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South Africa’s Bobotie

Are you ready for a big bite of everything, ever? South Africa’s Bobotie (ba-boor-tea) reminds me of when I was a little girl, playing in the kitchen next to mom. I’d dump every possible ingredient into my little inventions, hoping they’d come out amazing. While chopped apples and pickles didn’t pan out when I was a kid, bobotie most decidedly does. But don’t worry – there’s no apple or pickle in it. So what is in it? Some people call Bobotie South African Moussaka, but I’m not convinced that gives the dish enough credit. My friend Janine says Bobotie is from the Cape Malay region and belies much more Indian influence. At her most basic, Bobotie is a spiced meat casserole topped with egg custard and a few bay leaves. Inside, you’ll find everything from rich curry power, to garlic, ginger, lemon juice, raisins, and almonds. There’s even a scoop of chutney. While this all sounds incredibly overwhelming, the ingredients mellow as they cook. Still not sure? Trust years of history: there’s a reason South Africans love this …

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Dainty Apple Cake | Äppelkuch

In the southern reaches of Luxembourg, in an area called Gutland, live a happy collection of orchards where apples, plums, cherries and berries ripen in the sun. Now… I knew, without a doubt, that I absolutely, positively wanted to make a plum cake when we got to Luxembourg, however the seasons were against me. Since it is January and not a plum in sight, I somewhat grumpily resigned myself to making a traditional apple cake, a.k.a. Plan B. One bite in and I knew this was a fantastic choice. Made with a buttery dough and a wet custard, the two layers literally combine in the oven, creating a moist, incredibly delicious cake. When topped with a heavy dusting of cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar, all feels right with the world. Right… and very apple-tastic. NOTES: Use a 8″ cake pan with standard 2″ inch sides (no shorter). Do not use a springform pan, as the milk mixture will certainly leak out. The easiest way to remove the cake from cake pan is to let cool until …

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A Cake for 3 Kings | Dreikönigskuchen

Epiphany. People use the word to say they had a great idea. Like the proverbial lightbulb going off over one’s head. But we’re not going to eat lighbulbs today. Nope. Epiphany is the time of year that Liechtenstein, as well as many other countries around the world, celebrate “little Christmas.” This national holiday is celebrated on January 6 and is a nod to the late arrival of the 3 kings to the very first Christmas party… afterall, they did hike quite a ways to get to Bethlehem. Calling the Dreikönigskuchen a cake is somewhat a misnomer as it is really more of a sweet roll. You can find it fresh in bakeries all over Liechtenstein. Filled with fresh citrus rind, sweet raisins and bound with the richness of milk and butter, it’s a fantastic treat on a cold winter’s day. The best part? A single almond is hidden inside one of the rolls. Whoever finds it gets to be King (or Queen) for the day. It’s a beautiful and fun game for kids. Once the winner is …

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German Tree Cake | Baumtorte / Baumkuchen

This is my favorite cake. All 21 layers of it. It has been since my mitten-wearing years. My mom used this intricately layered almond and chocolate cake as an activity for us kids – something to keep us busy on rainy mornings, when crayons had lost their interest. It is single-handedly responsible for my obsession with almond paste (and it’s sweeter counterpart, marzipan). The original recipe might as well be called “the dance of dirty bowls.” I took a hacksaw to the method, removing five extra bowls. Your baby soft hands will thank you. The best part? No cake goodness was harmed in the streamlining of this recipe. NOTE: You need two days to make this cake because the cake needs to chill in the fridge overnight. Serves 12 Ingredients: All ingredients should be room temperature 1 1/2 cups almond paste, tightly packed (12 oz) 6 Tbsp half & half 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tbsp), softened 1 cup sugar 10 eggs, separated (put the whites in a bowl big enough to whip them up to …

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Austrian Chocolate Tart with Apricot Jam | Sacher-torte

Serves 8-10 When made properly, Sacher-torte is enrobed in a silky, smooth layer of chocolate ganache. This cake will satisfy any sweet tooth. I made sure to make enough glaze that even the novice decorator will be able to coat the entire cake. Please note: This is *not* the same recipe as published in my upcoming article in AFAR Magazine. The technique is totally different. Ingredients: For the cake: 1/2 stick butter, melted 3/4 cup flour 1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa 1/4 tsp salt 6 large eggs 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/2 cup apricot preserves (chunk-free, or strained) For the glaze: 1 cup heavy cream 4 Tbsp light corn syrup 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 1 tsp vanilla extract Method: For the Cake: 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 10″ round springform pan. Add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom. 2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt. NOTE: You really need to sift them together, making them light and fluffy. Sponge cakes rely …

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Cream Roll | Brac de Gitano

Serves 4-6 Brac de Gitano is a thin cake filled with apricot cream, rolled and then sliced. Andorrans enjoy this rich dessert with tea or coffee. Ingredients: Cake: 4 eggs, separated 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup flour pinch salt 1 oz butter 1 tsp almond extract Filling: 1 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup plus 5 Tbsp apricot or peach jam 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/3 cup almonds Method: For the cake: 1. Preheat oven to 350F . Grease and cover a 9×13 sheet pan with parchment paper. (A sheet pan looks like a cookie sheet with 1/2 inch high sides) 2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow. Add flour, salt, butter, and almond extract. 3. Add egg whites to a medium bowl, beat until stiff. 4. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the yolk mixture. Sir gently until just combined. Fold in remaining egg whites. 5. Pour into pan and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 6. Cool slightly. Remove cake from pan and place on a sugared dish towel or saran wrap. Roll up into …

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