Daring Bakers: Esterhazy Torte

IMG_8028Esterhazy Torte | Korena in the Kitchen

For the month of January Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake invited us to start this year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake a.k.a the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream?

A sweet dream? I could not agree more. The Esterhazy torte is a Hungarian pastry made of five layers of hazelnut sponge cake and hazelnut buttercream, all topped off with a gorgeous starburst of chocolate. If you like hazelnuts (or Nutella, Fererro Rocher, or Frangelico), then this is the cake for you!

Esterhazy Torte | Korena in the Kitchen

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Chinese BBQ Pork {Sourdough} Steamed Buns

Chinese BBQ Pork Sourdough Steamed Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

Despite the fact that I have a notification on my phone that pops up every Sunday at noon reminding me to “Feed sourdough!!!”, I still manage not to do it for weeks on end and that poor little culture of yeasts ends up grey and lifeless in the back of my fridge. Luckily for me, I realized this while I still had enough time to revive it to use in this month’s Sourdough Surprises project: Chinese steamed buns. Sourdough isn’t a traditional ingredient in steamed buns, but many recipes incorporate “old dough”, so sourdough fits right in.

Chinese BBQ Pork Sourdough Steamed Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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A New Year, A New Look {Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Truffles}

Alice Medrich's Chocolate Truffles | Korena in the Kitchen
My blog turns four years old this month, and instead of a cake, I decided on a complete overhaul. I moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted platform (apologies to anyone who tried to access my blog last Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday – I was having some technical difficulties) and as you can see, I installed a new theme (which includes a functioning recipe index!!). I’m still figuring a few things out and making some tweaks here and there, so if you run into any issues, please let me know. Otherwise, I hope you like the new look as much as I do!

Now, on to more important matters: these chocolate truffles. I make truffles every year as part of my Christmas baking, but this year I decided to a try an unusual recipe. Instead of a classic ganache made with chocolate and cream, the base for these truffles contains chocolate, butter, and – here’s the weird part – tempered egg yolks and water! The recipe and technique come from chocolate legend Alice Medrich, so I was confident that the truffles would be good despite their unorthodox ingredients. I wasn’t quite prepared for just how good, though: so chocolatey, so silky smooth, so melt-in-your-mouth amazing.

Alice Medrich's Chocolate Truffles | Korena in the Kitchen

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Lemon Curd Macarons

Lemon Curd Macarons | Korena in the Kitchen

Happy New Year, friends! Here’s to 2015 being the sweetest year yet, and what better way to start a sweet year than with a lemon curd macaron? Given that you can buy lemons and oranges year round in any grocery store, it can be easy to forget that citrus is in fact a winter fruit. However, the explosion of different varieties of lemons, oranges, and grapefruits during the colder months of the year proves that nature still works on a schedule, and that schedule clearly states that citrus coincides with winter, making a lemon curd macaron a perfectly Christmas-y (I made these as part of my Christmas Baking) or New Years-y thing, indeed.

Lemon Curd Macarons | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Peperkoek

Peperkoek | Korena in the KitchenFor the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread.

I very nearly didn’t do this challenge, but last night I re-read the recipe and realized that it was incredibly simple and also that I’ve really liked every other Dutch baked good I’ve ever made, so I baked it first thing this morning and now here I am juuuuuust squeaking in under the deadline. Turns out that ontbijtkoek, or Dutch breakfast bread, is the perfect thing to nibble on while you sip tea, contemplate your Christmas holidays, and forget what day it is.

Peperkoek | Korena in the Kitchen

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Linzer Cookies

Linzer Cookies | Korena in the Kitchen

If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas cookie, I think I may have found it: the Linzer cookie. Last year I made a Linzer torte – rich walnut pastry spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest filled with raspberry jam – that ended up being my favourite item on the Christmas Baking List, and I couldn’t wait to try it in cookie form. They have that traditional Old World Christmas feel thanks to their Austrian roots, and are just fussy enough (rolling the dough, cutting out the cookies, assembling them, etc) to fall into the “special occasion” category.

Linzer Cookies | Korena in the Kitchen

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Classic Molded Shortbread

Classic Molded Shortbread | Korena in the KitchenI’ve had this post “on deck” for about two weeks now but just haven’t been able to find the time to add the pictures and actually publish it. I remember when I was posting three times a week on this here blog – now I’m lucky if I can manage three posts a month! However, with it being the 2014 Christmas Baking Season, and with all the blog-worthy baking that has been coming out of my kitchen, and fact that I’m off work for a few weeks over the holidays, maybe I’ll actually be able to get it together to post a few more times before this month is over…

Classic Molded Shortbread | Korena in the Kitchen

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Cocoa-Cinnamon Palmiers {and what to get the foodie on your list}

Cocoa Cinnamon Palmiers | Korena in the KitchenAs the foodie in my family and circle of friends, over the years I have received a good amount of useful, useless, awesome and/or strange kitchen gadgets for Christmas. And while I always appreciate a gift and the fact that someone thought of me when they saw those silicon pot holders or these teeny tiny tongs or this decorative cheese knife or that Slap Chop (OK, so maybe the Slap Chop ended up at the thrift store…), there’s only so much room in my kitchen. In my case, the kitchen gadgetry gifts are combined with being “the one who likes cats”, which explains how I came to own not one but TWO cat-shaped ceramic creamers.

cat creamers | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Paris-Brest

Paris-Brest | Korena in the KitchenThe November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.

My favourite Daring Bakers challenges are the ones where I get to pretend to be a fancy-pants pastry chef, so despite being several days late with this post, I was actually pretty excited about this month’s challenge: a very French pastry called the Paris-Brest. This pastry, which is a ring of choux pastry filled with praline crème mousseline, commemorates the famous bicycle race between Paris and Brest, and its circular shape is supposed to represent a wheel. Apparently it was created because the riders needed a high calorie snack to refuel them after their 1,200 kilometer race – the early 20th century equivalent of a PowerBar!

Paris-Brest | Korena in the Kitchen

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Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Apples

Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Apples | Korena in the KitchenNow that fall is here, ’tis the season for everything pumpkin-pie-flavoured – but I have a confession to make: I don’t actually like pumpkin pie all that much. I make it every year for Thanksgiving because tradition, yo, but it’s probably my least favourite kind of pie. I’d much rather eat cheesecake, so this year for Thanksgiving (which in Canada was back in October), we ate both. I made this maple-flavoured beauty and topped it with thin slices of maple-cinnamon roasted apples. It was a big hit at our family dinner, and judging by how quickly the leftovers were eaten versus how long the remaining pumpkin pie languished in the fridge, it was the clear winner of that dessert battle.

Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Apples | Korena in the Kitchen

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