eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

This is such a kiddy cake: it’s light and fluffy, sweet and juicy, and packed with soft strawberries and creamy white chocolate. And although my childhood days are far away, I love this cake. I would even call it my favourite spring cake (for the time being, until my next discovery). And the fact that it’s so easy to prepare – you just have to roll out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning and throw it all together – makes it a perfect weekend breakfast cake.

The combination of the ripe red berries and the milky chocolate works unbelievably well in a cake. I’m familiar with this duo in ice cream and other sweet snacks, but it never struck me as much as in this composition. I was worried that the sweetness could be a little overpowering, but there was no reason for it, it was still balanced. In fact, this cute little teaser tastes so good that the two of us ate it in less than 24 hours. I wanted to freeze a few pieces – my new habit to eat a little less sweets as summer is ahead of us – but it was hopeless. We kept cutting one piece after the other until it every little crumb was gone and the plate looked almost clean. I think if I could choose between a plate full of cake or a little less on the hips, I’ll always go for the cake!

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

 

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

plain flour 130g / 1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon for the strawberries
cornstarch 30g / 1/4 cup
baking powder 1 heaping teaspoon
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
butter (at room temperature) 160g / 2/3 cup plus scant 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
vanilla bean, scraped, 1/2
organic eggs 3
fresh strawberries, cut into cubes, 150g / 5 ounces
high quality white chocolate, chopped, 100g / 3/1/2 ounces

For the topping (optional)

icing sugar or finely grated white chocolate 1 tablespoon
fresh strawberries 3-4

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting) and butter a 20cm / 8″  springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

In a second large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well in between. Continue mixing for 2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and creamy. Quickly mix in the flour mixture until combined. Mix the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour and add, along with the chopped white chocolate, to the batter. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold in the berries and chocolate until just combined. Scrape the batter into the buttered springform pan, even it out, and bake for 40-45 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden on top. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before you take it out of the springform pan.

Sprinkle the cool cake with icing sugar or grated white chocolate and decorate with strawberries.

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

 

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

 

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

 

Strawberry White Chocolate Breakfast Cake

meet in your kitchen | Somer Sivrioglu’s ‘Anatolia’, Sydney, and Cheese and Egg Pizza

Cheese and Egg Pizza

Some books make you fall in love with its captivating pages from the moment you lay your hands on it. Anatolia, by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale, is one of them. This outstandingly beautiful cookbook is rich in pictures, stories, and recipes. It takes you to another world of flavours, ingredients, and unknown combinations and it makes you want to go straight to your kitchen to bring this exciting new discovery right into your home – or at least a bite of it.

The first recipe I tried from this book, was pide, thin Turkish pizza. Somer makes it with an aromatic minced lamb topping, which is divine, however, when I gave it a second go, I sneaked in a dark Provençal olive tapenade, and shared it on eat in my kitchen. Somer liked my version so much that he shared it on Facebook, we started chatting, and here’s the result: Our cross-continental Berlin-Sydney meet in your kitchen feature!

Cheese and Egg Pizza

My guest grew up in Turkey, in Istanbul, where he lived with his family until he was 25. But one day, the young man decided to explore life on the other side of the world and moved to Sydney. His dream came true and he started an impressive career in food that led to two fantastic restaurants and an award-winning cookbook. Somer runs the popular Efendy that opened in 2007, featuring contemporary Turkish cuisine in the Balmain district. Anason his second ‘baby’ – was next, which only just opened its doors to the public world, but it’s already one of Sydney’s new culinary hot spots.

This man is busy and I don’t know how he managed to write a cookbook on top of his packed schedule as a chef, but he did, and the result takes the globe by storm: Anatolia: Adventures in Turkish Cooking won the prestigious international IACP award (former winners are luminaries such as Thomas Keller, Claudia Roden and Julia Child). I’m sure it will keep its place in the front row of my book shelf for quite a while. Somer is a passionate chef, he loves food, and this shines through in every project that he pulls onto his table. Congratulations!

My weak spot for Turkish pizza made me go for another pide recipe from Somer’s book, which I share with you today: slim pide filled with an aromatic cheese mixture of 4 different cheeses, green pepper, tomato, and a baked egg. This dish calls for a relaxed dinner on the balcony or in the garden, with a glass of chilled crisp white or rosé wine and a fresh salad on the side. May only the temperatures rise and summer begin!

Cheese and Egg Pizza

Pide with Four Cheeses

Serves 4

For the dough

dry yeast 1 tablespoon
water, lukewarm, 50 – 100ml / 3 1/2 tablespoons – 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 1 teaspoon
plain flour 300g / 2 1/3 cups
strong flour 150g / 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
milk, lukewarm, 50ml / 3 1/2 tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon

For the cheese filling

4 cheese-mixture, grated or crumbled, 100 – 140g / 3 1/2 – 5 ounces (depending on how rich you’d like your pide)
(such as feta, aged ricotta, blue cheese, and mozzarella or provolone)
egg 1
chopped fresh oregano 2 teaspoons
(or about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon dried oregano)

For the topping

large tomatoes, thinly sliced, 2
large green pepper, cut in half, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced, 2
eggs 4
vegetable oil 2 tablespoons (I used olive oil)

Dissolve the yeast in 50ml / 3 1/2 tablespoons of the water. Stir in the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. It should start to form bubbles.

Sift the flours into a large bowl, make a well in the middle, and pour in the yeast mixture and the milk. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until it reaches earlobe softness. Add more of the water if necessary (I used all of the water). Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and let it rest and rise for 30 minutes.

Add the salt to the dough and knead for 3 minutes. Place the dough on a floured work surface and form it into a cylinder, then cut it into 4 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. If you have a pizza stone or tile, place it in the oven. Or leave a baking sheet in the oven so it will preheat.

