2014. szeptember 15., hétfő

Celebrating Autumn - Caramel Apple Tart

I had to live 21 years to decide which season was my favourite. Autumn won. Lot of people go for spring, but that's the season I particularly don't like. It's the end of the winter, but still SO cold for several weeks, then you just can't tell whether it's gonna be hot or chilly that day. With Autumn, it's different - it's cold. Maybe there is a little bit of sunshine, but still cold. Festive season is coming, or is already here, the colours are amazing, and there is rain. My favourite type of weather. I just adore the smell of wet fallen leaves in the park, when it's still not freezing, but you already got red cheeks. Oh my.
And as a baker, this is the best season EVER. Baking over the summer is such a pain, with heating up the already hot house and all that. During winter it is really lovely, but the rage of ingredients are wider during the autumn, so it is the best. And all these fruits and veggies - apples, pears, grapes, squash, nuts etc - are the best to combine with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger.

This tart is very simple but yet has a special kick with the bottom caramel layer. You can't exactly feel the caramer cracking, as it melts in the oven and merges with the apples, but it still has that lovely flavour what makes this tart stand out.
It takes quite a long time to grate the apples - if you don't have much time, just cut into small pieces.

300 g all purpose flour
200 g butter
100 g icing sugar

100 + 30 g caster sugar
5 middle size apples, peeled and grated
10 g butter
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix the flour with the icing sugar. Cut the butter into tiny cubes, and add it to the flour mixture. Crumble the butter into the flour using your fingertips. Add some cold water to form a dough. Put it in the fridge for a little while.
Melt the butter in a pan, and add grated apple, cinammon and 30 g sugar. Cook until it losts half of its size,
Grease a normal tart form, and preheat the oven for 175 C. Separate the dough into two parts; it should be 1/3 and 2/3. Roll the bigger one and place it in the form. Place baking paper on the dough, then some baking beans or rice (these could not be used as beans or rice anymore so I suggest to keep them after baking for another time!). Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the beans and bake for an other 5 minutes.
While the crust is in the oven, separate the smaller dough, roll them and cut them into stripes.
When the crust is ready, put 100 g caster sugar into a pan and let it melt on medium heat. Do not mix until it all melted. When it is all melted, as quick as possible pour it onto the crust. It hardens very fast! Spread it as much as you can. Place the cooked apples on the caramel, then finish it with the dough stripes. Put it back into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

2014. augusztus 29., péntek

100% Homemade Lasagne + Big Apologies + Updates!

Hi Everyone! 
I realized that there are way too many posts on my blog starting with "I know I did not write and I am sorry I am terrible bla bla bla".

I seriously have to change that. I love this blog with all my heart. And I see the statistics and I do have a lot of readers (including a massive amount of guys from France, which really surprises me), so I don't want to disappoint you.
I made and photoed this recipe almost two months ago, and I was just lazy. I got an amazing internship job in a museum, and although I was cooking and baking on a daily basis, I did not photo it. I'm returning to Glasgow next week and I hope I can concentrate on the blog more than I did during the summer.

How is a lasagne 100% homemade you may wonder... well, this is about the pasta this time, I am going to share with you how to make it by yourself. Not a big deal, I promise, and it is not crucial to have a pasta machine!

Originally the rule is 1 egg to 100 grams of flour (plain flour). Although eggs' sizes vary and I don't exactly know what size needs exactly 100 grams, I normally go with a medium egg and add 90 g of flour - it is easier to add more flour if necessary, but if the pasta dries, there is no going back. Side note: if your pasta dries, please don't panic, it is amazing to put into soup. Make any vegetable soup (not cream soup), and grate the hard pasta through a big holed cheese grater while it's boiling, Cook until everything comes to the top and you're done!

Soooo, here we go for the pasta, for one medium tray of lasagne:
2 eggs
180 g flour + a bit more.
Pour flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Put the egg in the well, and first use the fingers to mix it together with the flour, then began kneading. It is going to be hard and tiring and you have to knead forever. I told you!

When the pasta ball is perfectly smooth, you are done. Cover it with a tablecloth, so it won't dry. From here, you have to options.
If you don't have a pasta machine: Divide the ball into four parts, and cover those you're not working with. Using a rolling pin, roll the pasta on a floured surface until it's as thin as possible. You can cut it into smaller parts if that's easier - for lasagne, 10x5 cm quandrangles are perfect. 

