Friday, December 19, 2008

Tiramisu Cake

A couple weeks ago, we had a italian night at home and decided to give a try to this delicious recipe. I bought this book a few months ago and after searching if the recipe had been published before, then I went ahead and included in this post.

We had a Tiramisu Cake. Soft, moist and full of flavor... simply delicious!!!

Tiramisu Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan


For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)

For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.

To make the extract: Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To make the syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.

To make the filling and frosting: Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.

Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

To assemble the cake:

If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer - user about 1 1/4 cups - and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.

For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.

With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving - the elements need time to meld.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.

Eggnog Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes... a perfect Bake-and-Give Christmas Treat! A few days ago, a friend brought me some eggnog, so I would have some of the typical american taste of Christmas. The result... delicious but too rich for more than a little glass... So... what would I do with the rest?!?!?!? After some cyber research a brilliant idea... Eggnog Cupcakes! and not only that... it is also SUPER easy to make... and EAT :(


For the cupcakes:

¼ cup dark rum or bourbon
1 cup low-fat eggnog
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the frosting:

¼ cup butter, softened
3 tbsp. lowfat eggnog
1 tbsp. rum
generous pinch of nutmeg
2 (or more) cups confectioners’ sugar


- ground cinnamon
- cinnamon sticks


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix together the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, mix together the nutmeg, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Divide evenly between prepared muffin wells.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter, eggnog, rum, nutmeg and confectioners’ sugar. Add in more confectioners’ sugar if needed to make the frosting stiff, but spreadable. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Source: One of my favorite food blogs : Annie's Eats

By the way... if you see hers are so much prettier!

Parfait Pie

For our Christmas dinner with friends, I was looking for a nice dessert recipe that wouldn't be simply cookies or something related to apples, well, I found a lot of good ones, BUT all the sudden, I was watching the "Food Network" and saw this wonderfully delicious pie from Emeril Lagasse's show. I decided to give it a try and guess what?!?!?! EVERYBODY LOVED IT!!!!

I guess I forgot to tell you, why did I pick up this recipe... tell me if this doesn't sound good to you: Graham Cracker's Crust topped with a thick chocolate ganache, with homemade butterscotch pudding, happy chocolate mousse and finally topped with heavy whipped cream and chocolate curls?!?!?

Even though it seems a very long recipe, it can be done it 45 minutes (always helps to have all the ingredients measured and ready to be used before starting every part) and even when the recipe says to let is set for at least 6 hours, if you make it the day before is even easier to cut and yummier in flavor.

So, here we go!


25 graham crackers (broken into pieces) or 3 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

Butterscotch Pudding: Recipe courtesy "Joy of Cooking"

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water, plus 1/4 cup
1 package powdered unflavored gelatin, about 2 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup packed cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache:

6 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter


8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chilled heavy cream, divided
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy (I used Rum)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Top of the Parfait:

1 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy (I used Rum)
Dark chocolate curls
(I also added 1/4 powder sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the heavy cream)

Equipment: a 9 by 3 1/2-inch spring form pan and a large pastry bag


To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pulse the graham crackers and brown sugar in a food processor to a fine crumb. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add it to the crumb mixture, and pulse until just combined. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan and press it firmly along the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan to make an even crust. Bake until the crust browns, about 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate while making the pudding.

To make the pudding: In a small medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the dark brown sugar and cook, stirring, until melted and bubbly. Gradually add in the heavy cream and stir over low heat until the butterscotch is dissolved. Whisk in the milk and salt. Remove from the heat and set aside until lukewarm. Pour the 2 tablespoons of water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top, do not stir. Set aside to let the gelatin bloom.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the butterscotch mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens. Reduce the heat to low; stir briskly, and bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator while you make the ganache.

To make the Ganache: Put the 6 ounces of chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and butter to a boil over high heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate; set it aside for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth.

Pour the chocolate ganache into the chilled crust; then swirl the pan so the ganache evenly covers the sides and bottom of the crust. Set the crust aside at room temperature while you make the chocolate mousse.

To make the Mousse: Put the 8 ounces of chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of the cream, the brandy, and vanilla to a boil over medium high heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate; set it aside for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature, whisking occasionally. In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream until it holds a soft peak. Sift the sugar over the cream, and continue beating until slightly thicker; take care not to over whip the cream. Fold a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining cream.

To assemble the Parfait Pie:

Pour the pudding into the prepared crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Pour the chocolate mousse on top of the pudding, smooth the top if needed. Refrigerate until set, about 6 hours. In a medium bowl whip the cream and brandy until it holds a soft peak. Spoon dollops of the whipped cream over the chocolate to cover and decorate with the chocolate shavings. Carefully remove the spring form ring. Transfer the Parfait Pie to a cake stand and serve. Cut with a warm serrated knife.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TWD - Buttery Jam Cookies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl: Buttery Jam Cookies. Like you read it, it has jam in it. When I heard about the challenge I thought you would add jam after the cookies where baked or something similar to the Linzer Sablés, but not! You incorporate de jam (whichever flavor you love) to the dough.

This cookies have a very soft consistency and they are excellent with a cup of tea or coffee. The flavor is not strong at all, it's very subtle and they don't have much color either. Once you bake them, they stay closer to the pale side than the gold. I used apricot jam in mine, and doubled the amount so it would have more flavor. Also, I added 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.

The original recipe, you can find it at "Baking from my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan on page 80.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TWD - Linzer Sablés

I am a week behind with this post since I was out of town and my computer was dead last week too. I come from a family where homemade cookies weren't a gift, so if we ever want some cookies we would just go to the store and get them. So, whenever I face a cookie challenge I have to breath twice before I make them, considering my inexperience.

