Monthly Archives: January 2014

Winter cake with red berries

Red berries and cheese make this cake a frequent guest on my table during the winter. ūüėÄ It looks gorgeous and tastes delicious! Perfect for holiday season!

Redberry_pie

INGREDIENTS

100g butter, very soft at room temperature

150g Philadelphia cheese or smooth cottage cheese

120-140g sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

130g self-raising flour (or plain flour+ 1tsp baking powder)

2tsp mandarin or orange zest

1tsp lemon zest

200g mix of cranberries, redcurrents and raspberries, fresh or frozen (no need to defreeze)

50-70g flaked almonds

Redberry_pie-3

METHOD

Beat the cheese, butter and sugar together.

Add eggs to the batter mixture, one at a time, beating rapidly.

Stir in mandarin&lemon zests.

Sift the flour and mix to combine.

Finally, carefully stir the berries into the batter.

Sprinkle the cake with flaked almonds or your favorite nuts.

Bake in preheated oven 180C/360F during 35-40 minutes.

Bon appetit!

Redberry_pie-2

Adapted from this source.

Russian pryaniki – gignebread

  Today is Christmas in Russia. I wish wonderful and magical day to all Orthodox Christians!
Pryaniki_snowflakes

 Pryaniki were ones of the favorite treats in Rus’ (old name of Russia). The name was given for it’s spicy aroma and taste. They are similar to gingerbread cookies, but often made more thick.

¬†Pryanik was the symbol of holiday, because ingredients weren‚Äôt cheap and used daily. It’s been baked for the Christmas, Easter, weddings and birthdays.¬†There were quite a lot ceremonies and traditions about pryaniki.
 
¬†In 9th¬†century, first pryaniki were called ‚Äúhoney bread‚ÄĚ, they were baked from rye flour with honey and berry juice, honey contained the half of all mixture. Later wild flowers and spices were added in a pastry.
¬†In 7-8th¬†centuries, when exotic spices were brought from India and Middle East to Russia, pryanik was named ‚Äúpryanik‚ÄĚ. Spices for pryaniki were called ‚Äúdry perfume‚ÄĚ, among which black pepper, orange and lemon zest, mint, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, anise and clove were most used and favorite.
 In 17-19th centuries, baking of pryaniki was widely-spread craft. In every area people baked their special pryaniki according to traditional recipes; preparation’s secrets were passed on from one generation to another.
 
Ingridients:
For  the pastry:
100-120 ml honey
300g flour
1 tbsp butter
1 egg
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp spice mix*
50ml water
1 tbsp cognac, brandy or vodka (optionally)
 
For the frosting:
1 egg white
150g icing sugar (powedered sugar)
 
*Spice mix:
1/3 tsp powdered coriander
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/6 tsp nutmeg
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of clove
a pinch of allspice
 
Honey and water heat in a pot (turn the heat off before the mixture begin to simmer). Take the pot away from the heat, add half of the flour (sifted) and mix intensively until smooth.
Cool the mixture until room temperature.
Then add the egg, cognac, spices, soda and the remaining sifted flour. Mix the pastry well during 15 minutes; it should be soft and tender.
Roll out the pastry in 5-6 mm/2 inch sheet and cut out any shape you like.
Bake in preheated 200C/400F oven for 15-18 minutes.
 
While the pryaniki are cooling, prepare the frosting. Beat well egg white, add sugar and beat again untill smooth. Put the ready frosting in a bag and decorate the pryaniki.
 
Enjoy with a cup of hot tea or a glass of milk. ūüôā
 
 Keep the pryaniki in a box, it can be stored during long time.
Pryaniki_ornament