27 November, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge - November 2010 - Crostata

Crostata with Lemon Cream

First of all, this is my first time participating in Daring Bakers Challenge, and I'm expecting lots of fun with future challenges as well.
This month's challenge was hosted by Simona from briciole and she chose 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.
Simona suggested two basic recipes for pasta frolla and various options for filling. You can find the full recipes with step-by-step pictures on the Daring Kitchen site.
I used the Version 1 of pasta frolla that she suggested and filled the crostata with lemon cream, that was my own choice.
I wanted to try this recipe for Lemon Cream Crostata for quite a long time, although in the end I had hard time deciding between this recipe and Chocolate and Pear Crostata. Thinking better, maybe I should have tried the other one.

Crostata with Lemon Cream

The recipe's fine, but too tart. I love lemons, and I don't like overly sweet stuff, but this was a bit too much for me.  Maybe it's my lemons, maybe they were too big, maybe I should have followed my instinct and added more sugar. Anyway, the recipe has a good potential but needs to be adjusted in that sense. So if any of you decide to give this a try, keep it in mind, and adjust it to your taste.
Crostata with Lemon Cream

Crostata with Lemon Cream

Crostata with Lemon cream

(version 1 of) pasta frolla

100 g superfine sugar or 90g of powdered sugar
235 g unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
115 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon (you could also use vanilla sugar)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Lemon Cream:
35 g butter
2 TBspoons flour
2 organic lemons, zest and juice
80 g sugar
320 ml full fat milk

pasta frolla:
Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or pastry cutter.
Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).
Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.

Lemon Cream:
Grate the zest of both lemons, squeeze the juice and filter it through a mash sieve.
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan. Add the flour and whisk, start adding the lemon juice in a thin streak, the lemon zest, the milk and the sugar. Bring to boil and cook for about 2 more minutes stirring continuously. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 190ºC.
Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away 1/4 of the dough. Reserve this dough to make the lattice top of the crostata.
On a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of parchment paper, roll the dough into a circle about 3 mm thick.
If you used the parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over a 24-cm crostata pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Remove the parchment paper, trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan and prick the bottom with a fork.

Pour the cream into the crostata shell.
Roll out the remaining 1/4 of the dough, cut it into stripes and create a lattice on top of the cream (while I was making the crostata shell, my daughter ate a good piece of the remaining dough and I had hardly enough to make the lattice).
Bake the crostata until golden (about 35-40 minutes). Let the crostata cool completely before cutting it.

Crostata with Lemon Cream

Crostata s kremom od limuna

Prhko tijesto:
235 g mekog brašna
100 g sitnog šećera (ili 90 g šećera u prahu)
prstohvat soli
115 g hladnog maslaca
1/2 limuna (naribana korica)
1 veliko jaje
1 žumanjak

Krema od limuna
35 g maslaca
2 velike žlice brašna
2 neprskana limuna (korica i sok)
80 g šećera
320 ml punomasnog mlijeka

Za tijesto, prosijte skupa brašno i sol, pomiješajte sa šećerom i dodajte sitno naribanu koricu limuna.

Dodajte na listiće narezan hladan maslac, pa trljajte vršcima prstiju da dobijete krupnije mrvice.
Jaje i žumanjak malo razmutite vilicom, pa odvojite 1 žlicu za premazivanje kasnije (pokrijte i držite u hladnjaku do upotrebe).
Od brašna s maslacem oblikujte hrpicu s rupom u sredini. Dodajte jaja i lagano počnite miješati vilicom dodajući pomalo brašno, a onda dalje brzo rukama zamijesite glatko tijesto. Mijesite kratko i brzo, tek toliko koliko je potrebno da se svi sastojci povežu. Zamotajte tijesto u plastičnu foliju i ostavite u hladnjaku 1-2 sata, a može i preko noći.

Za kremu, otopite maslac u dubljoj posudi, dodajte brašno i miješajte pjenjačom da se ne stvore grudice.
Dodajte postepeno sok od limuna, a zatim i koricu, šećer i mlijeko neprestano miješajući.
Kad provrije kuhajte još dvije minute stalno miješajući. Neka krema odmara dok razvaljate tijesto.

Izvadite tijesto iz hladnjaka, odvojite 1/4, a ostatak razvaljajte tanko (oko 3 mm) na malo pobrašnjenoj podlozi ili između dva lista papira za pečenje (puno je jednostavnije s papirom).
Razvaljanim tijestom obložite okrugli kalup za crostate promjera 24 cm. Odrežite nožem višak tijesta koje visi preko ruba kalupa. Izbodite tijesto u kalupu vilicom
Ostatak tijesta razvaljajte i narežite na trakice.
Ulijte kremu preko tijesta i preko nje složite unakrsno pripremljene trakice.
Jajetu koje ste odvojili dodajte žlicu mlijeka pa kistom premažite rešetku.
Stavite peći u pećnicu zagrijanu na 190°C oko 35-40 minuta, odnosno dok tijesto lijepo ne porumeni.
Ostavite da se potpuno ohladi prije nego je režete, a još je bolja ako je ostavite da odstoji preko noći.

Ne znam da li je bilo do mojih limuna ili količini soka koju sam dobila iz njih, ali meni je krema bila malo kiselkasta, pa bih drugi put dodala još šećera. U svakom slučaju, nakon što je odstajala preko noći, bila je manje kisela, još sam je dodatno posula šećerom u prahu.

Tijesto je fantastično, recept je iz knjige slavnog talijanskog kuhara po imenu Pellegrino Artusi. Svakako ga isprobajte i za druge crostate po vašoj želji.

Crostata with Lemon Cream

26 November, 2010

12 weeks of Christmas cookies - # 9 - Chocolate orange shortbread

Chocolate Orange Shortbread

As Chrismas is coming nearer and nearer (Can you believe next Friday will be in December ^__^) I feel more and more excited about things I bake.
These shortbread cookies were thrown down in a couple minutes the other day, while I was preparing lunch for me and my little one (who was home with the stomach flu and tummy ache), I just had to make them, because my cookie box was getting empty.
Something similar happened yesterday evening, after dinner, I couldn't get apple strudel flavoured biscotti out of my head, and I was up almost till midnight until they were done and cool enough to be tasted.
I'll just add, two first times in a week, and two bingos ^__^. No, I didn't win any money, just two winning recipes. The shortbread is here, and for those biscotti... you'll have to come back next week.

So, this week in Twelve weeks of Christmas cookies baking group, I'm bringing you something really simple and delicious cookies, that you can make in just a few minutes and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.
They were supposed to be made with cocoa powder, but I discovered too late that the cocoa was finished, and I think that substituting it with dark chocolate gave even better result, at least for my taste.
And the chocolate orange combo is so classical, but so good, that I can't get tired of it. I even wanted to flavour the white chocolate I used for decoration with some orange zest but forgot it in the end.

So, what are you waiting for, grab a few and keep me company on this rainy day (the forcast says snow over the weekend, who knows?)

Chocolate Orange Shortbread

Chocolate Orange Shortbread

150 g flour
115 g butter, softened
70 g sugar
30 g dark chocolate , 75 % cocoa
1 orange, finely grated zest
a pinch of salt
for decoration: about 50 g white chocolate

Roughly chop the chocolate then put it in the food processor together with the flour, and process in short intervals until it’s almost completely reduced to powder (never mind if there are a few small pieces left).
Cream the softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed.
Add the flour chocolate mixture and the finely grated orange zest and mix again with the mixer at low speed to form soft dough.
Divide the dough in 2 to 4 equal parts (depending if you prefer your triangles to be bigger or smaller, I went for small ones) and shape each into a circle and flatten it with your fingers (I used a small metal ring to get same size circles) – shape the circles on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.
With a knife or a pizza wheel cut each circle into 8 (if you made big ones) or 6 triangles (if you made small ones) but do not separate them.

