Kiafardaily

Category: Baked Sweets

Pomegranate Tartlets

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In winter time, pomegranate is a fruit we always have at home, either for cooking, salad, or this time a desert! I turned this classic fruit tart into a pomegranate tartletes and wow! It was a great success! Everything fresh and I made 100% them out of scratch. Preparing this recipe might seem a little complicated and out of reach in the first glance, but believe me; with a little planning, it is actually pretty pomegranate tart2easy.

My tartlets were reserved a head of time with a couple of friends and thank goodness_ I had saved one for myself. It was delicous and honestly, not enough! I finished the whole tartlet! The zesty orange cream topped with sweet and sour pomegranate seeds is truly a magic match! I totally guarantee that you too would love this desert. You may want to make a couple of extra ones and keep them somewhere safe, so you can eat them in dark when everybody is asleep! Here is the recipe I used to make my tarletes! Happy tart amking my friends.

Seed 2 pomegranates and set aside.

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Orange Pastry Cream

2 eggs

100 gr butter, cut into cubes

1tbsp rind of orange zest

1/2tsp vanilla extract

120gr sugar

1/3cup freshly squeezed orange juice

How to make this cream?

Note: While making this cream, you should whisk the cream constantly; otherwise the eggs coagulate. Also, it is best to make this cream the day before and keep in fridge.

To start, Pour orange juice, sugar and eggs in a sauce pan over low heat. Whisk about 10 minutes. At this time, cream starts to thicken. Stir in butter and orange zest. Whisk for 2 more minutes and remove from heat. To check the doneness, insert a spoon inside the cream and draw a line with your finger. If the line persists, the cream has the right thickness. Remove from heat and pass it through a sieve to remove orange zest and any lumps. Cover the surface with a plastic and cool down in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Sweet shortbread pastry crust

1 3/4 cup (220gr) pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2cup (125gr) butter, softened

1/4cup (60gr) icing sugar

Mix salt and flour. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place the rack in centre of oven.

In a large bowl beat butter until soft and pale. Add icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat until mixed. At the end, stir in flour-salt mix and incorporate it into the batter. Form the dough into a round ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Remove from fridge before using to soften at room temperature. Note that in preparing this short bread dough, we should not beat or over mix. Shortbread pastry crust is a dense dough and has a texture of biscuits. We do not want to incorporate air into the dough which would make it puff up!

Lightly flour a work surface. First method is to roll out the pastry 2-3mm thick, cut out the dough with round cutters, and line the 12 tins. Prick the bottom of pastry crust to prevent puffing during baking. Rest in the fridge for 30 minute. Another and easiest way to line the tins is to take small amount of dough, form it into a ball and shape it into the tins with your fingers. Prick the bottom of pastry crust to prevent puffing during baking. I used the latter method, since we are dealing with a softer dough.

Once chilled, place the pastry tart cases on a baking sheet and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down with your finger. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Then lift out onto a cooling rack to cool down completely before filling.

To assemble the tart, spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place pomegranate seeds on top of cream. If not you are not planning to serve right away, refrigerate. However, It is best to assemble the tart right before serving for a fresh presentation. Happy eating pomegranate tart and enjoy!

 

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Carrot Cake

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Carrot cake is a classic cake that is a expected favorite for both adults and kids. My family is no exception! We love it every time I make it with no leftovers!

This cake is relatively easy to prepare and makes a perfect homemade birthday cake. I prepared this recipe with whole-wheat flour, which along with raisin and carrots adds extra fiber to this cake without sacrificing the taste. The photo I took from my carrot cake makes my children’s mouths to water, and they crave for this family favorite!

Ingredients

  • 180g whole-wheat pastry flour150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 120g butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs1tbsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp salt120g walnuts, chopped
  • 75g raisin, preferably small ones
  • 150g carrot, finely grated

Cake cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F °. Grease a 20 cm baking dish, which is about 8cm deep. Line with baking paper.

Sift the flour twice with baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy and pale in color. Add eggs one at a time and mix well before adding next egg.

Add the flour mix in two portions at a time. Blend with a baking spatula until just incorporated.

In a spate bowl, combine carrot, chopped walnuts and raisin. Stir in through the mixture. Spoon out the cake batter into the baking bin. Bake for 45-50 minutes in preheated oven. Insert a fork to the cake and take out. If the fork is clean, the cake is ready.