Combine the crumbled cheeses in a large bowl. Add the egg and fold and mix until combined; stir in the oregano.

On a floured working surface, stretch the pieces of dough into ovals, about 30 x 20cm / 12 x 8″ and 5mm / 1/4″ thick; or use a rolling pin.

Transfer the 4 pides to 2 pieces of parchment paper. Spoon a strip of the cheese mixture in the middle of each oval, leaving a 5cm / 2″ rim all around the edges. Fold over the 2 longer sides so they touch the filling but don’t cover it. Join the folded edges at the top and bottom to make a boat shape. Press each into a point and twist to close tightly. Arrange 6 slices of tomato and 4 slices of pepper on each pide and break an egg into the middle. If you don’t want the egg to be cooked through, bake the pides without the egg for 7 minutes, then add the egg, and bake for another 7 minutes or until golden brown.

Brush the tops of the dough with oil.

If you’re using a baking sheet preheated in the oven, take it out of the oven and pull 1 parchment paper with 2 pides over onto the hot baking sheet; or transfer 2 pides with the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone or tile in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy warm.

Cheese and Egg Pizza

Growing up in Istanbul, Turkey, in the 1970s and 1980s, during a time of severe political unrest, how would you describe your life as a child and teenager? What are your memories of those days?

I was born and raised in Kadikoy, Istanbul, one of the last multicultural suburbs of Istanbul, where the few of the last descendants of Greek, Armenian and other non-muslim population lived after the rise of nationalist policies drove them out of the city they lived in for many generations. Although the 1970s were chaotic, we felt safe on the streets as the community values were very strong back then, everyone knew and looked after each other.

Why did you leave Turkey in your twenties and move to Sydney?

I came to study for my MBA degree and to live in another country to find my own voice.

What does having your own restaurants – Efendy and Anason – mean to you, is it a dream come true? 

My restaurant, Efendy, and the amazing team gave me the chance to represent Turkish food in a country where it was only known as kebaps and Turkish bread before we opened.

Your mother worked as a restaurant consultant, do both of you share a similar philosophy when it comes to food, cooking, and running a restaurant? Does she give you advice and do you listen?

She ran a number of restaurants /meze bars and I learned a lot from working with her, as to sharing the same philosophy fundamentally, yes, but I challenge myself to progress and she is a bit more conservative. I think we are both challenging each other in that aspect. She gives me advice, typically I would ignore, or pretend to ignore, but do it later on anyway (laughing).

Who is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen?

My grandma, Akife, was my childhood influence, as she was one of the first modern females to complete a home economics degree and she took cooking classes as part of it. She was a great example of how to create excellence from scarcity.

How did the Turkish cuisine influence your perspective as a chef? How do you develop new recipes?

Turkish food is all about seasonality, abundance and variety. As a chef, it made me think about using the right produce at the right season and applying various drying, pickling, and preserving techniques to my cooking. I used to create the recipes and get my chefs to cook them at Efendy, but now I ask them to create recipes that means something to them, from their heritage, and I learn and coach them to fine tune them to put in our seasonal menus at Efendy and Anason.

How long did you work on your cookbook Anatolia? Can you describe the creative process of this wonderful book, which you wrote together with David Dale?

Three years from concept to print. As a first time book author, I was lucky enough to work with one of the best food journalists, David Dale, and he coached me thorough the whole process. We have been to Turkey twice together visiting cities all over the country, talking to masters of craft and adapting the recipes to Australian and European readers where they can cook with common ingredients that can be found at any farmers’ market.

What is your favourite Turkish and your favourite Australian dish?

Turkish: Kalkan – Black-Sea turbot.

Australian: Mud crabs cooked over the BBQ.

What do you miss about Istanbul?

I am lucky enough to go back every year. Eating seasonal fish and drinking raki on the Bosphorus with family and friends is one thing I yearn for and do every time I am back. In fact, I am in Istanbul at the moment.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

I remember helping my grandma buttering the layers of her lamb borek, she had the scariest looking electrical round oven where all the cables and elements were exposed.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Sydney? 

My favourite shopping spot was at Growers Market at Pyrmont, unfortunately they closed, so currently it’s Eveleigh Markets every Saturday.

Favourite cafés: Le Cafeier in Balmain and Edition Coffee pop-up at Barangaroo, both located next to my restaurants and keep me going all day and night.

So many restaurants to mention but I love the next-gen Turkish restaurants in Sydney like Pazar Food Collective, Stanbuli and Sefa Kitchen.

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

I would love my babaanne (paternal grandmother) to cook something from her Albanian heritage, as we lost her when I was very young and never learned that part of my culinary culture.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

It won’t be on the table but the spring lamb on a spit would be next to the table and complemented with some mezes and seasonal salad accompanied by raki or a few nice bottles of Öküzgözü (Turkish red wine variety).

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

I loved my anneanne’s karniyarik and borek, nowadays, I love having a simple grilled fish or a nice steak on a charcoal BBQ.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Of course cooking with others, I don’t like cooking by myself or eating by myself.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Improvised, as it has an element of surprise and spontaneity.

Which meal would you never cook again?

Bombe Alaska (Baked Alaska). Many years ago, when I was working in banquets at a hotel, I made it for a wedding of 1000 people not knowing how it is made. Lesson learnt.

Thank you Somer!

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

Cheese and Egg Pizza

 

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Rhubarb Tartlets with Cinnamon Oat Crumble

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

The combination of rhubarb and cinnamon crumble is so perfect that I dare to call it one of my favourite baked sweets. It’s sweet, fruity-sour, and buttery, what more could I ask for? I could add oats, which I’ve never done before for some reason, so I gave it a try and the result was extremely pleasing. The first bite through the crunchy aromatic crust and soft fruit gave me the feeling that home-baked sweets are simply the best.

