28 February, 2010

More... Caramel...



I had to make this caramel sauce. From the moment I saw the recipe, I couldn't get it out of my mind. Caramel is one the things I love most, and so are raspberries, all berries as a matter of fact, but especially those lovely red, delicate fruits.
Armed with my new thermometer, I gathered enough courage to do it. Strangely enough, I even found some fresh raspberries (one of those moments I didn't care about what's in season or not).
The story doesn't finish here, of course.
I've used one part to make the
Caramel Chocolate Truffles, but the best part is yet to come, so... next time.
Although I wish I had some left to pour over ice cream or
Panna Cotta. Can you immagine it?


SOFT RASPBERRY CARAMEL SAUCE

110 g fresh (or frozen) raspberries
110 g heavy cream
220 g sugar
65 g water


Puré the raspberries (with a stick blender)

and then filter them through a fine mash sieve to remove seeds.

Combine the water and the sugar in a non-stick saucepan and cook stirring until the sugar melts and turns amber colour.




In the meantime mix the cream and the raspberry puré in another saucepan and warm them up to 80°C.

When the caramel has melted and become amber colour, mix in, very, very carefully, the raspberry-cream mixture

and cook stirring until the mixture has reached 110°C.

Immediately put the saucepan into ice cold water.
*Fresh raspberries can be substituted with the frozen ones, just let them thaw overnight.
**If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. When you need it, you can simply warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave and it will become runny again.


CARAMELLO MORBIDO AI LAMPONI

110 g lamponi (freschi o surgelati)
110 g panna fresca
220 g zucchero
65 g acqua

Frullate i lamponi e filtrateli con un colino per togliere i semi.
In un tegamino (meglio se antiaderente) cuocete l'acqua con lo zucchero fino a ottenere un caramello color nocciola.
Unite la purea di lamponi alla panna e scaldateli fino a 80°C.
Quando il caramello avrà raggiunto la colorazione desiderata, versatevi con molta attenzione e mescolando continuamente la miscela di panna e lamponi calda.
Cuocete tutto insieme fino a raggiungere la temperatura di 110°C e immergete immediatamente il tegamino in un contenitore con acqua gelida.
*Se usate dei lamponi surgelati, lasciateli scongelare prima di usarli.
**Se non lo usate subito, conservatelo in frigorifero, quando vi serve riscaldatelo semplicemente per qualche secondo nel forno a microonde e diventerà di nuovo liquido.


KARAMEL UMAK S MALINAMA

110 g malina
110 g slatkog vrhnja
220 g šećera
65 g vode


Štapnim mikserom umutite maline pa dobiveni pire protisnite kroz gusto cjedilo da odstranite sjemenke.
Kuhajte šećer s vodom miješajući stalno dok se ne karamelizira i dobije boju lješnjaka. Naročito obratite pažnju i ne prestajite miješati kad voda ispari i šećer se počne topiti.
U međuvremenu pomiješajte pire od malina s vrhnjem i zagrijte ih do 80°C.
Kad je šećer postigao željenu boju, dodajte pažljivo toplo vrhnje s malinama.
Nastavite kuhati miješajući dok smjesa ne postigne temperaturu od 110°C. Maknite s vatre i uronite posudu u ledenu vodu da zaustavite kuhanje.
Ako karamel nećete odmah koristiti, kad se ohladi, pokrijte ga prozirnom folijom i stavite ga u hladnjak. Prije upotrebe možete ga malo zagrijati u mikrovalnoj pećnici pa će opet biti tekuć.

26 February, 2010

Those tempting little balls


Most people fall on the word "chocolate", I definitely fall on "caramel" first and then on "chocolate and caramel". As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I was going to try it immediately. Immediately meant within 1/2 an hour.

I had some leftover Dulce de Leche in the fridge, but it was enough to make only 1/4 of the batch. It didn't stop me :))) The only problem was that the truffles were gone in less than 24 hours, no matter how much I tried to control myself.

