Monday, August 1, 2016

Multi Coloured Pasta - The Daring Kitchen July, 2016 Challenge


There is pasta and then there is PASTA. This is PASTA. Coloured with vegetable puree. Sliced and rolled until we have striped pasta. I had always wanted to make coloured pasta but I never thought of striped pasta until this.

Dulcie from The Taste Trail  challenges us at The Daring Kitchen to make our own patterned pasta from scratch. Dulcie had been developing all-natural rainbow pasta recipes for a couple of years and now thought she would share what she has learnt. Her famous last words were "I promise, it is not as complex as the end results would lead you to believe."

You find Dulcie's detailed instructions on the Daring Kitchen site. While I based my pasta on her recipe, I found my juicer wouldn't produce enough vegetable juice so I simply used the very fine puree of roasted beetroot and steamed spinach to colour the pasta. I also used a different method to achieve the stripes.

For each portion of dough, I used 200g pasta flour with one egg and a couple of tablespoons of fine vegetable puree until it came together into a smooth and pliable dough.

Once the pasta was made and rested in the refrigerator overnight, each colour was rolled slightly with a rolling pin then passed through the pasta machine rolling and folding until it was well worked, smooth and each a uniform shape. I joined the prepared pasta one on top of the other dampening with a little water ensure they stuck well.


Then the portion was cut evenly in two...



...and layered up!


From this I cut thick slices, which were rolled a little by hand before being passed through the pasta machine.


I filled my fresh pasta with ricotta, parmesan and greens from the garden, such as silverbeet (chard), rocket and parsley.


And prepared colourful ravioli.


A quick cook in boiling, salted water.


Before being tossed with loads of butter, garlic, basil and parmesan cheese. YUMMO!


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Norwegian Fattigman - A Baker's Odyssey Challenge #48


A fried pastry is always good! Many traditional cuisines fry pastry for special occasions. In the Italian tradition the fried thin pastry goes by many names crostoli, cenci, galani, sfrappole, bugie, stracci... the list seems endless. In Australia for some reason we have renamed the Italian fried pastry - storch...perhaps a form of stracci! In any case, I'm not making Italian fried pastry! I am making Norwegian fried pastry called Fattigman which is flavoured with cardamom. This recipe is the 48th recipe I have made from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent.

Fattigman

6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon brandy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups plain flour
oil for deep frying

Beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat for another 5 minutes until the mixture is thick. On a low speed add in the butter, brandy, vanilla, cardamom and salt.

In a small bowl beat the cream until it thickens a little. Fold in the egg mixture and then with a wooden spoon mix in the flour. It will be a thick, sticky dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


The next day prepare to fry the fattigman. I used a deep frying pan which I filled with oil to about 2 - 3cm of oil. Use a deep fry thermometer to ensure the oil stays between 180C - 190C and heat the oil as you roll out the dough.

Dust a work surface with flour and divide the dough into quarters. Take one quarter and keep the others covered so they don't dry out. Dust with flour and roll out the portioned dough until very thin. It should be no more the 1/16 of an inch which is about 1.5mm. If you can get it thinner, all the better.
Flour the work surface to prevent sticking.


Traditionally fattigman is cut into large diamond shapes

with a slit in the middle of each piece.



The tip on the diamond is pulled through the slit. However I think it is perfectly ok to cut the fattigman anyway you wish,


Lower each pastry into the hot oil. Wait about 5 seconds then flip them over to brown on the other side. Flip them over again after about 5 or 10 seconds and keep repeating until the fattigman are blistery all over. It should only take 30 seconds in all. Remove to paper towel to drain.

Repeat with all the dough,


It is not traditional but you can give them a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.

These will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in an airtight container.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Swedish Jam Strips - A Baker's Odyssey Challenge #47



Homemade jam drops were synonymous with school lunches when I was growing up. Everyone's mum made them. Those were the days when lunch boxes were packed with sandwiches, homemade cake or biscuits and a piece of fruit. Peer into a lunch box today and you'll find it's a little different. It annoys me to see the variety of prepackaged food available specifically for school lunch boxes and a lot of it has little nutritional value. In fact a lot of it is down right rubbish! What a shame today's society has little time for homemade cakes and biscuits. Baking is now almost considered an art! What would our grandmother's say?


