Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mushroom and Sauerkraut Pierogi

Pierogi are classic Polish dumplings stuffed with a variety of fillings. The most common fillings for savory pierogi include quark cheese with potatoes and onions, minced meat, and sauerkraut with mushrooms. The sweet version of pierogi is usually made with sweet cheese, bilberries, or strawberries. The most common toppings for pierogi are fried onions for the savory version, sour cream with sugar for the sweet version, and melted butter with bread crumbs for both. These are the most popular fillings and toppings in Poland, but you can really make pierogi with anything you want. I’ll try to give you some more ideas in my future posts.

Today’s recipe is with sauerkraut and mushrooms as it’s the version traditionally eaten on Christmas supper in Poland. In my family, it’s always my grandmother who prepares Christmas pierogi. She makes them amazingly thin and light with lots of filling and serves them with delicious melted butter and breadcrumbs. No one else can make as delicious pierogi as she does.

I had cooked pierogi many times before, but it’s the first time I made them with sauerkraut and mushroom. For the filling I adapted a recipe from the Polish food magazine Kuchnia, the December issue number 12 (154). The two major changes I’ve made to the recipe were increasing the amount of sauerkraut and reducing the amount of butter. For the dough I used my grandmother’s recipe. The dough turned out harder too work with than the dough I usually make, but the result was rewarding. The pierogi came out very thin and light, almost transparent, exactly as my grandmother’s ones. The taste of mushroom in the filling was stronger than in my grandmother’s pierogi (I use different recipe after all), but still the pierogi were absolutely delicious and everyone in my family loved them:)

The recipe makes about 80 pierogi, which is, of course, long to make, but it is really worthwhile making them in large quantities as they can be stored frozen without lost of quality. It takes only a few minutes to cook frozen pierogi so they’ll be perfect for a quick lunch or dinner whenever you don’t have much time for cooking.

Sauerkraut & Mushroom Pierogi

Sauerkraut and Mushroom Filling*
(recipe adapted from Kuchnia magazine, December issue number 12 (154))

1,5 kg sauerkraut
150 g assorted dried wild mushrooms
2 onions, finely chopped
125 g butter or margarine
black pepper

1. Place the mushroom in a large bowl. Pour warm water over the mushroom and soak overnight. Next day, place the mushrooms and water mixture in a large pot, simmer for about 10 min. Drain, keep the water.

2. Drain and rinse sauerkraut. Place in another pot, add the water you had used to soak the mushroom and cook until tender. Drain and leave to cool.

3. In a medium pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions. Cook for about 2 minutes, until softened. Do not let the onions turn brown.

4. Squeeze the liquid from the mushrooms. Mix the mushrooms, sauerkraut, onion and butter mixture together and grind in meat mincer. If you don’t have meat mince, chop the sauerkraut and the mushroom finely with a knife.

5. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.

*You can prepare the filling in advance and keep it in the fridge up to 2 days.

The dough
(my grandmother's recipe)

1 kg all purpose flour
pinch of salt
about 300 ml boiling water

1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.
2. Make a whole in the center and pour boiling water into the crater.
3. Stir the mixture together with a fork, gradually incorporating the flour into the whole.
4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or cover with a damp dishtowel and let it rest for at least half an hour at room temperature.
6. Take a workable portion of dough and roll out very thin on a floured surface.
7. Using a drinking glass or round cookie cutter, cut circles (approximately 3 inches in diameter) (see the picture)
8. Roll out each circle a little bit more (you can also stretch the dough with your fingers).
9. Spoon about 1,5 teaspoon of the filling into the center of each circle.
10. Fold each circle in half around filling to form a semicircle, and firmly press edges together with your fingers. The edges should be free of filling.
11. Transfer the pierogi to a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with a dishtowel.
12. Continue to fill and form pierogi, until all the dough has been used.
13. Now you can cook your pierogi or freeze them for later use.

Cooking pierogi:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. Gently place a few pierogi in boiling water (do not cook more than a few pierogi at a time). Boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep them from sticking to the bottom.
3. When the pierogi are floating on the surface let them cook 2 minutes more. Be careful to not to overcook them. 4. Remove ready pierogi with a slotted spun or skimmer.
5. Top with melted butter and bread crumbs mixture (see recipe below). Serve immediately.

