Cake · Middle Eastern · Pastry

Persian Love Cake

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Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 14 tablespoons baker’s sugar or superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds (removed from about 5 green cardamom pods)

Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 8oz of marscapone cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey

Filling

  • 2, 6 oz cups of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of ground pistachios

PREPARATION

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff. Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)

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For frosting:
Combine 1/2 cup cream, honey and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes. Chill until cold.

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Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread greek yogurt and ground pistachios–you will have extra, save it and top your oatmeal with it. Top with second cake layer, flat side down.

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Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with strawberries

 

Appetizers · Classics · Dinner · Indian Food · Italian · Pastry · Poultry · Sides

International Potluck !

I am very fortunate to work with a great group of people.  Not only are they smart scientists, they are thoughtful and kind friends.  The cherry on the sundae is that we all love FOOD !!! Eating food, talking about food and cooking food !  We will sit around, eat lunch together and make plans for the next meal.  Call us gluttonous, but if that is a sin–it sure tastes great !  To make matters more interesting, we all identify with various regions of the world.  It took us while to get organized but we finally had out Lab International Potluck !

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Menu:

American: Shrimp and grits and apple pie

French Canadian: Meat pies

Sweden: Swedish Meatballs and Sauerkraut

Poland: Kielbasa

Italy: Stuffed Shells

France: Floating Islands

Turkey: Grape Leaves and Figs stuffed with sweet rice and soaked in syrup

Indian: Jhalferezi and saffron rice

Vietnam: Chicken buns

Talk about a feast !!!!

Cake · Pastry

Honey Comb Cake

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Ingredients

Cake
    • 2 12×12 inches, puff pastry sheets, thawed
    • 2 cups canned tart cherries, drained or thawed frozen cherries, drained
Frosting
    • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
    • 1.5 cans sweetened condensed milk, cooked (dulce de leche)
Ganache
    • 2 cups dark chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 cup heavy cream,
    • 3 tablespoons corn syrup

Instructions

Cook cans of condensed milk in a pot, covered with water by 2 inches, for 1.5 hours, on low heat. Allow to cool completely.

Cut each puff pastry sheet in 3 strips. Roll them with a rolling pin, to double it in size (length & width). Place cherries about 1/2 inch apart along the long side of the dough. Roll it into a tube and pinch the ends. Do the same with 1 more strip of puff pastry. Combine rolled pieces together. Coil them into a spiral circle, leaving about 1/2 inch between each coil (see illustration at the end of the post)

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Bake at 400, for 15 minutes or until slightly golden.

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Follow the above steps and make 2 more cake layers.

Make the cream

Whip room temperature butter, for about 3-4 minutes until white and fluffy. Scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times throughout.

Add room temperature condensed milk, in 3 additions, making sure it’s combined before adding more.

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Make Chocolate Ganache

Chop the chocolate and place it into a bowl.

Heat the cream, to a simmer.

Pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Add the corn syrup. Stir, until well combined and smooth.

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Assembly
  1. Reserve 1 cup of frosting for covering the cake.
  2. Place a small dab of frosting on a plate, to adhere it to the plate and ensure that it does not move. Put the first cake layer. Place 4 strips of foil, 1 inch under the cake, overlapping and covering the serving platter (will make for easy cleanup). Layer the cake with frosting, making sure the amounts of frosting between layers are the same.
  3. Cover the cake with the reserved frosting.
  4. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes.
  5. Pour the chocolate ganache on top of the cake, right in the middle. Go with a spatula in a circle, allowing the chocolate to drip down the sides and cover them.
  6. To get the spiral design, place the cake on a cake turntable, place the tip of your spatula in the middle, start turning the cake turntable, at the same time moving the spatula so that it creates a spiral all over the cake. Slowly, run a knife or a spatula, underneath the cake freeing the 4 strips of foil. Remove the foil. Clean up the edges of the serving plate if needed.
  7. While the ganache is still wet, decorate the cake with chocolate sprinkles. Place a baking pan or a large dish, in front of yourself. Take the cake into your left hand. Take some sprinkles into the palm of your hand, cupping the hand slightly. Press against the bottom of the cake, going around the cake.
  8. Cake is best served at room temperature, but is easier to cut while it’s still cold.2014-07-30 14.19.59 (2)
Classics · Italian · Pastry · Treats

Tiramisu

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An Italian classic, perfect for hot summer nights !

