Friday, December 24, 2010

Maple Cookies

Usually this is the time for the Daring Bakers, but unfortunately I didn't have time to do the challenge this month, since I just got married two weeks ago. It was a wonderful winter wonderland wedding. Back to the Daring Bakers, we were asked to make a typical German Christmas treat: Stollen. There is really no Christmas without Stollen in Germany, and you can find all kinds of variations, with different fillings and in different sizes. I made a Poppy Seed-Marzipan Stollen last year, which was very good.

I still have a recipe for you today though. Remembering my home for the last few years, I made those Canadian Maple Leaf cookies. They use a good portion of maple syrup in the dough and as glaze. A very Canadian Cookie. We have much snow ourselves this year in Germany, so a white Christmas is a sure bet.

I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful Merry Christmas together with people you love and hope you enjoy lots of sweets wherever you are.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Crostata

It's time for Daring Baker's again, and looking back, my last post was also for the Daring Baker's. I have been absent from my blog, because I have a lot to do right now., exciting things. The big news I want to share with you today is: I am getting married, and this will be already in less than two weeks!

We didn't take a lot of time for planning, only about three month, so with a lot of DIY projects, there was not much time for anything else. As it looks right now we are gonna have a romantic Winter Wonderland.

I still managed to make the Crostata though. I really like this type of cake. I made lots of jam over the summer, so this was perfect. I went with a Greengage jam for the filling, which is a kind of plum. It is a little on the sour side, so it made a perfect filling for the Crostata.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Doughnuts

Oh my, it's Daring Bakers time again, and wasn't my last post also for the Daring Bakers. Time really flies and I am sorry to say that I didn't have the time or muse to post anything in between. But these doughnuts were too good to just let them go.

I never made doughnuts before, but I always loved them. Here in Germany we have the "Berliner", which are just doughnuts without a hole and filled with jam. Sometimes during carnival or on New Years Eve, it can happen that somebody plays a joke on you and fills one with mustard.

I made a variety of the yeast doughnut recipe, regular doughnuts, Berliner filled with strawberry jam, and just some small round ones. Those I usually get during any summer fair or at the Christmas market. They were so good, I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately so good that all but a few of the little rounds didn't survive to the photo shoot.

I will definitely make this recipe again, but what I wouldn't recommend is to store the dough overnight in the fridge and fry another badge the next day. They didn't taste close as good as the first ones. I don't know if it was the used oil or the storing though.

In the meantime I have won third place with my "Berry Lovely Cake" picture in the September DMBLGIT Contest. I am very happy that I won two times in a row, and the submissions were again awesome. Thank you SunshineMom for hosting.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Decorated Sugar Cookies

I was afraid and excited about this month' Daring Bakers Challenge at the same time. We had to make sugar cookies. Well, you might say, everybody makes sugar cookies. But we had to make those beautiful decorated ones, which you will see in many books, as favors or in pretty stores.

I always admired those, but after one not so successful try, I just stayed with my old time sugar cookies, just "painted" with a sugar glaze. OK, now I had to try again. And yes, they really deserve the high prices in stores, because it is really difficult to decorate them so immaculate. I guess I have to practice a lot more.

I decided to make graduation cookies, since my sweetheart finally finished his PhD this month. I am very proud of him and I had them ready when I picked him up from the airport. So, my darling these are for you. Congratulations!

I didn't have the right cookie cutters for them, so I cut them out from cardboard. This is a good idea if you need a special shape, but don't find it anywhere or don't wanna buy it just for one occasion.

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rustic Fruit Desserts - Book review

Fruits are my favorite ingredient for desserts. I like to use what is in season, because then it will have its best taste. Most of my fruit desserts are on the rustic site. Everyday cakes and crumbles, a creamy dessert with fruit topping or a compote.

Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson is the perfect book for all those simple but good recipes. There are no fancy cakes or elegant desserts, but there are a lot of those homey comforting ones, those people usually crave the most.

