Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Magic cake

One visit to Ming's house, one pleasant evening spent in the company of nice people, one new dessert favorite, one new recipe on the blog.
Not a bad deal, right?
The last addition to our favorite list was the "magic cake".
It was a mom' morning in, with delicious Korean pancakes and one magnificent magic cake.
The leftovers came home with me, khhmmm, and I resisted not to eat it all before I gave it to the kids, and had to listen to the fight over the size of the slice they get, and who gets the last slice.
Sure enough, I had to promise that they'll get a whole cake when they get home from school.
I actually remembered seeing this cake, and I have a Le Cordon Bleu book called "Vanukkaat" aka Puddings, which has a "Lemon Surprise" pudding that sounded heavenly, but was lazy to give it a try. Next!!

But before I run too far from the present, here is the recipe that is baking just now in the over.
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
125 gr (1 stick and 1 large tbsp) butter, melted
115 g (3/4 cup) all purpose flour, sifted
500 ml (2 cups) milk, lukewarm
lemon zest of 1 lemon, optional! I just wanted to add some flavor
powdered sugar and some berries of your choice for serving

Preheat the oven to 160 C, or 320 F.
Separate eggs, and beat the egg yolk with the sugar until creamy white.
Add the vanilla essence, melted butter, and let it sit until the egg white get beaten.
Beat the egg whites until peaks form, but don't overbeat until the foam kinda "crumbles" apart when stirred
Add the milk to the egg yolks, mixing in lightly, until well combined.
Sift in the flour, and mix until a smooth, crepes like batter forms.
Now it's time to fold in the egg whites.
First, fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the batter, and continue adding the remaining whites. Try to not overmix, to leave the egg whites fluffy.

Pour the mixture into a 20x20 cm (8x8 "), or 25 cm (10") round cake form.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is a nice light caramel color.
I had to place an aluminum foil sheet on top at about 20 minutes because it was browning too fast, but the bottom was still liquid. I could see because the form didn't close tight enough, and it was dripping a bit.
At 35 minutes was looking really promising, couldn't wait to get it out, cool it, and, well, eat it :D.
I baked it for overall 50 minutes, and cooled for way too long for my liking :).

The batter was successful if it separates into 3 layers: the bottom has the flour, the middle one is a baked cream anglaise color and texture, and the top has the fluffy, light egg whites.
The layers seem to show pretty nicely, as well as the arrival of the boys from school. They just can't keep their hands off the cake and let it cool!!
But you, now you must exercise some self-control and let is cool, preferably overnight. :)
Serve with powdered sugar on top, and optionally add some fruits for tartiness.
Bon appetite!

Cheese & ham bread roll

A guaranteed party goer, especially if you can plan it so that it is fresh out of the oven.. Well "out of the oven" still means 20-30 minutes cooling time as we are talking about a bread.
It was our Sunday dinner, still warm, accompanied with a glass of milk.
For the first 5 minutes all I heard was "ohm, nom, nom" :D, my boys eating with a clear sound of satisfaction.
And I have to agree with them!
As a mom all I see is that they will get their daily dose of healthy - hearty fiber from the bread and wheat bran, proteins from the ham, and some calcium from the cheese, and trully love the taste, too!
It was love at first sight, it will definitely be a frequent guest on our table in the future..

The recipe comes from a Finnish Pirkka magazine,  more precisely from 2011. If you ask yourself why I still have Finnish magazines hiding under my TV entertainment center in 2016 in San Diego, you probably get a clue how attached I am to all media, printed.
It was time tho to get some cleanup, so I pulled out some pages with favorite recipes, and I recycled the rest, but I had to digitalize the recipe not to get lost forever. Win-win, and a good dinner!
Not to mention school lunch the next day for the leftovers.

500 ml milk (2 cups)
1 1/5 tbsp (or 3 tsp) dry yeast, use 50 g fresh yeast if you can get some
300 dl graham flour ( I used King Arthur;s whole wheat flour)
2 dl Bob's Red Mill wheat bran
about 600 ml bread flour (King Arthur's all purpose will do it)
1/2 dl (about 1/4 cup) sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
about 1 SMALL tsp sugar, or agave syrup (the original recipe asks for 2 tsp, but I never add sugar to my bread, I'd rather leave it ferment for longer)

1 dl dijon mustard (a bit shy of 1/2 cup)
about 250 soft cheese ( I used Gouda, but next I'll use Havarti, or Pepper Jack) 0.6 pound or 10 oz (Kermajuusto in the original recipe)
about 250 ham, my preference is to use off the bone ham, thinly sliced (Saunapalvi in the original recipe)

1 egg, beaten
sunflower seeds, or seeds of your choice, or none

Warning, right from the start, so you don't wish me somewhere far, this is a time-consuming meal to prepare. Not too much hands-on time, but it take AGES to let the dough rise, especially that I don't add too much sugar.
If you are still with me, let's get starter..
Warm the 0.5 liter milk for about 1 minutes in the microwave, at highest.
Spread the yeast to the top, sprinkle with the sugar, mix it in lightly, and let it proof for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the dry ingredients, and using the dough hook mix for 10 minutes untill well combined.
Let is sit for about 1.5 to even 3 hours, especially if you used very little sugar like I did. The time will depend on your room temperature, place, and of course your taste. Longer fermentation will give an extra sourdough like kick, but do not overferment it. With lots of sugar 60 minutes might be enough.
In any case, I let it grow to about 3-4 times the original size at a nice and sunny place.

Divide the dough into two equal parts, and let them sit for an additional 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, eat up the
On a floured surface roll it our to the size of a silicon baking mat,  spread half of the mustard, lay the slices of chees, equally spred, but leaving about 3-4 cm (1 - 1 1/5") of empty dough at the bottom.
Roll it up from the "top", as tight as it feels comfortable without tearing the dough.
Let is sit again for about 10 minutes. Beat the egg, and give the rolls a nice, light eggwash.
Sprinkle the seend on top, and bake at the lower shelf of the oven for 25 minutes.

Let it cool for 30 minutes on a rack.
Enjoy while still slightly warm!
Bon appetite!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Crunchy ice cream lace cups

It's that time of the year!!! Well, to be honest in our house it is ALWAYS that time of the year as we eat ice cream by the pound :), but this time, the heat was much worse for much longer than I'd like during summer.
I was wondering if I can make something to make our ice cream feasts a bit more special..
Homemade ice cream is definitely on my list next, and to have the home made theme kicked off I'd decided to start with something easier: the cones.

50 g butter
3/4 dl sugar
1 dl coarsely ground almond flour 
2 tbsp half-half
2 tbsp all purpose flour

cups, glasses, cereal mugs turned upside down

Preheat the oven to 175C, 350 F and line two baking sheets with paper, as well as some cups turned upside down.

In a pot mix butter, sugar, half-half and almond flour, and bring to boil. Remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring continuously.
Scoop 2 tsp of batter/cup, and flatten them slightly. I had two trays, large ones, and made 6 lace cups, 3 in each. They tend to extend a LOT, so leave enough space in between.
Bake for about 6 minutes, until golden brown (5 might be enough if you have a strong oven).
Remove them from the oven, and carefully pull the parchment paper with the cups to a flat, cold surface. Let them cool slightly, but not too much or they'll not bend anymore.
Move the hot lace circles on top of the prepared cups/mugs, and let them cool.
When cold and hardened use them to serve your ice cream of choice.
They are cold lace cups for a reason, they'll let the ice cream drip through. Place them on plates or something you'd serve the ice cream in..
Bon appetite!