Sunday, March 27, 2011

Croquant cake

This is one of my favourite cakes, and i usually reserve it for celebrations. It is fairly easy but involves several steps. It is basically a sponge cake with a praline butter cream filling topped with caramel and chocolate ganache.
This recipe was adapted from this link

Sponge Cake: (23 cm pan)
• 8 eggs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1.5 cups flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• vanilla
• 4 tbps melted and cooled butter
- beat eggs and sugar until color is pale and they double in size
- add vanilla
- mix together in a separate bowl the flour and baking powder, and then add to egg mixture
- fold in butter
- bake in 350 for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

Butter Cream:
• 4 egg whites
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 cup butter, room temperature..soft
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
-Place the egg whites in a large bowl of a electric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken
(just before the soft peak stage)
-Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolve...The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows
-Remove from pan and with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on
med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes
-Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2
Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute. Add the vanilla bean seeds and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

Praline Paste:
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup almonds
-Line a pan with parchment and lightly oil so that the praline doesn’t stick to the paper
-Put the sugar in a heavy skillet. Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals. if the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly.
-When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat...Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble.
-Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle.
-Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse into a medium fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place.
Do not refrigerate

Caramel Sauce: (double the quantity)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
30 grams butter
1 cup heavy cream (heavy cream=whipped envelope makes 2 cups of whipped cream, we need one cup for the caramel sauce and another one for the chocolate ganache)

-In a heavy saucepan set over low heat, combine the sugar and water and heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter.
-Let it come to a boil and cook until it reaches a golden caramel color. Remove from the heat and add the cream ( it will splatter and get crazy but don't fear and trust the
recipe ). Whisk to combine and put back on the stove. Let it come to a boil again over low heat and cook 10-15 minutes until you reach a nice creamy consistency.

Chocolate Ganache:
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate ( the whole pack it
• 5oo gram so chop out 3 lines=9 blocks
-Heat the cream and chocolate blocks in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle
boil. then slowly stir..add oil if necessary(I added 1 teaspoon)The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold

To assemble:
Brush some coffee on the cakes instead of syrup. Mix the butter cream with the praline paste , spread between the two cake layers. Cover the cake with the caramel sauce , then when it cools cover with ganache. Let the cake cool before you eat it

Pound cake

Although I was skeptical about the success and taste of this cake due to its high butter content and little ingredients, it turned out very nice and just as perfect as the different recipes described it. While it may be a dense cake, it is very smooth in texture and has a distinct buttery flavor. While most recipes don't use baking powder I prefer to use 2 tsp as I don't like cakes that don't rise well. You can also add chopped dried fruits, chocolate chips or nuts to the cake by adding them with the flour before it is combined with the butter.

Adapted from an recipe

• 2 cups butter
• 3 cups sugar
• 6 eggs
• 4 cups flour
• 1 cup milk/cream
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp محسن كيك (optional)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease 2-3 loaf pans (depending on their size). Sift the flour and baking powder together, in a large bowl cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add in the محسن كيك. Beat in the flour alternating with the milk/cream, mixing until incorporated. Pour evenly in pans, and bake for 70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for at least 30 min then take out the pan and let it cool for at least a day or few hours in the fridge before slicing it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nashader biscuits

These are the traditional biscuits we bake in EID here in Egypt. Nashader is ammonia; the raising agent used.

Nashader biscuits
• 2 tbls nashader
• 1 tbls baking powder
• 1/4 c warm milk
• 2 c sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 1/2 c margarine or butter
• 1 kg flour (might need lesser)
• 1 g vanilla

Place nashader with milk and let it fizz. Cream the margarine with the sugar , then add the eggs, vanilla, nashader mix, and baking powder. Finally add the flour until you reach the right consistency, knead well then shape using biscuit machine. Bake in a medium oven until done.

