torta di pane

copyright AT verlag

some treats you have to long for. - this cake is such a thing.  sandro steingruber, the talented chef from restaurant EPOCA at waldhaus flims mountain restort & spa, came up with this amazing recipe for a torta di pane (bread-cake). he doesnt only find the aroma of this blend of chocolate and almonds irresistible, but also likes the fact, that you can make something so divine from yestedays bread. also: you have to wait two full days, before you can savor this wonderful cake. two days longing for a cake seems like a torture. not with this one - you'll be giddy happy to cut the first slice!

this is another recipe from our book schweizer spitzenköche für afrika - come and bake with us, for a good cause.


RECIPE

500ml milk
50g butter
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
300g white bread from yesterday
100g dark choclate, roughly chopped
100g candied fruit, chopped
100g sultanas
150g almonds, ground
some drops of almond extract
4 eggs (about 220g)
120g sugar
2 g cinnamon (about 1 teaspoon)
10g breadcrumbs
100g pine nuts
20g butter, soft in flakes

heat the oven to 180 °C.
first combine milk, 50g butter and vanillaseeds and bring to a boil. cut the bread in cubes, then cover with the hot milk. let sit for about 30 minutes. then pure roughly.
mix with chocolate, candied fruit, sultanas, almonds & some almond extract. mix very well.

whip eggs, sugar and cinnamon until light and foamy. then carefully combine with the bread mixture.

butter a springform pan (about 26cm round), then dust with the breadcrumbs. fill in the mixture, sprinkle with the pine nuts and butterflakes. bake in the oven for 70 to 80 minutes.

then have patience and let cake stand for at least 2 days before serving. 
dust with some icing sugar before serving. enjoy!

coriander cakes in a glass


copyright AT-verlag



by the time you read this, the book is out. has been flying off the shelves (thankyouall!) and our dear and creative top chefs have cooked an amazing 18 course menu that dear guests have generously paid for. (here is a little movie to see it all) the corner stone for our school in africa is set - but we need to continue our mission. the more books we sell, the more children get an education.
if you are not in a german speaking part of the world, you might still contribute: bake our cakes (more to follow!), organize a bakesale and consider the charity menschen für menschen, who we trust a 100%. it would be wonderful to see you all help build our school with us.

lets keep on baking for a good cause on once upon a cakestand! this week we'll enjoy tanja grandits wonderful chocolate cakes in a glass. tanja grandits is not only an incredibly talented chef but also the founder of "schweizer spitzenköche für afrika". the recipe she created for the book shows how versatile her kitchen is: its filled with spices! she uses her recipes like a colour chart & mixes and matches them with a lot of courage. and as if with magic - the combinations always work.

these little cakes in a glass are wonderful for the first days of fall. when you need something that warms your heart. add a pinch of cinnamon. an there you have bliss in a glass.


RECIPE

100g dark chocolate
100g butter
100g sugar
3 eggs
50g flour
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
butter, for the glasses

heat the oven to 170 °C.
melt the chocolate together with the butter over medium heat in a pan. stir until smooth.
mix sugar and eggs in a bowl, add flour and coriander. stir in chocolate mixture and smooth the mixture.
put the dough into 4-6 buttered glass jars (about 7 to 8 dl capacity) and bake in the oven at 170 °C for about 20 minutes. then dust with some icing sugar and serve.

TIPP: you can add different spices to this cake: cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and even chili works in this cake. also you can use a larger glass, but make sure you add more time to the baking time.

linzertart for a good cause

copyright: AT-verlag

september marks the end of a very special project that i have been working on for the last few months and that is close to my heart. "schweizer spitzenköche für afrika" - "swiss top chefs of switzerland for africa" is what happens, when the best chefs of my country meet to cook for a better world.

we are doing this at a big gala next weekend at my dear friends tanja grandits restaurant stucki in basel, where the chefs will create an amazing menu. the guests are lined up, they paid for their chairs - partners and suppliers have generously sponsored everything: from the glass of mineral water to chocolate couverture.

that's where we'll also proudly present our little baby. the cookbook: schweizer spitzenköche für afrika. its a book filled with wonderful recipes from the chefs childhood. easy recipes they have discovered while travelling the world, dishes they cook for their loved ones. the book is filled with warmth and love and therefore a book everyone loves picking up & cooking from it.

all the proceeds from the booksales and the charity gala will go to aethiophia. we'll build a school there for the foundation "menschen für menschen" (people for people), that was founded by the actor karlheinz böhm. a school you might ask? - dont they just need food? yes - a healthy life and development starts with education. everyone that can write, calculate and read becomes a smart and proud individual that can provide for himself.

this linzertart by heiko nieder, from the restaurant at the dolder grand hotel in zurich is a little teaser from the book. its a heartwarming and very delicious treat. we will be doing a bakesale with it later in the year. how about you start baking for a our good cause, too? - i'd love to see this project become an international affair. i'd love to see your recipes, the picutres and hear from your experiences. i am sure it will be a good one!

happy baking!



this is Heiko Nieders favourite tart. thing is, he doesnt like linzertart at all. unless his lovely wife bakes it for him. the sunflower seeds give this tart a wonderful & unexpected crunch.

