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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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.
 ♦

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Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Summer Slices

Homemade Phyllo Dough

In Bosnia and neighboring countries phyllo dough (orignally jufka – read yoofkah) is often made for pastries such as pita/burek or baklava. Even though phyllo can be bought at the store or bakery, fresh, homemade phyllo is always the best! In the past it was very desirable for a young woman to know how to make jufka. Often after a girl learned how to make phyllo, family members would jokingly say “Well now you CAN get married!” Sooo, I hope you can imagine how important phyllo dough is in a young girl’s life and in what kind of pressure I was to learn how to make it! 🙂 A Bosnian husband wants a wife who knows how to make pita and baklava! All jokes aside, I really like that I’ve learned how to make jufka, to keep tradition alive and to treat my family and friends with this delicious food of my ancestors.

Phyllo dough can be made two ways (that I know of). One, with a very long rolling pin and other, with pulling and stretching dough by hand until paper thin. I use the second technique because it’s easier and somewhat less time consuming.

When making phyllo dough, give yourself plenty of time, as this is a process of kneading – resting – kneading – resting – resting – stretching – baking… plus preparing the filling. It is time consuming, but so well worth it in the end!

There are different recipes for phyllo, which warry in adding or excluding one or two ingredients. The key ingredients are flour, warm water and salt. Some add an egg to it, some add vinegar, some oil, depending on how it’s made in their family. I also want to point out that you can’t use any kind of flour for phyllo. I’ve tried 4-5 different brands with horrible results (the dough wouldn’t stretch, it was rubbery and ended up in the trash can). In the US the best flour for phyllo (in my opinion) is King Arthur all-purpose flour.

Also, there are different ways of shaping phyllo pastries. Two traditional Bosnian ways are to shape it as swirls or layer it. Here I will show how to make pita/burek swirls.

Homemade Phyllo Dough or Jufka (Yufka)       Printable recipe

*** This is a recipe for a larger quanity. You may use just half the measure.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups (640 g) flour (King Arthur all-purpose flour)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ¼ cups (530 ml) warm water
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil

Also needed:

  • Cotton table cloth or fabric to cover the table for stretching the dough
  • Pizza knife or any sharp knife
  • Large baking pan
  • Oil to grease the pan

***FILLINGS (For the above quantity of dough use about 1 lb of any two fillings below)

Cottage cheese filling (cottage cheese, sour cream, egg and salt)

Ground beef feeling (finely chop onion and sauté in a bit of oil, add ground beef and sauté just until brown, salt and pepper to taste)

Spinach filling (blanched spinach, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, sour cream, egg, salt)

Preparation:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine warm water, vinegar and oil and slowly start pouring into flour mixing the whole time. If the dough is sticky add more flour.
  2. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (3 pieces if using ½ above measure). Knead each piece on a flour dusted surface about 50 times and form it into a ball. Make sure each ball is dusted with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
  3. After resting the dough balls will be soft to touch and smoother than before. Repeat the kneading process and again form them into balls, just this time coat every piece with cooking oil so they look nice and shiny. Cover again with plastic wrap and let rest for another 20-30 minutes.
  4. Brush your working surface with oil and roll out the ball of dough into an approx. 12 X 7 inch oval (30 X 18 cm). Brush the top of it with oil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Cover the table with cloth, grease the baking pan and pre-heat the oven to 425 F (218 C).
  6. Place the rolled out dough piece on a rolling pin and transfer it onto the cloth. Put both hands under the dough with palms up and stretch gently from the middle to the sides. The dough is supposed to be elastic and stretchy (if not, let it rest for about 10 more minutes then try again). After that, stretch the sides so the whole piece covers the table.
  7. Please see the photos on how to add filling and wrap it.

Bake until golden brown and enjoy!

Wheat-Rye Bread with Kefir

About a year ago we started using kefir as a part of our daily nutrition. Kefir has multiple benefits for your body and can be used as a plain drink, a smoothie, and can also be mixed into pancakes, breads and other baked goods since it contains some beneficial yeasts. Fresh (24 hour kefir) is very mild and yogurt-like tasting. After 48 hours it becomes somewhat sour and after 72 hours quite sour. It is still good to use, it just depends on what you prefer. Today I was experimenting a little with the 72-hour kefir just to see what kind of flavor my bread will have. In the back of my mind I had this idea that it may taste like sourdough bread…

 WHEAT-RYE BREAD WITH KEFIR            Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (500 g) bread flour (wheat)
  • 1 cup (100 g) rye flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) kefir (room temperature)
  • 1 ¼ (300 ml) warm water
  • Flour for kneading
  • ½ cup (125 ml) water for baking

Preparation:

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer combine wheat and rye flour, add yeast and keep mixing for a minute or two.
  2. Now add kefir, warm water and salt and keep mixing for about 5 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes and again mix for another 5.
  3. Put the dough on a flour dusted surface and knead for a few minutes. Form into a ball, place it back into bowl, cover it and let it rise for about 1 – 1 ½ hour.
  4. When the dough looks double its size, place it back on the working surface, knead it thoroughly and form it into a desired shape. Dust it with flour, cover it and let it rise for about 30 minutes.
  5. While the dough is resting, heat the oven to450 F. Placea baking dish (oven safe) into the oven for 10 minutes to heat it.
  6. With a sharp knife cut a lengthwise ½ inch slit in the bread. Pick it up from the working surface and place it in the hot baking dish. Place a ½ cup of water on the bottom of the oven. This will provide necessary moisture and the bread will get a nice thick, crunchy crust.
  7. Lower the oven temperature to 430 F and bake for about 40 minutes.
  8. Cool down completely and enjoy!

