A pie to die for – Timpana, like lasagna in pastry!

Week 16 – Malta

Timpana  – A Rustic Pasta Pie

How can you go wrong with a pie? Everyone loves pies! In this rustic but decorative version, pasta is baked with Bolognese style sauce further enriched with chicken livers and eggs, in a golden, flakey puff pastry case. Filling and tasty, it’s like lasagna in a pie!

 

Valetta

Malta  – the place

The Republic of Malta is several islands, part of a ridge once running from Africa to Europe, it’s closest to Sicily. Waves of invaders from the Phoenicians, The Romans, the Knights of St John, the Moors and more, have left it with a unique and varied history. Its strategic position has given it an importance much greater than it’s tiny 316km² size. In fact Malta is one of the worlds smallest and most densely populated countries and has the smallest capital in the European Union.

Despite it’s tiny size, it boasts nine UNESCO world heritage sites. Valetta, the ancient capital called The Fortress City, “a city built by a gentleman for gentlemen” named after it’s founder a Grand Master of the Order of St John with the magnificent Grand Harbour dating from Roman times, it’s one of the worlds most concentrated historic cities.

Other places include an underground temple or necropolis called the Hypogeum in Paola and 7 Megalithic structures which are among the oldest in the world, and plenty of really impressive cathedrals. Plus possibly the worlds best diving site, there are natural features of the stunning Blue Lagoon and Azure Window, an impressive limestone arch on the coast.

During the Second World War, Malta was besieged and endured the heaviest and most sustained bombardment in the entire war. Over 15,000 tons of bombs were dropped from over 3,500 unrelenting raids continuing every day for 154 days and nights. After the war, King George VI acknowledged this debt, awarding to the people of Malta collectively, the George Cross, Britain’s highest award for civilian bravery – “to bear witness to ……..(their) heroism”

Malta – the food

As expected there are many strong influences in Maltese cuisine, notably Sicily and Britain, as well as Spanish and Provençal. Traditionally the food is a hearty peasant style typical of the Mediterranean. Making the most of local seasonal produce, such as olives, cheeses, sausage, breads, seafood and rabbit, fresh vegetables especially tomatoes and garlic, with wild herbs like mint, thyme and oregano.

Sweets are often very sweet with Arabic influences in pastries and sweetmeats like nougat, macaroons and nut and especially citrus flavoured delicacies. Other desserts are more Italian such as Cassata, granita  or Kannoli. English classics like bread and butter pudding, trifle and apple pie are made with interesting versions and there is a huge range of biscuits to nibble on.

Locally produced wines from the limestone soils are robust reds and crisp dry whites and beer has been brewed here for centuries. Unusual liqueurs like Prickly Pear, Almond, Honey, Carob and Blood Orange are made and very popular too.

This recipe is adapted from http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/timpana Thanks SBS – we love you!

Timpana

Timpana – Pasta Pie                                Serves 8 -10

Ingredients

  • 3  tb butter
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150 g bacon, finely diced
  • 150 g minced pork
  • 150 g minced beef
  • 150 g chicken livers, diced, (optional:substitute with 100g mushrooms sliced + 50g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water 15min, then strained, keeping juice)
  • 250 ml chicken/ beef stock
  • 1x 4400g can tomatoes/400ml tomato puree
  • 2 tb tomato paste
  • 300 g macaroni or penne
  • 75 g parmesan, grated
  • 75 g tasty cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper
  •  3 x puff pastry sheets approx. 26cm²
  • 1 egg, beaten to glaze

Ingredients

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F. Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the bacon and pork, stirring well to separate, then add the beef and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring every so often.
  2. Add the chicken livers if using and cook for 5 minutes. (If using mushrooms, add them and juice from porcini now).
  3. Add the stock, the tomato paste and puree, and season. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Sauce needs to be quite thin and liquid as pasta will absorb a lot more liquid while cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until little undercooked. Drain, then mix through the sauce. Stir in the cheeses and egg and check seasoning.
  5.  Line a buttered baking dish with the pastry, extending it up the sides. Spoon in the pasta and cover with another layer of pastry. Prick the timpana all over with a knife to let steam escape. Cut strips of extra pastry to decorate the top.
  6. Beat the egg and brush it over the timpana. Bake for 1–1¼ hours.
  7. Serve with a nice green salad to balance out the richness, some crusty bread and a glass or two of red! And as they say on Malta – L-Ikla it-tajba!