The past few days were a little rough and rocky and I often wished I had two Meikes to sort out all the tasks and problems piled up on my desk. Late night work led to sleep deprivation and a paranoid me, worrying that I wouldn’t manage to finish everything in time. I call myself quite disciplined, I can work hard, but luckily, I also know when to pull the brake. It was a bright and sunny afternoon and I started to feel like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel – although not all problems were solved yet – but I decided to close my laptop. Trying not to think too much, I grabbed my bag and jumped on my bike. Cycling through springy Berlin and enjoying the bumpy ride over cobbled roads put a smile on my face as I saw nature’s leaves and blossoms taking over the city again. I stopped at a café for a creamy cappuccino that felt like the best coffee I had in a while, and leafed through a cheesy magazine. Life can be perfect and sometimes it’s so easy to get there, all you have to do is forget about your duties for a little while and follow whatever you’re mood calls for.

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

Rhubarb Tartlets with Cinnamon Oat Crumbles

Makes 10 tartlets

For the filling

trimmed rhubarb, cut into 5cm / 2″ pieces, 600g / 1 1/3 pounds
granulated sugar, 100g / 1/2 cup

For the pastry

plain flour 260g / 2 cups
sugar 80g / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
a pinch of salt
unsalted butter, cold, 160g / 2/3 cup
organic egg yolks 2

For the oat crumble

rolled oats 100g / 3 1/2 ounces / 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon
plain flour 65g / 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 90g / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
unsalted butter, melted, 80g / 1/3 cup

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (preferably convection setting).

For the filling, add the rhubarb and sugar to a large baking dish and toss to combine. Bake for about 25 minutes or until soft but still in shape. Set the rhubarb aside and let it cool completely.

For the pastry, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Butter 10 (10cm / 4″) tartlet pans and dust with flour. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 10 equal parts. Roll out the 10 pieces of dough between cling film into 12 cm / 4 1/2″ circles. Line the tartlet pans with the pastry, push the dough into the pans, and prick with a fork. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden, bush the dough down with a fork if it bubbles up. Take the tartlet pans out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Using a metal skewer, loosen the pastry shell gently along the rim and turn the tartlets out onto the lined baking sheet.

Turn the oven down to 180°C / 350°F.

For the crumble, combine the oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix until combined and crumbly.

Divide the rhubarb among the tartlet shells, sprinkle with the oat crumble, and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

Rhubarb Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Tarts

 

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Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Sometimes I am asked by a reader to come up with a certain recipe. Quite often it’s a dish connected to a childhood memory of theirs, a food experience saved many years ago, and now they’re hoping to find this specific flavour again. But it’s a tricky thing, it’s almost impossible to relive something as an adult and expect the same satisfaction that we felt back then when we were young.

I used to love Dutch coconut sheets for breakfast, which is as weird as it sounds. This is compressed dessicated coconut, pressed into thin sheets and, to make it even more appealing, they were either pink or pale white. I was obsessed with them. After a culinary break from this delicacy, I tried them again years later and I was so disappointed. But there’s another Dutch classic, which still lives up to my memories, and I enjoy it with the biggest passion whenever I pull it out of my oven: sticky honey cake.

At the end of this winter, I got asked to share a traditional German hot chocolate recipe, which my reader, who lives in the US, connects with the time he spent in Germany as a child. Somehow, I never felt in the mood for it, and my hot chocolate is also a rather simple creation made of milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and ground cinnamon and cardamom, which is not a traditional German take on this drink. I’m sorry, I’ll try to write about it next winter.

But last week, someone dropped a comment on Instagram, telling me that I haven’t made a soup in a long time – and this person was right! She lives in Asia and asked for a soup that she can have with her morning rice. I don’t think that someone who lives in Asia, needs a German girl to tell her how to make a fragrant broth with ginger, spices, and lemon grass, so I thought about something that I could share from my background. Our summers spent in Malta made me fall for minestrone, and when I cook this warming soup with just green vegetables – like fresh beans, peas, and zucchini – it tastes like spring. To turn it into a full lunch, I add tiny meatballs refined with lots of chopped arugula and lemon zest. The strong aroma of the citrus fruit reminds me of the Mediterranean but at the same time, it adds the same lemony freshness that you know from a clear broth made with ginger. Enjoy!

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

Serves 2-4

For the meatballs

ground beef 400g / 14 ounces
fresh arugula leaves, finely chopped (with a knife or in a blender), 1 large handful / 50g
zest of 1 lime (1 heaping teaspoon)
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
a generous amount ground pepper

For the soup

olive oil
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
green vegetables (a mix of trimmed green beans, peas, and zucchini), beans and peas cut into bite size pieces, about 350g / 12 ounces
vegetable broth, hot, 1l / 4 1/4 cups
freshly squeezed lime juice 1 tablespoon
bay leaf 1
fine sea salt
ground pepper

For the topping

ramp leaves, thinly sliced, 2
and/ or
spring onion, thinly sliced, 1

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the ground beef, chopped arugula, lime zest, garlic, salt, and pepper and mix until well combined. Wet your hands and form the mixture into tiny meatballs.

For the soup, in a large saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the vegetables, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, lime juice, and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs and bring to the boil again. Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and simmer for 4 minutes. Split 1 meatball to check if it’s done. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and additional lime juice to taste.

Serve the soup in deep bowls, sprinkled with ramps and / or spring onion, and enjoy warm.

