1. Pastéis de Belém
For the dough
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup plus two tablespoons water
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, stirred until smooth
For the custard
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk, divided
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, whisked
Make the dough
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, and water until a soft, pillowy dough forms that cleans the side of the bowl, about 30 seconds.
2. Generously flour a work surface and pat the dough into a 6-inch square using a pastry scraper as a guide. Flour the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
3. Roll the dough into an 18-inch square. As you work, use the scraper to lift the dough to make sure the underside isn’t sticking.
4. Brush excess flour off the top, trim any uneven edges, and using a small offset spatula dot and then spread the left two-thirds of the dough with a little less than one-third of the butter to within 1 inch of the edge.
5. Neatly fold over the unbuttered right third of the dough (using the pastry scraper to loosen it if it sticks), brush off any excess flour, then fold over the left third. Starting from the top, pat down the packet with your hand to release air bubbles, then pinch the edges closed. Brush off any excess flour.
6. Turn the dough packet 90 degrees to the left so the fold is facing you. Lift the packet and flour the work surface. Once again roll out to an 18-inch square, then dot and spread the left two-thirds of the dough with one-third of the butter, and fold the dough as in steps 4 and 5.
7. For the last rolling, turn the packet 90 degrees to the left and roll out the dough to an 18-by-21-inch rectangle, with the shorter side facing you. Spread the remaining butter over the entire surface.
8. Using the spatula as an aid, lift the edge closest to you and roll the dough away from you into a tight log, brushing the excess flour from the underside as you go. Trim the ends and cut the log in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or preferably overnight.
Make the custard
9. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth. Set aside.
10. Bring the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 220°F (100°C). Do not stir.
11. Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, scald the remaining 1 cup milk. Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture.
12. Remove the cinnamon stick then pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the hot milk-and-flour mixture, whisking briskly. Add the vanilla and stir for a minute until very warm but not hot. Whisk in the yolks, strain the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
13. Heat the oven to 550°F (290°C). Remove a pastry log from the refrigerator and roll it back and forth on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an inch in diameter and 16 inches long. Cut it into scant 3/4-inch pieces. Place a piece cut-side down in each well of a nonstick 12-cup mini-muffin pan (2-by-5/8-inch size). Allow the dough pieces to soften several minutes until pliable.
14. Have a small cup of water nearby. Dip your thumbs into the water, then straight down into the middle of the dough spiral. Flatten it against the bottom of the cup to a thickness of about 1/8 inch, then smooth the dough up the sides and create a raised lip about 1/8 inch above the pan. The pastry sides should be thinner than the bottom.
15. Fill each cup 3/4 full with the slightly warm custard. Bake the pasteis until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 8 to 9 minutes.
16. Remove from the oven and allow the pasteis to cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack and cool until just warm. Sprinkle the pasteis generously with powdered sugar, then cinnamon and serve. Repeat with the remaining pastry and custard. If you prefer, the components can be refrigerated up to three days. The pastry can be frozen up to three months.
2. Zagorje Cheese Štrukli
This is a famous Croatian appetizer from the Zagorje region. It is quite satisfying and filling so don’t eat too much, unless of course you are serving it as a main dish.
Serves 8 to 10
5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cooking oil
pinch of salt
2 1/2 pounds dry curd cottage cheese or ricotta
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
4 cups heavy cream
In a large mixing bowl make a dough from the flour, 1 egg, the oil and a small
amount of salted water. Keep kneading the dough, either in the bowl or on a floured surface, until bubbles start to form and dough becomes smooth. Then shape the dough into a ball. Coat the surface with cooking spray, cover with a clean dishtowel and let stand about 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting, make the filling: Mix the cheese with the remaining 4 eggs
in a mixing bowl. Add salt and 1/2 cup of melted butter. Blend until the mixture is
smooth. Sprinkle a large work surface such as a kitchen table with flour. Roll out the dough to paper-thin thickness. Then spread out the cheese mixture evenly over dough. Brush the dough with 1/2 cup melted butter. Roll up, jelly-roll fashion.
Cut the roll into 20 pieces (the cutting is traditionally done with the rim of a plate).
Boil the štrukle in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain and arrange in a greased ovenproof dish. Preheat oven to 400°. Pour the remaining ½ cup butter over the štrukle and top with cream. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden.
– 1/2 cup of water
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1/2 lb of crushed plain tea biscuits
– 1/2 lb of walnut, almond or hazelnut meal (or blend)
– 2 sticks of butter (16 tablespoons)
– 3 oz. of dark chocolate
– any alcohol (for flavor)
– 2 tablespoons of milk
– 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
– 3 tablespoons of butter
– 3 oz. of dark chocolate
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan then add the sugar. Stir. Wait until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 3-5 minutes) then add the crushed biscuits, nut powder(s) and butter in small pieces. Mix well until homogeneous.
2. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (double boiler).
3. Take saucepan off the heat, then add alcohol to the batter and mix.
4. Divide dough into 2 equal parts. In one of them, add the melted chocolate, and incorporate.
5. Place a square baking frame (approximately 8×8 in) on a plate (or you can also use a square pan) and line with parchment paper.
6. When the dough is warm, spread half of the chocolate batter at the bottom of the frame (or pan). Pack well to form a very uniform and dense layer. Reproduce the process with the plain dough, then the remaining half of chocolate batter, making sure to smooth the surface at the end of each step.