Leave the cake in the bin for 15 minutes to cool down. Then run a knife around the inside edges to separate the cake from the bin; turn upside down onto a wire rack to cool down completely for another hour or so. During cooling period, you can make the icing, directions given below!

When the cake is completely cool down, place it on a serving dish or baking rack. Cut the cake in half horizontally and lift the top part carefully and set aside. Ice the bottom layer and put the top part back. Spread the ice through the top and sides of the cake. Put back in the fridge for another 2 hours to stay cool.

Please note, it is very important to cool down the cake completely before you cut the cake horizontally and spread the icing. If the cake is still warm, it causes the fragile icing to melt and losing its original texture.

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Cream Cheese Icing

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 350g icing sugar
  • 75g butter, softened
  • 150g light cream cheese, softened
  • 1tbsp honey

Directions

Sift the icing sugar twice and set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy and whitish is color. Add cream cheese and beat for another minute.

Add 1/3 of icing sugar and beat on a low speed. Add the rest of icing sugar and mix.

Add the honey and beat until you get a creamy texture. Keep in the fridge to firm and stay cold.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie

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As a child, what I knew about pumpkin and squash was limited to the huge Persian butternut squashes which were huge and misshaped! Every time I saw them at the market, I would ask myself, ‘ who could buy these ugly things and eat them?’

It was not in my mom’s or my grandmas’ menus and I just did not like them! Poor pumpkins; I did not know the true taste of them! Those days past and I came to Canada where pumpkins are a symbol of celebration a long with being part of fantastic North America’s food culture.

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Now, I know that the ones in Iran were heirloom varieties and organic! Since they were not part of ordinary people’s food, they were not produced in conventional agriculture! But, the taste must have been fantastic! I confess that I have missed Persian squashes, an important ingredient for many fall recipes! I will sure take some photos when I am in Iran next time!

Now that my cooking skills are influenced by Canadian culture, I am absolutely in love with foods made with squashes and pumpkin! Among them, I love the popular Pumpkin Pie!

It is made with classic sweet pastry dough, sour cream, and most importantly love. I learned this recipe from an old friend and now have made some changes that is unique to this recipe. I use some semolina flour in preparing my sweet pastry that makes my pie crunchy and prevents the dough from becoming too soft and soggy!

The recipe might seem a little complicated but really it is not complicated at all, if you follow the recipe in sections described. You can even make the dough and the pumpkin sauce a head of time that saves you a ton of time and keeps the stress away!

Hope you like and try this scrumptious dessert!

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The recipe might seem a little complicated but really it is not complicated at all, if you follow the recipe in sections described. You can even make the dough and the pumpkin sauce a head of time that saves you a ton of time and keeps the stress away!
Hope you like and try this scrumptious dessert!

Filling

600 gr butternut squash, cut into cubes

½ cup(80gr) raw brown sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ginger or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 large egg and 2 egg yolks

1 cup apple juice

1 cup water

2 Tbsp limejuice

½ tsp vanilla extract

200 gr sour cream

Crust

220 gr pastry flour, sifted

50 gr semolina flour

180 gr cold unsalted butter, cubed

1Tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

1 large egg and1 egg yolks

1 Tbsp cold water

Whipped cream

2/3 cup whipping cream

1/3 cup sour cream or crème fraich

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp honey or icing sugar

To make the crust

Combine the flour, semolina, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add cold butter cubes and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like chunks of coarse meal.

Then add the egg and egg yolks and a Tablespoon of cold water. Give it a few more pulses until the dough just comes together.

Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least one hour. The best is leave it overnight!

If you like to make the dough with hand, mix the flour, semolina flour, sugar, salt and butter cubes in a bowl. Using your fingers rub the flour into the butter cubes until you get a rough mixture. Add the egg and egg yolks and cold water. Continue mixing the batter with your fingers and pressing it until it just comes into a ball of dough. Make sure you do not over do it! This dough does not kneading! Chilling and resting the dough allows the dough to develop well and avoids cracking and easier to work with than a dough that lacks refrigeration.

After the dough is chilled, slightly flour the working surface. Break up the dough into 3 pieces and form a disk.

Roll the dough out with a roller, and turn 90 degrees. Roll the dough out into a 30 centimeter (12-inch), that is 5 millimeter (1/-inch) thick.

Grease a 24cm standard pie pan and transfer the dough into the pan.

