Category Archives: baking

Meat Loaf with Zucchini in Puff Pastry

While living in Zurich, Switzerland, I used to buy cheese at a local cheese store. They carried an amazing selection of Swiss cheese and an terribly good cheese fondue mix. Monthly I picked up the “Chäs-Chuchi”, a magazine that promoted Swiss cheese, from there. The following recipe has it’s origin in this magazine. It calls for Sbrinz and Appenzeller cheese. Sbrinz is the Swiss Parmesan and Appenzeller is a very strong cheese, incomparable to anything else. You can buy it in Deli stores in North America or just replace it by any other kind of cheese. I have used aged Gouda and it worked well.

Ingredients

  • 3 small to medium zucchini
  • 100g Appenzeller cheese, cut in strips.
  • 50g Sbrinz cheese (or Parmesan), grated

For the meat loaf

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 old bun, soaked in water, or breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, chopped.
  • 3 twigs of tarragon, minced
  • 3 twigs of parsley, minced
  • 3-4 celery leaves (a European herb), minced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • salt, pepper, mustard powder, paprika, cayenne pepper.

For the pastry

  • 450g (2 rolls) of butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten.

Preparation

Cut the zucchini lengthwise in quarters. Remove and discard the seeds. Blanch the quarters for 2 minutes (or less) in salt water. Drain well and put on paper towels.

Mix all ingredients for the meat loaf and form a roll.

Unroll the puff pastry sheets and put them together. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover a long stripe in the middle of the pastry with half of the zucchini. Put the meat roll on top. Press the cheese strips in the roll and top it with the second half of the zucchini quarters. Close the puff pastry roll using some egg as “glue”. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the roll upside down onto the sheet. Brush with egg to give it a shiny look and prick a couple of times with a fork. Bake at 375˚F for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot.

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Filed under pastry, takes time

Broccoli Ham Quiche

I made this broccoli ham quiche yesterday to take along for lunch with my friend Erika. She loves it! I baked it at home, then wrapped it in aluminum foil to let it sit and cool off a bit while I was driving to her house. There we enjoyed it together.

When embarking on this quiche adventure give yourself enough time.  If you start from scratch it will take at least 2.5 hours before you can enjoy the fruit of your labour, but it is definitely worth it!

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 200 g flour
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • one pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp. ice water
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar

For the topping

  • 2 cups broccoli florets, precooked or frozen ones
  • 1 cup ham, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg
Preparation

Cut butter over top of the flour and using your fingers mix the butter under the flour until it looks like fine crumbs. Then add the water and the vinegar, quickly mix and form a ball. Chill for one hour. Roll out the dough and fit into a pie pan, prick the bottom with a fork. Line the dough with foil and fill it with pie weights (I use chick peas). Pre-bake it for 10 min. at 400˚F, then remove the foil and the pie weights and bake five more minutes.

While pre-baking the crust mix eggs, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg then top the crust with the broccoli, the ham and the egg mixture. Bake at 375˚F for 35-40 minutes.

After baking let the quiche rest for about half an hour before serving so the topping is not liquid any more.

 

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I love this combination of sour rhubarb and sweet, ripe strawberries for a pie. Here is a basic pie recipe that my friend Tammy taught me. It replaces part of the butter for the pie crust with cream cheese. I sometimes also use a combination of lard, butter and cream cheese.

Ingredients

for the crust

  • 1.5 cup flour
  • 0.5 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup butter
for the filling
  • 3 cups rhubarb, cubed
  • 1 cup strawberries, cubed
  • 1-2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • cinnamon or vanilla

Preparation

Cut butter and the cream cheese over top of the flour and quickly knead under the flour. Form a ball and chill for at least 1 hour.

Mix all ingredients for the fruit filling. Grease a pie pan. Roll out 2/3 of the dough and fit it in the pan, overlapping the rim. Spread the prepared fruit out evenly over the dough then roll out the rest to fit over the top of the fruits. Turn the overlapping dough over the cover. Poke  several times with a fork. Then bake for 30 min. at 400˚F.

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Tastes great with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Any other fruit filling like apricots, blueberries, prunes or whatever you can think of works well. My latest experiment is apricots and strawberries.

