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Dark chocolate sour cherry festive cake

I was having a look on different festive chocolate cake recipes when I got stuck on one that was looking incredibly nice. I had a quick look, made my inventory of ingredients and decided that that would be the one. But I didn't look carefully of the quantity of ingredients. My heart stopped for a second when I saw that in that cake, there were 1250g of sugar. No way! This is neither healthy or normal. I haven't seen a cake before with such a big amount of sugar inside. Even for such a big cake of almost 3kg, to have 1/3 of sugar was for me no option.
I then had to trust my experience in baking and I went to adapt this recipe, reducing drastically the sugar inside. The sugar in the biscuit I reduced it from 650g to 100g. Yes, more than 6 times lower. The resulting biscuit didn't taste sweet almost at all but this was mainly due to the fact the the quantity of cocoa powder was also very high. If I do this cake again, it would definitively worth trying replacing a part of the cocoa powder with flour. Nevertheless, I do not like the biscuit to be too sweet because this is mainly the role of the filling cream for a cake for me. I baked 2 pans of biscuits with the quantity made. One of them was not raising enough, probably also because the 2 pans were different and because they were baked one on top of the oven and one under. The idea was to cut each biscuit in 2 to have a 4 layers biscuit cake. Well, because one of the cake was not really raising so much I ended up with 3 layers and a half. That half was devoured immediately by my kids, even if it looked not sweet at all.
As the biscuit was prepared in the evening, I left them in the fridge over night and continued the cake the next day.
For the cream, even for a sweet one, of course 600g of sugar inside was out of question. I initially put only 100g of powdered sugar but that was not enough and after tasting it, there was place for more. I went then to 200g and that was just perfect. That would be anyway a 1/3 proportion of the quantity in the original recipe.
Decoration went straight and the cake went quickly into the fridge for the butter to get its good shape.

I chose to add something extra to the initial recipe and that was the defrosted sour cherry fruits. This was mainly because my husband loves them very much. It was not just to make him a pleasure, it was mainly because this was ment to be his birthday cake.

Happy birthday my dear husband!

Homemade waffle cones

I bought once some waffle cones from the supermarket in order to serve my ice-cream. First time, they served me well, but next time, my children asked only for the waffle cones to eat them as simple biscuits. I arrived in this way to buy them quite regularly. They were light, sweet and crunchy, no wonder that they were so much loved by my children.
That situation challenged me to make my own waffle cones. In fact they are just simple dry waffles rolled in a cone shape to hold the ice-cream.
With my dry waffle iron I baked the waffles. With a special wood cone, I rolled them up. I had to be very quick as they were drying very fast after removing them from the iron. But I learnt to make them very easily.
Guess what? They didn't arrive to be filled with ice-cream as they were eaten by my kids before. Now I need to do another batch....

Cinnamon bath bombs

It has been a while since I've done some homemade cosmetics.
This time, it was my daughter wish to make some bath bombs to fizzle in the bath. Cinnamon essential oil was at hand, so why not make this recipe.
From this quantity you arrive with three big bath bombs, but what a pleasure...

Fruit tart

This is that kind of dessert that you work for 3 days to have it and it is eaten almost instantly.
I was very used to buy tart fruits. I tried to make them many times, but they were not as good looking as the ones already made in a pastry shop. Other times I was simply giving up on doing them as I found them too time consuming.
Yes, they are not quick to make but when you put the effort to do them, it worth every single minute invested.

I did the tart crusts in one day, I made the pastry cream in another day and I combined and decorated them in the next day. I do not know how many of you are keen to make a cake in 3 days. This is not sourdough bread is just a fruit cake. The good thing is that you can do a bit today, a bit in another day. The bad thing is that, when I want a cake I want it now not in 3 days.
If you wonder what I did with my tart crusts, well... here you find the answer.

When you look at them, you'd better put them in a glass case and preserve them just to admire rather then eating them. But you can close your eyes and take a bite... let me tell you, the taste is even higher than the look.Yes, they are my perfect fruit tarts. I don't do them very often, but when I do them I just know that they will be just perfect.

 

Tomato and pepper soup

What I hate the most in making a tomato soup is peeling the tomatoes. After the boiling, tomatoes are hot and waiting until they are enough cool to touch them is simply a waste of time. I even tried to not peel the tomatoes but even after blending there are small unappealing tomato skins in my soup. I like the tomato soup to be clean so I needed to find a way to remove the skin without spending to much time and without burning constantly my fingers when removing the skin. What I found useful was to cut the tomatoes in 4. In this way they are easier to be removed. Then, the best is not to touch them directly with your fingers. For this soup I used just 2 chopped sticks. With a fork it would be easy also.
This trick saved me, as tomato soup is one of my favorite, if not, my most favorite soup.
Tomato soup combined with pasta and lovage is an incredible combination. Lovage is another favorite of mine in terms of flavoring the savory food. I brought it back from Romania and I have it in my garden since few years. It dries during the winter but grows back in the early spring. It is not demanding at all and offers you so many tasty pleasures.
This tomato and pepper soup looks more like a classic tomato soup. However, adding some other vegetables enrich the dish quite a lot in terms of nutrition. It does not change the taste too much, although the pepper is very delicately felt.

Tart crust

One of my ambitions was to succeed perfect tart crusts like these. I actually didn't count how many times I tried it without being satisfied about the results. There were times when the dough was stretched back in the oven and the crust was unusable to hold any pastry cream inside. However, when this happened, my kids were happy as they just ate them as biscuits. Sometimes the stretch was just a little, but still it was not what I was looking for. I changed also the recipes many times hoping to find a finally a good one.
Another aspect in my trials was to find a good recipe. For me, using 6 egg yolks just for tart crust was not a good idea as I had to do something else with the whites. Another constant issue was the amount of sugar. I saw recipes with 250g of sugar only in the crust and this for me is definitively unacceptable. I could add sugar in the filling of the tart but the tart itself I prefer to have light amount of sugar.
With so many restrictions and so many expectations, one day I found this incredible recipe. Not too much sugar, only 1 egg used and.... perfect shape after baking.
With time I also though that my failures were due to wrong tools and this proved to be partially true. I purchased special perforated tart rings, special perforated silicone mat and special perforated tray only to increase my chances of success. But when trying them the first time, I was again disappointing. It was clear to me then that the problem was the recipe I used and not only the tools. But the next recipe I tried turned out as I so long wished. So yes, tools might help. A lot. But it's not only about the tools. Nevertheless, I intend to bake more tart crusts not only using these tart rings but also other types. We shall see about this in the future.

Until then, I cannot wait to fill in these crust with some pastry cream before my kids discovering them and eating them as they are.

Quiche Lorraine with French cheese

I love many types of French cheeses and I treat myself from time to time with a piece. Many times, I take a byte, pack it back and I put it in the fridge. Today with this type, tomorrow with that type and sometimes I simply forget them in the fridge for days. 
This is exactly what happened to me these days. I found an opened box of Camembert and a package of Brie opened. They do not alterate, they simply dry. Being that dry they do not look so appealing to eat them as they are. But these cheeses are too good to be thrown away, so I gave them a second life into a quiche lorraine where they melt while spreading their special taste.
What I love about quiches is that you can use almost any vegetable or cheese and they will still taste exceptionally.
I used for this quiche a big oven proof glass pan. It has around 30cm of diameter, so this is a really big savory tart. For a smaller version, for sure you'll need to reduce the amount of each ingredient. Or, maybe you want to simply try your own version with what you find in your fridge. This recipe is so flexible.... as long as you bind the vegetables and/or meat with the egg+milk and sour cream.

Enjoy.