eat in my kitchen

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Tag: pie

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

Think of Black Forest Torte and meringue pie, take out the heaviness of the whipped cream, and you have a rough idea of the taste of this opulent beauty. My Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie has all the nice features of the famous southern German coffee table classic, including dark chocolate, Kirsch Schnaps, and sweet summer cherries – it’s just lighter.

My Maltese Mama Jenny was the first baker who introduced me to meringue pie, her formidable lemon meringue pie blew my mind. Although we have similar cakes in Germany, like a sponge cake layered with gooseberries and meringue, it doesn’t have the same qualities as a pie. It’s richer, a proper German torte. A pie, however, focuses on the fruit filling, there’s only a thin buttery short crust base holding all that lusciousness together. The wonderfully fluffy, airy meringue topping adds a very fine sweetness, wrapped in fragile crispiness. It works perfectly with sour rhubarb, a pink spring pie that became a popular recipe on the blog. I could have used the same formula for my plump black cherries, but I wanted a chocolate base. I couldn’t get it out of my mind and I’m glad that I didn’t, it’s the perfect Schwarzwälder Kirsch Pie (the German name for black forest).

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

You’ll need a 23cm / 9″ shallow pie dish for this recipe.

Makes 1 pie

For the cherries

fresh sweet cherries, pitted,  about 550g / 1 1/4 pounds (about 4 cups pitted cherries)
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
Kirsch schnaps 3 tablespoons
cornstarch 30g / 1/4 cup

For the pastry

plain flour 160g / 1 1/4 cups
Dutch-process or natural unsweetened cocoa powder 50g / 2 ounces
granulated sugar 3 tablespoons
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
unsalted butter 120g / 1/2 cup
cold water 3 tablespoons

For the meringue

fresh organic egg whites 3
a pinch of fine sea salt
granulated sugar 80g / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon

For the cherry filling, in a medium saucepan, heat the cherries, sugar, and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar dissolved, stir in 2 tablespoons of the schnaps, close with a lid, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the cherries soften. Turn the heat down to low. Add 2 tablespoons of the liquid of the cherries to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until smooth, pour back into the saucepan, stirring constantly until well combined. If you’d like the schnaps to be more prominent, add 1 tablespoon of the spirit. Pour the cherries and all the liquid into a wide pan and let them cool completely.

For the pastry, in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until crumbly. Add the water and, using the hooks of the stand mixer, mix until combined. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 210°C / 410°F (conventional setting).

On a table or countertop, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll it into a circle, large enough to line a 23cm / 9″ shallow pie dish. Push the pastry into the dish, trim any excess dough off the rim with a knife, then prick the pastry all over with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the pastry cool completely before you assemble the pie.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg white and salt for 1 minute. Adding the sugar gradually, continue mixing for about 1-2 minutes or until stiff.

Preheat the oven to  210°C / 410°F (conventional setting).

Pour the cool cherries and all the liquid on top of the pastry. Scrape the stiff egg white on top, shape it to a dome and form little peaks with a knife to create an uneven surface. Bake for 7 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving, the cherries need to set.

The pie tastes best on the 1st and 2nd day, however, you need to keep it in the fridge, which softens the pastry.

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Pie

Linzer Torte, a family recipe

Linzer Torte

Although Linzer Torte has a Christmassy image, nothing I’m too fond of in May, there is a reason why I put this cake in my oven at this time of the year. It was my uncle’s birthday a few days ago and he is the biggest fan of this traditional cake I know, he keeps his mother’s fabulous recipe for this famous Austrian cake like a big treasure. I’m lucky, he shared it with me which made me feel very honoured but we had a deal, I would bake it for his special day in May.

To me, Linzer Torte is not particularly wintery, it’s made of two layers of buttery short pastry sandwiched with raspberry jam. It feels a bit like a dense fruit pie, maybe not as juicy as the layer of jam is quite thin and not a proper filling. It gives the pastry’s flavours more space and makes it a bit softer. That’s why the cake is best when it sits for a few days, a week is even better. The jam soaks the crumbly base and spreads its fruity aroma.