Prick the dough with a fork and bake them in an oven preheated to 175°C for 16 to 18 minutes, until firm to touch.
Take them out of the oven and cut again while the dough is still warm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet.

To decorate them, I melted some white chocolate, put it into a small parchment paper cone and piped it over the cookies once they were cool.
Store them in an airtight container.

Chocolate Orange Shortbread

Shortbread al cioccolato e arancia

150 g di farina
115 g di burro, ammorbidito
70 g di zucchero
30 g di cioccolato fondente, 75 % cacao
1 arancia, la scorza grattugiata fine
un pizzico di sale
per decorare: circa 50 g di cioccolato bianco

Sminuzzate il cioccolato prima con un coltello e poi mettetelo nel mixer insieme alla farina e riducete il tutto in polvere (più o meno).
Mescolate il burro e lo zucchero con uno sbattitore elettrico a velocità media finché cremoso.
Unite la farina con il cioccolato e la scorza di arancia e mescolate di nuovo a velocità bassa.
Dividete l’impasto ottenuto in 2 o 4 parti uguali (io ho preferito i biscotti più piccoli) e formate dei dischetti alti circa 5-6 mm appiattendoli con le dita. Formate questi cerchi su una teglia da forno rivestita da carta da forno.
Con un coltello affilato o la rotellina per la pizza tagliate ogni cerchio in 8 (se avete fatto cerchi grandi) o 6 triangoli (se avete fatto cerchi piccoli), però non separateli. Bucherelate la pasta con una forchetta e mettete a cuocere nel forno già preriscaldato a 175°C per 16-18 minuti.
Togliete la teglia dal forno e ritagliate di nuovo i biscotti mentre la pasta è ancora calda.
Lasciateli raffreddare sulla teglia.
Per decorarli, ho sciolto il cioccolato bianco, l’ho messo in un piccolo cono fatto con la carta da forno e disegnato delle strisce. Potete anche lasciarli “nudi”, ma così sono un po’ più belli e più golosi.

Per un'altra variante, sostituite la scorza d'arancia con la cannella, aggiungendo anche un pizzico di peperoncino se vi piace.

Chocolate Orange Shortbread

Shortbread keksi s čokoladom i narančom

150 g mekog brašna
115 g maslaca
70 g šećera
30 g tamne čokolade (sa 75 % kakaa)
1 naranča (naribana korica)
prstohvat soli
bijela čokolada (oko 50 g, za ukras)

Čokoladu nasjeckajte prvo nožem, a onda stavite u multipraktik zajedno s brašnom i miksajte u intervalima, dok čokolada ne bude skoro sva usitnjena u prah.
Umutite mikserom (na srednjoj brzini) omekšali maslac sa šećerom da postane pjenast.
Smanjite brzinu miksera i dodajte brašno sa čokoladom, sol i sitno naribanu koricu naranče. Mutite tek toliko da se sve poveže. Tijesto će biti jako mekano.
Podijelite tijesto na 2 ili 4 dijela (ovisno o tome želite li veće ili manje kekse) i od svakog oblikujte krug koji položite na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje i rastanjite dlanom na debljinu od 5-6 mm. Nožem ili nožem za pizzu izrežite svaki krug na 8 (ako ste radili veće) ili 6 trokutića (ako ste radili manje krugove) ali ih nemojte razdvajati. Izbodite tijesto vilicom.
Pecite kekse u pećnici zagrijanoj na 175°C 16-18 minuta, dok nisu suhi i čvrsti na dodir. Izvadite iz pećnice i odmah ponovo izrežite trokutiće nožem. Ostavite da se ohlade na plehu, a onda ih po želji ukrasite otopljenom bijelom čokoladom, a možete je i izostaviti.

VARIJACIJA: umjesto korice naranče dodajte 1/2 žličice cimeta.

Chocolate Orange Shortbread1

24 November, 2010

Learning... to like mushrooms

Fried cauliflower and Mushroom sauce

This recipe dates way back to my first attempts at cooking.
And I didn't start cooking until I was back home from university, and only because I had to. How things are different nowadays. I was telling my mother-in-law just a few days ago how I'd rather cook all day than do any other housework, especially when it comes to cleaning up after cooking ^__^.
And in that particular period of my life I had to start taking care of the whole household. On one side it wasn't easy to take my mom's place, because she was an excellent, and yet very simple cook. On the other side, I had from the very beginning this thing for searching recipes in cookbooks, magazines, etc. trying to prepare something different from the usual array of everyday dishes.
As a child I didn't like any kind of mushrooms, I found their taste horrible and their consistance disgusting. But as a young cook I was determined to learn cooking and eating them.
So this recipe for mushroom sauce, that I found in my mom's old, old, old cookbook, was the first I ever tried, and I've been making it ever since. It is delicious served in this vegetarian combination with fried cauliflower, but I've also served it often with chicken or turkey cutlets, and fried squid as well.
Although champignon (crimini) mushrooms aren't particularly tasty in my opinion, they are quite acceptable in this preparation, just make sure you add enough pepper and parsley ^__^

Fried cauliflower and Mushroom sauce

Fried Cauliflower and Mushroom Sauce

Fried cauliflower:
1 medium sized cauliflower
250 g flour (2 cups)
3 eggs
2,5 dl beer (1 cup approx.)
10 g fresh yeast (1/5 package dry yeast)
oil for frying (I advise to use olive or extravirgin olive oil)

Mushroom sauce:
250 g Champignon mushrooms (cremini/cremini/button mushroom, whatever you call them :)))
2 TBspoons butter
1 medium size onion
vegetable stock (2-3 TBspoons, or more, depending how thick you want the sauce to be)
1 TBspoon flour
1 TBspoon sour cream
1/2 bunch parsley leaves, chopped
salt, pepper

Divide the cauliflower into small florets and steamcook them. It should get soft but not so soft to fall apart. Salt it and season with little lemon juice.
Dissolve the yeast in the beer, add the eggs and the flour, whisk everything together to get a pretty thick batter (similar to pancake batter), if too thick, add little milk. Let the batter rest while preparing the mushroom sauce.

Clean and chop finely the onion.
Clean and slice or chop mushrooms.
Melt the butter in a skillet, add the onion and cook stirring until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook stirring until they soften and release their liquid.
Sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour, stir well and then add the vegetable stock (I start with 2-3 Tbspoons, and then see if I need a bit more). Cover and cook on low for a couple minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, add the sour cream, finely chopped parsley, stir well and remove from heat.

Dip each cauliflower floret into the batter you've prepared and deep fry on all sides until golden. If not using olive oil, the second best oil for home frying is peanut oil.
Let the fried florets drain on several layers of kitchen paper, and serve them warm with mushroom sauce.


Fried cauliflower and Mushroom sauce

Cavolfiore fritto e salsa ai funghi

Cavolfiore fritto:
1 cavolfiore medio
250 g farina
3 uova
2,5 dl birra
10 g lievito di birra fresco
olio per friggere (consiglio l'olio di oliva o olio EVO)

Salsa di funghi:
250 g funghi champignon
2 cucchiai di burro
1 cipolla media
un po' di brodo di verdure (2-3 cucchiai)
1 cucchiaio di farina
1 cucchiaio di panna acida
1/2 mazzetto di prezzemolo
sale e pepe

Dividete il cavolfiore a cimette piccole e cuocetele a vapore, finché morbide ma non troppo. Salatele e condite con un po' di succo di limone.
Sciogliete il lievito nella birra, aggiungete le uova e la farina e mescolate bene per ottenere una pastella densa, tipo quella per le crepes (se troppo densa, aggiungete un pochino di latte). Lasciate riposare la pastella mentre preparate i funghi.

