Thursday, August 12, 2010

Plum, plum, plum....

Anyone interested in the recipe?

Friday, March 26, 2010

A problem with kosher-for Passover cakes

My eldest was born on 17 Nissan, 5759, (April 3, 1999,) so his Jewish birthday is always during Passover (Pesach). In my family we celebrate both Gregorian and Jewish calendar birthdays, and so every year we need a cake that is kosher for Passover. And this is where the problems begin. The ban on leavening is a big problem with cakes.

One year we had an impromptu matzah cake, that was pretty much matzah, chocolate pudding and hard chocolate frosting. That was okay, not counting the fact that my youngest and I can't stand matzah.

Last year we tried a recipe that called for 10 eggs and 1/3 cup of matzah meal (like many kosher for Passover cake recipes on the net seem to) and the result for me was like a big, sweet cylindrical serving of scrambled eggs than cake. As most of the recipes call for an insane number of eggs compared to the dry materials, I am less than enthusiastic to try a new recipe, especially the test run with a recipe Kevin found yesterday resulted in a baking disaster.

So what will we do this year? A three-layer pudding cake, made from two layers of chocolate and one layer of vanilla pudding. It's the old style, not-so-instant pudding (and think Dr. Oetker style rather than what a Briton would call pudding) that we decorate with fresh and canned fruit and serve with unsweetened whipped cream. As my son's birthday is on the Shabbat this year, it is good that this pudding can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator. It can either be served in the glass bowl it will be prepared in, or, if everything wirks out fine, it can be a stand alone creation. Photos of the end product to follow.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gerbaud cake

Dough :
500grams flour
200grams butter (or margarine or shortening)
1 cup milk
25grams fresh yeast
1-5tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs (original recipe says another egg yolk)

fruit jam (I tend to use apricot, about two cups)
ground walnut (to taste, approx one cup)
+1 egg white to brush layers

Combine all the ingredients for the dough and let it rise at a warm place. Knead again, divide into 3 balls(or more), let them rise again. Roll out one, place on a big baking tray. Brush with egg white to prevent the dough getting soaked. Spread jam on the dough, then ground walnut. Repeat with the next two layers. Brush the top layer with beaten egg. Bake at medium heat for approx 30-40minutes.

Melt dark chocolate with a couple spoonfuls of milk or cream and cover the cake.

You can use any other jam you like, my faves are apricot or plum(best if a little sour). Alternatively you can experiment with different amounts of walnut or substitute other nuts.

This is how it turned out today:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Traditional Carnival Doughnuts

Just a tiny bit belated, let me show you two of our traditional doughnut recipes, typically made in Hungary in the "carnival" season.

The first is called Csöröge and is a very simple but delicious, crunchy type of thing. In fact, you wouldn't call it a doughnut as it's basically plain fried egg pasta.
To make the dough, simply knead a pound of flour with a cup of sour cream, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, half a cup of melted butter/margarine and five egg yolks. Let the dough rest a little before rolling it out on a floured surface. Cut the dough into palm-sized diamond shaped pieces. Make a cut in the middle of each and pull one corner through the cut. You'll get a funny bow-like shape.
Heat oil in a big pan and fry the doughnuts on both sides. Drain the oil and sift castor sugar on the doughnuts while still warm. Serve with jam.

From Kaják

From Kaják

To restore world order, the second doughnut I'll present you does look like an actual doughnut :)
It was named after the ribbon-like white stripe that goes around the middle.

From Kaják

Ingredients include a pound of flour, 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter/margarine, a pinch of salt, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, a cup of warm milk, 50grams yeast, one egg.

Make a well in the flour, add yeast, sugar and milk, combine with a little flour and let the yeast rise a bit. Then add the rest of the ingredients and knead well, until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl and your hand. Let it rise at a warm place for about 30minutes or until about doubles in size. Roll it out a bit and fold into half. Roll out to about 3-5millimeter thickness (quite flat) and using a cookie-cutter or simply a glass, cut small circles of the dough. Let them rise again and fry them in hot oil on both sides until golden.

From Kaják

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sweet bread with walnut filling - originally Finnish holiday wreath

I read this recipe somewhere months ago and forgot to save it, so I came up with my own version.

It looked like this

I used about 1lb flour, 30g(1ounce) yeast, 1 cup warm milk, half a cup sugar, pinch of salt, 2 egg yolks, half a cup butter/margarine, a teaspoon of ground cardamom seeds and made a light and fluffy leavened dough. I let it rise for about half an hour then rolled it out a little. The filling consisted of coarsely ground walnut, melted butter and sugar. You can mix these and spread on the dough or sprinkle the butter first and then the walnut and sugar (saves you one bowl :)
Then I rolled it up and placed in a cake tin(the one that has a whole in the middle), let it rise again, then baked at 200C (400F) for about 30minutes. Sprinkling some milk on it in the last couple of minutes makes the bread softer!

Later, I found the original recipe online.
The ingredients are basically the same(more butter and a tablespoon of flour in the filling, and almond flakes on the top), but the shape is a bit different. They fold the roll into a circle, cut it into slices, but not cutting through to the bottom, and move the slices apart a bit, in and out. It looks like this:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A fantastic dessert

The name is Somlói galuska which means something like Dumplings Somló-style, but I doubt it has anything to with the Somló Hill area. And it's only called dumplings because of the form, but it's actually basic sponge-cake with a twist.

So, you'll need a big batch of basic sponge cake batter that you divide into three equal portions. Leave one as it is, add cocoa to the next, and ground walnut to the third. Bake them one by one on a greased baking tray and let them cool a bit.

Make a syrup from water, rum, vanilla extract, lemon peel and sugar.

You'll also need vanilla custard made from egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract, and a little flour.

Place one sponge-cake on a tray, sprinkle with syrup and spread third of the custard on it.

vaníliakrém somlóihoz

Place the next sponge cake on top and repeat the process with the remaining two layers. Some recipes call for raisins between the layers and apricot jam and cocoa powder on the top.

somlói kakaós lap
somlói lapok

Set the cake aside and prepare the chocolate syrup/topping : melt dark chocolate, add rum, sugar and vanilla to taste and a little water or milk. Heat until smooth then cool.


How to serve?

Cut pieces from the layered cake with a spoon (thus the dumplings), drip some chocolate syrup on them and top with whipped cream. I swear, it's heavenly!


Somlói galuska

Cottage-cheese dumplings

Hungarian cottage-cheese(curd-cheese) is a bit different from the ones you can buy in the US, but I think any type will do. If you happen to find ricotta that's also fine. In Hungary, look for "túró"

So, mix approx a pound of cottage cheese, 2-3 whole eggs, sugar to taste, vanilla-sugar or vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of flour and approx a cup of semolina ( or farina, Cream of Wheat, know what I'm talking about). Add as much of the latter as needed to make the mixture hold together. If the cottage cheese is of the drier type, you might want to add a little sour cream, too.

Heat water in a big pot, add a little salt, and when it's boiling, form small balls of the cottage-cheese mixture with wet hands and put them in the water. Don't cook too many at once.
Cook them for about 5 minutes, but at least until they start floating in the water. If you want to make sure they're done, take one and cut in half. If the inside is solid and has holes in it, then it's just fine!

Heat breadcrumbs with a tablespoon of butter in a large pan until golden and roll the dumplings in. Serve hot, with sour cream and castor sugar/granulated sugar.

yeah, a bit old picture :)

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