This past challenge of Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) was chosen by Noskos of Living the Life: Linzer Sablés. They are buttery, lightly spiced sandwich cookies filled with jam. As I am not a jam fun, I switched it for Dulce de Leche.

As a new cookie baker, I was very pleased with the recipe. It is a very easy dough to work with and after being refrigerated for a couple hours it's absolutely a delight to cut it into shapes. Since I didn't have any cookie cutter on hand for this challenge (I'll go shopping today :S), I used my regular biscuit cutter and for the little whole in the center I used the end of piping tip as the book suggested. It was also de first time I used some almond meal in a dough.

The flavor of the cookies are well blended and soft. If you want them more spice then you'll have to increase the ground cloves amount. In my case, my cookies were close to the crunchy side instead of the soft one, since I made them like sandwich 1/4'' of thickness was a little bit to much for me, so I made them thiner.

If you want to try this goodies, you can find the recipe at "Baking from my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan on pages 134 to 136.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Torta de Piña - Pineapple Cake

This is one of the most typical chilean cakes. It's composed by a yellow soft cake, heavy whipped cream and pineapples as filling. It's really soft, light and moist. It goes perfect with a coffee!

So, if you feel like giving a try to a "chilean délicatesse" , this one is a perfect opportunity. Here we go!


For the cake:

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. baking powder

1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks
1/8 cup favorite white liquor (such as pisco, tequila, vodka, etc) **optional
1 quart heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powder sugar
Coconut flakes **optional


1.- Grease a 9" spring form pan and set aside. In a medium bowl sift the dry ingredients all together. In a small sauce pan pour the sugar and wet it with a little bit of water (it should look like wet sand), cook it until it reaches the consistency of a soft ball (240ºF) and set aside. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and add the syrup. Continue beating until the meringue is cool. Add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure they are well incorporated after every addition. Finally, add the dry ingredients softly. Do not over beat.

2.- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake it at 325ºF for 30 minutes. The timing can vary depending on your oven, but make sure that when you insert a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let it cool completely and slice it in two parts, so you'll have 3 layers. To make sure your layers are even, you can use toothpick as a cutting guide as you move your knife through the center of the cake.

(This picture was taken from King Arthur Website)

3.- Preparing the heavy whipping cream. Beat the cream until is thick, if you lift the beaters of the mixer you'll see little picks on top of the cream. Add the powder sugar. Set it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.

4.- Open and strain the pineapple can. Reserve the juice and mix it with the liquor of your preference. Put the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand and sprinkle it with the pineapple juice mixture until is very moist (not mushy). Add an abundant layer of heavy whipping cream and evenly distribute pineapple chunks on top of it, add a thin layer of cream again. To wet the second cake layer, put it on top of a plate and wet one side. Turn it upside down on top of the cake and wet the other side. Repeat the process of the cream, pineapple chunks and cream.

5.- Moist the last layer of the cake and assemble it on top of the rest of the cake. Cover completely with heavy whipping cream (a very thin layer, this is just to get rid of the crumbs). Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

6.- Once the first layer is set, add the final coat of heavy whipping cream and proceed to decorate with the rest of pineapple chunks.

** You can sprinkle some coconut flakes for a final decorating touch. Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Turkey


2 onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
½ bunch fresh thyme
1 whole garlic head, cut crosswise in half (skins left on)
One 10- to 12-pound/4.5- to 5.5-kg organic turkey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil


Set the rack at the lowest position in the oven and preheat to 400°F/205°C. Scatter the onions, carrots, celery, thyme and garlic in a heavy based large roasting pan. Place the turkey neck in the pan.

Rinse the turkey inside and out; pat dry. Place the turkey atop the vegetables in the roasting pan. Tuck the wing tips under and truss the turkey to help hold its shape. Sprinkle the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Drizzle the oil over the turkey.

Roast the turkey uncovered for 30 minutes. Decrease the heat to 325°F/165°C. Continue to roast until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F/80°C, about 3 to 3 ½ hours longer, basting every 30 minutes with pan drippings.

Transfer the turkey to a platter and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before carving (the internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees). Strain the pan juices into a 4-cup/1-liter measuring cup; spoon the fat off the top. You should have about ¾ cup/175 ml. Serve the turkey with the pan juices.

Source: "Take Home Chef"

Cloverleaf Rolls

This is a very fun bread recipe to make and an easy one too! If you want to get your kids involved in the kitchen this will be a really good one to start with!

This dough also allows you to put it in a loaf bread or in a regular round one.


1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
3 cups hot water
1/2 cup oil
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 pkgs. quick-rise yeast


Mix first 4 ingredients and 2 cups flour in a large mixer (using dough hook). Add 1 cup flour and then yeast, using mixer. Continue adding flour gradually until dough no longer has a shine. Place in large well-greased bowl, tuning once so all sides are greased. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and make into cloverleaf rolls (put 3 balls of dough in each cup of a muffin tin) or loaves of bread; let rise until doubled. Bake at 350ºF about 10 minutes for rolls or 15 to 20 minutes for bread.

Source: Cooking with Smitty's Mom - page 74

Chocolate Nut Pie

This is a very special recipe for me. I got it from my next door neighbor when I moved to the US. She was the best neighbor ever and I am posting this fabulous recipe in memory of her... Mrs. Lola Hayes.


1 unbaked regular pie crust (either homemade or bought from the store)
1/2 cup butter melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips


Mix in order all the ingredients (adding one at a time) and pour into the pie shell. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes (it can vary depending on your oven). Top will be brown and pie will be firm in the middle. Garnish with some powder sugar if you want.