Yesterday, the Greek food bloggers were invited to a tour at Unilever-Elais factory, this time to see how margarine is prepared.
We visited their olive oil factory a few weeks ago and although I am a vivid fan of olive oil, I also use margarine as well, whenever necessary. Butter may taste better and I do use it in a few recipes but it is my choice to make healthier recipes so wherever I can substitute butter or margarine, I use olive oil and where butter is used, I usually substitute it with margarine, which does not contain saturated fat in comparison to butter, which is not good for people having high cholesterol.
Before the presentation we were offered tea and snacks, such as sandwiches, spanakopita (phyllo made with becel proactive margarine), cakes, biscuits etc.
In most of my recipes I have been using becel proactive which is enhanced with natural plant sterols but all this time I was not sure if by cooking, it looses its properties. However, yesterday all our questions were answered and the answer is that it does retain its original properties, so long as you follow the rules and know how much to eat, which I think should be 3 tsps a day.
After tea, the staff welcomed us and we had a presentation of the history of margarine. Their first product Vitam (which takes its name from the vitamins it contains) was first made in 1947. In 1950 their researchers were already working on plant sterols but it took 4 decades until it was finally perfected. In 1993 Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids are added to their margarine named Becel and in 2000 Becel pro-active is produced, which is the first margarine which lowers cholesterol. They explained that all their margarines are non-hydrogenated.
We took a tour to the factory, however, we were not allowed to take some photos inside. All the hygiene rules were taken, so we had to wear a hat and a robe and passed from various stages of washing hands, shoes etc., and we were informed about all the process regarding the production of margarine. We even tasted the soft margarine a few seconds after it was packed and it was delicious, like eating mayonnaise.
When we returned back, Chef Vassilis Mandros made margarine in front of our eyes, using vegetable oils, water, salt, vitamin A (for colour) and lecithin. Although I took a video of the whole process, there was a lot of talking going on, so I just uploaded the one showing the final result.
Here is his recipe:
How to make homemade margarine
Makes: 1 kilo
350 grams palm oil,
350 grams olive oil (or other oil you like)
3 – 4 grams salt,
200 grams cold water,
1 drop Vitamin A,
2 – 3 drops natural essence,
1 tbsp lecithin.
In a cold bain Mari put a bowl and and all the ingredients except the water and mix to combine.
Add the water gradually mixing with a hand mixer until it is thick.
In a booklet, which was given to us, there is a simpler recipe which you can make at home:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp palm oil
2 tbsps egg yolks
A pinch of salt
All the ingredients should be whisked with a hand mixer over a cold bain marie until it thickens.
We had a wonderful time with old friends and meeting other food bloggers. When we left again Elais offered us a variety of their margarines, packed in a cooler, a Cookbook with Tea Party ideas and a silicone brush.
I was already planning to make a cake, as my daughter had asked me to make a marbled cake a few days ago, which I haven’t made in a long time and last night, when I made it I used Vitam.
My mother used to make this cake in Cyprus, where it is called Georgraphy Cake from the patterns made in the cake. I have been making this cake since then and instead of using cocoa which my mother did, I used couverture chocolate, bergamot zest, which I have kept in my deep freezer and almonds. Below, when I state recipe by Ivy I don’t mean that I have invented the recipe but with the knowledge I have, I have adjusted all the ingredients to work with 1 vitam margarine and the addition of couverture chocolate and bergamot zest gives my signature to this cake.
I used a 28 cm bundt form, as I do not have a smaller one, but a 24 cm one will make the cake a lot more higher. I wanted the almonds on top, so I carefully inverted the cake in one hand and then put it back in a platter. If you don’t add almonds, you can invert it directly on a platter and sprinkle some icing sugar on top, if you like.
The cake is delicious and moist but most of all healthier and believe me, you won’t miss the butter.
Chocolate-Almond-Bergamot Marbled Cake, recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 45 – 55 minutes
250 grams Vitam (or other non-hydrogenated) margarine, at room temperature
250 grams sugar
4 eggs x 65 grams each at room temperature
75 grams couverture chocolate
225 grams All purpose Flour
25 grams Corn flour (corn starch)
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 vanilla powders
3 tbsp milk
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp bergamot or orange zest
60 grams almonds with the skin
Heat oven to 180C/ 350 F and place rack in the centre of the oven. Grease a 28cm cake bundt cake form and dust with flour.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate and set aside over the double boiler.
In a food processor coarsely chop the almonds and set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the milk and zest and mix. Scrape the sides of the mixer bowl, whenever needed. The batter may look curdled but don’t worry.
Sift the flour, corn flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla powder. Lower mixer speed and gradually add the flour mixture.
Add half the mixture in the baking tin.
Gradually add the chocolate (which should not be too hot) in the remaining mixture and mix to combine. Add it on top of the other mixture and with your spatula lightly swirl it around the mixture in the tin a few times to create a marbled effect.
Add the almonds on top.
Bake the cake for 45 – 55 minutes. After the 45 minutes check with a toothpick inserted into the centre until it comes out clean.
Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool before removing from the baking tin.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!