Russian Friday – Poppy Seed Roll

Once again, we took a short vacation, and this mom’s separation from her kitchen resulted in a serious baking outburst. So, my New Year’s resolutions have been successfully shipped to the carb heaven, where they will probably remain sugar-high-and-all for the next 10 months.

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On a brighter note, this blog has reached 100,000 hits; which, I think, is worth a celebration!  So, Russian Friday it is – carbohydrates galore! 

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POPPY SEED ROLL

INGREDIENTS:

POOLISH:

  • 1.5 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 2 tsp active dry east
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 160 g unbleached all-purpose flour

DOUGH:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1cup sugar
  • 50 g butter, melted and cooled to the room temperature
  • 600 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 (9 g) bag  vanilla sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

FILLING:

EGG WASH:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs water

Yields: 2 rolls

DIRECTIONS:

Make poolish: whisk 2 cups of flour with milk and sugar with yeast, cover and let raise for about 1 – 1,5 hours.  The poolish is ready after it reaches its peak height and drops.

Mix the dough: whisk eggs, sugar, salt, and butter together till everything is dissolved.  Add the mixture to the poolish.  Slowly add sifted flour.  Mix to incorporate all the ingredients.  Place the dough on a floured surface and knead (adding flour, if needed) till the dough stops sticking to your hands – for about 10 minutes.

Place into an lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for another hour.

Make the filling: mix sugar with poppy seeds , cover with milk and bring to boil.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Blend in a food processor. Let cool down before spreading.

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Make the rolls: divide the dough in to 2 halves. Working with each half separately, roll the dough into a 14 x 21 inch ((35 x 52 cm) rectangle about 0.2 inch (4-5 mm) thick. Spread half of the filling over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) edge.  Roll the dough into a cylinder, place it the seam side down on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper   Make a wheel out of it, carefully pressing the edges together. Cover with a towel and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C, position the rack in the middle.

Prepare the wash: whisk the yolks with water.

Score the rolls, cutting the outer edges through.  The cut should be about 2/3 rd-s of the width of the cylinder.  Repeat the cuts every inch (3 cm), and slightly twist the edges facing them up. Brush the top of the roll with the wash and place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden-brown. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

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If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy

Minestrone with White Beans

While the food blogs are overtaken by sweets and flowers, and my own Valentine’s chocolate cake is sitting in the fridge awaiting the second coat of ganache; I decided to write about something less festive today. After all, most likely tomorrow is still going to be February; most likely – cold; and most likely you will be ready to jump back on a diet following the sweet Valentine. 

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/The recipe is adopted from Williams-Sonoma Italian Favorites/

 

 

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MINESTRONE WITH WHITE BEANS

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup dried cannellini beans
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 lb (500 g) canned tomatoes with juice
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cabbage, shredded
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 ½ dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley for garnish
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Yelds: 6-8 servings

DIRECTIONS:

Pick and rinse the beans.  Place in a bowl, cover with water and soak for about 4 hours.

Drain the beans and place in a saucepan with water to cover by about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Warm the olive oil in a soup pot.  Add onion, garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the stock, tomatoes, carrot, zucchini, cabbage, basil, oregano, sugar, and bay leaf.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add the potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Drain the beans and add them to the pot with the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot, garnishing with parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese.

Minestrone_Soup_WM-6The lazy version of this recipe is perfect for your crock pot collection.  Saute (or not) the onion and garlic, and dump all the ingredients but parsley and cheese in a crock pot, add 1.5 cups of water and cook on low for 8 hours.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Holidays with Bûche de Noël

Happy New Year!!! С Новым Годом!!!

Even though NyQuil was my drink of choice (paired with some other less fortunate selections), the holiday celebrations still brought so much of that child-like excitement! Well, it helped having two little ones running around, going crazy about Santa, reindeer and Christmas lights!

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In December we baked so much, we probably went through a ton of butter… what wouldn’t one do to spread the holiday cheer? I decided to end the madness with this beautiful Bûche de Noël.  It’s so rich and creamy that after indulging in just one slice you would feel like you are ready to kick start those New Year resolutions and quit desserts for ever and ever (or at least a few weeks), as it’s hard to beat this amazingness.

