Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

The adorable Sarah from Simply Cooked hosted July's Fresh from the Oven Challenge. She chose a whole wheat walnut bread from The Neighborhood Bakeshop by Jill Van Cleave.

Instead of two loaves we made an extremely big one and baked it in an extremely big cake baking pan. We put less walnuts than needed and a certain amount of them was finely ground. The ground walnuts give a nice reddish colour. We added some raisins too. The original recipe doesn't call for them but it's much more delicious with them. Besides the raisins give sweetness and acidity at the same time and they combine super tasty with the walnuts.

Whole Wheat Walnut Bread Recipe:
adapted from The Neighborhood Bakeshop by Jill Van Cleave
makes 2 loaves or an extremely big one
  • 1 t active dry yeast, divided;
  • 2 c (500 ml) lukewarm water (95 - 110F, 35 - 45C), divided;
  • 3 c (380 g) plain bread flour, divided;
  • 1 T honey;
  • 1 T olive or walnut oil;
  • 1 1/2 c (180 g) whole wheat flour;
  • 1/4 c (40 g) semolina flour, or more whole wheat flour;
  • 1 t sea salt (12 gr);
  • 1 1/2 c (175 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (we've put 110 gr walnuts - 40 gr finely ground and 70 gr coarsely chopped);
  • 40 gr raisins.
First prepare the sponge starter. Dissolve 1/2 t yeast in 1 c (250 ml) lukewarm water in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 c (190 g) bread flour and stir until a thick batter forms. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature to rise and bubble for 6 to 8 hours.(It is so hot here that an hour was ok.)
The starter is ready to use now or can be put in the fridge overnight just bring it back to room temperature before using.

Dissolve the remaining 1/2 t yeast with the 1 c (250 ml) lukewarm water in a large bowl.
Add the sponge starter and mix well. Stir in the honey, oil, whole wheat flour, semolina flour (if using), and salt. The recipe description says that the semolina flour adds a chewy texture. This flour is not available to us, so we used more whole wheat flour.

Add 1 1/4 c (160 g) of the remaining bread flour gradually to form a stiff dough. Reserve the last 30 gr for kneading.
Add the walnuts and the raisins.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes, adding as much of the reserved flour (30 gr) as needed to keep it from being too sticky. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Grease the bowl and return the dough, turning it to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Divide the dough into two pieces and form into loaves. Place on a baking pan and leave them to rise again, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 400 F/205 C for 30 to 40 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack.

Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake

I loved this month's Daring Bakers Challenge, however Ivan wasn't so keen on it. But the thing I liked the most was that we were given a frame – to make a Swiss roll, two ice creams and a hidden chocolate sauce. And about the recipes – we had the full choice to make whatever we want – to use our own recipes, to invent new (which is the best part of a challenge like this).

After turning the idea over our heads for a couple of hours, we cleared it out and got to work.

We wanted to make very thin rolls, so we needed very thin and flexible cake bases. As there were egg yolks used for the ice creams, we wanted to make the cake bases with the egg whites and tried with fond de succès aux noix. The first one was very good but the roll turned out not so thin (however it was very delicious). For the second one we diminished the amount of the batter by two – we had an extremely thin cake layer, but it turned very crisp as soon as we took it out of the oven. After covering it with a wet kitchen towel finally we managed to roll it and it was the exact thinness but it was braking apart and it was hard to notice it was a swiss roll. So finally we made an ordinary but very thin genoise layer.

As for the ice cream(which we made without an ice cream maker) – we assembled apricot ice cream with jaggery one. And hidden inside was the chocolate-rum sauce. There was a lot of rum in it in order to melt faster than the ice cream. The ice cream cakes were intended to be like individual servings, but they were more like for two.

The July 2010 Daring Bakers' chalenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita's world – life and food.

Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake Recipe:
Makes 6 individual (7-8 cm) cakes

For the Genoise (the Swiss roll base):
Makes 2 very thin genoise bases
  • 2 eggs;
  • 60 gr sugar;
  • 60 gr flour;
  • butter and flour for the baking pan.

