Saturday, August 13, 2016

Orange rhubarb giant financier, a TV show and beautiful things

Orange rhubarb giant financier / Financier gigante de laranja e ruibarbo

So yes, I am officially a softie. :)

I was crying easily for days and feeling very emotional. Then I decided to start watching a new TV show, but it could not be Stranger Things for everyone had been talking about it so much I was already fed up with it (plus all those spoilers on Facebook, why to people do these things?).

I went for River because I adore Stellan Skarsgård (ever since he had loads of hair in Breaking the Waves). I watched the pilot and indeed, it is an excellent show, but I felt so miserable at the end I could not bring myself to watch the second episode – I just told my husband: “let’s please watch one episode of The Blacklist now?” – I needed some of Raymond Reddington’s witty lines to improve my mood.

Beautiful things improve my mood, too, and I felt incredibly happy when my husband arrived home with a bunch of rhubarb stalks – he definitely knows my favorite kinds of gifts. ;)

I ended up making two recipes with the rhubarb, both delicious, but decided to share with you the most beautiful of them: the giant financier I made using a rectangular tart pan – I was very pleased when I got it out of the oven, it looked amazing!
I used Bill Granger’s friand recipe, one that already worked so well with cherries and pears, and added orange zest for zing. It was delicious, with a nice texture and wonderful flavor. On top of tasting great, the giant financier looked beautiful, so I had a slice of it with a cup of coffee while watching Red Reddington and I was happy again.

Orange rhubarb giant financier
adapted from Bill Granger’s friands

140g (5oz) trimmed rhubarb, cut into sticks, about 8x1cm (3x½ in) each
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
finely zest of 2 oranges
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (160g) icing sugar, sifted
1 cup (100g) almond meal
½ cup (70g) all purpose flour
pinch of salt
6 egg whites
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons Cointreau – optional

Place the rhubarb in a bowl and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Mix lightly, then set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Generously butter a 30x10cm (12x4 in) rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom.

In a large bowl, mix the orange zest and the icing sugar and rub with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Whisk in the almond meal, flour and salt. Stir in the egg whites until just combined. Stir in the melted butter and Cointreau (if using).

Pour the batter in the pan and smooth the top. Drain the rhubarb sticks and place them gently on top of the batter, without pressing them onto the batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the center of the financier comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack. Carefully unmold to serve.
Financiers are best eaten the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Serves 8-10

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Lime, coconut, poppy seed and blueberry cake and recipes stuck in my head

Lime, coconut, poppy seed and blueberry cake / Bolo de limão, coco, sementes de papoula e mirtilo

Some recipes get stuck in my head for a really long time: I see them once, twice, five times, and don’t make them for a number of reasons. Then, after a good while, I see them again and I don’t even remember if I actually made them already or if they are still part of my (very lengthy) mental to do list – I guess that is natural after ten years of blogging. ;)

I saw this cake on Good Food Magazine many months ago, and then saw it again a couple more times. I loved the idea of mixing blueberries and coconut, but each time I saw the recipe I did not have one of the two ingredients. Months went by and I found a handful of blueberries in my freezer, but it was half the amount requested in the recipe: I decided to spin the recipe a bit, added lime zest and poppy seeds, and instead of mixing the berries into the batter, I sprinkled them on top of the cake before baking it. The result as a very moist and tender cake, with a beautiful touch of citrus and with tiny pockets of blueberry deliciousness here and there – I don’t mean to brag, but my twists to the recipe worked like a charm (and I can cross that recipe off my mental to do list). ;)

Lime, coconut, poppy seed and blueberry cake
adapted from the great Good Food magazine

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
pinch of salt
½ cup (50g) unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 2 limes
1 cup (240ml) canola oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175ml whole milk, room temperature
½ cup (70g) fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°C. Generously butter and flour an 8-cup capacity Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and coconut. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and zest and rub them together with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Whisk in the oil, eggs and vanilla. Alternately, fold in the flour in three additions and the milk in two additions, starting and ending with the flour.
Transfer the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the berries. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

Serves 8-10

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