And it’s 2015! I will avoid the clichés of making statements and those typical promises at the beginning of the year, because I am sincerely happy that 2014 is over! Not because it was a bad year but it wasn’t good either … I can only wish you a Happy New Year with everything good and a heart full of happiness!
Now more interesting things … after Christmas we come back to simpler flavours. I don’t like the traditional Portuguese King Cake, mainly because of the candied fruit. Not that I don’t like them, I just find them too big and plentiful. This year I decided to make a crown of dried fruits and port wine, which not only looks great, but also tastes beautifully! An excellent alternative to the traditional King Cake.
A slice of cake and a cup of warm tea! Oh happiness!
TIME: 120min SERVES: 6
1 kg of wheat flour
200 ml of warm milk
1 package of dehydrated yeast
250g melted margarine
2 egg yolks + 4 eggs
2 tbsp Cinnamon Powder
1/3 wine glass of port
2 cups of assorted nuts and dried fruit: walnuts, raisins, cranberries and almonds.
2 tbsp of softened margarine
2 tbsp of Yellow Sugar Powdered Sugar for dusting
Melt the butter.
Dissolve the baking powder in the milk with the sugar.
Add the eggs and the egg yolks.
In a bowl add the flour and cinnamon, and make a hole in the middle.
In the center pour the eggs, milk and butter as well as the fruits and nuts.
Start mixing and when you obtain an uniform dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and knead for a good 10 minutes. Let it grow until it doubles in size.
After this time, lay the dough on a floured surface and extend it like a rectangle.
In a bowl mix the ingredients of the filling and put it over the dough.
Wrap it like a carpet and cut into 2 parts (in the longitudinal direction, but let one end uncutted). Wrap both cutted parts over each other and close the circle.
Transfer to a baking sheet with parchment paper and let rise for about 30 minutes.
Place the crown into a preheated oven at 180 ° C for 40 to 60 minutes (make the stick test).
Sprinkle with powdered sugar after cooling.
Lately the cold days make me want oven recipes and sweets … many many sweets! I feel like a bear accumulating energy for the coming spring. I don’t bake cookies very often (it requires a dose of patience that I naturally don’t have), but this time I told myself I wanted to do something like this!
Kettle on, fireplace rady … and we’re ready for a perfect evening!
SERVES: 4 TIME: 45min
Zest of 1 lemon
300g plain flour
1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
100g of melted butter
1 egg for brushing
100g Sugar (powder)
Sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar. Add the melted butter, lemon zest and cinnamon.
In another bowl place the flour and add the liquid mixture. Mix and knead until an uniform dough ready to be worked. You may need to add more flour.
Set aside for 30 minutes.
In a sprinkled with flour surface, roll out the dough to 1 cm, and cut it in the format you want. Do not forget that any format you choose should allow a cavity to take the lemon icing.
Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes).
Remove and let cool them completely.
In a bowl place the powdered sugar and add a few drops of lemon juice, stirring until the desired consistency. Pour it in the wells and allow to dry before storing the cookies in a sealed flask. Dust with the icing sugar (optional).
Last week I published this recipe, where I used sweet potatoes. I liked the result so much, that I also made these small tarts, very similar to the traditional portuguese bean tarts. Like the beans, sweet potato is also very rich in starch, and acts as a great natural thickener for any recipe. These cakes were a hit here at home, and because I baked a dozen of them I had to give some…lucky me or else I couldn’t get in my pants tomorrow.
But if you’re not a big fan of sweet potatoes (I don’t like them on savory dishes) you may be completely rested with this recipe, because it’s flavor is very discreet and soft, and the filling is flavored with cinnamon, so you won’t feel a lot of the sweet potato.
SERVES: 12 TIME: 60 MIN
200g Wheat Flour
Butter and flour for the molds
1 tsp of powdered cinnamon
250g sweet potato
50g grated almonds
200 g Butter
100g Wheat Flour
5 Egg yolks + 3 eggs
Powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Sift the flour into a bowl, add the softened butter and the egg. Add enough water to knead it.
Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. After this time, grease the molds with butter and sprinkle with flour. Line them with the dough and place them in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Bake the potatoes. Peel them and mash them into a puree.
In a bowl place the grated almonds and the mashed potatoes. Add the egg yolks and eggs, stirring between additions. Incorporate the flour, the sugar and the softened butter. Mix.
Put the filling in the molds and bake in a preheated oven at 160°C for 30-40 minutes.
When the tarts are cooked, remove them, let them cool before unmolding and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Finally a recipe! Lately I know I haven’t been widely available, sometimes life is busy … we get so caught up in things of the everyday life, that time it’s never enough.
