Sunday morning, with the grandmothers

LENAFUSION TRADEMARK PIC

Sunday morning at home with the grandmothers as our guests.

At 11 o’clock, time for the Greek coffee or a cup of green tea, after the service in the church.

Of course, they will stay with us only as long as necessary. Later on, each of them is invited somewhere for lunch and they won’t miss it!

The idea for this short visit is to surprise them with a treat to something delicately sweet, unexpected and thoroughly pleasant in appearance!

I personally prefer chocolate chestnut truffles accompanied with liqueur of mastiha Chiou and a classic sponge cake, filled with strawberry jam and chantilly cream. The mastic liqueur conjures up familiar feelings of sweet relaxation and recollections of happy childhood memories. The chocolate chestnut truffles are a little nostalgic reminder of the past that fills you with joy and warmth. There is not much sugar but they are rich in chestnut taste and the full flavour of the raw cocoa… Perfect!

The recipes...

Chocolate chestnut truffles coated with cocoa powder

Ingredients

  • ½ kilo of chestnuts, cooked and peeled and mashed in the mill or blender
  • 250 gr. caster sugar
  • 50 g. dark chocolate-couverture, 50% cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons undiluted evaporated milk or cream fresh of 15% fat
  • 4 -5 digestive biscuits finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon mastic liqueur-mastiha Chiou
  • Cocoa powder for coating

Procedure

1.  In a saucepan, melt the chocolate with the butter and milk. 2. Pour the puree of chestnuts, sugar and liqueur. 3. Add the lukewarm mixture of the couverture and the puree into the crushed biscuits, mix well and refrigerate until it becomes hard enough to handle. 4. Remove the mixture from the fridge after 1 hour and with two teaspoons form a small oval shape. Shape it gently and quickly to a ball and roll it in the cocoa powder. 5. Put it in a coloured paper case. Continue making the truffles until you finish the mixture. They should be refrigerated in an airtight container. Always leave them at room temperature before serving. Served on the second day of preparation, they taste better!

Ideas: Instead of fresh chestnuts you can use unsweetened chestnut puree in a tin. More full and earthy taste you can have with fresh, Greek chestnuts! Also, instead of cocoa, coat them with chocolate truffle or the multi colored chocolate truffle version. So delicious!

Classic sponge cake with strawberry jam

Ingredients

  • 175 gr. margarine or unsalted butter
  • 175 gr. caster sugar
  • 175 gr. self -raising flour
  • 1 tsp. level baking powder
  • 3 organic eggs, vanilla essence and a little milk
For the filling:
120 gr. strawberry jam chantilly cream: whipped cream made with Morfat or Ermol
To serve:
Icing sugar sprinkled on the top

This tastes perfect if it is made one day before consuming and served the second or third day after preparation. It has to be at room temperature at least half an hour before eating it. In cold weather conditions,  it can be kept outdoors in the balcony, as our Greek mothers used to do!

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven at 160⁰ fan. Prepare two round sandwich tins × 20 cm, buttered and covered with some parchment paper. An amazing new idea that I learnt is to wet the paper with a splash of water so it becomes easier to shape and cover the tins.
  2. All the ingredients are at room temperature (at least 1 hour out of the fridge). Instead of caster sugar, you can use golden sugar, made from sugarcane which you crash in the blender. It gives a nicer subtle taste to the cake!
  3. Beat the butter with the sugar to make a white, fluffy mixture and add the eggs one at a time and in the end pour the vanilla essence.
  4. Sift the flour and the baking powder into the batter and stir so it will be a soft mixture. It will get softer with the addition of 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
  5. Divide the mixture equally in the tins and with the back of a spoon level the surface, moving the batter gently right to the edges. In this way it will not rise in the center and this is what we want!
  6. Place the tins side by side in the oven to succeed same conditions of baking and leave them for 20-25 min. When they are light brown and slightly shrunk at the edges, take them out of the oven. Or test with a toothpick, prick it in the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, then the cake is ready.
  7. Let them cool for 20 min. and then carefully turn them upside down, remove the baking parchment and leave them on a ventilated rack to cool completely.
  8. Spread the strawberry jam on one of the cakes. Begin the layer from the middle to the edges, so you will control the amount you are putting, so it stays on without running.
  9. Add the whipped cream on top of the jam. For this cake, I prefer the vegetable thick cream of the brand Morfat, or Ermol. You will use it cold from the fridge in a cold mixing bowl. Beat the cream with the electric mixer, until it forms soft peaks and then store it in the fridge for 1 hour. Normally you add 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and vanilla essence, but in this cake there is already the sweetness from the strawberry jam, so you can omit if you prefer.
  10. Place the other cake with the bottom up, in order to have a nice leveled top. Sprinkle the top with lots of icing sugar. It is served at its best the next day.

It is easy to make, something between a cake and a sponge, quite impressive in taste and appearance!

Ideas: Instead of the above filling of the classic sponge cake, try chestnut cream with chopped candied pear and the cream whipped with the icing sugar and vanilla essence.