Monday, May 27, 2013

Cinnamon coffee cake recipe

Kaneelikook. Cinnamon coffee cake.

A coffee cake, defined:











Are you in camp No 1 or No 2? I tend to go with number two - I think that's also how coffee cake is usually defined in the UK (evidence: Mary Berry's coffee cake in The Telegraph has coffee in the batter and in the icing/frosting). However, about half of my readers hail from across the pond, and there definition No 1 seems to be more common (evidence: The Pioneer Woman's "the best coffee cake ever" has no coffee in it; you won't find any coffee in Martha Stewart's 12 favourite coffee cakes either). I'm not sure how coffee cake is defined in down under. Anyone?

In any case, here's a cake I've baked no less than four times during the last week - twice for my family and friends, and two cakes for the pop-up café on Saturday. Although modest in appearance, I love the strong cinnamon flavour and the moist crumb, and the just ever-so-crisp caramelised sugar topping.

I warn you - it's rather sweet, so my Estonian readers may actually want to reduce the amount of sugar a little. Also, as the cake contains yoghurt AND baking soda, it is important that you have your oven and cake pan ready before mixing the cake batter. If you wait too long with baking, the soda reacts with the yoghurt and you won't get a soft and lovely cake, but a flat dense one.

Cinnamon cake
(Kaneelikook)
Serves 12

150 g unsalted butter, softened
200 g caster sugar
2 large eggs
250 g plain yoghurt (regular, not thick)
270 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp bicarbonate soda/baking soda
0.5 tsp salt

Cinnamon sugar:
4 Tbsp caster sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 175 C/350 F. Line a 24 cm/10 inch springform tin with a parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, either using your stand mixer or a regular electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Fold in the yoghurt.

Measure the dry ingredients into another bowl, stir to combine, then fold gently into the egg and butter mixture.

Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared cake tin, then sprinkle a generous 2/3 of the cinnamon mixture on top. Top with the rest of the cake batter and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar on top of the cake.

Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is lovely golden brown and pulls slightly away from the sides of the pan. Test for doneness - a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake should come out clean.

Cool in the cake pan, then transfer onto a serving plate and cut into slices.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Asparagus and cheese tart recipe

Asparagus tart / Sparglipirukas
Originally posted in May 2011, but I'm bumping this up again, as the local asparagus season has began.

Isn't it pretty? This lovely topless tart can be served either warm (perhaps with a green side salad) or cold (cut into thin slices to accompany drinks). It's a simple tart - a puff pastry base (I made a quick rough puff pastry myself) is covered with a layer of grated cheese, followed by an egg and cream mixture, and finally topped with lightly cooked asparagus spears. You could certainly mix the cheese in to the egg and cream mixture, but I loved the visual effect of using a separate cheese layer.

The basic idea is from the UK-based food writer and photographer Alastair Hendy via the always-inspirational Delicious Days, but I omitted the potato layer.

Asparagus and cheese tart
(Spargli-juustupirukas)
Serves 8 to 10

Asparagus tart / Sparglipirukas

500 g puff pastry (store-bought or home-made rough puff pastry)
24 medium-sized fresh green asparagus spears
150 g Gouda or Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
3 large eggs
200 ml fresh cream (whipping, heavy or double)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg

Snap off the hard and woody lower end of the asparagus spears (these can be used to make stock, for instance). Cook the asparagus spears in a simmering and lightly salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse quickly under cold water and drain again. Put aside.
Line a rectangular pie dish (approximately 25x35 cm) with a parchment paper. Roll out a puff pastry so it'd cover the base and come up the sides a little. Prick with a fork here and there.
Scatter the grated cheese over the base.
Whisk the eggs with cream, season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Pour carefully over the cheese.
Place asparagus spears on top.
Bake in a preheated 200 C oven for about 30 minutes, until the tart is nicely golden on top and the puff pastry is cooked.

Asparagus tart / Sparglipirukas

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pop-up café in Viimsi this Saturday!



Six Estonian foodbloggers - Aire, Britt, Liina, Marju, Silja and yours truly - are setting up a pop-up café at the Viimsi Farmers Market this Saturday. It's not the first time - in September 2011 and September 2012 we opened a pop-up apple cake café (õunakoogikohvik, you can see some photos here) at the same market, and the organisers - Museum of the Coastal Folk - asked us to come and serve our creations at their newest special event, Viimsi Fish Day (Kalapäev).

We were happy to oblige :)

Kalapäev focuses on fish in general, and on the culinary uses of a very invasive species, round goby (ümarmudil) in particular. There are several workshops and events throughout, and our pop-up café (or fish buffet, as we've called it this time) is open between 10-14. The menu is varied and rich - we have various quiches (cottage cheese and smoked sea bass, fresh salmon and broccoli, nettle and smoked fish), tuna-filled profiteroles, salmon muffins, Estonian-style fish and chips, Empanaditas Gallegas, miso-glazed cod, a selection of smörgås aka open sandwiches, jellied pike-perch (zander), smoked mackerel paté toasts, salmon fishcakes with a remoulade, a festive leek pie with cream cheese and smoked salmon topping, sprat pastries - to name just a few. Of course, there will be also some sweet cakes - rhubarb and chocolate and curd cheese and cinnamon and kama will feature in one way or another.

We offer a free cup of espresso to all visitors and homemade cloudy lemonade to the smaller ones!

Do come along and say hello if you are in Tallinn or Viimsi or nearby! Look for the lovely chalkboard poster and you'll find us easily. 

A huge thank you to Pepe Kala OÜ who supplied us with fresh and cured fish, and MEIRA who kindly lend us a Segafredo MyEspresso coffee pod machine for the duration of the event.

Here's the poster for the main event:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Best rhubarb muffins recipe ever

I just baked a batch and had to dig out this recipe from the depths of Nami-Nami and share this with you again :)

Rhubarb muffins / Rabarbrimuffinid
Photo updated in May 2009

We are still enjoying the rhubarb bounty. Here's a recipe for really moist rhubarb muffins that I made twice last week. Firstly, they were served at a 'girly' housewarming/birthday party last Thursday, attended by all my aunties (that's three maternal and one paternal), my parents (my dad was unable to attend the 'real' birthday party on a previous weekend), as well as some of my first cousins (not all 11 though:). Instead of birthday cake, I made lots of these rhubarb muffins that day, served as a pyramid on a cake stand. Very pretty!! But in the midst of all the buzz and excitement, we forgot to take a picture. Not that it mattered much, as it gave me a good excuse to make these very same muffins again on Sunday.

These muffins, let me tell you, are the moistest muffins you'll make. They're so moist, that even if you eat them on the following day, they taste like they're freshly baked. Delicious!

Rhubarb muffins
(Rabarbrimuffinid)

Serves 12

2 medium eggs
125 g sugar (150 ml)
150 g plain flour (250 ml)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
150 grams sour cream (20%)
50 grams butter, melted and cooled
400 grams rhubarb, (peeled and) chopped

Cinnamon and demerara sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Whisk eggs with sugar until pale and frothy.
Mix the dry ingredients. Add to the egg mixture together with sour cream and melted butter. Fold in the rhubarb.
Fill 12 hole muffin tray (they'll be pretty full, as rhubarb gives a lot of bulk initially, but shrink while the batter rises), sprinkle with cinnamon and demerara sugar
Bake at 225 C for 13-15 minutes, until muffins have risen and turned golden brown.
Cool a little before serving, as the rhubarb pieces can be very hot!

Other rhubarb recipes @ Nami-nami:
A creamy rhubarb pie (June 2005)
Rhubarb jam with ginger (May 2007)

Other muffin recipes @ Nami-nami:
Apple muffins (March 2007)
Cocoa and raspberry muffins (August 2005)
Dark chocolate and cherry muffins (April 2006)
Dark chocolate and chilli muffins (July 2005)
Savoury muffins with beetrot and blue cheese (October 2006)
Savoury muffins with feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes (June 2006)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If you love cheese and you're in Estonia this weekend ...

... then you should head to the Rotermanni Quarter this Friday and Saturday for Estonia's first cheese festival:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Recipe for a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Carrot and cream cheese cake / Porgandi-toorjuustukook

My beloved maternal grandmother Senta turned 93 last week. NINETY-THREE. The digits 9 and 3 bother feature in my current age as well, meaning I have known my dear grandma for 39 years in total. She gave birth and raised five children - 4 girls and 1 boy. Now, at the age of 93, her family consists of 5 kids, 11 grandkids, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

She had to feed and raise the kids, run the whole household consisting of cows, sheep, poultry (all that in addition to having to milk all the cows in the big sovhoosilaut or a collective farm). And once the kids were all adults, she regularly had to take care of her 11 grandchildren who spent weeks at the countryside during each summer. A remarkable woman, and it's only recently that her mental and physical health has been failing her. She's a role model to me in so many ways (so is my paternal grandmother Adeele, who'll be 92 in September, but in very different way :)).

Here's a photo of my grandma and our youngest child, taken at the birthday party last week. They're 92,5 years apart:
Vanaema Senta (93) ja Karoliine (6 k)

My grandmother has been living with my parents for a few years now, and my mum asked if I could bring a cake to the party. Of course I could, and I decided to make this layered carrot and cream cheese cake that some of you were asking for and about after seeing it at Nami-Nami's 2013 Easter Brunch (see overview here). Here's the version I made last week, and before you ask, my two older kids were in charge of decorating the cake. That's why all the chopped pistachios ended up the way they did :D

 photo (45)

The other two photos were made during the Easter, when I baked three carrot cake layers. The recipe below - and the cake for my grandma's birthday - had four cake layers - it's easier and more layers look more festive.

