Monday, August 11, 2014

The Sweetest Pecan and Honey Tart around

I have been gone for a while, but do not think I have forsaken you! I merely had to present my Master's seminar. My heart threatened to explode under the weighing pressure, but I prevailed and now have one less thing to do before I finish this degree. Yay!
Also, there is that other thing which made me quite sad. That messy situation involving those unhappy folks in the Middle East who think the solution to their problems must lie in the transportation of numerous flying metal tubes, which is weird because, after all, it is not the metal tubes that are unhappy. Here is a suggestion for a better solution.

But let's talk about good things. Exciting things! This is meant to be a happy food blog, PEOPLE!

So, about a year ago I had the uttermost honer to be asked by two wonderful and oh-so-unbelievably-talented food bloggers to help with a behind-the-scenes video for their up coming book.

"The Sweet Book"

I was so excited when Efrat and Natalie asked my help, I jumped up and down for several moments and then went back to check my email again to see I wasn't imagining things!!!
I am so happy for them! I've seen them work on it for so long and now this baby is only a few weeks away from mounting the shelves of book stores, nationwide.
If you're really impatient though and want to buy it right now, you can do it through the publisher's site, here (The book is currently available only in Hebrew).

Filming the video was so much fun, I love these two for sharing this experience with me!! Thank you girls!! Especially for all those beet cupcakes, YUM!
Check out the video (preferably in HD):

In celebration of the book, I chose to bring you one of their lovely recipes - pecan and honey tart which, aside for the wonderful taste, is just so darn pretty.
Top with a scoop of ice cream and you're golden.

Pecan and Honey Tart

makes one 24cm diameter tart

Ingredients for the crust:
180g flour
120g cold butter, cut into small cubes
40g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp milk

Ingredients for the filling:
2 eggs
80g corn sirup
80g muscovado sugar (moist brown sugar)
4 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
25g melted butter
100g natural pecans, roughly chopped
100g whole pecans for decoration

Prepare the crust: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, blitz together the flour, cold butter cubes, sugar, vanilla and salt into a crumb-like mix. Add the egg yolk and a tbsp of milk and keep processing only until masses of dough start to form. If it is not coming together, add another tbsp of milk. Press the dough into a flat disk, wrap with a clear plastic sheet and refrigerate for an hour. Spread the dough to a thickness of about 3mm on a well floured surface. Transfer to the tart pan, pierce the bottom of the tart with a fork and refrigerate for another half hour.

Bake the crust: Heat the oven to 175 degree Celsius. Cover the crust with baking parchment and place pie-weights (or just simple dried beans) on it. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pie-weights and parchment and continue baking for 10-12 more minutes until the dough starts to golden yet is still quite pale. Let it cool to room temperature.

The filling: In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, corn sirup, muscovado sugar, honey, salt and vanilla into a uniform mixture. Stir in the melted butter. Mix in the chopped pecans.

Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Pour the filling over the half-baked crust and flatten it. Decorate with the additional pecans (see picture). Bake for 13-17 minutes till the filling stabilizes on the sides yet the center is still slightly soft. Cool a bit before serving, preferably with a large scoop of delicious ice cream.

Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Best served at room temperature.

Tip: Instead of turning the oven on twice, leave it on after you blind bake the crust and cool the crust quickly with a simple fan. It shouldn't take longer than 10-15 minutes to reach room temperature.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Fruit Chiffon Cake

Waking up Saturday morning to find your freezer door wide open is a wonderful thing...

Oh, all those berries we picked for hours, now completely thawed. Some did not survive the drastic temperature change and became a yellow mash which found itself in the garbage (they were the prettiest yellow raspberries you can think of).
This, and the fact that I had a batch of sad and wrinkly cherries in the fridge inspired me to make this cake. The anything-that's-not-rotten-but-too-soft-to-be-fun-to-eat CAKE.

They don't look wrinkly from here =)

Pitting a cherry with only a knife at hand: slide the knife around the cherry, cutting it in half around the seed. Twist each of the halves in a different direction to expose the seed. Cut the part with the seed in half again and twist to separate the flesh of the cherry. Now the seed is exposed enough so that it's easy to grab it with your finger tips and release it.

I refroze the decorative raspberries for a while so that they won't turn into a mash when I place them on the cake.

You can use any fruit you can think of !! Except for bananas, I hate bananas.

Summer Fruit Chiffon Cake

500g fruit of your choice (I used cherries, raspberries and blackberries)
4 eggs (L), at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp flavorless oil (Canola, peanut, etc.)
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

100g mascarpone cheese
40g greek yogurt or white cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
Some more fruit for decoration

Oil to grease the cake pan
Some confectioner's sugar to cover the inside of the pan

Ready the fruit - wash, dry, peel and remove seeds as needed. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Oil a kugelhopf pan thoroughly and dust it completely with confectioner's sugar.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Whisk the egg whites with a mixer till they turn foamy, then start adding the sugar and whisk until lightly stiff peaks form. Break the egg yolks and together with the oil and lemon zest, lightly fold them into the whisked egg whites, 3-4 folds should due. Now sift in the flour and baking powder in 2 turns, folding them in as little as possible (just until almost combined).

Put half the mixture into the (ready) kugelhopf cake pan and spread about a third of the fruit on top of it. Add the remaining cake mixture and spread the rest of the fruit on it.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the parts of the cake that are visible in between the fruit are golden brown (if the cake comes out too dry you over baked it). Let it cool for 15 minutes and then release it from the pan and let it cool completely.

Mix the mascarpone cheese with the yogurt, vanilla and sugar to a smooth paste and spread it on top of the cake. Decorate with the prettiest fruit you have. Keep the cake in the fridge.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Tomato, Chickpea and Mint Salad

Shavuot is only a day away and all I can see is cheesecakes!!

Cheesecakes EVERYWHERE !

The web is flooded with them, and I am seriously confused as to which of these cakes I should make for tomorrow... This one? or maybe this one!! mmm... that one?.. Or one of my old recipes... or maybe, instead of a cake, I'll just make a flan ;)

So instead of a cheesecake recipe, here's a non-confusing wonderful salad that also goes with every meal throughout the year. It should be a light addition to your dairy packed holiday table tomorrow. Have a Happy Holiday!

Puppy seeds up close !!

Tomato, Chickpea and Mint Salad

500g cherry tomatoes
100g canned chickpeas, liquid drained
2 generous handfuls of mint leaves, washed and dried
1 small red onion or half a medium one
2 tbsp feta cheese

1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice from a 1/4 of a lemon
1/2 tsp whole puppy seeds
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Slice the onion into small thin strips and add to the tomatoes along with the chickpeas, mint leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and puppy seeds. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and mix everything together. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad and serve immediately.

Note 1: If you don't want to serve immediately, you can fix everything but the seasoning and feta cheese and simply add them before serving.

Note 2: Canned chickpeas are just fine! You can soften them yourself if you'd like but I reckon it's too much work for a salad really.

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