Classic Chocolate Mousse

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
chocolate,diagrams,sweet — by Johanna

© Johanna Kindvall

My grandmother always served chocolate coffee mousse for dessert and I loved it. But as a kid, I didn’t really like coffee on its own. The first time I ever drank coffee I kept adding sugar to make it taste better… it just made it worse and it took me years to recover. Today, now that I have learnt to love coffee (especially strong and black), I still can’t imagine drinking coffee with sugar.

Oh well, coffee in cakes, ice cream or chocolate mousse is a always a treat (and in my upcoming book which I co-authored together with Anna Brones, Fika – The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break we share a delicious Hazelnut Coffee Cake recipe). When I started to make chocolate mousse this winter I ended up not flavoring it at all. I just liked it as it was. Thick, chocolaty and totally comforty! The recipe I’m using, is an old classic formula which you can find in Elizabeth David’s book French Provincial Cooking. The recipe is simply described with a few words:

“4 yolks beaten into 4 oz. of melted bitter chocolate, and the 4 whipped whites folded in.”

Her recipe serves 4, which makes this a super clever recipe. You just need to count one egg and one ounce chocolate (about 30 grams) per person.

The illustrated recipe diagram above suggests adding one teaspoon of sugar per serving, which I learnt from Felicity Cloake’s How to make perfect chocolate mousse article in the Guardian.

And I’m sure a little bit of cold coffee, some drops of rum or juice of an orange will work fine to spice it up. As I said, I like it just plain or topped with star anise infused black berries.

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check also out these chocolate mousse links

Chocolate Mousse (coffee & dark rum) by David Lebovitz (adapted from Julia Childs recipe)
Spizy Boozy Mousse (coffee, cinnamon & ancho chili) by Sara Kate Gillingham @ theKitchn
Swedish Chef making Chocolate Moose – Muppet Show (video)

If you are afraid to get Salmonella by using raw eggs, you can pasteurize them. (I get fresh organic eggs that are free from hormones and antibiotics).

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Winter Blues: A Pairing Party for 8 to 12 (part 4)

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
cheese — by Johanna

© Johanna Kindvall

 

I hope you all are having a wonderful start of 2015. Winter is here and it’s time for Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage and my final post in our seasonal cheese calendar, Winter (below you can find links to the other posts). As it is the end of the series, we thought it was suitable to celebrate with a blue cheese pairing party.

I hope you have enjoyed our Seasonal Cheese Calendar as much as we have. Eventually we will create cards and prints. They will be for sale in both our shops.
Cheers.

Winter Blues: A Pairing Party for 8 to 12
by Madame Fromage

Late winter is an ideal time to host an Around the World with Blue Cheese party. In the cold months, who doesn’t dream of traveling abroad? Since so many countries make iconic blues, it’s delightful to take one’s taste buds on a cruise from Stilton to Roquefort, then home again for a taste of artisan American funk.

Blues vary widely in taste and texture. Some swing savory with notes of creamed spinach, fresh herbs, or even pine — while others deliver a sweet song to the tongue. Gorgonzola Dolce tastes like ice cream (try it with cherry jam and graham crackers), and Valdéon can deliver notes of grape and white chocolate. Other blues make me think of oysters – all minerals and brine. Exquisite.

Here’s what to do if you want to host a blue cheese pairing party:

1) pick a wide range of blues, like the ones listed below – aim for five or six hunks, you’ll need ¼ or ½ pound each.

2) Invite 8 to 12 friends, and tell each person to bring an after-dinner drink: stout, barleywine, Scotch/whiskey, or a fortified wine (like Port, Madeira, or Sherry).

Then, set out all of your cheeses – let them come to room temperature before serving, and use notecards to label them – and garnish them with some grapes, dates or apricots, walnuts, berry jam, honey, and dark chocolate.

At your tasting party, let the blues talk. Try them one at a time with a variety of beverages. You’ll go through every glass in your cupboard. Between bites, you can eat grapes or baguette slices to cleanse your palate. At the end of the night, snap photos of your favorite pairings. If you forget, don’t worry – everyone will remember the night they came to your house for a blue cheese initiation.

