Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

Pear Crumble with Caramelised AlmondsOn Sunday I woke up in a world covered in white. When I went outside everything looked amazingly beautiful, fairy tale like. It was the first time this year it really snowed and once I stepped outside I felt like in another world. Continue reading

After playing outside with the dog for a while it was a perfect time to cook something that came out of the oven, something sweet and easy. I had previously done some research for my next recipe and decided it would be a crumble. I chose this dish because it’s been so long since I last ate one that I can’t remember when it was. Why did I wait so long? I don’t know, but now that I have the taste of it back in my in mind I find it’s silly to have waited that many years. Scavenging for ideas crumble ideas, I stumbled on this recipe and decided to adapt it to my taste. I wanted to use pears because they’re in season and it’s my favourite fruit when baked (in pies I just adore them). As an addition, as I was doing my shopping, I came across some organic caramelised almonds and decided they would go in as well since they would pair well with my pears. Now the crumble is gone but I’ll be back with another soon. 😉

Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

 

Pear Crumble with Caramelised Almonds

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

600 g pears – I used the Williams kind (peeled and cored)

1 heaped tbsp. sugar

1/3 tsp. cinnamon

2 pinches salt

50 g brown sugar

25 g oats

25 g flour

30 g caramelized almonds

40 g butter cut into small cubes (+ more to grease the baking dish)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Grease a baking dish with butter.

Cut the pears into 2 cm chunks and mix them with the cinnamon, sugar and one pinch salt. Place the fruit mixture in the baking dish.

Chop the caramelized almonds with a knife.

In a bowl combine the brown sugar, oats, flour, pinch of salt and caramelized almonds. Add the butter and with your fingers massage it in the mixture until small clumps form and the result looks even (2-3 minutes).

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and wait 20 minutes before serving.

Simple Almond Puff Pastries

Simple Almond Stuffed Pastry Usually I don’t eat much sugar, but then there are the less usual times like breakfast time after a night out. Continue reading

So on Sunday while Mr. was sleeping I prepared these puff pastries, which are inspired by a Swiss pie from Canton Glarus. Well, they are partly inspired because the pie usually contains 2 fillings: one half of the pie is filled with an almond paste while the other has a dried prune filling. Choosing only the first filling I made hand sized treats by adapting the recipe I have in my Betty Bossi Swiss Cooking book. The great thing is that if you have some puff pastry waiting to be used, this is a really easy recipe that isn’t overly sweet. At least I get Mr. to eat some nuts by combining it with his passion for sweet food.

 

 

Simple Almond Puff Pastries

 

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 20 min

 

 

Ingredients:

16 rounds butter puff pastry of about 8.5 cm diameter (a can of sliced pineapples has this size)

150 g ground skinless almonds

2 tbsp. melted butter

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. water

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

60 g sugar

Icing sugar

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 200°C.

Prepare the almond filling by mixing the ground almonds, melted butter, lemon juice, water, lemon zest and sugar together.

Take one round and in the middle place about a tbsp. of almond mix in the centre. With the tip of your finger dab the edged with a little water. Take another round of puff pastry and place it on top of the first. With the help of a fork close the pastry by pressing on the edges to seal it. Poke a few holes (3-4) in the pastry a place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with the other seven pieces.

Once all the pastries are ready place them in the lower part of the oven and cook for about 20 min, watch that the pastry doesn’t get too brown. Let the almond pastries cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar before serving.

