This is a recipe I used to make all the time and for some odd reason disappeared from our menu. The other day I was searching the blog for ideas, and fell on this post from twelve years ago! I made it twice, two in a row, and tweaked it slightly. This is a lower-carb version, and if you skip the breadcrumbs on the topping it can also be gluten-free.
LOW-CARB TORTA DI ZUCCHINI (from the Bewitching Kitchen)
4 zucchini, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced 4 eggs zest of 1 lemon 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence 1/2 tsp salt or to taste black pepper, to taste 1/4 cup almond flour plus more to sprinkle on plate 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese topping: 1/4 cup breadcrumbs + 1/8 cup Parmigiano cheese drizzle of olive oil
Grease a pyrex pie dish with butter. Sprinkle some bread crumbs or almond flour to coat.
Mix the beaten eggs with the lemon zest, herbs, Parmigiano cheese, 1/4 cup of almond flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl, place the grated and sliced zucchini. Shake the dish carefully to distribute the slices more or less evenly. Add the egg mixture to it, mix gently, and pour into the prepared pie dish. Sprinkle the remaining mixture of bread crumbs (or you can use almond flour) and cheese on top, forming a very light coating. You may not need to use it all. Drizzle a bit of olive oil.
Bake in a 375F until set and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Comments: This is the type of recipe that makes the cook a bit nervous. As you put it together, it seems impossible to work. But trust me, it does. Normally recipes using zucchini tell you to squeeze the liquid, but this one does not. The mixture of grated zucchini with the slices is what makes the whole texture perfect. Think about a baked frittata, but without that intense eggy flavor that some people object to. I used almond flour in place of bread crumbs in the body of the recipe, but added some bread crumbs to the topping. You can just use almond flour instead for an even lower in carb concoction.
It is very important to let the torta rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. I actually like to leave it for about half an hour and enjoy it barely warm. That’s when everything sets nicely. I don’t know why this delicious side dish left our rotation, but it is so simple and so tasty, I felt it was worth re-blogging, with the minor modifications I introduced in this version. I hope you give it a try… Next on my plans? To make a mixture of carrots and zucchini. Stay tuned!
Baking in silicone pans can be tricky, so my advice is to always use a good quality product. I stand by Silikomart, all the way. If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know that I never accept products to review, and only recommend things I love. This little pan makes the cutest, two-bite size cakes. I share today four different bakes using it. The most important thing is to bake a little longer than you would in a metal baking pan, and allow the cakes to fully cool before trying to un-mold them. You can even let them come to room temperature and then place the pan in the fridge for 10 minutes to ensure a perfect release. For all these bakes I used the Silikomart Savarin Mold, medium. Available here. I always spray the inside very lightly with PAM baking spray.
CHOCOLATE CHIP FINANCIER MINI-CAKES
CHOCOLATE CHIP FINANCIER MINI-CAKES (adapted from foodohfood)
80 g unsalted butter, diced 50 g almond flour 140 g powdered sugar 60 g all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 150 g egg whites 50 g mini chocolate chips chocolate ganache, or melted chocolate and sprinkles for decoration
Heat oven to 360F.
Make the brown butter. Put the diced butter in a pan and melt it over low heat. Simmer the butter until the water is evaporated, it should get a light caramel color and a nutty smell. Pass it through a sieve and allow it to cool.
In a bowl, mix the almond flour, powdered sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed with the electric mixer or with the leaf attachment and gradually add the egg whites and then cold brown butter. Finally, add the chocolate chips. The batter is quite liquid, so use a piping bag to distribute it in the pan, filling almost 3/4 height.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Let it cool completely before un-molding. Fill the center with ganache or melted chocolate, or leave it plain. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
Comments: For the financier, filling not quite to the 3/4 height was perfect. I love the texture of these mini-cakes. You need tiny chocolate chips for this recipe (I’ve featured the ones I like in my last In My Kitchen post) If you don’t have it, cut regular chips in very small pieces. It is hard to pick a favorite, but these were truly delicious on all counts.
RED VELVET MINI-CAKES
Recipe used: America’s Test Kitchen Red Velvet as published in their book The Perfect Cake. I could not get permission to publish the recipe. If you have the book, my only change was to make half the amount. I still had batter leftover after making 10 mini-cakes, and that was enough for two regular size cupcakes. Recipe for the frosting below.