I would think this is a Swedish version of the Australian jam drops especially as a finger or the end of a wooden spoon is used to make the indentation.

Swedish Almond Jam Strips from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent

3/4 cup ground almonds
220g butter
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons castor (superfine)sugar
pinch salt
1 2/3 cup allpurpose plain flour
3/4 - 1 cup seedless raspberry jam

Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons boiling water

Prepheat oven to 180C/350F and line a couple of baking trays with non stick paper.

In a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add in the almonds. Gradually mix in the flour. Beat until just combined. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a thick disc. Divide into 4. Roll each into a log about 30cm long by 2 or 3cm thick. Place on prepared tray. Leaving the ends of the log intact make a shallow depression the length of each log with your finger or the end of a wooden spoon. Fill the depression with jam taking care not to overfill. Bake for 25 minutes. As soon as the strips come out of the oven prepare the glaze by mixing all the ingredients together until smooth adding a little more water if necessary. With a teaspoon drizzle the glaze over the jam. Cool the strips for 5 minutes then transfer to cutting board and cut strips at an angle. Transfer to wire rack to cool.





Monday, July 4, 2016

Savoury ring cookies - Kahk from A Baker's Odyssey challenge #46


Back in 2011 I baked Greg Patent's Granny's Kahk. Since then I have regularly baked that delicious savoury biscuit so I thought it was about time I tried the yeasted version in A Baker's Odyssey. Flavoured with sesame, anise and nigella seeds these are also a treat. Great with cheese, olives and drinks. Really these remind me of the Italian taralli. Have you tried taralli? Or have you tried kahk?


Savoury Ring cookies from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent
Makes 36

1 7g packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon mahlab seeds, ground
1/4 cup warm water
60g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups all purpose plain flour
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl mix together yeast, mahlab seeds and warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes, the yeast will start to bubble. In a saucepan melt the butter. Remove from heat then add the extra water.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, seeds and salt. Make a well in the centre and stir in the yeast mixture and butter and water mixture. I found the mixture was very dry at this stage and needed to add a little more water to bring the mixture together. Knead the mixture on a work surface for a few minutes. Lightly oil the bowl and place the ball of dough in the bowl turning a couple of times to coat with a little oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and line a couple of baking trays with non stick paper.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 30 even pieces. Allow the dough to rest again for 10 minutes. Working with one piece of dough at a time roll each piece of dough into a 12cm/5in long rope. Shape into a circle overlapping the evens to secure. Place on prepared baking trays and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Delicious Greek Kourabiedes from A Baker's Odyssey Challenge #45


I think right about now my daughter will be tucking into a couple of these with a Greek coffee in hand, gazing out over the azure ocean in Santorini. That's right, I bake them in my humble kitchen in Northern Australia and she samples the real thing in it's natural surrounds. I know she will have a wonderful time in Greece and as her mother's daughter, will enjoy all the delicious food on offer.

I baked these buttery crisp delicacies for a biscuit platter. I love anything dusted with icing sugar!



Kourabiedes adapted from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent

1/2 cup unblanched whole almonds, toasted
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
icing sugar to coat

Chop the almonds into very small pieces with a sharp knife or pulsed in a food processor until chopped but not ground.

With a wooden spoon beat the butter in a large bowl. Add the sugar, beat well then beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Stir in the almonds. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Stir to combine. When the dough comes together form into a square and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a couple of baking trays with non stick paper. Divide the dough into 36 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then shape into a crescent about 7cm x 1.5cm (3in x 1/2in). Place on prepared baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check them early because they brown very quickly. Cool on a wire rack. Coat with icing sugar when cool.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Piroshki - Two challenges in one!


This month in the Daring Kitchen we were challenged to make Piroshki by Sara at Sassy Suppers.

Sara tells us that ..."according to Anne Volokh in her book The Art of Russian Cuisine, pirozhki have been sold as street food since Peter the Great’s time. They have also been served during elaborate banquets both in Russia and Paris. At the turn of the century, one could find fabulous pirozhki at the Filippov Bakery. The hand-held fried pies would be stuffed with all sorts of things . . . meat, mushrooms, rice, eggs, cheese and jam. Pirozhki are still sold on the street in Russian cities today and many a home baker has a favorite recipe."