(Pop)Corn Muffins with Salted Caramel Icing

 

Popcorn Muffins I have already talked in past posts about the Farina Bona (also called Farina Sec’a), which is a kind of flour made of dried corn kernels, which are then roasted and finely ground. Continue reading

This product is typical from the Onsernone Valley, which is geographically situated in the Locarno region. I really love this product as you can do so much with it and, you don’t even need to cook it. The Farina bona has a pronounced toasted flavour and it’s a great addition to many recipes. Personally, among the different recipes I’ve tasted and/or made are: Sablés cookies, Ice cream, Bonella (which is like Nutella but made with the Farina Bona), spaetzle and the Grido. When baking, because of its strong flavour, I combine the Farina Bona with normal flour… but this is up to you. This historical product, which contributed to the diet of our ancestors, can now be found a bit all over Switzerland. Beyond our borders unfortunately it will be super rare to find. It was some time since I wanted to post a recipe made with this flour, but knowing it wouldn’t be available for most, I figured out how to make my own. It’s not the original product but it’s close to it, so if you like it, give it a go with other recipes. For more information (history, recipes…) on the Farina Bona I advise you to visit their website.

On the left is my version, next to it is the original product.

On the left is my version, next to it is the original product.

The first time I tried the popcorn, I popped too much of it and the batter was a weird rocky looking thing. The second time the result was much better. It was the first time I was making popcorn without oil so I searched for tips and found here an article that was very helpful.For the batter I used the Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio. 

 

 

(Pop)Corn Muffins with Salted Caramel Icing

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

 

Ingredients

90-100 g natural popcorn kernels

120 g flour

100 g sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2.4 dl milk

2 eggs

100 g butter (melted)

+ butter and flour to coat the muffin pan

 

For the icing:

2 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. cream

90 g packed brown sugar

1/3 tsp. salt

About 120 g icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Place a pan on a medium to medium-high heat (I used a non stick one with a glass lid and it worked great), add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on top.

About every 10 seconds move the kernels around by shaking the pan. The aim here is not to get popcorn but to toast the kernels. In the end you should have quite dark toasted kernels with about ¼ of popped popcorn. If the popcorns are starting to pop too much, either reduce the heat or remove the pan from the fire and wait a little before placing it back on (it’s actually an easy task son don’t be daunted by it). Once the kernels are done let them cool.

Place the kernels in a food processor and grind them to a powder. They should look like flour in the end (see picture).

Heat the oven at 200°C.

Grease the muffin tin with butter and dust it with flour.

In a bowl mix the flour, 80 g of the (pop)corn flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl combine milk, the eggs and butter. Whisk the wet ingredients together and add the flour mixture. Just blend the ingredients together, without overworking the batter. Evenly pour the mixture in the muffin cups and gently tap the tray on a surface to make sure there are no air pockets. Place in the oven without waiting for 15-18 min. When ready remove from oven and leave for 3-5 min before removing from the moulds and placing them on a wire rack.

Meanwhile prepare the icing. Start by melting the butter then add the cream, the brown sugar and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes on a medium fire. Remove from heat. Beat in the icing sugar bit by bit until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

Spread the icing on top of the muffins and if you want, top them with a piece of popcorn.

 

Chestnut Cake

Chestnut Cake First of all….

BEST WISHES & MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!

This will be my last post for 2014 as I will be off next week and will be back on the 6th of January. Continue reading

To end the year well I wanted to make a post with a sweet note: Chestnut Cake from Ticino. I adapted this recipe from this site and I must say that the end result was a very moist cake. With a nice coffee or tea, this cake is a great wintertime treat. I’ll keep this post short as it’s Christmas it’s either a festive or a lazy day, so

SEE YOU IN 2015!

 

 

Chestnut Cake

 

Recipe for a 26 cm wide cake mould (for an 18 cm cake use half the ingredients)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 1 h 5 min

 

Ingredients:

360 g cooked chestnuts (I used the vacuum packed ones)

200 g melted and cooled butter

340 g fine grain sugar

300 g ground hazelnuts

6 eggs (separated)

1 vanilla pod

 

For the glazing

3 tbsp. hazelnut nougatine

90 g dark chocolate

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C. Grease a loose bottom cake mould.

Mash the chestnuts and set them aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk them to a peak.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and whisk them until the mixture becomes lighter in colour. Incise the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them to the sugar and egg mix, along with the mashed chestnuts, ground hazelnuts and melted butter. Mix all of the ingredients together. Delicately fold in the egg whites in two or three times, without overworking the dough.

