April 28, 2012
It has been a while I know… sickness in the family to blame my disappearance! We caught a terrible stomach flu (or viral gastroenteritis, before my sis corrects me :P) and as usual, after making rounds I am the last one suffering from it. Ugh!
Well, enough from that (ugly subject!). I made this tart sometime ago but took me a while to write the recipe down and transfer the photos to my computer…! See… I am lazy… (*slap* *slap*)
The tart was very good… I liked the fruity taste the emmental cheese gave to it… but please! It is an OD, eat lots of salad with it! ;)
Ham and tomato tart with emmental cheese
Yield a ∅ 24 cm pie. Serves 8.
For the pastry
- 175 g flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 75 g butter
- enough cold water (I needed about 2-3 tbsp)
- 150g smoked turkey ham, cut into strips
- 150g grated emmental cheese
- 2 eggs
- 150g crème fraîche (I used Valio hyla)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 spring onion,chopped
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tomatoes, sliced (gently pat dry with a paper towel)
- fresh basil leaves to garnish
Roll out the pastry on a light floured surface and line a 24cm pie dish. Chill again.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge. You can bake blind for 20 minutes before adding the filling but I skipped this step this time (< lazy again!)
Sprinkle the ham strips into the pastry base, the cheese, chopped basil and spring onions.
Combine the eggs with the crème fraîche in a bowl and season with paprika and black pepper. Pour over the ham and cheese.
Arrange the tomato slices on top of the tart and bake for about 30 minutes until set (and gets golden)
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with salad.
Simple isn’t it? You can use ready pastry if you don’t want to make it yourself. Pikkusiili just eats this crazily… she adores cheese. On the other hand… Luonnonvoima is not a big fan >.<! Sisters, so similar but so different!
October 7, 2010
Last weekend my in-laws came for a quick visit. Girls were very excited about the fact they were going to see their grandparents and spend time with them. They live about 440 km from Helsinki and when they come to see us, it is almost a big happening for everyone.
Not only they brought happiness to the girls, they also brought us lots of produce.Those who follow me on twitter might know that my in-laws have a gorgeous vegetable garden which produces the most in summertime. Now it is Autumn and people in Finland are preparing for the cold months to come.
I got potatoes, carrots, swedes/ rutabagas , onions, some of my mother-in-law homemade pickles, a huge winter pumpkin and apples. We keep them in the cold storage downstairs that belongs to same apartment building.
I thought it was a good idea to use the apples as soon as it was possible. Those apples I got are slightly different from the ones you get normally from any supermarket. Finnish apples, most of them are small , very fragrant but also very sour. The sourness reminds me apple vinegar taste, no kidding.
Interesting thing is their flavor gets better when you cook them. Or when you use them in a pie :).
A little something about Finnish pies. The word for pie in Finnish is “piirakka” or “piiras” (and sometimes “torttu” ) and it translates to pie. You can see lots of pies in Finnish cuisine that don’t look the same, neither are made with same technique. It is a fact. You can find pies made of usual butter crust, shortbread crust, sweet bread crust, “pizza” crust, cake-alike crust, rye dough crust. Imagine a dough with a filling and we call it pie. Yep.
The apple pie I made this time is very common during the apple season. The dough reminds a lot a very heavy and rich butter cake in its softness and the filling varies according to what is in season. For example in Spring the same dough is used to make Rhubarb pie and in late Summer, Bilberry pie.
I forgot to mention.. my father-in-law has lactose intolerance and my mother-in-law has gluten intolerance. Because of that, I baked two pies : the first using lactose-free butter and the second, using a different dough recipe with almond meal.
Here follows both:
Omenapiirakka – Apple pie with “cake” dough
Adapted from the recipe that came on the package of my ceramic baking dish ( Kermansavi )
Yield a ∅ 25 cm pie
- 125 g unsalted butter ( I used lactose-free butter )
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs beaten
- 3-5 apples ( I used 5 small ones. A good substitute would be Granny Smith apples )
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 180 °C. Butter a 25 cm baking dish ( or a tin ) and line base with greaseproof paper. Wash and prepare the apples ( you don’t need to peel them if they are organic like mine ^_^ ).
Sift the flour and baking powder and reserve. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the beaten eggs and the flour mix a little at a time , mixing carefully after each addition.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. The dough consistency looks like a heavy cake dough ( or a soft cookie one ). Try to spread it in a way it looks like it has borders, like a pie.
