Buttery, flaky, all-purpose pie crust (pate brisee) – basic recipes

Pie crust is the second recipe in “Basic recipe section” in this blog. It is an amazing recipe that can be used for sweet and savory dishes. I love pie crust because the dough can be prepared in advance and kept in fridge for some days or freezer for some months.

You may use pie crust for quiches, savory pies, vegetable galettes, fruit pies, fruit galettes, tarts etc. You may adopt pie crust in version of mini-pies, mini-tarts or mini-galettes and have portion size treats that can be adapted to everyone taste.

This is my basic recipe for pie crust, which produces an amazing, flaky and buttery dough. I sometimes play with it by flavouring the dough with spices or lemon zest which makes my dishes even more flavourful. I also like to replace part of the flour in my basic pie crust recipe with different flours like whole wheat flour, oatmeal flour or almond flour, the result is a little more dense, but still buttery and delicious.

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Homemade pastry cream – Basic recipes

pastry creamI’m starting a new series of post in this blog called “basic recipes”. The name says it all, there will be some basic recipes that are easy to make and you may adapt in thousands ways. The first one is a sweet one, vanilla pastry cream basic recipe, and some tips and tricks on how to completely change its flavour.

I use part cream and part milk to make my pastry cream, for a more velvety texture and a more luscious flavour, but feel free to replace the cream with milk. I use different ways to add flavour like using spices: vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, or zest from orange or lemon, almond extract is also a very nice choice.

You may use pastry cream for many desserts: to fill tarts or pies, to fill layered cakes, to fill eclairs or muffins, or just eat it by spoon like a pudding with some fresh fruits aside. My little secret to make pastry cream is mixing everything together and cooking it in medium heat. You have to stir the mix for about 20 minutes, but on the other hand you don’t need to temper the eggs, or use many dishes.

If you’re wondering what to do with all the leftover egg whites I suggest you to make coconut macaroons, almond mini-muffins or sesame crisps. Continue reading

Double chocolate rye muffins inspired by Green Kitchen Stories

There is an amazing couple out there that makes healthy eating so easy and delicious and has been an inspiration for millions of people, me  included, Luise and David from Green Kitchen Stories. I’ve cooked many recipes from their blog and app and I completely love them.

Since I got a big batch of rye flour and I wanted to play a little bit with it, the first place I checked for inspiration was Green Kitchen story. They’ve got a recipe for double chocolate rye muffins, which I wanted to try since a long time. I used it as a base and created my own version of it.

The double chocolate rye muffins are so good and quite healthy, you can enjoy them for breakfast. I’m sure they’ll be a children favorite so don’t hesitate to try them. In case you are curios and want to try other muffins recipes you can find plenty of them in the blog.

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Almond and dried apricots cake covered in white chocolate glaze, an everyday and special occasion cake

Almond and dried apricots cake was made keeping my mom in mind. She is such a picky eater.

My mom loves nuts and dried fruits and she definitely loves a good but small piece of cake, but it should be the right one. Sweet but not too sweet, spicy but not too spicy, super moist and soft and with an extra something that makes it amazing.

My happiness was beyond words when she loved this almond and dried apricots cake, asked for more and wanted the recipe to make it herself. This cake combines dried apricots and toasted almonds, that give it such a nice texture and is flavoured with powdered cardamom, which I completely adore. In case you can’t find it vanilla or cinnamon are fine to spice up this cake, but if you can find it please don’t skip it, since it matches so well with the flavours of dried apricots and toasted almonds.

You may play with different nuts and dried fruits, like hazelnuts & dried figs or walnuts and raisins. It’s all up to you.

To bring this almond and dried apricots cake to a whole new level I covered it in white chocolate glaze and some flaked almonds. You may skip both of them if you prepare this cake on regular basis, to save some calories, but I strongly suggest to use it if you prepare this cake for any special occasion, like having friends coming over or preparing it for your mom. And of course you may use a dark or milk chocolate glaze, instead of white chocolate, but in this case just add the amount of cream up to 100 ml.

If you’re looking for other sweet recipes you can find many of them in this blog’s sweet session.

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Tahini, olive oil and dates cake

I love browsing around the internet and discovering new blogs that inspire me. Eat in my kitchen is one of my latest discoveries and I’m sharing with you the first recipe from this blog that I had fun experimenting with. It’s a date and tahini cake, with an amazing nutty flavor that stole my heart in the first bite.

I like to use rye flour for this cake, but you may replace it with all purpose flour if you don’t like it, or if you can’t find it). I really like the dense texture rye flour brings to this cake and also all the nutrients.

Also I’m not a whipped cream girl, I’m a labneh or Greek yogurt girl, so I replaced the whipped cream with a sauce prepared with greek yogurt and honey.