 

 

 

 

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How to make a Thai curry as good as a restaurant?

Thai Green Curry Paste

 

Answer – make the curry paste yourself! It’s so easy to do, don’t think you need to get all purist and make it in a mortar and pestle, ‘cos even the great David Thompson says a grinder or food processor is fine. This recipe make a paste that outshines anything you can buy, even the most expensive brand, and why?

Because it’s made with fresh herbs and freshly roasted spices and that can’t be duplicated in a jar. Traditionally in Thailand and in the very best restaurants, curry pastes are made to order, that’s why they taste so good. Now you can get that fabulous flavour too – with little more than a bit of chopping, some toasting and some whizzing!

This curry paste is best straight away, but will keep in the fridge, covered with a layer of oil, for two weeks. Best though is to freeze any remaining paste. It keeps really well frozen and is so lovely to have on hand. The extra oil covering will cook out when you use it, with this paste you can make pork, beef, chicken, vegetable/tofu or fish curries – my favourite is Salmon, that will be bursting with authentic Thai flavour!

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Nam Prik Gaeng Khiaw           Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 10 medium green chillies, de-seeded
  • 4 small hot thai chillies (optional – for those who like it really hot!) de-seeded – careful with hands!
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 red asian shallots/ 1 red spanish onion
  • 2 kaffir limes, zested
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, peeled
  • 2 tb greater galangal (Kha in Thai) peeled & chopped
  • small handful chilli leaves, if you have a chilli plant (optional)
  • 6 coriander/cilantro plant roots + 3cm of stalk (if you can’t get roots, use stalks from a handful of coriander, about 5cm/3″long
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tb white peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp mace blades (substitute fresh grated nutmeg if unavailable)
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste ( known as kapi/trassi/blanchan)
  • 2 tsp salt

Method

  1.  Wash herbs & chillies, wash coriander roots and stalks very well, as they are often very sandy. Peel/scrap off skin.
  2. Cut up and put into a blender.
  3. Dry roast the spices in a small frypan until fragrant, lightly golden.Cool and grind finely in a grinder.
  4. Wrap the shrimp paste/kapi in foil and dry roast 2 minutes on each side (will be smelly!)
  5. Add everything to the blender and add enough water to make a paste. Keep blending until paste is utterly smooth and no trace of fibres can be seen. If necessary add a little bit more water.
  6. Store in fridge in screw top jar, covered with a thin layer of oil or freeze excess.
  7. To use, (1) fry paste in a little oil until fragrant and oil separates before adding coconut milk and rest of your curry ingredients –  OR
  8. (2) Boil coconut milk to reduce by half, add paste and simmer until oil separates out of coconut milk and paste is fragrant. Add rest of curry as per recipe.

It’s up to you to use it in whatever Green Curry recipe you want – but my favourite is with fresh salmon – takes curry to a whole other level that is so luxurious and tastes so delicious. Enjoy!

PS If you want my Green Thai Curry recipe – just ask and I’ll add it on!

 

Brandied Cherry Berry Friands

Cherry Berry Friands                    Makes 10 – 12

Back when I was dieting I used to buy a friand as a treat occasionally thinking it was a low fat option – sadly I was very wrong! These delectable little treats are packed full of nuts, true – but they are also packed full of butter! Making them rich, moist and a very morish indulgent treat indeed. Traditionally a little French cake, they are extremely popular in Australia and found in most cafés.

To make a true friand, you really need the distinctive oval shaped pans, but you can make them in small patty pans  too. They are amazingly easy to make, doing nothing other than lightly whisking the egg whites. All the other ingredients are just stirred in and that’s it.

