Tag: whipped cream

meet in your kitchen | Tasting Rome with Kristina’s Maritozzi con La Panna

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As soon as the air is filled with flickering heat and the sky over Berlin is painted in the deepest sparkly blue, my mind tends to travel to the South, I’m desperately lost in Mediterranean daydreaming. One of my favourite imaginary destinations – apart from Malta – is Italy. Take me to the soft hills of Tuscany, the Renaissance statues at Florence’s Piazza delle Signora, or to the ancient city of Rome and my heart is filled with joy. My schedule doesn’t allow me to travel in person, but thanks to two American girls and their gorgeous cookbook Tasting Rome I can travel without having to leave (although I wouldn’t mind moving south for a few days).

The first time I was in touch with Kristina Gill, she asked me to come up with a sandwich recipe for her In the Kitchen With column on DesignSponge.com. She was happy with my creation, a lusciously stuffed Mediterranean Baguette, and we stayed in touch. I always assumed that Kristina lives in the US, Design Sponge is an American site. But the girl from Nashville moved to Rome almost two decades ago and dug deep into la dolce vita – into the culture, food, and history of her newly adopted hometown.

Years of walking down Rome’s cobblestoned streets, soaking up the loud scenes on the piazzas, and passing by baroque fountains and silent palaces also made her aware of the city’s vivid contrasts. To see the past and present meet, old buildings taken over for unconventional use, kitchen traditions being respectfully transformed into contemporary dishes – this lively process fascinated Kristina. When she met her pal, Katie Parla, who’s a New Jersey native, the two girls realized that they explore and experience their city in a similar way. Katie, who has a master’s degree in Italian gastronomic culture, and Kristina, the photographer and food and drinks editor, both loved documenting Rome’s lost recipes and contemporary innovations. So they decided to use their vast insider knowledge to write a cookbook together.

Tasting Rome is a collection of traditional Roman recipes and their modern interpretations. You can find pasta, vegetable, and meat classics side by side with scrumptious pizza variations and sweet Italian treats. I was impressed – and also glad – that the authors didn’t skip the city’s peasant tradition of using the whole animal, including offal, like sweetbread, liver, or tongue, and the more simple cuts of meat. It’s a tradition that corresponds with the great movement of eating sustainably and with respect for our environment.

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The two women developed the recipes together and asked the city’s great chefs for advice when it came to pizza and cocktails. The colourful pictures in the book that make you want to pack your bags and go straight to the airport – or at least to a Roman restaurant for dinner – were all taken by Kristina. Together, Katie and Kristina manage to share a taste of Rome through their words and delicious dishes.

I chose to share their recipe for Maritozzi con La Panna with you, tender sweet yeast buns filled with whipped cream. Apart from enjoying 4 (!) of these little temptations in one go with great pleasure, I was quite impressed to learn about a very simple technique that they use to roll the buns to give them a tight surface. Usually, I roll yeast buns between my two hands, holding one like a dome and the other one flat, rolling the dough about 20 times. Tasting Rome taught me to use only one hand, rolling the piece of dough and pressing it against a lightly floured kitchen counter until it’s a firm ball. It works perfectly!

The beautiful Rome pictures are by Kristina Gill, the food pictures are taken by me.

Maritozzi

 

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Maritozzi con La Panna – Sweet Buns with Whipped Cream

Makes 12 maritozzi

For the sponge

warm milk (between 40-45°C / 105-115ºF) 120ml / 1/2 cup
active dry yeast 1 1/4 tablespoons (I used fast-acting yeast)
bread flour 130g / 1 cup (I used white spelt flour)
granulated sugar 1 tablespoon

For the dough

unsalted butter, at room temperature, 100g / 7 tablespoons
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
large eggs, at room temperature, 4
bread flour, plus more for dusting, 325 g / 2 1/2 cups (I used white spelt flour. I added 90g / 2/3 cup to the dough)

For the egg wash

large egg 1
whole milk 1 tablespoon

For the filling

heavy cream 480ml / 2 cups
granulated sugar 1 tablespoon
my addition: ripe strawberries

Make the sponge: In a medium bowl, whisk the yeast into the milk, then add the flour and sugar and stir to combine. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and set aside until it becomes puffy, about 20 minutes.

Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, salt, and eggs on low speed.

Replace the paddle with the dough hook. Pour in the sponge, mix for a few turns, then add half of the flour. Mix on low until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining flour and mix again on low until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. When the dough was smooth, but still too sticky, I added 90g / 2/3 cup of flour and mixed it for another 2 minutes on ‘4’ on my KitchenAid.

Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for 10 minutes, then run the mixer on low for 10 minutes to stretch the gluten. Meanwhile, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into twelve equal-size pieces (each approximately 70g / 2 1/2 ounces). Using one hand, roll each piece into a tight ball, pressing it against the counter to ensure a smooth, tight surface. Next, using both hands, roll each ball into an elongated loaf shape, fatter in the middle and tapered on the ends, about 4 inches long, similar to a small football.

Place maritozzi on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them (at least) 4cm / 1 1/2″ apart. Cover with plastic wrap, then a kitchen towel, and allow to rise in a warm place (20-25°C / 70-80ºF) until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350ºF.

Make the egg wash: Whisk the egg with the milk in a small bowl. Immediately before baking, brush the tops of the maritozzi with the egg wash.

Bake until deep brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

While the maritozzi cool, make the filling: Whip the cream and sugar to firm peaks.

Slice each maritozzo open without cutting all the way through. Fill with the whipped cream, dividing it evenly, and serve immediately. Optionally: serve with fresh strawberries.

From Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright (c) 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Maritozzi

When and why did you move to Rome?

I moved to Rome in October 1999 for work. I was in the US diplomatic corps.

What fascinates you about Roman culture? Was it easy to adapt, to become a part of it?

Roman culture was a bit different then than now –  internet was far less diffuse, and people were still pretty insular. It is hard to break into a ‘friendship’ culture in which bonds are created from childhood and don’t really change. Luckily, one summer several years before I moved here for work, I stayed in an apartment in Rome with other students, and they introduced me to their friends, so when I subsequently studied in Florence and Bologna, their parents made sure I was introduced to families in both cities with children my age. I guess you could say I adapted well because I was adopted! I spent a lot of time with these families – I was never alone on holidays. As time went on, the internet brought more curiosity about other places and people, and provided a way for Romans to cultivate their interests more – people wanted to connect more and that sped up forming relationships, especially around common interests, that their traditional network didn’t provide, so I’ve seen over time that Romans have become much more open to expanding their friendships beyond that childhood crew.

What do you miss about your life in the US?

Where to start? The cheeseburgers, the supermarkets, the variety of food available from different cultures, the variety of food available period, gourmet ice cream, parking, airconditioning, well-heated homes in winter… The ability to realize a dream with your own two hands. There’s a sense of freedom in the US that I don’t feel here – young people are leaving Italy in droves so that they can pursue their dreams. I’m lucky that I am able to be a part of both places.

What is your favourite spot in Rome and why?

My Savoir Bed is my favorite place…sleeps like a dream! But if you mean in the city, there are so many public squares to sit in and soak up thousands of years of history, which I find so mindblowing and relaxing. But lately, I think my favorite place is the MAXXI Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid, where I can check out contemporary art exhibitions. Just a small modern parenthesis in the middle of an otherwise gorgeous ancient landscape.

Can you see yourself living in Rome for the rest of your life?

I would like to move back to the United States to be with my family after so many years of being away and missing everyone. Seems like my cousins’ children were born last year, but are already studying at university!! I’ve missed out on a whole generation!

You wrote your book, Tasting Rome, together with Katie Parla. How long have you know each other and who came up with the idea to write this book together?

I can’t remember how long, however, we met over Twitter, a few years back. I already had the full proposal written when I met Katie, and a couple years after we knew each other, she mentioned that she had written a proposal, a memoir I think, that had been unsuccessful and was a bit down so I said – well, I have one that you might be interested in that we could do together! I sent it to her and asked her if she thought she saw herself in it. We added her name and bio to the proposal, and worked on some refinements with an agent I had already been in contact with. I approached Katie because I thought her knowledge of the history of Roman dishes and food culture would be a valuable addition to the book that would help ground it in fact and set it apart from the typical expat book that is written more from a personal perspective and is often an adaptation of cuisine. I wasn’t wrong!

