Turkish Delight

Thanks to C.S. Lewis and the Pevensie children, I made some Turkish Delight. I’m currently teaching The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in one of my classes, and when we got to the chapter on Turkish Delight, none of my students had ever tried it. So I found a recipe.

I will say, according to my (limited) research, this isn’t a completely authentic recipe, as it contains gelatin. The original recipes don’t, but apparently the gelatin makes it a bit more foolproof. I didn’t want to make the recipe twice, so I made the “foolproof” version, but I still flavoured it with rosewater, so the flavour is at least authentic. You will need a candy thermometer to make this recipe, so be warned!

I found this recipe here, and I don’t know if my students will like it (they seemed apprehensive with the flavour of rosewater when I told them about it), but at least it’s as authentic as I can attempt!

Ingredients

Yield: About 50 candies, depending on cut size

2 2/3 c. cold water, divided
2 tbsp. rosewater
½ tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. powdered gelatin
2¾ c. sugar
2 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
½ c. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2-3 drops red or pink food colouring

For dusting:

½ c. cornstarch
¼ c. icing sugar

Grease and line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.

In a small bowl, combine the dusting mixture of cornstarch and icing sugar. Dust a small amount into the parchment lined pan.

In a medium bowl or a liquid measuring cup, combine ½ cup of cold water, rosewater, and vanilla. Sprinkle the gelatin over the mixture and set aside to bloom.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, 1 1/3 c. water, honey, and cream of tartar. Stir, then place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan, making sure the tip doesn’t hit the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium, and keep an eye on it, making sure it gets to 255°F. It might take about 15 minutes. Remove pot from the heat.

While the sugar syrup is coming to temperature, whisk together the cornstarch and lemon juice in a small pot. Whisk in the remaining water, 1 cup (200 ml), and whisk until no lumps remain.

Boil, whisking continually, until the mixture thickens and turns into a thick paste, like the consistency of petroleum jelly.

Pour a small amount of the sugar syrup (once at temperature) into the cornstarch mixture. Pour the mixture back into the sugar syrup mixture, and whisk over low heat until combined with no lumps and fully incorporated.

Remove from heat, and whisk in the gelatin mixture and food colouring. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the mixture into the prepared square pan. Cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours, then cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool 8-10 hours, or overnight.

Spread a bit of the dusting mixture on a large work surface, and lift the Turkish Delight out of the pan. Using a knife that has been sprayed with oil, cut the candies to size and dust on all sides with the cornstarch dusting mixture.

Keep in an airtight container.

Saskatoon Berry Pie

This is a Canadian pie flavour if you ever saw one!

Our neighbours stopped by the other day with a bunch of fresh Saskatoon berries because they picked too many. What a great present!

I’ve never really worked with Saskatoon berries before, but Paul is a big fan of them. I have discovered that I love the flavour of them, but the texture throws me off a bit. So, I made a pie, ate a piece, and promptly cut Paul a bigger slice.

Since it’s fresh berry season, find some of these Saskatoon berries, and make this pie! I found the original recipe here, and didn’t change anything at all. I should have put a bit more cornstarch in the recipe, but like I said, this was the first time I have baked with Saskatoon berries, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Either way, the flavour is great, and Paul really enjoyed the pie. If it has the Paul seal of approval, it’s a winner!

Ingredients

1 9-inch pie

1 recipe Flaky Butter double pie crust
4 c. Saskatoon berries
1/3 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg
1 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a pie plate with the pie crust.

In a medium saucepan, add the Saskatoon berries and the 1/3 c. water. If you are using fresh berries, you may need a bit more water. Bring to a boil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add to the berries, and stir until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thickened.

Add the butter, lemon juice, and almond extract, and stir until butter is melted. Let cool.

Pour cooled filling into the pie plate, then cover with the top crust and crimp edges. Cut holes for ventilation.

Whisk together the egg and the water, then brush the egg wash over the pie.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Cool, slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Olive Oil Cake with Limoncello Mascarpone Cream

I have to be honest. I didn’t come up with this combination.

I was visiting a friend of mine in Lethbridge, and we went on a dinner date to a new Italian restaurant in town. We split one of their desserts: an olive oil cake with a limoncello mascarpone cream sauce. It was absolutely heavenly.

Well, my friend Jericka told me I HAD to try and recreate the cake at home, and I was up for the challenge. I mean, it was just an olive oil cake. The cream part was a little more complicated. I wasn’t sure about all of the meshing of the flavours, but then sure enough, Jericka found a recipe for just the cream we were looking for.

The original recipe for the cake was found here, and the recipe for the cream was here. Not going to lie, I made a few changes that I have reflected below in the recipe. Looking at the comments for the cake, I reduced the amount of olive oil ever so slightly, and switched out the orange flavourings for lemon. For the cream, I just used the cream part of the recipe, and whipped it by hand for about 5 minutes. I didn’t want a full-on whipped cream, so I stopped when it was thicker, at just barely soft peaks.

