Posts Tagged ‘apple’


Carrot Diamonds (or Fafernuchy)

November 21, 2009

Get it? Carrot Diamonds? I thought of the name myself, and yes, I am very pleased about it.
I have a particular curiosity for  baking cookies and cakes that include vegetables. Chocolate and beets? Carrot cake? I even tried a chocolate cake recipe that used tomatoes. I was never disappointed and nobody ever guesses what is inside. It was quite amusing to tell my dad, for example, that there is zucchini in his slice of chocolate cake. He wasn’t sure whether he should stop eating it or not. He didn’t. I am nevertheless sure that the line of what can ingredients can be used in desserts will become more and more blurred.

When I came across this recipe for “fafernuchy” on the Lubię gotować blog and immediately wanted to give it a try. After doing some further research I discovered that they are traditional to the Mazovia region, which is in east-central Poland. There are a million variations on this recipe. Some recipes use yeast, others use baking powder. Some use carrots, others use beets. You can use regular wheat flour, but you can also try using rye flour. What is common is that they are usually prepared during the holidays, and they are shaped into little diamonds.

Peeled carrots, about to be grated

Dough before being set aside to rise

Just after being taken out of the oven.

Since I was already grating carrots, I decided to prepare a simple little salad from my childhood. I used only carrots, apples and a bit of sugar. My could also add a bit of grated onion for extra flavour. It goes great on the side of schnitzel, or any breaded and fried meat, as well as a roast.

Carrot Diamonds (Fafernuchy)
(makes about 80 small cookies)

– 250 gr of grated carrots
– 250 gr of whole wheat flour
– 250 gr of AP flour
– 2 large eggs
– 10 gr of dry active yeast (activated with 1/4 cup of warm water)
– 120 gr (1 stick) of butter (softened)
– 125 gr of light brown sugar (I would use a bit more next time)
– powdered sugar for sprinkling

1. In a bowl, sprinkle grated carrots with the sugar and set aside for about an hour.
2. Dissolve yeast into warm water and set aside until frothy.
3. Begin to combine eggs, butter, and yeast mixture with the flour with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add carrots and sugar.
4. Knead dough until soft and elastic, about 10 minutes. The dough miay be somewhat sticky, so may need to add up to an additional 1/2 cup of flour.
5.  Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Set aside for about 1.5 hours, or until doubled.
6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
7. Punch down dough and divide in two.
8. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1cm (1/2 inch) in thickness. With a sharp knife, slice the dough diagonally into strips of about 3cm (1.5 inch). Slice the opposite direction to make diamond shapes. Set aside any leftover small pieces to be used with the rest of the dough.
9. Transfer diamond pieces onto a cookies sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise for approximately 20 minutes.
10. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
11. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 13-15 minutes.
12. Place cookies on a cooling rack, and let cool before sprinkling generously with icing sugar.
Carrot and Apple Salad

– 300 gr of grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
–  300 gr of grated apple (about 2 medium, a sweet variety like golden delicious is best, but any will do)
– 1 tbs of sugar
– 1/4 onion, grated (optional)

1. Mix all of the ingredients and serve.


Cheater’s Apfelstrudel

November 21, 2009

The colours are indeed a bit off, but I made the strudel in the evening and my living room does not have good lighting

Saying apfelstrudel is almost as fun as eating it. Almost. But you have you say it with a German accent.

This is a cheater’s apple strudel because it uses store-bought phyllo sheets instead of making the dough from scratch. I swear to attempt to make one from scratch one day soon, and I salute those who do so, but I think the phyllo really does make for a good substitute. Just a note on phyllo sheets… they are incredibly easy to work with, despite what some sources make it seem. They don’t dry up that quickly, and they don’t rip that easily either. Unless you lack opposable thumbs, you should be fine.

You can easily vary this recipe to fit your own tastes. If you like a thicker crust, use more phyllo. If you like your filling to be extra sweet, add more sugar. You can also use any nuts or dried fruit you like.

Cheater’s Apple Strudel
(makes one strudel)

– 6 sheets of phyllo pastry
– 1/2 stick of butter
– 2 large apples, or 3 medium apples (a tart variety are best, but almost any will do)
– 2 tbs of lemon juice
– 2 tbs of honey (or corn syrup)
– 1/4 cup of sugar
– about 50 gr of ground almonds (I toast and grind them myself in my little coffee grinder with a teaspoon of sugar)
– a couple handfuls of  coarsely chopped nuts and/or dried fruit.

1. Thaw phyllo sheets according to manufacturers directions. Usually this means overnight in the fridge, or a few hours at room temperature. Be sure to unfold the sheets gently, checking to make sure that they have thawed.
2. Peel and core apples, and chop into small cubes about 2cm (1 inch) thick.
3. In a separate bowl, mix apples with lemon juice, sugar, honey and any nuts and dried fruit you want to add. Set aside.
4. Melt and cool butter.
5. Place first phyllo sheet on a tea towel. Using a pastry brush, gently brush on melted butter over the entire sheet. You can also use a spoon, which is what I used before I owned a pastry brush, but it’s more work. Sprinkle sheet with about two teaspoons of ground almonds.
6. Place the next phyllo sheet directly on top, brush on butter, sprinkle almonds, and repeat for the remaining sheets.
7. Spoon the apple filling along one edge of the phyllo sheets, leaving about 2cm (1 inch) from the ends. Try to keep the filling as compact as possible.
8. Start rolling the phyllo pastry over the filling. Once the filling is covered, tuck in ends and continue rolling.
9. Place the strudel onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. If I am out of parchment, I sometimes cover the cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly butter it. I would not recommend baking the strudel right on top of the cookie sheet because some caramelised juices from the apples are likely to spill onto the sheet while baking. Using parchment paper makes for the easiest clean-up.
10. Place strudel into a preheated over (180 degress C/350 degrees F) and bake for about 35 minutes.
11. Let cool for a good half an hour, but serve warm. After slicing, sprinkle the pieces with icing sugar.

Thank you to my younger brother Jeremy, the best hand model