For the filling:
  • 200 gr whipping cream;
  • home made apricot jam.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC and set the rack in the middle. Line two 18/25 cm baking pans (or one bigger) with paper. Then butter and flour them.

Whisk the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl over a water bath till the mixture reaches 40ºC /if you don't have a candy thermometer, it should be warm to touch but not hot/. Then remove from the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is completely cooled. Remove the beaters and with the help of a wooden spoon gently fold in the sifted flour.

Divide the batter among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly. Since the genoise bases are very thin bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. After taking out of the oven turn the genoise onto the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges. Starting from one of the longer sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped rolls on a rack, seam side down.

Whip the cream.

Open the rolls and spread a thin layer of apricot jam followed by a thin layer of whipped cream. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed.

For the Jaggery Ice Cream:
  • 2 medium egg yolks;
  • 130 ml milk(full fat);
  • 60 gr jaggery;
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract;
  • 2 pinches nutmeg;
  • 2 pinches cinnamon;
  • 2 Tbsp rum;
  • 130 ml whipping cream.
Liquefy the jaggery into the microwave or over a hot water bath. Let cool.
Beat the egg yolks and the jaggery until pale.
In a saucepan bring the milk up to a simmer, adding the nutmeg, cinnamon and the vanilla extract. Pour a small amount of the hot milk over the yolks-jaggery mixture to temper, then pour the remaining milk over the yolks. Stir well and pour back in the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat till the mixture reaches 85º C. (If making without a thermometer – the mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and bubble rudiments should begin to appear.)

Let the mixture cool completely, then add the rum.

Whip the cream. Gently fold the whipped cream into the yolks-milk mixture. As we are making the ice cream without an ice cream maker, whipping the cream and mixing it with the cooled cream anglaise (yolks-milk mixture) will help to create a fluffier and more aerated texture. 

For the Apricot Ice Cream:
  • 2 large egg yolks;
  • 150 ml milk (full fat);
  • 40 gr sugar;
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract;
  • 2 Tbsp rum;
  • 60 gr apricot jam (home made);
  • 150 ml whipping cream.
Beat the egg yolks and the sugar until pale.
In a saucepan bring the milk and the vanilla up to a simmer. Pour a small amount of the hot milk over the yolks-sugar mixture to temper, then pour the remaining milk over the yolks. Stir well and pour back in the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat till the mixture reaches 85º C. (If making without a thermometer – the mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and bubble rudiments should begin to appear.)

Let the mixture cool completely, then add the rum and the apricot jam. Mix well.
Whip the cream. Gently fold the whipped cream into the yolks-milk-jam mixture.

For the Chocolate-Rum Hidden Sauce:
  • 60 ml whipping cream;
  • 50 gr dark chocolate 50 % cocoa mass (we've used Cacao Barry's Force Noire);
  • 20 ml rum.
Bring the cream to a simmer, since the quantity is so small we've done this in the microwave. Then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Wait for a minute, then stir to obtain a smooth ganache. Let the ganache cool completely, but it shouldn't set, then add the rum and mix well.

To assemble:

For assembling we decided to use rings, thus every layer, except the hidden sauce is visible. It was intended to be for individual portions, but the portion was more like for two. So prepare 6 rings (7-8 cm in diameter and 5 cm tall). Cover one of the ends of the rings from the outer side with a plastic wrap. Turn the rings wrapped side down on a tray, suitable for freezing.