Remove seeds from apples and slice them thinly. Lay the slices on top of the batter, overlapping them in circles. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and cinnamon and bake for about 25 min ( check the border with a skewer ).
Serve alone, with vanilla sauce or ice cream :)
Gluteeniton Omenapiirakka – Gluten-free apple pie
Yield a 18 cm x 24 cm rectangular baking dish
- 100 g butter
- 1 dl caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 dl potato starch
- 80g almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- zest of half orange
- 4 small apples
- 1tbsp demerara sugar
- 1tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 180 °C. Butter the dish (or tin ). I used the rectangular one because I didn’t have any better available :P . Wash and prepare the apples.
Combine the almond meal, potato starch, zest and baking powder and put aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the beaten eggs and the dry ingredients mixture a little at a time , mixing carefully after each addition.
At this point you will think something is wrong. My dough got very liquid but I carried on with the recipe and it ended up perfect!!
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish.
Remove seeds from apples and slice them thinly. Lay the slices on top of the batter, they will slightly sink in. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and cinnamon and bake for about 20 min ( check the border with a skewer ).
Let it set and cool before serving.
My notes about this recipe:
It is really necessary to leave the pie resting for a moment. Due to the crumbly nature of the dough, the pieces brake apart if you try to cut the pie while it is still warm.
The almond taste was so pleasant I myself enjoyed the pie so much and ate the rest of it after my mom-in-law left ^_^.
September 27, 2010
Suppilovahvero ( Cantharellus tubaeformis ) is one of my favorite Autumn mushrooms. It is called “yellow foot” / “funnel chanterelle” in English and belongs to the same family of the golden chanterelle. ( update: some don’t consider them as so, but only as trumpet-like mushrooms resembling chanterelles )
I had been looking for this mushroom for some time and it was a pleasant surprise to find it at the market last weekend. Mr. mies explained why I couldn’t get it before ( since golden chanterelles were widely available in the end of Summer ): suppilovahvero is a late Autumn type of mushroom, survives well when the weather is cold and even when covered by snow. Isn’t it amazing?
In Finland you can go to the forest and pick your own berries and mushrooms, as long as they are not protected or are endangered species. The concept is called “Everyman’s Rights” and it also gives you freedom to roam in forests and enjoy the peace there.
Anyways, I don’t really go to pick mushrooms myself because I am not good at recognizing the edible ones. I admire my mother-in-law, she knows berries and mushrooms a lot , so well she can fill all her stocks by picking them in late Summer and Autumn.
Suppilovahveropiirakka – Funnel Chanterelle pie
yield a 35×11 cm rectangular tart pan
- 10 dl Cantharellus tubaeformis mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped (use your hands to split them carefully)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 150 g bacon, diced
- 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
- 1 tbp of chopped parsley
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 400 g ready pastry ( I used a mixed grain store bought, with wheat and rye flour )
- 150 g of grated cheese ( Emmental the best )
- 150 ml cream ( I used reduced fat )
- 2 eggs, beaten
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a pie tin with the pastry. Prick the bottom with a fork, cover with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights. Take to oven and bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is set. Remove and let cool.
Make the filling. Fry the bacon in a skillet until it gets golden and release own fat. Add the onion and cook until soft . Toss the thyme and reserve.
Without cleaning the pan, fry the mushrooms. If necessary, you can add a knob of butter to help the process. Allow to simmer until the water evaporates. Carefully taste with salt and pepper ( keeping in mind how salty the other ingredients are ) and toss the parsley. Let the mixture cool a bit.
Combine the eggs and cream in a bowl. Spread the bacon-onion mixture over the pastry, the fried mushrooms and sprinkle the grated cheese.
Pour the egg mixture over and sprinkle the chopped spring onion.
Bake the pie for approximately 25-30 minutes, until top is golden.
Allow to set for a while and serve with salad.
My notes about the recipe:
I was afraid to hide the nice mushroom flavor by adding too much salt but I ended up with a very “tasteless” result. Besides more salt into the mushroom mixture, I suggest to use a stronger cheese and smoked bacon to enhance all the flavors.
For a quiche, use regular pastry dough (pâte brisée).