If you do have a pasta machine: Divide the ball into four parts, and cover those you're not working with. Using the clean pasta machine, roll it to a thin pasta, going thinner and thinner with each step, so you should start with a thicker one. I stopped at the second level, so it does not have to be as thin a pasta machine could do, maybe around 0,6 mm.

If you're using the pasta when you're making it, feel free to do that right after you made it, it does not need to dry. If you want to save it for later, dry it on a tablecloth for a very long time (like one or two days), at a dry place - it has to be perfectly dry because otherwise it will get moldy. Don't forget to change the cloth regularly, it will go wet! When you're done, wrap them into celophane and store it in the cupboard. A good way to dry them - I have never done that but saw it - is to fold the pasta in half when its still fresh, and put it on a string, like you do with the washing.

And now, let's make some lasagne!


printable version

100 g home made lasagne pasta
300 g minced meat
1 carrot
1 red onion
1 celery
5-6 tomatoes
salt, pepper, nutmeg
2 tblsp olive oil
50 g butter
5 tblsp flour
5 dl milk
100 g cheese

In a large pan, heat up the olive oil, and add the meat. Cook it for 15-20 minutes or until it's fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables in a food processor (you can chop them into little pieces if you don't have one) and add it to the meat. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Taste it to find out if you need more seasoning. Don't worry if it's a little bit oversalted, the pasta doesn't contain any salt anyway.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the flour in little portions, constantly mixing. Start adding the milk really slowly, don't stop mixing to avoid lumps. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Grease a heatproof tray or bowl with oil or butter (I normally use a medium glass bowl). Preheat the oven for 200 C. Start layering; start with a layer of pasta, then the meat, then the white sauce. The very top should be a meat layer. If you are using parmesan or a similar kind of hard cheese, don't add it before baking, wait with it until serving. If you are using cheddar or a similar kind of softer cheese, grate it and put it on the top of the lasagne before it goes in the oven.
Bake it for 25-30 minutes.

2014. július 2., szerda

Mulberry custard pie

So, I found that mulberry tree near our house next to an old road. Then an other one, in a park. I immediately had the idea of this pie.
Anyway, mulberries are so amazing. Unfortunately, I don't find mulberry trees very often, and finding the fruit in a shop is absolutely impossible. So if you happen to run into one, definitely go and make this pie! It is so yummy with the creamy vanilla custard. And the whole feeling of going and collecting some wild fruit in a wee basket or bowl is so great, almost magical. I think it makes you appreciate the fruit, thinking that it is a true gift from nature, not something you bought. Okay, I'm starting to be too romantic, let's move on!
I gave up my favorite 3:2:1 recipe this time to try something new I read in a magazine. It was great, but kind of similar to my original one. 
If you can't get mulberries (but please try), you can make this pie with raspberries or blackberries as well.

 scroll down for printable recipe!

1 egg yolk
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 tsp soured cream
350 g mulberries
70 g caster sugar
2 dl water
1 sachet custard powder (49 g)

Put the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Beat it with the icing sugar and egg yolk until pale. Add the flour, salt, lemon juice and baking powder, and mix together with a wooden spoon. Add the soured cream (you can use cream fraiche or yogurt if you want), and incorporate the mixture into a ball using your hand. Add more soured cream if necessary. Cover it with cling film and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Mix the mulberries with the caster sugar and cook it on medium heat for 5 minutes. Mix the custard powder with water and add it to the berry mixture. Mix constantly with a wooden spoon until it gets thick (around 5 minutes). Set aside.
Preheat the oven for 180 C. Divide the crust ball into to parts, leaving one of them bigger (2/3 - 1/3). Roll the bigger one on a floured surface. Grease a pie chart (I used a 32 cm wide one) and place the rolled crust in it. Bake for 10 minutes. Pour the mulberry mixture on the crust. Roll the other part as well, and cut 1,5 cm wide stripes. Place them on the berry mixture and bake together for 20 more minutes.
If you can, wait until it cools down, and the filling sets. 

