Monday, December 31, 2012

My 5 most popular posts of 2012 and a Happy New Year!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year for 2013! Have a great time tonight and hope to see you back here next year. In the meantime here are the 5 most read posts from Berry Lovely in 2012.

5. Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake

Definitely one of my favorite cakes of this year. The tangy yoghurt mousse, rich chocolate mousse and fruity raspberries make a perfect combination.
4. Blackberry Coconut Cakes

Blackberry and coconut was a new flavor combination for me, but surprisingly tasty. Also worked well for tartlets and ice-pops.
3. Lemon Celebration Cake

A multilayer cake, with a beautiful lemon cream, caramel and mascarpone frosting. A few more steps, but the result is great.
2. Lemon Muffins

A big surprise hit were these easy and fast to make lemon muffins.
1. Mango Chocolate Mousse Cake

Also a favorite of mine. I love chocolate mousse cakes paired with some fruit. Here it was a mango mousse and glaze, with tasted very good. One of the cakes, which I have made another time for Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Vanilla Kipferl and a Merry Christmas!

Vanilla Kipferl are one of the most traditional Christmas cookies in Germany. You can probably find them at every German household this time of the year. So, this is the perfect cookie to wish you and your families all to enjoy a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chocolate Mousse - Passion Fruit Cake

Are you still looking for an impressive, but not too difficult cake for Christmas? This could be the one! I made it a few weeks ago, just for me and my husband, in a smaller version. We loved it so much, that I will make it again to bring to our Christmas dinner. For a more Christmas style decoration you can use star cookie cutters in different sizes.

With a little practice this cake is fairly easy to make. You can prepare most of the cake the day before you serve it. Just the chocolate disk is best to put on shortly before serving. To cut the cake it's best to remove the chocolate disk, and cut the cake separately. Then put a piece of the chocolate on each serving.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Peanut & Black Sesame Candy and a Trip to Hong Kong

Finally, I have my promised post about my trip to Hong Kong ready for you. Of course I wanted to make a matching dessert. The obvious choice for me was my favorite egg tart, but I already made it here. I love Chinese food, and even though the desserts are very different and might not look as appetizing on first sight there are some really nice treats to discover.

My choice to make came to Peanut and Black Sesame Candy, you can see them everywhere in Hong Kong in the markets, in department stores, and on the street. They make a great snack, and in the right package, they make perfect gifts for any occasion.

But let me tell you about my recent experience in Hong Kong. I have been to many cities in Asia, but none held the mystique and intrigue like Hong Kong. The "Pearl of the Orient" or "Asia's World City", as it is called.  I have been wanting to travel to Hong Kong for a very long time. Long before I met my husband, who was born there, but left with his family when he was a child.

For him it was the first time going back after almost 25 years. To my surprise he was right at home, and his aunts, uncles, and cousins and nephews were also very enthusiastic towards him, as if he never left. I also felt very welcomed by my new found family, and they are all very warm towards us. So, you can imagine I fell right in love with this city.

Everybody has images of Hong Kong in his head, the enormous skyscrapers, the high population density, the ultimate shopping streets, the beautiful harbor, the peak and other well known landmarks. What I didn't expect was the beautiful nature, almost empty beaches, long hiking trails in lush green surroundings, crystal clear waters and almost rural village live.

We were lucky to stay longer than the typical 3-5 nights that most people do, and I recommend it to everyone to get away from Hong Kong Island and visit some of the surroundings, like the many beautiful islands and the New Territories.

Of course, the food was amazing. In Sai Kung for example, you can buy the seafood directly from the fishing boats and have it prepared at nearby restaurants. The meal we had there was probably one of the best I have ever had.

You can find all kinds regional Chinese cuisines in abundance. We had everything from Peking duck to Shanghainese Xiao Long Bao to Hong Kongs own Dim Sum. If you are tired of Chinese food, which is hard to imagine in Hong Kong, there are still a lot of choices of every international cuisine at all levels. Not to forget the beautiful pastry shops, which you can find in any shopping mall or big name hotels.

I also liked to visit the different temples in Hong Kong, there are big and small ones, old and new, some hidden, some surrounded by beautiful nature, some crowded with people seeking good fortune.

Getting around in Hong Kong was really easy. I have not seen a public transportation system anywhere which was so efficient, modern, clean and all that at a reasonable price. Well, every guide book will tell you this anyhow, but really get an Octopus Card, if you go to Hong Kong. It makes everything very easy, you can use it for bus, metro, ferry, tram and even to get a coffee.

We had a wonderful time, and I hope you like all my pictures. I can't wait to go back soon!