So the same evening when I made my daughter's birthday cake, I made some Soft Raspberry Caramel Sauce (thanks to my digital thermometer that arrived just the day before) and made these truffles again. What a pain. There were just enough cookies left to make 1/4 of a batch again (it was around midnight so no trip to the store). But now I have some more caramel sauce for something I've been waiting to make :)))

I'm sure you all know how to make Dulce de Leche. I boiled an unopened can of condensed milk for 3 hours (even 2 are enough), let it cool down and then opened and transferred that gorgeous goodness into a glass jar and kept in the fridge until it was over.
I'll be posting about this Soft Raspberry Caramel Sauce as well.

If I understood well, this recipe comes from a can of Nestle's Caramel Sauce.

If you have some caramel sauce or Dulce de Leche, they're really quick to make, especially if you don't bother with covering them with melted chocolate like I did, but just roll them into whatever you prefer (nuts, cocoa powder, shredded coconut), like
here.

The first time I made these truffles, I didn't take a single picture of the procedure (but
I did take lots of pictures of the finished ones), so you'll see pictures that come from different sets.



CARAMEL CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

380 g caramel sauce (or Dulce de Leche)
60 g butter
250 g chocolate cookies
for coating: melted chocolate, cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.), shredded coconut

Put the caramel sauce (storebought or homemade, it's up to you) or Dulce de Leche and the butter in a saucepan and start warming up stirring until the mixture is completely melted and reaches the boiling point.
Here's my Dulce de Leche:

And here's the Soft Raspberry Caramel Sauce:

Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the finely ground cookies (I didn't have any chocolate cookies, so I put simple butter cookies and added about 50 g melted chocolate).

Mix well to get a homogeneous mixture, cover and let cool in the fridge for 1 hour.


Take small amount of mixture and form balls (decide on the size of your truffle balls - I wanted them really small, bite size, so I used a teaspoon measuring spoon, you can, of course, make them bigger).
At this point you can simple roll them into cocoa, coconut or other ground/chopped nuts. I wanted to coat them with melted chocolate, white and dark.
So I chopped the chocolate and melted it in the microwave (10 seconds at a time, take out, stir well, and then put back in, repeating until the chocolate's completely melted and starts warming up slightly). Dip the truffle balls into melted chocolate

and place on a wire rack so the extra chocolate can drip away.

Move them to a piece of baking paper before the chocolate's set completely.

Keep the truffles in a cool place, protected from humidity.



CARAMEL CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
(TARTUFI DI CARAMELO E CHOCOLATO)

380 g di salsa di caramello o Dulce de Leche
60 g di burro
250 g di biscotti al cioccolato
per decorare: cacao in polvere, cocco disidratato, noci/noccioline/mandorle ecc. grattugiate

Mettete il caramello (acquistate il caramello pronto oppure preparatelo da soli, in rete si trovano tante ricette, oppure usate il Dulce de Leche come ho fatto io) e il burro in un pentolino e riscaldate mescolando fino a ebollizione.
Togliete il pentolino dal fuoco e aggiungete i biscotti grattugiati. Non avevo i biscotti al cioccolato, quindi ho messo i biscotti secchi (tipo Oro Saiwa) e 50 g di cioccolato sciolto). Mescolate bene tutto per ottenere un composto omogeneo. Coprite e lasciate raffreddare il composto in frigo per un'ora.
Formate tante palline (io le ho fatte piccolissime) e rotolatele nel cacao o noccioline/mandorle tritate grossolanamente, cocco oppure come ho fatto io nel cioccolato.
Fatte sciogliere il cioccolato nel forno a microonde (10 secondi alla volta, togliete il contenitore, mescolate bene e ripetete finché il cioccolato si sarà sciolto completamente). Ricoprite i tartufini e lasciateli sgocciolare su una griglia, poi trasferiteli sulla carta da forno per asciugare completamente. Conservateli in un luogo fresco protetti dall'umidità.