RECIPE

for the dough:
200g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g sugar
1 vanillapod, seeds scraped out
2 eggs
125 butter
125g almond flour (a rougher ground one would be fine, too)
80g sunflower seeds, roasted & coarsely chopped
1 lemon, grated zest
salt
a pinch of ground cloves, cinnamon, ground tonkabean

for the filling:
about 200g homemade mulberry jam
a hand full of almond slivers
1 eggyolk
a dash of milk

for a 22cm round tart tin
heat the oven to 175 °C, butter the tart tin and dust it lightly with flour.

mix all the ingredients for the dough in the kitchen aid until a dough forms. form into a round circle, put in clingfilm and let rest for about half an hour.

leave about 1/3 of the dough for the edges, roll out the rest of the dough into a circle and line the prepared tin with it. now take the reserved dough and decorate the edges with it (you can also roll it out and cut out some decorative sujets. if you want to you can prick the edges with a fork, which makes a simple decoration, too.

now generously cover the bottom with the mulberry jam and sprinkle the almond slivers over it.
mix eggyolk, salt and a dash of milk and glaze the dough.

now bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

creme fraiche cheesecake with fig-plum compote


hello you all - we are a tad busy over here at once upon a cakestand. when really one should pause for a minute and think of plums! the season just started and brings the first quiet thoughs of fall to the farmersmarket. - we call them "zwetschge" over here in switzerland. the funny thing about this word is, that it's also a word to call someone a silly cow.
but i love myself some zwetschge. they go well with all the wonderfully warm flavours of cinnamon - star anise or port wine. a touch of fall is in the air, the heart a tad nostalgic but happy straightaway when the wonderful plum is turned into a creme fraiche cheesecake.


i went for the healthy option - reduced the amout of fat by not using cream cheese. the result is a wonderfully soft cheesecake with a crusty bottom of whole grain biscuits & some dried figs, topped with a warm fig-plum compote. this deep aroma creates a deliciuos contrast to the deliciously creamy creme fraiche layer.
here is balm for the soul in a cake - and white & purble cake that conjures up a heavenly mood on your plate.


RECIPE CREME FRAICHE CHEESECAKE

for a 20cm round tart tin

100g butter
190g biscuits
2 dried figs (about 40g)
1,5 tbsp sugar

filling:
1 lemon, zest & juice
200g cream cheese
200g creme fraiche
100g sugar

300g fig-plum compote (see recipe below)

butter the tart tin & line with baking paper.
melt the butter. put the biscuits & dried figs in a blender and pulse until it becomes crumbly and like sand. add the melted butter, mix well and but as a base into the prepared tin. put in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.

for the filling mix lemonzest- & juice, cream cheese and sugar. then fold in the creme fraiche.
spread a layer of fig-plum compote over the frozen base, then top with the creme fraiche mixture. put in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set.

make sure to serve it when its well chilled and still cold. the cheesecake is very soft and wonderful but to make it look good on a plate, make sure its well chilled.



RECIPE FIG-PLUM COMPOTE

300g red wine
100g port wine
100g creme de cassis
100g sugar
115g beet, in big slices
750g fresh plums
250g dried figs
100g honey
a stick of cinnamon

to make the compote put red wine, port wine, creme de cassis, sugar and red beet into a pan and boil, then reduce heat and let bubble until its nicely reduced. add dried figs and let cool. roast the fresh plums with the honey in the oven at 190 °C for 30 minutes, then add to the compote. put compote in a glass roasting dish and roast in the oven at 85 °C for 20 minutes. then let cool, mix in a blender (remove cinnamon stick before that), then let rest in a preserving glass for 2-3 days in the fridge.
keeps for about 2-3 weeks in the fridge.


simple apricot tarts




summer marks the arrival of apricots! that sweet orange little fruit - a handfull of sweetness! its season only last for a few warm weeks of july or august when the fruit can be devoured at its bestest - sweetest aroma. the flavour is part honey, part almond. its flesh has notes of peach, brown sugar and orange blossom that brings an opportunity for pleasure one shouldnt miss!

oh so often that epitome of summer can be hard and sour in flavour. although apricots do soften and become juicier once picked and stored in a paper bag but they will not develop a sweet, ripe flavour. 

but even those specimens that appear beyond redemption can be saved, as the apricot is even lovelier cooked than raw. the oven seems to do the job the sun should, the heat ripening and sweetening the flesh in the time it takes to soften it. you can roast them with lime or lemon juice, spices such as cinnamon, ginger or cardamom, plus a good sprinkling of sugar, or you can cook them in sugar and wine or fruit juice, the liquid coming just halfway up the sides of the fruit. to this you can add elderflower cordial, lavender, vanilla or honey.

or you can simply turn them into a simple apricot tart.


RECIPE
adapted from diana henry

18 - 20 apricots
150g granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
640g puff pastry, rolled out
2 tbsp caster sugar
3-4 tbsp apricot jam

whipped cream or creme fraiche, for serving

halve and stone the apricots. put the granulated sugar in a pan big enough to hold the apricots in a single layer, such as a sauté pan, add 350ml water and bring to the boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. add the vanilla. turn down to a very gentle simmer. put the apricots into the liquid and poach gently until they are only just tender. how long this takes depends on their individual ripeness. i stand with a slotted spoon and pull each one out as soon as it is ready. lay the apricots in a broad, flat bowl so they don't have to sit on top of each other.

Roll out the pastry and cut out 6 to 8 circles, about 11cm in diameter. lay them on baking-sheets and, using a knife, mark a border 1cm from the edge, being careful not to cut right through. put 3-4 apricot halves on each pastry circle, leaving the border uncovered. sprinkle on the caster sugar and bake for 12 minutes in an oven preheated to 220°C. give it some under heat to make sure the bottom is crisp and nicely baked.

put the jam in a pan with 1 tbsp water and heat until it has melted. brush over the surface of each tart (avoid using the chunks in the jam) then leave to set a little. serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or creme fraiche.

tart malakoff


slowly slowly we are entering cake-kingdom. those cakes and tarts that make you gasp. not only because they look so wonderful but also because they make you slightly nervous before you even grab your spatula.

tart malakoff is such a patisserie. a sweet affair - full of light & luscious cream that embeds a generous packet of ladyfingers. the roasted almonds slices not only make it visually interesting but also give it a nice texture when those toasted almond slices crackle in your mouth while you swoon over that generous amout of whipped full fat cream.

it will only take a second until you forget how to spell the work B-I-K-I-N-I.


tart malakoff is a stunning tart that gives you a lot of freedom, while you bake it. some variations help you to evade a lack of ingredient or the extra use of seasonal fruit.


