Sunken Pear Cake

Since I live in two apartments cooking and baking has become a bit of a challenge. Where I have a full kitchen and all amenities I usually only live 2-3 days a month…and alone…so it’s not much fun to cook for one person.
And where I live with my partner, the kitchen is more a kitchenette with little opportunity to make big meals.
But today on the farmers ‘ market we found these delicious mini pears and I just had to try and bake this cake!

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Ingredients for a baking pan of 22-24cm diameter

100gr butter unsalted
75 g caster sugar
2 eggs
300-400 gr pears cut in tiny slices
1 tbl spoon lemonjuice
10gr vanillasugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
125g flour , me 00
2 tbl spoons sugar

Butter for the pan

Preparation:

Heat oven to 180c
Butter the pan, set aside
Slice the pears and put them in a bowl, mix with lemonjuice and vanillasugar to prevent them to become brown

In a separate bowl, beat butter with a mixer until it forms little tips, then add sugar and continue to beat until smooth, add the entire eggs and stir until the batter becomes smooth, now add baking powder and flour and mix until the batter is well amalgamated. Add the pears and stir until the pears are all covered with the batter, pour into the baking pan and distribute evenly. Add some sugar on the top and bake for 30-35 minutes. It probably will turn out a bit nicer in a real oven, but it smells nice coming out of that small oven:-)

 

Let cool and enjoy with a cup of real Italian Caffè!

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Lesser known Liguria

 

A week ago, we toured the coast west of Savona, all the way to Alassio via Torre del Mare, Varigotti and Pietra Ligure. This is a lesser known part of Liguria, but equally worth a visit.
From Alassio, we drove along narrow winding roads into the Hinterland…amazing small towns, Borgos and a fascinating landscape await you once you leave the coast line.
Well, I just let the pictures speak!

 

Home-made Lemon Curd

It is foggy outside, the sun hides since days…what’s the best way to substitute it? Exactly, home made lemon curd, it is a quick and easy recipe!

For about 200ml

3 organic lemons
112 g caster sugar
3 free range very fressh eggs (1 whole, 2 yolks)
50 g butter, unsalted, cold

Zest the lemons into a heavy-based pan and combine with sugar, rub together with your fingers or a spoon to release the oils. Then squeeze the lemon, you need about 110ml juice.

Whisk the eggs into the sugar and put the pan on a low heat, stir continuously with a wooden or rubber spoon, slowly adding the lemon juice, little by little. Stir gently for about 10-12 minutes until the mass is as thick as a vanilla custard. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside for a few minutes. Cut the butter which you only take now out of the fridge into che bes.

Put the pan back on the still warm stove and now add the butter, little at a time, continuously stirng again until the butter has melted and the curd is very smooth and silky.

Immediately transfer to sterilized jars. Keep cool and dark. Once opened keep in fridge.
The recipe also works with Oranges! 2 will give you 110ml juice.

 

Apple Crumble Pie

Last week in Nizza Monferrato I was offered a piece of apple crumble tart which was absolutely delicious, I thought I need to try and bake one myself, so here’s my version of it:

Ingredients for a springform pan of 18cm

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Dough:
150 gr all purpose flour (me: farina per tutto, Mulino Marino) http://www.mulinomarino.it/eng/storia.php
70 gr unsalted butter
70 gr caster sugar
1 egg medium size
20 gr vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt

Apple filling:
6 medium sized sweet apples ( I paid a fortune for Thurgauer Apples)
10 gr butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble
150 gr all purpose flour (me: farina per tutto, Mulino Marino)
100 gr caster sugar
100 gr soft unsalted butter

butter for the pan, icing sugar

Preparation:

For the dough, mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl, add all other ingredients and knead until you get a soft dough. Roll 2/3 of the dough on the greased base of the springform pan, prick the dough all over with a fork and bake at 200c in the oven for 15 mins.
The other 1/3 of the dough will be used to form the rim, store it in the fridge in the meantime.

Filling: peel the apples, remove the core and cut the apples in small chunks, heat them in a pan by adding the cinnamon and the butter. Let simmer over medium heat until the apples get very soft but not as long as getting a purée, the chunks should not fall apart yet.
Let cool.

Take the springform pan from the oven and let it cool on a rack. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble by kneading the flour, sugar and butter until you get small crumbles.

When the base has cooled off, roll the remainder of the dough to a “sausage” and place on the rim of the springform pan, getting a rim of approximately 2-3cm.


