Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tahini Cookies

I'm working hard these days in order to finish all my work for March before we head to Paris in 2 weeks. So I'm popping along just to post a quick recipe for tahini cookies. I had an urge for sesame, opened the fridge, combined this and that and my impulse led to these cookies which I happened to make already 3 times the past month.

Tahini Cookies
Makes: 50 – 55 cookies
  • 150 gr all purpose flour, sifted;
  • 1 tsp baking powder;
  • pinch of salt;
  • 115 gr butter, at room temperature;
  • 100 gr tahini;
  • 135 gr granulated sugar;
  • 1 egg;
  • 100 – 120 gr black and white sesame seeds for rolling the cookies.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, equipped with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Cream in the tahini paste, then beat in the egg. Fold in the flour mixture.

Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least an hour – the batter will set and it would be easier to work with it.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. When baking cookies I prefer to use the upper and lower heater with the fan function.

Take the dough out of the fridge. Using your hands roll small balls(the size of a quail egg) of the dough, then roll the balls into the sesame seeds. Arrange tahini - sesame seed balls onto a lined with silpat baking sheet leaving some space between them. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the bottom starts to turn golden-brown.

Cool on a wire rack, then store cookies in an airtight container.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pâte de Coing / Quince Paste

The sells woman from the fruit and vegetable shop asked me with great curiosity what I'm using for all the quinces I'm buying. She has no idea but I'm buying from other places too. Actually, wherever I see quinces, I'm sold. I love their flavour so much that sometimes I eat them plain, just poached, with nothing added. But I also made quince jelly, quince frangipane tarts and galettes, quince jam with slaked lime. This quince paste was made in November but I'm still keeping a couple pieces in the fridge just to see how long it will last. And it is still fresh. My concerns were that I used less sugar than most of the recipes suggest but I wanted the quince to be the leading taste, not the sugar. Apparently my recipe worked fine and I'll try it again the next quince season.

Pâte de Coing (Quince Paste) Recipe:
  • 850 gr quinces (around 3 quinces), cored, peeled and diced to 1 cm pieces;
  • 300 gr water;
  • 500 gr sugar.
Note: Although quince's peels and the core contain the most pectin I didn't use them for the paste since the flesh itself is rich in pectin too. Instead I added them to two more quinces and made jelly.

Line a 20 cm ring with paper.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan with a lid, combine water and quince pieces. The water won't cover them, but no problem. Stirring now and then, simmer until fork tender on a medium-low. Let the mixture cool a bit and puree using an immersion blender. Add the sugar and keep simmering on a medium-low heat stirring all the time. Keep stirring till the mixture reaches 106ºC but beware since it bubbles up wildly. If not using a thermometer – it is ready when it becomes pretty thick and if you pour a small amount of the mixture on a cold plate it would set very quick. Then pour into the paper lined ring. Allow to cool completely then cut at whatever shape you like.

Keep in a airtight container in the fridge.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Poppy Seed Tea Cake

Minus 15 to minus 25 isn't the normal temperature for our part of the world but this is what we are dealing with for the last 2 weeks. Everything is white and transparent with snow and ice. And it's like the nature prepares itself for renovation.

It's just the right time for some tea and cake. This time it's poppy seed cake with lots of poppy seeds that produce a crunchy pop sensation in the mouth.

Poppy Seed Tea Cake Recipe:
  • 100 gr all purpose flour, sifted;
  • 100 gr poppy seeds;
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder;
  • pinch of salt;
  • zest of 1 lime;
  • 95 gr sugar;
  • 70 gr butter;
  • 150 gr sour cream(20% butterfat);
  • 1 egg.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in sour cream and lime zest. When homogenous, beat in the egg. Fold in the flour - poppy seed mixture.

Transfer the batter into a lined with paper 10x20 cm loaf pan. Bake for around 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

Tea Update(16.08.2012) - Just had this cake along with jasmine green tea and it's a heavenly combination.


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