Kiafardaily

Category: Deserts

Cherry Clafoutis

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There is not a single time I see big black cherries and they don’t bring memories of my childhood. We had this large cherry tree in our summer villa, and every year, it would give us the juiciest and largest black cherries! They were heavenly delicious and just pretty to watch! I was one of those girls who would climb up trees as much as the branch could carry my light weight! You can imagine how far up I could climb! It was my ritual to pick the cherries from this tree every years until I came to Canada where I find very similar cherries coming from Okanagan!

Watching these cherries when in season truly connect my every summer to the past! Now that I know much about cooking, I not only indulge in fresh picked ones, I use them in baking too!

This week we picked some wild black berries from an alley near our house. I thought they would be a perfect match with mixed cherries to make my summer time clafoutis! This dessert was heavenly delicious and hope you bake it and enjoy it as much as my family and I did!

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400-600g fresh whole cherries or other summer fruits cut into pieces
60g powder sugar, extra for dusting

Some sugar for sprinkling over the baking dish
3 tbsp concentrated (evaporated) orange juice (optional)
60g butter, melted, plus extra to grease
100g pastry flour
Pinch of salt
4 eggs, beaten
250ml whole milk
3 tbsp almond meal
Grated zest of one lemon (optional)

 Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a medium baking dish (wide enough to hold cherries in one single layer) with some butter, and sprinkle sugar. Spin the dish round to coat the inside with sugar, then set aside.

Wash the cherries and remove the stalks. Place them in a bowl and lightly crush to pop the cherries’ skin. If you like, you can remove the stone, but it is better not to do. Place them at the bottom of the greased baking dish.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Place the eggs in a medium bowl with powdered sugar, beat with a whisk until fluffy and pale.

Then, add milk, butter, and orange concentrate. Mix well and last, add the flour. Mix with a rubber spatula and Pour into the prepared baking dish over the cherries and bake for 30-40 minutes, until edges are light golden and the centre is springy to touch. Cover and let cool down for 10 minutes. Flip two times to get the top upright! Decorate with icing sugar and fresh fruits. Serve warm immediately with vanilla ice cream, or coffee! Any way you choose this desert, this dessert is irresistibly delicious!

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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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Crème Caramel

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This classic recipe is perfect for an afternoon light tea party or a great nutritious substitute for a ruched breakfast; off course if you make them a head of time.

Ingredients

  • 100g sugar for caramel
  • 100g sugar for the egg mix
  • 500g milk
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 vanilla strings

Directions

 Heat the oven to 325F. Bring 1 liter of water into the boil and put aside.

To make the caramel topping, mix 100g sugar (3/4 cup) with two table of spoon of water in  a sauce pan and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel turns golden brown and fragrant. Pour the caramel into individual small cake pans, and swirl to coat the bottoms evenly. Set aside.

Pour the milk into the same saucepan used for making the caramel. Add the vanilla extract or vanilla bean (split the bean and scrape the seeds into the milk). Heat until nearly boiling, and turn off the heat. Cover for 10 minutes to infuse with vanilla.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with 100g sugar. Remove the vanilla rods from the milk and gradually add the milk into the egg mixture.

Strain the custard (egg mixture) over the hardened caramel in baking pans. Fill up to ¾ of the pans. Place the pans in a deep and larger pan, and pour the hot water to cover halfway up the sides of the caramel pans. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the caramel pans from the water bath. Using a sharp knife, loosen the edges of the caramel to loosen. Place in the fridge to cool completely. To serve, flip the pan onto a plate, and pour over the remaining in the pan. Enjoy!  

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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.

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