CARAMEL CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
(KUGLICE OD KARAMELA I ČOKOLADE)

380 g karamel kreme ili dulche de leche
60 g maslaca
250 g čokoladnih keksa
Za uvaljati: kakao, sjeckani lješnjaci, kokosovo brašno


Pomiješajte karamel kremu s maslacem i zagrijte do vrenja, miješajući, pa uklonite s vatre.
Kekse fino sameljite i pomiješajte s karamelom pa ostavite u hladnjaku barem 1 sat. Ja nisam imala čokoladnih keksa pa sam stavila Petit Beurre kekse i 50 g otopljene tamne čokolade.
Uzimajte po 1 žličicu smjese i oblikujte je u kuglice, koje ćete uvaljati u kakao, kokos, lješnjake, što vam je po volji.
Ja sam rastopila posebno bijelu i tamnu čokoladu u mikrovalnoj pećnici (izvadite posudu s čokoladom svakih 10 sekundi i promiješajte, radite tako dok se sva čokolada ne otopi), pa u njih umakala kuglice i ostavila ih na rešetki dok se ne okapa višak čokolade a zatim ih premjestila na komad papira za pečenje dok se potpuno ne ohlade.
Čuvajte ih na suhom i hladnom mjestu zaštićene od vlage.

*Najlakši način za pripremiti Dulce de leche je slijedeći: sve što vam je potrebno je limenka kondenziranog mlijeka. Stavite neotvorenu limenku u lonac. Uspite toliko vode da bude barem dva prsta iznad limenke i kuhajte 2-3 sata ovisno o gustoći koju želite postići. Izvadite limenku iz vode i ostavite da se potpuno ohladi prije nego je otvorite. (Nakon što ste je otvorili premjestite kremu u čistu staklenku i čuvajte u hladnjaku nekoliko tjedana.) To je sve, vaš Dulce de leche je spreman za upotrebu: namažite ga na palačinke, na kruh, napunite njime suhe kekse, i što god vam drugo padne na pamet. Velike su šanse da ćete ga jesti samog žlicom :)))


24 February, 2010

Ljubica


First of all, I want to tranquilize everyone, the Chocolate Caramel Truffles recipe will follow shortly, but I had to start with the Birthday Cake recipe.
Don't you feel like jumping into this rough chocolate sea?

I really hesitate when I have to make a cake. What recipe to choose? How to decorate it? And then I usually end up with the simplest thing I can find, possibly complicating it by forgetting ingredients or not reading the ingredients list well. Same thing happened this time as well, but it turned out ok. Not perfectly decorated, but ok :)))
This is the only picture I have of the inside of the cake, it disappeared quickly, proving, I guess, that it was not so bad to eat either.




LJUBICA CHOCOLATE CAKE

Cake:
160 g sugar
160 g dark chocolate
8 eggs
100 g ground walnuts
50 g breadcrumbs

Chocolate butter cream:
150 g dark chocolate
300 ml heavy cream
3 egg yolks
100 g sugar
180 g butter

Prepare syrup cooking the sugar with 200 ml water for 10 minutes. Add the grated chocolate into hot syrup and stir until it melts. Set aside to cool.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
Place the chocolate syrup into a mixing bowl and start whisking with an electric mixer adding the yolks, one at a time.
Mix in the ground walnuts and the breadcrumbs.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Pour the batter into greased and floured cake pan (22 cm / 8 ½”) and bake for 1 hour in an oven preheated to 180°C.

Take the cake out of the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.

When the cake is completely cold and ready for frosting, cut it in three horizontally. Love my new helper.




Chocolate buttercream:
Mix the egg yolks, the sugar, the cream and the melted chocolate with an electric mixer. Place the mixing bowl over a slightly bigger pot with boiling water and cook stirring occasionally until the cream is dark and quite thick. Make sure the water in the pot bellow is not touching the mixing bowl.