Tritate finemente la cipolla e soffriggetela con il burro per qualche minuto.
Aggiungete i funghi tritati e cuocete mescolando finché diventino morbidi e rilascino il liquido.
Cospargete i funghi con la farina, mescolate, aggiungete il brodo e lasciate cuocere coperto per un paio di minuti.
Aggiungete il sale e il pepe, il prezzemolo tritato e la panna acida.
Togliete dal fuoco.

Riscaldate l'olio. Immergete le cimette nella pastella e friggetele nell'olio bollente. Quando sono dorate, toglietele dall’olio e appoggiatele sulla carta assorbente.
Servite i cavolfiori accompagnati dalla salsa di funghi.


Fried cauliflower and Mushroom sauce

Ovaj mjesec u igri Ajme koliko nas je, koju je pokrenula Snježana s bloga Dalmacija down under, tema je gljive, a domaćica je Lusitanija s bloga Na putovanju.
Sasvim slučajno na početku mjeseca sam već objavila jedan recept s gljivama, lisičarkama, koje sam kupila iz znatiželje jer osim šampinjona koje kupujem često, i vrganja koje kupujem rjeđe nego rijetko s obzirom na cijenu, nisam baš iskusna ni pri odabiru ni pri pripremi gljiva.
Ovaj put nešto klasično, umak od šampinjona sigurno svi pripremate slično ili približno ovako. Ja sam recept našla u nekoj staroj maminoj kuharici, u vrijeme kad sam o kuhanju znala jako malo, i vjerojatno mi je zbog toga i postao/ostao dijelom redovnog repertoara. 
Ovako kako vam ga predlažem danas bio je upravo predložen u dotičnoj kuharici (kojoj se nikako ne mogu sjetiti naziva, niti nju samu mogu više pronaći), poslužen uz pohanu cvjetaču, i kombinacija mi je jako dobra, priznajem,  iako rijetko radim pržene stvari (što zbog zdravstvenih što zbog "mirisnih" razloga).
Osim ove kombinacije, puno češće sam ga pripremala kao prilog uz piletinu, puretinu, pa i lignje.

Pohovana cvjetača i umak od šampinjona

Pohovana cvjetača:
1 srednja glavica cvjetače (karfiola)
250 g brašna
3 jaja
2,5 dl piva
10 g svježeg kvasca
ulje za prženje

Umak od šampinjona:
250 g šampinjona
2 žlice maslaca
1 srednje velika glavica luka
malo juhe
1 žlica glatkog brašna
1 ravna žlica kiselog vrhnja
1/2 svežnjića peršina
sol, papar

Cvjetaču podijelite na manje cvjetove i skuhajte, najbolje na pari, da omekša, ali pazite da se ne raskuha. Posolite je i pokapajte s malo limunovog soka.
Namrvite kvasac u pivo, dodajte jaja i brašno i izmiješajte da dobijete gušće lijevano tijesto. Ako je pregusto, dodajte malo mlijeka. Ostavite da tijesto odstoji dok pripremate umak.
Nasjeckajte sitno luk i popržite ga na zagrijanom maslacu da postane staklast. Dodajte sitno narezane šampinjone pa dinstajte miješajući dok gljive ne odmeknu. Pospite ih sa žlicom brašna, kratko popržite pa zalijte juhom, poklopite i ostavite da kuha par minuta na laganoj vatri. Posolite, popaprite, dodajte kiselo vrhnje i sitno nasjeckani list peršina.
Zagrijte ulje u dubljoj posudi (najzdravije ulje za prženje je maslinovo, ako nemate/ne volite onda ulje od kikirikija). Umačite cvjetove cvjetače u lijevano tijesto i stavite ih pržiti. Pržene cvjetove ostavite da se dobro okapaju na nekoliko slojeva kuhinjskog papira.
Poslužite cvjetaču uz umak.

Fried cauliflower and Mushroom sauce

21 November, 2010

The colour of my dreams

Forest Dream Cake

It was a dream when twelve years ago I got lost in those dark brown, dreaming eyes... And, I'm still dreaming... through ups and downs, through sunny days and storms...

I don't remember it at all, but my family told me that when I was a little girl (3 or 4 years old), I often played with my toys and dolls and talked about "going to the train station to pick up my boyfriend". Therefore, it seemed like a dream when many years later, that is exactly what happened, because I found my love across the sea ^__^, a thousand kilometers far.

When you are a little (or a little bigger than that) girl, you see the grown ups in your family get married and have kids, and inevitably, it becomes your dream, too. And this one came true, nine years ago, when I asked him, "Shall we get married?" (I know, romantic, right? But not every prince rides a white horse or proposes on his knees).

Forest Dream Cake

It was a silly dream to start a family when neither of us had a good job and we lived in a small rented appartment, but we didn't care, and one after another, two little bundles entered our lives, to make this dream alive, to make us live it every single minute of the day...


And when someone says, "I wish you all your dreams would come true", I say, "No, just one at a time, 'cause if they all came true at once, I'd have nothing left to dream about".

Therefore, never mind if my dream of going to Paris last year didn't come true, or going to London this year, either, I only wish for many other occasions.

One dream, though, will never realize. I'll never be able to share the most beautiful moments of my life with my mother, my kids will never be able to meet their wonderful grandmother. It hurts, but at least let me dream that she's keeping a careful eye on our dreams while she's resting among the stars and angels...


Forest Dream Cake

Forest Dream Cake
(from Manuale pratico di pasticceria, by Giovanni Pina)

50 g egg yolks
125 g whole eggs
100 g caster sugar
80 g egg whites
40 g caster sugar
30 g flour
30 g unsweetened cocoa powder

Forest fruits cream:
500 g heavy cream
125 g powdered sugar
125 g mascarpone cheese
250 g forest fruits (wild berries, fresh or frozen)
10 g powdered gelatine or 12 g leaf gelatine

Prepare the cake:
Put the whole eggs and the egg yolks in a mixing bowl, add the 100 g sugar and beat well with an electric mixer.
In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and 40 g sugar until soft peaks form.
Mix and sift together the flour and the cocoa.
Whisk in slowly and gently the egg whites to the eggs and yolks mixture first, and then add and whisk in the flour and the cocoa mixture.
Divide the batter between two 22-cm cake pans (greased and floured).
I baked the whole batter in one pan, but that wasn't a good idea, because the baked cake is extremely soft and was a real pain to cut in two horizontally. Don't follow my example.
Bake the cakes in an oven preheated to 180°C for 10 minutes (toothpick check).

Prepare the cream:
Process the berries in a blender or with a stick blender and then strain through a fine mash sieve to remove the seeds. If using frozen berries, let them defrost at room temperature first. If using fresh ones, choose one or more types that you prefer (mine were frozen, a mix of red currants, black currants, blackberries and raspberries, I wish I had some blueberries as well).
Mix the powdered gelatine with 4 TBspoons of cold water (or check the instructions on your package), and let it bloom for about 10 minutes. If using the leaf gelatine, let it soak in cold water for 10 minutes and then squeeze gently with your hands.
Warm up 50 g of fruit pulp to 40°C. Add the gelatine and stirr until it's melted. Add this mixture to the remaining fruit and mix well.
Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar, until just fairly stiff. Add 100 g of whipped cream to the fruit mixture, stir slowly and gently until homogeneous, and then mix it with the remaining whipped cream.
Put the mascarpone cheese in another (large) mixing bowl and add 150 g of fruit and cream mixture. Stir well with a hand whisk until creamy and smooth and then add the remaining fruit and cream mixture.