Pour the preparation into the cake mould and place in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool 4-5 min before removing it from the mould and placing it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and evenly spread it on top of the cake. Sprinkle the hazelnut nougatine on top and wait for the chocolate to harden before serving (mine still had to harden a bit at the centre).

 

St. Gallen Convent Jam Pie

St. Gallen Convent Jam PieThe nice thing with baking is that it leaves you spare time while the oven does the work. Lately, time is something I need since I’m going through some struggle with my blog. Continue reading

I know people haven’t been able to comment on my posts (by the way, thanks for notifying me) but I still don’t really know what is going wrong. Besides this, I’m also trying to solve other computer related problems. Now I can honestly acknowledge the extent of my ignorance on the technical part of blogging and it’s frustrating. So now, I’ll get down and try to learn more about the subject. The good thing though is that I have this pie (from canton St. Gallen) to pull my spirits up when frustration gets too intense 😉 This Convent Jam Pie is a little like the Linzer Torte but I find it not to be as dry and I love what the addition of cocoa does to its flavour. Recipe adapted from the book La Suisse Gourmande. By the way, thanks to John from From The Bartolini Kitchens who, with his Crostata recipe, inspired me to make this pie.

 

St. Gallen Convent Jam Pie

 

Recipe for a 24 cm diameter pie tart

Prep time: 15 min (+ 30 min resting time)

Cook time: 45 min

 

Ingredients

150 g butter

100 g sugar

100 g ground almonds

300 g flour

20 g cocoa powder

10 baking powder

1 egg (separated)

0.6 dl milk

200 g jam (the recipe called for currant jam but I used cherry, any other flavour would work)

Icing sugar (optional)

 

Recipe

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.

Add the ground almonds, raising powder, cocoa, cinnamon, flour, milk and the egg white. Quickly work the dough with all of the ingredients until its consistence detaches itself from the bowl. Cover and let it rest in the fridge for 30 min.

Meanwhile grease a 24 cm round cake mould.

With your hands, spread ¾ of the dough over the bottom of the cake mould. Spread the jam over it leaving a little margin over the edge.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut strip that you will place on top of the pie in a criss-cross manner.

Beat the egg yolk and brush the surface of the cake dough with it.

Place in the oven and cook for 45 min. Remove from oven and cool before serving. Optionally sprinkle icing sugar on top.

 

Apple Cake

Apple Cake Geographically and historically speaking, Switzerland shares cultural traits with its surrounding countries and sometimes the boundaries are blurred, and this is true especially when it comes to gastronomy. Continue reading

I always thought this kind of apple cake was German; instead there is also a part in Switzerland where it’s considered to be a typical recipe. For this blog post I adapted the recipe from the Suisse Gourmande cookbook which attributes the recipe to Canton Thurgau and which is actually geographically placed just next to the German border. Anyway, I love this kind of cake, no matter where it comes from and Since last week I’ve already made it twice: once with apples and once with pears.

Apple Cake Apple Cake

 

Apple Cake

 

Recipe for a 24 cm cake tin

Prep time: 25-30 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

 

Ingredients:

125 g butter cut into small cubes (+ more to grease the cake tin)

125 g sugar (+ a few tbsp. to dip the apples in)

2 eggs

Juice of ½ lemon

1 vanilla pod (optional)

1 tbsp. yoghurt

5 g raising powder

200 g flour

½ tsp. salt

500 g small-medium apples (about 3-4)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 180°C.

Grease the cake tin with butter.

Break the eggs, place the egg whites in a bowl and keep the yolks aside. Whisk the egg whites to a peak.

In a bowl cream the butter and the sugar. Incise the vanilla pod (if using it), scrape the seeds out and add them to the butter and sugar. Add the two yolks, the flour, raising powder, salt, lemon and yoghurt. Mix until well combined, then add the whisked albumen and fold it in gently.

