Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Xmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!!! 
Finally this day has come: family, lights, mistletoe, presents, cookies, cinnamon, games, candles, holly, and fun all together.

 Last night we had a family party so I decided to bake something special: "il tronchetto di Natale" or translated the Christmas log. Its real name is Bûche de Noël and it is a traditional dessert from France. You can also find it in Northern Italy; it was Napoleon who brought it... merci je l'adore! 
As the name indicates, the cake is generally prepared, presented, and garnished so as to look like a log ready for the fire. The traditional log is made with sponge cake frosted, filled with chocolate buttercream or ganache, and served with a portion of one end of the cake cut off and set on top to resemble a chopped off branch. It is then decorated with powdered sugar (snow), berries, mushrooms and trees made of meringue or marzipan.

That's how I made it!
For the sponge cake: 
Put in a bowl 70gr. of sugar, 2 whole eggs, and 2 egg yolks. Beat the ingredients in a bain marie until you get a light and fluffy consistency (takes about 10 minutes). 
Remove the bowl from the fire and gently stir, then add 80gr. of manitoba flour and 1 tablespoon of vanillin. When well mixed add 30gr. of melted butter.
In another bowl put the 2 egg whites with a pinch of salt and start beating. When you get the snow add 10gr. of sugar and beat for other 2 minutes.
Heat the oven at 220 degrees C. Put a sheet of baking paper on your oven dish and bake the mixture (about 1cm thick) for 5 to 7 minutes.
When ready take it out and lay it on a slightly damp dishcloth.

Then fill the sponge cake with Nutella (or any other cream you want) and roll it!

For the cream:
Beat 4 yolks with 150gr. of sugar until you get a light and fluffy consistency.
In a pan boil 1/2 liter milk with some vanilla and cinnamon, then let it cool a bit. Add 50gr. of flour and beat well. Then add your sugar and eggs mixture and keep stirring until you have a thick and smooth cream. Keep it the fridge for 1 hour.
Then spread it on your log and serve!

 Enjoy and have a great Xmas

Friday, 23 December 2011

On the road: departure!

The trip begins: the HsB goes on the road!
With this new column I want to share sweet experiences from all over the world, international recipes, culinary reviews of bars, restaurants, bakeries or specific dishes, and any other funny or interesting happening that has to do with baking and all that comes with it.

I'll start telling you about a nice day I had in Venice. I was in this magic city with a dearest friend on a warm and sunny autumn Sunday about a month ago. We walked a lot and visited the Biennale: some of the works were quite interesting and nice, some other were really absurd. They made us question the concept of art...

Amongt the "calli e canali di Venezia" - lanes and canals - we found a funny play dough sculpture which the visitor was allowed to play with and modify. So I made a little space for the HsB :)

We also fuond these lovely Murano glas pastries which looked tasty, I wouldn’t eat them though… Anyways it’s incredible all the stuff you can find made of glas, from vases and chandeliers to cookies!

Before leaving we stopped at the Caffe’ Florian for a hot chocolate. This café opened in 1720 in Piazza San Marco and  is Italy’s oldest. While seated in one of the café’s frescoed rooms or outside listening to the orchestra in the Piazza, one can enjoy impeccable service and products of finest quality. I love it as much as I love being in Venice and as much as I love being in Venice with a person dear to me.

I hope to be back soon…