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Refreshing Yoghurt Soup

June 26, 2010

I have to apologise for not posting in a long time, but the last weeks  were exhausting. I had lots of work and on top of that I’m attending a course on media design in the evenings and on the weekends. Cooking and baking, obviously, weren’t my fortè during the last couple of weeks either. I rarely spent an evening at home between work, the course and hitting the gym. Claudia in the meantime was cramming for her final exam at university – you could say that the stress level in our household was pretty high. (She passed with flying colors, of course. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from her.)

Thank God I’m on vacation now. If only the weather knew that I’m on vacation!   I’ve been looking forward to sitting on my rooftop terrace reading books and aquiring a tan, but it JUST ISN’T HAPPENING!  It’s raining often and all the pretty summer clothes purchased during the only hot week this summer so far  have been banished to the bottom of the closet in favor of warm jackets, long-sleeved sweaters and comforting scarfs. The sucky weather makes me crave comfort food, delicious, hot, SPICEY food.

I can eat spicey food all year long – in winter it delivers warmth and in summer the spiciness is perfect to make you sweat – a body function that will ultimatively cool you down.

Yoghurt Soup - ideal for both a hot or a cool kind of day.

I whipped this soup together yesterday afternoon, a quick lunch/dinner  (is there such a thing as linner or dunch? there should be, even if it sounds utterly silly.) before I had to leave for my media design course in the evening. It’s quickly made and its taste is both comforting and refreshing. For a while now I’ve been fantasizing about variations of possible combinations for millet and yoghurt (mostly of the dessert variety) and I’m very happy with how this soup turned out. The millet is added sparsely – just so there’s a hint of grain in there.

Refreshing Yoghurt Soup
(serves 4-6)

2 small chicken breasts  (or other fleshy parts of chicken)
2 cups of plain, unsweetend yoghurt (regular, not low-fat)
3 cups of water
1 cup of frozen peas
1 tablespoon of vegetable stock powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of spelt flour
3 tablespoons of millet
a handful of freshly chopped parsley
a couple of fresh or dried mince leaves
2 cloves or garlic, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. In a pan, heat the vegetable oil, then add the chicken parts and allow them to brown from all sides. I leave the skin on – as I don’t tend to eat a lot of fat, I’m not afraid of that bit of chicken fat. If you leave the skin on, the soup will become flavorful, thick and comforting.

2. Add the diced garlic as well as the cumin and saute briefly, before adding 3 cups of water as well as a tablespoon of vegetable stock powder. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken parts are done. 5 minutes in, add 3 tablespoons of millet to the soup. Take the chicken parts out of the soup  and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Skin the chicken parts and cut the meat into 1-inch dices.

4. Take the pot from the stove and set aside.

5. Meanwhile, combine the two cups of yoghurt with the flour and a pinch of salt. The flour will help in keeping the yoghurt from curdling.

6. Add a couple of tablespoons of  warm soup to the yoghurt and keep stirring the yoghurt. (I do this so the temperature in the yoghurt slowly rises and the yoghurt won’t be so “shocked” when it’s added to the much warmer liquid.) Repeat twice.

7. Now slowly add the yoghurt to your soup by whisking it in  (the soup should still be off the stove!). Once the soup and yoghurt are combined, add the chicken, the frozen peas as well as a handful of chopped parsley.

8. Place your pot back on the stove and allow the soup to thicken over low heat for another couple of minutes – please don’t bring it to a boil.

9. Before serving, add freshly chopped mint leaves (alternatively:  ground a couple of dried mint leaves between your palms and add that).

Alternative: If you want this as a vegetarian version just leave out the chicken and add another veggie of choice (e.g. asparagus).

Colorful Viennese Potato Salad

June 18, 2010

Claudia here. Today I’m going to share with you a new and updated version of an old family recipe.

I’m Viennese, and if there’s one thing that every Viennese family has, it’s a potato salad recipe. So for this salad I took our own family recpie and combined it with an idea I got from a Jamie Oliver potato salad containing radishes and the also very Viennese tradition of mixing field salad in with the potatoes.

What you get when you combine the potatoes, the radishes and the field salad is a fresh, delicious, juicy salad you can eat with just about every variety of grilled, fried or roasted meat or fish. You could also eat it solo, or use it as a base for another Austrian specialty, salad with fried chicken sticks, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. The radishes and the field salad add some much needed vitamins to the normally rather nutritonally sub-par Viennese potato salad, and upgrade this feel-good salad to a truly special and healthy side dish.

This juicy and crunchy salad makes an excellent side dish to any fish or meat dish.

Colorful Viennese Potato Salad with Radishes and Field Salad
(serves 3-4)
1 kg (35 onz.) waxy potatoes
2 bunches of radishes
2 handfuls of field salad
1 small onion
for the dressing:
juice from 1 lemon
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of vinegar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 cup of water
a handful of fresh oregano leaves

1. Boil the potatoes until they’re soft, but not too soft. Peel them and let them cool for a bit.

2. Dice the onion. Use a very small onion, or half of a bigger one. You don’t want the onion to become dominant. Put the onions into a big bowl.

3. Wash the radishes and cut away the green ends. Then chop them into about thumb-sized cubes. Don’t cut them too small, you want them to be visible, and if they’re in bigger chunks, you taste more of them. Add the radish cubes to the bowl.

4. Slice the potatoes. The slices shouldn’t be thicker than your pinky finger. Add them to the bowl.

5. Now for the dressing: You could mix it together in a cup and pour it over the salad, but I always add everything directly to the bowl without combining it first. Take 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt (you might need more, the radishes love salt), 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of good vegetable oil (you can use olive or sunflower seed, for example), 1 cup of water. Add everything to the bowl and stir. Taste the dressing to see if you want some more acid. If you need more acid, take your lemon and add about half the juice. Then take a few leaves of fresh oregano (DON’T use the dried oregano, only fresh, if you don’t have the fresh oregano at home, leave it out, it’s not a dominant flavor), chop them and add them to the bowl.

6. Let the salad sit for about an hour, stir regularely so the dressing has a chance to be soaked up evenly by the potatoes.

7. Salt to taste (there’s a lively disagreement between my beloved and myself about the place of pepper in a potato salad. I personally have a strong dislike for pepper on potato salad, but Babs likes it. So if you want to pepper the salad, this would be the point where you do it).

8. Add the field salad immediately before serving, it collapses after stiring it in, but if you add it just before serving, it retains some of its bite. I used the field salad because it’s traditional, but you could use some other mixed green salad here, rucola or baby spinach.

9. Serve on the side of any meat dish, from steak to roast chicken, or eat solo with some pumpkin seeds. Enjoy.

Fresh Herb Potato Gratin with Asparagus and Parsnip

May 29, 2010

On Sunday, Claudia and I both had a day off and we spent it doing all the stuff we love to do on a free day: We went to the gym, we cooked, we saw an exhibiton about James Cook’s Pacific travels (I now know how to determine longitude and latitude, at least in theory!) and because we’re perfectly able to switch in a heartbeat from academic interest to popular culture, the evening was spent at the English cinema with a sweaty and half-naked Jake Gyllenhaal. All in all, a perfect day and we didn’t even get wet (which is an accomplishment on its own, considering the current weather in Middle Europe). Just, not so perfect. During the night, Claudia got plagued with the nasty beginnings of a stomach bug. Ever since, I’ve cooked apple compote, sponge cake, vegetable soup with egg droppings, mashed potatoes and salt-less carrots. Obviously, it wasn’t a week that took us to new heights of  lucullic pleasures.

On Wednesday evening I asked her what she wanted to eat after her first day back in the job, and she answered “Parsley Potatoes “. I guess I have to explain that Parsley Potatoes are a pretty common side order in Austria to a couple of traditional dishes, most importantly Wiener Schnitzel and anything else battered and fried. On their own… they are pretty boring, just plain potatoes cooked in salt-water, then smothered with butter and parsley.

I took on the challenge in producing a meal that would cater to Claudia’s wishes – potatoes, parsley, comfy, post-stomach bug food, low-fat – but create something interesting, too.

A lovely pot of parsnip sauce and fresh herbs about to be combined.

For years and years I’ve been thinking of how to best make a potato gratin. The thing is, I really don’t enjoy sauce bechamel, one of the most prevalent sauces in a gratin. Obviously, anything with tomatoes wouldn’t work either because of the histamine risk. I’ve been dreaming about a light but creamy sauce with lots of flavor that would perfectly complement the potatoes and everything else I decided to add to the gratin. I have to admit, I’ve never been much of a fan of parsnip, but we fell in love with it when we went to a local vegetarian restaurant (Wrenkh, for those locals who are curious) and they served us parsnip mash as a starter. I guess this evening started my fascination with mashed root vegetables, because I’ve been mashing and purreeing them ever since. In this recipe, the parsnip comes together with all lovely fresh herbs – parsley, basil, oregano and chives. Let me just say without shame: I think it worked. (Alternatively, you can substitute some of the herbs for what you have at hand – but they should be fresh, obviously majoram or thyme would work well.)

Alternative to cheese: A little warning beforehand: I’m using mozarella cheese in this one and while I have noticed that I’m not reacting to a bit of mozarella cheese every once in a while, I will just say that if you’re histamine intolerant and feel apprehensive of using it, substitute for a light and creamy goat cheese, or leave out the cheese all together and do the following: Mix a bit of your parsnip-herb sauce with some bread crumbs and butter and crumble it on top of the gratin. Turn the heat up high and you get a nice and tasty herb-crust.

Fresh Herb Potato Gratin with Asparagus and Parsnip
(serves 4)

2 pounds local, waxy potatoes
400 gr/14 oz parsnip
400 gr / 14 oz green asparagus
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup of fresh chive, chopped
1 hand full of fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 hand full of fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
150 gr / 5 oz mozarella cheese
salt to taste

1. Boil your potatoes until they’re tender (poke with a fork or the tip of a knife to check if they’re soft enough). Peel and let cool.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, peel and chop the parsnip and boil it in a bit of vegetable soup until tender. Mash with a handheld blender, then add a tablespoon of butter and the chopped herbs. Salt to taste, if necessary – the vegetable stock should be all the seasoning you need.

3. Break off the bottom of the stem of your asparagus – usually they give where the asparagus is juicy and soft, then blanch in boiling water (if you have brushed the potatoes well or if you have peeled them before boiling, you can blanch the asparagus in the same water – saves a pot. I don’t recommend peeling them beforehand, though – they will fall apart much more quickly.)

4. In a wide pan, saute the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the asparagus and turn up the heat – the asparagus should take on some color. Salt to taste. Put aside when you’re satisfied with the asparagus’ look and taste – it should be tender with a bit of firmness still left.

Here you can take a look at the different layers of the gratin.

5. Butter or oil a casserole and pre-heat your oven to 200 C/390 F.

6. Slice the potatoes into thin slices (about 0.2 inches thick) and layer the bottom of the casserole with the potato slices. Salt the potato layer, then take your parsnip sauce and spread a thin layer of it on your potatoes. Now cover with asparagus stalks.

7. Repeat, then add a top layer of potatoes. Salt again, now add the mozarella in thin slices or by plucking it haphazardly over the top potato layer.

8. Put into the oven at 200 C/390 F on the top rack and allow the top to brown by using the grilling function of your oven (“au gratin”). Serve with a fresh salad.

Fresh Herb Potatoe Gratin with Asparagus and Parsnip, ready for serving! By the way: The gratin is even better on the next day after being re-heated.

Amaranth-Einkorn Pancakes with Multi-Berry Curd

May 27, 2010

Where to start with this recipe?

Well, obviously, my fascination with different types of grains made me go out and buy Kim Boyce’s beautiful and inspiring book “Good to the Grain“. This book has been reviewed and spoken of in almost every single blog I read , and I’m not beyond adding my two cents: I’m not a baker. I’m a cook, but I’m not a baker. I rarely bake. Usually, you can count the occassions where I will work with flour on one hand. But ever since I got my grabby little hands on this beautiful book, I’ve been inspired to bake. Obviously, my baking fu won’t ever be as exceptional as Kim Boyce’s  is, but I pride myself with occassionally managing to create something Claudia and my friends and family will love.

When I was in school (and yes, I had cooking classes  for 4 years and graduated in it, too), we spent one year entirely on sauces and spreads, another on meat and fish and one year solely on doughs, pastry and desserts. Of course, it wasn’t as exclusive as it may sound here, but in my memory, it feels like it. We would get a 4-course menu plan and access to the school’s refrigerator and pantry. We were allowed to use anything we could find to create our menu, but we weren’t allowed to use a book for reference. Instead, when I wanted to make something, I had to draw from what I had learned, even for measurement. For example, we were never taught how to make chocolate cake, instead we were taught the different kind of doughs and for what kind of dessert they were suited. To this day, this teaching method has heavily impacted my cooking and baking style: I will open my refrigerator, take a look in the pantry and make something up from scratch. Thank you, you who taught me – I have forgotten my teachers’ names, but the knowledge they imparted on me is still firmly lodged in my brain. (My favorite cookbook to this day is my mangy and dirty school cookbook which bears the marks of everything I’ve learned and everything I still have yet to learn. The fruit and vegetable juice and egg yolk stains, chocolate smears, frayed edges, water-stained pages and the burn-hole on the cover (the book was left lying on the hot stove top) are proofs of all the cooking I have done over the years. I refer to this book as my “bible” or “the know-it-all/insanely-clever book”.)

This recipe started out as an adaption from Kim Boyce’s Honey Amaranth Waffles. Yeah. Really. I guess you wonder how I ended up making pancakes instead. The truth is, we haven’t used our waffle maker in ages and it was packed away in our storage room ever since we moved into our current apartment about 2 years ago. When Claudia got it out last Saturday so we could make the waffles (for dinner, not for breakfast – what can I say, we’re weird like that) we discovered that the cable was gone and we couldn’t find it. That’s how the waffles became pancakes.

Proof that I can't make pretty pancakes.

I told you I’m not that good at baking, but one thing I really can’t make is pretty pancakes. I flip them too early. It probably has something to do with one of my more dominant character traits – impatience. Take a look at my pan on the left and you will know what I mean: Ugly. Really ugly pancakes, looking like something that got squashed by a fire truck.

Thank God they taste good, or I wouldn’t dare posting them here on this blog. I bet YOU can make prettier pancakes, – feel free to send me your photos ( and gloat about it. If I get any, I’ll share them and crown a winner. ( My pancakes look much better when served with a bit of powdered sugar, so don’t forget to take a look at the picture below! )

I recently bought some amaranth and einkorn flour. Einkorn (German) means literally “single grain” and is an ancient grain that has been first cultivated in the Neolithical age and is a precursor of emmer and spelt. It’s pretty tough and resistant to diseases and vermin. Einkorn possesses more mineral nutrients and amino acids than regular wheat and the high amount of beta-carotine lends the flour a yellowish color.

I’ve used the whole grain and ground it myself to produce flour. It has a grassy, fresh smell and it was easy to use in this recipe. It mixed pretty well with the other ingredients and I would liken its texture and the way it behaves to spelt flour.

The curd was inspired by Ren’s absolutely beautiful lemon curd recipe which he shared here on his blog. I used berries again – I guess you’re all pretty sick of them by now, but I promise to use other fruits in the future. This curd works wonderful with the pancakes or on toast or on a slice of fresh, dark bread.

Amaranth-Einkorn Pancakes
(serves 4)

1/2 cup amaranth flour
1 cup Einkorn flour
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plain yoghurt, unsweetenend
1 teaspoon agave syrup
a pinch of salt

1. Beat the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of sugar until stiff.

2. Combine the egg yolks with the agave syrup and the yoghurt.

3. Mix the flour, a pinch of salt and the baking powder.

4. Combine the beaten egg whites, the egg yolk mix and the flour by alternating between adding a bit of the beaten egg white to the egg yolk mix and sifting in the flour. Don’t whisk it, but gently fold the ingredients together.

5. Heat a large non-stick frying pan and add a few drops of olive oil or good vegetable oil. With a laddle, pour a bit of your pancake mix into the pan. Reduce the heat (the only thing I’ve noticed is that either the amaranth or the einkorn darkens rather quickly and you don’t want your pancakes to look like coals) and flip once the pancake has congealed enough. Finish baking, then keep in the warm oven at about 100 C/210 F until ready for serving.

6. Serve with another cup of natural yoghurt and the berry curd.

Multi-Berry Curd
(makes 1 large glass, about 1 cup)

3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of agave syrup
grated lemon zest from one lemon
1 cup of mixed berries
6 tablespoons of butter

1. Preparation: You’ll need 3 pots, two larger ones and one smaller pot or heat resistant bowl that will fit into the others, but won’t float in them (preferably, the third, smaller pot has handles.) Fill one of the large  pots with water and bring it to a boil. Fill the other large pot with cool water or ice water (if at hand. It’s not necessary, cool water will work.)

2. In yet another pot cook the mixed berries until they have softened and disintegrated to a thick sauce. Press the sauce through a fine-netted sieve and put aside so they can cool (you might want to put the berry sauce into a bowl for it to cool more quickly.)

2. When your water boils, reduce the heat until the water merely simmers (if you don’t reduce the heat, you will get scrambled eggs instead of a fluffy, light and creamy egg yolk mixture). Place your smaller pot or heat-resistant bowl in the first one so its bottom barely touches the water.

3.  Add the egg yolks, the agave syrup and the grated lemon zest to the heat-resistant bowl and start whisking. This is a bit tricky – you have to keep whisking quickly and the heat from the water below shouldn’t get too much (scrambled eggs alarm!). Your egg yolk mix will become light and creamy, a bit like a mayonnaise. After about 5 minutes, the texture should be fluffy and creamy.

4. If the egg yolk mix is to your liking take the pot out of the hot water and place  the pot in the larger pot with cool water. Keep whisking and slowly add your cooled berry mix.

5. Now, before the mixture has cooled completely, add the butter quickly until you have a homogenous spread. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Yummy, but ugly pancakes with berry curd.

Celery-Apple Soup for a Rainy Evening

May 19, 2010

Allegedely, it’s spring going on summer, and I don’t know about where you’re from, but here in Austria, the weather is more reminiscent of a cold and particularly dreary early November. Last weekend it was so bad, that Claudia had to fetch me from the gym because the subway and several streets were flooded. It was an adventure getting home by car because additionally to several closed streets, a lot of the traffic lights didn’t work due to some power outages caused by the heavy rain. We’ve been suffering from non-stop rain or drizzle ever since and it’s not looking like it will let up in the near future.

Usually, around this time – middle to end of May – we will start leaving the city in the evening to get together at Claudia’s family lake house for dinner. We’ll sit outside and enjoy the steadily increasing warm evenings and lots of good food. (Everyone in this family knows how to cook well and in summer, when we have more time and the days are longer, we will drive out there at least twice a week for good food, company and a dip in the lake.) This year, however, I don’t see us sitting together in our shorts on the porch anytime soon. In fact, the thought of wearing shorts alone makes me shiver uncontrollably (I’m all decked out in winter gear – stockings, warm jacket, scarf.)
No wonder that my tastebuds haven’t yet quite aquired a taste for summer recipes. What I’m cooking or eating instead is hearty, spicy winter food – warm meals, lots of spicy noodles and soups. The following soup is perfect when you return home after a chilly, windy and gruesomely rainy day and need a bit of comfort food to warm you up. Celery to me has always something very hearty and comforting, and I love it mashed (like in this recipe) or mixed with other root vegetables like carrots and turnips. Here the earthy, comforting taste of purreed celery comes together with warming spices, a dash of cream and the sweetness of apples. 

Warm, comforting, slightly spicey and sweet: Celery-Apple Soup

Celery-Apple Soup for a Rainy Evening

(serves 4-6) 

1 large celery head 
8 cups of water 
2 large sweet apples 
2 vegetable stock cubes 
1/2 cup of cream
a pinch of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of powdered ginger
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
fresh parsley, chopped

1. Peel the celery head and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Put in a pan and cover with about 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, add vegetable stock as well as the roughly chopped and peeled apples and cook until the celery is soft. 

2. Add the spices and sugar, then puree with a hand-held blender. 

3. Add the cream and if necessary a bit of hot water, so that the soup has just about the right consistency, not too thick but not too watery either. Rather err on the thick and slightly chunky side.

4. Add some finely chopped parsley and enjoy (best with a slice of freshly baked bread!) 

“Schneenockerl” on Berry Coulis

May 16, 2010

If you’re looking at my blog right now, you could get the impression that we mainly eat dessert these days. Truth is – we’re often invited to dinner with the family, or we come home late from work with no intention of cooking a complete meal. Take out and dinner in a restaurant, that’s been the credo for the last couple of days. I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the weekend, because I have two days off work and will be able to cook and experiment the way I like.

Quick, light and absolutely delicious: Schneenockerl on Berry Coulis.

Today’s recipe is one of those easy, fast but utterly delicious desserts you can whip up in a heartbeat. Even though it fools everyone by looking stunningly beautiful and just a bit complicated, it’s so easy to make, it’s almost embarrassing. I got this idea from my mother, who makes it with vanilla sauce, but ever since I first made it, Claudia and I have been fantasizing about a “summer version” with fresh fruits and a bit of lemon zest. The name is difficult – nay, impossible to translate – in Austria, whipped egg whites are called “Schnee” (snow) and a “Nockerl” is usually a kind of small dumpling and believe me, I’ve spent half a day contemplating what to call this before I decided to keep it untranslated.

“Schneenockerl” on Berry Coulis
(serves 4)

2 egg whites
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
grated lemon zest from half a lemon

1 cup of fresh raspberries
1 cup of fresh blackberry (or assorted berries)
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water boils, reduce the temperature until it simmers gently.

2. Purree 2/3rds of the fresh berries with the powdered sugar in a blender.

3.In a small bowl beat the egg whites with the lemon zest. Add the 3 tablespoons of sugar slowly while beating the mass until it’s stiff. You should be able to dip the bowl while the beaten egg white stays put.

4. With the use of two tablespoons scoop up small, spoon-sized portions of beaten egg white and add them to the simmering water. Allow the “Schneenockerl” 30 seconds to one minute to congeal. They don’t need any longer, trust me. Take them out and arrange them on a plate together with the berry coulis. Decorate with the rest of the berries and serve immediately.

Tasty and Refreshing Cheese and Rhubarb Tart

May 12, 2010

Rhubarb - rockstar among vegetables.

I have a rather strained relationship with rhubarb. Rhubarb and me, we’re like two insecure, word-logged teenagers dancing around each other, but unable to communicate. We flirt occasionally, but rarely successfully. He will woo me with his pretty looks, but the moment I get too close he’s reacting by misinterpreting my good deeds and turns sour. Rhubarb is totally the Jordan Catalano to my Angela. He’s the rockstar among fruits (vegetables, actually) and he’s fickle.

So, mostly, me and Rhubarb just gaze longingly at each other – okay, the longing gazes come solely from my side – and rhubarb season goes out of style and I won’t have cooked it even once. This year I decided that I wouldn’t let it happen.

The thing is: While I love Rhubarb from afar like a love-sick teenager, Claudia will react with complete  indifference whenever I mention his name.

“I saw Rhubarb today.  He looked pretty good. Yummy, even.”

“Meh… Rhubarb? Isn’t he like… awfully sour? I’m really not a fan.”

(Forgive me, for keeping with the My So Called Life theme…)

Looking pretty yummy and colorful.

Rhubarb season is upon us, and this year I decided I would cook some rhubarb and make it taste yummy and sweet and refreshing, the way it’s supposed to be. Because Claudia wasn’t head over heels in love with the idea of rhubarb and I was apprehensive of using it, I knew I had to try really hard to find something that would go with the rhubarb and keep it sweet and refreshing, so that the slightly bitter and sour flavor stood no chance.

I chose a light and fruity tart with three layers: a thin layer of spelt flour pastry on the bottom, followed by a thickened, fruity rhubarb-rasperry layer, topped with a delicious cream-cheese-yoghurt layer. If you feel nervous about using rasperries because of their status as histamine liberators, you can leave them out or substitute them with apples, but I’ve been eating rasperries for years and years without ever experiencing any symptoms that I could relate to them. (Unlike strawberries, which make me break out in hives by merely looking at them, but I guess that’s another allergy alltogether coming into play as well.) Generally, I go with my personal rule of “Fresh vegetables and fruits, even if histamine liberators, are fine, as long as you stay away from food that really packs a punch of histamines, like processed food, most convenience food, canned tuna or vegetables, sausages, and so on..”

Tasty and Refreshing Cheese and Rhubarb Tart
(makes 1 large round springform pan)

for the pastry layer – ground layer
250 gr / 9 oz  whole spelt pastry flour
150 gr / 5 oz white spelt pastry flour
200 gr / 7 oz butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon of  salt
4 tablespoons of cold water
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 egg

for the fruit layer – middle layer
7 -10 large stalks of rhubarb
2 cups of rasperries, frozen or fresh
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of corn starch

for the cheese layer – top layer
2 egg yolks
100 gr / 3.5 oz brown sugar
1/2 cup of milk
6 leaves of gelatine / about 10 gr gelatine
2 cups of greek yoghurt, unsweetenend
2 cups of cream cheese
the finely grated peel of a lemon

1.  Fruit layer: Roughly chop the rhubarb stalks into 2 inch long pieces. Put them into a narrow pot and cover with water. Add a cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Once the rhubarb has softened but isn’t completely dissolved, add 4 tablespoons of sugar. In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons of corn starch with a bit of water, then add to the rhubarb.  Remove the cinnamon stick and gently stir in the rasperries. Start with the pastry layer while allowing the rhubarb to cool and thicken.

2. Pastry layer: Cut the butter into small pieces and mix with the flour and salt. Crumble by using your hands. Form an indentation in the middle of the mix for the egg as well as the 4 tablespoons of cold water. Combine by kneading the dough by hand. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and no dough is left sticking to your fingers. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. Afterwards, roll out the dough with a well floured rolling pin in the shape of a circle. Butter a round springform pan and line the springform with the dough. With the prongs of a fork, puncture the dough. Refrigerate again.

3. Combine Pastry Layer and Rhubarb Layer: Fill the cooled rhubarb-rasperry mix into the pastry-clad springform pan. Now remove any dough that will be left uncovered by the fruit  mix on the side with a sharp small kitchen knife – otherwise it will first melt in the baking process  and then burn, and believe me, you don’t want that. (With anything left of the pastry, make cookies!)  Bake the tart for 30 minutes at 200 C/360 F. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cake with fork design.

4. Cream Cheese Layer: Put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add a smaller pot to the first one, so that the water vapour just hits the bottom of your second pot. In your second pot whisk together 2 egg yolks, 3.5 oz of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of milk. Keep whisking over the water vapor until the mixture thickens and becomes slightly fluffy and creamy. In a bowl combine the yoghurt and cream cheese, 5 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon zest. In a smaller bowl or cup soften the gelatine leaves  in cold water (this will take about 2-3 minutes). Take out the gelatine, press out the leaves and dissolve them in the warm egg-milk mix. Now combine the yoghurt and cream cheese with the egg-milk mix.

3. Combine Cream Cheese Layer with the Tart: With a spatula pour the cream-cheese-yoghurt mix into your springform pan, so it covers the other layers completely. Draw a nice design into the cream-cheese layer with your fork. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

What was left of the tart after the family fell upon it.

Rhubarb on FoodistaRhubarb


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