Assemble the cake:
Put a 24-cm ( 2 cm larger than the cake diameter) metal ring on a cake serving plate and place one cake inside.
Fill a pastry bag with the prepared fruit cream and pipe it around and all over the cake layer (the cream layer should be about 2 cm high), smooth the cream with a spatula or a spoon. Put the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Take the cake out of the freezer, place the second cake layer over the cream and then pipe the rest of the cream over it, smooth it and put back in the freezer for 2 hours.
Remove the ring and decorate the cake as you please. Keep the cake in the fridge until serving.
The cake will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 30 days.


Forest Dream Cake

Torta ai frutti di bosco
(di Giovanni Pina, Manuale pratico di pasticceria)

Pan di spagna:
50 g di tuorli
125 g di uova intere
100 g di zucchero semolato
80 g di albumi
40 g di zucchero semolato
30 g di farina
30 g di cacao amaro

Crema ai frutti di bosco:
500 g di panna fresca
125 g di zucchero a velo
125 g di mascarpone
250 g di frutti di bosco (freschi o surgelati)
12 g di gelatina in fogli

Pan di spagna:
Montate i tuorli e le uova intere con 100 g di zucchero con lo sbattitore elettrico.
Montate a neve non troppo compatta l'albume con 40 g di zucchero.
Miscelate e setacciate la farina e il cacao.
Unite le tre miscele mescolandole senza fretta con una frusta muovendola dall'alto verso il basso.
Versate il composto in due stampi da 22 cm e cuoceteli nel forno preriscaldato a 180°C per 10 minuti. Lasciateli raffreddare su una griglia.
Il mio errore è stato quello di cuocere il PdS in uno stampo, perché una volta cotto ha una consistenza morbidissima e ho dovuto massacrarlo per riuscire a tagliarlo in due orizzontalmente. Quindi non ripetete il mio errore :))

Crema ai frutti di bosco:
Frullate i frutti di bosco e poi passate la polpa al setaccio per rimuovere i semi. Se usate la frutta surgelata, lasciatela prima scongelare a temperatura ambiente. Se usate la frutta fresca, usate quella che vi piace (un solo tipo o misti).
Ammorbidite la gelatina in acqua fredda per 10 minuti e poi strizzatela gentilmente.
Scaldate 50 g di polpa di frutti di bosco fino a 40°C. Aggiungete la gelatina strizzata e mescolate bene finché la gelatina non si sarà sciolta completamente. Aggiungete la restante polpa di frutta mescolando molto lentamente con una frusta.
Montate la panna con lo zucchero a velo in modo che rimanga lucida e non sia troppo ferma. Aggiungete 100 g di panna montata alla frutta, mescolate bene e poi unite il composto alla restante panna.
Mettete il mascarpone in un altro contenitore (grande) e aggiungete 150 g di composto di panna e frutta. Mescolate con una frusta e quando diventa liscio e cremoso, unite il restante composto di panna frutti di bosco.

Assemblate la torta:
Disponete un anello da 24 cm (2 cm più largo del PdS) su un piatto per le torte e mettete un disco di PdS all’interno.
Riempite un sacchetto da pasticceria con la bocchetta liscia del diametro di 1 cm con la crema e formate uno strato uniforme alto 2 cm intorno e sopra il disco di PdS. Lisciate la superficie e lasciate riposare nel freezer per 30 minuti.
Mettete sopra la crema l'altro disco di PdS e ricopritelo con la restante crema. Lisciate la superficie e lasciate raffreddare nel freezer per 2 ore.
Togliete la torta dal freezer, rimuovete l'anello e decorate a piacere.
La torta si conserva nel frigo fino a 3 giorni, o nel freezer fino a 30 giorni.


Forest Dream Cake

Torta šumski san
(iz knjige Manuale pratico di  pasticceria, Giovanni Pina)

50 g žumanjaka
125 g cijelih jaja
100 g šećera
80 g bjeljanjaka
40 g šećera
30 g mekog brašna
30 g gorkog kakaa

Krema sa šumskim voćem
500 g slatkog vrhnja
125 g šećera u prahu
125 g sira mascarponea
250 g miješanog šumskog voća (svježeg ili smrznutog)
1 vrećica (10 g) želatine u prahu (ili 12 g žel. u listićima)

Umutite dobro mikserom žumanjke, cijela jaja i 100 g šećera.
Umutite bjeljanjke sa 40 g šećera u ne previše čvrst snijeg.
Pomiješajte i prosijte skupa brašno i kakao.
Pomiješajte tri smjese (jaja sa šećerom, bjeljanjke sa šećerom, brašno s kakaom), polako i lagano, ne žurite, koristite ručnu žicu i miješajte pokretima od gore prema dolje.
Tijesto podijelite u dva kalupa promjera 22 cm, namaštena i pobrašnjena, i pecite u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C, 10 minuta – provjerite čačkalicom jesu li pečeni (ja sam imala “genijalnu” ideju da biskvit ispečem u jednom i onda ga prerežem vodoravno – savjetujem vam da to ne činite, jer je biskvit tako mekan, da sam ga ja izmasakrirala dok sam ga razrezala, srećom ne vidi se vani. Vrijeme pečenja je navedeno u receptu, meni je međutim trebalo 40 minuta da se ispeče sve skupa, pa vam ne mogu potvrditi je li 10 minuta dovoljno za samo jedan tanki biskvit)
Ostavite biskvite da se ohlade na rešetki.

Krema od šumskog voća:
Izmiksajte šumsko voće u blenderu ili štapnim mikserom, pa onda protisnite kroz gusto mrežasto cjedilo da odstranite sjemenke (ako koristite smrznuto voće, ostavite ga da se odmrzne na sobnoj temperaturi pa onda izmiksajte; ako koristite svježe možete staviti jednu ili više vrsta voća, po želji).
Želatinu u prahu pomiješajte s 4 žlice hladne vode i ostavite da nabubri (želatinu u listićima namočite 10 minuta u hladnoj vodi, a zatim dobro iscijedite pritiskajući rukama).
Zagrijte 50 g ispasiranog voća (na 40°C), umiješajte želatinu i dobro izmiješajte da se sasvim otopi. Pomiješajte s ostatkom voća.
Slatkom vrhnju dodajte šećer u prahu i umutite mikserom (ne treba biti sasvim čvrsto umućeno).
Dodajte 100 g umućenog slatkog vrhnja voću sa želatinom i polako izmiješajte pjenjačom. Kad se smjesa ujednači, pomiješajte je s ostatkom umućenog slatkog vrhnja.
U veću zdjelu stavite mascarpone. Dodajte mu 150 g smjese od vrhnja i voća, i miješajte pjenjačom dok se ne postane kremasta i ujednačena. Dodajte ostatak smjese od vrhnja i voća i opet dobro izmiješajte.

Slaganje torte:
Na pladanj na kojem ćete posluživati tortu stavite metalni obruč promjera 24 cm (2 cm širi od promjera biskvita, tako da biskvit ostane sakriven u kremi – iznenađenje!!!). Položite prvi biskvit na dno.
Stavite polovicu kreme u vrećicu za ukrašavanje s okruglim otvorom od 1 cm i našpricajte kremu oko i na biskvit da dobijete sloj od 2 cm – poravnajte (vrećica služi da kremu nanesete u što ravnomjernijem sloju). Stavite tortu 30 minuta u zamrzivač.
Položite drugi biskvit preko stvrdnute kreme i nanesite opet uz pomoć vrećice ostatak kreme. Poravnajte površinu i vratite tortu u zamrzivač na 2 sata. Nakon toga odstranite metalni obruč i ukrasite tortu po želji i držite je u hladnjaku do posluživanja. (ja sam napravila ovu čokoladnu dekoraciju)
Tortu možete čuvati do 3 dana u hladnjaku ili do 30 dana u zamrzivaču.