Petit four

Petit four
• 500g butter (at room temp)
• 175g icing sugar
• 4 egg whites
• 2g salt
• 2g vanilla
• 625g flour

Cream the butter and sugar together until it increases in volume and its color lightens. Next mix in the egg whites, then add in the salt and vanilla. Finally blend in the flour. Shape using the large nozzle in the piping bag or petit four maker onto a greased pan. Bake in a medium oven until done. Leave it to cool down completely then stick two pieces of petit four using strawberry or apricot jam, dip in melted chocolate or minced nuts.

You can add some cocoa powder to dough for chocolate petite four, but add a little milk or margarine to get the right consistency of the dough.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eid Kahk

• 1 kg flour
• 2 1/2- 3 cups margarine
• 2 tbls toasted sesame seeds
• 1 tsp kahk essence
• 1 cup warm milk
• 1 tbls active yeast proofed in some warm water, sugar and a pinch of flour (or instant without proofing)
• Pinch of baking powder
• 1 g vanilla

Place the flour and baking powder in a big bowl, make a hole in the center and sprinkle the sesame seed on the flour. Meanwhile heat the margarine until hot , and pour over the flour while mixing well. Knead for 10 minutes until well mixed then add the proofed yeast , and warm milk gradually while mixing. Then add the remaining ingredients and knead well for about 10 minutes. Leave it to rest for a few minutes, then shape into small balls and fill with desired filling ( nuts, date paste, 3agameya) and close well over the filling. Place in greased pan and make small engravings in the kahk with the engraver (a fork or potato masher can also work). When finished cover with cling film and a towel then leave it to proof for about an hour. Bake in a hot oven until lightly browned.

• 2 tbls margarine
• 2 tbls flour
• 1 small cup honey
• 2 tsp sesame seeds
• 1/4 tsp kahk essence
• 4 tbls toasted and minced nuts (hazelnuts or walnuts)

Melt the margarine in a pan add the flour and mix well until you form a roux . Mix in the sesame seeds and remove from heat. Next add the honey , mix well then return to heat and mix until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and add in the kahk essence and toasted nuts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kabsa with chicken

• 1 1/2 c basmati rice
• 2 large onions chopped
• 2-3 medium carrots shredded
• 1-1 1/2 c tomato juice
• 1-2 tbls kabsa spices in cloth with dried lemon
• 1 tbls finely powdered kabsa spices (for additional flavor)
• 3 cups chicken broth
• About 1 chicken cooked (broiled) and cut into bite size pieces
• Salt to taste

Fry onion with salt in some oil then add carrots, when wilted add tomato juice, when it thickens add the soup, then chicken pieces. Place the spices that are wrapped in cloth, when the soup boils add the washed rice, let it boil then lower heat and cover until it is done. In the middle mix in the extra ground kabsa spices.

Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry (joy of cooking)
• 1/4 c soy sauce
• 2 tbls apple juice
• 1 tbls water
• 1 tbls sugar
• 1 tbls cornstarch
• 2 tsp sesame oil
• 1/2kg beef steak sliced into 2*1/2 inch strips
• 1 medium onion chopped
• 2 bell peppers, preferably 1 green , and 1 red chopped
• 1 cup sliced mushrooms
• 4 scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths
• 2 tbls minced peeled fresh ginger
• 1 tbls minced garlic
• 1/3 c chicken stock or water
• 3 tbls oil

mix in a medium bowl, the soy sauce, apple juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Add and toss to coat the meat, marinade for atleast 20 minutes. Mix together the ginger and garlic, remove the meat from the marinade and add the chicken stock to it and set aside. In in a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking, 2 tbls oil. Add ginger mixture and stir-fry the ginger mixture until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and stir fry, stirring to separate the slices, until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove the beef, ginger, and garlic to a plate. Wipe out the pan and reheat over high heat until hot. Then add 1 tbls oil, heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, peppers, and mushrooms and stir fry until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions, return the meat to the pan along with any accumulated juices, and the marinade mixture. Toss for 10 seconds over high heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro or scallions.