Chocolatey Tartelettes d'Orange

Since I have seen the Tarte au Citron at "The Great British Bake Off", I have wanted to bake it. However, last weekend at my parents' house, I discovered that the little orange tree was full of very cute little baby oranges. They taste pretty sour, but smell absolutely delicious and orangey and because they are so small and the zest is so thin, you can eat them whole like kumquats
I had just read about how someone candied lilac flowers, and had the idea that sour oranges would be the perfect candidate for being candied - I usually find candied fruits way too sweet! So the baby oranges came to Munich with me and were candied here. When I also found some juice oranges in my organic delivery box, I spontaneously started the project "Tarte à l'Orange". Because I wanted to try different decorations, I baked 4 small tartlets rather than one large tart. The dough for the pastry base is from my rhubarb chocolate tart, the filling from Mary Berry's Tarte au Citron, only with oranges instead of lemons. Next time I might use a little less sugar, because the oranges are sweeter than lemons of course. But that did not bother anyone except me ;-)


Pain Paillasse

This  recipe  is from Silvia by Candid Moments. Since the penultimate  # PAMK, I had planned to bake it, and got around to it recently ​​quite spontaneously when I made it for a wine tasting session with a friend. A French colleague of mine said she knows no bread with that name, which really surprised me, since it sounds so French! Meanwhile, Google has solved the mystery: it is a Swiss bread, not a French one! The name seems to come from braided  straw baskets, which were once used to store and transport the bread. In German we call this kind of bread "root bread" due to its appearance. I used dry yeast instead of fresh yeast as in Silvia's recipe and would use a little less salt next time. It was delicious!

Rhubarb Syrup

Dear Silvia from Candid Moments recently posted images of lilac syrup, which has made ​​me very envious, because I discovered lilac syrup last year and would love to make it again, only here in Munich, there is still no lilac blooming! Not to mention elder, my reference elder on my biking trail to work will need a lot more time, only the stupid snowball is in bloom. But there is rhubarb! A few years ago, I'd made a rhubarb syrup from a chefoch.de recipe and found it perfect to replenish all my lovely and lovingly collected bottles again! Every time I make syrup, I wonder again how much sugar it must contain in order to ensure good preservation. My  lilac syrup , the elderflower syrup and elderberry syrup always keep very well, at least a year, with a sugar-liquid ratio of about 1:1 or less sugar. The citric acid naturally helps preservation, too!

Swedish Arrack rolls (Punschrullar)

In northern Sweden, more precisely in a great hotel near the Abisko National Park, Ingrid and I made ​​the acquaintance of Swedish Arrack rolls. We were thrilled! We had four different local sweets in the test (the others were called Chocolate Kiss, Chokladböllar and Cloudberry-Kiss) and Lanka the punch role was the best. Punch is a Swedish liqueur based on  Arrack, hence the different names. While I was researching that, I've learned that in addition to the Sri Lankan coconut-based Arrack which I know, there is another anise-based Arak, which is produced in some Arab countries! I'm not a big fan of anise, so I have not missed anything by my ignorance ;-) But with Arrack, I will certainly bake more often in the future!

Sri Lanka Black Tea Macarons with Lemon Ganache

For the Sri Lankan New Year's Party this year, I wanted to do something different and yet typical. When I last made the macarons in Easter Egg shape, it occurred to me that the shape of the island of Sri Lanka actually looks a bit like an egg and that more precise contours couldn't be much harder to do than, say, the bear macarons, so I just tried it! Sri Lanka (Ceylon), is the home of black tea among other things, so I thought of macarons with black tea and a white lemon ganache as filling. Of course, I was not the first person to make tea macarons, so I knew that it works and even looks very nice with the small black dots :-)
I also thought it was a good idea to make the macaron filling with a custard from the remaining egg yolks and some honey, as this video describes, I'll try that next time! A dark chocolate ganache would fit well, too, but I was not sure if that wouldn't overpower the lemon...


TEXUS-50 Sponge-Roulade

So the "main attraction" for my business trip to the Arctic Circle were the planned launches of the sounding rockets TEXUS 50 and 51. TEXUS 50 was successfully launched on april 12, 2013, but TEXUS 51 unfortunately had to be postponed. So there was only a TEXUS 50 sponge roulade ;-)
Initially I had planned to bake a single roulade, but it soon became clear that this would grotesquely distort the proportions - after all, the rocket, a VSB-30, about 12 meters long with a diameter of less than half a meter!
 Image: Rainer Kirchhartz, DLR
My solution to bake four biscuit roulades and arrange them side by side came already closer to the original, but still was not really to scale. Anyway, all the project participants were able have some of it and 8 sponge roulades instead of 4 would have been just a little extreme... ;-)
The payload was painted in pretty white lettering with a golden 50.
The next picture shows the respective first and second stage for TEXUS 50 and 51. Note the differently colored fins!
Foto: Klaus Lohn, DLR
Here, the two stages already wear their "war paint" - which I didn't manage to copy on my cake due to time restrictions ;-)
Foto: Nadine Perera, DLR
That's how it looks when the two stages are already in the launcher and the payload is lifted on top of them. As with my cake, it is not easy to get the original rocket in one picture in full length!
Foto: Klaus Lohn, DLR
The fact that the payload (the red part) is thinner than the stages (the two orange parts with the fins), I solved, as I think, very practically by rolling up one roulade from the long side of the baking tray, resulting in a long, narrow roll, by rolling up two sponge roulades from the short side of the tray, which resulted in two shorter, thicker roulades. 
Image: Rainer Kirchhartz, DLR
Just as with the real rocket, I needed an engine adapter which connects the two parts, which I made by rolling up a part of the fourth roulade diagonally. The other part of the fourth roulade, I rolled and cut diagonally to form the top. The fins, the nozzle and tip are molded from marzipan.
Zuerst die Finnen, Düse und Spitze aus Marzipan herstellen, damit diese über Nacht trocknen können. 
Bei diesen kleinen Teilen funktionierte die Weinflasche als Wellholz noch ganz gut, für die große Fläche später hat eine (verschlossene) Bierdose noch besser funktioniert. Die Finnen aus dünn ausgerollten Marzipan ausschneiden, einen dünnen Streifen als Finnschuhe um die untere Kante biegen, über Nacht trocknen lassen. Die Düse und die Spitze habe ich erst am nächsten Tag geformt, die wurden auch noch einigermaßen formstabil!


Swedish Kronenkrakker Cake

The story of the Kronenkrakker cake is a long one: I once had a colleague who was married to a Finn, and on the occasion of our first joint cookie baking with colleagues she told me about a Finnish pastry called "Korvapuusti" ("slap"). In this context, I asked her if she had ever heard of a Swedish cake called Kronenkrakker. She said no, even when I told her that it was a wedding cake in the shape of seven stacked rings, hence the "crown" in their name, and that these rings were externally decorated with brittle and brittle is called "krakker" in Swedish (actually "brittle" is called "krokant" in Swedish, just like in German and I still don't speak Swedish). 
I did what every computer scientist would do, and googled "kronenkrakker" for the first time. Zero results. I was confused, I could not remember who told me about the cake, and I thought I had seen it somewhere on the internet - but the Internet also did not know it! Shortly thereafter, at a conference, I asked a few Swedish colleagues about the cake, and again, nobody had heard of either the name nor of the form described by me with the seven stacked rings. I was at a loss. 
Having had a little time to meditate about it, I remembered vaguely that I had once had a funny dream in which I was an au pair in Sweden, had fallen in love there with a typical blond Swede, and we wanted to get married. So I went to a Swedish supermarket to buy the seven ring molds for the Kronenkrakker cake for our wedding with his mother, a very charming woman, and then I must have woken up at some point. I could not even remember the name of the face of my Swedish dream fiancé, but the cake stuck (which indeed says a lot about me ;-)).  
Well, and since my colleagues found the story extremely funny, I set out to design such a cake, of course without having the seven ring forms, which you could buy in any Swedish supermarket in my dream. I used the recipe for the nut wreath by Gaby as a base for the cake. Well, and since I'm in Sweden for the first time in my life, here it is - the (perhaps soon) famous Swedish Kronenkrakker cake! :-)

Prinsesstårta (Princess Cake)

Yay! My amazing employer, the German Aerospace Center, is sending me on a business trip to Kiruna in northern Sweden, where, among other things, I get to see a rocket launch from TEXUS  :-) At the European Rocket Range, most of the residents cook for themselves, i.e., there are common kitchens -  and naturally I thought of taking a couple of baking utensils - only the bare necessities, of course ;-) 
Regarding Sweden, two cakes come to my mind: the Prinsesstårta is a very famous Swedish cake that I've wanted to bake for a while now. The Kronenkrakker is very unknown, however, because it was invented by me and baked only once - for details see here in this blog...

Parfait of Light and Dark Chocolate Mousse

My dear colleague Alex celebrated his birthday recently and actually the plan was that we would celebrate together whilst on great business trip in northern Sweden. He had mentioned several times and very inconspicuously that he REALLY likes chocolate mousse, so I wanted to prepare one in Sweden - no problem so far! However, the plan had changed and I spent a week in northern Sweden, while he was on another business trip until the evening of his birthday. So, I produced a light and a dark chocolate mousse before my departure, arranged them in a glass jar, froze it directly afterwards and deposited it in the office freezer, so that another nice colleague could bring it to him on the evening after his arrival. Of course, I had previously tested the suitability of chocolate mousse for being frozen: depending on the thaw progress, you can eat it as ice cream, parfait or as completely thawed mousse :-)

Donauwellen Wedding Cake

My friend Andrea has asked me to help her bake a wedding cake for her sister Judith. I have known the two sisters since my childhood, because we grew up in the same street, and had a lot of fun thinking up a cake together with Andrea. We thought that a "Donauwelle" ("wave of the Danube") would be a great cake for a wedding in Swabia, and decorated it in the wedding colors red and white. The cake decorations are made from gelatin fondant, which Andrea has modeled herself - she had even practiced with play dough ;-) By now, the happy couple got married - Congratulations and have a happy future together, Judith & Jürgen!


Pink Velvet Sponge with Mango Mousse and Rose Decoration

For the birthday of my dear friend Andrea, I made a fancy cake with a rose decoration that I had discovered, once again, on Pinterest and had since been dying to try it out! I had chosen the combination of sponge cake and cream cheese-chocolate frosting because Andrea and her family had already been so excited about the rainbow snowman cake, particularly her father, who otherwise seem to hardly eat cake at all. :-) This time, the sponge had only one color, namely pink, and it was filled in the middle with mango mousse. Because I wanted to have the cake nice and high, I squeezed a recipe for a 26cm mold into a 24cm mold, but it has worked well, the batter did not run over (as I was very afraid it might), but yielded a nice and pretty high cake! :-)


Australian Fish Cupcakes

For the farewell party of an Australian colleague who goes - as he put it - "back to the land of murderous animals", I spontaneously baked these fish cupcakes. Basis for the cupcakes is the orange muffin recipe I used for the Muffin Buket decorated them with butter cream, mini Smarties, and "Lachgummi" - funny enough, you can use almost every form of Lachgummi fruit somehow use as a fish-tail, even the banana ;-) I had the idea again from Pinterest, but in this picture they probably used mini-M&Ms which have much richer colors than the mini Smarties I had. And, finally, I got to use my monster eyes :-)

Striped Farfalle Pasta, dried for #PamK

I think homemade pasta makes a great gift, especially the colorful and patterned examples - if you can preserve them well, which means to dry them! I've tried a lot in this regard, by browsing various Chefkoch.de forums, which was a lot of fun. Since I've finally become the proud owner of a KitchenAid, I had to benchmark it, specifically with green pasta dough, the dough that I least like kneading by hand, and the main reason why I need a food processor!
Kitty didn't deal too well with this first dough, in fact, I had to send her in for repair after only one week's use because the head kept raised during kneading (yes, I bought it just because of the design and I'm still not quite convinced that a much cheaper and only a bit uglier Kenwood wouldn't have been the better choice ... But she's just so pretty and blue :-)).
When Kitty finally came back fixed (after about 3 weeks!), I obviously had benchmark her against the dough again, and this time she managed to do it unscathed. :-)
I mostly use this recipe with eggs - on the first try with spinach dough, I used another recipe, and the dough was far too soft, so I had to add tons of semolina. One really 
should use less eggs to compensate for the spinach. If you want to dry the pasta, it's best not to put salt in the pasta, because it attracts water. However, I have also dried leftover pasta dough including salt without problems!


Easter Egg Macarons for #PamK

After my faith in my macaron arts had been restored with the Heart Macarons, I had the idea to bake Easter egg macarons for #PamK. The motto was actually "childhood memories", but my exchange partner lives in a place called "Osterhofen" and together with the date of the exchange, I absolutely had to bake one Easter-themed item! Macarons without food coloring are eggshell colored anyway and colored sugar beads had already worked well on the Snowman MacaronsThis time, I were folded the batter probably not quite long enough, the macarons weren't entirely smooth on the surface ... but better like that than if they break during baking!

Chocolate-Caramel Custard in a Jar for #PamK

Another childhood memory of mine is custard, which we have always made ​​with readymade packaged custard powder. Some time ago, I had found an interesting thread in the chefkoch.de forum titled "I will never buy packaged custard again" where some people posted great recipes for pudding from scratch - including these two for chocolate custard and caramel custard. I decided that the custard would best be mailed in a glass jar and that it would be pretty to layer both puddings into the jar. After testing a complicated chocolate pudding recipe with egg yolks, I realized that I am not able to simultaneously deal with hot caramel and the clotting risk of egg yolk, and timing it such that both have the same texture and the layers in the jar work out! I also found the pudding with egg a bit too much, so I decided on the more classic chocolate pudding recipe below, and these two I was well able to prepare and layer in parallel! :-)


Homemade Raider (now called Twix) for #PamK

The theme for "post/mail from my kitchen" is "childhood memories" this time. Since many of my sweet childhood memories (butter cream cake, waffles with vanilla sauce, truffles, Kinder-Riegel, ice cream) are unfortunately either impossible to mail or (almost) impossible to prepare at home, I had decided on homemade Toffifee and homemade Nutella. 
After I had searched, sorted and compared recipes, it occurred to me suddenly that my exchange partner has a hazelnut-incompatibility and thus both ideas were out! So I came up with homemade Raider or Twix - no hazelnuts and actually a special childhood memory for me, since I still remember the "Raider is now called Twix" - advertising in 1991 very well! So I baked a shortcrust base for my 22 x 22 cm brownie mold, the one I always use for the cashew toffees.
I was able to use the crème caramel (dulce di leche) from the Russian store which I wanted to use for the Toffifee for the Twix instead, but it was a bit softer than the original caramel.


Heart macarons for the "Jour du Macaron"

I wasn't really happy with my last macarons, the snowmen and bears, and I also wanted to practice heart macarons - they look so pretty on wedding cakes, but require some practice! Which day to better start that practice than the "Jour du Macaron", which happens to be the Canadian beginning of spring, namely the 20th March aka TODAY?
So I did some research how it could be that the macarons au chocolat were perfect, with not a single one getting fissurs, while the snowmen and bears were so problematic. I took the the 7 egg whites recipe of  the macarons au chocolat and converted it to 3 egg whites, and I got exactly the snowmen and the teddy bear recipes, so the composition was the same. My conclusion: I had folded the batter too long and I'm holding the 10-or 30-second rule responsible:
The Snowman recipe said: "Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after about 30 seconds."
The Bears- recipe said: "Run a knife through. If the line disappears after ten seconds, stop folding."
However, in the French video that helped me make the perfect chocolate macarons, it does not look at all as if anythig would flow together within 30 or 10 seconds, so this time I ignored both rules and left the dough extra thick and such that nothing happens with a cut in the batter for way more 30 seconds, and voilà, the macarons turned out great and not a single had fissures!
I filled the macarons with butter cream, which was left over from a wedding cake test (more on that later!)


Clara's Healthy Din-Cookies

My current "favorite kid" in my circle of friends is little Clara - because she loves pastry of all kinds and thus appreciates my hobby! Shortly after she had learned my name ("Din"), her mom returned home with the Christmas cookies that we had baked together. Since then, all kinds of cookies and sweets are also called "Din" by Clara, which makes me very proud!
Since Clara had been ill last week, I wanted to bake her some healty cookies for her cookie jar and that's how I made up the recipe for these cookies with spelt whole grain flour, brown sugar, and oats.
Also, I got to use the little cookie cutters wich my dad had given me for Christmas :-)
I thought that the "Dins" did taste a bit healthy, but Clara apparently likes them very much!

Bouquet of Cinnamon Buns

The Cupcate Rose Bouquet gave me the idea that my favorite Hermann cinnamon buns could also be presented in that manner - because that's much fancier than just sticking them into a basket, right?
Also, the cinnamon bun bouquet has the great advantage over the cupcake bouquet that the construction is much easier to transport! The butter cream is a bit sticky and unstable after all, unlike the cinnamon buns. This time, everything went much faster and worked like a charm, such that I even arrived at the party super punctual :-)


Sweet Condensed Milk Cake with Bear Macarons

Recently, I was visiting the "newest" baby in my circle of friends, little Luisa. I had also baked her a gingerbread heart and a cake (for stressed-out parents) because I was invited for coffee. I thought that bear macarons would be the ideal ornament for a baby's birthday cake. Unfortunately, mine were nowhere near as perfect as the original, but I keep practicing! 
The cake was a sponge cake with sweetened condensed milk I had discovered here, with the dark chocolate ganache that I fill into my chocolate macarons. I made the macarons without food coloring, only using homemade elderberry syrup to dye them purple!