Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day!... not today.

So here I am a little late again, but this time I got to prepare them on the actual day! :) So yesterday was the Fat Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras, in French). It's similar to the Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday) in Poland.

It is the day preceding Ash Wednesday (today), the first day of Lent. Fat Tuesday is observed mainly in English speaking countries, especially Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States but is also observed in the Philippines and Germany. Fat Tuesday is linked to Easter, so its date changes on an annual basis. In most traditions the day is known for the eating of pancakes before the start of Lent. Pancakes are eaten as they are made out of the main foods available, sugar, fat, flour and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent. - Wikipedia

Pancakes are much easier than donuts, so I decided to make some. I chose a Brazilian recipe, but there is nothing really different than other pancake recipes I've seen. Maybe one or other ingredient and the amount to get a different thickness or flavor. The original recipe I got from here and I did add one egg for a better consistency. Also, I made the filling in a different way and I prepared a chocolate sauce to go with the pancakes. I just think chocolate and bananas are a good match! :)

As for the photos, I am re ally enjoying taking them. Still have a lot to learn, but it's been fun. My husband has photography as a hobby (all the equipment is his actually) and thanks to him, it has become mine too. I have a little trouble with the light on them because I'm using our old laptop and the screen is not very good, so I never really know if I am seeing what you guys will see. I hope this will change in a couple of weeks. The last picture is from my instagram. It's my favorite angle. I don't know why I didn't do the same with the camera.



1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of oil
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder


3 sliced bananas
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon water (more if necessary)


Whisk together milk, oil and egg. Add the flour and whisk well until there is no lumps. Add the sugar and baking powder. If you are using a blender, just add all the ingredients into it and beat well.
Grease a frying pan with a few drops of oil or a little butter and heat it. Use a ladle to pour the batter and move the pan to get a nice and thin coat of pancake. Cook until golden brown or and flip it over to get the same color on the other side.
Remove the pancake from the pan and add it to a plate with paper towel and reapeat the steps until the batter is ended.
For the filling, add all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat it on low. Let the bananas soften, but just enough so they don't lose their shape. Fill the pancakes.
In a small saucepan stir the sugar, cocoa and water. Heat it until the ingredients are disolved. Add more water according to the consistency desired. Pour over the filled pancakes and sprinkle powder sugar.

Simple like that!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pączki (Polish donuts)

As I promised here, I am posting the Polish donuts (pączki) I was supposed to make for theTłusty Czwartek, but they just happened one day later and the post 4 days later. I'm still learning on preparing my posts ahead of time.

It was much easier to make these donuts than I thought and I will definitely make them again. I'm sure next time it'll be even easier. During almost the whole procedure my husband was at work. It was finally time to fry the pączki, when my lovely husband came back from work. I was heating up the oil for frying them when he said "But the oil must be super hot, Ka." . Even though the recipe says to heat the oil to 180C, but I don't have a thermometer (and I didn't test with the piece of bread), I decided to trust my husband. Since he is Polish I supposed he should know better than me. First mistake. EVERYONE knows that if the oil is too hot (just like if the oven is too hot), the center of whatever your are making never cooks well. Still, I decided to keep listening my husband. I thought maybe it was different for Polish donuts, who knows? The recipe says to fry each side for about 2 minutes and I was frying mine for about 30 seconds and they were getting brown too fast. When I had about almost all of them fried I decided to try one. Second mistake. Why didn't I just try one in the beginning?

Obviously, they weren't cooked inside and I was blaming my husband for ruining my first Polish sweet experiment. Of course he didn't mean to do that and I know it. :) butI couldn't just throw them away after all the work I put on and here he comes again. "Maybe you can refry them." Great! I "loved" doing this! Let's do it again!! Yay! .... I had no choice.

So there I went to refry all of the ones I knew were fried in "super hot" oil. The ones I used for the pictures were those I fried after, so they turned out in a nice brown and were cooked inside because the oil was on the right temperature. The same happened with the mini donuts, which by the way, I HAD to make a mini version of it. Have I mention I love miniatures? :) However, the ones I refried ended up darker than I wanted, but at least they didn't taste burned and were cooked inside!

I filled them first with fruit marmalade using a pastry bag. It wasn't enough so I used some strawberry jam. I had a little problem filling them because of the pieces of fruit clogging the tip I was using, so it's better to choose a jam with no fruit pieces or just jelly if you are using a pastry bag. My husband and I don't like to eat donuts or pączki and find only a little tiny drop of filling so I was very generous about it. Next time I want to try filling with Nutella, lemon curd or simply a pastry cream with chocolate glaze on top to make the famous Boston Cream, our favorite American donut flavor.

I know they weren't perfect, but for the first time, I was happy with the results. Our Polish friends approved them! Some even said they tasted like their grandmother's pączki!! That's a huge compliment for me and I loved hearing that, even though I think they were just being nice to me :) lol Oh, and my husband approved them too, of course! He said I did a great job saving them! LOL My husband likes to eat pączki with coffee or tea, but I prefer with a glass of milk. :)

So in the end all was worthy it! Next step was getting some pictures. Unfortunately, I had no time to get different angles because the rain was coming, so I had to rush.

The recipe I got from this Polish blog which I love and she got it from here. The original recipes call for bread flour, but I used all-purposed flour and it worked fine to ME. I still have to test it with bread flour to see the difference.

I do know some Polish but I had to use a little help from google translator and I changed a few things to the way I did.


Ingredients for about 35 donuts

150 ml of lukewarm water
310 ml lukewarm milk
2 large eggs slightly beaten
900 g of wheat flour bread
100 g of sugar
100 g butter (melted but not hot)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons instant yeast (12 g) or 24 g of fresh yeast
1 tablespoon of vodka
marmalade, jam or jelly of your preference


icing sugar

Directions using dry yeast (I used this one)
  1. Sift flour with salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast and mix.
  2. Add the eggs and sugar. Combine the milk, water and vodka and slowly pour into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir.
  3. Gradually add the butter and knead to combine all the ingredients until you have a nice and smooth dough.
Directions using fresh yeast
  1. Sift flour with salt into a large bowl.
  2. Make a nest in the center and add the yeast.
  3. Pour over part of the warm milk. Add two tablespoon
  4. s of sugar and let stand for 20 minutes to let the yeast "work".
  5. When the time is up, add the remaining milk combined with water and vodka, the rest of the sugar, eggs, adding at the end the butter.
  6. Knead until you have a nice and smooth dough.
  1. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in a warm place until double in volume, about 1 and half hour.
  2. When the dough has doubled, put it on your working surface sprinkled with flour and knead it a little. Divide the dough in half and keep one half covered so it doesn't dry out.
  3. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1 cm.
  4. Use a pastry cutter or glass to cut out circles with a diameter of about 5 - 7 cm. If you want mini donuts, just use a smaller cutter (I used I shot glass). Place them on a baking tray, cover with towel and wait for them to rise again, about half an hour more. Repeat these steps with the rest of the dough.
  5. Heat oil in large saucepan to a temperature of 180 º C (a piece of bread should brown in 40 seconds). Fry for 3 - 4 pieces (no more) at once, about 1-2 minutes on each side. When fried, transferred them to a plate covered with paper towel for absorbing the oil.
  6. After frying them, fill them with the marmalade using a pastry bag (if you don't have a pastry bag, just use a knife to cut a hole on the side being careful for not crossing to the other side and use a teaspoon to fill with the marmalade).
For the glaze

Add 1 cup of icing sugar into a bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoon of water and stir. Then gradually add enough water to reach the desired consistency. Deep in each donut holding it upside down to let it drop the excess.

That was a long a post!
Enjoy it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tłusty Czwartek, in Poland

I tried, I swear. I wanted to make them today, but I had a rolling pin issue so it never happened. I also wanted to post it before, but the day just passed too fast. Even if I'm late, I felt I should write something (I got it from here). My husband is Polish and as I mentioned before, we lived in Poland for 1 year and their desserts is part of what I want to show here.

Today is, or it was, the Tłusty Czwartek, in English, Fat Thursday, is a traditional Polish and German feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter. It is similar to, but should not be confused with, the French festival of Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday"). Traditionally it is a day dedicated to eating, when people meet in their homes or cafés with their friends and relatives and eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals forbidden during Lent. Among the most popular all-national dishes served on that day are pączki or berliner, fist-sized donuts filled with rose marmalade, and faworki, French dough fingers served with lots of powdered sugar.

I will owe a picture on this post, but very soon, hopefully tomorrow, I'll have one, with the recipe :)

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last Valentine Post...

And here I finish the Valentine's Day combo. These mini cheesecakes are the same from here. I just wanted to try the perfect match: the tiny pans with these tiny plates!

