{How to Alter a Recipe – The Do’s and Don’ts} – Cum modificam o reteta

how to alter a recipe

You might notice two tendencies on my blog: one is using some basic, fail-proof recipes to create new ones and the second – trying new recipes, tweaking them, changing ingredients, flavors, spices. I love a challenge and sometimes I just go to the kitchen and say to myself that old recipes are boring, I need something new, I need something interesting, I need a challenge – and that is when I go online, find a dessert I like and 10 recipes for it then I compare their sugar content, fat content, the balance between dry and liquid ingredients and settle for a mix of all those recipes. If you are like me and love to just wonder around and read recipes then you know that most of them are set to fail from the start. I strongly believe that baking is not that scientific as some people claim, but it’s not as straight forward as savory cooking either and it does involve a bit of chemistry.

A baking recipe needs a balance in order to yield a great result and some recipes found online are set to never succeed considering that sometimes they have too much liquid or other times too much flour or sugar. I can usually tell just by reading the recipe if it’s going to work or not which is why I tend to create my own recipe for a dessert rather than use someone else’s. Plus, it is crucial where you get your recipes from – I tend to trust blogs and professionals more and avoid sites that receive recipes from their readers simply because they are rarely tested or who tested is not a professional and might not have ended up with the result it was supposed to, despite the good review.

But I also have a bunch of recipes that I always go back to, especially when my baking inspiration is on vacation and I have to bake something quick without wondering if it’s going to work or not. This usually happens for cake orders when the last thing I want is waste ingredients and time in case something goes wrong.

The do’s and don’ts of altering recipes in my opinion are as follow. Learn how to alter a recipe in these simple steps:

  • Start small – turning a cake recipe into a cookie recipe is not going to happen, not for a novice in the kitchen anyway. Just start with a recipe you’ve made countless times before and you it’s fail-proof. Just before altering the recipe, right down what you plan to do, the new ratio of ingredients and any other changes you plan to make because if it turns out great you want to save the recipe and not do it again from memory.
  • Start with flavors rather than messing with important ingredients, such as sugar, flour or fat. It depends on recipe though.. For cookies for instance, fat is very important if you want a crumbly, tender cookie, but for cakes, the dry-wet ingredients ratio is important. Disturbing this balance might turn into a fail cake so start with ingredients that don’t affect the structure. Nuts, fruits, flavors are a good start for altering recipes.
  • Make one change at a time – if you’re looking to design a good recipe, do it step by step, changing just one ingredient at a time. If you do too many changes, it will be hard to track down the one that worked and the one that didn’t. And remember to always right down what you did.
  • If you want to reduce a certain ingredient, start with only 10 or 15% and once you are happy with the result proceed to cutting down more and more. Be more careful with structural ingredients, such as sugar or fat. They play an important role in recipes like cookies and changing them might alter the final texture of the cookie.\
  • If you want to replace a certain ingredient, make sure that the substitute has the same consistency as the original ingredient. For instance, flour can be partially replaced with cornstarch or cocoa powder, but replacing it completely with any of them will yield a different result. Milk can be partially or completely replaced with water or almond/soy milk, but coconut milk is thicker than whole milk so additional water may be needed to thin it down. Buttermilk can be replaced with yogurt, but not with fresh cream because it has a higher fat content and it’s thicker. Butter can be replaced with vegetable fat or lard as long as they have the same fat content.
  • Be careful when replacing butter for oil – they have different consistencies and a different fat content. Plus, oil is liquid and asks for more dry ingredients, while butter doesn’t. The moment you add oil instead of butter, you might have to change the amount of flour too. Also, oil interact differently with ingredients like sugar or eggs.
  • If you’re trying to replace sugar with sweeteners, read carefully the instructions of the sweetener because some of them are much sweeter than sugar and the quantity used might need to be altered.
  • Replacing flours only works if you use similar substitutes in terms of consistency and texture. In sponge cakes, you can replace part of the flour with cornstarch or corn flour in order to obtain a fluffier, lighter cake. In other recipes, cocoa powder can be used as substitute. It gets more complicated when you want to replace wheat flour with gluten-free substitutes. Gluten has a huge role at bringing the dough or batter together, so once the gluten is removed, the dough will have a different texture and will bake differently too. In addition to this, each flour has its own properties and characteristics so make sure to study each of them and know them well. For instance, some gluten-free flours absorbs more liquid than wheat flour does and that means you will need to adjust the amount of wet ingredients in the recipe. And that is just one example to start with!
  • Congrats! You just made a new recipe from a old one or successfully combined two or more recipes into one! But don’t say you “created” a recipe. No, you reinterpreted a recipe, you tweaked it, you changed a few bits, yes, it turned out great more than once, but from there to recipe creator there is a long way. Most recipes don’t just come to someone’s mind, they take attention to details and proportions, they take a bit (more) chemistry, they take a certain understanding that not everyone can reach up to simply because it belongs to a certain part of the pastry world and it requires not only a lot of study, but also a lot of experience.

