Monday, 27 April 2009

Cheese cake Festival !! 4th DB challenge !!

Cheese cake??? Who does not love it ???
This month's challenge was "cheese cake", it let for us a wide space to create!!
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I made three kinds of cheese cake , before talking about it, I would like to thank Jenny and her friend, the recipe is quite excellent.
My first cheese cake was two layers one flavored with lemon and the second was flavored with rose blossoms water, and topped with a mix of rose jam + hibiscus jam, it gave the cheese cake a new awesome flavor.
Forgot to tell you that I made Graham crackers at home, I really loved it !!
Here you are some of the first cheese cake pics.
Second kind was a cheesecake with threee layers, first a vanilla one, the second is dark chocolate and the third was a cafe au lait, I topped it with a caramel chocolate ganache and butter scotch sauce and Macadamia nuts praline. Here you are some of the pics, it was really yummy !!

Third one was a plain one flavored with vanilla & one TBS of lime juice, but I topped it with a coconut cream and fruits " loquat, nectarine, banana, strawberry" and I served it with a strawberry coulis and some shredded coconut.
It really was a hit and a dessert plate to die for !!
The recipe was excellent, here you are and sure it is now my favorite.
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
And don't forget to check back throughout the month, in case the recipe has been modified. Happy baking!
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
crust:2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar1 tsp. vanilla extract
cheesecake:3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature1 cup / 210 g sugar3 large eggs1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream1 tbsp. lemon juice1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
DIRECTIONS:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!
Some variations from the recipe creator:
** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)
** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).
** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.
** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.
** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.
Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):
**Key lime - add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.
**Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.
Thanks and wish you like my ckes, we really enjoyed it !!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Happy Sham el nessim !!

More than a few Egyptian traditions today derive from very ancient times, including the holiday known as Sham el Nessim, which may have been celebrated as early as 4,500 years ago. For Egyptians, Sham el Nessim , literally meaning ‘sniffing the breeze’, marks the beginning of the spring. It falls immediately on the first Monday following the Coptic Easter and it was related to agriculture in ancient Egypt which contained fertility rites that were later attached to Christianity and the celebration of Easter. It is believed that the Egyptians were the first to celebrate this occasion.
Sham el Nessim seems to be a holiday as old as Egypt. The name of the holiday is actually derived from the ancient Egyptian harvest season that was called "Shamo".
At this day , the early morning brings out millions of Egyptians on Sham el Nessim who crowd open green spaces even if that means ending up sitting on grassy patches next to roads, due to the scarcity of public parks and open areas in Cairo. Families start at dawn preparing their food, coloring their eggs with brightful colors, then take their blankets with them and enjoy the breeze of spring.
Sham el Nessim is also celebrated by eating traditional foods. It is associated with several types of food that are eaten together yet are much diversified. Fiseekh (Salted fish), boiled colored eggs, termis (lupin seeds), and green onions are some of the types of food eaten on this day, each backed by a different myth.
It was believed that offerings of fish were made to the ancient gods to ensure a good harvest. Salted fish symbolized to the ancient Egyptians fertility and welfare. Fish were abundant when the waters receded from the
Nile flood, leaving them trapped in natural pools, and easily caught.
Today, the Egyptians celebrate Sham el Nessim by eating a variety of slated, smelly fish known as fiseekh (feseekh), which is prepared in a traditional process that is considered almost an art form. The process of preparing the fish is passed from one generation to another to insure its quality. The types of fish used are sardines mackerel and anchovies.

Many people believe it is not healthy to eat fiseekh and have removed it from the list of food or have replaced it by tuna from a can.

For me & my family we prefer salted sardines "that we have to salt it one week before".
And of course I bake my favorite kind of sweet bread, it looks like Challah or this kind of greek easter bread "braid shaped".

We ate the big braid at this day and the rest in the freeze and I gave my mother in law one braid !
And these were sold !!
bye bye dears !!

Happy sham elnessim for you all !

Happy easter for all my christian friends !

Monday, 20 April 2009

It is too easy to make marshmallow at home !!

I got this recipe from the internet, it worked like magic !!

To make marshmallows at home, combine 3 tablespoons of gelatin (a professional-grade concentrated gelatin would be a good choice, but generally is available only to the food industry) with 1/2 cup of cold water and let it stand for an hour. In the meantime, heat 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil and cook until the firm-ball stage (244°F; 117°C). Remove from the heat and pour it slowly over the gelatin, beating it constantly in a stand mixer. Beat it for a good 15 minutes. When it’s thick but still warm, add 2 tablespoons of vanilla or other flavoring (mint, strawberry, orange, flower water, etc.), if desired. Spread the mixture in a pan that has been lightly dusted with cornstarch. Let it dry for 12 hours, then cut it into squares with scissors dusted with cornstarch, and store them in an airtight container.

First time I made it I added strawberry flavor and tried to get the food colors but I took the blue color instead of the red one , I wanted to color it in pink, but accidents happen , what can I do??

Anyway, it was so tasty , and my kids liked it very much.

Hope you enjoy it !!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Malika's birthday...A long day of hard work !!!

Malika's birthday was 31st of March, I was really ready to start making her cake before the date, but unfortunately and while I was preparing "Marshmallow"because I wanted to make marshmallow fondant and I wanted to prepare my home made version before starting, my finger was cut while I was trying to put my hand in the butter can, anyway I could not complete and my husband also has no idea about kitchen stuff, and my blood falled down in the mixer pot, and what a contrast of colors between the red"my blood" and the white "marshmallow paste", this really hurted me and I stopped for 4 days till I took my decision to restart.

I started first with the fondant and coloring it, after having a whole vision about the design's idea of the cake decoration. "Strawberry shortcake"or "Charlotte de fraises" this animated caracter really inspired me, my kids really like her specially Malika, I watched a cartoon song for "Charlotte" and began the work.

I made sponge chocolate cake, I filled it with "caramel ganache" and frosted the cakes with mousseline chocolate buttercream. I used also caramel and chocolate syrup for the cake.

And started the decoration steps which was really fun but it killed me because I started 3 o'clock and finished 12 o'clock. 9 hours!!! :)))

Yassin & Malika were having fun also.And I was not having any other option..:))))

I made these lovely strawberries using cookies cutters, I really loved it .

And the cake is ready !!!here you are some pics!!
Malika told me that she want to take the cake to the school !!

Simply because her classmates did the same, so i started to think that I have to make a savory dish too, and after thinking I took my decision.

I created this new idea "hedgehogs canapes", from 7 cups of flour, I baked 69 hedgehogs, and as soon as i baked it, there was an invasion in my kithen, they were every where!!!

There was a battle too !!!

But, during all this turmoil, a love story has just begun !!
What do you think he is telling her ????

But thanks God there was not any damages, and all the cute hedgehogs dressed very well to go to Malika's party .
And we did celebrate it at school .
And all the girls enjoyed the cake and the little hedgehog.
but I did not forget and I kept one slice for this pic.
A 3D strawberry, hihihihihih!!

I wish you enjoyed this story, but the saddest part was "my kitchen" I cleaned it 5 times and that was its last condition when I was packing the cake, I thanked him"the kitchen" and kissed it goodbye, does anyone has any suggestion???
Happy birthday Malouuuuuuka and special thanks to Charlotte or "strawberry short cake"!!

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