13 November 2013

Blueberry Tarte

Last weekend was not good. It simply wasn’t a real weekend. I had classes on Saturday and had to wake up at 7 am. After classes I had to finish a presentation. Then, on Sunday, I revised the presentation. Weekend over.
I got in the mood to watch the movie My Blueberry Nights in the evening on Saturday, that we had bought some time before. It’s a quiet movie, starring Norah Jones (Elizabeth) and Jude Law (Jeremy). Further two of my most favourite actresses: Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman. I enjoyed the movie. 
Inspired by Elizabeth eating blueberry pie, I wanted to bake one myself. I love blueberry pie so much and couldn’t understand why only a few people ordered it at Jeremy’s shop. Jeremy explains it this way:

"From my observations, sometimes it's better off not knowing, and other times there's no reason to be found. […] Hmm. It's like these pies and cakes. At the end of every night, the cheese cake and the apple pie are always completely gone. The peach cobbler and the chocolate mousse cake are nearly finished... but there's always a whole blueberry pie left untouched. […] There's nothing wrong with the blueberry pie. Just... people make other choices. You can't blame the blueberry pie, just... no one wants it." (© My Blueberry Nights)

I wanted blueberry pie! Desperately.
But eating it with vanilla ice cream at this time of the year, well… not good, I thought. So I did an alternative.
And my pie turned into a tarte. Why do tartes always look so beautiful?
For a 18cm tarte tin
  • 300 grams flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 140 grams cold butter
  • 1 TL Vanilla Bean Paste (or seeds of a half vanilla pod)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6-7 tbsp cold water 
Divide egg yolk and egg white (you can freeze egg whites for later).
Put a bowl on a scale so that you can measure everything right away. Sieve the flour into the bowl, add a pinch of salt and cut your cold butter in cubes into the flour-salt-mixture. Add I tsp vanilla bean paste and start to knead (you can put your hands under running cold water before you start, if you want). When the mixture resembles bread crumbs, add the egg yolk and knead ahead. Gradually add the cold water, until all the flour is incorporated into the dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out. Lay your tarte tin with it, prick it with a fork, line with parchment paper and pour your baking beans over it. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove baking beans and parchment paper and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
You can roll your pastry as thick/thin as you wish. I like the base not too thin, but others don’t, so work it they way you like it.
pudding or custard cream カスタードクリーム
  • 125 ml whole milk (or soy milk)
  • 1 ½ egg yolk
  • 13 grams flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar (if you use soy milk, then skip it!)
  • ½ vanilla pod 
Pour milk into a pot, deseed your vanilla pod and add them with the vanilla pod to the milk. Heat the vanilla-milk until it almost reaches the fever pitch, then remove from heat. Mix egg yolks, sugar and flour (sieved!) together until smooth. Using a whisk, pour the milk gradually into the egg-mixture, stirring all the time.
Pass the mixture through a sieve back into the pot. Heat the pot again, stirring all the time until it thickens. Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly.
Spread your pudding over your tarte base.
blueberry top
  • approx. 380 grams blueberries (save a small handful for decoration!)
  • approx. 1/8 l water
  • zest and juice of a small lemon
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (I always use the japanese katakuriko 片栗粉)
Put half of the blueberries with the water in a pod and bring to boil. Leave to boil for about 4 minutes. Add sugar, lemon zest and juice and reduce the heat. Dissolve the cornflour with a little water and mix it into the blueberries. Cook until it thickens stirring regularly.
Spread the blueberry-marmalade over your pudding and the uncooked blueberries over it, pushing them slightly into the marmalade.
Leave to cool overnight. I decorated my tart with some further lemon zest.

Jeremy: "When I was little me mum used to take me to the park on weekends... 
She said if I ever got lost I had to stay in one place so that she'd find me."
Elizabeth: "Does that work?"

Jeremy: "Not really, She got lost once looking for me."
(© My Blueberry Nights)

"A few years ago, I had a dream. It began in the summer and was over by the following spring. In between, there were as many unhappy nights as there were happy days. Most of them took place in this cafe. And then one night, a door slammed and the dream was over." (© My Blueberry Nights)

Have you ever been inspired by a movie to cook or bake something? If yes, what was it and by what movie? I’d like to hear some experiences. (^^)

7 November 2013

Cranberry Bakewell

This cake tastes heavenly! It smells and tastes like Christmas.
When cooking the cake’s single layers you get into this christmassy mood, no matter if you are a Christmas-freak (like I am) or not. It’s not that sort of feeling that appears to be imposed on you when walking through the supermarkets around THE time of the year, no. It’s a different one, one that is more honest.

The cake is a little time-consuming. But I promise, you’ll forget all the work after the first bite!