I have also been waiting to try a couple of piroshki recipes from that great book by Greg Patent "A Baker's Odyssey" so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try baking and frying piroshki in a Piroshki Fest! This is adds to my personal challenge of baking through A Baker's Odyssey with recipe #45 and #46.

A Baker's Odyssey provides two fried piroshki recipes one of beef and the other mushroom.  A yeast dough is generally used for fried piroshki. In this case the dough for the mushroom piroshki was sweetened with a little sugar.

I used the gorgeous sour cream pastry provided by Sara in our Daring Kitchen challenge to bake Beef Piroshki using the beef filling in A Baker's Odyssey. With the remaining beef filling I made fried piroshki. And to complete the Piroshki Fest, Lithuanian Mushroom Piroshki from A Baker's Odyssey completed the meal!

Yep, I was all piroshki-ed out by the end. The verdict - Beef Piroshki filling from A Baker's Odyssey is moist and delicious and is a perfect combination with the sour cream pastry or fried in yeast pastry.

For the sour cream pastry recipe please click here but this time I won't provide the two recipes from A Baker's Odyssey...just a little incentive to buy a copy for yourself! If you would like to join us next month in the Daring Kitchen check it out here for yourself


The sour cream pastry was rolled very thinly before being topped with the beef filling, folded and sealed ready for baking.


The yeast dough was soft and tender and easy to work with.


Little pillows of goodness encased in sour cream pastry were crimped around the edges.


My fried piroshki browned very quickly due to the sugar content in the yeast dough but the tender dough was cooked through. This minced beef filling was moist and flavorful with hints of thyme and dill.


These baked piroshki were deliciously moreish with golden, flaky pastry.



With a dab of sour cream they were perfect.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Italian Anise-Orange Cookies - A Baker's Odyssey Challenge #44


Colourful sprinkles attract children like bees to honey.

 I had made these cookies for the biscuit platter for a family gathering. I added a little liqueur in the icing instead of the orange juice asked for in the original recipe not thinking how attractive these cookies look to children. Well, these cookies were so popular among the children, I felt guilty and kept quiet about the unseen liqueur. 

Bet the children slept well that night!


This is another recipe in the quest to bake through A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent

Italian Anise-Orange Cookies  adapted from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent
Makes 36 cookies

Dough
2 1/2 cups all purpose plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup whole mile
finely grated zest 1 orange
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground anise seeds

Icing
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice/liquer of choice
5 to 6 teaspoons water

Coloured sprinkles

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of the stand mixer beat with the whisk attachment the eggs until frothy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture is thick and pale, about 2 or 3 minutes. Continue beating and gradually add the oil. Then on low speed add the milk, zest, juice and ground anise. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the flour in two additions mixing with a wooden spoon. It may be too sticky so add a couple more spoonfuls of flour if needed. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a couple of baking trays with non stick paper. Roll teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on the prepare baking tray. You should have about 36 cookies.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the tops have cracked and are lightly browned.


Make the icing by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dip the tops of the cookies into the icing and place upright on a wire rack. Sprinkle immediately with coloured sprinkles. Allow to set.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Pfeffernüsse Cookies - A Baker's Odyssey Challenge #43



How many cookbooks do you own? Can you count them? Do you want to? I don't even want to count the amount of cookbooks I own. I am mad for cookbooks! I can't resist them! I am probably a cookbook addict, I would say. As much as I love to buy, read and own cookbooks, I rarely cook more than 10 recipes in each. A few year ago I came across A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent. A book showcasing "recipes from America's rich immigrant heritage". The recipes within the pages of this book intrigued me so much so that I wanted to bake every single one. And with that thought I started my own personal challenge to bake my way through the book. This is recipe number 43. Pretty good for a cook who barely gets through 10 recipes in any one cookbook. Admittedly it's taken some time but in the next few months I hope to change that.

This time one of my favourite recipes in the book, Pfeffernüsse, a deliciously spicy sweet recipe from Germany.


