European Style Baking for a Healthier Lifestyle

Month: June 2015

A Healthy Snack! – Fruit and Nut Granola

A Healthy Snack! – Fruit and Nut Granola

I started working out recently which is very new for me.  My entire life I have virtually depended on my extremely fast metabolism to shed extra fat.  As I age I realize that this is a temporary fix.  So now, I go to the gym […]

Back to Basics- Making Flaky, Tender Bites

Back to Basics- Making Flaky, Tender Bites

Many people spend time debating the nuances of baked products- what makes one cookie better than another, one pie tastier?  In general, people can describe small things about what makes a crust or cookie delicious although, decidedly, they cannot always put a finger on what […]

Flaky Goodness – Povidla Kolace (Plum Jam Cakes)

Flaky Goodness – Povidla Kolace (Plum Jam Cakes)

I can’t think of a cookie recipe more simple and more delicious than the recipe for Czech plum cakes.  These cookies only contain three ingredients and no added sugar and yet their flaky, light deliciousness knows no bounds.  These cookies almost remind me of a quick and rough way to make puff pastry.  The trick with these cookies is to handle the dough minimally and use the Czech plum jam if you can find it. The cookies are traditionally made with Powidl jam which is a rich, thick dark purple jam made in the Czech Republic from late harvest Italian plums.  It can be hard to find but if you can locate this real jewel of a jam then utilize it in this recipe.  Not only is it traditional to the cookies but it imparts a rich flavor and beautiful color.  And now sit back and enjoy the recipe for these Czech cookies which are notorious crowd-pleasers.

plum jamplum cake

Povidla Kolace (Plum Jam Cakes)

Ingredients

8 oz unsalted butter

8 oz ricotta cheese

8 oz all purpose flour

Plum jam (preferably Czech Powidl jam if you can find it)

Combine ingredients together on counter.  Cut in butter and cheese until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.  Use your hangs to form the ingredients into a dough, folding the dough over as you press it together.  When the dough is formed refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the dough can chill and the gluten can relax.

Once the dough has cooled roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the dough into 2 X 2 in. squares.  Place a dollop of jam in each dough square.  Press the opposite corners of each square together and pinch very tightly to form a dough purse.  Space with room on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Dust lightly with confectionary sugar and serve.

plum cake on cookie tray

baked plum cake

plum cake with sugar

Walnut Meringue Cookies : Czech Cookies at Their Finest

Walnut Meringue Cookies : Czech Cookies at Their Finest

Remember when you wanted to be just like mom? Do your hair like mom and dress like mom and bake like mom?  Well, I definitely do.  My mother used to bake European delicacies professionally so as kids we usually had to step aside and let her […]

Kouign Amann: A Yeast Pastry Fit for Queens!

Kouign Amann: A Yeast Pastry Fit for Queens!

I first sighted the Kouign Amann when I was working in Apple Pie Bakery at the Culinary Institute of America.  When I was a baking and pastry student at school we were required to work 3 weeks front of house and 3 weeks back of […]

Pecan Sticky Buns

Pecan Sticky Buns

Wow, the first entry of my blog! This blog is dedicated to my exploration of food and pastry and most importantly, butter.  You see, I just love butter.  Real, unadulterated butter.  I put butter on everything and I bake butter in everything.  Yes, I am a butter fiend.

So I feel there is no better way to start off a pastry blog devoted to my favorite fatty substance than to think of the most buttery dessert I can – pecan sticky buns.  I make my sticky buns with brioche dough that is loaded with butter and topped with, you guessed it, a brown sugar topping made with more butter.  These ooey-gooey treats will leave your mouth watering for more. And they are so perfect for breakfast!

As we begin dear readers, tell me your favorite buttery dessert.  I would love to hear from you.  Stay tuned for my secret brioche recipe in a later post. Until next time, eat more butter!