Summer Slices

This is a nice summery dessert which I created using a batter recipe for a marble cake, minus the cocoa and instead of in a bunt cake form I baked it in large baking pan with addition of some fresh fruit on the top. I call it Summer Slices for every piece has a nice amount of summer fruit and berries and it looks so colorful. This cake is perfect for a family gathering or a party, it’s simple to make and super delicious!

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Summer Slices

[Printable Recipe]

Ingredients

  • 300 g butter (10.5 oz or 65 sticks)- softened
  • 275 g (9.7 oz or 2 ¼ cups + 2 tbsp) sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 375 g (13.2 oz or about 3 cups)all-purpose flour
  • 2 – 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Various fruit (peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
  • Slivered almonds (toasted)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Baking pan 32 x 44 x 2.5 cm (12 X 17 X 1 inch)
  • Parchment paper (size of the pan)

Preparation

  1. Beat softened butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until nice and foamy 1 – 2 minutes.
  2. Add eggs one by one mixing ½ minute after each addition.
  3. Mix in lemon zest.
  4. Combine flour and baking powder and stir well, then start adding to the butter mixture mixing at a medium speed.
  5. At the end add milk and stir until all well combined.
  6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spread the batter evenly on the pan.
  7. Lightly toast slivered almonds and set aside.
  8. If you use peaches you will need about 4 large. Boil some water and immerse peaches into boiling water for about a minute. Peel them and slice into thin slices (about 1.5 cm or 1/2 inch).
  9. Spread them on the batter, sprinkle with berries and toasted almonds
  10. Bake at 195 C or 385 F until lightly brown on the top.
  11. Let it cool down and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into slices and serve.
 ♦

Summer SlicesSummer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Sweet Yeasted Buns: recreating mom’s recipe

Numerous times I tried to recreate these sweet, fluffy buns that mom used to make when we were children. I don’t have a recipe because mama always made these without one! I think today they have turned out just right – right amount of sweetness, softness, right texture and above all the right taste! I know she would be proud of me – Happy Birthday Mama! 🙂

Sweet Yeasted Buns                    Printable recipe

(KORPICE- is the name of these buns, which in Bosnian language means “little baskets”)

Dough:

  • 4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2.8 oz (80 g) sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup (295 ml) warm milk
  • 0.7 oz (20 g) fresh yeast
  • ½ lemon (zest only)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2.8 oz (80 g) butter (softened)
  • Flour for kneading

Filling:

  • 3.5 oz (100 g) finely chopped walnuts
  • 3.5 (100 g) fresh blackberries (mashed)
  • 5.2 oz (150 g) blackberry jam
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

***1 Tablespoon powder sugar + 1 pack of vanilla sugar for dusting

Preparation:

For the dough combine the flour, sugar and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl. Make an indent in the flour. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and lightly pour the milk into the flour. Mix the dough until almost combined, add the egg and the yolks, mix some more and at the end add butter.

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Form into a ball, place into a buttered bowl, cover and let it rest until double in size. The dough supposed to be medium firm. Once is rises is will be stretchy, soft and easy to work with.

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Just mix all ingredients together and set aside until needed.

Once the dough is ready place it on a floured surface and roll it into a rectangle (approx. size 12 X 24 inches or 30 X 60 cm). With a pizza knife cut it into 24 squares.  Place some of the filling in the middle of each square, pick up opposite corners together as to form a little basket. Pinch the sides good so the filling doesn’t come out.

Cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 15 minutes or until you see nice golden-brown tops.

While still warm, dust with mixture of sugar and vanilla sugar. Serve warm with coffee or a cup of milk.

YUM! ENJOY! 🙂

Pancakes: Once you go ricotta, you’ll never go back!

I have never been a big fan of pancakes… Since I wasn’t born in the USA I didn’t grow up having pancake breakfasts, I didn’t know what maple syrup was, I just didn’t know they existed at all. My first experience eating real American pancakes was quite some years ago at a classic pancake house during breakfast with some coworkers. I remember quite well I ordered pecan pancakes and coffee that morning. They looked fabulously stacked with the butter on the top and maple syrup dripping from the edges. I enthusiastically dug in, but to my disappointment they somehow tasted like dish-washing detergent… and I am serious when I say this! It was such a let down! I tried to finish them taking big gulps of coffee to flush them down. That first experience somehow just got me into thinking that I should never eat pancakes again. Luckily, in years to come I have had some great pancakes at friends’ homes, homemade and all yummy, but I still didn’t have the courage to try to make them myself. Since my daughter is a big fan of pancakes I’ve made them for her a few times and they’ve turned out OK, but still for me that wasn’t it. Practicing and experimenting with ricotta, I managed to come up with a recipe that totally suits my family’s taste buds. The batter is so light and fluffy, the pancakes are airy and just sweet enough. Adding some berries to it, just further enhances the taste! I will say it again: Once you go ricotta, you’ll never go back!!!

