Friday, 31 August 2012

Embroidered "Russian" Cream Cake in Kalocsai Style (Kalocsai mintás Oroszkrém torta)

So...I haven't baked anything for a while as I was on holiday. We went back to Hungary for my brother's wedding and enjoyed the sunshine while we can:). During our stay one thing I come across time to time is the popularity of the embroidered clothes. Embroidery has a huge tradition in Hungary (even I used to do it with my grandmother when I was younger) but over time it become less and less popular...But it is 2012 and the embroidered clothes are back in fashion, specially the "Kalocsai" style, so I thought to make my own version of it: on a cake. The cake underneath is the traditional Hungarian "Russian" cream cake(Oroszkrém Torta)... although it has nothing to do with Russia. Between the two world wars the famous Oroszi Bakery invented this cake, but later it was know by the shortened name which translates to Russian in Hungarian....but it is a real Hungarian speciality. Sorry I should have put on red ribbon, but it was 11pm am and I didn't have any at home.

For the sponge:
6 eggs 
6 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp plain flour

For the cream:
1 Vanilla Pudding- you can buy them in polish shops *more on this product in the Tricks and Recommendations
4 dl milk
4 tbsp sugar
0.5-1dl rum
100g raisins
4 dl double cream
1 big tsp gelatin 

For the topping:
1 shop bought marzipan or royal icing
1 tbsp milk
60g butter
120g icing sugar
food colouring, edible gel pencil

But the traditional coating for this cake is whipped cream. for that you will need
2dl double cream 
1 tsp gelatin

Preheat the oven to 180C. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks. Still mixing add the egg yolks, 2 at the time, mix well between each addition and do the same with the sugar. Shift in the flour and carefully fold the flour into the mix until it is well incorporated. Don't rush this step, as if you break up the volume you created with the whipping, your sponge will be tiny and won't rise.
Pour it into a prepared 23cm cake tin and bake for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown and the inserted skewer comes out clean.
Leave it to cool, then slice it to three parts. I found that the cake leveller doesn't work with this kind of sponge, it is better if you use a big bread knife.

In the meantime you can prepare the cream as it needs chilling before filling.
Pour 3 dl of milk into a heavy based pan with the sugar and bring to boil under a medium heat. Mix the rest of the milk (1dl) with the pudding/budwyn powder to avoid lumps. When the milk is boiling, pour in the other milk and stir continuously. In 1-3minutes it should thicken and be custard like. Add in the raisins and leave it to cool.

Dissolve the gelatin in 0.5dl boiling water. Whip the double cream to stiff peaks and add in the dissolved gelatin- water.

Mix together the whipped double cream and the cooked "pudding", then add in the rum. Well the amount of rum you put in is up to you, but it shouldn't be overpowering, but it is nice to have the hint of rum in the cream. 

Rest the filling in the fridge until it starts to thicken so the gelatin starts to work.

When the filling is stiff, you can assemble the cake: sponge-cream X3, and finish it off with some cream. Traditionally you would finish with some whipped cream, but I wanted to practise my "embroidery" skills.

Therefore I rolled out the marzipan with some icing sugar, and covered the cake. Sadly you won't have a perfectly smooth cake, as the filling makes the cake soft....not the consistency for cake cover, but if you gentle you can have a nice enough flat surface.

I printed some motive from the Internet, and pace some baking paper on top to draw the replica image on it. I cut round the baking paper image and tried to transfer it on top of the marzipan. Roughly draw the edges, then lifting the paper...try to draw it...then back, lifting the baking paper...draw a it took a while, but I get there in the end. I didn't have the exact picture just roughly the main lines. 

Then I prepared the butter cream icing. Mixing the soft butter with the icing sugar, if it is too stiff add 1 tbsp milk. Then I divided the butter cream and added the colouring. I made: yellow, orange, purple, blue, light green, dark green, pink, pale pink, red, deep red....

Then you just have to fill the "colouring book" with a small brush. In the end I added the ribbon, but it really should be red as that is the traditional colour for this type of motive....and if we are at that note, royal icing is better as it gives you white background, but I prefer the marzipan taste:)

And the inside is:

By the way the wedding was great and here is a photo I made on the Big day:

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

We visited the Farmer's Market in Winchester today and a cake caught my eye: Chocolate beetroot cake. So instead of buying a slice for £2.50, I went to the next stand, bought 3 beetroot for £1.10 and made my own (20 slices) at home. I have to say the beetroot is more in the background, like an after taste and it is rather refreshing and delicate. I guess the beetroot's main point is rather the texture than the taste, as the purée made the sponge really moist and tender. This recipe is from the BBC food website.

