27.10.14

Daring Bakers - Sachertorte

The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.

It is an interesting cake. The hard part was to make the glaze which didn't work out as necessary. I'll try again some other time. Thanks!


Sachertorte

Servings: 12-16
Cake Ingredients
¾ cup (180 gm) (4½ oz) (125 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
9 tablespoons (135 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) confectioners’ sugar (aka icing sugar or powdered sugar)
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature (see note above about egg whites)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (120 ml) (7 oz) (100 gm) granulated sugar
1 cup (120 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (for volume measurement, spoon gently into measuring cup and level top)
pinch fine grain salt
Assembly
Apricot Glaze (see recipe below)
Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below)
Writing Chocolate (see recipe below)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold




Directions:
1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 with a rack in the centre of the oven. Butter and flower the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
2. Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of barely simmering water (make sure that the bowl is not touching the simmering water) or in the microwave until just melted. Set aside to cool completely, stirring often.
3. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until very light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.
4. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
6. In a scrupulously clean bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with about one tablespoon of the granulated sugar on high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating the whites until they form soft, shiny peaks - they should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.
7. Vigorously stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain. Do this carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites.
8. Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture. Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated. Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely. 



9. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared springform pan.
10. Bake in the preheated moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 oven for 35-45 minutes (mine took exactly 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will crack and dome in the middle as it bakes but will flatten out as it cools.
11. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and remove the sides. Carefully invert the cake onto a rack and remove the bottom of the pan and parchment paper, then turn the cake right-side up onto a rack and allow to cool completely.
12. Assembly: Turn the cake upside-down so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top. Cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.
13. Place 1 cake layer on the 8½-inch (22 cm) cardboard cake round and spread it generously with about half of the apricot glaze. Allow it to soak in.



14. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the top and sides with the remaining apricot glaze. Work quickly before the glaze has a chance to set and use a metal offset spatula to smooth the top. Place the cake on a rack set over a plate or baking sheet lined with waxed paper and allow the apricot glaze to set.
15. Make the chocolate glaze (it must be used immediately, while still hot) and pour it over the top of the cake, first around the edge and then in the middle. Spread the excess glaze over any bare spots using a metal offset spatula. Before the glaze has a chance to set, move the cake to a serving platter.
16. With the writing chocolate, pipe the word “Sacher” in the middle of the cake and add any decorative flourishes you wish. Chill the cake until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour.
17. To serve: Let the cake come to room temperature for about 1 hour before serving. Whip the cream to soft peaks (this is best done in a cold bowl with cold beaters). If desired, sweeten it with icing sugar to taste.
18. Cut the Sachertorte into wedges with a large sharp knife dipped in hot water and wipe off the blade between cuts. Serve each wedge of cake with a large dollop of whipped cream.  


Apricot Glaze

Servings: 1 quantity (about 1 cup)
Ingredients
1¼ cup (300 ml) (14 oz) (400 gm) apricot jam or preserves (I used plum jam)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum (or other liquor) or water
Directions:
1. Boil the jam and rum/water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Strain through a wire mesh sieve, pressing firmly on the solids. You should have about 1 cup of glaze. Use warm.

Chocolate Glaze

Servings: 1 quantity
Ingredients
1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
(4 oz) (115 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Directions:
1. Place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. Attach a candy thermometer and cook, stirring, until the mixture reaches 234˚F/112°C, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use the method explained in this video.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. It might thicken up quite a bit. If it does, return it to low heat and add a few drops of water if necessary to thin it out to a runny, pourable consistency. The glaze should be smooth and shiny.
 4. Off the heat, stir the glaze for 30-60 seconds to cool it slightly, then immediately use it to glaze the cake.
5. Any excess glaze can be stored in a container in the fridge and added to a mug of hot milk to make hot chocolate.

Writing Chocolate

Servings: 1 quantity
Ingredients
¼ cup (60 ml) (1.8 oz) (50 gm) chopped good quality chocolate
½ - 1 teaspoons vegetable oil
Directions:
1. Heat the chocolate until just melted, then stir in enough vegetable oil to get a pipeable consistency. If necessary, let the chocolate mixture cool slightly to thicken so that it is not too runny.
2. Place the chocolate in a disposable piping bag or small Ziplock bag and snip off the tip to make a small hole. I recommend a practice run on waxed paper before writing on the cake.




3.10.14

Bolo de Limão para festejar 6 meses de vida

O tempo continua a passar a correr e já lá vão 6 meses desde o nascimento da minha menina.

