Mascarpone Matefaim

Mascarpone MatefaimI’m back! After a bad cold and spending time sorting out some personal stuff I’m now feeling better… or at least I’m taking action. As I’ve already mentioned I’m eating much better lately and this indulgent Mascarpone Matefaim recipe is the exception that confirms my new diet rules. Continue reading

A “matefaim “ is a broken up pillow like pancake that you can pair with whatever you fancy. This recipe comes from the Basic Cooking: Cooking Between Friends book from Sabine Sälzer and Sebastian Dickhaut and it’s something I always wanted to try but then it ended up at the bottom of the “recipes I’d like to try list”. Well this time I went for it and it’s a fairly easy procedure for a melt in your mouth result. The messiest part is when the bottom has browned and you have to break the matefaim into smaller bits while the top isn’t very firm yet. In the beginning I thought it would turn out a mess but gladly for me, it didn’t. With all the uses one can make of mascarpone cheese, this is a pretty good one for me.

 

 

Mascarpone Matefaim

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 pinch salt

50 g powdered sugar (+ extra for sprinkling on top of the “matefaim”)

1 tbsp. organic lemon zest

4 tbsp. milk

100 g flour

250 g mascarpone

20 g butter

 

Recipe:

Separate the egg whites from the yolks from 2 of the 4 eggs into two bowls. Beat the remaining 2 eggs and add them to the yolks with the salt, powdered sugar and lemon zest. Gradually add the milk, flour and mascarpone.

Whisk the egg whites to a peak and gently fold them in the rest of the preparation. Just remember not to overwork the batter; even if a few lumps of egg white remain it’s not a problem.

In a large pan (don’t use the non-stick kind) melt the butter on a medium fire and spread it on the bottom. Add the batter, which should be 2-3 cm thick and smooth it with a spatula. Let the bottom of this large pancake cook. Once the bottom will have solidified, take a fork or a spatula and break the pancake into small pieces.

Turn the pieces around using a spatula and once they’re brown on all sides place them in a serving plates, sprinkle icing on top. Accompany these matefaim with applesauce, chocolate sauce, a berry coulis or a few apple slices topped with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar.

 

 

Individual Apricot Tarts

Individual Apricot Tarts This week when I went to do my groceries I bought some beautiful Swiss apricots and very soon I knew I would make something with them. Continue reading

I remembered this recipe (from a book I don’t even have anymore) which was so easy that I wanted to re-try it out. The main difference between my version and the one form the cookbook is that in the other recipe they called for canned apricots; but really, for me there is no comparison with the taste and consistence of a beautiful fresh fruit. I decided to only make four of them and my idea was to keep them and enjoy them throughout the day, well, they ended up being my lunch (fortunately I run every day so I didn’t feel too guilty). These tarts work well as a dessert (maybe with some ice cream or whipped cream) or as part of a brunch or for tea time. My initial plan was to enjoy them last weekend with my boyfriend but since we are leaving to Spain in a few days he woke up early to got to work.

 

 

Individual Apricot Tarts

 

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

8 apricots

8 puff pastry rectangles about 8×13 cm (if you can, always go for the pure butter kind)

20-30 g melted butter

2-3 tbsp. icing sugar

40 g dark chocolate

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 210°C.

In a pan bring water to a boil and place the apricots in it. Depending on ripeness leave the to cook for about 1 min (if they are not too ripe leave them a little longer) them move them to a cold bath. Once they have cooled down remove the skin and cut them in half removing the pit.

Line a baking tray with oven paper and place the puff pastry pieces on top. Brush them with the butter and place two apricot halves on top of each puff pastry rectangle. With the help of a sieve, sprinkle over the icing sugar. Bake for about 10-12 min in the oven, once the pastry has browned remove the tray and place the individual tarts on a rack to cool.

In a bain-marie slowly melt the chocolate (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl with the chocolate). Place some oven paper under the rack with the tarts this way it’ll be much less messy. Dip the tip of a teaspoon in the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the tarts going for left to right or the other way round. Leave the chocolate to harden and if you want serve these individual tarts with some whipped cream or/and ice cream.

Cocoa Eggy Bread with Caramelized Pears

Cocoa Eggy Bread with Caramelized PearsI do love fresh bread out of the baker but on the other side I am also a huge fan of its potential when it goes stale. Continue reading

Most of the time I made bread crumbs but when it hasn’t gone too dry, I make eggy bread or “pain perdu” as I usually call it. Since my mother comes from the French region of Switzerland I guess my cooking has been under much of her influence. It didn’t happen often that my mother made “pain perdu”, but because it was a once in a while thing, I really enjoyed it. She used to serve it with some jam, maybe one she made using the fruits of our garden. She didn’t add any cocoa but when I tasted this recipe I was back in the eighties. This super simple recipe is a great reason not to waste bread. Eggy bread is something you can make sweet or savoury and you can serve it with just about anything; it’s like a pancake or a crepe.                                                             The “pain perdu” is a French recipe but as Switzerland is in the middle of countries known for their culinary heritage we have always been happy to borrow their ideas. The second thing is that many of our cantons have belonged to those same countries during one historic period or another. We have a shared culinary tradition with regions of France, Italy, Austria and Germany. My canton Ticino, for example,  has only been made Swiss during the Napoleonic empire in 1803.

