Best Ice Cream Shops in Israel (Part 2) – Vaniglia and Shaked

Vaniglia Gelateria

Brothers Nitzan and Itay Rogozinski opened their first branch of the Vaniglia ice cream boutique in 2001 at Basel Square in Tel Aviv. Anything that goes into the ice cream is made on the premises, from cheesecake to poppy seed cake. They use pistachio paste from Sicily, truffle oil from Umbria, orange flower petals from Turkey, camomile flowers from Egypt, tonka beans from Guinea and vanilla from Madagascar; to mention but a few.

Vaniglia in a Cup

Vaniglia offers a nice selection of sorbets with a very high percentage of fruit (over 70%). The dairy ice creams are delicious too, and they are also producing a new line of 100% organic ice creams made with rice milk or soy milk, and a line that is sugar-free.

I visited the new Hod HaSharon branch that is located in a cute little “house” that was built for the ice cream shop. It might look small from the outside, but this branch offers a good selection, such as the following highly recommended flavors:

  • Yogurt with orange flower water, Sicilian pistachios and apricot compote
  • Yogurt with honey and pine nuts
  • Plum sorbet
  • Valharona chocolate with an infusion of cocoa beans and chocolate crunch
  • Sicilian pistachio
  • Coconut
  • Mango sorbet
  • Blackberry sorbet
  • Oh, just try them all!!!

Vaniglia has several locations:

22a Eshtori Hafarchi Street (off Basel Street)
Tel Aviv

98 Ibn Gvirol Street
Tel Aviv

HaTachana
Tel Aviv

18 Derech Ramatayim
Hod HaSharon

Shaked Gelateria

Shaked Gelateria (pronounced Sha-Ked) was originally started as a pizzeria in the leafy town of Ramat Gan, just next to Tel Aviv, then turned into a cafe, and eventually branched out into homemade ice creams. Today, Shaked also has a branch in the entertainment zone of the old Tel Aviv Port, which is also a cafe, even though it is better known for its ice cream (something which obviously appeals to the patrons of the toy shop strategically located next door).

Shaked in a Cup

Shaked offers some interesting flavors of ice cream, such Kremschnitt, sabra (prickly pear) sorbet, olive oil and za’aatar (hyssop), tehina and humous. They also produced a special for the World Cup, which is no longer available: beer ice cream with sunflower seeds! Unfortunately, they didn’t have some of these flavors on offer when I visited the Tel Aviv Port location, but I do recommend the following:

  • Frutti di Bosco (Forest Fruits)
  • Chocolate sorbet
  • Cheesecake
  • Mango
  • Limoncello

Shaked Gelateria has two locations:

Hangar 7, Tel Aviv Port
Tel Aviv

40 Aluf David
Ramat Gan

Best Ice Cream Shops in Israel (Part 1) – Iceberg and Doro

I am on a mission to find the best ice cream in Israel and it is a task that I do not take lightly, at least not around my waist. I have a confession to make: I am an ice cream snob and am not embarrassed to admit it.

Ice cream is in my blood. My earliest memory is eating peppermint ice cream at the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant on our way to the annual family vacation in Miami, Clearwater or Daytona Beach, Florida. Howard Johnson’s ice creams were the best and when I got older I graduated to eating their pistachio ice cream which was considered an exotic treat. In 1980, my father and my uncle opened a ice cream and game room shop, called the Cream Machine, in the neighboring university town where I grew up. I worked there on weekends making black pepper brownies for our hot fudge sundae brownies and selling ice cream. Our gimmick was our ice cream sundae bar. You could put as many toppings on as you like and you paid by the weight.

After living in a Swiss town on the Italian border and travelling around Europe, I can say that I have tasted some of the best gelato in Italy and France. I also like to experiment making ice cream and sorbets at home. So, when I moved to Israel over 10 years ago, I had to make sure I was moving to a country with some form of ice cream culture and I was happy to find out that there was one. There wasn’t as much experimentation in some of the older shops as there is now, but by 2007, the boutique ice cream shops started appearing. Now, I am happy to say, Israel can compete with the big boys and I am going to show you the best-of-the-best in this series.