  • tart malakoff is sometimes made with a base of a pate sucree and a soft sponge. if you are in a hurry, simply use a soft sponge as your base.
  • as creamy as it is - the tart wins not only in flavour but also in texture when you add seasonal fruit such as apricots, plums, berries - really whatever you have and goes well with cream. simply add it to the ladyfingers while you build the tart.
  • while the use of a light bavarian cream (vanillacream) is an absolute must in my opinion - the lazy bakers among you might just use whipped cream and add some vanilla seeds (and maybe a dash of sugar to sweeten the cream a bit). a nice shortcut - that still makes a great tart.



RECIPE:

for a 26 cm round tart tin

100g store bought pate sucrée (26cm round)
50g apricot jam
1 sponge cake (26 cm round), see recipe below
ca. 1 dl rum
30g icing sugar
375 ml milk
2 egg yolks
70g sugar
2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped out
1 pinch of salt
4 sheets of gelatine
550g cream
200g lady fingers
ca. 100g almonds, sliced & toasted

to garnish:
some chocolate ganache, melted
4 ladyfingers

for the sponge cake:
2 eggs
60g sugar
40g flour
20g cornstarch
30g butter, melted


start by baking the 26 cm round pate sucrée at about 200 °C for about 5 to 10 minutes until golden. then let cool on a rack.

then make the sponge cake. butter & line caketin and reduce the oven-temp to 180 °C.
beat eggs and sugar in the bowl of your kitchen aid over a bain marie until foamy. then put it back to your kitchen aid, attach the whisk and whip it until cold. sift flour and cornstarch and carefully mix it under the soft egg-sugar mixture. add melted butter & mix carefully but not too long. then bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes until a metal skewer comes out clean. let cool on a wirerack.

spread apricot jam over the cooled pate sucrée, then top it with the cooled layer of sponge cake. put a cake ring around the two layers and adjust so that it fits the cakebase.
mix rum, 2 tablespoons of water and icing sugar, soak the cakebase slightly with the mixture. put rest of rum mixutre to the side.

heat milk in a pan, add eggyolks, sugar, vanilla and salt very well. add milk and heat over a bain marie until the cream starts to thicken (if this takes too long or too much nerves, do it in a pan but careful with the heat or the cream might burn). take off heat imedeately, once the cream starts to thicken.
soak the gelatine in cold water, then squeeze all the water out and add to the cream. mix well and let cool over an ice bath until the cream starts to get firm. add some rum if desired.

whip 500g of cream and add to the now cooled vanilla-cream (you might not need all of the vanilla cream. start using half of it). take 1/3 of the cream and over the tart-base. even out with a spatula. soak ladyfingers in the rum-mixutre, then lay over the cream, then add another layer of cream , another layer of soaked ladyfingers etc. also add fruit if using. finish with a layer of cream and even the surface with a spatula (here is a fabulous video how to smoothly glaze or cream a cake) - let tart rest for a day in the fridge.

before serving, remove the tart ring. whip the remaining 50g of cream, spread around the cake, then decorate the toasted almond slices.
use the rest of the cream to decorate cake with little stars. half 4 ladyfingers and dip into the melted ganache. let cool quickly on a wire rack. then decorate cake.

eat on the same day.




strawberry mascarpone tart


the strawberry is very often the fruit that causes heart-ache. promising in colour but a dissapointment in flavour. it has become the mainstream berry, often shipped all around the world to charm our senses. but then - nothing but a watery aroma!
and what a crime to see that strawberries are offered in the middle of winter, to accompany that glass of champagne on new years eve. when the strawberry plant itself is still in deep hibernation, gathering all its power for the summer ahead.

but then strawberries are very often linked to sweet memories of childhood. you dwell on thoughts of afternoons picking strawberries on a field or - if you are blessed like me - your familys garden, where you almost bursted with excitement, trying to find the ripest, juciest strawberries. a real strawberry has a firm flesh and is full of juice. you wont find the deep flavour of a blackcurrant or the sweetness of a ripe raspberry. the strawberry is a light but summery aroma.

but its delicacy requires a gentle handling, the fruit is easily damaged and turns into a mushy-thing. - so you better handle it with great care and nestle it on a soft bed of wodden hay.
"you need to make much of a truly excellent strawberry when you find it" nigel slater writes about the scarlet-red ferrari of a fruit. he is right, if you eat domnestic strawberries at the peak of the season you might actually get that wonderful fruity-honey-sweet scent of the fruit.
but: a good strawberry doesnt need much to shine on a cakestand. maybe a dash of vanilla. a pinch of sugar or a splash of the tender flavour of rose- or orange blossom water would enhanche the summery-light-sweet flavour of the fruit.

carefully hulled we put them on a soft bed of mascarpone cream. enjoy your strawberries - while they last!


RECIPE
adapted from LADUREE, Sucré

for a 24cm round tart pan

sweet almond pastry:
120g butter, very cold
70g icing sugar
25g ground almonds
1 pinch of fleur de sel
1 pinch of vanilla powder (or vanilla seeds)
1 egg
200g cake flour

some chocolate ganache, for sealing the tart

mascarpone cream:
2 gelatin sheets
60ml heavy cream
125g granulated sugar
500g mascarpone
400g strawberries, halved
rose water, vanilla seeds or orange blossom water, opitional

glaze:
some raspberry jelly


First make the pastry by sifting the icing sugar. cut butter in small cubes and place in the stand mixer with paddle attachement. work in butter to homogenize, then add following ingredients, one by one, making sure to fully incorporate each into mixture before next addition: icing sugar, almonds, fleur de sel, vanilla, egg and flour. combine until dough comes together. form into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. refridgeate at least for 2 hours or up to one day ahead. it will make it easier to roll out.

butter the tart pan, roll out the dough on a floured surface to 2mm thick and press into the buttered pan. refrigeate for one hour.

preheat oven to 170 °C.
prick tart surface with a fork, so it wont puff up during baking. line tart with parchement paper and fill with baking beans. bake for about 20 minutes until lightly coloured.  take out of oven, remove beans and continue baking to colour slightly. remove from shell and allow to cool.
melt ganache over a bain marrie, then glaze the tart bottom with the chocolate to prevent it from soaking in the macarpone cream.


