Blueberry tartlets

blueberry tartlet

Another weekend, yet another blueberry recipe. That seems to be my mantra at the time. And now that mom gave me this nice Tupperware tartlet silicone form, I needed to give it a test run and decided to combine these two. Though I have a ton of frozen blueberries in the freezer, I bought some fresh berries. The season will soon be over, and then I can use the frozen ones. But until then, I will enjoy the fresh berries for as long as possible. One of my favourite blueberry recipes is my mom’s blueberry pie. And, no, the berries will not be baked. Only the crust. The crust is filled with a cheese-cream, and blueberries are sprinkled on top. Simplicity itself, but simply delicous too! So I decided to make mini-pies or tartlets. And they were just as good as their larger relative, but a lot cuter, I have to say!

Crust
2,5 dl all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1,5 dl unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 200°C. Blend flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and crumble it in, using your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolk. Mix together until moist clumps form. Cover with cling foil and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Cut crosswise into 6 equal rounds. Press each round over bottom and up sides of 8 cm diameter tartlet pan. Pierce crusts with fork. Bake tartlet crusts until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Cool crusts completely on rack.

Filling
1 dl whipping cream
80 g philadelphia cream cheese (1/3 of a regular pack)
2,5 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Whip the cream stiff. Stir in the cheese until smooth. Sift the icing sugar and vanilla, and stir into the mixture. Fill the cooled crusts with the cheese filling, don’t overfill them, but leave some room for the berries.
And then, bring out the blueberries (or another berry of your choice) and add them on top. Serve and enjoy!

Daring bakers: Dobos torte

dobos torte

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

So, what is the Dobos Torta (or Torte)?
The Dobos Torta is a five-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. (You may come across recipes which have anywhere between six and 12 layers of cake; there are numerous family variations!) It was invented in 1885 by József C. Dobos, a Hungarian baker, and it rapidly became famous throughout Europe for both its extraordinary taste and its keeping properties. The recipe was a secret until Dobos retired in 1906 and gave the recipe to the Budapest Confectioners’ and Gingerbread Makers’ Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.

Finally, I got around to make the challenge for August, this very torte. I don’t know why I kept delaying it, cause it wasn’t that hard after all. It looked a bit intimidating with all those layers, and not like something I would just throw together on a regular weeknight. But with only one week left, I couldn’t wait any longer for an occasion, and decided to challenge myself. And the next day my mother invited us for dinner, so I could bring the dobos torta someplace after all. I don’t like having an entire cake within the house. There is only one end to that.

Anyway. I started by making the buttercream. Actually, I made it the day before. It was easy. I was afraid it wouldn’t thicken enough, making a creamy mess of a cake, but luckily that didn’t happen. It was perfectly creamy yet firm enough to form. Especially after cooling overnight in the fridge.

Secondly came the sponge cake layers. I initially thought I was supposed to make one sponge cake, and then divide it or cut it in many thin layers. So, the lazy baker that I am, I was a little disappointed when I realized that I would have to bake one layer at a time. A little more time consuming than I had planned, but I quickly understood that this was the way to go. Because those layers would be even more uneven if I had to cut them myself. So, patience, my friend. It will be worth it in the end. I had a little more than 1 litre of batter which was divided into 7 layers. Or I tried to divide them more or less equally, giving about 1,5 dl batter per layer. I could easily have made 10, but the first ones came out a little thick, and 7 was more than enough for me. So when the last one was done, I put them on a rack to cool.

sponge cake layers

Then the fun part could begin: assembling the cake! I took the chilled buttercream out of the fridge, and separated it in 7 sections. I took the thickest sponge layer as my bottom layer and spread one section of buttercream evenly over it. Then I took another sponge cake layer followed by a layer of buttercream and repeated this until I was done. I saved a little buttercream to cover the sides and even out eventual lumps.

The caramel was made quite easily and quickly. Well, it could have been, but I messed it up a bit. My first attempt was burned. I decorated the cake with it before tasting it, but once I had a taste I realized it tasted to much burned, so I had to remove it from the cake and make another batch. Caramelize sugar, remove from heat and add butter and lemon juice. Seems easy enough. But this time the sugar caramelized into lumps and wouldn’t melt, so I had to sift it to get out the liquid caramel. But it came out a lot better, not rock solid, and without the taste and look of burnt sugar. I poured – eh sifted -the caramel into a springform, and cut out 12 slices. When it had cooled and set completely, I put them on top of the cake. (And since I destroyed the first caramel which was attached to a sponge cake layer, I didn’t bother to make one single layer of cake to pour the caramel over. So my top layer was all caramel.)

caramel

And it turned out looking quite good! Especially when you cut into the cake and see all the layers hiding inside. Makes you feel like a pro. Cause, as much as I love to bake, I tend to be quite lazy, I want quick results, so I avoid things that takes a little more time. Like this. But thanks to DB I get to do this too! So a big thank you for a great challenge! And of course I should add that it tasted great too. I loved the buttercream, and caramel is always good. I received many compliments for this one! My family thought it looked impressive when I placed it on the table, but they didn’t know what was hiding inside the cake. And once they cut through it and saw all the layers, they were even more impressed. So, if you’re looking to impress – this is a great option.

the torte from behind

Once again, thanks for a great challenge!

