Tag: Walnut Recipe

Legendary Dishes | Castagnaccio / Baldino (chestnut cake)

ITALY

In Siena, where the chestnut cake is part of a rich tradition of cake making, the bakers keep their secrets to themselves, not least with the centuries old methods of making castagnacci. The big secret is the ratio of liquid to chestnut flour, the next is the oven temperature, then the baking time, and then the amount of olive oil. The difference is a hard (less liquid) or soft (more liquid) cake, an even bake and a crisp crust.

  • 700 ml water
  • 500 g chestnut flour
  • 10 g rosemary, fresh, chopped small
  • 90 ml olive oil
  • 100 g pine nuts, whole
  • 100 g raisins, soaked in water, drained, dried
  • 75 g walnuts, crushed (optional)
  • 50 g candied fruit
  • Salt, pinch

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, pour the water into the bowl in a drizzle, whisking constantly to eliminate lumps.

Separate a tablespoon each from the pine nuts and raisins, set aside.

Add salt, candied fruit, pine nuts, raisins and walnuts to the batter.

Grease a 30 centimetre round baking tin with 60 grams of oil, pour in the mixture, sprinkle surface with rosemary and remaining nuts and raisins, finish with remaining oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.

The cake should have a dark chestnut colour, a crispy cracked surface. Cut, it will be soft and slightly moist.


Indigenous Ingredients

Chestnut
Pine Nut
Raisin
Rosemary
Walnut

Legendary Dishes | Tabrizi Kufta (meat loaf)

Azerbaijan

After Azerbaijan became an independent republic in 1991 it began a process of reconciliation with its distant past. Being part of the Soviet Union changed every aspect of life in Azerbaijan. One aspect was the existence of a diaspora across the border in Iran. Another was the impact on Azerbaijani culture.

The Soviet occupation, according to Pirouz Khanlou, ‘impacted the traditional cuisine that had emerged over thousands of years’. Very gradually the people of Azerbaijan are rediscovering that culture.

One such dish is this fabulous kufta, a meat loaf fundamentally associated with Tabriz in Iran, fondly remembered in Baku, now an integral aspect of modern Azerbaijani cuisine.

  • 3 litres water
  • 2 kg beef, minced
  • 1.6 kg chicken, baked, wings removed
  • 600 g onions, chopped
  • 500 g lentils, yellow-split, cooked
  • 500 g rice, cooked
  • 5 eggs (1 hard-boiled)
  • 150 g plums / prunes
  • 100 g sour cherries
  • 75 g walnut halves
  • 50 g almonds, blanched
  • 20 g mint, chopped
  • 20 g savory, chopped
  • 10 g tarragon, chopped
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 g salt
  • 5 g chives, chopped
  • 5 g saffron
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Sauté half of the onions over a medium heat until they begin to turn brown, about 30 minutes, leave to cool.

Grate the remaining onions. Mash lentils and rice with a fork, combine with grated onions. Work this mixture into the beef, add eggs, fried onions, herbs and seasonings. Knead for 10 minutes until the fat starts to separate from the ‘dough’. Leave to rest.

Toast the almonds and walnuts in oil over a low heat for ten minutes, remove and chop into small pieces. Spread the dough on a clean tea towel. Sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Stuff hard-boiled egg, plums or prunes and cherries into the cavity of the baked chicken.

Place the chicken on the dough. Wrap the towel around the chicken to encase it tightly with the dough, forming a small soccer ball.

Bring water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold the ball, add saffron and large pinches of salt and pepper.

Cover, simmer for two hours.


Breads of Europe | Birnenbrot (pear bread)

SWITZERLAND

This pear bread comes from an old, established tradition that even today is interpreted differently in each of the Swiss cantons.

One version is made with bread (yeast) dough, another with pastry (oil) dough, yet another with puff (butter) pastry – the latter being preferred by many bakeries because of its lightness.

There are three distinct shapes – thick with filling, like a boat, thin with filling like a wedge (birnenweggen) or like an oblong bread with bits of fruit and nut scattered throughout the crumb.

It has taken us many years to determine the actual difference between birnenbrot and birnenweggen, and to decide on a recipe that has a fidelity to the old tradition. In the end we decided to adapt a recipe from a 1938 cookbook. The dough is a variation on the recipe for the spiced bread rolls called gewürzzopf.

We also added a splash of fruit brandy.

Dough

  • 500 g Zopf flour (or 200 g strong white wheat flour, 200 g white spelt flour, t630, 100 g white wheat flour, t550, large pinch of barley malt flour)
  • 225 ml milk, full-fat, warmed to 38ºC
  • 60 g butter, softened
  • 45 g yoghurt
  • 30 g thick pear juice
  • 20 g yeast
  • 15 g brown sugar
  • 7 g salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • ½ tsp cardamom, ground
  • ½ tsp cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, ground
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Dissolve yeast in the milk and sugar. Mix the flours, salt and spices. Pour yeast mixture into the flour, add butter, knead into a rough dough. Combine the pear juice and yoghurt, add gradually, about 10 grams at a time, working it into the dough to make it smooth. Leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Filling

  • 450 g pears, coarse-mashed (cored weight from hard and soft pears)
  • 125 g walnuts, crushed or halved
  • 125 g sultanas
  • 100 g candied lemon and orange
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g dried apricots reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, , chopped into small pieces
  • 50 g dried pears reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, , chopped into small pieces
  • 30 ml fruit brandy (optional)
  • 25 g birnbrotgewürz (pear bread seasoning)

Combine all the ingredients. If using the brandy stir into the mixture at the end and leave to permeate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 200.C.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Divide filling into four equal amounts. Roll each piece of dough into an elongated rectangle, arrange the filling along one side of the doughs, fold over and brush with water to seal the edges. Place on greased baking trays.

Bake for about 35 minutes.


BLUE WINDOW | Food Travels in the Alps | Birnenbrot (pear bread)

This pear bread comes from an old, established tradition that even today is interpreted differently in each of the Swiss cantons.

One version is made with bread (yeast) dough, another with pastry (oil) dough, yet another with puff (butter) pastry – the latter being preferred by many bakeries because of its lightness.

There are three distinct shapes – thick with filling, like a boat, thin with filling like a wedge (birnenweggen) or like an oblong bread with bits of fruit and nut scattered throughout the crumb.

It has taken us many years to determine the actual difference between birnenbrot and birnenweggen, and to decide on a recipe that has a fidelity to the old tradition. In the end we decided to adapt a recipe from a 1938 cookbook. The dough is a variation on the recipe for the spiced bread rolls called gewürzzopf.

We also added a splash of fruit brandy.

Dough

  • 500 g Zopf flour (or 200 g strong white wheat flour, 200 g white spelt flour, t630, 100 g white wheat flour, t550, large pinch of barley malt flour)
  • 225 ml milk, full-fat, warmed to 38ºC
  • 60 g butter, softened
  • 45 g yoghurt
  • 30 g thick pear juice
  • 20 g yeast
  • 15 g brown sugar
  • 7 g salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • ½ tsp cardamom, ground
  • ½ tsp cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, ground
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Dissolve yeast in the milk and sugar. Mix the flours, salt and spices. Pour yeast mixture into the flour, add butter, knead into a rough dough. Combine the pear juice and yoghurt, add gradually, about 10 grams at a time, working it into the dough to make it smooth. Leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Filling

  • 450 g pears, coarse-mashed (cored weight from hard and soft pears)
  • 125 g walnuts, crushed or halved
  • 125 g sultanas
  • 100 g candied lemon and orange
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g dried apricots reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, chopped into small pieces
  • 50 g dried pears reconstituted in 150 ml pear juice, chopped into small pieces
  • 30 ml fruit brandy (optional)
  • 25 g birnbrotgewürz (pear bread seasoning)

Combine all the ingredients. If using the brandy stir into the mixture at the end and leave to permeate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 200.C.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Divide filling into four equal amounts. Roll each piece of dough into an elongated rectangle, arrange the filling along one side of the doughs, fold over and brush with water to seal the edges. Place on greased baking trays.

Bake for about 35 minutes.

THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Üsküdar | İçli Köfte (bulgur meatballs)

Crust (dough)
  • 500 ml  water, boiled
  • 350 g bulgur, fine ground
  • 150 g semolina, fine ground
  • 30 g walnuts, fine ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Semolina, coarse, for coating

Soak bulgar and semolina in the hot water, leave to rest for 30 minutes, then add the walnuts and seasonings. Wet hands and knead into a soft dough.

Core (filling)
  • 250 g beef, double minced
  • 200 g onions, chopped
  • 100 g walnuts, coarse chopped / fine ground
  • 4 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
  • 4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • 45 g red pepper paste / tomato paste (quantity optional)
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml pomegranate molasses
  • 15 g  red pepper (paprika) flakes
  • 1 tsp sumac, ground

Sauté onions in oil, about 15 minutes. Add the meat, break and fry for three minutes. Add paprika, sumac and walnuts. Increase heat, stir for three minutes until the walnuts release their oil. Stir in the molasses and paste, leave to cool.

If desired, work the herbs into the mixture. Divide dough into walnut-sized pieces, about 30 g each. Using thumb and forefinger make a cavity with thin sides in the bulgar dough. Place 10 g of filling inside the cavity, push down and fold dough over the filling, seal and shape into a ball.

Deep fry in sunflower oil at 190°C until golden or shallow fry in a large frying pan or bake in a 200°C oven or boil in salted water.


Note: The pastes can be bought in jars but they are easy to make if good fresh red peppers and tomatoes, preferably Turkish, are available.


Note: For a colourful description on how to make red pepper paste go here.


Note: The crust for icli köfte is not always made with bulgar. Semolina became a crust ingredient along with nuts aeons ago. Wheat grits have also played a part while in more recent centuries potatoes have been combined with eggs and flour. Some recipes call for double-ground meat to be added to the various flours that define the crust. The bulgar can be coarse ground and also fine ground, the latter producing a crispy crust. The cooking method is also variable. According to Sahrap Soysal, author of A Cookery Tale, fried icli köfte are called irok, while the boiled version is known as igdebet.


Legendary Dishes | Prekmurska Gibanica (Prekmurje layered pastry)

Those of you with a sharp eye and knowledge of this pastry will notice there is less cheese in this version. For a sweet pastry use less cheese. For a savoury pastry use more cheese and no sugar in the cheese mixture.
SLOVENIA

This multi-layered pastry has a unique combination and can be made with prepared pastry doughs or with commercial filo pastry. It requires a rectangular baking tin so we choose a 30 centimetre x 30 centimetre tin with a 5 centimetre height and adjusted the amount of filling accordingly.

Therefore this recipe is for a similar sized tin with filo pastry.

Pastry

  • 250 g filo pastry

Fillings

Poppy Seed

  • 350 g poppy seeds, ground
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g vanilla sugar

Cheese

  • 1 kg curd cheese
  • 2 eggs

Walnut

  • 150 g walnuts, ground
  • 50 g vanilla sugar

Apple

  • 750 g apples, peeled, cored, puréed
  • 60 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Cream

  • 350 g sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, pinch
  • Butter / Sunflower oil, for greasing and spreading

Grease the tin with butter or oil, place a sheet of filo on the bottom and up along the sides of the tin, brush with oil. Add a second layer and brush with butter or oil.

Spread half of the poppy seed mixture over the pastry sheet. Cover with a sheet of pastry and brush with butter or oil.

Spread half of the cheese mixture over the pastry sheet. Cover with a sheet of pastry and brush with butter or oil.

Spread half of the walnut mixture over the pastry sheet. Cover with a sheet of pastry and brush with butter or oil.

Spread half of the apple mixture over the pastry sheet. Cover with a sheet of pastry and brush with butter or oil.

Repeat with the remaining mixtures, then place two sheets brushed with butter or oil on top of the apple mixture. Spread the cream mixture on top.

Bake at 180ºC for 75 minutes until the top is browned.

Legendary Dishes | Pähkinäkakku (nut cake)

FINLAND

This enigmatic nut cake of Finland utilises oily nuts and gives a flavour that is unique in such cakes. Some versions call for less nuts and more flour. As this is a nut cake we favour a higher quantity of nuts to flour. The dry to wet ratio is generally 1:1. This is the chocolate version. For a frosting combine melted chocolate with warmed whipped cream at a 3:1 ratio. The frosting can also contain crushed mixed nuts.

  • 200 g mixed nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts), ground
  • 170 g sugar
  • 170 g white wheat flour
  • 150 g sour cream
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 30 g vanilla sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt, pinch

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Combine all the dry ingredients – baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder, flour, nuts and salt – and mix thoroughly, breaking up any lumps.

Whisk the eggs and sugars until light and thick, carefully fold in the dry mixture, the melted butter and the cream.

Pour into a lined cake tin.

Bake for 65 minutes. Test after 55 minutes.