7. Prepare the icing. Start by simmering the milk, powdered sugar and butter. When everything is dissolved, add the chocolate and mix until you obtain a uniform glaze.
8. Pour the icing, spreading it evenly and gently then tapping the plate on the work surface to level the surface and get rid of any air bubbles.
9. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
Using a large sharp knife, cut strips about 1×3 in.
4.Saltibarsciai Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup
2-3 medium to large red beets (about 1 pound)
2 medium cucumbers
2 scallions or chives
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup sour cream
4 cups buttermilk
Clean, trim and peel beets, cover with water and boil until tender.
While the beets are boiling:
1. peel cucumbers and chop into small cubes (about 1/2 inch);
2. peel shells from hard-boiled eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Chop the whites very finely.
3. Chop the scallions and mash with egg yolks and 1/4 teaspoon salt to release the onion flavor.
When the beets have finished boiling, remove them from the water and reserve the liquid.
Cool the boiled beets under cold running water (or pop them into the refrigerator to cool for about an hour).
When beets have cooled, grate them coarsely.
In large mixing bowl, add buttermilk to the beet water and blend in sour cream; then add beets, cucumbers, egg whites, egg yolks and onions. Stir until well blended.
Place in refrigerator to chill. Serve with chopped dill as garnish.
5. Zurek, Sour Bread Soup
½ cup rye flour
1 cup crusts from rye bread
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups warm water
FOR THE SOUP:
2 large onions, one halved and one coarsley chopped
1 large carrot, trimmed, peeled and halved
1 large parsnip, trimmed, peeled and halved
½ celery root, peeled and halved
8 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ pound bacon, chopped
1 pound beef kielbasa, sliced ½-inch thick at a slight angle
1 pound pork kielbasa, sliced ½-inch thick at a slight angle
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
3 allspice berries
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
6 black peppercorns
¼ cup jarred horseradish
¼ cup heavy cream
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved (optional)
Juice of ½ lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a large sanitized storage jar with a hermetically sealing top (such as you would use for preserving fruit). Leave the jar in a warm place for 4 to 5 days. Open the jar, remove any mold or green bits that might have accumulated on top. Strain, pressing on the bread to extract as much liquid as possible. You should have about 2 cups. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE SOUP: Place the sliced onion halves, carrot, parsnip and celery root in a large saucepan covered with the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Strain the broth and discard the vegetables.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, bacon and both kinds of kielbasa and cook, stirring frequently, until all are lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
Add the strained vegetable broth, the bay leaf, allspice, marjoram, peppercorns, and horseradish. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in the reserved Zakwas and the cream. Raise the heat, and bring to a boil again. Remove the bay leaf, and add the hard-boiled eggs. Add the lemon juice. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
6. Fish and chips
– beef dripping or oil
– for deep frying (beef dripping is used in the traditional method and gives a far better flavour or sunflower )
For the fish :
4x175g/6oz thick cod or haddock fillets, taken from the head end rather than the tail end of the fish
225g/8oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
salt and freshly ground black pepper
300ml/10fl oz fridge-cold lager
For the chips :
6-8 large floury potatoes, such as maris piper, king edward, desiree (depending on how hungry you are)
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and preheat the dripping or oil to 120C/250F.
For the chips, peel the potatoes and cut into whatever size you prefer. Wash well in cold water, drain and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Put the potatoes into the fryer and allow them to fry gently for about 8-10 minutes, until they are soft but still pale. Check they’re cooked by piercing with a small, sharp knife. Lift out of the pan and leave to cool slightly on greaseproof paper.
Increase the heat of the fryer to 180C/350F.
Season the fish and dust lightly with flour; this enables the batter to stick to the fish.
To make the batter, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and whisk in the lager to give a thick batter, adding a little extra beer if it seems over-thick. It should be the consistency of very thick double cream and should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and thickly coat 2 of the fillets with the batter. Carefully place in the hot fat and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan, drain and sit on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, then keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining 2 fillets in the same way.
Once the fish is cooked, return the chips to the fryer and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden and crispy. Shake off any excess fat and season with salt before serving with the crispy fish. If liked, you can serve with tinned mushy peas and bread and butter, for the authentic experience!
7. Romanian Cornmeal Porridge Recipe – Mamaliga
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
Sour cream (optional)
Telemea or feta cheese (optional)
Fresh herbs of choice (optional)
Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the salt and butter, stirring to melt. Using a wooden spoon, add the cornmeal very gradually, while stirring constantly in the same direction.
Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, about 35-40 minutes. Serve hot.
NOTE: If desired, while mamaliga is still hot, add more butter, cheese, sour cream and herbs. Mamaliga can also be served with a dollop of sour cream. Mamaliga can be poured into a pan. When cool, it can be flipped out onto a cutting board, cut into squares and sauteed in butter until crispy.
8. Shopska salad
4 ripe tomatoes
2 long cucumbers
1 red or green pepper
1/3 bunch of parsley
2 tablespoons (olive) oil
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 cup (1/2 lb) Bulgarian cheese (or feta cheese)
1.Chop the tomatoes in large pieces.
2.Peel the cucumbers and chop them in rings or semi-circles.
3.Cut the pepper in stripes or other shape of your choice.
4.Fine chop the parsley.
5.Fine chop the onion.
6.Pour all products in the plate, in which they will be served
7. Add the oil, vinegar, salt and herbs of your choice and add the cheese at the top.