Tag: hazelnuts

Carrot and Pineapple Muffins with Hazelnuts

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

The secret ingredient to my favourite carrot cake is puréed pineapple, it makes the batter nice and light and adds subtle fruitiness. Our cake-loving granny Doris from Florida introduced me to her little masterpiece when I visited her in the sunshine state for the first time a few years ago. Although it wasn’t the only treat she prepared for us – she’s a grandma after all, so she made sure that our plates were never (!) empty –  it was the one that struck me the most. I must have eaten the whole cake on my own, it’s addictive and I loved it! It’s made with sunflower oil instead of butter, which I’m usually not that fond of, but here it doesn’t disturb the flavours and makes a very nice and fluffy texture. Refined with my beloved cinnamon, it’s a fragrant cake that fits perfectly to a late Sunday breakfast in spring. The temperatures are far from springy here in Berlin so I need a bit of imagination, but never mind, my heart is already set on the next season.

So what works in a cake, also works in a muffin. It’s just quicker and easier to prepare and you can even skip the icing of the cake, which turns the whole thing into a richer treat (but if you’re up for it, you can find the recipe for my cream cheese icing in the link to the carrot cake). I often use canned pineapple in this recipe, drained and squeezed, I’m after sweetness so if you can’t find the freshest, juiciest, and sweetest fruit, go for the can. The amounts of the cake ingredients needed a few adjustments to turn into muffins but the results are actually quite similar: they have the same light texture, beautiful aroma, and I can’t stop eating the muffins either.

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

 

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

Carrot and Pineapple Muffins with Hazelnuts

Makes 12 muffins

plain flour 260g / 2 cups
granulated sugar 150g / 3/4 cup
baking powder 3 teaspoons
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 2 1/2 teaspoons
sunflower oil 120ml / 1/2 cup
pineapple (canned or fresh), drained and lightly squeezed (canned fruit), and puréed, 150g / 5 ounces
organic eggs 3
carrots, grated, 150g / 5 ounces
hazelnuts, chopped, 1 small handful, for the topping

paper baking cups 12

Set the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting) and line the 12 molds of a muffin tray with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Whisk together the sunflower oil, puréed pineapple, and eggs.

Pour the pineapple-oil mixture along with the carrots into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough, with a bit of flour left here and there. Keep in mind, the more you mix it, the more it will lose its light texture. Divide the dough between the muffin cups and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts. Bake for about 20-22 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until the muffins are firm on top. Let them cool for 1-2 minutes before you take the muffins out of the tray.

You can keep the muffins in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

 

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

 

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

 

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

 

Carrot Pineapple Muffin

Buckwheat Dutch Baby with White Chocolate, Blueberries and Hazelnuts

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I ate my first Dutch Baby in Marta Greber’s kitchen, the cook and baker behind the beautiful blog What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today?We met last October for one of my meet in your kitchen features, I was curious about this woman who is known to be so passionate about the first meal of the day. When Marta told me that she’d like to make a Dutch Baby for me I had to ask her for further information, unfortunately I had no idea what to expect on my plate.

To clear the picture for everyone else who feels as clueless as I did then: a Dutch Baby is a pancake baked in the oven in a heavy cast iron skillet. It rises a bit like a soufflé with a buttery crust on the outside. It’s a very simple yet very delicious way to start the day! Marta mastered this dish to perfection, you can find her recipe here in the kitchen feature with her. I didn’t want to change her basic formula too much. There are variations on this dish with a thiner result but I particularly liked the richness she created. Her recipe uses more flour than the ones that end up with a paper thin bottom, her Dutch Baby is a proper breakfast and not an airy dessert. I wanted to keep that but there is always room to evolve a recipe, to change it in order to give it a new direction. My new direction is called buckwheat!

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Inspired by my hazelnut cake made with this tasty flour which found its way onto the blog only a few weeks before I met Marta, I have been wanting to combine these two creations for months: a hearty buckwheat Dutch Baby refined with cinnamon to underline its nutty flavour. The right cast iron skillet was missing in my kitchen which isn’t obligatory for this recipe but I’ve been longing for this heavy pan from Tennessee for years and I didn’t want to start this project without this exact kitchen tool (I know, I sound a bit like a child). Thanks to our family, to lovely Ana and Chris in Florida, my cooking equipment has a few new additions: not only one skillet but three plus a casserole dish, it felt like Christmas when the box arrived. My first Dutch Baby is dedicated to these two wonderful people on the other side of the Atlantic, thank you so much for this kitchen gift!

When I finally got started, it took three attempts to learn that you can’t expect the same results from buckwheat batter compared to the ones made with lighter wheat or white spelt, it’s just not as airy. Buckwheat is simply too heavy to let the pancake rise and bubble like a perfect soufflé, as long as you’re not after after a crêpe-thin Dutch Baby which I wasn’t. I wanted Marta’s thick German pancake texture combined with the buckwheat’s distinct taste. So, using only buckwheat was out of the question, it’s impossible. For my first batch I used more or less Marta’s recipe replacing half the flour with buckwheat. It created a pancake with a certain density that I wanted to lighten up a little. The second batch made with 1/3 less buckwheat flour tasted perfect but I still wanted a different texture and look. The third and final recipe is made with an additional egg and the same amount of the two different flours, and this time I was finally happy. Don’t expect a feather-light soufflé but a cosy, nutty, cinnamony warm breakfast treat, slightly cakey, with sweet and creamy white chocolate melted on top. The addition of chopped hazelnuts and fresh blueberries made this comforting morning treat complete!

