Twisted wreath with figs and ricotta cheese

This wreath is twisted like a braid. It could not be hung because the dough is delicate and the filling is quite heavy (by weight) but still very attractive. Very tasty filling made of dried figs and ricotta cheese is twisted with dough so we have the full flavour delight in every bite. This is probably one of my favourite sweet bread cakes, perfect for holidays as well as for family Sunday at home or on the picnic. Enjoy!

 

1 wreath about 12 inch diameter

 

 Dough:

  • 3 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • ½  cup lukewarm milk
  • ¾  cup lukewarm water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • ½  cup butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • ¾  cup dried figs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 125 g ricotta cheese

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon pearl sugar
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar (turbinado)

 

Make dough: in a medium bowl mix together yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 15 until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture, egg yolks vanilla extract and melted butter. Add water and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth (8-10 minutes) and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If dough does not pull away from the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture remains too dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the dough is ready place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in size.

Make filling: place figs, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolved then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for further 15 minutes until figs are soft. Drain. Blend figs until smooth mixture. Mix the fig paste with ricotta cheese.

Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 18 x 10 inch rectangular. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough leaving an empty 1 inch border along both long sides. Roll up into a log starting to fold longer site. Cut the log lengthways to split it into two. Gently turn both parts cut side up and twist together. Join the ends together to shape the wreath. Place the wreath on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes to rest and double in size.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  

Brush the top with egg, sprinkle with both kind of sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

 

 

Category: Yeast cakes.

Tags: figs, ricotta, yeast.

Easter wreath with apricot filling

This is just a sweet bread with apricot filling. Shaped as a wreath looks fancy and interesting. Because we are close to Easter time and in many kitchens yeast cake is a ‘must have’ tradition I recommend it for the festive days. It does not need to be hanging. Wreath on the table will delight your guests as well. And the taste will not disappoint for sure. Enjoy!

 

1 wreath about 10 inch diameter

 

 Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm milk
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/6 cup butter, soften
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 1 ½ cup dried apricots
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon demerara (turbinado) sugar

 

Make dough: in a medium bowl mix together yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 15 until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt and butter in small pieces. Add yeast mixture, vanilla extract and orange zest. Add water and mix on medium speed until dough is smooth (8-10 minutes) and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If dough does not pull away from the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the mixture remains too dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the dough is ready place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in size.

Make filling: place apricots, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolved then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for further 15 minutes until apricots are soft. Drain. Blend apricots until smooth mixture.

Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 16 x 6 inch rectangular. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough leaving an empty 1 inch border along one long side. Roll up into a log starting to fold longer site without border. Shape a log into a ring joining ends together. Place the ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes to rest and double in size.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  

Using kitchen scissors cut seven diagonal slashes into outer edge of dough (about 4 inch apart). Brush the top with egg, sprinkle with almonds and sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

 

 

The recipe comes from the AWW book 'Simply Bread'.

Category: Yeast cakes.

Tags: almonds, apricots, orange, yeast.

Dacquoise

Dacquoise is a French dessert made of two hazelnut meringue layers and coffee cream in between. Hazelnut meringue reminisces macarons like structure because is made of egg whites and hazelnuts meal (you can use almond meal as well). They are crunchy outside and chewy inside. Coffee cream is traditional prepared as ‘creme patisserie’ (homemade custard like) with whipped cream. I decided to make it a little easier and replaced custard with mascarpone cheese which did not decrease neither texture nor taste. The whole dessert is very delicious. Enjoy!

 

two baking sheets

 

 Ingredients for meringue layers:

  • 250 g hazelnuts
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • pinch of salt

Cream:

  • 8 dried dates
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese*
  • 350 ml whipping cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee (powder)
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liquor (I used Kahlua)

 

* use real Italian mascarpone cheese without corn starch

 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray.

Spread nuts on the baking tray. Roast for 10-12 minutes until starts to smell pretty. Remove nuts from the oven and place them in a sheet of paper towel. Peel their skin off by scratching one by another throw the towel. Process in a food processor until meal. In a medium bowl mix them with icing sugar and corn starch.

