Cinnamon Orange Palmiers

Cinnamon Orange Palmiers

This recipe is from “simple and easy” category, or more precisely – “simple, easy, and delicious” :) Well, it is obviously easy if you happened to make puff pastry in advance, or decided to go with a store-bought puff pastry (in this case, make sure it’s a good quality all-butter puff pastry). I’m planning to serve these palmiers along with cranberry and orange mousse. But, it will be my next post (I apologize for the delay but I do experience some lack of time recently, as well as some flu).

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Italian Chocolate Nut Torte (Torta Cioccolata)

Italian Chocolate Nut Torte (Torta Cioccolata)

I adapted this cake recipe from Alice Medrich’s “Pure Dessert” who, in her turn, borrowed the idea from Claudia Roden. I substituted a half of almonds for the hazelnuts, I think they make the flavor more interesting. The cake was delicious and so easy to make! It’s rich but not heavy or dense, it’s also quite moist. Unsweetened chocolate (and there’s plenty of it) cuts the meringue sweetness down very well. But the recipe does require a good quality unsweetened chocolate. And I’m afraid, it means to find something better that the Baker’s unsweetened squares.

I baked the batter in the mini-cake pans. But the cake originally designed to fit into a regular 9-inch springform pan. Serve it cut in slices and plated with unsweetened whipped cream and/or Baci ice cream, and some cocoa nib brittle for garnish.

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Baci Ice Cream

Baci Ice Cream

Baci or Gianduja – different names with the same meaning. The flavor is the winning combination of chocolate and hazelnuts – one of my favorite ice cream flavors. I was determined to get it right this time (yes, it was not my first attempt :). I wanted the ice cream to be rich chocolate with pronounced hazelnut flavor. The good quality cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate took care of the first part of the task while a generous portion of Nutella and toasted coarsely ground hazelnuts provided the ice cream with recognizable and so delectable hazelnutness. The ice cream tasted wonderful, and I was not surprised here. But the texture was a complete and pleasant surprise – it was incredibly smooth and silky. After reading the list of ingredients on the Nutella jar label I realized that the well-known commercially made chocolate-hazelnut spread became the miraculous component responsible for the success. Soy lecithin which is a common emulsifier contributed to the unbelievably smooth texture.

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Tan Fingers

Tap Fingers

…which are basically the shortbread fingers or squares (if you wish to cut them like so) with a caramel-sort-of layer in the middle. According to Nick Malgieri, the cookies are very popular in New Zealand. I’ve never been there and can’t confirm this fact, but, in our family they were well received. The recipe is my adaptation of the Malgieri’s recipe from “A baker’s tour”. I added some salt to the filling, I think it’s necessary (the cookies were sweet enough even with this addition). I’ve also let myself to question his idea of spreading the steaming-hot filling (cooked on a stove shortly before) over the uncooked shortbread crust. I cooled the filling, stirring often, before spreading it over the chilled crust. It worked well.

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