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

Green Minestrone with Lime-Arugula Meatballs

 

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Cynthia Barcomi’s Cheesecake with Mint and Aniseed Crust

Mint Cheesecake with Aniseed Crust

This recipe comes from a woman who is a great inspiration in the kitchen and for life – and she’s also one of the reasons why I live where I live. I used to visit Berlin quite often in my twenties and on one of those trips, I discovered Barcomi’s Deli right in the heart of the city’s old Eastern part. The moment I walked through the hidden Sophienhöfe for the first time, I fell in love with its peaceful backyards and the tall brick walls covered in vine. When I opened the glass door to Cynthia Barcomi’s cozy café, I found my place. Amazing coffee and the best American cakes, muffins, and sandwiches I had ever tasted, I was hooked. So I decided that if I ever moved to this city, it would have to be close to Cynthia’s kitchen. And that’s what I did.

Cynthia is from New York. In the late 80’s, she came to Berlin to live and work here as a professional dancer. Today, she’s one of Germany’s most successful women in the food business. She started roasting her own coffee beans long before it became a trend, and she introduced the people in her new home city to all the scrumptious treats she grew up with: bagels, New York cheesecake, fruit pies, and luscious sandwiches made with the juiciest potato bread. It became a great success. When you meet Cynthia, you can see right away that she’s not the kind of person who would rest if something works out. She’s constantly on the move, her enthusiasm is impressive, and she jumps from one project to the next project. She started a flourishing catering business, became a popular TV host, sells her own bakeware collection (she has the most perfect pie dishes!), and she wrote six best selling cookbooks. And all this as a mother of four children – sometimes I wish I had her energy.

Mint Cheesecake with Aniseed Crust

It’s only a year ago, that Cynthia published her last book Cookies, which includes the best brownie recipe I know: chocolate and peanut butter. They are divine. Her new masterpiece is just as packed with deliciousness and focuses on Cheesecakes, Pies & Tartes (in German). It’s a very special book, as Cynthia, for the first time, shared her signature cake, the best New York cheesecake in town. Her fans have been bugging her for years to share it with them, but she declined. So finally, after 20 years, she had mercy on us and opens her new book with this exact recipe. When I decided to write about Cynthia’s new creations, I felt so tempted to bake this cake and share the recipe here with you, but I wasn’t even sure if I feel quite ready to bake this cake at home in my kitchen. I’ve ben enjoying it for so long at her café, do I want to know how this piece of magic is actually made? I think for now, I want to leave it this way, I just jump on my bike whenever my appetite calls for it and roll down the hill to her Deli.

But as I thumbed through the pages of her new book, reading about such tempting treats as Blueberry Pocket Pies, Peanut Butter Townie, Sweet Potato Spice Bars with Potato Chip Crust, and Honey Almond Goat Cheese Cheesecake, I got excited. And then I spotted a recipe that made it impossible to read any further: A Spanish Cheesecake or Flaó from Ibiza. The pie is made with ricotta and mascarpone and refined with lemon and mint – this is genius! The filling lies on an aniseed short crust base and it’s the most aromatic, fragrant, and light cheesecake I ever had on a plate. Two days ago, we shared the last pieces of it with some friends and there was happy silence at the table. I never even thought of adding mint to a cheesecake and it’s actually the best thing that could happen to it. Cynthia learned about this combination from a friend’s aunt, Maria, an eccentric art collector from Spain, living in New York. I have to start thinking about what else I could do with the mint plant outside my window.

Mint Cheesecake with Aniseed Crust

When I sipped on my creamy cappuccino at Barcomi’s many, many years ago, it would have never crossed my mind that one day, the woman who created all this would become more than an inspiration in my life. Cynthia gave me the best tips for my book when I started working on it. She shared her experiences with me and helped me so much during the whole process in the past year. And then, when I asked her if she’d like to write a quote for my book, she didn’t hesitate. I emailed her the pages of the Eat In My Kitchen book, and I have to confess that I felt a bit nervous to share it with her. When I read her words, it brought me to tears:

“Great food like great art speaks the truth. Meike’s recipes and photos are pared down, honest and revealing – I love what she does! She goes right for the sensory jugular leaving you wanting and needing more. Void of superfluous detail, Meike’s all about delicious food – brava!”

Thank you Cynthia!

Mint Cheesecake with Aniseed Crust

Cynthia Barcomi’s Mint Cheesecake with Aniseed Crust

Serves 6

For the pastry base

plain flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 2 teaspoons
aniseed, finely crushed in a mortar, 1 1/2 teaspoons
salt 1/2 teaspoon
freshly grated zest from 1/2 lemon
unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes, 90g / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
vegetable shortening, cold, cut into cubes, 30g / 2 tablespoons
egg yolk 1
olive oil 1 tablespoon

For the filling

fresh ricotta 250g / 9 ounces
mascarpone 250g / 9 ounces
granulated sugar 200g / 1 cup
eggs 4
freshly grated zest from 1/2 lemon
fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, 2 tablespoons

For the topping

fresh mint leaves 12
granulated sugar 1 tablespoon

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, aniseed, salt, and lemon zest. Add the butter and vegetable shortening and rub them into the flour mixture with your fingers, or use the dough hooks of an electric mixer and quickly mix until you have a crumbly mixture. Whisk together the egg yolk and olive oil in a measuring cup and add water until the total is 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon. Add to the dough and mix until just combined; don’t knead the dough. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film, and put in the fridge for 2 hours (or longer).

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F and butter a 23cm / 9″ pie or tart dish.

For the filling, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk together the ricotta, mascarpone, and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and stir in the lemon zest and chopped mint leaves.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll our between cling film, large enough to line the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Line the pie dish with the pastry, press it into the dish, and leave about 5mm / 1/4″ of dough hanging over the rim.