Forest Dream Cake

20 November, 2010

12 Weeks of Christmas cookis - # 8 - Baci di dama

Baci di dama

I'm late with posting this week cookie recipe (again), but so many things happened since last Friday. Some sad, and some that made me angry. And for a moment I thought I wouldn't be able to post anything.
Then I actually found out I had several cookie recipes (some even dating as far back as last Christmas), but I didn't like the pictures or wasn't quite sure about the recipe, so I decided to play safely and opted again for a recipe from my favourite book, Manuale pratico di pasticceria (by G. Pina). At least the result was satisfying this time (I'm still angry about two failed recipes from another cookbook, and all those eggs and butter I had to throw). I guess it's just one of those moments when it's better to stay away from the kitchen for a while.
This is actually the recipe I wanted to make for a while, so yesterday when I had to make a quick decision what to do, I knew the moment was right.
It is a bit different from numerous recipes for Baci di dama you can find on internet and in various books (each and every recipe I found had different proportions between butter-sugar-flour-almonds, and all the recipes use just plain melted chocolate to join the cookies). Well, this recipe is a bit more involving, as it calls for chocolate pastry cream, but if you need something quicker, simply melt some chocolate and you'll be perfectly fine.

Wouldn't you like to recieve a box of these for Christmas?

Baci di dama

Baci di dama (Lady's Kisses)

250 g butter
250 g powdered sugar
250 g flour
250 g almond meal
1 (organic) lemon or (organic) orange or 1/2 vanilla bean

Chocolate pastry cream:
200 g full fat milk
30 g heavy cream
50 g sugar
30 g egg yolks
10 g flour
a pinch of vanilla seeds
200 g čokolade za kuhanje(55% cocoa)

Cookies (the recipe makes about 100 single cookies, 50 when sandwiched):
Chop the butter and let it soften at room temperature for about half an hour, or soften it in the microwave at 5-seconds intervals stirring well each time until soft, but it mustn't start melting.
Add the powdered sugar to the butter and cream them together stirring with a wooden spoon.
Mix and sift together the flour and the almond meal, and stir them into the butter and sugar mixture adding the finely grated lemon or orange zest or the seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean.
Bring all the ingredients together to form a soft dough.
Let the dough chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Shape the dough into really small (10 g) balls (roll them well and tightly with your hands to avoid cracking in baking) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake the cookies in an oven preheated to 160°C for 20 minutes.
Let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and then move then to a cooling rack.

Chocolate pastry cream:
Mix the milk and the heavy cream in a saucepan and heat them to 80°C (if you don't have a thermometer, it's when a tiny skin starts forming in surface), don't let it boil.
In another saucepan stir together the egg yolks and the sugar, stir in the flour and the vanilla seeds, and then add the hot milk. Stir well and then put back on the stove.
Cook the cream stirring continuously with a spoon until it starts thickening and reaches 84-85°C (at this point it gets thick enough to see the bottom of the pan while stirring with a spoon and you can see a little bubble here and there, and the cream is shiny). Transfer the cream to a large bowl and let it cool down a little and then mix 160 g of cream with the melted chocolate and stir them well until smooth and homogeneous (you will probably have a little pastry cream left, it can be conserved in the fridge for up to 24 hours and served with fruit or a piece of cake).

Place a small quantity of chocolate cream on the bottom side of each cookie and sandwich it with another empty one. Give the chocolate cream time to dry.

The cookies will keep well for up to 60 days at room temperature, closed in a plastic bag, and protected from light.


Baci di dama

Baci di dama

250 g di burro
250 g di zucchero a velo
250 g di farina "00"
250 g di farina di mandorle
1 limone o 1 arancia o 1/2 baccello di vaniglia

Crema al cioccolato:
200 g di latte intero
30 g di panna fresca
50 g zucchero
30 g tuorli
10 g farina
un pizzico di polpa di vaniglia
200 g di cioccolato fondente al 55%

Per i biscotti, mescolate il burro ammorbidito con lo zucchero a velo, senza montare, fino renderlo cremoso. Aggiungete la farina e la farina di mandorle, mescolate e setacciate insieme, e la scorza grattugiata di un limone o un'arancia o i semi di 1/2 baccello di vaniglia. Impastate brevemente tutti gli ingredienti e lasciate riposare in frigo per 1 ora.
Formate le palline piccolissime (10 g ciascuna) e mettetele su una placca da forno foderata con la carta da forno, leggermente distanziate una dall'altra.
Cuocete i biscotti per 20 minuti nel forno preriscaldato a 160°C.
Lasciateli raffreddare qualche minuto sulla teglia e poi spostate su una griglia.
Per la crema pasticcera al cioccolato, mescolate il latte e la panna in un pentolino e scaldate fino a 80°C (se non avete il termometro, è quando comincia ad apparire una sottile pellicola in superficie). Non lasciate bollire la miscela di latte e panna.
In un altro pentolino mescolate (senza montare) i tuorli e lo zucchero, aggiungete la farina, e per ultimo la polpa di vaniglia e mescolate di nuovo. Versate il latte caldo nella miscela di tuorli e rimettete sul fuoco. Cuocete la crema mescolando continuamente finché raggiunge la temperatura di 84-85°C (La crema è pronta quando per qualche istante vedete il segno lasciato dal passaggio del cucchiaio, qualche leggero "sbuffo" e appare lucida). Versate la crema in una ciotola e lasciatela raffreddare un po'. Emulsionate 160 g di crema con il cioccolato sciolto (se vi avvanza altra crema, conservatela in frigo fino a 24 ore e servite con la frutta o qualche dolce :))).
Unite due biscotti con un po' di crema e lasciate riposare finché la crema si indurisca.


Baci di dama

Baci di dama (Damski poljupci)

250 g maslaca
250 g šećera u prahu
250 g mekog brašna
250 g fino mljevenih (oguljenih) badema

Čokoladna krema
200 g punomasnog mlijeka
30 g slatkog vrhnja za šlag
50 g šećera
30 g žumanjaka
10 g brašna
prstohvat nastruganih sjemenki vanilije
200 g čokolade za kuhanje

Keksi (dobit ćete oko 100 pojedinačnih keksa od 10 g, 50 kad ih spojite):
Maslac narežite na kockice i ostavite pola sata na sobnoj temperaturi da omekša (ili ga omekšajte u mikrovalnoj pećnici u intervalima od 5 sekundi i svaki put dobro promiješajte dok ne postane mekan, ali se ne smije početi topiti).
Izmiješajte žlicom maslac sa šećerom da postane kremast, dodajte brašno i bademe koje ste pomiješali i prosijali skupa, i naribanu koricu naranče ili limuna ili nastrugane sjemenke 1/2 mahune vanilije. Kratko izmijesite rukama da dobijete glatko tijesto. Stavite tijesto u hladnjak na 1 sat.
Oblikujte kuglice težine 10 g (ako vas zanima vagala sam svaki komadić da budu svi jednake veličine :))) i stavljajte ih na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje, malo razmaknute jednu od druge.
Pecite kekse 20 minuta u pećnici zagrijanoj na 160°C. Ostavite ih par minuta na plehu, a onda ih premjestite na rešetku da se ohlade do kraja.

