Pasteis de Nata

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Lisbon Pastel de Nata

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(pastéis de Belém)

Patel de nata

(homemade pastel de nata)

After coming back from Lisbon last spring, I tried several times to recreate the famous Portuguese egg tart pastry ‘Pastel de Nata’, before finally succeeding. The original version comes from Belém, a beautiful district in the West of Central Lisbon. I think everyone who has been to Portugal is familiar with this delicious pastry but maybe not so many people have managed to make them at home, as they are not the easiest thing to make. However, after trying several recipes, I found this one which is quite easy to follow and the result is delicious.

Ingredients:
1 roll of puff pastry, 8 egg yolk, 180 g sugar, 300 ml cream, 200 ml milk, peel of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon starch flour
•Unroll puff pastry, roll it up again and cut in 12 pieces; squeeze each piece flat and put them in muffin moulds; put in fridge
•For the cream, whip egg yolk with sugar, starch flour and a little of the milk. Heat up the remaining milk and cream and slowly add the egg and milk mixtures. Stir as much as you can and allow it to boil for 1 minute; remove from stove, add the lemon peel and allow the mixture to cool down; cover with plastic wrap
•Fill the cold cream in the puff pastry baskets and pre-heat the oven to 250°; bake for 15 minutes until the top is dark and has almost burned parts.
•Add cinnamon and enjoy while they are still
If you are in Paris, make sure to go to the pastelaria ‘Comme A Lisbonne‘ in the Marais district. They sell delicious and authentic pasteis de nata at 2 Euros/piece.
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The Italian Way of Life

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I want to dedicate today’s blog post to one of my favorite cakes/desserts – Zuccotto.

The very first Zuccotto is believed to have been prepared in Florence in the 16th century. Naturally, the popular dessert has evolved considerably over time and today there are many different ways to prepare Zuccotto. To me, Zuccotto is a delicious summer dessert which consists of a tasty cream surrounded by sponge cake that gains zest from a tiny bit of liqueur (of course the liqueur can be replaced by any kind of juice). Although this cake looks impressive, it is quite easy to make.

These pictures were taken while I was making my very first Zuccotto and the result was very yummy! Since then I have made many more Zuccottos for all kind of occasions and every time numerous people come and ask me for the recipe.

The following recipe is my personal favorite among the many recipes you can find on the internet.

preparation time: 1 hour + 6 hours cooling time

servings: around 12 pieces (you will need a plastic bowl that fits 2 liters)

ingredients:

for the sponge cake: 5 eggs, 2 table spoon hot water, 100 g sugar, 1 pinch of salt, 120 g all purpose flour, 30 ml rum (can be replaced with juice), 70 ml Amaretto liqueur (can be replaced with juice)

for the filling: 100 g sugar, 100 g roasted and chopped almonds, 50 g meringue, 400g dark chocolate, 1 l cream, 80 g roasted hazelnuts, 50 g confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to sprinkle

directions:
  • preheat oven (180° C)
  • whip eggs, water, sugar and salt for 4 minutes until foamy
  • gently fold in flour
  • set 5 tbsp. of dough on a baking sheet and spread to a circle of 20 cm (diameter)
  • spread the rest of the dough on a baking plate covered with a sheet (rectangle)
  • separately bake the circle as well as the rectangle for approx. 10 – 12 minutes
  • set sponge cake aside and allow it to cool down
  • cut a circle of 30 cm out of the rectangle
  • place a cut from the outside of the circle to the center (this makes it easier to place the cake in round bowl)
  • put the cake in a bowl that fits 2 l and make sure that the cake fills the bowl all the way to the top
  • you can use the left overs of the sponge cake to stuff any holes in the bowl
  • take 70 ml rum and/or amaretto to soak the cake
  • caramelize the sugar and add almonds
  • spread out on a baking sheet, allow it to cool down and chop coarsely
  • crumble meringue
  • chop 100 g chocolate coarsely
  • whip the cream until stiff and put 1/3 of it aside
  • add hazelnuts, confectioner’s sugar, caramelized almonds, meringue and chocolate to 2/3 of the whipped cream
  • fill the mixture into the bowl until it covers the sponge cake completely
  • put a hole in the middle and put it in the fridge
  • gently melt 300 g chocolate
  • stir half of the remaining 1/3 of whipped cream in the melted chocolate
  • add remaining whipped cream and fill the mix into the hole and even it out
  • cover the bowl with the round sponge cake circle and soak it with the remaining 30 ml of Rum and Amaretto
  • set the bowl into the fridge for at least 6 hours
  • turn the cake upside down on a plate and sprinkle with cocoa powder

