Hey-hey my beautiful friends, I’m so happy to see you again! 🙂
It’s 2017 outside and I feel it’s gonna be an incredible year for all of us. There is something magical in this number, and I have a sweet heartthrob each time I write it down. I want it to be a year of productive work accompanied by sparks of joy, a year of deep connections with people around me (you!), and a year of love and self-acceptance.
If you will, here are my blogs resolutions for this year:
- write one blog post per week (definitely it was my weak spot last year);
- improve my photography skills (yay!);
- collaborate more with brands and bloggers (think quality and creative content for you!);
- meet in person as many readers of this blog as I possibly can (my fave!);
- do branding and site redesign (a bit ambitious, but heck yes!)
I truly believe that our intentions being written work better. So let’s do it 2017, I’m ready!
If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen photos from my recent trip to Ukraine. I received such a positive feedback regarding my homeland that it got me thinking about choosing Ukrainian traditional desserts as a January theme. Hope you’ll like them as much as I used to do in my childhood 😉
And to kick off this month, let’s talk about Napoleon cake. Oh my, it’s perfection in every slice! Just picture — 13 super thin layers with vanilla cream in between, which after a night in the fridge become a unified subject of art and pure pleasure!
This is THE cake of all birthdays, New Year parties and family celebrations and I don’t judge this monotony. Believe me if I ate a whole piece of a cake for breakfast, it’s THAT good! 🙂
Makes 1 cake, 18 cm/7 in in diameter
For the dough:
260 g butter, cold
460 g flour
160 g of ice water
15 g apple vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
First of all place butter and water in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, we need them to be very cold.
In a large bowl of stand mixer sift the flour and then start to grate butter on top of it. Quickly mix everything with hands, just to cover pieces of butter with flour. Attach the bowl to the mixer and turn it on on the lowest speed.
Add egg, vinegar and salt to the water and whisk well. With a mixer running on a low speed, start to add liquids to dry mixture. Turn off the mixer when the dough has just got together, don’t overmix it. Divide the dough to 13 balls and place them covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for 2 hours. Meanwhile prepare cream.
When dough is chilled enough, preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, sift the surface with a flour and roll the dough very thinly, trying to shape round 22 cm/8.5 in in diameter. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper and make small holes with a fork on its entire surface. Bake for 6-7 minutes, until it becomes dry and golden.
Transfer the layer to a table and immediately cut round 18 cm/7 in in diameter using a large baking circle (or a plate of appropriate size as a guide). Don’t eat leftovers just yet, we’ll use them for decoration 🙂 Repeat the baking process with remaining dough. Cool the layers on a rack.
For the vanilla cream:
750 g milk
1 vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
6 egg yolks (you can use egg whites for making macarons 😉 )
150 g sugar
45 g cornstarch
50 g butter, at room temperature
150 g heavy cream, cold
40 g powdered sugar
In a heavy bottom pan place milk and vanilla seeds (along with a pod). Heat over medium heat until mixture becomes hot, almost boiling.
Meanwhile in a separate bowl combine sugar and cornstarch, whisk for a moment. Add egg yolks to dry ingredients and whisk everything together until mixture becomes light and homogenous.
Once liquid is hot enough, pour 1/3 of it into eggs mixture and whisk well until combined. Add another portion of milk and whisk again. Pour the remaining milk and return the whole mixture back to the pan. Heat over medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and thicken mixture by whisking it for about 2-3 minutes. Return to the heat and whisk vigorously at a boil for another minute or so.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer cream to a clean shallow bowl. Add pieces of butter and whisk all together. Cover the cream with plastic wrap directly on the surface, let it cool for 10-15 minutes and then place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Whip cold heavy cream with powdered sugar until it holds soft picks. Place in the fridge as well. When ready to assemble the cake combine two parts — start by adding a small part of whipped cream to pastry cream, mix well; continue to add whipped cream mixing all together with rubber spatula.
To assemble the cake:
Place the first layer of the cake on a plate, put about 2-3 tbsp of cream on top and distribute it evenly, cover with the second layer. Continue the process alternating cake layers and cream. You’ll need to have some cream leftovers to use on top and sides later. When the last layer is placed, gently press the whole cake with fingers and place it in the fridge for 2 hours; the cake should become softer.
After 2 hours, squeeze the cake a little bit more and add cream on top and sides, smooth the cream with the offset spatula. Crush the layers leftovers with a rolling pin and put them on top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh berries and nuts and let it rest in the fridge overnight (the longer the better).
How’s your New Year started dears? Do you have any resolutions you want to keep this year?