Pomiješajte i zagrijte mlijeko i vrhnje do 80°C (ako nemate termometar, to je kad se na površini počne stvarati kožica – ne smije prokuhati).
U drugoj posudi pomiješajte žumanjke i šećer (žlicom ili pjenjačom), umiješajte brašno i nastrugane sjemenke vanilije, a zatim ulijte vruće mlijeko i izmiješajte.
Vratite na vatru i kuhajte neprestano miješajući žlicom dok krema ne postigne temp. od 84°C (ako nemate termometar, krema je kuhana kad se počne zgušnjavati toliko da ostaje trag na dnu kad miješate, glatka je i sjajna).
Ostavite da se krema malo prohladi, često miješajući da se ne stvori kožica. Otopite čokoladu i pomiješajte sa 160 g kreme (vjerojatno će vam ostati viška kreme - možete je čuvati u hladnjaku do 24 sata, i poslužiti uz voćni desert ili nešto sl.). Izmiješajte dobro pjenjačom da krema bude glatka i bez grumenčića.
Stavljajte malo kreme na donju stranu jednog keksa i spojite ga s drugim keksom. Za vrlo kratko će se krema stisnuti i osušiti.
Kekse možete čuvati na sobnoj temperaturi do 60 dana, dobro zatvorene u plastičnoj vrećici i na tamnom mjestu. Od ove smjese dobit ćete oko 100 pojedinačnih keksa, odnosno 50 kad su spojeni.
Umjesto čokoladne kreme, možete kekse spojiti samo otopljenom čokoladom.

Baci di dama

12 November, 2010

12 Weeks of Christmas cookies - #7 - Delicate Milk Cookies

Delicate white cookies

My kids are already getting anxious about Christmas. At their age they don't really get the whole time concept. And seeing that malls and stores are already shining with Christmas lights, that shelves are full of toys, they've started asking repeadly, "How many days till Christmas?"
I think it's still a bit too early for everything else but thinking about what I could actually bake for holidays. I even got myself a new cookbook  - cookies, muffins, cakes - they all look so delicious that I couldn't resist and already tried a couple recipes, and I'm sure some of them will appear here soon.
And yes, it's week 7 of 12 Weeks of Christmas cookies.
I had fun with my girls turning this delicate dough into various shapes. They got out my box with cookie cutters and while I went for romantic little hearts and flowers, they got out the Christmas themed cutters, of course.
I also wanted to copy an idea for these ice cream cone shaped cookies, dipped them into chocolate and decorated with sugar sprinkles - what happened is that my 3-year-old ate only the part covered with chocolate and left the rest. The crime ocurred within 3 minutes, and this is the crime scene I found coming back to the kitchen.

Delicate white cookies

I was positively surprised with the dough itself. Apart from being quite tasty, it's really great for making any shape that you like. We had a great time. And you? Did you bake anything fun or cute this week?

Delicate white cookies

Delicate Milk Cookies

500 g (1.1 lb) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
175 g (6 oz) butter
130 g (4.5 oz) sugar
200 g (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
(your choice between) lemon/orange zest OR a little cinnamon OR orange/lemon essential oil (10-12 drops) OR vanilla extract or powder, OR substitute part of the sugar in the recipe with lavender sugar
for decoration: jam, melted dark or white chocolate

Beat the butter, the sugar and the condensed milk until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg, then sift in the flour mixed with the baking powder. Work with a spoon and then with your hands to get a smooth dough. Divide into three equal parts, form discs and wrap each of them in piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour (even longer is fine, mine sat in the fridge for three hours and it was perfectly fine to work with).
Preheat the oven to 180°C (375°F).
Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper to 3-4 mm thick and cut out the shapes you prefer with cookie cutters. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for about 10 minutes. They should stay pale.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
When they're cold you can sandwich them with a little fruit jam or decorate with melted chocolate, or simply dust with powdered sugar.
This time I added orange essential oil and sandwiched some cookies with orange jam. That was really delicious.

Delicate white cookies

Biscotti delicati al latte

500 g farina "00"
1 cucchiaino di lievito in polvere
175 g burro
130 g zucchero
200 g latte condensato zuccherato
1 uovo
aroma a scelta, tra scorza grattugiata di limone o arancia, un po' di cannella, olio essenziale di arancia o limone(10-12 gocce), vaniglia (estratto o in polvere), oppure usate lo zucchero con fiori di lavanda (sostituendo una parte dello zucchero nella ricetta)
per decorare: confettura a scelta, cioccolato fondente o bianco, fuso

Lavorate il burro, lo zucchero e il latte condensato con le fruste elettriche finché la massa diventi chiara e cremosa. Aggiungete l'uovo e poi l'aroma a scelta (io ho messo l'olio essenziale di arancia) mescolando ancora brevemente.
Unite alla fine la farina mescolata e setacciata con il lievito, lavorando l'impasto prima con un cucchiaio e poi con le mani fino a ottenere un impasto liscio. Dividetelo in tre parti, formate tre dischi e avvolgeteli in pellicola trasparente. Lasciate rassodare in frigo per circa un’ora (anche di più).
Riscaldate il forno a 180°C.
Stendete l'impasto tra due fogli di carta da forno a uno spessore di 3-4 mm e tagliate le forme che desiderate usando i tagliabiscotti.
Trasferiteli sulla piastra ricoperta con la carta da forno e cuocete biscotti per circa 10 minuti.
Lasciate raffreddare i biscotti su una griglia e poi decorateli a piacere: unite due biscotti con un po’ di marmellata oppure decorate con il cioccolato fuso.

Delicate white cookies

Nježni mliječni keksići

500 g brašna
1 žličica praška za pecivo
175 g maslaca
130 g šećera
200 g (zaslađenog) kondenziranog mlijeka
1 jaje
aroma po želji korica limuna/naranče, malo cimeta, esencijalno ulje limuna ili naranče (10-12 kapi), vaniliju ili zamijenite dio šećera u receptu šećerom s lavandom
za ukras: otopljena bijela i/ili tamna čokolada

Stavite u zdjelu omekšali maslac, šećer i kondenzirano mlijeko i mutite mikserom dok ne postane kremasto.
Umiješajte prvo jaje u smjesu, aromu po želji (ja sam koristila prehrambeno esencijalno ulje naranče), a zatim postepeno i brašno, miješajući prvo kuhačom, a zatim rukama da dobijete mekano tijesto.
Podijelite tijesto na 3 dijela pa svaki omotajte prozirnom folijom i stavite u hladnjak na najmanje pola sata, što duže to bolje jer će se onda lakše valjati i rezati. Ja sam jedan dio ispekla odmah, nakon pola sata, a drugi nakon 3 sata i tijesto je bilo još bolje.
Pravite kekse po želji i pecite ih u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C oko 10 minuta (ovisno o pećnici naravno i obliku i veličini keksa).
Ja sam jedan dio oblikovala kao "sladolede", i pečene ih ukrasila otopljenom čokoladom i čokoladnim i šećernim ukrasima. Drugi dio sam tanko razvaljala između dva lista papira za pečenje i vadila kekse različitim oblicima (cure nisu odoljele i izvadile su kalupiće za gingerbread božićne kekse), ukrašavala ih čokoladom i spajala po dva s malo pekmeza. Najbolji su mi bili ovi spojeni pekmezom, i zbog okusa pekmeza od naranče koji sam stavila, i zato što zbog pekmeza keksi postanu još mekši i jednostavno se tope.

Delicate white cookies

10 November, 2010

Sense and senses

Pizza with friggitelli peppers

What sense does it make to drink a tisana before going to bed, the one that's supposed to make you sleep better and rest better during the night, only to wake up at 5 am because you need to go to the toilet (all that liquid you drank just before going to bed °__°), and you can't go to sleep again until about 15 minutes before your alarm clock goes off?
And the little sweet monster senses with her radar that you are awake and shouts to tell you that she wants to come to your bed just for a while and then she'll go back to her bed ^__^, leaving you not more than 30-40 cm space on which to try and get some blessed hour of sleep.
I guess the same sense that buying cookbooks or food magazines and then forgetting them on your bookshelf makes.
Months and months ago I bought (couldn't resist as usual) a special edition of Sale & Pepe magazine dedicated to Pizzas and Focaccias. I did nothing else but admire the pictures and drool over them. But, when making pizza (and it's a regular activity once or twice a week at my home) I always went with a plain Margherita. It is the best pizza in the world after all, but why desiring a change if you never get to see what it's like?
So, the other day, I was making bread, the Kefir bread you probably remember I made last month, and keep making now regularly every week, I decided to try using that dough to make a pizza. Just slightly modified the bread recipe, added a little extra virgin olive oil, to make the dough more elastic and went with a direct addition of kefir to the flour (it's the store bought kefir and it doesn't ferment anyway, so I just shorten the process now).
I happened to have some friggitelli, green sweet peppers, in the fridge that were desperatly calling to be used and I remembered that the previously mentioned edition of Sale & Pepe magazine had a pizza with friggitelli that I bookmarked as I was sure I'd love it.
I just switched my dough for the dough in the recipe (which was a plain pizza dough recipe) and ta-da!!! my pizza was ready just in time for lunch.
You have no idea how much I struggled to leave just one tiny slice for my husband to try, as I know perfectly well how much he loves friggitelli peppers (his grandma used to fry them for him). It was that good. Apart from the topping, that I found superb, I really loved the dough. And I'm definitely making it this weekend again.
Of course, you're free to use any pizza dough recipe that you like. Lately, I've been using the No knead pizza dough which is also very good, but produces a crunchy, thin pizza dough, so it's different from this dough, that was soft and slightly chewy, which I apreciated extremely.

P.S. I have a question for whoever is orchestrating the weather, What sense does it make to make the sun shine so strong this morning and make me pull out my long forgotten sunglasses, only to hide it behind heavy grey clouds half an hour later?!?

Pizza with friggitelli peppers

Pizza with Friggitelli Peppers

Dough (for 3 round pizzas):
150 ml kefir
3 cups(450 g) strong bread flour (I use "0" type Italian flour)
15 g dry weat sourdough starter or 7 g active dry yeast or 20 g fresh yeast about 200 ml lukewarm water
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 TBspoon extra virgin olive oil

250 g fresh mozzarella
350 g friggitelli (sweet green peppers)
250 g cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
shaved Parmigiano reggiano cheese

If preparing the dough with the sourdough starter, start preparing it at least 3 hours ahead. If using yeast, 2 hours will be enough.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and dry sourdough starter/dry yeast (if using the fresh yeast dissolve it in the warm water first). Mix well and make a well in the middle. Add the kefir (room temperature) and the olive oil, start mixing them into the flour with a hand or use a spoon, and gradually add the lukewarm water (you may need more or less than 200 ml). When you have incorporated all the flour, knead the dough in the bowl first, adding a little flour at a time if too sticky, then move it to a floured kneading board and knead until the dough is smooth (throw it against the surface several times).
Divide the dough into three equal parts, shape each into a ball and place them on a well floured tray, cover with a clean cotton cloth and keep in a warm, draft free place (my advice is always cold, closed oven, the dough will rise perfectly and won't get dry in surface. No need to preheat the oven or turn the pilot light on). As I said, if using the sourdough starter, let it rise at least 3 hours, if using the yeast 2 hours will be enough.
Turn the oven on 250°C.
Clean the friggitelli peppers, cut them in half, remove the stem and seeds and fry them in a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil OR fry them first and then cut in half and remove the seeds. Salt them to taste.
I bake pizzas in a pizza pan, so I slightly oil it first and then flatten a ball of dough with my hands to cover the whole pan (if using the pizza stone, do what you normally do).
Drizzle the dough with a swirl of olive oil and then distribute sliced mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes and halved friggitelli peppers on top.

Friggitelli Pizza with friggitelli peppers

Give it one more swirl of oil and bake in a very hot oven. Serve the pizza topped with the shaved Parmigiano cheese.


Pizza with friggitelli peppers

Pizza con friggitelli

150 ml di kefir
450 g di farina
15 g di lievito madre di frumento secco o 1 bustina di lievito di birra secco o 20 g di lievito di birra fresco
1 cucchiaino e mezzo di sale
1 cucchiaio di olio EVO

250 g di mozzarella
350 g di friggitelli
250 g di pomodorini freschi
olio EVO
scaglie di Parmigiano

Per la pasta:
Setacciate la farina in una ciotola grande e unite il sale e il lievito madre secco/o lievito di birra secco (se usate il lievito fresco, scioglietelo prima nell’acqua) e mescolate bene per distribuirli uniformemente. Create una fontana al centro e aggiungete il kefir a temperatura ambiente, l'olio EVO e poi cominciate a impastare con la mano o con un cucchiaio di legno aggiungendo gradualmente l'acqua fino a incorporare tutta la farina. Impastate per qualche minuto dentro la ciotola aggiungendo, se necessario, altra farina se l'impasto dovesse risultare troppo appiccicoso. Trasferite la pasta su una spianatoia infarinata e impastate energicamente e sbattendola qualche volta sulla spianatoia fino a ottenere una pasta liscia e morbida.
Dividetela in tre parti uguali e formate delle palline. Mettetele su un vassoio infarinato, coprite con un canovaccio pulito e lasciate lievitare in posto caldo e privo di correnti (io consiglio sempre il forno, freddo e spento, per un risultato migliore), per circa 3 ore se usate la pasta madre, 2 ore se usate il lievito di birra.
Accendete il forno a 250°C.
Pulite i friggitelli, tagliateli a metà e togliete i semi, e rosolateli in una padella con 2 cucchiai di olio EVO e un po' di sale. Oppure, rosolateli interi e poi divideteli a metà e togliete i semi.
Stendete la pasta nelle teglie unte d'olio. Distribuiteci sopra la mozzarella tagliata a fettine piccole, i pomodorini tagliati a metà e i friggitelli. Completate con un filo d'olio EVO e fate cuocere nel forno molto caldo.
Servite le pizze cosparse con le scaglie di parmigiano.


