk has a more thick batter than the crepes, or palacsinta, and the end result surprise - surprise, tastes a bit like the palacsinta :), and the one with yeast tastes like the szalagos fánk, without the softness.

While csöröge and fánk is served during the carnival season (my granda made them in the summer), tippaleipä is served in Finland on 1st May with some fermented lemonade (to me it always tasted like bodzalé).
I might look for a proper recipe for Sima, too, later..

3 eggs
1 tsp sugar, humpy
1 1/2 dl whole milk
3 1/4 dl pastry flour
1 flat tsp salt
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel. A MUST (I would add a bit of zest, too, maybe 1 tsp)
optionally some vanilla sugar

Oil and deeper pan for frying
An empty  ketchup bottle, and some round cookie forms. If you don't have any save some metallic cans that stand the heat and cut them to max 4-5 cm, about 2 in. Be careful with the edges!

icing sugar
Sima - Finnish fermented lemonade, and is a must to have on 1st of May :)

Prepare some plates covered with kitchen paper.
In a bowl mix the eggs, don't whisk. Mix in the sugar, the salt, the lemon peel, lemon zest, the milk, and last the flour. Cover it and let it sit for 15 min. Mix it again a bit and poor the batter in the ketchup bottle.
Heat the oil, as for the fánk or csöröge before. Have about 1 inch or a little less then 1 in of oil at the bottom of the pot, pan.
The oil should be quite hot, bot not too hot.. for me it worked at a little bit more than half of my scale.
Drop the forms in the oil, and start SLOWLY dribbling the batter in the forms, with small circular or wiggly moves to evenly but wiggly have about 1.5 cm (0.5 in) batter at the bottom of the forms.
DO not poor too fast, let the batter fry a bit before the next layer of batter drops on top of it. Next I would make them wider and thinner, maybe max 2 layers of batter wiggles on top of each other, to look more like these, but I need to buy some right sized beef meet cans before :).

Fry until the bottom is golden, them remove the form, turn the csurgatott fánk - tippaleipä - donuts to the other side and fry until you are happy with the color and stiffness of the donuts. It doesn't take more than a ~ 1 minute for both sides if the oil is the right temperature.
Remove the ready csurgatott fánk - tippaleipä - donuts, carefully not to fall apart, to the plates, and let them cool down.
Sprinkle with icing sugar, and serve with Sima (in Finland..), with bodzalé in Hungary, or simply alcohol free (or not ;) ) dry apple cider.

Some of my csurgatott fánk - tippaleipä - donuts were crispy, some more tender. I need to exercise more to make all of them crispy, but doesn't matter how they are, you need that sparkling whatever you choose to ease the oiliness/sweetness of the donuts :D.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine owls/harts

Time for Valentine day. Not that I would be a big fun of the circus going around it :), but I like to take the opportunity and celebrate just about everything. With cooking. Or baking. Not to mention that we were asked by the teacher to bring in decorated hart cookies, not less than 24. Huhhh... huuhhh.. I mean, I'm gonna make owls as well :D. Huhuuu!
I decided to use my Xmas vanilla crescent cookie recipe to make the Valentine harts (for the kiddos) and owls (for the teachers). I made slight modifications to the recipe to make the cookies a bit less soft, not because they are bad that way, but rather because I want them to be harder, not to brake right away in the kids' hands.
The shape idea came from the ArtCorps lessons where I saw some great owls recently, and accidentally I stumbled over a double-hart shaped cutter at Marshalls.. A while ago I saw a pic of an owl cookie somewhere, and just combined the three things together..
Tadaaaam.... and the friendship owls were born. And I'm dead tired 'cause it is over midnight and I just got the last tray out of the oven. Tomorrow still decorating the harts.. Ayayayyy...

300 g pastry flour (you can use half whole grain as well)
200 g butter
80 g icing sugar (if you make the owl and don't use icing, you can add 100 gr sugar)
100 g almond flour (ground almond)
1 tsp vanilla aroma (optional)
1 egg

colored icing, you can find how to make your own here

Mix the butter with sugar until creamy (and vanilla, if you add any), mix in the egg, add the almond and the normal flour, and work it well together in a soft dough. Place it in the fridge for about 30 min. The butter will harden again to make it easier to work with.
Roll it out thin, about 3-4 mm and cut it with your favorite cookie cutters.
Place them on trays covered with parchment paper. Bake them for 10-15 minutes at 175 C (350 F), depends how golden you want them.. My oven is not heating up very well, so I baked them for 17-18 min..

Prepare the icing in your favorite color, for Valentine white, pink and red are working just fine. Decorate the harts with dots, lines, etc.