Iceberg Storefront

Since Iceberg first opened in Tel Aviv, its shops have become known for some of the best boutique ice cream in the country. They have a variety of water-based and cream-based ice creams to choose from and are happy for you to try-before-you-buy. I went to the newly opened Iceberg and Vulcano Cafe in Hod Hasharon. This is a new concept cafe that has the ice cream shop on one side and a pizza and pinchos restaurant on the other.

Iceberg, which has been open since 1999, markets itself as “100% Low Tech Ice Cream”. It is a clever statement that really means they make all natural ice creams. According to Haaretz, whose restaurant reviews and articles on food and cooking have contributed considerably to the development of a more sophisticated food culture in Israel, “when Dalit and Ilan Bar decided to go into the ice cream business, they took it very seriously. The journey in search of the perfect ice cream included Italy, France and the United States. They took from here, they took from there, they adapted the percentages of fat, the flavor and the texture to the Israeli climate and character.”

Iceberg in a Cup

What I like about Iceberg is that they are not afraid to experiment and even take ideas from others, such as their new chefs’ series. They also have Israeli-, Middle Eastern-, and Jewish-fusion flavors on offer. Along with their interesting home-grown offerings such as halva & pistachio, guava-mint, apricot-amaretto & almonds and lychee-ginger-pecan, they went to some of Israel’s well known chefs and asked them to come up with interesting flavor combinations:

Vanilla Ice Cream with Lavender and Lavender HoneyIsrael Aharoni (chef, restaurant owner, TV personality, food writer, cookbook author, eyebrow style model, and part-time DJ)

Poppy Seed Yeast Cake with Crème Pâtissière Ice Cream – Aviv Moshe (chef of Messa Chef Restaurant)

Mascarpone Ice Cream with Caramelised Pistachios, Baharat and Rosewater – Ronen Skinzes (chef of Manta Ray)

Black Coffee with Cardamom and Date HoneyChaim Cohen (chef, TV personality, owner of Dixie Grill Bar and consultant)

Cream Ice Cream with Forest Fruits, Nougatine and MeringueAyal Lavi (chef of Rokach 73)

My favorite of the chef ice creams were Israel Aharoni’s, Ronen Skinzes’ and Chaim Cohen’s. Iceberg will not disappoint you. Make sure you try their sorbets; the lychee-ginger-pecan is delicious.

Iceberg
Several locations in Tel Aviv: Ben Yehuda 108, Rothschild 31 and Ibn Gvirol 24
Iceberg Vulcano Cafe: Tel Aviv Port, Rishon Letzion, Ramat Hasharon and Hod Hasharon
Not kosher

Doro Gelateria

Doro, who markets itself as “Chef’s Ice Cream”, is the creation of pastry chef Doron Fishel and his business partner Oshri Azulay, who manages the shop. Doron studied the pastry arts and learned his craft in France, was pastry chef at Chloelys, custom-made ice cream for Herbert Samuel restaurant, and was also a manager of Arlekino (it should be spelled Arlecchino (harlequin), but Israelis are famous for mangling foreign names and words) ice cream shop before opening Doro.

Doro Gelato

Doro was recommended to me by one of my blog fans, and now I have to thank her and hate her at the same time for introducing me to some of the best ice cream I have tasted so far in Israel. Run, do not walk to Doro and try EVERYTHING!! The owner/manager, Oshri Azulay, is passionate about what he sells. So much so, he let me taste a few flavors that were not on offer that day. What I really like about Doro is that they are not afraid to experiment, they use fresh, all natural ingredients, and they do not skimp on anything.

Doro Gelato2

They make water-based and cream-based ice creams and rotate their flavors on a daily basis. So, you have to visit there more than once to really get a feel for all they have to offer. One of his regulars, who stops by three times a week, passed through while we were there.

