tableofcolors

Simple pleasures

Tag: raspberries

Queen’s Tart

by tableofcolors

bellasberries2

The inspiration for this post came from a fellow blogger in Sweden and her tart that she made using blackberries. And my little two year-old Isabella and her love for berries was certainly an inspiration as well. My husband snapped these shots of her enjoying her berries at the cabin this summer.

bellas berries3

It’s a favorite past time of the children in the summer to take a long piece of Timothy-grass and slide raspberries and blueberries on it. After their little excursion they might enjoy them while sitting on the porch. I think the most important part of it is that they are their very own berries. Fresh berries always at their prime. But sadly blueberry season is coming to a close, even though I spotted quite a few on a walk yesterday evening. The recipe below can be easily made with frozen berries.

In Finland, when raspberries and blueberries are mixed and served together for example in jam it is called “Queen’s jam”. And so this tart that originally was a plum tart and has been made using blackberries has been now transformed into Queen’s tart.

afternoonh

Queen’s Tart (from the blog Leya, slightly altered)

Gluten-free version

This tart works great with fine grain gluten-free flour. I made a double batch of the recipe below and made a gluten-free version with 1/3 of the batter and regular with the rest. It turned out great and the difference in flavor was very minimal. When baking with gluten-free flour it is helpful to lower the oven temperature a little since the baked goods tend to get color a little faster.

Blueberries and raspberries so that the bottom of the tart pan is covered with two layers of berries.
1 and 1/2 dl/0.6 c sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp sugar
(1 tbsp potato or corn starch)
1 dl/0.4 c flour (or gluten-free flour)
1 tsp baking powder
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 dl/0.8 c whipped cream

Butter your tart pan. If using frozen berries mix with potato or corn starch and 4 teaspoons of sugar.

berries

Whip the eggs with the 1.5 dl/0.6 cups of sugar until a light foam. Fold in the flour and baking powder. Whip your cream and fold it into the batter. Pour the batter over the berries and bake in the oven at 200 C/390 F for about 20 minutes. The original recipe called for a bake time of about 45 minutes but this is probably due to shape and depth of the tart pan. I used a wide (22 cm/8 and 1/2 inch) and shallow pan. Enjoy with vanilla sauce or ice cream.

queens tart

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Seven is a lucky number

by tableofcolors

Children start first grade here when they are seven. And it might be even a little more exciting if you happen to have a birthday in the same month. Most people have returned from their summer vacations and there is the anticipation of the new school year, new friends, riding your bike to and from school. I remember the feeling so clearly. It was like starting a new adventure.
cake decorator
Last week we celebrated with a house full of little ladies. Birthdays have a certain “routine” at our house. The older children are able to invite a friend or two to help with the games. With the count being at twenty including guests, our kids and helpers it helps to have a set plan. Dad helps supervise the games and makes sure it all goes smoothly. This frees me up a bit to run around with the camera to capture the moment.

A little over a month ago I visited Lahti and one of my favorite little shops there, Millan Putiikki, and found the cutest muffin tins and straws. I thought that they would be perfect for a party where the birthday girl is turning seven. I didn’t make cupcakes this time but they worked as place cards and had few sweets in them.
candy cups
bella and table
The birthday girl had a hard time deciding the flavor of the cake so we decided on alternating a Victoria Sponge and an easy but moist chocolate cake.

Menu
Chocolate and vanilla cake filled with alternating layers of chocolate whipped cream and raspberries and cream
Chocolate chip cookies
Mini hot dogs
Lucky hedgehog (grapes, cucumbers and cheese on cocktail sticks stuck into a half cabbage)
chips
candy
Jaffa and juice

hedgehog
happy birthdayBirthday cake

I baked the Victoria sponge cake that can be found here and alternated it with a chocolate cake recipe that I found from the BBC food website.

Moist Chocolate Cake

225 g/8 oz flour

350 g/12 and 1/2 oz sugar

85 g/30 oz dark cocoa powder

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 and 1/2 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

250 ml/ 9 fl oz milk

125 ml/ 4 and 1/2 fl oz vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

250 ml/9 fl oz boiling water

Mix everything else except for the boiling water. Add the boiling water little at a time. The texture of the batter is quite liquid. Divide the batter between two tins that have been greased and floured or lined with parchment paper. Bake at 180 C/ 350 F for about 25-35 minutes or until a test skewer comes out clean.

