Easter wreath with apricot filling

This is just a sweet bread with apricot filling. Shaped as a wreath looks fancy and interesting. Because we are close to Easter time and in many kitchens yeast cake is a ‘must have’ tradition I recommend it for the festive days. It does not need to be hanging. Wreath on the table will delight your guests as well. And the taste will not disappoint for sure. Enjoy!

 

1 wreath about 10 inch diameter

 

 Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm milk
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/6 cup butter, soften
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 1 ½ cup dried apricots
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon demerara (turbinado) sugar

 

Make dough: in a medium bowl mix together yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 15 until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt and butter in small pieces. Add yeast mixture, vanilla extract and orange zest. Add water and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth (8-10 minutes) and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If dough does not pull away from the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture remains too dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the dough is ready place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in size.

Make filling: place apricots, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolved then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for further 15 minutes until apricots are soft. Drain. Blend apricots until smooth mixture.

Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 16 x 6 inch rectangular. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough leaving an empty 1 inch border along one long side. Roll up into a log starting to fold longer site without border. Shape a log into a ring joining ends together. Place the ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes to rest and double in size.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  

Using kitchen scissors cut seven diagonal slashes into outer edge of dough (about 4 inch apart). Brush the top with egg, sprinkle with almonds and sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

 

 

Category: Yeast cakes.

Tags: almonds, apricots, orange, yeast.

Dacquoise

Dacquoise is a French dessert made of two hazelnut meringue layers and coffee cream in between. Hazelnut meringue reminisces macarons like structure because is made of egg whites and hazelnuts meal (you can use almond meal as well). They are crunchy outside and chewy inside. Coffee cream is traditional prepared as ‘creme patisserie’ (homemade custard like) with whipped cream. I decided to make it a little easier and replaced custard with mascarpone cheese which did not decrease neither texture nor taste. The whole dessert is very delicious. Enjoy!

 

two baking sheets

 

 Ingredients for meringue layers:

  • 250 g hazelnuts
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • pinch of salt

Cream:

  • 8 dried dates
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese*
  • 350 ml whipping cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee (powder)
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liquor (I used Kahlua)

 

* use real Italian mascarpone cheese without corn starch

 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray.

Spread nuts on the baking tray. Roast for 10-12 minutes until starts to smell pretty. Remove nuts from the oven and place them in a sheet of paper towel. Peel their skin off by scratching one by another throw the towel. Process in a food processor until meal. In a medium bowl mix them with icing sugar and corn starch.

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). On two sheets of parchment paper draw two circles using dinner plate as a stencil (the diameter about 9 inch). Place paper sheets onto baking trays.

Beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar (1 tablespoon at the time) and beat on high speed until stiff glossy mixture and all sugar consumed. Turn off the mixer and fold in nuts with icing sugar. Mix gently with rubber spatula. Divide mixture into half and spread each portion on baking sheets on drawn circles. Bake for 45 minutes. Check the meringues after 15 minutes, if they get brown to quickly decrease oven temperature to 285°F. Meringues are ready if they are dry to the touch and could be easy removed from paper. Turn off the oven and leave them inside to cool for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Make cream: blend dates until thick paste. Add some water to have thick but liquid mixture. Whip the cream until stiff peaks. Gradually add (1 tablespoon at the time): mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons dates’ paste, icing sugar, coffee powder and liquor.

Gently remove meringues off the paper. Place one on the serving plate. Fill the piping bag ended with star (1M) nozzle with the coffee cream. Pipe large rosettes on the meringue layer, one by one. If some cream left pipe the second layer on made rosettes.  Cover with the second meringue layer and dust with cocoa powder. This dessert is the best on the next day as the meringues get slightly moist and are easy to slice.

 

 

Category: Meringues/macarons.

Tags: coffee, dates, glutenfree, hazelnut, mascarpone.

Chia ricotta and blood orange cupcakes

These cupcakes (muffins) are incredible easy in preparing. There is lots of ingredients but we just mix them together and the dough is ready to bake. You do not need to use mixer nor long work on it. Ricotta adding results in kind of cheesecake muffins but they are light and delicate. Ricotta cheese can be felt in taste and evokes association with cheesecake. Chia seeds give crunch and blood orange gives sweetness and aroma. Enjoy!

 

15 pieces

 

 Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Zest of one blood orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 220 g ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125 ml Greek yoghurt, plain
  • 125 ml buttermilk
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • Juice of one blood orange (about 2 tablespoons)

Icing:

  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons blood orange juice

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with paper papilots.