I enriched the flavours with ground cardamom and added few tablespoons of black tahini. I really love this unconventional cake and I found it perfect for breakfast since is not very sweet, has a lot of fibres from rye flour and good fat from olive oil and tahini.

 

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Cocoa hummus – an amazing healthy spread for your toast and not only

You already know that I’m a hummus addict and also a chocoholic. They sound like unrelated things, but apparently they’re not. Cocoa hummus is a real thing and tastes heavenly. The idea to experiment with cocoa hummus wasn’t mine. It practically came as a challenge from Ingrid Xh. a fellow foodie who is behind Bonvivant blog. Bonvivant is so interesting, it guides you through bars, restaurants and bistros in Tirana and not only, sharing her experience and thoughts. It has become my guide lately and I’m pretty sure it will become yours too, so go check it out.

Now coming back to cocoa hummus, all I have to say is that is amazing. It is easy peasy to make, has a spreadable consistency, is very healthy and tastes better than any chocolate spread you may have tried. I’m sure that this low sugar, low fat and high fibre spread  will easily substitute Nutella in your children diet, so what can be better than that?

The ingredients you need to make cocoa hummus are simple: chickpeas, tahini, cocoa and maple syrup. You may replace tahini with every nut butter you like, like peanut butter or almond butter, and also you can easily replace maple syrup with honey. You may add cinnamon or other spices you like, it all depends on your taste. The chickpeas are tender, so there is no need for a high speed blender to make cocoa hummus.

Cocoa hummus tastes great on toast, waffles, fruits and even oatmeal. It tastes even better with a spoon straight from the jar 😛  I think it will work well even to frost a cake or cupcakes but haven’t tried it yet, so in case anyone tries let me know.

For all of you who love nature and especially animals, the good news is that this recipe is vegan and can be part of your daily diet.

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Power balls – guilt free healthy bites

Power balls are an amazing choice for the afternoon snack or after lunch sweet treat. That’s really cool to have a jar of power balls in the fridge and reach for them after lunch instead of dessert or any time you are craving for something sweet. They’re moist, chewy and packed with healthy ingredients like dates, raisins, sunflower seeds and oatmeal.

Power balls are a really great snack for all ages but kids particularly. They are full of fibre, minerals and vitamin. Another reason I love power balls are that they are free of processed sugars, and get all their sweetness from natural sweeteners, in this case from dates and raisins.

Power balls look super cute and are made in a food processor, so, no cooking involved. You can make them with your kids, I’m sure they’ll love them more. Below I’m sharing a basic recipe using dates, raisins, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder and tahini, but you may experiment endlessly with it. You may use other seeds or nuts, such as sesame, walnuts, almond, or add a little bit honey, or replace tahini with other nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter, you may add spices such as ginger or cinnamon, or vanilla, etc, etc.

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Jam shortbread

I really enjoy shortbread. Easy to assemble, sweet and tasty, pairing perfectly with a cup of tea in the evening.

All you have to do is mix together butter, sugar and flour, than enrich the taste with spices, fruits or jam.

I love to add a little bit of semolina flour to make it super crispy.  Why not also some sesame seeds and coconut to add flavor and make it prettier?

So, I ended up with this beauty.

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The basic granola recipe

I’ve been quiet busy this period, so I just needed to relax, even from the kitchen. So I’m not sharing any cookie, cake or comfort meal recipe, but I’m going to the basics, GRANOLA.

Granola is basically baked oatmeal flakes with nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Once you master a basic recipe you may play endlessly with the mix-ins and spices to find the perfect combination for you. Granola is perfect to top almost anything from smoothies and yogurt to dessert, or even salads.  I almost cannot live without homemade granola in my pantry. It not only tastes amazing but is so healthy, made with whole grains, unrefined oil and sweetened naturally. The recipe I’m sharing with you is my basic granola recipe, that you may adapt to your taste. You may experiment with spices, nuts and sweeteners.

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Sesame crisps – a super yummy healthy treat

I’m always in search of healthy little treats, and this time I had them just in front of my eyes at my office cafeteria, sesame crisps. Isn’t that amazing? As always I needed to create my own version of it. I made some research online and after two weeks of trial and error, I found my favourite combination to make healthy sesame crisps.

This recipe of sesame crisps is very easy to follow and requires few ingredients, egg whites, butter, flour, sugar and of course sesame seeds. I sometimes add also other seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower or flex seeds, but in very small quantities.

These sesame crisps are super crunchy and tasty and will give you energy on hiking or even when you feel tired in the evening. They are perfect also for children’s lunchboxes or evening snacks so don’t hesitate to try them.

I want to keep them on the healthier side, so the quantity of sugar I use is very small, but in case you prefer it sweeter you made add some more sugar, which will caramelize and give you a nice sweet treat.

If you’re in search of other healthy treats just click here, I’ve plenty of guilt free easy recipes for you.

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