It took me about 70 minutes to get the right consistency. I think that was a bit long, but the reason might be: a) I put 100 g instead of 150 g of chocolate (by mistake, not on purpose) or b) I added the sugar half way through because I completely overlooked it in the recipe. Maybe I need a pair of glasses!?!


Let it cool completely before adding the butter.
Cream the softened butter and mix it with the chocolate cream adding a spoonful at a time and whipping it with an electric mixer.

Divide the cream in three parts and spread it on each layer and coat the whole cake.

Decorate with some whipped cream and candied cherries (I didn’t have time for cream, and since I was having trouble smoothing the cream, I just used the spoon trick to create the decoration – you just lightly touch the surface with a spoon and then lift it quickly, repeating all over the cake). A touch of pink (sugar pearls), because, after all, it was a princess cake, right?




Una torta speciale per una principessa altrettanto speciale. E, sì, la mia piccolina sta crescendo, è arrivato anche il compleanno nr. 6, e lei, pensate, sta progettando già il nr. 7. Frena, piccolina :)))).
Questa torta per me è speciale non solo perché tanto cioccolatosa e golosa, ma perché porta il nome della mia mamma, che ci ha lasciati ormai 13 anni fa, troppo presto e molto prima che nascesse la sua nipotina Francesca Ljubica. Ecco perché è ancora più speciale il suo significato.
"Ljubica" in Croato significa Viola, Violetta.
E pensate quanto era estasiata la piccola quando ha saputo che la torta porta il suo nome.
Ancora, tanti auguri Francesca Ljubica, un bacio grande!

E per quelli che non lo sapevano, c’è in corso un bellissimo contest sul blog Al Cibo commestibile, La torta della bontà. Visitate il blog di Genny per saperne di più.



TORTA LJUBICA

Torta:
160 g zucchero
160 g cioccolato fondente grattugiato
8 uova
100 g noci tritate
50 g pangrattato

Crema al burro e cioccolato:
150 g cioccolato fondente
300 ml panna
3 tuorli
100 g zucchero
180 g burro

Mettete lo zucchero e 200 ml d’acqua in un pentolino e fatte bollire per 10 minuti.
Aggiungete il cioccolato grattugiato nello sciroppo di zucchero caldo, mescolate e lasciate raffreddare completamente.
Separate i tuorli dagli albumi. Incorporate i tuorli, uno alla volta nello sciroppo freddo mescolando con lo sbattitore elettrico. Aggiungete le noci e il pangrattato nel composto.
In un'altra terrina sbattete i bianchi d’uovo fino a ottenere la neve ferma. Unitela all’altro composto con un cucchiaio di legno. Versate il composto in una teglia imburrata e infarinata. Cuocete la torta per 1 ora a 180°C. Sfornatela e lasciatela raffreddare su una griglia.
Per la crema, mescolate la panna, i tuorli, lo zucchero e il cioccolato (sciolto) con uno sbattitore elettrico. Cuocete a bagno maria, mescolando ogni tanto finché la crema diventa densa (circa 70 minuti).
Lasciatela raffreddare completamente. Lavorate il burro ammorbidito finché diventa cremoso. Unitelo, un cucchiaio alla volta, nella crema di cioccolato.
Tagliate la torta in tre parti orizzontalmente e farcitela con la crema (dentro e fuori). Decorate la torta a piacere con la panna montata e ciliegie candite.


Ja uopće nisam veliki ljubitelj torti, ako ih pravim onda su to obično lagane voćne torte. Ali ponekad je neophodno zadovoljiti i ukuse drugih. Pa sam se ovaj put odlučila za ovu prilično jednostavnu, ali ukusnu, sočnu čokoladnu tortu. I naravno, bili su svi zadovoljni, i slavljenica, Francesca Ljubica, i svi koji su je kušali. Nestala je za tren.