The recipes are divided by season, which I find very useful. There is a little introduction about the different kinds of desserts like crumble, slump and pandowdy. You will find about 70 recipes, of which about a third have a picture. I really like pictures in cookbooks, but since in this case I think it's a good enough amount, because the type of desserts will look pretty similar anyways. At the end is a section with basic pantry recipes, like jam or ice-cream.

I already posted two adapted recipes on my blog. My last post was the Blackberry Nectarine Crumble, which I adapted from the "rhubarb, oat, and pecan crumble" in the book. This is definitely my favorite crumble recipe, and I made it many times with different fruits. Last year I made the Apple Cranberry Pie, adapted from the"apple blackberry pie."

I also really liked the "lemon buttermilk rhubarb bundt cake", which you can see on the next picture. It was very moist and has a great tartness from the rhubarb and buttermilk. You can keep it for a few days.

The next cake,  I would suggest for a more special day. Even rustic, I think it looks rather elegant and is a real treat.  It is a "rhubarb cream cheese pie with fresh strawberries". You have a baked rhubarb cheesecake, which is topped with beautiful strawberries. A perfect combo.

Other recipes I made are:

Cranberry buckle with vanilla crumb: very nice coffee cake, with fresh cranberries

Rhubarb fool: very simple and good recipe, ginger gives the rhubarb an interesting taste

Strawberry and ricotta tart: a nice variation to the classic strawberry tart with pastry cream, filling is a little on the soft side

Rustic Fruit Desserts is a book for your everyday recipes, with a nice touch. It has nice pictures and a pretty look with its thick paper. I used it a lot already, and can really recommend it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blackberry Nectarine Crumble

In the last few years we were lucky to know a few places in Vancouver where you can find lots of blackberries. They were always very sweet and there was an abundant amount of them. In no time my basket was full. This year we have our own blackberries in the garden, but I must say the wild ones always taste sweeter, maybe because it seems like a little treasure hunt if you take a walk and find them. Nevertheless our blackberries are still tasty. Perfect in combination with some nectarines.

I made my favorite crumble recipe from the book Rustic Fruit Desserts. I love this crumble recipe, it's very simple and goes very well with all kinds of fruit. I have made it before with rhubarb, rhubarb & strawberry, rhubarb & apricot and peach & apricot. You should try it with your favorite fruit combination.

Now, I have some happy news to share. I won second place with my picture of the red currant cakes in glass jars at this month' DMBLGIT contest! I always admired the awarded pictures and am very honored to be one of them now. Thank you very much for choosing my picture and thank you to CookSister for hosting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Baked Alaska with Blueberry-Ricotta ice-cream

Well, I never thought of putting ice-cream into a hot oven, but this month it was time to try something daring. Yup, it's Daring Bakers' time again. This month challenge was to make a Baked Alaska. A Baked Alaska is a dessert which contains of a cake base, in this case a totally yummy brown butter cake, this is topped with ice cream. Then the whole cake is spread with meringue, which serves as an insulator, when the cake is put in the oven.

For the ice-cream I made a Blueberry-Ricotta ice-cream. We were lucky the other day, when we took a hike to find a huge patch of wild blueberries. There were endless bushes of ripe and juicy berries, and in no time we had filled our basket. Those wild berries have a lot of flavor and made the ice-cream really stand out.

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Apricot Jam and an Apricot-Almond Sheet Cake

Apricots are now the peak of their season in Europe. I especially like the apricots from France, because they are firm, and yet sweet and juicy, so they are perfect to put on a cake. They are also good for making jams, and I made a batch of apricot-vanilla jam last week. It's one of the most versatile jams for baking. It tastes great as a glaze on fruit tarts, danish pastries and as filling in cakes like a Sacher torte. I will be using my apricot-vanilla jam for glazing for my recipe today, and I recommend you to make some for yourself whenever you find some nice apricots.

Apricots also goes very well with almonds, since they have similar taste profiles. Sometimes apricot kernels are used to make persipan, which is a cheaper alternative to marzipan, which is made from almonds. This cake has both ground almonds in the dough, and slivered almonds on top. There is no need to put it in the fridge; it will keep well for a couple of days in a cool place.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Berry Lovely Cake for my first Blog Anniversary

Today my little blog is turning one year old. I can't believe how fast the last year passed. It's been very rewarding to share my photographs and baking with all of you. It is always encouraging to read all the nice comments and I really appreciate them.

I made a few updates to the site, I hope you all like it. For the future I hope to post more frequently with more pictures. Now, being back with my family in Germany I have a lot more people to bake for. They are already complaining about their expanding waistlines.

For this special anniversary I made, of course, a berry cake. It has a sponge base, a creamy white chocolate and mascarpone cream and is topped with lots of fresh mixed berries. The prefect summer cake.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Red Currant Cakes in glass jars

Red currants are still in abundance in our garden, so I made a batch of little cakes in glass jars to preserve them. I have made some cakes in glass jars before, and they make a really nice gift. You don't need any special glasses, anything heatproof, like jam glasses, with a wide opening works fine. Of course you can also bake them in a regular muffin pan.

The special ingredient here is muesli, which will give you a mix of oatmeal and other good things, like nuts or dried fruits. You can choose any muesli type you like, but it must be a dry type. Granola is also not suitable.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice-Cream Cake

Perfect for the hot summer weather the Daring Bakers' theme this month was an ice-cream cake. Lucky for me, I was just reunited with my ice-cream maker in Germany and couldn't wait to bring it to use, after a long time in storage.

The outside of the cake contains of a biscuit roll, which in the past I always had problems rolling. This recipe was great and it was easy to manage. I was very busy picking fresh strawberries this season, so I filled the roll with homemade strawberry-vanilla jam and vanilla whipped cream.

The ice-creams I made were also strawberry and dark chocolate. I never thought I would make an ice-cream cake before, but I really liked it, and will definitely make it again. There are so many endless flavor combination that this is really a cake for all seasons. Check out some of my fellow Daring Bakers and there awesome flavor ideas.

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Red Currant and Almond Cake

We have a huge amount of red currants in our garden this year. The branches are so heavy that they already lean down. For my taste red currants are a little sour to eat raw, maybe if you put them in yogurt or muesli. But red currants are perfect for baking and jam making. I already made some batches of jam, which I will post soon.

This cake has a nice hint of tartness, but is still sweet enough through the topping of caramelized almonds. The batter is made from whipping cream instead of butter which gives a light texture. After the first baking a mascarpone cream and caramelized almonds are added. Be sure to use a deep enough cake pan. I tried to make the cake in a tart form first, but the batter came way to high.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rhubarb Cheesecake

Rhubarb season in Germany is slowly coming to an end, so I had to take advantage of our garden supply and bake one last rhubarb cake for the season. This rhubarb cheesecake has a very nice tartness to it and a lovely buttery crust. If you can't find rhubarb anymore the cake works also very well with sour cherries.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Pavlovas was this month Daring Bakers' challenge, more specific Chocolate pavlovas filled with a chocolate mousse. This dessert is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and probably originated in New Zealand. The base is a meringue which is crisp on the outside, but still chewy on the inside. It is usually topped with whipped cream and various fruits. I made a version with berries last year.

The chocolate mousse is very rich and pairs very good with strawberries. I was lucky that just this weekend the fields for picking your own berries opened. Those self picked berries are always the best and half always go to my tummy right away. It was a very nice dessert, but I think for next time I would probably just make one of the chocolate components, as they were really rich.

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Poppy Seed Cheesecake with Rhubarb Topping

First of all I have to apologize for the long absence from my blog. I was moving back to Germany, which took a lot of time and organizing. So not so much time for baking, photographing and blogging.

I was happy to see that there was a lot of rhubarb ready to be picked in the garden. Rhubarb is one of my favourite ingredient for fruity desserts. I added some strawberries to the topping, as those two are always a great combo.