to make the mascarpone cream put gelatin sheets in a bowl with very cold water and let sit for about 10 minutes. drain, squeezing hard to remove all excess liquid. bring cream and sugar to a boil in a pan. remove from heat, add gelatine, mix well and allow to cool completely.

cream the mascarpone in your kitchen aid with the paddle attachment. continue to mix, adding the cooled gleatine mixture little by little. flavour with vanilla, rosewater or orange blossom water if desired. fill in the baked tart shell. put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes until cream is firm.

rinse strawberries and drain on a dish towell. hull and slice half lenghtwise. finish the tart by arranging strawberries in a decorative pattern on top of the cream.

carefully warm strawberry jelly in a pan, put through a fine meshed sieve (to remove fruit bits), then glaze the tart with the jelly.

keep cool until serving.

berrytart with creme lègere



hello weekend! due to the total absence of summer around here, lets drool over some sweet summer berries. they are the gold of summer. jucy, full of flavour and colour.
its what i crave, when summer is finally here, trying to use every opportunity to buy a punnet of strawberries, grab a hand full of blueberries or - and this is heaven - go pick my own raspberries. 

summer berries are the aroma of home. for me, everything started with berries.
my wonderful grandmother had this big garden where she allowed us to pick fresh rasberries, look for wild strawberries and go all gaga climbing the cherry tree to harvest the first fresh cherries. the older i get and the longer i cook, i start to realize that this is the place where i learnt how to taste.
she teached me how a real rasberry tasted like. how juicy it got to be, to be the real mccoy. the soft texture that still held its form.

over 30 years later i still picture myself and grandmother picking berries, putting them into my harvesting basket. i was not only the youngest but also the smallest of the family, so she made sure to buy me a special tiny one, she would carefully tie around my little body.  it feels like yesterday. i can still taste the aroma of those freshly picked berries in her garden. - sadly, grandma is gone, but the aroma of sweet berries will always remind me of her.

and in that sense i do believe that "home is where a berrytart is..."



You dont really need much more, if you have a generous colander full of freshly picked berries. Maybe a tart shell, a soft creme lègere - a dust of powdered sugar. you know, sometimes heaven is pretty easy.
grandma would agree!



RECIPE

for the sweet shortcrust pastry (from eric lanlard):
makes 250 g
115 g flour
50 g unsalted butter, cut in small cubes
25 g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, mixed
1 tablespoon milk

for the creme lègere:
500 ml full fat milk
5 egg yolks
125 g sugar
45 g flour
1 vanilla pod, seeds sraped out
about 100 - 150 g full fat cream

about 500g of mixed fresh berries
powdered sugar, for serving

make the shortcrust pastry first: sift the flour into a mixing bowl. add butter and rub in with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, make a well in the centre. beat egg yolk with vanilla extract, add to well and form into a soft dough. wrap into clingfilm and let rest for about an hour. then knead dough minimaly, roll out very thinly between two sheets of baking paper (its a little tricky but hang on in there!).  prepare a 23 cm round loose-bottomed flan tin, by greasing it with some butter, then line with the pastry. trim excess pastry by rolling a rolling pin across the top. prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

line with greaseproof paper and fill with ceramic beans. blink bake at 200 °C for 10 minutes until pastry is golden. remove beans, and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the base is dried out. let cool. then mix 1 egg with 1 tablespoon milk and brush tart with mixture to seal it.  put aside.

to make the creme lègere mix vanilla seeds & scraped out podswith the milk and put on medium heat. whisk egg yolks and sugar in your kitchen aid until very pale and creamy. then add flour and mix. when milk is just starting to boil, pour half of it onto the egg mixture, mix - put back in the pan, mix well and bring liquid back to the boil, mixing all the time so nothing burns! cook for 1 minute from the point at where the creme first starts to boil. remove from heat and pour into a rectangular dish. cover surface immediately with baking paper and let cool.
before filling the tart, whisk cream, then fold it carefully into 300g of the cooled pastry cream. add more whipped cream if you want to have a lighter texture.

add it to the baked pastry shell, even the surface, then sprinkle generously with the berries. dust with powdered sugar before serving.

cheesecakes in a glass with mirabelle-gingercompote


Juli is the month that brings you the first sweet mirabelles, as we call them. that small olive shaped mirabelle plum has such a juicy and sweet flesh, its often used for compotes, jams and jellies. For me, its summer in a fruit.

So i couldnt resist, when my fruitfarmer at the market had the first sweet mirabelles of the season at his stall this week. I had already a recipe in mind from my dear friend, the fabulous chef tanja grandits, who pairs estragon with passionfruit and puts it in a glass with ajowan crumble and a cheesecake thats light and airy. And here is the good news: and we are not even going to use cream cheese!
We aint gonna go that fancy schmancy - we'll just pair that wonderful soft cream cheese with the warm aroma of a vanilla crumle with the juicy mirablles compote that has a refreshing zing.

Spoons out - here comes a summery cheesecake in a glass!


RECIPE

for 8 glasses (each about 220 ml)

for the crumble
75g flour
30g almonds, ground
75g brown sugar
30g cold butter, in cubes
2 packets of vanilla sugar (or 2 TSP ground vanilla)

for the filling
125g curd
1 vanilla pod, seeds craped out
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
250g cream, whipped
2 eggwhites
50g sugar

for the compote
750g mirabelles (small yellow plums or apricots), halved & stone removed
150g brown sugar
2 TBSP fresh ginger, roughly cut
2-3 TBSP runny orange blossom honey
60ml / 1/4 cup water
2 TBSP butter, in cubes

heat oven to 180 °C.
mix all ingredients for the crumble, pulse in the mixer, then spread out on a baking tray (lined with silicone mat or baking paper), bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. then let cool.

for the filling mix curd with vanilla seeds, lemonjuice and -zest. fold in whipped cream carefully. Whip egg whites, adding sugar at the end until stiff and glossy. carfeully fold into the mixture, put in a large piping bag and chill in the fridge.

for the compote put mirabelles in an ovenproof glas dish. pulse sugar with fresh ginger and sprinkle gingersugar over mirabelles. then add water and runny honey (skip water if mirabelles are very juicy). put butter over the fruit and bake in the oven at 220 °C for about 15 minutes.

to arrange, divide crumble between the 8 glasses, add filling and finish with a layer of compote (make sure not to use too much juice). let chill in the fridge a little before serving.

keeps in the fridge for a day.

