Thursday, September 30, 2010

First FFwD post! Gougeres! (Fancy Cheese Puffs)

This is the first recipe in Dorie Greenspan's fabulous new book Around my French Table, so it's fitting that those of us who are participating in French Fridays with Dorie start with this lovely recipe.

I'm intending to do a lot of baking this weekend so I thought I'd get a head start since Dorie says that these lovely little cheese puffs can be mixed, frozen, then baked when you want to eat them.  Seemed like a great idea to me!

I got everything ready since the directions require you to stir the flour in vigorously.

Then I set the milk, water, butter and salt to boil.

When the liquid is boiling, I added the cup of flour all at once and stirred like mad.  It very quickly formed a ball but I kept stirring to dry out the dough a bit.  So far so good!

Then I beat in five eggs, one at a time and finally the grated cheese.

It was easy to scoop out the dough onto parchment paper.  I intend to bake these on Sunday so I popped 33 of  them into the freezer.

But I saved out 4 because I just had to taste them ToDaY.  They baked up beautifully and boy are they yummy; just the right texture and the perfect cheese flavor.  I would have taken another picture of them on a pretty plate but before I realized what happened, I had eaten them all.   A real winner of a recipe!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tarte Fine

My very big news is that I met Dorie this past Sunday!  My husband and I drove from Rochester, NY to Kingston, ON where Dorie was featured at a brunch at the Waterfront Holiday Inn.  We got there very early after driving part of the way the day before and spending the night in Alexandria Bay, NY.  It was a thrill to see Dorie walking down the hall with a big smile on her face.  When she got near me, she exclaimed, "You're Peggy the Baker!"  I was so excited!  Dorie really believes that the Tuesdays with Dorie crowd is a community of friends and she seemed almost as excited to meet me as I was to meet her.

The event included wonderful food prepared from recipes from Around my French Table and a terrific interview of Dorie by noted Canadian food critic James Chatto.  It was an absolutely fabulous time; if any of you can get to see her at one of her book tour events, drop everything and go!  And take your butter-stained copy of Baking from My Home to Yours with you!

Here's a picture of me with Dorie and my husband Rich.

And now to this week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick!  It was chosen by Leslie of Lethally Delicious.  This was truly an easy dessert to make.  The base is frozen puff pastry and Dorie recommends trying hard to find the all butter kind rather than use the Pepperidge Farm brand.  When I last looked, the only brand available was Pepperidge Farm so I was alarmed when that section of the frozen food case was completely empty.  Tucked off to the side, however, was the store brand puff pastry sheet and lo and behold, it is made solely with butter!  Thank you Wegmans!

The next challenge was to find the right kind of apples.  Apple season is just beginning here in upstate New York and we have many varieties from which to choose.  The only Golden Delicious, however, were from 3,000 miles away so I opted to use local Empires that had just been delivered today.

I love the way Dorie describes exactly how thin to slice the apples:  7 slices per quarter of the apple.  And I love the way that in making the slices that way I ended up with precisely the correct amount of apples to cover the puff pastry!  

I almost skipped the glaze but remembered some homemade spiced pear jam my friends Rebecca and Tony gave me for my birthday.  Was that ever a good idea! 

Dorie recommends serving this within an hour of when it comes out of the oven.  Ours was served and consumed within about 5 minutes.  Very yummy indeed!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Coffee Break Muffins

Some people enjoy their coffee making and coffee drinking ritual every morning.  Not me.  In fact, though my husband Rich loves his coffee, I sometimes have to move away from the strong aroma of the freshly brewed coffee in his mug.  So I wasn't personally excited about this week's Tuesday's with Dorie pick.

These muffins use a cup of strong coffee in place of milk and, if that weren't enough, you add some espresso powder as well.  Easy to make, these are lovely muffins.  And indeed they were gobbled up by three happy family members.  I'm glad to have pleased the coffee lovers by baking these muffins, but later today I think I'll bake up some of Dorie's brownies for me.  Chocolate!  Yum!

And here's a happy announcement:  Dorie has announced her book tour and I'm going to see her in Hamilton, Ontario this Sunday!  Anyone else going to be there?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summery Peach Upside Downer

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick is Cranberry Upside Downer. One of the great things about Baking From My Home to Yours is that Dorie includes a"Playing Around" section for most of the recipes. For this one, Dorie suggests using peaches instead of cranberries in the summer and that's what I chose to do.

A lovely and quick treat for a summery day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chestnut Scones

In addition to baking with the Tuesdays with Dorie crowd, I've been trying to bake an extra time or two during the week. My goal was to finish up Dorie's entire book this year, but I keep repeating recipes that I've previously made because they are so fantastic! This week I decided to bake one of the few breakfast breads I have not yet made, Chestnut Scones.

I made these for the weekly brunch at Dr. Tom's house and I told the assembled guest that they included a mystery ingredient. They guessed everything from whole wheat flour to spelt! The ingredient, of course, is 3/4 cups chestnut flour which provides an interesting, subtle flavor to the scones. The butter and cream provide the light, tender, wonderful texture. Scones need to be eaten the day they are baked and the brunch crowd, small as it was this week, I had no problem doing so.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Citrus Berry Terrine

Dorie Greenspan's new book, Around My French Table, is here! It arrived while I was on vacation and it was like receiving an unexpected birthday present.

I was so excited that despite tons of laundry and plowing through the mail the day after vacation, we went to the farm market and bought berries so I could try the beautiful Citrus Berry Terrine. This is a rather simple prep: you soften some unflavored gelatin in water, boil some orange juice with a little sugar, then mix together and refrigerate until the gelatin is the consistency of egg whites. Then you mix in blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, orange pieces and grapefruit pieces. Put into a loaf pan and refrigerate. The result is a beautiful dish that is almost all fruit. Lovely!

I've already signed up for the new group, French Fridays with Dorie, which will be cooking through this new book beginning in October. What a lot of good eating we have ahead of ourselves!

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick is Peanut Butter Crisscrosses. It's a delightfully soft batter and a rather traditional peanut butter cookie. I made this recipe a year ago and ended up with nearly twice the amount of cookies that Dorie predicted. I have a feeling that her "even tablespoon" is not the same size as mine!

This time, I decided to do the cocoa variation. This substitutes cocoa powder for some of the flour and mini chocolate chips for some of the chopped peanuts. I also made the cookies slightly larger than last time.

The cocoa provided a subtle chocolate flavor, not rich and moist like a brownie, but good in its own way. I like the texture of these cookies; most peanut butter cookies are crumbly but these are just right.