Pour the filling on top of the pastry and decorate with the 12 mint leaves (arrange them like a clock). Bake for 50 minutes or until golden. (Cynthia suggests that you check the cake after 30 minutes and cover it with aluminium foil if it gets too dark, I skipped this, the colour was fine.) Take the cake out of the oven, sprinkle with the sugar, and let it cool.

Mint Cheesecake with Aniseed Crust

 

Mint Cheesecake with Aniseed Crust

 

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Spring Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Peas, and Leeks

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

Yesterday’s excitement called for lots of carbs – and a glass of wine! It was a day packed with too many emotions to handle. After sharing the cover of my book and the Amazon pre-order links here on the blog, I felt overwhelmed by all the sweet emails and messages I got from all over the world. I needed good, solid, rustic food for dinner to calm me down. I made a dish that is so packed with carbs that it actually feels a little weird, but it’s also packed with flavour and comfort, so it makes sense. I baked a springy Maltese pasta pie, also known as Timpana. I introduced you to this Maltese street food classic a few months ago and the response to the recipe was crazy.

Timpana is basically short pasta stuffed into a buttery pastry shell. Usually, it’s enriched with Bolognese, which is nice but it can get a little boring if you’ve eaten it for years, so last time I made it I went for a meat-free Mediterranean filling of zucchini, eggplant, tomato, and basil. It was so good that I thought I’d never need another filling ever again. But then spring came around the corner with all its pretty greens. Wouldn’t it be nice to see green asparagus, sweet peas, and leek inside this pie beauty? I didn’t have to think about it twice. I went to the grocery store, put all the vegetables in my bicycle’s basket, and once home, I turned on the oven.

It’s still a little weird for me to look at this combination of penne and shortcrust in a rational way but maybe this dish shouldn’t be overanalyzed. It simply feels and tastes good, and after the first bite, my mind and emotions were at ease again: I felt so happy and thankful to have the eat in my kitchen blog and book in my life, both of them connect me with so many people all over the world and bring so many fantastic experiences into my life.

Behind the scenes of my Timpana on Snapchat: eatinmykitchen!

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

Spring Timpana – Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Peas, and Leeks

You’ll need a 20 1/2cm / 8″ springform pan.

Serves 4-6

For the filling

penne pasta 250g / 9 ounces
green asparagus, trimmed, about 500g / 1 pound
peas, fresh or frozen, 200g / 7 ounces
olive oil
leek, thinly sliced, 200g / 7 ounces
Dijon mustard 3 teaspoons
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
ground pepper
organic egg 1
Parmesan, freshly grated, 80g / 3 ounces for the filling plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
(or 100g / 3 1/2 ounces for the filling if you prefer the pie more cheesy)

For the pastry

plain flour 300g / 2 1/3 cups
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
butter, cold, 150g / 2/3 cup
organic egg yolks 2
water, cold, 2 tablespoons

For the glaze

organic egg yolk 1
milk 1 tablespoon
a pinch of fine sea salt

For the filling, cook the penne in salted water until al dente, they should have bite. Let the pasta cool completely.

In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus for about 3 minutes or until al dente. Reserve 120ml / 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the asparagus and rinse quickly with cold water. Let the asparagus cool completely, then cut into pieces as long as the penne.

In a small saucepan, cook the peas in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the leek for about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while, or until golden and soft; let it cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

For the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and water and continue mixing with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form 2 discs, dividing the dough roughly 2:1, wrap in cling film, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the pasta, the reserved asparagus cooking water, mustard, salt, and a generous amount of ground pepper. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and mustard, then stir in the egg and mix until well combined. To fill the pie, the filling should be completely cool.

For the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, milk and salt .

Take the dough out of the freezer and roll out both discs between cling film, the large disc, for the bottom and sides of the springform pan, should be about 32cm / 12 1/2″, and the smaller disc should be big enough to cover the pie.

Line the bottom and sides of the springform pan with the large pastry disc. Spread 1/3 of the pasta mixture on top of the pastry, sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan, 1/3 of the vegetables (asparagus, peas, and leek) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue making 2 more layers. Pour any remaining liquid from the pasta mixture over the filling. Close with the pastry lid and gently push the rim with your fingers to seal the pie. Using a toothpick, prick a few holes into the top of the pie. Brush the top with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cheese.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 175°C / 350°F and bake for another 50 minutes or until the pie is golden and the pastry is baked through. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes before you cut it into pieces.

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

Spring Timpana - Maltese Pasta Pie with Asparagus, Leeks, and Peas

 

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What it means to write a cookbook – the EAT IN MY KITCHEN book is ready for pre-oder!

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It’s coming to life: my book cover is out, the pre-order link is out, and I’m the happiest person in the world!

Writing a cookbook feels like being on a rollercoaster for months. It reveals emotions that I didn’t even think I’d be capable of. Creating a book throws you up to the highest highs and drops you back to the ground, it makes you crawl into the deepest holes to bring out the best that you can possibly do – because it’s a book. But it’s all worth it, as it’s one of the most exciting and satisfying experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

Usually, a book starts with an idea, a script, that the author thinks is worth sending into the world, or at least to an agent or a publisher. In my case, it was different, I was so busy with my blog eat in my kitchen, to keep the constant flow of a new recipe every day in the first year, that a cookbook didn’t even come to mind. It felt strange seeing myself as a blogger, let alone calling myself an author. Some of my readers mentioned a book, or kept asking when I’d start working on a physical version of the blog, but I never saw myself as a cookbook author. I wrote about my recipes, that felt natural, as I’ve always been inspired by food, so coming up with new ideas in my kitchen is quite an easy task for me. My love for good food keeps the ideas flowing. So when Holly La Due from Prestel Publishing send me an email from her New York office a bit over 1 year ago to ask if I’d like to write a cookbook, I felt surprised, shocked, and overwhelmed. But then, after a few days, when the idea had sunk in, there was just happiness and gratitude for this great chance, and so I started working on what has become my first book:

EAT IN MY KITCHEN – To Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat is a collection of 100 mainly new recipes plus a few blog classics and six meet in your kitchen features (with Molly Yeh, Yossy Arefi, the Hemsley sisters and some more). I cooked and baked everything myself, alone in my kitchen at home, I took all the pictures, and wrote the book in two languages, in English and in German. To see it come to life more and more every day is rather overwhelming, and then, when I read the quotes about my book from two people whose work I admire so much, I was close to tears:

“Eat in my kitchen is a wonderful selection of recipes, bursting with colour, beauty and flavour. Each page offers a new temptation”. 

– Sami Tamimi, head chef, Ottolenghi restaurants, co-author of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem

“Great food like great art speaks the truth. Meike’s recipes and photos are pared down, honest and revealing – I love what she does! She goes right for the sensory jugular leaving you wanting and needing more. Void of superfluous detail, Meike’s all about delicious food – brava!”

– Cynthia Barcomi, pastry chef, founder of Barcomi’s, and author of six cookbooks

The EAT IN MY KITCHEN book will be published by Prestel on the 4th October (in English and in German) but if you’re as impatient as me, you can already pre-oder it online:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.de (the German pre-order link will be available on 8th May)

In the past 12 months, my life has been more than crazy. I pity my boyfriend and I can’t thank him enough for sticking with me, despite my countless nervous breakdowns and the fact that he put on weight due to my excessive cooking and baking. But we managed, all together, with my fantastic publisher team in New York, Munich, and London, and first and foremost, with my inspiring, patient, visionary Holly. I can’t thank you enough.

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What it means to write a cookbook:

I had lots of doubts at the start of this process, not so much about my recipes, but mainly about my photography. I’m not a professional photographer, I’ve always been far more passionate about the food, and I hate editing pictures (thank you so much Jennifer Endom for taking over this job for my book). So in the first days of shooting recipes for the book, I questioned every little detail and I was sure it wouldn’t be good enough. Luckily, I got over it at one point, I had to, and then it became much easier. I developed all the recipes in a relatively short amount of time, it felt like they’ve always been inside me, just waiting to be turned into a book. After a few skype calls with my mother – the best food consultant I could ask for – and with Holly, my recipe collection was set.

Being well organized is essential when working on a book, and luckily, that’s how my mind works. I can be a bundle of emotions, but if needs be, my head is clear and focussed. It helped that I studied architecture, those days at university taught me how to structure my working steps well and keep an overview (at least most of the time). Lots of lists, excel files, and notes lead to a cooking and shooting plan, including information when certain ingredients are available, which tableware I would use, and which recipes I would cook together in one day. The cooking/ shooting process took me 6 weeks and I was done – and exhausted. I had a strict weekly plan for grocery shopping, working on the blog, as I still posted 3 recipes a week at that time, test cooking, final cooking and shooting, and for writing. There were two moments during the whole process of working on my book when I felt like I crossed my limits, physically and mentally. Taking pictures of food means you’re constantly rushing, to shoot the dish quick enough so that it still looks fresh, and to catch the right light (I only work with daylight). I felt constantly stressed, running out of time, and I was willing to keep the weirdest positions for the prefect shot for longer than my back would normally manage. After those 6 weeks I felt 10 years older.

Believing that the worst – or let’s say, the hardest part was over – I went to Malta for 4 weeks, as I wanted to write the stories and final recipes in my Maltese mama’s house in Msida. It was a great time, not very productive, but we had fun. I went snorkeling every day, we met our friends and family, and my mother came to visit for my birthday. I couldn’t complain. And then I finally met Holly for the first time in person. She came to Malta to make the final selection of the pictures for the book together with me and while I had her on the island, I showed her around. It was beautiful and I wish that working on a book would always feel this way. But my rather relaxed Mediterranean schedule soon came to an end.

Writing didn’t work out as easily under Malta’s burning hot sun as I had expected, too many distractions, day trips, dinner parties, and the sea of course, left me with a manuscript that I wasn’t that happy with. Back home in Berlin, I had to sit down at the desk – our dining table – and re-write almost everything. But then after a few weeks back in the North, I was happy with the results and my boyfriend was happy, who’s the most critical when it comes to my book, which helps me a lot. So I sent everything to Holly and our copy editor Lauren Salkeld, who helped me put the recipes in a proper, professional cookbook approved, form. And this – to my surprise –  took months. We emailed back and forth, changed grams to cups and rucola to arugula, rewrote instructions to avoid misunderstandings, added spaces and deleted spaces, and then after 3 months, we were done and I felt close to a breakdown. From the start, I’ve been quite paranoid that there could be mistakes in the book. Be it in the writing, measurements, conversion, or whatsoever. Like a maniac, I read these pages countless times to avoid mistakes, and then every time we changed something again, I was so worried that more mistakes might sneak in (which did happen). The fact that I did the German translation right away didn’t make it any better. Now, I worried about two books and not just one. You don’t write a book that often in your life, and if you get the chance to do it, you want to do it right. People have expectations, they will be willing to spend their money on this book, and I want to give them something that they enjoy working with in their kitchen, a book that is inspiring, and that’s also nice to look at. Everybody has been telling me from the start, “Meike, there will be mistakes, like in any other book,” and I’m aware of this, but I want to keep them as rare as possible. Thanks to my proof-reading friends in LA and Berlin, we made it: Kisses to you, Pattie and Ursula!