Originally I made these as my daughter had made lots of things with egg yolks and I had more leftover egg whites than I knew what to do with. Friands are a great way to use egg whites, quick and less trouble than meringues. So do try making some soon and impress your friends with a friand! 

Ingredients

  •  20 frozen pitted cherries
  • 2 tb brandy/kirsch
  • 125g pecans/hazelnuts
  • 6 egg whites
  • 155g/5oz butter, melted
  • 200g icing sugar
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup frozen mixed berries/raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/ 180° fan forced, grease friand tins.
  2. Soak cherries in brandy for 30 minutes.
  3. Toast the nuts (can do this in a microwave) and grind finely.
  4. Place egg whites in a medium bowl, or mixer bowl and whisk just until light and frothy. Sift in the icing sugar and flour, and stir in with melted butter and ground nuts.
  5. Spoon into tins, fill ⅔ full, top each friand with two drained cherries and several frozen berries.
  6. Bake 20 minutes, stand 5 minutes in tins before turning out to cool on cake rack.

This recipe is based on one in The Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook ‘Bake’

There you have it, one of the easiest little cakes to make, yet people are always impressed! I think the richness of the butter and nuts makes them seem special and therefore somehow difficult. But trust me they are ridiculously quick and easy and very delicious. Alas.

A meal in your hand – Salteñas: Bolivian Empanandas

Week 15 – Bolivia 

Salteñas – Juicy Meat Filled Empanadas

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From Bolivia we say Buen Provecho! These little beauties are the Bolivian equivalent of a Cornish Pasty and like any good pasty are the perfect picnic/snack/street food. Now I’ve eaten a lot of street food from a lot of different places and I love ye olde traditional Cornish Pasty, (recently had the best one ever at the Sunday Market at Redcliffe, Brisbane. Made and baked on the spot by a true Cornishman)! so I was very keen to tyr this superior version out. The special ingredient that lifts these gems out of the ordinary is the inclusion of jellied meat broth that melts when cooked, providing meat, veggies and gravy all in one handy packet – fantastic!

Fact File: Bolivia

The correct  name is The Plurinational State of Bolivia, which acknowledges the multi-ethnic nature of the country’s population. Called Upper Peru by the Spanish, it has been home to wonderful civilisations located at two archaeological sites, Tiwanaku and Tiahuanaco and the world famous Lake Titicaca. Up in the mountains parts it was part of the Incan Empire.The new country gained independence in 1825 and was named after the political activist Simón Bolivar. Sadly surrounding countries took over attractive areas and today Bolivia is less than half the size it was then, losing even it’s coastline.

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But it still has South America’s most uniquely varied environments, and huge biodiversity. World famous for it’s spectacular scenery ranging from the vast other-worldly salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, the rain drenched lowland tropical rainforest, to the bone dry Altiplano, the colourful Lagune Verde (Green Lake) and dramatic soaring peaks laced with glaciers.

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The many indigenous ethnic cultures are rich in arts, music, literature and cuisine, and their colourful costumes make visiting this  country a photographers delight. It’s a wild country, very rewarding for the adventurous traveller.

The Food

Credited with being the origin of such useful plants as peppers, chillies, peanuts and the common bean, and over 4,000 different types of potato, Bolivian cuisine is as varied as it’s terrain. Could be called the original ‘meat and potatoes’ diet, the holy trinity of foods in Bolivia is beans, corn and potato.

Traditionally grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes or plantains make up the basis of the cuisine, with a variety of indigenous meats, such as guinea-pig (cuy) rabbit (conejo) and llama added to introduced chicken and beef. Along with a massive array of beautiful home-grown vegetables of all colours, shapes and sizes.

Frying and stewing are the most popular cooking methods, and in the cold mountainous west, hearty, spicy stews and soups are served daily. In the hot tropical north and east, more baked goods (horneadors) and fried foods (empanadas frites) are eaten with lots of salads and grains like quinoa.  