Filling:

Whip 5 dl/ generous 2 cups of whipping cream and divide into two bowls. Melt 30 grams/1 ounce of dark chocolate and allow to slightly cool. Mix the melted chocolate with one half of the whipped cream.For the other filling mix 1 dl/ 1/2 cup of good quality raspberry preserve with 1 dl/ 1/2 cup of raspberries. Fill the cake by alternating the chocolate whipped cream and by spreading the raspberries and a layer of cream.

cut cakeI used a buttercream to frost the cake. Buttercream is versatile and works great at kids’ birthday parties. It is an easier medium to use when decorating the cake since it holds shape quite well. My favorite buttercream recipe can be found in my “Gone Fishing” post.

presentsInspiration for this post was found from a blog called “Liemessä”.

Previous posts on birthday parties: Birthdays are only once a year, A Cupcake birthday party, Gone Fishing and Congratulations and Celebrations

A Princess Torte for a Prince

by tableofcolors

The day before the baptism I baked and filled the cake. One of our girls came in the kitchen and asked what I was making. I said that I was making a Princess Torte. “A Princess Torte for a boy?” was the next question. I had to explain that it was just the name of the cake and that it would work fine for our little Prince Hugo.

torte
The princess torte is originally Swedish and according to Wikipedia it was originally called Grön tårta or Green torte. The original recipe appeared in a cook book written by Jenny Åkerström who also taught the three daughters of Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland. And since the princesses really came to like the cake, it was renamed “Prinsesstårta”. I really liked eating this cake as a child, as it was made and sold at the Wuollet Bakery, which is our family bakery. I don’t make it very often, but when I do, we savor each bite.

My Princess Torte for the baptism was not covered with the traditional green marzipan, but a creamy white. I tied a green ribbon around it in a little bow. For the cake I used a Victoria Sponge cake filled with pastry cream that had been mixed with whipped cream and fresh wild raspberries from the patch down the road mixed with a good quality raspberry preserve. I moistened the cake with a little milk. But it is important that the cake does not get too wet!
princess torte

The Perfect Victoria Sponge (slightly altered from the Word of Mouth Blog)

I doubled the recipe below since I was serving a larger amount of people and wanted my cake to be taller with more servings. Instead of splitting the batter into two 21 cm/8 inch forms, I poured the doubled recipe into two 23 cm/9 inch forms.

3 large eggs weighed in their shells (mine were 200 g)
same weight of lightly salted butter, sugar and flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk
caster sugar on top (if preferred)

Grease and base-line two 21 cm/8 inch spring form pans.
Beat the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs together in a separate small bowl or glass and add them in little by little. Beat on high. I used the paddle attachment with my stand mixer. Mix the dry ingredients together and fold into the batter. Add enough milk so that the batter drops easily off of a spoon but does not run off. I used a little more than in the recipe. I poured the entire doubled batter into 23cm/9 inch forms.

Bake at 180 C/350 F for about 25-30 minutes or until a test skewer comes clean.

Allow to cool and split both cakes.

Pastry Cream

The custard in the pastry cream is the same as in my banana cream pie. It can be found here.
Once the custard has been chilled, whip 4 dl/1.7 cups of whipping cream adding 2 tablespoons of sugar to it. Mix the whipped cream with the custard until smooth. This recipe is generous and I did not quite use the whole amount of pastry cream with the cake. The little left over cream we enjoyed with some fresh raspberries.

Raspberry filling

300 g/10.5 oz good quality raspberry preserves or jam
4 dl/1.7 cups fresh raspberries
Mix the raspberries with the jam.
If using frozen raspberries reduce the amount of milk for moisturizing the cake since the frozen berries let out juice.

I spoon milk on each layer of cake(about 1.5 dl/ 1/2 c for the whole cake) before adding a layer of raspberry filling and then pastry cream. Spoon the pastry cream so that it starts to form a dome shape. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Remove the cling film and trim the sides so that they are even. Spread a layer of buttercream over the entire cake. This helps the marzipan stick to the cake.