How did you develop the recipes in your book?

From the proposal and through signing the deal, I was originally going to do all of the recipes and photography in the book, and Katie the features and headnotes, but once we started working on the book and came up with the list of recipes, there were clearly items that I had never eaten, like the offal chapter, and items for which I had no capacity to develop recipes, like the baking chapter and the cocktails chapter. Also, for the classics: Amatriciana, Gricia, Carbonara, and Cacio e Pepe, since Katie spends a lot of time eating out and had written numerous articles on which restaurants’ versions were the best in Rome, we agreed that she was in the best position to identify those recipes. That left roughly half of the book for me to develop, which I did over the course of four and a half months. Sometimes I did eat out to test recipes against my memories, but for the most part, I had clear ideas of how I liked the food I was working on, I knew the elements and knew more or less how to prepare. I had to check technical books for proper frying temperatures as starting points, or baking science (sweets). I did also consult with a friend who is a pastry chef for guidance on the maritozzi because I knew I wanted a rich soft brioche dough for that, and wanted to explore various options. I also talked with a couple of chefs to find out their views on the “proper” way to prepare certain dishes. Interestingly enough, they went over both the tradition and their variations. This gave some latitude and discretion in determining an approach for the book which remained authentic. For the other half, Katie procured recipes from local mixologists, local chefs and restaurant owners, and a good friend of hers who is an amazing baker for the baking chapter. When I look at the book, I think it represents the perfect mix of everything you would encounter in Rome today that defines Rome.

Who is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen?

On a personal level, Lucia, the mother of the family I stayed with when I studied in Florence. She has since passed away. She grew up in a town called Ristonchi a little outside of Florence, with chickens and a garden and the usual rural life. She could make the best food out of any ingredients you gave her. I loved the food made from leftovers the most. Her ribollita was the best on the planet, and her mother’s chicken broth which was liquid gold (and pure fat) made an indelible mark on my palate! She introduced me to Alessandra from Padova, whose mother, Gianna, took the cooking crown (and still wears it). Lucia, Alessandra and I both agreed that Gianna is the best – and between the three of us, we have eaten a lot of Italian cooking. Eating at Gianna’s house was better than any restaurant – and she took ‘orders’ in the morning before each meal so that when lunch or dinner came around, you had anything and everything you wanted. My inspiration from Gianna and Lucia came from their knowledge of how to prepare food, and how to be resourceful, and really how to eat. Gianna’s father was a baker. Food was always a central part of both households and you could tell that each meal was to be savored.

Has food always played an important role in your life? Do you come from a family of foodies?

Not really in the way you would think. I grew up in a household which consumed its fair share of whatever junk food was popular at the time – but which also shopped at the farmer’s market for weekend meals. My grandmother kept her own garden and fruit trees, and three freezers to keep all the produce throughout the year. I used to think she was a magician because this amazing feast appeared on the dinner table from food I hadn’t seen in the refrigerator during the day. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned about the other freezers!!

You took all the pictures in your book, when and how did you discover your passion for photography? What do you love about it?

I started taking pictures to be able to produce the In the Kitchen With column on DesignSponge, in 2008 I think. I think I started to love photography when I started taking more than just food pictures and found that capturing my environment was a way to see all the things I overlooked when I just passed through on my daily routine. It was like discovering a new world.

Do you prefer to capture the atmosphere of a city with your camera or delicious food?

Both. I love to explore a culture through its food, why certain ingredients or cooking techniques play the role they do, how the cuisine of one city differs from another and why. I love to capture the mundane and everyday of a city with my camera.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory? 

I can’t remember! But in high school I think I used to make pizza from ready made pizza dough, and at university, I prepared a meal from an African cookbook, featuring mostly Ethiopian food and my friends and I all liked it a lot!

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Rome?

