Archive for January, 2008

Gone Nutty

The title of this post combines two things that are very close to my heart – nuts, obviously, and Scrat, that wonderfully cute squirrel from Ice Age (“Gone Nutty” is the name of a short film that Scrat is starring in, as usual chasing his beloved acorn). In fact Avi and I love Scrat so much, that he appeared on our wedding invitation! ๐Ÿ™‚

The front side of our weddingย invitation
The front cover of our wedding invitation, designed by Avi.
The text says: “A love so pure hasn’t been witnessed since Ice Age ”

 

Beforeย Oven
The pie before entering the oven

And back to the nuts – well, I totally fell in love with them as a kid, when my grandma first made a cake that I cannot even remember its looks, butย its taste and textureย are still vivid in my mouth! It had a crispy base, a half-soft-half-firm nutty filling and a grilled top made of cripsy dough. One of my definite favorites of all her cakes. So naturally, when Iย  first discovered the nowadays version of that cake – Pecan Pies – it almost automatically became my absolute favorite dessert.

A piece of thisย goody!

One thing that isn’t very clear to me is why on earth it took me so long to bake one of my own. Had I known I had such a great recipe just waiting to be made, I swear i would have baked it earlier! The recipe is by one of the best Israeli pastry-chefs named Roni Venezia.

Halfย Eaten

Pecan Pie / Roni Venezia,ย with minor changes I’ve made
Makes one 26cm (10-inch) pie

Ingredients:
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
175 gr cold butter, diced
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp ice water

For the filling:
3 Tbsp (45 gr) butter, diced
1 1/3 cups light corn syrup
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp Frangelico liqueur (hazelnuts liqueur, I didn’t have it so I used Amareto, you can also use Brandy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 (150 gr) pecan nuts, chopped
2 cups (200 gr) pecan nuts halves (I used only 110 gr)

For the glaze (my addition, since I like the pecans glossy):
2 Tbsp apricot jam
2 Tbsp very hot water

Prepare the dough:
1. Process flour, sugar and butter in food processor.
Process using short pulses, just until a crumbly mixture is formed.
2. Add the egg yolk and the cold water. Continue processing in pulses just until the dough is formed.
3. Wrap the dough with plastic, and refrigerate for an hour.
4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator,ย ย place it onto a lightly floured work surface, and scatter a little flour over the top (I always place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap – I found out that it’s the easiest way for me to roll out crispy dough), roll it out and line the pie pan with it.ย Heat the oven to 340ยฐF (170ยฐ celsius).ย ย Freeze the pan with the dough in it for 10 mins.
5. Partially blind bake the crust, until its color becomes light golden.
6. Let cool in the pan on a rack before filling.

Prepare the filling:
1. Melt the butter In a small pot.
2. Move the melted butter into a bowl, and add to it the corn syrup, the sugar, the egg, the yolks, the liqueur and the vanilla extract. Whisk it until well blended.
3. Add the chopped nuts to the mixture and blend well.
4. Place the pie pan on a larger ban (the oven’s pan, for instance) and pour the mixture over the dough. Arrange the nuts halves neatly upon the mixture (if you want to arrange them in circles – arrange them starting with the outer circle).
5. Bake the pie for 40-50 mins, or until the center is softly set.
6. Let the pie rest for 15 mins. Then mix the apricot jam with the hot water and gently spread the mixture on top of the pie. This will get your pecans to look shiny and beautiful!
7. Let the pie rest for at least 30 mins totalย before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ืืช ื”ืžืชื›ื•ืŸ ื‘ืขื‘ืจื™ืช ืฉืœ ืคืื™ ื”ืคืงืืŸ ื”ื ืคืœื ื”ื–ื” ื ื™ืชืŸ ืœืžืฆื•ื ื‘ืืชืจ ืขืœ ื”ืฉื•ืœื—ืŸ

Eatenโ€ฆย :)

 

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Chocolate – the endless pursuit

