Have you ever noticed that whenever you make a cake, those eating it just can’t resist commenting on the moisture levels. If people aren’t silently nodding & mumbling “mmmmm” chances are you’ve baked a dry one and should be ashamed of yourself ;)
This easy apple pie recipe always score well on the moisture scale and should be washed down with cup after cup of hot tea on a lazy afternoon.
To show you how easy this recipe is, my brother and I (k66videos.com) made this sweet video for you;
330g plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp milk
7 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
1kg cooking apples
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
100g caster sugar
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Now cut the fat into the bowl. With your finger tips rub the fat into the flour until crumps form. Add the sugar, sprinkle with seven tbsp cold water. Now mix all.
Press the crumps into a bowl, wrap and chill for 30 minutes. In the meantime grease the dish.
Now flour surface, roll 2/3 of the dough, out to around, about 5cm larger than the dish. Using the rolling pin, drape the pastry over the dish, then gently push it into the contours. Now trim any excess pastry.
Peel the apples, cut into quarters, and cut them into medium slices. Put the apple slices in a bowl, poor on lemon juice. Sprinkle the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar over the apples. Toss to cold.
Put the apples in the pie dish, and arrange so that it is slightly mounted in the center. Brush the edge of the pastry with water.
Now roll the rest of the dough. Wrap it around the rolling pin, and drape it over the filling. Trim the top crust. Press the edges together to seal. Cut an X in the top crust. Gently pull back the point of each triangle to reveal the filling. Using a pastry brush, glaze the pie with the milk so that it bakes to a golden color. Sprinkle over sugar.
Chill for 30mins. In the meantime preheat the oven to 220C. Bake for 20 mins, then reduce to 180C and bake for 30mins. Insert a skewer through the steam vent to check the apple are tender.
Best served warm with vanilla ice-cream. “mmmmmm” guaranteed!!! :)
I thought I share some news with you. Recently I have kept a really low profile: no posts, not much activity on Twitter or Facebook. But there is a great reason for that: I am working on the book! No no, not my own! :)
I was invited by the UCC and the Breakthrough Cancer Research to be part of the non-profit project developing a cookbook for patients with cancer who are experiencing cancer-induced weight loss. This book will contain advice and recipes tailored specifically for cancer sufferers. The book will be distributed to all of the cancer centres in Ireland and available to patients free of charge. I’m cooking & photographing all the recipes so it’s quite a responsibility. Therefore please keep your fingers crossed for the project! And feel free to share your thoughts! :)
Last month I went to the The Foodie Movie Club where “Julie & Julia” was privately screened in the Brooks Hotel’s cinema. In case you don’t know, it is a story of Julie Powell, a New Yorker, who decides to cook each recipe from Julia’s Child cookbook ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and writes about it on her blog. The movie was followed by an authentic boeuf bourguignon and a glass of wine in French restaurant La Maison. I watched this movie previously but this time was different, it was special in a way, hence inspired by it, I ordered my own copy of the “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and also “As always Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto”. The sound it makes is that of two housewives, each in her 40s, becoming pen pals and then ecstatic soul mates in the dreary 1950s. They let rip about all kinds of things, from shallots, beurre blanc and the misery of dried herbs to politics, aging and sex.
The moment my books arrived I was very much looking forward to the day when I can make my own boeuf bourguignon.
It finally happened yesterday and I promise you, it was worth waiting! With Kuba, my better half, we’ve made beef, chicken or lamb stews many times before but this beef bourguignon is something different, I tell ya! It is so much more than just another beef stew. That deeply savoury aroma of onions, beef and red wine is enough to make your eyes roll skyward!
Let me quote Julia: “ As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavour when reheated. “
Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 160C.
Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 3,5-4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. Julia says “Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy.”
Julia finishes her Bouef Bourguignon with pearl onions and mushrooms. I think there’s quite enough going on with this dish so I skip them ;)
I’ve also found this vintage episode of Julia’s cooking show “The French Chef” where she makes her famous beef stew. Amazing how richly enjoyable a personality she was.
