Poppyseed Cheesecake

Ingredients

Base

100 g bulghur
1 tablespoon clear honey
25 g butter

Filling

4 tablespoons double cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 g ground black poppyseeds
250 g thick honey
1 tablespoon brandy
5 eggs, separated
750 g Mizithra, Ricotta, or low-fat soft cheese
50 g flour

Topping

100 g ground black poppyseeds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
50 g butter
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Method

  1. Line the base of a 23-cm springform or loose-bottomed tin with greaseproof paper, and grease the sides.
  2. Rinse the bulghur in water, squeezing it to remove excess moisture. Put it into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Add 4 tablespoons water and bring to a boil, stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the tin and allow to cool while you make the filling.
  4. Put the double cream, cinnamon, poppyseeds and honey into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the brandy and remove from the heat. Allow to cool.
  6. When it is cold, beat in the egg yolks, flour and cheese. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the mixture. Turn the mixture into the tin and bake it in a preheated moderate oven (180°C/350°F) for 45 minutes.
  7. Increase the heat to hot oven (220°C/425°F), and bake for 10 minutes or until the cake is firm in the centre.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool at room temperature while you prepare the topping.
  9. Combine the topping ingredients and stir them over a low heat until the butter melts and the mixture thickens.
  10. Pour mixture over the cake, then return the cake to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven, cool and chill before serving.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Source: Cheesecakes

Advertisements

Italian-style Lasagne with Bolognese and Spinach

Ingredients

12 No-boil dried lasagne noodles
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bolognese Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds ground beef chuck (not lean)
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup tomato paste
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Ricotta Filling

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 (15-ounce) containers whole-milk ricotta
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup whole milk

Method

  1. To make sauce, heat oil in a 12- to 14-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden and softened, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any lumps, until meat is no longer pink, 6 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in wine, milk, tomato paste, thyme, salt, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated but sauce is still moist, about 1 hour.
  4. To make the ricotta filling, put spinach in a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and twist to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  5. Whisk together ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Transfer 1-1/2 cups ricotta mixture to another bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup milk; set aside.
  6. Whisk spinach into remaining filling with remaining 1/2 cup milk.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F, with rack in middle.
  8. Soak noodles in a bowl of very warm water until pliable but not softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on a kitchen towel (it’s not necessary to pat them dry).
  9. Spread 1-1/2 cups Bolognese sauce in a 13-by 9-inch baking pan (3-inch deep) and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Cover with 3 noodles, leaving space in between. Spread half of spinach filling on top, then 1 cup Bolognese sauce, and top with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and 3 noodles; repeat. Top with remaining Bolognese sauce, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and remaining 3 noodles.
  10. Pour reserved ricotta mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  11. Cover pan tightly with parchment paper and foil (or just buttered foil) and bake 50 minutes.
  12. Remove foil and bake until top is browned in spots, about 15 minutes more.
  13. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes before cutting.

Cooks’ Notes:

  1. The Bolognese sauce can be made 2 days ahead and chilled (covered once cool).
  2. The lasagne can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350°F oven, loosely covered with foil.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Gourmet Italian

Pasta with Long-simmered Meat Sauce from Bologna

Ingredients

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 thick slice rindless pancetta, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
8 oz ground sirloin
8 oz ground veal
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup low-fat milk
2 cups canned Italian tomatoes and juice, strained
1 tablespoon tomato puree
a bundle of herbs (sprigs of parsley tied with 1 bay leaf and 1 sprig rosemary)
1-2/3 lb fusilli
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet, add the pancetta, and saute until the fat starts to run.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is soft and golden, about 25-30 minutes.
  3. Add the ground meats and cook only until they lose their color.
  4. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates.
  5. Add the milk and cook until it evaporates.
  6. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, and bundle of herbs and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer very, very slowly, partly covered with a lid, for 4-5 hours (the longer the better), stirring occasionally.
  7. Add a little extra water toward the end of the cooking time to prevent the sauce from sticking, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with the remaining olive oil and 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  9. Add 1 ladle of sauce per person and toss well. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Noodles and Pasta

Pan-fried Pork with Typical Wine, Cream and Mustard Sauce from Burgundy

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil 1112 tablespoons butter
2 boneless pork loin chops, about 10 oz. in total
4 oz. cremini mushrooms, rinsed and thickly sliced
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 cup white Burgundy or other dry white wine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons sour cream or creme fraiche
2 rounded teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard or other whole-grain mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives and boiled new potatoes and salad greens to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a medium skillet. Add the pork chops and brown them for about 3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until cooked. Remove the pork chops from the pan, set aside, and keep them warm.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, add to the pork, and keep warm.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the juices in the pan. Stir in the wine and thyme leaves and let bubble up until reduced by about two-thirds. Reduce the heat to very low, then stir in the sour cream or creme fraiche and mustard. Heat very gently, taking care not to let the sauce boil or the mustard will taste bitter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Return the pork, mushrooms, and any juices to the pan and heat through very gently.
  6. To serve, put the pork steaks on 2 warm plates, spoon the sauce over the top, sprinkle with a few snipped chives, and accompany with new potatoes and a salad greens.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Cooking with Wine