Note: if you don’t want to mix too many kinds of alcohol, just pick dessert wines or stout/barleywines.

Five Iconic Blue Cheeses

© Johanna Kindvall

Stilton
Britain’s iconic blue is savory with hints of tobacco and leather. It’s sold in wheels with a cigar-colored rind, making its whole disposition rather grandfatherly. Think of it as a craggy, cozy old character – ideally suited for slushy days and a back-drop of scratchy folk records. “Potted Stilton” is sold in crocks – a sort of holiday treat. It’s soft and pungent, delicious with chutney and a plate of oaty biscuits. For a much-loved pairing, sip a glass of Port (or even Scotch). Stilton also loves stout.

© Johanna Kindvall

Valdeon
Spain’s most famous blue is a “granny” cheese, sweet and a little salty with a shawl made of Sycamore leaves. Lean in and you’ll smell a damp cottage with a front walkway made of slate and violets sticking up between the cracks. Lovely for dessert, try serving it with a spot of dark chocolate – it has a hint of white chocolate on the finish, which is lovely to play off. Walnuts and honey are a fine pairing, too. Sherry and barleywine make especially good matches.

© Johanna Kindvall

Gorgonzola
Italy produces a pair of twin blue cheeses, dolce (sweet) and piccante (sharp). Piccante loves pasta and is terrific shmeared on steak or stirred into white bean soup. Dolce loves a light clear honey and a crack of black pepper, alongside some pears – it’s so gooey, you can spoon it up like mousse. Try pairing it with a fruity lambic (Kriek) or barleywine.© Johanna Kindvall

Roquefort
Really good French Roquefort tastes like a cheese from the sea – salty and mineral bright. Its indigo veins shimmer, and its paste is the consistency of melting butter, thanks to sheep’s milk. Roquefort gains its extraordinary combination of flavors from aging in seaside caves that are famous for their “fleurines” – fissures that allow the damp air to circulate. Quality Roquefort (I like Carles), served with a chilled glass of Sauternes, will leave you speechless.© Johanna Kindvall

Rogue River Smokey
One of the great American artisan blues, RRS tastes like bacon in the form of cheese. It loves camping, pancakes, and long walks on the beach. Rogue Creamery, in Oregon, makes a dozen different blues, each one subtly different. This selection is gently smoked over hazelnut shells, making for a nutty, buttery rogue. Pair it with an achingly dark stout or a Manhattan.

Wondering how blue cheeses get their dark veins? They’re pierced with long needles. The piercings allow air to flow through the wheels, and that promotes “blue-ing.” Many people think that blue mold is injected into the cheese, but that’s not so. The “blue” develops naturally, thanks to a special culture (Penicillium Roqueforti) that cheesemakers stir into the curds. That said, “blue” likes to wander, so you’ll want to store your blue cheeses away from other cheeses in your fridge.

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Please also read the other parts in this Seasonal Cheese Calendar:

Your Spring Goat Cheese Primer (part 1)
Late Summer Cheese Picnic (part 2)
Smoke and Funk: A Fall Cheese Board (part 3)

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The Art of Swedish Holiday Baking (Recipe for Ginger Spice Cake)

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
diagrams,sweet — by Johanna

kindvall-spicecake-coffee-02

Despite different time zones, my book collaborator Anna Brones and I always find time to bake “together”. And for our regular skype meetings we always treat ourselves with strong coffee and something sweet to nibble.  This week we are celebrating a little extra; Fika just got listed in Saveur Magazine‘s 100 cooks’ edition list! (issue 171, January & February 2015). We wish you all a wonderful and sweet Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Julbak: The Art of Swedish Holiday Baking (With a Recipe for Ginger Spice Cake)
Text by Anna Brones

If there’s one thing that’s essential to a good December in Sweden, it’s julbak. It might come as no surprise that “Christmas baking” is of the utmost importance in a country where December is cold and very dark month; what’s better on a chilly winter day than a warm kitchen wafting of freshly baked gingersnaps? Not a whole lot. Well, except for a kitchen wafting of freshly baked gingersnaps AND a pot of glögg.