/The recipe is adopted from Lisabeth Prueitt’s Tartine/

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BÛCHE DE NOËL

INGREDIENTS:

Sponge cake:

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup cake flour, sifted twice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

Buttercream:

  • 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • ½ cup egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup coffee, brewed at double strength

Meringue mushrooms:

  • ¼ cup + 1 tbs confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pinch of cream of tartar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Coffee syrup:

  • ½ cup coffee, brewed at double strength
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Almond “Bark”

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 oz (170 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

Pistachio “Moss”

  • ¼ cup Pistachio nuts

DIRECTIONS:

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Preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Spray baking pan with borders with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  Spray the paper with cooking spray.

Make the batter. Mix egg yolks and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until the foam is 3 times its original volume and falls in thick ribbons when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat them with a clean whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy.  Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form when the whisk is lifted.

Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture with a rubber spatula in 2 or 3 additions. Scatter all flour, vanilla, and salt over the batter and fold it just long enough to blend the flour evenly.

Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread gently with a spatula. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the edges star to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Make the roll. While the cake is baking, sift confectioners’ sugar over a clean flat-weave towel. When the cake is finished baking, insert it onto the sugar coated cloth.  Immediately remove the pan and parchment paper and, starting at a long edge, roll the cake into a log with the towel inside it.  Let cool completely.

Make the buttercream.

Cut the butter into 1 tbs chunks and set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar, egg whites, and salt in a small pan and cook on the lowest heat setting whisking constantly until the egg whites are hot to the touch (for about 4 minutes). Pour the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high speed until it becomes very stiff – for about 5 minutes.

Add butter 1 chunk at a time, beating on medium speed waiting for each piece to fully incorporate before adding another one. Add coffee and beat until all incorporated. Set aside.

Make ahead: you can make butter cream a few days before using.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature and beat with mixer till smooth before using.

Make meringue mushrooms. 

Preheat oven to 175°F (80°C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift together confectioners’ sugar and flour, set aside. In a small bowl combine egg white and cream of tartar and beat with whisk attachment until the egg white holds soft peaks.  Slowly add granulated sugar and beat until very stiff.  Add flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula, working very quickly.  Place the mixture into a plastic bag, cut a little corner out and pipe out mushroom hats and legs to the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for at least 4 hours.

Make coffee syrup.

Combine coffee and sugar until sugar is dissolve.  Let cool before using.

Make “bark”.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Toast almonds in the oven for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple times with a wooden spoon. Place chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.  Heat up the cream to just before boiling and pour over the chocolate.  Wait a couple minutes before mixing everything until all chocolate is dissolved.  Mix in the almonds.  Refrigerate until the mixture thickens (for at least 15 minutes).

Make “moss”. 

Process pistachios in a coffee grinder until powdered.

Assemble the log.

Place the cake on a plastic wrap.  Apply the syrup with a brush.  Spread the butter cream over and gently roll into a log.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally edges of the log.  Transfer it to the serving plate.  Add the edges to the sides of the log.  Apply the bark, and place mushrooms on top attaching the hats to the legs with a little bit of the “bark” cream.  Sift a little bit of “snow” confectioners’ sugar and chocolate powder on top.  Sprinkle moss over the log and around it.

Enjoy!

Waffles

My kids look nothing like me. The daughter would probably even fail our DNA test. My mom comforts me that her ears look like mine.  Ears!?  Really!? Well, I don’t know about ears, but we surely have one thing in common: our love for carbs.

Here is a beautiful dish we both enjoy. Mix the batter the night before, and an easy breakfast is ready to be made in the morning. 

/Adopted from Allrecipes.com/

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WAFFLES

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3 cup warm milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm milk. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the warm milk and the melted butter. Mix in the yeast mixture, sugar, syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk alternately with the flour. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Make ahead: place the batter and covered egg whites in the fridge overnight.  Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking the waffles.

If baking right away, let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; fold into the batter.

Preheat the waffle iron (I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma). Spray with oil and spoon about 1/2 cup onto center of iron. Close the lid and bake until it stops steaming and the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately or keep warm in 200 degree oven.

Salted Apple Pie

Why did this Russian mom, whose only thoughts about baseball are that the outfits could be a bit sexier and that Tim Lincecum is kind of cute…, why did this mom goto watch the World Series? Well, because her lovely neighbor Amie was bringing an apple pie.  Amie’s pie is to die for, and it has an ability to make any game a hundred times more exciting! Since I first tried one of her masterpieces, I was hooked!

My friend Kusum just brought beautiful red gold sea salt from Hawaii , and the idea of this slightly salted dessert was born.  Well, it wasn’t all that original – just google “salted apple pie” but I’m still very proud of the outcome!