My Saturday routine is concentrated in one neighborhood. Before the market I have a pastry (made in house) from Fabrica, a cafe near the market. Then at the Trionfale market I buy fish, produce, and a lot of Asian food staples (lime, rice noodles, bok choy, tamarind paste, palm sugar, ginger, galangal etc). I get cheese and nduja from La Tradizione (which is near Trionfale market). I pick up wine and alcohol from an enoteca named Costantini. I pick up oatmeal (flakes) from the healthful store around the corner from my office. It is a chain called Il Canestro. When I don’t have time for breakfast at home, I stop by Bar Benaco on the way to work because they make all their pastries in house and I can get them while they are still warm. I don’t eat out a lot because I have a bazillion cookbooks and am always excited to try new recipes, but when I do, I eat most often at Cesare al Casaletto because they always find me a table, or takeaway pizza from a place near my house or at pizzeria Tonda.

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

Bryant Terry, anything he’d like. I would love it all. Unless it had beets in it.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

I learned about Bo Ssam pork at a meal at Matt Armendariz and Adam C. Pearon’s house. I would prepare Bo Ssam, and a selection of Asian-inspired salads. For dessert, a maple hazelnut cookie by Nigel Slater, and a selection of chocolates and coffee.

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

This is tough because I have no memory of a favorite food… Meatloaf maybe! Now… I have too many favorites, but cheeseburgers are top of my list. And dumplings. Chinese, Korean, Japanese…

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two years working on the book alone – not just developing the recipes, but also preparing food for the photography. I styled about half of the recipes in the book, and Adam C. Pearson did the other half and the cover. When I was in the studio shooting, I did a lot of food prep as well, and enjoyed the atmosphere and working with Adam and his team of stylists. It’s definitely easier working with others! But sometimes, cooking is therapy and being alone is great.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

As long as it’s good, either is fantastic!

Which meal would you never cook again?

I made some dog biscuits for my dog once that were made of like chopped liver and garlic or something. When they started to bake, the smell was SO BAD, I thought I’d have to move out of my apartment. He loved the cookies, but that smell stayed around for a LONG time and it was AWFUL.

Thank you Kristina!

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Maritozzi

 

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Maritozzi

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart with Pistachios and Rosewater

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

In the past week, I experienced the highs and lows of kitchen life, a fact that a curious baker has to live with when jumping into new recipes. Let’s start with the uplifting experience: I baked 3 cakes and 2 were fantastic, which isn’t that bad. One of them will stay a secret until I share it with you next week, but the other one was this bomb of a cake. It’s a voluptuous beauty, full of flavour, sweetness, crunch, and fluffiness. I call it a pavlova tart – not just a pavlova, which never really managed to rouse my excitement. Baked meringue sandwiched with whipped cream can be nice but it’s not enough for me. So I decided to transfer the whole thing onto buttery shortcrust pastry and now it has my attention. This combination is so good that I believe the pastry base should have been an obligatory part of this sweet classic named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova from the start. But never mind, I’m happy with my new discovery. The light meringue is soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside, it’s refined with a hint of rosewater just like the rich whipped cream that crowns the whole composition. Sweet-sour pomegranate seeds and their juices turned into a concentrated syrup lay graciously on top, side by side with nutty pistachios. Simply wonderful!

However, my disappointing kitchen experience was an epic fail – ready for the bin. I decided to give puff pastry a try again and I regretted it the moment I pulled the result out of my oven. I spent 2 days reading about the perfect croissant and up until they were in the oven I was quite optimistic that I’d manage to bake light, crisp apricot croissants, made for a Sunday brunch table. But my hope was destroyed as I opened the oven door and witnessed a rather sad result that looked like my flaky sweets got run over by a truck. It took me 2 years to recover from my last puff pastry disaster – I tried to make Maltese pastizzi, it’s the flakiest treat, basically the queen of puff pastry – which ended in a buttery, floury soup on a baking sheet. I must say that, this time, it didn’t actually look and taste as bad as my last attempt, but it’s definitely far from making an appearance on the blog. It’s a work in progress I guess.

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart with Pistachios and Rosewater

Makes 1 23cm / 9″ tart.

