Archive for February, 2008

Room for Dessert has moved to its own domain!

Seeing that I really enjoy food blogging, I decided to move the blog to a domain carrying its own name, most of all in order to have more control over things, like the appearance of every detail in the blog.

You can find the new blog here:

The new address for the RSS feed is:

I apologize for the inconvenience and I welcome you all to continue visiting the blog at its new address.

See you there!


It’s time to make the doughnuts!

Mmmm… Doughnuts… Mad about them since forever, their smell while frying can make me go wild! So how could I say “No” to this great blogging event hosted by Peabody and Tartelette? Make sure you don’t miss this one as well, there isn’t much time left, only until tomorrow night!

Chocolate frosted doughnuts
Frosted with chocolate

It’s only the second time I’ve made doughnuts, ever. The first one was last Hanukkah. We invited Avi’s family over to dinner, and I was daring enough to make not one but two different yeast doughs simultaneously – one for a Focaccia and one for the donuts. And I also had two trays of antipasti in the oven, some salads to make and some cheeses to slice. You can easily understand that the mess was huge… Nevertheless, everything turned out pretty well and all the dishes prepared were tasty. The doughnuts recipe, though, was good but certainly not a keeper.

Vanilla frosted doughnuts
Vanilla frosted

So when I was looking for a recipe to use this time, it was hard for me to decide even the kind of doughnuts I would like to present. The Israeli doughnuts (called “Sufganiot”) came almost instinctively to my mind, along with the Romanian ones (which are called “Gogoshi”). But then I remembered that a while ago, Avi’s brother was toying with the idea of opening a sweets shop, that would sell doughnuts, among other things. When he told me about it I immediately said that I’d join him and make the doughnuts. Problem was that at the time, I’ve never made a single doughnut… Ever since I added trying a Dunkin Doughnuts recipe to my to do list, so this blog event was the perfect opportunity for this. So Sharon, this one is for you 🙂

Another one bites the dust

The result tasted delicious! I wanted to experiment as much as possible this time, so half of the batch I fried, and the other half I baked. I shaped them in 2 different shapes – one is the regular doughnut, and one is little spheres. Some of the spheres (which I fried) I filled with a piece of milk chocolate filled with cream, this came out really good. The rest I left plain, and glazed them after the frying/baking. I made 2 glazes – vanilla (Avi’s favorite) and chocolate. And there were also several doughnuts that I simply dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Sugar dusted
Dusted with confectioners’ sugar

To sum it all up, this doughnut recipe is definitely a keeper! The glazings, if tasted straight from the mixture, are not that hot, but don’t let that scare you – after they get firm on top of your doughnut – they’re great! Especially loved the chocolate glaze!
Thanks Peabody and Tartelette for a great event! I really enjoyed making those cute little things!

All together now
All together now…

Dunkin Doughnuts
Makes 12 big doughnuts or 24 small ones

1 package regular or quick-acting yeast
1/8 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk (30 secs in the microwave)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/6 cup shortening
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a mixing bowl.
2. Add milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening and 1 cup of flour. Beat on low speed while scraping bowl for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 2 minutes.
3. Stir in remaining flour until smooth.
4. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 50-60 minutes.
5. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Roll dough 1/2- inch thick. Cut with round cookie cutter. Cover and let rise on floured baking sheets until double, 30-40 minutes.
6. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 350. Slide doughnuts into hot oil. Turn doughnuts as they turn golden brown, about one minute on each side. Remove carefully from oil (do not prick surfaces) and drain.
7. When cool, glaze with the desired glaze and/or dust with powdered sugar.

Vanilla Glaze:
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Chocolate Glaze:
Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons milk and 1 tablespoon chocolate drink mix (Nestle’s Qwik). If it’s not chocolatey enough, add a little cocoa powder.

Note: If the glaze doesn’t get thick enough, add more milk to the mixture, 1/2 tsp at a time, until it gets the texture you prefer.

Room for mistakes

So we’re 2 months into the strawberries season and I haven’t prepared even one single dessert using them! I did discover several great places to buy beautiful and relatively cheap strawberries, and actually that’s one of the few benefits of my college moving from the lively center of Tel Aviv into the also-lively center of Jaffa… So until now I only bought them for us to eat straight up, or sometimes with a little sugar scattered upon them. But last week I decided to use them for preparing a sweet goodie. I also decided to combine this with making my first ever mousse cake.
Mousse cakes are something I wasn’t technically able to prepare for a long time, since I didn’t have a proper mixer. Since I bought the KitchenAid last September, I’ve been planning to prepare one, but the chance hasn’t come up, and truthfully, I was also a little scared of trying it.