So, our family drove to an apple orchard, picked some apples, and made this.

/Adopted from Martha Stewart Living and Cooking Channel

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SALTED APPLE PIE

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pea-size pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water

FILLING

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • juice from 4 lemons
  • 6 medium to large sour apples
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

TOPPING

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • raw sugar to sprinkle
  • sea salt flakes to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS:

Make the crust. Place 3/4 of the butter in the freezer for about 30 min, and keep the rest in the fridge. In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add refrigerated butter, pulse about 10 times.  Add frozen butter, pulse again till the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some blueberry-size crumbs.

Add ice water, and immediately pulse until water is incorporated, about 10 more times. lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap, separate the dough in halves, and place each half on the plastic wraps.  Bring the edges of wraps together to gather dough.  Press into disks. Roll each disk (still in plastic) into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Refrigerate for at least 45 min.

Make the filling. In a medium sauce pan mix sugar and water and heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil.  Continue cooking until the mixture turns golden brown.  Remove it from heat immediately and add cream, whisk the final mixture on low heat , sprinkle the sea salt, and let cool while preparing the apples.

Core, peel and cut apples using a mandoline.  Sprinkle with juice, sugar, and spices, and toss well. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Assemble the pie. Roll each piece of the dough into a disk that can fit a 9-inch pie-pan.  Line the pan with the first disk.  Lay 1/3 of the apple mixture on the bottom and pour a layer of 1/3 of prepared caramel.  Repeat the layering two more times.

Cover the pie with the second disk, cutting it through for the air to escape any way you like, or cut the second disk into strips and make a lattice top like mine, pinch the edges together.

Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and salt flakes.

Bake. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F/190°C.  Reduce the heat to 350°F/175°C and bake for another 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream.

 

Russian Friday – Torte “Birds’ Milk”

Long-long ago in the Soviet Union this cake became the first one to be copyrighted.  The recipe was kept in secret; and the Moscow bakery that invented it had a guaranteed long line in front every day. The cake kept well for just a day, so it was made in relatively small quantities. Yet, very quickly it became exceptionally popular, and due to its shortages it was named “Ptich’e moloko”, which means birds’ milk.  Right… well, it sounds much better in Russian…

Here is my version of this light and super-easy to make delightfulness…

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TORTE “BIRDS’ MILK”

INGREDIENTS:

DOUGH

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup cake flour, sifted twice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt

SOUFFLE

  • 7 egg whites
  • 20 g gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 170 g butter
  • 150 g sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

GLAZE

  • 150 g bitter chocolate
  • 30 g sugar
  • 100 g cream
  • 30 g butter

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Spray baking pan with removable bottom with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  Spray the paper with cooking spray.

Make the batter. Mix egg yolks and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until the foam is 3 times its original volume and falls in thick ribbons when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat them with a clean whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy.  Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form when the whisk is lifted.

Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture with a rubber spatula in 2 or 3 additions. Scatter all flour, vanilla, and salt over the batter and fold it just long enough to blend the flour evenly.

Prepare the gelatin. Pour ½ cup of water over the gelatin and let stay while the cake is baking.

Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread gently with a spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the edges star to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the soufflé. Beat the butter on high speed until it starts whitening, slowly add the condensed milk.

Place soaked gelatin into a small sauce pan and add 125 g of sugar. Cook on low heat until it reaches 140⁰F/60⁰C.
Beat the egg whites on high speed with a whisk attachment; add lemon juice and 125 g of sugar and vanilla. Whisk till hard peaks form.
Lower the mixer speed to medium and gradually add gelatin mixture to the egg whites. Slowly add butter cream.
Assemble the torte. Separate the cake into two disks using a long knife. Place one half into the pan that you used for baking. Cover with half of the soufflé, cover with the second half, and the rest of the soufflé. Flatten the top with a knife. Place the torte in the fridge for 1.5-2 hrs.
In about 1.5 hours make chocolate glaze. Pour cream into a sauce pan, and 30 grams of sugar and heat up till the sugar completely dissolves. Place chocolate in a bowl, and pour hot cream over it. Whisk, till chocolate completely dissolves. Whisk in butter and make sure it is completely dissolved as well.
With a sharp knife separate the cake from the edges of the pan. Take it out and place on a serving dish. Pour chocolate glaze over the cake, letting it drip over the edges. Completely cover the cake with chocolate and let rest in the fridge for another hour. The torte is ready!

 

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