What are your favourite pies?

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Rosemary Flatbread

The bbq season is here and some fresh herbs start to grow in my garden. Yesterday was the perfect day to try this flatbread inspired by Martha Stewart as a side for steak and corn from the grill. It was extremely yummy. I made the pizza dough from scratch but did not let it rise as I usually would do.

Ingredients (makes 6-7 flat breads)

for the dough:

  • 500g flour (I used half whole wheat, half regular flour)
  • 2.5 tsp quick rise yeast
  • salt, sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup lukewarm water.
for the topping:
  •  3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, (more for drizzling)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. coarse salt, (more for sprinkling)
  • cornmeal
  • 3 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

Preparation

Mix all dry ingredients for the dough, then add the olive oil and the water (as much as needed) and knead everything for a couple of minutes.

Heat butter and olive oil for the topping in a saucepan, add salt and garlic and cook, but do not brown the garlic.

Sprinkle baking sheets with cornmeal.

Divide the dough into 6-7 portions and roll it out as you would do for a pizza. Brush with the butter-oil-garlic mixture and sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake for 15 min. at 400˚F. When the bread comes out of the oven drizzle some olive oil over top and sprinkle with coarse salt.

A little sprig of rosemary on each bread looks quite decorative.

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Filed under baking, bread, side dish, summer

Chocolate Muffins with a Surprise

A dozen of these chocolate muffins is gone very quickly at our house, everyone loves them. One bite into the dark ball reveals the surprise: a white vanilla cream cheese filling.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tbsp. dutch processed cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • vanilla flavouring
  • 1.5 tbsp. sugar

Preparation

Mix together all the ingredients for the filling and set aside.

Prepare the batter for the muffins.

Line the muffins pan with baking cups and fill the bottom of each cup with two tablespoons of the batter. Add one heaped teaspoon of the filling and top with batter.

Bake at 180˚C for 20-25 min.

After the muffins had cooled off a bit, I poured chocolate glaze over top and added some sprinkles for decoration.

I would like to try some variations of this recipe like adding shredded coconuts to the filling or using a different flavouring or even preparing a white batter and adding a filling with cream cheese and jam. What are your ideas?

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Cappuccino Cheesecake Squares

Inspired by a recipe on the lid of an Astro Yogurt I made these super- easy cheesecake squares for dessert last Sunday.

Ingredients

  • 200g amaretti crumbles
  • 125 g melted butter
  • 2 packages softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • cocoa powder for decoration

Preparation

Knead crumbles and butter together and press into a greased 8×8 inch baking pan. Mix all the other ingredients and pour over top. Bake for 30 min. at 325°F. Let cool off in the oven, just open the door, then chill for a couple of hours.

Be creative with your decorations! I simply dusted the squares with cocoa powder.

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Swiss Zopf Bread

This morning my house was filled with the smell of fresh yeast as I was baking a braided bread. I learned this recipe while living in Switzerland. It is a very popular treat that you can buy in any local bakery especially for your Saturday morning breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg flour (I used half white, half whole wheat flour)
  •  4 tsp yeast
  • 125ml milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 l milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 100g butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. vegetable oil.

Preparation

Pour the flour in a big bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add the yeast and 1 tsp. of sugar, mix with 125ml lukewarm milk and let sit at least 15 minutes so the yeast can proof. Bubbles rising up indicates that your dough is ready.
Add cut butter and salt. While mixing with your hand gradually add milk, just enough to make a smooth dough. Knead and beat the dough until it has a silky consistency for about 10 minutes.  Cover and let sit for 1.5 hours at a warm place.

Now the braiding begins. I cut the dough in four pieces and made two braids, each with two strands, folded over so you can form a four stranded braid. Take a minute to watch this great video that explains how to do better than I did.

After braiding brush some egg mixture on top and bake for 40-45 minutes at 200˚C in the middle of the oven. Your bread is well baked if it sounds hollow when you knock at the bottom

For our Easter Sunday breakfast I recently bought these little Easter bunnies made from the same dough at a farmers market. Aren’t they cute?

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