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British Banoffee Pie for the Queen

Klassischer Banoffee-Pie

I was not aware that the British Queen actually celebrated her 70th anniversary as a Monarch on February 2, 2022. Having reigned for 70 years, that is rare, as far as I understand she has broken all records. Obviously the Brits are celebrating, new stamps are being issued, there is going to be a tree in front of Buckingham Palace created out of 350 local British trees; yes, we all need to dress up for this special occasion and be on our best behavior. The Brits also announced a baking competition open to all people residing in the UK 8 years or older. The Platin Pudding was asked to be created. Apparently more than 5,000 people submitted a recipe. The winner is Jemma Melvin with a Lemon Swiss roll trifle with Amaretti. It is very time-consuming as all five different components are made from scratch. You can check her recipe here.

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Paska, Ukrainian Easter Bread

Paska, ukrainisches Osterbrot

Has this ever happened to you? You want to make a specific recipe from your grandma. In my instance this was paska, the Ukrainian Easter bread. She even has two handwritten recipes in her tiny booklet. However, not even all ingredients are listed (such as flour) and there are no instructions. There is no oven temperature or even baking time. I did pull my hair when I realized that because my grandma passed away so I couldn’t ask her anymore. How am I supposed to make paska if there are no instructions and not even all ingredients listed? I remember that I confronted her on several occasions when she was still alive. Her reply was simple, you “feel” when the dough is right, you “know” how much sugar to add. Well, you may do if you make the recipe ten million times, but grandma, I am not you, I don’t feel or know anything! So instead I turned to Instagram and asked you guys if you knew of any good recipe. I was so astonished how many people actually replied and provided recipes to me. Thank you so much for that! I am so excited I got to make paska in the end, I had the chance of eating it during my childhood. My grandmother was born in the Ukraine in Odessa and she always served it for Easter.

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Pavlova with Mango

Pavlova mit Mango

Pavlova, a meringue nest with whipped cream and mango filling, who wants a piece? I am going to introduce this recipe from Australia/New Zealand to you. Reason for this being my hubby, who requested pavlova for our 12-year anniversary. There is a similar recipe in Colombia, called merengón with berries, whipped cream and meringue. No wonder that he wanted something similar. Pavlova is, compared to meringue, slightly different. You do have a crunchy outside, yet since you fold in a bit of cornstarch and vingear, the inside remains creamy (see picture below) which is similar to marshmallows. Does this sound like something you are into? Then you should give pavlova a try.

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Vegan Tiramisu with Homemade Ladyfingers

Veganes Tiramisu mit selbstgemachten Löffelbiskuits

Today I am introducing vegan tiramisu with homemade ladyfingers. To me it almost tastes as good as the original. Since I am using vegan cream cheese (almond based) and vegan whipping cream (coconut-oil based), this vegan tiramisu is free of soy, cashew, or tofu. I find it extra delicious and perfect for any special occasion such as a birthday.

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Russian Napoleon Torte

Russische Torte Napoleon

Warning, this cake requires a lot of work! Especially the cake layers take there time as you will need to make 12 cake layers in total and usually can only bake two at the same time. But if you are up for the challenge, you will get a delicious and impressive cake, which is made with quick puff pastry and a decadent caramel cream very similar to dulce de leche. This Russian cake was invented for the 100th anniversiary celebrating the “victory” over Napoleon when he tried to conquer Russia 1812. What once started as a smaller triangle to represent Napoleon’s hat, changed to a traditional cake and is known throughout the world as one of Russia’s finest cakes. I had the pleasure of eating it during several Russian-German weddings where it is traditionally served.

Russische Torte NapoleonEven though you “only” need to make two components, beware, this cake requires quite a bit of work. You will need to make quick puff pastry and roll out 12 (!) cake layers, which all need to be baked. After that you will need to make the cream and spread it on each of those cake layers. Since puff pastry is rather stiff, I highly recommend allowing the cake to chill overnight for the cream to soften and marinate the cake layers. So this cake can and should be made in advance. There are two different creams commonly used for Napoleon torte, the one with dulce de leche below or one, which is similar to a custard-based buttercream. If you prefer this type of cream, feel free to use the one from this recipe.

Russische Torte Napoleon

Russian Napoleon Torte

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Serves: One 20 cm/8inch ∅ springform
Prep Time: 2hrs Cooking Time: 1hr 20min Total Time: 3hrs 20min

This Russian Napoleon Torte is made with quick puff pastry and filled with a caramel-like cream.

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 130 grams of water
  • 45 grams of vodka
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 690 grams all-purpose flour
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 400 grams of cold butter

  • Filling
  • 250 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 2 cans of 397 grams of dulce de leche made from sweetened condensed milk, how you can make it yourself, I explain here
  • 200 grams of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A good pinch of salt

  • Optional
  • Fresh berries for decoration

Instructions

1

For the dough mix together water, vodka, vinegar and eggs and set asode. Then look for a big (!) bowl and mix together flour and salt. Add the cold butter in cubes and work this mixture into crumbs the size of peas. Try to do this as quickly as possible. Now add the wet ingredients and work everything together, it is OK if you still see a few patches here and there. The dough will be sticky, but try not to add any futher flour. Form into a ball, cover and chill for at least one hour. Then divide this into 12 equal parts (I like to weigh each one to be sure they are the same). Put back 10 pieces into the fridge and only keep 2 to work on.

