Friday, September 18, 2009

Lemon cream pots to celebrate vacation time

Lemon cream pots / Potinhos de limão siciliano

One of my all time favorite songs is only 1m52s long – that’s not much for a song, but it doesn’t stop it from being beautiful.

These lemon pots are made in no time at all and are delicious – it took me a little longer than the song to put them together; they developed a wonderful velvety texture after resting in the fridge.

I’m finally on vacation now - see you in three weeks!

UPDATE: my lemon broccolini soup has been featured on the Saveur magazine website! :D

Lemon cream pots / Potinhos de limão siciliano

Lemon cream pots
from Donna Hay magazine

2 cups (480ml) heavy cream
½ cup (100g) caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
whipped cream, to serve

Place cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon zest and juice and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Pour into four ¾-cup (180ml) capacity dishes and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.
Top pots with the whipped cream and serve.

Serves 4

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vanilla cupcakes with pistachio praline whipped icing

Vanilla cupcakes with pistachio praline whipped icing / Cupcakes de baunilha com cobertura de praliné de pistache

Trying to find something good on TV last night – ended up watching “Ghost” for the sixth time - I caught a few minutes of this movie, which got me thinking of how underestimated Jeff Bridges is. I find him a fine, talented and versatile actor but don’t think he has received the deserved attention/acclamation. He also lets the other actors he works with shine.

My vanilla cupcakes do the same here: they are delicious – made with real vanilla – but are humble enough to let the frosting and pistachio praline shine.

Vanilla cupcakes with pistachio praline whipped icing / Cupcakes de baunilha com cobertura de praliné de pistache

Vanilla cupcakes with pistachio praline whipped icing
slightly adapted from Donna Hay magazine

½ cup + 1 tablespoon (127g) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon (162g) caster sugar
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups + 1 tablespoon (185g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup (120ml) milk

Pistachio praline:
75g unsalted pistachio nuts
½ cup (100g) caster sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water

Whipped icing:
2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (145g) caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
generous pinch of cream of tartar
2 egg whites
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºC. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well. Sift over the flour and baking powder and beat until combined. Add the milk and mix.
Spoon the mixture into eleven 1/3-cup capacity muffin pans lined with paper cases. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

Make the praline: line a baking sheet with a piece of foil, butter it and place the pistachio nuts on top. Set aside.
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, brushing the sugar crystals from the inside of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until dark golden. Remove from the heat and pour toffee over the nuts. Allow to cool completely.
Break up the pistachio praline into large pieces and then chop them with a knife to small bits. Set aside.

To make the whipped icing, place the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. While the motor is still running, gradually add the sugar mixture and beat until thick and glossy.
Spread the icing over the cupcakes with a palette knife and top with the pistachio praline.

Makes 11 (using 1/3-cup capacity pans)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pear and chocolate fudge tartlets

Pear and chocolate fudge tartlets / Tortinhas de fudge de chocolate com pêra

My brother and I got a dog when we were 4 and 6, respectively – I found the following photograph while going through some of our old stuff at my father’s:

Xuxinha

That’s me and Xuxa (her name), when I was about 9 years old. :D

My brother used to feed her just about anything – every time he was eating something, he’d share it with her, and that included bread, yogurt, and all kinds of sweets. But chocolate was her favorite. :)

She is no longer with us – my brother had a fever for days when she died – but I’m sure she would love these chocolatey tartlets. :D

Pear and chocolate fudge tartlets / Tortinhas de fudge de chocolate com pêra

Pear and chocolate fudge tartlets
slightly adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller

Chocolate pastry:
¾ cup (105g) all purpose flour
50g pure icing sugar
½ cup (45g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter, slightly cold, coarsely chopped
1 egg

Pear topping:
1 cup (200g) caster sugar
5cm piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
2 Packham pears, peeled, halved and cored
pouring cream, to serve

Chocolate filling:
100g dark chocolate, chopped - 70% cocoa solids
100g unsalted butter, room temperature, coarsely chopped
2 eggs
½ cup (100g) caster sugar
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (80g) all purpose flour, sifted
½ cup (45g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted

For chocolate pastry, pulse flour, icing sugar, cocoa and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and process until fine crumbs form. Add egg and 1 tablespoon water and pulse until dough just comes together – I used my Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment.
Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, form into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

Make the pear topping: combine sugar, ginger and 200ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add pear and cook until soft (5-7 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, remove pear and slice each half lengthways – you should get about 6-7 slices out of each half. Set aside until required.*

Grease eight 9cm-brioche molds and dust with cocoa. Divide pastry into 8 even pieces and roll each piece between two pieces lightly floured baking paper to approximately 12cm in diameter. Line moulds with pastry and trim excess. Prick dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm and chilled (about 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 190ºC/374ºF. Place molds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven to 160ºC/320ºF.