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). On two sheets of parchment paper draw two circles using dinner plate as a stencil (the diameter about 9 inch). Place paper sheets onto baking trays.

Beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar (1 tablespoon at the time) and beat on high speed until stiff glossy mixture and all sugar consumed. Turn off the mixer and fold in nuts with icing sugar. Mix gently with rubber spatula. Divide mixture into half and spread each portion on baking sheets on drawn circles. Bake for 45 minutes. Check the meringues after 15 minutes, if they get brown to quickly decrease oven temperature to 285°F. Meringues are ready if they are dry to the touch and could be easy removed from paper. Turn off the oven and leave them inside to cool for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Make cream: blend dates until thick paste. Add some water to have thick but liquid mixture. Whip the cream until stiff peaks. Gradually add (1 tablespoon at the time): mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons dates’ paste, icing sugar, coffee powder and liquor.

Gently remove meringues off the paper. Place one on the serving plate. Fill the piping bag ended with star (1M) nozzle with the coffee cream. Pipe large rosettes on the meringue layer, one by one. If some cream left pipe the second layer on made rosettes.  Cover with the second meringue layer and dust with cocoa powder. This dessert is the best on the next day as the meringues get slightly moist and are easy to slice.

 

 

Category: Meringues/macarons.

Tags: coffee, dates, glutenfree, hazelnut, mascarpone.

Chia ricotta and blood orange cupcakes

These cupcakes (muffins) are incredible easy in preparing. There is lots of ingredients but we just mix them together and the dough is ready to bake. You do not need to use mixer nor long work on it. Ricotta adding results in kind of cheesecake muffins but they are light and delicate. Ricotta cheese can be felt in taste and evokes association with cheesecake. Chia seeds give crunch and blood orange gives sweetness and aroma. Enjoy!

 

15 pieces

 

 Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Zest of one blood orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 220 g ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125 ml Greek yoghurt, plain
  • 125 ml buttermilk
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • Juice of one blood orange (about 2 tablespoons)

Icing:

  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons blood orange juice

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with paper papilots.

In a large bowl place flour, baking powder, sugar and chia seeds. Mix with a spoon. Add ricotta cheese, eggs, vanilla extract, yoghurt, buttermilk, oil and juice. Mix with the spoon until well combined.

Spoon the batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes (until skewer inserted into center comes out clean). After baking leave in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make icing: mix together icing sugar and juice until smooth, thick but still liquid mixture. Pour the icing over the top of each muffin.

 

 

 

 

Category: Cupcakes/muffins.

Tags: chia, orange, ricotta.

Italian lemon biscuits

Very easy and very tasty lemon cookies. They are flaky and intensive lemon-y. The pastry is kind of shortbread but more flaky because of added corn starch. Lemon juice and zest is inside and second dose outside in lemon icing so we get really lemon-y treat. Enjoy!

 

about 30 cookies

 

Ingredients:

  • ¾  cup + 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

Icing:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  •  2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

 

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in lemon juice and zest, mix together. Gradually add both flours and salt  still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). The dough is more sticky than usual so it can form not regular ball. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes to get more pliable pastry. Remove dough from the fridge and divide in half. Roll each part on a floured surface with your hands to shape a log about 2.5 inch in diameter. Wrap regular shaped rolls in a cling film (separately) and place in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

Once the rolls are cooled become to be stiff and easy to cut. Slice each into 3/8 inch wide slices. Place cookies onto a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Do not keep them very tight because they will slightly rise in the oven. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 320°F. Bake cookies for 5-6 minutes then increase the temperature to 350°F and bake for further 10 minutes until light golden in colour with slightly darker edges. Cool on a wire rack.

Make icing: mix all ingredients until smooth, thick but still liquid mixture. Pour 1 teaspoon over each cookie and place on a wire rack until icing is set.


 

Category: Cookies.

Tags: lemon.