Doro in a Cup

Some of the most interesting flavors we tried were:

  • Black sesame
  • Apples in cream with kadayif
  • Brazilian coffee with coffee beans and coconut
  • Pears in Merlot
  • Pear sorbet with arak and mint
  • Finchi — vanilla ice cream with salted chocolate
  • Kadayif

I think their passionfruit sorbet is some of the best I have ever had. Frankly, everything I tried was delicious.

Doron and Oshri had the bad luck to open Doro a short while before a big building project (to build a large underground car park, much needed in Tel Aviv) started almost touching distance from their front door, and as a result you have to walk down a narrow and crowded pavement, with a big corrugated wall blocking off one side of it, to get there. The result, Oshri told me, was that business dropped drastically. Even so, he said, people are coming specially from towns outside Tel Aviv because the place’s reputation has spread so rapidly. They are also thinking about opening additional branches, but insist on having a limited number of branches under their own management rather than more branches under franchise in order to ensure that their quality isn’t compromised.

Doro – Chef’s Ice Cream
Rothschild Boulevard 8
Tel Aviv
Phone: 03-5106664
Not kosher

Flan De Naranja

I love a rich Brazilian flan with an almost burnt caramel sauce. I grew up eating coconut flan that my grandmother’s Chinese cook used to make for dessert for special occasions and many a Shabbat dinner. So, when I decided to make it during the time Mr BT and I were courting, I was deflated when he told me that he loathes custard of any kind! I said, “but you haven’t had my flan. Maybe I can change your mind?” “All right, I will give it a try” he said. Well, I am happy to say that I did convert him that night, and I was not afraid to go ahead and make a light and creamy orange flan for the pre-Yom Kippur meal.

This flan is dairy free, but still has the same creaminess that one expects without the need for a caramel sauce. It is pure orange goodness. This dessert will be a perfect ending to your Sukkot meal.

Orange Flan

Flan De Naranja

Serving Size: 4

(Orange Flan) From Casa Moro by Sam & Sam Clark

6 large egg yolks

60g (1/3 cup) caster sugar

300ml (1-1/4 cups) freshly squeezed orange juice, not strained

Preheat the oven to 120C (250F).

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick, light and fluffy. Gradually add the orange juice, while whisking, making sure that you whisk the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pour the mixture into four glass or ceramic ramekins and place them in a deep pan. Place the pan in the oven and pour cold water up to the level of the top of the orange/egg mixture, about half way up the ramekin. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The flan should be wiggly and will be creamy and orangey. Refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours before serving.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/09/19/flan-de-naranja/

 

Baroness’ Sinful Honey Cake

Rosh Hashana Table 122

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is a holiday for starting anew. So for this year’s holiday I decided to create my own signature honey cake, something special to welcome the new promise of a sweet year to come. What would be better than to take a honey cake and top it with thinly sliced apples that were poached in white wine, and top it with a luscious 72% dark chocolate glaze. Actually, it is so delicious as to be positively sinful. Fortunately, we have just over a week to enjoy it, confident in the knowledge that on Yom Kippur we will be able to atone for this sin.

This year, as in every year, we celebrated Rosh Hashana with family and friends in Jerusalem. We thought of loved ones we missed, we laughed , and we thought of all of the things we want to do to make this year more sweet, more healthy, more prosperous, and most importantly more peaceful.

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life and we hope you have happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful new year.

We would also like to wish Eid Mubarak to all of our Muslim friends.

Chag Sameach,

Baroness Tapuzina and Mr BT

Apple and Honey Cake 120

Baroness' Sinful Honey Cake

Yield: One frosted round cake and 1 plain loaf cake

Serving Size: 8-10 (round cake) and 10 (loaf cake)

For the poached apples:

3 medium granny smith apples, peeled and cored

1/2 bottle Riesling white wine

2 cinnamon sticks

5 whole cloves

2 large pieces of orange peel

1 sheet of parchment paper

For the honey cake:

1/2 cup dried sugarless cranberries

1/4 cup candied orange peel

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

800g (6 cups + 3 tablespoons) spelt whole grain flour or all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1-1/2 cups honey

1 cup oil

4 eggs

2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee

1 cup boiling water

2 level teaspoons baking soda

Zest of two medium oranges

For the chocolate glaze:

200g (7oz) 72% premium dark chocolate

50g (3.5 tablespoons) butter or margarine

For the poached apples:

Place the apples in a medium size pan and add the spices and orange peel. Cover with the white white and place the parchment paper on top of the apples. Poach on medium heat and reduce the heat to a simmer. Poach the apples for 15 minutes or until they are tender, but not mushy. Remove from the poaching liquid, put them in a covered container and refrigerate until cold. This can be done the day before baking.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F). Grease a 22cm (8-inch) round spring-form pan and a loaf pan.

