Yeah, we are on Easter vacation. And actually it’s already more than half way over. So far we have had one nice sunny day, the other days have been ehm …. rainy. But the weather forecast promises better weather for next week. Weeee! 🙂
What happens in Trondheim at Easter? Since the Easter time is pretty long with off time from work from Maundy Thursday until Easter Monday a lot of Norwegians take free Monday to Wednesday before Easter and go to their cabin. Those trips usually include mountain hikes. On Easter itself then people get big eggs made from cardboard with colorful motives and filled with candy. Three food items are essential for Easter in Norway: Kvikk lunsj the Norwegian version of Kitkat, oranges and lamb roast on Easter Sunday. I got such a big shell made from cardboard filled with candy, Kvikk lunsj and oranges from work too. That was a nice surprise.
As promised last week I tried my luck with the 9-layer so called Opera cake and prepared a half-frozen cheesecake with raspberry sauce. Our guest were happy and so was I. The cake was actually as easy as a piece of pie and only demanded a good start a couple of days ahead of the day when you want to serve it and the other one was swirled up within less than half an hour.
But first to the things we cooked up the week before: ricotta gnocchi, cinnamon and jam twists and a new pizza recipe.
We both love gnocchi but the vacuum sealed ones which sometimes can be found at the shop aren’t the real deal and making them ourselves has ended with too soft ones or potato soup. So, I stumbled over a recipe for ricotta gnocchi. They are different from the ones made with potatoes but definitely better than the stuff from the supermarket and way easier to handle than the potato ones.
- 250gr ricotta
- 180gr all-purpose flour
- 40gr finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 egg
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- Have all ingredients in a bowl and blend until you get an even dough. Form it to thumb-thick rolls, cut into 3cm thick pieces. Roll each piece into little oval shaped balls and set on a tea towel dusted with flour aside
- Heat salted water in a big pot and bring to boil. Add now the gnocchi into the slightly boiling water, stir once and let them boil until the float to the surface. Take a ladle with holes and fish them out of the water when they come up to the surface. Take them out and they are best to serve with a simple tomato sauce.
Cinnamon and jam twists. Do I have to say more or can you see those twists filled with cinnamon, sugar and butter or a good jam in front of your inner eye? And you have the taste on your tongue but just not the right deal in your hand…well that was my problem last week Monday. I was so hungry and craving for a good and fresh and satisfying piece of yeasted something. If possible still warm, very soft and satisfying this craving. So munchkin and I went into the kitchen and got started…
Our standard recipe for sweet buns is by Morten Schakenda owner of the Bakeriet i Lom, a place I would really like to visit and hope to join a baking class there once.
Hveteboller (sweet wheat buns) by Morten Schakenda
- 1kg all-purpose flour
- 0,5l milk (he recommends whole fat milk, but other works too)
- 150gr sugar
- 15gr salt
- 15gr cardamon
- 1 big egg
- 50gr fresh yeast
- 150gr butter, cut into chunks
For the filling and brushing
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 75gr sugar
- ca 75gr soft butter
- your favorite jam
- coarse sugar or sliced almonds
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- For the dough mix all ingredients, except the butter, in a big bowl. If possible use a kitchen machine and let it knead the dough for about 15min on medium speed or until the dough comes off the bowl edges.
- Add the butter chunks and knead until they are all incorporated. Cover the bowl with cling film, set it at a cool place and let the dough proof until it has doubled it’s size.
For sweet buns
- If you want to prepare simple (but still awesome) sweet buns then split the dough in even portions (golf ball size of raw dough is a good size) , roll them round, place them on a baking tray with parchment paper. Cover them with cling film and let them proof until they have reached double size.
- Beat the egg with a pinch of salt, brush each bun and bake in the preheated oven at 180-200C until they are golden brown, ca 15min.
For cinnamon and jam twists
- Take your dough, knead it once shortly and split it into two. Dust the counter lightly with flour. Roll the first half into a big rectangle. The dough should be pretty thin. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon. Spread the soft butter evenly over the whole surface of the rectangle and sprinkle it with the cinnamon sugar. With the help of your fingers (pointer, middle and ring finger) rub the cinnamon sugar slightly into the butter and dough so it sticks better. From the longer side: fold half of it over on to the other half and press them well together. Try to push all trapped air out.
- Cut this huge rectangle into even strings. Twist each string, wrap it around your fingers, make a knot and set it on a baking tray with parchment paper. Continue with the other strings the same way. Let them proof for ca 30min.
- Take the second half, roll it out to a big rectangle and spread your favorite jam on it. Don’t be greedy. Fold one half over the other, cut it into even strings and form knots as you have done with the cinnamon sugar ones. Set them as well on a baking tray with parchment paper and let them proof for ca 30min. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt and brush each twist with it. Sprinkle with coarse sugar or sliced almonds.
- Preheat your oven to 180C Bake the twists for about 20min or until they are golden brown – brown. Set them on a cooking rack and as soon as it’s possible enjoy them. But be careful they are awfully hot!
They taste best the day they are baked but can be frozen once they are completely cooled.
Since we are already at the yeasted food we can directly continue with the recipe for pizza dough M discovered on NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1016230/robertas-pizza-dough.html
The dough is made within a few minutes and then you only need patients. But it’s good and very easy. Next time we’ll bake it on our pizza stone.
And then started the Easter week and I’d planned to try two more elaborate recipes but they only looked like a lot of work. At the end of the day you only need to start early enough. 🙂
The first one was the Opera cake by Lise Finckenhagen. It’s a 9-layer cake with almond cocoa sponge, dark chocolate creme and white chocolate and coffee cream, covered with a dark chocolate icing. Each layer is delicious by itself. The sponge is soft and yummy too. Important is to start two days ahead of the serving and to have everything “mise en place” = ready.