Premium Double Chocolateย Cookiesย 

Wherever there’s chocolate – count me in. Apparently even before I was born, I was a sucker for chocolate, and if you want proof – ask my mom. Sweets in general, and chocolate in particular, have never been her favorite foods, but when she was pregnant with me, she started eating a whole chocolate bar a day.ย This tasty ritual of hers lasted for 9 months, andย stopped the day she gave birth to me. So much for children not being already born with character ๐Ÿ™‚
So ever since I’ve been a great fan of chocolate, in all shapes and flavors. Even now, whenever I’m looking for an interesting recipe to prepare, those that contain chocolate appeal to me most.
And so it happened, that on our way to our honeymoon, Avi (my husband) and I bought an issue of “Bon Appetit” to read during the flight. As we were browsing through it, these wonderful looking cookies cought our eye, and we marked them ‘to immediately make when coming home’. As it often happens, the ‘immediately’ has been postponed to 2 months after we got back, when one Friday afternoon the cookies popped right back into Avi’s mind, and he asked me when I would bake them. ‘Now, of course!’ was my answer, and I got right ahead.
The outcome was simply delicious! These are very rich texturedย cookies, with a great chocolate flavor! I’d be definitely making these again, and again, and…well, you know, againย ๐Ÿ™‚

Premium Double Chocolateย Cookies

Premium Double Chocolateย Cookies / Ghirardelli chocolate factoryย 
Makes: 24 cookies

12 ounces (340 gr) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
11 1/2 ounces (325 gr)ย Bittersweet Chocolate
6ย Tbsps (85 gr)ย unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (110 gr)ย chopped walnuts

1. In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter.
2. In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick; stir into chocolate mixture.
3. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts.
4. Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrape to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. (Dough may be frozen; thaw in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.)
5. Heat oven to 375ยฐF (190ยฐ celsius). Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
6. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet; store in airtight tin up to 1 week.

ืขื•ื’ื™ื•ืช Premium Double Chocolate / ืžืชื›ื•ืŸ ืžื‘ื™ืช ื”ื™ื•ืฆืจ ืฉืœ ืฉื•ืงื•ืœื“ Ghirardelli

ืจื›ื™ื‘ื™ื:

325 ื’ืจื ืฉื•ืงื•ืœื“ ืžืจื™ืจ
85 ื’ืจื ื—ืžืื”
3 ื‘ื™ืฆื™ื
1 ื›ื•ืก ืกื•ื›ืจ
1/3 ื›ื•ืก ืงืžื—
1/2 ื›ืคื™ืช ืื‘ืงืช ืืคื™ื”
340 ื’ืจื ืฉื•ืงื•ืœื“ ืฆ’ื™ืคืก
110 ื’ืจื ืื’ื•ื–ื™ ืžืœืš ืงืฆื•ืฆื™ื ื’ืก (ืื ื™ ื”ืฉืชืžืฉืชื™ ื‘ืคืงืืŸ ื˜ื‘ืขื™)

ืื•ืคืŸ ื”ื”ื›ื ื”:

1. ืžืžื™ืกื™ื ื—ืžืื” ื•ืฉื•ืงืœื“ ืฆ’ื™ืคืก ืžืขืœ ื‘ื™ื™ืŸ-ืžืืจื™.
2. ืžืงืฆื™ืคื™ื ื‘ื™ืฆื™ื ื•ืกื•ื›ืจ ื‘ืžื™ืงืกืจ ืขื“ ืฉืžืชืงื‘ืœ ืงืฆืฃ ื™ืฆื™ื‘. ืžืงืคืœื™ื ืืช ื”ืงืฆืฃ ืฉื ื•ืฆืจ ืœืชื•ืš ืชืขืจื•ื‘ืช ื”ืฉื•ืงื•ืœื“ ื•ื”ื—ืžืื”.
3. ื‘ืงืขืจื” ืงื˜ื ื” ืœืขืจื‘ื‘ ืงืžื— ื•ืื‘ืงืช ืืคื™ื”. ืœื”ื•ืกื™ืฃ ืืช ืชืขืจื•ื‘ืช ื”ืงืžื— ืœืชืขืจื•ื‘ืช ื”ืฉื•ืงื•ืœื“ ื•ืœืขืจื‘ื‘ ืจืง ืขื“ ืœืงื‘ืœืช ืชืขืจื•ื‘ืช ืื—ื™ื“ื”.
4. ืžืขืจื‘ื‘ื™ื ืคื ื™ืžื” ื‘ืขื“ื™ื ื•ืช ืืช ื”ืฉื•ืงื•ืœื“ ืฆ’ื™ืคืก ื•ื”ืื’ื•ื–ื™ื ืขื“ ืฉื ื˜ืžืขื™ื ื‘ืื•ืคืŸ ืื—ื™ื“.
5. ื™ื•ืฆืจื™ื ืžื”ื‘ืฆืง ืฉื ื™ ื’ืœื™ืœื™ื ืžืื•ืจื›ื™ื, ืขื•ื˜ืคื™ื ื‘ื ื™ื™ืœื•ืŸ ื ืฆืžื“ ื•ืžืขื‘ื™ืจื™ื ืœืžืงืจืจ ืœืฉืขื” ืœืคื—ื•ืช, ืื• ืขื“ ืœื”ืชืžืฆืงื•ืช ืฉืชืืคืฉืจ ืœื ื• ื—ื™ืชื•ืš ืงืœ ื‘ืขื–ืจืช ืกื›ื™ืŸ ืฉืœ ื”ืขื•ื’ื™ื•ืช.
6. ื›ืจื‘ืข ืฉืขื” ืœืคื ื™ ื”ื›ื ืกืช ื”ืขื•ื’ื™ื•ืช ืœืชื ื•ืจ ืžื—ืžืžื™ื ืชื ื•ืจ ืœ – 190 ืžืขืœื•ืช.
7. ืœื—ืชื•ืš ืคืจื•ืกื•ืช ืžืŸ ื”ื’ืœื™ืœ ื‘ืขื•ื‘ื™ ื”ืจืฆื•ื™ ืฉืœ ื”ืขื•ื’ื™ื•ืช, ื•ืœืกื“ืจ ื‘ืื•ืคืŸ ืžืจื•ื•ื— ืขืœ ื’ื‘ื™ ืชื‘ื ื™ืช ืžืจื•ืคื“ืช ื‘ื ื™ื™ืจ ืืคื™ื”.
8. ืœืืคื•ืช 12-14 ื“ืงื•ืช, ืื• ืขื“ ืฉืขืœ ื’ื‘ื™ ืฉื˜ื— ื”ืคื ื™ื ื”ืขืœื™ื•ืŸ ืฉืœ ื”ืขื•ื’ื™ื•ืช ื ื•ืฆืจ ืงืจื•ื ืžื‘ืจื™ืง, ืืš ืคื ื™ื ื”ืขื•ื’ื™ื•ืช ืขื“ื™ื™ืŸ ืจืš.