Pfeffernüsse adapted from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent

1/2 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1/2 cup honey
125g unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 3/4 cups plain all purpose flour
1/2 finely chopped almonds

Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup water

Prepare the dough a few hours ahead or even overnight
Put the sugar, honey and butter into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter in melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool until tepid. Whisk in the egg and add the anise, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in with the whisk. Mix the flour and almonds in with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. Line two baking pans with baking paper. Shape the chilled dough into a 20cm by 10cm (8in x 4in) rectangle and cut into 32 pieces. ( I love this method of portioning the dough!). Roll each square into a ball and place on the baking trays leaving room between each for spreading. Put about 16 biscuits on each tray.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cracks appear on top. Allow to cool slightly then complete cooling on racks.


Set the racks over a tray or baking paper to catch the glaze the will drip off the biscuits.Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until boiling. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and brush the biscuits with the glaze immediately. Allow the glaze to set


Roll in icing sugar or dust with icing sugar as I have done.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nutella Brownie Cups


Early on this year I saw these amazing cookie cups by Lindsay at Life Love and Sugar. Lindsay makes eleven different types of cookie cups - apple, lemon, fruit, peanut butter and snickers just to name a few. I thought these were a great idea and seemed a lot easier than make a delicate pastry, rolling it out and all the drama that goes with pastry. In this case, make a simple cookie-like dough, press into muffin pans, bake and fill. Perfect.

When I made these, I found that they were more like brownies so that's what I named them. Also extra Nutella in the bottoms enhanced the Nutella experience!

Oh, and if you have a family anything like mine, protect your cooling cups.  I had to make another batch because they seemed to disappear from the wire rack as they cooled.


Nutella Brownie Cups adapted from Life Love and Sugar
makes 16

Printable recipe here

170g butter, room temperature
1 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornflour

Nutella Cheesecake Filling
280g Philly cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella, plus extra
raspberries


Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Coat 2 x 12 cup muffin (large cupcake) pans with nonstick cooking spray or butter well.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well to combine. Sift flour, baking soda and cornflour into butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. The mixture will be thick. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture, roll into a ball and press into muffin pans and up the sides a bit. You should get about 16. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. If they cups have puffed up, press down with the back of a teaspoon to form an indentation. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Nutella Cheesecake filling

Beat all the ingredients together until well mixed and smooth.

To assemble cups take a small spoonful of Nutella and spread onto the base of the cups. Pipe or spoon filling in and top with a raspberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Prepare to be inundated!



Monday, June 13, 2016

Scottish Shortbread - A Baker's Odyssey Challenge #42


I can never resist a good homemade biscuit. The Australian biscuit and the American cookie are almost one and the same. I have been lead to believe that the American cookie is maybe a little softer than the crunchy Australian biscuit but I may be wrong there. 

I recently baked a variety of biscuits from Greg Patent's A Baker's Odyssey which showcases a wide range from many countries around the world. On the platter there were Scottish shortbread, Italian Anise-Orange Cookies, German Pfeffernüsse, and Greek Kourabiedes.

Even though I know baking is a science and a recipe should be followed to the letter, I never seem to manage that. Either I can't quite get the correct ingredient or something may not be totally to my taste so I am always evolving recipes and changing to suit my mood on the day. I'm breaking the rules, I know! I decided to roll the dough to the minimum of 6mm asked for in the recipe but that meant a large rectangle resulting in huge shortbread. I don't think anyone minded! They are delicious and buttery and one small shortbread would never have been enough.

Greg recently baked the exact recipe over at his blog The Baking Wizard. Yep, they look pretty perfect. The key is not to over bake. But with this recipe, whatever way you make them they will be devoured in moments!


Scottish Shortbread adapted from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent

250g salted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 160C/325F. Line a baking tray with non stick baking paper.

In a stand mixer (or with a handheld mixer or simply with a wooden spoon) beat the softened butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat well until light and smooth. Beat in the vanilla then stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time until fully mixed in. The dough with come together in a mass. Don't over beat. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
To roll the shortbread out, dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle about 30cm x 23cm (or about 12in x 9in). Square up the edges with your fingers. Cut into 18 pieces (cut the dough into 3 lengthwise and cut each strip into 6 pieces. These are big shortbread!
Prick each biscuit with a fork 3 times. Arrange on prepared baking trays.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before removing to rack to cool.