Although Bolivians aren’t really snackers as such, preferring to take a civilised Merienda with tea or coffee in the mid morning and Tecito in the afternoon (rather like our English morning and afternoon tea)  many of the accompanying foods are savoury treats like Salteñas and Humintas (corn tamales) we’d call snacks. Nor do Bolivians have a sweet tooth, although such sweet treats as Buñuelos con Miel (fried donuts with honey) are found in markets.

Drinks

Some very fine wines are made from the highest vineyards in the world and there are local beers. A traditional drink is a sourish brew made from fermented corn called Chicha, otherwise juices and shakes are popular and the ever present tea and coffee, thick and black or sweet and white with (condensed) milk called cafe con leche.

Salteñas                                                 Makes 8

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Ingredients:Filling

  • ¼ cup oil
  • 62gm butter/¼ cup, melted
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  •  2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp beef stock powder +½ cup beef stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 large potato, cut into small dice
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • 350 gm beef steak, diced
  • 2 tsp gelatine dissolved in ¾ cup boiling water
  • 12 black olives, cut in half
  • handful raisins
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced

Method

  1. Make filling the day before you want to bake Salteñas. Heat oil and butter in a small frypan, add onion, garlic, chilli, oregano and parsley and saute on low 10 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the cumin, salt, pepper and sugar and stir. Add meat and saute on medium heat 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the diced vegetables in boiling water until just cooked, then drain.
  4. Add vinegar and stock to the meat and simmer 15 minutes.
  5. Mix in the cooked vegetables and gelatine, and put into fridge to chill(and set) overnight.

 Dough:

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup butter melted+1 tb extra to glaze
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 tb sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika

 

Method

  1. Put flour into food processor or mixer. melt butter and when sizzling add to flour and quickly whizz together. Let it cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat oven to very hot, about 220-240º
  3. Add rest of ingredients and mix. Knead to form a stiff dough. Cover and rest 10 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 8 balls. Roll each one into thin, ½cm x. 6″/15cm circles.
  5. Place sliced egg, raisins and olives in the middle, place a large spoon of chilled meat filling on top, leaving a space around the edges.
  6. Wet the edge of the dough, fold and bring together on top.. Pinch and roll the edges to seal well.
  7. Place on a greased baking tray with the seam facing up, brush with extra melted butter to glaze and bake 10-15 minutes till golden brown. Serve warm and watch out for the hot meaty juices!

Salteñas

 

We all enjoyed these Bolivian street food snacks as a meal, we ate them with a salsa and a salad. We gave this dish a 6/10 – was nice but we are very fond of spicy, and so for us they lacked the Wow factor. I understand there are spicier versions and these would be more to our liking.

 

 

Recipe was adapted from a number of sources including http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bolivian-saltenas  and www.boliviabella.com/recipes.html and  Lonely Planet “The World’s Best Street Food”
Do check out  http://dulceandsalado.com/2013/01/03/saltenas/ for all the most wonderful South American recipes and more. Buen Provecho!

Bourbon and Chipotle Chilli BBQ Sauce

Smokin’ hot Bourbon & Chipotle BBQ Sauce!

Chipotle Watermelon BBQ Sauce

 

 

Ingredients                                  Makes about 2½ cups

  • 2 tb oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1x 400g tin tomatoes in juice, all chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika,  if you can get it
  • ¹/³ cup cider vinegar
  • 1½ cups watermelon, seeded/or pineapple if you prefer that. Does give a more distinctive flavour.
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tb Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tb chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1-2 tsp salt & lots fresh gr. black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion & garlic until onion is soft.
  2. Add ground spices, stir 1 minute then add vinegar and boil up, scrapping base of pan.
  3. Add rest of ingredients and simmer on low 30 minutes, stirring occasionally as it thickens.
  4. Process until smooth and check for heat and seasoning.
  5. Use as a baste to make BBQ roast or grilled chicken, ribs, steak, sausages etc. Serve extra with pork or beef ribs to double dunk in!

This is the best ever BBQ sauce and you will love it – tone down the chilli powder if you can’t take the heat. But don’t leave out the chipotle chilli in adobe sauce, that’s what makes this sauce so deliciously smokin’ hot! And the watermelon odd as it may sound, add sweetness and a hint of fruitiness to balance out all strong flavours.

This sauce freezes really well, and lasts 3 -4 days in the fridge should you have any left over!

So what to do with your fabulous Barbecue sauce? Well I mainly make it to go with my roasted Pork Spareribs, using it as a baste for the final charred blast, but it’s almost as good to cook chicken pieces in it for the best ever Chicken in BBQ Sauce (aka Chicken in Hot Sauce!).

Use it to give a real zap to grilled sausages, burgers, steak or lamb chops. Or spoon it over sour cream on top of jacket potatoes. Really tastes good with everything!

Congolese Peanut soup with African Spiced Flat bread

WEEK 14 – Democratic Republic of the Congo

So this week I got Congo out of the box and decided I really wanted to make something a bit different – what about a soup? I’ll give it a try!

About Congo:

Formerly known as Zaire, Congo is the 11th largest country in the world and the 2nd largest country in Africa.

Its capital city, Kinshasa, was originally called Léopoldville in honour of King Leopold II of Belgium who controlled the Congo in the 1800’s, is the second largest French speaking city (after Paris) in the world. All schools, newspapers, government, television, magazines and street signs are in French. The city is located on the southern side of the Congo river directly opposite to the capital of the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville. It is the only place in the world, where two countries capital cities, face each other and can see one another on opposite sides of a river.

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Satellite view of Malebo Pool of the Congo River with Kinshasa in the south and Brazzaville to the north

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Garamba National Park

 

The Congo has five World Heritage Sites within its borders, four being National Parks and the other a Wildlife Reserve. Stretching over most of the country is a tropical rainforest known as the Congo Rainforest, it is the second largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon.

Congolese Cuisine:

The Congolese cuisine heavily reflects the indigenous people of the country. Cassava is the staple food often cooked and eaten with other side dishes. . Meals typically consist of a starchy ingredient; cassava, sweet potato, taro, maize and plantain and rice, along with vegetables and meat in the form of a stew. Chicken with a Moambe sauce is considered the national dish of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With less than 2% of the land able to be used for faming, Congo does not produce very much food on its home turf but imports quite a lot. The two most important crops for export are coffee and palm oil.

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What I Made:

Having a look through some different recipes from the Congo I noticed we weren’t going to be able to get a lot of the ingredients needed to make some of the most commonly eaten dishes out so I looked further and found a recipe that sounded quite nice. Congolese Peanut Soup. At first I was going to serve it with the traditional bread staple Fu-Fu but decided to serve it with a nice dry-fried flat bread which Mimsey made. Recipe was sourced here: www.congocookbook.com

Recipe: Peanut Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups  chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small green pepper/capsicum, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • salt, black pepper & cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 hot chilli, sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped or  1 canned tomatoes
  • ¼ to ½ cup peanut butter (depends on how peanutty you want your soup)

Method:

  1. Fry onion and garlic in oil on a medium heat for a few minutes until soft and fragrant, then add chilli cook for another few minutes.
  2. Add capsicum and carrot, cook with lid on for 5 minutes until carrot is soft.
  3. Add tomatoes, seasoning and stock and stir to combine, cook with lid off for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in peanut butter, at this point my soup was quite thick so I added another cup of chicken stock and stirred to combine.
  5. Place ¾ of soup in blender and blend until smooth, add to the rest of the soup, stir and serve immediately in warmed bowls.

Recipe: Spiced Wholemeal Flat Bread                                 Makes 8 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt + ½ tsp extra
  • 1 tb ghee/butter
  • ⅔ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, freshly crushed in mortar if possible, or ground
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tb oil warmed up with 1 clove garlic, crushed

Method:

  1. Place flours and salt in a food processor or mixer with a dough hook attached, and process 10 seconds to mix.
  2. While processing, add butter/ghee and process 10 seconds to mix, then pour water in slowly and mix until forms a ball, about a minute.
  3. Let rest covered for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Divide into 8 portions, roll each portion out on a floured bench into a 20cm/8″ circle. Cover to keep from drying out.
  5. Lightly grease a large, heavy frypan, heat on medium, fry chapati on one side, brushing the top with the garlic oil and sprinkling with extra salt & the spices before flipping to cook other side.
  6. Gently pat chapati around with an oily paper towel to encourage it to puff up, press high bubbles down gently.
  7. Keep warm while making rest. Serve warm and fresh.

