Orange Marmalade

 

Hola!!

For today, I made an orange marmalade. I love oranges! And it’s orange season! As a kid growing up in Spain, I would have a fresh squeezed orange juice every day. (Thanks mom!) Here in the US, I don’t do it as often, but makes for a nice treat.

Oranges are so healthy, and since it is orange season, I try to utilize oranges as much as I can.  This recipe is so tasty, I love it!

Ingredients for about 3 jars of 10 oz and 1 jar of 6oz:

  • 2 lbs oranges peeled and quartered (about 6 oranges)
  • 1 small lemon peeled (if it’s big, cut in half).
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups water

Cut the skin of the orange and the lemon into julienne strips or into 1/4 inch strips.

Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil and boil the cut strips for 15 minutes and set aside.

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In a large pot, bring the 1/3 cup of water to a boil, add the oranges, the sugar and the orange and lemon strips. Reduce the heat, and let it simmer.

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Continue to cook on low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. Stir every 20 minutes.

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To keep the jam fresh in a jars, I first boiled the jars, then added the jam to about 1/8 inch from the top. Place the lids tightly on and place the jars upside down on the counter. Allow the jam to cool before turning right side up. Leave it upside down for a few hours.

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Easy and now you should have fresh marmalade for months to come. Also, makes great gifts!

I love to eat this marmalade with a piece of homemade bread with butter. Delicious!

Bon profit!

 

Manzana Tatin

Hola!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner… I can’t wait! Yesterday, I had a pre-Thanksgiving party (Friendsgiving). It is always fun getting together with friends or family. The party was a potluck style meal, everyone bringing one thing or another. My contribution was homemade vanilla ice cream and an an Apple Tatin. I originally thought of a classic apple pie, but went with something a little less traditional.  I had first had this dessert at a family dinner, and I thought it was so delicious. This dessert is easy to make and as I said, delicious! Essentially it is an upside down apple tart. The ingredients: pastry dough, apples, sugar and butter. My favorite part is making the crust, homemade of course!

For this recipe, I used an iron cast skillet.

Ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 390F.

Peel, core and quarter the apples. The apples should pieces should be relatively large, as they will shrink during the cooking process. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, turn the heat off and add the sugar. Whisk until the sugar is fully incorporated. Add the apples flat-side down. The apples need to be very close to each other. Return the skillet to medium heat  and let it cook for 10 minutes with the lid on.

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After 10 minutes, the apples will be pretty well cooked. Remove the skillet from the heat. Lay the pie crust over the skillet and over the apples, and fold the corners in to fit into the pan. Pinch off the extra crust with a knife.

 

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let it rest for a few minutes and then turn it over onto a round serving plate. To do this, place the plate over the skillet, then very quickly and very carefully, in one motion, turn the skillet over onto the plate. Slowly lift off the pan and voila!

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Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

Bon profit!

Sacher – Chocolate Cake

Hola!!

I don´t know if you have heard the quote that a balanced diet is one with chocolate in both hands. I couldn’t agree more. I love chocolate! I hope you do too, because this recipe is all about chocolate.

If I have the chance to bake this cake, I do it, because it is so good. Birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, this cake is  one of my favorites. It’s a two layer cake, with peach jam in the middle. Yuuuuum!!!

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small container of plain or lemon yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil (or a mix!)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3.5 oz chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter (for the batter)
  • 7 oz chocolate and 5.5 tablespoons butter (cover the cake)
  • 1 jar good-quality peach jam
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven 390F.

For the chocolate: (I always make 2 batches, one for the batter, another for icing the cake. I make one batch first, then when the cake is in the oven, I make the 2nd batch of melted chocolate.)

Add the chocolate (pieces) in a heat-proof bowl with the butter.  (You could  use a double boiler.) Place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water, not boiling the water and being careful that the bowl is not touching the water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cake:

Whisk the eggs for a minute. Add the yogurt. Slowly, add the sugar, the flour and the baking power. Add the olive oil. Whisk for a few minutes. Add the melted chocolate (first batch) and the chopped nuts. Whisk for a few minutes.

Spray the two pans with olive oil or butter. Add the batter into the two pans (a 9-inch pan). Bake for about 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick to be sure the cake is cooked.

Let it cool down. When the 2 cakes are cold, spread the peach jam on top of one cake,  and then,  add the second cake on top. You will have a 2-layer cake with peach jam in the middle.

Cover with melted chocolate (second batch) and keep it in the fridge for about 2 hours so the cake can set.

Ready to serve!

Bon profit!

alsocake

Flan de Huevo (Egg Flan)

Hola!

Today I am making a very traditional recipe, egg flan. This flan can be found in virtually every  restaurant in Spain.

The flan is so popular that you can buy it in a box at Spanish supermarkets. The only thing you have to do is mix the box mixture with milk and voilà!  That is very easy and convenient, but of course, there is nothing like a homemade dessert. We have a lot of varieties of flan; egg, vanilla, coconut, coffee, etc.

This flan is very easy, you can make it in just 10 minutes,  then it will need up to 90 minutes in the oven. As a mold, you can use a large size, or you can use individual ramekins like I did. My ramekin is about a 1/4 cup.

Ingredient for 7-8 servings:

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp water

In a saucepan, add the sugar, lemon and water and heat over medium heat. Once the sugar melts and turns brown, divide the sugar mixture between the number of servings that you have.

(See picture)

For the flan: 

  • 2 cups milk (2% or whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • Lemon rind
  • 4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 260F.

In a sauce pan over  medium heat, bring to boil the milk, sugar, lemon and the cinnamon. Meanwhile, whisk the 4 eggs in a large bowl. Once the milk mixture starts to boil,  add it to the beaten eggs, straining it through a strainer, removing the cinnamon and lemon rind. Pour the mixture into each ramekin.

Fill a large pan half way with boiling water, add the ramekins then place in the oven, being careful not to get any water in the flan. Cook in the oven for approximately 75 to 90 minutes.

The center should be firm, but soft, and not liquid.

Flan de huevo

Let it cool in the fridge, and serve.

Bon profit!

Mató for the National Day of Catalonia

Holaaa!

Today is a big day in my part of Spain, Catalunya. It is the National Day. We call it Diada Nacional. The day commemorates the fourteen month Siege of Barcelona, when on September 11th 1714, Catalan troops were forced to surrender to the Castilian forces of France and King Philip V of Spain. From that day on, things took a turn for the worse for Catalunya. All Catalan cultural institutions were destroyed and repressed and became part of the Spanish kingdom.

Some Catalans have been battling this repression ever since. The National Day of Catalonia was reinstated again in 1980, five years after the death of dictator Franisco Franco in 1975.

Every September 11th, many Catalan organizations and political parties lay flowers and wreaths at monuments to pay their respect to Catalan heroes.There are also events to pay homage to the soldiers who defended Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession.

It is a beautiful day in Catalonia. When I was a child, it was always the last day of summer. Schools in Catalonia start school the day after.

Since it is the National Day for Catalonia, I thought I would cook something that is very traditional from that region. What I made is something similar to a cottage cheese or a fresh cheese. The word is Requesón in Spanish, Mató in Catalan.

Mató is a usually served as a dessert and is very traditional. My grandma used to eat it for breakfast or for a dessert. I love mató, I can eat it anytime. Really, this recipe is just milk with a squeeze of lemon and then adding something sweet like honey or something else.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole milk (1 quart ) 
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • honey (optional)
  1. Bring the milk almost to a boil, about 200 degrees F, then remove from the heat.
  2. Pour in the lemon juice and stir for a minute.

1 llet 3. Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer with a cheesecloth or a kitchen cloth until all of the excess liquid has been removed.

2 mix 34. Cool it down in the fridge.

5. Serve with a drizzle of honey (the most traditional, and my grandma’s favorite) or with a little sugar (my personal preference), or jam or nuts. It’s up to you!

mató

 

Bon profit!

Pa de Pessic de Vic

Holaaaa!

Today I want to bring you to a beautiful town in the center of Catalonia, Vic.  First, allow me to tell you a little bit about the town.

Vic is a small city with a population of 41,000. It’s located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees and is only 37 miles north of Barcelona. Vic is the capital of the region of Osona, Barcelona and is located on the banks of the Meder river, which feeds the Sau reservoir (See photos below.)

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Sau reservoir during high levels. You can see the top of the church. When the reservoir is full, you can’t see anything.

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Sau reservoir during low levels. You can see the church.

At a council in Toulouges in 1027, the bishop of Vic established the first Peace and Truce of God that helped reduce private warfare.

During the 18th century, the city was the first focus of the rebellion against the centralist policy of King Philip V of Spain. The conflict became the War of the Spanish Succession.

Nowadays, Vic is one of the most important cities in central Catalunya.  Vic has emblematic landmarks, such as the Palau Episcopal (Episcopal Palace), erected next to the Catedral (cathedral), the arcaded Plaça Major (Main Square), the Temple Romà (Roman Temple), and the Church of La Pietat.

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Cathedral

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Inside of the Cathedral

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Plaça Major de Vic (Main square)

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After telling you a little bit about Vic, we should get into today’s recipe. It is called Pa de Pessic de Vic. The literal translation is a pinch of bread from Vic.

This sweet bread is very traditional in Catalonia, but mostly in Vic where some of the bakeries still make this light and delicate treat and display it beautifully in their shop windows. The origins of this cake can be traced back through early times to the Catholic Holy Week of the penance processions during Easter. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3krJNGlJr-M  See the video of the procession in Vic. It is something that is very unique. The video is long, but you can skim through it to get a good idea.)

It was tradition to bring this  sweet bread and distribute it among the participants. People could not wait until  the end of the procession and they would eat little bites on the way  home by pinching off bits of bread. That’s where the name comes from.

Is a very easy cake to bake. Eggs, sugar, flour and cornstarch. Is doesn’t have any baking power! The secret of the recipe is to beat the eggs very well. Let’s do it!

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 340F. Separate the eggs with one bowl containing the yolks, and the other the whites. Beat the egg whites for 2 minutes (I used a KitchenAid mixer). In another bowl, add sugar to the yolks. After 2 minutes, the egg whites be partially whipped. Add the yolks and the sugar to the whites and continue mixing. Next, add the flour the cornstarch the lemon zest and the salt. Continue to mix for another  3-4 minutes. The batter should be thin and light.

Pour the batter into a single mold or individual molds (whichever you prefer.) Bake at 340F for 27 to 30 minutes. Check the cake with a toothpick to be sure it is cooked through.

The top of the cake should have a delicate thin crust.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar after cooking (optional and recommended).

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Slice of Pa de Pessic

Let it cool and ready to serve!

Bon profit!

Ps. I am on Instagram! https://instagram.com/joyofspanishcooking/

Gin and tonic gelatin

Hola!!!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Yesterday when I was at the beach, I was reading a magazine that said that a student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka discovered a way to cook rice that can reduce the calories by as much as 50 percent, and offered other added health benefits. The method instructs you to add coconut oil to the boiling water before adding the raw rice. When the rice is cooked, let it rest for 12 hours in the fridge. That’s it.

I am not very good in chemistry, but I thought I would try it. Reduce the calories by fifty percent ?!?! I better do it!

Even if that sounds good (for me), what I have for you today is completely different, and perhaps a little sinful. To be clear, this is a dessert for adults, as it contains alcohol and even if it didn’t, I’m not sure kids would like the flavor. Today, I made a gin and tonic gelatin. You will surprise your guests. Who expects a gin and tonic gelatin? Not me!

For those of you following my blog on Facebook, you saw that I posted a gin and tonic popsicle. Yes, yes… I like gin and tonics. In Spain, gin and tonics are very popular, with some bars specializing only in this drink. So, forgive me and allow me to indulge in this tasty and refreshing summer cocktail.

When I made this gin and tonic gelatin, I made a simple strawberry puree. The puree is not the main ingredient in this recipe, just an accompaniment. You could also serve the gelatin with a sorbet, such as lemon, watermelon or another that is refreshing and light.

I took the gelatin out of the mold (a small glass), and placed it on the plate with the puree. You could also serve it on a small glass and add the sorbet on top of the gelatin. That would be good, I highly recommend serving it with something and not just the gelatin by itself.

For the recipe, I used shot glasses. I made 4 servings.

Ingredients:

– 2 sheets of gelatin

– 1/2 cup water

– 1 1/2 oz gin (40ml)

– 1.5 oz tonic (50ml)

– Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a bowl, mix the 1/2 cup water with the 2 sheets of gelatin. Meanwhile, heat the tonic in a small saucepan on medium heat. Heat it until you just begin to see some bubbles. You don’t want the tonic to boil. Remove from the heat, and set aside.

Pour the water and gelatin mixture through a mesh strainer (or small slotted spoon). Mix the gelatin with the tonic in the saucepan and stir very gently until the gelatin is melted. Add the gin and then the lemon. Stir.

Pour the mixture into small molds or small glasses. Leave it in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours.

Ready to serve!

Bon profit!

Frozen Chocolate Truffles

Holaaaa!

I hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer. Hot summers in Maryland, but no complaints from me. I really enjoy an ice-cold sorbet or a BIG scoop of ice cream. A few days ago while having a chocolate ice cream, I had the desire for a truffle. I love frozen truffles, so I made them.  You can find these truffles in a lot of bakeries in Spain. I used to make them with my mom a few years ago.

The beauty is that once you have prepared the chocolate mixture, you can make all of the truffles then or you can keep it in the freezer and make them later.

You can enjoy these truffles with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon, for dessert in the evening or just a guilty pleasure anytime! They are small, so who’s counting calories?!

Also, my nephew is 3 years old he loved them, so they have to be good, right!?

Ingredients:

– one pint whipping cream

– 3/4 cup dark chocolate

– 1/2 cup milk chocolate

– chocolate sprinkles

Whip the cream less than you would when making whipped cream. You want a softer consistency, not stiff. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a non-stick saucepan or a double boiler. Fold in the whipped cream to the chocolate sauce and stir to make sure the chocolate is totally melted and incorporated into the whipped cream. Let the mixture cool and place into a container. Let it continue to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour to help firm it up (You can keep it in the fridge overnight). Once the mixture has a firm consistency, roll each truffle between the palms of your hands and then roll them onto a plate filled with chocolate sprinkles. Place them in a single layer and then put them in the freezer. After 30 minutes, the truffles will have a firmer consistency and you will be able to handle them better. Remember, they will melt if left out in a warm temperature. See how easy that was?

Serve frozen.

Bon profit!

Coconut flan

Holaaa!

For today I made flan de coco in Spanish, that it translates to coconut flan. In Spain flans are very popular. The most popular are vanilla and egg flan. I will definitely make them! It’s a very popular dessert, and its something very easy to make.

The beauty of flans is that you can give them any shape! Make them individuals, or in a big mold as a cake; round, rectangular. I like individual flans. I used this mold that its about 2 inches tall. I got them in Spain, well… let’s say that I stole them from my mom’s kitchen 🙂 but you can easily buy them in the U.S.

Using my mold it makes 8 flans. It’s easy to cut the recipe in half if you just want 4.

Hands on; 20 minutes

Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

For the flan:

– 2 cups whole milk

– 1 cup shredded coconut

– 4 eggs

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– Lemon rind

For the caramel:

– 4 tablespoons of sugar

– 1 tablespoon water

For the caramel; 

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, wash any sugar crystals from side of pan with a brush in cold water.

Immediately pour into ramekins/mold and spread the caramel  to coats the bottom of each mold.

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Caramel is ready!

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For the flan;

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl mix the milk and the coconut. In another bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar. In a saucepan on a medium heat mix the milk mixture and the lemon rind. Stir.

Meanwhile, in a large roasting pan with 1 inch of water on the bottom of the pan put it in the oven for about  3 minutes. Once done, turn the oven down to 300F.

Once the milk mixture boils, remove the lemon rind, add the milk mixture into the egg mixture. Stir and pour it into the ramekins/mold.

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In the oven

Put the ramekins into the roasting pan. Don’t throw the water away. Cook in the oven for 1h 30 minutes (With a toothpick check the flans after 60 minutes, they might be done).

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Let them cool down and ready to serve!

Bon profit!

Sant Jordi’s cake

Hola and Happy Sant Jordi!

Some of you might be wondering who Sant Jordi is. April 23rd is Sant Jordi and it is one of my favorite days of the year. I simply love it because it is one of the most romantic days in Catalonia.

To understand what Sant Jordi means to me and to all of the Catalans,  I will start with the legend of Sant Jordi. Saint Jordi (St. George) is the patron Saint of Catalunya (Catalonia) and we celebrate him and commemorate his death on April 23rd, the day he died in the year 303 AD. The legend says that Saint Jordi slew a dragon to save a princess. Then subsequently picked a red rose for the princess, which had sprouted from a bush on the spot where the dragon’s red blood had spilled.

The tradition today is for a man to give a rose to a woman, and for the girl to give a book to the man. The book can be any book but the day is all about red roses.

On April 23rd, every street in every town in Catalunya is packed with stands selling roses and books. And it’s also the day that you will see “la senyera” (the Catalan flag) flying in the streets.

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It’s a beautiful day to enjoy with your significant other, simply walking the streets and enjoying the day. Even though I live in the US,  I still like to celebrate Sant Jordi, following the same traditions with my significant other.

When I think about Sant Jordi I don’t think about food, I think about love. I think about walking around Barcelona and enjoying the day. But of course,  there is a food tradition too. All the bakeries that day will prepare a special Sant Jordi’s bread or cake.
pa st jordi
Sant Jordi’s bread is made with a dough containing sobrassada (a kind of sausage), cheese and walnuts. Cakes are also very popular on Sant Jordi. And that’s what I made for you today! The frosting is called Spanish yema quemada or yema pastel era (burned egg yolk).

Ingredients:

Frosting:

– 3 eggs

– 1/2 cup sugar

Start by making the frosting first. Whisk the 3 eggs with the sugar. Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and heat on medium. Stir constantly until it gets thick. The whole process should take about 15 minutes. Once the mixture is thick enough, pour it into a bowl and let it cool. When it’s at room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

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Cake:

– 3 eggs

– 1 yogurt (4 or 6oz)

– 12 dry ounces all propose flour

– 8 dry ounces granulated sugar

– 3 ounces of vegetable or canola oil

– 1 ounce olive oil

– 1 tablespoon baking powder

– 1/2 lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 375F. I used the KitchenAid but you can use a whisk or another utensil.

Whisk the eggs for 1 minute on high speed. Reduce the speed to medium and add the yogurt, zest and oil. Whisk for about a minute. Add the sugar, flour and baking powder and whisk for about 4 minutes. The batter should be  a medium consistency not too liquidy and not too thick. If it is too thick, I would add a splash of milk.

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Transfer to a mold and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure the cake is done before removing it from the oven.
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Let it cool down on a rack first, then you can frost it.  Wait about 15 minutes to let the frosting set, then use your torch to create a blackened look.
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You can then decorate as much or as little as you want. And it’s done!

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The cake is also very good with powder sugar sprinkle on top.
Bon profit and Feliç Sant Jordi!