September 18, 2010
When it comes for asking help , good friends in the social media can be amazing. The other day I couldn’t decide if I should buy tartlet molds/pans with loose bottoms and I asked in twitter what friends would suggest. Lovely Patricia ( who also helped me with a question concerning the pie weights, thank you dear! Check out her blog , it is mouthwatering! ) and old friend VH-san came to my rescue =).
So now I present you the first baking in my brand new (or not so new anymore ^_^ ) loose bottoms tartlet pans!
I decided for something simple.. and cheering up as chocolate ( not to get depressed… XD) . The original idea was to use raspberries but Summer is gone from this cold land and the only local berry I found was strawberry.
Chocolate ganache tartelette with strawberries
Pastry or Pâte Sucrée adapted from this book
Ganache filling adapted from here
Yield 6 ∅10 cm tartelettes
- 110 g of cold unsalted butter chopped
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar ( I used my own vanilla sugar )
- 1 egg, beaten
Sift the flour, sugar and salt through a sieve into a large bowl. Rub together the butter and the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Pour the beaten egg and work the dough till it starts holding together. Add cold water if necessary ( I didn’t need ). Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 min.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
Roll out the dough and line 6 ∅10 cm tartlet molds. You will need to bake the pastry without the filling ( “blind-baking” ). Prick the bottom of tartlets with a fork, line with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights ( I used dried green peas ). Take to oven and bake for about 10 minutes till the crust is set ( rim is golden). Remove the paper and weights and bake for further 5 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
1 basket fresh strawberries (250 g ) , rinsed, stem end cut flat
- 200 ml double cream ( kuohukerma )
- 180 g dark chocolate ( I used 100g Valrhona Manjari 64% and 80g of “normal” 70% dark chocolate)
- 20 g unsalted butter
Melt the chocolate, heat the cream in a small pan and pour over the chocolate. Stir the ingredients together using a spatula till they are evenly combined, beating to get a smooth and glossy mixture. Add the butter.
To assemble the tartlets:
Pour the chocolate ganache into the baked shells and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (or until almost firm) . Place the strawberries on top of each tart and serve. If you want to keep the ready tartelettes in the fridge for a while , I suggest to glaze the strawberries with melted jam to keep them fresh and moist.
My notes about the recipe:
The tartelettes became very good but I think they had too strong chocolate taste. I believe it would work better if making very tiny bite-size tartelettes. Anyways, I could definitely make these again , substituting half the amount of dark chocolate for milk chocolate to smooth the taste a bit :).
If using fresh raspberries instead of strawberries, try mixing a bit of raspberry jam in the ganache to give a flavor boost to the chocolate mix.
September 5, 2010
I like to bake. I like to do many things. Sometimes I just don’t have time. And.. sometimes I just don’t have patience ;)
That wasn’t the case on last friday. I baked an Apple pie to be served with a big ball of vanilla ice-cream. We had special guests and I wanted to offer a dessert.
To be honest, I cheated a bit. I used a jar of my homemade apple preserve for the filling to hurry up things. My homemade preserve was made from apples I’ve got last year from my husband’s aunt (she has lots of apple trees on her garden! Lucky lady. ) A simple preserve: apples, lemon juice, sugar and a vanilla pod.
I only needed to make the crust. Butter, flour, bread flour and water. You can’t go wrong when you add butter! :D
Pastry adapted from here, the Finnish ingredients I used in parentheses.
Yield a ∅ 27 cm pie. Serves 8.
- 150 g cold unsalted butter chopped
- 140 g flour ( erikoisvehnäjauhoa: special wheat flour )
- 50 g bread flour ( hiivaleipäjauhoa: dark wheat flour)
- 5-6 tablespoons iced water (more or less depending on the dough consistency )
For the filling, about 250 g of apple preserve (my jar was 500 ml capacity)
In a bowl, rub together the butter and the flours with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the cold water to the breadcrumb mixture a little at a time, mixing well, until the dough forms. You don’t need to knead it much and it is perfectly fine if you can still see dots of butter here and there. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 min – 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
Roll out about half of the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper (or on floured surface) until 2-3 mm thick. Using your pie dish as a guide, cut a circle of the dough and line the dish. Pour the apple filling in.
Make strips from the remaining dough and arrange them in criss-cross pattern over the filling. Crimp the edges to “seal”, otherwise the strips can shrink during baking.
(You can brush the surface with egg wash but I didn’t.)
Bake for 25-30 min or until golden.
Best served warm with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream.