Tha Daring Bakers March Challenge

Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna.
(Lasagne Verdi al Forno)
The Daring Bakers March Challenge.
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

Well finally my challenge is done; first there was NO spinach in the supermarkets. I was ready to quit when my neighbor called me to tell me there was spinach at a small Chinese supermarket but that it was kind of soggy I said “buy it”. I place the spinach in water and after an hour it had a better look, I chose the better leaves and began my challenge…A POWER CUT the fourth in a row since last Friday so no electric appliances for this challenge. I tried to imagine my Granma there in Italy many years ago, preparing pasta without a KA for example and it was my inspiration. I stored leftover precooked pasta in the freezer and hope it is ok.
The verdict delicious
Thanks Mary, Melinda and Enza for this beautiful challenge

Please visit threir beautiful sites for the recipe Mary here , Melinda here and Enza here.


Challah Bread.

Challah Bread.
Part One

The braided bred bug bite me, phew! You have no idea how difficult was to say this aloud, it was like a tongue twister ha ha ha I need to read aloud more often, well braided bread is more difficult to say than to make; Besides my relaxing moment is to get in the kitchen and knead…yes is kind of a therapy. To update you on what is happening in my country: things are going worst, last night after a soft rain there was only a single phase of electric power and the light bulbs were shining like a candle, that was all the light we had for more than four hours then it went off until about 10:30 pm and the weather was so hot…well as I am a smart girl I made some luminarias to have something nice to see and as an “apparatus” to “invent” stories to “entertain” my nephew the cybernetic boy (he is 5 years old and can not stay away from the computer) he did not get bored thanks God and the camera helped me with this task. Another thing due to these power too frequent technical problems the refrigerators and freezer began to produce ice …can you believe?

8 cups of flour. (my challah needed a kilogram all purpose flour)
2 cups of water.
1 tablespoon of salt.
2 1/2 tablespoons of yeast.
3 eggs.
1/2 cup of honey.
1/4 cup of oil.
An additional egg for egg wash glaze.
Sesame seeds.
1- Mix eggs, honey, oil, water and salt, set side
2- Mix 7 cups of flour with the yeast and add the liquids, add flour as you knead when you have a smooth dough that is a bit sticky like an adhesive tape but do not attach to your hands the dough is ready to rest until it doubles its volume.Place the dough on a floured surface and carefully deflate it, roll to make a long log and cut small portions as much as you want, I cut 8 portions, roll each portion to form logs that are sharp in both ends and fat in the middle. Join three strands together on one end and place the right strand over the middle strand then the left strand over the middle strand and continue like this until all the strand are braided, fold the ends under the bread and place on greased jelly roll pan, let rise until it doubles in volume, bush with the egg wash sprinkle with the sesame seed and bake until it makes a hollow sound when taped on the bottom. Or watch here


Cream Cheese Sponge Cake

Cream Cheese Sponge Cake
(My Way)

150 gr cream cheese.
100 gr heavy cream. ( I used nestle canned cream, it is very thick).
6 eggs.
50 gr butter or margarine.
100 ml full cream milk.
20 gr corn starch.
60 gr cake flour.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar.
140 gr white sugar.
1 pinch salt.
Butter a cake pan and Line bottom with waxed paper, then butter the waxed paper too and dust the pan with flour, keep aside.

1- Melt together, cream cheese, butter and milk.
2- Sift together flour and corn starch.
3- Whisk egg whites until soft peak form add the cream of tartar and whisk for two minutes, gradually add the sugar keep whisking until stiff peak form.
4- Add the egg yolks to the cream cheese batter, two at a time, then add the cream, lemon juice, salt and vanilla extract. Add the sifted flour and corn starch and whisk until it looks homogeneous.
5- Gently fold ¼ of the whites into the batter and then fold the rest of whites until well-blended. Pour into prepared cake pan.
6- Bake in a water bath at 160° for about an hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.Unmold and let cool then cover with marmalade of your choice or cream, I used my homemade guava shells in syrup


Frolla Cookies
Biscotti di Pasta Frolla montata, Amo questi così tanto
I Love these so much

375 gr margarine.
150 gr icing jugar.
3 egg whites (from large eggs).
500 gr all purpose flour (but the super fine flour).
1 pich salt.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1- Whisk margarine, salt, vanilla and icing sugar until the batter is fluffy.
2- Add the egg whites one at a time while whisking.
3- Gradually add flour.
4- Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
5- Pipe the cookies or make small ball with your hands, on a greased cookie sheet.
6- Let rest for 30 minutes to three hours in the refrigerator. (or overnight)
7- Bake until light brown.
Note: you can make any cookie form like small balls pressed in the center to make a small hole and fill it with marmalade just before baking.


Anise bread.

Anise Bread.

Well, I am back, still feel really sad, things are going worst in my country: This is not a democracy any longer. But as I always say "keep fighting"...
Now let me see how is my English after all this time :s


500 gr. ap flour.
100 gr. sugar.
5 gr. salt.
2 tablespoon unsalted margarine.
1 ½ tablespoon of instant yeast.
1 generous pinch of powdered vanilla.
1 tablespoon of butter essence.
½ tablespoon anise essence.
1 tablespoon of aniseseeds
1 large egg.
1 to 1 ½ lukewarm cup of water or milk. (It depends on the humidity of the flour).
Pastry cream.
Prepared flour.
¼ cup flour.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
Egg wash.
½ teaspoon sugar.
1 egg yolk.
1 tablespoon of water.
Honey glaze.
3 tablespoon honey.
1 tablespoon water.
Anise Essence to the pleasure.

1- Place the flour on the table volcano, in center of this place all the ingredients except the milk (or water, that is placed little by little not to exceed with the liquids) mix first the ingredients in center and gradually incorporate the flour from the sides until everything is incorporated, knead until the dough is smooth approximately 5 minutes
2 - Place in a bowl slightly greased with oil and cover with a heavy cloth, let rest for about 45 minutes, then place the dough on the table and sift the prepared flour over the dough, knead until incorporated and the dough is smooth and it does not stick to the hands (the ideal dough feels like a sticky tape but without dough attached to the hands), let rest until it double its size again
3 -Place it on the table slightly floured and stretch with the hands without kneading to obtaining a rectangle of ½ centimeter of thickness, cut in squares and form the breads
4 - Make a cut not very deep on the breads. form a cross on the rounded bread
5 - Place the breads on a tray greased with vegetal shortening and let rise for 45 minutes to one hour or until they are twice and a half the size they had at the beginning of the fermentation.
6 - Brush the egg wash and pipe out the pastry cream on top of the breads taking care not deflating the bread.
7 - Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C until the bread sounds hollow when tapped and they are golden brown.
8 - Remove from the oven and brush the breads with the honey glaze.
9 – Enjoy.