Não há muita disponibilidade para me dedicar à pastelaria, mas a motivação vence e tinha que comemorar este marco com um bolo.

Trata-se de uma receita nova de bolo de limão, com bastante sabor e que mereceu aprovação do marido. Adaptei ligeiramente esta receita de Bolo de Limão usada no Ritz Carlton nos anos 20 (informação recolhida online em vários sites, um pouco vaga, apesar de muito interessante).
Este bolo, simples, é muito saboroso, daqueles que apetece fazer em várias ocasiões (para um chá, para levar a um piquenique, para oferecer, ou para uma festa, como é o caso).

Recheei e cobri com queijo mascarpone e depois com pasta de açúcar. Finalmente fiz umas decorações muito simples, mas que resultam de uma enforma fantástica. Não é preciso complicar.

Esta receita dá um bolo grandinho, não encher a forma em demasia.





Bolo de Limão

3 chávenas de farinha
1 colher de sopa de fermento
3/4 de colher de chá de sal
3 chávenas de açúcar
1 chávena e 1/2 de margarina
5 ovos
1 chávena de leite
12 colheres de sopa de sumo de limão
raspa de 1 limão

Pré-aquecer o forno a 180ºC.
Untar uma forma com margarina e polvilhar com farinha.
Peneirar a farinha, o fermento e o sal. Reservar.
Em outro recipiente misturar à mão ou com máquina a margarina e o açúcar. Adicionar os ovos, batendo bem.
Juntar então os ingredientes secos, alternando com o leite.
Misturar o sumo e a raspa de limão.

Colocar a massa na forma e levar ao forno por cerca de 55 minutos. Deixar arrefecer e desenformar.






27.9.14

Daring Bakers - Kolaches

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

I chose the Moravian Kolaches and loved. They are super yummy and look good too. A wonderful option for tea.
I suppose that quark is a kind of cheese we call in Portugal "requeijão", similar to cottage cheese but decided to use mascarpone (a life saver for me) and blueberry jam. Highly recommended recipe. Thanks!



This time I even had a helper, as I wished for some time ago.


Dvojctihodné / Moravské koláče (Two fillings / Moravian Kolaches)

Ingredients
for dough
3-2/3 cup (880 ml) (17-2/3 oz) (500 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (use semi-coarse grounded if you can find in your store)
¾ cup (180 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) milk, warm
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2-2/3 oz) (75 gm) butter, melted
30 gm (1 oz) fresh yeast or 2 packets (4 teaspoons) (½ oz) (15 gm) active day yeast
pinch of salt
2 small egg yolks

for quark filling
3 cups (1-2/3 lb) (750 gm) quark  (I used mascarpone cheese)
1 small egg yolk (not used the egg)
confectioner’s (icing) sugar to taste

for plum filling
2/3 cup (160 ml) (7 oz) (200 gm) plum jam (used blueberry jam)
rum or hot water to soften jam if too thick

for streusel topping
1/3 cup (1¾ oz) (50 gm) plain flour
¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) butter, chilled and diced
¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) caster (or granulated) sugar
(in fact I don’t know the exact amount I used because I always make larger batch and store it in the freezer)
for finish
1 egg

Directions:
In a bowl mix together yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) warm milk, mix well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
In a bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl) mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter, milk and leavened yeast. Knead with dough hook (or with wooden spoon) on low speed for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about one hour to double its volume.
Meanwhile prepare quark filling – just mix all ingredients – and plum filling – mix plum jam with rum or water to soften it. Set aside.
Prepare streusel topping. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add cold butter diced in small cubes and with your fingers, mix all ingredients until crumbly. You can also use my mum’s trick – in a saucepan melt the butter, add flour and sugar at once and mix with fork until crumbly. Set aside.
When the dough is risen turn it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it with rolling pin to a thickness of about 2 cm (¾ inch). Cut with 10cm (4 inch) cookie cutter or just with a glass (if you want small kolaches) or divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (if you want large kolaches). Splat each piece with your hands and fill with quark filling. Wrap it into a “purse” shape.


 



Preheat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3. Line 2 – 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Put each kolach onto a prepared baking sheet with seam down. Press each kolach in the middle as you can see on the picture below. Brush it with egg wash and fill holes with plum filling. Sprinkle it with streusel topping. Bake for about 20 minutes to golden brown.


 

 

25.7.14

Daring Bakers - Surprise Cake

For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

I decided to bake a cake to celebrate my daughter's 4 months old. I chose cupcakes with a heart inside.

First, I wanted a pink cake but without food coloring. Found a good recipe on Pinterest (check recipe below).