2014. június 30., hétfő

Summer berry pizza

I'm back! No excuses, all you'd hear is bla bla bla. But I am soooo so back with a lot of yummy summer recipes in my pocket! Let's start with an extraordinary pizza.
I always have some restover linzer crust in my freezer, probably because I'm obsessed with pies, and I always use the simplest but best linzer recipe for the crust. The key is 3:2:1, 3 is flour, 2 is butter and 1 is icing sugar. There you go! You also have to add a bit of ice cold water to form a proper ball. Some people add an egg, I do that sometimes, but honestly, I don't really feel the difference. And water is cheaper
It's summer so wherever you live I doubt you don't have berries in your fridge. Or your garden. Or any other fruit like apricots, peaches etc. The linzer crust bakes in 10-15 minutes so you don't have to heat the already-sooo-hot house for hours, you just have to wait until the "pizza crust" gets cool. Yeah, that's probably the hardest part.
I recommend white chocolate for red berries, because they are incredibly great together. But you can skip it or use any other kind of chocolate as well.
Happy baking!

Scroll down for printable version!

200 g flour
125 g cold butter
60 g icing sugar
1-2 tblsp ice water

2 dl heavy cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
mixed berries, around 150 g
50 g white chocolate

Cut the cold butter into tiny cubes. Mix the icing sugar with the flour and add the butter. Use your fingertips
to create a crumbly mixture, then add some cold water and form a ball. Try to be as quick as you can so you won't heat up the ingredients with your hand. Cover the ball with cling film and put it in the fridge for half an hour. Preheat the oven for 180 C. Roll the crust ball into a circle, it shouldn't be very thin, around 1-2 cm. Leave it thicker at the edges. Bake it for 10-15 mins. Let cool completely. Grate the chocolate and chop the berries. Beat the heavy cream and add the sugar at half way. Place the heavy cream on the pizza crust, then the berries and sprinkle with chocolate. 

2014. április 18., péntek

Me and my brownies.

Almost Easter!! Everybody happy? This is going to be the first Easter in my life I don't spend at home. I am quite sad, but also relieved that I will miss all the watering drama. The only Hungarian tradition I don't like.
I'm hosting an Easter lunch on Sunday, and I'm preparing with plenty of food. Since I am going to make them tomorrow I'll try to post them before Easter, so you may give it a try. I am definitely making kalács [ˈkɒlaːtʃ], a Hungarian sweet bread. Similar taste as brioche, but it has a very lovely braided form, you'll see. And also I am going to make doubled eggs or stuffed eggs or whatever is the correct English tense. The two favourite Easter foods of mine.

But today, it's time for brownies! I am not sure if I shared this with you guys but most of the cakes and sweets I've made in my life turned out to be great, but I had a struggle with brownies. I know, right. Brownies. Damn easy thing.
It has never been horrible. Or uneatable. It has been alright. But we all agree brownies is not a thing what is supposed to be alright. Whenever brownies is mentioned, everybody want to pass out and they start craving for a little slice of chocolate goodness. My brownies were okay, especially for a non-British or American family, where this cake is not traditional. They didn't have high expectations.
I did. And after so many semi-bad attempts, I started to try different combinations, creating my own recipe. I don't know how is the real traditional brownie, but in my head, it has no nuts. 90% percent of the recipes I ran into had some kind of nuts in them. Well, if brownies have nuts, my almond-chocolate Christmas cake is brownies, end of story. So what I was looking for is a perfect combination of chocolate, butter, eggs and flour. And yeah, it happened... as you might have guessed reading all this. Here is my perfect brownie.

For a small tray, double the measurements if you have a normal baking tray. This is finished by me in a day.

185 g plain flour
185 g butter
185 g good quality dark chocolate
70 g sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg

First thing. I put one egg because somebody in the halls has been stealing my eggs and I had only one left. It is not easy to cut the brownie when it is hot, but when it is cold, it is totally alright. However, feel free to add another egg.
Preheat the oven for 180 C. Whisk the eggs, add the sugar and whisk them together for a minute. Melt the butter with the chocolate (I used the microwave). Add the chocolate and butter to the egg mixture and finally add the flour and baking powder. Grease a tray, pour the mixture and bake it until ready. In my oven it requires 25 minutes, but in a better owen, 17-20 minutes is enough I believe. Keep checking, when the middle is set, it is ready.
Always have a glass of milk while eating it.

