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.

Print
Red Currant Kuchen
Ingredients
  • 110 g 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 400 g 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

A Bowl Full of Summer

There are some things that I regard as “Food of the Gods” and cherries are one of them. It is cherry season here in Israel and that means the annual Cherry Picking Festival at Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim is on. Last year, I blogged about the festival and took a visiting colleague from Germany. This year we took Mimi from Israeli Kitchen and her youngest daughter. We brought a picnic, not quite as fancy as last year, but still quite tasty. Mimi brought a delicious cheese, mushroom and swiss chard tart. Mr BT made a tuna salad sandwich on a baguette, and also made a rocket, nectarine and walnut salad. I made a whole wheat pita with a runny chevre from Jacob’s Dairy in Kfar Haroeh in the Hefer Valley, near Netanya. We also had green olives and garlicky cured black olives from Morocco. We definitely didn’t starve.

Of course the most important reason we went was to pick the juicy ruby cherries, and we definitely succeeded in picking enough of them to make a couple of different dishes and still have a few to much on. I decided the first thing to make was frozen yogurt. I used low fat cow yogurt that I drained in a fine mesh sieve until most of the water had drained. You can use the greek-style yogurt they sell in the States. The yogurt tastes like a big bowl of ripe cherries and has a nice creaminess from the yogurt. Next time I am going to use sheep yogurt for a little extra tang. Mr. BT’s face lit up after eating it and he still has a glint of summer in his eyes. He said that it was good enough to have come from a gelateria in Firenze. Now the Baroness has a glint of summer in her eyes.

Print
Frozen Cherry Yogurt
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of fresh cherries pitted and cut in half
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sheep goat, or cow yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Place the pitted and cut cherries in a medium size pan with the sugar and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the cherries have softened a little. Don't let them get mushy.
  2. In food processor, with knife blade attached, pulse the hot cherries until the cherries are in small chunks. You can blend them smooth if you wish, but I prefer little chunks of cherry in my frozen yogurt. Place the cherry mixture in a medium size bowl and cool to room temperature.
  3. If the yogurt is not really thick (Greek-style), then put the yogurt in a fine-mesh sieve and drain out as much liquid as possible; set aside.
  4. When the cherries have cooled, add the yogurt, cognac and vanilla and mix until the yogurt is completely incorporated. Refrigerate the yogurt mixture for approximately 2 hours. Transfer the yogurt mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Take the frozen yogurt out of the freezer 15 minutes prior to serving.

Passover Preparations 2009

Spring is in the air and that  means it is time to start preparing for Passover, which begins on 8 April. I am not going to be doing a lot of preparation this year, but I have gathered a few interesting recipes for you to consider for your own meal. First, here is a link to all of my Passover recipes from the last couple of years. And, here are some interesting ones for you to try:

Italian Passover recipes from Chef Chaim Cohen and Dr. Eli Landau

Kodredo Relleno al Forno (Roast stuffed lamb with egg/lemon crust)

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Almond-Mint Pesto (Omit the cheese from the recipe)

Syrah-Braised Lamb Shoulder with Olives, Cherries and Endives

Roasted Poussins with Pomegranate Sauce and Potato Rösti

Bolo de Amêndoa (Almond Torte) from David Leite

Walnut Date Torte

Baked Apples Marsala

I will add more as I find them.

Mimi at Israeli Kitchen is having a Pre-Passover Cooking Event. Email her recipes for your favorite Passover dishes – any variety, savory or sweet – and she will cook and blog about the most interesting ones. See her blog for more details.

They Say its My Birthday….Yesterday

Yesterday, I woke up and was another year older. My grandmother, may she rest in peace,  always said we should celebrate our birthday because if we don’t, it means that we aren’t here anymore. I like to subscribe to that philosophy. Birthdays should be celebrated.

I woke up to my husband serenading me with Happy Birthday and I arrived at work to my office which was decorated with gold streamers, paper tulips, clusters of paper flower bouquets, and a Happy Birthday banner. It is nice to be loved.

Every Thursday my team gets together for “Kabbalat Shabbat”. It is not really Kabbalat Shabbat, because that is really the welcoming of the Sabbath which is done on Friday before the sundown. However, it is a tradition at most offices in Israel to do on Thursday and bring snacks, sweets and some wine. It was my turn to bring something, and so it was an easy way to celebrate my birthday with my colleagues.

I was looking for something different and most importantly something that didn’t take a lot of time. So, I found something really interesting on Smitten Kitchen‘s blog, Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars. Her pictures are so beautiful; just the picture enticed me to make them. And, she had me at “Raspberry”. The title of these bars are misleading because they are not crumb bars at all. I think they are more like soft, squidgy granola bars. Simply said, they are delicious and most importantly all about the raspberry. We don’t have much of a raspberry season here in Israel, so I used frozen berries. I think you could make this recipe with blackberries, blueberries, black or red currants or sour cherries. Next time, and believe me there will be a next time, I am going to make them with mixed berries.

My beloved husband made me a nice dinner, beginning with a delicious shaken, not stirred Apple Martini. He made:

Wiener Schnitzel
Crushed Basil Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts

He served it with a nice Shiraz Rose and we had fresh guavas for dessert. It was a lovely dinner.

Print
Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars
Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking from the Baked Bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn
Servings: 24 bars
Ingredients
For the crust and crumb:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats like you use for porridge
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 170 g 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the raspberry filling:
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 500 g 1lb raspberries, fresh or 600g frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 30 g 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Instructions
  1. Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 31x 21 cm (9-by-13-inch) glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to hang over the short sides of the pan to allow easy removal of the bars.
  2. Place the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until a loose crumbs forms.
  3. Reserve 1-1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Place the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumb mixture evenly in the pan with the back of a large wooden spoon. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool. Keep the oven on while you prepare the raspberry filling.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and toss gently with your hands until the raspberries are evenly coated.
  5. Gently place the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.

Ice Cream – Middle Eastern Style

L to R: Roasted Apricot-Almond Ice Cream and Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream

It is quite hot here now and I thought it was time to pull the ice cream maker out again. I took a look at my long list of ice cream recipes and really didn’t see anything that tickled my fancy, so I started thinking about what ingredients are available right now and one of them was fresh apricots. As most of you know by now, I love to experiment with different ingredients and I didn’t want to make some ordinary apricot ice cream, so I thought about what spices would go well with apricots…. ras al hanout. I got the idea for this ice cream from a recipe from a fellow blogger, Mike’s Table. He is hosting a blog event called “You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts“. I can’t wait to see the other entries.

The other ingredient I have wanted to experiment with for quite a while is raw tehina (sesame paste). I didn’t want to use sugar to sweeten the tehina because it just didn’t sound right to me, so I decided the perfect sweetener in keeping with its Middle Eastern roots would be date honey, also known as silan in Hebrew.

The apricot ice cream came out nice and creamy with a strong fruity taste, although perhaps not quite as acid as I would have liked. Next time, I will try adding some dried sour apricots as well.

The tehina ice cream is creamy and has a smoky sesame flavor that is reminiscent of halva. It is not too sweet and the pistachios add a nice crunch. Next time, I will add some chopped dates to the mixture.

They are both delicious ice creams and will be added to the top of my ice cream recipes.

 

Print
Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw tehina raw sesame paste
  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup date honey silan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup roasted pistachios roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk in a saucepan, taking care not to boil. Remove from the heat and add the tehina, mix well, cover, and let steep for about an hour. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and date honey.
  2. Rewarm the milk mixture and strain into the yolk mixture, constantly stirring, using a spatuala to extract as much of the milk-tehina mixture as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. Tehina Ice Cream Base
  4. Place the egg-tehina mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Strain the mixture once again, and cool over ice-cold water. Chill in the refrigerator, add the double cream and churn it in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
Print
Tehina-Pistachio Ice Cream
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw tehina raw sesame paste
  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup date honey silan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup roasted pistachios roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk in a saucepan, taking care not to boil. Remove from the heat and add the tehina, mix well, cover, and let steep for about an hour. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and date honey.
  2. Rewarm the milk mixture and strain into the yolk mixture, constantly stirring, using a spatuala to extract as much of the milk-tehina mixture as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. Tehina Ice Cream Base
  4. Place the egg-tehina mixture in a clean saucepan and cook at medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Strain the mixture once again, and cool over ice-cold water. Chill in the refrigerator, add the double cream and churn it in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
Related Posts with Thumbnails