Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Cake

Rhubarb again, you might say! Yes, this time with its favorite buddy – strawberry and all enveloped in a tasty batter with scrumptious topping of streusel and almond slices.

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You will love this spring/summery dessert and especially if you are baking for a large crowd. In no time you’ll have a large baking sheet of super tasty, fruity goodness.

This is me, using a large rhubarb leaf from my garden as a fan. 😀

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Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Cake

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:
• 450 g (200 + 250) or 7 oz + 8.8 oz flour
• 400 g (150 + 250) or 5 oz + 8.8 sugar
• 2 packs (1 + 1) vanilla sugar (or 2 tsp [1+1]vanilla extract)
• 400 g (150 + 250)or 5 oz + 8.8 butter
• 1 pinch of salt
• 500 g (1.1 lb)rhubarb
• 800 g (1.7 lb)strawberries
• 4 large eggs
• 75 g (2.6 oz) corn starch
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 75 g (2.6 oz) sliced almonds
Prepare streusel:
For the streusel combine qty of ingredients marked bold in the ingredient list – flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and cut in butter with a pastry blender or hand until it resembles coarse crumb. Cover and place in the fridge.

Streusel

Cake:
1. Wash rhubarb, pat dry and cut into 1.5 cm or ½ inch pieces. Wash strawberries and split them into halves if small and into quarters if bigger.
2. For the batter combine the remaining butter (or half qty of butter, half cream cheese), remaining sugar and vanilla. Mix at high speed until creamy. Add one by one egg making sure they are well mixed into batter.
3. Combine remaining flour, corn starch and baking powder and stir well. Lower the speed and add the flour mixture.
4. Spread the batter onto a large baking pan covered with parchment paper. I’ve used 13 X 17 inches which is about 33 X 43 cm.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cake 1
5. Place rhubarb and strawberries on the top of the batter. Sprinkle with sugar (if desired). Now spread streusel over it and finally almond slices.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cake 2
6. Bake at 200 C or 395 F 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, let it cool and serve. You may want to sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
ENJOY!

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Rhubarb Meringue Cake

It’s rhubarb season and this year rhubarb in my garden has been growing like crazy! Over the weekend I picked five stalks, two of which weighed almost a pound. I was searching for a good rhubarb dessert recipe and finally decided to go with this one, which I adapted from a German website.IMG_0936FullSizeRender

I love rhubarb, but because of its tartness I often pair it up with strawberries. Other recipes with rhubarb only, seem to call for a huge amount of sugar, which I try to avoid as often as possible. This cake, even though with rhubarb only, has a perfect balance of tart in the sponge part and then sweet in the meringue top. It tastes heavenly and I will be making it again this rhubarb season.

I tried to go a little fancy with piping the meringue on the top, but it can be just simply spread over the cake. If you choose to do the piping, I’d suggest to add one more egg white because I ran out of it (one corner of the cake didn’t have meringue on, but I was embarrassed to show it… :D)

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Rhubarb Meringue Cake

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:
• 800 g (1 ¾ lb)Rhubarb
• 1 TBSP sugar
• 125 g (4.4 oz) Sugar
• 125 g (4.4 oz) Butter (room temperature)
• 1 Pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
• 1/2 Lemon (zest only)
• 1 Pinch of salt
• 3 Large eggs (divided)
• Sugar*** (for meringue – see step 6.)
• 1 Whole egg
• 100 g (3.5 oz) Corn starch
• 100 g (3.5 oz) All-purpose flour
• 2 tsp Baking powder
• 2–3 TBSP Milk
Preparation:
1. Wash and dry rhubarb stalks and cut into ½ inch pieces. Sprinkle with 1 TBSP sugar and set aside in a bowl.
2. Divide eggs and place the egg whites in the fridge.
3. Place butter in a mixer bowl, add sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon zest and mix until fluffy, then add 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg and mix until is all well incorporated.
4. In another bowl combine flour, corn starch and baking powder and mix well. Start adding it to the egg mixture alternating with milk. The batter will turn out really nice and creamy.
5. Prepare a 13 X 9 inch baking pan. Brush the sides with butter and place parchment paper on the bottom. Place the batter into the pan, spreading evenly. Now place the rhubarb on the top. Bake at 395 F (200 C) for about 25 minutes.