ROMANIAN

Cum Modificam o Reteta

Observati pe blogul meu doua tendinte cand vine vorba de retete: fie retete vechi in combinatii noi, fie doar retete noi. Trebuie sa spun ca nu-mi place sa ma repet cand vine vorba de retete, asa ca, exceptand cateva retete carora le raman fidela si pe care le am salvate intr-un carnetel, incerc mereu retete noi. Imi plac provocarile si retete complicate, acelea de care te plictisesti doar citindu-le, insa nici retele rapide nu sunt de evitat, caci nu mereu am timpul necesar pentru a petrece ore construind o reteta.

Modul in care ajung la o reteta e urmatorul: de obicei totul porneste de la o idee pe care fie o vad intr-o fotografie a unui desert, fie chiar intr-o reteta. Iau o coala de hartie si imi notez ideea apoi construiesc in jurul ei. Pentru un entremet, fac schite peste schite, caut combinatii de texturi si gusturi care sa se potriveasca, schimb si iar schimb pana imi place rezultatul final.

Din pacate, multe dintre retetele mai simple de tipul muffins, fursecuri, checuri, pe care le gasiti online sunt pure inventii ori gresite, de aceea tind sa dau credibilitate blogurilor, mai ales daca ele includ si fotografii si mai ales daca au fotografii pas cu pas ori sunt bloggeri cunoscuti, specialisti in domeniu. Evit siteurile gen colectii de retete unde toata lumea poate contribui cu o reteta fara a dovedi corectitudinea ei. Odata ce sunt multumita de reteta aleasa ma pun pe treaba si o incerc. Acum e proba – cateodata imi iese si reteta ajunge pe blog, alteori nu iese ce ma asteptam si atunci reteta nu mai ajunge pe blog, evident. Tineti cont ca sunt multe variabile implicate in reusita unei retete (a nu se confunda insa cu ingrediente in cantitati variabile – 100g e 100g, indiferent cum o dai, cum o intorci). Uneori chiar umiditatea poate schimba rezultatul final, nu mai vorbesc de temperatura cuptorului sau modificarea fie si a unei mici cantitati de faina sau ingrediente lichide. Exista multi factori care pot influenta rezultatul final al unei retete!

Iata insa cateva reguli de care trebuie sa tineti cont atunci cand doriti sa modificati o reteta:

  • Nu va intindeti mai mult decat va este plapuma, incepeti la scara mica – sa faceti dintr-un tort o retete de fursec nu se va intampla prea curand, insa puteti sa va “jucati” cu ingrediente. Incepeti cu o reteta in care aveti incredere, pe care ati mai facut-o inainte si cunoasteti pasii si ingredientele. Inainte de a o altera, notati-va toate modificarile, realizati un plan si aveti grija sa stiti dinainte sau sa va notati ulterior noua proportie de ingrediente, in caz ca iese minunat si v-ati dori sa o repetati.
  • Incepeti cu agenti de aromatizare mai degraba si lasati ingredientele de baza, precum faina, zahar, grasimi asa cum sunt pana capatati ceva experienta si intelegeti cum functioneaza o reteta. Orice mica schimbare poate dezechilibra reteta asa ca incepeti cu ingrediente care nu afecteaza consistenta ori structura. Nucile, alunele, fructele, aromele sunt un bun inceput!
  • Realizati cate o modificare o data – daca va doriti sa modificati reteta si sa o imbunatatiti, faceti acest lucru pas cu pas, modificand ingredientele pe rand astfel incat sa observati si sa intelegeti efectul pe care aceasta modificare o are asupra produsului finit.
  • Daca vreti sa reduceti un anumit ingredient, incepeti cu un procent mic, 10-15%, si pe masura ce rezultatul iese bine, puteti mari procentul. Insa avti grija mai mare cu ingredientele de baza – zahar, grasimi, faina – proportiile lor schimba intreaga consistenta a prajiturii.
  • Daca vreti sa inlocuiti un anumit ingredient cu altul, asigurati-va ca cele doua au consistente si vascozitati asemanatoare, precum si proprietati. Faina, de exemplu, poate fi partial inlocuita cu amidon sau cacao, laptele batut cu iaurt, dar laptele de cocos nu e un inlocuitor fidel pentru laptele normal intrucat primul are un aport de grasime mai mare. Mai exista apoi si faina fara gluten care iarasi nu e un inlocuitor fidel intrucat fainurile fara gluten absorb umiditatea in mod diferit. Asta inseamna ca orice produs cu faina fara gluten necesita putina munca de cercetare inainte.
  • Untul si uleiul pot fi inlocuiti doar in anumite situatii si mai tot timpul cand vorbim de cantitati mici. In caz contrar, daca in reteta scrie unt, folositi unt!
  • Daca veti sa inlocuiti zaharul cu indulcitori, cititi bine instructiunile intrucat exista indulcitori cu o putere de indulcire mult mai mare decat zaharul.
  • Felicitari! Tocmai ai modificat cu succes o reteta! Asta nu te face creator de retete insa. Mi-as dori sa avem mai putini creatori si mai multi specialisti care stiu sa explice de ce se folosesc anumite ingrediente si nu altele, care inteleg chimia din spatele unei retete si procesele care au loc cand combini ingrediente. Creatia vine dupa studiu si experienta si exista cofetari care abia dupa ani de zile au inceput a se numi cofetari, fara a mai vorbi de creatori de retete! Asa ca va recomand sa aveti grija la termenii pe care ii folositi! Nu va fie rusine sa recunoasteti ca ati facut reteta cuiva si a iesit bine – ganditi-va cat a muncit omul acela pentru a o crea, a o produce, a o testa!

{Red Velvet Cake} – Tort Catifea Rosie

red velvet cake

This cake needs no introduction! It’s the well known Red Velvet Cake – this bright red sponge filled with a tangy, airy cream cheese frosting and decorated with cake crumbs or pecans.

The cake has an interesting history behind it: some say it was created at the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel, others claim that the red velvet has been known long before that and it relied on the chemical reaction between cocoa powder and an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or buttermilk. But no matter who created it or where it comes from, the cake slowly gain territory all over the globe and you can see it now even in the most famous cake shops around the world. You can read more about its history here – it’s a very well written article and it covers every aspect of Red Velvet – a good read if you have the time!

The cake consists of two or three layers of bright red sponge filled with an airy, tangy cream cheese frosting. It is the contrast between the red sponge and white frosting that makes it so appealing to the eye, but beyond the looks, the two components complement each other in terms of taste as well.

I have to admit I loved the cake, even though I don’t necessarily approve with using food coloring. I’ve read that a concentrated red beet juice, puree or powder might do the trick and color the cake enough, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you did, I’m curious if it still turns out as red as this one.

red velvet cake

{Red Velvet Cake} – Tort Catifea Rosie
 
Ingredients:
Cake:
  • 125g sour cream
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • ½ teapsoon red food coloring (powder)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 400g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 300g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream cheese mousse: (optional)
  • 300g cream cheese, softened
  • 50g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4g gelatin
  • 20ml cold water
  • 200g heavy cream, whipped
Cream cheese frosting (optional):
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 65g butter, softened
  • 300g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Directions:
Cake:
  1. To make the cake, mix the sour cream, cocoa powder, red food coloring and vanilla in a bowl.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a different bowl.
  3. Combine the buttermilk with the lemon juice and baking soda in a cup and place aside. (if you don't have buttermilk, use plain milk. Combined with lemon juice, milk turns into buttermilk)
  4. Combine the butter, oil and sugar in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer until creamy and double in volume.
  5. Stir in the eggs one by one then add the food coloring mixture.
  6. Begin folding in the flour, alternating it with the buttermilk. Begin and end with flour.
  7. Pour the batter into 3 round baking pans lined with baking paper or greased with butter (20 up to 22cm diameter pans).
  8. Bake each layer in the preheated oven at 330F for 30-40 minutes. I have a gas oven which doesn't keep a steady temperature so I always have to bake cakes longer than requested by the recipe. What I recommend you to do is to check the cake with a toothpick or a skewer and remove the pans from the oven when the cake is still moist. Overbaking it yields a dry, crumbly cake.
  9. Let the cakes cool completely then level them if needed, using a sharp knife. Reserve the trims to decorate later.
Cream cheese mousse
  1. For the cream cheese mousse, mix the gelatin with water and let it bloom for 10 minutes. Melt the gelatin a few seconds in the microwave.
  2. Combine the cream cheese with sugar then stir in the gelatin.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest then fold in the whipped cream.
  4. Place the mousse in the fridge 30-60 minutes until set then use this mousse to fill and frost the cake.
  5. Decorate with cake crumbs.
Cream cheese frosting
  1. To make the frosting, mix the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
  2. Gradually stir in the sugar, ½ cup at a time then add the vanilla and lemon zest.
  3. Turn your mixer on high speed and mix 2 minutes until fluffy.
  4. Fill and frost the cake then decorate it with cake crumbs.
Notes
Traditionally, the cake is made with buttercream, but since I don't like buttercream I came up with that cream cheese mousse which is harder to work with and doesn't hold its shape as well as buttercream, but tastes lighter and less sweet. Feel free to use the frosting you like!

red velvet cake


ROMANIAN!

 Trebuie sa recunosc ca e un tort impresionant din toate punctele de vedere – culoare, gust, prestanta! Nu ai cum sa dai gres cu asa ceva, insa nici nu e un tort pe care sa-l faci des. Cel putin pe mine nu ma incanta ideea de a manca atat de mult colorant alimentar, insa fiecare om cu ideile si parerile lui, nu-i asa? In pofida acestui lucru insa, mi-a placut tortul – blatul e incredibil de pufos si delicat iar crema de branza e acrisoara si aromata numai bine sa il balanseze. Am citit pe undeva ca ar merge colorat cu suc, piure sau pudra de sfecla rosie insa nu am incercat. Daca ati facut-o, va rog sa-mi dati un semn.

Traditional, tortul e umplut si glazurat cu o crema de unt si branza, insa eu nu sunt un mare fan al acestui tip de creme asa ca am facut un mousse de crema de branza si mi-a placut combinatia. Mai jos aveti ambele variante, depinde de voi sa va alegeti preferata.

Ingrediente:

Blat:

  • 125g smantana acra
  • 10g cacao
  • 1/2 lingurita colorant alimentar pudra rosu
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 400g faina alba
  • 2 lingurite praf de copt
  • 1/2 lingurita sare
  • 125g unt la temperatura camerei
  • 125ml ulei vegetal
  • 300g zahar
  • 2 oua
  • 1 cana lapte batut (sau lapte simplu daca nu aveti. Laptele simplu in combinatie cu zeama de lamaie se transforma in lapte batut oricum)
  • 2 linguri zeama de lamaie
  • 1 lingurita bicarbonat

Mousse de crema de branza:

  • 300g crema de branza
  • 50g zahar pudra
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1 lingurita coaja de lamaie
  • 4g gelatina
  • 20ml apa rece
  • 200ml frisca batuta bat

Crema de branza cu unt:

  • 250g crema de branza
  • 65g unt la temperatura camerei
  • 300g zahar pudra
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 1 lingurits coaja de lamaie

Mod de preparare:

Blat:

  1. Amestecati smantana, cacaoa, colorantul si vanilia intr-un bol si dati deoparte.
  2. Cerneti faina, praful de copt si s in alt bol.
  3. Amestecati laptele batut, zeama de lamaie si bicarbonatul si dati deoparte.
  4. Mixati untul, uleiul si zaharul pana devin cremoase si isi dubleaza volumul.
  5. Incorporati ouale, unul cate unul, apoi adaugati amestecul de colorant si smantana.
  6. Incorproati faina si laptele batut, alternandu-le. Incepeti si terminate cu faina.
  7. Turnati aluatul in mod egal in 3 tavi tapetate cu hartie de copt sau unse cu unt. Tavile mele au avut 20cm diametru.
  8. Coaceti blaturile la 160C pentru 30-40 minute, depinde de cuptor. Al meu e pe gaz si e tare greu sa mentin o temperature stabile, de multe ori fiind nevoita sa jonglez cu temperaturile. Cel mai bine e sa incercati tortul cu o scobitoare si sa il scoateti din cuptor imediat ce e copt. Daca il lasati prea mult in cuptor riscati sa se usuce.
  9. Cand blaturile sunt gata lasati-le sa se raceasca apoi nivelati-le cu un cutit bine ascutit. Pastrati resturile pentru a decora tortul.

Mousse crema de branza:

  1. Hidratati gelatin cu apa rece intr-un vas mic.
  2. Mixati crema de branza cu zaharul. Adugati gelatin topita in prealabil, apoi vanilia.
  3. Incorporati frisca batuta si dati crema la rece 30-60 minute pana se intareste.
  4. Umpleti si acoperiti tortul cu aceasta crema.
  5. Decorati laturile tortului cu resturi de blat.

Crema de branza cu unt:

  1. Pentru crema de branza cu unt, mixati untul si crema de branza cateva minute apoi adaugati zaharul pudra treptat. Mixati la viteza mare pentru 2 minute.
  2. Adaugati vanilia si coaja de lamaie.
  3. Umpleti si acoperiti tortul cu aceasta glazura. Decorati cu resturi de blat.

red velvet cake

red velvet cake

red velvet cake

{Treacle Tart} – Tarta englezeasca cu melasa

treacle tart

I’ve been wanting to try out this tart for like forever! The ingredient list really intrigued me so here it is – Treacle Tart at its finest! It is said to have been invented by the poor families of the 1888’s considering that its two main ingredients are fairly cheap, even for that time. Now that I’ve tried it and satisfied my craving I can honestly say that I like it, but I find it to be a little too sweet for my taste. It’s not the recipe, it’s just the technique and how the recipe it’s usually made. Golden syrup is extremely sweet and so is the tart.

On the other hand, it is a matter of taste. I took this tart to a family reunion and everyone loved it and praised its sweet, intense taste. It’s just me who doesn’t like sweet desserts, as weird as that sounds given the fact that I am a pastry chef. Normally my recipes are well-balanced and often the sugar is reduced to as little as possible which is good not only taste wise, but also nutritional wise. But the intense sweetness is the staple of this tart so do give it a try if you think you can handle it, the flavor is well worth it!

{Treacle Tart} – Tarta englezeasca cu melasa
 
Ingredients:
Tart Crust:
  • 220g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 110g butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 2-4 tablespoons cold water
Filling:
  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 350g golden syrup
  • 30g treacle
  • 50ml heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 120g breadcrumbs
  • 40g ground hazelnuts
Directions:
  1. To make the tart crust, combine the flour, butter, salt and egg in your food processor.
  2. Pulse until well combined then add 2-4 tablespoons of water to bring the dough together. Add the water gradually until the dough becomes easy to work with.
  3. Place the dough on your floured working surface and roll it between two sheets of baking powder until it has 3-4 mm thickness.
  4. Transfer the dough in a tart pan and press it well on the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim off the edges if needed.
  5. Place a sheet of baking paper into the pan over the dough and fill the pan with baking beans. This is called blind baking and it basically means baking the crust before filling it. If you were to fill it while still raw, the crust would absorb part of the filling and become mushy, doughy. Blind baking ensures the crust remains crisp and perfectly baked.
  6. Bake the crust in the preheated oven at 330F for 15 minutes.
  7. Once the crust is baked, remove from the oven and place it aside, removing the beans.
  8. To make the filling, combine the butter, golden syrup, treacle and heavy cream in a saucepan and melt them together over medium heat.
  9. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool down slightly.
  10. Stir in the eggs, egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon zest and breadcrumbs and mix well. Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 330F (160C) for 30-40 additional minutes until the filling looks set.
  11. Slice the tart when chilled and serve.
Notes
The ground hazelnuts give the tart a nutty flavor which I loved, but feel free to replace them with breadcrumbs if you like.

ROMANIAN!

Tarta asta are origini englezesti si e destul de simpla, folosind pesmet si melasa pentru umplutura. Cu toate ca mi-a placut tarta, trebuie sa recunosc ca mi s-a parut putin prea dulce. Totusi, e o chestie de preferinta personala caci am dus tarta la o intalnire cu familia si lumea s-a batut pe ea. Din punct de vedere al aromelor, e minunata! Crusta crocanta si umplutura lipicioasa, oarecum gumoasa sunt o combinatie delicioasa. E o tarta ce ma duce cu gandul la toamna, la anotimpul rece, e un desert consistent si aromat, numai bun pentru perioada asta a anului. Melasa – treacle – am primit-o din Anglia, deci nu as sti sa va indrum spre un magazin in Romania de unde o puteti cumpara. Dati-mi de stire daca aveti cunostinta de asa ceva la noi, va rog! Cat despre siropul auriu, cred ca il puteti inlocui cu un sirop gros de zahar ars, caci are cam acelasi gust.

