31 October 2010

Panellets (small cakes of marzipan)

Panellets are the traditional dessert of All Saints holiday in Catalonia. Panellets are small cakes or cookies in different shapes, mostly round, made mainly of marzipan (a paste made of almonds and sugar).  There are different shapes and tastes, but pine nuts, coconut, almond are the most common ones. The most popular are the panellets covered with pine nuts, consisting of the panellet basis (i.e. marzipan) rolled in pine nuts and varnished with egg.
This recipe is inspired by the chef Mireia Carbó.

What you need:

For the marzipan:

500 gr ground almond 
500 gr sugar
200 ml water (or half a liquor like limoncello +1/2 water)
one grated lemon rind

+ different ingredients depending on the different tastes

Let´s start:

1.Prepare the marzipan. Grind the sugar. Then mix all the ingredients (use your hands). Add the water and mix it.
2. Let the dough stand overnight wrapped with a plastic film (saran wrap/ clingfilm/..) (or at least 2 hours)
3. Then divide the dough in different portions to prepare different varieties. Up to you. *Follow the instructions below
4. Finish it by introducing the final product in a tray (with baking paper) into the oven preheated at 230ºC for about 2-5 minutes. Put in the lower tray. Check it. Cook each variety individually.

For the pine nuts panellets
marzipan portion
100 g of pine nuts
1 egg

-Divide the portion into smaller portions that will be the final product. Form the dough into balls (same size).
-In a dish whisk the egg. Coat the balls in the egg. Then fill your both hands with a bunch of pine nuts and take one ball and press it till the pine nuts get sticked into the marzipan
-Go to point 4.

For the almond panellets:
100 g of chopped almonds

Follow the same instructions as with the pine nuts panellets but use chopped almonds instead.

For the quince preserve panellets:
Some thick quince preserve
whisked egg

-Use the portion and this time make a roll. Cut the roll with a knive lengthwise and introduce the thick quince preserve cut as a long portion inside (or different long portions one after the other). Close it. Paint it with some egg.
-Go to point 4
-Cut the roll in individual portions when it has completely cool down.

For the candied cherry panellets:
Some candied cherries
1 teaspoon of  Kirsch

-Add the Kirsch into the marzipan
-Divide the portion into different balls. 
-Flatten them.
-Add one cherry in each cake
-Go to point 4

For the coconut panellets:
There are 2 versions here:

Version 1:
50 gr of grated dry coconut

-Mix with your hands some coconut with the marzipan dough
-Divide it into pieces
-Shape all the pieces like a mushroom upside down.
-Add some more coconut (coated)
-Go to point 4

Version 2 (my favourite one)
Here we will not use the marzipan dough

100 gr of grated dry coconut 
100 gr sugar
1 egg

-We mix all the ingredients with your hands. You don´t need to let this stand.
-Divide it into small balls and shape it the way you like.
-Go to point 4.

There are a lot of other different varieties like coffee, chocolate, lemon, ....

Want to prepare the marzipan in a different way?

Try to do it the way of the chef Carme Ruscalleda (marzipan):
In a pan, you mix water (150 ml) and sugar (350 g). It gets over medium heat until it starts to boil and let boil it until it gets a texture of a syrup.
Then dump the grounded almonds (500 g) and stir continuously with the help of a wooden spatula for about 2-5 minutes until the pastry is homogenous and peel off the walls. Let cool it down
Incorporate into an egg white (not whipped), and mix well.
Leave the dough rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (You can let it the whole night until the next day).
Mass is divided into different portions according to the tastes that you want to prepare.

Enjoy/Bon Profit !

10 October 2010

Carrot cake with walnuts and hazelnuts (Pastís de pastanaga amb nous i avellanes)

This is the best cake I have ever baked so far. You will not find this recipe anywhere else because I like to create new ones very often, but of course it is similar to the traditional carrot cake. But this is for me "the carrot cake" recipe. Well, I don´t know how could I improve it anyway. I baked it yesterday because I was invited to a friends´ new house for lunch. That was a great day Tomàs & Núria !
About this recipe: you don´t need to do all of this if you don´t have time. The cake itself is delicious, but of course the extra layer and the icing make it even better.

What you need:

For the cake:
4 eggs
200 gr brown sugar
40 gr vanilla sugar
160 gr sifted flour
16 gr baking powder
3 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of oil
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
150 gr of greated carrot
1 handful of walnuts and hazelnuts
1 teaspoon of honey
1 pinch of salt
150 gr unsalted butter

For the medium layer:
150 gr carrots (boiled)
70 gr sugar
4 tablespoons of conyac (brandy)
40 gr butter
50 ml double cream

For the icing:
200 gr cream cheese (spread)
30 gr butter (melted)
150 gr double cream
160 gr icing /confectioners sugar

I have used some nuts for decoration and the smile is made of carrot. But it is up to you.

Let´s start

The cake
1.You need to peel and great the carrots (probably you can find it in the supermarket this way, so it safes you    a lot of time). And crush the hazelnuts and walnuts. You don´t need to boil the carrots here.
2.Separate the whites of the eggs and whisk the whites with a pinch of salt.
3. In another recipient put the yellows + the butter (melted) + all types of sugar. Remove.
4. Add flour and the baking powder. All sifted. Add also the cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of oil, and the honey. Remove
5. With an spatula remove it while you add the nuts and the carrots. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Don´t worry if it is too dry and it is difficult to remove.
6.Add the whites whisked previoulsy. Remove with the spatula.
7.Put it into a recipient with some butter and flour and introduce it into the oven (previously heated) at 180ºC for about half an hour.

The medium layer:
Boiled the carrots and once it is done add the sugar, conyac, butter and cream. Mix it.

The icing:
Melt the butter. In a recipient add the cheese, the butter, the cream (previously whipped) and the sugar. Mix it with an spatula.

Once the cake is done and you have let it cool down,  cut it in half the cake (be very very careful) and add the medium layer. Then add the icing on the top of it with an spatula.

Enjoy/Bon Profit!

03 October 2010

Chocolate Brownie (Brownie de Xocolata)

This is a basic cake with an excellent output. I got the recipe through my sister-in-law Mar. She got that from an excellent book from Mireia Carbó (easy recipes, great results).
I have decided to make some changes, to add some ingredients, to make it look even greater (if it is possible). I am going to post both recipes (the short and original one and my version). Both are great.

A. My own version of Chocolate Brownie

What we need (8 people)

For the brownie:

125 gr chocolate (dessert)
100 gr sugar
30 gr vanilla sugar
80 gr butter
80 gr flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 handful of walnuts
1/2 handful of hazelnuts

For the medium layer:

100 gr chocolate
25 gr butter
2 tablespoons of brandy/ cognac

For the chocolate frosting:

125 gr chocolate
25 gr butter
1 tablespoon of water
1 handful of walnuts
1/2 handful of hazelnuts

Let´s start

The Brownie:
1. Cut the chocolate up into pieces
2. Crush the hazelnuts and the walnuts. Make small pieces
3. Melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave for about a minute.Stir it.
4. In a recipient, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla sugar. If you don´t have vanilla sugar, you can use 125 gr of sugar (instead of 100 gr sugar) and add some vanilla flavour.
5. Add the melted chocolate and stir it slowly
6. Add the sifted flour and the baking powder.
7. Add the hazelnuts and walnuts previously crushed into the mix.
8. Put it into a recipient (with some butter and flour) and introduce it into the oven for about 20 minutes. Bottom heat. And  then 5 more minutes top/Bottom heat. 170ºC.

The chocolate layer:
Cut the cake in half pieces. Be careful.
1. Melt the chocolate with butter in the microwave for about a minute. Check it and stir it.
2. Add the brandy and stir it.
3. Distribute it with a spoon all over the cake

Chocolate frosting:
1. Crush the hazelnuts and the walnuts. Make small pieces.
2. Melt the chocolate with butter and some water in the microwave for about a minute. Check it and stir it.
3. Distribute the chocolate all over the top and sides of the cake with the right tool. Add the nuts at the top.

Enjoy/Bon Profit

B. Mireia Carbó version

Just brownie:

125 gr chocolate (dessert)
125 gr sugar
100 gr butter
80 gr flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 handful of walnuts or a handful of hazelnuts

Follow the instructions I have explained for the brownie before.

C. Microwave instead of oven:

6 minutes in the microwave (highest potency)
let it cool down inside the microwave for 5 more minutes.
You can do both versions with the microwave.