Carefully pressing the bottom and the sides; just be careful not to stretch it out. Press the edge of the pan to make a thicker edge. Then, trim the excess though with scissors or the roller. Pierce the bottom of the dough with fork and freeze it for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

Line the pie crust with aluminum foil and fill with raw rice or beans to the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until edges are golden. Take the pie out of the oven and carefully remove the aluminum foil. Remove the pan and place the crust to the oven rack and bake for 20 more minuets.

To make the pumpkin pie filling

Clean the squash, cut the head and bottom, and peel. Dice the pumpkin. Peel and grind ginger. Place pumpkin cubes, ginger, water, apple juice, lime juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Cook on medium low heat for 40 minutes until caramelized. Add vanilla extract at the end and let cool completely.

You can do this step a head of time and refrigerate. This saves you a lot of time!

Blend the squash mixture until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolks. Pulse until completely mixed. Add sour cream and give a few pulses until the mixture is smooth and homogenized.

Return the crust into the pan and Pour the filling into the pie and bake for 30 minutes at 270F (200C).

Let the pie cool completely and then remove from the pan. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve chilled.

To make the whipping cream

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the honey or icing sugar, and the sour cream. Mix with a spatula in a circular motion until just mixed. You can also make the cream a head and save time!

Cut the pie into pieces and serve with  whipped cream. It is just heavenly delicious! Enjoy

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Pink Strawberry Cup Cakes

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This spring is been a different one for me. It has brought a lot of childhood memories and connection to the world I used to live in.

When I was a child, we lived in an urban house wherein we had a small garden. My dad planted an apple tree, a cherry tree and lots of roses along the wall. The whole garden was not  more than 15 cubic meter big but, it had accommodated plants to its full potential. My siblings and I would play in this little natural world of us, but for me, it was a bit more details into it! Attention to details!  I saw that little garden as a little treasure with a lot of beauties that were probably visible to me because I would get so close! We had this huge rosebush that bloomed into few but huge flowers. Although I had every plant in check, I had a deeper connection with this pink rose. Everyday, I followed the daily life of my rose. From a little bud blooming into a humongous flower with huge sturdy pedals and delicate light pink silk skin, I did not miss a single event. I loved her, and it was interesting to me just follow her beautiful life stages! I even loved large needles on her stems that sometimes hurt me when I was checking her leaves or flowers!camelia1

Moving into an apartment and getting busy with life, I lost connections with that beautiful world. However, after all those years, I moved into a house again which has brought a lot of those wild and sacred memories to me.strawberrycupcake1

 

Strawberry Cupcake

Ingredients for Cakes

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature

110g sugar

2 eggs

150 g pastry flour, sifted twice

1 ½ tsp baking powder, add to the flour

1 tsp salt, add to the flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp low fat yogurt

½ cup strawberry, cut into small pieces

Strawberries, for topping

Ingredients for Icing

2 large egg whites

145 g sugar

170g unsalted butter

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp beet juice to color or natural food color (optional)

Directions for Icing

Mix egg whites with sugar in a double boiler, or simply place a heatproof bowl over a low heat hot water bowl. Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. This may take about five minutes. Test with rubbing the mixture between your fingers. It should be soft without sugar granules. Let the mixture to cool down close to room temperature.

Transfer the mixture into a mixer bowl and whisk for 12-15 minutes on high speed. Fluffy picks should form and the mixture has completely cooled down. Check this by touching the bottom of the bowl. The meringue must be completely cooled down before adding the butter.

Turn on the mixer on medium speed and start adding small amounts of butter at the time. Before you add the next slice of butter, scrape down the bowl, to make sure it is completely mixed. The mixture might seem to split as you the butter each time, but continue whisking; it will come back together.

At the end, add the vanilla extract and beet juice (or natural food color). Whisk well until they are incorporated and the icing is smooth.

Refrigerate until ready for piping.

You can refrigerate this icing in a container for few days, or freeze it for up to one month.

Directions for Baking

Preheat oven to 350 F. And place 12 cupcake sheets over the cupcake case.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until creamy and pale. Add the eggs, one at the time. Mix well before adding the next one.

Gently, stir in the flour and mix with a spatula in round motion until the flour is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, strawberry pieces, and yogurt and mix.

