Friday, September 15, 2017

Orange, cinnamon and clove cake and the second recipe I ever learned

Orange, cinnamon and clove cake / Bolo de laranja, canela e cravo

Most people who know me or read the blog know that the first recipe I ever learned how to make was a Brazilian cornmeal cake, the one I published a while ago. I was 11 years old and right then and there a whole new world opened up in front of me: from that day on I engaged in a relationship with food and cooking that changed my life for good.

What not everyone knows is that the second recipe I learned how to make was an orange cake – very simple, yet so delicious, I can almost smell it if I close my eyes for a moment. For that reason (aside from the fact that I am a citrus nut) orange cakes have a special place in my heart and I am always looking for new ways to make them.

The one I bring you today is perfumed with both cinnamon and cloves and the inspiration for this combo of flavors came from the sablés I posted a couple of years ago, when I was saying goodbye to my dear Peggy Olson.

Orange, cinnamon and clove cake
own recipe

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) sour cream*
Icing sugar, for dusting the cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter and flour a 2-liter capacity Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine granulated sugar and orange zest and rub them together until sugar is fragrant. Add the butter and using the mixer beat until creamy and light in color – scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally throughout the making of the recipe. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

On slow speed, beat in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions (start and end with the dry ingredients). Beat just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cake is golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack and cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Serves 8

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Asparagus and gorgonzola galette with corn flour pastry and creative days

Asparagus and gorgonzola galette with corn flour pastry / Galette de aspargo e gorgonzola com massa de fubá

I could start several posts with “when I was still working on the book project” because during that time I exercised my creativity almost on a daily basis. Everything I saw was a source of inspiration, and a trip to the grocery store or the farmers’ market would turn into an idea, that turned into a recipe, that turned into several tests in my kitchen. Several times my husband and I ate the tests for lunch, and whoever came to my house would be served cake or cookies I had been working on – everyone became my guinea pigs. :)

I was at the grocery store with my husband one day when I saw beautiful asparagus – I brought them home with the idea of making a frittata, but I decided for a galette instead: I love galettes, they are my favorite kind of tart – they are easy to put together (no blind baking involved) and they always look stunning.

We ate this galette for lunch 3 times – I was going to make it a few times anyway to test the recipe in different occasions, however it tasted so delicious that making it again never felt like a chore.

Asparagus and gorgonzola galette with corn flour pastry
own recipe

Pastry:
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (150g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (35g) corn flour (finely ground cornmeal, not corn starch)
¼ teaspoon table salt
100g unsalted butter, very cold and diced
¼ cup (60ml) sour cream*, very cold
2 tablespoons iced water

Filling:
100g fresh ricotta – I use homemade
50g gorgonzola, coarsely grated or crumbled
1 tablespoon sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g fresh asparagus, already trimmed

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon sour cream

Start by making the pastry: in a food processor, pulse all purpose flour, corn flour and salt until well combined. Add the butter and pulse a few times until mixture resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Mix sour cream and water in a small bowl, then with the motor running, gradually add the mixture and process just until a dough forms. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place the dough onto large piece of baking paper, cover with another piece of paper and roll into a rough 20x35cm (8x14in) rectangle. Slide the paper with pastry into a baking sheet and remove the paper from the top. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, gorgonzola, heavy cream until a paste forms. Season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt since gongonzola can be salty). Spread the dough with the filling leaving a 2.5cm (1in) border. Arrange the asparagus on top of the filling, pressing them slightly to adhere. Carefully fold one edge in towards the center of the filling and continue folding all the way round, bringing the edge of the pastry towards and over the filling/asparagus. Freeze the galette for 15 minutes – in the meantime, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

Brush the pastry with the egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes or until pastry is golden. Serve warm.

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Serves 4 with a green salad on the side

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tangerine Prosecco gelatin and a scary movie

Tangerine prosecco gelatin / Gelatina de tangerina e prosecco

I am not very brave when it comes to horror films, but after watching the teaser for It I really wanted to watch the movie. My husband asked if I was sure this was a good idea, and I told him that I would be OK since I am not afraid of clowns.
A few minutes into the movie and I was scared as hell and with my eyes closed. :D To be honest I did not recall the 1990 movie being so scary. :S

As promised, I bring you today a recipe that calls for the tangerine juice left from making the financiers I posted yesterday – and the color of the gelatin reminds me of Beverly’s beautiful hair (I was impressed at how much the young Sophia Lillis looks like Amy Adams). I added Prosecco to the gelatin to make this an adult dessert, but if you don’t drink alcohol or want to make this for kids just replace the Prosecco with more tangerine juice.

Tangerine Prosecco gelatin
own recipe

1 ¼ teaspoons gelatin powder
1 ½ tablespoons water
200ml fresh tangerine juice, strained
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
100ml Prosecco
whipped cream, for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the water. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine the tangerine juice and sugar and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is lukewarm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Prosecco, followed by the gelatin. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into four ½-cup capacity glasses. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.
Serve with a dollop of the whipped cream.

Serves 4



Monday, September 11, 2017

Tangerine coconut financiers, videos and texts

Coconut tangerine financiers / Financiers de coco e tangerina

I was talking to my husband the other day about why I still blog, after eleven years. I was telling him how people are drawn to videos nowadays and that everyone says that blogs are a thing of the past.

The conversation started because I wanted to read reviews about a hair product and all I could find was videos about it. I did not want videos, I wanted text, and there were hardly any. Until that day I used to tell my husband that I did not make recipe videos because I do not have time for them (which is true), but I suddenly realized that I actually don’t like recipe videos (with very few exceptions) – I prefer text whenever possible. I like to read people’s ideas, and it makes me happy when they read me too.

These financiers are a result of replacing almond meal with desiccated coconut, and such a tropical flavor paired beautifully with the citrus touch from the tangerines. This recipe goes to those of you who still feel that blogs are worth reading, and I hope you come back later this week: I will post another recipe using the juice of these very tangerines, since in the financiers you will only use the zest.

Tangerine coconut financiers
own recipe

3 tablespoons (30g) all purpose flour
2/3 cup (67g) desiccated unsweetened coconut
½ cup (70g) icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
finely grated zest of 2 tangerines
3 egg whites (84g)
1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut, icing sugar, salt and tangerine zest. Whisk in the egg whites. Whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter twelve 2-tablespoon capacity molds or mini muffin pans.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the top. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden and risen – a skewer in the center should come out clean.
Cool in the pans over a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully unmold and transfer to the rack, cooling completely.

Makes 12

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Banana and chocolate cake with coconut glaze for a lazy holiday

Banana and chocolate cake with coconut glaze / Bolo de banana e chocolate com glacê de coco

Tomorrow is a national holiday in Brazil and I really need some time off – the past few weeks have been intense workwise. For that reason, I bring you today a very short post, but with a delicious cake: the recipe is very straightforward too and can be done without any electric equipment – perfect for the lazy days ahead.

Banana and chocolate cake with coconut glaze
own recipe

Cake:
2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
¾ cup (67g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch cocoa powder)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon table salt
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
¾ cup (180ml) canola oil
½ cup (130g) plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

Glaze:
1 cup (140) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons coconut milk
¼ cup (25) toasted coconut, for sprinkling over the cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a 12-cup capacity Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, oil, yogurt and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the bananas. Fold in the dry ingredients just until incorporated – do not overmix. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until risen and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack and cool completely.

Glaze: place the sugar in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the coconut milk, mixing until you get a drizzable consistency – for a thicker glaze, use less milk. Pour over the cake and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

Serves 10-12

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