Spread the batter at the bottom of the cake tin.

Peel the apples and cut them in half. With each half, make deep incisions on the rounded part and dip that same side in sugar.

Place the apples on the batter slightly pressing them down.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 min.

 

Grape Juice Pie – Tarte au Raisiné

Grape Juice Pie - Tarte au Raisiné Like every year I was looking forward to last Tuesday: we have been harvesting our grape. Continue reading

We are always a group of about eight people and after everything has been picked clean and has been loaded onto the cars we reward ourselves with a nice glass (or two) of wine. I also usually always prepare something to graze and so this year I decided I’d try to make this traditional pie from the French speaking part of Switzerland. I though this recipe would go well with the harvesting theme since it’s a grape juice pie. I made it over the lunch break and was quite curious to taste it. I wasn’t the first to get my hands on it but the general consensus was a very positive one. Once I managed to get a piece I found the pie had a somewhat delicious caramel taste and fortunately it was not something too heavy neither in the mouth nor on the stomach. The only thing I want to say is that usually this pie is made with white grape juice but since I couldn’t find any, I went for the red grape kind.

Each year I always look forward to this day because the company is always friendly and we always have a good time and since many of them knew my father well, I’m always asking about anecdotes I may not have heard before… but then, what happens on harvest day stays in harvest day 😉

 

Grape Juice Pie – Tarte au Raisiné

 

For a 28-30 cm pie dish

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook time: 1h 30

 

Ingredients:

400 g short crust pastry – about 32 cm diameter

1l natural grape juice

1,5 dl milk

2 dl cream

2-3 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. butter

2 eggs

1 tbsp. sugar

 

Recipe:

Bring the grape juice to a boil and let it reduce to 1,5 dl. Once reduced the result should be a syrupy mass. Once done set aside to cool.

Meanwhile combine the milk, cream and flour in a pan; heat them while constantly stirring until it becomes a smooth paste. Set aside and leave to cool.

In a bowl combine the eggs and the sugar and whisk.

Roll out the pastry on a pie dish; pierce more time with a fork.

Mix together the reduced grape juice with the milk, cream, flour combination and then add the whisked sugar and eggs. Stir all together and pour in the short crust pastry lined pie dish.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30-35 min.

 

Note: this recipe comes from Alfred Haeferli’s Swiss Cooking book.

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins I always like it when a season ends and the next comes up, don’t you? Continue reading

Colours are changing, days are shorter and even if it’s still warm the autumn air and feel is more and more present. The past couple of weeks I have been craving foods like pumpkin soup, fire roasted chestnuts, game meat with spaetzle and on a cold and rainy night I could even go for a fondue… According to this mood I decided to make these cocoa and chestnut muffins. For this recipe I took as a basis Michael Ruhlman’s muffin recipe in his book Ratio. From there I adapted the recipe according to the ingredients I was using. I find that muffins are a friendly food and when I make some I always give at least half of them away. This time, I shared my muffins with my mother and her boyfriend, I brought them when they invited me for dinner last Sunday.

Cocoa and Chestnut MuffinsCocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

190 g flour (+ more for dusting)

150 g brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

2.3 dl milk

100 g soft butter (+ more to grease the muffin tin)

1 tbsp. cocoa

1 vanilla pod

70g chopped cooked chestnuts

Icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Grease the muffin tin with some butter and dust it with flour.

In a bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Incise the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. In a second bowl mix the milk, vanilla seeds and the butter. Once the three ingredients are well combined add the eggs and whisk again.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped chestnuts and pour the mix in the muffin tin. Gently tap the muffin tim on a surface to make any bubbles come to the surface.

Place in the oven for 20-25 min. Check for doneness with a tooth pick. Remove from the oven and leave them for 3-5 min. Take the muffins out of their moulds and dust them with icing sugar.

