Monthly Archives: January 2016

DRIED CHERRIES, PECANS & ROSEMARY BRIE EN CROUTE

Serves: 14

It’s easy to impress your guests with this elegant appetizer that features creamy Brie cheese topped with an unexpected combination of sweet and savory ingredients, all wrapped up in flaky puff pastry. This is a recipe I found in a magazine advertisement for Pepperidge Farm. It was a hit at thanksgiving party.


Ingredients

  • 1             egg
  • 1             tbsp. water
  • 1/3          cup dried cherries, softened
  • 1/4          cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/4          cup honey
  • 1/2          tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves or
  • 1/4          tsp. dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/2          Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
  • 1             (15-ounce) Brie cheese round
  • 1             pkg Crackers (your choice)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk.
  3. Stir the cherries, pecans, honey and rosemary in a small bowl.
  4. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square(1/8” thick).  
  6. Cut off the corners to make a circle.
  7. Spoon the cherry mixture in the center of the circle. Top with the cheese. Brush the edge of the circle with the egg mixture.
  8. Fold 2 opposite sides  over the cheese.. Trim remaining 2 sides of the square to 2 inches from the edge of the cheese.  Fold sides up cheese and press edges to seal.
  9. Place seamside down onto baking sheet.
  10. Decorate top with pastry scrap or additionional rosemary, if desired.
  11. Brush with the egg mixture.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 45 minutes. Serve with the crackers.


Ingredient Note: To soften the cherries, stir the cherries and 1/2 cup hot water in a small bowl. Let stand for 1 minute. Drain the cherries and pat dry.

Pistachio Shortbread

Pistachio Shortbread

Makes 24 – 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4        all purpose flour
  • 1              cup finely ground pistachio nuts
  • 1/3           cup sugar
  • 1              cup butter
  • 1 1/2        cups white baking chocolate pieces
  • 1              tbsp shortening
  • 1              cup finely chopped pistachio nuts

Instruction

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, ground nuts and sugar.  Using a pastry blender,(or with your finger tips) cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together.  Form mixture into a ball, knead until smooth.  Divide dough in half.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of the dough into an 8 x 4 inch rectangle.  Using a fluted vegetable cutter (crinkle cutter) or flutter pastry wheel, cut dough into 2 x 3/4 inch rectangles and/or 1 inch squares.  Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are barely browned.  Transfer cookies to a wire racks and cool.
  5. Line cookie sheets with waxed paper, set aside.  
  6. In a small saucepan, cook and stir white baking chocolate pieces and shorting over low heat until smooth.  Dip one end or corner of each cookie into melted mixture.  Place dipped cookies on prepared cookie sheets.  Sprinkle dipped portion with some of the chopped nuts.  Chill about 15 minutes or until coating is set.

To Make Ahead

Prepare as directed.  Place cookies in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container, cover.  Store in a cool, dry place up to 3 days.  (Or place cookies in a freezer container; cover.  Freeze for up to 1 month.)

Nan Khatia (Fatuma”s recipe)

Nan Khati

Ingredients

  • 2             cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2          cup gram flour
  • 1/2          cup semolina (Sooji)
  • 1-1/2       tsp baking powder
  • 3/4          cup berry sugar
  • 1             cup melted ghee*
  • 1/4        tsp saffron

Instructions

  1. Mix the saffron in a tablespoon of water.
  2. Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. In a medium size bowl, sieve the dry ingredients together.
  4. Warm the ghee to about 100 degrees. (you should be able to dip your finger in).
  5. Pour the warm ghee on the dry ingredients, mix with your hands till it forms a ball.
  6. Take a small piece, and with you palms roll it in a ball, about an inch round and then flatten it a little.
  7. Place it in a greased baking tray 2 inches apart.
  8. With your finger tip make a dot in the centre.
  9. Bake it for 20 – 25 minutes or till light brown in colour.

*Ghee

Melt 3/4 lb Western Family Margarine. Let it simmer on low until all the water has burnt. About 20 minutes. The fat on top will be clear.

 

Mince Pies

 

A mince pie is a fruit-based mincemeat sweet pie of British origin that is traditionally served during the Christmas season.  The ingredients of the modern mince pie can be traced to the return of European crusaders from the Holy Land.  Middle eastern method of cooking which sometimes combined meats, fruits and spices, were popular at the time.  Typically its ingredients were a mixture of mincemeat, suet, a range of fruits and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  The tradition of eating Christmas pie in December was popular throughout the Victorian era, although by then the recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced from a large oblong shape.  Today the mince pie remains a popular treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom.Mince Pies

Ingredients

  • 1           lb all purpose flour
  • 1/2        lb salted butter
  • 1           egg beaten 
  •              cold water to bind the pastry
  • 1           jar mincemeat, shop bought
  • 1           egg
  • 2           tbsp icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place the flour and butter in a clean glass bowl(or in a food processor).
  3. Rub the butter quickly into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
  4. Stir the egg in to the mixture using a cold knife.  Then add cold water a teaspoon at a time and stir until the mixture binds but is not sticky.
  5. Wrap the dough in clingier and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.

