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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Happy 4th of July!!!

Time do bring out all the red/white/blue, stars and stripes you can find in the house. No need to be modest. Go big for this holiday!

This is of course an American celebration, but I know that Americans abroad celebrate it just as much as a Swede living here in the States ( I wonder who I am thinking of…) would celebrate Swedish events and holidays.

We are making it simple for this holiday. Too much to do, too little time. Don’t I say that all the time?? Perhaps I am a very stressed individual since I always want to cook simple food. Who knows.

My priority this weekend is to relax, spend time with family and friends. Just enjoy myself. We will go to the beach, go to my mother-in-law’s for Curry Goat, BBQ in the garden, so many different things are going on for these 4 days… If I am really lucky, there will also be some time left over for me to have a date with a good book. I haven’t read a book in a very long time. What a shame.

So, we are doing easy stuff for the 4th. Basic BBQ food like , marinated chicken & pork tenderloin, burgers & hotdogs. Corn & salsa.

I will make my Mini Pies filled with strawberries, blueberries and apples. Basic desserts. A little bit of “comfort” food desserts. Well known and familiar but perhaps with a little twist at times.

It is very nice to make a whole bunch of small mini pies instead of making just one big one. This way you can pick and choose what you want.

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Mini Fruit & Berry Pies.

The rule is to use any fruit or berries of your choice. Besides that, there are no rules.

There are no real recipes for this. Since I like to be able to taste the actual produce, I keep it as fresh as possible.

So just make a pie crust or even buy ready made pie crust. For these ones, I use a basic pie crust.

I choose little nice looking ramekins. Since it is 4th of July, I used my star shaped ones.

Add the rolled out pie crust to the ramekins. Well pressed down into the bottom edges.

Add the fruit or berries. Keep them separate or mix them together.

Different combinations;

Blueberries– Use a splash of your favorite liquor.

Strawberries– Add finely chopped candied ginger.

Apples– Add your favorite liquor and some ground cinnamon. (And perhaps a little granulated sugar if you need for it to be a little sweeter).

Peaches– Toasted nuts and a pinch of brown sugar.

These are just some suggestions, you can really combine anything you like.

If you use hard fruits like apples, cut them finer and fry them in a skillet for about 15 minutes or so until soft. Add a little water so that they get some help from the water to soften up. Keep a lid on so that they really cook down faster.

Directions;

When you have added the pie crust to the ramekins pack down the filling well. Cut little stripes of the crust and add about 3 stripes per pie.

Brush some egg wash onto the crust and sprinkle some granulate sugar on top of it.

Bake in a 350 F degree (175 C) for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust has turned golden brown.

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Cut out stars with a mini cookie cutter. Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on the stars. They taste like little cookies.

Cut out stars with a mini cookie cutter. Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on the stars. They taste like little cookies.

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You can serve some fresh berries on the side and also whip up some heavy cream spiked with some of your favorite liquor.

Add about 2-3 tbsp. per cup of heavy cream. Fold in some candied ginger.

Enjoy!!!

And again, have a great and happy 4th of July!!!

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Homemade Mojito Ice cream… Now doesn’t that sound like a summer nights dream???

Since I love both Mojito’s and Ice cream I figured one should be able to combine the two. We got ourselves an Ice cream maker not so long ago. I am now ready to have the freezer full of healthier versions of my favorite Häagen-Dazs… I am trying to come up with some healthy alternatives. But one needs to also do some “real” Ice cream. For god sake, you can’t have an Ice cream maker and only do frozen yoghurt!! That would be a crime. So let the try-outs begin. One of my favorites right now is a Mojito ice cream. It is made from a custard base. Oh my, it is so fantastic. The first time I made it, it ended up a little too sweet in my taste, but I was the only one that thought so. Family & friends has loved all versions. No complaints of it being too sweet.

It is such an easy task to make Ice cream with this handy little machine. Gone are the days I made it by hand. I used to use the attachment to my Kitchen Aid, but it always gave me problems. It never really worked well, so I did it by hand. Now I finally don’t have to. It is so nice.

You can make so many versions of Ice cream. I think it is great to just experiment. First you need to just master the basics. Make a plain vanilla Ice cream, use a custard base. It is creamy, smooth and silky. From there you can start building up your repertoire. Use simple syrups, fruits, berries, herbs….or whatever your favorite taste is. I am thinking the wilder the better. It is easy to make “cocktail” Ice cream versions. Since many drinks are based on simple syrups, you can just transfer that into an Ice cream, you can even add alcohol if you want. If you do, just be careful and don’t add it until the last few seconds in the machine. The alcohol can prevent the Ice cream from freezing up.

Just note that you must make sure to have a day or two before the ice-cream is being served since the custard must chill down a 100%. I also prefer to have it sit in the freezer over night.

So make some Ice cream!!! Summer is closing in.

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Homemade Mojito Ice-cream.

Makes about 6 cups.

2 c. Heavy cream (whipping cream).

2 c. whole milk.

1/2 c.  granulated sugar.

5 egg yolks from large eggs.

1/2 c. Simple syrup made of mint and lime. (Use 1 bunch of fresh mint and 1-2 limes, the juice and some grated zest as well. Boil down with 1/2 c. of water & 1/2 c. of granulated sugar. Let come to a boil. Make sure the sugar dissolves. Cool in the fridge for a few hours. Strain).

1 tsp. finely grated lime zest

1-2 tbsp. of good rum (optional, to add the last few seconds of mixing the ice-cream).

Pinch of salt.

(If you would like to make a vanilla ice-cream, add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 vanilla bean, halved & seeds scraped off. Cooked in the milk/cream mixture. Just remove the vanilla bean when finished cooking. Obviously you don’t use the lime and mint for the vanilla version)

Directions;

Pour the milk, cream and half of the sugar into a pot. Let come to a boil on medium low heat. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar until nice, light and fluffy.

You now need to “temper” the eggs. Take 1/3 of the hot milk/cream. Pour, little by little while whisking well, into the egg & sugar mixture. When done pour this tempered egg mixture back into the pot. Use a wooden spoon, stir constantly on low heat until it thickens. Make sure it isn’t too hot or the eggs will curdle. When the mixture covers the back of the spoon and you can drag your finger across the spoon and the mixture doesn’t close back in over spoon, it is done. It will take about 5-6 minutes.

If you are making vanilla ice-cream, you need to now remove the vanilla bean. Pour the custard into a container with air tight lid.

Sometimes when making ice-cream you might end up with lot’s of ice crystals. The trick to avoid that is to cool down the custard really fast. I use an ice bath (a large bowl with water and ice that I put my container of finished ice-cream custard into).

You need to refrigerate the custard for at least 2 hours. The best would be to let it sit in the fridge over night.

When cooled down totally, add to the ice-cream machine. Make sure it is turned on before you start pouring in the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl. After 5 minutes or so of churning the ice-cream, start adding the simple syrup. Little by little. Make sure to taste so that it isn’t too over powering. Let churn for about 20-25 minutes in total. At the very end, add the finely grated lime zest and the alcohol (optional). If you like a little softer version of ice-cream, serve directly. I prefer to make mine ahead of time and add it to an airtight container and put it in the freezer for a few hours or even over night.

Decorate with a couple of leaves of mint.

Enjoy!!!!

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The hunt for a “Semla” is on. I actually was able to buy some in NY last year. There is a Swedish cafe in the city and they had baked some “Semla’s” around fat Tuesday.

A “Semla” is really just a wheat bun with cardamom and an almond paste filling with whipped cream. But, for some reason it is a slam dunk with the Swedish population. It used to be available only around fat Tuesday but now they start selling them right after christmas. I used to have my old design-studio right around the corner from this fantastic bakery. One year when I came home to Sweden, I actually pre-ordered some “Semla’s” for my family and I. They would make special orders if you bought a big enough order. And we did. Some of my American friends can’t understand the fascination with this somewhat plain wheat-bun over decorated with whipped cream. And besides that, they have an issue with eating them without getting powered sugar all over themselves. Well, I will tell you a secret, most Swedes also end up with powdered sugar on their noses. One has to have a technique to eat them. Take off the lid and use it to scoop up some cream. After that you dive into the bun.

Some people eat them in a bowl with hot milk poured around the “Semla”, making it a little soggy. It is called a “hot wall”. I don’t like soggy food so I never go to that much trouble to eat it. But my mom loves it this way.

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“Semlor”.

Makes 20 big or 40 mini Semlor.

Buns;

1 package of fresh yeast (or 1 package of dry yeast. Activate as description on package).

6 1/3 c. flour.

6 oz. (175 gr.) butter.

2 c. whole milk (1-2% works as well).

3/4 c. granulated sugar.

2 tsp. ground cardamom.

1 tsp. salt.

Filling;

7 oz. almond paste.

3 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream.

Top with powdered sugar.