Place the cranberries, orange peel, and walnuts in a food processor and grind until each ingredient is in fine pieces. Be careful not to grind it into a paste. Set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, and spices in a bowl. Add the honey, oil and eggs, and whisk into a smooth batter. Dissolve the coffee into 1 cup of boiling water. Add the baking soda to the batter, and then add the coffee. Gently fold in the orange rind, and the cranberry, candied orange and walnut mixture.

Pour half of the batter into round pan and the other half into the loaf pan. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until the cake is dark brown and the toothpick is clean with a few crumbs adhering. Depending on your oven, you may have to bake your cakes for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Cool in the pan until completely cooled. The cake a be prepared up to two days ahead.

For the chocolate glaze:

Just before assembling the cake, melt the chocolate over a water on low heat and add the butter or margarine. Cool for 5 minutes.

For assembly:

Slice the apples into thin slices and place on top of the round cake. Place the chocolate glaze in the middle of the cake and spread to the edges of the top of the cake. Let chocolate glaze will thicken as it cools.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/09/10/baroness-honey-cake/

Makroud – Date and Sesame Biscuits

Makroud and Qamar el Deen

I wanted to make a traditional Ramadan dessert this month, a recipe that called for mahleb, which is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of the St Lucie Cherry (Prunus mahaleb). The stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is ground to a powder before it is used. It adds a lovely flavor of bitter almond and cherry to breads, cakes and biscuits.

I found a perfect date and sesame biscuit recipe called Makroud that is made by Israeli Muslims and Palestinians. There are several variations of Makroud that are also made in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, but this version is not as sweet.

Mr BT and I would like to wish all of our Muslim friends Ramadan Kareem.

Makroud

Makroud – Date and Sesame Biscuits

Yield: 70 to 80 biscuits

(Date and Sesame Biscuits)

Adapted recipe from the Safadi Family of Nazareth in The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey by Janna Gur

For the dough:

500g (3-1/2 cups) whole wheat flour

15g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast

240ml (1 cup) corn oil

120ml (1/2 cup) olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1/2 tablespoon mahleb, freshly ground in a mortar

220ml (1 cup) lukewarm water

For the filling:

500g (1lb 2oz) pressed pitted dates

60ml (1/4 cup) corn oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

For the coating:

450g (1lb) sesame seeds

For the dough:

Place the flour, crumbled yeast and spices in a large bowl. Add the corn and olive oils and stir until well combined. Gradually add the water and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes into a soft smooth dough. Set aside.

For the filling:

Mix the pressed dates with the oil and spices until it becomes a soft, malleable paste.

To assemble:

Divide the dough into balls the size of a fist and divide the date paste into the same number of balls. Both the dough and the date balls may be dripping with oil: this is normal.

Preheat the oven to 220C (425F).

On a large work surface, sprinkle a generous amount of sesame seeds. Flatten a ball of dough into a round the size of a pita. Flatten out a date ball and place it on top of the dough. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and turn the dough over and roll out to the size of a dinner plate. The sesame seeds will prevent the dates from sticking to the work surface. Turn the dough over again, date side up and roll the dough to form a log shape. Repeat with the remainder.