For the owls, pinch the top of the hart a little, cut the bottom of the owl not to be so pointed (optional), cut \small circles (1 cm) of the though, place two of them on the upper part of the harts (for eyes) and place a mini chocolate chip in the middle of the circles.
If you make a round owl make small cuts on the bottom as feathers. Place an un-peeled almond for the beak.
Sprinkle them with the vanilla sugar while still hot.
Be careful, for the first half a minute/minute they are fragile, not so fragile though as the vanilla crescents.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Csöröge - "rattling" donut

This time I wanted to make the csöröge, or forgácsfánk, for the children's carnival in the House of Hungary.
This is the REAL csöröge, without yeast, and the easiest way is to go to Varga Gábor's recipe and try it out. Well, mine is almost as his recipe, (I don't have my Grandma's and I use this one as it works very well), but it is only almost his recipe because we've always made it with a bit of rum, or rum essence.
Today I missed to add the rum, well, I could listen to my daughters endless complains.. and I deserved it, agree... I sprinkled them in exchange with a tiny bit of cinnamon while rolling out, but it just generated even more complains.. See, hard work and good intention always pays off :D.

It is very easy to make and, for those who don't speak Hungarian, here is the English version. I had to steel temporarily Gabor's picture because, in the heat of frying the csöröge and the fánk for the kids, I forgot to take any picture of the ready pastries.. Shame, shame..
We had double portion and they looked at least as good as these ones, if not better (yeah, I know, I'm very modest :D), but next time..

250 g pastry flour
150 gr sour cream
50 gr butter
1-2 tsp icing sugar (depending how sweet you like it, it's gonna be sprinkled with icing sugar as well)
1 pinch salt
3 egg yolks
1 tsp rum (essence)
(optionally you can also add a bit of grated lemon peel or cinnamon) 

~ 1 l sun flour oil for frying

icing sugar
jams (apricot, raspberry, anything you like, basically) 

In a bowl mix the flour with the salt, then crumble it with the butter. Start mixing in the rum, egg yolks, the sour cream and the icing sugar.
Knead it very well together, not just little bit, it has to be a sooth dough. If it is smooth enough, when you fry them it will kinda form layers like a puff pastry, though not so nicely separated.
The dough should be kinda "hard", though I still consider it quite soft compared to a home made pasta dough (now see, that IS hard). Anyway, should be hard enough to be very easy to roll out with little flouring. If it sticks to the table you might want to work in some more flour, but it shouldn't be needed.
Put some oil to heat, quite hot like you would make French fries.
Roll out the dough very thin, maybe 3 mm thick, maximum.
Cover some plates with kitchen paper.

In the hot oil fry the csöröge for just ~30-40 seconds each side.
They should be light golden brown, not too well fried because they are very thin. If you fry them for too long they will become dry and hard.

Remove the ready csöröge to the plates, the paper will absorb the excess oil.
Sprinkle with icing sugar while still warm, serve as is, fresh, or with apricot or raspberry jam, and a tea, or better infusion. Yummii.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Runebergin torttu

Shell I be 100% honest with you? Shell I? I NEVER ate Runebergin torttu in Finland :D. Never.
I just didn't like the icing ring on top, besides, I never bought factory made cakes or torts (except the frozen goodies to bake them home..)
And I guess I just missed the detail that Runeberg ate them accompanied with punsch, not to mention they are soaked in punsch ahahahahaaaa, you see, they immediately started to look sooo much more attractive :D.

Now, far away from home, hehe, I thought I should definitely make some Runeberg's tort for Sunday to celebrate Runeberg's päivä coming on 5th February.
Just need not to forget to buy some ingredients for a punch. I might even skip the torts (which have to be 100% alcohol free, *sigh*), leave them to the family, and stick to the punch.. This is why I love cooking/baking: is full of possibilities ;).

The cake is better if has some time to mature together with the rum/punch, and the jam has time to develop "skin".
The recipe comes from Kinuskikissa.

Ingredients (12-16 pieces, depends on your muffin form size)
100 g piparkakku groats (gingerbread groats if no piparkakku available)
IF you used gingerbread groats, like I did, add to the batter 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 flat tsp minced cloves
2 1/2 dl almond flour (100 g)
300 ml whole wheat flour (180 g)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (original recipe says 2 tsp, but I felt the taste in the cake, so I reduced the amount a little for you)
1 tsp minced cardamom seeds
1 tsp vanilla sugar
250 gr butter
300 ml sugar
4 eggs
2 dl cream, or half-half, can be replaced with 2 dl orange zest, 1.5 dl lemon zest, 2 dl apple juice or half punsch-half some juice
couple of almond essence drops (optional)

For soaking (optional)
1 dl water
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp punsch, rum, or almond liqueur
OR 2 tbsp lemon/orange zest (non-alcoholic version)

raspberry jam
icing: 1.5 dl icing sugar, 2 tsp lemon zest,  2 tbsp water (you can add a bit, like 1/4 tsp, of corn starch to dry faster..)

