Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Stollen

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Ahhh, the stollen. What a wonderful surprise -- thank you, Penny, for a great challenge!

stollen2 v2

Stollen very quickly became our new family tradition. What's not to like -- the sweet (but not too sweet) bread, dried fruits, the looks and, most importantly, that amazing smell of baking bread. In my attempt to make the stollens I used whatever I managed to get my hand on that evening -- pine nuts, dried apricots, cherries, craisins and, of course, orange rum- soaked raisins. Delicious!!! Stollen also proved to be very, very, very forgiving, as I ran out of yeast and it still turned out simply fabulous. I made two mini-stollens and m family devoured the first one in less than 24 hours. We sort of slowed down on the second and it took us maybe 48 hours to finish it off.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This is probably the latest submission for December Daring Cooks' Challenge but I just had to share...

poached egg1 poached egg

Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Jill (jillouci) were Daring Cooks' hosts for the month of December! For this month, they decided to focus on a technique that seems intimidating to many, but with a little practice it’s really not that hard at all – poaching. All poaching means is cooking something in simmering (not boiling) water. And what more perfect way to practice the skill of poaching than learning how to poach an egg? They can make a tasty breakfast, or salad accompaniment; there are so many different ways to use poached eggs, and they are used in cuisines from a variety of cultures.

Since poaching technique was the only thing required, I deviated a bit from the suggested recipes but I really wanted to try out Poached Green Eggs & Smoked Salmon from HERE. Absolutely delicious! Smoked salmon taste was a little too strong for otherwise a very delicate combination of the falvors -- avocado, tomato and an egg, poached in green tea. But it was oh-so-good!

Thank you, Jenn and Jill, for a fun and a delicious challenge! Will be definitely making this again!

Russian Christmas Cookies

russian cookies

These cookies is one of our Christmas traditions. They might not be all that good -looking but they compensate by being absolutley delicious. They truly melt in your mouth and don't last more than a day (regardless of the quantity made).

1 cup of butter
1 tea spoon of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 cups of flour
1 caup of chopped walnuts
powdered sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350F/175C
Cream butter with vanilla and sugar, add flour
Mix in nuts
Roll dough into 1-inch balls
Bake for 15 mins
Roll in the powdered sugar

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tarte Tatin aux Pommes

I don't typically blog outside Daring Kitchen challenges but this tart is simply divine and I just have to share. Out of this world good!


Gazillion thanks to Belonika,, for the recipe and very detailed step-by-step instructions.

A quick recap:
- 220 g of sugar
- 1kg of sweet apples
- 100g of unsalted butter
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- vanilla, cinnamon

- peel, core and half apples
- dissolve sugar until golden brown
- arrange apples in the baking form
- cover with puff pastry
- bake 40 min at 180C/375F
- cool, flip over
- boil the caramel drippings and glaze the tart

Voila! Kick back and enjoy!