Ricotta pancakes with blackberries                        Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (divided)
  • 8 oz  (225 g) ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract (or pack of vanilla sugar)
  • 3/4 cup (96 g) flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • Blackberries (or blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)

Preparation:

  1. Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until fluffy. Set aside.
  2. In one bowl whisk the egg yolks with vanilla, add ricotta cheese, milk and lemon zest and mix until combined.
  3. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt.
  4. Add the flour into the egg mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in the egg whites and lightly mix by hand just until combined. Batter will be very fluffy.
  5. Heat a griddle or a pan, butter lightly and using a small ladle pour the batter onto it. Add a few blackberries on each pancake and bake on each side for a minute or two until golden-brown.
  6. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Yum, yum, yummm!

Bon Appétit!

Blackberry Blossoms in soft pastel – Part I

One painting done, another one in making. This time I am trying to get out of my comfort zone and paint some blackberry blossoms. They caught my eye the other day when we were taking our dogs for a walk in the park. They are so subtle and graceful with their fine, white petals. Usually I paint landscapes, architecture, animals occasionally, but not flowers. Recently I painted some tulips for exercise and didn’t like the end result (maybe because photo wasn’t mine)… This time the photo is mine and I am eager to do this well! Stay tuned.

Chocolate Mousse-Blackberry Birthday Cake

My youngest child, my baby daughter has turned 15. I still remember the day she came into this world and into my life. I felt immeasurably happy and blessed to hold my little bundle of joy in my arms. I miss those days when she was so dependent on me and when I could spend every minute taking care of her, cuddling her and kissing her chubby cheeks. I miss dressing her for school, brushing her hair, playing with her, coloring together. I even miss buying toys! 🙂 I got a bit misty eyed remembering the good old days, but I am delighted to see her growing up to be a beautiful, smart, artistic and caring young lady. Can a mother ever say enough of great things about her child? 🙂

As she has a beautifully distinguished character, so her wish for a birthday cake was a bit unusual as well: A Blackberry Cake. Birthday blackberry cake was certainly a challenge, but it turned out super delicious!

Chocolate Mousse-Blackberry Birthday Cake                    Printable recipe

Cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2.6 oz (75 g) flour
  • 1.7 oz (50 g) corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Chocolate mousse:

  • 2 cups (500 ml) chilled heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4.4 oz (125 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2.6 oz (75 g) milk chocolate

Frosting and decoration:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 5.2 oz (150 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 24 oz (700 g) blackberries
  • 1-2 tbsp powder sugar
  • Blackberry leaves for decoration

Cake preparation:

Divide eggs. Beat egg whites with 3 tbsp water until foamy. Slowly add sugar and vanilla, mix for couple of minutes, then add one by one egg yolk. Combine flour, corn starch and baking powder. Gently fold into egg mixture. Pour the batter into a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 365 F (185 C) 20 – 30 minutes. Cool completely and then slice through into two equal pieces.

Chocolate mousse preparation:

Heat  3/4 cup (125 ml) cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F (71 C)on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.

Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool. Beat remaining 1 1/4 (375 ml)cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.

Place the bottom cake part back into the spring form. Pour the chocolate mousse onto the cake. Cover and leave it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Do not put top cake piece over the mousse as it is still very soft. Cover with plastic wrap and save it until ready to ensemble the cake.

Prepare frosting and decoration:

Whip heavy cream until firm, add sugar and vanilla. Cover and leave in the fridge until ready to ansamble the cake. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Spread the melted chocolate in two thin ribbons on piece of parchment paper, place it in the freezer. Make sure each ribbon is at least 3 inches (7-8 cm) high.

Wash blackberries and place them on a kitchen towel to dry.

Ensamble the cake:

  1. Remove the spring form with mousse from the fridge. If the mousse is firm enough, place the second sponge cake on the top.
  2. Remove the cake from the spring form and place it onto a serving plate. Frost the cake all around with whipped cream.
  3. Remove the chocolate ribbons from the freezer. Break them up into 1 – 2 inch pieces. Make sure pieces are little higher than the cake. Place the pieces around the cake to form a „fence“.
  4. Place the blackberries on the top of the cake. If desired, dust with powder sugar and decorate with blackberry leaves.

Enjoy! 🙂