Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas! I can’t believe it’s finally (almost) here. I hope you are enjoying the next few days with your loved ones, lots of laughter and tons of great food.

I will be taking a little break over the holidays and spend as much time with everyone at home as possible. See you in 2014!

Project Green – Plant a Garden

Plant a Garden in 2014

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Happy Friday! Today Victoria from Oh So Pretty is taking over the blog and shares one of her plans for 2014. I’m so happy to have one of my favourite bloggers over here. Enjoy!

Click through to read her post.
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Michelle’s Gluten-Free Crepe Suzette Cake

Michelle's Crepe Suzette CakeMichelle's Crepe Suzette Cake

Crepe suzette cake: It sounds fancy and looks very pretty. Sometimes, on Sunday afternoons, I’m actually in the mood to bake something fancy like that. That’s why I’m really happy that Michelle from the Little White Kitchen has adapted this crepe suzette cake recipe for Hanna’s Places to share it with you. It looks almost to good to eat, doesn’t it? I’m going to take my time and make it over the holidays, maybe even for Christmas. What about you?

Michelle’s crepe suzette cake

Michelle: Call me crazy, but I love making desserts that are relatively simple to make, but require quite a few steps to get to the finished product. Layers of flavours and time for those flavours to become enhanced, multi-step desserts have a quality to them that a simple one bowl dessert can never match. Bring on the crepe suzette cake.

Take your time, give yourself a couple of days to make each and every piece of the cake puzzle and enjoy every moment. It’s not a process to be rushed and the end result will be worth the time spent, so plan your time accordingly and remember that the best things take a little time.

I want to thank Hanna for asking me to write a guest post for her blog, especially since my crèpes pan is now officially dusted off and I made something I probably wouldn’t have made without a challenge to use citrus in a dessert.

Michelles's Crepe Suzette Cake

Gluten-Free (or not) Crepe Suzette Cake

5 cups xanthan-gum free Gluten-Free flour (recipe to follow)
1 tsp. salt
10 eggs, room temperature
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
zest of a large orange
7 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Add the butter and the eggs and whisk until well blended. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go, to make a thin batter.
For best results, make the batter and chill for a couple of hours before making the crèpes, even for a couple of days if needed.

Heat a crèpe pan (or another type of frying pan) and brush with melted butter. Pour 1/3 of a cup of batter onto the pan and tilt the pan to coat evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until the edges are crisp and the surface of the crèpe is set. Using an offset spatula gently flip the crèpe and cook for another 20-30 seconds.
Remove from the heat and place onto parchment paper.
With the remaining crèpes, cook them and then stack them with parchment paper in-
between each one. You can make the crèpes ahead of time and then assemble the cake the following day, or freeze them and thaw them out later for use at another time.

Makes about 30 crèpes.

Gluten-free flour blend

972 grams superfine white rice flour
324 grams potato starch
174 grams tapioca starch

Michelle's Crepe Suzette Cake

Pastry Cream

1 ¼ c whole milk
2 tbsp gf flour
3 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
¼ c sugar
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
⅓ c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and GF flour. In a medium saucepan whisk together the milk and the scraped vanilla pods and the seeds. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat, set aside and allow to steep for 1/2 hour. Bring the milk back to a simmer and then slowly pour into the egg yolks while whisking quite vigorously.

Once you’ve whisked all the milk into the egg yolks, pour the entire mixture back into your saucepan and cook on low heat while stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding and coats the back of your spoon.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, discard the vanilla pods, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard to form a skin.
Chill until set, at least 2 hours.

This can be made a day or two in advance.

Once the custard has set and you’re ready to assemble the cake, beat the whipping cream and the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, and gently fold the whipped cream together with the custard. Use immediately.

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Candied Oranges

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 large navel orange, slice crosswise 1/8 inch thick
Extra granulated sugar

In a large skillet heat the water and sugar until it boils. Add the orange slices and simmer over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the oranges are slightly translucent. About 20 minutes.

Set the oranges on a cooling rack set over parchment paper. Allow to cool.
Sprinkle both sides of the orange slices with generous amounts of granulated sugar.
Allow to set.

Orange slices can be kept sealed in the fridge for up to a week.

Orange Butter

1 lb butter unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 lemon, juiced
4 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Combine the butter, sugar, citrus juices, and zest to a small saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes until it reaches 180-200F, or until is slightly caramelizes. It should be a golden color. Remove from heat, add the Grand Marnier, return to the heat and continue to whisk and simmer for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Michelle's Crepe Suzette Cake

Assembling the crepe suzette cake

Place a crèpe on a cake board or cake plate and spoon 2 tbsp. of pastry cream onto it. Spread the cream thinly and cover with another crèpe. Repeat this process until you’ve used all the crèpes or all of the pastry cream. The top crèpe doesn’t get covered in pastry cream.

Cover and chill the cake for at least 2 hours, or overnight, until set.

Pour a generous amount of Orange Butter over the entire cake, allowing to drip down the sides. Decorate the top of the cake with the candied orange slices and sprinkle the entire cake with sifted icing sugar.

Slice and serve the cake, drizzling some more sauce over each piece.

Thanks so much Michelle for this wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to try it over the holidays and take all my time, just as Michelle has described.

All pictures of the crepe suzette cake taken by Michelle for Hanna’s Places


Super/Food – Citrus Fruits

Super/Food - LimesSuper/Food - Oranges

Citrus fruits. Oranges, lemons, limes… – there’s no other food that makes me think of Christmas time and winter finally arriving as the first clementines of the year. The smell alone is too good to be true. It brings back so many memories of my childhood: Mornings at school, when the whole room would smell of the fruit even if there’s only one person eating it. Trying to peel the whole mandarine in one bit (definitely possible!). Making fresh orange juice on Christmas morning. Finding them in my shoe on St. Nikolaus. I guess Christmas time is a pretty sentimental time of year, so it just fits in perfectly ;).

Click through if you want to find out why Citrus Fruits are so healthy
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Book Club – Great Reads For December


Winter time is the time to cozy up and read, it always was, it always will be.

What can be better than watching the snowflakes fall and get sucked into a good book? Last month I shared my reading list with you, and even though there were a million things going on in November, I actually read them all (if you’re interested – I loved Sweet Tooth and the Virginia Woolf biography and would definitely recommend it – I didn’t really enjoy The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – it was okay – and As I Lay Dying was a little too depressing for my taste as well ;).

I have some new books I’m really looking forward to reading (hopefully there’ll be lots of time over the holidays), so here goes:
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Meet Hanna
Hanna's Places - a green lifestyle blog

Hanna’s Places is a green lifestyle magazine written by Hanna Ulatowski. It’s all about slowing down in a fast-paced society and finding ways to live a more sustainable, simple lifestyle.

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