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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

I have said it before and I say it again…

Frozen puff pastry is a life saver.

I am amazed how fast one can just make Danishes, looking and tasting as if they came from the best bakery.

You know by now how I just love to cook and bake easy and simple things. This is one of those things up on the list of favorite fast baked goods.

We had an unannounced visit of friends this past weekend. Since I don’t keep cookies in the house at all, there is nothing to give our guests unless I bake it. Well, during the holidays I do, but that is about it. I bake “for each occasion”.

So, once again, I was saved by my good friend, the frozen puff pastry.

In Sweden we call a cup of tea or coffee at a break during mid morning or mid afternoon, for FIKA (Sorry all you Italians..). It always contains a sweet roll or/and cakes/cookies. Sometimes a small sandwich. We love it. I actually laugh at my friends that comes over for a visit from Sweden, how they start to look around the house at 3pm on the dot. Trying to locate the goodies hidden somewhere in the kitchen. Looking at this from the “outside” it is a little funny, how Swedes stay so slim. Because there really is a break of the day, twice if allowed, to eat baked goods like this.

And at most workplaces there is a “fika room”. Meaning a break room where you go and drink your coffee and eat your baked goods. Of course it also serves as a lunchroom, but it actually is more often just plain and simple called the fika room. By law you are allowed a fika break for 15 minutes twice a day. Perhaps I should tell my boss here in the states? It really is a good idea.

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Superfast Danishes.

Makes 6-8 (depending on how big you decide to make them).

6-8 tbsp. of jam, your favorite kind. I use raspberry jam.

6-8 tbsp. of thick vanilla sauce or vanilla pudding (optional).

1 egg, whisked.

Powdered sugar for decoration.

Directions:

If you have time, defrost the puff pastry in the fridge over nigh, if not, just defrost on the kitchen counter or if you really are in a hurry, carefully defrost in the microwave.

Unfold the dough and cut it into 6-8 squares (or into preferred size).

Put a tbsp. of jam in the center of the square and spread it out slightly.

Grab and lift each corner and punch it down in the center of the danish. It becomes a little pouch.

Place it on a lined baking sheet. Brush them with the egg.

Bake in a 450F (225C) degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool down slightly. Dust with powdered sugar.

Ready to serve.

 

You could experiment with different fillings. Another really delicious filling is almond paste. Very traditional as well. You can “loosen it up” a little bit by mixing it with a dab of butter.

You can also make them into different shapes. They don’t have to be “closed”. You could lift and push down two opposite corners and leave two flat. If you do that version, please the filling on the flat part of the dough, close to the center. One kind on each side. This is a very good and probably the most traditional Danish.

 

I hope you will bake some danishes now. Unfortunately they are a hot commodity and will not last long.

Enjoy!!!

 

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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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♩♫♩♩”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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There is one problem with baking, if you bake it you eat it.

Baking is a very precise science. You have to really stick to weights and amounts. I want to be more wild and free when I cook, and that doesn’t translate well into baking. The restrictions are killing me.

When I was little my mom always baked. A few different kinds of breads, lot’s of cookies, cinnamon buns and other things. She packed them up and put them into the freezer. She was so organized. I wish I could be more like her. I know that many things that I do come from her. I would tell you though, both my brothers are the better bakers. My older brother makes different kinds of cakes. They are delicious. My younger brother makes breads and cinnamon buns. It is funny when his idea of baby sitting involves baking and then going for sushi.

Here are the regular cinnamon buns my mother always used to make.

Cinnamon buns and cinnamon bun loaf. The loaf is just cut into slices.

1 package of dried yeast (or 1 package of fresh yeast.)

1/2 – 1 stick of unsalted butter.

2 cups of milk.

1/2 tsp. of salt.

1/4 – 1/2 cup of sugar ( I prefer to use brown sugar.)

2 tsp. cardamom, crushed. (optional).

6 cups of flour.

Fill:

Softened butter.

2-3 tbsp. of sugar.

 1 – 2 tbsp. of ground cinnamon or cardamom.

1/4 cup of finely chopped candied orange rind (optional).

1/4 cup raisins (optional).

Toppings:

1/4 cup of pearl sugar or 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds/ hazelnuts (optional).

1 egg.

Directions:

Melt the butter. Add the water and make the liquid luke warm.

Prepare the yeast as per directions on the package. Add to the liquid.

Mix liquid, yeast, salt, sugar & cardamom with 3/4 of the flour.

If possible, use a kitchen aid, but if you are working the dough by hand, be sure to work it very well. Add flour in portions.

When it feels a little “tacky” sprinkle some flour on top  and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let it rise to double the size.

Work the dough in the bowl. Put onto a floured surface.

Knead the dough well. Add the rest of the flour little by little, until it becomes light, smooth and somewhat “loose”.

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Roll out the dough into a rectangle.

Mix soften butter, cinnamon (or cardamom) and sugar.

Spread the mixture on to the rectangle of dough, as if you are buttering bread. Make sure all edges are buttered.

 If you would like to add a little grated almond paste & candied orange rind, add that in an evenly distributed line at the lower edge.

Start rolling/ folding over the dough from the same edge where you added the almond paste & orange rind.

Make sure it is rolled tightly. Fold over the dough evenly from one side to the other until finally rolled together. Cut into half.

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Take the first half and start cutting about 1/2″ slices. Almost all the way down to the table. Place the first “slice” at center. Fold over the next “slice” to the left and the following to the right.

If you are making buns, cut off after 3 slices and place on lined baking sheet. If you are making the cinnamon bun loaf, keep alternating the slices, left and right.

When all are done, let rice again, covered with a clean kitchen towel.

After rising, brush with the whisked egg all over.

Sprinkle over the pearl sugar (and or the chopped almonds/ hazel nuts.)

Bake in the oven until golden brown.

Enjoy.

Baking times for ;

Buns- 450 degrees for about 5-10 minutes.

Loaf- 400-450 degrees for about 12-20 minutes.

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