Assemble the Pies

  1. Choose a muffin or bun tin for the size of the pie you want.  Choose from a standard 12 cup muffin tin down to small canape size.  The number of pies will depend on the size of the cup you choose.
  2. Dust a work surface lightly with a little white flour and roll out two thirds of the pastry to 1/8” thick.  Cut circles to line the cups of your tin.
  3. Fill the pastry lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.
  4. Roll out the remains pastry to the same thickness and cut smaller circles to fit as lids on the tarts or to be decorated, cut stars or other fancy shapes.
  5. Dampen the edge of the tart bases with a little cold water or beaten egg  and press the lids on.  Make a small hole in the surface of each pie with a small knife to allow the steam to escape.
  6. Brush the top with a beaten egg mixed with a little water.
  7. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minute.
  8. Dust with icing sugar.

Marzipan Kringle

This is a Jewish Marzipan  bread.  It is used as a desert for Christmas traditional meal.   I had found it in a Jewish bakery in London, England and then found the recipe in a Christmas magazine in the 1980s.  It is an extremely rich and decadent treat.  Often a coin is hidden in the kringle and it is thought that the finder will be guaranteed good luck for the upcoming year.

I divide the dough in 2 and make 2 small kringles.

You can buy the marzipan from a bakery or make your own.

 

Maripan Kringle

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2            cups all purpose flour
  • 1                  pkg rapid-rise yeast
  • 1/4               cup sugar
  • 1/2               tsp salt
  • 3                  egg yolks
  • 1                  cup whipping cream.
  • 1/4               cup milk
  • 1/2               cup butter
  •                     Marzipan Filling (recipe to follow)
  • 1                  egg white
  • 3/4               cup sliced natural almonds
  • 1/4               cup course sugar crystals or crushed sugar cube
Instructions
 
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. In a medium – size bowl, mix together egg yolks, cream, milk and melted butter until blended.
  3. Stir into flour mixture until solid dough forms.(The liquid ingredients do not have to be heated to activate the yeast).  Place dough in greased bowl.
  4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hours, or until well chilled.
  5. Meanwhile prepare Marzipan filling.
  6. On a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin, roll dough to a 24 inch square.  
  7. Spread Marzipan Filing to withn 1” of edges.  Roll up jelly roll style, enclosing filling filling.
  8. Roll into a pretzel shape.
  9. Place on a cookie sheet, seam-side down.
  10. Brush dough with egg white; sprinkle with almonds and course sugar.
  11. Cover and let it rise in warm, draft-free place about 40 minutes or until double in size.
  12. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Remove to wire rack to cool.
Serve warm or cold.

Marzipan Filling

  • 1                  cup lightly packed almond paste
  • 1/2               cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/2               cup sugar
  • 1                  egg white
  • 1                  tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1                  tsp almond extract

Instructions

In a food processor fitted with metal blade, combine all ingredients .  Process until throughly blended.

Almond Paste


Ingredients 

  • 8           oz ground almond (Blanch almonds and blend it)
  • 4          oz icing sugar
  • 4          oz caster sugar
  • 2          eggs
  • 1          tsp lemon juice

Instruction 

  1. Sift the dry ingredients. 
  2. Beat the eggs with lemon juice and stir into the almond mixture to make a firm paste. 
  3. Wrap in cling film to prevent it from drying out. 
  4. This amount makes  1 lb almond paste.

 


Spicy Fig Jam


 

Spicy Fig Jam


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2           lb diced dried  figs (6-10 figs), depending on the size of the figs
  • 1/2              cup seeded, peeled orange, diced
  • 1                 cups sugar 
  • 1 1/2           tsp grated orange peel
  • 3                 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1                 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/4              tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4              tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2              tsp butter
  • 2                (8oz canning jars)

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, place all the ingredients, stir and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. bring the mixture to a boil stirring a few times in between.  about 10 minutes.
  3. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, the mixture should be transparent.  If you spoon out a bit on a small plate that has been placed in the freezer, you can push the mixture with your finger tip to see how thick it is.  It should wrinkle up, if it is runny, cook it a little more.  You want to boil it down to 2 cups.
  4. Pour it in sterilzed jars.

You can also use fresh figs and add 1/2 cup sugar.

Mandha (Samosa Pastry)

Mandha is the pastry used for Samosa.

Mandha

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2                   cups white all purpose flour
  • 1                          cup water
  • 1/4                      cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4                      cup white flour

Instructions

  1. Make a dough with white flour and water.
  2. Divide the dough into 10 small balls.  (about 40 gm ea)
  3. Roll each ball into a 5 inch round.
  4. Brush each round with oil and sprinkle with white flour.
  5. Stack them up.
  6. Roll the stack into an oblong.
  7. Microwave this for 4 min.
  8. Remove from the microwave, cut the pastry in half length wise and cut and shape of the mandha.
  9. Wrap it in plastic and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  10. You can wrap this in foil and freeze it.
Mandha rolls
                                                                                   

Mandha rolled