Our Delicious Food

International Cooking at Home with Karin and Bruce Boschek

An Unusual Springtime

After about five months of cold, rainy weather we have finally had a week of sunshine and friendly temperatures. This afternoon it was 19 °C (66 °F) there were a few puffy clouds and no wind. We sat outside much of the day, Karin trimmed some box hedges and Halgrim dug in a number of his “construction sites.” Nonetheless, Karin finds time to create more artistic designs for her pies and Bruce has been preparing the lawn mowers, brush cutters, string trimmers and chainsaws for the gardening season.

Even before the bad weather hit we were rather silent here on Our Delicious Food. A combination of getting Karin’s book “Elegant Pie” to press and website (www.elegant-pie.com) on-line, subduing Halgrim, a healthy, strong-as-an-ox German Shepherd puppy and some health issues we were a bit overwhelmed. Just as life began to feel a bit less challenging Covid-19 came on the scene.

For us, being quarantined at home is not a hardship and as far as we know we are healthy. We do some shopping every other week and are otherwise self-sufficient. Our home is beautiful and we love being here. We certainly miss being with out friends and hosting dinners, but that is hopefully just temporary. We think of those who are not so fortunate, living in small apartments with children, or directly affected by the virus. Like everyone else, we hope that this terrifying situation can somehow be remedied as soon as possible.

Being at home during the inclement weather of the last month gave us some time to experiment with cooking and baking. Of course, Karin continues to make artistically decorated pies, but she also wanted to “return to her roots” with some yeast dough, using her grandmother’s recipe. It really is a rather standard yeast dough recipe, but Karin always remembered it as being quite special, especially when still slightly warm out of the oven. Whether for bread rolls, for pizza or sticky buns, it just cannot be beaten.

Since our kitchen is not reliably warm the year around Bruce built a proofing box for the dough to rise in. His instructions for making one on YouTube. You can also let the dough rise in any warm spot, near a heater or in the oven with the door open and at the lowest setting.

If she was going to make yeast pastry Karin decided it should be sweet, sticky and delicious.

Cinnamon Rolls

For the dough

  • 750 g (6 cups) pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 125 g (2/3 cup) sugar
  • 300 ml (1-1/4 cup) milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cube fresh yeast (50 g) or 2 packets of dry yeast (14 g)

For the filling

  • 225 g (2 sticks) butter (softened, but not melted)
  • 2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 300 g (1-1/4 cup) dark brown sugar

For the glaze

  • 1 cup (200 g) confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice, milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste (optional)

Instructions

To make the yeast sponge place the flour in a large bowl and make a depression in the middle. Warm half of the milk to hand warm and pour it into the depression, stirring in the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Cover the bowl and put it in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Butter (or spray with baking spray) the bottom and sides of a 28 cm spring form.

When the 30 minutes have passed add the rest of the ingredients for the dough and knead to form a smooth mass. Cover again and put in a warm place for 1 hour.

In the meantime prepare the filling by mixing the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place the soft butter in a medium sized bowl, add a small amount of the sugar mixture and mash together with a fork. Keep adding sugar small amounts of sugar mixture and mixing until the full amount is incorporated. Cover and place aside until needed, but do not refrigerate.

After the dough has risen 1 hour punch it down and place on a lightly floured work top. Roll out to a rectangle approximately 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick and approximately 30 cm wide x 40 cm (12 x 15 inches) long. Using a long palette knife spread the filling on the rolled out dough, leaving an edge free by about 1 cm (1/2 inch).

Beginning with the side closest to you begin rolling the dough to a long roll. Cut the roll into sections roughly 4.5 cm (1 inch) thick and place the section in the prepared spring pan. Cover the pan with a tea towel and put in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Allow 10 minutes to cool before glazing.

For the glaze place the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and slowly add the liquid stirring with a fork until the desired consistency is obtained. The mixture should be liquid-like, but not runny. Add the vanilla, if using (Note: Vanilla extract or paste is dark brown in colour and will make the glaze somewhat off-colour. I have heard that there is clear vanilla extract, but have never seen it. If the off-colour bothers you just leave out the vanilla altogether).

Cinnamon rolls are best when they are still slightly warm from the oven and the glaze is sticky and oozy. Beware, however. It is difficult to stop eating these, they are so delicious. Guten Appetit!