 

Cocoa Eggy Bread with Caramelized Pears

 

Cocoa Eggy Bread with Caramelized Pears

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 12-15 min

 

Ingredients:

For the Cocoa Eggy Bread:

8 medium sized slices of Zopf (the kind of bread I used) bread or brioche, about 1-1.5 cm

2 eggs

2 dl milk

2 heaped tsp cocoa powder

4 tbsp icing sugar

2-3 tbsp butter

Optional: icing sugar to decorate before serving

 

For the pears:

2 pears

3 tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp of water

1 tbsp butter

 

Recipe:

Peel and core the pears and cut the in half lengthways. Divide each half in two (top and bottom) and cut the fruit into wedges.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the pears, sugar and water. Cook on a medium heat to caramelize for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once ready set aside.

While the pears are caramelizing, in a bowl mix the eggs, the milk, the sugar and the cocoa.

Melt half of the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat.  Dip half of the bread slices in the egg/milk/sugar/cocoa mix and place them in the pan with the butter.  Brown the slices on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Repeat with the other batch of bread slices.

Serve with the caramelized apples and optionally sprinkle a little icing sugar on the bread.

Chestnut Waffles

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Autumn is now here and I don’t know about you but I crave those product that come with the colder weather. I am obsessed about foods such as mushrooms, cabbage, grape, creamy  and/or cheesy food  just to mention a few and not to forget chestnuts. Continue reading

Chestnuts also have a sentimental side to them. When I was small, with my mother we would go walk our dogs (a Pointer and a Yorkshire) in the woods just behind our home. Complete with a bag each, we’d stop every few steps to pick up the brown smooth shelled fruits. Once back we would light the fireplace, grab the chestnut pan; incise the chestnuts and get them roasting on a live fire with a humid cloth over them. Once they were nicely charred we would open the shell and taste the chestnuts while giggling and chatting while sitting near the fireplace which warmed our backs. Reminiscing those good times led me to the idea of this week’s recipe. So last Sunday I went down to the cellar and grabbed my (vintage) waffle iron and tried this recipe out. To begin with, I had a classic waffle recipe at home in the form of a little piece of paper stuck in one of my mother’s recipe notebook but I was not sure about the right ratio to combine the chestnuts into the batter. I put the recipe aside and went online. What I found as a good base for my recipe were the Pumpkin Waffles recipe from smittenkitchen.com. In the end I made a combination of my old recipe with the one I found on the net and it turned out to be good match. I made these chestnut waffles twice because the first time, besides forgetting the baking powder, I also forgot to grease the surface of the waffle iron (the result was a shredded waffle all over the waffle iron). On the second try I didn’t skip any step and I added just a bit more sugar and the story ended in a delicious experience. The plus is that waffles leave a good memory of their passage… there was such a sweet smell around the house that would put anyone in a joyful mood.

 

About the chestnut:

In Italian we call them “castagne” which comes from the Latin word “Castanea”. The origin of the tree originates from the Caucasus and it spread from there. The tree of the chestnut was much appreciated by the Romans for its fruits and for the quality of its wood which was optimal for weatherproof constructions. It is easy to imagine how useful the chestnut tree and its fruits was to the people who lived in places like my valley; the cultivation of wheat was either just enough to subsist or scarce after a bad season. The first  positives of the chestnut is that it grows up to heights of 1000 meters (making it grow also on the northern side of the Alps). The second positive is that the amount of calories provided was higher that the common cultivated grains. One of the very common ways to consume chestnuts was by transforming it into flour. It is for this reason that it is called “the tree of the poor’s bread” (source in Italian: http://www.strazzini-marroni.ch/it/cms-storia/storia.html)

 

Chestnut Waffles

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Makes about  12 waffles

Prep time : 15 min

Cook time : about 2 min per waffle

Total time:  about 40 min

 

Ingredients :

 

1 vanilla pod

160g T80 flour

200g vacuum-packed chestnuts

50g sugar

1tsp baking powder

2 eggs

300ml buttermilk

50g butter

¼ tsp salt (+ one pinch for the egg whites)

 

Recipe :

In one bowl mix the dry ingredients  together : the flour, the sugar, the baking powder and the salt.

Put the chestnuts in a blender and reduce it to a puree. Open the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds of both sides.

Separate the eggs and add the yolk to the buttermilk, the vanilla seeds and the mashed chestnuts.

Heat the waffle iron (a higher heat is better because the waffles will have a nicer outside crust).

Add the wet mix to the dry one. Mix but not for long, don’t worry it if doesn’t look too smooth.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form peaks. Add them to the rest of the ingredients and gently incorporate them. Here again it is better not to overwork the batter.

Once the waffle iron is hot grease the surface with either cooking spray or a neutral tasting oil such as rapeseed. Place the batter in the middle of it and lightly spread it out. For my heart shaped waffles I needed about 2 ½ scoops per shape. Close the machine and wait a couple of minutes or until the vapour had almost stopped coming out (of course if your waffle iron has a timer use that, unlike mine which could belong to a vintage range). Serve.

Serving suggestions: honey and hazelnuts, whipped cream, chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla ice cream…