Basic buttercream (from the book, Maailman Parhaat Kakut by Barbara Maher)
125 g/4.4 oz unsalted butter
250 g/8.8 oz confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp milk or cream to make it more pliable

Beat the room temperature butter with the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and milk or cream until it has reached the desired consistency.

Roll 500 g/17.5 oz of marzipan on a table surface sprinkled with confectioners sugar. Gently lift it over the cake and smooth down starting from the top.

macarons

Macarons with a chocolate ganache and pistachio filling

These macarons are a great option for a party. Almost everyone likes them and they are gluten free as well for those who cannot eat gluten.

The macaron recipe used is from my Happy Easter post. The only alteration was the color of food coloring. This time it was green.

Filling:
1 dl/0.4 c heavy cream
175 g/6 oz dark chocolate cut into chunks
pistachio, finely chopped
(if preferred some fleur de sel)

Bring the cream to a boil and remove from heat. I prefer using the microwave. Add in the chocolate and mix until it is shiny and smooth. Add in the finely chopped pistachio. Spoon a little filling on half of the macarons and sprinkle a couple grains of fleur de sel on the ganache before covering with a second macaron shell. Due to the warm day, I stored mine in the fridge before serving.

flowersLast weeks post has more on the baptism and its menu

Tulips of Spring

by tableofcolors

tulips
Just a little over a month ago, the mornings were pitch black and I would have lanterns outside burning throughout the day and night. The hours of actual daylight were quite short and it sometimes seemed like it was challenging to take pictures. By the time everything was ready the light would be gone!

Although we have crisp and cold wintery weather, spring is clearly coming. The night has become shorter and when I awake each morning the sun is shining brightly. We have to actually close our miniblinds for the night to get some sleep, this was not the case a few months ago. As I walk downstairs, the light from the large windows softly highlight the tulips on the table. For me they are a symbol of spring and the promise of lengthening days.
cafe latte
Enjoying a latté in the quiet of the house is the perfect way to start a weekend morning. Everything is still and serene. Step outside to get the newspaper and the birds are singing. They have been quiet all winter. And if we got our weekly clean-up done, everything might be neat and tidy for a few hours. It pays to wake up early and enjoy the clean house while it lasts.
cheerio
One by one they awake and make their way downstairs to find breakfast and a morning hug.
smoothies

Smoothies (for two)

Gluten free

1 banana
3 dl/1.3 c plain yoghurt
2 dl/0.8 c berries of your choice (raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries, blackberries or strawberries)
a little honey

If you prefer add a handful of spinach, or a tablespoon or ground flax seed or wheat germ to the mix.

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Fruitie (for two)

This recipe is both gluten and dairy free.

1 banana
1,5 dl/0.6 c orange juice
fruit (choose one of the following: 1 pealed and sliced pear, 10 slices of canned mango, 1 peach pealed and sliced, 6 large pieces of pineapple or 10 balls of honey dew or cantaloupe melon)
Blend until smooth and enjoy immediately. Canned fruit can be substituted if fresh is not on hand.

smoothies2

Birthdays are only once a year

by tableofcolors

Fortunately we have a large family. We get to celebrate seven birthdays every year. And each birthday happens to be in a different month.
It’s a day that the kids wait for all year long. I let them choose a theme for the cake and then try my best to fulfill the wish. They plan their cakes for months, and the theme changes daily. It is somewhat like making a wish list for Christmas. I always tell them, you can wish and dream for as many things as you want but Santa can only bring a few of those things. I actually think that is a good excercise for the imagination.

I remember wishing for an American Girl doll, all of the neat outfits for them, reading the books about them and letting my imagination go to a time in history that was different than my own. At one point I tried to save the amount needed for the doll, but by the time I had saved the necessary one hundred dollars I was already a teen and the doll was not my top prioirity. I never really felt any true disappointment that I did not have the doll. I certainly did receive other gifts and was perfectly satisfied with them. Looking back, the memories of my imaginary adventures with the characters of the American Doll series maybe gave me more than actually owning the doll.