My favourite moment, at around 9:20: “You just put the garlic into the garlic press and kind of go, errrg!”
PS. I would love to know what’s your favourite French dish?
As many of you know, I’ve recently moved to Dublin and so far I’ve been living the dream :) Probably my perspective would be slightly different if the weather wasn’t that gorgeous but officially spring has landed and I am making the most of it!
And it was that last sunny Saturday that inspired me to bake something funny and…flowery :)
So here it is: Flower Power Spring cake recipe, directly from tiny kitchen in Killiney :)
To make this amazingly delicious and fresh cake you need:
For the sponge:
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of milk
1 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
For the frosting:
3/4 cup of full fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup of icing sugar
Here is how to make the Flower Power Spring Cake, which I would do again in a heartbeat, it’s that goooood :)
Beat the butter and caster sugar until fluffy. Next, add 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Now, separate eggs but do reserve the whites. Then add egg yolks to the sugar mixture and beat until creamy.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and baking powder; add alternately with milk to egg yolk mixture. Now mix in everything to the batter.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180C and grease an 8 inch baking pan. I used the round one.
Now, in a separate bowl, beat whites until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff. Next, fold egg whites into batter and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
To prepare frosting: combine cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter, fresh lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. Gradually add icing sugar and beat at low speed just until blended, do not overbeat as I did once ;)
When your cake is cool completely, cut it in half horizontally.
Spread half the frosting over the base, then put the other half on top and spread the remaining mix over.
Finally, decorate with edible flowers. If you can’t get them, scatter over the blueberries.
Hope you’ll like it folks! Your thoughts are most welcome!
Cassata Siciliana, a cake that I have been going on about for months, that I have known but which I never have tried, neither to eat nor to make so this was a challenge. This cake took some time to make but it wasn’t difficult, you just need to plan the whole thing and be in the right mood!
I didn’t torment myself trying to get a professional patissier’s design or finish to the cake; I think the decoration looks best when naive and asymmetrical, except for the Valentine’s heart of course :)
For the sponge cake:
200g plain flour, sifted
9 tbs maraschino liqueur or any other cherry liqueur
For the filling:
750g ricotta cheese
1/2 vanilla pod
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
150g dark chocolate
250g candied cherries
100g shelled whole unsalted pistachios
For the whipped cream frosting: 2 x double cream 50g caster cugar
Preheat the oven to 170°C and position a rack in the center. Lightly grease 23cm round cake pan with butter.
Use the whisk attachment to beat the eggs with the sugar on medium speed until very light and pale yellow in color and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes. Fold in the flour lightly, using a rubber spatula, stopping just before they are fully incorporated.
Now pour the mixture to the round cake pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until it is golden brown, a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake has begun to pull away tram the sides of the pan. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the filling. Using a grater, grate the chocolate into fine, feathery shreds. Using a sharp knife, finely chop the pistachios. Place the ricotta, sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until the ricotta is creamy and soft. Now add the grated chocolate, chopped pistachios and half of candied cherries, then beat just until combined.
Now, using a bread knife, carefully split cake to make three layers. Place one of the layers in the bottom of the pan and moisten it generously and evenly with some of the cherry liqueur. Spread the cake layer evenly with half of the ricotta mixture. Repeat again. Place the final cake layer on top and generously brush with the cherry liqueur. Then chill the cake in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
To prepare the frosting: Place caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add double cream and beat the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.
To finish the cassata: Remove the cassata tram the refrigerator and carefully remove the sides of the pan. Place the cake on a wire rack to ice it. Spread the cream icing over the top and sides of the cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Scatter the chocolate over the top and let the cake sit until the icing sets. Now garnish sides of the cake with a sprinkle of the chopped pistachios.
Return the cake to the refrigerator to chill for 2-3 hours.