A great apple pie

Apple piesย and cakes are a great weakness of mine since I wasย a little girl. Back in Romania, my grandma, who was a great cook and baker, would make the perfect apple cake. Or was it a pie? It’s something in between, actually.ย  In one of my next posts, I’ll prepare and write about that Romanian apple cake.
Anyway, I’m constantly in a search for the best apple pie. It’s something you gotta have, right? This one is my current favorite.
Before even finding its recipe, I’ve read great recommendations of it in various food forums, they all talked about Amira’s apple pie as the best you’ve ever made. So I found the recipe and obviously tried it. The results stood up to the high expectations I’ve built around this pie. The crust is crispy, and the apple filling doesn’t make it moist, due to the biscuits crumbs that you need to place onto the pie dough before adding the filling to it. The filling was great, with a beautiful cinammon aroma in it.
This was the first time I’ve made a double crusted pie. The shape of the top crust was made using a stencil.

ย Appleย Pie

Makes one 24cm (9-inch) pie

Ingredients:
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp sugar
150 gr cold butter, cut into squares
1 pinch of salt
4-6 Tbsp ice-cold water

For the filling:
5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
25 gr butter, cut into small squares
1/2 cup biscuit crumbs

For the topping:
25 gr butter, melted

Prepare the dough:
1. Process flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter in food processor.
Process using short pulses, just until a crumbly mixture is formed.
2. Add the cold water spoon by spoon, and continue processing in pulses
until the dough is formed (you may not need all the water).
3. Divide the dough into 2 halves, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate both
parts for at least an hour and max. 24 hours. The dough can also be freezed for a month or two for further use.

Prepare the filling:
1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the butter and biscuit crumbs.
2. Grease a 24 cm (9 inch) pie pan. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius degreesย (356 Fahrenheit).
3. Take out one part of the dough from the refrigerator, roll it out and line the pie pan with it.
4. Scatter the biscuit crumbs upon the dough. These will absorb the apples’ liquids and prevent the dough from being all too moist.
5. Arrange the apples upon the biscuit crumbs, and scatter the small butter squares evenly upon the apples.
6. Roll out the second part of the dough.
7. Use a stencil to create the grilled shape with the dough. If you don’t have a stencil, you can use a small cookie cutter to form shapes in a uniform manner, or you can place all of it as is on top of the pie, and form a single hole in its middle.
8. Place the dough on top of the apples and butter, and gently press it onto the pan, to seal it as much as possible.
9. Brush the top lightly with the melted butter.
10. Bake for about 45 mins, or until the top crust is golden brown, rotating the pan as necessary for even baking.
11. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Let rest for at least 20 mins before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ย ืคืื™ ืชืคื•ื—ื™ื /ย ืืžื™ืจื”, ืื—ื“ ืžืคื•ืจื•ืžื™ ื”ืื•ื›ืœ ื”ืฉื•ื ื™ื

ืœื‘ืฆืง:
2 ื›ื•ืกื•ืช ืงืžื— ืจื’ื™ืœ
1 ื›ืคื™ืช ืื‘ืงืช ืืคื™ื”
4 ื›ืคื•ืช ืกื•ื›ืจ
150 ื’ืจื ื—ืžืื” ืงืจื” ืงืจื” ื—ืชื•ื›ื” ืœืงื•ื‘ื™ื•ืช
ืงื•ืจื˜ ืžืœื—
4-6 ื›ืคื•ืช ืžื™ ืงืจื—

ืœืžืœื™ืช:
5 ืชืคื•ื—ื™ ื’ืจื ื™ ืกืžื™ืช (ื™ืจื•ืงื™ื ื—ืžืฆืžืฆื™ื) ืงืœื•ืคื™ื ื•ืคืจื•ืกื™ื ืœืคืจื•ืกื•ืช ื“ืงื•ืช
1 ื›ืฃ ืžื™ืฅ ืœื™ืžื•ืŸ
3/4 ื›ื•ืก ืกื•ื›ืจ
1 ื›ืฃ ืงืžื—
1 ื›ืคื™ืช ืงื™ื ืžื•ืŸ ื˜ื—ื•ืŸ
25 ื’ืจื ื—ืžืื” ื‘ืงื•ื‘ื™ื•ืช ืงื˜ื ื•ืช
1/2 ื›ื•ืก ืคื™ืจื•ืจื™ ื‘ื™ืกืงื•ื™ื˜

ืœืฆื™ืคื•ื™:
25 ื’ืจื ื—ืžืื” ืžื•ืžืกืช

ืื•ืคืŸ ื”ื”ื›ื ื”:
ืœื‘ืฆืง:
ื‘ืžืขื‘ื“ ืžื–ื•ืŸ ืœืขื‘ื“ ื‘ืคื•ืœืกื™ื ืงืฆืจื™ืย ืงืžื—, ืื‘ืงืช ืืคื™ื”, ืžืœื—, ืกื•ื›ืจ.
ืœื”ื•ืกื™ืฃ ืืช ื”ื—ืžืื” ื•ืœืขื‘ื“ ืžืกืคืจ ืฉื ื™ื•ืช.
ืœื”ื•ืกื™ืฃ ื›ืฃ ืื—ืจ ื›ืฃ ืืช ืžื™ ื”ืงืจื— ืขื“ ืฉืžืชื—ื™ืœ ืœื”ืชื’ื‘ืฉ ื‘ืฆืง.
ื›ื›ืœ ืฉืžืขื‘ื“ื™ื ืคื—ื•ืช ื”ื‘ืฆืง ื™ื•ืชืจ ืžื•ืฆืœื—.
ืžื—ืœืงื™ื ื”ื‘ืฆืง ืœ-2 ื—ืœืงื™ื, ืžืฉื˜ื—ื™ื ืœื“ื™ืกืงื” ืขื’ื•ืœื” ื•ืขื‘ื”, ืขื•ื˜ืคื™ื ื›ืœ ืื—ื“ ื‘ื ื™ืœื•ืŸ ื ืฆืžื“ ื•ืžื ื™ื—ื™ื ื‘ืžืงืจืจ ืœืคื—ื•ืช ืœืฉืขื”(ื›ืฉื—ื..ืืคื™ืœื• ื™ื•ืชืจ)