Holidays, no matter what they are and what culture they are celebrated in, are often linked to certain foods. The act of preparing a particular dish ties us to the tradition and the celebration. While we may find ourselves far from family, friends and the place that the tradition comes from, if we prepare a certain food, we are immediately transported back.

Julbak is this kind of tradition, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a Swede, whether they’re living in Sweden or elsewhere, that isn’t craving pepparkakor come the month of December.

While julbak can consist of a whole variety of baked goods, there are a few Swedish classics that are indicative of this time of year:

Pepparkakor – Swedish gingersnaps, rolled out thinly and cut into traditional shapes like hearts, pigs and adorable gingermen and gingerwomen. Ready to try pepparkakorHere’s a recipe.

© Johanna Kindvall

Lussekatter – Also known as lussebullar or saffransbullar, these are the beautiful sweet buns baked into a golden yellow. The color comes from the addition of saffron, and the buns are decorated with currants. They are commonly baked for St. Lucia day. Here’s a recipe if you’re feeling up for it.

kindvall-lussekatter

Glögg – While the Swedish mulled wine isn’t a baked good, you can’t eat all of the julbak treats without a nice mug of glögg to go with them. Here’s a recipe to try.

Of course, the problem with both pepparkakor and lussekatter is that you need time to bake them, and not everyone always has it. But because the flavors are so iconic, in the modern Swedish baking world, you’ll see saffron and the spices used pepparkakor incorporated in a variety of creative ways in other recipes, all helping you get the traditional flavors of December with a little less kitchen work.

Last December, Johanna and I were caught up testing all of our classic Christmas recipes for our book Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break – which is coming out in just a few months – so this year we thought it might be fun to do something a little different. In Sweden, the pepparkaka can take many forms. In our book for example we have the classic version as well as the softer ginger cookie, which the Swedes smartly call a lunchpepparkaka, because it’s so dense you can in fact eat it for lunch. This recipe takes the form of a soft ginger cake, but still includes all the spices normally used in a traditional pepparkaka. The end result is a tasty gingersnap spice cake of sorts. Perfect with glögg or just a strong cup of coffee.

Anna & Johanna’s Ginger Spice Cake
makes one 6-cup Bundt cake

10½ tablespoons (5¼ ounces, 148 grams) unsalted butter
3 egg yolks, room temperature
¼ cup (2½ ounces, 70 grams) honey
2 teaspoons whole cardamom seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoon milk
¾ cup (3¾ ounces, 106 grams) all-purpose flour
3 egg whites, room temperature
¾  cup (5¼ ounces, 148 grams) natural cane sugar 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour the Bundt pan. 

In a bowl, cream together the butter with the honey until well blended. Add the egg yolks one by one followed by the milk and the spices. Mix the batter together.

Sift the flour, then stir it carefully into the batter, stirring as little as possible until you get an even and sticky batter. The batter is quite stiff but will get lighter in the next step. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, ideally with an electric mixer. When soft peaks form, add the cane sugar little by little. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the sugar and egg white mixture into the batter and keep folding until the batter is evenly blended. Be careful not to overstir. Pour directly into the Bundt pan. 

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. The cake is done when a knife or toothpick comes out clean when inserted at the thickest part of the cake. If the cake starts to get a golden brown color earlier (which can happen after 20 minutes), remove it from the oven, cover it with aluminum foil, and put back in the oven. This will prevent the top of the cake from burning. 

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for a bit before inverting it onto a plate.

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more by Anna Brones and me

ToscaKaka with Orange (recipe)
Kanelbullar (recipe)
Mazariner (recipe)
Semlor (recipe)
Amuse Bouche (illustrated food caption series, Foodie Underground 2012-2013)
Fika – The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break (about the book and where to pre-order)

 

Madame Fromage’s Semolina Crackers (book review)

Saturday, December 6th, 2014
books,bread,diagrams — by Johanna

© Johanna Kindvall

Another cookbook that’s become one of my favorites is Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings by Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage (Running Press, 2013). I have mentioned the book here several times but I think the book is worth it’s own post. First of all the book is not just a cookbook it’s an introductions to 170 different cheeses. The book is a collaboration with Di Bruno Bros., a well known cheese shop in Philadelphia.

