A quick note on anthocyanins and pH

PâtisserieA story about , , Written on le Tuesday 26 May 2015.


I absolutely love to make jam; whether it’s ten kilograms of fruits or five hundred grams. Somehow, I’ve always found the process very calming, not unlike some sort of kitchen meditation.

One thing I find especially wonderful is how much brighter the colour of the jam becomes after the addition of acid – and for the record, I use citric acid in most cases.
This is due to a structural shape change in one of the most widely-found pigment: anthocyanins. As the pH lowers the pigments go from purple to pink to electric red.

Yes, acid intensifies the colour of anthocyanins.
And while it’s most definitely noticeable for any kind of berry or citrus jams, I love how dramatic the change is when making fig jam, as pictured above (not that I made some recently, even though spring takes forever to come around here, late summer is definitely far behind us now – maybe even more so than it is ahead).

I thought you might wonder/have wondered/will wonder about that one day. Love and jam xx

Oops # 5 – Un gâteau cassé et une glace au cake crumb

PâtisserieA story about , , , , , , , , Written on le Sunday 17 May 2015.

[A broken cake, and a cake crumb ice-cream]

broken cake

I am not patient. Or scared to burn my fingers. So this was bound to happen one day or another.

Yes, let this cake be a reminder that impatience and hot cakes don’t compute.

While I may never learn; I’ll have some cake crumb vanilla ice-cream in my freezer, for when the “good cake-half” will have been devoured.

Cake crumb ice-cream

I can hardly call it a recipe; and yet, I’m going to go ahead and do it.

Let thaw some good vanilla ice-cream – from which a few spoonfuls have already disappeared, if not, proceed to do so first – in your fridge for around 10-20 minutes until soft but not melted. In the meantime, place the cake crumbs on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and freeze.
Once the ice-cream is soft, quickly mix in the frozen cake crumbs (now is a good time to drizzle with COLD salted caramel sauce or fudge sauce) and return the tub to the freezer. Pretend nothing ever happened.

And since I’ve told you about the salted caramel sauce and fudge sauce, I think it wouldn’t be fair not to share their recipes.

Salted caramel sauce

170 g caster sugar
275 g whipping cream
110 g glucose syrup
3/4 tsp sea salt
50 g milk chocolate, chopped
75 g butter
, cubed

In a large pan, cook the sugar over low heat until dark amber. In the meantime, bring the cream, glucose, and salt to the boil; and set aside.
When the caramel is ready, pour the cream in three times off the heat, whisking as you do so. Be very careful as the mixture will spit and bubble. Return to the stove and cook to 106°C.
Set aside for 10 minutes or so, then handblend the chocolate in the caramel, then the butter one piece at a time. Blitz for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean glass jar, close the lid tightly, and allow to cool down completely.
This sauce will keep in the fridge for a month.

Fudge sauce

400 g whipping cream
100 g butter
250 g dark brown sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
150 g milk chocolate

Bring the cream, butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt to the boil in a medium pan. Place the chocolate in a bowl; and pour the cream mixture over in three times, emulsifying well after each addition. Place in a clean glass jar, close the lid tightly, and allow to cool down completely.
This sauce will keep in the fridge for a month.

I will tell you more about the cake very soon. But I believe you should know that it’s made with filmjölk [fermented milk], graham flour, and vanilla seeds and sugar. And yes, it’s earthy, fragrant, and delicate.

What do you do with your broken cakes (if you ever have any, perhaps it’s just me!)?

Case closed – Brutally honest banana cake

PâtisserieA story about , , , Written on le Monday 11 May 2015.

banana cake-2

If you ever thought I’d leave bananas alone for another year or so, please pretend these words never existed while we take care of the cake you see above. No evidence will remain and we won’t even have to tell the universe about it all.

Case closed.

But if you’re anything like us, then I guess it’s a whole other story.
Yes, in our house, banana cake happens (a lot) and – more likely than not – for a reason (black bananas).

banana cake-3-2

This one – unlike the loaf I told you about* a month or so ago – is my usual straight-to-the-point banana cake.

With approximately eight minutes from the cupboard to the oven, it’s my favourite for weeknights when dinner has been eaten and the dishes are done; the oven is still hot from the mushroom lasagne we’ve just made; and we have for only music, the sound of the wind through our windows.

(For the record: yes, the pastry chef in me cringes at the thought – and the act – of baking a cake right after lasagne – or anything savoury, for that matter. But you see, such things are easily overlooked when you have to read/understand/translate fifty book pages for the next day.
Yes, this whole learning-Swedish side-project sort of turned into a full-time thing. And really, jag kan knappt bärga mig [I can hardly wait]).

banana cake

Brutally honest banana cake

Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot bowls dirty with this recipe – not that it takes more than one to mix the batter. A lot of mileage too. From the slice eaten for breakfast to the one – microwaved just so and – served with a fat scoop of yoghurt sorbet for dessert.
In my notebook, I’ve called it brutally honest banana loaf cake. And it is – true to its name – a moist yet with a fine crumb, flavourful loaf cake.

The batter can take from 3 to 6 bananas (300 to 600 grams, peeled), depending on the state of your fruit bowl. The one you see here was made with only 3 and although I do prefer the custardy flavour of the banana-loaded version, I do love this one too.
Depending on how many bananas you use, you’ll have enough batter to make one large loaf cake (using a 1L tin) and a few muffins – which are always a happy addition to Kalle’s lunchbox. Just saying…

For the first time – ever – I made this recipe using filmjölk but you could use buttermilk or even set yoghurt (which I prefer over Greek yoghurt here for its sharper flavour).

The compulsory note on piping a line of butter on top of the cake and my baking method:
As you must ALL know by now – since I spend around three-quarters of my days telling everyone and their neighbour – I like to pipe a thin line of soft butter on top of my unbaked loaf cake to get a neat crack in its centre.

When it comes to loaf cakes, I always bake them at high temperature and then reduce to finish the baking. I usually do 5 minutes at 180°C, 10 minutes at 170°C, and 25-30 minutes at 160°C.
However, for banana cakes, I’ve found I get better results with 20 minutes at 180°C and then around 30 minutes at 160°C.

*PS. It doesn’t mean I don’t worship the recipe I previously shared with you. I do, but they’re very different. And I love having many solid basic recipes. I hope you won’t mind!

Brutally honest banana cake

makes one large loaf

275 g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp (7 g) baking powder
1 tsp (5 g) sea salt
250 g caster sugar
50 g vanilla sugar
150 g butter
, at room temperature
3 (150 g) eggs
3 to 6 peeled bananas
(300 to 600 g, see note above), mashed with a fork
100 g set yoghurt or buttermilk or fil

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, and set aside until needed.

In a large bowl, cream the sugars and butter for around 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. If your batter splits a little, simply heat it (either over a pan of simmering water – make sure you’re using a heatproof bowl – or by flashing it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds). Mix in the mashed bananas and yoghurt. Then add the flour mixture at once, folding it in until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin filling it 3/4 to the rim – and if needed in a few muffin cases too (which I then bake on the same tray as my loaf, but only for around 20 minutes, see note above).

Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C and then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until golden-brown and the tip of a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.