quarta-feira, 30 de junho de 2010

Norwegian rhubarb cake

This is one very traditional Norwegian cake, a simple summer cake, more of a "everyday cake" and not the "party cake". Norwegian prefer creamy cakes for parties instead of light fruity cakes. You don't need to make this cake inverted, you can always change it and place the rhubarbs on top of the batter instead of on bottom of the pan. I love inverted cakes and rhubarbs look so beautiful on inverted cakes as they release their gorgeous pink juice into the cake batter during baking giving the final cake an amazing color.

Recipes for rhubarb cake are easy to find and before I select some and you can check them here,here,here and here. The cake was perfect and really, really delicious. The cake had the most amazing vanilla flavor and that incredible texture provided by the addition of sour cream.

Norwegian rhubarb cake

3 or 4 stalks of rhubarb cut into 5 to 6 cm little logs
1 cup sugar + 5 tbsp more sprinkle over the rhubarb
1 cup all purpose flour
200 grams butter at room temperature + more for pan
3 eggs at room temperature
180 ml sour cream at room temperature
1 or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt


Place the rhubarb pieces on a flat dish and sprinkle around 4 to 5 tbsp of sugar and let it stand for at least half an hour.

Butter a loaf pan, or use any other pan that you prefer, and line the buttered pan with parchment paper, butter generously the paper. Place the rhubarbs on the bottom of the pan making sure to completely cover the bottom with plenty of rhubarb. Add the juice and the sugar where the rhubarbs were resting. If you wish you can sprinkle some more sugar over the rhubarb pieces. Set the pan aside.

In a bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and keep beating until you have an airy batter. Add half of the flour, sifted, add the sour cream and then add the second part of the flour beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla ad beat some more and on the end add baking powder and baking soda.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, over rhubarbs, and bake for 40 minutes at 180C or until a stick comes out clean. Let it cool before inverting the cake over a plate.

sexta-feira, 25 de junho de 2010

Chocolate Custard Tarts

Custard tarts are the most famous Portuguese dessert and they became very popular wherever the Portuguese have set their feet on Earth. This is my dad's favorite and I can't stop thinking about him whenever I make or eat some custard tart. This time I made it quite different, I added some chopped chocolate to the regular vanilla custard and it became a family favorite, it was so good that I can't wait to make them again...

Chocolate Portuguese Custard Tart

4 large egg yolks
100 g sugar
2 tbsp of starch, I used tapioca starch but it can be potato or corn
200 ml cream
200 ml milk
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
80 grams of dark chocolate with at least 58% of cocoa solids
400 grams of homemade puff pastry


Lightly butter 12 individual muffin pans and set aside.

In a medium large sauce using a fouet whisk egg yolks, sugar and starch until well blended. Add cream and keep whisking making sure there are not any lumps. Gradually add the milk and whisk until you get and homogeneous mixture.Transfer pan with cream-milk mixture to stove and cook over medium heat stirring until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens.
Remove from the heat and add chocolate piece and vanilla extract while whisking vigorously to make sure the hot custard melts the chocolate and the custard becomes completely chocolate

Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic film to prevent a skim forming and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190-200C.

Open the pastry to form a rectangle of 30X50Cm. Cut the pastry sheet in half, put one half on top of the other and roll up the pastry tightly from the short end and cut the pastry log into twelve 1 cm circles. Lay each circle of pastry on your work surface lightly floured and with a rolling pin to roll out to make a 10 cm diameter circle.
Press the pastry rounds into the buttered muffin tin and make sure you leave a border with at least 1cm hanging outside the tin as the pastry will shrink while baking.

Spoon the chocolate custard into the prepared muffin tarts but don't fill the tins more than 2/3 as the filling will rise during baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is fully cooked and golden. Let the tarts cool before removing them from the tins.

Makes 12

terça-feira, 22 de junho de 2010

Chocolate macarons with dark chocolate ganache

Some of the posts published in this blog so far make pretty clear that I am completely fanatic for egg based desserts, whether egg whites or yolks based. As every egg fanatic must be, I have eaten raw eggs my entire life and never wasted a minute worrying about it. My mom is to be blamed on this raw egg matter as she was the one who added raw eggs to our morning smoothies. My mother used to prepare smoothies daily, usually a blend of milk, papaya, banana and egg or milk, avocado, banana, honey and egg. We (my brothers and I) grew up drinking those whole egg added smoothies every single morning during our childhood.

In those years it was common among mothers the belief that thin kids (and we were all very thin) were not particularly healthy or strong enough and according to this belief we needed some extra protein. Besides the daily dose of raw egg yolks and milk, I've been fed with loads of egg based desserts, specially meringues and yolk based creams such as baba de moça and quindim and ovos moles. I was always crazy for toucinho do céu an amazing mixture of dense yolk cream and almonds and amaretti an almond and meringue based cookie. The love for macarons was a natural part of this process...

Chocolate macarons with dark chocolate ganache filling

110 grams of egg whites ( three large egg whites)
110 grams grounded almonds (almond flour)
200 grams confectioners sugar
50 grams sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder


Couple of days before the day you plan to make your macarons separate the egg whites and leave them covered on the counter top at room temperature for two or even three days.

On the day you plan to make the macarons process the nuts and confectioners sugar in a food processor until well grounded, sift the mixture once, sift it again to remove all the big pieces of nuts and then weight the mixture. Line two or three large cookie pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat the egg whites until foamy. Slowly start to add the 50g of sugar, one table spoon at a time and continue whisking until you have a glossy meringue.

Add the flour mixture to the meringue in three or four parts folding until the dry ingredients were completely incorporated to the meringue and you can't see any white parts in the batter. Make a test to check the batter and put a teaspoon of batter on a plate to make sure the batter flattens, if it does you are ready but if it keep the form of a peak you still have to fold the batter couple of times more.

Once you feel the batter is ready transfer it to a pastry bag, or a plastic bag, and pipe the batter to a diameter of three centimeters on the prepared pans. Let the piped macarons stand in room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes, while your oven is heating. You can sprinkle some nuts over the shells, before they dry completely. I sprinkled some of the bigger pieces of nuts which didn't pass through the sieve. You can also sprinkle some sugar or any other grounded spice or nut.

Bake the shells for 10 minutes at 150 C/275F in a preheated oven. It is important to turn the pans halfway through for a more equal baking. You might need a few more minutes if your oven is not properly regulated.

Makes 60-70 shells (30-35 filled macarons)

Chocolate ganache filling

100 grams de dark chocolate (one with at least 50% of cocoa solids)
60 ml of heavy cream


Chop the chocolate into small pieces and set aside. Meanwhile boil the heavy cream and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir well until you get a homogeneous ganache. Let the ganache stand for to cool Stir to create and emulsion. Let it harden a bit until it is pipeable and fill the macarons.

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