THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: PISTACHIO CREAM TART

Oh my! Last Friday I missed the first part of the Fiesta Friday party, I had really few time – not a bit news, right? Do you think¬†I could join now? Am I in time for desserts? ūüėČ
I was tired of the simple fruits tart, as well as the chocolate and the Nutella ones: so, I wanted to try a Pistachio Nutella, a special product that is not so easy to find in Northern Italy. The consistency is like the Nutella, but this cream has a light green colour and a delicate sweet taste of pistachio. Really yummy!One of my colleagues brought me from Sicily.¬†For this special edition of Fiesta Friday, I prepared a Pistachio Cream Tart with dark chocolate chips and whipped cream. I found it just delicious to eat. Here’s the recipe:

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FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY (PASTAFROLLA)

INGREDIENTS:

– Flour 00: 250 gr
РButter: 125 gr
РPowdered sugar: 100 gr
РEggs: (yolk): 2 or 3 if small
– a pinch of salt
– a hint of vanillin

FOR THE FILLING:

– 250 ml cream to whip
– dark chocolate chips
– 250 gr pistachio nutella cream

PREPARATION:

The preparation of the shortcrust pastry starts with a process called “sabbiatura”:¬†first of all sift the flour, and put it in the mixer, together with the cold butter chopped in cubes, and a pinch of salt. Blend the ingredients till you‚Äôll obtain a sandy-like and floury mixture, then transfer it on a floury pastry board. Now you could add the powdered sugar. (always sifted before), and the vanillin.
Make a¬†well in the centre of the flour, then pour in the center the¬†2-3 egg yolks and the grated¬†lemon peel; start to amalgamate with a fork till the egg yolk will absorb the flour, then follow¬†kneading powerfully till you‚Äôll obtain¬†a compact and elastic dough.¬†Shape a block and wrap it into the plastic wrap, then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before using it. Spread out the dough on a pastry board, then transfer it in a baking tray covered with wax paper. Riddle with holes the dough, fill the tart with dry beans and then cook it in the oven for¬†15-20 minutes at 180¬į C. When the borders are golden, remove the beans and then replace the tart in the oven, and cook again for other 20 minutes.

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You could also cook the Pistachio Nutella, but I prefer it cold in the filling, it’s more creamy; when the shortcrust tart is ready, fill it with the pistachio cream mixed with the dark chocolate chips, and put the tart in the fridge for a while.

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Then, you could start prepare the whipped cream: be careful to use a cold bowl and cold whisks; put the cream in the bowl together with the powdered sugar and start mixing at maximum speed, always in the same direction. When the whipped cream is ready and fluffy, you could decorate the tart on the top. When you cut it, you’ll have three coloured layers. Pretty, isn’t it?
Put the tart in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

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CHRISTMAS TIPS: FAKE GINGERBREAD MEN

Hello to you all! Ready to welcome the New Year? We’ll spent the New Years’ Eve eating at a friend house, all together. Today I wanna share with you the last recipe of the year! I would have posted it before, for Christmas, but I hadn’t time enough.¬†As¬†you can see,¬†I tried to prepare some kind of “gingerbread men” – only for the shape, after all. –

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Basically, you must know that¬†in Italy gingerbread isn’t so wide-spreaded like in America or other countries. For us, also the gingerbread men shape is something¬†“imported”.¬†We have a bunch of different type of cookies, but one of the most used dough for them is the so-called “pasta frolla”(shortcrust pastry).
This year I made the gingerbread men made by cocoa shortcrust pastry instead of gingerbread. I was in doubt for the result, but as you can see they are really pretty. I made decorations with white&red sugar paste, instead of using royal icing.
Here the recipe:

INGREDIENTS: (10-12 cookies)

– Flour 00: 300 gr
РCocoa powder: 30 gr
– Butter: 150 g
РPowdered sugar: 130 gr
– Eggs (yolk): 3

PREPARATION:

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To make the shortcrust pastry, first of all sift the flour, the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar. Put all the ingredients in the mixer, together with the cold butter, chopped in cubes. Blend everything till you’ll obtain a sandy-like and floury mixture, then transfer it on a floury pastry board.
Make a¬†well in the centre of the flour (in many blog i’ve read ” make a volcano with the flour” , or “make a whole in the center if the flour”: it’s the same, in Italy we say “fare una fontana”), then pour in the center the 3 egg yolks, and knead powerfully till you’ll have¬†a compact and elastic dough.