Cut the Swiss rolls to about 0,5 cm slices and arrange them tightly into the ring onto the plastic wrap. Over the Swiss roll slices pour the jaggery ice cream to a little bit less than the middle of the ring. Then put a shot glass in the middle of the ring open side up and press it slightly to sink a little bit in the ice cream. Pour the apricot ice cream over the jaggery living a centimetre to the edge. Proceed the same way for the six rings and put in the freezer to set (3 or 4 hours). When set, remove the shot glass and pour the chocolate-rum sauce in its place. Put in the freezer again for an hour. Then pour the rest of the apricot ice cream to the edge of the rings and freeze till needed. When serving – peel the plastic wrap away, turn cake side up and warm a little bit the rings between your hands. Thus the ice cream cake will loosen and fall into the plate easily.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rosemary Cookies with Apricot Espuma

I haven't been cycling for more than 15 years. My last bike, and the only one I've ever had (barring the green tricycle when I was three), was yellow, shiny and fast enough to race with the other kids from the neighbourhood. Ivan claims it was a child's bike, since it was with small wheels, but after all I was 9 when I got it and this is the only one I have ever ridden. When I was 13 I left it in my grandparents' house and soon it turned rusty and forgotten.

A couple of years ago I found the same bike(but blue one) in the garage of Ivan's parents. I looked at it with a great respect like a precious reminiscent of those carefree summers full of hide and seek , plays of tag, guards and thieves and so many worriless games. But I was afraid to ride it. I know this sounds stupid but since when I started to wear glasses I feel uneasy when there are fast moving objects around me or when it's me the fast moving object . It was a small bike, though. They say one could never forget to ride a bike, but I had the feeling I have forgotten. So I was postponing Ivan's offers for cycling around finding all kinds of incredible reasons not to do so. But at the end the great biking day has come.

Woo hoo! The wheels were spinning like hell and I could feel the wind in my hair and the hot summer air whirling past my face. It was like I was 9 again. It was like... I can't find the words but...

Rosemary Cookies with Apricot Espuma depict it the best! Little round biscuits(like bike's wheels) and airy foam on top (like the wind in my hair).

Rosemary Cookies Recipe:
Makes around 35 - 40 cookies
  • 125 gr flour;
  • 65 gr cold butter;
  • 50 gr granulated sugar;
  • 1 egg white (30 gr);
  • 1 pinch salt;
  • 1 tsp powdered rosemary.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and rosemary and mix well. Add the butter cut in small pieces and using your fingertips rub it into the dry ingredients. Add in the egg white and knead the dough briefly to ensure it is well mixed. Don't overwork it in order not to develop too much gluten. Bring the dough together and wrap tightly with plastic wrap or put it in a well closed bowl and then in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.

Preheat the oven to 180º C. Prepare a silpad or a paper sheet.

To roll the dough, lightly dust the counter and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough out to about 3-4 mm thick. Cut out round cookies(about 4cm) and transfer them to the silicon pad. Bake for 12 minutes or until nice in colour. Cool on a wire rack. Then store in an air tight container.

Apricot Espuma Recipe:
  • 300 gr apricot juice;
  • 50 gr sugar;
  • ½ tsp powdered agar agar.
For this recipe it is needed to have a siphon (cream whipper), using Nitrous oxide cartridges.

We made the espuma with fresh apricots and passed them through a juicer to obtain a clear juice with no particles that could choke up the siphon. After juicing the apricots there was some foam on top of the juice that we discarded. The apricots were quite sour, if yours are sweeter, add less sugar.

In a sauce pan over a medium heat bring the apricot juice to simmer.
Combine the sugar and the agar agar powder and add them to the simmering apricot juice stirring constantly until they dissolve in the juice. Stir for additional 2-3 minutes. Let cool. When it's cooled to about 50 – 65ºC transfer it to the siphon, place the lid on tightly and charge with a gas cartridge. (Our siphon is 500 ml, so it may be filled to 375 ml maximum. Do not exceed this quantity since the gas needs place to act!)

Let cool completely in the fridge, shaking the siphon from time to time.

There is a very good post about espuma and foam making from Madalene of The British Larder here.