The *I miss New York Berrycake*



Monday was the 4th of july. Friends where ethusiastically posting pictures of BBQs at the beachhouse, lobsterrolls at the Brooklyn Fleamarket, everybody was having cold beers and a jolly good time at the beach. Its crazy how time flies - i thought. Only a year ago i was the one baking pizza and steaks on a grill in the US, sipping a southside at the houseboat, ducks passing by, sun slowly setting down at the horizon. True Bliss!

Damn,  i miss New York!


So this weeks cake had to be an american cake. Not that i searched all my american recipes for it, but while missing that NY-vibe that inspires me so often in life, i simply wondered what i would have brought to that fabulous cake buffett at the beachhouse. It would have been this red, blue, white - kind of star spangled banner cake.

Or simply the *I miss New York Berrycake* as i like to call it.

Dont be fooled by the chocolate genoise sponge - this is actually a quite light and airy cake. Of course one can vary with the amout of cream (i like to believe, the more the merrier!) - but all in all this is just berry galore on a cake.

New York i miss you - hope you are well!



RECIPE

50g butter, melted & cooled (plus some extra for greasing the pan)
200g flour
pinch of baking powder
50g cocoa powder
250g sugar
8 eggs

500ml full fat cream
1 vanillapod, seeds scraped out
a little or a lot of vanilla extract

250g fresh raspberries
200g blueberries
fresh peppermint

grease  and then line two 22cm round baking tins with removable bottoms.
heat oven to 180 °c.

put eggs and sugar and whisk it in your kitchen aid on full whack for about 8 minutes until very light and airy. if you have the nerve you can do this on a bain marie over simmering water and a hand held mixer. it will take about 10 minutes to foam up and thicken. it does take a lot of patience which i dont have, but the genoise will result in a firmer sponge if you do it like this.
then sift the flour and cocoa powder onto the egg-mixture and gently fold in, making sure you bring in all the flour without deflating the mixture too much, then add the melted butter. Divide between the two prepared tins, smooth the tops and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

For the filling simply whip the cold cream with the vanilla-seeds and -extract.
Using a serrated knive cut the sponges in half horizontally. Fill with the vanilla cream and the berries, finishing with a generous level of cream and berries.

Garnish with some fresh peppermint and keep refridgeated until served.

PS: since i whipped my egg mixture a tad too long (my kitchen aid mixer bowl almost flooded) my sponges turned out extra soft and big. I therefore used 3 layers only, you should end up with 4 layers using this recipe. Feel free to only use 2 layers and freeze the rest of the genoise, it freezes very well for about 2 weeks.


Rustic Peach Tart

sweet little peaches

Do you know the sweet scent of cake? That aroma that fills the house immedeately with comfort and joy?
This is what "A year in cakes" is all about. Of course its also about cakes, sweet or savoury, that will be baked throughout the year. Always inspired by the freshest produce that the garden or farmers market has to offer. Lets do new and old recipes, lets bake cakes we loved as kids and cakes we still dream of as adults. We'll not only have a cake on the table every weekend but in about a years time we'll have a diary of cakes that have accompanied us through the year. Join the movement - let's fill the year with cakes!

I would be delighted to hear your experiences with the cakes you bake - the ones you bake every weekend with me, the ones you bake with whatever you cant resist in your own garden or farmers marked.


It had to be a tart. Not because i dont like cakes with sponges or something, no: a tart tin is all i could find in the big mishmash of my newly organized, i mean unorganized office. So i packed my sweet peaches into a rustic frangipane that sits on top of a wonderfully crusty and crumbly butter puff pastry. The frangipane is not as almondy as usual - i enriched it with some ground hazelnuts with make a wonderful pairing to the sweet juices of peaches.
As much as frangipane somehow reminds me of autum and the traditional pairing with peaches, the peaches make it refreshingly summery and light. Of course the tart is still rich enough to be served as a sweet dinner but then i believe every dinner is an opportunity for cake!

This is a supereasy and quick tart to bake - bake it while your hair gets airdried by the wonderful summerwinds. Easy as pie - erm, tart!

crisp and buttery: the crust

RECIPE

for a 25 cm round or a medium square tart tin

7-8 slightly underripe peaches, stones removed and cut into quarters
125g good quality puff pastry
3 tablespoons of apricot or quinces jam

for the frangipane:
200g butter, soft
150g sugar
200g ground almonds
50g ground hazelnuts
100g flour
3 eggs

garnish:
powdered sugar
pistachios, chopped

Heat the oven to 190 °c, grease the tart tin with some melted butter.
Make the franigpane first - soften & beat the butter with the sugar for about 8 minutes on medium to high speed in your kitchen aid until its light and airy. Then add the flour, ground almonds and hazelnuts and mix until all incorporated. Then add the eggs one at the time until all combined. Set aside.


Place your ready made and rolled out puff pastry on a slightly floured surface and roll it out just a tad thiner, then line the prepared tin with the pastry, making sure to gently press the dough into the tin to line bottom and sides properly. Fold the edges over, then roll gently but firmly over the top of the tin with the rolling pin to remove left over pastry.
Spread the frangipane evenly over the tart case, set the peach quarters into the frangipane, making sure to set them evenly - that'll look oh so nice!

Bake for 15 minutes at 190 °c until the frangipane slowly starts to rise, then reduce heat to 150 °c and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. I like to turn up the heat for another 5 to 10 minutes before the tart comes out of the oven - put it up to 190 or 200°c but watch the tart closely as it might burn! This will give it a nice crispy crust! Then take out of the oven and let cool in the tin for about 20 minutes.


Bevore serving carefully heat up the jam in a small pan and glaze the peaches. sprinkle with pistacios and generously dust with icing sugar.


Oy vey, what a year - we'll have a good one, i promise.
Have a lovely weekend, make it a sweet one!

