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A 9-hour marathon…

Carmeta’s 18th birthday ended another though week at school. In this buffet we had to prepare South European dishes. As the responsible for the portuguese dishes I’ve made the bolos de bacalhau and bacalhau com natas with all my nationalist pride.
On thursday, totally assured that my work at school was almost completed I left early to my first attempt at a fondant glaced birthday cake.
I’ve started at 3pm with the dulce de leche filled chocolate cakes (Carmeta’s favorite flavors) on a 9-hour marathon.
Despite all the fatigue there’s nothing like a coloured ending…

Hojarasca con Manjar

“[Die slowly] He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day (…)”

Pablo Neruda

…today I’m heading to South America…

This is a typical dessert from Chile.
In Argentine it’s called Rogel and is usually topped with meringue.

Hojarasca con Manjar

Pastry:

225 g wheat flour
60 g butter, melted and cold
60 g white wine
4 egg yolk

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all the ingredients until smooth.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Roll out the dough over a lightly floured worksurface to 1mm thick.
Cut the dough with the desired shape and size.
Pinch the pastry with a fork and bake for 5 minutes or until light brown.

Dulce de leche (traditional way)

3l milk
1 vanilla bean (seeds)
800g sugar
½ tsp baking soda

On a heavy-bottomed pan bring the milk, vanilla bean and sugar to boil until sugar dissolves itself.
Add the baking soda and keep boiling.
When the mixture starts to thicken, stir constantly.
Stir ocasionally for 3 hours until it reduces its volume and get a brown tone.
Remove from heat and stir until cold.

Dulce de leche (simpler way)

1 condensed milk can

Place the can totally immersed in water on a pan.
Bring to boil over high heat.
Reduce to low heat and keep boiling for 3 1/2 hours.
Add water as needed.
Open the can when completely cold (very important!).

You can also use a pressure cooker.

Italian Meringue

450g sugar
120ml water
230g egg whites
a pinch of salt

Combine 340g of the sugar with the water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Continue cooking without stirring, until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (116ºC).
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment and whip the whites on medium speed until frothy.
Gradually add the remaining 110g sugar and beat the meringue to medium peaks.
Add the syrup to the meringue in a slow and steady stream while whipping on medium speed.
Whip on high speed to stiff peaks. Continue to beat until completely cold.

Assembly:

Spread generously the dulce de leche over a pastry layer (it’s easier if you heat the dulce the leche to avoid breaking the pastry).
Place another pastry layer on top and repeat this operation as many times as you want.
Top with the meringue. Use a torch to brown the meringue.

Lady in Red…

Vibrant, feminine and ardent…

A Red velvet cake is a type of rich and sweet cake, with a distinctive dark red to bright red or red-brown color. It is very popular in the Southern United States.

Cake:

1/4 cup red food coloring
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Red Velvet Icing:

2 cups milk
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
4 sticks unsalted butter, cold
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9- x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together until well combined the food coloring, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Add in the salt. Beat in the cocoa mixture until thoroughly incorporated. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter at the end, making sure to mix well.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack. When cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice top and sides of cake with Red Velvet Icing.

Icing

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk to combine the milk and flour. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until smooth and thick (anywhere from 12 to 18 minutes). Let the mixture cool for at least 50 minutes. When cool, remove the “skin” that has formed at the top and discard.

While mixture is cooling, on the medium-high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until quite fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Incorporate the cooled milk mixture in thirds, beating well after each addition.

Source: Jennifer Appel

Chestnut fingers

Raw chestnuts, roasted chestnuts, boiled chestnuts, frozen chestnuts, chestnut soup, chestnut mousse, chestnut bavaroise, chestnut cake, chestnut bread, chestnut custard, chestnut macarron, marron glacé, chestnut pudding, chestnut cookies… chestnut fingers…

I just loooove chestnuts!

Chestnut fingers

Cake:
90 g butter
150 g sugar
120 g eggs
175 g wheat flour, sieved
15 g baking powder
50 g milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
Grease and flour a rectangular pan (30x15x10cm).
Whisk butter and sugar until white.
Add the eggs (one by one) while mixing.
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Add the milk and combine until smooth.
Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Let it cool down.
Cut in 7.5×1.5×1 cm rectangles.
Set aside.

Coffee syrup:
100 g sugar
100 ml water
2 g soluble coffee

Bring the water and sugar to boil to dissolve the sugar.
Remove from heat and dissolve the coffee.
With a brush soak the cake rectangles.

Chestnut filling:
120 g chestnuts
120 ml cream
50 g icing sugar
½ vanilla bean
100 ml milk

With a sharp knife, make a cross-cut across the flat side of the chestnuts, like an X.
Add the chestnuts to a pot of boiling water.
Reduce heat and simmer for for 15-25 minutes minutes, or until tender, and remove pot from heat.
In a pan over low heat bring to boil the chestnuts, half of the cream, milk and vanilla bean until all the liquid evaporates.
Remove from heat, take out the vanilla bean and combine with the remaining cream and icing sugar until smooth.
Place in a pastry bag with a round tip (14).

Chocolate glaze

Place the cake rectangles over a pastry rack.
With the pastry bag make chestnut cylinders lenghtwise on top of the cake rectangles.
Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake.
Refrigerate or freeze, depending on your needs.
Decorate with chestnut purée and boiled chestnuts.

Churros con chocolate

Winter comes romantically…
Takes off the scarf to warm the cup, bites a churro and licks the chocolate.
On our side of the window time stands still… the world can wait…

Churros

125 ml water
25 g sugar
½ tsp fine salt
12.5 g butter
100 g flour
1-2 eggs
Sugar to sprinkle

Bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to boil.
As soon as it boils add all the flour and reduce to low heat stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the eggs combining well with the mixer with the dough hook attached until smooth.
Let the dough cool.
Put the dough into a churrera (or pastry bag with a star tip) avoiding air bubbles in the inside.
Squeeze strips of dough into hot oil.
Fry until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side.
Drain on paper towels.
Roll churros in sugar or dump the sugar on the pile of churros.

Hot chocolate

Serves 4:

125 g 67% (minimum) dark chocolate, chopped
500 ml mineral water
50 g icing sugar
25 g cocoa

Bring the water to boil with sugar.
Add cocoa and stir well.
Bring to boil again and remove from heat.
Pour this mixture into a bowl with the chopped chocolate (one third at a time).
Stir gently in circles from the center to the edge.
Mix for 5 minutes with the mixer.
Serve imediately.

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