This is a classic chapati recipe based on one from food.com/recipe/chapati-east-african-bread

Chapatis made fresh, as they always were, are so delicious! Particularly loved the thick Millet Chapatis we ate smeared with honey in a village out in the Thar Desert. Namaste!

The soup was interesting it had a tomatoey, peanutty flavour and was really nice with the flat bread. It scored a 6/10 from the family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serbian Apricot Torte

WEEK 12 – SERBIA

Apricot Layer Cake

Torta Praska – Apricot Layer Cake

Hi everyone it’s Roma here, so last week I got Serbia out of the box.

Country Information:

Serbia is a land-locked country in south-east Europe. It’s got expansive mountains which are spread through-out the nation. Belgrade is its capital city and over 2 million people live there. Serbia has produced some very famous people such as Nikola Tesla who contributed to the invention of modern electricity and Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Novak Djokovic who are all world-renowned tennis players.

It is well-known for its beautiful Orthodox monasteries around the mountain Fruska Gora, in the north of the country. Also it is one of the ten countries in which the Danube River (Europe’s longest river known as an International Waterway) runs through, which crosses the top half of the country.tur-fruska-gora

 

Cuisine:

Serbia has a diverse cuisine taking influences from a number of other countries cooking techniques and styles such as; Mediterranean, Central European (especially Hungarian and Austrian) and Turkish. Food is important in all social and family gatherings or celebrations such as Christmas and Easter.

Bread is a staple food like many other European countries along with milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables and meat. Serbia has made quite a name for its self with an alcoholic drink – Slivovitz, a plum brandy and also claims it’s the birthplace of Rakia, a highly alcoholic beverage primarily distilled from fruit.slivovitz_white

What I made:

I chose to make a dessert this week for a change, and I found a delicious sounding recipe for an Apricot Torte. The cake has three layers of a soft buttery dough, then crunchy cinnamon sugar and nuts, the second layer is spread with freshly made apricot puree and then topped off with a nutty baked meringue. This cake was a good choice to make as this is apricot season here in Australia. I found the recipe here apricot-torte

Apricot Puree

I changed the recipe by making my own apricot mixture for in the cake. I did this by cutting up 7 fresh apricots and put them in medium saucepan with a few tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of sugar and cooked that mixture for 15-20 minutes until the apricots were soft and had thickened. I also changed the quantities in the recipe, as it made a huge cake serving 12!

And we found that on the day we didn’t have enough walnuts so I used some flaked almonds instead. This cake takes quite a long time to make but it was worth it, it was especially good when served warm with whipped cream. This cake scored 9/10.

Apricot Torte

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  •  ⅛ cup warm water
  • 165gm softened butter
  • 1¾ cups plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts/slivered almonds
  • ½ rounded cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup of apricot jam or fresh apricot puree (see above)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup castor sugar
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds/finely chopped walnuts

Method 

  1. Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Grease a cake tin 26cm x 16 cm x 3.5cm deep. Heat oven to 180 °C.
  2. In a processor or mixer, blend the butter and flour. Mix the egg yolks, sour cream and add to the yeast. Add to flour mixture and blend until a ball of dough forms. Do not knead.
  3. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. On a lightly floured board, roll 1 part into rectangle and place in prepared pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the chopped nuts, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dough in pan. Roll out second piece of dough and place on top.
  5. Spread with apricot filling or jam. Roll out remaining piece of dough and place on top. Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and is cooked.
  6. Just before ready, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add castor sugar gradually, beating until stiff peaks form. Remove torte from oven and spread meringue over top. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup nuts.
  7. Bake until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool a little, serve warm.