The cake and the cream paired perfectly together, and reminded me exactly of the cake I was attempting to recreate. I call that a success!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch round cake or 1 10 inch Bundt with cream

For the cake:

2 c. flour
1¾ c. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 c. olive oil
1¼ c. milk
3 eggs
1½ tbsp. grated lemon zest (or ½ tsp. lemon extract)
¼ c. lemon juice
¼ c. limoncello liqueur

For the cream:

¾ c. chilled whipping cream
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. limoncello liqueur

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 9 inch cake pan that is at least two inches tall. If you don’t have a pan that tall, use a springform pan or a Bundt pan. Make sure every corner is sprayed down with oil. If using a circular pan, line the bottom with parchment. If using a Bundt pan, use A LOT of oil to make sure that the cake comes out. (Mine stuck a bit… just warning you.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest (or extract), and limoncello. Add in the dry ingredients, and whisk together until just combined.

Transfer batter to cake pan, and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and cool in pan for 30 minutes. Remove from cake pan, and allow to cool completely.

To make the limoncello cream, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar, limoncello, and cheese. Whisk vigorously until mixture thickens to soft peaks, about 5-7 minutes.

To serve, slice cake, and top with cream.

Classic Cream Puffs

I’ve been intimidated by cream puffs for a while now. I thought they had to be extremely hard, because of the fluffy pastry and the cream filling.

I was so very wrong, and I am happy at how wrong I was! These cream puffs are actually quite simple, and that is a dangerous thing. With how easy they are to make, I have a feeling that I will be making many more of these bad boys.

The base of a cream puff is the pate a choux, or choux (pronounced shoe) pastry. It is a light, airy dough of (I believe) French or Italian origin. The dough is quite basic, only having a few ingredients.

I mean… it’s so easy! I was blown away by how easy the dough was. The hardest part (for me) was filling the piping bag with the choux pastry. I followed this recipe pretty much exactly, and just filled the cream puffs with a basic vanilla whipped cream. However, now that I know how easy choux pastry is to make, you might start seeing a lot of experimentation… eclairs, other cream puff fillings, the sky is the limit now!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 2 dozen cream puffs

For the choux pastry:

1 c. water
½ c. butter, cut into cubes
Large pinch kosher salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 c. flour
4 large eggs, room temperature

For the cream filling:

1½ c. heavy cream, cold
3 tbsp. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

To make the pate a choux, in a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar, and salt over medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine, until butter is melted and the mixture is coming to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium, and immediately add the flour into the butter mixture, stirring constantly to make sure the flour becomes evenly incorporated. Continue to stir over medium heat until the dough begins to pull away from the sides and form a ball. This should take about a minute.

Take off the heat and transfer the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes (so you don’t cook the eggs when they are added).

With the mixer on low speed, add in the eggs, one at a time. Do not add the next egg until the previous one is completely incorporated. The batter will look smooth and glossy when it is ready after all the eggs have been added.

Fill a pastry bag with a large round tip, followed by the choux pastry. Hold the pastry bag over the prepared pans, and squeeze the pastry bag until you have a small round of dough about 2 inches wide. Swirl the tip and stop the pressure to finish piping, and continue until all dough has been piped, about 2 inches apart from each other. Pipe no more than 12 dough rounds onto a baking sheet. If they have little peaks on top, tap the peaks down gently with a wet finger.

Place one pan at a time (I learned the hard way – only cook 1 pan at a time in the center of your oven or you will burn the bottoms!) in the preheated oven, and immediately turn the heat up to 450°F. The increase in heat helps them puff more.

Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes, WITHOUT OPENING THE OVEN DOOR, then turn down the heat to 350°F for 13-15 minutes, until pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

To make the cream filling, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip together until stiff peaks form. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small or medium round tip with the whipped cream.

Take a small paring knife, and cut small “x’s” in the bottoms of each cooled dough puff. Push the pastry bag with the cream filling into each puff, then squeeze a generous amount of whipped cream inside. Don’t overfill, or they might explode on you! You can feel the cream puffs expand slightly when they are full.

Sprinkle with icing sugar for garnish, and serve.

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is a classic British dish. It’s usually seen as a side dish served with a roast beef dinner.

Paul brought me home some braised beef and mashed potatoes from his job. He ate his when he got home, but I wanted to save it for lunch the next day. As I was contemplating this awesome meal, I had a really strong craving for Yorkshire puddings.

I have been contemplating making Yorkshire puddings for a long time. I found a Jamie Oliver video where he breaks down how to make proper Yorkshire puddings. After watching the video and keeping Jamie’s tips in mind, I found a Jamie Oliver inspired recipe.

These babies bake up in less than an hour, and are so good! I don’t have a popover or Yorkshire pudding pan, so I just used a muffin tin, and it still worked just fine.

They are also super easy to make, and only have four ingredients! If you have eggs, flour, milk, and salt, you can make these Yorkshire puddings!

Ingredients

Yield: 12 Yorkshire puddings

1 c. milk
3 eggs, at room temperature
4 oz. (approx. 1 c.) flour
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a 12-sectioned muffin tin, fill three of the muffin tins on the end with oil. Tip the muffin tin so that the oil flows into the rest of the sections. There should be about 1 centimeter of oil in each tin.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together until lightly frothy. Add in the salt and milk, and whisk again. Add the flour, and whisk again until there are no lumps, and the batter coats the back of a spoon.

Let the batter rest for 15 minutes. Put the oil-filled muffin tin on a baking sheet, and place in the preheated oven while the batter rests.

After resting the batter, take the muffin tin out of the oven, and very carefully pour the batter into the oil-filled cavities. Use a spoon to minimize spills between muffin tin cavities.

Once the muffin tin is full, place back into the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until dark golden brown and puffy.

Serve immediately.