A Taste of Café de Olla

Mexico

Mexican Coffee
Warm, sweet and spicy, a steaming cup of Café de Olla is a perfect kick start to your day. Traditionally prepared in a clay pot (the Olla), I prefer to serve this spiced coffee in a big cappuccino bowl. Café de Olla (cah-FAY day OY-ah) is sweetened with little cones of rich, dark unrefined sugar called piloncillo which give a delicious burnt-sugar taste to the coffee, and are easily found in Mexican grocers or online at www.mexgrocer.com.

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups water
1/2 cup grated piloncillo (or dark brown sugar)
4 cinnamon sticks
2/3 cup coarse ground dark roast coffee
3 cloves
1/4 tsp anise seed (optional)

Special Equipment:
Fine sieve
Cheesecloth or French press for filtering

INSTRUCTIONS:
Place water, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in heavy bottomed pan. Stir over a medium high heat until sugar is dissolved, and bring to a boil.

Stir in coffee and remove from heat. Allow to steep for about 5 minutes.

Strain through fine sieve or cheesecloth or pour into French press and push plunger down to filter. Pour into mugs and serve. Sprinkle with anise seed if desired.

Note: This is quite a sweet coffee, so reduce the amount of sugar if you usually drink your coffee unsweetened.

Serve with: Churros or pan dulce (Mexican sweet rolls).

A Taste of Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie - Finland

Mustikkapiirakka – Finland (Serves 4)

Wild blueberries grow abundantly in the forests of this scenic, hockey-loving country. The subtle cardamom flavour in this traditional blueberry pie is a hallmark of Nordic pastry.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 stick (4 oz) butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (4 oz) all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup (4 oz) granulated sugar, halved

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups (10 oz) blueberries, defrosted if frozen

1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400˚F and grease an 8″ square cake pan.

In a food processor, combine butter, flour, baking powder, salt, half the sugar and one of the eggs. Pulse until just combined. Pour into prepared cake pan, spreading up sides. Spread blueberries evenly over batter.

In a medium bowl, beat together the sour cream, cardamom and vanilla with remaining egg and sugar until light and fluffy . Pour mixture over blueberries. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until filling is just set.

Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then serve warm with whipped cream.

A Taste of Schokoladenkrapfen (donuts)

DSC_0380

German Donuts

These soft, sweet and cakey doughnuts can also be filled with jam (rosehip if you can find it) and dusted with powdered sugar to make a “Berliner”.

 

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 package (2 1/4 tsp) dry yeast

3 3/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3 large eggs

Canola or vegetable oil for frying

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped and chilled

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place milk and butter in medium pan. Warm to 110F. Sprinkle yeast over milk and set aside until mixture is foamy. Place flour, sugar and salt in bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast mixture, eggs and flour. Mix until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about  2 minutes. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut  rounds out of the dough with a 3 inch cookie cutter. Place doughnuts on a lightly oiled baking sheet and allow to rise for about 10 minutes.

Heat at 2 inches of oil to 375F. Add doughnuts to oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

To make the chocolate coating, place cream in a heavy bottomed pan. Heat until just boiling, then remove from heat and stir in chocolate until completely melted.

A Taste of Coca de Recapte

Spain

Spanish Flatbread

A staple of Mediterranean Spain, the chewy, oblong flatbreads known as coques are the ultimate comfort food for locals and travellers alike. This summery version makes great tapas when cut into small pieces.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 heaped cup flour

1 level tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly

1 pinch chili flakes

1 large sweet red pepper, sliced thinly

2 small zucchini, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup olives, optional

1 tbsp oregano, finely chopped

Extra flour or polenta for baking sheet

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Stir together flour, yeast and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Add oil and water and mix until dough is smooth—about 5 minutes, or 10 minutes if kneading by hand. Cover bowl with tea towel and allow to rise for about 3 hours at room temperature.

Using your fingertips, lightly stretch dough into an oval shape. Brush both sides with olive oil and place on a baking sheet sprinkled with flour or polenta.

Heat remaining olive oil in a pan, add garlic, onion, chili flakes and peppers and cook until al dente. Stir in zucchini and cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange topping over bread and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with oregano and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves: 4

Use good quality Spanish olive oil if you can find it. It has a distinct flavour compared to oils from other regions.

A Taste of Pâtes de Fruits

France2

A French Holiday Treat

These jewel-coloured jellies are a popular holiday treat in France, and they’re super-easy to make.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups frozen raspberries, defrosted

1 3/4 cups pectin powder

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 tbsp light corn syrup

2 tsp lemon juice

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Line a 9 x 12 cake pan with baking parchment or wax paper, set aside.

Place raspberries in food processor and blend until smooth and puréed. Place pectin and 2 cups of sugar in a small bowl and stir together.

Place raspberry purée in medium pan and bring to boil. Stir in sugar/pectin mixture until completely dissolved. Boil mixture for another 2 minutes. Stir in corn syrup and continue to cook until mixture starts to thicken (about 2 minutes).

Remove mixture from heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour into prepared pan and  allow to set for 2 hours at room temperature.

Cut slab of jelly into 1 inch squares using a very sharp knife. Toss squares in remaining  sugar. Store in an airtight container and place in the fridge where they will keep for up to a month.

Makes about 9 dozen jellies.

Substitute other frozen fruits like strawberries for variety.

A Taste of Zeppole

ItalianDonuts_0457

Italian Donuts

Plan your next trip to il Bel Paese over a warm basket of these golden puffs.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

1 stick butter

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs

Olive oil for frying

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Mascarpone cream and jam to serve

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place butter, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and water in heavy bottomed pan. Bring to boil over a medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour. Return to the heat and stir for 3-4 minutes until mixture forms a ball. Transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well mixed and smooth.

Place 2 inches oil in large, heavy bottomed pan. Heat over medium heat to about 350 degrees.

Carefully drop tablespoons of the dough into the hot oil. Turn the doughnuts once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up. Drain on paper towels. Stir together cinnamon and sugar and toss with hot doughnuts. Serve warm with mascarpone cream and jam for dipping.

To bake instead of fry, place spoonfuls on baking sheet. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden brown.

ItalianDonuts1

A Taste of Florentines

Italy1

An Italian Holiday Treat

Crunchy, chewy Tuscan cookies are great for scooping up ice cream. Who cares if it’s cold outside?

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups sliced almonds

3 tbsp flour

2 tbsp orange zest (about 1 orange)

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp heavy cream

2 tbsp honey

5 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 oz bittersweet chocolate to decorate

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with Silpat or baking parchment.

Place almonds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stir in dried cherries, flour, orange zest and salt. Set aside.

Place sugar, cream, honey and butter in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and almond mixture until just combined.  Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.

When mixture is cool enough to handle, roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on baking sheet about 4 inches apart to allow room to spread.

Bake until flat and golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool  and harden for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Drizzle or sandwich with melted chocolate when completely cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

A Taste of Maria Theresia (Austrian Coffee)

Austria

Austrian Coffee

No doubt Austrian empress Maria Theresia swooned over this creamy orange-scented coffee named in her honour. Whether you are writing the next Great American novel, reading Kafka on your iPad or simply watching the world go by, a steaming cup of Maria Theresia is appropriately indulgent and certain to take the chill off crisp, spring days.

Not an orange fan? Substitute rum for the Cointreau to make a Fiaker.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp powdered sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

boiling water to warm glass

3 shots freshly brewed espresso

2 tsp sugar

3 tbsp Cointreau or rum

1 orange, zested

1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, grated

Special Equipment:

Fine sieve

Cheesecloth or French press for filtering

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Whip cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Cover and chill. 

Fill glass with boiling water and allow to stand for about 1 minute. Discard water. Place liqueur and sugar into bottom of serving glass and stir.

Pour espresso over liqueur and top with a generous swirl of freshly whipped cream. Garnish with orange peel and grated chocolate.

Note: Brewed espresso can be substituted with 3 ounces strong dark coffee.

Serve with: A generous square of your favourite dark chocolate.

 

Austria is well known for its Sachertorte and Strudel, but next time you visit this dessert lover’s country be sure to try the Marillenknoedel. These delicate dumplings are made by wrapping sweet, ripe apricots in soft lemon and vanilla dough before coating them in crunchy, buttery breadcrumbs and dusting with powdered sugar. Try one and we promise you will forget you ever came for the chocolate cake.

A Taste of Naan Pizzas with Spicy Lamb

India

Indian Flatbread

India is arguably the flatbread capital of the world, home to more than 30 different varieties. We turned the popular naan into a savoury, flavourful and spicy treat that will leave you dreaming of the East.

 

INGREDIENTS:

8 mini naans (or 4 regular)

1 small onion, minced

8 oz ground lamb

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp red chili flakes

2 tbsp plain greek yogurt

2 tbsp pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Salt and freshly ground black

pepper, to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place onion, lamb, garlic, spices and yogurt into a medium bowl.

Season with salt and pepper and mix together.

Top naan breads with lamb mixture and sprinkle with pine nuts and goat cheese.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lamb is cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro and mint before serving.

Serves: 4

A Taste of Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie - England

Banoffee Pie – England (Serves 6)

Better known for its rib-sticking meat pies, England is home to some equally hearty dessert pies like this composition of banana, caramel, cream and cookie.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed

1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, melted

1 can (13.4 oz) dulce de leche

3 large bananas, sliced

1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz) heavy cream, chilled

4 oz dark chocolate

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 9″ pie or tart pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pour dulce de leche into crust and spread evenly. Chill for 30 minutes. Arrange banana slices over dulce de leche. Place heavy cream into a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Spread cream over bananas. Melt chocolate and drizzle over cream. Serve in thin slices and attempt to restrain yourself.

A Taste of Kah’wah (Turkish Coffee)

Turkey

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee (or Kah’wah) is thick, intense and all about the foamy layer that sits atop its rich, chocolate coloured depths. Made in long-handled pots originally designed to brew coffee over the hot desert sand, the hint of cardamom brings a suggestion of the Middle East to this bold brew. Since Turkish coffee is not filtered, be careful not to drink the grounds in the bottom of your cup, which are traditionally turned out into a saucer and used to tell fortunes.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

1 tbsp medium roast coffee, extra fine grind

1/8 tsp ground cardamom or 1 cardamom pod

1-2 tbsp sugar to taste

Special Equipment

Turkish coffee pot (a cezve or ibrik)

Demitasse cups to serve

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in Turkish coffee pot or a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.

Watching carefully to avoid boiling over, bring coffee to a simmer over medium heat. Remove pan from heat when surface is covered with foam.

Using a large spoon, scoop up foam and divide between serving cups. Place coffee back on heat and reheat until surface is covered with foam again. Repeat this process for a third time to create more foam.

Pour remaining coffee slowly into cups to avoid breaking foam, and leave grounds in pan. Let coffee sit for one minute until grounds settle. Discard cardamom pod if using. Serve at once.

Serve with: A little pillow of Turkish delight and a tall glass of water.

Ask your barista to grind beans for Turkish coffee.

A Taste of Sata Andagi

JapaneseDonuts1

Japanese Donuts

These crunchy sweet bites are an Okinawan staple that reminds us of deep fried pound cake.

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 tsp vanilla

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Peanut oil for deep frying

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place oil in large, heavy bottomed pan or wok. Heat to about 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and  salt. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, and stir until dough is smooth.

Carefully drop teaspoonfuls of dough into oil and fry until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with a steaming cup of green tea.

Tip: Cook doughnuts in small batches so the temperature of the oil doesn’t drop too much and make them greasy.