Cut the logs into 5cm-wide (2-inch) biscuits and place on baking sheets. You do not have to place them too far apart because they do not spread. Bake for 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Serve slightly cooled or store up to a month in a sealed container.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/08/16/makroud-date-and-sesame-biscuits/

Tiramisu – A Little Pick Me Up

There are many stories about the origin of this recipe, but the Italians from the Veneto region claim this luscious dessert as their own. I learned to make it from a drop-dead gorgeous chef at a 3-day cooking course I attended in Riva di Garda, Italy almost 20 years ago. Don’t tell Mr BT, but between you and me, the chef could have made boiled newspaper and I would have left that course a happy woman. I have been promising to make this dessert ever since Mr BT and I met almost 10 years ago, and I promised I would make it for Shavuot, but alas he had to go on a business trip abroad. So, I made it, just because.

Tiramisu is a dessert that you make to wow a new boyfriend, bring a smile to your family or friends, or for that romantic candle-lit  dinner with the one you love.

Traditional tiramisu is made with raw eggs and no alcohol, so if you are elderly, sick, or pregnant, you can make a zabaglione, cool it, beat in the mascarpone, and then fold in whipped cream. It is not authentic, but it will still be creamy and delicious.

Tiramisu

Serving Size: 6 to 8

5 very fresh, organic eggs, separated

5 tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar

500g (18oz) Mascarpone cheese

1 package of Savoiardi biscuits

300ml (1-1/4 cup) very strong espresso coffee, cooled

3 tablespoons Marsala wine, sweet sherry, or rum

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Whisk the egg yolks and the icing sugar until they are double in volume and pale. Add the mascarpone and beat until combined.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the mascarpone mixture. Mix the cooled coffee and Marsala in a medium size bowl. Dip both sides of the Savoiardi biscuits into the coffee, arranging them in a single layer in a medium size square dish. Cover with half of the mascarpone mixture, repeat with a layer of biscuits and cover with the remaining cheese mixture.

Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. Sift cocoa powder on top before serving.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/06/06/tiramisu-a-little-pick-me-up/

Shavuot Ideas – Saffron Semifreddo with a Dried Cherry-Cardamom Sauce and Almond-Orange Financiers

Chocolate is most people’s guilty pleasure, but my guilty pleasure is ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but luscious Italian gelato, preferably eaten in Italy at one of my favorite gelateria, Perche No!, in Firenze, or in Israel at Gelateria Siciliana on Ibn Givrol in Tel Aviv.

I also enjoy making my own ice cream and sorbet at home, which I have blogged in several posts here.

The final course for the dinner party last week was a recipe for semifreddo that intrigued me from the moment I saw it on the Food52 website. Semifreddo literally means “half-frozen” and is a frozen dessert that has a mousse-like texture from equal parts of ice cream custard and whipped double (heavy) cream.

I didn’t deviate from the recipe at all and even made the salted-honey hazelnuts, but in the rush of trying to serve the dessert, I forgot to plate them. It was actually better in the end because it would have been too much of a taste contrast with the mini almond-orange financiers I served on the side. The dessert was a huge hit, which made me very happy since Mimi was afraid that some of the guests might not like the taste of saffron. I used a very high quality saffron that I had been keeping for a special occasion.

Sarah, from Foodbridge, brought a large bag filled with Surinam Cherries, also known as Pitanga in Brazil. They were a perfect decoration for the top of the semifreddo and were also quite delicious. I had never had them before but they  remind me of cherries, which as my faithful readers know is one of my favorite fruits.

Mimi suggested that we serve an alternative to the semifreddo, so I decided to make mini financiers which I baked in a silcone chocolate mold that can withstand up to 220C (425F). Financiers are a light teacake, similar to sponge cake, and are usually made of almond flour, a beurre noisette (brown butter), egg whites, icing sugar and flour. Financiers are often baked in rectangular-shaped molds which are suppose to resemble a bars of gold. You can find these molds in cooking shops, such as 4Chef, in Tel Aviv.

The dessert was a huge hit and I will definitely make this again. I made the semifreddo a couple of days in advance and made the financiers the day before, but you could easily make these several days before and freeze them.

The dessert was served with Mimi’s delicious homemade liqueurs. On offer were lemoncello, geranium, apricot, strawberry and coffee. I love all of them, but my personal favorite is apricot.