A piece

A piece

Looking for interesting recipes of strawberry mousses, I’ve found Martha Stewart’s recipe for strawberry mousse cake that looked promising, so I decided to take the recipe of only the mousse from it. I combined it with an improvised base made of biscuit crumbs, butter, lemon zest and strawberry puree. For the topping I planned to use Martha’s white chocolate ganache, but Avi doesn’t like eating big amounts of white chocolate, and since there was also white chocolate in the mousse, I decided to use milk chocolate. So far so good. But when we got to the store to buy that milk chocolate – I thought to myself – why not make it even more special and use one regular milk chocolate bar and one Nougat filled milk chocolate bar? This was the crucial mistake that made the topping of the cake lumpy (pieces of the nougat that didn’t dissolve well, I presume), instead of it being silky-smooth, the way ganache should be…

Strawberry and white chocolate mousse cake

To sum up the whole story: the mousse was really tasty and had a great creamy texture, and there was just the right amount of each ingredient in it – the strawberries were very noticeable but didn’t overwhelm it, the amount of sugar was just accurate, and the white chocolate was barely noticeable taste-wise, but contributed to the great general texture. The biscuit base was also wonderful – the lemon zest and the strawberry puree really gave it a good twist. The only thing to improve is the ganache – next time I’ll definitely make it using white or dark chocolate.

Another angle

Strawberry and white chocolate mousse cake / Mousse adapted from Martha Stewart & Self recipe for the base
For a(half-sphere) mold with at least 1.6 liter capacity

For the base:
130 gr petit-beurre biscuits
70 gr butter, melted
2 Tbsp strawberry puree (from the mousse)
the zest of half of a medium-sized lemon

For the mousse:
450 gr (1 pound) strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
230 gr (8 ounces) white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar

For the ganache:
2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream
340 gr (12 ounces) white chocolate, finely chopped
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
whole and halved strawberries, for garnish

Prepare the mousse:
1. Puree halved strawberries in a food processor. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside.
2. Melt chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth; set aside.
3. Put 1/4 cup cool water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir 1/4 cup cream and the confectioners’ sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Pour into bowl with the melted chocolate, and stir until smooth. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the strawberry puree for the base, and whisk the rest of it into the bowl with the chocolate.
4. Put remaining 1 3/4 cups cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until medium peaks form. Whisk one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream using a large rubber spatula. Move into the half-sphere mold and refrigerate 1 hour.

Meanwhile prepare the base:
1. Measure the diameter of the mold that contains the mousse. Measure it at the mousse’s level (and not at the top of the mold), in order to know which diameter should the base have. With the mold I used, the diameter was 20.5 cm. I used an adjustable cake ring, adjusted to 20.5 cm, for forming the base’s shape, it’s also possible to use a regular round pan of the matching size.
2. Smash the biscuits to crumbs using a food processor.
3. Transfer the crumbs to a separate bowl or continue working in the food processor’s bowl (to save the wash of one more dish 🙂 ), and add the melted butter, lemon zest and the 2 Tbsps of strawberry puree. Mix all the ingredients well together.
4. Lay the base mixture out on the bottom of the chosen pan (if you chose to use a ring, its bottom should be sealed with aluminium foil), tighten it using a spatula or the bottom of a clean glass, and put in the freezer until the mousse comes out of the fridge.
5. After the 1 hour has passed, take the mousse out of the fridge and the base out of the freezer, and place the base on top of the mousse. Press the base gently, to attach it to the mousse. Put the mousse in the freezer.

One hour and a half before serving it, prepare the ganache:
1. Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour hot cream over the chocolate in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir in salt and lemon juice. Let stand until ganache is pourable and has cooled slightly.
2. Take the half-sphere mold out of the freezer, put the bottom of it in a bowl with boiling water (the water must not touch the mousse at all) for 2-3 seconds only, then turn the mold upside down and support the base of the mousse with your hand. Give the base a little push, and the whole cake will easily pop out of the mold into your hand. Place a rack on top of a big baking pan, and place the cake on the rack.
3. Pour ganache over top of cake, allowing it to drip down sides. Refrigerate assembled cake 1 hour before serving. Using 2 large spatulas, transfer cake to a serving platter. Garnish with strawberries.

World Nutella Day 2008

World Nutella Day 2008

Even before I’ve started this blog (not so many days ago 🙂 ), I’ve been wanting to participate in a blog event. I just didn’t know in which one.
And then I’ve read that February 5th 2008 is declared to be this year’s Nutella day by Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, and I’ve also read that they are hosting a blog event for this occasion. What a perfect first blog event for me, as a former Nutella addict! (Wanna know how much of an addict? When I was  a kid, once in a few months, my mom would manage to get her hands on a jar of Nutella, and she would happily bring it home to me. I, on my part, would take the jar, kiss her thankfully, and go get myself a teaspoon. Then I would find a comfortable spot that would host my little (or not so little?) behind until I could see the bottom of the jar of this wonderful hazelnut spread. Oh yes, and I would enjoy every bite of it too!).

