Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This was a bit too sweet for my tastes on the whole, though. All that icing has a lot of sugar packed into it, not to mention what goes into the meringues. However, I really did like how the overall presentation ended up, with the meringue cutting (not breaking) nicely. The layers are nice, and the pineapple gives it good coloring.
I keep having a bit of trouble whenever I make a white chocolate icing in this manner. This is the second time I've over-beat it (though this time wasn't nearly as bad), and end up with something that curdles with some of the liquid escaping. I'm sure a few more tries and I'll have it down, but I need to remind myself not to take my eyes of the stand mixer when it's going.
Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, pp 293-295.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
This tart, or pudding depending on who you ask, is made using a sweet shortcrust pastry tart shell, topping it traditionally with jam, and covering it with frangipane - similar to an almond pastry cream. I decided to move away from the fruity jam (I had just made a pineapple cake, and felt like something a little more chocolatey) and simply layered the bottom with some melted chocolate.
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
225 grams all-purpose flour
30 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
110 grams butter, very cold or frozen, cut into medium pieces
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 tablespoons cold water
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to bring together. Add the butter chunks and pulse until all the large pieces have been broken up, and you have remaining a mixture of small pieces of butter with some the size of a split pea. Turn the processor on, and add the egg yolks, followed by almond extract, and 1 tablespoon of water. Add half-teaspoons of the remaining water until the dough begins to come together, forming a slightly sticky dough. Wrap in cling wrap and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
125 grams butter, room temperature
125 grams icing sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
125 grams finely ground almonds
30 grams flour
Cream together the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, medium speed, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl to bring everything together. Add the almond extract, and continue to stir. At this point, the mixture will look curdled. Mix almonds with flour and add in one portion to the stand mixer, then mix on low speed until combined.
Remove tart dough from the refrigerator and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Butter a tart pan and press the tart dough into place, saving any leftover dough for cracks that may form. Freeze the tart for 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400ºF and melt 3.5 ounces of high-quality bittersweet chocolate (I use Valrhona). Pour this chocolate into the frozen tart dough and spread with a spatula until it evenly coats the bottom. Place in the freezer for an additional 2 minutes to let it set in place. Remove from freezer and top with frangipane, spreading the top until even. Bake 30 minutes, or until fluffy, golden brown, and springy to the touch. Allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing, or enjoy at room temperature if you want to wait longer.
The dessert is that easy to put together, but immensily enjoyable for anyone who is a fan of almonds. It's not overly sweet like many desserts, and I feel that the chocolate pairs nicely with the almond, though you could easily make this a more spring- or summer-themed dessert by using some strawberry preserves or some other tasty jam. When you use the jam, you can use anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 cup of it, depending on how thick you want that layer.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I kept it fairly simple when it came to serve - a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of nutmeg gave it a little added flavor, as well as a nice presentation.
This post is going to be pretty short, and I'm going to be late posting up this current week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Again, just too busy, but that's a good thing, right? I'd rather have it this way than not having anything to do.
Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, p. 437
Sunday, June 14, 2009
2 cups flour
1 lb. Mahi-Mahi, about 3 medium fillets
1 egg, room temperature
Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each dumpling.
Press and seal the center portion, wedging the filling in the middle.
Begin to pleat the sides of the dough to form a seal.
Continue pleating until you reach the end.
Repeat with the other side. In a large skillet, add 3 tablespoons oil (something with a high smoke point) and arrange potstickers closely together, as many as you can fit on the bottom of the pan.
Place over high heat and fry the potstickers for about 3 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Boil until all the water has evaporated, then reduce heat to medium-low and uncover. Continue cooking an additional 2-3 minutes, then remove from pan. Serve fried-side up, with sauce of your choice on the side.
