Saturday, January 28, 2012

Farmer's Cheese Fritters

These are one of my favorite fritters. I remember my mum making them when I was little. I loved them very sweet and used to sprinkle even more sugar on top. Yesterday I wanted something healthy and sweet so the first idea was to make these fritters. Now I don't add so much sugar but serve them with a dollop of sour cream. Jam or any other sauce would work as well but the combination of cottage cheese and sour cream reminds me of the childhood. I guess this is a perfect food for children. They are super easy to make with only 4 ingredients and are perfect for breakfast.

 Approx. 1 cup Farmer's (curdled) cheese (I use 9%)
 2 tablespoons sugar (if you want them sweeter add more sugar, and for a healthier version, use brown sugar)
 1 large egg
 4-5 tablespoons flour (or enough to form balls)
 olive oil for frying
 sour cream to serve

Mix cottage cheese with sugar. In a separate bowl, beat an egg and add to the mixture. Fold in the flour. Mix well everything and form little balls, press to flatten. (I got 6 7cm diameter fritters) Bake over a preheated skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Serve warm with some sour cream.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pop Tarts

 With apple-cinnamon filling

 With strawberry jam filling

 With poppy seed filling

 With banana filling

2 cups (340g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons milk
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary. Refrigerate while you prepare the fillings. 

Remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 3mm thick (I rolled it into ~25x33cm rectangle). Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut dough into 20 rectangles. (I didn't get 20 rectangles so  I re-rolled the trimmings).
Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork. Refrigerate the tarts  for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

The amounts of ingredients are for 2 pop tarts each. Just mix the ingredients of different fillings in separate bowls and fill the tarts:

Caramel Filling:
1/3 tsp flour
sea salt for topping

Apple-cinnamon filling:
1/3 medium apple, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp dark molasses sugar

Poppy seed filling:
2 tbsp ground poppy seeds
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp butter, melted

Stawberry jam filling: 
2 tbsp organic strawberry jam
1/3 tsp cornstarch

Banana filling:
1 small banana, ripe
1 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp flour 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Caramel Cheesecake

This cheesecake reminds me of summer. I baked it for my birthday (it's almost a tradition to bake cheesecakes for birthdays. And this cheesecake was so perfect. I have no other words to describe it. Caramel+Cheesecake=Heaven. Caramel fans have to try this. Otherwise if you don't like caramel you can use any other sauce (I believe chocolate would work well too).

250g of graham cracker crumbs
125g of butter

500g of cream cheese
3 eggs
200g sugar
2 tbsp rum
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp of vanilla extract

1) Mix the crumbs with butter.
2) Line the bottom of a spring form pan with baking paper.
3) line the bottom and edge of the tin with the biscuit and butter mixture.
4) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.

Homemade Caramel Sauce for the topping. (I also sprinkled some sliced almonds and walnuts on top to make it look better but it's optional.)

6) In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and sugar together
7)  Beat the eggs in one at a time
8) Stir in the vanilla and rum
9) Stir in the flour
10) Pour the mixture into the cake tin over the biscuits
11) Bake for 50min – 1 hour
12) Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool. Then pull the cake out of the oven and let sit on the bench till really cool. Refrigerate after this step.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Peanut Butter Pie

Last year was great. I tested lots of new recipes, experimented in the kitchen, made meals from scratch, took many pictures and improved my photography skills.
I made this peanut butter pie for the New Year's eve and it seems like it's the best pie I've ever made! It was light, creamy, not too sweet, and absolutely perfect.

Peanut Butter Pie

200g graham crackers, finely ground
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm

2 1/2 cups (~600ml) heavy cream
375g cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Mascarpone)
350g creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon milk

1 1/4 cups (~150g) powdered sugar

100g semisweet chocolate, chopped1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a spring form pan, set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Transfer crumb mixture to the spring form pan, and press the crumbs evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Freeze it for 10 minutes, then bake for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer crust to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.

In the large work bowl, whip 2 cups (480ml) of heavy cream on medium-high speed until it holds medium peaks. Add 1/4 cup (40g) powdered sugar and continue to beat until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Transfer the cream to a medium bowl and place in the refrigerator until needed.

In another bowl, beat together on medium speed the cream cheese with 1 cup (110g) powdered sugar until satiny and smooth. Add the peanut butter and milk. Beat until well incorporated.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the prepared whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing the top. Refrigerate overnight.

Once the filling is properly chilled, prepare the ganache topping. Place the chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream in a small saucepan, heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture becomes smooth. Pour ganache over the top of the pie, smoothing the chocolate to the edges with a offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped peanuts over the top of the pie. Place it back in the refrigerator until the topping sets, about 20 minutes.

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