*M

homemade mayonnaise

there is a few things you just gotta have in your fridge. the usual suspects such as parmesan cheese, bacon, the obligatory bottle of champagne (you never really know what your day might bring!), the fresh butter, the knob of garlic or ginger, the yoghurt, the heavy cream and glass with pesto. and you need mayonnaise!
without mayonnaise there is no salad sauce. there is no sandwich that deserves the name. there is no happy fries cuz they wont be if you dont dip them into a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup.
so mayonnaise it is.

mayonnaise is easy & cheap to buy so there isnt really a reason to make it yourself. unless you have tasted homemade mayonnaise. well then - then you know about that heavenly soft strucuture and the actual taste of eggyolk & acid of the lemonjuice. then you just dont touch that glass of hellmans no more.

mayonnaise is so dead easy to make, you dont even have to be a good cook to make it. all you need is a good whisk and you need to follow those few tricks and you are only about 10 minutes away from a homemade mayonnaise. so here are some secrets to write home about:
  • always work with fresh ingredients at room temperature. a cold eggyolk wont mix well with oil at roomtemperature.
  • if your mayonnaise turns out too thin, whisk some more or simply add more oil
  • if your mayonnaise turns out too thick, whisk in some water.
  • if your mayonnaise "breaks" (a housewifes nightmare in the 50ties...), add a new eggyolk into a fresh bowl and slowly mix in your mayonnaise that went wrong. should rescue it!

RECIPE

basic mayonnaise

2 fresh bio-eggyolks, roomtemperature
1-2 teaspoon mild dijon mustard, roomtemperature
4-5 dl sunflower-, peanut- or rapeseedoil
2 tablespoon lemonjuice or white wine vineggar
salt & pepper, freshly ground

mixed by hand:
place a wet kitchentowell on your surface to keep the bowl in place.
put eggyolks into bowl, mix with the mustard. add the oil bit by bit, making sure you whisk constantly. make sure to add more oil when the mixture is all soft and well whisked. as soon as the mayonnaise is soft but kinda firm, add the lemonjuice or vineggar.
then add rest of the oil and whisk in well until you get the desired consistency. season with freshly ground salt & pepper.

mixed with a blender:
add eggyolks & mustard (you can use a whole egg and one eggyolk, as you like) and give it a quick mix. then slowly ass the oil in a steady stream while mixing, add lemonjuice or vineggar at the end, season with salt & pepper.

STORAGE:
fresh mayonnaise keeps for about a week in an airtight container or glass.

IDEAS FOR MIX-INS:
  • add fresh herbes such as freshly chopped dill, chive, parsley...
  • mix in tiny cubes of mangoes or pineapple (careful with the juice!)
  • add some hot chili for a spicy version
  • add some finely cut gerkins, parsley & hard boiled egg and your sauce tartare is right there in your bowl!

marshmallows bliss

sometimes, people ask me the funniest things. they say:
"why would you wanna know how to make marshmallows?"
or "what is the sense in making your own mashed potato?".
or "why would you make your own mayonnaise?".

well. how can i explain - isnt it just so obvious?

if i know how to mash a potato then i can actually get up in the middle of the night and cook some. i can whip up my own mayonnaise when a cocktail sauce-emergency comes up (happens! true thing!).
and what if someone starts a war (whoever you are, please dont)? - well, in case of a war i could still serve marshmallows!


reason enough to finally tackle the recipe. i was looking for a recipe for a long time but only found some that require corn syrup which is something we swiss dont do. so i was giddy happy to find jamie oliver's recipe who uses a homemade sugar sirup you can make in a jiffy.

making marshmallows isnt something that requires a lot of talent nor time. all you need is a sturdy mixer that can whip up some serious foam. then add some funky food colouring, let rest, then cut into cubes and enjoy the fluffiest homemade marshmallows on the planet.


RECIPE
from jamie oliver

4 tablespoons cornflour
4 tablespoons icing sugar
vegetable oil
10 sheets of gelatine
500g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon food dye

shift cornflour & icing sugar in a bowl. grease a 20 x 20 cm square cake tin with a few drops of veggie oil and dust with a little of the cornflour-sugar. soak gelatine in 125ml cold water.

put caster sugar in a medium saucepan with 250ml water. warm over low heat, sirrring until water dissolves. then place thermometer in the pan and cook until it reads 122 C°. if you have no thermometer, just boil for 10 minutes, then you are done. just make sure the syrup doesnt turn golden. remove from heat, then gently pour gelatine leaves and water into hot sugar syrup - be very careful cuz it might boil and steam!
then add vanilla.


in a large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. with beater on low speed, slowly pour in the sugar syrup. after adding the syrup keep on beating for another 8 minutes or so, until mixture is really thick but still pourable! dont overbeat or you will end up with a goey, ugly mass of foam...
pour marshmallow-mix into prepared tin. to create the marbling, drizzle over the food dye and use a fork to swirl it across the surface. leave marshmallows to set in a cool place for 4-5 hours or overnight, but do not refrigeate!


to cut the marshmallows dust chopping board with cornflour-sugar mixture. using a palette or a filleteknive carefully ease the marshmallows out of the tin onto a cutting board. use cornflour sugar mix to liberally dust the top and sides of the marshmallow. rub a sharp knive with a little veggie oil and cut the block into squares. make sure each cube is well dusted.

store in airtight container (lined with parchment paper) and eat within about a week.


blissful baking


ohmagod. i am back in the kitchen. at last! and this time it's for good. i have left my daily job behind (at least for a while...), the one that keeps me cooking all day long but never leaves time to bake or cook my own thing. and then there is this tiny little project of a baking book.
so i had to return; make my comeback. - peeps, i am back!



my dish of the big return had to be an applecake. i had applecake on my mind half of my life. i even moved to amsterdam for a year just to eat applecake every day (nuts, innit?). i have tried many and discovered really, really nice ones. julia child's french appletart - ohmagod, gives you shaky knees and all. dutch apple tart? - tried so very many and finally found one that tasted exactly like the one i ate at villa zeezicht in amsterdam every day.
but there was one applecake on my mind, i never figured out how to make. my mum used to bake it for a while, but of course there was no recipe to be found. she just did it - just shot it from her hips. total intuitive baking - straight from the heart.
it was all juicy inside... the apples embedded in a soft sponge cake with a light and airy coating.

damn, i was on a mission.
and i won!

