Archive for the ‘Interesting Ingedients’ Category

Apple Quark Streusel Cake

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Over the holidays while grocery shopping I spied some quark, and decided I better buy it while the store had it.  Exotic groceries are not as plentiful here in the winter.  I like summer for many reasons, but one of them is that the deluge of tourists and cottagers to this area also brings better grocery shopping.

Why quark?  Well long ago in Bracebridge there was a really scrumptious German bakery.  My favourite item at this bakery was the cheese danish.  They were made with a quark filling, very tart and lemony.  On top of the filling was streusel.  The bakery closed many years ago, and I have never found such wonderful danish anywhere else.  So, I though maybe I could make something like that.  After searching around on the internet I found a recipe for a quark streusel cake on the About German cooking blog http://germanfood.about.com/od/baking/r/streuselkuchen.htm.  So, I made the recipe, then had to adapt it by making the dough work with a lot more liquid, and adding apple to the layers.

The taste of the quark layer was very similar to my memory from the bakery danish.  The rest of the cake was quite good as well.  Overall this is a make again cake.  Although there are several steps, making the dough the night before using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method of just mixing the dough and letting is sit worked well and is very easy.  The  is not very sweet, and even though I like cakes that are only a little sweet, I might add some brown sugar to the apple layer next time.  A slice of this is great for breakfast when you cant stand cottage cheese one more day (I try to eat a high protein and nutritious breakfast, but occasionally I fall off the wagon and have something like this instead).

Here is my adapted recipe.  The quantities are pretty forgiving, so feel free to adapt or to use another fruit or no fruit at all, and enjoy the “quarky” goodness of the filling.

Apple Quark Cheesecake

(Adapted from recipe on About.com germanfood)

Ingredients Method
Dough

2 c flour

1  tsp yeast (dry type)

½ cup milk

2 Tbl butter

1 egg

2 T sugar

½ tsp salt

Enough additional water to make a dough (around a ½ cup, but depends on your flour)

Melt the butter in the milk.  Add the yeast and proof this until the yeast develops a foam.

Put the flour in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, add the milk, egg,  and mix until this turns into a soft dough. You will probably need to add a little water, depends on the size of the egg and your flour.

Let the dough rise at room temp for about an hour or until it has risen and started to fall, then put it in the   fridge or a cool place.  (Basically this follows the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method)

The next day push the lump of dough into a greased pan, I used a pyrex pan just one size smaller than 9 x 13.  You could also use a 10” springform pan.

Let the dough rise until it is doubled again (about 1 hour).

Quark Filling

1 ½ cups (about 1 container) of quark

1 tsp lemon zest

1 egg

2 Tbl cornstarch

Mix this all together as for cheesecake.  Spread over the dough.
Apples

Peel, core, and slice about 4 apples.  Granny Smith are good, needs to be a tart apple.

Layer the slices over the quark filling so they overlap each other and completely cover the filling.
Streusel Topping

1 ½ cup flour

2/3 cup sugar (use some brown and some white)

½ cup butter

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

Note:  This was the original recipe.  I ended up only needing about 2/3 of this, so I saved the rest and froze it for another apple concoction, but if you are using a larger pan you might need all of it)

Mix the incredients like pie dough so you have lumps of butter remaining.

Spread this over the apples evenly.

Bake at 350 for about an hour, watching that the crust gets slightly brown and the apples and streusel are cooked. This cake freezes well.

Zucchini Pickles….or what to do with a jumbo zucchini

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

I have done a lot of preserving over the years, so decided to make an interesting recipe that can be kept in the fridge or freezer.  The best thing about these pickles is that they are very crisp.  Despite several tries and different recipes, I have never gotten really crisp pickles that are heat preserved.

I think this recipe would work fine with cucumbers instead of zucchini.

This recipe is adapted from a cookbook that is probably no longer in print, called Quick Pickles, Easy recipes with Big Flavor, by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby, and Dan George. The book is all quick pickles, and I have made several variations from the book, so if you can find it it is great.

Curried Zucchini Pickles

This recipe is originally for refrigerator storage, and will keep for about 6 weeks.  However, after making another recipe for freezer ice box pickles, I experimented and discovered that these keep very well frozen, and stay crisp for about a week in the fridge once thawed.  I used a really big (5 lbs) zucchini with a tough skin, and it worked great after scraping out the seeds and pithy stuff from the centre.

Even people who don’t like zucchini like these.

Ingredients

Method

Stage 1, Salting the veggies:

3 pounds zucchini

1 or 2 red peppers, cut into small pieces

3 medium size onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings

¼ cup coarse salt

Adding the grapes:

1 cup red or green grapes, cut in half

(Note, these go in after the brining step, do not add in step one)

The spiced pickling mixture:

2 3/4 cups cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups orange juice

3/4 cup sherry (amontillado)

2 cups sugar

1 T curry powder

½ tsp cayenne or ancho chili powder

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp whole allspice berries

Fresh ginger, about 1″, cut into fine strips

3 cloves garlic (optional)

Cut the zucchini into thin 1/8 inch little wedges.  If using a really whopper zucchini, then scrape out the inside seeds and pithy interior.  You can peel the zucchini, but I prefer it left green.

Place all this in a glass bowl, mix in the salt, and let sit for an hour. The salt will extract the juices, and the pile of zucchini will shrink.  This is why the pickles stay crisp.

Rinse the veggies three times to get all the salt out.  Place back in the bowl, and add the grapes.

Make the spice mixture in a saucepan, simmer for a couple minutes,  and pour over the vegetables.  Pack into jars that have been rinsed in boiling water first to sterilize.  For refrigerator  storage I use quarts and for freezing I use half or quarter pints so that I only defrost a small portion since they only stay crisp for a week at most, and are best the first cou0ple days.

These are good to eat  in a couple hours, but best starting the next day.  They must be kept in the fridge or freezer.

Fabulous Fondant

Friday, April 17th, 2009

My daughter was here this weekend, and she wants to learn more about cake decorating. Both of us thought fondant looked smooth and an open canvas, so we finally tried some.
We made regular cupcakes, and also used a small “muffin top” pan. The muffin tops worked out to be a really nice petite shape, a little mouthful of sumptious sweet cake (See above pic).
Here are our little kitty’s!

And some florals.

We were lazy and used premade fondant that I got at McCall’s in Toronto – they have everything for cake decorating! It worked perfectly. It comes in a tub that you can just take out what you need and save the rest. Surprisingly, the fondant tastes fairly good, a little chewy and sweet, slightly vanilla flavoured. I was not expecting good taste, let’s face it royal icing is just for looks, but this is not bad at all, in fact it might be even be better with a little flavouring added.
Next time we will coordinate the colours more, and will try to make the fondant (maybe, opening the tub is really fast and easy, and McCall’s is a long drive from here!)
So, for our first batch, it won’t rival the Hello Cupcake book, but we had a blast.

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