The cheesecake filling is made made from a mix of quark (which is a German type of fresh cheese, usually used in German cheesecakes) and cream cheese. You can easily make quark yourself, when not available where you are. Meeta posted a great recipe a while back, and I used it many times when I lived in Canada.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Meyer Lemon Macarons

I have read a lot about Meyer Lemons in recent years. This spring I was finally lucky to see them in the store and was able to try them myself. Meyer Lemons are not as sour as regular lemons, and they have a hint of thyme and a very fragrant skin. They are perfect for making lemon curd, and I was thinking about making Meyer Lemon macarons for a long time.

So, when this month's challenge for Mactweets macaron was revealed, I immediately thought about an old children's poem from the legendary Heinz Erhardt. We were called to be inspired by a childhood fairytale or story for our monthly macaron flavor. Heinz Erhardt was a German comedian, actor, entertainer and also wrote children's poems. I always loved to watch his movies. The poem is called "Why lemons turned sour".

Warum die Zitronen sauer wurden

Ich muß das wirklich mal betonen:
Ganz früher waren die Zitronen
(ich weiß nur nicht genau mehr, wann dies
gewesen ist) so süß wie Kandis.

Bis sie einst sprachen: Wir Zitronen,
wir wollen groß sein wie Melonen!
Auch finden wir das Gelb abscheulich,
wir wollen rot sein oder bläulich!

Gott hörte oben die Beschwerden
und sagte: Daraus kann nichts werden!
Ihr müßt so bleiben! Ich bedauer!
Da wurden die Zitronen sauer.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking - Book review

This is gonna be my first cookbook review. With all those beautiful cookbooks being published in recent years, sometimes it's hard to decide which ones to get. Like many of you I often cannot hold myself back and probably have way too many cookbooks on my shelf. That's at least what other people are thinking. Since we have a really great library in Vancouver, I try to borrow new cookbooks first before I purchase them, so I can try out a recipe or two. I have to admit, pictures are one of my top priorities for cookbooks. I like to photograph food myself and I also like to look at beautiful food pictures. I am also interested in new twists on classical recipes. Who really needs the same old recipes again and again?

This brings me to today's cookbook: "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Matt and Renato opened their Bakeshop in Brooklyn, NY five years ago and it was an instant success. The book was published in 2008 and quickly made it to TV appearances and the top of the bestselling lists. The book has a stylish modern look and some nice illustrations. The photographs are beautiful with a simple food styling and nice colors.

Baked features classic American recipes often with some newly inspired ingredients or techniques. There are about 70 recipes, half of them are accompanied with pictures. The first chapter gives an explanation of the  techniques and ingredients. The recipes are presented in seven different categories, which are breakfast, cakes & cupcakes, pies & tarts, brownies & bars, cookies, chocolates & candies & confections, and drinks. Each recipe has a little introduction. The directions are easy to follow and often have some extra tips for serving or variation.

I chose to make three different recipes which didn't have a picture, so you can see them here. My favorite among them were the Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks. I am usually not a fan of peanut butter, but these cookies were amazing. They were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  The addition of the milk chocolate was especially great. I used chunky peanut butter instead of creamy, and I think it was nice to have some nuts in there. They also show you how you can prepare the dough in a log, and make a little present out of it.

From the cupcake recipes, I found the Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Pastry Cream and the Almond Green Tea Cupcakes which are decorated with fortune cookies most interesting. I made the Banana Cupcakes, which were really moist and had a good banana taste. I used all butter instead of part butter and part shortening. The pastry cream fit very well and was especially delicious when served cold on the room temperature cupcakes. I have tried several pastry cream recipes before and must say that although this one was good, it wouldn't be my first choice as far as pastry cream goes.

From the breakfast section I made the Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl. Instead of breakfast we usually eat those kinds of cake in the afternoon though. The cake was pretty tall and had a nice layer of crunchy pecan nuts crumble. I probably should have used a slightly bigger form, since it needed a little longer to bake through, which made the bottom a little to dark. I really liked the pecan nuts in the crumble which I chopped finely instead of putting them in the food processor. Unfortunately the cake was a little dry the next day, even I had kept him under a cake dome. I froze one part of the cake, which worked pretty well.