Pizza with friggitelli peppers

Pizza s papričicama

150 ml kefira
450 g brašna
15 g suhog pšeničnog kvasa ili 1 vrećica suhog kvasca ili 20 grama svježeg
1 i pol žličica soli
1 žlica maslinovog ulja

250 g mozzarelle
350 g friggitelli papričica (slatke zelene papričice)
250 g cherry rajčica
maslinovo ulje
na listiće nariban Parmigiano Reggiano

Za tijesto:
Prosijte brašno u veću zdjelu i umiješajte u njega sol i suhi kvas/ili kvasac (ako koristite svježi, prvo ga otopite u mlakoj vodi i dodajte u sljedećem koraku). Napravite udubljenje u sredini i u njega stavite kefir i žlicu maslinovog ulja. Počnite lagano dodavati okolno brašno miješajući rukom ili žlicom, a onda postepeno dodajite i mlaku vodu, dok ne umiješate sve brašno. Zamijesite tijesto prvo u zdjeli, dodajući po potrebi još brašna ako je tijesto previše meko i ljepljivo. Nakon toga ga premjestite na pobrašnjenu radnu površinu i čvrsto mijesite i bacite nekoliko puta od stol, dok tijesto ne postane glatko i podatno. Podijelite tijesto na tri jednaka dijela, i od svakog oblikujte kuglicu.
Smjestite kuglice tijesta na dobro pobrašnjen pladanj, pokrijte ih čistom pamučnom krpom i ostavite da se dižu na toplom mjestu zaštićenom od propuha (ja uvijek savjetujem zatvorenu, hladnu pećnicu za najbolji rezultat) oko 3 sata ako ste koristili prirodni kvas, 2 sata ako ste koristili suhi ili svježi pivski kvasac.
Uključite pećnicu na 250°C.
Papričice očistite - prepolovite ih i izvadite sjemenke, pa ih popržite u tavi s 2 žlice maslinovog ulja, ILI ih prvo popržite cijele, pa onda prepolovite i izvadite sjemenke.
Rastanjite tijesto u malo nauljene okrugle tepsije za pizzu da u tankom sloju pokriju dno. Sasvim malo nauljite tijesto, a onda rasporedite po njemu mozzarellu narezanu na komadiće/listiće, prepolovljene rajčice i polovice papričica. Polijte s još malo ulja i pecite u jako toploj pećnici.
Na pečenu pizzu dodajte na listiće narezan parmigiano e poslužite.

Pizza with friggitelli peppers

08 November, 2010

Another week has rolled in...

Eggplant rolls

Everything goes in circles, and here we are at the beginning of another week. I had a half-working, half-relaxing weekend, as I had to deliver a translation for Sunday morning. I just wonder if anyone was really there to receive it on Sunday.
Therefore, I took some time off yesterday and spent a really relaxing day.
But as a consequence, probably, I spent a crazy morning in the kitchen today: first some amaretti cookies (I had tones of leftover eggwhites from Daisy cake), then while I was making Kefir bread, I decided to use a small part of the dough to make a pizza - just one word: GORGEOUS. Hopefully, I'll get to show you some of the results soon.

I was keeping this recipe for eggplant rolls for a few months. I'd buy some eggplants and then they'd end up in something else. Or, something that happens frequently, I'd forget them in the depths of my fridge until they were no good any more.
Finally got my hands on them and found the time to prepare them. I'm glad they were not a flop like some of the cookie recipes that I've tried recently.
I knew I had to like them, I love eggplants, chickpeas and zucchini. The recipe is quite easy and quick to make. And they can be served warm or completely cold, which is always a good thing, considering that I never know when to expect my husband home for dinner.
They are just great either as an appetizer or side/main dish, whatever you prefer.

Eggplant rolls

Eggplant, Chickpea and Zucchini Rolls

1 eggplant
1 zucchini
200 g precooked chickpeas
1 shallot or small onion
1 clove of garlic
1 lemon
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
Extra virgin olive oil
salt, oregano

Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 2-3 mm thick slices.
Brush them with a little oil on both sides and then grill in a hot grilling pan a couple minutes per each side (until you can see the grilling marks).
When they are done, salt them just slightly and set aside to cool.
Chop the shallot finely and saute it with a few TBspoons of olive oil, on medium heat, until it softens and gets translucent.
Add the zucchini cut into tiny cubes and the finely chopped (or pressed) clove of garlic. Saute everything for 2-3 minutes, then cover and cook on low until the zucchini is soft.
Add the chickpeas (drained from their liquid if using the canned ones), the oregano and salt to taste, and cook everything for 5 more minutes stirring frequently.
Let it cool, and then add the finely grated lemon zest and pureé everything with an immersion blender. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil if the mixture is too thick.
Squeeze the juice from a whole lemon and mix it well with 2 TBspoons of olive oil, a bit of salt and the crushed ground cardamom seeds. Stir until the cardamom has released its scent.
Spread the chickpea mixture over the eggplant slices and roll them up.
Place the rolls on a serving plate and pour the lemon cardamom dressing over them.


Eggplant rolls

Involtini di melanzane con ceci e zucchine

1 melanzana lunga
1 zucchina
200 g di ceci precotti
1 scalogno
1 spicchio d'aglio
1 limone
1 cucchiaino di coriandolo
Olio extravergine d'oliva
sale, origano

Tagliate la melanzana per il lungo a fettine spesse 2-3 mm. Spennellatele con un po' di olio e grigliate su una piastra ben calda per un paio di minuti per lato. Salatele con un pizzico di sale e lasciatele raffreddare.
Rosolate la cipolla tritata con un paio di cucchiai di olio extravergine d'oliva. Unite la zucchina tagliata a dadini piccoli e l'aglio tritato. Saltate tutto insieme per qualche minuto, coprite la padella e lasciate cuocere a fuoco basso finché la zucchina diventi morbida (5 minuti circa). Unite i ceci alla zucchina, salate e aggiungete l'origano. Lasciate insaporire per ancora 5 minuti mescolando ogni tanto.
Lasciate raffreddare un po', poi aggiungete la scorza grattugiata di limone e frullate tutto fino a ottenere una crema, se vi sembra troppo densa, aggiungete uno o due cucchiai di olio EVO.
Spremete il limone e versate il succo in un bicchiere, aggiungete 2 cucchiai di olio EVO, un pizzico di sale e il coriandolo pestato o macinato. Amalgamate bene tutto finché il coriandolo avrà rilasciato il suo profumo.
Spalmate un po' di crema di ceci sulle fettine di melanzana e avvolgetele formando dei rotolini.
Serviteli irrorati con la salsa di limone e coriandolo.


Eggplant rolls

Rolnice od patlidžana sa slanutkom i tikvicom

1 duguljasti patlidžan
1 zelena tikvica
200 g kuhanog slanutka (može iz konzerve)
1 glavica luka ljutike (ili manja glavica običnog crvenog luka)
1 češanj bijelog luka
1 limun
1 žličica sjemenki korijandera
maslinovo ulje
sol, origano

Narežite patlidžan po dužini na kriške debljine 2-3 mm. Malo ih nauljite sa svake strane pa ispecite na gril tavi (ili teflonskoj) par minuta sa svake strane. Kad su pečene posolite ih s mrvicu soli i ostavite da se prohlade.
U međuvremenu sitno nasjeckajte luk i popržite ga na umjerenoj temperaturi s par žlica maslinovog ulja, da odmekne i postane staklast. Dodajte češnjak protisnut kroz tijesak ili sitno nasjeckan, i tikvicu nasjeckanu na male kockice. Nastavite dinstati 2-3 minute sve skupa, a onda poklopite i kuhajte pokriveno na slaboj vatri još oko 5 minuta (ili koju minutu više) dok tikvica ne odmekne.
Dodajte ocijeđeni slanutak tikvici, malo posolite, dodajte origano i kuhajte još sve skupa 5 minuta da se okusi prožmu. Ostavite da se prohladi, a onda dodajte sitno naribanu koricu limuna i sve skupa izmiksajte štapnim mikserom ili propasirajte, dodajući po potrebi još 1 ili 2 žlice ulja (ako vam je pregusta smjesa).
Pomiješajte u čaši sok od limuna s 2 žlice maslinovog ulja, malo soli i mljevenim ili smrvljenim sjemenkama korijandera. Miješajte dok korijander ne pusti svoj miris.
Premažite kriške patllidžana pripremljenom kremom od slanutka i tikvica i smotajte ih u rolnice. Složite ih na tanjur za posluživanje i prelijte umakom od limuna i korijandera. Po želji ukrasite vlascem (a možete i svaku rolnicu ukrasno zavezati vlascem) i poslužite s kruhom.

Eggplant rolls