That is what I hope my children learn to do. To let their imagination run wild, wish for things, work for things and then to be satisfied even if every wish does not come true.

This past Saturday we celebrated Lilja’s birthday. I asked her what she would like for lunch since her Godparents were coming over. I suggested a puréed vegetable soup since it would be easy to do and suits everyone. Well our little foodie had different thoughts. She (very politely) requested focaccia with fondue. It has become a favorite food for our kids. Even the herbs go down with no complaints when they get to use the little spears to dip the bread in the sauce. Since it was her birthday I agreed to the request.

Lilja is an eager helper and that is what made the whole party so much fun. The menu was planned so that little hands can easily participate. A few days before the party we started with peanut butter blossoms.
This recipe I found on the Land O’Lakes website.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

60 g/ 1.18 dl/ 1/2 c butter/margarine (room temperature)
77 g/ 1.18 dl/ 1/2 c peanut butter
90g/ 1.18 dl/ 1/2 c sugar
81 g/ 1.18 dl/ 1/2 c brown sugar
Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars.
Add in one egg and one teaspoon of vanilla.
200 g /4.1 dl/ 1 3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp/ 5 g baking soda
Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl and fold into the cookie batter.

Refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes and roll into 1-inch balls. If desired roll the balls in a bowl of sugar. Bake on a lined baking sheet for 8 minutes at 175C/350F. While baking, unwrap one Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss candy for each cookie. Remove cookies from the oven and press one Kiss on each cookie and bake for another 2 minutes. (In Finland I found Hershey’s Kisses at Stockmanns).

Peanut butter cookie dough balls

Unwrapping the chocolates

Peanut butter blossoms, platter courtesy of Millan Putiikki, Lahti

This year Lilja decided on a lamb cake. The design was inspired by dream.blogit.fi and was not too difficult to do.

Decorating the cake

To make the lamb cake, stack layers of cake with filling on top of each other. The top layer needs to be smaller for the “head”. Frost with buttercream, making sure the sides have a thick enough layer so that the marshmallows will stick. Roll out a black fondant or marzipan to cover the head. Use buttercream and little balls of black fondant/marzipan for the eyes. Form legs and ears using the black fondant/marzipan. Make small indentations for the nose.

We had quite the party. Lilja invited her friends and our oldest girl invited a few friends to help her with party games and a candy kiosk. The candy kiosk has become our party favorite. The older kids set up a candy kiosk behind a desk with an assortment of glass jars filled with different kinds of candy. They play spin the bottle to see who gets to “shop” first with play money. Each guest gets a little bag of candy which functions as a party favor. I think everyone had a good time. 🙂

Blowing out the candles

Since we had so many of us and even a few adults in the mix, I decided make a no-bake lemon cheesecake with raspberries to complement the lamb cake (a chocolate cake).

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberries

180 g/6.3 oz digestive cookies or graham crackers
50 g/1.7 oz butter melted
2 tbsp sugar

Crumble the cookies or crackers and mix in the melted butter and sugar. Pat firmly into a lined spring-pan form (23 cm/9″).

Cookie crumb crust

Place four gelatin leaves in cold water for about 10 minutes. Many recipes call for more gelatin, but I prefer a softer texture.

Gelatin leaves after being soaked in cold water

While the gelatin leaves are soaking make the filling. Whip 4 dl/1.7 c heavy whipping cream. Fold in 400 g/14 oz of plain cream cheese (fat content 13%) and blend until smooth.

Filling

Squeeze the water out of the gelatin leaves and pour about 3-4 tablespoons of boiling water over the soaked gelatin leaves and mix until dissolved. (If the gelatin mixture is goopy, add a little more boiling water) Pour the gelatin into the filling in a constant stream, mixing at the same time. Add 160 g/5.6 oz of lemon curd to the filling. Do not mix completely so that the lemon curd forms a “marble” pattern.

Lemon marble

Lemon Cheesecake with raspberries, cake stand courtesy of Millan Putiikki, Lahti

Let the cake set in the refrigerator over night. Garnish with raspberries and powdered sugar.