Coffee and Walnut Cake

This recipe is by Richard Burr from The Great British Bake Off.  I modified the recipe to just one cake instead of 18 mini-cakes.

For the sponge:
unsalted butter, for greasing
75g/2½oz walnut pieces
225g/8oz caster sugar
225g/8oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz plain flour
3 tsp instant decaffeinated coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 large free-range eggs
4 tsp whole milk

For the filling and topping:
500g/1lb 2oz icing sugar
175g/6oz unsalted butter
2½ tsp instant decaffeinated coffee, dissolved in enough boiling water to make a smooth paste
3-4 tsp lustre dust (optional)
100g/3½oz walnut pieces, crushed
chocolate coffee beans, to decorate (optional)

For the sponge, preheat the oven to 325F and grease and line two 9x13in baking trays with baking parchment.
For the sponge, put the walnuts and sugar in a food processor and grind to a coarse powder consistency. Transfer to a large bowl or a freestanding mixer. Add butter to the bowl and cream until smooth and light. Sift in the flour and continue to mix. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix to a smooth consistency.

Divide the mixture equally between the prepared tins and smooth the surface. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown and springy to touch. Leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out of the tins onto wire racks.

When the cakes are completely cool, split the cakes into two layers.

For the filling, sift 350g/12oz icing sugar into a large bowl or a freestanding mixer. Add the butter, half the coffee mixture and the lustre dust and mix until you have a smooth buttercream icing with a soft golden shimmer. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.

For the topping, mix the remaining coffee paste with four tablespoons of water. Sift the remaining icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the coffee mixture to make glacé icing for the tops of the cakes. If the icing is very thick add more water until the icing runs off a spoon in thick ribbons.

To assemble the cakes, pipe coffee buttercream icing on top of one. Top with another layer of cake and pipe more buttercream on top. Top with another layer of cake and pipe more buttercream on top. Add a final layer of cake and drizzle the glacé icing over. Top with crushed walnut pieces and chocolate coffee beans, if using.

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Cornmeal pate brisee

From the Bojon Gourmet

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour (finely ground cornmeal) or cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1/4 cup ice water

I use a food processor because I am impatient, but you could follow his directions:

“Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Scatter over the butter chunks and work in with your fingers until some pea-sized chunks remain. Sprinkle in the water a tablespoon at a time, tossing with your hands, until the dough just comes together and no floury bits remain.”

Gently press the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and stick in plastic bag. Chill in the fridge until firm, 30-45 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an even 14″ round. Fit into a 10″ tart pan, fold over the edges and trim flush with the pan. Chill 30 minutes.

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Earl Grey Tea Cake

  • 3 tbsp Earl Grey tea
  • 120g (4½ oz) unsalted butter
  • 8 free-range eggs
  • 250g (9oz) caster sugar
  • 250g (9oz) plain flour
  • Buttercream frosting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 8-in springform cake tin.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the tea. When melted, remove from the heat.
  3. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat in the sugar using an electric mixer. Beat until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape for several seconds when drizzled on its surface (known as the ribbon stage, this can take around 15 minutes). Sift in a third of the flour and fold in using a large metal spoon. Sift in another third of the flour and fold in as before. Sift in the remaining flour into the butter mixture and mix well then gently fold into the rest of the batter.
  4. Transfer the batter to the tin and bake for 45 minutes (checking regularly to make sure it doesn’t over brown). When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Add a generous layer of buttercream to the bottom layer of cake and then place the other layer on top. Transfer the cake to a serving board or cake stand.
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Baked Haddock

  • 1 lb. haddock, rinsed and patted dry (or other mild-tasting white fish, such as catfish, flounder, pollock, or cod)
  • 2/3 cup Ritz crackers, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges/slices, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour a little of the melted butter in a baking dish and spread to coat the bottom.  Salt and pepper both sides of the fish, and lay in the buttered baking dish. Combine the crumbled Ritz with the rest of the melted butter. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the fish.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until fish is cooked thoroughly (and flakes easily). Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

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Katharine Hepburn’s Brownie Recipe

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KATHARINE HEPBURN’S BROWNIE RECIPE

… translated from her memo above:
Two 1-ounce squares bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (plus more for the pan)
1 cup granulated sugar
large eggs (unbeaten)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
  1. Set your oven at 325 degrees
  2. Line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang so you can easily remove the brownies. Grease the parchment with butter.
  3. In small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate. Set aside to cool.
  4. To the cooled pan, mix in sugar, eggs, salt, walnuts, vanilla and flour. Stir just to combine, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

Katharine-Hepburn-Quotes

Options:  toast the walnuts; add sea salt; add bourbon…

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Pistachio Cardamom Semolina Cake

The original recipe was Pistachio Rosewater Semolina Cake, from the NYTimes. I took the rosewater out of the cake, did not make the candied rose petals (but include the directions for below), did not make a rose syrup or rose cream (but directions are still included), and I iced it with a simple whipped cream and confectioners sugar.

  • 150 grams shelled pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons, finely chopped, for serving
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 170 grams fine semolina flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 300 grams unsalted butter 
  • 330 grams granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  Finely grated zest of 1 lemon(about 1 teaspoon), plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease a 9-inch/23-centimeter round springform pan and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine pistachios and cardamom in a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground, then transfer to a bowl. Add almond meal, semolina, baking powder and salt. Mix together and set aside.
  3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fully combined, but take care not to overwork it; you don’t want to incorporate a lot of air into the mixture. With the machine still running, slowly add eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times and making sure that each batch is fully incorporated before adding the next. The mixture will curdle once the eggs are added, but don’t worry; this will not affect the end result.
  4. Remove the bowl from the machine and add the dry ingredients, folding them in by hand and, again, taking care not to overmix. Next fold in lemon zest, lemon juice, rose water and vanilla extract and scrape the batter into the pan. Level with an offset spatula and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean but oily.

(The cake keeps well for up to 5 days in an airtight container. The rose petals should be sprinkled over just before serving.)

CANDIED ROSE PETALS:

  • 1 large egg white
  •  About 40 medium pesticide-free red or pink rose petals (from about 2 roses)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit/100 degrees Celsius. Whisk egg white by hand until frothy. Then, using a small pastry brush or paintbrush, very lightly paint both sides of each petal with egg white; do this in a few small batches, brushing and then sprinkling the sugar lightly over both sides of each petal. Shake off excess sugar and lay petals on the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until dry and crunchy, then set aside to cool.

ROSE CREAM:

  • ¾ cup/190 grams plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup/200 grams crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rose water

Place all the ingredients for the cream in a bowl and whisk to beat everything together for about 2 minutes, until thick. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

ROSE SYRUP:

  • ½ cup/120 milliliters lemon juice
  •  cup/80 milliliters rose water
  • ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar

About 10 minutes before the cake comes out of the oven (you want the syrup to be warm when the cake is ready), place all the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring so that the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat. Don’t worry that the consistency is thinner than you might expect; this is how it should be.  As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle all of the syrup over the top.

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Victoria Sandwich

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Strawberry or raspberry jam
  • Butter cream filling

Heat oven to 350F. Butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter.Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 20 mins until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. Let cool completely. Pipe the butter cream over the bottom of one of the sponges. Top it with jam and sandwich the second sponge on top.  Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. Keep in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.

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