RECIPE

i nicked it from the lovely deb over at smitten kitchen. she nicked it from someone else, her mother. how wonderful is that? her mother had the recipe mine never wrote down?
so go ahead, nick it, too. and make it your own. it's right here.

PS: i reduced the amout of sugar, because it is really, really alot of sugar she coats the apples in (jewish people just know how to work with sugar, i cant blame them). but it makes the applefilling quite sirupy, so you can use less. also i mixed some quark (or ricotta) with an egg and some vanilla sugar and poured it over the cake to make a nice airy top.


fall in a glass


uh, where has october gone? - probably just escaped while we were all busy catching the last warm sunrays, carrying home the last big bunches of flowers from the market, doing our almost nostalgic "good bye summer jumps" into the river and watching the leaves turn golden.
but: as much as i love those days spent in a bikini and flipflops, i dont really mind the arrival of fall. the air is crisp, you are all wrapped up in a nice cashmere sweater - it's the return of hats and gloves and there is always an excuse for a hot chocolate.
let alone the big pot of pumpkin soup on the stove and a constant aroma of cinnamon and chocolate in the air. aint that bad, is it?

fall has one of my biggest addictions in store: mushrooms. give me a bucket of chanterelles and i am all yours. i turn into a greedy greedy person when it comes to chanterelles. because-i-just-want-them-all-to-myself. still i will be sharing this tiny little secret recipe with you. it's perfect for all of us nerds who like to chop things into small little bits and pieces and all in all is just a delicious tartar of mushrooms you can serve with some toasted bread or serve it with a dollop of creme fraiche with a soup. but of course it goes really well with game meat or any dish made with potatoes.


RECIPE

400g fresh mushrooms (such as chanterelles, cheps, brown mushrooms,...)
2 small, sour apples, finely cubed
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoon sage, finely diced
salt, freshly ground pepper
3 fresh egg yolks
1/2 lemon, juice
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 dash of worcestershiresauce
1 dash of tabasco

clean mushrooms with a brush, then slice. heat oil in a pan, then fry the musrooms on high heat, making sure to stirr frequently. put in bowl and let cool - when cool, cube mushrooms very finely, mix with apple cubes. season with salt, pepper, sage and add finely cubed shallot.
in another bowl, mix egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, worcestershiresauce and tabasco and whisk. then add to the mushroom mixture & mix well.

IMPORTANT: eat on same day as made, since it contains fresh egg yolks.


comfort in a brownie


you dont need anything else when you are serving a brownie.
a brownie has got it all, its small but full of flavour.
its sweet and the only thing that could make it any sweeter would be a kiss shared in between.

a brownie is for everything.
a box of brownies is the bestest peacemaker on the planet.
i have never seen people eating a brownie & starting a war.
you just have to laugh, cuz it's such a fun and happy little cake.
a brownie is a declaration of love.
because if you serve someone a really, really good brownie then you have to bake it with all your heart and soul -
put all your love into it and kiss it goodbye when you put it into the oven.
and you really only wanna share it with people you love.
you get all greedy because you dont want to share it with people who dont appreciate you or your little lovecake.
a brownie is comfort. because it smells like sugar and chocolate and cinnamon and makes you forget whatever it is your heart might be suffering from.

this brownie is a tribute, an adieu - a goodbye from my oven to a loved one.
i will look towards heaven & think of you when it melts in my mouth.
really. sometimes a brownie is such a good thing, it makes you cry.
and comforts you. just like that.


RECIPE

using a brownie tin of about 21 x 21 cm

250g butter
250g dark chocolate
6 eggs
380g sugar
2 packets of vanilla sugar (or 2 tbspoons of vanilla extract)
150g flour, siftet
generous pinch of salt
1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon

125g ricotta cheese
125g cream cheese
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 egg
5 teaspoons of heavy cream
1 tablespoon flour

2-3 small prunes, in slices


preheat the oven to 180 c°, line tin with baking paper.
mix the ingredients for the cheesecake mix together, starting with ricotta, cream cheese, then add sugar, egg, cream & flour. mix until very smooth & set aside.

melt butter & chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and let cool.
in another bowl, mix sugar with eggs & vanilla and beat until it starts to froth - don't overmix, ok? then pour in cooled chocolate & butter, fold in flour & salt & cinnamon.

pour into baking tin, add cheesecake mix with a spoon & make any design you want (swirl a fork through the batter etc), but dont overdo it. then add prune slices on top and press lightly into the batter.

bake for 35-20 minutes until top is a little crispy but the inside still a little moist. no worries, it will get firmer when cooling down.

cool in the tin, then cut into slices, then squares.

Let's marniate!

can we talk about mozzarella for a minute? - as much as i love heaps of it on a pizza, cuz it makes it go all goey - or even better comes oozing out of a calzone - you dont hear me shout hooray when i am confronted with a plain simple ball of mozzarella. not too much taste, right?
dont get me wrong here: nothing beats the creaminess of a buffalo mozzarella but whenever i eat it i cant help but dip it into some pesto or cover it with loads of salt & pepper because i feel like mozzarella just has to come with something or it's a total loser on a plate.


but then i just cant help but live off salad capreze during the summer, because it's such an easy recipe and i also think a sunkissed tomato doesnt really need much more than a sprinkle of salt & pepper. but still: in goes mozzarella.
so while being in a small "mozzarella crisis" the other day i raided my herb garden, mixed it all up with some lemonjuice and olive oil and chucked in some mozzarella. the secret ingredient wasnt the basil though. just a little bit of peppermint in combination with the lemon rind makes this a very fresh & summery affair. or finally a mozzarella with taste.


