My Mom’s Bread

(nostalgia, but also very good)

This was my mom’s everyday bread. It’s a no fuss, no knead, delicious bread that I have no idea where she got from. In a summer household with seven cousins, five parents and a lot of visitors coming and going, it was probably essential to develop… just something that could be made by the dozens every day without being a big hassle. Luckily it didn’t turn out to be just cannon fodder but very tasty as well. Good job mom!

She’s not around anymore and probably never wrote the recipe down so I have no original to go from. My older brother Rasmus has kind of been the one picking up mom’s bread-mantle, so I asked him. I got a very approximate list of ingredients and instructions that produced something very close to the real deal. So this is that!

Created with Sketch. 30 minutes work, 2 hours watching Netflix Created with Sketch. 12 quite large buns

Ingredients

  • 500 gwater
  • 350 gbread flour
  • 100 goatmeal
  • 100 gsifted rye
  • 7 gdry yeast (or ca 25 g fresh yeast)
  • 7 gsalt
  • 15 gsyrup (or honey)
  • Some pumpkin seeds and an egg for garnishing

Directions

This is almost too easy.

  1. Mix yeast, salt and lukewarm water together.
  2. Add everything but the bread flour (and the garnish) while stirring.
  3. Add the bread flour while stirring. The consistency should be sticky but hold together. Like this or a bit looser (it can definitely be a bit looser). No need to stir more than a minute, maybe two.
  4. Leave it to rise under a towel for about 1-1.5 hours. It should rise to at least twice the volume.
  5. Take two quite large spoons. Dig out a fair chunk of the batter/dough and scrape it off with the other spoon onto a baking paper covered (or buttered) oven tray. It’s not gonna be pretty (as you can see) but it doesn’t need to be. Actually, if it’s pretty, the dough is probably not sticky enough.
  6. Let rise on the oven trays under a towel for another 30 minutes. Put the oven on 250 C after 15 minutes.
  7. Whisk the egg with a bit of cold water and gently brush the dough-buns with it. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and finish of with the pumpkin seeds (or sesame, poppy whatever, I like the pumpkin).
  8. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes and you’re done!

We used to eat these in amounts that just cannot be recommended. Freshly baked, I always had them with lots of butter and honey, which I’m pretty sure sounds weird to lots of people but fuck me it’s good. And a large glass of milk.

Emotionally, that 👆🏻 feels like about 80% of my childhood. It’s my mom, my family, our summer place, visiting friends. It’s everything.

I hope it turns out to be at least something for you 😊

Pane Senza Impasto

(più buono di quello della signora)

In Italia imperversa il Coronavirus, la gente è in quarantena da settimane e la situazione è piuttosto seria: non si può andare a correre, i bimbi possono uscire solo 5 minuti con un solo genitore MA non si possono divertire, ci sono i concerti obbligatori sul balcone di rimpetto ogni sera, e soprattutto la gente fa la spesa solo una volta a settimana, che  vuol dire mangiare pane fresco SOLO una volta ogni sette giorni. E questo è francamente inaccettabile. Soprattutto per i miei genitori che si sono trasferiti al nord appena prima che la pandemia scoppiasse, e non riescono a trovare un pane decente. Allora ho pensato: mamma, non ti preoccupare, c’ho sto blog di ricette, ci penso io. Perciò ecco a voi una ricetta facile facile per fare il miglior pane che abbiate mai mangiato, in quarantena e non, pure meglio del pane che “la signora” fa col forno a legna e le scorze di nucelle in quel forno nascosto in una frazione nascosta che sapete solo voi.

Originariamente la ricetta fu pubblicata nel 2006 sul New York Times e divenne subito LA ricetta di pane più famosa di internet. Qualche anno dopo su un altro famoso sito di cucina americano, Food Illustrated, la ricetta fu leggermente modificata per dare al pane quel tipico sapore di criscito, o lievito madre che dir si voglia, sostituendo una parte di acqua con birra e aceto bianco (attenzione: aceto bianco non vuol dire di vino bianco). Di seguito trovate entrambe le versioni, di cui ho semplificato un paio di passaggi per renderle ancora più semplici. 

Ideale sarebbe cuocere il pane in una pentola di ghisa all’ interno del forno. Se non avete un apentola di ghisa (che comunque costa poco e fa bella figura) potete provare con una pentola normale (a patto che non abbia maniglie in plastica), oppure non usare alcuna pentola: perderete un po’ della croccantezza della crosta, ma è buono lo stesso.

Special Equipment

  • una spatola flessibile o un leccapentole
  • un pentolone di ghisa, smaltato o non
Created with Sketch. circa 20 ore, di cui solo 20 minuti di preparazione Created with Sketch. una pagnotta da 500 gr circa

Ingredients

  • 430 grdi farina (0 o 00 è uguale)
  • 1 grdi lievito in polvere (circa 1/4 di cucchiaino)
  • 8 grdi sale (un cucchiaino pieno)
  • per la versione normale
  • 345 grdi acqua
  • per la versione finto-lievito-madre
  • 85 grdi birra lager
  • 15 grdi aceto bianco
  • 245 grdi acqua

Directions

La ricetta è molto facile, non bisogna impastare nè piegare l’ impasto, ma ci vogliono 15/18 ore di attesa tra quando iniziate e quando infornate. Io di solito impasto la sera prima di andare a dormire e inforno il giorno dopo, dopo pranzo.

  1. In una ciotola grande mischiate per bene la farina, il sale e il lievito in polvere.
  2. per la versione normale: aggiungete l’ acqua, mischiate con un cucchiaio giusto il tempo che tutta la farina venga assorbita, 20/25 secondi.
  3. per la versione finto-lievito-madre: aggiungete l’ acqua, la birra e l’ aceto bianco, e mischiate con un cucchiaio giusto il tempo che tutta la farina venga assorbita, 20/25 secondi.
  4. coprite la ciotola con della pellicola trasparente e mettete l’ impasto a riposare per 15/18 ore.
  5. Dopo 15/18 ore l’ impasto sarà cresciuto almeno il doppio e le bolle saranno ben visibili in superficie. Con l’ aiuto di una spatola flessibile o un leccapentole, lasciate cadere l’ impasto su una spianatoia ben infarinata. L’ impasto sarà molto appiccicoso e difficile da maneggiare, ma niente paura: cospargetelo con un po’ di farina, e con le mani infarinate o con una spatola, ripiegatelo su se stesso un paio i volte, dopodichè mettetelo a riposare di nuovo in una ciotola abbondantemente infarinata, per 2 ore.
  6. versione con pentola: dopo un’ ora e mezza mettete a riscaldare la pentola nella parte più bassa del forno a 230°, per mezz’ora. Passata la mezz’ ora preparate un foglio di carta da forno sul tavolo, e aiutandovi sempre con il leccapentole o la spatola flessibile versateci sopra l’ impasto. Facendo molta attenzione tirate fuori la pentota (a questo punto ROVENTE) dal forno, poggiatela sul piano cottura, e sollevando la carta da forno dai quattro angoli, calate il panetto nella pentola. (In alternativa potete anche saltare del tutto la carta da forno, e versare l’ impasto direttamente dalla ciotola alla pentola, come da foto). Chiudete col coperchio e infornate a 230° per 30 minuti. Poi togliete il coperchio e lasciate cuocere per altri 15 minuti.
  7. versione senza pentola: dopo un’ ora e mezza mettete a riscaldare una teglia nella parte più bassa del forno a 230°. Passata la mezz’ ora preparate un foglio di carta da forno sul tavolo, e aiutandovi sempre con il leccapentole o la spatola flessibile versateci sopra l’ impasto. Sollevando la carta forno dai quattro angoli, trasferite il panetto sulla teglia che avrete nel frattempo poggiato sul piano cottura. Cuocete per 45 minuti a 230°, coprendo il panetto con della carta alluminio (o con la leccarda posizionata in alto, in modo da coprire la fonte di calore) se dovesse iniziare a scurirsi troppo.

No-Knead Bread

(faux-sourdough for dummies)

In 2006 Mark Bittman, food writer for the New York Times, revolutionized home-bread-baking by introducing No-Knead Bread. Actually he just shared the recipe invented by a New York baker, Jim Lahey. No-Knead bread was a fool-proof miraculous loaf that tasted and looked much better than any other home-baked bread, as well as many of the fancy stuff at your local bakery. Super easy to make, it needed no kneading and no attention whatsoever, only a few minutes of action plus some waiting.

One and a half years later, my favourite food blogger, Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats (at the time writer at Food Illustrated) perfected the recipe adding a faux-sourdough touch to it. He did it by substituting part of the water with some white vinegar and beer, you now, to give the bread that tang and complex yeasty flavour. Well it worked perfectly. I’ve done this recipe so many times, and it never fails. It is quite important to use a cast-iron pot (enameled or bare is the same) to achieve an optimal rise and a crunchy crust, but if you don’t have it, the bread will be still very good using the oven as usual.

Special Equipment

  • cast- iron pot
  • a flexible spatula
Created with Sketch. About 20 hours, 15 minutes active time Created with Sketch. One 500gr loaf

Ingredients

  • 430 grflour (both all- porpous or bread flour will work)
  • 1 grdry yeast (or 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 8 grsalt (or 1 full teaspoon)
  • for the regular version
  • 345 grwater
  • for the faux-sourdough
  • 85 grlager beer
  • 15 grwhite vinegar
  • 245 grwater

Directions

The process is quite long but easy: I usually mix the ingredients before I go to bed, and bake it the next day after work.  The dough is gonna be quite loose (85% hydration) and therefore a bit difficult to handle, but there’s not much handling involved really. Here we go:

  1. Mix flour (430 gr), yeast (1 gr) and salt (8gr) in a large bowl. Mix it well.
  2. Add the water (345 gr), or if you are doing the foux-sourdough: water (245gr.) + beer (85gr) + white vinegar (15 gr), and mix it with a spoon, just the time it takes for all the flour to be sucked in the liquids, about 20/25 seconds. Cover it tight with plastic foil and leave it to rest at room temperature for about 15/18 hours.
  3. After the time has passed (it’s probably gonna be the next day), the mix is going to be quite bubbly. With the help of a flexible spatula, pour it on a well floured working surface, sprinkle some extra flour on top, and possibly with the help of a scraper, fold the dough on itself a couple of times, 20 seconds in total. Put it back in a very well floured bowl, cover it again and let it rest for 2 more hours. We’re almost there.
  4. After one and a half hour set the oven to 230°, place the dutch-oven on the lower shelf of the oven, and let it heat up for 30 minutes: it needs to be HOT. If you don’t have a dutch-oven, jump to n. 7
  5. When the 2 hours have passed and the cast-iron is hot, take out the dutch-oven being very careful, place it on your stove-top, open it quickly, and with the help of the flexible spatula just pour the dough into the pot. You don’t have to worry about how it goes in, if it looks all smashed up or ugly: it’s gonna work! (Alternative, less messy method: place a sheet of baking-paper on the table, pour the dough onto said paper, and picking it by the four angles, gently lower it into the pot)
  6. 30 minutes at 230° with the dutch oven’s lid on. Another 15 minutes without the lid. Et voilà.
  7. For no dutch-oven baking: just heat up the oven tray on the lower rack instead of the cast-iron pot. When the 2 hours have passed, place a sheet of baking-paper on the table, pour the dough onto said paper, lift it by the four corners, and place it on the hot oven plate. Bake it for 45 minutes at 230°, covering the bread with some aluminum foil for the first 30 minutes to avoid to burn the top.

Granola

(or should we call it muesli?)

The difference between granola and muesli is quite clear: granola contains honey (or corn syrup) and is toasted, muesli does not. And that’s becouse granola is an american invention (and over there people have a tendency to over-sweeten everything), and muesli is not. So this means that this recipe is a hybrid,  as it has no sugar BUT is toasted. And yes, despite not having sugar, gets nice and crunchy just like granola. But fool you not, it’s still VERY caloric, as it packs a lot of nuts and seeds.

Created with Sketch. 30 min Created with Sketch. 25-ish

Ingredients

  • 175 groats
  • 200 grrye flakes
  • 60 grcoconut flakes
  • 60 gralmonds
  • 60 grsunflower seeds
  • 60 grpumpkin seeds
  • 35 grline seeds
  • 35 grmellon seeds
  • 1 grvanilla powder
  • 200 grwater
  • 60 grvegetable oil
  • 120 grcranberries
  • 120 grraisins

Directions

Of course you don’t really have to have everything, you can change ingredients based on what you have or what you find, add some types of seeds or flakes or nuts, change the vanilla with cinnamon, the dried fruit, etc. But as it is, the recipe is very well balanced. If I were you, I’d always keep in any variation of the recipe, the almonds and the coconut flakes: these two are the structural and flavour base to the all thing. But let’s do it, it’s quite easy.

  1. Set the oven at 200°C
  2. Chop the almond coarsely with a knife, and mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl, except the dried fruit (cranberries and raisins) 
  3. Mix together the water and the oil, and pour it on the mix and keep mixing: you’re gonna have a slightly unplesant blob of ingredients, but don’t despare.
  4. Line an oven plate with oven paper, and spread evenly the mix over it.
  5. Let it toast for 30 min at 200°C, mixing it a bit with a spoon after the first 15 minutes.
  6. Take the oven plate out, and let the toasted mix cool down to room temperature: this is when it becomes nice and crunchy!
  7. Add the raisins and the cranberries, or the dry fruit of your choice.

Best served on greek youghurt, with a swiff of honey. But again, you do you.

Pancakes

(Fluffy McFluff Face)

American style pancakes are our Saturday breakfast beloved routine, so much beloved that I often want to go to bed early on Friday night so the morning comes faster. There is a lot of fuss and strange recipes to achieve fluffy pancakes, but I don´t think it´s that difficult really. This recipe is the product of years of little tweaks and adjustments, and now is probably close to perfection, and it´s very easy. You won’t have to use weird coconut oil, or whip the egg-white separately, or align the flux-capacitor before hitting 88 miles per hour. No, just put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them for 30 seconds, and you’re done. ONLY if you feel fancy, add a tablespoon of ricotta for extra creamy – but still fluffy! – consistency (I love it).

Special Equipment

  • hand mixer
  • good non-stick pan
  • plastic spatula
Created with Sketch. 10 minutes Created with Sketch. about 10

Ingredients

  • 130 gbread flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoonnatural oil
  • 170 mlmilk
  • 2 teaspoonssugar
  • 2 teaspoonsbaking powder
  • 1 pinchsalt
  • 1 tablespoonricotta (optional)

Directions

The only tricky part of pancakes is the batter consistency, that has to be just right, not too thick and not too runny, thick BUT able to run slowly and nicely off of the spoon. The amount of milk in this recipe works perfectly, but since different flours absorb liquids differently, you never know. I actually don’t measure milk, I add it a little at the time, until I reach the desired consistency. Once again, experience is key. If you use a good frying pan, unscratched, you won’t need to grease the pan to cook the pancakes; otherwise, a flake of butter will do the trick.

 

  1. Put your best non-stick frying-pan on medium-high (if the pan is good, no butter is needed to grease it).
  2. Put all the ingredients together in a bowl, mix them but not too well, I feel like the pancakes come even fluffier when the mix is not super smooth but still a little bit lumpy. Quite soon the batter will start bubbling a little thanks to the baking powder action.
  3. Scoop the batter in the frying pan (a 24 cm frying pan will accommodate three 10 cm pancakes) with a small ladle, or a big spoon, or a 1/2 dl measure: using something that can contain just the right amount of batter will help achieving evenly-sized pancakes.
  4. After about 20 seconds, bubbles will start appearing on the surface of the pancakes: it’s time to flip them! Use a good plastic spatula, and with a gentle but firm wrist movement, you’ll do it (again, it takes some experience): the pancake should have that kind of golden/brown color; if not, adjust heat and cooking time accordingly. After 20/30 more seconds, the first batch is ready and you can pile your pancakes on a plate.
  5. Continue until you run out of batter, and the pancake tower is ready to go to the breakfast table.

Pancakes are of course best served still warm. My absolute favorite way of eating them is with plenty of butter, bacon and maple syrup. But of course you can use fruit, honey, whipped cream, why not ice-cream. I mean, you do you.

Fried Pizza

(a better kind of pizza)

If we decide we want to give meaning to words, you can’t really make good pizza at home. And by pizza I mean proper pizza, you know, the one invented in Napoli in the seventeen hundreds: it needs a brick oven that reaches 450° celsius (so that the dough cooks quickly and doesn’t get too crisp), very specific ingredients for the topping, and so on. Because of course, in time pizza has become literally everything, there’s even people that put kebab on it, imagine.

However, a loophole exists, and it’s what we’re doing here: fried pizza. Or well, a version of it. Fried pizza (pizza fritta) in Napoli is pretty much as popular as regular pizza, often regarded as street food. In it’s highest form, it’s a huge stuffed pizza deep fried in a big pot of oil, basically a big fried calzone. But in some different iterations, fried pizza can be miniature pizza, fried in a pan with a more reasonable amount of oil, and then topped -or not- with a simple tomato sauce and parmigiano. In a way, this is a better kind of pizza, as far as make-at-home pizzas go.

 

Special Equipment

  • stand mixer
Created with Sketch. 30 minutes to prepare the dough + 10 hours for rising + 15 minutes for frying the pizzas Created with Sketch. about 15 small fried pizzas

Ingredients

  • for the dough
  • 5 dlwater
  • 25 grsalt
  • 1.5 grfresh yeast
  • 850 grflour (50% regular flour, 50% bread flour)
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • for the topping
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ofoliveoil
  • 400 grpomodori pelati
  • parmigiano flakes

Directions

The dough recipe is the same one used by the Official Napolitan Pizza Association (intended for regular brick oven-baked pizza), and it calls for a very small amount of yeast, and as a consequence, a long rising time: this is why the dough becomes so soft and puffed up.

 

  1. Pour the water (5 dl) in the stand mixer’s bowl and add the salt (25 gr); it will melt completely.
  2. Using your fingers, melt the yeast and add 1/10 of the flour (85 gr). Mix well.
  3. Start the mixer on the lowest speed, and gradually add the rest of the flour (765 gr). Different brands of flour will absorb water differently, so you might need all of it, or less, or a bit more: experience will teach you. Continue mixing for 15 more minutes: the dough will become elastic and separate completely from the bowl. Lay it on a working surface covered with a humid cloth, and let it rise for 2 hours.
  4. Work the dough a bit, and then cut and form the dough balls, 100 gr each, and lay them, ideally, in a container with a lid, or covered with plastic foil. Let them rise for at least 8 hours.

Now is time to prepare a simple tomato sauce for the topping:

  1. Using a mixer or immersion blender, mix the pomodori pelati into a sauce (it’s much better than using regular sauce)
  2. In a small pot  on medium add the oliveoil (2 tablespoon), the clove of garlic, and once it becomes golden brown, add the tomato, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5/10 minutes.

Let’s fry the pizzas:

  1. Heat abundant natural oil (ideally at 170°) in a deep pot or wok.
  2. Stretch out the  dough balls, one at the time, into round shapes, starting from the center and pressing the air outwards; in this way the pizzas will be thinner in the center, and puffier at the edges.
  3. Add the dough to the hot oil, and cook it for about one minute on each side (or the time needed for the pizza to become golden and crispy).
  4. Top the pizzas with with a tablespoon of tomato sauce and some parmigiano and eat it while the other pizzas are frying.

You can of course eat the fried pizza without any topping (just an extra sprinkle of salt), improvise with your own choice of toppings, and even make stuffed little fried pizzas. But please, no kebab.

Bagels

(the chewie wonder)

New Yorkers have a bit of a fixation when it comes to bagels: they say that you can only eat a good bagel in New York and everything else is crap. I once met a guy who invented some kind of machinery that was able to replicate the exact chemical structure of New York water, to be able to do NY-style bagels in California… It really sounds like with me and pizza actually, so I can understand them perfectly. But to be honest I can’t see much of a difference between my bagels and the ones you would buy, say, at Absolute Bagels on the Upper East Side. But hey, I’m a profane here! I tried a few different recipes from the web and ended up with one that I think works very well despite being a lot simpler than most.

The bagel-making process is quite fascinating, as it calls for boiling the dough before baking it. Yes, boiling. I donno of any other kind of bread or baking product that contemplate such a thing. I can almost imagine, sometimes in sixteenth century Poland, an old jewish baker dropping some dough in boiling water by mistake and than thinking ‘what the hell, let’s bake it anyway and see what happens”. Et voilà!

Yes, bagels are a traditional bread originated in the Jewish community of Poland and later exported to the US. They have a characteristic chewie texture, a crispy and shiny crust, and the delicious smell of freshly baked bread. And they’re my favored bread of choice when it comes to breakfast or brunch. Egg, bacon and cheese are a good topping, but my favourite is of course cream cheese, salmon, tomato and avocado!

Created with Sketch. 2 hours Created with Sketch. 8 bagels

Ingredients

  • 500 gbread flour
  • 2 tsactive dry yeast
  • 300 gwater
  • 1 tbssugar
  • 1.5 tssalt
  • 1 egg
  • your favourite choice of seeds

Directions

  1. Mix the dry yeast together with 1/3 of the water at about 37°C and the sugar, and let it sit there for about 10 minutes: the water will start to bubble a bit.
  2. Add the flour, the salt and the rest of the water and mix the dough with a stand mixer for 10 minutes at a slow speed. the dough should be quite firm and shiny. Shape it into a ball and let it rise in a big oiled bowl for 1 hour covered with plastic foil at room temperature: the dough will double in size.
  3. Once the dough has risen, knead it shortly by hand again and divide it in 8 balls of about 100 grams each. With your thumb make a hole in the center of the dough ball, and stretch it out a bit until you have the characteristic round shape with a hole in it. Let the 8 bagels rest for 10 more minutes on a oven plate or other flat surface, covered with a kitchen towel.
  4. Set the oven at 220°C.
  5. Put a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Prepare an oven plate lined with baking paper and start boiling the bagels. Boil 2 or 3 at a time, depending on how big your pot is; the bagels will float and grow in size while boiling, so be careful not to cram the pot. Let the bagels boil for 2 minutes on each side, flipping them halfway using a skimmer. You can boil them a bit less or a bit more, but the more you boil them the more chewie they will become.
  6. Arrange the boiled bagels on the oven plate, mix the egg with a tablespoon of water, brush the top of each bagel, and sprinkle your choice of seeds on each one of them (here I’m using a mix of poppy, line and sesame); the eggwash will give the final shiny color, plus will keep the seeds “glued” to the surface.
  7. Throw the plate in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until they become golden/brown.
  8. Bagels are best freshly baked, but they can also be refrigerated, frozen, re-heated and toasted.

Pastel de Nata

(the very best of Lisbon in a little cake)

This past May my whole family went to Lisbon. Lisbon really has some great food that is actually slightly Swedish sometimes. Lot’s of potato and lot’s of cod and… well, that’s about all that was slightly Swedish I guess.

More importantly: they have Pastel de Nata. It’s kind of the Danish pastry of Portugal or something. We had it at the wonderful Pasteis de Belem (where they’re called Pastel de Belem) and Confeitaria Nacional as well as at street corner cafés and pastry shops. It is a kind of puff pastry base… I think. I’m really not quite sure if it’s puff pastry, filo or maybe something in between. It’s brittle and flaky and just great. The filling is a cinnamon infused custard and, I think, some vanilla. They’re topped of with cinnamon and icing sugar (if one so prefer). Pastel de Nata’s are kind of…. plain tasting. Not in a bad way, just very… smooooooth. And somehow just wonderful.

Back in Sweden, I inquired the internets in search for the perfect recipe. Alas, I was left pretty frustrated. The thing is, at the best places we had them, they were actually not very sweet. You could of course go crazy with the icing sugar, but the custard was a bit sweet but not really dessert sweet. I just felt that all the recipes I found used at least two times the appropriate amount of sugar. And while that’s also good, it’s not the thing I fell head over heals for.

This is my best approximation of how I remember them. Enjoy!

Special Equipment

  • A muffin oven plate
Created with Sketch. If you're using ready made puff pastry (which I am), ca 45 min preparation and 15-20 minutes in the oven Created with Sketch. 10-12 pieces

Ingredients

  • 200 gpuff pastry
  • 400 gmilk
  • 100 gcream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg (yolk and white)
  • 50 gsugar
  • 1 cinnamon rod
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 15 gcorn starch

Directions

So I use ready made puff pastry in this one which…. isn’t quite right. It’s not really quite puff pastry in the real one so I’ve been searching for a good recipe. This one is excellent and I really recommend you to try it. It gives a crispy crust and it’s pretty easy to make.

  1. If you’ve bought frozen puff pastry, lay it out to thaw.
  2. Put a pot with the milk and the cream on the stove on high/medium heat. Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the content. Put the out scraped innards, the bean and the cinnamon rod in the pot with the milk and the cream. When the milk/cream starts to simmer, reduce the heat to low, keep it on the stove for about a minute and then take it off. Let it rest for about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn on the oven to max capacity. 250-300C is fine.
  4. While the milk/cream is resting, mix the corn starch and the sugar in a bowl. Put the four egg yolks and the one whole egg in with the sugar and starch. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Remove the vanilla bean stalk and the cinnamon rod from the milk/cream. Pour the milk/cream over the egg/sugar/starch- mix while whisking.
  6. If you have it: use a thermometer and bring the mix gently up to 80-85C but not higher. Keep it at 80-85C while stirring for about a minute before taking it off the heat.
  7. If you don’t have a thermometer, do this: pour the mixture in a pot on high heat. Stir or whisk the bottom of the pan continuously. When the mix starts thickening, turn down the heat to low and keep stirring/whisking for about a minute before taking the pot of the heat. The resulting mixture (regardless of method) should be quite thick.
  8. Flour an appropriate surface. Gently work the puff pastry with a rolling pin to a thin sheet.
  9. Cut circles out of the pastry sheet and place them in the muffin oven tray. If you have the patience for it, make the dough very thin and put two circled out puff pastry sheets in each muffin indentation. This makes for a better and more brittle crust.
  10. When the custard has cooled to room-ish temperature, fill the puff pastry- covered muffin shaped oven tray indentations with custard.
  11. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or until when the little rascals start looking as in the first picture. They should have plenty of brown/black spots to be truly done.
  12. Let them cool down for about 20 minutes before eating. Top them off with a generous amount of cinnamon and, if you like, some icing sugar. As you might have guessed, I prefer them with just a smidge or none at all.

After several ok-tasting but not really successful attempts to revive the Pastel the Nata’s I so fondly remembered, I tried once more. The starch, the whole egg, maybe the thinner puff pastry, I’m not sure..? But this time I finally just felt “right… that’s how they tasted”.

That said, you can obviously one up this recipe by going to Lisbon and have the real deal, to which I am quite sure, the above imitation cannot hold a candle. For me though, even a decent counterfeit is something to treasure.

So there you have it: a decent counterfeit of a completely wonderful Portuguese gem.

Scones

(to start your day with a stroke!)

Let’s do some breakfast shall we? But, let me just hedge this a bit first. I am but a simple Swede and I do realize that I’m trodding English turf here. So, with that out of the way:

This is by far the recipe that most people have asked me for (or is it..? Might be tied with vegetarian almond balls that I think well get to quite soon). I think it’s because it can be a bit puzzling to do the seemingly same thing over and over and get different results, insanity and all that. Despite using the same basic ingredients in the same approximate amounts, the end result of this recipe can vary quite a lot. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but the end result seem to hinge on the non-ingredient parts to an unusually large extent. I’ll try to highlight what I do that might not be so commonplace.

So what makes a great scone? Let’s start with what doesn’t. Bad scones are either doughy and too compact (failed home made), or too dry and too brittle (Starbucks). Thusly, a good scone is moist and fluffy!

After experimenting a great deal I find that the simple recipe below makes for a really fabulous scone. Just make it a Sunday tradition to get some practice under your belt. Most importantly though, whatever you do, do not skimp on the butter (you can however add more if the occasion is special).

The best thing of all? It’s carb free…!

Just kidding. It’s smack full of carbs.

Ingredients

  • 240 gwhite flour (of course, you can mix different flowers but I just can’t resist the superiority of really unhealthy scones)
  • 100 gbutter
  • 100 gmilk
  • 100 ggreek/turkish yogurt (2 dl of milk is fine I guess, but definitely not as good)
  • 15 gbaking powder (about 3 teaspoons)
  • Some salt

Directions

  1. Put the oven on 250-300 degrees (just max it out basically).
  2. Mix the flour with the salt and the baking powder.
  3. Slice the butter into flakes (requires it to be cold) with a cheese grater and gently mix it with the flour mix.
  4. Mix the milk and the yogurt and stir it in with the rest. Don’t mix too much, definitely don’t use a mixer. Preserving the butter flakes adds (I think) kind of a faux-puff-pastry effect to the end product, increasing fluffiness. Add a bit of flour if the batter is too sticky and some milk if it’s too dry (floury). The consistency should be such that the batter/dough sticks a little bit to the walls of the bowl, but does so without leaving a trace of batter/dough in its trail. I.e.: it should basically clean the walls of any leftover dough.
  5. Butter the oven plate.
  6. Form 2-4 balls and gently flatten them to 3-4 cm thickness on the buttered oven plate.
  7. Put them in the oven for 10-15 min. When they are golden brown, they’re done.

 

How to eat scones: a suggestion

Listen. I put butter and cheese and jam/marmalade AND I then proceed to dip it in coffee? I’m mad you say? I think not. And don’t even think about starting with the ”it’s already so much butter in the scone, why put even more on” shit. It’s Sunday and it’s delicious.

My favorite: ordinary breakfast butter (put it out 20-30 min before eating to facilitate spreading). A mild cheese (e.g. Gouda). Plum marmalade (the one made by my relatives if you can get it). Coffee with milk (this is the only time in my daily life I put milk in my coffee).