Ingredients:
2 cups boiling-hot water
3 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3 tablespoons Tia Maria (coffee liqueur)
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup dry Marsala
1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
36 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers; from two 7-ounce packages)
dark chocolate shavings for garnish

Method:

Stir together water, espresso powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and Tia Maria in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved, then cool.

Beat egg yolks, Marsala, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.

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Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.

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Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

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Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a 13- by 9- by 3-inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan.

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Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with chocolate shavings. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

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Dessert · Pastry

Honey Lavender Nectarine Cake

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A beautiful floral summery cake fit from anything ranging from an outdoor BBQ to an elegant dinner party ! Enjoy !

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp of lavender
  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 4 medium nectarines (about 1 3/4 pounds), halved, each half cut into 4 slices

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Generously butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar and honey and beat until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, and then lavender.

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Beat in flour until smooth. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

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Arrange enough nectarine slices atop batter in concentric circles to cover completely; press lightly to adhere.

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Bake until cake is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour (50 minutes for plums or pluots).

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Cut around cake to loosen; remove pan sides. Serve cake slightly warm or at room temperature.

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Dessert · Pastry

Fig and Raspberry Tart

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I made this decadent tart a few weeks ago for a party at my boss’ house.  It is divine ! Rich, buttery, sweet ! Simply lovely.  For gluten-free readers, skip the crust and bake the filling with the sliced figs in ramekins !
Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ice water
Filling
2 cups almond meal
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup raspberry jam
3 or 4 figs, cut into 12 (1/4-inch thick) slices
For the crust
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the food processor running, slowly add ice water until the dough just holds together. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap tightly, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Can make ahead and freeze for up to 1 month.)
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a tart pan with a removable bottom
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thick. and place them into the tin. Prick the bottoms with a fork and chill for 10 minutes.
Fill the crust with beans or weights and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove beans or weights.

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For the filling
Combine almond meal and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and process until smooth. Add eggs and lemon zest and process into a uniform, smooth paste.

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Spread the raspberry jam at the bottom of the crust.
Fill to the top with the almond mixture and smooth it with the back of a spoon. Gently press a fig slices into the top.

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Bake for 60 minutes until set and golden.
Cool completely before serving.

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Dessert · Middle Eastern · Pastry

Chocolate-Hazelnut Baklava

I saw this on pinterest. I made it for a lab party. It is SINFUL ! Enough said 😀

This is truly a decadent recipe and the original recipe comes from Food and Wine magazine.  Here is the link.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chocolate-hazelnut-baklava

I followed the recipe to the word so i will be lazy and not write our the recipe but here are some pictures to get your taste buds drooling.

after toasting the nuts and taking the skin off.  This will take some time but rub off the skin between a kitchen towel.

And here they are, all ready to be turned into a yummy filling

And here is the filling with the chocolate in it !

And now for the phyllo.  FOLLOW the directions and when they saw keep the sheets covered, keep them covered with a damp towels.  If the phyllo dries out it will turn brittle and tear–not good.

And now goes in the filling

And this is what it looks like after all the layers have been assembled. Cut up and ready to bake !

While it bakes make the syrup.  I put in a whole cinnamon stick for good measure 🙂

And that is what it looks like right out of the oven.  All golden and delicious. I pierced each square with a whole clove (for decoration) and then poured over the syrup on the hot baklava.

And after resisting the urge to eat the whole pan, I waited patiently, overnight and this is what it looks like and trust me it tastes even better !