Directions;

Melt the butter on the stove, add the milk. Warm until finger warm. (Not hot, it would “kill” the yeast.).

Crumble the yeast up into a bowl. Add the ground cardamom. If you are using dried yeast, follow the directions on the package to dissolve and activate it.

Pour the milk and butter mixture over the yeast.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add little at a time to the wet ingredients. Knead the dough until nice and smooth. 

If you have a food processor use that. Knead the dough for about 15 minutes.

Let the dough rise under a kitchen towel in a bowl for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

When done, put dough on a lightly floured counter. Divide into approximately 20 pieces (if big) or 40 (if you are making mini S).

Roll the pieces into round buns. Add to a lined cookie sheet. Let rise again. Be sure they double in size.

Some people brush the buns with an egg wash. It works just as well without.

Bake in a 450F  (225C) oven. Place them in the lower part. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool down on a rack. When totally cool, cut of a little “lid” of each bun. “Dig” out a little of the bun with a fork and put into a bowl. Shred the almond paste. Add to the bowl together with a few tablespoons of heavy cream (un whipped). Mix well.

Evenly divide all the almond paste into all the buns. Whip the heavy cream. Add to the buns. Use a pastry bag so that it is easier (& prettier) to distribute the whipped cream.

Add the “lid” back onto the bun. Just before serving, sprinkle over some powdered sugar.

Just beware…. One is never enough….

Enjoy!!!

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Since it is the National day of Pancakes today (in the US), I wanted to do a re-run of my favorite Swedish pancakes.

It feels as a little ‘treat’ every time I make pancakes. I guess it is because I like to “dress them up” with fresh berries and home-made syrups. They really are a feast for both eyes and stomachs.

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.

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Swedish pancakes.

Or “Svenska pannkakor” as we say at home.

Makes about 12-14 pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups of milk

1 cup of flour

1 large egg (if you only have a small egg add another one making it 2 eggs).

1 pinch of salt

Butter for frying (or oil if you don’t like butter).

1 1/2 cup of fruits or berries. Any kind.

1-3 tbsp. of brown sugar.

1 sprig of mint for decoration

Directions:

Mix the flour, milk and salt well in a bowl. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the egg(s). Mix well. Put the batter aside and let it rest for a few minutes.

Take 1/2 of the rinsed fruits and berries. Add to a pan. Add the sugar. One table-spoon at a time.

Be sure to taste so that it doesn’t get too sweet. Simmer on low/medium heat. Let the fruit and berries “melt down”creating a syrup. This will take about 10 minutes or so, depending on what kind of fruits or berries you use. You can also prepare this ahead of time.

When done, take it off the heat. Strain it in a sieve to press out the last precious drops of your syrup. Use the back of a spoon to gently press down the fruit/berry mixture.

Heat up a frying pan/skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of butter to pan. Use butter/oil to every other pancake. Add one ladle full of batter to the frying pan. Pour it into the center of pan. Make sure the batter distributes well into edges. You do this by lifting the pan up and swirling it slowly. Some flour thickens up more than others. If you feel the batter is a little too thick, just “thin out” with a slightly bit of milk.

You know the pancake is ready when it is starting to “dry” on the surface and when the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Use a “turner” to lift up the pancake and flip it onto the other side. It takes less time to brown on the second side of the pancake. When ready, fold in half and then fold the half into a quarter. Lift onto platter. Decorate with berries or fruit. Poor on the syrup. Decorate with a sprig of mint.

Either serve the pancakes with whipped cream, berries with homemade syrup (or just bought one) or some great jam.

Enjoy.

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♩♫♩♩”Ja må de leva, ja må de leva, ja må de leva uti hundrade år……”♩♫♩♩

There are lot’s of birthdays to celebrate right now. My husband is turning….well he is having a birthday. And another very important one is that my blog is turning 1 year!! I can’t believe it already has been a year since I started blogging. It has been so much fun. I really enjoy sharing my favorite recipes with all of you and also come up with some new ones. Your feedback is great. And the support I have gotten… Thank you so much. It is so exciting every time one more person is “following” me and my blog. It is so inspirational and it really keeps me going. I just love it.

Since we are having all these important birthdays, let’s just enjoy them with the best birthday cake there is. Princess cake.