*** This bread made with sour kefir tastes so much like a real sourdough bread!

Grandma’s Plum Cake

My favorite kind of plums are Damson plums. They are very common in Bosnia, where I grew up. Their smell and taste remind me of my childhood and my grandparents.

I was so happy to find them on my Saturday’s visit to our local Farmer’s Market. I decided to make this cake by my grandma’s recipe. Her plum cake is delicious, rich and aromatic, and the whole house was enveloped in its heavenly smell.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2.2 lbs (1 kg) Damson plums (washed, pitted and quartered)
  • 1 pack of vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 5 eggs (divided)
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 pack of vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 small lemon (zest and juice)
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup (75 g) walnuts (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp confectioners sugar (for sprinkling the cake)
Also needed:
  • Parchment paper
  • 9 X 13 inch (23 X 33 cm) rectangular baking pan
1. Wash the plums, dry them, remove pits and quarter them. Mix sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract), cinnamon and sprinkle over plums. Mix well and set aside.
2. For the batter beat egg whites with just a pinch of salt, until shiny and firm. Set aside.
3. Mix egg yolks, sugar and vanilla sugar at a fast rate and until pale yellow, add melted butter and continue mixing for another minute.
4. Fold in (by hand) lemon juice and zest. Also gently fold in flour and at the end egg whites just until combined (Batter needs to look fluffy).
5. Now add the plums into batter and mix them in well (by hand).
6. Pour the batter into 9 X 13 in rectangular baking pan, lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
7. Bake at 395 F (200 C) about 30 minutes. Cool down completely, sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
BON APPETIT!!! 🙂
Damson Plums – fresh from the Farmer’s Market
Batter
In the pan and sprinkled with walnuts
Voila!

Dinner Rolls from scratch

Delicious dinner rolls are pretty simple to make if you have a little time. They are great, not only for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but for special occasions and holidays as well.  I like to shape them like knots, pull-aparts or crescents, just for a fun of it! 🙂 Homemade dinner rolls are super yummy and soooo much better tasting than the store bought ones! In addition to that, they don’t contain any preservatives and questionable ingredients. You may sprinkle them with your favorite topping or just leave them plain!

Ingredients for about 15-16 rolls:

  • 4 cups ( 512 g) all-purpose flour*
  • 2/3 cup (75 g) dry milk powder
  • 1 pack of active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar*
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp (42 g) butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • about 2 1/4 cup (500 ml) warm water
Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
1. In a large bowl (or a stand mixer bowl) combine and mix well all dry ingredients, add thinly sliced butter. Pour little by little water into the bowl and mix slowly for 2-3 minutes, add oil and continue mixing for the next 5 minutes.
2. When the dough doesn’t stick to the walls of the bowl and it looks shiny and smooth, form it into a ball, cover with a clean dish towel and let it raise over night or at least 1 to 1 1/2 hour. The dough needs to double its volume.
3. Sprinkle your working surface with flour, roll the dough into a 10 X 15 inch (25 X 35 cm) rectangle. Prepare a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Grease your muffin pan.
4. For the knot shaped rolls cut the dough at the shorter end into 1 in (2.5 cm) strips. Tie a strip into a knot with ends placed on the bottom. Allow some space between knots as they will raise and expand during baking.
5. For the pull-apart rolls, form 1 inch balls, putting three together into a muffin pan.
6. For the egg wash, lightly beat an egg with two table spoons of milk, brush over rolls and sprinkle with your favorite topping or just leave plain. Let the rolls raise for about 30-45 minutes.
7. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C) and bake about 20 minutes or until beautiful golden-brown color.
*Note:
For bread and rolls I always use “King Arthur” all-purpose or bread flour. I think it is the best flour on US market.
If you like sweeter rolls add 2 more tbsp of sugar into the dough.
Bon Appetite!

Peach Upside-Down Cake

After making peach jam last weekend, I had some peaches left and decided to make this delicious peach upside-down cake. I usually make this cake with plums, but thought peaches would work just as good. This cake is really easy to make, it’s moist and not too sweet, just yummy! 🙂 Enjoy!!!

Peach Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 peaches (peeled and pitted)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) butter (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup (125 g) sugar
  • 1 small lemon (zest and juice)
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup (175 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Also needed:

  • a small cooking pot
  • 9 inch (23 cm) round springform pan
  • parchment paper
  • aluminum foil

1. Wash the peaches and cut a small cross on the top and the bottom of each. In a small cooking pot boil some water, place peaches inside for 30 seconds, take them out and let them cool down. Peel them, remove pits and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Set aside.

2. Mix butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add a pinch of salt, zest and juice of one lemon. Add an egg one by one, mixing well after each. Fold in sour cream and at the end fold in gently (by hand) flour combined with baking powder.

3. Line the 9 in springform cake pan with a 9 in diameter parchment paper. Combine 2 and 2 tbsp white and brown sugar. Arrange sliced peaches in alternating rows (see below), sprinkle with sugar mixture. Pour the batter over the peaches.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 385 F (about 195 C). Take a 20 in piece of aluminum foil and fold its ends as to make a square pan. Place the cake on the middle oven rack and the aluminum foil pan just on the rack underneath (to catch the peach juices and keep the oven clean).

5. Bake about 30 – 45 minutes until golden brown or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

Note: Springform cake pan vs. regular cake pan. For this kind of cake I prefer a springform pan. Why? Well, let’s just say I learned from my own mistakes! 😀 In a regular cake pan juices from the peaches/plums can’t ecscape and cake turns out soggy. In the springform juices can drip out (reason for using aluminum foil catcher) and the cake turns out perfect.

Peeled, pitted and ready to go!

Now sprinkled with sugar!

Pour the batter on the peaches.

Enjoy! 🙂