ืœืžืœื™ืช:
ื‘ืงืขืจื” ื’ื“ื•ืœื” ืžืขืจื‘ื‘ื™ื ื”ื™ื˜ื‘ ืืช ื›ืœ ื”ืžืฆืจื›ื™ื, ื—ื•ืฅ ืžืคื™ืจื•ืจื™ ื”ื‘ื™ืกืงื•ื™ื˜ื™ื ื•ืงื•ื‘ื™ื•ืช ื”ื—ืžืื”.
ืžืฉืžื ื™ื ื‘ื—ืžืื” ืชื‘ื ื™ืช ืคืื™ ื‘ืงื•ื˜ืจ 24 ืก”ืž.
ืžื—ืžืžื™ื ืชื ื•ืจ ืœ-180 ืžืขืœื•ืช.
ืžื•ืฆื™ืื™ื ื—ืœืง ืื—ื“ ืฉืœ ื”ื‘ืฆืง ืžื”ืžืงืจืจ, ืžืจื“ื“ื™ื (ื”ื›ื™ ื ื•ื— ื‘ื™ืŸ 2 ื™ืจื™ืขื•ืช ื ื™ืœื•ืŸ ื ืฆืžื“) ืœืขื™ื’ื•ืœ ื’ื“ื•ืœ ื‘ืžืขื˜ ืžืงื•ื˜ืจ ื”ืชื‘ื ื™ืช.
ืžื ื™ื—ื™ื ื”ื‘ืฆืง ื‘ืชื‘ื ื™ืช, ืžืฆืžื™ื“ื™ื ื•ืžืกื™ืจื™ื ืขื•ื“ืคื™ื ืžื”ืฉื•ืœื™ื™ื.
ืžืคื–ืจื™ื ืขืœ ื”ื‘ืฆืง ืืช ืคื™ืจื•ืจื™ ื”ื‘ื™ืกืงื•ื™ื˜.
ืžืขืœื™ื”ื ื‘ืขืจื™ืžื” ืืช ื”ืชืคื•ื—ื™ื, ื•ืžืคื–ืจื™ื ืืช ืงื•ื‘ื™ื•ืช ื”ื—ืžืื”.
ืžืจื“ื“ื™ื ืืช ื”ื—ืœืง ื”ืฉื ื™ ืฉืœ ื”ื‘ืฆืง ื‘ืื•ืชื• ืื•ืคืŸ.
ื™ื•ืฆืจื™ื ืืช ืฆื•ืจืช ื”ืจืฉืช ืžืขืœ ื”ืขื•ื’ื” ื‘ืขื–ืจืช ืฉื‘ืœื•ื ื”. ืœืžื™ ืฉืื™ืŸ ืฉื‘ืœื•ื ื”, ื ื™ืชืŸ ืœื™ืฆื•ืจย ื—ื•ืจื™ื ื‘ื‘ืฆืงย ืขื ื—ื•ืชื›ืŸ ืงื˜ืŸ, ืื• ืคืงืง ืฉืœ ื‘ืงื‘ื•ืง, ืœื™ืฆื™ืจืช ื“ื•ื’ืžื ืฉืœ ืจืฉืช ืžื”ื‘ืฆืง.
ืžื ื™ื—ื™ื ืืช ื”ื‘ืฆืง ื‘ื–ื”ื™ืจื•ืช ืขืœ ื”ืชืคื•ื—ื™ื ื•ืžืฆืžื™ื“ื™ื ื”ื™ื˜ื‘ ืืœ ืฉื•ืœื™ ื”ืชื‘ื ื™ืช.
ืžื•ืจื—ื™ื ืืช ื”ื‘ืฆืง ื‘ื—ืžืื” ื”ืžื•ืžืกืช, ืžื“ื‘ื™ืงื™ื ืขืœื™ื• ืœืงื™ืฉื•ื˜ ืืช ื”ืฆื•ืจื•ืช ืฉื”ื•ืฆืื ื• ื•ืžื•ืจื—ื™ื ื’ื ืื•ืชืŸ ื‘ื—ืžืื”. ืžื›ื ื™ืกื™ื ืœืชื ื•ืจ ื•ืื•ืคื™ื ื›-45 ื“ืงื•ืช ืขื“ ืฉื”ืคืื™ ืžื–ื”ื™ื‘.
ืจืฆื•ื™ ืœื ืœื—ืชื•ืš ื›ืฉื—ื…ืœื”ื’ื™ืฉ ืคื•ืฉืจ ืื• ืงืจ ืขื ื›ื“ื•ืจ ื’ืœื™ื“ืช ื•ื ื™ืœ…ืฉื™ืœื•ื‘ ืžืฆื•ื™ืŸ…

Hello World

Hi everyone, and you’re most welcome!

I have to admit that if you’ve told me a year ago that today I’d be opening a food blog, then I guess I’d had told you that you must be joking (to put it mildly :). Don’t get me wrong, I love to share, but when it comes to food, I only now understand how much!
So, about an year ago, being in an unfortunate andย long illness vacation from work, I discovered the great world of baking. It started with food networks and forums that I’ve began reading, just to learn a few things, you know. So I read and I read, and I read a bit more. Then I’ve witnessed all the mouth-watering photos of the great creations the people on these forums had uploaded, and it made me really want to do it myself. And so I’ve entered the kitchen, and figuratively, never leftย itย ๐Ÿ™‚

Here I’ll be writing about food Iย prepare, and any interesting insights I might have.
It’s great to have you here!