Princess cake is my absolute favorite cake. It is probably one of the most common cakes at home (if you don’t count the regular strawberry cake of course). It is served for any occasion or holiday. Luckily it is also my husbands favorite. It is a light (not light as in low calorie…sorry. Light as in fluffy and airy.) The only hard part is to roll out the marzipan “lid” very thinly. You can buy already made marzipan in many specialized grocery stores (you just add some food coloring). If you can’t find that, just do your own. When I was younger there really was just one version. A pink cake with a pink rose on top. Now you have them in pink, green and white… Perhaps even more colors. The filling can vary slightly but it ( in my opinion) should have a raspberry jam on the bottom layer, vanilla creme on the second layer and whipped cream for the top layer under the marzipan “lid”. Ok, enough of this teasing…. I better just cut to the chase and give you the recipe.

Here is the world-famous Princess cake.

Happy birthday Älskling and happy birthday to my blog. “And many more….”

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Princess cake.

Serves 10-12.

The cake;

4 eggs

1 c. granulated sugar.

1/2 c. flour.

1/2 c. potato flour (potato starch).

2 tsp. baking powder.

(If you rather use your favorite sponge cake recipe that is ok to use for this cake.)

Marzipan “lid”:

About 4 oz. of marzipan.

Food coloring of your choice.

Powdered sugar.

Filling:

1 cup vanilla cream or vanilla pudding.

1/2 – 1 c. raspberry jam.

1 1/2 c. whipped cream.

Directions;

Butter a spring cake-pan (10-12″) and add a little flour that you shake around in the pan, making sure all of the pan is well buttered and covered in flour. This is instead of breading with bread crumbs.

Whip sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients with sugar & butter. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake in a 350F (175C) degree oven for about 40 minutes. Place the cake in the lower parts of the oven. When done take the cake out of the pan and let cool completely.

Mix the marzipan and food coloring. Roll it out until very thin (and as perfectly round as you can). Roll it out on a piece of wax-paper so that it doesn’t stick as easily.

Cut the cake into three layers with the top layer being the thinnest one. Add the raspberry jam onto the first layer. Make sure the jam reaches all the way out to the very edge (this applies to all different fillings and layers).

Place the second layer on top of the first. Add the vanilla cream/pudding. Make it a little thick so it is well saturated into the cake. Add the third layer. Whip the heavy cream. Spread on the cream. Make sure it is a nice and thick layer.

Add the thinly rolled out marzipan “lid”. Make sure it is well centered.

Straighten out any fold at the very bottom of the lid. It is ok to have a few folds. It makes it look home-made. Cut off any unevenness from the bottom of the marzipan.

If you would like to, make a little flower out of any left over marzipan. Roll out a little piece and place a rose-leaf onto it, pressing it down to make an imprint. Cut around with a small knife (sprinkle with some cake glitter or light food safe coloring/powder- Note that it is optional).

Sprinkle over some powdered sugar all over the cake “free hand”with a sieve or use a stencil for a pretty pattern.

Enjoy!!!

 

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Press some rose leaves or any other kind of leaf into some marzipan. Cut around the leaf.

Press some rose leaves or any other kind of leaf into some marzipan. Cut around the leaf.

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Marzipan flowers and leaves are easy to make.

Roll little balls/marbles of the marzipan. Press them flat with your fingers. Shape into leaves. Put them together into a flower shape. Cut off the bottom part that becomes a little “clumpy” when you add all the leaves together.

For the leaves I have just flattened out some of the marzipan and then pressed down some rose leaves to create an imprint. Cut around the leaf and take off access marzipan.

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As a final touch you can brush them slightly with some cake glitter or coloring. Usually these flowers are colored by food coloring, but I think they are really pretty in their “natural” color.

Enjoy!!

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I used to have an apartment on the 10th floor high up on a hill at the center of Stockholm (capital of Sweden).

Every year, I was hosting the New Years dinner. It was just so convenient since from the back of my house, one could see all the fireworks over the city. Absolutely fantastic (if you like fireworks that is).

It would always be “how can I top last years dinner”.

We would eat until we dropped and then when the clock turned 12 am/ midnight we would be out up on the hill with our little “tomtebloss” (sparklers) and champagne, cheering the new year with each other and admiring the spectacular theatricals playing all around the city.

These days I prefer to be home alone with my hubby!

He loves lobster so that is a no brainer. I am ok with eating it at least once a year. I prefer shrimp or crawfish but am ok eating lobster for new years.

This year we will have steamed lobster & grilled colossal shrimp in a crawfish and champagne sauce. Not too bad at all.

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Steamed Lobster & grilled Colossal shrimp in a Lobster or Crawfish & Champagne sauce.

I steamed lobster per person. ( I ask my fisherman to steam the lobsters for me. It saves time and it doesn’t mess up my kitchen).