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Shape a block and wrap it into the plastic wrap, then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before using it; pasta frolla is a simple preparation really good both for cookies and tarts. If you notice that the dough is a bit too dry, you could add a spoon of egg white, or better a spoon of milk/water.

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Use the gingerbread man mold to shape the cookies and put them on a¬†baking tray. Cook them for maximum 10 minutes at 180 ¬įC. Let them cool down before starting the decoration. I used sugar paste to make the eyes and the mouths, and the remaining butter cream of the cupcakes to make¬†some buttons. I gifted the cookies to my¬†relatives wrapped in transparent pastry bags.

That’s all! I wish you a wonderful Happy New Year 2015! And Happy Fiesta Friday¬†to¬†my talented blog-friends!Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Hello, good morning to all of you! I hope that you spent beautiful Christmas days! I’m late for Fiesta Friday this week, but I thought first to stay with my family and take a little break. Today I would like to share with you the recipe of the cuppies I made on Christmas’ Eve day. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS: (12 cupcakes)

– Flour 00: 120 gr
РGranulated Sugar: 120 gr
– Butter (room-temperature): 120 gr
– 2 Eggs (medium)
– Dark chocolate: 80 gr
– Baking powder: 1 teaspoon (4 gr)
– Cocoa powder: 20 gr

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PREPARATION:

To prepare the cupcakes, you start with melting in a bowl all the ingredients “in powder”: sift out the flour, then the cocoa powder, finally the baking powder.
Make the chocolate liquefy at bain-marie, and hold it by. In the meanwhile, whip the butter (already at room-temperature) together with the sugar Рhelp yourself with an electric mixer Рand after add the eggs, one after another. Continue whipping till you obtain a spumy and fixed mixture.
When you’re done with the butter and the sugar, you add to the mixture the dark chocolate. Mix a bit before adding the flour, the cocoa powder and the baking powder. The powders have to be added little by little with a spatula, making circular mouvements from the bottom to the top.
When the cupcakes mixture seems homogeneous Рduring this step you could add also other ingredients like chocolate chips, or chopped hazelnuts Рtransfer it in a sac-à-poche.
Lay down the cupcakes’ wraps into the muffins’ mold and fill them for 3/4 in height. Cook the cupcakes in the oven for 15- 20 minutes at 180 ¬įC, watching the cooking with a toothpick. When the cupcakes are ready, let them cool down before starting with the decoration.

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DECORATING THE CUPCAKES: THE BUTTER CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

– Butter: 125 gr
– Powdered sugar: 250 gr
–¬†one (or two)¬†spoon of milk
– vanilla flavouring

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PREPARATION:

Chop the cold butter in cubes and put it in the mixer; work it at the maximum speed for 30-40 seconds; after that, you could start adding the powdered sugar, a little at a time: I added every time two spoons of sugar, always mixing at the maximum speed, often opening the mixer to remove the sugar stuck on the borders.
When you finish the sugar, you could finally add the milk and the vanilla flavour: mix again the last time for 30 seconds. Let the cream cool down in the fridge for a while, then use a baking syringe to decorate the cupcakes. If you wish, add also some decorations with coloured sugar paste.

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THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE

Hello!Last Friday I was really busy preparing this great cake for Davide’s birthday. I worked all the morning and also for half afternoon, but now I can say that the result payed my efforts. I took some shots during the preparation, it would be nice to hear your comments about it… Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake:
– 115 gr wheat flour;
– 100 gr sugar;
– 4 eggs;
– 100 gr butter;
– 175 gr dark chocolate;
– 10 gr baking powder for desserts;

FOR THE FILLING:
– 250 gr Nutella cream;
– 200 ml fresh cream to whip

For the butter cream:
Р250 gr powdered sugar
– 125 gr cold butter;
– 1-2 milk (or cream) teaspoon;
Рvanilla (or almond) extract

Decoration:
– Sugar paste (yellow and orange) as needed;

PREPARATION:

First of all, put the chopped dark chocolate together with the butter in a bain-marie. Wait till the ingredients are completely liquefied. In the meanwhile, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, sift the ingredients such as flour and sugar, then mix with a wooden spoon the egg yolks together with the sugar. Then add the liquefied chocolate and the butter and blend all the ingredient well.

