Archive for Baking

Caramel Shortbread

Of course you can eat dulce de leche by the spoonful on its own, but it is also nice in baked goodies. The sweet and sticky dulce de leche complements the crumbly, buttery classic shortbread very well, making it a lovely indulgent baked goodie.

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Caramel shortbread
Slightly adapted from “Desserts – James Martin”

1 can dulce de leche
250 g butter, room temperature
150 g sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g cornstarch
300 g flour

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a 20×30 cm baking tin with baking parchment.
Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flours, mix with the butter-sugar mixture. Gently knead the dough until it comes together into a ball.
Press 2/3 of the dough into the prepared tin. Scoop the dulce de leche on top and spread out to an equal layer. Crumble the remaining dough over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes. The caramel should bubble up a little between the dough and the top of the dough should be golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then cut into squares. Finish cooling in the tin.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Usually, these kinds of tarts have a lemon curd-like filling, that has to be cooked before pouring into the pastry case. This one you can just mix and pour in. Even though it is made with condensed milk, it doesn’t have that sickly sweetness that is associated with sweetened condensed milk. It makes a lovely fresh, lemony, soft filling that just holds it’s shape. I love it together with the crisp pastry and the fluffy meringue.

Once baked, the pie can be eaten warm or cold. The meringue will shrink a little after a while. Also, it might ooze some sugar syrup, which isn’t pretty, but doesn’t impair the flavour. The pie can be kept up to 2 days (refridgerated).

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Lemon Meringue Pie
Adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”

pastry for 1 crust

1 can condensed milk
3 egg yolks
finely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons

3 egg whites
175 g sugar

Preheat the oven to 220C. Roll out the dough. Line a pie-dish with it. Take a sheet of baking paper, crumble it, then smooth it out again. Use this to line the dough, then pour in pie weights or dry beans. Place in the oven, bake 12-15 minutes (the edges should be lightly golden). Remove baking paper and weights, and return the crust to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing the condensed milk, egg yolks, lemon rind and lemon juice. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add the sugar, a spoon at the time, whisking well between each addition. Whisk until very stiff and all the sugar has been added.
Turn down the oven to 190C. Pour the lemon filling in the crust. Dollop the meringue on top and swirl a little, or use a piping bag to pipe it on. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the meringue is light brown. Leave to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.

Walnut, raisin and cinnamon whole grain bread

Made with a basic unsweetened whole grain dough, these buns get their sweetness from the raisins. They make a nice breakfast smeared with some butter, but are also lovely as an accompaniment for cheese. The walnuts give them a nice bite.

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Walnut, raisin and cinnamon whole grain bread (12 buns)
Adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”

225 g flour
225 g whole grain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
40 g butter, melted
250 ml warm water
7g sachet dry yeast
100 g chopped walnuts
100 g raisins

Measure the flours, salt, sugar, cinnamon, butter, water and yeast into a bowl and mix together by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, until combined to fairly sticky dough.
Knead for about 4-5 minutes on a lightly floured work surface or in the mixer, adding a little extra flour if needed.
Transfer to a large bowl, cover tightly with cling film (make sure no air can escape) and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Tip the dough on a lightly floured work surface and flatten the ball slightly. Add the chopped walnuts and raisins and knead into the dough, then shape into 12 equal sized balls. Space these equally in an oiled roasting tin. Cover with some oiled cling film (otherwise it will stick) and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped and are nicely browned.

Alternatively, shape the dough into a loaf and bake in a loaf tin.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. This recipe makes them. Try it, you’ll love them too.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (about 12 – 16)
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

The last trick to getting a really thick, chewy cookie is to chill the dough before you bake it. You can scoop it and then chill it, or, if you’re like us, scoop it, freeze them and store them in a freezer bag so you can bake them as you wish. I find they’re always thicker when baked from the cold — only a couple extra minutes baking is needed.

115 g butter, softened
125 g brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
95 g flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
120 g rolled oats
120 g raisins

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, stir this in. Stir in the oats and raisins.
To make the cookies extra thick and chewy, you need to chill the dough. Either chill it and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies on a tray and chill the whole thing. Or scoop them, freeze them and bake them if you want cookies (takes a few minutes extra baking).
Preheat the oven to 175C. Place the cookies about 5 cm apart on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Take them out when golden at the edges, but still a little undercooked on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.

Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne

A French apple pie with custard. Crisp short pastry, creamy rich custard and juicy apples. It looks very fancy, but can be made in the same time as a Dutch apple pie.

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Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne (serves 8)
Adapted from “Ripailles – Stéphane Reynaud”

Pâte Brisée (enough for 2 crusts, freeze half)
250 g flour
125 g butter
1 egg
50 ml cream

Sift the flour, make a hollow and add the egg, the cream and the softened butter.
Knead the mixture together, pushing down hard with the palm of your hand to completely incorporate the flour. Add a little water if necessary.
Form into 2 disks and wrap with cling film. Place the first one in the fridge for 30 minutes. Wrap the second one with a second layer of cling film and place in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Move from the freezer to the fridge the evening before you want to use it.

Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne
1/2 recipe pâte brisée
4 apples
200 ml cream
100 ml milk
100 g brown sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Roll out the chilled pastry and use it to line a deep pie dish.
Peel the apples, cut them into quarters and core. Slice them, but leave the bottom attached. Arrange pretty on the pastry.
Whisk the eggs with the cream and milk, and add the sugar and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the tart, it is easiest to do this when you already placed the pie dish in the oven, this prevents spilling.
Cook the pie for 30 minutes, or until the top has browned and the custard still has a slight wobble.