To assemble: Sit on the terrace with your better half or a good friend under the sunset sparkling golden lights, pile the cookies and eat them one by one with freshly whipped espuma on top. Enjoy the sunset. (Optional)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cherry Jam Muffins with Rolled Oats

Well, now, this is the first official post in our new blog Mushitza. Till now we used the name Chococo because this is the name that we registered for our firm in Bulgaria and we have the right to use it till september this year. But it appeared that there was already a company using this name in the UK. So we decided it is correct to change our blog name.

Mushitza is my nickname and it means a midge, a little fly. Something so small but full of life and dreams, always flying in the clouds dreaming and creating impossible things that at the end turn out possible and full of passion just because of a strong will and a simple desire.

I'm using Mushitza for the last 3 years (or maybe more) to sign everything I (we) make. So this would be a new magical and fairy Mushitza beginning.

About those muffins – Ivan was making some cherry-sugar-jam-pate de fruit experiments and made something like cherry jam but needed just the liquid part to transform it into pate de fruit later using some quince core as a pectin source(he obtained a jelly but not firm enough for pate de fuit and needed to add a little bit pectin to set it. Besides, the quinces overpowered the cherry aroma, but, however, it was very good.)

Instead of discarding the cherries I decided to make something tasty with them. Adding old fashioned rolled oats (not from those quick cooking ones) made the muffins somehow crispy from inside and full of fibres. So these are ideal for breakfast.

Cherry Jam Muffins with Rolled Oats Recipe:
Makes 12 muffins
  • 30 gr butter;
  • 70 gr sour cream;
  • 65 gr sugar;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 70 gr strained cherries from jam (strain the jam and use just the cherries, the liquid part could be used for other purposes);
  • 80 gr milk(or buttermilk);
  • 130 gr all purpose flour(sifted);
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder;
  • 50 gr old fashioned rolled oats;
  • 1 pinch salt;
  • 2 Tbsp Kirsch;
  • 1 Tbsp almond extract;
  • 12 fresh cherries, pitted or not (optional).

Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line a muffin pan (12 muffins) with paper liners.

Beat the butter, sour cream and sugar until homogeneous, then add the eggs - one at a time and beat until fully incorporated. Add the strained cherries from the jam and the milk, the Kirsch and the almond extract. Mix well the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, rolled oats, salt – and whisk them in.

Divide the batter amongst the muffin cups. Fill them about ¾ full. Put a cherry on top of each muffin. I prefer to press it gently until half sink, thus during the baking the cherry sinks and gets in the middle of the muffin and it's like a hidden surprise.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the pan cool for ten minutes, then transfer the muffins on a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Strawberry Pate de Fruit Cake

Early sunday morning. We were having 2 kilos of fresh milk in the fridge but there was nothing that could go with a cup of milk. I needed something sweet and cakey, and fruity, and I needed it baked, cooled and served in less than two hours for breakfast.

We still had some of those fancy looking pate de fruit squares we made last week. Or we ate them and these are from the subsequent batches we made, oh, I don't remember. Recently we are making so much pate de fruit as a birthday presents for friends and relatives that I lost the count.

So in general this is how this cake was born.

Strawberry Pate de Fruit Cake Recipe:
Makes one 20x7 cm cake loaf
  • 30 gr butter;
  • 30 gr sunflower oil or any vegetable oil;
  • 90 gr sugar;
  • 1 large egg;
  • 80 gr sour cream;
  • 50 gr yoghurt;
  • 150 gr whole wheat flour;
  • 1 tsp baking powder;
  • 1 pinch salt;
  • 1 Tbsp orange blossom water;
  • 5-6 squares of strawberry pate de fruit or one strip (long as the length of the baking dish).
Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line with paper a cake baking dish.

In a large bowl beat the butter, oil and the sugar, then add in the egg. Mix in the sour cream and the yoghurt, then add the dry ingredients and at last – the orange blossom water.

Pour the batter into the paper lined dish. On top place the pate de fruit squares and press them down to sink by half into the batter. During the baking the batter will rise and the pate de fruit will turn out in the middle of the cake. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.


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