The backyard of my mother in law has been very generous this month: tangerines, cabbages, broccoli, nuts. Also came some beautiful sweet potatoes, and this weekend was the ideal opportunity for putting them to good use. I confess that I don’t love them as a company to meat or fish, but in desserts they’re very versatile.
These churros came out something special, and the ganache flavored with orange helps to cut their richness. I know that Christmas is almost at the door (bye bye diet! Only one month missing, have you noticed ?? !!) but on a rainy Sunday, I couldn’t ask for anything else!
SERVES: 6 TIME: 45 MIN
1 tsp salt
300g Wheat Flour
200g sweet potato
Oil for frying (1/2 L)
100g Dark Chocolate (70%)
Zest of 1/2 Orange
Bake the potatoes (with the skin) and when cooked drain and let them cool. Scoop out the skin and reduce them to puree. Reserve.
Put a container in a water bath, melt the chocolate with the cream and orange zest, stirring occasionally. Reserve.
In a pot add the water and salt and bring them to boil.
Turn off the heat and add the flour stirring constantly. Add the potato pulp and the egg, mix and set aside for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Place the oil in a pan or fryer and let it heat (up to 160 ° C approximately).
Place the dough in a pastry bag and start putting pieces of it into the hot oil. You can fry circles of dough and then cut after they’re ready with the help of scissors, or as you put the dough in the oil with the help of an extra pair of hands cut it into equal lengths.
When golden remove the churros, place them on paper towels before serving with the chocolate ganache. Serve hot.
I’m so addicted to these coconut chips. I love discovering a new ingredient. I don’t exactly live in a city where I can find many ethnic or different ingredients. Small town, simpler taste. Oh well.
I love the fact that in large cities we’re able to find flavors of other ethnicities. But here in Aveiro it’s difficult to escape the conventional. They’re very crispy (like french fries) and slightly sweet. Besides being an excellent snack, looks great as decoration. Do you know that coconut is excellent for cholesterol and to prevent cardiovascular disease?
icing: 4 tbsp Powdered sugar
juice and zest of 1 lime
decoration: zest of 1 lime
chips of toasted coconut (optional)
cake: Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line the bottom of a mold (removable bottom) with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter.
Weigh and sift the flour and the baking powder. Reserve.
Beat the eggs with the sugar until yoou get a fluffy and whitish mixture. Add the oil and the grated coconut and mix another minute. Reduce the mixer speed to minimum and start incorporating the flour and baking powder.
Put the dough in the mold and bake for 35-40 minutes or until you notice it’s cooked. Remove and let the cake cool slightly before unmolding it.
icing file: In a bowl put the powdered sugar and the zest of one lime. Squeeze and strain the juice of the same lime and add it to the sugar. If necessary, rectify the consistency adding more sugar (to thicken) or more juice (to become more liquid).
When the cake is warm, unmold it and put the icing on top. Add the zest of another lime and don’t forget the delicious chips of toasted coconut.
I love the autumn. Of course I’m very grateful for these days of unexpected sunshine, but I’m a girl of medium terms: spring and autumn. I like the light clothes, I love the summer foods, I like enjoying the sun and outdoor activities. But all these things are done in a much more pleasant way with mild temperatures. But that’s just me …
Something that I also love in the autumn are those seasonal produce: chestnuts, persimmons and pumpkins. Especially the last two. Lately around here I’ve been using pumpkin in everything: soup, pasta, desserts and I also developping a bread with pumpking in the dough … but it’s still not perfect. In time …
And because persimmons must be consumed urgently, I made these mini pavlovas, that are as easy as good! The huge advantage of this recipe is that pavlovas can be made in advance and also look good with almost anything! So if you don’t like this fruit you can combine with other flavors and have a dessert that’s also pretty and delicious!
SERVES: 6 TIME: 45 min
INGREDIENTS: For the pavlovas:
1 tsp cornstarch flour for dusting + 1 1/2 for the pavlovas
150 g of white sugar
3 egg whites (1 week eggs)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
For the filling: 2 ripe persimmons
2 tsp ground cinnamon
PREPARATION: Turn the oven to 140ºC. Place a silicone sheet on a baking tray and sprinkle with the flour cornstarch.
In a very clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they begin to grow. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly. I don’t need to do this ate high speed.
Also add the vinegar, vanilla the rest of the flour cornstarch.
Place the meringue in a pastry bag and over the baking sheet draw concentric circles, to make and base and two layers at the edges for the sides.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until they’re dry and crispy.
Resist the temptation to open the oven during the cooking.
When ready, let them cool completely in the oven (I usually do it at night and only take them out in the next day).
To prepare the filling nothing more easy. In a bowl place the inside of the persimmons and add the cinnamon. Involved and only when serving, fill the pavlovas with the fruit and sprinkle with powdered sugar.