Meanwhile, for chocolate filling, melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and sugar to combine. Add flour and cocoa, whisking to combine, then whisk in chocolate mixture. Using a plastic spatula, fold mixture until smooth and glossy.
Divide filling among molds and bake until tops begin to appear dry (30-35 minutes)**. Cool slightly, turn out molds and serve topped with pear and cream.

* the pears turned dark as soon as taken out of the syrup – a sprinkle of lemon juice should solve the problem

** a friend of mine who tried the tartlets told me they would taste even better with a creamier filling – less time in the oven next time

Makes 8 – I used 9cm tartlet pans and got 11 tartlets (just buttered them well – did not dust with cocoa)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Toasted coconut and banana friands

Toasted coconut and banana friands / Friands de coco tostado e banana

Driving in Sao Paulo can be quite tiring and in the middle of the daily traffic jams the radio becomes my best friend.
Even though I listen to music most of the time, I love to catch Carla Pernambuco’s comments about food on MitFM. I’m a huge fan of her work and can’t wait to have dinner at her restaurant again.
Last week she was talking about financiers and friands and it suddenly hit me: I hadn’t posted these coconut friands yet!

So there you have it: friands with a very tropical feeling. And to avoid sticking problems, I used a wonderful silicone pan Margarete sent me as a gift. Thank you, sweetie!

Toasted coconut and banana friands / Friands de coco tostado e banana

Toasted coconut and banana friands
from Little Cafe Cakes

½ cup (45g) fine desiccated coconut
½ cup (50g) sweetened flaked coconut
175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ cups (210g) icing sugar, sifted
½ cup (70g) all purpose flour, sifted
6 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 bananas, sliced

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Grease well 10 individual cake or muffin pans.
Place both measures of coconut on a baking tray and toast in oven for 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Cool.
Place all ingredients except bananas into a mixing bowl. Stir until just combined.
Spoon mixture into prepared pans to just over ½ full. Top each with a couple of banana slices. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
Allow to stand in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Makes 10 – I halved the recipe, used 3-tablespoon-capacity pans and got 15 tiny friands

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Almond truffle cookies

Almond truffle cookies / Biscoitinhos de amêndoa com recheio trufado

A couple of weeks ago I watched the trailer for “The lovely bones” and now I just can’t wait for the movie to premiere. I haven’t read the book, but can certainly expect something amazing from a fantastic director working with such talented cast – Stanley Tucci scared the bejeesus out of me. Seriously.

I felt the same way about this recipe: my favorite food “director” pairing chocolate and almonds in cookie form. Heavenly.

Almond truffle cookies / Biscoitinhos de amêndoa com recheio trufado

Almond truffle cookies
from Donna Hay magazine

¼ cup (56g/½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (100g) brown sugar, both packed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 egg yolk
½ cup + ½ tablespoon (75g) all purpose flour, sifted
¼ cup almond meal
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Truffle filling:*
200g dark chocolate, chopped – I used 70% cocoa solids
¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons (21g) unsalted butter, room temperature

Start by making the filling: place the chocolate, cream and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the egg yolk and beat well to combine. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder and beat for 1 minute or until well combined.
Roll leveled teaspoons of dough into balls and place onto prepared sheets. Flatten each ball slightly with your fingers.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden in the bottom. Cool completely on sheets.

To assemble, place the chocolate filling into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe a small amount onto half of the cookies. Sandwich with the remaining cookies.

* I generously filled the cookies, but there was still a lot of filling left – I believe that 2/3 of the recipe would have been enough

Makes 16 sandwich cookies

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lemon coffee cake

Lemon coffee cake / Bolo de limão com streusel

You might not believe me, but there are times when I don’t have one single lemon around - when they do not look good or are too expensive, I end up buying limes instead. But this time I have a big bag full of beautiful lemons in my fridge – luckily, a coworker of mine had sent me this great link.

I changed a few details in this recipe – drastically reduced the amount of salt, after reading the comments on Martha’s page – and the result was an extremely tender cake that smelled really good. I forgot to add the glaze, but am posting it anyway.

One recipe down, 34 to go. :D

Lemon coffee cake / Bolo de limão com streusel

Lemon coffee cake

Streusel:
1 ¾ cups (245g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (132g) packed light-brown sugar
pinch of salt
¾ cup (170g/6oz) cold unsalted butter

Cake:
2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 4 to 5 lemons)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (260g) plain yogurt

Glaze:
1 cup (140g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Make the streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into the flour mixture until small to medium clumps form. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 3 days).

Make the cake: preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Butter a 22.5cm (9in) angel food cake pan*. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add eggs, 1 at a time, then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with yogurt.
Spoon the batter evenly into cake pan. Sprinkle the chilled streusel evenly over the batter.
Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and remove outer ring. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the center tube. Slide 2 wide spatulas between the bottom of the cake and the pan, and lift cake to remove from the center tube. Let cool completely on rack.