Add the apple filling and cover it all with the crumble.
Bake for another 40mins at 200c. Let cool it off and cover with icing sugar.

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Tuorta da Nusch Engiadina (Nut tart, a typical recipe from the Grisons)

 

Since I was going to Dubai for work for a few days, my sweetheart told me I may as well leave a little something behind to sweeten up his lonely days at home.
So, last sunday I was baking another tart that will last a few days, in fact, it needs to rest two days before it can be eaten, chances are I get a piece as well when I return next Saturday.

Ingredients:

For the dough
300g flour
150g sugar
200g cold butter
1 egg
A pinch of salt

For the filling
300g sugar
300g walnuts
2dl heavy cream (won’t work with diet products)
1 tbl spoon honey

For the dough, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl, cut the cold butter in pieces and put it on the sides in the bowl. Mix the egg with the salt, add it to the flour. Now mix gently until you get a soft dough, it remains quite sticky. Wrap in a foil and let rest in the fridge for 30 mins.

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Meanwhile, chop the walnuts coarsely. In a pan, melt the sugar slowly until it turns brown, but not too dark. Add the nuts and stir until they are covered with sugar. Now add the cream and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Now add the honey and stir well once more, remove from heat and let rest.

Heat the oven to 220c. Grease a baking pan of 26cm diameter, take 2/3 of the dough and roll it until it is approx. 5mm thin, put it in the baking pan, ensuring you have a rim of about 4cm. Now add the nut filling and distribute it evenly, fold the rim down onto the filling. Roll out the remaining dough to a shell of 26cm diameter and cover the tart with it. With a fork, press the rim so it sticks well together. Pierce the shell a few times with the fork as well.

Bake for 10 mins at 220c, then reduce the heat to 180c and bake for another 30-40mins.

Now comes the difficult part, it smells so nice, you’d love to dig in right away, but -stop- you need to wait two days to let the flavours unfold.

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Aargauer Rüeblitorte -Carrott Cake

 

Summer is over and it is time to dedicate myself to baking and cooking again!
Here’s a typical carrot cake recipe from our neighbouring canton of Aargau, one can make lots of jokes about them, but they have some amazing recipes! Carrotts are cultivated in the canton of Aargau, so the story goes that due to the masses of carrots produced, some smart baker invented this cake so the carrots would be used and not thrown away. And, remember, carrots are very healthy! Maybe not so much as a cake, but let’s pretend for once, this is a healthy recipe!

Ingredients for a springform pan of approx. 28cm, square or round:

5 eggs
150 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 lemon, zest and juice
400 g carrotts, finely grated
1-2 ts of cinnamon
1 pinch of  clove powder
1 ts mixed spice (optional)
200 g finely chopped almonds
75 g flour
1/2 ts baking soda
Butter or spray for the pan

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Icing:
150 g icing sugar
1 tbs water
2-3 tbs lemon juice
Preparation:

Heat oven to 180c
Separate the eggs, beat the eggwhites with a pinch of salt until they turn stiff. Set aside in fridge.
Beat the egg yolks and the sugar until you obtain a creamy texture. Mix in the carrotts, the almonds, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, the lemon zest and all the spices. Stir well. Now slowly add the baking soda and the flour, stir again until well blended. Now add the egg whites, stir gently and ensure the dough is very well blended. Spray or butter the pan, pour the dough in the pan and bake for 45 mins. Prepare the icing by stirring the ingredients well together.


When the cake is done (check with a toothpick, if no dough sticks on it, the cake is done), let it cool for a few minutes, remove it from the pan and cover it with the icing. Usually, you would now have to wait for two days until it develops its best flavour, but seriously, who can wait that long??

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Zucchine alla Poverella (aka isi)

 

This is a traditional dish from Puglia, it is ideal to accompany some appetizers or fresh fish or you can mix them with a bowl of pasta. The mint and vinegar gives the zucchini a very fresh taste, just what you want on a hot summer day.

4-6 small zucchini, cut evenly in rondelles of about 4-5 mm
Mint (to your liking, I used about a handful), finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of lemon juice, fresh
1 -2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
Olive oil to fry zucchini
Salt, pepper

 

Cut the zucchini and let the water drain in a bowl (i usually put the zucchini on a plate and cover them with a second heavy plate, so the water extracts from the zucchini, takes about 1hr)
In a pan, fry the zucchini in enough olive oil until golden brown (medium heat).
Turn off the gas and add the mint, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice. Stir well, season with salt and pepper. Let cool off in a bowl and enjoy luke warm or cold.

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