(Not quite a) Smurfentaart

P1040130I recently visited some friends in Belgium. While there I was introduced to a local dessert called Smurfentaart. Despite its namesake, the color blue is nowhere to be found in or on this pie. The pie has a layer of apricot jam and whipped cream and is covered with heaps of white chocolate shavings. It is virtually unknown outside the Limburg Province of Belgium and is a favorite with children. I’ve heard that the Smurfentaart was probably invented when children were watching Smurf programs.

Sofie, my Flemish friend, made her Smurfentaart with just three layers: apricot jam, whipped cream, and a topping of shaved white chocolate. I have read that some bakers add a layer of custard first as well, which is what I did. No wonder children young and old devour this pie with abandonment.

Unfortunately I could not find white chocolate so it was dusted with a combination of Dutch cocoa powder and sugar. So this recipe is not quite a Smurfentaart but it is every bit as delicious in its own sweet cocoa way. Continue reading

Stoofvlees

P1040191My recent visit to Amsterdam and Belgium introduced me to a variety of new foods from the old Low Countries. I ate Dutch Apple Pie in Amsterdam, sampled a Flemish beef stew called Stoofvlees, ate an incredible meal prepared by Stefan, which included his homemade Apricot Tart, and helped make and bake a sweet dessert pie called Smurfentaart, which is rarely known outside of the Limburg Region of Belgium.

Today’s blog is about making Stoofvlees, which is essentially beef stew made with brown beer.  Continue reading

Prawn Saganaki, Inspired by Stavros

P1030778Last week I received an email from my friend Glenn who was visiting a very dear mutual friend of ours, Stavros, in Athens, Greece. Glenn mentioned that Stavros was making a Greek dish of prawns, tomatoes, and feta cheese. It sounded so delicious that I emailed Stavros to ask him what the name of the dish is and how he makes it. Last Thursday I received an email from Stavros that included a picture of his dinner table covered with wonderful dishes of Greek food.  Continue reading