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

75 g coca powder 
180 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
250 g caster sugar
250 g cooked beetroot
3 large eggs
200ml corn oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a deep rectangle baking tin (17X23cm) or a 12mould muffin tin with baking paper.
Shift the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder into a bowl. Mix in the sugar and set aside.
Purée the beetroot in a food processor. Add the eggs, on at the time, then add the vanilla and oil and blend until smooth.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the beetroot mixture and lightly mix. Pour into the muffin cases or the baking tin.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top if firm when pressed with a finger or the insterted wooden skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Baked Mango Pie in Chocolate Pastry

For a while now I had this idea of chocolate pastry with fruits and but I vaguely remember of making a chocolate pastry that turned out disastrously. Now I remember why: the chocolate pastry is more delicate than the plain counterpart, so it requires more patience and the chance of breaking it is much higher.

  Baked Mango Pie in Chocolate Pastry

For the pastry (for 23cm loose-based flan tin, or 6 small tartlet tins)
124 g unsalted butter, softened
60 g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
175 g plain flour
40 g cocoa powder

For the filling
2-2.5 mangoes (plus extra if you want to decorate)
2 eggs
70g honey
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 vanilla pod

Preheat the oven to 190C 10 minutes before baking.
To make the pastry, put the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds into a food processor (you can use and electric mixer as well) and blend until creamy. Add the flour and cocoa powder and process until a soft dough forms. 
Remove the dough, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of clingfilm to the required size. Peel off the top sheet of clingfilm and invert the pastry round into a lightly oiled loosed-based flan tin, easing the dough into the base and sides.
If the pastry fell into pieces don't worry, just push the dough into the flan base with your fingers, to create an even thickness. That is why the chocolate pastry is more difficult to work with as it has a biscuit like texture in the end. Prick the base with a fork, then chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Place a sheet of non stick baking paper and baking beans in the case and bake blind in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. 

In the meantime you can prepare the filling.Peel, pit then puree the mangoes with all the other ingredients.

Remove the paper and beans and pour into the crust the mango filling and bake it for another hour. When it is ready the middle should be still wobbly. 
Remove from the oven and leave it to cool, then refrigerate for hours before serving. I mean hours! If you leave the pie for at least 5-6 hours, it will turn into a delicious dessert instead of a standard, average pie. When it is properly chilled you will be able to taste the sweet mango with the chocolate biscuit base.........then the delicate honey.....and the warm cardamom. (I know the difference as we were inpatient, and eat two of them when they were can't compare the taste.

So now it is up to you. You can serve as it is, I think it looks impressive enough, or you can cut little mango pieces and create a "rose" effect on the top.

Or you can pipe some whipped cream on top...well I did it all and regardless off the serving they are all delicious.

I also created a raspberry version of the tart. I mixed raspberry puree with mascarpone, icing sugar and some dream topping to make it firmer....but it was still quite soft. Don't get me wrong, they were a piece of heaven, but I will experiment with the texture next time and post the recipe when I created the perfect one.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Mixed Fruit Tartlets

This weekend we went again to the Pick Your Own Farm, so I ended up again with lost of fruit. What better to use it for than some fruit tarts. I used Michel Roux's recipe for Pate Sucree and my quick and delicious cream that is ready in 5minutes without any cooking. I even used my mini fluted cases that I ordered from Amazon ages ago:)

Mixed Fruit Tartlets

For the Pâte sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry)
125g plain flour
50g butter, cubed and slightly softened
50g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1egg, at room temperature

For the filling
200ml double cream
125g mascarpone
3 tbsp icing sugar
1vanilla pod
5-6 tbsp Marsala wine

For the top
Fruit of your choice/I used strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and redcurrant
some icing sugar to dust

For the pastry:Put the flour in a mound on a work surface and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt, and mix these ingredients together with you fingertips. Gradually draw the flour into the centre and mix with your fingertips until the dough becomes slightly grainy.

Again make a well and add the egg. Work it into the flour mixture, using your fingertips, until the dough begins to hold together.
When the dough is well amalgamated, knead it a few times with the palm of your hand until smooth. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling film, and rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours before using.

When the dough is rested and ready to use, unwrap and roll out on a lightly floured clean surface to a 2-3mm thickness to line the lightly greased tartlet cases. Chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Prick the base of the pastry case. Bake the case blind for 20 minutes.

 Lower the oven setting to 180C, remove the beans and paper and bake the pastry cases for another 5 minutes. Place on the wire rack, and leave the tart case until cold.

 For the filling whip the double cream until soft peaks, then add the vanilla seeds, mascarpone, icing sugar and the marsala wine to taste (you can still add some more if you need a kick) and give a final whip.
Fill the cases with the cream and arrange the fruit on top. If you don't serve it immediately keep it in the fridge.

 I also used my mini tartlet cases and they turned out quite impressive. I greased the cases with butter thoroughly before baking and it paid off, as the pastry simply "fell out" after baking.

Maybe you can see the shape better from this view: