Gâteau à l’Orange … Orange you glad I made this?

“Orange is the happiest color.”
Frank Sinatra

Tweeting always has sweet surprises on the deck! The wonderful and talented SaffronBerry girl, found this orange cake when the Persian in her became obesessed about finding an orange cake recipe. As she said, “You’ll know we’re a bit obsessive and weird about our citrus fruit. We hoard it, display it, eat it, drink it, preserve it, dry it, cook it, and I’m sure we’d bake it too if there were a tradition like that of Western baking in Iran, heck we’d probably wear oranges and lemons if we could find a way to.

I absolutely adored the way she summed up her citrus emotions, and now I think I might have some Persian DNA in my blood too. I too am very obsessive about citrus everything, and currently have a jar of tangerines and limes being preserved out of an Ottolenghi recipe! Recently made a load of Bitter Orange Marmalade, Dried Apricot, Pistachio and Orange Biscotti and Orange Pastry Cream Tartlets with Candied Tangerines (last 2 recipes yet to be posted).

As Hilda rightly said, the gateau almost feels like a cheesecake without cheese, it’s very light, and yet it’s also dense in that the egg whites don’t give it volume, they just prevent it from being puck-like.
I LOVE ORANGE!! Thank you for this great gateau recipe Hilda. I absolutely adore fruit in bakes, citrus even more. The cake was FAB … even though the story of my life remains the same. Yes indeed, power cut again; else the cake would have been much lighter. Still had a beautifully light crumb, and I poured fresh orange juice over it S L O W L Y. The gateau absorbed it all, but for about 2-3 tbsps.

It’s a wonderful recipe and I will be making it again soon. Served a few slices with homemade fresh mascarpone. It was drooliciously good both ways. Was happy to have an opportunity to use my oven dried orange slices for the top…tee hee! Even sprinkled some orange sugar on top right after pouring the juice.

I’ve made a jar of orange sugar by rubbing orange zest into vanilla sugar, and letting it dry in a very very low oven. I store it in a jar with a vanilla bean, and the flavour matures beautifully over time. It’s got a slight bitter tinge to taste, but is nice on top of bakes and in cookies. Got the idea from basil sugar from Ilva @ Lucillian, and it’s also something Alice Medrich uses in her recipes like Citrus Olive Oil Cakes etc.

Gâteau à l’Orange
Adapted from here
4 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
100 g of softened butter
100 g sugar
150 g flour
3 eggs, separated
11/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp rhum
1 Tbsp orange essence (or Cointreau)
1 pinch of salt
Butter (to grease the pan)

Method:
Heat the oven to 170C.

Grease a 6″ cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment
In a bowl, beat the sugar and softened butter together.
Add the yolks one by one to the butter and sugar mixture, taking care to mix each one thoroughly before adding the next one and beat until you obtain a smooth batter.
Add the rhum and the orange essence/Cointreau and mix again.
Mix the flour and baking powder together and add it to the batter by “raining it in”. Mix well.
Cut and juice the oranges. Pour half of the resulting juice in the batter, add the zest and mix.
Beat the whites until firm with the pinch of salt. Add them delicately to the batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for an hour, checking the coloration from time to time. It will be dark orange when done.
Pour the other half of the juice into the cake while it’s still warm. Take care not to pour it too fast and not to let the cake cool too much before you do so. You may find that if you don’t get the timing right, your whole cake will not have juice in it (as in it may have two different textures and have a visible line halfway down where the juice stopped penetrating).
Serves 8.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

This delicious comforting citrusy gateau is off to Sweet Comforts: Sugar High Friday #61 being hosted this month by Kate @ A Merrier World.
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ROOM FOR CAKE …C is for Chistmas & C is for CAKE…

“Nutty as a fruitcake”
Always room for cake in our little home, and winter screams fruit cake, a cake we love to enjoy from December to February. This is the time for an annual tradition at our place. As long as I can remember, my mother always baked this cake over the Christmas holidays, year after year. It became part of our life, something we looked forward to every winter. Gradually it became a holiday favourite, and with vacation madness came to be known as New Year Cake as it never got made in time!
Then I got married, and slowly baking passion took over my life. Gradually Mom stopped baking this cake, and now it’s an annual tradition over at my place. Now she sits and waits for her share!! I got a little late soaking fruit this year because of the FBC, and barely managed to bake the cake 2 days before Christmas. It was so delicious that it got sliced and was history before Christmas even arrived.
We enjoyed the last few slices on Christmas eve, and I happily have one loaf tucked away, maturing for New Years’ as I type! That’s how I like it … something ready and waiting to be sliced, somewhat like this awesome Stollen. Always tastes so much better after a couple of weeks because you forget the hard work that went into the making!
It’s a delicious recipe that my Mom got when she did a baking course many years ago. The measures are all mixed up. Some in cups, some in grams, and each time I whine at her to ask why, she goes, “Be thankful I’ve managed to keep the recipe at all“.So here I am, with the recipe that’s been handed down to me, with it’s very special ingredient – GARAM MASALA!! It increases the deep flavour of the fruit cake, marrying well with the cinnamon and brandy soaked fruit! ! Next year I plan to make this 1 month in advance because I know it tastes a lot better mature, much like Christmas Stollen.
I drizzled the top with some icing sugar and milk mixed together to form a thick icing. Topped them off with marzipan snowflakes, using the snowflake plunger cutters that Nic @ Cherrapeno gifted me! I used them here too with cookie dough to decorate my gingerbread house for the Daring Bakers December challenge. As you can see, I am really enjoying using them.

Mom’s Christmas Fruit Cake
Ingredients:
400 gms mixed cut fruit (currants,peels,crystallized ginger,raisins,tutti-frutti etc)
1/2 cup cashewnuts, chopped
1/2 cup amonds, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 orange (approx 3/4-1 cup; or substitue with brandy)
2 tsp garam masala (I like to make mine fresh, but any works well)
2 tsp cinnamon powder
Juice of 2 limes
230gms plain flour
60gms cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
230gms butter
200gms sugar
Caramel made out of 2 tbsp sugar
Instant coffee powder – 1 1/2 tbsp
Eggs – 5, beaten

2 tsps pure vanilla extract

Method:

Preparing fruit:
Soak the mixed fruit in the juice/rum with the garam masala + cinnamon + zest + lime juice overnight or up to 7 days in the fridge.
Cake:
Sift the flour + cornflour + baking powder + salt & keep aside.
Take the soaked fruit & toss them well with the sifted flour. (This ensures that the fruit don’t sink to the bottom of the tin while baking.)

Heat 2 tbsp of sugar in a pan till dark brown & caramelised. Allow to cool a bit. Top with 1/2 cup water + coffee. Let it sit for a while till it all comes together as a thick syrup.

Line a 9″ round tin, or 2 loaf pans,or 2 7″ square cake tins with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Keep aside.
Cream butter + sugar well. Add vanilla and beat.
Add the beaten eggs and beat for a minute, followed by the caramel.
Mix in the tossed fruit in 3 goes till just mixed in. Don’t over mix.
Turn batter out into prepared tins and bake for approximately 1- 1 1/2 hrs on the lower rack of the oven. Cover loosely with foil if the top starts browning too soon.

Cool and wrap in cling wrap or foil. Keep overnight at the least before slicing.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
This cake is off to Nic @ Cherrapeno who is hosting the Sugar High Friday this December! Sugar High Friday (SHF) is a blogging event created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess, where the participants create, cook and photograph something sweet within a theme. This is SHF no. 60, and the December’s theme is ‘holidays’!
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Passionate About Baking has been nominated at ‘The Homies 2009′ in the Home Cooking category at ‘The Kitchen‘. If you like, you can vote HERE!

MINI PEACH, CHERRY & BLUEBERRY GALETTES with almonds -Little bites!

“Yield to temptation — it may not pass your way again”
Lazarus Long
Do you get hypnotized by certain posts. I’m afraid I’m afflicted by this strange phenomena, but I love it. And it kicks in whenever I see a post with galettes, the sweet ones, full of fruit. I find galettes to be very ‘free spirited’….…in the sense that they don’t need to conform to boundaries, something that is reflective of my inherent nature. I like my freedom, I like rustic & moreish appeal, so I like galettes. Inspiration continues to come from unexpected sources. Been twittering with Edna’s Cafe for really long, & so one fine day decided to stop by. I was enamoured by her gorgeous Peach Blueberry Galette. It enticed me no end, as did her post asking if there were more like her who go to the store to fetch something, get totally distracted & get things that were far from the list?
Moi, I yelled! That is so like me. Fruit chomped as fruit is good, & that condition is fulfilled by my little peach monster. Beyond that, I firmly tell myself before I enter the local bazaar, no more peaches for baking, no more berries for the cooler, too much sugar entering the system… No matter how firm the resolve is, I always give in to the delicious fruit that call my name softly from shelves. It doesn’t help that the kind vendor pulls out reserved stuff from boxes below to offer me prime pieces that he keeps for me. Vicious circle…like the galettes.

So I walked out of Edna’s Cafe in a virtual trance, and before I knew it, I had dough ready for galettes. Have made an absolutely delicious Peach-Plum Galette adapted from Susan’s recipe at Food Blogga quite a while ago. I really loved the pastry she used, & that’s been the only one I’ve ever used after that. I think it’s a connection between me & galettes, because I remember being hypnotized after seeing the galette post at Susan’s last year too. The nonconformist that I am, I decided to make individual little ones as I LOVE individual dessert servings. An entirely intriguing prospect, where each one gets served their own precious rustic pie, complete in it’s miniature beauty. SIGH … food has unlimited appeal at times!

MINI PEACH, CHERRY & BLUEBERRY GALETTES

as adapted ‘minimally’ from Susan @ Food Blogga
Makes 8 individual ones or 1 8-9″ pie
Ingredients:
Dough:
1 3/4 cups All-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated vanilla sugar
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup; cold butter (I grated frozen butter)
1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk

Fruit Filling:
7-8 peaches – medium, skinned & chopped
250gms cherries, pitted & halved
1 packet freeze dried blueberries (or 1 cup of fresh blueberries)
1/4 cup granulated vanilla sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 chopped almonds (optional)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon granulated vanilla sugar or turbinado sugar
Vanilla sugar for sprinkling
Slivered almonds for topping

Method:

  • For the dough: Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a processor; pulse 2-3 times.
  • Grate in frozen butter and pulse 4-5 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the processor running, slowing pour the buttermilk through the chute, processing until the dough forms a ball.
  • Remove the dough ball and adhere any remaining pieces of dough to it, divide into 2 if making min galettes, or 1 large ball, flattened slightly, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30-35 minutes. (I did it for almost an hour because the weather was HOT)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C.
  • To make the fruit filling: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. (This will prevent too much juice from leaking out while the galette bakes.)
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. For mini galettes, divide each 1/2 ball into 4. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out each quarter on a floured surface to form a 6″ wide circle.
  • Transfer the rolled out dough to the lined baking sheet. Add the fruit mixture to the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. (I had to hold my filling in a sieve briefly because it has a little excess liquid)
  • Fold the border over the filling, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds. Seal any stubborn edges with remaining fruit juice.
  • Brush galettes with milk and sprinkle with granular vanilla sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes (1 hour for big galette), or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. (Cutting it too quickly will cause the dough to crack).
  • Note: Galettes are best served at room temperature or slightly warm. Our seconds were enjoyed chilled too. Optional garnishes include vanilla ice cream, a dollop of creme fraiche, or freshly whipped cream.

This is off to Mansi @ Fun & Food Blog for SHF-Fruit and Nut which she is playing host to this month .

Breton crêpes and galettes

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