In the book Tenaya simply tells stories around the selected cheeses, includes several ideas and tips on how to serve, what to drink and pair them with. Tenaya also teaches you how to buy a cheese and how to talk to a cheesemonger. The main purpose of the book is to help the reader find the cheese of their dreams. Unfortunately I want them all!

The book has several recipes for treats that works well with cheese, such as Lavender Mustard, Balsamic Poached Figs and Semolina Crackers (see below). There are also many cheesy recipes, for e.g. Manchego & Marcona Almond Pesto and mouth watering Grilled Peaches with Quadrello di Bufala

I’m so looking forward to her next book, which is a cocktail collaboration with her brother André Darlington. When ever I read something by Tenaya, the book or something on her website I end up hungry with a big smile on my face. Tenaya has loads of humor. Chapters as Baby Faces, Stinkers and Pierced Punks is just a few examples of her excellent wittiness!

I’m dreaming that one day Tenaya will have me over for dinner…
© Johanna Kindvall

Madame Fromage’s Semolina Crackers

(I didn’t counted them but there were plenty to serve with a cheese plate for 4 people)

As you know, I like to bake, so after receiving the book last Spring I almost immediately baked Tenaya’s Semolina Crackers (that are adapted from Heidi Swanson‘s recipe).  I like the way Tenaya bakes them, just simply rolled out on a baking sheet, baked, cooled and then “cracked” with your hands before serving.  You can also roll them out with a pasta machine, like I suggest here below. I have halved the recipe and changed the method slightly, otherwise it’s pretty much the same as in the book.

dough
¾ cup (123 grams) semolina flour cup
¾ cups (106 grams) all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
one teaspoon flaky sea salt (more if you like saltier crackers)
½ cup (about 120 ml) warm water
about 2½ tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing

flavour
fresh rosemary

Mix together the water and the olive oil in a large bowl before adding the flours, sea salt and chopped rosemary. Work together well with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Transfer the dough to a floured flat surface and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should feel smooth and not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball. Place in an olive oil greased bowl. Let the dough rest in the fridge for one hour.

Cut out small pieces (size depends on how long crackers you want) and flatten them out slightly with your hands. Roll them out about 2″ wide with a rolling pin or pasta machine. Roll them out as thin as you can and desire. (I roll them out to level 5 in the pasta machine which is less than 1/8 inch thickness). Dust with more flour if the dough feels sticky.

Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the long crackers on the sheet and bake at 350°F  (175°C) for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Let the crackers cool completely (not stacked) on a flat surface. Store in airtight containers. My crackers never lasted that long, but according to Tenaya they store well up to a week.

© Johanna Kindvall

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Tenaya will have some book signings (around Philadelphia) in December (2014).

More with Tenaya Darlington on Kokblog

Your Spring Goat Cheese Primer (part 1)  collaboration between Tenaya & me
Late Summer Cheese Picnic
(part 2) collaboration between Tenaya & me
Smoke and Funk: A Fall Cheese Board (part 3) collaboration between Tenaya & me
How to Turn Your Desk Into a Cheese Board – guest post by Tenaya

Fika – The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break (my first book)

Friday, November 14th, 2014
books,bread,sweet — by Johanna

kindvall-fika-cover-3

Breaking news: Fika – The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break by Anna Brones and me will be in the bookstores April 2015. It’s a celebration of Fika, the coffee break that Swedes do daily: either at work, at home, in a cafes, on the train or during a walk in the woods. The book is loaded with cookie, cake and bread recipes developed from both our Swedish heritage. They are new, adaptations or renditions of old classics, such as cardamom buns, pepparkakor, chokladbiskvier and skållat rågbröd.

It has been such a sweet journey with Anna; developing the recipes, test baking (again and again), writing, editing and drawing it all. It has also been such a pleasure to work with our publisher and editor Kaitlin Ketchum at Ten Speed Press and with Elizabeth Stromberg, who did such a wonderful work creating the beautiful design of the book.

If you like, you can already pre-order the book in several online bookstores: Random House, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

I’m so excited that I can’t walk straight! And I think I need to sit down and have some fika!

© Johanna Kindvall

related links
Fika in Saveur Magazine, January & February 2015
I’m Working on a Book (post)