 

 

Karin has a new website – Elegant Pie

If you love pie, or just want to enjoy Karin’s incredible artistic pie designs click here to go to

Elegant-Pie.Com

You will find recipes and tips on creating your own edible artworks
as well as ordering information for Karin’s book
Elegant Pie
and
2021 Calendar

A new Pie Decoration Video

Karin put a video on YouTube today:

You can click on the picture above to go to Amazon to learn more about the book or pre-order it. Just one week until it will be available on Amazon and at your favourite bookstore.

You may also want to visit the new Elegant Pie website. The site will be updated regularly and there will be new tips and tricks about artistic pie decoration. In addition, you will have a chance to ask Karin questions or make comments there.

 

A New Pie Decoration Book by Karin Pfeiff-Boschek

 

We are pleased to announce the first book dedicated to decoration of pies, Elegant Pie by Karin Pfeiff-Boschek.

Available now on Amazon this book presents the techniques and tricks that Karin has developed for decorating pies on a level equivalent to the finest formal cakes.  For more information or to place an order click on the picture above to go to Amazon.com.

Creating a book like this in only a few months was quite a challenge, but it was also very satifying and fulfilling. This work kept us from adding to our blog, but now that we are this far along we will be updating regularly again. Thanks to everyone for their patience and their kind words.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

 

In the near future, hopefully in January, there will be a new website with pies, information and news from Karin Pfeiff Boschek at www.elegant-pie.com. You can look at it now, but it is still very much a work in progress.

 

A New Pie Design for Autumn

 

I made this apple pie for dessert on a blustery autumn Sunday. The willow leaves are hand cut with a scalpel and together with the small beech leaves and acorns are scattered on a tightly woven background. I was asked recently why I did not show oak leaves with the acorns, but oak leaves do not fall off of the trees in the fall. They fall first in springtime just before the new leaves appear. My autumn pies are usually based on the leaves that adorn the ground at this time of year. We have many willow trees in our back yard so I featured those on this pie.

A Chocolate Pie for Summer

 

Bruce and I were hungering for a chocolate pie, but thought it needed something of a summer touch. Adding fruit seemed to be an excellent way to brighten up the dark chocolate. I thought about green grapes, which would certainly have been nice, but when I saw the kiwis and some beautiful nectarines I decided to go that route. Kiwis are very attractive if you cut them into slices and the nectarine wedges made a perfect border. The pie turned out very well and was all gone in just 2 days.

The recipe for this pie is in the recipe section. It is a bit more complicated to make than the simple “pudding pie” we presented in Pie World last year, but the filling is much richer and “chocolatier,” so I think it is worth it.

 

 

Karin’s pies were featured in the Washington Post!

Please click here or on the pictures to view the article in the Washington Post

 

A German baker has taken pie art to a mesmerizing new level

 

It is Finally Springtime!

After the long, cold winter April brought wonderful spring weather and we are thankful that it has been warm and sunny. We have been very busy in the yards and gardens and have removed about 15 tall willows that were getting out of hand.

 Comfort food from Bergamo and Bergama

Bringing the Roman and Ottoman Empires together

There was a time when I was more at home on ski slopes than anywhere else. I didn’t learn to ski until I was almost 30 years old, but when I did I became an impassioned downhill fanatic. This was at a time when I was supposed to be working on my PhD thesis in the lab, but that is another story. Weekends were spent in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, eastern France or northern Italy, looking for powder snow and great meals. Great meals? Well, of course. Skiing takes a lot of calories, but beyond that, good food was always my first passion.

I believe it was in 1972 that we were skiing in Pescegallo, between lake Como and Bergamo in Lombardy, northern Italy. On the slope we met some French people who told us about a very good restaurant somewhere south of where we were. Since this was more than 40 years ago I hope no one will be offended if every detail is not completely accurate, including the name of the restaurant. I looked on the map and found the Restaurant Step Culmine St.Peter on the Culmine Pass and that sounds vaguely familiar so I will just say it was there. Most importantly, however, it is on the road to Val Taleggio and that brings us to the reason for telling this long-winded story here. We were shown our table, served wine, a Capriano del Colle from the Brescia region and some delicious antipasti, but since it was already quite late the waiter apologetically told us that there were only two items on the menu. I don’t remember the other dish, but the chicken stuffed with Taleggio cheese sounded so good that we all ordered that. The dish was served with risotto alla Milanese (unsurprisingly) and a salad of rocket (arugula) with more  Taleggio cheese shredded over it.  It was so gorgeous that I noted what I thought the recipe would be and tried to recreate it when I returned home, to the pleasure of my skiing companions. It was not quite the same as the original, and then I found a recipe somewhere that I copied in pencil on the inside of the back of a ceral box. It was much closer to the original, but unfortunately I don’t know where the recipe came from. In the meantime I have made this recipe a number of times, whenever I found that delicious cheese at the market or in a specialty shop. In the meantime Taleggio is available in many supermarkets so I decided to share the recipe here. I should also note that we took the opportunity to visit a cheese manufacturer, Casearia Arnoldi Valtaleggio, and stocked up on a few kilos of this delicious stuff.

Taleggio cheese is soft, with a thin rind and is always made and sold in squares. It has a rather pungent odour, but is actually quite mild in flavour. Most apparent is a nuttiness and fruitiness that reminds one of raisins or lemons. If it is not available there are reasonable substitutes such as Robiola, Fontina, Bel Paese or even a Limburger. It is definitely worth looking for the original, but in an emergency these other soft, aromatic cheeses will work for this recipe.

A few weeks ago I bought a block of Taleggio and decided to make the dish, but was undecided as to what to serve with it. A few days before Karin’s sister Monika had brought us the ingredients to make a dish she enjoyed, Turkish rice pilaf, and I thought it sounded like an interesting accompaniment. The rice she brought was medium grained, but I remember most of the Pilaf dishes in Turkey with long-grained rice, more like Basmati rice. I prefer  long-grained rice because it does not need the intensive washing steps to remove excess starch.Back in the late 1960s I had spent 9 weeks in Turkey in the late 1960s and had enjoyed the amazingly nutty and aromatic rice dish, made with pastina-like noodles called arpa sehriye, similar to filini. One restaurant in Bergama, about 100 km north of Izmir, served it with the most amazing mutton dish and eggplant. The rice was served with a bowl of creamy yogurt to spoon over it and the meal was unforgettable. Here are my re-creations of these two memorable dishes:

Taleggio Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Turkish Rice Pilaf

For the chicken breasts

Ingredients for 3 servings (can be easily reduced or increased)

3 boneless chicken breasts without skin
salt and pepper
3 Tbl basil pesto
2 Tbl chopped basil leaves
3 Tbl crème fraîche or cream cheese
180 g (6 oz) Taleggio cheese – grated or cubed
30 g Parmesan cheese – grated
60 g (2 oz) fine bread crumbs
sweet paprika powder
500 g (1 lb) plum or other small tomatoes
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 220 °C (430 °F)
With a sharp knife cut slits int the chicken breasts, but not through.
Mix the cheeses, pesto and basil leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Press the mixture into the slits in the chicken breasts and place in a baking dish or roasting pan. Any excess cheese mixture can be spread onto the meat. Mix the bread crumbs with about 1/2 tsp of paprika powder and spread over the chicken.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, then place the tomatoes between the chicken breasts and trickle oil and vinegar over them. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 min or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 72 °C (160 °F).
Serve the chicken with a few tomatoes and don’t forget to spoon some over of the delicious juices out of the bottom of the roasting pan.

For the Turkish Rice Pilaf

for 3 servings

3 Tbl butter
3 Tbl Turkish rice noodles – Arpa Sehriye (filini or alternatively orzo)
1 cup long-grain rice (Turkish or Basmati)
2 cups warm chicken stock or water
2-1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Rinse the rice in cold water, drain and set aside.

In a medium pot melt the butter and roast the rice noodles until golden brown (with care as the noodles can easily burn). Add the washed and drained rice and heat for 3-4 minutes until the rice begins to emit its fragrance.

Reduce the temperature and add the warm water or stock and salt. Stir once, cover and allow to simmer until the water is completely absorbed, 10 – 15 min. It is important not to stir or otherwise disturb the rice until it is cooked. Place 3 layers of paper towel  over the pot and cover tightly with the lid. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes on the warm stove top. If using a gas stove place the pot over the pilot light or over the smallest flame with a metal gauze to protect from burning.

And finally
some beautiful pies for dessert