Other recipes I would like to try:

Lemon-Almond Meringue Tarts: The beautiful tarts from the cover picture are not your usual lemon tart. They have an almond tart shell flavored with amaretto. The meringue, which also includes amaretto is dropped with an ice-cream scoop on the tarts.

Lemon Drop Cake: Named after one of my favorite Martinis this cake is filled with lemon curd and has a lemon-vanilla butter-cream frosting.

Butterscotch Pudding Tarts: These beautiful tarts have a crust containing rolled oats, and are filled with a homemade butterscotch pudding. Their topping is a chopped butterfinger bar.

The Baked Brownie: This is the recipe of the famous brownie seen on Martha Stewart and Oprah. A must try!

Adult hot chocolate: Made from a mix of dark and milk chocolate with amaretto and maple syrup plus whipped cream on top. Sounds like heaven.

Baked is not only pretty to look at it also has a wide selection of old time favorites newly interpreted, with easy to follow directions and good tips & tricks.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Blueberry-Jam Cake

I am in the process of cleaning up my pantry, since we will soon be moving again. I discovered the joy of jam making last summer and have still several jars stored in my pantry. So, what should I do with all of them? We can certainly not finish them up by spreading them on our morning toast, so I was searching for other ideas. I  have decided to make a jam cake, something I never tried before or even heard of. I found several recipes that sounded delicious. And the best thing is that a whole glass of jam is used in one cake.

I chose a recipe from the lovely blog "honey and jam" for a blackberry jam cake. I didn't label most of my jams, because I was sure I would still know later which one is which. Well, it wasn't the case, I opened one of my blueberry lavender jams instead. But as it turned out it was a very good choice for the cake. I also used brown sugar instead of regular and reduced the amount. Then I added a cup of chopped walnuts, which fit very well.

I really liked the cake, it was moist and tasted very fruity. I will definitely make it again with some of my other jams.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rhubarb Crumble Muffins

I am always happy to see rhubarbs start popping up in local markets. Rhubarb was always the first fruit (actually a vegetable) in our garden which we could harvest in spring. I am going to Germany in a few weeks and hope there will still be plenty, as I have seen so many good recipes lately.

These rhubarb-streusel-muffins are inspired by a recipe of one of my favorite German star chefs Johann Lafer, very easy and quick to make and a good mix of tartness from the rhubarb and the sweet crumb topping.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chocolate-Nut Brownies

It is always good to have a great brownies recipe. Everybody likes them. Brownies are fast and easy, which makes them a great dessert to bring to a party. These ones have different nuts added and are really nice and chewy on the inside. 

A common mistake when making brownies is overbaking. Don't be tempted to leave them in the oven too long. They will firm up after cooling. Use a good chocolate, you also enjoy eating. Your brownies will taste so much better with good quality chocolate.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Orange Tian with Blood Orange-Kumquat Marmalade

It's time for another Daring Bakers challenge. This month the challenge took advantage of the citrus fruits widely available right now. We were asked to make a Orange Tian, a dessert I have never heard of before. You start with a pate sablee topped with orange marmalade, whipped cream and segmented oranges, and served with an orange caramel sauce.

I decided to make a blood orange - kumquat marmalade, as I have just discovered to use kumquats recently. I also added a layer of génoise, because my cake rings are pretty tall, and I thought the whipped cream alone would be just too much compared to the other levels. The original recipe added gelatin to the whipped cream, which I don't find necessary. If your heavy cream has a high percentage (about 33%), it will be stable enough on its own.

The orange tian was a pretty little dessert and also quite tasty. Trough the citrus taste it was not too sweet and very refreshing. After 10 minutes in the freezer it was easy to unmold and kept its form very well. All in all it was a very good challenge.

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

Since I have been living in Vancouver, I have tasted a lot of desserts made of matcha powder. Matcha powder is finely ground green tea leafs. You will find little matcha cream cakes, matcha macarons, really yummy green tea gelato and even matcha latte. 

I bought a little can of this intense green powder a while back, but haven't used it until I saw these Green Tea Shortbread Cookies in "Unforgettable Desserts" by Dede Wilson. They are really easy and fast to make, and have a nice subtle taste of green tea.