Classic French Brioche with Paper-thin Crust and Tender Crumb

Ingredients

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4-1/2 tsp active dry yeast, preferably Red Star brand
2 tsp table salt, plus a pinch for the egg wash
4 large eggs, at room temperature, plus 2 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk for the egg wash
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, slightly softened; more for the pans

Method

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt on low speed until well combined.
  2. Add 4 of the eggs and the milk and continue mixing on low speed to combine. As soon as the dough starts to clump together, remove the paddle attachment and attach the dough hook. (There will still be unmixed egg and flour in the bowl.)
  3. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Using a plastic dough scraper or strong plastic spatula, scrape the bowl and hook. Continue to mix until the dough is firm and elastic, about 2 minutes more. The dough may stick to the hook at this point, but that’s OK.
  4. Scrape the dough off the hook again. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add half of the butter, a few pieces at a time. Scrape down the bowl and dough hook, and remove the dough hook. Give the dough a few kneads by hand in the bowl, repeatedly folding the dough over on itself, to help incorporate the butter.
  5. Reattach the dough hook and add the remaining butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing on medium-low speed. Once all of the butter has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for 4 minutes.
  6. Scrape the dough hook and the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again until the dough is smooth, soft, and shiny, about 4 minutes more. You’ll hear the dough slap against the sides of the bowl when it’s ready. (If your kitchen is warm, the dough may seem too loose at this point. Resist the urge to add extra flour, or the brioche may be tough.)
  7. Let the dough rise – Use a plastic dough scraper or a spatula to turn the dough out onto a clean, very lightly floured work surface. The dough will be very moist. Knead it by hand a few times and then form it into a ball by folding the sides into the middle at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Flip the dough over, place your palms on either side of the dough, and tuck it under itself, turning the dough as you tuck to form a loose ball with a smooth top. Transfer the dough, smooth side up, to a clean large bowl. Cover loosely with plastic and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  8. Let the dough rise again – Use the dough scraper or spatula to turn the dough out, smooth top down, onto a very lightly floured work surface. Again, form it into a ball by folding the sides into the middle at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Flip the dough over, place your palms on either side of the dough, and tuck it under itself, turning the dough as you tuck to form a loose ball with a smooth top. Transfer the dough, smooth side up, back to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic. At this point, for best flavor refrigerate the dough overnight. Or let it sit out until doubled in size, about 1 hour. The warmer the room, the faster the brioche will rise, so keep an eye on it.
  9. Shape the brioches – If the dough was refrigerated, let it warm to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  10. Butter sixteen 3-inch brioche à tête molds (use molds that are 3 to 3-1/4 inches wide across the top and at least 1-1/4 inches high). Turn the dough out, smooth top down, onto a clean work surface. Form the dough into a ball by folding the sides into the middle at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Using a scale and a bench knife, divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, about 1 lb 3 oz each. Divide each half into 8 equal pieces of about 2-1/2 oz each, for a total of 16 pieces of dough. Cover the dough with plastic to prevent it from drying out.
  11. Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball by cupping your hand over the dough and moving it in a circular motion with the fingers of that hand slightly tucked in.
  12. To form the “tête,” or head, hold your hand perpendicular to the work surface, with your fingers straight and tightly together (like you’re going to do a karate chop). Working with one ball of dough at a time (keeping the others covered with plastic), press down onto the ball with the side of your hand about one-third of the way from one of the edges of the dough ball (leaving one-third of the dough to one side of your hand, and two-thirds of the dough to the other side of your hand). Saw back and forth with your hand almost all of the way through until you get a shape that looks like a bowling pin, or a head and body connected by a very thin, almost translucent neck. Holding the dough by the “head,” turn the dough upright so the body is resting on the work surface. Lower the head down into the body, pressing deeply into the body and spreading it with your thumbs and index fingers to make a nest for the head.
  13. Tighten the body around the nestled head by tucking and lifting the body up around the head. Gently place the dough in one of the prepared molds, body down. Repeat with the remaining dough. Transfer the molds to a large rimmed baking sheet.
  14. Proof the brioches – Cover the brioches very loosely with plastic. Let the dough rise until almost doubled in size and filling the molds, about 1 hour. It should spring back when gently poked with a finger.
  15. Meanwhile, position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. It is important that the oven be thoroughly heated so the brioches bake evenly.
  16. Bake the brioches – In a small bowl, make the egg wash by beating the remaining 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk and a pinch of salt. Lightly brush the top of the brioches (without letting the egg wash drip down into the molds or pans, which would make the brioches stick to their molds). Bake until dark golden-brown on top and golden on the sides (you can lift the brioche slightly to peek in at the edge of the mold), about 18 minutes. (The internal temperature should be 190°F.) Let the brioches cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmolding. Serve while they’re still warm to the touch.

Makes sixteen 3-inch brioches à tête.

Source: Fine Cooking