2

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. First form a small ball and then roll out into a circle on a floured surface. Using a plate, springform or similar, look for something with a diameter of 20cm. Place the rolled-out dough onto the baking sheet and cut out the circle on there. Do not discard the scraps, but leave them on there. Repeaht the procedure with the second piece of dough, rolling out, placing on the baking sheet and then cutting out the circle, but leaving the scraps on. Bake these two circles for about 10-11min, it is OK if they are barely golden. Let cool.

3

While the two circles are baking, continue with two more pieces. Repeat the process with all 12 pieces, you should have 12 baked circles and scraps at the end, let everything cool. If you want to, you can continue the next day. Cover tightly or freeze until further use.

4

For the cream beat the soft butter for about 7-10 minutes until fluffy and much lighter in color. Slowly add the dulce de leche by the spoonful. Only cream in cream cheese, vanilla extract and salt last and mix until combined.

5

Now take one bake circle as the bottom and evenly spread about two heaping tablespoons of the cream on it. Place a second circle on top and repeat this procedure until you have stacked the 12 circles, each time with cream in between. You still should have enough cream left to frost the outside of the cake. Now either create crumbs with the sraps using a zip-lock bag and a rolling pin to smash them, or a food processor. Pat these crumbs onto the top and sides of the cake. You should do this as long as the cream still is soft as it will serve as a glue. Once done, chill at least for one night or longer. This time is needed for the cake layers to soften and for the cream to marinate the quick puff pastry. Otherwise it is going to be hard to cut through.

6

I served the Napoleon cake with some frozen raspberries, which I cooked with some sugar to create a sauce, but kindly note that this is not traditional for Napoleon. However, all my test eaters prefered it with it.

Russische Torte Napoleon

Gougère cheeseballs from Switzerland

Gougère Schweizer Käsebällchen

Today you will get Gougère from Switzerland! Gougères are cheese balls made from choux pastry. They are super light and airy. If you like eclairs and profiteroles, these are for you, a savory snack made from exactly the same  dough, choux pastry is first boiled before eggs are added. If you are interested in sweet choux pastry, how about profiteroles with raspberry filling, black forest eclairs, eclairs with coffee cream or peanut butter filling. Below cheese balls are a wonderful fingerfood, snack, or can be served for any gathering.

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Polish Pierogi Ruskie or Dumplings

Polnische Pierogi Ruski

Today I am introducing Polish pierogi ruskie or dumplings with a potato and cream cheese filling! Recently I have had a craving for some of the Ukrainian, Russian, or Polish dishes my grandmothers used to serve. Neither of them are still alive. Thinking back, I have to say, I don’t even know how they did it. Many times when we came to visit, there would be a large family gathering with more than 15 people, yet they would always serve homemade food such as pelemeni, vareniki or pierogi. All of these require a lot of work and are dumplings that need to be formed by hand. I needed half an hour for two people, you can probably imagine how much time it took them for the amount of people visiting. My favorite are either pierogi or vareniki, which are either filled with cream cheese only or cream cheese with potatos. So today I am giving you the traditional pierogi ruskie.

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Japanese Cheesecake

Japanischer Käsekuchen

Update: this recipe was originally published in September 2017 and has been worked on in 2021.

Japanese cheesecake. I have always wanted to try it. Japanese cheesecake is a very delicate matter. It has to be handled as careful as raw eggs. It does contain a lot of eggs. Maybe that’s why it is as light as a feather. No, this is not your typical American cream cheese cake. It is closer to an angel’s food cake than anything else. It has cream cheese, yes, but the eggs help to create this very creamy and light texture.

Japanischer Käsekuchen

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Coffee Eclairs Dalgona Style

Eclairs mit Kaffeecreme Dalgona-Style

I do have a few eclairs on my blog, today I am introducing eclairs with coffee filling, dalgona stlye. I also have  black forest eclairs, eclairs with peanut butter filling, or eclairs with raspberries on my blog to name only a few. So why the need for another eclair recipe? The reason is two-fold. Reason number 1 is my hubby, who can eat eclairs every single day. His face will light up once I say eclair. We have been to the south of France a few times and he would always either buy eclairs or tartelette au citron in the boulangerie as one of the first actions. And the second reason is because I had to try Dalgona or whipped coffee finally in a recipe.

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Egg Macarons with the Italian Method

Ostereier-Macarons nach der italienischen Methode

Is it OK to say “Happy Easter”? I do believe so. To be “happy” also means to be relaxed and baking definitely relaxes me. Baking is my way of dealing with the crisis, it is a wonderful method to beat depression and sadness. Yes, I also know people who got fired or are now working part-time. But regardless, I do see Easter as the feast of hope despite all the horrible things currently happening. And for that reason I decided to make macarons according to the Italian method. I already have a few macarons recipes on my blog, my very first try, strawberry macarons with no food coloring as well as coffee macarons with dulce de leche filling. But all of the listed recipes follow the French method. This is the very first recipe according to the Italian method. I will explain below what this entails.

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