Posts Tagged ‘yeast’


Cranberry and Almond Breakfast Wreath

January 11, 2010

When I saw this recipe for a Christmas Breakfast Wreath, I knew I had to make it. It had almonds and it had cranberries, so I knew I couldn’t go wrong with this once. The recipe also included cardamon, which got me very excited since I have had cardamon seeds lying in my kitchen, unused since I could remember. I’ve only ever had cardamon in tea at my friend Sahar’s place. I learned from her that it is a popular spice used in Iran.

The recipe calls for cardamon powder, which I can only assume is finely ground cardamon seeds. Since I don’t have a spice grinder, I just used my coffee grinder, which I rarely use for grinding coffee any way. I am more of a tea drinker. I probably didn’t grind the cardamon finely enough, but I hope it didn’t make much of a different.

The wreath was quite easy to make and it was absolutely delicious. I cut down the cardamon to half a teaspoon and it was still plenty. Unfortunately my wreath became more of a ball, so if I were to do this one again, I would make sure to stretch out the dough much more before folding the strips.

Cranberry and Almond Breakfast Wreath

For the dough
2 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1/4 cup of warm water (about 110 degrees F/40 degrees C)
1/2 cup of warm milk
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of cardamon powder (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
3 1/2 cups of AP flour

For the filling
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup AP flour
3/4 cup  chopped almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon  of almond extract

1. In a bowl dissolve the yeast in the water and let it rest for a few minutes.
2. In another bowl, combine the milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs and lemon zest and yeast.
3. Begin to add flour, one cup at a time, while mixing all of the ingredients.
4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes.
5. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until double in size (about 2 hours).
6. In a separate bowl, combine cranberries, almonds, flour, butter, zest, sugar and almond extract. Refrigerate this mixture until your dough has finished doubling.
7.  When the dough has finished rising, punch down on a floured surface. Roll out into a 9 x 30 inch rectangle.
8. Spread the almond and cranberry filling onto the dough.
9. Begin to tightly roll the dough, making sure that the sides are sealed.
10. Cut the roll in two, making sure that the strips remain long.
11. Twist the strips around each other and form into a wreath.
12. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and let rise for another 40 minutes.
13. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.
14. Place onto middle rack of the oven and bake approximately 30 minutes until browned.


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.


First Post – Cranberry Streusel Yeast Cake

November 20, 2009

For my first post I am putting up the recipe for a yeast cake that I made a few days ago. Yeast cakes are very popular in Poland, and are better known here as “babkas.” I love them because they aren’t overly sweet, but are still very satisfying. They are a favourite of my mom. In fact, she won’t touch North American cakes or European tortes.

For some time I have been craving a yeast cake with a tart topping and lots of streusel. I love tart fruits in baking: sour cherries, currants, cranberries, I’ll use them all! After our Canadian Thanksgiving I stocked up on cranberries and froze them for future use, so I decided to use those.

I soon realised that there would be a lot of dough, even for a 9×13 pan. This is often the case with older Polish recipes. Come to think of it, I would be interested in finding out why that is. Any ideas?

I took 1/3 of the dough after the first rise, rolled it out, spread it with jam, and made simple (but delicious) rolls.

The cake was delicious when it was fresh, but the next day it was rather dry. If I were making the recipe again for myself, I would use more butter in the dough, but if I were making it for my mom, she would not have wanted me to change it. For breakfast she likes to slice it and add butter or jam on top, and have it with coffee.

My dear mom, who loves dry cake

This recipe was adapted from Siostra Aniela of Anielska Kuchnia, which interestingly translates in English to Sister Angela of the Angelic Kitchen. She is s hugely popular cooking “celebrity” in Poland. Who needs Jamie Oliver or Giada DeLaraurentis when you can have Sister Angela show you around the kitchen? Is it a particularity of Poland that a nun can be a “celebrity chef”?

The recipe for the streusel was adapted from Moje Wypieki.

Cranberry Streusel Yeast Cake

Yeast Cake
– 80 gr of fresh yeast (I used about 30 grams of dry active yeast, activated in 1/4 cup of warm water)
– 1 kg of AP flour
– 5 eggs
– 100 gr of sugar
– 100 gr of melted butter
– pinch of salt

Cranberry Topping
– 450 gr of cranberries
– 3 tbs of honey
– 3/4 cup of light brown sugar

– 180 gr of AP flour
– 100 gr of sugar
– 120 gr of butter
–  1 tsp of vanilla extract (I used a few drops of “śmietankowy” oil, which is a popular aroma in Poland, but I cannot think of an equivalent in North America. The name directly translates to “cream” flavour, but the taste is something between butter and vanilla).

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes. If using fresh yeast, dissolve in 1/2 cup of warm milk and a tablespoon of sugar and set aside until double in size.
2.  Mix flour with sugar and salt. Add eggs.
3. Add yeast mixture, begin mixing with a large spatula or wooden spoon.
4. Add melted butter and continue mixing.
5. Begin kneading dough until elastic. There should be no need to add flour. The dough will be neither hard or very soft, but it should be easy to knead.
6. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and set aside to double. I put my dough in the fridge and let it rise overnight since I wanted to have the cake fresh for breakfast the next day.
7. In the meantime, mix cranberries with honey and sugar.
8. In a separate bowl, mix butter, sugar and flour and vanilla for the streusel. You can use a pastry blender, but I just used a fork. To get big streusel chunks, you can use melted butter.
9. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking pan.
10. When the dough has doubled, punch down and roll out to about the size the size of the pan. Cover and let rise for about half an hour. If you left the dough to rise in the fridge, let the dough rise an extra 45 minutes.
11. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
12. Top the dough with cranberries. Mine were sticky and clumpy because of the honey, so I took them apart with my fingers. Sprinkle the streusel on top.
13. Place pan in the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through. The streusel should start to brown a bit, but not too much.
14. Remove and cool on a rack.