Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunken Pear Chocolate Cake.

 
 
 


Those last autumn leaves; 
colorful crown 
encircling sweet. 

Lain to rest;
chocolate down-comforter 
beds maroon fruit. 

Late-afternoon light catches
worn marks on my fork, 
winter solstice nears. 

...

Sunken Pear Chocolate Cake

time one day ahead: 15 minutes to poach pears / 20 minutes cake prep / 45 minutes baking time
yields one 25cm / 10-inch cake 

pears
4 pears
500ml red wine
250ml water
1 Tbsp. crushed cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/2 vanilla bean

batter
100g butter
100g sugar
100g semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp. brandy
1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. himalayan salt
100g toasted, ground almonds
4 eggs

A day before the bake:
peel pears, remove their cores and cut them into halves.
Heat wine, water and spices with the pears. 
Boil for a couple minutes, then take off the heat, cover and let stand overnight.

Preheat the oven to  175°C/ 350°F.
Distribute almond meal on a baking tray and roast for 3-4 minutes until golden-brown. 
Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, butter a 25cm / 10-inch cake tin or cast-iron pan. 
Also, drain the pears from the poaching liquid.
Melt chocolate and butter together, stir in brandy and leave to cool.
Whisk the egg yolks of three eggs with half the amount of sugar, cardamom, salt and last egg until pale and thick, then fold into the chocolate along with the almonds.
In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the whites with the second half of sugar until they reach a soft peak (try not to whisk them too stiffly or you’ll have trouble folding them in). 
Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions. 
Spoon into the prepared tin or pan.
Arrange the pears over the mixture.
Bake for around 45 minutes until the cake is cooked all the way through (toothpick test!).
Leave to cool, enjoy plain or with whipped cream.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Magazine feature.


Something cool happened. 
My face is smiling to you from a magazine.
Said German magazine is called 'Lust auf Genuss' (loosely translated to 'Delight in Treats'), a baking print. 
And my blog and I got featured on a four page spread. 
Also my Pumpkin Challah recipe is featured. 
If you can't grab a copy, here's a couple of photos.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pumpkin Challah.

 
 

Pines and twigs,
a lovely scene, 
for braids
of soft, autumn orange.

Winter came, 
glaze like ice,
for mounds and valleys
specked with green.

Home is a scent, 
seasons reflected,
in pillows of spice
and warmth.

...

Pumpkin Challah Braid

time 20 minutes to make the dough, 2 1/2 hours for proofing, 40 minutes baking time, 10 minutes finishing
yields 2 medium braids of challah

10g active dry yeast

200ml lukewarm water
2 eggs
50g sugar

170g canned or fresh pumpkin puree
55ml vegetable oil
15ml olive oil
1 Tbsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
700g all-purpose flour


1 egg for egg wash plus some water

topping:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. water or milk

chopped raw pistachios (optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and lukewarm water.
Whisk in the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oils and salt.
Weigh the flour and spice into a bowl fitted to a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook.
Add the wet ingredients and let knead until smooth.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.
Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm environment for an hour.
Punch down the dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
Divide the dough into two pieces with the help of a dough scraper.
Divide each of the pieces into additional four pieces and roll each one into a equally thick and long strand, around 25cm long.
Lay four pieces next to each other and pinch together the ends of the side farthest from you.
Starting from the right, weave it towards the left, going over, under and over.
Then again, take the now furthest strand to the right and repeat the process of weaving it towards the left, over the closest strand, under the next one, over the last one.
Repeat until you have reached the end of the strands.
Pinch together the dough at the ends and tuck under the braid, tucking on both sides.
Place loaves on a greased cooking sheet or silicone mat with space between.
Cover with a towel and proof for 30-40 minutes, or until the dough has gone up to 1 1/2 it's size.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 360°F.
Beat the egg with the water and brush the loaves.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Recommendation:
in case of day-old bread - it's great to make french toast with!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Apple Rosemary Bread Pudding.

 
 
 

I know where to look, 
a steal from the brush, 
herb still fragrant in winter.

I cup the green orb;
polished sphere
soon to be roasted tender.

I inhale the scents, 
the oven's warmth provides comfort
not to mention the first soft bite.

...

Apple Rosemary Bread Pudding

time 30 minutes preparation, 45 minutes baking
yields one 2 Liter baking dish / 8-10 servings

500g day-old rosemary focaccia toast bread, largely cubed
alternatively artisanal toast bread and 8g fresh rosemary
100g honey
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
35g sugar
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
75g sugar
500ml milk
300ml cream
150g butter

Preheat the oven to 175°C/ 350°F.
Toss cubed bread with honey and put on large sheet pan.
Toast until crisp, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, toss apple with first amount of sugar and roast until tender but not mushy, approximately 10 minutes.
Beat eggs, yolks, and sugar with whisk, then add cream and milk.
Butter a 2 Liter baking dish.
Combine toasted bread and roasted apple and put in prepared dish.
If using fresh rosemary, mix in at this stage.
Melt butter and pour over bread evenly.
Pour custard over top.
Bake pudding for 45 minutes or until it is set.
Top will brown slightly.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Icey Gorge.


A cold spell hit Oregon.
With it came a biting chill, but the days were sunny and beautiful nonetheless.
After work we drove out into the Gorge for a hike, to Latourell Falls.
Water turned ice, leaves turned to brittle paper.
Howling wind up high.
Fun!