Monday, January 7, 2013

peace ... (

"essere disoccuppato mi fa sentire disfunzionale, tuttavia, ecco una citazione mi sono imbattuto su ... pace ..."
it does not mean to be in a place where there is no trouble, noise, or hard work.
it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. (unknown)

i came across this quote twice, no one knows who wrote it, but this morning, i found the same quote from this site : bended spoon

while waiting for results, i decided to self-learn the Italian language in addition to baking (come e stato il mio intro?) what do you think of the quote above? anyway, i found myself liking the crumble cake type of dessert, you sprinkle the crumble and let it be, no need to make the edges perfect or the toppings in the right place etc. but it still looks perfectly imperfect and if you bake it right, it tastes just as delicious, sometimes even more! (okay, sooo ... the baking part, i am working on that ...)

so, i've looked at different recipes and decided to make my own on this one, based on what i've learned.
serves 6 (or so ... okay, or less)
======= UPDATED : 01.25.13 : AGGIORNATO =======

alright, so,  after bringing this cake over, his honest feedback - "it looks like you haven't baked before" of course that was very true (i thought to myself), after slicing the cake "did you see that, did you see what just happened? it broke into three pieces, its supposed to be moist, what's it supposed to be?" he asked, "it's supposed to be a crumble cake" i replied, "well, it did crumble" we laughed, finally he said sarcastically  "you should make cookies" - basically, i needed to correct my recipe.

update: his comment this time around is that the cake is dense - but a little dry - so, i lessened the baking time to 15-20 minutes (see below)

streusel/crumble mix - mix well in a bowl
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup mixed nuts
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 grated/grounded cinnamon
- lemon zest of (1/2 a lemon)
- 4 tbs espresso

flour mix - mix in a bowl
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
ricotta mix - mix in a bowl
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/3 cup white sugar (or a little less)
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbs lemon juice

espresso - mix in a bowl
- 8 tbsp espresso coffee
- 2 tsp ricotta
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbs of streusel mix

for the streusel, simply mix well in a bowl the lightly crushed nuts (walnuts, almonds, coconut, pistachios), then mix in the flour, sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, espresso and olive oil (set aside this will be the topping).

for the espresso, mix in a bowl ricotta, espresso, sugar and streusel mix, this filling was not very thick, but you can make your filling as thick as you like (set aside, as topping or filling)

for the dry ingredients, mix in a separate bowl, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

now, in another separate bowl, mix in butter, sugar, ricotta, egg, vanilla and lemon juice (mix very well until smooth as can be) - from here, gradually add in the flour mixture and keep on mixing well.

for layered crumb cake: put into a baking bowl (or a container of your choice) the first layer of your batter, then top it with the espresso filling, and then add in the remaining batter (which becomes your second layer) then top with the streusel, bake for about 15-20 minutes, but you have to check by sticking a fork in the middle section of the cake (this is how most bakers advice to check your cake), and if the fork comes out clean, your cake is ready.

i thought of doing this layered crumb cake, but wanted to see how the cake with just the espresso topping looks and tastes like after baking, so this is what i did (see below).

in one baking bowl, i put in half of the batter and topped it with the streusel, in another bowl, i just put in the remaining batter (leaving it plain, no topping) then baked both for around 5 mins. removed both cakes and then used the espresso mixture as topping for the plain batter, then baked both for another 15 mins (as i am still learning to bake, i keep checking the cake often by sticking a fork), you can turn off the oven, and let the cake sit for another 5 minutes and check again if the fork comes out clean.

these are how they look like once their sliced.

since the days are getting longer, now that spring is closing in (just a couple months! time flies noh!) - this post sends warm wishes of true peace for everyone for this year and the many years ahead, despite the many whirls thrown upon us by life.
non significa essere in un luogo dove non c'e nessun problema, il rumore,  o il duro lavoro.
significa essere in mezzo a queste cose e di essere ancora tranquillo nel tuo cuore. (sconosciuto)

Friday, January 4, 2013

happy new years! (citrus.ricotta.muffins)

well, its 2013! another year ahead, that's another 365 days (or less ...), btw, the truffles were too sweet ... and did not really involve any baking (and so, not really that good for my friends' kids, although the adults had some) and yes, the two ghurls are growing so fast, the eldest is turning out to be quite the lady at age six, the youngest btw is a fast learner at just a year and a half she can copy some of what we were doing (taught them to paint, draw and did some spelling review too).

so, for 2013, i'd have to choose to learn baking healthier recipes instead, how's this for a start, citrus ricotta muffins.

just a few tweaks, lessen the sugar by half and used olive oil (instead), and added a little bit more lemon zest and lemon juice (i can taste the lemons!) ... (and oh ...) used a different container (instead of using a muffin tray).

in order to transfer the whole bundt-crumble into a plate, simply put a dish on top of the baking bowl, turned the baking bowl upside down (the bundt-crumble will fall into the dish) so the bundt should be upside down (bottom of bundt facing up) at this point, put another dish on top of the bottom of the bundt and turn-over again - taddaa! and do some minor touch-ups on the streusel (a sprinkle there, a sprinkle here etc.).

so far, it did not burn and its not too sweet, the lemon is more evident.