Green tea desserts can be an acquired taste, so I would recommend to start with just one tablespoon of matcha powder.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cherry Blossom inspired Macarons

This month on March 20th marks the annual Macaron Day. So, the lovely ladies from Mactweets called upon us the macaron lovers to make some spring flower inspired macarons, which will be presented on this special day on their website.

It sounded a lot more challenging than I thought. The first things that came to mind were Elderflowers. I made some very nice syrup last year with them, but I already used it up, and they are not yet in season. Then I thought about rose or lavender, but I wasn't sure how they would turn out. The idea finally came to me when I was taking a walk outside: cherry blossoms! They are already blooming all over the streets of Vancouver, a month earlier than usual. It's an awesome site. Spring certainly comes early this year!

I made regular macaron shells colored in pink and filled them with a white chocolate ganache with dried cherries and some kirsch. I later found out that Tartelette once made real cherry blossom macarons, with cherry blossom extract, which you can actually buy in Japan. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kumquat Cakes in glass jars

There are so many fruits available these days and you see them all the time, but you actually have never tried them. This was the case for me with kumquats, those little mini-orange looking fruits. They are in season now, so it was the perfect opportunity to try them.

I decided to make little cakes. It's basically a muffin dough, which are perfect to bake them in glass jars. This is something I discovered last year. Baking cakes in glass jars. Instead of in a baking pan, you can bake your cakes in heatproof glass jars / jam glasses.  Then after you bake them you immediately seal them. Through the heat they will be vacuum sealed. I use "Weck" jars, which come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. They close with a rubber ring and metal clamps. I also use them for jams or the smaller ones as dessert glasses.

Cakes in a glass jar make perfect little gifts. You can dress up the jar with a nice ribbon and also include the recipe. They are also great to bring along for a picnic. They will be good for about 2-3 weeks if they are kept in a cool place. In the summer I often bake a whole bunch of them, so I can bring them along to the beach or to a BBQ.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Tiramisù with homemade ladyfingers and mascarpone

When I read this month Daring Bakers Challenge I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is one of my favorite desserts: Tiramisù. I have made Tiramisù many many times. Whenever there is a party this is what I am asked to bring, even when we lived in Rome. Just making Tiramisù is of course not daring enough, so we also made our own ladyfingers and, yes, even the mascarpone.

I tried the recipe for the mascarpone before, but it wasn't successful.  This time it came out great. I think my mistake last time was that I didn't wait long enough before I put it in the fridge and also didn't layer my cheese cloth thick enough.

I never made ladyfingers before. Now I really wonder why. They taste so much better. They are also very easy to make and the ingredients are usually always in my kitchen.

The recipe for the Tiramisù is very different from what I usually do. You basically have to make three different creams, which are later combined. There are also no raw eggs in this recipe, and the zabaglione is based on Marsala. I usually fold in beaten egg whites in my cream, which is flavored with Amaretto.

I made a few minor changes to the original recipe, as I used a lot more mascarpone, less sugar and added some amaretto. I assembled my Tiramisù in a bowl, lined with cellophane, refrigerated it overnight and then put it in the freezer for about 2 hours. That made it easier to unmold it. It came out perfectly and was also easy to cut.

In the end it was a great recipe, very yummy and creamy, but I still prefer my version as it doesn't require you to make 3 different creams and I think the beaten egg whites give the zabaglione a good stability. I loved the ladyfingers, they are so easy to make and so much better than store-bought ones. I was also very happy that I mastered my mascarpone this time. With over $10 for a small box in North America I will definitely make it myself in the future.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I promised in an earlier post that I wanted to make croissants, and here they are. I was so proud, that my first attempt making them turned out so well. They also tasted really good, crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the inside. Again, I used a recipe from "Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More" by Carole Walter.

The process of making croissant dough is similar to puff pastry. The difference is that you start off with making a yeast based sponge to add to the dough. Then it continues with the rolling and folding. It takes some time to make the dough, but it's well worth the effort. The dough can also be frozen, so it is perfect if you want to make fresh croissants next time.

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