Ingrediente:

 Crusta:

  • 220g faina alba
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 110g unt rece, cuburi
  • 1 ou
  • 2-4 linguri apa rece

Umplutura:

  • 50g unt, cuburi
  • 350g sirop auriu
  • 30g melasa
  • 50ml frisca lichida
  • 2 oua
  • 1 galbenus
  • 1 lingura suc de lamaie
  • 1 lingurita coaja de lamaie
  • 120g pesmet
  • 40g alune de padure macinate

Mod de preparare:

  1. Pentru crusta, combinati faina, sarea, untul si oul in vasul robotului de bucatarie. Pulsati pana sunt bine amestecate apoi adaugati treptat apa rece, lingura dupa lingura, pana obtineti un aluat usor de lucrat.
  2. Transferati aluatul pe masa de lucru infainata si intindeti-l intr-o foaie subtire de 3-4mm grosime. Cu grija, transferati aluatul intr-o tava de tarta si taiati excesul de aluat daca e nevoie.
  3. Asezati o foaie de copt peste aluat in tava si umpleti crusta cu boabe de fasole sau orez. Coaceti la 160C pentru 15 minute.
  4. Scoateti crusta din cuptor si inlaturati boabele de fasole.
  5. Pentru umplutura, combinati untul cu siropul auriu, frisca si melasa intr-un vas. Puneti vasul pe foc si topiti ingredientele impreuna.
  6. Luati de pe foc si adaugati restul ingredientelor in ordinea listata.
  7. Turnati umplutura in crusta pe jumatate coapta si coaceti la 160C pentru 30-40 minute pana cand tarta e aurie.
  8. Scoateti tarta din cuptor si lasati-o sa se raceasca inainte de a o felia.

treacle tart

treacle tart

 

treacle tart

{Sour Cherry White Cake} – Prajitura cu albusuri si visine

sour cherry cake

ENGLISH!

I always end up with stacks of egg whites in my freezer and to be honest, until now I didn’t have a recipe to use them as efficiently as this one. Egg whites tend to dry out a cake, but it’s not the case with this recipe. The butter makes the cake rich and dense and brings the batter together, enough to create a delicious, tender fruit cake. I used sour cherries for this batch because I love sour cherry cakes, but feel free to experiement with various fruits, such as apricots, plums, pears or even apples.

Ingredients:

  • 400 plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 190g butter, softened
  • 350g sugar
  • 190ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 190ml milk
  • 250g egg whites
  • 300g pitted sour cherries
  • 2 tablepsoons plain flour

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt then add the softened butter and mix until grainy.
  2. In a different bowl, combine the sugar, milk and vanilla and mix until part of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Gradually pour the sugar mixture over the flour and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, combine the remaining milk with the egg whites and mix well to break the egg whites. Pour this mixture into the batter and mix on high speed at least 2 minutes.
  5. Spoon the batter into a large baking tray and level it up. Sprinkle the sour cherries with flour then arrange them on the batter.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven at 170C for 40-45 minutes or until the cake turns golden brown.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down before cutting into small squares.

 

sour cherry cake


 

 

ROMANA!

Nu stiu cum se face, insa mereu am cate o punga de albusuri in congelatori, ramase de la diverse retete, si nu ma indur sa le arunc, insa nici nu am gasit vreo reteta care sa le foloseasca si care sa imi placa pana acum. Prajitura aceasta e frageda, aromata, absolut delicioasa, putin sfaramicioasa. Am folosit visine de data aceasta, insa cred ca ar merge si cu prune, caise, piersici, pere sau chiar mere. Experimentati si gasiti o varianta care va place.

Ingrediente:

  • 400g faina, cernuta
  • 2 lingurite praf de copt
  • 1/2 lingurita sare
  • 190g unt, temperatura camerei
  • 350g zahar
  • 190ml lapte
  • 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
  • 190ml lapte
  • 250g albus de ou
  • 300g visine fara samburi 2 linguri faina

Instructiuni:

  1. Intr-un bol, se combina faina, praful de copt, sarea si untul la temperatura camerei. Se mixeaza pana compozitia devine nisipoasa. Zaharul se amesteca intr-un bol cu 190ml lapte si 1 lingurita extract de vanilie si se mixeaza pana zaharul se topeste aproape in totalitate.
  2. Se toarna compozitia de lapte si zahar peste faina, mixand continuu.
  3. Albusul de ou se combina cu restul de lapte si se mixeaza doar sa se desfaca albusul. Se toarna treptat peste blat, apoi se da mixerul la viteza mare si se mixeaza 2 minute.
  4. Se toarna blatul intr-o tava mare tapetata cu hartie de copt. Se amesteca visinele cu 2 linguri de faina, apoi se aseaza fructele desupra blatului.
  5. Se coace la 170C pentru 40-45 minute pana creste usor si devine auriu. Se scoate tava din cuptor si se lasa sa se raceasca inainte de a taia in cuburi.
sour cherry cakes
prajitura cu albusuri si fructe

Enjoy!

