Saturday, 29 September 2012

Meggyes csokitorta - Chocolate and Morello Cherry Cake

This was one of the cakes I made for the Macmillan Cancer Support coffee event we organised with a couple of friends. I thought it would be worth adding to my blog as it seem to be one of the most popular cakes yesterday afternoon. Its recipe is similar to the Rhubarb Cake recipe I posted in August, but I added some cocoa powder to the sponge mix. I found frozen morello cherries in Asda a while ago, they remind me much more of the fresh ones as opposed to the slightly soggy bottled cherries. Not sure if this cake really does exist in Hungarian cookbooks, it is a complete mix of all the things I love in cakes. Chocolate and morello cherries are two classic ingredients though so I could get away with it I reckon!

For the cake mix:
3 eggs
250 g icing sugar
100g cocoa powder
450 g plain flour
150 ml milk
150 ml flavourless oil (groundnut or sunflower)
1 tbsp baking powder 
350g frozen morello cherries (thawed and drained completely before baking)

For the filling:
bottle of morello cherry jam (Lidl)
150ml double cream

For the topping:
150ml double cream
150g dark chocolate, chopped
1 sachet ground arrowroot

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 6. 
Beat the eggs with the sifted icing sugar and the cocoa powder until it is well mixed. Add the oil and the milk and mix well. Add the baking powder and slowly add the flour, mixing as you go so it doesn't get lumpy. Gently fold in the morello cherries. Pour the cake mix into a lined 23cm cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the testing skewer comes out clean and the cake is cooked through, even in the middle. Cool on a wire rack. You could do this the day before you actually need the cake.
When the cake is completely cool, slice it in half so you have two round discs. Spread the morello cherry jam over the bottom part. Whip the double cream until soft peaks form and spread this over the jam. Put the top disc on top of the cream and make the topping. Gently warm the double cream and melt the chocolate, stirring until completely dissolved and beautifully glossy. Take the pan off the heat and add the ground arrowroot to the topping, mixing well. It will start to slightly thicken. Slowly pour the topping over the cake, adding it gently so it covers the top evenly, looking a bit like a giant whoopie pie. Let it cool completely before serving. 
Serve it with softly whipped double cream on the side.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Szedres papucs - Bramble parcels

The blackberry season is here so were back in Stanmer yesterday foraging for some more free and delicious autumn fruit. They are small and very sweet, perfect for little bite size cakes.
Little parcels or slippers "papucs" as they call them in Hungary  are made with puff pastry. Originally they would have been made with pork fat and flour around the slaughtering season in winter and the most popular filling was the thick and creamy Hungarian plum paste  szilvalekvár - something I have not attempted to make yet, as it involves hours and hours of patient simmering and stirring, and it needs the right sort of plums which are difficult to get hold of in the UK. Similar jams you can buy in Austria and Germany too.  I added blueberry jam to my brambles this time but any home made or shop bought berry jam and fresh or frozen berries (completely thawed) will be perfect as long as you add some starch to the mix to hold it together. I used ground arrowroot (tapioca starch) which keeps a clear colour so good with fruit. These can be found in little sachets in supermarket bakery sections. If you use really thick jams, you wouldn't even have to bother with starch. Ready rolled puff pastry makes this a really quick and easy dessert. Dust it with cinnamony icing sugar and eat it warm dipped into some chantilly cream.

1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry (at room temperature) 
250g blackberries
3 tbsp blueberry jam
grated zest of a lemon
1tbsp (1sachet) ground arrowroot
1 egg white

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Wash and dry the blackberries on paper towel and chop them up if they are too big - supermarket berries tend to be huge! Mix them with the blueberry jam, lemon zest and ground arrowroot. Unroll the pastry sheet and cut it into 15 squares (about 7cmx7cm). Lightly beat the egg white and brush the pastry squares edges with it. Put a generous teaspoon of  berry mix on each square and spread it evenly, leaving the brushed edges free. Place a little knob of butter on top of the fruit mix. Fold two opposite corners of the square on top of each other, press the corners lightly together and place them onto a lined baking sheet. Brush the top with more egg white and bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden colour. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Bodzalekvár - Elderberry Jam


I took our little 16 months old son Leo to our local Stanmer Park berry picking a couple of days ago. He was in a backback enjoying the views and eating lots of blackberries while I managed to pick a kilo of elderberries and blackberries. His face (and the back of my jumper) was a beautiful claret colour from all the squashed blackberries! There are lots more to pick if anyone has the chance to go now. These are the same elder trees I picked flowers from early summer for elderflower cordial.
Elderberries are packed with vitamin C so great for winter top up. In this recipe I also used blackberries and apples, it's a delicious combination of autumn fruit, they really compliment each other. Try this jam on top of your porridge with a little bit of milk and honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

750g elderberries
250g blackberries 
1kg slightly sour apples (I used Discovery)
2-3 cinnamon sticks or cinnamon bark
500g granulated sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
juice of 1/2 lemon
water (about 1 litre)

Pick the elderberries off the stalks with a fork (or by hand) and wash. They will need a couple of rinses. The best way of doing this is by covering them with plenty of water in a bowl. All the green berries and the dry shrivelled ones will float to the top and you can skim these off easily. The ripe fruit sinks to the bottom of the dish. Wash the blackberries too and add both to a large pan. Add about 100ml water. Wash and core the apples, chop them into cubes. I didn't bother to peel them. Add them to the pan together with the cinnamon sticks. Bring it to the boil then start simmering until all the fruit has fallen to bits and become soft. This took me around 30 minutes. You will need to add some more water little at a time as you go. Keep an eye on the pan, the simmering fruit should have a jam consistency right the way through. I used about a litre of water added gradually. Take the pan off the heat and add the sugar slowly, mixing it until it is completely melted, then add the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the sugar if you like. Put it back on the heat and bring back to the boil, cook it for 10 minutes. Pour the jam into sterilized jars (this recipe made 8x200ml jars), seal and let it cool.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Apfelküchli - Apple Drop Scones

My Aunty gave me this recipe, she lives in Germany where they love these little cakes and eat them warm for breakfast or cold the next day with tea or coffee. The batter mix resembles drop scones or Scotch pancakes we have in Britain but less runny. In fact it should be able to hold its mound shape  when dropped into the hot oil. For this you would need to use a lot of oil, which I tried to avoid, and flat drop scones cook perfectly in very little oil, so I added a bit more milk to the batter. This recipe makes about 12 Apfelküchli. Delicious autumn breakfast treat and very quick to make. For grown ups you could add some Calvados to the mix. Serve it warm with a dust of vanilla sugar, softly whipped cream or Cornish clotted cream, like we did - luckily the boys brought a big tub back from their trip to Sennen last week!

400g dessert apples
1 egg
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of cinnamon 
splash of milk 
oil for frying (flavourless groundnut oil or vegetable oil)

Peel and grate the apples. Mix with the egg yolk, splash of milk, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and flour until combined. Beat the egg white until firm and fold into the batter gently. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan and using a tablespoon scoop, drop, slightly shape and flatten the batter. Fry it on both sides until nicely coloured and cooked through. Drain them on kitchen towel and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or icing sugar.