Make the glaze: Just before serving, stir together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake, letting excess drip down the sides. Let glaze set before slicing, about 5 minutes. (Cake can be stored for up to 3 days. The lemon flavor will intensify with time.)

* I halved the recipe, used a regular 5-cup-capacity ring pan and let the cake cool completely before unmolding it

Serves 10-12

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oatmeal cookies with golden raisins and milk chocolate chips

Oatmeal cookies with golden raisins and milk chocolate chips / Cookies de aveia com passas e chocolate ao leite

I used to be a person who loved going to shopping malls, even if just for window shopping; now, one would have to lock me up in a straight jacket to get me into a mall without a very specific purpose – and lately, going to the movies has been the only reason.

I once arrived too early for my movie session and ended up in a book store to pass the time; that turned out to be a bad idea for my credit card: after taking a look at this beautiful book I ordered it the minute I arrived home. :D

Is anyone surprised that the first recipe I tried from the book is for cookies? :D

Oatmeal cookies with golden raisins and milk chocolate chips / Cookies de aveia com passas e chocolate ao leite

Oatmeal cookies with golden raisins and milk chocolate chips
from The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle

1 ½ cups (175g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 cup (175g) dark brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg white, room temperature
3 cups (345g) rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
224g (8oz) milk chocolate, chopped into ¼-in pieces
1 cup (155g) golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.

In a dry bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes fluffy and lighter in color, approximately 5 minutes. Add the dark brown sugar and continue creaming for 3-4 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer down to slow speed, add the eggs and egg white, one at a time, and continue to beat until they are fully incorporated and the batter looks smooth and glossy, 1-2 minutes.

Add the dry mixture, all at once, to the butter mixture. Using a butter spatula, fold together for a few turns. With the mixer on slow speed, mix the dough until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Add the chopped chocolate and the raisins. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 30 seconds. The dough can be made up to this point and refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 3 days.

Using 2 teaspoons scoop the dough into mounds and place 5cm (2in) onto prepared sheets (I shaped the dough into a ball using my palms).
Bake the cookies until they spread, rise, and turn a light golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets.

The cookies can be kept in an airtight container, in room temperature, for 4 days.

Makes 40 large cookies – I halved the recipe, used 1 leveled tablespoon of dough per cookie and got 33 cookies

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Strawberry frangipane tartlets

Strawberry frangipane tartlets / Tortinhas de morango com recheio de amêndoa

Paula has posted about something I completely relate to: the kitchen gadget addiction. I know that many of you reading me now can relate to it as well. :D
Inspired by her gorgeous chocolate tartelettes, I decided to put my tartlet pans into some good use, too.

My first thought was the strawberry tart my mom used to make for me as a kid – the filling is the one I used in this banana pie – but the idea of mixing frangipane and strawberries won me over.

Strawberry frangipane tartlets / Tortinhas de morango com recheio de amêndoa

Strawberry frangipane tartlets
from Australian Gourmet Traveller

Sweet pastry:
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
40g pure icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks
250g all purpose flour

Frangipane:
125g icing sugar, sifted
125g almond meal
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
25g all purpose flour

Topping:
90g strawberry jam, thinned with water, plus extra to serve
1kg strawberries, hulled (4 punnets)*

For sweet pastry, beat butter in an electric mixer until even in texture (3-5 minutes). Add icing sugar and mix to just combine. Add egg yolks and 1 ½ tablespoons water and mix to combine. Sift flour onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Add butter mixture to well and gradually work in flour to form a dough. Knead several times with the heel of your hand until smooth – I added 1 ½ tablespoons of flour here, because it was too sticky.
Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm (3-4 hours). Roll pastry on a floured surface (I did this between two sheets of baking paper) to 5mm thick and use to line six 12cm-diameter buttered tart pans or one 20cm-diameter tart pan. Prick dough with a fork and refrigerate until firm (2-3 hours).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Using buttered foil, blind bake tartlets until golden (20-25 minutes). Remove foil and set aside.

For frangipane, combine icing sugar and almond meal in a bowl. Set aside. Beat butter in an electric mixer until fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add almond mixture and mix well to combine. Add eggs and yolk, then flour and mix to combine. Fill pastry shells with frangipane to 5mm from top (there may be some left over)**. Bake until golden and centre springs back when lightly touched (10-12 minutes; time may vary for 20cm tart). Allow to cool, then brush with jam.

Thinly slice strawberries lengthways, horizontally then divide among tartlets. Drizzle with extra jam and serve.

* I halved the recipe and 250g strawberries were enough

** I divided all the frangipane among the tartlets; it puffed while in the oven but didn’t spilled over

Makes 6 – I halved the recipe, used 9cm tart pans and got 8 tartlets

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