Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Babes Bake Hungarian

The Bread Baking Babes group has been baking for so many years now that it is something of a challenge just to find breads we haven't baked yet. This month I'm Kitchen of the Month for the Babes, but I've had the recipe ready for months. It's similar to last month's challenge, Povitica, in that it requires a thin, rich dough. It also has a filling using nuts, but this filling is very different. The shaping method is also different, so I do hope that if you like to bake bread that you'll try this one. I'm sorry that this wasn't posted this morning, but we were having work done on the house and my computer was covered with dust cloths until just a little while ago.

I found the recipe for this month's bread during the pandemic, when I was throwing out old magazines. It's from Sunset Magazine from 2001. I used to have a subscription but it's been a while since I had a subscription to any magazine. When I first came to California from the east coast, Sunset was a great resource for living the west coast lifestyle. This recipe isn't Californian, or even west coast, because it's a recipe for a nut roll from Hungary. 

One of the reasons I chose it is because, once baked, it keeps for a week, meaning there is a treat waiting at tea time for that long without heating up the oven again, especially since it is a 2-pound loaf. Another reason is that I was fascinated by the idea of a filling made with cooked milk and almonds. 

The dough is basically a brioche dough, so don't expect a big rise out of it. It is rich tasting and goes really well with the almond and dried fruit filling. I used dried cherries which I soaked for an hour in Kirsch. I'm not sure that you can tell that they were soaked in a liqueur, but they are nice and soft.

I did have some trouble with rolling the dough using a cloth. I used a linen couche and thought that I had it well floured, but it stuck quite a bit as I rolled it. Still, once baked you couldn't really tell. Will probably try this again with an actual tablecloth.

The filling is really fun. You start with a slurry of milk, almonds and dried fruit but with enough heat, it turns into an almost creamy filling with great flavor and fragrance. I did add a few drops of almond extract along with the vanilla because almond flavor really goes well with cherries.

Do try this yourself. If you'd like to be a Buddy, bake it and then email me by June 29th to be included in the round-up. I'd love a photo and a short description of your experience with this bake. Plachman -at-sonic-dot-net.

Also, be sure to visit the other Babes blogs to see what they have done with this tea time treat!

Gigi's Hungarian Almond Roll

 Makes one 2-pound loaf

From Sunset Magazine, Dec 2001

1 package active dry yeast
6 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks (divided)
About 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Almond Filling (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon milk or water

 Have all ingredients at room temperature except warm water, which should be about 108-110 degrees F.

 In a bowl, sprinkle yeast over the 6 tablespoons warm (about 110 degrees F) water; let stand until soft, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, 1 egg yolk, 6 tablespoons butter pieces, and 1 1/2 cups flour; stir until evenly moistened.

 To knead with a dough hook, beat at medium speed until dough pulls cleanly from bowl, about 5 minutes. To knead by hand, scrape dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding flour (as little as possible) if necessary to prevent sticking; return to bowl.

 Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it's puffy enough to hold an impression when pressed with a finger (dough won't double in volume), about 1 hour.

 With dough hook or your hands, punch air out of dough; lift dough from bowl and shape into a smooth ball. Set on the center of a floured pastry cloth or clean, smooth-textured dish towel. Pat dough flat; with a rolling pin, roll into a 14-inch to 15-inch square.


Spread or evenly dot Almond Filling over dough to within 1-inch of edges. Lift cloth from one side to roll dough into a compact loaf. Gently lift loaf and lay, seam side down, on a buttered 12-inch x 17-inch baking sheet. Pinch ends to seal, then fold under.


Cover loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until dough is slightly puffy, about 45 minutes.


In a small bowl, mix remaining egg yolk with milk. Brush loaf with yolk mixture; discard any remaining.


Bake loaf on the center rack in a 325 degree F regular or convection oven until rich golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 1 hour. Serve at room temperature. Cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch thick slices.


Almond Filling: In a food processor, whirl 1 cup un-blanched almonds to fine meal. Ina a 10-12-inch nonstick frying pan, combine almonds, 3/4 cup raisins, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest. Stir over high heat until mixture is thick enough to hold a clean trail for a few seconds when you draw a spoon across pan bottom. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Let cool at least 30 minutes.

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Garden This Year

 Much as I love fresh from the vine ripe tomatoes and lots of glorious squash, we are in a severe drought here in No. CA and so my veg garden this year is tiny...some beans (which the deer are snacking on, so hard to say if I'll ever get any actual beans to eat), two tomatoes and two planters with zucchini...dark green and yellow. That's it.

I do have some plants that will need water like my rose bushes and perennials, but I'm helping with that by keeping a small bucket by each of my sinks and the shower to catch the water that runs as the wash water heats up. They are small enough that I can easily tote them up and down stairs as needed. I still need a bit of additional watering, but not much.

The berries have started coming into ripeness by the road as you can see from the top photo. These are the berries that come in first and I was planning on turning them, plus some local strawberries and a few non-local blueberries into some pies to take to a birthday party on Sunday, but came down with the stomach flu instead. Will probably bake a pie tomorrow or Wednesday to use up the berries...I'll post a photo when I do, and a recipe. In the meantime, here are a few photos from the garden.

The walnut tree has great looking immature nuts this year.

One of the tomato plants has its first flower.

Finally getting some morning glories, too.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Since it's late spring, you can count on posts about the nascent garden and others about using the berries and other fruits of the season. I feel so fortunate to live where we can get locally grown, amazing, juicy, ripe, fresh strawberries, lovely, sweet dark cherries from California, and other spring fruits.


Today's post is about a simple but delicious upside down cake made with fresh strawberries and rhubarb. I just love that combination of fruits! The fruit pieces are topped for baking with a tender sponge cake which soaks up the juices that the fruits release as they bake. I made mine in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, so the cake was fairly thin, but if you make it in a cake pan (especially an 8-inch pan, the cake will be thicker, but there will be a bit less fruit. The baking time is fairly short (20-25 minutes), too, so you can put it together and bake it in about an hour or a little less.

Before I baked this treat, I looked at a lot of upside down cake recipes and didn't really see one that looked like what I wanted, so I then looked at recipes for Victoria Sponge, a British favorite. I was interested to see that many of them used self-rising flour. If you do that, you can make a very straight forward cake using equal weights of soft butter (or margarine), granulated sugar, and self-rising flour, plus eggs. Vanilla can be added, too, or citrus peel if you like, but this time I went with just those four ingredients for the sponge part. I ended up using half of the recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake in a wonderful blog, The Baking Explorer. It really gives the history of the classic Victoria Sponge Cake with jam and cream, topped with a sprinkle of icing sugar (confectioners sugar), plus answers lots of questions you may have and gives variations. Do check it out! HERE Kat writes a really good baking blog.

For the fruit part I used one long stalk of rhubarb plus about a half-pint of strawberries. For the topping (which goes into the pan first), I decided on 4 oz. of margarine, (but use butter if you can), 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon light corn syrup, plus the fresh fruit.

This made a wonderful cake! The cake had a nice crumb and was tender and moist. The fruit juices soaked into the cake along with the butter/sugar topping and it looked pretty since I arranged the fruit pieces in a pattern. With a small scoop of vanilla soy 'ice cream' it made the perfect finish to a lovely lunch with friends. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

recipe by Elle - sponge recipe from The Baking Explorer

Serves 8


4 oz. butter or margarine, melted 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 long stalk fresh rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut into 1-2-inch pieces
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half (or sliced if very large)


8 tablespoons or 107 oz. butter or margarine, soft 
107 oz. (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
107 oz. (about 1 cup) self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or grease a 8 or 9-inch cake pan, line the bottom with parchment and butter it lightly OR use a seasoned cast iron skillet as is.

Place the melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon corn syrup in the bottom of the pan and stir gently to combine. Place the cut fruit pieces in a nice arrangement on top of the butter mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat until light in color and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. This can be done by hand, with a hand held or stand electric mixer or in a food processor. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated. Scrape beaters (or spoon) and bowl often. Add the flour (and vanilla if using) and beat gently/on low, just until incorporated. If you beat too much you might make the cake tough.

Dollop the batter over the arranged fruit in the pan and use a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon to smooth the batter into an even layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, turning 1/4 turn about half way through the baking time, until golden brown. Center will spring back if lightly depressed with a finger. Sides of cake may be starting to pull away from the pan. As you can see in the photo below, because I used a wide skillet, the batter barely covered the fruit in some places.

Let sit about 2-3 minutes on a wire rack, then cover pan with serving plate and, carefully, turn plate side down. Let the pan sit over the plate a minute, then remove the pan. If any of the fruit stuck to the pan, use a small spatula to scrape it off the pan and return it to the fruit pattern. Serve warm or let cool to room temperature to serve.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Delightful Chocolate Frangipane Cherry Tart

During the late spring and on into summer when all of the berries and then stone fruits come into season, a frangipane tart is a lovely thing to make to highlight their seasonal ripe deliciousness. Today we had a BBQ on our back deck and invited neighbors who have recently moved here from San Francisco. Sweetie grilled the chicken sausages they brought and some turkey Italian sausages we already had. I made my favorite corn, black bean and tomato salad, and I wanted something special for dessert.

Costco had dark, ripe, decadent dark cherries this week, so I decided to make a frangipane enriched with dark cocoa and a touch of espresso powder (since espresso brings out the flavor in chocolate). I know that I love chocolate and cherry you?

I started with my trusty ReadyCrust pre-made pie dough, but instead of putting it into a pie pan, I put it in a 9-inch tart pan, folded the excess into the tart and tucked it down along the sides. Then I gently pushed the dough into the tart rippled sides, pricked it all over and froze it for 30 minutes. Once the oven was preheated, I added a circle of parchment and some pie weights, gently pushed up against the sides and smoothed out over the bottom. These keep the crust from rising up. 

For the filling I used margarine, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, flour and vanilla, beaten together for a couple of minutes, then a couple of eggs were added and, last of all, the almond flour. This mixture gets scooped into the baked and cooled tart shell.

While the tart shell was baking, I prepared the cherries. I like to cut off the fruit on both sides of the pit, but some folks prefer to pop out the pit with a hat pin or a gadget made for pitting cherries, then cut them in half. Either way, the prepared cherry halves get placed in a nice pattern on top of the frangipane, pushing down a bit into the batter.

Now all that is needed is about 30-40 minute of baking at 350 degrees F and you have a wonderful dessert! Let it cool before slicing. Add a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if you'd like to gild the lily, but do bake this while cherries are available. You could also use fresh strawberries, fresh raspberries, or any kind fruit that is at its peak and goes with chocolate.

Chocolate Almond Fruit Tart

     Elle's recipe

Makes one 9-inch tart

 Use a already made pie crust, like Pillsbury ReadyCrust, shaping and baking as described below, or use the following recipe for the shell:

Make the tart crust:

Sweet Tart Dough from Dorie Greenspan's Baking; From My Home To Yours

 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

 Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. 

 Scatter the cold pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. 

 Stir the yolk to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses, about 10 seconds each, until the dough forms clumps and curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that still exist in the mixture.

 Gather dough into a ball, then flatten it and put it into a 9-inch tart pan, using your fingers to push the dough into the corners and flutes of the pan, while keeping the thickness as even as possible. Use a rolling pin, rolled over the top rim, to clean the top. Gather up any leftover pieces and wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for patching, if necessary. Prick all over and freeze for at least 30 minutes, but longer is O.K.

 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the rack in the center of the oven.

 Remove tart shell from freezer. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray/oil and put, oil side down on the tart, pressing down to mold the foil to the tart shape.

 Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil carefully and use the back of a spoon to gently press down any puffed crust. If necessary, use the extra dough from the fridge to patch any holes, then bake another few minutes. Let crust cool.


Prepare the filling:

 4 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup almond flour or finely ground almonds

1 1/2 cups fresh fruit ( berries, cherries, apricot halves, drained and patted dry) - about a pint of fruit


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the filling:  Beat together the butter, salt, sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso powder, and vanilla extract.

 Beat in the eggs, then add the almond flour, stirring just to combine.


To assemble the tart: Spread the filling in the bottom of the crust.

 Place the fresh fruit, cut if necessary, in rows or a nice pattern on top of the filling, pressing them down gently so the bottom of the fruit is covered.

 Bake the tart in the preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving. 




Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Rhubarb Adds Zing To This Crostata

 We're at the beginning of berry season, with local, divine strawberries easily available and the first of the blackberry types due locally in a couple of weeks.

When strawberries are so plentiful and ripe, I love to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie or crostata. You don't need a lot of rhubarb to add a nice zing to the filling. Yesterday morning I made a crostata (a rustic pie made by rolling out a circle of dough larger than the diameter of the pie. Once filled, the extra pastry gets folded over the filling) with a pint of strawberries and one long stalk of rhubarb. I cut all the fruit in a large dice. It only made four servings, but that was just right since Sweetie is still watching his calories and losing weight. We each had a serving for breakfast yesterday while it was warm, and ate the other two servings today for breakfast, warmed slightly in the microwave.

Use your favorite pastry for this. I used Pillsbury ReadyCrust from the refrigerator section of the market. If you look at the flaky crust in this photo you'll understand why I often use this ready made pie dough instead of making my own. Quick, easy and wonderful flaky pie crust...what's not to like? I baked it on a pizza pan but you can use a cookie sheet or similar pan. I like to use a pan without sides because I think the crust browns better all over that way.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crostata

Elle's recipe

1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, drained, hulled and cut into large dice
1-2 stalks fresh rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed, cut into smaller dice (about 1/4-inch)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon (less if freshly grated) nutmeg

1/2 box Pillsbury ReadyCrust or any pie dough for 1 crust pie
sanding sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the rack in the middle or lower-middle part of the oven.

In a large bowl, thoroughly but gently mix the strawberries, rhubarb, flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt and nutmeg.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to an 11 to 12-inch diameter circle. Transfer to a sheet pan, pizza pan, cookie sheet or similar flat metal pan.

Mound the contents of the bowl in the middle of the dough circle. Spread out to a single layer, making sure that there is at least an inch of uncovered dough at the outer edges. Fold the uncovered dough up and over the fruit mixture. If you have a smaller quantity of filling, there will be more pastry over the filling (as happened with my crostata); if you have more filling, the pastry over the filling will not cover as much of the filling. It's all good!

Optional: Brush the pastry lightly with water using a pastry brush and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust has browned. Remove pan to a wire rack to cook for at least 10 minutes, then cut in portions and serve.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Hush Puppies and Salmon Loaf

It's funny the things that we get nostalgic about. Recently I made bourbon balls for a friend for her birthday and the minute I smell the final mixture I was transported back to Christmas when I was little. While enjoying a recent porch Friday with neighbors we got to talking about foods we miss and somehow hush puppies came up. Turns out the G enjoyed them a lot when he was younger at a time when he lived in the South. I was the family cook for Fridays starting at about age 11, so I have a lot of experience in making them...they go so well with fish, especially fried fish. Hadn't made them for about 50 years (I may be exaggerating) or so but I know how to make them! Then the conversation turned to my Family Food cookbook and A.M. brought up Salmon Loaf Supreme. She wanted to make that, I wanted to make Hush Puppies and so a joint dinner was planned on the spot. I offered to also make Cole Slaw since Sweetie really enjoys mine and it goes so well with the other offerings.

Last weekend we were finally all able to get together. A.M. made an amazing salmon loaf, using fresh breadcrumbs and home made mayo!  The slaw was delicious with it and with the hush puppies. The hush puppies were just as I remembered, but more importantly, they were exactly what G remembered and missed. He may have eaten a few more than anyone else, but why not? The company, as usual, was the best part.

The story goes that these little fried corn muffins (because that's what they really are) are called hush puppies because the leftovers were thrown to the dogs to get them to be quiet. Begging clearly worked.

Do try these yourself. Since they are fried I don't recommend a regular diet of them, but for the occasional treat, they really do go well with fish (including salmon loaf). If you have one, use a large cast iron skillet. The oil will stay at an even temperature better with one. I used Crisco because that's what my Mom used. She used to strain hers through cheesecloth when it had cooled a bit and re-use the oil, but I returned mine to the (empty) Crisco can and threw it away. 

I used a medium grind corn meal (Bob's Red Mill brand) because I like them a bit chewy, but finer ground corn meal is fine, too. Be sure to chop the onions really fine so that they mix in well. 

I made the first ones too large (see photo below) and when I turned them over the centers came out. Returned to the teaspoon size recommended in the recipe and that worked really well.

I used a pancake turner to flip these as one side cooked to golden brown. A teaspoon of batter doesn't seem like enough, but it really is. If you let the batter sit for 10 minutes after making it before you cook the hush puppies, it will thicken just a bit and you will have perfect cornmeal morsels. Be sure to have lots of paper towels or brown paper grocery bags to drain them on and be sure to serve them right away! You can keep the first ones warm in a 160 degree F oven, spread out on a cookie sheet or sheet pan while you finish frying the rest, then put them all in a basket lined with paper or cloth towels and eat while they are still warm.

Hush Puppies
old family recipe

2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
½ cup onion, finely chopped

Stir together dry ingredients. Beat egg and milk together; add to the dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. Blend in the onion. Drop by teaspoonfuls into deep fat preheated to 3750 F. Dad usually fried these in about 2 inches of hot Crisco oil in the cast iron skillet. Cook until well browned on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper.

Makes about 25. Traditional bread to go with fried fish. It’s possible that cooking these after the fish are fried allows the hush puppies to absorb most of the fishy flavor from the oil.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Babes Bake Povitica

Many moons ago I was one of the Daring Bakers, a group which attempted to bake recipes that really challenged us and sometimes were ones that we had be afraid to try making. This challenge reminded me of those days. I have often wondered if I could make a pastry or bread that required stretching the dough almost thin enough to read through but I was afraid to try. Povitica is such a pastry and so I finally attempted it...and did a pretty good job, too. The other way that this reminded me of the Daring Baker days was that it was a complex recipe, requiring many steps and so many implements to make that both my sinks were needed for the cleanup! It also required space. I ended up doing the dough stretching on the back side of a tablecloth spread over one end of my kitchen counter. There just wasn't enough room in the bake center.

So was it worth it? I would say yes, especially since Sweetie really loves it. It looks wonderful and the looks reflect fairly the amount of time and effort that went into it. However, these days I often take the easier path, so I doubt that I'll make it again. I think that I can have the same taste by using the wonderful walnut filling in an easier bread.

I did use that walnut filling just as given in the recipe, with the usual caveat that all dairy is replaced with non-dairy substitutes. For the pastry I used a combination of lots of pastry flour, a small amount of Irish wholemeal flour that I sifted so that only the very fine flour was used, plus another small amount of all purpose flour. I made sure to  knead for a long, long time to develop the gluten, most of it with the stand mixer, but the final few minutes using a bench scraper and hand kneading.

This recipe pretty much takes all day since the first rise is about three hours and that's after all that kneading. The second rise is about the same and the bake is an hour, so plan on a minimum of 8.5 hours since stretching the dough and spreading the filling takes at least a half hour. I made the filling about hour two of the first rise. If I were to do it again, I'd make it right before the end of the third hour. I think it would have spread better slightly warm. As it was I spread it using a small offset spatula and I dipped that in hot water before each use to help warm up the filling so that it would spread more easily and not tear the dough.

As it happens, I did tear the dough here and there a bit, but you don't really notice once it's all rolled up. I do wish that I'd trimmed the edges of the rectangle. It was thicker there and once rolled into the dough roll it wasn't as pretty as it would have been if I had cut those out as you can see by the photo above. Otherwise I wouldn't change a thing.

Don't forget, there is cinnamon in the filling. This lovely bread will make your kitchen smell heavenly!

If you'd like to be a Buddy be sure to go to our Kitchen of the Month, Kelly of A Messy Kitchen, and send her an email with your URL of the your experience with making the bread, plus a photo. She will include you in the round-up if you do so by May 29th.

Also be sure to visit the other Bread Baking Babes to see what they have made. I assure you, most of their bread's are far more professional looking than mine!

makes 1 loaf
Recipe from Bake Street



A pan 10 x 4 x 3 inches (25 x 11 x 7 cm) 

10 oz (285 g) T45 flour (this is essentially a pastry flour, soft wheat)(I think you can safely just use all purpose flour and just let it rest while stretching if it resists.)
0.05 oz (1.4 g) dry yeast (~½ tsp)
4.25 oz (120 g) whole milk (I used 2%)(
I used soy creamer)
0.5 oz (15 g) water
0.18 oz (5 g) salt
1 large egg (2.1 oz - 60 g)
1.75 oz (50 g) sugar, divided

0.8 oz (22 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled, divided (Butter substitute)


9.9 oz (280 g) walnuts

3.35 oz (95 g) sugar

½ Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

0.1 oz (3 g) cinnamon powder

pinch of salt 

2 oz (58 g) unsalted butter (Butter substitute)

2.1 oz (60 g) whole milk (used soy creamer)

1 large egg yolk

¼ tsp vanilla extract


For Topping:

0.9 oz (25 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled (Butter substitute)

icing sugar (optional)



 First, make the dough.

 In a bowl or stand mixer, combine the flour together with the dry yeast.  Then add the milk, water, egg and salt.

Mix the ingredients in the bowl until a fairly smooth and homogeneous dough is obtained.

Add the sugar in two additions, kneading each time until it is fully integrated.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and silky with at least a medium gluten development.  Work in the butter in about three additions until smooth again.

Knead for about 12-15 minutes to develop the gluten well and obtain an elastic, soft, and very well developed dough.   It may be slightly sticky but should pass the windowpane test.  If it does not, the final stretching will not be possible without tearing.

When the dough is properly developed, form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it doubles its volume. This can take up to three hours.


Make the filling while the dough is rising.

 In a food processor add nuts together with sugar, cinnamon, salt and cocoa powder.  Blend until the nuts are finely chopped and transfer to a bowl.

In a saucepan or microwave, heat the milk along with the butter until it just boils. Remove from the heat.

Pour the milk into the nut mixture.  Add the vanilla and the egg yolk and mix until completely homogenized.

Set aside at room temperature, covered, until ready to fill the povitica.


Stretching the dough:

Lay out a sheet or cloth on a wide, flat surface.  

Sprinkle the work surface very lightly with corn flour.  (I used all purpose.)

Turn out the dough and de-gas it gently.

Roll the dough out into a very thin rectangle with a rolling pin, then continue to carefully stretch with hand to about 25½x18-in. (65 x 45 cm) rectangle.  (The dough should be about three times as long as your pan.  Very gently and slowly work the dough with your hands, stretching from the center to the edges.  It should remain soft and elastic and stretch without tearing as long as the gluten was developed and the process is taken slowly.

Spread the filling.

Drop spoonfuls of the filling evenly across the dough.  Using an offset spatula and/or your hands, spread and distribute the filling evenly across the dough to all but one long edge that will seal after rolling.  The filling may be dense so just go slowly and try not to stretch or tear the dough.


The finer the grind, the easier to spread the filling!


Roll up the dough.

Starting with the long edge that has filling to the edge, roll the dough on itself making sure that there is no gap between each layer. Start at one end and just turn up the edge all the way across.  Then continue to roll from edge to edge carefully and with the help of both hands. 


Once the entire sheet is rolled up, carefully pinch and seal the long edge.

Shape the roll into an S and place it into the pan.  It will take two hands, scoop in from the ends and carefully lift into the pan.  (Other shaping methods including rolling up in a circle like a snail and baking in an earthenware baker, or cutting the roll into sections and lining them up in the loaf pan.  Using sections and a smaller loaf tin will yield a taller loaf.)

Cover with plastic and let the dough rise until the dough has puffed up somewhat. This will be most evident looking at the ends of the dough to see any increase in size. Again, this can take 1-3 hours.

 Bake povitica.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Brush the top of the loaf with half of the butter and place in the center of the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300ºF and leave for 45 minutes more. The total baking time is 60 minutes.


Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining butter.

Let it rest in the pan for 20 minutes.  Then turn out the loaf and allow to cool completely on a rack.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

 This loaf should ideally be cut from the bottom to keep the outside edges/top from crumbling.  Excellent with coffee or tea!

 This loaf will keep for 4-5 days in a sealed bag or a week in the refrigerator.  It may also be frozen in portions.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

May Bread

 It's the traditional day for me to post the Bread Baking Babes monthly challenge bread. But it's also past the time when my brain mostly shuts down (since I'm really a morning person), and... the bread just came out of the oven.

That is the long way of saying that our monthly bread will be posted tomorrow for your edification and enjoyment! The photo will have you anticipating it I'm sure.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Jam Tart For Mother's Day - Mine

I know that many mothers enjoy having food prepared for them on their day...breakfast in bed, or as we did for my mom, a dinner that included Porterhouse steak (a rare treat) and strawberry shortcake for dessert. I guess I'm a bit different because I like to be the one cooking and baking. When Sweetie asked what I wanted for this Mother's Day, I asked that we invite our good friends from down the road and that we cook breakfast. This is a couple with whom we have shared many, many Sunday morning breakfasts over 20+ years. During the pandemic that wasn't possible. We missed them and our ritual breakfast. For a few months since getting vaccinated we have gotten together on our back porch with purchased breakfast take-out, just so that we could be together, although still sitting a bit apart. It seemed like it was time to share food that we cooked ourselves.

Our friends brought orange juice and champagne so we had mimosas! What a great way to start. Sweetie cooked the bacon and some of the best scrambled eggs I can remember having...perhaps the champagne helped?...with onions and mushrooms scrambled in. 

I made an Italian jam tart using a recipe from An Italian In My Kitchen blog. It has a shortbread type crust, and a thin jam filling. I used a jar of amazing sour cherry jam as the filling, with a touch of almond extract added because it brings out the cherry flavor. I also scattered some sliced almonds over the tart just before baking and after brushing the pastry with milk, so the recipe was tweaked a always! The crust has a beautiful golden color because I used farm fresh eggs given to us by neighbors across the road. Those yolks are soooo orange. It will be a fine tart with store bought eggs, too.

This is a wonderful tart, good for breakfast, but great for teatime or afternoon coffee, too. The shortbread is tender and easily made in a food processor, and you can use any jam you like. If your jam is on the tart side, that is the best. This makes 8 servings, but you could cut smaller slices and probably serve 10 tastes. I find it hard to imagine that no one would want two tastes, so, really it serves 4-6, right?

The dough has to chill for 30 minutes, at least, so I made it the night before. That made it possible to finish the recipe, bake it, and let it cool a bit before breakfast. Do try this one if you like pastry and jam.

Italian Jam Tart


1 3/4 cups flour (227 grams), plus 1 tablespoon more (sorry, no grams for that)
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (my addition)
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons butter (131 grams), at room temperature

3/4 cup jam (253 grams)
3-4 drops almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon sliced almonds (optional)

1 tablespoon milk for glazing the pastry

On the day you bake the Tart, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 8-9"tart pan with a removable bottom. (I used a 9")

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel knife blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the room temperature egg, egg yolk and the butter (which has been cut into pieces), also at room temperature. Pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. Remove from the food processor to a lightly floured work surface and knead a few time to thoroughly combine. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. Can be refrigerated longer, as long as overnight.

Remove wrapped dough from fridge, unwrap and knead the cold dough a couple of times to soften it. Set aside 1/4 cup.

In a small bowl, stir the jam with a fork and, if desired, add the almond extract and stir it in.

On a lightly floured work surface roll out the large quantity of dough to 1/8" using a floured rolling pin. Place rolled out dough into tart pan, pushing into the ridges gently with your finger and also into the crease at the bottom of the sides. Use the rolling pin, rolled over the edges of the sides, to clean the excess dough from the tart pan. Gather these pieces of dough and add to the reserved 1/4 cup.

Dock the dough in the tart pan by pressing the tines of a fork all over the bottom, about every 1/2 inch or so, making sure that you don't press the fork all the way to the bottom. 

Spread the jam over the docked dough. (I used a small offset spatula to spread the jam.)

In a small bowl combine the reserved 1/4 cup dough, the dough pieces gathered by the pan and the 1 tablespoon of flour and mix together with your clean fingers until the flour is incorporated. (This is an additional step that I took because my dough was too soft to work with to make strips that have to be handled. The extra flour did the trick.)

Turn that dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into strips and use to make a lattice over the jam layer. Gently push the strip ends down into the tart dough sides. 

Use a pastry brush to brush each lattice strip on the tart with the milk, then scatter the almonds (if using) over.

Bake in the preheated 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the tart sides and put tart on a serving plate. Enjoy! Can be eaten a bit warm or at room temperature.