PS I've mentioned my grandma Senta on several occasions. Here's her recipe for an egg and smoked ham sauce, and she's the co-star in my post about the fermented oat flummery. She's also behind every story about Paluküla - the village where I spent all my childhood summers together with some of my cousins.

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
(Porganditort toorjuustukreemiga)
Serves 12 to 16

 Porgandi-toorjuustukook / Carrot and cream cheese cake

Carrot cake layers:
500 g carrots
4 large eggs
250 g caster sugar (about 300 ml)
a pinch of salt
240 g all-purpose flour/plain flour (400 ml)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
100 g vegetable oil (about 150 ml)

Lime and cream cheese frosting:
400 g cream cheese, at room temperature
300 g thick sour cream
100 g caster sugar (just over 100 ml)
2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
2 limes, zested and juiced

Preheat the oven to 200 C/390 F.

Carrot cake layers: peel the carrots and grate finely.

Measure flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar (if using) into a small bowl, give the mixture a stir.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with sugar, salt and vanilla extract (if using) until thick and foamy. Gently fold in the oil, then the grated carrots and finally the dry ingredients.

Line two large oven sheets with parchment paper/baking paper (mine are about 32 x 35 cm/12 x 14 inches)*. Spoon half of the batter onto one baking sheet, and the other half onto the other.

Bake, one at a time, in the middle of the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until light golden brown and lightly springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and bake the other carrot cake layer as well.

Let cool completely.

Lime and cream cheese frosting:

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and lime zest and juice in a bowl, and whisk thoroughly (it's easiest to use an electric whisk here).

Putting the cake together:

Cut both carrot cake sheets into two, so you'll end up with four rectangles. Place one carrot cake layer onto your serving tray, spread with one-fourth of the cream cheese frosting. Repeat three more times.

Garnish the cake with chopped pistachios and fresh mint or lemon balm leaves.

The flavour improves if you let it stand for a 3-4 hours in a cool place.

* If you want to bake three separare layers, then I used a 25x30 cm pan (10x12 inches), known as långpanna in Scandinavia. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Pineapple carpaccio with mint sugar

Ananassiviilud mündi ja suhkruga / Pineapple carpaccio with mint sugar
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for Nami-Nami/Kodu ja Aed, 2013

I know all my far-away readers - at least those on the Northern hemisphere -  are feasting on rhubarb and early strawberries already, but neither one is ready for consumption here in Estonia just yet. The local rhubarb should be ready in a fortnight or so, strawberries in 5-6 weeks. Until then I'll resist buying the imported stuff. Pineapple, however, doesn't grow locally anyway, so I must buy the imported fruit if I want to enjoy some.

Here's a quick dessert idea, originally popularised by Jamie Oliver. You'll find the recipe for "Pukka pineapple with bashed-up mint sugar" - that so Jamie, don't you think? - either in his book Happy Days with Naked Chef or on his website. I've been making this for years, and it's not the first time it's been mentioned here on Nami-Nami - I was served at our 2009 Easter Brunch. A great idea, really quick, and again, suitable for many popular diets (it's gluten free, vegan, raw*, etc).  Note that I gave up bashing up the mint and sugar long time ago, and simply sprinkle these on top. Works just as well.

* Use either a really sweet pineapple and omit the sugar, or use Sucanat or some of the other allowed sweeteners listed here.

Pineapple carpaccio with mint and sugar
(Ananassiviilud mündi ja suhkruga)
Serves 4

Easter brunch / Kevadpühade brantš

1 small, sweet and very ripe pineapple
2-3 Tbsp caster/superfine sugar
a handful of fresh mint leaves

Top and tail the pineapple. Cut off the skin and remove the "eyes". Then cut the pineapple into four wedges and remove the hardened core. Cut into thin slices, place onto a serving plate.

Chop the mint leaves finely, mix with sugar and sprinkle onto the pineapple slices. Leave to macerate for half an hour or serve immediately.

Similar recipes:
Pineapple carpaccio with mint sugar by Anna @ Morsels & Musings (same recipe)
Pineapple carpaccio with mint and rum marinade by Silvia @ Citron & Vanilla
Pineapple carpaccio @ Kitchen Delights
Pineapple carpaccio with saffron syrup and pinenuts @ MyFrenchKitchen
Pineapple carpaccio, candied ginger and lime by Anne @ A Foodie Froggy in Paris