Saffron Semifreddo with Cherry Cardamom Syrup and Salted Honey Hazelnuts

Serving Size: 6

For the Saffron semifreddo:

5 large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon high quality saffron threads

1 tablespoon sweet vermouth

1 cup double (heavy) cream

For cherry-cardamom syrup:

1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cherries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cardamom, toasted

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup filtered water

For the salted honey-hazelnuts:

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons honey

For the Saffron semifreddo:

Bring a small saucepan or double boiler with water to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Have an ice water bath big enough for the base of the double boiler or mixing bowl on standby.

In a medium glass bowl or the pan of a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and saffron threads. Place the bowl or pan over the simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and doubled in volume.

Remove from heat and submerge in the ice water bath, continuing to stir to bring down the temperature. If the mixture gets too cold and is sticking to the bottom of the pan, it will release easily if you run hot water on the outside of the bowl.

Beat the heavy cream in a mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Place the egg yolk mixture and the sweet vermouth in the bowl of mixer with a whip attachment, and whip until the mixture becomes thick and pale in color.

Add a third of the whipped cream to the egg mixture and stir together gently. Fold in the remaining whipped cream into the egg mixture. When this is done, you can spoon the mixture into 6 individual ramekins, or place it in a plastic cellophane lined loaf pan, or decorative silicone mold of your choice. Cover the ramekins or other container with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. To serve, run a butter knife under hot water and cut around the edge of the ramekin to invert the semifreddo onto individual plates. Serve with the cherry-cardamom syrup and salted honey-hazelnuts (recipes to follow).

For cherry-cardamom syrup:

Combine all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the syrup is reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.

For the salted honey-hazelnuts:

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) degrees.

Place the hazelnuts in a small mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil and sea salt. Add honey and toss once more to coat. Transfer the nuts to a silpat-lined baking sheet and bake, stirring at least once, until the nuts are golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Once the hazelnuts have cooled, roughly chop the nuts and serve alongside the semifreddo.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/05/16/shavuot-ideas-saffron-semifreddo-with-a-dried-cherry-cardamom-sauce-and-almond-orange-financiers/

 

Almond-Orange Financiers

Yield: 21 5 x 10-cm (2 x 4-inch) financiers or 50 mini

30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, for buttering 21 financier molds

140g (1 cup) almond flour or finely ground blanched almonds

210g (1-2/3 cups) icing (confectioner's) sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Zest of one large orange

Pinch of salt

5 large egg whites

185 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 220C (425F).

With a pastry brush, butter the financier molds with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Arrange them side-by-side, but not touching, on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet with the buttered molds in the freezer to re-solidify the butter and make the financiers easier to unmold.

In a large bowl, combine the almonds, sugar, flour, orange zest and salt. Mix to blend. Add the egg whites and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the 3/4 cup of butter and mix until blended. The mixture will be fairly thin and pourable.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them almost to the rim. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven. Bake until the financiers just being to rise, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200C (400F). Bake until the financiers are a light, delicate brown and begin to firm up, about another 7 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the financiers rest in the oven until firm, about another 7 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the financiers cool in the molds for 10 minutes. Unmold.

(Note: If you are using metal Financier molds, then wash them immediately with a stiff brush in hot water without detergent so that they retain their seasoning.) The financiers may be stored in an airtight container for several days.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/05/16/shavuot-ideas-saffron-semifreddo-with-a-dried-cherry-cardamom-sauce-and-almond-orange-financiers/

Lemon-Blackberry Coffeecake

I have had people ask me if there is any type of food that I really miss having here in Israel, and I usually say real Chinese and Indian restaurants. But, last week I saw a big container of frozen blackberries on sale and it reminded me of the beautiful container of large, sweet blackberries my sister bought when I was visiting her in the States a few months ago. I really miss fresh berries of all kinds, especially raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. There were blackberry bushes at the end of the street where I grew up, and every summer I would go and pick some to eat on the spot, or gather some and take them home, where they were made into delicious blackberry pies. You can find berries growing in northern Israel, but you have to pay double or triple what you pay in the States for them, and you only get a very small container.