So where does the name come from? It’s another one of these sweet fairy tales. The dish is derived from the German pancake, the word Dutch is a corruption of the word Deutsch, meaning German. A restaurant owner called Victor Manca is supposed to be the person who made the first Dutch Baby in the early 1900 in Seattle, Washington. At least he owned the trade mark. Legend has it that one of his daughters chose the name, referring to the German-American immigrants, the Pennsylvania-Dutch.

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Buckwheat Dutch Baby with White Chocolate, Blueberries and Hazelnuts

For a 25cm / 10″ cast iron skillet or heavy baking dish you need

butter 80g / 2 3/4 ounces, to bake the pancake
plain flour 60g / 2 ounces
buckwheat flour 60g / 2 ounces
sugar 2 tablespoons
salt 1/2 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
organic eggs 3
milk 125ml / 4 1/2 ounces
quality white chocolate, grated, 60g / 2 ounces, for the topping
blueberries 125g / 4 1/2 ounces, for the topping
hazelnuts, chopped, 20g / 3/4 ounce, for the topping

Set the oven to 230°C / 450°F (top/ bottom heat).

Place the skillet or baking dish with the butter in the oven. Let the butter melt and sizzle slightly (it should be hot but not brown). Combine the flour, buckwheat, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl, add the milk and eggs and whisk for about a minute until combined. When the butter is melted, gently pour the dough into the middle of the pan and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until golden.

When the Dutch Baby is done, take the pan out of the oven and carefully pour out the excess butter. Sprinkle the surface with the chocolate immediately. Lay the blueberries and hazelnuts on top and enjoy warm!

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Buckwheat Dutch Baby

Hazelnut and Buckwheat Cake with Cinnamon Icing Sugar

Hazelnut and Buckwheat Cake

Family guests from LA! Our American grandfather Jim and his wife Gina came to visit us and – as always when guests stay with us – we let the feast begin from day one! When they arrived at noon, we sat down at our long wooden table and we only got up in the early evening, after hours of savoring. I carried one dish after the other to the table, so much so, that at one point my boyfriend stated I must have mistaken his grandparents for goats! There was so much to talk about, so many memories and stories to share, so much to show after years of not seeing each other, that a good amount of nice food seemed like the perfect company for a day like that. Also, it was a very successful way to fight their jet lag. 9 hours of time difference and my food kept them awake till 9!

One of my personal table highlights of that first day was my hazelnut and buckwheat cake. I love to welcome friends and family with a cake on the table. The sweet smell of freshly baked food in the house wakes you up even after the longest flight and makes you feel home right away! I had been in the mood for a cake like that for days, simple and spongy with the deep flavour of hazelnuts and I got what I asked for. I made the dough with ground nuts and buckwheat which adds a nuttiness to it that I wouldn’t have achieved with wheat or spelt flour. It’s a very popular combination in the Tyrolean mountains which always start to have a growing influence on my cooking and baking as soon as the temperatures drop. So it’s a mountain cake, honest and rich in taste, refined with lots of cinnamon mixed in and sprinkled on top with some icing sugar.

I wanted to put even more food on the table, but at one point, they all stopped me. My plan was to finish the day off with my famous Swabian Cheese Spaetzle, hearty cheese and onions with homemade southern noodles, but they didn’t let me go back to my kitchen! I saved it for another night and dinner and they loved it, like the Blue Cheese Crackers, Beluga Lentils with Pear, Tyrolean Plum Dumplings, Sicilian Chard, Radicchio Crespelle and all the other goodies I will write about in the coming days!

Hazelnut and Buckwheat Cake

 

Hazelnut and Buckwheat Cake

 Hazelnut and Buckwheat Cake

For one 26cm / 10″ springform pan 0r two 18cm / 7″ pans you need

ground hazelnuts 225g / 8 ounces
buckwheat flour 225g / 8 ounces
sugar 200g / 7 ounces
cinnamon 1 teaspoon plus more for the dusting
baking powder 4 1/2 teaspoons
a pinch of salt
butter, at room temperature, 250g / 9 ounces
organic eggs 6
icing sugar for the dusting

Set the oven to 180°C / 350°F (fan assisted oven).

Combine the dry ingredients.

Beat the egg whites and salt until stiff.

Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and continue mixing for a few minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy. 

Gently fold the dry mixture and the egg whites with a wooden spoon into the butter and sugar mixture, alternating, 1/3 at a time, combining well in between.

Bake for 35 minutes (or a bit shorter if you use smaller pans) or until golden brown on top. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let it cool for a few minutes.

Combine 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the cake.

Hazelnut and Buckwheat Cake

 

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Hazelnut and Buckwheat Cake

 

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