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After that, add the flour with the baking powder, little by little, and blend the mixture every time you add a small quantities of flour; finally, whip up the egg whites and add them to the mixture.¬†Mix always bottom up, till you’ll obtain a soft and compact dough. Warm up the oven and cook the cake at 200 ¬įC for 30 minutes. I choosed to make two different round baking tray (diameter 18 cm) to make a cake with two layers – but you could also cook the mixture all in one baking tray. (diameter 26 cm)

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Until the cake is in the oven, you’ll start preparing the butter cream: this is the cream you’ll use to cover the cake. The preparation is really simple: cut the butter into cubes and put it in the mixer. Work the butter at maximum speed for 30 seconds. Then sift the powdered sugar (to avoid lumps) and add it¬†to the butter, two spoon at a time, always using medium-high speed. From time to time, remove the sugar stucked on the borders of the mixer. When you have finished the sugar, you can add the vanilla extract. Work the mixture for a last time (5 minutes) till the cream will¬†have a¬†soft, light colour.

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The cake in the meanwhile is ready: take it out from the oven and let it cool down on a grid. It’s time to decide which cream you’ll use for the filling; I choosed a nutella cream and I prepared fresh whipped cream. I assembled the cake with the two layers of stuffing, then I started to cover it with the butter cream: during this last step, pay attention to spread equally on the cake surface the butter cream, using one or two spatula.

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Put the cake in the fridge for one hour, then take it out and start to decorate it with sugar paste and chocolate syrup as you prefere. When you finish, you can conserve the cake in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Happy Fiesta Friday and Happy Halloween to you all!Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CREAM&NUTELLA CAKE

Hello! Two weeks ago I found on this blog this fantastic recipe: a cake (no cooking time needed) with nutella, cream¬†and hazelnuts: I could’nt resist anymore, i’ve to try it for this FiestaFriday! This is my version of the recipe:

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INGREDIENTS: for a 22 cm (diameter) ring shaped mould

– 250 gr nutella cream;
– 200 gr fresh cream;
– 3 cups of coffee (no sugar needed);
– a pack of dried biscuits;
– chopped hazelnuts as needed for the decoration

PREPARATION:

First of all, you could start preparing the coffee – two or three cups, no need to add sugar in it.- After that, it’s time to whip the cream.¬†In the meanwhile, it’s better to warm up the nutella in a bain-marie to make it smoother.

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It’s important to leave apart a small quantity of nutella for the final decoration on the top of the cake. Then add the nutella to the cream, melting it delicately with movements from the bottom to the top.
Pour the coffee in a bowl and add half glass of water (or milk) and mix it; then take the ring mould and place it on a tray, starting dunk the biscuits in the coffee and quickly place them on the mould, arranging a circular shape.  If needed, break them into small pieces.

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When the first layer of biscuits is ready, you’ll cover it with the half part of the nutella and cream you’ve previuosly mixed together; then create a second layer of biscuits and then again cover it with the remaining¬†nutella and cream.

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To decorate the cake, use the few nutella you’ve previously left apart, spreading it well on the top of the cake. Then, add the chopped hazelnuts.
Put the cake in the fridge for 2 hours at least -or in the freezer if you prefer the ice-cream cake consistency.-¬†When it’s time to serve it, take out the cake from the mould helping yourself with a knife in order to better detach it. Enjoy a slice!

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CUPCAKES WITH DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Hello, dear friends, how are you? I’ve been too busy in the last two weeks, so I’ve neglected¬†the blog again, and I’m so sorry for this. But last Friday I had a brand new “kitchen toy” to improve: an electric oven for cupcakes! Davide’s¬†aunt gave it to me as a gift, and I non ho potuto fare a meno but to try it immediately!

fornetto cupcakes

 

This little oven is just ideal for small quantities of cupcakes, and it’s really funny to use. You can find my recipe of cupcakes here: just be careful at the temperature of the butter (it must be soft and creamy) and add chocolate chips in the end,¬†after putting the mixture in the¬†mixer. Sometimes I add some chocolate chips before, and some also at the end, after mixing.¬†Afterall, chocolate is¬†perfect with any ingredient.