Lentil & pepita salad

lentil salad

My boyfriend is working late again. Meaning he won’t eat dinner at home. Meaning I have to make dinner for one. For me. But hey, that’s ok! I can make things he doesn’t like, but that I love. Like fish. Though I never do that actually. To much hazzle. Or I can make a vegetarian dinner without anyone searching through the plate looking for meat. And I almost always end up eating vegetarian when I’m alone. Something simple I can throw together, usually with ingredients I already have. I don’t bother to make something fancy and time consuming when it just for me, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be flavourful! Oh no, it can be just as good. Or better.

So I thought salad today. Cleaning my hermetics pantry the other day I found a lot of different beans and lentils, and figured I could use some of them. I picked the lentils. For some inspiration I searched 101cookbooks.com, a beautiful blog with lots of great recipes for healthy dinner options, which was what I was looking for, and found this recipe.. I took a quick look at the ingredients, and saw that I had about everything needed. Not that it really mattered, cause I didn’t really follow the recipe, but it was a nice starting point. Since I don’t have a morter, yet, I didn’t make the pesto. I just chopped the cilantro and garlic instead. Then I roasted the pepitas, opened the can of lentils and gave them a good rinse. I also added some slices of pear. And I replaced the salad with spinach. And with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, this turned out great! Really tasty with a lovely crunch provided by the pepitas.

I love to eat this kind of food. You can feel it does you good. All you need is a can of lentils, some pepitas and whatever greens you feel like throwing in. Good for me and good for you.

Norwegian waffles

waffles and jam

Sunday afternoon. What to do, what to do. It’s raining. I mean it’s really raining. Seriously raining. Non stop, pouring down, like it only can in this city. I almost forgot how wet it can get here. But it’s Sunday, so I don’t need to leave the house under any circumstances whatsoever. That would have to be to get some missing ingredient for whatever I decided to bake, because these days are made for staying inside baking. Well, I can’t say there was much baking involved after all. I decided to make waffles, because I had all the necessary ingredients. Even though the shops are literally around the corner from my flat, and it would take me no more than 5 minutes to get there and back, I wouldn’t go out today. It was that wet. So waffles it was.

That’s the great thing about waffles. You can use whatever you have in the fridge. It comes out good anyhow. And it’s a Norwegian tradition. Everyone makes it, everyone likes it, and not a week goes by without a waffle being eaten in the average Norwegian home. And every home has their own recipe, so there are many variations. Soured milk or sour cream is common, but can be replaced by fresh milk. Whatever you have really. It’s a nice way to clean up your fridge. Get expired products to use or use that last dab of milk/youghurt/ice cream/buttermilk or other dairy you might have. I had some eggyolks and expired youghurt waiting to perform, so into the waffles they went. I usually don’t use youghurt or buttermilk in my waffles, but that depends on how you like them. I like my waffles a little crunchy, so I add a little water, that makes them nice and crispy. And the rest is up to you! But if you need a waffle guideline, it goes something like this. Or you can try this so called perfect waffle recipe (in norwegian)

2 eggs
3 dl flour
2 dl melted butter
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 dl milk
2 dl vann
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
some sugar – depends how sweet you want them.

Stir everything together, and let it stand for about 30 minutes. Fry in a preheated waffle iron, preferably heartshaped. (And whether there should be 4 or 5 hearts is an eternal discussion, but there should be 5. End of discussion.) Spoon 2/3 cup of batter onto the preheated waffle iron at a time. Close the iron and cook until steam no is no longer coming out and the waffle is browned. Serve with butter and sugar (my favourite) or jam and sour cream and a cup of strong coffee. Mmm. Who needs to go out?

waffles

Farfalle with bacon and cabbage

farfalle & friends

I’m back from 10 lovely days in the country, and I didn’t have any internet connection there as I thought, so no blogging was done. But I can tell you there still was plenty of food! Sveler, (traditional Norwegian buttermilk pancakes) served with homemade blueberryjam and sour cream, cinnamon rolls, bread, a yummy blueberry pavlova (which I’ll get back to in a later post) and lots of barbecuing! And, yes, there were blueberries, already. I’ve never seen so many blueberries in my entire life. We discovered a new place in the woods, it was packed with large perfectly ripe berries just waiting for us. All in all I think we picked 20 liters. Mostly blueberries but some raspberries too. Could have picked more if those scary cows weren’t around.

But now I’m back in town. And before I get started on anything else food-wise, I need to make my way through the content of the fridge before it turns bad. And someone has to prepare dinner, right? I had some mushrooms that had to be used, some beans and bacon from yesterday’s dinner – all I needed was some cabbage. One of my favourite pasta recipes from Jamie Oliver came to mind. You can find the recipe here. My version is slightly different, but just as good. It just happened to be these things I had lying around. Here’s my rough recipe.

Ingredients:

Pasta(farfalle)
Bacon/Pancetta
Cabbage
Mushroom
Butter Beans
Finely chopped Garlic
Parmesan

Boil the pasta, drain, but save a little of the water.
Fry the bacon until dark and crisp. Add the chopped mushroom. Finally add the chopped cabbage and garlic. Stir, and remove from heat when the cabbage starts to soften. You don’t want to make it all soggy. Add the beans and grated cheese into the drained pasta. Stir, making it creamy. Then pour the pasta mixture into the veggies, stir, taste with salt and pepper and serve immediatly. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and pepper! Enjoy!