Grind the piparkakku (gingerbread) in a fine groats.
Mix the piparkakku groats, whole wheat flour, baking powder, almond flour, vanilla sugar, and cardamom seeds (as well as the cloves and cinnamon).
Whisk the butter with the sugar until spumy, add the eggs one by one, mixing continuously, add the cream (or lemon/orange zest) and mix in the flour mix. I made it with both orange zest and half/half, and I liked more the one with orange zest.
Preheat the oven at 200 g (400 F).
Scoop the batter in silicon muffin forms, and bake them for 20-25 min.
Let them cool for ~10 min, remove them from the forms.
Cut the raised top of the muffins to make it even as it's going to be the bottom of the torts.
Meanwhile prepare the soaking mix from water, sugar, and  almond liqueur (or lemon zest) or punch.
Warm up the water, add the sugar until well dissolved. Let it cool. Add the liqueur.

Dip the top of the torts in the liqueur mix, keep them for ~5 seconds, turn them with bottom down on plates. (If you want dip the bottom as well, I thought the top is enough for me, it will moist the bottom as well anyway.)
Scoop a tiny bit out of the middle of the top, (to make more space for the raspberry jam, but is optional, you can just scoop some jam on top) and start decorating.
Scoop ~1/2 tsp raspberry jam in the middle hole.
Mix the lemon zest with the icing sugar until is firm enough like a typical icing. Use a pipping bag with a small hole in the corner and make small rings around the raspberry jam.
Enjoy further soaked with punch, this time directly from a mug :D.

If you choose to bake a whole tort, (like I did with half of the batter), bake it at 350 F (175 C) for ~60 min, poking it occasionally with a toothpick. It should fill a 26 cm round baking form.
And of course I couldn't help, I eat some, even without alcohol.. They are actually pretty good, I will make some more for the Saturday's Finnish school as well. This time I'm gonna try with apple juice and lemon zest :).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pannukakku - pan-cake, but not pancake :)

My daughter was asking for pannukakku, another Finnish cake..
I have a kinda so-so relationship with it, not overly excited about, but good for a dessert every now and then, especially when I didn't have to make it. Well, I have to make it now :). If you speak Finnish, just go ahead and visit my friend's friend's blog here Ullan Leipomuksia.
If you don't, here is the recipe translated for you.
I like the crispy top so I adjusted the quantities a tiny bit to my tray, which is a bit smaller (20cmx30cm) than the average Finnish tray, to make a thinner pannukakku.
It is a less labor intensive alternative to palacsinta, crepes.

Ingredients (serves 6-8, preparation time 50 min, active 10 min)
3 dl cake flour
1 dl sugar
1 flat tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar (add essence in US)
1 flat tsp salt
6 dl milk
2 eggs
75 g butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients and start adding milk, whisking to get a smooth dough. If I add half of the milk to the flour and whisk well, only then add the rest, works fine for me, it won't be lumpy.
In a separate bowl whisk lightly the egg whites (no need to beat them, just have them lightly white to brake down the viscosity of the whites), add the egg yolks, and add the eggs to the batter.
Last whisk in the melted butter.
Let it kinda mature together, just like "palacsinta" batter, for 15-30 min.
Poor the batter in a deeper tray,  ~1 cm thick layer should be on the bottom of the tray. Thicker is good, as well, it will however have a thicker layer of white, more dense batter in the middle and might need slightly longer baking.
You can choose whether you use the tray as is, or water it and "stick" a parchment paper to the bottom. You can use a wider wooden spatula to get the pannukakku out, so whichever you choose don't worry about scratching the tray.
Preheat the oven to 225 C (435 F) and bake on a middle shelf for 30-40 minutes (depends on the size of your tray) until the top is light golden-brown..
It will rise 'till almost (or 'till) the top of the tray, and when you remove it from the oven will collapse to about its original size. Don't panic, that's how it should be :).
Look for a lighter top than the one on the pic, my hubby managed to over bake it while I was at the girl's party downtown :).

Enjoy cold or while still slightly warm with:
strawberry marmalade
whipped cream/whipped vanilla cream
fresh berries
ice cream
a combination of the above

Original recipe for a standard Finnish tray
4 dl cake flour
1.5 dl sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp salt
8 dl milk
2 eggs
100 butter, melted