3 colossal shrimp per person.

Arugula salad.

A splash of Mirin.

1/2 squeezed lemon or lime.

Lobster or Crawfish & Champagne sauce;

1 c. champagne or good white wine.

1 c. heavy cream.

1/4 c. Crawfish or Lobster stock. As concentrated as possible.

1 bay leaf.

1 tbsp. butter.

1 tbsp. potato flour (or arrow-root or other thickening agent).

1/2 finely chopped white or yellow onion ( or 2-3 shallots).

Sprouts or mescaline salad.

Directions;

Start with the sauce. Fry the onions until translucent in the butter. Add the stock & bay leaf. Boil down for a few minutes. Whisk in the potato or thickening agent with the cold heavy ream. Add to the stock and broth. Boil another few minutes. Add the champagne. Reduce until you have about 1 cup  (or a little less) of nice & great tasting sauce. Pepper to taste. No salt is need since the stock is salty.

Clean the Lobsters. Cut into nice big pieces. Try to keep the “shape” of the tail together. Just for esthetic reasons.

Place arugula on the bottom of bowls. Place the chopped Lobster meat on top.

Grill the colossal shrimp. A few minutes on each side. When turning pink, pour over the Mirin and lemon (or lime). Let bubble a minute in the grill pan. Place 3 of the shrimp on each plate.

Spoon over the sauce. Top with some sprouts.

Enjoy!!!

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This Lobster dish is so simple. It really is all about the sauce. Keep it fresh and simple…

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The same goes for the dessert.

I like to marinate berries in a great liquor. I took some strawberries, diced them up and let them sit in some pear cognac liquor for a couple of hours.

To that, I whipped some heavy cream.

If you have any other fruit or berries that you would like to add, do so. I had some pomegranate at home so that is what ended up in the glass. I finished it off with a little pice of chocolate on the side and a little sprinkle of shredded chocolate.

Another year ended well.

Happy New Year!!!

Thank you for supporting me and my blog. I really enjoy to cook for you and tell you little stories.

So, hope to see you again next year.

All my best. Gisela

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I know it sounds crazy but a few hours after haven eaten all that Christmas food, it is time for the Christmas Rice Porridge. I don’t understand how we were able to eat anything… But we did. Every year. I can’t do that anymore. It is too crazy. Instead, we eat it in the morning of Christmas day. Since my family comes from different parts of the world we have adopted different traditions. Mine is to celebrate on Christmas Eve and my husbands is the morning of Christmas day. We eat all the traditional Swedish food on the eve but save the rice porridge for the morning after. Since my husband loves eggnog, we drink that at the same time, all while opening Christmas presents.

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Christmas Rice Porridge.

serves 4-6.

1 c. water.

1 tbsp. butter.

1/2 tsp. salt.

1 c. unboiled rice. The round and short kind. Regular rice is not good for this.

4 c. whole milk. (add a little more as needed).

2-3 cinnamon sticks.

1 blanched almond.

Directions;

Use a large pot. Put on a low medium heat. Melt the butter. Add the rice & cinnamon sticks. Let it become a little translucent in the butter. Add the water & salt. Let all the water get soaked up by the rice. Add the milk, little by little. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Turn down the heat so that it is on very low. It will take about 40-60 minutes for the rice porridge to get done. It depends on the size of the pot and how much rice you have added. Make sure that the rice is cooked all the way through. It should not have a hard center but be soft a silky all the way through.

Take off the heat and let sit for a while. Serve it lukewarm with sprinkled ground cinnamon, sugar and some milk.

We blanch an almond (put almonds in boiling water for about 1 minute and snap off the skin). Add to the risgryns gröt. In my family, the person who got the almond had to make a “rhyme”. Other traditions are that the person who would find the almond would receive a small “almond present”.

 

 

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Ris a’ la Malta / Orange Rice.

This dessert is made of the leftover Rice porridge.

Rice porridge.

1 tbsp. powdered sugar.

1 tbp. vanilla sugar  or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. (How to make vanilla sugar- Take some powdered sugar and add a vanilla bean. Let sit for a week or so).

1 c. whipped heavy cream.

zest from an orange.

Cut pieces from 1-2 oranges (optional).

Candied nuts (optional).

Directions;

Take the rice porridge (the leftover from before or if you make it from scratch).

Mix in the orange pieces, orange zest, powdered sugar & vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract). Fold in the  whipped heavy cream. Decorate with slices of orange (and candied nuts) and a little orange zest.

Enjoy!!

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