One thing which I recently mastered (and I could not believe it was so fast and easy) was a berry cake from one of my Finnish friends. I always loved the cheese-based topping on most of the Finnish pies, and now I know how to make it 🙂
Also, at the very end of October, at one-before-last farmer’s market, I spotted rhubarb, which was a miracle. the vendor explained that while they were planting the last greens in the greenhouse, they thought – why not? So I bought a lot, and made a rhubarb-strawberry pie, as I baked several times in early summer.
Also, I made tiramisu several times, because now I know that it’s not really time-consuming, and always turns out great.
Finally, I tried one more recipe: this chocolate pudding. Once again, it was amazingly simple and heavenly delicious.
Now, for the next month, I am going switch entirely to Christmas cookies!
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!
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.
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 :))
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.
As it turned out, Vlad and Anna were planning to deliver a specially ordered cake for me on my actual birthday. When I told Anna that I will be in the city on that day, partially because I need to pick up my inauguration day order from Vanille Chicago, they had to change their plans. Anna canceled their order in an attempt to move it to Wednesday, but by that time, they were overbooked for the inauguration day :).
After all, it was not that bad because I (with mom’s help) was more than half done with the pie.
On Friday, when I was sitting working, my door opened, and Vlad delivered a cake. And let me tell you – it was something! It was just great; I have nothing else to add! Yes, it was huge, and it might look completely unpractical, but that was just right! I was in such need of an unpractical, fabulously looking present, and the one I would never get for myself 🙂
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 🙂
The last two weeks were… I do not even know how to describe them, “Lots of work” is not enough, and I can’t go into the details. It was a lot, and I had to manage all my previous obligations and the book schedule. The current chapter, which is due tomorrow, was indeed not as difficult as the previous two. It helped that we decided to move the last section of the previous chapter to the current one, so it was less writing after all, but still., writing is writing.
As usual, my usual stress-relieving activity is baking. I bookmarked this recipe a while ago. I love apple desserts, and this one sounded very promising. I made only one substitution. Since I do not like coconut, I substituted in with a cup of thinly sliced almonds, which I crushed to make them almost dissolvable.
On Saturday, it was dark, and raining, and windy for the whole day. This recipe is easy to make, but it takes a long time to bake, and then to let it sit, absorbing the sauce. The recipe calls for 1.5 hours baking, but it took almost 2 hours for me. That being said, it was a perfect activity for a bad weather autumn day. I was doing my writing, occasionally getting up and checking on the cake in the oven.
It came out great! Gave some to mom, some to my neighbor – they loved it! The only thing I would change – next time, I will put a little bit less sugar in the batter, and possibly less sauce. I think half of the sauce would do. So – a little bit less of fats and sugars. But just a little bit 🙂 🙂 🙂
I always blog a lot about food in Helsinki, because I like it so much, and because it is so different from other places. And since I do not want to end up having each and single of my Finnish blog post about food, I decided to have a separate food post. My old friends know 🙂
In summer, the best part is the abundance of local berries. Local strawberries are tiny and taste a lot like wild strawberries. I do not have pictures this time, but Boris added them to every fruit salad we consumed.
Unfortunately, it was too early for black and red currants, but wild blueberries were available in the stores and the cloudberries – you can’t find them in the US.
Then comes the salmon soup – the best staple of Finnish cuisine, FOr the past two years we favored the one from the shore cafe in Suomenlinna, but Boris told me that they stopped serving it. We tried in two other places, and the Fazer cafe didn’t fail us.