Sunday, 21 October 2012

Chimney Cake/ Kürtőskalács

Since we moved to the UK 5 years ago, every Christmas I am longing for our favourite must eat festive treat: Kürtőskalács. Usually you eat them warm in a cold, dark windy, maybe snowy  December day... made at the spot of the Christmas market. Traditionally it is made above open fire....but I don't have such an opportunity. 

Chimney Cake/Kürtőskalács

Traditionally it is made above open fire....but I don't have such an opportunity. Therefore my dear husband created this "mechanism", which enables me to turn the chimney cake continuously below my grill. All you need is an unused baking tray, a thick rolling pin and some metal parts with screws...pretty basic but it works.

"Kürtőskalács or kürtős kalács is a Hungarian pastry also known as chimney cake or stove cake. It is baked on a tapered cylindrical spit over an open fire. In the past decades, it became popular to bake it in special gas- and electric ovens. The Kürtőskalács originated from Transylvania, a historical region in present-day Romania with a sizable Hungarian population. The name derives from the Hungarian words kürtő that refers to chimney or 'wide pipe length', and kalács meaning "cake". It is famous as Hungary's oldest pastry. Kürtőskalács is sold in bakeries and pastry shops, and even street vendors are selling them on street corners, carnivals, and fairs.
Kürtőskalács consists of a thin yeast pastry ribbon wound around a wooden cylinder, heavily sprinkled with sugar, thus becoming a helix-shaped pastry which may taper very slightly towards the end. The pastry is baked on a hand-turned, tapered, wooden spit, rolled slowly on the wooden cylinder above an open fire. The dough is yeast-raised, flavored with sweet spices, the most common being cinnamon, topped with walnuts or almonds, and sugar. The sugar is caramelized on the kürtőskalács surface, creating a sweet, crispy exterior, and a soft, smooth interior." from Wikipedia

Ingredients for 3 big chimney cake
250g flour 
2 tbsp sugar
15g fresh yeast
130ml milk
1egg yolk
40ml vegetable oil or melted butter
extra oil for greasing the rolling pin

For topping
*optional: cinnamon, dessicated coconut, any spice you like

Put the fresh yeast into the lukewarm milk and leave it to rest about 10 minutes, until the yeast rises. Mix the rest of the ingredients and add the yeast-milk mixture. Form a dough and knead it for 5 minutes. When you have a really soft nice dough put it a bowl, cover it with cling film and leave it to prove for at least 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size in a warm but not hot place.

 When the dough is ready, roll it out to about 5-8 mm thick. Cut it into strips then cover your rolling pin with oil.

 Wrap the strips lightly around your rolling pin, then roll the pin with the pastry on your work surface a few times so you close up the gaps and correct the unevenness of the surface. Then brush on a little oil and roll the pastry in sugar.

You don't have to be shy with the sugar, actually the more sugar stick on it is the better, as the sugar will caramelise under the grill and turn the pastry slightly crunchy and golden brown. Place the "mechanism" with the pasty under the grill and turn it every now and then.

 If you leave it too long in one position at the beginning , one part will be brown and hard and as the pastry still expands on the rolling pin, the opposite end could burst and tear up. So keep your eye on it and turn it every minute, and after about 10 minutes when it is more than half done, every 20 seconds.

 When it is nice golden brown, remove from the grill and coat again with sugar.
At this point  you can be creative and add nuts, spices or dessicated coconut to the final coating. As my rolling pin isn't tapered I experienced a little difficulty when it came to remove the ready chimney cake. I used a long metal cake tester to insert it between the pastry and the rolling pin to help release the dough from the wood. In the end the finished product wasn't perfect (in appearance) but it was definitely proper Hungarian Kürtőskalács.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Coconut tarts, Lemon Curd tarts and Jam tarts

I made some jam tarts the other day, but it wasn't my biggest success. The jam was all over the place and the dough was hard. After this disaster I was determined to create a perfect batch of jam tarts...and I think I succeeded:) This time I used Michel Roux's Pate Sucree recipe and I made some extra fillings than jam. I created some coconut filling and made some fresh lemon curd.

