quince pastafrola

I LOVE pastafrola. It’s an italian dessert that it feels like argentinian to me because I have it all my life and it’s a pie that you’ll find in any bakery in Argentina.

The pie crust for this recipe was adapted from the “Baking with Julia: Sicilian Desserts” TV shows. I made some changes, of course.

The rest, it’s my family recipe, what my dear grandma taught me about pastafrola.

For this amazing pie, you’ll need:

  • 2¬†cups¬†unbleached¬†all purpose flour
  • 1/3 organic sugar
  • 1¬†stick organic unsalted butter
  • 1/4¬†tsp salt
  • 1/2¬†tsp baking powder
  • 2 organic large¬†eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1¬†lb quince sweet (dulce de membrillo, Trader Joe’s usually sells one but otherwise, the best argentinian membrillo is this one). Note* This time, I used the Esnaola brand but¬†I didn’t know it has high fructose corn syrup until I got it on my door from Amazon.¬†I won’t use it again, I rather stick to the Arcor brand which doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup.

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First, add the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) to a large mixing bowl and mix them together.

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Ad the butter already cut in cubes and keep on mixing until it gets like a crumble.

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Add the eggs, one at a time.

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Keep mixing on low until the mixture become mostly one dough, something like the picture below.

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Transfer dough to a floured surface.

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Knead just a little bit until it becomes one ball.

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You’ll now need a¬†a rolling pin and some flour.

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Give the dough a pie shape.

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Here there are 3 ways to do this. You choose was best for you.

The first and most difficult one: wrap your dough in plastic wrapping paper, let it chill in the refrigerator for about two hours. Let it rest then at room temperature for 10 minutes before using it.

The second, since this dough will make 2 small pies, you can freeze one!

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Just roll one of the pies dough using parchment paper in between, then cover it with plastic and put it in the freezer to use in some other time. IMG_6870

When you need to use it, just thaw overnight or let it at room temperature for about 3 hours.

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Now, the third way to do this. Let’s just use the pie crust¬†right away!¬†For this, you need the pie pan to be greased and floured.

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A friend of mine gave me this idea and it’s great! You can use the tin of the quince/sweet potato as a pie pan! (yes, you can do pastafrola filled with argentinian creamed sweet potato and the flavor it’s absolutely different from american¬†canned¬†sweet potato).

Now, put the pie crust on the pan and filled it with the membrillo/quince sweet.

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This is another useful idea. Sometimes the dough sticks to some parts of the surface where you were kneading it. Use a knife¬†-if you don’t have a special spatula- to help you pick it up without breaking it.

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To prepare the quince for the filling, you’ll need a fork and about 1/8 cup of hot water.

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Just add the water and smash the quince until you get a texture similar to the picture below. Some people add a little bit of cognac to this part, others add lemon juice. For us plain hot water is perfectly fine.

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Fill the pie with the quince.

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Us the leftovers of the dough to garnish the top of your pie.

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And voil√°! This pie is ready to go to the oven at 350F for about 35 minutes.

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Now, brew some coffee and enjoy it as an afternoon snack.. or how we call it in Argentina: Merienda.

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Quince Pastafrola it’s my favorite!

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Enjoy!

marco’s 3rd birthday party: cars & trucks || fiesta de cumplea√Īos de marco: autos y camiones

L√ČELO EN ESPA√ĎOL

So my “baby” is 3 years old now!

Wow! I still feel that the 1st year went super slowly, from that moment to the 2nd birthday it went a little bit faster but let me tell you… From his 2nd to this 3rd birthday time flew!

We are still new to San Jose, CA so we didn’t throw a party this year but still we decorated the house and prepare a special cake for him.

The theme for this celebration was: Cars and Trucks.

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I prepared everything the night before so he could wake up and find the surprise (that’s why the picture has no natural light!).

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I designed some silly signs for the juices and the cars.

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In case you like this idea, I’m giving away¬†the free downloadable the Interstate 3 Sign¬†file¬†and also¬†the Yellow Sign¬†(this last one is in spanish).

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The wooden name-train from his 2nd birthday party¬†was still useful for the table but I didn’t¬†display the¬†main engine.

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This little guy was so surprised in the morning when he found his “birthday table”…! The picture¬†is terrible but that’s the best I could do at 6am!

The trucks candles from Wilton were great addition to the most amazing buttermilk “tire cake”.

 

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Happy birthday my sweet boy! <3


ESPA√ĎOL

¬°Mi “beb√©” tiene 3 a√Īos!

Yo a√ļn¬†siento que su primer a√Īo de vida fue s√ļper¬†despacio;¬†luego entre el primer a√Īo y los dos a√Īos fue un poquito m√°s r√°pido pero entre los dos y los tres… ¬°Guau! ¬°El tiempo pas√≥ volando!

Todav√≠a somos¬†nuevitos en San Jose, California como para hacer una fiesta de cumplea√Īos con invitados, as√≠ que decidimos celebrarlo entre nosotros solamente, decorar la casa y preparar una torta especial.

El tema de su cumplea√Īos fue: Autos y Camiones.

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Prepar√© toda la decoraci√≥n la noche anterior para que Marco despertara con una linda sorpresa de su “mesa de cumplea√Īos”.

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Dise√Ī√© estos cartelitos graciosos para pegarlos a los jugos y a los autos.

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Si les gust√≥ la idea, se los doy gratis para descargarlos e imprimirlos directamente. Los carteles amarillos en espa√Īol lo descargan en este link¬†Yellow Sign¬†y¬†los carteles de la Interestatal 3 gen√©ricos que cre√© lo descargan en este link¬†Interstate 3 Sign.

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El trencito de madera con su nombre de su fiesta de 2do cumplea√Īos¬†me sirvi√≥ tambi√©n para la mesa pero le quit√© la locomotora y el vag√≥n trasero.

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Mi peque√Īito estaba super feliz con su sorpresa! El cami√≥n de cart√≥n y los autos porta-cupcakes son de la colecci√≥n Construction Party¬†de Meri-Meri.

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Las velitas de camiones de Wilton fueron perfectas para la torta-cubierta ¬°m√°s deliciosa que jam√°s he hecho!

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¬°Feliz cumplea√Īos mi dulce y hermoso Tot√≥!

white cake recipe

During my last years in Buenos Aires, I used to bake and sell muffins, cookies and cakes. I had very good recipes that made delicious treats.

But then I moved to the US and everything changed. My cooking changed completely. Flour, sugar and butter weren’t the same quality and what is a dessert without those primary ingredients? The final product was never the same as the one I used to get.

So I had to learn, everything. Even how to bake in electric ovens (that was the easy part for desserts and breads, not for savory recipes involving meat!) and now I was trying to get a very very good white cake recipe.

I looked so much for a good for it and I finally can say that I found a very good recipe for a white cake here.

The only thing that I didn’t like from this recipe is that it contains vegetable shortening and I don’t like the ingredients that the companies use for shortening… Not at all healthy!

But, since we were going to eat this cake just once in this whole year, I went ahead and made it. Also, even with shortening a cake made from scratch at home is always better than any one that you can buy.

First, I prepared the ingredients for them to be at room temperature; grease the cake pan and turn on the oven at 350F.

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Afterwards, I put the soft butter (1 cup) and the shortening (1/2 cup) in the mixing bowl and starting mixing them until light and fluffy. IMG_6227

Then, I added the organic sugar one cup at a time (3 cups). Then, the eggs one at a time also (5 eggs at room temperature) making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.

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In a separate bowl, I put the 3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (always in patisserie you need to sift the flour first…) with 2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt.

In another bowl, I prepared 1/2 cup of low fat buttermilk with 1 cup of whole organic milk and 2 tsp of vanilla extract.

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After all this preparation, I carefully started adding alternately the milk mixture and the dry ingredients a little bit every time to the butter/shortening mixture while still mixing on low speed. The recipe also says that you have to begin and end with dry ingredients.

Once the mixture was combined with no lumps, it was time to pour the batter into the baking pan.

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Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven.

I baked it¬†for 25-30 minutes at 350 and about 20 more minutes at 325F¬†(remember also that you can always check inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean.. it’s ready!)

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This cake doesn’t grow much but it’s the perfect point of tender and moist.

 

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After it was at room temperature (about 1.30 h later) I cut it in the middle with a knife.

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Filled it with strawberries and Chantilly (beat heavy whipping cream and sugar for that!)IMG_6280

Covered it with more Chantilly…

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And we enjoyed this cake at Marco’s school when we celebrated his birthday with his little friends.IMG_6295

The construction candle is from Wilton Cakes on Amazon; 3 and the star from Dollar Tree.

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Someone really enjoys blowing candles!

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Let me know if you try this recipe or if you get a perfect recipe for a white cake without shortening ūüôā

Enjoy!

 

the most amazing buttermilk chocolate cake

Folks, my friend Hello Truelove was totally right. This is -by far- the most amazing chocolate cake I’ve ever made. Period.

So, if you’re a chocolate lover like us… go for this recipe.

I made just a few changes to¬†the recipe¬†for this cake and also I added were some raspberries when I filled it with the ganache. You’ll see the pictures below. I thought it was a good combination… the sweet cake, with the dark chocolate ganache and¬†the acid of the berries

So, what I did was that I placed 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 1/4 cups organic sugar, 1 tbsp + 1tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder sifted (I used one I bought at Trader Joe’s) in the mixing bowl and started my kitchen-aid on low so all the dry ingredients mix well..

Then I added 1 1/3 cup canola oil, 1 1/2 cup LOW fat buttermilk, 3 large organic eggs (1 at a time) and keep on mixing. Then I slowly poured 1 1/2 cup of hot coffee (I used my espresso machine, so I brewed one lungo and two small shots) to the mixture. Finally, I added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and I mixed it until the batter was smooth. It was the thinner batter that I made for a cake.

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I pour this mixture in an already greased and floured cake pan and baked it at 350 for 30 minutes and then 235 for 20 more minutes. This is tricky because the original recipe calls for only 35 minutes… I think it depends on your oven. Anyway, if you’re hesitant use the¬†toothpick trick to know if it’s ready. I let it rest for about 30 minutes.

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For the ganache, I used 18 oz (1lb) of dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s and 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream.

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I let the chocolate melt a little bit using a double broiler and then started stirring slowly using whisk.

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First, my little helper tested that the ganache was fine.

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Then I filled the cake with the ganache (when it was at room temperature) and I added some raspberries in the center.

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And used the rest to cover the whole cake.

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Since my son is a total fanatic of cars and trucks, I wanted to give a “tire” look to the cake.

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So, I used a toothpick to draw lines like the ones you see on some tires.

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I bought these trucks candles from Wilton at Amazon and let me tell you.. This little one loved his cake so much! IMG_6093Blowing up the candles!

The cake was absolutely delicious. Moist, smooth, sweet with that special taste¬†of the raspberries… And a lot of chocolate!

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We loved this cake! Thank you Katie for the recipe!IMG_6154

Enjoy!

the most delicious brioche recipe I’ve ever tried

Friends,

After I tried this brioche I was amazed at the quality of what I baked. This is an excellent recipe that I found here but it says that belongs to my beloved american chef Julia Child!

It takes a long time, it’s not easy but it’s not difficult.

You just need to have your mise en place (everything measured, ready to use and at room temperature) and dedicate yourself to this preparation… In 16 hours or so, you’ll enjoy the most delicious brioche that you’ever tasted and you’ll feel super proud of yourself!

I’m sharing the recipe that you can also find here¬†plus my own¬†comments and recommendations¬†for the mere purposes of keeping my cooking recipes available for me (I’m my own reader!)

Like many other bread recipes, first we start with the sponge. These are the ingredients for this part:

  • 1‚ĀĄ3cup warm organic whole milk (100- 110 degrees F)
  • 2¬†1‚ĀĄ4teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1¬†large organic egg
  • 2¬†cups¬†unbleached all-purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Put the milk-yeast mixture, the egg and 1 cup of the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Start mixing the ingredients with a spatula until everything is blended.

Sprinkle over the remaining cup of flour to cover the sponge and let it rest uncovered for 30-40 minutes.

After this resting time, the flour coating will crack, that’s indicating¬†that everything is moving along properly (the yeast is alive and working!)

Now let’s move to the dough. Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1‚ĀĄ3cup organic¬†sugar
  • 1¬†teaspoon¬†¬†salt
  • 4¬†large organic¬†eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
  • 1¬†1‚ĀĄ2cups¬†¬†unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6¬†ounces grass-fed¬†butter, room temperature (I use Kerrygold)

Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge and mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients look as if they are about to come together.

Now sprinkle 1/2 cup more flour.

When the flour is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down the hook and bowl as needed.

Before incorporating the butter to the dough, we first need to work it until it has the same consistency to the dough.

I did this using a rubber spatula. The original recipe says “you can bash the butter into submission with a rolling pin or give it kinder and gentler handling by using a dough scraper to smear it bit by bit across a smooth work surface” but the rubber spatula was enough for me ūüėČ

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When it is ready, the butter will be smooth, soft, and still cool- not warm, oily or greasy.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time.

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At this is the point you’ll see that the dough will appear to fall apart… don’t worry, carry on.

When all of the butter has been added, raise the mixer speed to medium-high for a minute, then reduce the speed to medium and beat the dough for about 5 minutes. Clean the sides of the bowl frequently as you work.

When you’re finished, the dough should feel somewhat cool.

It will be soft and sill sticky and may cling slightly to the sides and bottom of the bowl.

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Now it’s the time for the first rise.

The recipe calls to transfer the dough to a buttered bowl and cover it in plastic wrap. I didn’t do this.

I just covered the bowl that I was using with the plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 2 1/2 hours.

Now let’s move to the second rise. Wait.. What? Yes! I told you that this will take a while!

Deflate the dough by placing your fingers under it, lifting a part of dough, and then letting it fall back into the bowl.

I also took another shortcut after this part and after deflating it, I put it straight to the buttered baking-pan that I was going to use later. I covered it with plastic wrap and sent it to the refrigerator overnight.

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I woke up next morning at 5 am and took out of the fridge the bread and let the dough rest for 2 hours at room temperature (still covered in its plastic wrap).

After those 2 hours, I didn’t brush the brioche with egg neither I shaped it in the traditional way. Enough calories already and with all the butter that it had it will get¬†brownish.

After the resting time, I took it out of the plastic wrap and put¬†it in¬†the oven at 375 for 30 minutes (please remember to have your oven at the temperature needed when¬†you’re going to bake the brioche!)

When the 30 minutes where done, I let it cool at room temperature for about 15′ and served it.

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The brioche was absolutely delicious! I felt like I bought that brioche from the most fancy bakery that I could find in New York, San Francisco or Buenos Aires (or in any street vendor in Paris of course!).

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And let me tell you, I felt so happy and proud of what I made that I wanted to share with you the joy sharing the recipe.

Baking is amazing! <3

 

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