Whole Grain Oat Bread

A simple whole wheat bread with a twist: it has some rolled oats added. They aren’t really noticeable in the end product, but seem to keep the bread fresh for longer. It freezes really well, I slice it when cooled after baking, store in a ziplock bag in the freezer and pop a slice in the toaster when I want some. The dough is supposed to be really forgiving too, you can proof it at room temperature and bake immediately, or place in the fridge and leave for up to five days for a more complex flavour. As a variation you could use other kinds of rolled grains.

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Whole Grain Oat Bread (1 bread)
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

320 g whole-wheat flour
80 g rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
25 g oil (I used rapeseed)
145 ml lukewarm water
145 ml lukewarm milk (or use more water instead)
7 g dry yeast (1 sachet)

Combine water, milk and sugar in a bowl, then mix in the yeast. Add egg and oil and mix. Add the flour, oats and salt, and stir for 1 minute. The dough will be wet, that’s fine. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
Mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should be smooth, supple and slightly sticky. If it is still very wet, add a little more flour. If it is very stiff, add a little more water. I found I had to add quite some flour to create a nice dough.
Mix for another 4 minutes.
Dump onto your workbench, knead a few times, then form into a ball. Place back in the bowl, cover with cling film and either let it proof for about an hour at room temperature (until doubled) or place in the fridge and leave there for up to five days. Make sure you take the dough from the fridge early enough when you want to bake the bread (about 3 hours before baking).
Take the dough from the bowl and place on a floured workbench. Flatten gently into a rough rectangle. Fold in the sides so that it is roughly the with of a bread loaf pan. Roll the dough, and place this log into the loaf pan, seam side down. Leave to proof at room temperature for about an hour, or until it has risen a few cm above the rim of the baking pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175C.
Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the bread from the tin and let cool on a rack.

Almond Cake

A light and fluffy cake with lovely almond flavour that stores well and is really versatile. It is lovely on its own, but also perfect as a base for layer cakes. It pairs well with chocolate, fruit and butter/whipped/pastry-cream, so it’s an allrounder – good to have in your repertoire.

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Almond cake
Adapted from David Lebovitz

175 g sugar
150 g almond paste
25 g flour
150 g butter, cubed, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
70 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a spring form (23-25 cm) with some butter and dust with flour.
Grind sugar, almond paste and the first measuring of flour together in a food processor, until it resembles sand (this is to prevent lumps). If you don’t have a food processor, use your fingers to rub everything together until it is sandy.
Add the butter and vanilla extract and mix until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until is is incorporated before adding the next one.
Mix the second measure of flour, the baking powder and salt. Add it to the batter and fold trough until just incorporated.
Pour into the prepared form and bake for 45-60 minutes in the preheated oven.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edge, loosing the cake from the sides of the form. Let the cake cool completely in the form.
Once cool, remove the form.

Can be kept on room temperature (well wrapped) for 4 days, and can be frozen for 2 months.

The quest for homemade croissants – part 2

I’ve tried making croissants before, but didn’t really succeed. It is still something I really want to learn, so I tried again, with yet another recipe. Which wasn’t complete success either… They were nice, but had some trouble with proofing properly and baking well (which are probably correlated). I’ve got another recipe I want to try, that might be the solution. If not, I’ll have to tweak the rising and baking process of the recipe I like best. And meanwhile enjoy the not perfect but still very tasty croissants.

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Himbeer-Käsekuchen

Very tasty and very German. It has quite a large layer of quark filling and quite a thin base. You could use other fruit instead of raspberries. It tasted even better the day after baking.

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Himbeer-Käsekuchen (14 pieces)
Adapted from Mein LandRezept

50 g butter
100 g sugar
2 eggs
190 g flour
1/2 sachet baking powder (8 g)
pinch of salt

2 eggs, separated
100 g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (8 g)
500 g low fat quark
50 ml oil (rapeseed)
250 g raspberries
40 g slivered almonds

Prepare a baking tin (35×25 cm). Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cream the butter with the sugar, add the eggs one by one and mix until incorporated. Mix flour, baking powder en salt, then fold in. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth.
Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Whip the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla sugar until pale and creamy. Add the quark and the oil, mix. Then fold trough the whipped egg whites. Fold trough the raspberries. Pour the filling in the tin and smooth. Sprinkle the almonds over.
Bake for 45 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack.

Vanilla-Cherry-Quark-Muffins

Soft, fluffy, moist and not too sweet. I like them a lot and will definitely make them again.
The original recipe asked for sour cherries, but since those are not available around here, I used normal cherries, which was very tasty. Alternatively you could use other berries, like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or bits of strawberry.

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Vanilla-Cherry-Quark-Muffins (makes 12)
Adapted from “Dr Oetker 1000 Die besten Backrezepte”

1 jar (sour) cherries, drained well
250 g flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 packet vanilla pudding powder (unsweetened) or 37 g custard powder (unsweetened)
100 g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (8 g)
pinch of salt
2 eggs
25 ml oil (rapeseed)
75 ml milk
200 g low fat quark

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix flour, baking powder and pudding powder in a bowl. Add sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, eggs, oil, milk and quark. Mix well until it forms a smooth batter. Divide over the muffin tin. Divide the cherries as well and press them slightly into the dough.
Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool further on a wire rack.