The Nordic Baking Book

What to do while self-isolating? Bake! My latest cookbook acquisition is The Nordic Baking Book, by Magnus Nilsson. It’s a hefty volume, a documentary cookbook that is compilation of recipes and techniques from Nordic countries.

The goal has been to create a recipe book that represents as many people as possible in as many parts of the Nordic region as possible. … It was important to me that this book … didn’t become some ridiculous list of antiquated recipes that no one cooks anymore. I wanted it to be a snapshot of what people actually bake today, perhaps with the occasional look in the rear view mirror at a recipe, which, even if it is uncommon today, explains something about how we do things now.

Magnus Nilsson, The Nordic Baking Book (2018)

I started reading and working my way through the book in April 2020, with a goal of trying something from the book every day or every other day. Click here for my “review” of sorts, it will be updated as I try recipes. At 576 pages, I think I will be working on this for some time. It’s a great way to keep busy!

Lisbon Chocolate Cake (Small)

I was supposed to be in Portugal this month, but a worldwide pandemic changed the plan. I figured I’d make myself some pastéis de nata, the delectable egg custard tarts from Lisbon, but instead I was drawn to a recipe for Lisbon Chocolate Cake by Dorie Greenspan in the New York Times. (Do you subscribe to NYT Cooking? I recommend it, if you don’t already. It’s a great resource.)

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Raisin Bran Muffins

A standard bran muffin that you can find in coffee shops and bakeries is usually pretty dense and heavy. And actually not all that good for you, given how much oil is in some of them. (Cruel, isn’t it?) These muffins are a touch lighter, with the benefit of allowing me to use up some of the raisin bran cereal I have on hand.

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Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce is a garlicky tomato-based sauce that originated in Catalonia, Spain. In a way it’s similar to the Balkan ajvar, but includes onions instead of eggplant. The vegetables are roasted, then combined in a food processor with toasted bread and nuts, olive oil, vinegar, and paprika. Sweet paprika is fine in this but a sweet (not hot) smoked paprika adds a sultry note to the finished spread.

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Baking While Quarantined

A lot of people have decided to start baking while self-quarantining, as evidenced by the fact that my supermarket was having runs on flour. Mostly bread, it seems, and sourdough at that – although personally I bailed on the “tyranny of sourdough” a long time ago, I like variety in my breads. But of course there’s more you can do with the flour you stocked than bake bread!

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Lemon Meringue Cups

When going through my pantry to see how well I’ve stocked up on certain things (so I could plan my supermarket COVID-19 strategy), I spied a can of sweetened condensed milk that admittedly I’d forgotten about. Conveniently enough I had some beautiful lemons from a friend (from her sister’s lemon tree), and some eggs, so it was time to whip up some lemon meringue cups!

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Like many people, I have a big notebook of recipes that I’ve tinkered with over time. I’ve hardly looked at it the past few years, actually, having more recipes online somewhere, but if I’m going to be indoors social distancing because of COVID-19, I figured I may as well go through them and post the ones I want to keep. First up…Glühwein!

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Marzipan Raspberry Cream Cake

Eberhardinentorte, specialty at Schloss Pretzsch

I don’t make a lot of cakes. But for awhile now I’d been kicking around wanting to make a scrumptious cake similar to one I had in Germany in 2018, the Eberhardinentorte in the little cafe at Schloss Pretzsch. It’s basically a lovely cream-filled layer cake, with a deep red (marzipan?) smooth coating, and edible gold leaf on the side. They don’t give out the recipe, and I couldn’t find one online, so the search was on.

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Pastel de Choclo

Pastel de choclo is a traditional and popular dish in Chile. We saw references to it on our first trip to Chile in 2014, but didn’t actually try it until 2017 when we figured out what it was 🙂 and again in 2020. It is basically a hearty beef casserole with a variety of add-ins – cooked chicken, hard-boiled eggs, raisins, olives – with a creamed corn topping. Some call it the Chilean shepherd’s pie; I call it yummy Chilean comfort food.

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