Perfect Cinnamon Buns

cinnamon role

When I left Toronto in 2011 to move back to Europe I had a minor panic attack when I realized that I might not be able to eat another Cinnabon in my life. I adore these fluffy swirls of dough with their unique smell of cinnamon and perfect cream cheese frosting. Back in Europe I tried many copycat recipes until I had recreated them close to perfection.

recipe (serving: 15 rolls)

Ingredients:
  • dough: 60 ml water, 1/4 l milk, 100g melted butter, 1 1/4 eggs, 1tsp. salt, 120 g sugar, 550 g flour, 7 g dry yeast
  • filling: 200 g light brown sugar, 5 tsp. cinnamon, 110 g magarine
  • frosting: 110 g cream cheese, 110 g margarine, 225 g powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/8 tsp lemon flavor
directions:
  • remove one large egg from the fridge and allow it to reach room temperature
  • melt butter, add water and mil and let it cool down
  • add remaining ingredients
  • remove margarine from the fridge and allow it to reach room temperature
  • in a small bowl, mix the born sugar and the cinnamon
  • roll and stretch the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle (38 x 61 cm)
  • spread the softened margarine over the dough and then evenly distribute the sugar and cinnamon mixture
  • starting at the far edge roll it up tightly toward the clean edge, trim the left and right ends of the roll
  • cut the roll into 15 pieces (3.8 cm each)
  • place 5 rolls into a baking pan with parchment paper, cover it with a cloth and let rise for 1 hour
  • bake at 154° C for 15 minutes.
  • for the frosting: place cream cheese and margarine into a mixing bowl, blend it for 6 minutes (slow mixing), whip it for 10 minutes (medium speed); slowly add the powdered sugar and flavors
  • put the frosting in the fridge and frost the rolls while they are still warm

These cinnamon rolls are best when they are still warm but the smell of them in the oven makes it impossible to wait until they have cooled down anyways 🙂

The Perfect Menu

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beet crepe

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I have recently attended a vegetarian cooking class where we created this beautiful 4-course menu.

beet and goat cheese crêpe served on orange creme

salad with cress panna cotta and purple potato chips

striped pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce

chocolate soufflé with raspberries and vanilla ice cream

Each course was equally delicious and I wouldn’t be able to pick my favorite. I will definitely recook this perfect menu at home!

Chocolate Soufflé

chocolate soufflé

I am completely in love with chocolate! No wonder that this recipe is one of my favorite desserts.
It is absolutely delicious and at the same time fast and easy to prepare.
As the dough needs to be frozen before putting the soufflé in the oven, this recipe can even be made
days in advance.

servings: 4 – 6
preparation time: 30 min + 12 h cooling time

ingredients:
2 eggs, & 2 egg yolk
80 g sugar
90 g dark chocolate coating (couverture)
100 butter cut in cubes
80 g flour, butter & flour for the baking dishes
chocolate sprinkles to decorate

directions:

  • whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar up until the sugar dissolves
  • slowly melt the chocolate coating, add the butter cubes and stir until it is smooth
  • gently fold the chocolate/butter mix in the eggs/sugar mixture
  • sift the flour and carefully fold into the mixture
  • grease 6 small baking forms and sprinkle them with flour.
  • fill each form 2/3 full and set them into the freezer for 12 hours or over night.
  • just before serving, set the frozen baking forms into the preheated oven (180° C, 13 minutes)
  • carefully turn the forms upside down and set the soufflé on a plate.
  • decorate with chocolate sprinkles
  • tipp: serve with vanilla ice cream