In a large bowl place flour, baking powder, sugar and chia seeds. Mix with a spoon. Add ricotta cheese, eggs, vanilla extract, yoghurt, buttermilk, oil and juice. Mix with the spoon until well combined.

Spoon the batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes (until skewer inserted into center comes out clean). After baking leave in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make icing: mix together icing sugar and juice until smooth, thick but still liquid mixture. Pour the icing over the top of each muffin.

 

 

 

 

Category: Cupcakes/muffins.

Tags: chia, orange, ricotta.

Italian lemon biscuits

Very easy and very tasty lemon cookies. They are flaky and intensive lemon-y. The pastry is kind of shortbread but more flaky because of added corn starch. Lemon juice and zest is inside and second dose outside in lemon icing so we get really lemon-y treat. Enjoy!

 

about 30 cookies

 

Ingredients:

  • ¾  cup + 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

Icing:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  •  2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

 

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in lemon juice and zest, mix together. Gradually add both flours and salt  still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). The dough is more sticky than usual so it can form not regular ball. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes to get more pliable pastry. Remove dough from the fridge and divide in half. Roll each part on a floured surface with your hands to shape a log about 2.5 inch in diameter. Wrap regular shaped rolls in a cling film (separately) and place in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

Once the rolls are cooled become to be stiff and easy to cut. Slice each into 3/8 inch wide slices. Place cookies onto a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Do not keep them very tight because they will slightly rise in the oven. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 320°F. Bake cookies for 5-6 minutes then increase the temperature to 350°F and bake for further 10 minutes until light golden in colour with slightly darker edges. Cool on a wire rack.

Make icing: mix all ingredients until smooth, thick but still liquid mixture. Pour 1 teaspoon over each cookie and place on a wire rack until icing is set.


 

Category: Cookies.

Tags: lemon.

Tiramisu cheesecake

I named this cake tiramisu cheesecake because it is a cheesecake variation of that popular Italian dessert. The cheese layer coffee flavoured is delicate and creamy but clear in taste. On the top is placed cloud of mascarpone cheese and whipped cream which is light and complements the whole taste. This dessert is very yummy, subtle and sophisticated. I think it is the one of top cheesecakes on my blog. Enjoy!

 

You should make this cheesecake a day before because it must spend the night in the fridge to become proper structure.

round spring pan 9 inch

 

 Base:

  • 170 g tea biscuits
  • ¼ cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:

  • 500 g cream cheese
  • ¾  cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee (powder or granules)
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I used Kahlua)
  • 3 eggs

Cloud:

  • 250 g mascarpone* cheese
  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

* use real Italian product (without corn starch)

Make the base: process biscuits in the food processor until very fine (sand texture). Add melted butter and mix until well incorporated. Line the bottom of a spring pan with parchment paper. Spoon the mixture evenly pressing lightly with a spoon. Let it cool in the fridge.

Make cheesecake: dissolve coffee in boiling water. Heat the cream gently and stir in the coffee liquid. Let cool slightly. In a bowl of a stand mixer beat remaining ingredients until smooth mixture form. Add coffee with cream, mix shortly. Cheesecake will be baked in water bath (bain-marie) so wrap the spring pan filled with biscuit base  in two pieces of aluminium foil and place in a bigger pan filled with hot water to the half-way of spring pan sides. Pour the cheese mixture over the biscuit base. Place both pans together in hot oven (325°F) and bake for 1 hour. The cheesecake have to be set on its whole surface, if is not bake it longer. Once is baked remove from bigger water pan, waste the aluminium foil and place cheesecake in pan in the fridge for overnight.

When the cheesecake is in the oven make cloud: place gelatine in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes to bloom. Beat cream until stiff peaks. Add mascarpone cheese and sugar and beat on lower speed until incorporated. Heat gelatine gently in a double boiler or microwave until dissolves, not boil. Stir one tablespoon mascarpone mixture in liquid gelatine and mix. If the mixture is smooth add to the bowl with creamed mascarpone and mix immediately. Pour the cloud mixture into silicon mould at will and place in fridge for few hours or overnight. Before removing from mould freeze for 30 minutes in freezer. If you do not have proper mould may pour the mascarpone mixture direct over cooled cheesecake and place in fridge for overnight.

Next day remove cheesecake from the pan and place on a cake stand. Remove frozen cloud from the mould and place on the top of cheesecake. Dust with cocoa powder. Store in fridge.

 

 

 Category: Cheesecakes.

Tags: coffee, mascarpone.