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.

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Lemon-Blackberry Coffeecake
Ingredients
For the streusel:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 40 g 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the cake:
  • 50 g 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly butter a 22cm (8 inch) round pan or use a corrugated paper baking round.
For the streusel:
  1. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Happy 2010!

The first year I moved to Israel I invited a few friends over to my flat for a nice New Year’s dinner. I bought sparklers and really bad champagne in  Shouk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv. A few minutes before midnight we went out to my rooftop terrace, lit the sparklers and started yelling out “Happy New Year!”. Much to my chagrin, a neighbor yelled out of his window “Sheket!”, which means “shutup!” I never really celebrated New Year’s Eve again.

New Year’s Eve is not celebrated in Israel like everywhere else. Religious Jews do not recognize it as the new year because the start of the new year in the Jewish calendar is Rosh Hashana, which falls during the early autumn. So, even though you will see people celebrating in restaurants, pubs, and discos around the country, most people do not celebrate it.

Mr BT and I had a quiet dinner at home.

I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to cook on Thursday, so I had to find some dishes that I could make quickly, but were gourmet. I found an interesting salmon recipe from Chef Eric Ripert, who is chef of the famous Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Bernardin. I have never eaten there, but I have seen him on few cooking shows and his dishes always looked delicious. The recipe called for the salmon to be wrapped in phyllo pastry, so I went to the supermarket to buy a package of phyllo the day before. I took the box out the night before and when I came home to start cooking I discovered, to my annoyance, that I had bought puff pastry! The dessert I was making also called for phyllo, so what was the Baroness to do?! I improvised, like any good chef would do. I had a package of rice paper wrappers that I hadn’t used yet. I had Mr BT check on the internet if rice paper would crisp up like phyllo, and he reported that it was crispier than wonton wrappers. So,  I  replaced the phyllo  with the rice paper and it was a huge success. The dish is light and delicious and I will definitely make it again. We began the meal with a steamed artichoke with aioli, then I served the salmon on a bed of sauteed mushrooms with a side of Creole Orange Rice. The rice is spicy with a nice hint of fresh orange. It was perfect with the salmon.

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Cranberry Bourekas
Servings: 10 to 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup Granny Smith apple peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 package puff pastry
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a baking sheet with silicone and set aside. Put the cranberries and water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 3 minutes or until the cranberries pop. Drain them, discarding the liquid and return the cranberries to the pan.
  2. Add the apple, raisins, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and orange peel; toss gently until mixed.
  3. Cranberry-Apple Bourekas
  4. Unroll the puff pastry and cut strips about 5cm (2 inches) wide. Place a rounded tablespoon of the cranberry mixture near the bottom edge of the puff pastry.
  5. Cranberry Bourekas
  6. Take the bottom right corner and wrap it over the filling and roll the filling up into a triangle. Repeat with the remaining strips.
  7. Cranberry Bourekas
  8. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the bourekas are golden. The bourekas make leak slightly during baking. Transfer the bourekas to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

 

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Cranberry Bourekas
Servings: 10 to 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup Granny Smith apple peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 package puff pastry
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a baking sheet with silicone and set aside. Put the cranberries and water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 3 minutes or until the cranberries pop. Drain them, discarding the liquid and return the cranberries to the pan.
  2. Add the apple, raisins, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and orange peel; toss gently until mixed.
  3. Cranberry-Apple Bourekas
  4. Unroll the puff pastry and cut strips about 5cm (2 inches) wide. Place a rounded tablespoon of the cranberry mixture near the bottom edge of the puff pastry.
  5. Cranberry Bourekas
  6. Take the bottom right corner and wrap it over the filling and roll the filling up into a triangle. Repeat with the remaining strips.
  7. Cranberry Bourekas
  8. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the bourekas are golden. The bourekas make leak slightly during baking. Transfer the bourekas to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

I wanted to make individual cranberry strudels for dessert, but I didn’t have any phyllo, so I decided to make bourekas instead. Mr BT suggested that I serve them to guests and not tell them what is inside. I would say that I didn’t have time to make dessert and thought we could have a savory dessert instead.

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Cranberry Bourekas
Servings: 10 to 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup Granny Smith apple peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 package puff pastry
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a baking sheet with silicone and set aside. Put the cranberries and water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 3 minutes or until the cranberries pop. Drain them, discarding the liquid and return the cranberries to the pan.
  2. Add the apple, raisins, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and orange peel; toss gently until mixed.
  3. Cranberry-Apple Bourekas
  4. Unroll the puff pastry and cut strips about 5cm (2 inches) wide. Place a rounded tablespoon of the cranberry mixture near the bottom edge of the puff pastry.
  5. Cranberry Bourekas
  6. Take the bottom right corner and wrap it over the filling and roll the filling up into a triangle. Repeat with the remaining strips.
  7. Cranberry Bourekas
  8. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the bourekas are golden. The bourekas make leak slightly during baking. Transfer the bourekas to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Orange You Glad It is Almost Spring?

I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We have been unpacking like crazy, but we still have a little more to do. However, I did find time to take some pictures around my new village and make a cake for a friend’s birthday party on Saturday night.

Spring is rearing its beautiful bounty here in Israel. Here are a few pictures near my new home:

I really love my new house. It is so nice to have a garden. I can’t wait to take advantage of it. The citrus trees are in full bloom, so when a friend of mine asked me to bring something for her birthday party on Saturday night, I decided to make something citrusy. She said she wanted something with orange in it, so I made an orange curd cake. This is a variation of a Serena Bass recipe I have for her lemon curd cake. I added less sugar and I also added a little lemon juice to offset the sweetness of the oranges. It is an easy cake recipe and the curd can be prepared several days in advance. This is a very moist cake that will be a big hit at any meal or afternoon tea.

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Orange Curd Cake
Ingredients
For the orange curd:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Zest of 3 oranges finely grated
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 extra-large whole eggs
  • 100 g 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 170 g 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1 /2 cups sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
Instructions
  1. Orange Curd
For the orange curd:
  1. In a medium-size nonstick or nonreactive saucepan, add the sugar, salt, and orange zest and juice, and whisk until smooth. Then add the egg yolks and whole eggs and quickly whisk well. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring pretty much constantly until the mixture starts to bubble around the edges (about 8 minutes). Then add the butter in little lumps, stirring after each addition, and simmer gently. (No boiling, as the molten mixture can cause quite a burn if it splats onto your hand.) Stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens well. Transfer it to a small shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface while the mixture is still hot; set aside to cool. Once it's cool, you can use it immediately or transfer it to a plastic container, cover the surface as before, and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
For the cake:
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 22cm (9-inch) springform pan with vegetable oil.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Using an electric mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, beat the butter until creamy and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. While the sugar is fluffing up, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk to blend. Gradually pour the eggs into the mixture and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and base of the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer, stir in the orange zest, add the dry ingredients, and fold in gently until just a little flour is still visible.
  4. Spread half the cake batter on the bottom of the pan. Cover with half of the orange curd, keeping just shy of the perimeter. Spoon on the remaining batter somewhat randomly, then drop 3 large spoonfuls of the orange curd on top of the batter. Take a butter knife or blunt knife and make a figure eight motion in the batter to create a marbling effect.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean and the lemon curd on top has turned a rich golden brown. If the curd is browning too much, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan.
  6. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Then run a small sharp knife around the circumference. Release and remove the sides of the springform. Run a large, sharp unserrated knife under the cake to loosen it. Then use the knife blade to help slide it onto a cake plate. You can either dust with confectioners' sugar or leave the cake plain so the orange curd shows.
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