Coconut tarts, Lemon Curd tarts and Jam tarts

For the Pate sucrée makes 24 tarts

250g Plain flour

100g butter, cubed at room tempeature

100g icing sugar, sifted

pinch of salt


For the coconut filling fills 9 tarts

50g white chocolate

50-60ml double cream

5 tbsp dessicated coconut

1 egg or egg white

For the lemon curd filling

You only need a few spoonful, but I made an extra jar worth

I used half of everything in the recipe here

I used home made strawberry jam, and ginger-chocolate-mixed fruit jam

For the pastry:Put the flour in a mound on a work surface and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt, and mix these ingredients together with you fingertips.Gradually draw the flour into the centre and mix with your fingertips until the dough becomes slightly grainy.

Again make a well and add the eggs. Work it into the flour mixture, using your fingertips, until the dough begins to hold together.

When the dough is well amalgamated, knead it a few times with the palm of your hand until smooth. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling film, and rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours before using.

When the dough is rested and ready to use, unwrap and roll out on a lightly floured clean surface to 3 mm thickness, and using a 7.5 cm fluted cookie cutter to cut out 24 circles. Press the pastry circles into the prepared bun tray. Chill for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Prick the party base lightly twice. As the tarts are tiny you don't need to pre-bake them...saves you lots of hassle and time.

Spoon your chosen filling up to 2/3 of the tarts (except the lemon curd, as that won't rise). The jams and other fillings will "puff up" and cover the side of the pastry(see below the before after pictures).

Leave them to cool completeley then remove the cases from the tin. On the picture from the left: Lemon Curd, Strawberry Jam, Ginger-Chocolate-Mixed Fruit Jam and Coconut tarts.

Leave them to cool completeley then remove the cases from the tin. On the picture from the left: Lemon Curd, Strawberry Jam, Ginger-Chocolate-Mixed Fruit Jam and Coconut tarts.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge, so I used it the best way possible: for buttermilk pancakes. I bought the British Cooking cookbook long time ago, purely to discover recipes from different regions and have some historical background to each dish. For this recipe they give a short description:
"These little pancakes are a traditional Irish recipe and are made with buttermilk, which is widely available in Ireland. The pancakes are quite like the drop scones that are so familiar across the water in Scotland, with Welsh and English variations too. They are delicious served warm, with honey." 
I have to mention buttermilk is quite common nowadays...just to to your local supermarket, they usually stock it with the creams.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients makes about 12
225g pain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2-4 tbsp sugar
1 egg
about 300ml buttermilk
butter or oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl mix together the plain flour, the bicarbonate of soda and the sugar to taste(..if you want salty topping then only add 2 tbsp). Add the egg, mixing together, and gradually pour in just enough of the buttermilk to make a thick, smooth batter.

Heat a heavy based pan and add the butter or oil. Place spoonfuls of the batter on to the hot pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until bubbles rise to the surface. Flip the pancakes over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve warm with the choice of your topping. While cooking the pancakes always cover the ready ones with kitchen foil to keep them warm.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Limoncello Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis

Ciao!!!!!! We just returned from our holiday in Sardinia and Italian ingredients inspired me. I love baking with spirits:)..maybe because dislike the alcohol flavour on its own...and what could be better after a Friday night's dinner than a Limoncello Panna Cotta:). Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur and has about 30% alcohol level.

Limoncello Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis

For the panna cotta enough for 4 dariole moulds
3 gelatine leaves
200 ml milk
300 ml double cream
25 g sugar
60 ml Limoncello liqueur
1 vanilla pod

For the strawberry coulis
15 g butter
60 g sugar
180 g strawberries, quartered
juice of 1/2 lemon

Soften the gelatine leaves in cold water.

In a heavy based saucepan, mix the milk, cream, sugar and gently simmer. Remove from the heat add the limoncello liqueur, vanilla seeds and the gelatine leaves.

Stir until the gelatine has dissolved and pour into dariole moulds. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge to set.

To make to strawberry coulis, place the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat and allow the butter to melt and sugar to dissolve.

Add the chopped strawberries and lemon juice and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve. Allow to cool.

Turn the panna cotta out onto individual serving plates and spoon the strawberry sauce all around. You can remove the excess liquid from the panna cotta if you wish...but I didn't want to waste any good part of it. Decorate with lemon and strawberry if you wish.