Coming back to the recipe, it is quite simple. Just pour hot sugar syrup on top of a container full of peanuts, and black sesame seeds if available, or substitute with regular sesame. Cut them into small pieces once it is cooled slightly, but not totally hardened. They are crunchy, but not too sweet. Don't worry about using the vinegar, you will not taste it later. Put them in satchels or cellophane bags, and they make perfect Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake

We are back from our wonderful vacation in Hong Kong. It was absolutely fabulous, but before I tell you more about the trip, I have to go through my many, many pictures. Going from tropical heat to frosty temperatures was a shocker for me, but I also like the bright colors of Autumn leaves.

While I am sorting out my photo collection, here is something that fits the season. Seeing all the pumpkins around, I made a chocolate-pumpkin marble cake. I used Hokkaido pumpkin, sliced it, baked it, and pureed it, but you can also used canned pumpkin. It gave a brilliant yellow color, which matches very well with the chocolate.

The cake was very flavorful, wonderful chocolaty, and moist even after a few days. I will definitely make this again.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ispahan Cupcakes (Lychee-Raspberry-Rose)

Ispahan is a strain of pink rose named after the Iranian city of Isfahan. This flower was made famous in the patisseries' world by Pierre Herme, with his renowned Ispahan macaron. This floral-themed treat has two other ingredients: raspberry and lychee.

I have come across a number of recipes that puts these flavors in the settings of cupcakes. Even though I am a big fan of cupcakes, I often find the typical butter cream a little too heavy for my liking. In a number of occasions I substituted butter cream with a topping based on mascapone. Mixed with a fruit puree, it also stands very well, and can be piped in pretty swirls.

The cupcakes are not overly sweet, and the topping has a refreshing note due to the fresh raspberry puree. These are a real elegant treat for a fancy tea time.

By the way, I will be going to Hong Kong for holidays in a few days, so I will be signing off for the next couple weeks. This will be my first time there, and I definitely look forward to sampling local food, though I don't guarantee it will all be cakes and desserts. So until next time, I wish you are enjoying reading this, and making your own little creations in the mean time.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Apple Ricotta Tart

It is definitely fall. Leaves are changing color, the air is getting crisper, and apple trees all around carry their beautiful red fruits. We are lucky to have several apple trees in our garden, so there is no shortage of apple pie, apple compote, apple chips, and apple pancakes in our kitchen right now.

An apple tart looks a little more elegant than it's rustic cousin the good old apple pie. I love them both. This tart here has a delicious ricotta cream layer, seasoned with some lemon zest. It makes the tart very fresh and light tasting. Sprinkled with some brown sugar, the apples get a nice caramelized touch. It tastes best slightly warm with some freshly whipped cream.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blackberry Ricotta Cheesecake

I haven't made cheesecake in a while, so it was about time. I didn't want to make a plain one, but one with a fruit topping. Since summer is coming to an end, the choices for fresh fruit are getting smaller. Luckily we still had some blackberries in the garden. We picked enough of them to pile them up high on the cake, drizzled with some maple syrup.

The cheesecake batter uses a combination of ricotta, yoghurt, as well as some quark. It's really creamy, but not as heavy as when made with cream cheese. I think it would also look very pretty with raspberries, but I guess this has to wait until next year.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Peach Rosemary Muffins

I love peaches. They are in season at the peak of summer. Unfortunately I developed some kind of allergy in recent years. I can't eat them raw more than one or two at a time, but if they're baked or cooked I'd do just fine. My favorite cake for peaches is still a galette I posted here three years ago. It's always the first thing I make when they are the season. This year I paired peaches with blackberries. It was a big hit.

Being such a summery fruit, I always associate them with the Mediterranean. Usually the peaches we get in Germany are grown in either Italy or Spain. These little muffins here convey this Mediterranean summer feeling perfectly, with the best this region has to offer. Juicy and sweet peaches are combined with rosemary, pine nuts and olive oil. They are perfect to be enjoyed for the last summery days. Instead of muffins, you can also bake them as mini loaves.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Tartlets

There are two types of lemon tarts, those with baked lemon cream, which I made before here, and those filled with lemon curd. I like both versions, even though I think the lemon curd ones taste more fresh and fruity. Instead of meringue I like to top them with fresh berries. It's delicious and also gives a nice color contrast.

Unfortunately I missed going to the forest to pick some wild blueberries this year, but I still found some nice ones at the farmers market. Feel free to top them with any berries you like.

On a site note I am happy to announce that I am the Winner at the Originality Category at this month' DMBLGIT contest with my picture of the strawberry balsamic ice-cream. Thanks to Sihi from wandering ladle for hosting this month event and congratulations to my fellow winners. Check out all the beautiful pictures on Sihi's blog.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Blackberry Coconut Cakes

Lately I came across a number of recipes that call for a combination of blackberry and coconut. This pairing sounded a little odd at first, but as unfamiliar as it was, it had a hint of intrigue in flavor and texture. I first tried a blackberry coconut tart, then some blackberry coconut popsicles. After my initial success I decided to try something a little more challenging.

