Apple Strudel

Apple strudels with their juicy apples and crispy pastry are mouth-watering delights.

  • An apple strudel is an apple-filled pastry popularly eaten as a dessert or snack, and it is most commonly served warm, though it is also eaten cold.
  • ‘Apple strudel’ is also known as ‘Apfelstrudel’, which is the German term for the dessert, while ‘strudel’ is German for ‘swirl’ or ‘whirl’.
  • Apple strudels consist of a light and very thin unleavened pastry, rolled and filled with an apple mixture that commonly includes cinnamon, raisins, sugar and breadcrumbs, with the crumbs helping to soak up excess liquid during the cooking process.
  • While apple strudels are the most popular strudel, other fruits and nuts may be used, and savoury strudels can also be made that can include meat, vegetables and herbs.
  • Apple strudels are believed to have originated in the territory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and they were being made by the 1800s, while various strudels were produced as early as the 1500s.
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An Apple Strudel with Custard
Image courtesy of LHG Creative Photography/Flickr
  • Although it can be eaten plain, ice-cream, custard or cream are common apple strudel accompaniments, and the strudel is usually sliced into pieces to serve.
  • Once apple strudel dough is kneaded and stretched out to be extremely flat and thin (so writing is visible under it), the filling is placed on the dough and then encased and wrapped by it, after which it is cooked in an oven.
  • Apple strudels were the United State’s Texas’ official state pastry from 2003 to 2005, as it is thought to have been one of the first pastries cooked in the state.
  • The shape of an uncut apple strudel is typically a flattened cylinder, and the pastry is crispy and golden brown when cooked.
  • Due to the accessibility and quantity of apples during hard times, apple strudels were perhaps one of the earliest strudel types.
Bibliography:
Apfelstrudel, or the “Apple Whirlpool”, 2014, The Palate, https://uchicagopalate.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/apfelstrudel-or-the-apple-whirlpool/
Apple Strudel, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_strudel
Apple Strudel, n.d, ifood.tv, http://ifood.tv/european/apple-strudel/about
The History of Strudels, 2015,  Kitchen Project, http://www.kitchenproject.com/german/recipes/Desserts/Strudel/Strudel-History.htm

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Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse is simple but effective.

  • Chocolate mousse is an edible foam, originating from France and most commonly eaten as a dessert.
  • Chocolate mousse usually consists of eggs, sugar and chocolate, and often also butter or cream, and perhaps other flavourings.
  • Chocolate mousse is most commonly used as a dessert itself, or as a filling, side or decoration in a dessert; however mousse purposed for savoury use can be made, though it usually excludes chocolate and sugar, and is flavoured differently.
  • Mousses, including those chocolate-flavoured, originated in the 1700s, with the first known recipe for chocolate mousse documented by Menon, a French writer, in 1750, in his book La science du maître d’hôtel confiseur (loosely translated as ‘The science of a master confectioner’).
  • Chocolate mousse is generally made by whipping egg whites or cream, until they become light and airy, which is then usually combined with a mixture of melted chocolate and sometimes butter, egg yolks, and sugar, and then set in a refrigerator.
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Chocolate Mousse
Image courtesy of Jules/Flickr
  • ‘Mousse’ is a French word which has the literal translation ‘foam’; while chocolate mousse is known as ‘mousse au chocolat’ in French.
  • Recipes similar to that of chocolate mousse became more abundant in the 1890s and 1900s, including one from the French Post-Impressionist artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who named his a ‘mayonnaise’.
  • Chocolate mousse is typically a brown colour with a light fluffy texture, although its density may vary according to the ingredients and cooking method.
  • Chocolate mousse is a good source of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin B12, though it has significant quantities of fat and sugar.
  • Recipes for chocolate mousse range from simple to complex or exotic, however many agree that simplicity is key for a good mousse.
Bibliography:
The Culinary Institute of America, Heavenly and Historical, 2003, The Spokesman Review, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=20031001&id=qdwnAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yPIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6605,264844&hl=en
Davidson A, The Oxford Companion to Food, 2014, p534, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=bIIeBQAAQBAJ&q=chocolate+mousse#v=snippet&q=chocolate%20mousse&f=false
Goldstein D, Mintz S, Krondl M & Mason L, The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, 2015, p464, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=R1bCBwAAQBAJ&lpg=PA464&dq=menon%20mousse&pg=PA464#v=onepage&q=menon%20mousse&f=false
The History of Chocolate Mousse, n.d, Extreme Chocolate, http://www.extremechocolate.com/the-history-of-chocolate-mousse.html
How to Make Chocolate Mousse, 2012, Z Chocolat, http://www.zchocolat.com/how-to-make-chocolate-mousse/
Mousse, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mousse
Savill J, Chocolate Mousse, 2007, The Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/news/good-living/chocolate-mousse/2007/07/16/1184438207223.html

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Butterscotch

Add some butterscotch sauce to top off a pudding.

  • Butterscotch is a typically a hard candy confectionery, that is also commonly referred to in modern times as a ‘flavour’.
  • Butterscotch generally consists of butter and brown sugar; and sometimes water, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla or other ingredients.
  • Although the appearance is similar, butterscotch and caramel are not technically the same; and while there are various opinions on the difference, traditionally, caramel uses white sugar and does not include butter.
  • Butterscotch is made by boiling the sugary mixture to a temperature of roughly 132°C to 143°C (270°F to 289°F), which is the ‘soft crack’ stage.
  • The method and ingredients of butterscotch are also very similar to toffee, however toffee mixture requires a longer boiling time to reach a higher temperature and consistency, and usually omits butter and includes water.
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Image courtesy of Photos Public Domain
  • Butterscotch is usually a golden yellow or golden tan colour, with a sweet and often creamy taste.
  • A variety of desserts may use butterscotch as a base ingredient or flavour, including ice-cream, fudge, puddings, sauces, icing and cakes.
  • The etymology of butterscotch is ambiguous, as ‘scotch’ may refer to ‘Scotland’, or more likely the ‘act of scotching’ – cutting an object’s surface.
  • It is believed that confectioner Samuel Parkinson invented butterscotch in 1817, in Yorkshire’s Doncaster in England, and his company became famous for the product and supplied the British royal family with the confectionery.
  • With the addition of cream or milk, butterscotch can be made into a sauce to top ice-cream or pour over desserts.
Bibliography:
Butterscotch, 2016, Encyclopaedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/butterscotch
Butterscotch, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterscotch
Corn E, The Best Butterscotch, 2013, Zester Daily, http://zesterdaily.com/cooking/best-butterscotch-pudding-recipe/
Lydon S, How To Make Butterscotch, 2016, Simply Recipes, http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_butterscotch/
Olver L, Food Timeline FAQs: Candy, 2015, The Food Timeline, http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcandy.html#butterscotch
Quinion M, Butterscotch, 2008, World Wide Words, http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-but4.htm

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Macaroon

Don’t get macaroons confused with macarons!

  • Macaroons are usually wheatless sweet snacks that are quite similar to cookies, and they are generally suitable for those requiring a gluten-free diet.
  • Macaroons are primarily made of  sugar, whipped whites of eggs, and coconut and/or almond flour, and they are usually baked in an oven.
  • Macaroons can be dipped in chocolate, or contain or be decorated with glacé cherries, jam or nuts.
  • The term ‘macaroon’ it said to come directly from the word ‘maccarone’ or ‘maccherone’, Italian for food with a ‘paste-like appearance’, in reference to almond paste, which was the traditional base ingredient.
  • Macaroons are often confused with the popular macaron, and although they have similar ingredients, the two sweets are vastly different in appearance, though some people use the terms interchangeably.

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  • The texture of macaroons can be rough and uneven, especially if they are made with coconut, and they are generally raised in the centre; while macarons usually have a smooth and even appearance, and are sandwiched together with a creamy filling.
  • Macaroons became popular and favoured by Jews due to the snack’s unleavened nature, meaning it can be enjoyed throughout the Passover period.
  • It is thought that macaroons originated from Italy, perhaps as early as the 700s to 800s, and the food likely spread to France by the 1500s.
  • Coconut varieties of macaroons are typically high in fat, carbohydrates and manganese.
  • Macaroons have also been known as ‘mackaroons’ and ‘maccaroons’; and different countries have their own particular variations of the food.
Bibliography:
Erdos J, Macaroon vs. Macaron: Two Very Different Cookies With a Linked Past, 2013, Food Network, http://blog.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/2013/05/macaroon-vs-macaron-history-and-recipes/
Macaroon, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaroon
Pister J, A Brief History of Macaroons, 2016, Kashruth Council of Canada, http://www.cor.ca/view/442/a_brief_history_of_macaroons.html

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Condensed Milk

Condensed milk is as compact as they get.

  • Condensed milk is a liquid used as a cooking item, produced from milk that has had the majority of the water content evaporated through a vacuum and heating process.
  • The phrase ‘condensed milk’ typically refers to ‘sweetened condensed milk’, while the term ‘evaporated milk’ usually refers to the unsweetened variety.
  • Sweetened condensed milk consistency is thick and oozing, rather than the typical flowing behaviour of milk, and it has a very sweet, creamy taste, while the unsweetened version is more like milk in flavour and viscosity.
  • The Tartar people of Europe and Asia, are said to be the first people known to remove water from milk to increase volume per container, and would add water to use it at a later stage – a practice observed by Marco Polo, on his travels in the 1200s.
  • Condensed milk is typically sweetened through the addition of sugar, after the milk has been evaporated; and the product is commonly sold in either tin cans or tubes, and is readily available in supermarkets.

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  • American Gail Borden Jr. was the first to invent condensed milk that was commercially viable, in the 1850s, though attempts had been made as early as 1809, by Nicolas Appert of France.
  • To make sweeten condensed milk, roughly eleven parts of sugar are added to nine parts of evaporated milk, meaning that the product consists of 45% sugar, or sometimes more.
  • Sweetened condensed milk is most often used in desserts, such as chocolate dishes, pies, cakes and sweets, as well as coffee.
  • As a ration included in American soldier packs by the mid-1800s, condensed milk began to rise in public popularity, as war veterans returned home with knowledge of this new food.
  • Sweetened condensed milk has high quantities of protein, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorous, selenium and fat, and it has many other vitamins and minerals.

 

Bibliography:
Condensed Milk, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condensed_milk
Encyclopedia of Dairy Sciences 2nd Edition, Four-Volume set, 2011, Academic Press, Google Books, https://books.google.com.au/[…]
Gail Borden, 2016, Today in Science History, http://todayinsci.com/Events/Patent/CondensedMilk15553.htm

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Black Forest Cake

Black Forest cake is a slice of sweet Germany.

  • Black Forest cake is a layered dessert made primarily of cream, cake and cherries, and it is famously German.
  • ‘Black Forest cake’ is also known as ‘Black Forest gateau’, ‘Black Forest cherry cake’, and ‘Black Forest cherry torte’, while the German term for the cake is ‘Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte’.
  • The typical ingredients of the layers of Black Forest cake are chocolate cake, cherries that are usually sour, and whipped cream, while more cream, cherries and chocolate flakes are often used for decoration.
  • Black Forest cake is said to be named after the liquor traditionally used as an ingredient to flavour the cake, ‘Kirschwässer’ – a cherry brandy, which is believed to have originated in the Black Forest of Germany, although other theories exist, including reference to the cake having the appearance of the traditional Black Forest costume worn by women.
  • It has been alleged that confectioner Josef Keller invented the Black Forest cake in 1915, at the Cafe Agner in Bad Godesberg, in Germany, Europe, and while this has been disputed, Keller’s hand written recipe is said to still exist.
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Black Forest Cake
Image courtesy of Mikel Ortega/Flickr
  • To be officially known as ‘Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte’, Black Forest cake requires the use of Kirschwasser, or Kirsch as it is sometimes known; cherries; cream or butter cream; as well as a minimum of three percent cocoa present in the cake batter.
  • The earliest published written record of Black Forest cake was in 1934, by John Martin Erich Weber, a German confectioner, in his book ‘250 Konditorei-Spezialitäten und wie sie entstehen’, translated in English literally as ‘250 pastry specialties and how they originate’.
  • Today, Black Forest cake is well known worldwide and one of the most popular cakes in Germany, though it was only listed as the thirteenth most famous German cake in 1949.
  • In mid 2006, a world record for the largest Black Forest cake was set, created in Germany’s Europa Park, and it had an area of approximately 80 square metres (861 square feet) and a weight of 2,963 kilograms (6,532 pounds).
  • A dessert from Sweden, known as ‘Schwarzwaldtårta’, also translated as ‘Black Forest cake’, exists, however it is made of layers of meringue and whipped cream and garnished with chocolate, and as it contains no cake batter, it is typically gluten free.
Bibliography:
Black Forest Cake, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Forest_cake
The History of Black Forest Cherry-torte, n.d, Food History, http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/BlackForestCake/index.htm
Recipe: Black Forest Cake, 2015, The Nibble, http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cookies/cakes/black-forest-cake-recipe.asp

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