Friday, December 21, 2012

Creme Brulee

I fretted about making these because I do not own the preferred baking dishes, nor do I own a torch,  but Dorie says I can go ahead and use ramekins so that's what I'll do.  And she says you can use the broiler, so here I go!
Getting ready

Ramekins on a silpat lined baking sheet, bowl for eggs and sugar and vanilla,
pan on the stove to heat the cream and milk.

This was incredibly easy to prepare.  And once it was in the oven, it was just a matter of waiting till the custards were set.  When at room temperature, they went into the refrigerator overnight.  Then I sprinkled them with sugar:  the one on the left had demerera sugar, the other two had brown sugar.  I don't own a torch so I filled a pan with ice, placed the ramekins on them, and put them under the broiler.  (Dorie is so clever!)  And here they are!

Out of the oven.

This one is mine!

Yummy!  And the brown sugar caramelized and hardened up perfectly.
These were delightful, no doubt about it.  We'll eat the other three tomorrow.

And now, I only have two recipes left and I will have baked through Dorie Greenspan's fabulous book, Baking from my Home to Yours.  Watch for Floating Islands and Parisian Apple Tartlets before the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mrs. Vogel's Scherben

These little fried dough cookies are fun to make because they puff up into unique shapes when you drop the into the hot oil.  "Scherben" means snowflakes and I suppose that's an appropriate name because no two cookies look alike.

I procrastinated making these cookies because they require 4" of oil and I know from experience that oil used to deep fry something can't be reused.  It seems wasteful to me.  But as I'm down to just 4 recipes in Baking by Dorie Greenspan, it was time to make them.

The dough rests in the refrigerator then is rolled out thin.

Cut into strips and then each strip is slit down the center, leaving a bit of dough on either end.  Then back into the refrigerator.

Heating up the oil.  I was a bit skimpy--maybe 3".

Getting the paper towels ready.

Frying the dough a few at a time.

Rolling them in cinnamon and sugar.

Sprinkled with powder sugar just before serving.
As I said, these were fun to make.  And if eaten immediately, they were quite tasty.  But I covered them loosely with a towel, and served them two hours later by which time they were no longer crispy.  Must have been the towel!

I now have just three recipes to make and I will have baked EVERYTHING in Dorie's terrific book.  I hope to finish by the end of the year:
  • Parisian Apple Tartlet (Rich found butter puff pastry at Trader Joe's)
  • Creme Brulee (I don't have the right pans so ramekins will have to do)
  • Floating Islands (Need to be eaten right away, so I'll have to invite people over.  Maybe Christmas guests?)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart

For Thanksgiving, I wanted a do-ahead dessert and I didn't feel like making my traditional apple pie.  I decided on Dorie Greenspan's Rosy Poached Pear Pistachio Tart, which is one of the few that I have not baked in her fabulous book, Baking from My Home to Yours.  What makes this a good recipe is that you can make all the parts of it a couple of days ahead.  However, once it's assembled, you really have to eat it up.

I made the nut tart dough using pistachios.  Yummy!

The pears are peeled and then poached in a mixture of shiraz with lemon zest, orange zest and some sugar.  Boy, did the kitchen smell good!

The cream is made with ground pistachios, nuts, egg yolks, milk and a little butter.  I refrigerated it and then added a little sour cream to thin it out before spreading it into the tart shell.

And finally, getting ready to assemble.

My finished product with decorative caramelized pistachios sprinkled on top.

My tart next to the picture in Dorie's Baking book.

The key to this tart, I think, is that the pears be ripe but not squishy.  I used a variety of pears and the ripe ones were by far the best.

And now I have just 4 recipes to bake in Dorie's book and I will have finished them all!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Depths of Fall Butternut Squash Pie

Perhaps the reason I've postponed making this recipe from Dorie Greenspan's wonderful cookbook, Baking from my Home to Yours,  is because I'm not a big fan of squash.  I should have known to trust Dorie!  This pie was delicious, even for people who don't like squash!

I made Dorie's delicious pie crust and refrigerated it overnight.

Then began to cut up the squash from the CSA (she says she likes to buy already cut up squash at the supermarket because it is hard to do--I see what she means!)

The squash is partially cooked in the microwave, then combined with diced pears, orange zest and orange juice (key ingredients, I think), dried cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, bread crumbs.  A very tasty combination.

Here's the end result.  It surely didn't last long at our house and I expect I'll be baking this recipe again.

And now I have only 5 recipes to bake to finish the whole book.  Whew!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Only six recipes to go!

My goal is to finish baking all of the recipes in Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking from my Home to Yours, by the end of the year.  Here's what I have left:
  • Mrs. Vogel's Scherben, p. 157.  I have put off making these little fried cookies because you need to use about 4" of oil.  I never know what to do with leftover used oil.
  • Parisian Apple Tartlet, p. 319.  Now that apples are in season, I ought to be able to make these simple tartlets!
  • Depths of Fall Butternut Squash Pie p. 328 Well.  I'm not a fan of butternut squash, but tis the season so I suspect I'll be baking this soon.
  • Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart p. 370   Poaching pears in wine sounds delicious!  I have to remember to buy pears and let them ripen.
  • Creme Brulee  p. 393  I don't have a torch to carmelize the top but I should just get on with it and do the best I can with a broiler.
  • Floating Islands p. 401   I need to assemble and eat these right away.  Also need to make it on a non-humid day.  Now that the season has changed, I should be able to make this.

Whittling down: Honey Almond Fig Tart and Chocolate Souffle

I very much want to finish baking all of the recipes in Dorie Greenspan's wonderful book, Baking from My Home to Yours.  

Honey Almond Fig Tart
The reason this recipe is among the final ones is because of the difficulty in finding ripe figs.  When Rich finally bought some, he brought them home and left them on the kitchen counter. The next day they were covered with fuzz!  He took them back for a replacement and here they are, baked up in the Honey Almond Tart.

I think a lovely variation of this tart would be to make it with peaches--and peach season is longer than that of figs!

Tart out of the oven

Tart with the beautiful glaze

Chocolate Souffle
On Rich's birthday, a baked up my first souffle.  Actually, this was not only the first time that I baked a souffle, but also it was the first time that I ever tasted a souffle!  Dorie says souffles are dramatic but they have an undeserved reputation for finickiness.  Her directions were great and the results were wonderful.

Preparing the chocolate

Whipping the whites

Combining the chocolate and meringue

More folding

About ready to put into the prepared pan

The finished souffle

Monday, August 27, 2012

Puffed Double Plum Tart

I started this blog to document baking through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours.  I'm down to the last handful of recipes!

Today I baked the Puffed Double Plum Tart.  I hadn't gotten around to this recipe because it requires fresh plums and plum season is short.  Last week I bought some lovely plums at the local farm market and so here we go!

This recipe uses fresh plums in addition to prunes which have been simmered in a delicious sauce consisting of red wine, orange zest, orange juice, a cinnamon stick and a bit of sugar.

You roll out puff pastry, smear on a little butter and sprinkle with not-too-much sugar.

The tart bakes up beautifully!

And tastes great, too!  A wonderful pre-birthday treat.

And now I have only 8 more recipes to bake in the book:
  1. Mrs. Vogel's Scherben (p. 157)
  2. Parisian Apple Tartlet (p. 319)
  3. Depths of Fall Butternut Squash Pie  (p. 328)
  4. Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart (p. 370)
  5. Honey Almond Fig Tart (p. 373)
  6. Creme Brulee (p. 393)
  7. Floating Islands (p. 401)
  8. Chocolate Souffle (p. 406)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Peach Puzzle

A couple of years ago, I discovered this recipe in America's Best Lost Recipes.  I love peaches and I love puzzles so it seemed a no-brainer to bake this dessert.

Basically,  in a pie plate, a layer of  whole peaches is drizzled with a brown sugar syrup and topped with a biscuit topping.  Pretty standard ingredients and pretty standard assembly.  But here's the fun part:  in the center of the pie plate, you put a custard cup upside down and arrange the peaches around it.

Then you drizzle the syrup onto the peaches and top with the biscuit topping.

When it comes out of the oven, it cools on a rack for 30 minutes and then you flip it over onto a large, rimmed plate.  Voila!  A lot of the syrup has been sucked into the custard cup and can be used to drizzle over the whole dessert!  Ice cream is essential.  The room goes quiet when people eat this!

Cooling on the rack

Flipped over and beautiful!

With ice cream!

Here's the recipe (I've modified the directions just a bit):

Make the syrup by combining the following ingredients in a small saucepan and heating until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

Prepare the peaches.  Place a custard cup upside down in a 9" pie plate.  Peel 7 whole peaches (dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds and the peels will come off very easily).  Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits.  Arrange around the custard cup.

Pour the warm syrup over the peaches.

Make the dough.
Mix together:
1 1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Grate and stir in:  5 Tbsp. frozen butter.  

Add:  6 Tbsp. milk

Stir with a fork, then pat into a 9" circle.  Place the dough on top of the peaches--don't attach the dough to the edge of the pie plate.  If you'd like to cut a circle of dough out of the center where the cup is and add it to the edges, that will be fine.  (I also think your favorite shortcake/biscuit dough would work fine here.)

Place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top is golden.
Remove from the oven and put the pie plate on a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

Here's the magical part:  Place a large, rimmed plate on top of the pie plate and quickly invert the peach puzzle onto the plate.  Cut into 7 wedges.  Top with ice cream and spoon syrup over the whole lovely-tasting, summery, peach puzzle.  Yum!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Raspberry Blanc Manger

Despite the lack of evidence on this blog, I have been baking a great deal.  I started this blog to chronicle baking through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours with the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers.  I joined the group after they had already begun and I've been playing catch up ever since.   The recipes I have left seem to have limiting requirements about them, i.e., they require some special ingredient, they need a seasonably-available fruit, or they need to be served immediately.  I am determined to finish the remaining ten recipes! Today I made Raspberry Blanc Manger (pronounced blah-mahn-jhay) which needs fresh raspberries.

I didn't even know how to pronounce this delicacy and certainly had never made one before. You start by whipping up 1 1/2 cups of cream till it forms soft peaks.  In a small pan you combine milk, ground almonds (I used hazelnuts because that's what I had), and sugar.  That gets heated till it boils.  Meanwhile in a small dish you combine a bit of water and gelatin, then heat that and stir it into the nut mixture.

Then you stir some vanilla into the nut mixture, stir in the gelatin, and cool it  in an ice water bath.  Finally the whipped cream is folded in and then some raspberries.  This happy mixture is poured into a round cake pan and put in the refrigerator to set.  I, of course, licked the bowl at this point and it was delightful~it tastes light and refreshing and will be perfect on this hot summer day.

Topped with a bit of Rich's homemade raspberry jam (heated up for easier dribbling) and some fresh raspberries, this was indeed a pretty dessert.  And as expected, it tasted light and summery.

Apologies for only posting one picture:  I've recently had eye surgery and feel rather proud of myself that I have been able to do this well!  This morning I decided to make bread in the bread machine and picked up the measuring cup to measure the flour.  I measured out 4 cups before I realized that I was using the 1/2 cup measure rather than the 1 cup!  I am so looking forward to improved vision and depth perception after the surgery on my other eye tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oasis Naan

Twice a month the Tuesdays with Dorie crowd bakes from Baking with Julia.  This week the recipe is Oasis Naan, a flat bread made of a very plain dough, seasoned with coarse salt, scallions, and cumin before it goes into the oven.  It's supposed to be a FLAT bread.  To make it flat, you roll it out and prick it determinedly with a fork.  Actually, you're supposed to use a special tool.  Perhaps the tool really is important, because mine were rather poofy.
Or maybe too much yeast.  Or maybe mine was determined to be poofy -- take a look at the bubble that formed when the dough was rising:

I chose to let the bread dough rise overnight in the fridge.
It rose beautifully and grew an impressive bubble!

I divided the dough into 8 more or less equal parts and let them come to room temperature.

Rolled them out, dribbled on water, pricked them, sprinkled on salt, scallions and cumin.
Into the oven on the pizza stone.

They came out poofy.  Here they are, cooling off.

Served warm with hummus, olives, carrot, celery and red pepper sticks,
stuffed grape leaves, mushroom & tomato bruschetta with parmesan . . .  

. . . an assortment of cheese and a bottle of wine!

A delightful dinner!