Valentine's Day No Bake Mini Cheesecakes

Those who know me also know that I looove miniatures. All miniatures, not just food, but I go crazy with every tiny little thing I see, a tiny cupcake earring, a tiny souvenir doll, a tiny chair for tiny dolls. And this has been since I was a child. I loved to play dolls with tiny little pots and fake cook tiny little pasta and put on the dolls tiny little shoes. I remember when I used to have art classes at school. We learned how to make origami and had to make a project (like a maquette) in the end with the pieces we'd made. I chose to make a mini zoo. The zoo wasn't that mini, but the origami animals were. They measured up to 1,5 cm height and I just had so much fun making them and appreciating how tiny they were. I have a friend (Carol) who never forgets that and if she reads this, she will laugh.

And here I am, baking and decorating, not just mini desserts, obviously... My passion when decorating is the detail, the tiny details that make the difference. When I bake, if I can make something very little, makes me have fun. It is all also a challenge.

As it is Valentine's Day, I think these little treats could make a nice surprise. Unfortunately, hubby won't have them because they're gone long time ago :)

The original recipe is from Nigella and I changed a few things because I made them in those little forms. I added gelatin because it was the first time I was using the tins, so I wanted to make sure the cheesecakes would come out nice and clean.

Valentine's Day No Bake Mini Cheesecakes


125g graham crackers
75g soft butter
300g cream cheese
60g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
250ml double cream
1 tablespoon of no flavored gelatin powder
1 jar of strawberry preserves (or other of your preference)

  1. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the butter and whiz again to make the mixture clump.
  2. Press about 0.5cm of this mixture into tiny springform tins. Don't add too much here or you won't have enough space for the cream.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
  4. Lightly whip the double cream, and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Hydrate the gelatin in about 2 tablespoons of warm water. Before it hardens add it to the cream mixture stirring slowly.
  6. Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth with a spoon. Put the tins in a bigger form and leave them in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
  7. When you are ready to serve the cheesecakes, unmould them and spread the preserves over the top.
  8. Additional information - for vegetarains make sure the cream cheese is a brand suitable for vegetarians.
These mini cheesecake pans I bought in Brazil while visiting my family in 2010. The moment I saw them, I knew I had to make something :)


Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Brazilian Butter Cookies

As bakers we all have those nostalgic recipes. This one brings me back funny - now they are funny - memories of my childhood. My mother still mentions this in our talks some times. I loved to make those cookies when I was, I don't know, maybe 10, 12 years old. But the point was that I always got angry with them because I never got the right consistency to roll them out, every time. It was so frustrating that many times I threw the dough on the floor and then, MY MOM got angry with me because again I was making a mess and wasting the ingredients. She tried to helped me when both of us calmed down and everything was fine. But a few months later, there I was again trying to make those cookies, not getting the right consistensy and so on.

When I decided to make them for this blog I knew everything was going to work out because, well, I'm much more mature now LOL and as the dough started drying out, I just had to knead it a little longer so my hands would warm the butter making the dough pliable again. And this happened very naturally and made me think "that was the point, and it was so easy... if only I knew this at that time... " :)

I do have a recipe for them but, as I mentioned before, we just moved and our things haven't come yet and the recipe is not here with me. I only have the pictures because I brought the backup cds.

The ones with little stripes have the classic design (they will be subject of another post in the future) and as part of Valentine's Day's ideas, I shaped a heart in the center with my fingers and added some strawberry marmalade before baking.

Here they are, fresh from the oven. They are great with a cup of tea or a glass of milk...

Miss Apple has moved :)

And also Miss Apple's Sweets, but not the web address :)... I don't know if somebody still comes here, but I'm about to do a big change in my blog. I want to take advantage that I was blessed with the possibility of living in 3 different countries and now I've just moved to the 4th one!
I am from Brazil, moved to the USA in 2007, met my lovely Polish husband there, lived there for 4 years and then we moved to Poland and stayed for 1 year. Now, by the forces of the destiny or something like that, we are living here, my 4th country and here we hope to stay.
Anyways, I want to explore much more my baking, decorating and desserts passion and share some of my sweet experiments from all the cultures I've known, the one that I'm about to learn and why not some of the ones I don't know yet too? so lots of new things will be posted. I believe it will be much more interesting, especially for me because I've got lots of ideas. I just hope I can keep up with them. I have been practicing some photographing, digging in and searching for lots of inspirations.
I just need to get everything on track first. WE are here, but not all of our stuff, so I don't have a lot of my baking tools with me. Also, I still need to do some paper work.
However, I did prepare some pictures before I left Poland and I have to post them soon, as some of them were about Valentine's Day!