2014. március 17., hétfő

Cheese & onion pie + NEW DESIGN!

Wohoo, new design!
As you have seen, I created new widgets recently with a hand-draw shelf theme. I always ask my friend who's a graphic designer to give me feedback, and she suggested to create the whole layout of the blog like that, so I finally drew the header. I hope you like it! Let's celebrate with pie.

I love this cheese & onion pie since it is soooo easy to make, you don't need any special ingredients, and it is good as a starter, a main or even a side! The crust is my favourite quiche crust, which is so easy to remember - the flour has to be the double of the salted butter so if you use 100 g butter you need 200 g flour etc etc. So easy to remember, and you can always create new variations.
This was made for a small pie chart, if you have a classical one, use 300 g flour and 150 g butter. You also have to cover it, don't forget!

Cheese & onion pie (for a 20 cm pie chart)

200 g flour
100 g salted butter 
1 egg

1 giant leek
100 g cheddar cheese
0,5 dl cream
salt, pepper
1 egg

Cut the butter into small pieces and using your fingertips, mix it with the flour. When it is crumby, add the egg and mix it together. If you don't have an egg, you can use 2 tblsp of water. Wrap it into folpack and put in the fridge for half an hour.
Cut the leek, and grate the cheese. Mix it together with the cream and egg, add salt and pepper (be careful - the crust is already salty!).

Butter the chart and preheat the oven (175 C) Half the dough, make the other half a bit bigger. Use 2/3 of this half to roll a circle for the bottom of the chart. Use the rest 1/3 for the sides. Put parchment paper and baking beans on it and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Wait a little bit so it chills down, then spoon the leek and cheese mixture on it. Roll the other half of the dough, and place it on the top. If it is bigger than the chart, squeeze the edges between the mixture and the baked dough. Otherwise just squeeze it to the baked layer gently with a fork. You may "draw" some marks on top with a knife. Pierce the top dough so the air could come out.
Bake for 35 minutes. Always serve hot! You can heat it up again in the oven or in the microwave.

2014. február 10., hétfő

A cheesecake week

I know it's my second cheesecake post in a while, but I got a bit obsessed. I made three, THREE cheesecakes in the past week. I ended up buying more cream cheese anytime I went grocery shopping, saying 'I'll make a cheesecake later tralala', I always made it on that day.
I kinda created my own, easy cheesecake recipe and now I am trying new variations. One thing happens all the time - when it's ready and I take it out from the oven it looks perfectly pretty, but as it chills down, the top's breaking. all. the. time. If anyone knows why and how to avoid it, I'd be really happy to know! I wanna eat pretty cakes.
What I do basically is having a simple batter, and creating a thin layer on the bottom with a different flavour. So far, I tried chocolate and different jams. If you work with jam, however, you should prebake the bottom layer, otherwise it won't stay a bottom layer. When I tried it for the first time, the bottom and the top layer perfectly changed place!! It was sort of funny and now I know what to do.
I share my white chocolate vanilla cheesecake this time. If you want berry or any fruit flavour, replace the white chocolate with 1,5 tbsp. jam, and after pouring the bottom layer on the crust, prebake it for 8 minutes or so.
What kind of cheesecake is your favourite? 

White chocolate vanilla cheesecake
400 g Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 g Digestive biscuits
100 g butter
90 g white chocolate

Grind the biscuits, and melt butter in a bowl. Spoon the grinded biscuits in the melted butter, and mix them together. Grease a spring form (I used a very small one), and cover it with parchment paper. Put a bit less than half of the crust mixture on the bottom, spread it and using the bottom of a glass, gently squeeze it down. Do the same on the sides with the rest of the crust. Put it in the fridge for 3 hours or if you don't have time, in the freezer for a shorter while.
Preheat the oven for 175 C.
Beat cream cheese for a minute, add sugar, vanilla extract and eggs, and beat together. Put approxiametly 1/3 of the batter in another bowl. Melt the white chocolate (in a pan or the microwave is fine), and mix it with the 1/3 of the batter.
Pour the white chocolate layer on the crust. Then very very carefully, spoon the plain layer on it. 
Bake for 50 minutes or until the middle is set. Let it cool completely, and put it in the fridge. The cooler the better!