Saturday, May 1, 2010

the coffee time menu

happy may day!
in my last post, i babbled about our last coffee time, and promised you details on the menu. i am here to deliver that promise. be warned. this is going to be long.

we served the following:
coffee and tea
finnish chocolates
white chocolate + lemon- orange cake
flourless chocolate cake (which became a flourless chili chocolate cake but you couldn't taste the chili, really)
zucchini + goat cheese muffins
ham + cheese crisps

before sharing the recipes, i'm going to take a moment and inform you that finnish chocolates are delicious. they really are. if you ever happen to get a hold of some (fazer brand), you will be sure to be pleased.

the white chocolate + lemon-orange cake rocks. if not because of the cake itself, but the icing and the curd filling is fantastic. the first time we tasted a variation of this cake was at a birthday party some years ago, when we were still living in finland. because the recipe was made for european sized bakeware, the cake is a tad small for a regular 9 inch round cake pan, but it was still fine for us (it will also explain the funky measurements below).

the original cake recipe that goes with the filling and frosting is also quite good, but we wanted the cake itself to also have the citrus-y taste. i chose a simple lemon cake recipe from one of my finnish cookbooks.

baking and cooking finnish recipes is always a challenge for me. my finnish is only good enough to translate the ingredients, and bits and pieces of the instructions (maybe). therefore, i have to rely on the husband for the rest, which he is generally enthusiastic to do, especially since he is sure to benefit from the results. inevitably, however, we wind up disagreeing on his translations.

     him: "foam the sugar and butter."
     me: "foam the sugar and butter? don't you mean, cream?"
     him: "no, it says, foam."
     me: "i can't... foam sugar and butter. i'm going to cream it."
     him: "fiiine."

regardless, it's an exercise of patience for both of us, but also a good and fun team building exercise, i think...

the recipe:
once again, let me reiterate that these measurements are strange because this is a finnish recipe, using the metric system.

easy lemon cake* from herkkujen pikkujattilainen
2 sticks + slightly less than 2 tbsp (250 g) butter
1.25 cups (3 dl) sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp of baking powder
1.7 cups (4 dl) of cake flour
zest and juice of 1 lemon

pre-heat your oven to 350f (175c). grease and flour a round 9-inch pan. in a bowl, sift the cake flour and baking powder together. in another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. beat the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, until well incorporated. add the flour, baking powder, zest, juice. mix well. pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 50 minutes.

*or use your own favorite lemon cake recipe- this one was a tad denser than i would have liked.if you decide to use your own recipe, you may want to make 1 1/2 times of the filling and frosting.

lemon-orange curd filling (this can be made a few days in advance)
2 tbsp of cornstarch
4 tbsp water
1/3 cup (3/4 dl) fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup (3/4 dl) of orange juice
1 tsp of finely grated lemon peel
1 tsp of finally grated orange peel
2/3 cup (90 g) of sugar (white, granulated)
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsp (20 g) of unsalted butter

mix cornstarch and 1 tbspn of water in a small bowl. in a medium saucepan, combine 3 tbspn water, all the lemon juice, all the orange juice, orange peel, lemon peel, and sugar, and cook on medium heat (make sure not to boil), until the sugar has dissolved. add the cornflour mixture and stir until just boiled, then reduce heat immediately. continue heating on low and stirring for another minute. remove the saucepan from the stove; add the butter and yolk. mix thoroughly. move the curd into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (this will prevent a film from forming), and let cool. refrigerate (covered) until needed.

white chocolate frosting
7 oz (200 g) of coursly ground white chocolate
0.5 cup (1.25 d) of heavy cream
4.2 tbsp (60 g) of unsalted butter

in a small sauce pan over low heat, melt and mix the white chocolate, heavy cream, and butter, stirring frequently. once the white chocolate and butter have completely melted, remove from heat. cover the top with wrap, and cool completely (do not refrigerate). once cool, poor mixture into a bowl, and whisk until fluffy (the mixture should double or more in size).

assemble your cake! we were only able to conveniently put 1 layer of curd in this cake, since it was a rather thin cake. the frosting should be just enough to cover.

the flourless chocolate cake is a martha stewart recipe, and can be found here. the only thing i added was a tablespoon of ancho chili powder- mainly just for kicks- i have this crazy obsession with chili and chocolate. sadly, you could barely taste the ancho chili powder. next time i think will put three tablespoons in. the cake it self was quite nice. rich and dense, as you would expect from a flourless cake.

the zucchini + goat cheese muffins recipe was a blend of a zucchini souffle recipe i have, and from theungourmet's (link) zucchini + feta muffins recipe, which she adapted from 500 muffins. wouldn't it be funny if my adaptation of her adaptation was actually the original recipe? no? i guess i'm the only person who would find something like that funny...

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup soft goat cheese
1/2 small onion, chopped

preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease mini muffin tins (makes about 30 mini muffins)

in a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. in a large bowl, whisk the oil and egg until smooth. add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Stir in the zucchini, onions, and goat cheese. distribute mixture evenly into prepared muffin tins. bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly browned. remove from pan, cool a little and gobble them up. or cool completely on a wire rack, and store in an airtight container (these will only keep a couple days). i think they taste better served warm.

ham + cheese crisps (i made half of this recipe)

1 17 1/4 oz pkg frozen puff pastry (2 sheets)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 oz thinly sliced fully cooked ham
1 egg
2 tsp water

let folded pastry stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to thaw. line baking sheets with parchment paper. stir together honey and mustard; set aside.

preheat oven to 400F degrees.

on a lightly floured surface, unfold 1 pastry sheet. spread with half of the honey-mustard mixture. sprinkle with half of the cheese; top with half the ham. starting at the long edge, roll the pastry tightly into a log. cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices (if it's too soft, stick the roll in the freeze for for 5-10 minutes). repeat the steps above with the 2nd pastry sheet. combine the egg and water; brush onto pastries. bake for 15-18 minutes until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 40.

by the time our guests left (mind you, there were only two of them), over half of the white chocolate lemon-orange cake had been devoured, a third of the chocolate cake was gone, as well as half of the muffins, and only two ham and cheese crisps remained.

it really was a delicious afternoon.


  1. Chili cake sounds so so yummy!! :)

  2. Ooh a gorgeous spread! Your coffee time guests were very lucky people indeed! :D

  3. I have been wanting to make lemon curd! Everything looks amazing. I especially love the ham and cheese crisps! Yum!



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