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This time I’ve also used some “moulds”:¬†I¬†use several¬†moulds¬†with¬†different decoration to apply on the top of the cupcakes and fill with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. The effect is simple¬†and¬†guaranteed. Even for¬†a starter decorator.

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This is the final result. The smaller ones are with nutella cream and coconut powder. Please enjoy them! And Happy Fiesta Friday! (always in late)

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EASTER CUPCAKES WHITE CHOCOLATE&PISTACHIO NUTS

Hello! Here we’re ready¬†for¬†Easter Sunday, and we’re preparing something sweet to celebrate! As usually, I’m really short in time, so I thought to make some cute cupcakes: this time I’ve taken inspiration from Laura of the beautiful blog Mondo Delizioso and¬†her White Chocolate Cupcakes. Here my “revisited” recipe and the photos!Yum!

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INGREDIENTS:
– 80 gr butter (room-temperature)
– 150 gr sugar
– 2 eggs
– 200 gr flour 00
– 1 teaspoon baking powder for desserts
– 125 ml milk
– 70 gr white chocolate (in bits)
– fine chopped pistachios

FOR THE FROSTING MOUSSE
– 80 ml milk
– 5 gr food grade gelatine (food jelly)
– 120 gr white chocolate
– 250 ml cream to whip

FOR DECORATION
– sugar paste (green or other pastel colours)
– coloured Easter eggs

PREPARATION:

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First of all, let’s prepare the cupcakes: start whipping-up the butter together with the sugar; then, add one egg at a time, and¬†every time you add an egg, you have to whip-up the mixture.
In the meanwhile, sift out the flour together with the baking powder;¬†incorporate – time and time again – the flour together with the milk, little by little,¬†to the mixture of butter and eggs; blend with a spoon till the ingredients are¬†amalgamated. Finally, add the white chocolate in bits and blend again well with the spoon.¬†Fill up the¬†cupcake cases and put them in the oven ¬†(160¬į/max 180¬į) for 20/25¬†minutes. When the cuppies are ready, let them cool down.

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From now on, you can start preparing the mousse: put one sheet of food jelly in the cold water for some minutes; at the same time, warm up the milk in a small pot – bring it just near to a boil, then turn off the cooker.
Chop up the white chocolate, then put it in the hot milk till it’s completely liquefied; add the food jelly – after you’ve squeezed it – to the mixture of milk and chocolate, then blend with a spoon for a while.

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Let the mixture cool down at room temperature, then add the whipped cream: incorporate it bottom up carefully with a spoon. Put the mousse in the fridge for some hours (according to the consistency you want to reach).
When the mousse is ready, you can finally make decorations: garnish the cupcakes with the mousse, using a “sac a poche”. Use the sugar paste to make a nest for the Easter eggs (or, if you find them, for the sugar chicks)

If you love white chocolate, this recipe is just for you, the flavour is really delicate. Sorry for the bad quality of the photos, hoping that they’ll not compromise the recipe… Happy Easter to You All!Cris

SWEET VALENTINE

Hello!Did you spent a great Valentine’s Day? I did! And I put really much efforts in this cake (so many efforts that I want to show you the few shots I took of the preparation). The mixture is really simply to make, I had to put more attention in the cooking time, because this kind of¬†mixture (similar to a¬†“giant cupcake”)¬† “increases” really quickly, and growns up¬†in the center, so after you have to¬†flatten the surface of¬†the cake … Anyway, I took a whole¬†afternoon to make it!Davide really appreciated it. I’m so happy.¬†Cake design is really a beautiful word, but you need so many patience (and the right tools) to have good results. (and this is not my case, I love to “extemporize” a lot!)

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The mixture is made with farina, eggs, sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla extract, and a bit of grated lemon peel; the mixture is soft and rich, I added to it also some dark chocolate chips. I cooked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 180¬įC. Then, when the cake cooled dowm, I covered it with nutella cream, and then with white sugar paste.

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Nutella is not exactly the perfect base for sugar paste, i know,¬†but i put the cake quickly in the fridge, and i payed attention at the temperature of the sugar paste during the making. (if it’s a bit cold it’d better) And, afterall, Nutella is so good, is there anyone that dislikes it?

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What do you think of the result? For me it’s beautiful, just only cause I put so much effort and love in it! And you, did you make something with your hands for your sweethearts? Have a great week! Cris