Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Fraisier - Strawberry Bavarian Cake

I have to say this has to be the most delicious Daring Bakers Challenge so far. What's not to love about the the combination of strawberries, cream and a soft spongy cake. But all the components of this recipe were exceptionally delicious. No wonder it comes from one of my favorite baking books, Tartine. The cake is not only tasty it is also a showstopper and would impress your guests at any party.

I changed the instructions for the pastry cream a little bit since I found it had a few unnecessary steps. I also used strawberry preserves instead of the syrup. The chiffon cake by itself was already very good, and could be used as a base for many different fillings. I was lucky to be able to pick my own strawberries for the cake, for the last time this year since the season is now over. I am planning to make the cake with other fruits soon, maybe with blackberries, but I think it would be good with all kinds of fruits.

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chilled Sour-Cherry Soup with Lemon-Quark Mousse

Chilled soups are a great refreshment in summer, either as a dessert or as replacement for lunch. This sour-cherry soup was especially refreshing because of its tartness. We had it on a very hot day, and it was the perfect lunch. I topped the soup with a creamy mousse, made with quark and lemon. If you can't find quark you can make it yourself using buttermilk. Meeta from "What's For Lunch Honey?" has a great recipe for it, which I used all the time while I was living in North America.

We are really lucky with all the fruits in our garden this summer, and sour cherries were of no exception. But it seemed that all the fruits seemed to be ripe at around the same time this year. The season started with rhubarb, then the raspberries, strawberries, followed by sweet and sour cherries, and gooseberries. Now the blackberries are getting ripe and soon we can pick plums.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Raspberry Mousse Cake

This is a truly spectacular cake, and is perfect for any special occasion. Well, mine was just that we had picked a lot of raspberries, which became ripe this week, so I made it for a nice family gathering in the afternoon. But sometimes it's those little moments you share with people you love that are the nicest.

This is definitely a cake for the summer when raspberries are in season. For the filling you could replace fresh raspberries with frozen ones, but for the topping you should use the fresh ones. It takes some planning to put the cake together, but all the components are easy to make. Just take into account that the cake needs a few hours to cool in between and before serving. Both doughs can be baked the day before you assemble it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cherry Clafoutis

A Clafoutis is a french dessert, which is made with a pancake like batter poured over cherries and then baked in the oven. Cherries are the traditional choice of fruit, but it can be made with a wide variety of fruits like for example plums, apricots, peaches, apples or raspberries. This batter is made with ground almonds, which pairs very well with the cherries. Some recipes use cherries with their pits, or leave a few pits in, since the pits will also release an almond flavor.

We have beautiful cherries in our garden right now, both sweet and sour ones. Usually I use sour cherries for baking and jam making and sweet ones are just eaten off the tree. But this year there are so many, that I also tried a few dishes with them. I have to say they are equally good for baking, you just need to use less sugar.

I am also happy to announce that I have won first place at this month' DMBLGIT contest with my picture of the burger-style macarons. Thanks to Charline from Charline cuisine for hosting this month event and congratulations to my fellow winners. Check out the beautiful entries on Charlines blog.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Elderflower Syrup

Elderflower syrup is something I have discovered 2 years ago, when I was back in Germany for vacation. Now being back living here I am glad to take advantage of the flowers, which grow everywhere in May and June. When I was still living in Canada I tried to look for them in parks, gardens and even in the forest, but unfortunately I couldn't find any, although Wikipedia says they also grow in North America.

Elderflower syrup is very easy to make and super versatile in its use. You can use it for drinks, like adding it to mineral water, which is very refreshing. You can also dress up your champagne (or prosecco) with it to have a fancy cocktail. I also love to use it for desserts like mousses to flavor cake fillings, or just pour it over yoghurt. A little splash of the syrup goes a long way, but the flavor is very intense so you just need very little. If you have pretty glass bottles, it also makes a great inexpensive, but special gift.
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