Rhubarb Meringue Cake
6. While cake is baking take the egg whites out of the fridge and weigh them. The weight of your egg whites will determine the quantity of sugar you will need. (My egg whites weighed 108 grams, so I measured 108 g sugar for my meringue). I learned that by using the same quantity of egg whites and sugar I get the best meringue.

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7. Beat the egg whites on high gradually adding sugar for about 3-4 minutes or until soft peaks form. If you turn your bowl upside down they will stay in place.
Meringue

8. When cake is done, take it briefly out of the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 250 F (120 C). Spread or pipe the meringue on the cake and bake it for another 20-25 minutes.
9. Let it cool and serve.

ENJOY! 🙂

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Savory Muffins with Queso Fresco

Queso Fresco Muffins 2

Hello Friends, I hope everyone is doing well! 🙂 Spring is my favorite time of the year, I feel inspired to paint, bake and do all sorts of creative projects around the house. I made these savory muffins last Sunday for breakfast and they were a hit with my family. They are easy to make and you can have them on the table in less than an hour. They go well with butter, pate, cream cheese, jam or even just plain they taste wonderful. I imagine adding some bacon bits into batter would work great. Instead of Queso Fresco you can also use Feta cheese or any crumbly cheese. I absolutely loved the taste and the texture and will be making them again soon.

Savory Muffins with Queso Fresco

{Printable recipe}

  • Yields 12 muffins

Ingredients:

*** Use dry measure cup for all ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 TBSP butter (melted)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 oz Queso Fresco (or Feta cheese) finely crumbled

Preparation:

  1. Beat eggs, yogurt, oil and melted butter at a high speed until smooth.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  3. Lower the mixing speed and slowly add all dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
  4. At the end mix in Queso Fresco.

Queso Fresco Muffins

5. Brush the muffin form with melted butter.
6. Fill the batter into 3/4 of the muffin forms.
7. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 20-25 minutes.

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Here they are right out of the oven:

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And on the table:

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My Favorite Croissants

For a long time I’ve been searching for a croissant recipe that will suit my taste. I’ve tried many recipes and they were all good, but still not what I was looking for. I really like a rustic kind of croissant, that’s crispy outside and has nice, textured layers inside. If you like the same, look no further because this recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook is the right one for you.

This baking book is SO good, I absolutely love every single recipe inside of it. There are also step by step directions and pictures for making bread, croissant dough, danishes dough, etc. If you didn’t get the book yet, please do, you will be inspired, mesmerized and if you are not already in love with baking, you will definitely be after going through this book. Please read David Lebovitz impression of The Bourke Street Bakery – Sydney, AU.

This recipe might seem a bit too long and complicated, but in the end it’s just repeating one same process three times.  Once you start making it, it is really simple and the results, oh the results are exceptional! 🙂 Give yourself plenty of time. I usually start making the dough in the late afternoon or evening. There is a lot waiting and resting. I do the final two steps the next morning when I plan to have croissants for breakfast.

This quantity of dough will make about 18 large croissants. That was way too much for the four of us, so I divided the dough in half and made bear claws the next day. Making pain au chocolat would be an idea too.

Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe

My Favorite Croissants

[printable recipe]

(Recipe from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook)

Makes approximately 18 large croissants

For the ferment

(Ferment is a small amount of dough that needs to be made first and will help your croissant dough develop and rise):

  • 100 g plain flour, chilled (3.5 oz)
  • 55 ml whole milk, chilled (1 ¾ fl oz)
  • 5 g (or 1 tsp) brown sugar, chilled
  • A pinch of salt, chilled (1/2 tsp)
  • 5 g fresh yeast, chilled (1/8 oz)
  • 20 g unsalted butter, softened (3/4 oz)

Make the Ferment:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a ball. Knead it for about 10 minutes until becomes elastic and smooth. If using electric mixer, use dough hook and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.

Put the ferment in a bowl covered with plastic and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to ferment. After, store the pre-ferment in the fridge overnight (this can be kept for few days in the fridge).

For the croissant dough

(Chill everything in the fridge before you start making the dough, including the flour and sugar):

  • 935 g strong white flour (2 lb 1 oz)
  • 550 ml whole milk (19 fl oz)
  • 60g brown sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 15 g salt (3 tsp)
  • 35 g fresh yeast (1 ¼ oz)
  • Plus 500 g unsalted butter (1 lb 2 oz)  for laminating (the rolling and folding process for the dough)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 80 ml (about 1/3 cup) milk
  • Pinch of salt

Make the Dough:

Divide the ferment into 8-10 small pieces, mix it together with all other ingredients, except butter, in a mixing bowl until a dough ball is formed.

Transfer the dough ball to a bench and knead for 10 – 15 minutes (by hand) until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and doesn’t tear when stretched gently. If using electric mixer, using dough hook, mix on low speed for 3 -4 minutes, followed by high speed for another 2 minutes.

Put the dough in a bowl covered with plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Laminate the Dough:

Before starting the dough laminating (i.e. incorporating butter into the dough) remove the butter from the fridge. Pound the butter with rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper into 20 cm (8 inches) flat square. If the butter becomes too soft, store it in the fridge for 15 minutes before using.

Take the dough out of the fridge, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20 x 40 cm (8 x 16 inches). Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over the top. Seal the edges of the dough together to ensure the butter is completely enclosed in the dough.

Gently and carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 20 x 90 cm (8 x 35 inches) (approximately 3 times longer than the piece you started with). Mentally divide the rectangle into three equal sections, top, middle and bottom. Fold the top section over the middle, and fold the bottom to the middle, like folding a letter. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degree so that the dough will be rolled in opposite direction from previous fold. Repeat the rolling, folding, and resting process as above two more times. There will be three foldings and rollings (the term is “three turns”) altogether and you need to rotate the dough 90 degree with each rolling.

After the final rolling and folding, store the laminated dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before shaping into croissants.

Make the egg wash by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Take the laminated dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle about 25 x 100 cm (10 – 40 inches) with 5 -8 mm (1/4 inch) thickness.

Trim the edges of the dough so that it becomes a neat rectangle.

Cut the dough into triangles with 9-cm (3.5 in) base and 21-cm (8 in) height. Stack triangle sheets on baking sheet/papers and chill for 10 minutes.

Shape the Dough:

Take the chilled triangles out of the fridge and shape into croissants. Gently pull the tip of triangle to make the triangle longer. Working from the base, roll it towards the tip. Make sure that the tip is tucked underneath the croissant.

Place shaped croissants on trays lined with baking sheet or paper.

Shaped croissants can be kept in the fridge overnight and baked the next day. Take them out of the fridge next day and follow the proofing and baking steps as below. Brush the surface lightly with egg-wash. Cover the tray with tea towel. Let it stand at warm room temperature for 2 hours until it almost double in size. Croissants are proofed and ready for the bake when the layers become visible and the croissants are very soft and wobbly.

Bake the croissants:

Preheat the oven to 240 C (465 F)

Brush the surface of croissants with egg wash before baking. Put the croissants into the oven, then immediately reduce oven temperature to 190 C (375) and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until deeply golden brown.

Adding ferment to the dough mixture
Adding ferment to the dough mixture
Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill
Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill

Croissant preparation 1

Croissant dough up close - notice all the layers!
Croissant dough up close – notice all the layers!

Croissant preparation 2

Almost ready for the oven
Almost ready for the oven
Fresh from the oven!
Fresh from the oven!
Layers of goodness!
Layers of goodness!
 Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe