donderdag 31 januari 2013

Week 5: Apple Passion Fruit Pie

This week, we're again cooking with passion fruit (I'm really, really happy passion fruit was added to the game, can you tell?). We're making an apple-passion fruit pie:

This is great if you want to make apple pie that's just a bit different. It's more of a tart, really, though to be honest I'm not too clear on the difference in English between pie, tart and flan. Love passion fruit, but don't want all those black pips in your pie? Put the passion fruit pulp in a food processor and pulse a few times, then press it through a sieve. The pulp will have detached from the pips.
Apple-passionfruit pie
225 g plain flour
100 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
50 g Demerara sugar
2 tblsp water + more as needed
1 kilo apples - I used Goudreinet, any slightly tart apple suitable for making apple sauce will do
4 passion fruits
125 g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Sift the flour and Demerara sugar in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Add the butter and 2 tblsp of water and knead to a firm dough. If the mixture is too dry and won't come together, add some more water (but be careful not to make it too wet!). Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Peel the apples, quarter and remove the cores. Slice into thick slices, then cut those into chunks. Put the apples, caster sugar and cinnamon in a pot and place on a medium heat. When the apples start losing moisture, which bubbles at the bottom of the pot, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain the apple mixture.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Roll out the dough until it is large enough to cover a [X] cm pastry tin. Don't forget to butter the tin! Place the dough in the tin and chill for another 20-30 minutes, or 10 minutes in the freezer. Take the tin out of the fridge/freezer, cut off the excess dough, and prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Scoop the pulp out of the passion fruits and mix it with the apple. Take the pastry out of the oven and fill with the fruit mixture. Cover with aluminium foil, reduce the heat to 180 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminium foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Let cool in the tin for half an hour before cutting, to allow it some time to get firm.

Tip: Replace 25 g of the caster sugar by passion fruit infused sugar.

woensdag 23 januari 2013

Week 4: Tomato soup

This week, we're making a lovely tomato soup!

Tomato soup is just one of those perfect dishes for everyday cooking. It's healthy, it's tasty and it's easy to make in large quantities. This particular soup is also a perfect exercise for toning the arms, because you have to keep stirring and stirring and stirring the roux, which essentially starts out as a ball of dough. Do not plan a dish made with a roux and a dish you have to knead dough for on the same day.

Below, I've given both the regular GW2 version of tomato soup, as well as instructions on how to change it into an easy vegan tomato soup. You can use cream, milk, sour cream, or whatever milk/cream product you fancy. I used milk, because the roux already makes the soup quite thick and creamy. 


Tomato soup
Ingredients (6 servings):
800 ml poultry stock (from a cube or homemade) or vegetable stock for vegan version
800 g tomatoes
1 tblsp sugar
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
100 ml cream, milk, or sour cream*
50 g butter*
60 g flour*

With a knife, make a shallow cross on the bottom of each tomato, just so it punctures the skin. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water for 20 seconds and then immediately remove them and place them in a bowl with cold water (add a few ice cubes to keep it really cold, if you like). When they've cooled down, after a minute or so, take them out of the water and peel off the skin. Cut the tomatoes in chunks, discarding the watery seeds and the core.
Chop the onion and the garlic cloves. Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a pot and gently sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and turn the heat up. Bake for another 5 minutes, then add the poultry stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the soup to a bowl or food processor. Puree the mixture until it's smooth and drain through a sieve.
For the easy vegan soup: Heat the soup through, add the sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
For the full GW2 version: In a large pot with a thick bottom, melt the butter over medium heat, until the butter stops bubbling but do not let it turn brown (we're making a white roux). Sieve part of the flour into the pot and stir well. Keep stirring until all the flour has been absorbed, then add the next portion of flour. When all the flour has been added, keep stirring until the roux is one firm ball. Next, add a cup of tomato soup and stir well until the mixture is smooth and even. Continue with the next cup of soup until all the soup has been added.
Heat the soup through, add the sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir the cream in just before serving, or pour a little bit of cream in each individual bowl. Enjoy!

*: leave out these ingredients for the easy vegan soup

Tip: Other herbs and spices that work well in this soup are paprika powder (smoked or regular), fresh basil or a dash of chili pepper.

woensdag 16 januari 2013

Week 3: Cinnamon pinwheels

This week, we're making Cinnamon pinwheels!

As you can see, the recipe calls for the standard GW2 dough, which is a mixture of water, flour and butter. This dough produces what I would call 'cinnamon bites'. Below my attempt at the Guild Wars version of this recipe, you will find a more elaborate recipe where I took the liberty of substituting the water for milk, adding sugar, and adding yeast. This version produces real cinnamon buns, that are deliciously chewy and if you like your pastry sweeter, can easily be combined with whatever frosting you like. Absolutely delicious!

Cinnamon pinwheels - GW version
Ingredients (makes 16 bites):
250 g flour
125 ml water, lukewarm
15 g melted butter

Making the buns:
Sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the water and 1 tblsp melted butter. Knead to a supple dough. If the dough won't come together, add a little bit of water or melted butter. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours, up to a whole night.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Mix the sugar and cinnamon. Use as much as you like - I find 3 tblsp of sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon a good balance and enough for 16 bites. On a lightly floured workspace, roll out the dough to a rectangle (about half as wide as it is long) of 1/2 cm thick. Spread the melted butter over the dough, keeping a little bit back for later. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough, but keep a little bit back for later. Roll up the dough tightly lengthwise, as if rolling a cigar. Cut into 18 pieces - the outer 2 pieces are usually uneven and not properly rolled, so I usually discard these as they will not bake at the same pace as the other pieces. Place the pieces on a spiral side on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Press on each piece a bit to make it slightly denser. Spread the remaining butter over the spirals. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the spirals. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes. The outside will be crisp and the inside will be a bit more chewy.

Cinnamon pinwheels - Fancy version
Ingredients (makes 16 rolls):
500 g flour
1 egg
100 g unsalted butter
250 ml milk (preferably whole milk)
12 g ready dried yeast*
180 g sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

*: Or however much yeast you need as stated on the packaging for 500 g of flour.

Activate the yeast if necessary according to the instructions on the packet (keep in mind that sugar and milk you use for this come out of the total amount for the recipe). Beat together 100 g sugar, salt, and 80 g butter on medium-high speed. Whip in the egg until smooth. Add the flour, yeast (don't forget to whip the activated yeast mixture before adding to prevent lumps!), and milk. Mix the flour into the mixture by hand until the dough forms a ball. Knead until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky (this may take 10-15 minutes). You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly coat a bowl with flour, place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Let sit at room temperature, away from any drafts and covered with a warm damp tea towel, for approximately 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
When continuing with the dough, beat into it with a fist first. Then transfer to a counter top dusted with flour. Roll out to a rectangle about 45x25 cm. Melt the rest of the butter. Spread a thin layer of butter over the dough (you should have some butter left). Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, reserving a bit for the finishing touch, then roll into a cigar-shaped log. Cut into 16 pieces.
Place the buns at least 2 cm apart on a baking tin lined with baking parchment. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes. The pieces will grow (though in my experience proofing yeast dough rarely doubles it in size again as recipes often state)  You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350F) with the oven rack in the middle shelf. Before placing the buns in the oven, drizzle the rest of the melted butter over the buns and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over them. Bake the buns for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tip: Don't drizzle butter and cinnamon sugar over the buns, but try a bit of honey!
Tip: You can replace the cinnamon with any spice you like - powdered aniseed, allspice, ginger powder, etc. 

woensdag 9 januari 2013

Week 2: Grilled bananas with passion fruit sauce

You won't believe how happy I was when passion fruit were added to GW2 with 'The Lost Shores'. I adore passion fruit, and if it weren't for the fact that it's not the most environmentally friendly fruit when you live in Northern Europe, I would eat it all the time. It goes well with so many other fruits, and has such an intense, unique flavour! So I immediately went for a recipe for which I had all the ingredients in my pantry: this week, we're making grilled bananas with passion fruit sauce!

As my mother said when tasting this recipe, 'If you have any cavities, you're sure to find out with the first bite'. It's sweet and tart and stuffed with calories - this is not a recipe for the dieters among us. You can make this recipe with regular bananas, but you can also use those big green-and-black bananas used in Indonesian kitchen for baking (the blacker, the riper; go for black). The pictures in this recipe show regular bananas. Grilling is of course the method of choice, but you can go ahead and bake your bananas if it's more convenient.

Grilled bananas with passion fruit sauce
Ingredients (4 portions):
4 bananas
2 passion fruits
100 g sugar
35 g + 1 tsp butter
1 vanilla bean

Scrape the insides of the vanilla bean to get all the marrow out, but reserve the pod. Melt 35 g of butter, add the sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Keep stirring until the mixture turns slightly brown. Add the vanilla marrow, the empty bean and the pulp of both passion fruits. Heat for another 5 minutes and keep stirring! You don't want this to burn now that you've added a precious vanilla bean and 2 passion fruits. Turn off the heat and strain the sauce into a bowl. It should be very thick and have a caramel-like colour. Don't do this too long in advance, as the sauce will solidify when cooled down.
Preheat the grill, or heat the remaining butter in a large frying pan. Cut the bananas in half lengthwise; you can juggle with them like this or you can cut each piece in half again for a more manageable size. Place the pieces under the grill for a few minutes until they're done. If baking, add the pieces of banana cut side down to the pan when the butter is hot. Bake for 2 minutes, then carefully flip over and bake for another 2 minutes. Arrange the pieces of banana on a plate and pour over the passionfruit sauce. Enjoy!