I couldn't find any soy sauce handy at the house (I was cooking at my brother's place without him there, and didn't want to venture off to the grocery) so I just had some fish cocktail sauce on the side. The potstickers can be filled with any ingredients of your liking, and many other cooks at the Daring Kitchen have made these, so make sure you check them out. You're sure to find a filling to your liking.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
This post is delayed mostly because I travelled to Chicago for a wedding, then have just been busy since returning home. Wanting to bring something relatively inventive on the plane, I decided it'd be a treat to bake up a couple of these tartelettes. I baked them the morning of my flight and wrapped them up in parchment paper, like Dorie suggested. No problems getting this tartelette through TSA.
The dessert was pleasantly light and sweet. The recipe allows you to decide for yourself how much brown sugar you want to add, or what type of fruit you might want to bake with. On one note, make sure you do skin the apples before halving and quartering them - my first batch, I felt lazy and left the skins on. Because of that, the quarters weren't bitten through as easily, so a large chunk would come off of the tartelette at a time. The next time I baked these, I skinned them and that easily solved the problem.
Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, p. 319
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The tart uses Dorie's sweet tart shell as a crust. This is always a good route to go with these tarts - it's delicious all on its own, like a big, but subtle, sugar cookie. The dessert is layered first by salty peanuts smothered with homemade caramel sauce. Next time, I'd smash them up with a mallet a bit, or give them a few pulses in a food processor to break them up, but the addition of the nuts to the caramel gooey goodness is great.
Finally, the dish is topped with a smooth bittersweet chocolate ganache. Every bite of the dessert has the delicious mixture of sugar crust, chocolate, nuts, and caramel. It's sort of like biting into a Snickers bar, but the texture is much softer, and it's not overly sweet.
Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, pp. 355-357
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
With a recipe like this, it's very easy to adapt it and make it your own. If you want some spice, add some jalapenos or chili powder. If you want to make it vegetarian, maybe substitute some mushrooms and spinach instead of the sausage. Play around with cheese choices, add in some onions and tomatoes. The recipe I'm sharing is one at its most bare form, so feel free to add to it and make it your own.
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
2 cups milk (I prefer whole)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
6 slices bread (I prefer sourdough), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage and stir until crumbled and cooked through. Drain and set aside on top of paper towels to wick away excess grease. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt, and mustard powder. Stir in the bread crumbs, cheese, then cooled sausage. Mix until incorporated and pour into the baking dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking, and preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serves 8-10.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I opted not to add the espresso powder, nor the chocolate icing at the end. I stole a bite from a corner after the squares had cooled, and felt that there was a nicely subtle chocolate background to the dish, and decided adding more icing might overdo it.
I'm assuming that this treat was initially created as a dessert, as it is fairly sweet and has a lot of chocolate, but I don't see a reason why it couldn't be a decadent breakfast. It's fairly light, and the strong cinnamon flavor is definitely reminiscent of cinnamon rolls.
Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, pp. 210-211
Monday, June 1, 2009
The sandwiches were easy enough to put together - I just used whatever I had lying around, since I was short on time and didn't want to make a trip to the store. I layered some thinly cut spicy chicken sausage on sourdough, then covered with some of these delicious mushrooms. Topped with slices of cheese and toasted, the sandwich was a surprisingly delicious treat. Funny how sometimes things exceed your expectations in such a way as to surprise you.
1 1/2 lb. Crimini mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
Seasoning salt of choice(I used Lawry's)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
In a large skillet over medium heat, sweat mushrooms until almost all the liquid had been evaporated from them. Add the butter and increase heat to medium-high. Saute mushrooms until brown, then sprinkle liberally with salt to taste. Add Worcestershire sauce and simmer until almost all the sauce is absorbed. Add water and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until mushrooms are tender. Serves 8.
Don't be afraid to be very liberal when adding the salt in this recipe. The mushrooms will thrive in the seasoning. I still haven't gotten around to trying these mushrooms as they were intended to be made - served with a slab of beef. However, seeing how well this recipe turned out, it will be on the top of my list of sides next time the urge to cook steak comes along.