I put some of the blackberries on top of a bowl of sheep’s yogurt and the rest I used to make a quick and easy coffeecake for Shabbat.

Lemon-Blackberry Coffeecake

Serving Size: 8 to 10

For the streusel:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon lemon zest

40g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

For the cake:

50g (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 cup plain yogurt, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries, well drained

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly butter a 22cm (8 inch) round pan or use a corrugated paper baking round.

For the streusel:

Whisk together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt in a medium-size bowl. Mix in the softened butter into the flour mixture until it resembles granola, some larger chunks, some smaller. Set the mixture aside.

For the cake:

Cream the butter and sugar until light colored and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Be sure to scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Add to the batter, mixing only until combined. Do not over mix or the cake will be tough. Gently fold in the blackberries until well distributed throughout the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the lemon streusel mixture until the batter is completely covered.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes before serving.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/04/29/lemon-blackberry-coffeecake/

P is for Patience and Passover

Spring has sprung all over Israel. Almond trees, hollyhocks and other indigenous wildflowers are all in bloom. And spring means we have moved our clocks forward and are now frantically preparing our homes for seven days of Passover, which starts tomorrow night. A time where we have to get rid of every little speck of bread, flour, etc. that may be still hanging around the house. It is a holiday where you need a lot of patience; something that I have a lack of, I must admit. Yes, Mr. BT, I really am admitting that I, Baroness Tapuzina, am impatient.

We are going to be spending the seder with my cousins and so I don’t have to prepare a full seder this year, which is a good thing since I have spent the last several days coughing up both lungs. Yes, my body picked the worst time to have an upper respiratory infection. The good news is that this evening is the first time I haven’t had numerous coughing fits, so I think I am on the mend.

Mr. BT spent a good portion of the morning making his top secret, often imitated, but never duplicated, unbelievably delicious haroset. If the Pharoah had tasted this, he would have let our people go for the recipe, but I fear that Mr. BT wouldn’t have given it up. Would you believe that he won’t even let me watch him make it? And, I am the one who educated him about other haroset than the standard Ashkenazi ones.

I was tired of making the same almond flour-based cakes that I make every year, so I decided to challenge myself and make something I have been wanting to try for years, but was afraid that I wouldn’t have the patience to make them successfully: the French macaroon. I know, I am crazy to make something new for something as important as the Seder, but I really needed the challenge. What I didn’t need was a challenge when I felt like crap, but I had already bought the ingredients and I knew my loving husband would help me, wouldn’t you honey?

So, I read every blog post I could find about making macaroons. Some said to stay away like the plague (they didn’t say which one of the ten), others said after the 9th try you will get them right and don’t make the batter too thick or too thin. But, I didn’t let them scare me.

One of the most important things you must have to make a macaroon is a scale. It is very important to have exact measurements for this recipe. Scales are relatively inexpensive now. I purchased a nice digital scale for 55NIS/10GBP/15USD.

I cracked four eggs the day before I made the macaroons and let the egg whites “rest” in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Some people let them sit on the counter for 24-48 hours, but I was not too keen on leaving them out even though it is still cool enough to do that here. Every post, including Pierre Herme’s recipe, says that you should use old egg whites, meaning ones that have not been separated the same day you make the biscuits.

The other important part of making the perfect macaroon is to have feet on the outside of the biscuit. My macaroons did not have happy feet or any other kind of feet. I guess that will happen on my 9th try. And there will be another try. I must have my feet.

The macaroons turned out okay and surprisingly they did not try my impatience.  No, they don’t have happy feet and some of them wouldn’t come off the silpat, but I was able to salvage 40 out of the 70 I ended up making. I filled them with Rosemarie chocolate filling that I purchased at one of my favorite cooking shops, Touch Food.  I am presenting these macaroons as a gift for the host and hostess, instead of serving them as dessert for the seder.

We want to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and peaceful Pesach. And also Happy Easter.

Chag kosher v’sameach,

Baroness Tapuzina and Mr. BT

P.S. – Keep checking the blog. I am going to make a few new dishes during the week.

