Have you noticed how the year is flying? Already spring, well, at least calendar spring, is to come soon. This week in Russia is something like Carnival in Europe, when winter is driven away and spring is welcome. Of course, we have crepes (pancakes), just as the Catholics, although I somehow managed to put off my pancake day to tonight, the last day when rite-obedient Orthodox people are allowed to eat all those nasty things before the Great Lent that lasts till Easter. So this week is called Maslenitsa in Russian, which is derived from Maslo = Butter. Yep, our crepes are not your skinny crepes! No-no, eggs, butter, milk, all those fat to keep you going, as despite the calendar spring, we, Russians, still have loads of cold days in front of us. So we need energy, right? If only you could understand the other names that this holiday have in Russian, haha, you would definitely understand HOW WE LOVE EATING HERE=)
Today, though, I’m going to present you two recipes, that have nothing to do with the holiday, it’s just that I managed to make photos of them and also cause they were quite nice!
And also… Looking out of the window, snow falling (people falling too, as the ground is all covered with ice and bits of ice from the roofs… oh my legs!),… I really need a change. There’s this spring thing that comes each year, when I need a change, a new start, a goal, some fresh air… Well, in other words, one needs to peel oneself off from the old crusty stuff that one is fed up with already, and find new clothes, new peels – till next spring! I would also call it a swamp, the feeling of being somewhere which might be cosy and good ol’ BUT which also gets you deeper and deeper inside this comfort and habit. No, I really want to get away.
This bread here does not need to change its crust for sure!
Chewy Tangy Bread taken from grownaway.blogspot.com will make 2 loaves, either white or ‘black’, depending on what starter you use & what flour you add, but anyway really chewy & crusty!
1 1/2 cups fed sourdough starter – I used my rye starter, so the whole bread also turned out rye, which was actually my goal
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
5 cups flour – I used more than 4 cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup rye + some flax seeds
Combine all of the ingredients and knead to form smooth dough. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, approximately 90 minutes. After dough has risen, divide it in half. Shape each half into an oval shaped loaf and place on parchment-lined or corn meal dusted baking sheet. Cover and let loaves rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
As the dough is rising preheat the oven to 215 ‘C.
Make deep slashes in each loaf with a serrated bread knife and mist with lukewarm water. Place a shallow pan with lukewarm water in the bottom rack of the oven. Back the bread for 25 to 30 minutes on the upper rack until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
The result? Look here:
And now the dessert, today taken from BBC Good Food site, which I really love although the amount of butter they’re using those Brits, popopopopo =)) I usually cut it in two…
Mango Upside-Down Cake adapted just a bit from www.bbcgoodfood.com – will make a somewhat large pound cake with soft fruit on top! (It got eaten almost, before I could manage to make a photo of the cake)
- 40g unsalted butter plus extra for the tin
- 100g caster sugar – I used regular sugar
- 4 Alphonso mangoes, or 2 large mangoes – sorry, Russia is a country of bears, not mangoes! I used canned
- 175g unsalted butter , softened – I used a LOT less + added some sunflower oil, otherwise imagine the height of the cake!
- 175g caster sugar – again, just sugar
- 3 eggs , beaten
- 225g plain flour – also added some ginger
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 75ml milk , at room temperature
Method (copy-pasted from the site)
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter a solid-based 22cm round cake tin.
Put the caster sugar and 2 Tbsp water in a small saucepan over a low heat to allow the sugar to dissolve. Bring to the boil and continue to cook without stirring until the sugar has turned a deep caramel colour. Add 40g butter and swirl the pan to incorporate evenly. Pour immediately into the cake tin, covering the base with an even layer of caramel. Leave to cool. (I did something like this for this Puerto-Rican flan)
Peel the mangoes, cut off the cheeks and slice into wedges. Slice the rest of the mango flesh and arrange all the mango over the hard caramel in the cake tin. (As I was using quite a small tin of pre-cut mangoes, I just cut them a bit and tried to cover the bottom of the pan with what I had…)
Cream the softened butter and the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition. Sieve the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together and fold into the cake mixture using a large metal spoon. Add the milk and mix until smooth.
Carefully spoon the cake mixture over the mango slices and level. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving dish. (I used a springform pan for my oven’s terror, as the caramel started dripping on the its bottom!)
Wohooo, what a love for pound cakes that the British have! Poor mangoes got lost somewhere on the top 😉
I guess with a bit of home-made jam or even chocolate pudding (which I made yesterday, mmmm, great! chocolate heaven!), this cake is OK. If you want more fruit, just use two tins or – if you’re not in Russia – more fresh mangoes.
If I manage to make some photos of sourdough pancakes I’ve planned for tonight, you’ll see them here! Although they’re taken from King Arthur Flour recipes, nothing typically Russian I guess!