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Posts Tagged ‘Swiss

P1060740I’m confused–is it summer or fall? If it really is summer (it IS August), then why am I wearing a scarf every day, and why am I already thinking about booking my plane ticket home for Thanksgiving? Because this is San Francisco, and like Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Though I must have heard this quote at least 10 times since moving here, it is actually true.

This last weekend, I left the chill of the city to go Gravenstein apple-picking and picnicking in Sebastopol, a cute town about 50 miles North of San Francisco. I know–Sebasto-what? Sebasto-hole? No–Sebasto-pol! As in the Gravenstein apple CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

It was altogether loads of fun–turning out to be an all-day apple-picnic extravaganza! I left with about 5 lbs. of fruit and a brain full of all the fab things I wanted to make–apple butter, apple jam, apple tart, and apple tarte tatin!!

The bounty of Sebastopol before my eyes, I set out to find the ultimate apple pastry–as in apples in the crust, apples in the filling and apples in the topping.

I didn’t find a recipe with apple in the crust (I suppose I could have just added it–you know like when you add lemon or orange zest–but maybe I will next time. Grated apple essence crust? Has anyone ever done this before?). However, I did find one that utilized apples in both filling and topping, namely a “Zuercher Pfarrhaustorte” (Zurich rectory tart) that I came across on 1x umruehren bitte. Apparently, it’s another Betti Bossi recipe–the Betty Crocker of Switzerland!

I eschewed all plans I had made that Sunday–skipping Ballet in the park and a birthday party (not a close friend; someone’s mom)–staying home instead to put together this ravishing pastry. And I’m so glad I did; I enjoyed every minute–even grinding the hazelnuts by hand with my pestle & mortar (I haven’t gotten round to buying a voltage converter for my food processor yet.)

This tart is perfect for these fresh summer days in the city–it’s all hazelnuts, grated apple and flaky, butter tart crust. According to Zora, the hazelnuts are replaceable with almonds. I also didn’t have quince jam, so I used apricot. Lovely, lovely (>^_^)<

Zürcher Pfarrhaustorte (from 1x umruehren bitte and Betti Bossi)
30 cm tart pan

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shortcrust pastry (recipe see below)

150 g hazelnuts, grated
2 eggs (M)
80 g sugar
1 ts cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
2 apples, grated

4 apples, peeled, halved, cored and finely incised
2 tb quince jelly, melted (I used apricot.)

Roll out the pastry and line tart pan with baking paper and pastry. Poke small holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Put in fridge, until the rest of ingredients are ready.

Preheat oven to 220 C.

Sperate eggs.
Mix yolks, hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and grated apples.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, fold them gently into the hazelnut/apple mix.

Spread the hazelnut/apple mix over the pastry. Put the halved apples on top, cut side down.
Coat apple halves with quince jelly.

Bake tart for 35 minutes.

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This is a traditional Swiss pie from the Romandie. It’s quite tricky to get the texture of the custard and the crust right. I made this for D.’s 28th birthday. I hope he likes it!  

Despite appearances (this image is from my pre-photography class days), the pie was a nice combination of creamy, curdy, bounce and crisp crust. 

Makes one 9 inch pie (8-10 slices).

Swiss Custard Pie (Nidlechueche)

TART DOUGH INGREDIENTS
300 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

100 g very cold butter

5-6 tbsp cold water

CUSTARD INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp flour

4 tbsp sugar

a dash cinnamon

2 large eggs

300 ml heavy cream

1/4 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare the dough: In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.

2. With a knife, flake the butter into the mixing bowl.  Then, with your fingertips, gently rub the butter and flour together until evenly combined (small grains).

3. Add cold water.  Then quickly mix together.  Do not knead.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or put into the freezer until completely chilled through.

5. While the dough is chilling, prepare the custard: In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

6. Whisk in the 2 room temperature eggs, combining well (until dry ingredients are completely dissolved).

7. Add the room temperature heavy cream and vanilla to the mixture.  Mix well.

8. To assemble: Pre-heat oven to 240 deg. C. Grease and flour one 9 inch pie pan.

9. Pour custard into the pie pan.

10. Pour custard into the pie pan.

11. Place pie into the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.

12. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool. Do not refrigerate.

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In Switzerland, there’s bread and then there’s Zuepfe. I lived in the country for 4 years; I even married a Swiss man–and yet, I still don’t understand the distinction. It’s a really dense, milky butter yeast bread that is great eaten slathered with buttered and layered on with ripe Gruyere or is tasty just on its own, still slightly warm from the oven. Thinking about it, I suppose it really is more than just bread. It’s hearty, it’s rich, and is a staple for every Sunday breakfast or brunch.

Confusion aside, Bernese Zuepfe is the ultimate in yeast breads. Not being Swiss myself, Zuepfe making and baking did not come naturally. It took quite a few tries (i.e. failures) and taste tests to get it just right. I knew I had finally arrived when I served it for the in-laws. Crisp and golden on the outside, good tearing consistency on the inside, and a buttery, yeasty flavor–the entire loaf was devoured!

The key to this bread is proofing–well-risen dough will produce a light and airy loaf. Adding a little egg yolk to the dough supposedly makes it even lighter; however, this also makes the loaf go stale faster. I’m also convinced that using really good butter and fresh yeast yields a better product.

Bernese Sunday Loaf (Berner Zuepfe) (Recipe from TipTopf)

Ingredients

500 g plain flour (I use bread flour)

1 1/2 coffee-spoonfuls salt

1 coffee-spoonful sugar

60 g unsalted butter, at room temp.

15 g fresh yeast or 2 tsp active dry

300 ml lukewarm milk

1 egg lightly whisked, plus 1/2 an egg yolk

Directions

1. Warm the milk for 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes or until slightly frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix flour salt and sugar.

3. Cut in the butter. Use your fingertips to work the butter and flour in together, creating a uniform mixture.

4. Add a little egg into your yeast and milk mixture. Mix.

5. Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the liquids. Knead for 10 minutes (by hand or in stand mixer) until the dough is smooth and elastic.

6. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size.

7. Once dough has risen, place it onto a clean surface and cut in half. Roll the dough back and forth with your hands until you end up with two  equal-lengthed 18 inch snake-like strands. The middle of the strands should be thicker and the ends, thinner.

8. Braid the dough. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate and let rise for 15 minutes. (This last proof is optional.)

9. Then with remaining egg, brush two layers of egg onto the dough.

10. Place braid in cold oven, set oven to 220 C and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

11. Remove the bread, knocking on the bottom for doneness. It should sound hollow. Allow to cool and then slice and serve!

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One thing D. and I really miss since moving from Switzerland to Singapore is Swiss bread. It doesn’t matter where you bought it or what kind it was, it was always good – the right texture, lightness and flavor. As an American, I never knew plain bread could have so much flavor by itself until I moved to Switzerland. 

The recipe is from TipTopf, a cookbook that every Swiss person seems to own. (I can understand why–it never disappoints.) This bread is excellent – way better than anything you can buy here in Singapore. Crunchy on the outside, thick, airy and aromatic on the inside. Its great plain or slathered with butter and your favorite jam or honey. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients

400 g whole wheat flour

100 g plain flour

2 tsp dry active yeast

350 ml lukewarm water

1 1/2 tsp table salt

1 tbsp olive oil

50-100 g walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions

1. Mix together yeast and water. Allow to stand 15 minutes or until yeast froths.

2. Measure out flours and salt. Combine and mix thoroughly.

3. In a stand mixer, pour in dry ingredients. Create a well with your hand.

4. Into the well, pour in liquids (oil, yeast and water). Mix for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. If you want to add nuts, do so about a minute into the mixing process.

5. Put dough in a floured bowl and allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the dough onto the sheet and place into the bottom half of a COLD oven. Bake at 220 deg. C for 40 to 50 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

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This cake is really easy to put together. I ended up halving the recipe and keeping the original bake time, which in the end worked out very well. This might have to do with the fact that I used an 8 inch cake pan rather than a 10 inch as the recipe called for. Actually, I would recommend making only half if you are just making it for your family. 

The cake is dense, banana-rich and spongey. I also only had ground almonds and whole almonds on hand, so that is what I used in place of the hazelnuts or walnuts.

(I made this cake a few months back and for the life of me, can’t remember where I got the recipe from!!! I did a googlesearch but was unable to find any one similar to this one. I have feeling, however, that I adapted it from a “Hauscake” recipe out of TipTopf, a Swiss cookbook.)

Chocolate Banana Nut Cake

Ingredients

6 oz unsalted butter, diced

6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used good-quality dark 70%)

1 1/2 cups plain flour

190 g fine sugar

1/2 cup ground walnuts (I used almonds)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups (450 g) very ripe bananas, lightly mashed

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans (I used almonds)

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Greased and lined a 10 inch cake pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler till it is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Sift together flour and baking powder and baking soda. Add sugar, ground hazelnuts, and salt. Blend thoroughly.

3. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla extract and banana just until combined. Set aside.

4. Add the eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined and thick. Stir into the banana mixture until well combined.

5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 mins. Remove and sprinkle chopped pecan nuts over the top and continue to bake for another 25 to 30 mins until skewer comes out clean. 

6. Cool cake on rack. Serve either plain or a dollop of whipped cream.

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