Monthly Archives: October 2014

Autumn Pumpkin Roll

 October is a pumpkin harvesting month, and also a time for making delicious amber-color pumpkin dishes, like cream-soups and pies. And the Halloween is coming very soon! I love this time of the year, I believe autumn is the most beautiful season. Well, Emirati autumn is different, but let me pretend that it’s autumn here. 😀 It’s raining outside, and golden, brown and flame-colored laves are falling down from trees..
 In real the heat is becoming less intense and nature is waiting for the cool season to come.
And only one thing is on my mind – baking! This is one of quickest recipes, I swear! 😀 Especially, if you already have puff pastry in your fridge. So, you need cut pumpkin and apples, and saute it in butter, then mix with couscous and roll into puff pastry. That’s it! Since I prefer not very sugary bakes, I make the roll almost not sweet, the sweetness of pumpkin and apples is more than enough here. I slice the ready roll and serve warm with hot tea. 🙂 In case if you want sweeter, add more raisins and brown sugar! Anyway, the roll will be so delicious and comforting!
 It doesn’t matter what’s the weather outside, when your home is filled with amazing scent of dark brown sugar, cinnamon and baked veggies!
Autumn Roll

Autumn Pumpkin Roll

 I suggest to make own puff pastry, you can keep it in the freezer for several weeks, or if it’s store-bought, be sure that it made from butter not palm oil or margarine!
 You may vary the quantity of pumpkin and couscous to suit your taste.
250g butter puff pastry
150-200g pumpkin
1 small apple
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp butter
50-60g couscous, cooked
30g raisins (black or golden)
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (or increase for sweeter option)
1/3 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
  • Cut apple and pumpkin into small cubes, add to the pan with butter, drizzle with lemon juice and saute on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes. Let the mixture cool.
  • Soak raisins in warm water or cognac for 10 minutes, then drain.
  • In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, apple, raisins with couscous. Add salt, sugar, cinnamon and give it a good stir.
  • Arrange the mixture on the puff pastry sheet. Make the roll, brush it with egg yolk.
  • Bake in preheated 180C/360F oven for 25 minutes.
Serve warm with tea in your favorite tea cup! 🙂
Happy autumn! ❤

German Cheesecake – Käsekuchen

 Last weekend I went shopping to the local supermarket and found a dairy product which was new to me – fromage fraise (quark). So, I bought the quark in the hope of finding a recipe and use it somehow. I was browsing the net, when stumble upon the info that Germans making their cheesecake version and using quark; even though I use Jamie Oliver’ cheesecake recipe most of the time, I decided to try new recipe without hesitation. And what do you think! The cheesecake turned out golden and very fluffy, but after setting in the fridge it fell down.. The texture was creamy and tender, and it reminded me the bake with cottage cheese from my childhood. So, if you are not fun of heavy and over-sugary cheesecakes, it’s your option! I will make it again for sure.German Cheesecake

German Cheesecake - Käsekuchen

Ingredients for 22cm baking pan

170g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
70g butter
1 egg
600g quark
3 eggs, separated yolks and whites
150g granulated sugar
80g butter, at room temperature
1/2 lemon, grated zest, optional
180ml heavy cream
vanilla bean, seeds
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt
  • Crust. Sift the flour in a big mixing bowl, add baking powder, salt, vanilla, sugar and mix. Add butter and egg, knead until smooth. Cover the dough and keep in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Filling. Beat egg yolks with sugar and vanilla until pale. Add butter, lemon zest and beat again. Add heavy cream and quark and stir to combine. Beat egg whites with salt and lemon juice until stiff; then gently fold into the quark batter along with cornstarch, adding a little at a time.
  • Line the baking pan with paper. Roll out the dough into 30cm circle, or simply place it in the baking pan and press it, pushing it up the sides to make a rim.
  • Pour the filling over crust and smooth with spatula.
  • Bake in preheated 160C oven for 45-55 minutes until the top is golden and the filling set. If the top browning too much, cover with a piece of foil.
  • Cool the cheesecake at the room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 3-6 hours or overnight.



Prune Cookies

It’s autumn somewhere.. and time to harvest or buy beautiful apples, plums and pumpkins, make tasty preserves, and bake! Perhaps you will be surprised but I wish tomorrow (or even a whole month) would be grey and cheerless here!  W I mean myself and some of my friends got a bit tired from burning sun this summer, and few days back a little miracle happened here – it was raining! Yay! But only for an hour or so. 😀 To be honest, when I lived in my hometown I didn’t like the beginning of autumn; rains were too often, boots and trousers caked with mud was a normal thing!
 Autumn here is a totally different season! October is the beginning of a large influx of tourists amazing weather in Dubai, temperature goes down and days become cooler, people become happier; it’s a season of barbecue in parks, outdoor cafes and long walks. Not to mention the fact that I’m going to bake more cakes and pies, and fill my home and blog with quintessential autumn flavours. 🙂
This cookies recipe is super easy, tasty and suits autumn mood! The main secret ingredient is prunes (dried plums) soaked in a cognac, and I can easily say that these cookies become my favourite!
Prune cookies with chocolate

Prune Cookies

You can use dark chocolate with hazelnuts or plain milk chocolate, or even omit it.
8-9 prunes
50ml cognac
50-60ml water
1 Tbsp brown or muscovado sugar
50g butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp brown or dark muscovado sugar
1 egg
100g flour
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
40g dark chocolate (70-80% cacao), roughly chopped
40g roasted walnuts, finely chopped, optional
  • Into small pan add prunes, sugar and water. Bring to boil, add cognac and boil for 5-7 minutes more. Remove from the hob and let cool. Roughly chop prunes.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar, then mix in egg. Add 2 tsp syrup from prunes.
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the mixture into batter and combine.
  • Carefully fold into batter dark chocolate, nuts and chopped prunes (without syrup).
  • Bake in preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes.
The recipe adapted from Russina tv-show “Edim doma”