There is one part of working on a book that I actually enjoy a lot, and that’s when the designer comes in. I’m so glad to have the amazing Jan Derevjanik at my side, I trust her eyes and taste, we seem to speak the same visual language. Whatever she does, feels right and I never had to explain any of my visions to her. Be it the fonts she chose, the layout of the pages, colours, or the cover – which I love so much, it feels so much like me – Jan took a lot of weight off my shoulders as I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about anything she does. Thank you for that!

So finally we’re almost done and I slowly understand that there will be a printed book soon, my book. It still feels a little strange, and the moment I truly understood that “it’s a book”, was the moment when Holly sent me the cover design. When I saw EAT IN MY KITCHEN and my name written on the cover, and the picture of this salad that I can still taste in my mouth, I knew that we had created something great all together.

In autumn, we’ll have book launch events in New York, Washington, London, Malta, and Berlin and there might be a few more, we just started working it out. So the journey continues, and wherever it may take me, I’m grateful for every single experience.

And now, the biggest thank you goes to you, you wonderful eat in my kitchen readers, for being a part of this adventure! You made all this possible and I wish that you’ll enjoy my book as much as I already do.

Meike xx

I’ve never shared a post on my blog without giving you a recipe, and although I intended not to write about food this time as the book is already so exciting, I can’t help it:

This is not really a recipe but it’s my favourite food – although some people can’t believe it. I love juicy white bread with olive oil, or dark German bread with butter. I need my daily dose of bread, I can’t live without it. So to celebrate my appearance on Amazon as an author, we popped open a bottle of Champagne, broke chunks off a soft loaf of ciabatta, and drizzled them generously with fine Italian olive oil – I couldn’t have asked for more!

Serves 2, when 2 want to celebrate

the best ciabatta bread you can get hold of, 1 loaf
the best olive oil you can get hold of, a few tablespoons
the best Champagne you can get hold of, 1 bottle

Enjoy with a special person!

Grape and Olive Oil Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

I don’t know what drove me to come up with a grape-recipe in April, but it must have had something to do with the fact that I desperately felt like baking with fruits and there was nothing else in sight that sparked my interest. I went to the shop around the corner to find some inspiration, but there were just a few tiny baskets of unripe strawberries, I spotted plump blueberries, which seem to have become available all year round, and some very delicate – and artificial – looking raspberries. I didn’t get excited by any of them.

I usually try to follow the (local) seasons, but there was a bag full of South African grapes that seemed to fit perfectly to the bunch of rosemary that I had already picked. So they became the main flavours for my French olive oil friands. If we leave out the fact that it’s not the fruit’s season in the northern hemisphere where I live, it’s a cozy sweet treat that is just right when the weather is too moody to go outside, or there’s too much work on the desk, and you’re forced to stay inside. A nibble of this aromatic beauty and the world looks much nicer again.

In case you’ve never heard of friands before – I must admit I was one of them – they are sumptuous small cakes, a patisserie classic. They look similar to muffins but the texture is actually more fine and delicate. They are made with ground almonds and just a little flour, and a generous amount of beaten egg white that helps the batter to rise instead of baking powder or baking soda. Traditionally made with melted butter, I just followed my mood and replaced the dairy product with mild olive oil. It was a good choice, especially in combination with the sweet fruit and fragrant herb.

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

Grape and Olive Oil Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

Makes 12 friands (in a muffin pan)

For the friands

organic egg whites 6
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
ground almonds (or hazelnuts) 200g / 1 2/3 cups
plain flour 80g / 2/3 cup
freshly grated orange zest 2 teaspoons
mild olive oil 140ml / 2/3 cup
small dark grapes, preferably seedless (or seeds removed), 36 (3 grapes for each friand)
icing sugar, for the topping

For the caramelized rosemary

granulated sugar 3 tablespoons
water 2 tablespoons
the ends of 12 sprigs of rosemary (with about 4-5 needles each)

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with olive oil, dust with a little flour, and place in the fridge. Cut 12 circles of parchment paper, large enough for the bottom of each muffin cup; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar for about 1 minute until it forms soft peaks.

In a second, large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, ground almonds, flour, and orange zest. In alternating batches, fold in the beaten egg whites and the olive oil, about 1/3 at a time. Stir gently until just combined.

Take the muffin pan out of the fridge, lay 1 parchment circle into each muffin cup, and divide the batter between the cups. Place 3 grapes on top of the batter in each muffin cup and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the friands cool for a few minutes, then, using a small sharp knife, cut along the sides of the muffin cups and lift the friands out of the muffin pan. Remove the parchment paper.

For the caramelized rosemary, place a piece of parchment paper on the counter top. In a small, heavy pan, heat the sugar and water on high heat, without stirring. When the sugar is golden and caramelized, stir in the rosemary until coated in caramel and transfer to the parchment paper. Let it cool for a few minutes before you peel it off the parchment paper.

Dust the friands with icing sugar and garnish with the caramelized rosemary. They taste best on the first day.

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

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Swiss Potato Roesti with Ramp Feta Dip

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It’s back! Before I even saw it, I could smell it: the oniony, fresh, green aroma of ramp.

I can’t say what excited me more last weekend, Berlin’s summery temperatures that brought city life back into the parks, cafés, and restaurants, or my beloved ramps. Large bunches of the springy leaves tucked into little buckets waited for me at the market and I couldn’t stop myself – I already used more than a dozen of them. Mainly for pesto, as it tastes so unbelievably good and my boyfriend is convinced that it calms his pollen allergy. Soups are next, seafood, burgerssandwiches, ramp’s season is short but my inspiration to use it is unlimited.

