baking

Lemon Pie

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As I said before baking is not my strongest suit, but I refuse to give up! I will bake something that looks at least halfway decent. Now I got a KitchenAid machine it shouldn’t be complicated at all right? My friend was coming over for dinner and I decided to make a desert as well, and what could possibly go wrong with lemon bars right?!! However it does get quite hard when you do something wrong with measuring the ingredients. I had to start over twice, just because I didn’t properly calculate how much I needed. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! Luckily the 3th time I finally managed to do everything right and the lemon bars turned out great! You just have to make sure that the eggy-lemon mixture is evenly distributed when you put it in the oven, otherwise some parts will have a lot of lemon mixture and others won’t have any at all!

The other reason why I’m sharing an extra recipe this week is because I wanted an excuse to share this amazing song with you guys that has been stuck in my head for ages.

So I hope you enjoy this song and this great recipe!

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This recipe is for 12 people

Ingredients: 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced, 1¾ cups, plus 3 tablespoons, all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar, plus more for dusting at the end, ¼ cup cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon salt, 4 eggs, 1⅓ cups granulated sugar, 1½ teaspoons lemon zest, about 2 lemons, ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 4 lemons, ¼ cup whole milk, 2 tablespoons lemon flavored liqueur, optional

  1. Line your baking dish with parchment paper.Let about a cm of paper hang on either side, this will allow you to easily pull out the bars once they are baked and cooled.
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 1¾ cups of flour, ⅔ cup powdered sugar, the cornstarch, and ¾ teaspoon salt.Turn the mixer on low, to avoid the flour flying everywhere, and mix until evenly combined.
  3. Add the diced cold, very cold, butter into the dry ingredients. You can use two forks, a pastry blender, or the mixer to do this. Try not to use your hands as the heat that you generate will warm up the butter, and we want cold butter.
  4. I use the mixer and it works perfectly. Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs the size of peas. You’ll know it is ready when you squeeze the crumbs and they hold together tightly. Pour the crumbs evenly between the two baking dishes, if using, or the one 9×13 dish.
  5. Pat the crumbs down using your hands into a ¼ inch thick crust. Press it into an even layer and allow the crust to come up the sides slightly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 350° F. After half an hour, bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, while the crust bakes, assemble the filling. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar. Whip on high until the eggs have become thick and pale in color, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons flour, and lemon zest and whisk to combine. Stir in the lemon juice, milk and lemon liqueur if using, mix once more.
  9. Once the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325° F. Stir the filling once again and pour it onto the warm crust.
  10. Bake until the filling is set (it doesn’t move when you jiggle the pan) about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Using the excess parchment paper as handles, pull out the lemon bars gently and place on a cutting surface.
  11. Peel off the parchment paper. Using a serrated (bread) knife cut the bars into even squares. If you wipe the knife after each cut it will make the process easier and less messy for you.
  12. Dust the bars with powdered sugar for garnish and serve immediately.
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Italian Focaccia Bread with Sage and Olives

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Don’t you love the smell of fresh baked bread in your home. Especially if it isn’t just any bread but a herby cheesy bread. The kind of bread that they sell in expensive Italian deli’s, bread that is so good that the only thing it needs is a bit of olive oil with salt to dip it in. Yes that’s the kind of bread I made! Baking isn’t my strongest suit since it requires exact measurements and I am more of the let’s throw it in and see what it tastes like type. But this bread is really easy to make that even I could pull off this one! It takes some time but that is normal when you make your bread (without cheating with a bread making machine).

Italian Focaccia

Ingredients:  2 Cups cake flour, 5 g instant yeast, 1 Tbs salt, 1 Tbs sugar, 400ml tepid water, 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, chopped black olives , A few sprigs of fresh sage, 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed, 60ml finely grated Parmesan, 1 small onion, thinly sliced, Salt and pepper, Olive oil – for when the focaccia comes out of the oven

Sift all your dry ingredients into the bowl of your mixer (or mixing bowl if making by hand). Using the paddle attachment or k-beater (or a spatula), mix these ingredients until thoroughly combined. Slowly add water, just enough that the dough comes together and cleans the bowl. Change to your dough hook. Knead your dough on medium speed (or by hand) for 5 minutes – you will see that the dough becomes less wet and smoother. After 5 minutes add the remainder of your water and knead for another 5 minutes. Add your 2 Tbs of olive oil and knead for another 10 minutes. Add the chopped black olives and need until they are evenly spread in the dough. At this point you should have a soft, non-sticky, smooth dough. If not yet there, knead for a few more minutes until you’re happy with the feel and texture. Remove from the bowl of the mixer and place into a lightly oiled bowl, covered with cling film or a damp tea towel, in a warm, draught free spot to rise until doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 200’C. Knock back your dough and divide into two. Shape both into medium sized ovals and use your fingers to make light indentations all over. Top with the toppings, distributing them evenly over the breads and making sure they are properly pressed down. Season with lots of flaky salt. Leave to rise again in a warm, draught free place for about 20 minutes until nicely risen. Pop into your oven and bake until golden, risen and hollow sounding when tapped underneath – around 30-40 minutes. If the bread is getting too dark before it’s done baking, turn down your oven to 180’C or even 160’C if necessary to bake through. Remove from the oven and pour (quite liberally) lovely lashings of olive oil all over both your focaccias – don’t worry, the bread soaks it in without becoming soggy. You want them to be glossy, juicy and soft! Eat while still warm or pop them back into the oven just before serving later.