Friday, 21 December 2012

Spiced apple caramels

One of my favourite food blogs is Smitten kitchen, who recently came out with a cook book that I have to get! She recently posted a recipe for apple cider caramels, and this is my slightly adapted version of the recipe. These caramels taste of hot apple cider and are utterly delicious!

I made these tonight to bring with me when I'm going home tomorrow to Sweden to celebrate Christmas. My tiny flat (aka the shoe box) now smells of apple, cinnamon and caramel :)

Merry Christmas and God Jul!

Spiced apple caramels (25-30 caramels)
1 litre of fresh apple juice
2 dl white sugar
1 dl light brown sugar
115 g butter, cut into chunks
1 dl double cream
0.5 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch cardamon
2 tsp flaky sea salt, like Maldon for example

Boil the apple juice in a pan on high heat until its reduced to a dark and thick syrup, about 1.5 dl in volume. This takes 30-40 min. Stir occasionally.

Line the bottom and sides of a 20 cm square baking pan with baking parchment

Once the apple juice has reduced down, remove it from the heat and stir in butter, sugar, cream and all spices except the sea salt

Return the pot to medium to high heat, nad let it boil for 5-15 min. Test that the caramel is ready by dropping a tiny spoonful into a glass of cold water. The caramel is ready when it becomes firm, chewy, and able to plied into a ball.

Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and then pour the caramel into the prepared pan

Let it sit until cool and firm, then cut into squares either using a sharp kitchen knife that has been oiled with a neutral oil, or using kitchen scissors

Keep in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Smoked salmon, saffron, and orange pirogues

Look who's back :) I've had such a crazy busy autumn with quite an intense mix of work, studying, moving, and although I have been cooking, there just haven't been enough time and energy to also blog about it.

Anyhow, I made these little pirogues or pasties recently. Saffron and oranges are two common flavourings for a lot of typically Swedish Christmas treats. Here I incorporated saffron and oranges with smoked salmon in puff pastry pirogues. The results is a salty tasty treat with a hint of sweet citrusy zest, perfect as a starter or served with drinks. The pirogues can be made the day before, and served cold or hot.

I was lazy and bought puff pastry. If you too feel like not making your own, buy a high-quality all butter puff pastry.

Smoked salmon, saffron and orange piroges (30 mini pirogues)
1-2 packages of puff pastry
300 g smoked salmon
200 g cream cheese
0.5 g saffron
1 dl chives, finely chopped
1 dl dill, finely chopped
1 orange
black pepper
pinch of chili flakes
1 egg, beaten

Heat the oven to 200C

Prepare the saffron; I find it easiest to grind the saffron threads with a pinch of salt using a pestle and mortar to a powder. I then add a little water, this makes it easier to transfer the saffron and infuse it into the other ingredients

Mix salmon, cream cheese, saffron, chives, dill, chili flakes, zest from one orange, and juice from half an orange in food processor to a coarse mix. Season with black pepper.

Roll out the puff pastry, and cut it into squares roughly 4 x 4 cm

Add 1-2 tsp of the filling to each square, fold over the pastry to a triangular shape and join the edges. Crimp the edges using a fork to form a seal

Transfer the pirgoues to a lightly oiled baking tray and brush the top with egg wash

Bake for 10-20 min until golden brown

Transfer to a cooking grid to cool, or serve directly

Smaklig måltid!