Vully Cake

Vully CakeA few months ago when I went to Lausanne with my mother we met up with her cousins. While we sipped a delicious wine in a pace overlooking the Leman lake I asked them about recipes that are typical from the French part of Switzerland. Continue reading

The first dish that came to mind to everyone is the “Papet Vaudois avec la Saucisse aux Choux” (slow cooked potatoes and leeks served with a cabbage sausage) which is the staple recipe of the canton. I wanted to learn about other dishes and that’s where this recipe was mentioned. I kept the idea in a corner of my head because I knew I would come back to it and in fact, a couple weeks ago I found this recipe and the following day, armed with the right ingredients I got down to work. Frankly I absolutely loved the result because personally I’m not a fan of oversweet food, when I have the feeling the sugar stays in my mouth, I only feel like taking one bite and leave the rest. I find that this cake can even work well for breakfast besides as a sweet treat, dessert or snack. By the way, this sweet version is the most common (sometimes also called the “Salée Sucrée” which literally means the “Salty Sugary”) but there is also the salty one where you add double cream (1.5 tbsp.), bacon (250g) and cumin (60g).

Vully Cake

Vully Cake

 

Vully Cake

 

Recipe for 2×30 cm diameter cake tins

Prep time: 20 min + resting time

Cook time: 10-12 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g flour

½ tsp salt

3.5 dl lukewarm milk

20g fresh yeast

80g melted butter (original recipe calls for 40g butter and 40g lard)

4 tbsp. double cream

4 tbsp. sugar

 

Recipe:

In a bowl sift the flour and add the salt. Mix them and make a well in the centre.

Dilute the yeast in 3 dl lukewarm milk and add it to the centre of the flour well along with the melted butter. Gently knead the dough for about 10 min until the preparation is soft and smooth (if the dough is too hard add the last 0.5 dl of milk).

Cover the dough and leave to rise for 45-50 minutes.

Divide the dough into two equal parts and smooth them out in the cake tins with your hands, cover and leave to rise for another 20 min.

Heat oven at around 270°C.

To make the borders pinch the edges while slightly turning your wrist. Prick the dough with a fork several times. Add 2 tbsp. double cream on each cake and spread it out evenly and as a final touch sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 10-12 min.

 

 

Mini Pistachio Pavlovas with Double Cream and Blackberries

Mini Blackberry and Pistachio PavlovaMeringues make me merry. I just love their texture and taste and here in Switzerland, in the Gruyère region it’s custom to eat them with double cream and the pairing is heavenly. Continue reading

Meringues remind me of soft white clouds, not like the grey ones we have been having above our heads during this whole summer. I made these pavlovas the day before yesterday and when I began making them the rain was pouring down and I actually discovered that it’s harder to make consistent meringues when the air contains 100% humidity… besides being a truly annoying weather. I have had to whisk my eggs twice because the fist time the preparation was way too runny and it didn’t hold the shape. The second time I made them the result was better and finally they held in shape. The good thing is that my boyfriend is also a huge fan of meringues so I served them after dinner to soften the confession that I didn’t wait for him to watch the fourth season of Game of Thrones 😉

Mini Blackberry and Pistachio Pavlova 1

 

Mini Pistachio Pavlovas with Double Cream and Blackberries

 

Makes 6 pieces

Prep time : 20 min

Cook time : 1 h

 

Ingredients :

3 egg whites

150 g sugar

150 double cream

30-35 g finely chopped pistachios

250-300 g blackberries

 

Recipe :

Heat oven at 110°C.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak, from here start adding the sugar one tbsp. at the time and mixing for 3-4 seconds between each addition. Once the preparation is glossy but still stiff, add 20 g of the pistachios and fold in gently. Line a baking tray with oven paper and drop six round shaped meringues and shape them so that they are a little raised at the borders. Cook in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the meringues from the oven and leave them to cool.

Take the mini pavlovas and evenly spoon in the double cream, on top place the blackberries and finally sprinkle the rest of the pistachios on top.