cookies · sweet

Double Citrusy Heaven

The winter should go away enfin, don’t you think? So here are two recipes to boost your weakened immune system with some vitamin C and also make your belly and palate satisfied=) Some time ago I already offered you a citrusy recipe, Soft and Chewy Vanilla-Orange Cranberry Cookies. This time here are cookies and a cheesecake with both oranges and lemons.

I’ve recently tried making some Greek χαλβάς which also required orange syrup – actually boiling an orange in halves in water+sugar. I managed to use even the mesh from this orange, as it got very sweet from 3 cups of sugar=) and what was also left – almost caramelised zest – surely was stocked for some future use. The halva / halwa was soft and more like a cake (it’s not the type of halva made from seeds, and you might imagine that instead of almond meal I used flax meal which is more available here and less costly), huge – occupying the largest square baking tin I have – but I failed to make a photo of it… (the recipe is in Greek, so it’s kind of authentic). So these bits of zest stuck in my mind and were nagging at me to use them =) and here what I finished baking:

Citrusy Ricotta Tart  adapted from elrasbaking.blogspot.com  will make a large cheesecake with a distinctive citrus flavour

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe for basic sweet pastry dough I used the suggested recipe for the second time already, but added… yes, how could I keep myself from adding some flax meal to it? So that’s why my pastry got its colour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 100 g semolina flour
  • 2 medium size Meyer lemons, zested and juiced – I used just two regular lemons, and also preserved some zest
  • 425 g ricotta – I used almost 2 * 250 g packs of 5% fat cottage cheese (tvorog)
  • 3 medium size eggs
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel (use the link to see the recipe from the original site), optional – which I did add:

Method (I’m copying the original recipe with my adjustments)

First, you have to make the pastry for this cheesecake, I used the recipe offered by Elra and as suggested, left it for 1 hour in the fridge before rolling it out. Once you have the pastry dough prepared according to your favourite recipe, prepare the tart shell, by rolling the dough larger than your spring-form, which you should line with parchment paper. I also buttered the sides. Transfer the rolled dough to the pan, and gently press the sides using your fingers. Using a rolling pin trim off the excess. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, heat the milk over medium heat, add semolina flour, stir until semolina turn into porridge consistency (mine became just like mannaya kasha (traditional semolina porridge) in no time). Add lemon juice and the lemon zest, stir for couple more seconds. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Preheat oven to 190 ‘C.

Once the semolina has cooled, place it into a mixer bowl, add ricotta, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Using paddle attachment (this I did by hand, as I have no paddle attachment for my hand mixer from the 1990s=), mix the ingredients on a low speed into a smooth batter. This only take for a minute or so. Scrape the batter into the tart shell. Scatter candied orange peel on top if desire. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tart is set and still slightly jiggle in the middle when the pan is gently shake. Cool completely before serving. (I baked for some 15 minutes more as it still seemed toooooo jiggly, but then I got the idea that it will steady itself somehow in the fridge, so I took it out finally).

The result, you ask? The cake doesn’t seem that much once you try it=) The flavour it has is definitely citrusy, and the texture is very cheesy, I mean, even though I didn’t use real ricotta here, via the natural reaction between the citric acid and the cottage cheese, the final curd became as if granulated. Keep it refrigerated as it’s cheesecake, isn’t it.

***

And here are some cookies, can you believe it, I finally made glaze and moreover it was really not too liquid as it usually turns out due to my inability to add that much powdered sugar? =) I also used gold & silver powder to decorate the top.

Triple Berry Orange Shortbread (adapted from www.sprinkledwithflour.com) will make  zesty cookies with much to chew on=)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar – I added more
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest – I used the zest I have in my freezer and it was not that finely grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried berries (I used a mix of cherries and cranberries)

Method (copy of the original recipe)

Preheat oven to 170 ‘C. In a small bowl combine the sugar and orange zest, rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingers. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sugar mixture. Cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and starts to cling (here I had to drop my trick to use less butter as my dough just wouldn’t cling). Stir in the chopped berries. Using your hands, shape the mixture into a ball, kneading until smooth. Don’t worry if it looks like a crumbly mess at first, the longer you work it, it will form into a smooth ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until 1 cm thick. Use a round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles (I used various shapes and also rolled the dough thinner than suggested). Reroll scraps as necessary. Place the cookies apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bottoms just begin to brown (mine were ready in less than 20 min). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp orange juice (I used milk), drizzle glaze over cookies. Eat and enjoy!

I have already spoken enough of the result, these cookies are great! I love the berry part of them too, my Father even thought there were some nuts in them, ahaha =))

The sun is shining just in my face and it seems it’s already spring out there, though it’s not. Russian northern spring always takes time to finally come into its full power.  Wish me luck and more positive thoughts, I need that.

G.

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