I recently found out that the recipe for this cake which is named after the city of Linz is supposed to be the oldest known cake recipe in the world, dated 1653. Discovered in the archives of the Admont Abbey, it was found in Countess Anna Margarita Sagramosa’s cookbook, a lady who liked to develop, collect and record good recipes as much as I do!

Linzer Torte

 

Linzer Torte

Linzer Torte

For a 25cm / 10″ springform pan you need

flour 300g / 10.5 ounces
almonds (or hazelnuts) , ground 300g / 10.5 ounces
cocoa powder 1 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cloves, ground
a pinch of cinnamon
butter, room temperature, 300g / 10.5 ounces
sugar 250g / 9 ounces
organic egg 1
Kirschwasser 2 tablespoons
raspberry jam, whisked, 6 tablespoons

Set the oven to 170°C / 340°F (fan-assisted oven) and butter the springform pan.

Combine the dry ingredients (except the sugar). Beat the butter with the sugar till fluffy. Add the egg and the Kirschwasser and continue mixing adding the dry mixture.

Take 1/5 of the dough and set aside for the decoration and place the rest in the pan, pushing it down evenly. Spread with the jam.

For the decoration, you could put the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes which makes it easier to handle. I left it soft, it worked but it was a bit more fiddly. Roll out the dough between cling film (around 28 x 25 cm / 11 x 10″) and cut into 1.5 cm / 1/2″ strips. Arrange the stripes in a lattice top (you can make a woven pattern, but I didn’t have the patience, I just put them on top of each other).

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes and keep in an airtight container for at least 1 day (3 days to a week would be better) before you serve the cake.

Linzer Torte

 

Linzer Torte

Rhubarb Meringue Tartlets

Rhubarb Meringue Tartlet

My long loved rhubarb crumble cake has been my favourite rhubarb cake so far, but these little meringue tartlets caused a change on my list. I can’t say that I prefer them over my buttery cinnamon crumble (I made the apple version a couple months ago, the recipe is here) but they are definitely just as good!

Until I started taking the ingredients out, I wasn’t even sure about the recipe. I wanted a crumbly short crust, strong enough to carry the juicy rhubarb compote and not as flaky as the one I make for my Tarte Tatin. I thought I would give it a try but expected that I would have to refine the recipe over the next few weeks before I would be rewarded with a satisfying result. I was wrong! The pastry was exactly what I wanted, buttery, crumbly with a strong structure, neither too fragile nor to compact. When the tartlets had cooled off, I topped them with a tablespoon of my thick rhubarb compote and some fluffy meringue. As I’m not very good at decorating cakes, I tried to keep them simple. Usually I try to avoid piping bags as they make me nervous but here I made an exception, I wanted them pretty! The result was worth it, a bit sweet, a bit sour, buttery but still light, and all of this in a cute little rhubarb meringue tartlet!

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

Rhubarb Meringue Tartlets

When the tartlets are finished and baked with the meringue, you should serve them within the next 15 minutes as that’s when they are at their best (I had one the next day and it was still delicious but a bit softer). If you want to prepare them for guests, you can bake the tartlets and cook the compote beforehand (both should be cold either way). Then you just need to beat the egg whites, assemble the tartlets and bake them for 3 minutes in the oven.

You will need round 10cm / 4″ tartlet pans.

For 10 tartlets you need

For the short crust

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
sugar 80g / 3 ounces
a pinch of salt
a pinch of vanilla
butter, cold, 160g / 5.5 ounces
organic egg yolks 2

Combine the flour with the salt, vanilla and sugar. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Set your oven to 200°C / 390°F top / bottom heat. Butter the tartlet pans and dust with flour.

Roll out the dough about 3mm thick between cling film and cut out 10 12cm / 5″ circles. Line your tartlet pans with the pastry and prick with a fork. Blind-bake in the hot oven for 9 minutes or until golden. Take them out, let them cool for a couple minutes before you flip them over and let the tartlets cool off completely.

 

For the compote

rhubarb, sliced thinly, 400g / 14 ounces
sugar 3 tablespoons
ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
water 2 tablespoons

In a sauce pan, heat all the ingredients for the compote on medium temperature, keep the lid closed. Cook for 10 minutes or until the rhubarb has become a thick compote and let it cool completely.

 

For the meringue

organis egg whites 4
sugar 120g / 4.5 ounces
a pinch of salt

Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F top / bottom heat.

Beat the egg whites with the salt for 10 – 20 seconds until they start to stiffen. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff and glossy.

Put a tablespoon of the rhubarb compote on top of the tartlet, spread evenly. Fill the meringue mixture in a piping bag and decorate generously. Bake them on a baking sheet for 2-3 minutes until the tops of the meringue become golden. Let them cool for 1 minute, put them on plates with a spatula and serve immediately.

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

My Mother’s delicious Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin, I know so many people who call this their favourite dessert! Buttery apples fried with lots of sugar until golden brown and caramelised, topped with a crisp shortcrust baked in the oven. It’s like a traditional pie, just upside down! There is something very French about it and it’s not just the amount of butter and sugar, or its origin. Legend has it that this tarte was first created accidentally by Caroline Tatin. She ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron together with her sister Stéphanie. A stressful kitchen moment made her forget about the apples on her cooker, they caramelised and Caroline had an idea. She left them in the pan, put the dough on top and baked the first delicious Tarte Tatin ever. The guests in her hotel were impressed and her signature dish was born!

Now, there are many different ways to bake a Tarte Tatin. I make mine like my mother, with a crisp and buttery shortcrust (it’s the one I also use for my Sandwich Cookies). I cut the apples in eight slices each so that they can caramelise evenly on all sides (I find it easier than quarters). I fry them in plenty of butter and sugar, the apples soak up all the syrup and the base stays crisp.

Tarte Tatin

 Tarte Tatin

For the tarte you need a 21cm / 8″ Tarte Tatin dish or frying pan which is ovenproof.

big sour baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into eight slices each, 4
sugar 90g / 3 ounces
butter 90g / 3 ounces

For the shortcrust

plain flour 130g / 4.5 ounces
butter, cold, 75g / 3 ounces
egg yolk 1
sugar 1 tablespoon
a pinch of salt
cold water 1 1/2 tablespoons

For the shortcrust, combine the flour with the 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 quickly work the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolk and the water, continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F.

In a pan (or Tarte Tatin dish), melt the butter together with the sugar and the apples on high temperature. Let the apples caramelise, watch them and turn gently, mine needed 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough, big enough to cover the pan and lay on top of the apples tucking the edges down the sides. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. When the tarte is done, place a large heat resistant plate on top and turn the pan carefully upside down, keep in mind that it’s very hot!

You can serve the warm Tarte Tatin with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Tarte Tatin

 

Tarte Tatin

 

Tarte Tatin

Hobz biz-Zejt u Tadam and more delicious Goods from the Maltese Rock

Malta

Today I will share some special food with you! I got a wonderful gift from Emma, my boyfriend’s sister who lives in Malta and came to visit us for a few days. She put a big smile on my face when she opened her bag and I saw all the nice food she brought for me (well, not just for me actually). Emma knows which food I love and miss so much from her home island in the Mediterranean, especially now that it’s been a few months since I was last there. Her gift reminded me of the taste and smell of this island which I got to know so well over the past years, during so many holiday trips and summers we spent there. Our family and friends, the food, the sea, so many memories connect me to this rock in the Mediterranean (this is what many Maltese affectionately call their home island).

This is a very personal introduction to Maltese food through my eyes and taste buds.