TORTA LJUBICA

Tijesto
160 g šećera
160 g čokolade za kuhanje
8 jaja
100 g mljevenih oraha
50 g mrvica

Krema
150 g čokolade za kuhanje
3 dl slatkog vrhnja
3 žumanjka
100 g šećera
180 g maslaca


Torta: Kuhajte šećer u 2 dl vode, 10 minuta, da dobijete sirup. U vruć sirup umiješajte naribanu čokoladu i ostavite da se ohladi.
Odvojite žumanjke od bjeljanjaka, pa muteći mikserom dodajite jedan po jedan žumanjak u smjesu čokolade i šećera. Umiješajte mljevene orahe i mrvice.
Umutite čvrst snijeg od bjeljanjaka, pa ga nježno drvenom kuhačom umiješajte u tijesto.
Istresite smjesu u namašten i pobrašnjen kalup za tortu (22 cm) i pecite 1 sat na 180°C. Izvadite iz kalupa i ostavite da se potpuno ohladi, pa prerežite vodoravno na tri dijela.

Krema: Skuhajte na pari žumanjke, vrhnje, šećer i čokoladu da dobijete gustu kremu. Ja sam zapravo mutila mikserom prvih 5 minuta, a dalje samo povremeno miješala kuhačom. Trebalo mi je oko 70 minuta da se zgusne, ali vjerujem da je to zato što sam greškom stavila samo 100 g čokolade i što sam se tek na pola puta sjetila da nisam dodala šećer. Vjerojatno bi trebalo manje vremena da sam napravila sve kako treba :)))
Kad se krema potpuno ohladi, dodajte izrađeni maslac, žlicu po žlicu, muteći mikserom.
Slijepite listove kremom i omažite tortu izvana.
Ako želite ukrasiti ovako kako sam to ja napravila, jednostavno žličicu položite na površinu i odmah odignite, i tako po cijeloj površini.
Po želji ukrasite tučenim slatkim vrhnjem (ja nisam imala vremena :))) i ušećerenim trešnjama.

22 February, 2010

Little Frog Princess


My daughter turned 6 last Tuesday, and instead of throwing a birthday party that day we ended up having a 6-day birthday party. Or almost :))
I have to admit, I got a bit lazy, and, as usual, my plans for Francesca's birthday cake puffed in the air, as in the end I had no time to make what I wanted to make. Sometimes I feel like the rabbit in Alice in the Wonderland, I'm alway late for something or somewhere.
So, on Tuesday, I made these Pink Pomgranate Cupcakes, not without difficulty, of course, but I'll tell you about that in another post.

Usually there are plenty of birthday candles around the house, but it happened that we couldn't find a single one when we actually needed it. So, a tealight candle (how sad and funny at the same time) was placed in the middle and it served the purpose, and got a big, happy laughter out of my daughter.

At least she enjoyed my attempt to make Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.
But she also had me promise that we'd be having a real birthday party!
Two days later, we had a couple of friends over for dinner but again I didn't have time to make a cake. Instead I quickly whipped up these gorgeous Chocolate Caramel Truffles as a dessert, along with the leftover Pink cupcakes.

So good that I had to make them again on Friday night.

Finally, Francesca got her cake yesterday.

And the candles :))))


I usually opt for lighter fruit cakes, but this time, my choice was this delicious Chocolate cake.
One reason was that I had made it before and new it was really good and relatively easy to make (although not so quick).
The second reason was that the cake is called "Ljubica", and Ljubica (meaning "Violet" in Croatian, the flower) is my daughter's second name, and she was named after my mother, who died 7 years before Francesca Ljubica was born, and therefore she never got to meet her grandma.
My daughter was so thrilled to find out that the cake carried her name.
I guess you can say that kids enjoyed the cake,

although someone was busy chasing the pink sugar pearls only. Sara wasn't really interested in the cake, once she helped her sister blow the candles out.

The recipe for the cake will follow. I need to rest now after this long week.