For the short crust base

flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 65g / 1/3 cup
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 110g / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
organic egg yolks 2

For the meringue

organic egg whites 4
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
granulated sugar 200g / 1 cup
cornstarch, sifted, 1 1/2 teaspoons
cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon
quality rosewater, preferably organic, 2 teaspoons, plus more to taste

For the topping

heavy cream, whipped, 200ml / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
granulated sugar
quality rosewater, preferably organic, 1 teaspoon, plus more to taste
seeds from 1/2-1 pomegranate
pomegranate juice 60ml / 1/4 cup
unsalted pistachios, chopped, 1 small handful

For the pastry, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture; this takes a few minutes. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film, and put in the freezer for 12 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

Roll the dough out between cling film and line a 23cm / 9″  tart pan with the flat pastry. Prick with a fork and bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Take the pan out of the oven and let it cool completely.

For the meringue, in a large, clean bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt for 1 minute. Continue whisking for 10-12 minutes, adding 1 tablespoon of the sugar at a time. The meringue should be stiff and glossy. Whisk in the cornstarch, vinegar, and 1-2 teaspoons of the rosewater. Add more rosewater to taste.

Turn the oven down to 180°C / 350°F.

Scoop the stiff egg whites onto the pre-baked pastry, spread it lightly but don’t push it down. Swirl it a bit for an uneven surface. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to 135°C / 275°F and bake for about 60 minutes or until the meringue is light golden and crisp. Switch off the oven, open the door slightly, and leave the cake in the oven for 15 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool completely.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of the rosewater. Add sugar and more rosewater to taste; set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar to the boil. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until it starts to thicken.

To assemble the tart, spread the whipped cream in the middle of the meringue, leaving a wide rim, drizzle with the syrup, and sprinkle with pomegrante and pistachios.

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart

 

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Black Forest Pancakes with Cinnamony Cherries, Chocolate and Cream

Black Forest Pancakes

Are you too lazy to make a sumptuously layered black forest cake but in the mood for spongy chocolate, whipped cream, cherry compote and a shot of Kirsch schnaps? That’s how I felt! I thought about muffins for a second but I had just made them with figs (delish!) last week so they were out of the question, but pancakes seemed like the right choice:

I felt inspired by a basket full of sweet cherries – the last of the season – and I desperately wanted to make use of them. Very ripe, very soft and dark, my fruits from Turkey were practically at the perfect point to become a juicy compote refined with cinnamon and Kirsch, the famous southern German cherry schnaps. A black forest cake needs a luscious layer of thick, whipped cream, beaten until it stands in firm peaks, just slightly sweetened to give enough space to the chocolate – the next and last addition to make this sweet classic complete. Unsweetened cocoa powder turned my pancake recipe into subtle bittersweetness, fluffy as usual but with chocolaty depth. They burn quicker than their fair relatives so you better watch them well while they are puffing up in the hot pan. When they were done, just before they turned dark, I stacked them on a plate and topped them voluptuously with the rich cream and syrupy fruits. You could also sandwich them like the traditional black forest cake if you prefer, but this makes the project a little more stressful. You’ll have to work quick and let both the pancakes and cherries cool before you stack them. Or forget about the presentation and serve it all warm on plates, generously sprinkled with grated bittersweet chocolate. Sometimes, easy is the best.

Black Forest Pancakes

 

Black Forest Pancakes

Black Forest Pancakes

Makes about 15 pancakes

For the fruit compote

dark cherries (fresh or preserved), pitted, 350g / 12 1/2 ounces
(about 280g / 10 ounces without the kernels)
granulated sugar 2 tablespoons
cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
Kirsch (cherry schnaps) 1 tablespoon
water 3 tablespoons
cornstarch 1 teaspoon

For the pancakes

plain flour 170g / 1 1/3 cups
unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved, 30g / 6 tablespoons
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons
baking powder 2 leveled teaspoons
organic eggs, separated, 4
a pinch of salt
milk 240ml / 1 cup
butter, for cooking the pancakes

For the topping

heavy cream, whipped and sweetened to taste, 180ml / 3/4 cup
bittersweet chocolate, grated, 25g / 3-4 tablespoons

In a sauce pan, bring the ingredients for the cherry compote to the boil, stir, close with a lid and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the fruits start to soften. Take the pan off the heat, adjust to taste and pour the compote into a bowl. Let it cool a bit.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder. In a second bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks and milk into the dry mixture and mix until well combined. Gently fold in the stiff egg whites.