For this year’s Nutella day I’ve decided to make a recipe that I’ve made several times before, and was a great success every time. These are great Nutella filled roll-shaped cookies, they are made from a very flaky dough, and they melt in your mouth with every bite you take.
The source of this recipe is my favorite Israeli pastry-chef, named Carine Goren. She’s young, has a great character and a smiling face you’d be always happy to watch on cooking shows, but more importantly – every recipe of hers always has a most tasty outcome.

Nutella filled rolled cookies

Nutella filled rolled cookies / recipe by Carine Goren
Makes about 50 cookies

3 1/2 cups (500 gr) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup (100 gr) powdered sugar
250 gr cold butter, diced
2/3 cup (160 ml) milk
1 1/2 cups Nutella spread

1. In food processor process together the flour, baking powder, powdered sugar and butter in short pulses, until you get a flaky mixture.
2. Add the milk and continue processing using short pulses, just until the dough is formed.
3. Heat the oven to 340°F (170° celsius).
4. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Roll out each one of them to a rectangle 1/2 cm (1/5 inch) thick.
5. Spread the Nutella (if the spread is too thick, heat it up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds) on each one of the 3 dough parts, roll each part into a log. Place the logs (the “clean”, stitchless side up) on a big baking pan (I use the oven’s baking pan) with a piece of parchment paper on it.
6. Using a knife, mark slots on each log, a gap of 2 cm (0.8 inch) separates between each slot. This step makes cutting the cookies after baking very easy.
7. Bake for 25-30 mins, until golden.
8. Cool for 30 mins. Using the slots we’ve marked, slice the cookies. Powder them with powdered sugar and keep in a sealed jar at room temperature.

עוגיות מגולגלות ממולאות נוטלה / קרין גורן

3 1/2 כוסות קמח (500 גרם)
1 כף אבקת אפייה
3/4 כוס אבקת סוכר (100 גרם)
250 גרם חמאה קרה, חתוכה לקוביות
2/3 כוס חלב (160 מ”ל)
1 1/2 כוסות ממרח שאוהבים (נוטלה, ממרח תמרים, ריבת חלב, ממרח חלבה, ריבה ועוד)

מכינים את הבצק:
1. במעבד מזון עם להב מתכת מעבדים קמח, אבקת אפייה, אבקת סוכר וקוביות חמאה לתערובת פירורית. מוסיפים חלב ומעבדים בלחיצות קצרות (פולסים) רק עד קבלת בצק אחיד.

ממלאים, מרכיבים ואופים:
2. מחממים תנור ל – 170 מעלות
3. מחלקים את הבצק ל-3 חלקים שווים. מרדדים כל חלק על נייר אפיה מקומח קלות, למלבן בעובי 1/2 ס”מ.
4. מורחים במלית הרצויה, מגלגלים לרולדה ומעבירים לתבנית מרופדת בנייר אפייה (כשהתפר כלפי מטה). חוזרים על הפעולה עם יתרת הבצק והמלית.
5. מסמנים חריצים במרווחים של 2 ס”מ על הרולדות (להקל על חיתוך העוגיות לאחר האפיה) ואופים 25-30 דקות, עד להזהבה.
6. מצננים ופורסים לעוגיות. מקשטים באבקת סוכר ומגישים. שומרים בכלי אטום בטמפ’ החדר.

Spazio per risotti

Whenever anybody asks me what do I feel like eating, there’s a solid 90 percent chance that my reply would be “Italian”. This certainly hasn’t been so my whole life, but I can’t point out the moment in time when this love of mine began. All I remember is that until the age of 10 I absolutely despised pizza (that’s understandable, considering the awful pizza they made in Romania in the 80’s).
About 2 years ago, I discovered rissoto. Ever since, I’ve been a great fan, and it didn’t take long until I started cooking it at home. Seeing how easy it was to cook a great risotto at home, it really baffles me that many restaurants make it so far from perfect. All you really need is some patience on the stirring phase, and there you are. A good recipe might come in handy as well 🙂

Porcini Risotto

Last November, while in Barcelona, we had a great Porcini risotto. It hapenned twice, at two different places, both on Ample street, in the gothic quarter. The first one was at Chardonnay restaurant, where we ate a single time, and luckily for us, the same day they served the porcini risotto on their menu-du-jour (we know that, cause we came back every single day until we left Barcelona, to check whether they may be serving it again…).
The second is called Boga. This is the restaurant we officially ranked as the best of all the ones we’ve been to in Barcelona. It had the porcini risotto on their regular menu, and every other dish we’ve ordered there tasted just divine! It was so good, we came back there 3 times!