With a large spoon, fill the cake cases filmed with the sheets, 2/3 full with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan, then transfer onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.strawberrycupcake3

Spoon the icing into a piping bag and attach the desired tip. Pipe the icing over the cakes. You can simply spread the icing over the cakes using a palette knife. Decorate with fresh strawberries. You can store these cupcakes for few days in a container in the fridge.

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Apple Pie that taste amazing

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One the best things I love is to invite few friends over_or even if they just show up_and have them sit at the kitchen table. And I cook for them while chatting and catching up on gossips around the town.

Gathering like this, really helps to lift up my mood that sometimes just get distorted by the constantly dark days in Vancouver! It is not really the rain, but the darkness that gets into my nerves, sometimes. I said this because friendly gatherings with close friends, boosts up my energy and mood! I feel good and totally refreshed when I serve them fresh backed apple pie or a Rosemary Spiced Chicken roast…. It is all good… it is not about partying; it is about friendship that we worship.

 

Another thing that I think is nice about gathering like this is its informality! We just don’t care if the dishes do not match and there is only one food served! Simply we take it easy and everybody feels comfortable like home.

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Last time, they came over, I baked this apple pie, which recipe is pretty much mine. I roast my apples instead of cooking them in water. Roasting with brown sugar gives it a caramel taste combined with apple pie spices, and hmm.. The aroma and the flavor are just too good to reject a second serving! The dough is made with less butter and is deviated a little bit from the classic pastry dough. It is a tiny bit fluffier and crunchier. And it does not get soaked with the filling.

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Ingredients

Dough

  • 11/2 cup (225g) pastry flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 80g butter, chopped and chilled in the fridge
  • ¼ cup (60g) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Approximately ¼ cup milk, as needed to form the dough
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar, to sprinkle

Apple Filling

  • 4 medium red apples, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 4 medium green apples, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder

To prepare the filling

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chopped apples in the baking dish and mix with sugar, spices and butter. Cook for 45 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

To prepare the dough

Grease a 20 cm round lamington pan, and line the base with parchment paper.

Place the sifted flour in a medium bowl and mix with baking powder. Add the butter and rub with hand or standing mixer. Stir in sugar, egg, and enough milk to make firm dough. Stop adding more milk if the dough has started to come together. Knead wit h hand or standing mixer until smooth and soft. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray your working space with water and place a wrapping plastic selefon over the sprayed area. The plastic will stick to the surface. Roll half of the dough to cover the base and sides of the pan. Scrape off the extra and shape the edges with hand. Spread the baked apples over the dough. Roll the rest of the dough, and cut it into strips. Then place them in a knit pattern over the pie, making it look like a basket. Brush the surface with some milk and sprinkle the coarse sugar over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Serve with love and a bit of vanilla ice cream if it is handy!

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Strawberry Biscuits

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If you come to our house,  it is very unlikely that we don’t have these biscuits as a regular treat for our guests! Everybody loves them, and if you by chance came and we did not have them, previous guests must have eaten too many! They taste very unlike the short bread biscuits you buy at the supermarkets and pastry shops.

Semolina flour gives these yummy biscuits an earthy crunch texture. If you do not have this type of flour, just stay with your regular pastry flour. This is a simple recipe that could be used to make in occasions-appropriate or desired shape. For Valentine’s Day, of course I used heart-shaped cutters.

I keep these Strawberry Biscuits at least one week in a closed container at room temperature. They are a real treat!

Ingredients

150g unsalted butter

75g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

5 tsps strawberry jam

120g plain flour; extra for rolling

100g  semolina flour

 

Cooking Instructions

Line the baking tray with baking paper. Preheat oven to 325F.

 In a mixing bowl, bear the butter and sugar until fluffy and light in color. Add the flour mix. Beat until the ingredients mix and dough comes together in a ball.

Dust the work counter top and roll the dough out into a circle with about 5 mm thickness.

Use your favorite shape-cutter or even cut into equal-size squares. Sprinkle half of the short breads with caster sugar. With a thin-edged spatula transfer biscuits to the prepared bakery tray.

Keep the tray in the freezer for 20 minutes until biscuits are firm.

Bake chilled biscuits for 20 minutes until slightly begin to turn golden on the edges.

After you take them out of the oven, set biscuits aside for at least one hour to completely cool down.

Add 1 tsp strawberry jam in the middle of each plain biscuits; leave 1 cm space on the edges. Put the sprinkled side on the top and lightly press.

Strawbery biscuit recipe