Tiramisu

Last week, I made tiramisu for the first time in my life, thanks to Jamie Lin and her recipe. Same as with quiche, I thought of tiramisu as something “humans can’t do,” and the only reason I tried this one was s promise of a “lighter version.” It turned out to be lighter in many ways, including the calorie count and the complexity/easiness of making it.

Since it was literally my first time, there were many things I didn’t know about tiramisu, but now that I made it once, I know how to plan and what to buy, and how to fit the making into my schedule. 

The most amazing thing was the straining of the greek yogurt. It was hard to believe that you can thicken it more than it already is, and when I dumped it into the cheesecloth, it didn’t look like it would release any extra water.

I was shocked to find a half-bowl of liquid in the morning! I almost spilled it because I didn’t expect it to be so full!

Finnish Cheesecake – New Look

The only reason I call this recipe “Finnish” is because it originally came from my friend from Helsinki. I loved and bake it regularly. Last Saturday, it was the first time I baked it after moving to my new place.

Like all other recipes, it came out perfectly in the gas stove. Also, it was the first time ever I tried to bake it in the bundt cake pan, and not just an bundt cake pan, but the one with the waves. I was not sure whether it will come out well, or it will stick to the form, but it ended up being miraculously good.

Here is the actual recipe

I baked two cheesecakes: one with dried fruit, and another one with fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries). They tasted differently, b ut both were delicious! (Past tense – both gone :))

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Last summer, I baked rhubarb pies several times, trying different recipes with different degrees of success, and I was looking to give it a try this summer when local rhubarb appeared on the market. I found the recipe I liked most, and this time, I didn’t change anything in how the filling is made — precisely that proportion of fruits, precisely that amount of sugars.     

I didn’t cover my pie; instead, I sprinkled some streusel on top, and it worked perfectly.  

So, here it goes:

  • 1 defrosted 9-inch pie crust
  •  3 cups of rhubarb, cut 1/2 -inch length,   
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract (instead of 1 tbsp of orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Start preheating the oven after the filling is mixed so that it would release some liquid and leave the liquid in a bowl when you fill the crust with the filling.

I didn’t put the lattice on top and didn’t use an egg. Instead, I prepared some streusel topping with 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 3 tbsp of butter which I crushed with my fingers and mixed with dry components. Then I baked it as instructed: 20 min on 400F and 35 min on 350F. It was already pretty late, so I left it to cool down overnight.     

In the morning it was the most perfect thing.

I found critical with this recipe the proportion of rhubarb and strawberries and sugar, adding cornstarch and a cooldown before serving.

Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is just amazing! My take-away are two things which I am going to use in the future:

  • soaking overnight, not just for ten munites before cooking or baking
  • adding almond (or vanilla or other) extract 

Both make the “dough” taste heavenly,

I made a half-portion in a rectangular baking pan. Copying it here, so that I do not need to jump to the original recipe each time:

Sliced stale bread, enough to cover the bottom of the pan 

1 cup blueberries (or other berries)

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cardamon

STREUSEL TOPPING

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

I used an 8X8 inch pan. Gease with nonstick spray. Line prepared baking pan with bread, filling all the cracks. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, and extracts together until well combined. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. 

To save time in the morning, I prepared the topping the night before as well:

Combine the brown sugar and flour together in a medium bowl. Crash the cubed butter with your fingers while mixing it in.

In the morning:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pan from the refrigerator. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over the top. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the soaked bread. Top with walnuts.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until slightly firm and golden brown on top. I baked it for 50 minutes. 

“After The Holidays” Recipes

In December, whenever I would come across some interesting recipes, I would say to myself: after the holidays! Now, after the holidays is already here, and also, I had a lot of leftovers of the things which I bought “just for that recipe.” Here are several of my “after the holidays” creations.

I had half a package of ricotta left from my ricotta and merengue buns, and I had half a bag of spinach, which was left from the quiche, and I had some frozen puff pastry – here is a result:

It was fast and easy, and I really liked it!

Continue reading ““After The Holidays” Recipes”

Trying to Finish Everything

“Everything” means the book and the rest of Christmas. With the book, after two or three extremely nervous weeks, I feel a little bit better. We are done with the first twelve chapters, meaning we already received the reviewer’s feedback and replied and/or made changes. We are making final edits on Chapter 13, and we have both Chapter 8 and 14 more than half-done. (We realized that we missed something after we were already on Chapter 11, that’s why it is out of order).

After those two will be completed, we will only have Chapter 15 and a Conclusion left; those two are small and do not require new examples (examples being the most time-consuming part). It is still a lot, plus we need at least one Appendix and a Glossary, and some pictures clean-up. So, it is still a lot.

Christmas. On Thursday, I finished decorating sugar cookies, partially in the morning before work, and the rest – in the evening.

Today, I baked one more batch of Russian Tea Cakes because I suddenly ran out of them, although I baked two batches at the very beginning of the cookies marathon. Also, I tried one more time to bake pumpkin and dates cookies. Last year, I didn’t like the results, but though it might be because I used my own pumpkin puree instead of the canned one, and I thought that the problem could be in the wrong consistency. This yeat, I used preserves, but I am still not sure whether I like the outcome.
I mailed the last batch of parcels on Wednesday; all the rest will be hand-delivered. And I am very glad that almost half of the parcels had already reached their destinations.

774 cookies. 118 sugar cookies decorated. 18 parcels sent. 15 boxes of cookies hand-delivered so far (or ready to be delivered), plus one giant box for the youth shelter.
… Now, it’s time to start packing the non-cookie presents 🙂

In Chicago

On Tuesday, I went to Chicago, mostly to deliver cookies for several people in the city. I was surprised and delighted to see that they put up a Christmas tree inside the Palatine train station.

There is way less people n the train that in was in October, but still more than in March and April.

Continue reading “In Chicago”

The First Part of the Christmas Baking

Baking alone can be considered a success because I ended up baking enough to send all of my long-distance shipments, and there is still plenty left. I will bake more next weekend, and I should have enough for all my giveaways plus something extra. At least, I hope so. There are so many people to whom I want to give cookies! 

I brought this apple-cinnamon filling form Finland
Last year, after baking kolacki for ten years, I finally figured out how to prepare the apricot filling the right way!
Continue reading “The First Part of the Christmas Baking”

Weekend Baking

I want to complain about how I didn’t have time for the book writing this weekend, but I probably shouldn’t. After all, there were many other things which I did, although I didn’t have to do. this includes baking.

Although baking was in my weekend plans even before the election results were announced, I decided that it was in honor of our victory 🙂

I baked these two cakes:

Georgia Apple Cake

Orange Cake

The recipes are not super-complex, but both require a lot of time, especially the Apple cake which takes about four hours from start to finish (this includes three hours of wait :), but still)

Both cakes are delicious – i can’t even describe to what extent! You can’t stop till you are done 🙂