Whenever I’m in Malta, first thing in the morning I go to a wonderful traditional bakery, St. Josephs Bakery in Msida, to buy the most amazing white bread with the perfect crust. Every Maltese is proud of this bread and it’s famous for good reason. There are two different types of bread, the big loaf called Hobz Malti (Maltese Bread) and the round Ftira with a hole in the middle. Usually, I cut thick slices off the loaf, dip them in olive oil and spread the sweetest tomatoes and some crushed pepper on top which makes the Hobz biz-Zejt u Tadam (Maltese bread with oil and tomato). There is also a famous (and quick) beach version which is made with Kunserva, a concentrated tomato paste full of ripe Maltese tomatoes and some mint or basil in between two slices of this amazing bread. There’s nothing better than sitting on the beach after a long swim, this sandwich in your hands and your fingers staining with juicy tomatoes and olive oil – I love it!

Malta

Fruits and vegetables are heavenly in this sun kissed place, strong and honest in taste, ripe, with the flavours of a soil rich in clay. There’s not much water, but the sun and the ground make up for it. My taste buds are always disappointed when I’m back home and have to get used to the store bought quality again. Maltese sausage is another speciality I’m very fond of as it’s full of spices, the meat is coarse, its taste so strong that you can season a meal with it. Dairy products are limited, this rock isn’t really made for cows, but the Maltese make a strong cheese from goat milk which is called Gbejna, delicious tiny round cheeselets. There are two kinds, the hard one which is a bit salty, great for salad and pizza, and the soft one, milky and mild. On the photos you see the hard ones from Gozo, Malta’s sister island.

One of my favourite places is Busy Bee Confectionery where I get my daily dose of delicious cakes and pies. I love their sweet Mediterranean specialities like Cannoli, Cassata Siciliana and Ottijet (figure of 8 shaped tea time cookies with sesame seads). Unfortunately the Cannoli didn’t survive the flight very well so I can’t show them to you. On the savory side there is Qassata tal-Irkotta (a round short crust pie filled with ricotta), Pastizzi tal-Irkotta or tal-pizelli (puff pastry filled with ricotta or peas) and a huge Torta tal-Laham (Beef Pie), filled with tasty beef stew.

The colourful sweets are Perlini, filled with almonds, a traditional Maltese carnival treat.

Go visit and enjoy!

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Buttery Crisp Fennel Tart

Fennel Tart

A tart, a quiche, a pie, call it whatever you like, anything that involves buttery short crust is heavenly food to me. I’m the happiest person in the world when I have one of these in my oven, filling the air with that buttery smell, teasing me as I can’t wait to have the first bite in my mouth. Most of the time I use my all time favourite Quiche crust recipe for any kind of savory tart or Quiche. I wrote about that recipe in December. It has been with me for nearly twenty years and I never found a better one. It’s crisp, it’s buttery, yet still light. Just perfect!

If you follow eat in my kitchen you’ll find that I tend to buy too much of this and that (I’m talking about food). This time it’s fennel, three bulbs! I never throw any food away, I use everything I buy, but I become too excited when I see all the nice food at the market and a million things come into my mind that I’d like to cook with them. So I buy whatever arouses my appetite. Sometimes, my fridge just reaches its limits.

I haven’t made a tart in a while so I will use the fennel for the filling, mixed with Parmesan, a few eggs, milk and cream, and the buttery smell can take over my flat!

Fennel Tart

Fennel Tart

For one tart you need a round (27cm / 10.5″) or oval baking dish or tart pan.

For the short crust base

flour 250g / 8.5 ounces
I use spelt flour type 630 (but you can use any other plain flour)
butter, cold 125g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg 1
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the filling

fennel, cut in half and sliced thinly, 400g / 14 ounces
organic eggs 2
milk 100 ml
heavy cream 100 ml
Parmesan, grated, 2 heaped tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon
black pepper
nutmeg, freshly grated

The tart

Set your oven to 210°C / 410°F.

Fry the fennel in a little oil for 5 minutes until golden.

Mix the eggs with the milk, heavy cream, Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Roll out the dough between cling film and line your baking dish with the flat pastry. Prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes.  Take your baking dish out of the oven and set the temperature down to 180°C / 355°F.

Spread the fried fennel on top of the pre-baked pastry base and pour the liquid mixture over. Put the tart carefully on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden, the top should be firm. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Fennel Tart

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