RECIPE

2 oval shaped mozzarella balls
3-4 sprigs of oregano
2-3 sprigs of basil
2 sprigs of rosemary
1-2 sprigs mint
some red pepper
some chili flakes
a little bit of salt
zest of one unwaxed lemon
juice of a lemon
about 300ml of olive oil

slice mozzarella, chop all herbs, cut lemon zest in fine strips. add lemon juice & olive oil to a large preserving glass, mix. then add herbs, chili, red pepper & just a dash of salt. stir well & add sliced mozzarella. mix well & make sure the cheese is coated well. let marinate for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.

keeps in the fridge for about a week. use for salads, pasta dishes or pizza.


about time i join the gang again. this is my entry for this weeks WHB, hosted by dhanggit's kitchen this week. head over to her blog for the roundup & more recipes using veggies, greens & herbs.

it's PIMM's o'clock, baby


i tend to eat in phases. i have had the weeks of brownies, lasagne, fruit tarts, meringue rolls, days filled with one pastadish after the other - oh and let's not forget my focus on mascarpone-recipes that lasted for months. i blame my job and my greedy nature for this.

that also means: whatever i have to cook for my job i dont want to eat in my private life. currently that is heaps of meat, everything with full fat cheese and double cream or fruit that's been drowned in kirsch. i.dont.want.to.eat.any.of.that. - really, get out of my face fullfat cream!
after a day in the kitchen slathering meat with marinade, arranging a broccoli for a picture just the way you'd want to lick the picture asap and building towers of cupcakes all i want to do is just walk away from it and have - let's say - toast with butter. a pack of cookies (3 packs in 4 days, i call this quite a performance). everything that doesnt require heating up a pan or oven. tear open a package - that's a deal. count me in.
but then where is the fun in that? also i'd like to think you'd have to have at least 5 seconds of fun preparing your food (pack of cookies open in only 2 secs) and there is that thought of things like vitamins. proteins. fibres.

i entered a new phase this summer when i visited my beloved friend T in london. on that very summery sunday afternoon i entered the PIMM's phase in his backyard and i have this feeling it might turn from phase to beloved habit, cuz really: PIMM's is just about the best thing since sliced bread.

i like to think PIMM's is the oscar de la renta among drinks. PIMM's is chic. it's a proper ladies drink that even guys like.

and just like oscar's dresses PIMM's comes with a whole lotta accessories, too. there is a PIMM's sunchair, a PIMM's pitcher - oh hallelujah! - there is even a goddamned PIMM's picnic blanket that i ordered in 1,2,3 and i can-not-wait to finally organize a proper PIMM's picnic. you know, all dressed up & some sandwiches in a basket.

to find out more (and order your own picnic blanket) head over to the PIMM's webpage. in the meantime, here is my current diet

RECIPE

icecubes
PIMM's
homemade lemonade (see recipe below)
orange slices
fresh strawberries or raspberries
sticks of cucumber
fresh peppermint

fill glass halfway up with ice. add orange slice, cucumber, raspberries and some peppermint. fill with two part lemonade and one part PIMM's (you lushs may tweak proportions...). the more PIMM's you add. the more bitter it will taste. i like my PIMM's ladylike with just a dash of that magic stuff.

RECIPE HOMEMADE LEMONADE

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
juice of 6 lemons
2-3 cups of water
icecubes

heat sugar and 1 cup of water in a small pan until sugar has dissolved, let cool.
then mix with lemonjuice, rest of water and fill into jug with icecubes.

you were always on my mind marie rose

i always carry trucks of stuff around with me. its either a bag full of books, the 5 pairs of shoes, the usual bikini & towel for the midnight swimm - it's milk and bread and butter and a pack of sugar.
but the most important thing i carry around with me is my "to-do-list". the list doesnt contain anything of the importance of "calling mum to say i am sorry", "report back to boss", "polish bike" or all the other naff stuff one should write onto a list (and really do in life).
nah. my list contains dishes i want to.... - no! - dishes i have to cook.
you'd find a new version of a brownie (cuz really at then end of the day it's all about the brownie) or that meatdish i had at the restaurant that makes me go think: "hell yeah, i can do this myself!" on that list.
with the constant cooking - and most importantly because i am greedy by nature - for my job i can tick off most of the dishes on that list in 1,2,3.
for some reason the "marie rose sandwich" mark never got ticked off. for like months.
i admit, it had alot to do with the fact that there is such a thing called bikini i'd like to fit it withouth scaring everyone around me (also i dont only swimm around midnight...).
marie rose comes with loads of ketchup. and that wonderful thing called mayonnaise. doesnt really match with the word "bikini". for sure.
oh but maybe it was all just destiny - i'd like to think - that i saved this wonderful, easypeasy little dish for today. coming back home from a day straightoutta hell ("calling mum to say i am sorry" still needs to be ticked off) i was in for some good soulfood. just gimme that goddamn bottle of ketchup and mayonnaise and life will be sweet and juicy again.


and when i was just tucking into my marie rose sandwich, with the sauce all over my fingers and running down my chin (cuz that's how it goes, doesnt it?) this elvis song came back to my mind:

*i just never took the time -*
*you are always on my mind.*

thank god for elvis.
and marie rose.
i am sorry it took me so long...


This is an adapton of the original recipe. you'd usually serve it with lettuche and leave out the peppers & cucumber. since i am trying to become a leftover-queen i mixed those veggies into this sandwich. it makes it super-juicy & fresh & also adds some colour!

RECIPE
3-4 hand full of cooked shrip (take the tiny ones)
crunchy bread

for the sauce:
mayonnaise
creme fraiche or plain yoghurt
a tiny dash of tabasco
some worcestershire sauce
loads of ketchup
lemon juice
salt & pepper

some red pepper, finely cubed
fresh cucumber, finely cubed

mix all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl. make sure it's all gonna turn out pink & quite ketchupy. lemon juice will make it taste more fresh - add more mayonnaise & the stuff will turn out rich and fabulous. - wash & dry the shrip & add to the sauce. halve the bread, add rose marie-mix, then scatter with pepper & cucumber, then top with remaining bread.
serve with napkins!