Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mini bread loaves

Fall was definitely in the air today. Walking around with a tee shirt with no jacket made me sneeze and catch a cold. When I came home I started the winter migration of the deck: the plants came inside the house, and it was time to light a fire in the wood stove.  To add to the comfort, I baked off the mini bread loaves which had been rising since noon (I used this recipe, just split the dough into 2 parts and let the dough rise in the mini bread baskets). The rest of the comfort meal was half-clean eating dinner --- a can of 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s Campbell tomato soup with kale from the garden, pasta and some cannellini beans.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Russian Chocolate, Date and Walnut Torte

These are the days of world wide culinary social networks and recipes and…. google translate. Which means with some fantasy (and baking wisdom) I can make a Russian cake which had me at “hello”. Or is it a Bulgarian recipe? As Russian grad student said it is not Russian, more likely Bulgarian, cyrillic and all. With some fingers crossed it came out just fine. The raw dough tasted marvelous, the torte even better: light, fluffy, rich, not too sweet and one would not suspect dates I think.

Russian Chocolate, Date and Walnut Torte
a 10 inch non-stick springform pan.
  • 2 cups medjol dates
  • 1 1/2 cup strong hot coffee
  • 10 TB butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • decorate with powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 370F. Spray or butter a 10 inch springform, and set aside.
Prepare 1.5 cups hot, strong coffee (best in a French press with ca 3 TB of fresh ground espresso). De-pit the dates, and cut them into small dice. Place them in a large coffee cup and cover with the hot coffee. Soak for 5 minutes.
Now, mix the flour with the baking soda, salt and cocoa and set aside.
In a standmixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, and incorporate well. Add vanilla.
Turn speed to low, and slowly add the flour mixture to the cake batter. Mix well. With a large spoon, retrieve the dates from the hot coffee, and add to the cake batter (add a bit of coffee at a time). You should only have about a 1/2 cup of coffee let in the pot after the figs are removed. Incorporate well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared form and sprinkle top with chocolate chips.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until ready by checking with a stick if you spend dry then the cake is ready. Cool before removing from the form.