French Macaroons

Yield: about 25 filled or 50 unfilled

225g icing sugar

125g ground almonds

125g egg whites (from about 3 large eggs, but do weigh it out)

A few drops of lemon juice

25g caster (granulated) sugar

Food coloring of your choice (follow directions on box)

Place the egg whites in a bowl and refrigerate for 24-48 hours. Bring them to room temperature before you start making the macaroons.

Put the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until you have a fine powder. Stop halfway through and loosen any bits that may have clumped in the bottom of the processor bowl.

Sift the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl several times, removing any of the chunky almond bits in the sifter.

Put the room temperature egg whites into a clean metal mixing bowl and whisk until they start to hold their shape. Add a few drops of lemon juice, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar in two lots until the whites form stiff peaks. Finally, whisk in the food coloring until well combined.

Mix one-third of the whites into the dry ingredients. Then tip the rest of the whites on top and, gently fold them in with a spatula, using a figure-eight motion. It will be stiff at first, but it will gradually loosen. You want it to be smooth and glossy, but not too liquidy. The texture is very important and tricky to judge: when you fold the mixture, it should form a ribbon on the surface. Too runny, and you’ll end up with flat crisps; too stiff, and it’s meringue.

Take your piping bag, fitted with an 8mm plain nozzle and fill the bag with the macaroon mix. Then turn up the sides and twist to seal the mixture inside to get rid of any air so that when you squeeze the bag, a solid stream of mixture comes out of the nozzle.

On about three baking trays that have been lined with silpat liners or parchment paper, pipe a round, 2cm-diameter (1-inch) blob (by squeezing the closed end of the bag). Lift the nozzle sharply to finish the blob. Repeat, leaving about 2cm (1-inch) around each one to allow for spreading (they should spread to about 3cm (1-1/2-inches). Continue until all the mixture has been piped – you should have about 50-60 blobs in all.

If any of the macaroons have nipples, smooth them gently with a wet finger. Let the macaroons rest for 45 minutes. This helps them to form a smooth shell when baked. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 130C (260F) fan (or 140C/280F).

Bake the macaroons in the middle of the oven, one tray at a time. After 5 or 6 minutes, they should start to rise, forming a lacy collar around the bottom. Cook for a total of 12-15 minutes – don’t let them burn. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the trays. You should then be able to remove them gently by moving the silpat liner away from the macaroon. If not, carefully ease off with a knife.

Pair macaroon shells of similar size and sandwich together with 1-2 tsp of the filling of your choice. Eat immediately, or keep in the fridge for a day to enable the flavour of the filling to enhance the macaroon.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/03/29/p-is-for-patience-and-passover/

Red Currant Kuchen

I have been trying to find ways to use up the remaining flour in the cupboard and luck would have it that I was invited to spend Shabbat with good friends. I insisted on making a cake and suggested a cranberry kuchen only to find that the fresh-frozen cranberries cost 31 NIS (8.40USD) for 400g. I decided to make the cake with fresh-frozen red currants that were on sale. I love red, white and black currants and have been know to eat an entire container of them when I am in Germany during berry season. Actually, I love all berries. I just wish they weren’t so expensive here.

I usually don’t like making parve cakes, but I have always wanted to try rice milk as a substitute for milk and I used Vanilla Rice Dream in this recipe. The cake turned out moist and delicious, and most importantly it didn’t taste artificial like other parve cakes do. It did take longer than 30 minutes to bake the cake and I am not sure if it is my oven or the rice milk.

Red Currant Kuchen

Serving Size: 8

110g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

400g fresh or fresh frozen red currants, thawed and drained of its juices

1 large egg

Zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk or vanilla rice milk

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease the bottom and sides of a 22cm (8-inch) round cake pan. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar on the currants and drain all juices before sprinkling them on top of the cake batter. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and lightly whisk to combine. Set aside.

Cream the butter and 1/2 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla, and beat until well combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, until well combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Place the drained currants evenly on top of the batter and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake the cake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool before serving.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/03/15/red-currant-kuchen/

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