Opera cake (for a a 20 x 20cm cake) by Lise Finckenhagen
2 days ahead start with preparing the dark chocolate cream and the white chocolate and coffee cream.
Dark chocolate cream
- 110gr dark chocolate, 70%
- 2 egg yolks
- 20gr sugar
- 110ml milk
- 110ml cream
Chop the chocolate finely and have it in a bowl. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they are thick and light yellow. Pour the cream and the milk into a small saucepan and add the thick egg yolk cream. Warm the egg mix on low temperature and constant stirring until it turns into a thick sauce. Pour it slowly over the chopped chocolate and stir it constantly with a whisk from the center of the chocolate. The chocolate cream shall become thick, shiny and elastic. Cover the surface of the cream (yes, have the cling film touching the cream) with cling film and let it sit in the refrigerator over night.
White chocolate and coffee cream
- 140gr white chocolate
- 100ml warm espresso
- 220ml cold cream
Chop the chocolate finely and have it in a bowl. Melt the chocolate half way over a warm water bath. Add the espresso slowly while you are stirring with a whisk or spatula from the center of the chocolate. The chocolate mixture shall become elastic and shiny. Stir in the cold cream and mix it well with a hand-held mixer. Cover the surface with cling film and let it sit in the refrigerator over night.
1 day ahead the serving
Prepare the almond cocoa sponge, the coffee syrup and assemble the cake
Almond cocoa sponge
- 2 eggs
- 65gr powder sugar
- 65gr ground almonds
- 25gr all-purpose flour
- 20gr dutch cocoa
- 3 egg whites
- 25gr sugar
- 25gr melted and cooled butter
- Beat the eggs with the powder sugar and almonds to a thick and light cream. Sift the flour together with the cocoa.
- Beat the egg whites with the sugar to a soft merengue mixture. Mix the melted butter and 1/4 of the merengue mixture into the egg mixture. Fold in the flour cocoa mix and then the rest of the merengue mixture.
- Spread the batter evenly on a baking tray with parchment paper. The size should be at least 40 x 30cm to fit into the cake pan/ring.
- Bake the sponge at 220C for 8min in the middle of the oven. When the surface feels dry to the touch it’s done. If it bakes too long it gets too dry and hard to work with. Let the dough cool on a cooling rack and cut it into three pieces so that it’s going to fit into your cake pan/ cake ring. You’ll get two whole and two halves. Use your cake pan as a model for the cutting. The one which consists out of two halves should go into the middle of the cake.
- 150ml espresso
- 30gr sugar
Bring the espresso with the sugar to boil and let it cool.
Assemble the cake
- Whip the white chocolate and coffee cream to a thick cream. Place a cake ring on a big plate with parchment paper. Place the first sponge into the cake ring and brush it with the coffee syrup. Then spread half of the dark chocolate cream on top. Followed by 1/3 of the white chocolate and coffee cream.
- Now take your two halves and place those on top of the white chocolate cream. Brush it with coffee syrup and spread the second half of the dark chocolate cream followed by the second third of the white chocolate cream.
- Place the third and last sponge into the cake ring, brush it with the syrup and spread the remaining white chocolate and coffee cream on top. Try to get it as even and smooth as possible. Freeze the cake over night.
Prepare the icing.
- 200gr chocolate, 70%
- 200ml cream
- 2 tsp liquid honey or light syrup
- Chop the chocolate finely and have it in a bowl. Pour the cream and honey/syrup into a small saucepan and bring to boil. Pour half of the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute before you start to stir it. Start to stir it with a spatula from the middle, add the rest of the cream slowly and continue to stir until you get a thick, smooth and shiny icing. Try to avoid stirring air bubbles into the icing.
- Take the cake out of the freezer and lift it over on a rack with a plate underneath to catch the excessive icing. Pour the icing slowly over the cake. Lift the cake off the rack and place it on a serving plate. Let it sit in the refrigerator to thaw.
And then the last cake or better the ice cream. A half-frozen cheesecake with berry sauce by Lise Finckenhagen. That was the match ball which won the tongues of our coffee guests. The Opera cake had been awesome but this treat was special and so much better than a usual cheesecake.
Semifreddo cheesecake with berry sauce by Lise Finckenhagen (for a 2l pan/bowl)
- 100gr cookies (e.g. graham crackers)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 300gr rinsed red berries (raspberries, strawberries, forest strawberries, frozen or fresh)
- 100ml sugar
- 4 big eggs
- 150ml sugar
- 200gr mascarpone
- 400ml cream
- Crush the cookies to fine crumbs and mix with the sugar and the butter.
- Save a few berries for the decoration and stir the rest of the berries with the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a thick and light cream. Add the mascarpone and keep beating until the cream is getting thick and smooth (about 5min). Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and beat the egg whites until they are firm. Now fold first the cream into the mascarpone mixture followed by the egg whites.
- Fill the cheese cream, the cookie crumbs and the berry sauce layer-wise into a big bowl. Freeze the cheesecake for 3-4 hours. It should be half-frozen in the middle. Decorate it with the remaining berries.
- If you use other cookies e.g. with chocolate or almond cookies then additional butter and sugar isn’t necessary. If the cake is too hard (frozen) let it sit for another 20-30min in the refrigerator before serving it.
Tonight we are going to visit friends for a barbecue in the sunshine and tomorrow friends are coming over for waffles. Theo is exploring the terrace and Ecky is joining him.
Happy Easter to all of you and a lot of chocolate eggs and sun!