Another one of my spring classics is roesti (or Röschti). It’s a rustic Swiss dish made of grated raw and preferably young potatoes fried in a heavy pan like crisp latkes, there’s no flour or egg, only salt and pepper for seasoning. Last year, I shared a recipe with you that added lemon zest and rosemary, which made it feel quite summery. This time I go for a rich dip: feta whipped with lots of chopped ramp leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice. The spicy green melts into the cheese’s saltiness, it’s divine. I made a large batch of the dip as it’s also fantastic in combination with juicy ciabatta or crusty dark bread.

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Swiss Potato Roesti with Ramp Feta Dip

Serves 2 for lunch

peeled waxy potatoes, cut into small match sticks, 400g / 14 ounces
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
olive oil

For the feta dip

feta 150g / 5 ounces
fresh ramp leaves 30g / 1 ounce
olive oil 3 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
ground pepper

For the dip, in a food processor or blender, pulse the feta, ramp leaves, olive oil, and lemon juice until smooth. Season with ground pepper to taste.

Heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a 22cm / 9″ cast iron pan on high heat, add the potatoes, quickly spread them evenly, and push them down with a spatula. Turn the heat down to medium / medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes, mind that the potatoes don’t burn. Using a spatula, loosen the roesti from the sides of the pan and lift it gently from the bottom, but don’t flip it over yet, it should be golden and light brown at the bottom. To turn the roesti, cover the pan with a large lid and flip the pan over, carefully but quickly. You should end up with the roesti on the lid. Put the pan back on the heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and let the roesti slide off the lid into the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the bottom side. Loosen the roesti from the sides and the bottom of the pan and slide it onto a large plate (if you prefer, flip it over onto the lid first). Season with flaky sea salt and crushed pepper to taste and serve with a generous dollop of the feta dip. You can eat the roesti romantically from 1 plate or cut it in half and serve it on 2 plates.

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Pomegranate Pavlova Tart with Pistachios and Rosewater

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

In the past week, I experienced the highs and lows of kitchen life, a fact that a curious baker has to live with when jumping into new recipes. Let’s start with the uplifting experience: I baked 3 cakes and 2 were fantastic, which isn’t that bad. One of them will stay a secret until I share it with you next week, but the other one was this bomb of a cake. It’s a voluptuous beauty, full of flavour, sweetness, crunch, and fluffiness. I call it a pavlova tart – not just a pavlova, which never really managed to rouse my excitement. Baked meringue sandwiched with whipped cream can be nice but it’s not enough for me. So I decided to transfer the whole thing onto buttery shortcrust pastry and now it has my attention. This combination is so good that I believe the pastry base should have been an obligatory part of this sweet classic named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova from the start. But never mind, I’m happy with my new discovery. The light meringue is soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside, it’s refined with a hint of rosewater just like the rich whipped cream that crowns the whole composition. Sweet-sour pomegranate seeds and their juices turned into a concentrated syrup lay graciously on top, side by side with nutty pistachios. Simply wonderful!

However, my disappointing kitchen experience was an epic fail – ready for the bin. I decided to give puff pastry a try again and I regretted it the moment I pulled the result out of my oven. I spent 2 days reading about the perfect croissant and up until they were in the oven I was quite optimistic that I’d manage to bake light, crisp apricot croissants, made for a Sunday brunch table. But my hope was destroyed as I opened the oven door and witnessed a rather sad result that looked like my flaky sweets got run over by a truck. It took me 2 years to recover from my last puff pastry disaster – I tried to make Maltese pastizzi, it’s the flakiest treat, basically the queen of puff pastry – which ended in a buttery, floury soup on a baking sheet. I must say that, this time, it didn’t actually look and taste as bad as my last attempt, but it’s definitely far from making an appearance on the blog. It’s a work in progress I guess.

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart with Pistachios and Rosewater

Makes 1 23cm / 9″ tart.

For the short crust base

flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 65g / 1/3 cup
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 110g / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
organic egg yolks 2

For the meringue

organic egg whites 4
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
granulated sugar 200g / 1 cup
cornstarch, sifted, 1 1/2 teaspoons
cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon
quality rosewater, preferably organic, 2 teaspoons, plus more to taste

For the topping

heavy cream, whipped, 200ml / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
granulated sugar
quality rosewater, preferably organic, 1 teaspoon, plus more to taste
seeds from 1/2-1 pomegranate
pomegranate juice 60ml / 1/4 cup
unsalted pistachios, chopped, 1 small handful

For the pastry, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture; this takes a few minutes. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film, and put in the freezer for 12 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

Roll the dough out between cling film and line a 23cm / 9″  tart pan with the flat pastry. Prick with a fork and bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Take the pan out of the oven and let it cool completely.

For the meringue, in a large, clean bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt for 1 minute. Continue whisking for 10-12 minutes, adding 1 tablespoon of the sugar at a time. The meringue should be stiff and glossy. Whisk in the cornstarch, vinegar, and 1-2 teaspoons of the rosewater. Add more rosewater to taste.

Turn the oven down to 180°C / 350°F.

Scoop the stiff egg whites onto the pre-baked pastry, spread it lightly but don’t push it down. Swirl it a bit for an uneven surface. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to 135°C / 275°F and bake for about 60 minutes or until the meringue is light golden and crisp. Switch off the oven, open the door slightly, and leave the cake in the oven for 15 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool completely.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of the rosewater. Add sugar and more rosewater to taste; set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar to the boil. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until it starts to thicken.

To assemble the tart, spread the whipped cream in the middle of the meringue, leaving a wide rim, drizzle with the syrup, and sprinkle with pomegrante and pistachios.

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

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