{Autumn Chocolate Tart} – Tarta cu ciocolata si gutui in sirop

chocolate tart
chocolate tart

 

I love challenges and I don’t waste any opportunity to create a new dessert recipe, that’s for sure! This tart was born after reading about a contest organized by Caietul cu retete with the theme fall and its flavours. From all the ideas I had, I settled on a tart, which was gonna be a frangipane one at first, but after making the tart crust I’ve remembered I had some walnuts and some chocolate and thought about trying something with them first. And it was a good call as the tart was amazing… creamy, yet a little bit crunchy… full of autumn flavours, from the nutty walnuts, to the sweet quinces and cardamom.. and even the chocolate itself has an earthy flavor that goes well with the rest of the ingredients.

 

Crust:

  • 170g butter, room temperature
  • 340g plain flour
  • 50g confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoon water if needed

 

  1. Cream the butter with the sugar until smooth and shiny.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and fold them into the butter mixture, adding 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed, just to bring the dough together.
  3. Slightly knead the dough until it comes together nicely then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30mins. Meanwhile, grease your tart pan.
  4. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into a thin sheet. Arrange the dough in the pan, making sure the edges are nice and even.
  5. We’ll be bllind baking this crust so cover the dough in the pan with a baking sheet, then add 1-2 cups of uncooked rice or dried beans and cook for about 10minutes at 375F. Remove the baking sheet and rice from the pan and keep baking another 10 more minutes until the edges are alightly golden.
  6. Remove from oven and set aside while you’re making the filling.

 

Walnut filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 60g sugar
  • 40g flour
  • 10g cocoa
  • 80g finely chopped walnuts (you can use even almond meal if you want)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon rum
  1. Start by mixing the eggs (whole) with the sugar and they’re creamy and fluffy and their colour changed into a pale yellow.
  2. In a different bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder, then fold into the egg mixture.
  3. Add the rum, then fold in the finely chopped walnuts.
  4. Pour this batter over the tart crust, then keep baking it until the cocoa sponge cake is cooked through (insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done).
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down. Meanwhile, you can prepare the chocolate glaze and the poached quinces/pears.

 

Poached quinces (you can also use pears):

  • 3 quinces
  • 500ml water
  • 200g sugar
  • a few cardamom seed pods
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

  1. Start by peeling and removing the seed case from the quinces then cut them into slices. After cutting, drizzle them with lemon juice to prevent browning.
  2. Bring the water and sugar to a boil then throw the quince slices in the pan, together with the cardamom pods (crush the seed pods before cooking;you can use the back of a spoon, all you have to do is press them slightly to open the pods; flavors will release easier if you do this).
  3. Boil the quinces until soft. If you’re using pears, be careful because they cook faster.
  4. Remove the fruits from the saucepan and keep boiling the syrup until reduced and thick. Set aside to cool down.

 

Chocolate glaze:

  • 200ml heavy cream
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter
  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Pour the heavy cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate.
  3. Let it rest a few minutes then stir using a spoon or spatula or even a whisk until the glaze it’s smooth and creamy.
  4. While the glaze it’s still warm, add 50g butter cut into small pieces and mix until it’s melted.
  5. Pour the glaze over the baked tart and refrigerate until set (1-2 hours).
  6. Serve the tart slices, topped with poached quinces and a drizzle of poaching syrup.

 

Romana!

Ador provocarile de orice fel.. mai ales provocarile dulci. Asa ca indata ce am citit despre concursul organizat de Caietul cu retete in colaborare cu Pastai de vanilie s-a aprins un beculet si m-am pus in miscare. Trebuie sa recunosc ca imi place sa ma organizez din timp, sa caut idei, retete, sa le scriu, sa le revizuiesc, sa le imbunatatesc daca pot, insa varianta finala nu e niciodata cea finala de fapt :)) Cam asa a fost si cu tarta asta. Initial urma sa fie o tarta cu migdale si gutui in compozitie, insa dupa ce m-am apucat de aluatul de tarta am dat nas in nas cu niste nuci in dulap si parca strigau cat le tinea gura “ciocolata, ciocolata”. Asa ca am schimbat planurile pe loc si a iesit tarta asta ciocolatoasa, minunata, extraordinara… e cremoasa, usor crocanta, plina de arome care ma duc cu gandul la toamna.. nucile, gutuile, cardamomul si de ce nu chiar si ciocolata 😉 Fara alta vorbarie, iata si reteta:

Ingrediente crusta:

  • 170g unt la temperatura camerei
  • 340g faina
  • 50g zahar pudra
  • 1/4 lingurita praf de copt
  • 1 praf de sare
  • 1-2 linguri de apa daca e nevoie
  1. Alifiati (mixati pana devine cremos) untul cu zaharul pudra.
  2. Cerneti faina cu praful de copt si sarea si adaugati-o treptat peste unt. Daca e nevoie adaugati si una doua linguri de apa. Framantati aluatul usor pana se leaga, infoliati in film alimentar si dati la rece 30min.
  3. Dupa ce aluatul s-a odihnit, intindeti-l cu un sucitor intr-o foaie subtire si asezati-l in tava de tarta, apoi perforati fundul tartei cu o furculita pentru a ajuta aburul sa iasa, obtinand astfel o tarta uniforma.
  4. Nivelati marginile aluatului (puteti sa le taiati pur si simplu cu un cutit), apoi asezati o foaie de copt deasupra si umpleti tarta cu orez negatit (puteti folosi si mazare uscata ori alte boabe uscate ori chiar pietricele mici).
  5. Coaceti crusta de tarta la 180C 10minute, apoi scoateti hartia de copt cu tot cu orez si mai coaceti inca 10 minute. (Adaugand greutatea orezului ajutati tarta sa ramana uniforma in timpul coacerii).
  6. Cand crusta e usor aurie pe margini, scoateti-o din cuptor si dati-o deoparte cat timp pregatiti umplutura.
tart crust
tart crust
The tart crust in the oven

Ingrediente umplutura cu nuca:

  • 2 oua
  • 60g zahar
  • 40g faina
  • 10g cacao
  • 80g nuca macinata
  • 1/4 lingurita praf de copt
  • 1 lingurita rom
  1. Incepeti prin a mixa ouale intregi cu zaharul pana isi tripleaza volumul, devin pufoase, aerate si isi schimba culoarea.
  2. Cerneti faina cu cacaoa si praful de copt si incorporati-o cu o spatula in aluat. Adaugati romul, iar la final incorporati nuca macinata.
  3. Turnati aluatul acesta peste crusta de tarta si dati din nou la cuptor la 180C pana se coace blatul de cacao. (Verificati cu scobitoarea).
  4. Cand blatul de cacao e copt, iar marginile tartei sunt aurii, scoateti din cuptor si lasati sa se raceasca. Intre timp pregatiti glazura si gutuile in sirop.
chocolate batter
Folding the walnuts into the cocoa batter
chocolate tart
Baking the tart

 

Gutui in sirop (puteti folosi si pere):

  • 3 gutui potrivite ca marime
  • 500ml apa
  • 200g zahar
  • cateva pastai de cardamom
  • 1 lingura zeama de lamaie
  1. Curatati gutuile de coaja si cotor si taiati-le felii potrivite.
  2. Puneti feliile la fiert cu apa zi zaharul si cardamomul si lasati-le sa fiarba pana ce siropul se reduce la jumatate. Gutuile fierb destul de greu, insa daca folositi pere, aveti grija caci fierb imediat. (va trebui sa le scoateti din sirop si sa continuati sa fierbeti siropul pana scade).
  3. Dati gutuile cu tot cu sirop deoparte sa se raceasca.
cardamom pods
Cardamom seed pods

Glazura de ciocolata:

  • 300ml frisca lichida
  • 200g ciocolata
  • 50g unt
  1. Rupeti ciocolata bucatele. Intr-o craticioara, aduceti frisca lichida la punctul de fierbere, opriti focul si adaugati ciocolata.
  2. Lasati 5 minute dup care amestecati cu o lingura/tel pana se omogenizeaza. Incorporati untul taiat bucatele si dati deoparte sa se raceasca. Cand glazura e rece, dar inca fluida, turnati-o usor peste tarta si dati la rece 1-2 ore.

 

chocolate tart

Se serveste cu felii de gutuie, sirop si bucatele de nuca usor prajita. Pofta buna si spor la prajiturit!

 

chocolate tart
chocolate tart