SMALL BATCH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (adapted from several sources)
2 ounces cream cheese softened 2 ounces unsalted butter, softened 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 80g powdered sugar, or more if you prefer a stiffer frosting Pinch of salt
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Beat until well-mixed and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar and salt and continue to beat until sugar is completely incorporated and frosting is smooth and creamy. For a stiffer frosting, add more powdered sugar. Add the frosting to the cavity of the mini-cakes, and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
Chop the chocolate and butter in pieces, place them in a microwave-safe bowl and melt at 50% power just until the chocolate is almost fully melted. Finish melting by whisking gently until smooth. Allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Reserve.
To the melted chocolate, add the sugar and mix with a handheld mixer, when the sugar is incorporated (it won’t be smooth), add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth, for a couple of minutes medium-speed. Gently sift the flour mixture on top, whisk just until the flour is incorporated and no dry bits can be found.
Fill each cavity of the savarin mold a little less than 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist. Cool completely before un-molding.
Any of the icings I shared in my original post will work for these cupcakes, just pick sprinkles that match the flavor. But, for a simpler bake you can just dust them with powdered sugar. The shape is beautiful no matter now you finish it.
BLACK SESAME & CHAI MINI-CAKES
These cakes were made from a recipe found in the cookbook Masala and Meatballs, by Asha Shivakumar. I’ve had this book for several years and everything I made from it turned out excellent. I highly recommend it. For these mini-cakes, the batter takes black sesame paste, and I used my own icing from the Chai-Brownie Cupcake in this post. In Asha’s recipe, the icing was made with sweetened condensed milk as a base plus powdered sugar, so I opted for something a little less sweet.
I hope you’ll consider baking with little savarin molds, especially if you are sharing these with friends or co-workers. They are very small, and the format allows for just a little icing. I am always impressed by the beauty of iced cupcakes, but they can be quite over-indulgent. If you like to enjoy sweets but prefer some moderation, these have your name written all over…
I use the pressure cooker a lot, pretty much the whole year. I wanted to make chicken soup under pressure (the soup, not the cook), so I started by checking a few cookbooks and websites. I shall name no names, but a very very reputable source gave me a recipe that disappointed on many levels. I used it as a very loose starting point. My version got two thumbs up from me and the man I’ve been happily married with for 21 years, 11 months and 3.5 weeks. Yes, almost anniversary time for us!
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (from the Bewitching Kitchen)
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 shallots, halved 6 medium carrots, 3 halved crosswise and 3 peeled and cut into half-moons 4 stalks celery, 2 halved crosswise and 2 cut into half-moons 10 black peppercorns 2 bay leaves 1 large chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces, with the skin removed, wings left with skin on 2 quarts water 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 piece ginger (about 1 inch) 2 tablespoons kosher salt Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste, optional Freshly ground black pepper, for serving noodles of your choice, amount to taste
Heat the oil in your pressure cooker, add the shallots, and the large pieces of carrots and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sautee until fragrant.
Add the chicken pieces, but do not include the breast. Add water, peppercorns, soy sauce and ginger. Make sure the water covers all the pieces of meat. Close the pressure cooker, and cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure by running cold water over the lid, or if using the Instant Pot, use the rapid release method.
Strain the liquid passing it through a fine sieve. Discard all solids. You should have at least 8 cups of stock, if you have less, add water to complete the volume. Place the liquid back in the pressure cooker, or use another large stockpot. Add the breasts to the stock, then the pieces of carrots and celery reserved earlier. Simmer very gently until the breast is cooked through – it might take 20 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.
Cook the noodles al dente and rinse them in cold water. Reserve. You’ll need about 2 cups cooked noodles for the full amount of soup.
When the breast meat is cooked, remove to a plate and shred the meat with a fork. Add it back to the stock, and add the cooked noodles. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and squirt a little lemon juice right before serving.
Comments: I made this soup three times during this winter. First time I was worried that the noodles would get too mushy if left in the broth for a day or two, so I was trying to add them to just the amount of soup we would consume in that meal. But, there’s really no need to do that. It turns out they hold pretty well in the fridge. I just try to cook them JUST to the al dente stage.
The pressure cooker does a beautiful job intensifying flavors, so the soup is very satisfying and has a bright flavor due to the ginger and lemon. I hope you give it a try, either with a pressure cooker or the Instant Pot.