Porcini Risotto

This trip left us with a serious craving for porcini risotto, but it mainly left me with a new challenge that I was determined to accomplish – that was making a similar-tasting risotto at home. I thought it would take quite some practice, but my improvised recipe worked wonderfully! You can surely imagine how happy it made me… 🙂

Porcini Risotto / Self Recipe
Makes 2 portions

For the mushrooms:
20 gr butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
140 gr various types of fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
15 gr porcini mushrooms, dried
1-2 Tbsp white wine
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

For the risotto:
1 cup (210 gr) short-grained rice (such as Arborio)
60 gr butter
1/3 cup white wine
3-4 cups chicken stock (approximately, I’ll explain immediately)
salt, ground pepper

Prepare the mushrooms:
1. Let the dried porcini mushrooms stand for 20-30 mins along with a cup of boiling water.
2. Take out the mushrooms, but keep the water they have been staying in for further use.
3. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and fry it for 2 mins. Add the mushrooms and continue frying for 5 more mins.
4. Add the white wine and continue frying for 5 more mins.
5. Add the parsley, stir them in and fry for two more mins. Put aside.

Prepare the risotto:
1. Melt the butter in a cooking pot, add the rice and stir for about 5 mins.
2. Pour in the wine and continue stirring for 4 mins.
3. Pour in the stock, cup by cup. Only when it starts to run out of fluids, add the next cup. Continue doing so until the rice reaches the degree of softness you prefer (there’s a chance you won’t need all the stock). In this phase also add the water in which the porcini have stayed. This adds a great taste of mushrooms to the rissoto. My advice is to add it little by little and taste each time – until it reaches the flavor of your preference. I added 1/3 – 1/2 cup. During this phase it’s most important to stir constantly, so your risotto won’t stick to the pot. It should take about 20 mins in total.
4. Add the mushrooms, stir until well blended, add salt and pepper according to taste and serve immediately. It’s great to serve it aside with some grated parmigiano cheese.

ריזוטו פורצ’יני / מתכון עצמי – מירי רביבו

20 גרם חמאה
1 בצל קטן, מקולף וקצוץ דק
140 גרם פטריות מסוגים שונים (שמפיניון, יער, ירדן) קצוצות דק
15 גרם פטריות פורצ’יני מיובשות
1-2 כפות יין לבן
1 כף פטרוזיליה קצוצה

1 כוס (210 גרם) אורז ריזוטו עגול, שטוף
60 גרם חמאה
1/3 כוס יין לבן
3-4 כוסות ציר עוף
מלח, פלפל שחור טחון

להכנת הפטריות:
1. להשרות את פטריות הפורצ’יני בקערה יחד עם כוס מים רותחים למשך 20-30 דקות.
2. לסנן את הפטריות, ולשמור את המים שבהם הן הושרו לשימוש מאוחר יותר.
3. להמיס את החמאה במחבת, להוסיף את הבצל הקצוץ ולטגן למשך 2 דקות. להוסיף את הפטריות ולהמשיך לטגן למשך 5 דקות נוספות.
4. להוסיף את היין הלבן ולטגן עוד 5 דקות.
5. להוסיף את הפטרוזיליה, לערבב ולהוריד מהאש כעבור 2 דקות. לשמור בצד.

להכנת הריזוטו:
1. להמיס את החמאה בסיר בינוני, להוסיף את הריזוטו ולערבב במשך כחמש דקות, עד שהאורז עצמו חם ועטוף כולו בחמאה.
2. להוסיף את היין ולהמשיך לערבב כ-4 דקות נוספות.
3. להוסיף פנימה את הציר, מצקת לאחר מצקת. להוסיף את המצקת הבאה רק לאחר שהנוזלים מהוספת המצקת הקודמת כמעט ונספגו לגמרי. בשלב זה יש להוסיף גם חלק ממי ההשריה של הפטריות. זה ייתן לאורז עצמו טעם נפלא של פטריות. גם כאן ההמלצה שלי היא להוסיף בכל פעם מעט, לערבב ואז לטעום – עד שזה יגיע לטעם האהוב עליכם. אני הוספתי בין 1/3 ל 1/2 כוס. ממשיכים כך בהוספת נוזלים עד שהאורז מגיע לדרגת הרכות המועדפת עליכם. בשלב זה מאוד חשוב לערבב טוב את הריזוטו, על מנת שלא ידבק לתחתית הסיר. השלב הזה כולו אמור לקחת בסביבות ה-20 דקות.
4. להוסיף את תערובת הפטריות, לערבב עד שהן נטמעו באופן אחיד בריזוטו. להוסיף מלח ופלפל לפי הטעם ולהגיש מיד. אפשר ואף רצוי להגיש את הריזוטו עם גבינת פרמזן מגוררת בצידו – מעדן אמיתי!