The recipe came again from one of my favorite German patissiers Bernd Siefert. I really love his cakes, and have baked several of his recipes over time, some of them I already blogged about, like the Strawberry-Raspberry Charlotte, the Chocolate Berry Tart and the Strawberry-Champagne Cake. One day I really have to take a trip up to his cafe.

This cake consists of two layers of coconut sponge, filled with blackberry-coconut mousse. The sponge cake itself is not very thick, so it's a little difficult to cut it into two slices. Alternatively you could bake them separately, each with half the batter. The mousse really gets its flavor boost from the lemongrass. The longer you steep the lemongrass in the coconut milk, the more intense it gets.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Red Currant Meringue Tartlets

I have not always been a fan of red currants because they are very sour, but I have come to appreciate their taste. In parts of southern Germany there is a specialty called "Träubleskuchen". It is red currants folded into a meringue, sometimes even with ground nuts, served on top of a buttery pastry. I find that the tartness of the currants makes them the perfect match for something sweet like meringues. Eating these cloud-like fillings will make you feel like you are in heaven.

"Träubleskuchen" are very famous, and are usually served as a cake. This time, however, I have decided to make them into little tartlets. I think they look cute. Besides, I like the fact that you can put a little stem of red currents on top of each tartlet; they make excellent decoration. They are great for a tea time display.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cherry Cake with Florentine Topping

I love florentines. These caramel based almond biscuits are dipped in dark chocolate, sometimes with dried fruits. This makes them crunchy yet chewy. This cake uses the plain florentine as topping, supported by a fruit layer made of cherry, and a vanilla cake base.

This recipe was for a big cake, but I only made half the portion. However, the cherry layer was still a little moist when I took it out of the oven. Maybe the oven was too hot, or I misjudged the baking time with the reduced portions. But it was still good, so next time a big one is in order.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake

Today's cake is a real taste sensation, no less. You probably had chocolate raspberry truffles before; they are one of my favorites. Raspberry and chocolate together is just heavenly. This cake tastes like a big version of it.

The recipe also uses a yoghurt mousse, which creates a delicate balance in the acidity of the yoghurt, the sweetness of the chocolate, and the tartness of the raspberry. Since the berries looked so fresh and full of life, I also think that this cakes accentuates these beautiful little jewels.

Piping the mousse took a bit of skill and lots of patience. I am still not yet fully satisfied with the results. Another thing that you need to keep in mind, is that the cake might take a while in the fridge to set, especially on a hot sunny day. I served it a little too early and the first couple slices went out of shape a little. After putting it back in the fridge, the rest was fine.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Berry Charlotte for my 3rd Blog Anniversary!

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my blog, and to celebrate this occasion I have made another berry-themed cake for you. Since “berry lovely” is the name of this blog, I wanted to create something with berries, like what I did for each blog anniversary.

It is a Berry Charlotte, and it is made of ladyfingers with a ladyfinger base and filled with a berry mousse. I also used a generous portion of fresh, mixed berries to accentuate its berry-loveliness.

I wanted to make a mousse which is similar to a Bavarian Cream, but I also wanted to include mascarpone in it, like in a TiramiSu. So I tried to combine the two, and it worked out perfectly. I even got the amount for the gelatin right at the first try.

Now, there was a bit of an obstacle. Since this summer has been very cold and rainy, the berry season has been particular short. While there usually is an ample supply of berries in our garden, the season is already over for us this year. So I made a compromise, and bought some fresh berries from the local farmer’s market. They were still very beautiful, a bit expensive, but I would say the end justifies the means, and hubby agrees.

Happy birthday, Berry Lovely.

I love berries; they’re lovely. I still love that blog name.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Black Forest Saint Honoré and some Chocolate Éclairs

For a long time I wanted to make a Saint Honoré cake. I never ate it before, but it always looked tempting, every time I saw it in cookbooks. On my recent trip to Tokyo I finally had my very first Saint Honoré, and from none other than Pierre Herme. It was the rose-raspberry version, which is also known as the Ispahan. After that I was determined to make one myself.

I was first thinking about making a raspberry or strawberry Saint Honoré, but I wanted to make something different. So I got this idea while I was picking sour cherries in our garden. Why not make a Black Forest St. Honoré.

It's everybody's favorite, and sour cherries are one of the most important ingredients. Of course, as with any normal black forest cake, you will also need chocolate, Kirsch and whipping cream.

This cake is quite a project, what you can see by the length of the recipe. A few components, like the cherry compote, pastry cream and chocolate glaze can be made in advance, and stored in the fridge for up to two days.

The recipe is enough to also make some extra chocolate eclairs, which share the same base recipes. They were equally good, and maybe a good starting point, if you don't want to tackle the whole recipe.

After finishing, I thought I will never make them again, since it's so much work. But taking the first bite, I immediately changed my mind, they were just so tasty.

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