Rhubarb and Apple Crumble and Russian Idioms

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There is a popular idiom in spoken Russian: “All in the chocolate”. Of cause it is not the language of good literature, but rather an expression you use among your cute fellow lads to sound easy and loose, and it means that all is fantastic, fabulous and dreamy. I doubt I had ever used it, as first I am not that cool type of gal, and second I had not had such a  phenomenal success yet. Until this Friday.
I came from my job, where I have a pretty exhausting project: I have 250 museums on my list, so I have to contact each and request the complete list of the exhibitions for 2015, and put in the system. Museums are unorganized institutions, who don’t respect deadlines and need to be watched like children. After a week of working as a psychologist, negotiating, praying and blackmailing where suitable, I came home on Friday with the dream of indulging myself. The aim was a perfect marble cheesecake. Apparently, it was a sign of solidarity with Tanya (see my tagline to learn who is she), who made a cheesecake for her party and shared with me a recipe and inspiration. So I came home and I was whisking, mixing, melting chocolate… the cheesecake looked fabulous, the oven reached the temperature and I was putting the baking dish inside when cheesecake suddenly slippered out of my hands and dropped on the floor. As we say in Russia “The bread is always dropping with the buttered side down”. As proved, cheesecake tends to follow the same pattern. The floor, the furniture, the oven were covered with a good and tempting level of chocolate. Finally I learned on my own skin how it is “to have all in chocolate”, which I can boast about among my friends. And I guess my newspaper owes me a cake, for making me exhausted to this extent.
Ok, so for tonight my cheesecake is crumble. A very good crumble though. 
Time of preparation: 40 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
Rhubarb________400 grams
Apples_________ 2
Sugar__________ 100 grams golden caster
Liquor_________ 2 tablespoons
Crumble: 
Self-raising flour___140 grams
Butter____________85 grams
Sugar____________50 grams muscovado
Walnuts__________ 50 grams
1. Chop rhubarb in pieces of approximately 5 cm, put in the pan, cover with sugar, pour in liquor (I used amaretto) or water if you do not want to use alcohol and simmer on the low fire for about 15 minutes – the rhubarb should become soft but not shapeless. Transfer it in the baking dish, leaving some of the juice in the pan.
2. Fry the apples in the preserved juice till they are brown and soft. Transfer in the baking dish.
3. Combine butter and flour, rub together with hands, when crumbles are formed add sugar and chopped walnuts. Mix, and cover the apple/rhubarb filling. Bake on 200C (400F) for about 30 minutes or till it is golden brown.

 

Different Autumns and Charlotte Apple Pie

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Autumn…. I never liked it, mostly because of rains. In St Petersburg it is not a great deal, after all we have our proud 62 sunny days per year, which leaves us with remaining 300… of the water hanging in the air – sometimes it can’t be even called a proper rain. Another problem is the light, which leaving – after long and lively summer nights, when it is never dark – White Nights. In other languages it means the night when you are forced to stay awake, for example preparing for exam. This is not so far from reality, as how can you sleep when the guys are playing guitar in the yard, some friends are calling you for a long over several days camping in the park, or you just drive car to watch the bridges are raised, or you are sitting and eating sushi… because you forgot about the bridges! They air seems hot, long, and lackadaisical, like a dense red wine; it makes you loose your head these very few days when one of the northeast city becomes as lively as a southern town.
Then it abruptly finishes. The light is gone, the rain is never-ending (I wonder if the hero of Raven lived in St Petersburg, will he ever pronounce his famous phrase). The leaves are rotten, and drop fast, without giving this fanfares of colors. My autumn is grey, cold and dark. But… this is just one of the autumns. In Italy it comes late, it’s bright and loud – all trees one day seem to turn yellow as if they are coordinated, so Italian autumn in noticeable as soon as it arrives. Austrian autumn arrives on time, it is cold, clean, well-prepared and sound. Her work is planned and she had a time schedule to follow – so one by one she is painting the trees. The Texan autumn is conservative and doesn’t want to change anything – so many bushes and trees enter the winter with green leaves and flowers. In Scandinavia autumn is an artist with a great fantasy, and she is also mind and cheerful. In London it is impossible to understand when autumn comes, she seems to be so anxious to start that she comes in several times in the summer… And of cause every autumn smells differently: with pumpkin pies, apples, cinnamon, tea and coffee… and so many things which people gather in their gardens and store in their kitchens to provide their family with another dinner surprise. The following posts will be all about autumns, and the first one, Russian, smells with Sharlotka!
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Time of preparation: 1 hour    Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
Wheat flour_______1 glass
Sugar ___________1 glass
Apples ___________2-3
Cinnamon________2 tea spoons
Eggs ____________3
Salt
It’s better to pick up a little bit sour apples, otherwise pie will be too sweet
1. Cut apples in a very thin slices, place in the oiled dish for baking, and powder with cinnamon.
2. There are two ways of making the dough: very easy and a little bit more complicated. First variant:  whip sugar with eggs quite well in a deep bowl, then add flour and half of a tea spoon of salt. Mix well.
Second variant: mix just yolks with sugar, adding step by step flour. Then whip egg-whites in foam and add in the dough, this way the pie will get a wonderful crust. But in this case – don’t open the oven until the pie is ready, or it will go down. Pour the ready dough over the apples.
3. Bake in the oven on 180C (350F) around 35 minutes.

The Most Amazing Apple Pie

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I guess you can't even imagine how good this pie is unless you try it!

I guess you can’t even imagine how good this pie is unless you try it!

My boyfriend, who happened to be Italian, always wondered what do I have to do with all these apples and why on earth someone in general would like apples? When we moved to London, to this cold, humid and always windy place, where neither peaches nor figs grow, but die, I guess he understood. Apples are not just the fruits, they are the mood.
It is so amazing, you go to your garden, shake the trees, and then gather them. Or if you have no garden, all you neighbors passing by give you a box of rosy apples – because in severe St Petersburg climate apple trees are the only plant that for some mysterious reasons show fantastic productivity. You kitchen, and in a while the whole flat reminds the branch of the apple-refining factory, and when you pile the last for today apple you get a call from your mom, saying they gathered 15 boxes of apples and she is going to pass by to drop at least half of the trophies. From apple-lover you turned into an apple-maniac, you made chutneys, jams, compote, you start thinking if apples go well with the eggplants, or maybe spaghetti? And you use all your creative reserves to invent new pies. Your bf can’t consume this amount, you go around and give pies out to the neighbors, who so carelessly happen to give you apples… And then you sit next to the window, on your cozy sofa, under the warm blanket, and with tea, feeling the smell of the freshly-backed apple pie with cinnamon… And you are happy. You are the winner in this pitiless apple war.
Inspired by sweet, touching and funny post of GaH and several other bloggers, praising autumn 🙂
Dough:
Butter_______225 grams
Sugar_______1 cup
Eggs_______ 2
Backing Powder__1 table spoon
Salt________1/2 teaspoon
Juice of a lemon
Flour_____ 3 ¼ – 3 ½ cups
Feeling:
Apples___ about 10
A little bit of lemon juice
Raisins___ a cup
Sugar____ ¼ cup
Cinnamon_ 1 ¼ teaspoons
1. Whisk butter with sugar till fluffy, approximately for 2 minutes.
2. Add eggs and keep on whisking till mixture is light and airy, so for approximately 3 more minutes. Add lemon juice and mix.
3. Combine flour with baking powder and salt and gradually add into the batter. It may require slightly more or less flour, so don’t add all at a time. The dough will come out very soft and not sticky.
4. Divide the dough into two parts, form squares, wrap into food cling and put into the fridge for at least two hours.
5. Pile the apples and cut the cores, dice into small pieces. Add lemon juice, raisins, sugar and cinnamon, mix well. You may try the feeling and adjust to your taste, adding cinnamon, sugar or lemon juice.
6. Grease the baking dish. Roll out one of the squares of dough and put in the baking dish. Put the apple feeling, spread equally. Roll out the second part of the dough; cover the pie and seal edges. Grease the top with water and sprinkle sugar. Make several cuts with a sharp knife.
7. Bake on 180C (350F) for 60-80 minutes. The ready pie will become golden.

Sweet Potato Cake

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A great idea if you are bored with cheesecakes, but don’t have time for a proper dough

Time of preparation: 60 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
For crust:
• Digestive biscuits__250 grams
• Cocoa powder_2 tablespoons
• Butter________80 grams
• Sugar________2 tablespoons
For filling:
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• Sweet Potatoes___500 grams
• Sugar________120 grams
• Eggs_________2 medium
• Cinnamon____1 teaspoon
• Nutmeg______1 teaspoon
• Amaretto_____1 tablespoon

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Berries Upside-down Cake

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The main advantage of this cake is that it can be done with any berries up to your taste. I made it with gooseberries to get a slightly acid punch, but if you prefer a milder taste, use raspberries or any berries you prefer. I think even apples will fit hear easily, for the winter version of the same cake.
Time of preparation: 70 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
  • Flour___________300 grams
  • Icing Sugar______220 grams
  • Eggs___________3
  • Butter__________255 grams
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • Berries_________550 grams
  • Baking Powder____10 grams

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Tarte au Citron (Lemon Cake)

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French lemon tart like from the bakery

French lemon tart like from the bakery

I already published a version of a lemon tart. It was much easier and faster, this recipe will require more time and patience. But it worth it! Absolutely and totally. I couldn’t even imagine the result to be so good.
Time of preparation: 100 minutes Difficulty: Middle
Ingredients:
For dough:
  • Icing Sugar___ 65 grams 
  • Flour________ 175 grams
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter________100 grams
  • Groung Almonds_20 grams
  • Egg_________1 middle
 For filling:
  • Sugar________340 grams (caster)
  • Eggs_________8
  • Zest and Juice of 6 lemons
  • Double Cream_280 ml

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Tarta de Santiago

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Spanish people came up with a precious idea – to replace flour with almonds. So even the simplest cakes (like this one) are scrumptious.

Time of preparation: 30 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
  • Eggs_____________4 big
  • Grinded Almond___200 grams
  • Sugar____________200 grams
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Cinnamon________1/2 teaspoon
  • Rom or cognac____1-2 tablespoons

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