The cake has 3 layers:
  1. sweet shortcrust
  2. cranberry jam (best if made one day in advance!)
  3. frangipane
I found the recipe in a Jamie Oliver magazine and did some changes.

  • 280 grams fresh cranberries
  • 5 heaped tbsp sugar
  • z est and juice of one orange
  • ½ star anise
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Put all the ingredients above in a pot and bring them to boil (if you put a lid on it, it needs less time until boiling and you save energy!). When the mixture boils, reduce the heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon. When it starts to thicken, reduce the heat again and let it simmer, until it reaches the right consistence. Refrigerate for one day or at least overnight. Remove the star anise.

For a 18cm tarte tin:
  • 1 pack of shortcrust pastry
Line your tarte tin with the pastry and let it chill in the fridge for one hour.

  • 225 grams ground almonds
  • 187g butter at room-temperature
  • 1 ½ heaped tbsp flour, sieved
  • 3 tbsp sugar (you can use more or less)
  • 1 ½ egg (or a large egg), at room-temperature
  • Seeds of one vanilla pod
  • drops of orange extract (or a lug of Cointreau)
  • a small hand full cranberries & 1-2 tbsp flaked almonds for decoration
Mix the butter and sugar until creamy, add gradually vanilla seeds, orange extract and egg. Finally fold in the ground almonds and the flour. Wrap it in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Remove the shortcrust pastry from the fridge, prick it with a fork, cover with parchment paper, fill with baking beans and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Take it out, remove baking beans and parchment paper and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
After the base has cooled completely, spread the jam evenly on it.
Take your frangipane out of the fridge. It should be pretty firm now, so you can proceed this way: Cut the pastry in evenly thick slices and spread them over your marmalade close to each other. Fill the gaps between the slices with the rest of the frangipane (it should be softened now – if not, rub it between your fingers).
In the end, flatten a regular surface with the palm of your hand. This step is exhausting, but worth it!

Spread a small handfull of cranberries over your cake and slightly push them into the surface. Spread the flaked almonds afterwards and make sure that all your flakes touch the frangipane-surface, so that they can stick to it.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for approx. 40 minutes. Remove and set to cool.

glaze (optional)
  • zest and juice of half an orange
  • 80g icing sugar
Mix zest, juice and sugar until well combined. Add some more sugar if necessary. Drizzle it over the cake.

So delicious!

19 October 2013

Pudding Cake プリンケーキ

I love Pudding! Especially japanese pudding, the so called custard cream pudding. I spent the week making various sorts of puddings, because Mari from Kazuo presented some recipes of the pudding-chapter of her book entitled はじめての手作りお菓子 Home made sweets . After making Maris カスタードプリン (custard pudding) and なめらかプリン (smooth pudding), I started to crave pudding cake. Sounds strange, right? Indeed, the method is a little strange, but the cake itself is delicious! I ate pudding cake the first time when I was in Japan at a friend’s house, so I asked for the recipe, that I got in a mail. When I read the method for the first time, I thought that it would never succeed, but it did!

It’s a not too sweet, not too heavy dessert – with a short lifespan… D: Our cake survived only a few hours, but hey: it was tiny!!
ingredientsts (for a 13cm cake tin)
caramel sauce
  • 4 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1-2 tbsp hot boiling water

  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 250 ml milk
  • a few drops vanilla essence or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

pudding base
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour (approx. 20 grams)

Line your cake tin with parchment paper – you can also skip this step. I did it to protect the tin and because it makes it easier to remove the cake afterwards.
Fill half of a pot with water, bring to boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Add a steaming basket to your pot, which is wider than your cake tin.
For the caramel sauce mix sugar and water in a pan and let it caramelize on a low heat until it reaches the caramel-grade you want it to have (some people like their caramel more intensive, some like it lighter, so choose yours!). Put the pan away from heat and add 1-2 tbsp of hot boiling water to the pan (don’t burn yourself!) and fill it immediately into the cake tin. Leave to cool.
Mix eggs and egg yolk, add the sugar and beat until creamy. Gradually add the milk and mix well to combine. Finally add the vanilla essence. Pour the mixture into your cake tin.
For the base, beat egg and sugar together, then add the oil and beat until well combined. Sieve the flour into the mixture and fold it in, until it’s free from lumps. Now comes the challenge: Pour the base-mixture into the pudding – don’t be afraid to do that, the base will come to the surface!
Put your cake tin into the steaming basket, cover it with a lid and let it steam at low heat for about 20 minutes (don’t over-steam or the pudding will loose it’s silky texture). 

Let the cake cool to room temperature, then put in in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight).

Put a plate on top of the cake tin, then turn it out quickly. Let it sit for a few minutes, then remove cake tin and parchment paper.

Cut, serve and enjoy! :D