Then, I used half of the recipe for strawberry cake and baked one.


Afterwards, I used a heart shaped cookie cutter and prepared several hearts.



Then, I chose a basic vanilla cupcake recipe (check below) and assembled the dough with the hearts.Baked it and voilá!





I loved doing it and I'm sure that I'm going to try other surprise cakes. My husband already gave me a new idea.


18.7.14

Leituras Recomendadas

Quem diria que a maternidade me daria tempo para ler?

Durante a amamentação, um livro e um bloco de notas são a companhia ideal. Acabei por conseguir conciliar o prazer de alimentar a minha filha com o prazer de ler, um privilégio.

Por isso, tenho um conjunto de sugestões de leitura interessantes

Coração Andarilho, de Nélida Piñon



Os dias do arco íris, de  Antonio Skarmeta



84, Charing Cross Road, de Helene Hanff



Os Malaquias, de Andrea del Fuego



O castelo de vidro, de Jeannette Walls

13.7.14

Faça você mesmo o vinil para o quarto do seu bebé

Uma das coisas que decidi fazer para preparar a chegada do meu rebento foi o vinil para o quarto, em vez de comprar já feito. 
Decidi-o quando percebi que o que pretendia ficava caríssimo. Claro que passei por momentos de indecisão e de dúvida em relação à viabilidade da operação, mas depois ganhei confiança e comecei.

1º - vi vários de exemplos online para poder decidir o que pretendia exatamente.
2º - fiz um esboço do quarto onde localizei a mobília, para determinar o lugar onde estariam os desenhos
3º - desenhei o que pretendia numa folha A4.
4º - fiz o desenho em tamanho real num papel de rascunho (pardo ou outro, podendo ser necessário emendar várias folhas - como aconteceu comigo) - a árvore tem mais do que 1,60 m
5º - recortei o desenho (aconselho que se escolham formas relativamente simples na decoração, ou não será viável)
6º - colei-o temporariamente na parede usando fita cola (com cuidado para não tirar tinta da parede) ou então sugiro pedir a alguém que segure no desenho para que se possa comprovar se as dimensões estão adequadas e se corresponde ao pretendido



7º - transferi o desenho para o papel autocolante (colocar o que desenhou voltado para o papel autocolante - e não virado para si - para que a imagem saia como planeou e não invertida, como num espelho)
8º- recortei a forma
9º - ensaiei antes na parede (com fita cola ou com ajuda)
Atenção! Eu colei a árvore temporariamente com fita cola na parede para poder verificar se a posição era a correta e depois tive de tirar as marcas da fita cola do papel autocolante (usei álcool e algodão e resultou, mas já sabem).
10º - colei com cuidado e tirei as marcas da fita cola.



11º - Pesquisei moldes para complementar. Transferi para o papel autocolante usando a técnica anterior. Não esquecer de transferir com o desenho voltado para o papel autocolante, para que saia na posição pretendida. Exemplos:



Estou muito satisfeita com o resultado. Permite-nos criar uma decoração personalizada e é uma opção muito mais acessível. 
A foto não é a do resultado final, que tem muito mais folhas e mais umas decorações. A imaginação é o limite.




Cupcakes decorados para festejar três meses de vida

O tempo passa muito rápido quando se tem crianças, já me tinham avisado. É a mais pura verdade.

A minha bebé já vai fazer quatro meses!

Quando ela completou três meses, decidi que era altura de fazer algo para celebrar. Já tinha uns cupcakes de mirtilo (ultimamente faço cerca de 20, deixo alguns para comermos na hora e depois congelo os restantes individualmente em película aderente para quando quisermos) e só me faltava a decoração.
Inspirei-me em algumas ideias que vi no Pinterest e queria usar algumas decorações de açúcar que a minha mãe me tinha enviado.

Cobri o topo dos cupcakes com um pouco de mascarpone.
Estiquei pasta de açúcar branca com rolo e amido de milho para não colar.
Cortei com forminha de bolacha redonda.
Preparei uma pequena porção de pasta de açúcar amarela, usando pasta branca com corante alimentar.
Criei alguns efeitos com a ponta de uma faca e colei as decorações com mascarpone.


Decidi que ia complicar um pouco e tentei fazer um sapatinho de bebé.
Pesquisei no Pinterest e encontrei os seguintes exemplos:

http://ak.pinterest.com/pin/59320920066632512/
http://ak.pinterest.com/pin/229754018463165746/

Depois adaptei e voilá. Podia estar melhor, mas fiquei orgulhosa.