Heat about 1/2 teaspoon of butter in a heavy pan and pour in a ladle of the batter for each pancake. They need about 1-2 minutes on medium heat on each side. Flip them before they turn dark, they should be golden brown. Cook them in batches of 2-3, always add 1/2 teaspoon of butter before you start the next round. Stack the cooked pancakes on a plate, serve with whipped cream, cherry compote and grated chocolate, either sandwiched or separately arranged on plates.

Black Forest Pancakes

 

Black Forest Pancakes

 

Black Forest Pancakes

 

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Caramelized Hazelnut, Eggnog and Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream

I’m not a regular client at ice cream shops but if I go there, this is my favourite sundae: vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream, eggnog and caramelized hazelnuts! It’s a sweet, voluptuous bomb, creamy and decadent! Some prefer a light and fruity ice cream composition, or with deep chocolaty flavours, but this one hits my weak spot. It’s a bit like an ice cream version of my Frankfurter Kranz. This equally decadent German buttercream cake is also sprinkled with golden caramel nuts and I’m sure that each slice of it includes the same amount of calories as a bowl of this ice cream! And both are perfect Sunday treats!

When I was still at school, we used to meet at the local ice cream shop in the afternoon and I felt so grown up when I ordered my Krokant Becher, the German name for this sundae. This tiny shot of eggnog poured on top made all the difference and it made me feel so much older than I actually was. Apart from that I just loved its smooth and eggy taste, it melts in your mouth together with the vanilla, caramel and hazelnuts!

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream

Caramelized Hazelnut, Eggnog and Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae

For 4 people you need

vanilla ice cream 8-12 scoops
whipping cream 200g / 7 ounces
sugar 1 tablespoon plus more to taste
eggnog 2-4 shots, to taste

For the caramelized hazelnuts

hazelnuts, finely chopped, 50g / 2 ounces
sugar 25g / 1 ounce
butter 1 tablespoon

In a large heavy pan, heat up the hazelnuts, sugar and butter on high-medium temperature and roast for around 5 minutes until golden brown and caramelized, stirring constantly. Take off the heat, spread on parchment paper and let it cool completely.

Whip the cream and add sugar to taste.

Divide the ice cream between 4 bowls and add a big tablespoonful of whipped cream on top of each. Pour the eggnog over the cream, sprinkle with caramelized hazelnuts and serve immediately.

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream

 

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream

Irish Coffee Muffins

Irish Coffee Muffins

Saint Patrick’s Day is close and although it is a religious feast to praise the patron saint of Ireland, it reminds me of a rather profane culinary pleasure, Irish Coffee. It’s one of my favourite hot drinks! Sitting at a fireplace, cosy and relaxed, with a glass of warming Irish Coffee in my hands is unbeatable! I like it so much that I decided to put it in my muffins as well.

I mix some Irish whiskey, coffee and cream into the dough to be rewarded with the most delicious and fluffy muffins, but they are for adults only as I also topped them with whiskey infused whipped cream. I wanted strong spirit and coffee flavours and I got it! After cleaning the last drops of dough off the bowl with my fingers I already felt a bit tipsy!

If you like muffins as much as I do you can also try my Blood Orange Cinnamon Muffin recipe.

Irish Coffee Muffins

 Irish Coffee Muffins

You need a muffin tray with 12 molds and paper baking cups.

Set your oven to 180°C / 355°F

plain flour 270g / 9.5 ounces
sugar 150g / 5.5 ounces
baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
whiskey 50ml
strong espresso 50ml
heavy cream 100ml
butter, melted, 100g / 3.5 ounces
organic eggs 2

For the topping

whipping cream 200ml
whiskey 1 tablespoon
a pinch of fresh vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the cream, espresso and whiskey and add the melted butter and eggs. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough. The more you mix it the more it will lose its light texture so don’t mix it too long.

Fill the muffin tray and bake the muffins for 15 minutes or until golden. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean.

Beat the whipping cream with the vanilla and stir in the whiskey.

Cut the tops off the muffins, dollop a spoonful of cream on and put the tops on again.

Irish Coffee Muffins

 

Irish Coffee Muffins

 

Irish Coffee Muffins

 

Irish Coffee Muffins