Freezing Pierogi for later use:
1. Place your pierogi on a lightly floured cookie sheet, make sure the pierogi are not touching each other.
2. Place the dish in the freezer.
3. When the pierogi start to freeze and are not sticky anymore, you can transfer them to plastic bags.

Melted butter and bread crumbs topping

bread crumbs

1. Place the bread crumbs into a pan. Cook on a low heat stirring from time to time until the crumbs turn brown. Be careful to not to burn them.
2. Add the butter and heat until the butter is bubbling. This will take a couple of minutes.
3. Pour the bread crumbs and butter over the pierogi. Serve.

Przepis po polsku:
Pierogi z kapustą i grzybami

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Pears in Coffee Caramel Sauce

I made this delicious dessert for Dni Kawy (Coffee Days), a Polish food blog event hosted by Mysza from Kulinarne Wyzwania Myszy blog. The event took place from 21st till 23rd December, but with all the Christmas preparation I didn't manage to blog about it at the right time:(

The recipe I used comes from one of the back issues of Polish magazine Oliwia and it's really quick to make. I had never thought about pairing pears and coffee before, so the recipe seemed really interesting to me. The dessert came out really tasty, even though the coffee flavor was very subtle. For stronger coffee taste you can brew your espresso triple strength or more. And if you’re not coffee fan at all, you can make this dessert without coffee at all. The result will be still delicious.

Pears in Coffee Caramel Sauce
(adapted from Polish edition of Olive magazine)

serves 4

8 pears, peeled (I used 4 huge pears)
200 g sugar
100 ml espresso coffee, ground brewed double strength
100 ml heavy cream

1. Put ½ liter water into a pan, bring to boil. Add 50 g of sugar and the pears. Make sure the pears are covered to the top with the water. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 10-15 min. Then, transfer the pears to bowls.
2. Put the remaining sugar and 70 ml of cold water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook without stirring until it turns light brown, do not allow to burn.
3. Pour the coffee into the cream and stir until well blended.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully, and quickly, stir the mixture of coffee and cream into the sugar.
5. Return the pan to medium heat and continue to stir the mixture until thoroughly mixed. Turn up the heat and boil until the mixture thickens. Leave to cool.

6. Pour caramel sauce over each pear and serve.

Przepis po polsku:
Gruszki w kawowym karmelu

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coconut Macaroons

My husband is coming to Poland tomorrow and since I haven’t seen him for 4 months, I wanted to bake something special for him. I asked what he would like and he chose coconut macaroons. I usually make macaroons with a recipe similar to the one Pille posted on her blog recently, but I wanted to try something a little bit different this time. I’ve found this fabulously easy and quick recipe on one of my favorite Polish food blogs, Moje wypieki, but it originally comes from a book Taste of America. I didn’t make any significant changes to the recipe, except that I used vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract. I also made more macaroons (about 40) than in the original recipe. The macaroons came out golden and incredibly delicious!!! Here's the recipe:

Coconut Macaroons

makes about 40 macaroons

60 g (1/2 cup) flour
pinch of salt
340 g (4 1/2 cup ) unsweetened shredded coconut
260 ml (a little more than 1 cup) sweetened condensed milk
15 g vanilla sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 F )
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add vanilla sugar. Stir in the dried coconut.
3. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk; stir until all the ingredients are well combined.
4. Using your hands, shape little balls of mixture and set onto greased cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until macaroons are golden brown (do not over bake).
6. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.

Przepis po polsku:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Norwegian Soup

I first ate Norwegian soup when I went to Warsaw to apply for Canadian visitor visa. After a long travel by train, short night at the hotel, and hours spent in the line to the embassy (I joined the line at 4:00 in the morning to have my interview only a little before 11:00), I dreamed about something comforting to eat. On the way back from the embassy, I stopped at a small café at the Warsaw train station and tried this wonderful soup there. I have no idea if it's really Norwegian recipe or if it’s called this way only cause we use Norwegian salmon here, but no matter from which country the recipe comes from, it's absolutely marvelous!!! The salmon goes perfect with fragrant dill and the potatoes provide the soup with wonderful creamy consistency.

Back home I searched the Internet for salmon soup recipes and I found one very similar to what I had in Warsaw on a Polish site. I’ve made a few changes to the recipe. I changed some amounts to get the right consistency; I used white instead of black pepper, vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and oil instead of butter. The soup turned out wonderful - thick, creamy, incredibly comforting, and absolutely delicious!!!

Norwegian Soup
(adapted from this page)

1,5 (6 cups) liter vegetable stock
250 g smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (the original called for 20 g butter instead)
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
120 -150 g cream (I used 12%, but heavy cream will do as well)
nutmeg, freshly grated
horseradish sauce (optional)
lots of fresh dill, loosely chopped
white pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes (the onions should be tender but not brown).
2. Add potatoes and vegetable stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
3. Remove from the heat and puree with a blender until smooth.
4. Return the soup to the pan, add cream and pieces of salmon. Reheat gently.
5. Season with black or white pepper, nutmeg and horseradish if you like (I use about 1-2 teaspoons). Taste and salt if needed.
6. Serve topped with lots of dill.

Przepis po polsku:
Zupa norweska

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Autumn Hazelnut Cake

Hazelnut was the first nut I’ve had in my life. When I was 2 years old we had a hazelnut tree in our garden. One of my earliest childhood memories is the one of my grandfather picking up a nut from the tree for me. He was choosing the biggest and the most beautiful one and it made me feel so special… When I was three we moved out from the house and I have never seen a hazelnut tree again, but my love for hazelnuts has remained unchanged.

So, when I saw the recipe for a cake with hazelnuts and pieces of dark chocolate on Every Cake You Bake blog, I couldn’t wait to try it. I made the cake last Friday and it turned exactly as I had imagined - extremely moist and fluffy with a wonderful hazelnut flavor. The combination of flavors and textures in the cake is just perfect.The pieces of chocolate taste absolutely sensational when they melt in your mouth and the apples add extra moistness to the cake.

The recipe originally comes from an Austrian leaflet and was called Autumn Apple and Nut Cake, but since the cake has strong nutty flavor and the apple flavor is very subtle, I’ve decided to change the name. I also altered the recipe slightly by reducing the amount of sugar (the original called for 250 g ).

Autumn Hazelnut Cake
(adapted from Every Cake You B
ake blog)

6 eggs, separated
250 g unsalted butter or margarine
200 g sugar
250 g all purpose flour
1 packet (16 g) vanilla sugar
3-3,5 teaspoons baking powder
120 g hazelnuts
100 g dark chocolate
2 apples peeled, cored, and cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 140°C (280 F)

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly.
Add the flour and baking powder and stir with a spoon until well combined. Then, stir in the apples.

Put all the nuts into a food processor and grind up without turning them into a powder.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Fold in the chocolate pieces and ground hazelnuts. Gently fold the egg whites mixture into the batter.

Pour the mixture into the greased and floured springform pan and bake for 1 1/2 hour.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Onion Day

As there was Zibelemärit (onion market) in Berne, Switzerland yesterday, Zorra from 1 x umrühren bitte blog has declared 26th November as an Onion Day. She invited food bloggers from all over the world to join the celebration by preparing a dish with onions on 26th November and blogging about it today. Even though I’m not a big fan of onions, there’s one onion recipe I absolutely love! The dish is Red Onion, Feta and Olives Tart and it’s definitely the best savory tart I’ve ever had!!!

The first time I tried this recipe though, it wasn’t that good at all. The mistake I made was omitting balsamic vinegar. I didn’t have balsamic vinegar at home and thought it would taste fine without it too. Well, it didn’t. It turned out that the vinegar was really an essential ingredient in the tart, as without it, the onions came out too sweet. This time, however, I followed the recipe and the result was amazing. The vinegar balanced the sweetness of the onion and sugar mixture and the tart came out delicious. The combination of flavors of sweet (but not too sweet this time) onions and savory feta and olives is absolutely genius.

The recipe comes from the Polish edition of Good Food: 101 Veggie Dishes cookbook and asks for ready puff pastry. I made the pastry myself using Nigella Lawson’s Processor Puff-Pastry recipe from How to Be a Domestic Goddess, I altered the recipe slightly by omitting the lemon juice though. The pastry came out great: buttery, flaky and tender.

Red Onion, Feta and Olives Tart
( adapted from the Polish edition of Good Food:101 Veggie Dishes)

Serves 4

25 g butter

2 large red onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp light brown sugar (e.g. Demerara or Light Muscovado)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
450 g puff pastry (see the recipe below)
100 g feta cheese, crumbled
175 g black olives, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
basil, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400F)

Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onions and season to taste with salt. Fry for 10 minutes until golden and soft stirring occasionally. Add sugar and balsamic vinegar, and cook for a further 5 minutes until the juices are reduced and syrupy. Leave to cool.

Roll out the pastry on lightly floured surface. Lightly grease 25 cm (10 inch) tart pan, then line with the pastry. Cover with the onion mix. Scatter the feta and olives over. Drizzle the olive oil over the topping.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is risen and golden and the base is crisp. Top with the basil. Serve with green salad.

Processor Puff-Pastry*
( adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson)

250g strong white flour
pinch of salt
250g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 cm slices
5-6 tablespoons iced water

Pulse the flour and salt together in the processor, then add the butter and pulse 3-4 times, the pieces of butter should still be visible. Add the iced water, and pulse till the pastry begins to form a ball, then form a ball with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
Dust a surface with flour, roll the pastry out into a long rectangle, and fold it in three like a business letter.Now turn the folded pastry so that if it was a book the spine would be on your left. Repeat twice more, turning every time.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another half an hour before using it.

* This makes enough for 2 tarts, so you may need to scale the recipe.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Citrus Weekend

I’ve found out about a very nice Polish food blog event recently. The event was called Cytrusowy Weekend (Citrus Weekend) and was hosted by Tatter from Palce lizać blog. It’s the first challenge I've been taking part in, so I’ve been quite excited about it. I spent hours searching for recipes with citrus fruit and I was actually surprised how many delicious things you can make with it. I’ll be certainly using more citrus fruit in my cooking from now on.

Now when the days are cold and cloudy I really miss summer days. That’s probably why the recipe for Sunshine Tart was the one that most appealed to me. The recipe was adapted from a special edition of Polish Naj magazine, the issue from March 2000. The original recipe called for orange liquor, but since I didn’t have any at home, I used brandy instead and it worked fine too. I also increased the amount of mandarin oranges as the amount used in the recipe wasn’t enough to fill the whole tart. The recipe called for different amounts of sugar twice which was probably a mistake, I added only the first 5 spoons and didn’t use the remaining 7 spoons for which the recipe asked. The tart would have been a way too sweet with 7 spoons of sugar more. I also placed the glaze on the mandarins, not under as the recipe said.

The result was wonderful. The tart came out delicious- very very sweet, but somehow light and refreshing at the same time. The use of orange zest in the pastry added a lovely depth of flavor to the tart. I also must say that making this tart has almost therapeutic properties. First, because of its bright and energetic color, second because it fills your kitchen with a wonderful orange scent. Here's the recipe:

Sunshine Tart

1 ½ cup flour
125 g margarine

5 tbsp caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg
1 tbsp orange zest

4 cans (300 g each) mandarin oranges
1 tbsp orange liquor or brandy

2/3 cup apricot jam

fresh mint
to decorate

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add salt, egg, sugar, and orange zest and knead the dough with your hands to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400F)

Lightly grease 25 cm (10 inch) tart pan, then line with the pastry. Prick all over with a fork. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Arrange the mandarin oranges over the crust. Heat the apricot jam and the orange liquor (or brandy) in a small saucepan until melted. Remove from the heat and strain the jam through a strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Let cool until slightly warm. Brush the tart with the glaze. Decorate with mint leaves.

Przepis po polsku:
Tarta pełna słońca

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baked Penne with Pumpkin and Broccoli

I have to admit that I didn’t really appreciate pumpkin. The only time I had had pumpkin before was in a pumpkin soup cooked by my friend. I had never cooked anything with pumpkin on my own before. It all changed this autumn when Polish food bloggers started cooking meals for the Pumpkin Festival. Looking at the pictures of all the delicious meals they had cooked, made me want to try pumpkin too. I’ve started with baked penne recipe from Ela’s blog. The recipe, which originally comes from the Italian magazine Cucina Italiana, called for Italian speck, but I made a vegetarian version of it - I omitted the speck, doubled the amount of broccoli, and increased the amount of pumpkin and cream. I have already made this penne twice and both times it came out fabulous!!!! It not only tasted delicious but also looked so beautiful. I just loved the mix of colors in it. I'll definitely make it again.

Here’s my vegetarian version of the recipe, but if you want, you can add some speck or ham to it, just fry them with a little olive oil before.

Baked Penne with Pumpkin and Broccoli

400 g roasted pumpkin puree*
300 g penne
325 g broccoli
3 tbsp heavy cream
parmesan, grated (I used about 50 g)
black pepper

*To make pumpkin puree, preheat the oven to 180°C (350F). Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and threads. Place the pumpkin in the oven and roast until the pulp is soft. Remove the pulp from the rind with a spoon. With blender or food processor, blend the pulp until smooth.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it, cook the broccoli. Remove the broccoli, add penne to the same water and cook until al dente. Drain.

Mix the pumpkin pulp with cream and 2 tbsp Parmesan. Season with salt and lots of pepper.

Toss the pasta with the pumpkin sauce and broccoli. Pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and cheese melts.

Przepis po polsku:
Penne zapekane z dynią i brokułami

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Handmade Gifts

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

I read this message on Anne's Food today and really really wanted to join the exchange. Sadly, Anne already had three comments, but Nikka, who had posted the same message on her blog earlier, still had two gifts to give. So, I left a comment on her blog and I’m very happy to say that now it’s my turn to give you some gifts. The only condition is that you will post the same message on your blog and make gifts for the first three people who will comment on your blog. Hope you'll join!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Maple Leaf Butter Cookies

I had to abandon my blog for a few weeks as I was studying for the final exam at my university. Still, I was cooking and I managed to take a few pictures, so I have some catch up blogging to do. First, I want to tell you about the Maple Butter Cookies I made almost 3 weeks ago. I’m not really a cookie person, but I really wanted to try the maple leaf cutter which I had brought from Canada last summer. Besides, baking cookies is sooo much fun - it always makes me feel like a little kid again!!!

For the maple shaped cookies, I wanted to use a recipe with maple syrup. I searched the Internet for recipes of that sort and found one on Epicurious site. I’ve made a few changes to the recipe - I used brown sugar instead of the regular one, I added some baking powder, reduced the amount of salt and used two, instead of one egg yolk. I also rolled the dough thinner than the recipe says.

Despite that the cookies didn’t taste maple much (the maple flavor was very subtle), they were really tasty – buttery, amazingly crispy and perfect with a cup of tea. My family loved them so much that all the cookies disappeared within two days.

Maple Leaf Butter Cookies

225 g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar

½ cup maple syrup
2 egg yolks

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour

Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy and beat in maple syrup and egg yolks until combined well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt over mixture and fold in thoroughly. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F)

Roll out the dough, then cut out cookies with maple-leaf cookie cutter. Arrange cookies on buttered baking sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool.

Przepis po polsku:
Ciasteczka maślane w kształcie klonowych liści

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Autumn Muffins

I’ve decided to call this recipe Autumn Muffins for two reasons. First, the combination of pears, nuts, and spices makes them very fragrant and indeed perfect for autumn (especially if you I serve them warm with a drizzle of maple syrup on a cold day). Second, I couldn’t really use the original name of Pear and Pecan Muffins as I didn’t add any Pecans to them. Pecans are usually expensive and hard to find here and since I’ve had lots of walnuts at home, I thought they would make a nice substitute. And, honestly, I don’t like Pecans much anyway.

The original recipe for these tasty muffins comes from a book titled Muffins, which is one of the cookbooks from Le cordon Bleu series published by Könemann. I have already tried several recipes from it, and they all turned out great, so I really recommend it.

A few notes to the recipe:
1. I used freshly grated nutmeg instead of powdered one - it made the muffins even more fragrant and thus more delicious!!!
2. I didn’t have vanilla extract (I think it’s impossible to obtain in Poland), so I added a packet of vanilla sugar to the dry ingredients.

And, one more thing, it’s important you roast the nuts before adding them to the batter. They'll become very very crunchy and will contrast well to the soft, delicate, and moist pears later.

Autumn Muffins
(adapted from Le Cordon Bleu: Muffins)

450 g all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
115 g brown sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
400 g pears, peeled and chopped
100 g walnuts (or pecans), roasted and chopped*
2 eggs
375 ml milk
125 g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 210°C (410F)

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; Add brown sugar, vanilla sugar (if you use vanilla extract add it later to the liquid ingredients), pears and nuts.

Whisk the milk and eggs together. Add them to the dry ingredients. Add the butter and stir until just combined. Do not over mix the batter;

Fill prepared muffin pan ¾ full. Bake 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Leave the muffins in cups for 5 minutes. Then let them cool on a wire rack.

* roast the nuts for 5-7 minutes in the oven preheated to 180°C(350F)

Przepis po polsku:
Jesienne mufinki

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Carrot Soup

I’ve wanted to try a carrot soup for a quite long time, but I just didn’t have any nice recipe. Luckily, a few days ago I came across Stevi’s Bread and Butter blog and found a lovely carrot soup recipe there. I cooked the soup for supper yesterday. I changed a little the proportions to make the recipe smaller and I spiced it up a little with white pepper and ginger. The result was really tasty - very creamy and warming, thus perfect for cold autumn days. The orange juice adds a nice fruity flavor to it, but be careful not to add too much as it tastes stronger than you might expect.

Carrot Soup
(based on a recipe from Stevi’s Bread and Butter blog)

1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
½ kg carrots, peeled and chopped

750 ml vegetable stock
rind and juice of half an orange

white pepper

Heat the butter in a large pan, add the onions, leave them for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add carrots and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove the carrots and onions, but do not throw the stock away.

Liquidise all the ingredients using blender or food processor and add the puree in the stock.

Reheat gently for a couple of minutes. Season to taste.

Before you serve, add the orange juice. Grate the orange rind and garnish the individual bowls.

Przepis po polsku:
Zupa krem z marchwi

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I’d been asked to make a cheesecake for a family feast. I wanted to make something different from traditional heavy cheesecakes we usually eat in Poland. I opted for a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. Combining raspberries and white chocolate always tastes heavenly. So, does in this cake. The sweetness and mildness of white chocolate balance perfectly with the tartness of the raspberries. The only thing I would change is the crust which turned out rather tough. I think it would work out better without white chocolate addition. I’ll try that next time.

The recipe originally comes from The Australian Women's Weekly 'Cheesecakes, Pavlovas & Trifles' but I’ve found it translated into Polish on Galeria Potraw which is my favorite Polish food forum.

Some minor changes I’ve made to the recipe:
1. I added vanilla sugar to the cheese.
2. I substituted digestive biscuits with Petit Beurre ones (they’re easier to obtain in Poland).
3. I baked my cake for about 60-70 minutes instead of 90 minutes as the recipe says.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

200 g digestive biscuits
90 g white chocolate
80 g unsalted butter

½ cup cream (30% fat)
200 g white chocolate
250 g mascarpone cheese
250 g quark cheese
¼ cup caster sugar
1 pouch vanilla sugar
3 eggs
2 egg whites
250 g raspberries

Line the bottom of 23 cm springform pan with aluminum foil. Using a food processor or blender, process the biscuits to fine crumbs. Melt the chocolate and butter together over low heat, stirring constantly. Combine with the crumbs. Press into the bottom of the springform pan with the back of a spoon. Put into the fridge for about half an hour to set.

Preheat the oven to 160C (320F).

Put the cream in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Break the chocolate into little pieces and add to the cream. Stir with a spoon until the chocolate and cream are smooth and the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat together the mascarpone cheese, quark cheese, sugar and vanilla sugar until smooth, then add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate mixture beating until well-combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to sniff peaks then fold into cheese mixture.

Pour the cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base. Gently press 250g of the raspberries into surface. Bake for 1-1 ½ hours. Cool in oven with door ajar. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Przepis po polsku:
Sernik z białą czekoladą i malinami