Tags: baking, dessert, fruit
The promise of a blueberry pie made my husband finally agree to drive me out to the country for some berry picking last Saturday. It’s good to know that bribes do work, although I still haven’t made good on my end…this is obviously not blueberry pie. We came with a quart of U-pick raspberries, too, so using those delicate jewels became my first priority. Not turning on the oven became my second priority.
You may see the words “raspberry brûlée” and think immediately of Prince, or you may see them and think of crème brûlée…I assure you this is far less fancy than either, even though it looks and tastes like a million bucks. In fact, apart from straight-up fresh fruit, this might be one of the easiest summer desserts out there. It’s simply whipped cream folded with fresh raspberries and given a torched sugar top. It’s fresh and light as air, but with but with a sweet crunch.
A lot of times the broiler works as a reasonable alternative to a kitchen torch. I’m not sure how it would do in this case though, since whipped cream is not as sturdy as a custard. You want a bit of runny, melted cream just under the crispy brûléed top, but I suspect the boiler may take melting the cream a step further than a torch would.
Raspberry Brûlée- serves 6-8
adapted from Saveur Magazine, Issue 94
Steph’s Notes: The dish can also be made with tayberries (which I have never seen here before) or blackberries, and I’m sure diced peaches or nectarines would be tasty, too.
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
¼-½ cup powdered or superfine sugar (depending on how sweet you like it and how sweet your berries are)
splash of cassis or frambiose (optional)
2 pints raspberries
⅓ cup demerara sugar
- Put the heavy cream into a large bowl and beat until medium peaks form. Add the powdered or superfine sugar and the booze (if using) and continue beat to stiff peaks.
-Add the raspberries to the whipped cream and fold gently to coat. Carefully transfer raspberries to a wide serving dish or divide them between 6-8 individual gratin dishes and liberally strew the top with demerara sugar. Using a kitchen torch, evenly caramelize the sugar until it gets bubbly and darkened in some spots. A bit of the top layer of cream will start to “run” in this process, but if you don’t hold the torch too long in one place, what’s underneath will stay whipped.
-Refrigerate brûlée for about 15 minutes to let the sugar harden. If you’ve used one large serving dish, scoop servings into bowls, making sure that each scoop includes some of the crunchy sugar topping. If you used individual gratin dishes, just grab spoons. Serve immediately.
Tags: baking, bundt, cake, dessert
I love a good Bundt, and I think Flo Braker’s Vanilla Pound Cake recipe makes a particularly handsome one. I’ve been sort of afraid that my nice little 6-cup Bundt pan (that I always use to make half recipes) has been losing its non-stick abilities, but with a good spraying and flouring this cake fell right out, no problem. The cake was no problem to mix either– super straightforward. The only trick I had up my sleeve was to swap the vanilla extract for a smear of vanilla paste.
The cake is really tender…it’s not dry at all. Because I only made a half-sized cake, I really watched the baking time and took it out of the oven at just under 40 minutes. I think this cake would go with just about anything, but summer fruit sounds particularly good to me. I had jar of dark cherries that I poached in the fridge, so we had half our cake with those. The other half’s in the freezer, but the recipe mentions toasting stale slices as the base for ice cream sundaes, which makes me think about recreating a yummy, fancy affogato concoction my husband had at Brooklyn Farmacy a couple of weeks ago.
Tags: baking, bread
Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!
In a kitchen without A/C, mid-summer bread baking is not really my idea of a good time, but the oven doesn’t need to be on too long for Craig Kominiak’s Leaf-Shaped Fougasse. From what I gather, French fougasse is similar to Italian focaccia, and the teardrop leaf shape is traditional in Provence. I should research the technical differences between the two breads, because I’m sure there are some, but for this purpose, we made the same easy dough recipe that we used for the focaccia last year (overnight rise and all that stuff). I thought that getting the dough into the teardrop shape would be diffucult, but it wasn’t at all and I followed Cher’s suggestion to easily cut the pattern in the dough by snipping it with kitchen shears. Also, I did my cutting directly on my sheet pan (which I sprinkled with cornmeal but did not line with parchment), and that saved me from having to delicately move around and transfer the shaped bread.
I find soft, bubbly, salty, oily bread like this to be addictive, and the hole pattern in the fougasse makes for little sections that are way too easy to rip off and snack on. After R & I demolished the left side, I quickly wrapped up the right side for the freezer, just to stop ourselves from eating the whole thing in one go. The word “fougasse” makes me think of the band Fugazi, but I guess that’s for another blog.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (a modified version of the dough recipe itself is also here and there’s a video here that includes Kominiak shaping, cutting and baking the fougasse). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, dessert, fruit
Have you already moved on from rhubarb for the year? I haven’t– it’s one of my absolute favorites, and I’m happy to pick up a pound from the Greenmarket every week till it disappears. Right now, I’m in that glorious overlap moment when I can find rhubarb and raspberries at the same time. Why is strawberry-rhubarb the combo that gets all the love? Raspberry-rhubarb bakes up deliciously. Raspberries are often less sweet than strawberries, but I’ve always liked to keep my rhubarb desserts on the tart side anyway. And that hot pink color…I’d paint my whole house that color if it wouldn’t look like (ummm) questionable things might be going on inside.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m confused about the difference between a crumble and a crisp (I guess we didn’t cover that in pastry school), but I do know that they are both easier than pie- truly- and, I think, just as tasty. Flipping through Tina Nordstrom’s charming latest book Tina Nordström’s Scandinavian Cooking, which is less a tome of traditional Scandinavian recipes and more a collection of tasty things from around the world she likes to cook in her Swedish kitchen, I saw a recipe for Raspberry Crumble with Almonds that I knew would work with the addition of rhubarb (and a bit of extra sugar). The sweetness of the crumbly (and crisp!) topping balances the fruit nicely. You can probably further tinker with the recipe quite successfully, if you’d like. Swap the vanilla flavoring for cardamom, use oats instead of almonds, and so on. The one thing I wouldn’t mess with, though, is the ball of ice cream on top. That’s a given, at least at my house.
Raspberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Almonds- serves 6
adapted from Tina Nordström’s Scandinavian Cooking by Tina Nordström
Steph’s Notes: The original recipe in the book is for a straight-up raspberry crumble. If you want to make this without the rhubarb, use 500g raspberries (fresh or frozen) and cut back both the white sugar and the vanilla sugar in the fruit by half (leave the topping as-is). If you don’t have vanilla sugar, replace with an equal amount of granulated sugar and a dash of vanilla extract. I like to keep the fruit on the tart side, since the topping’s quite sweet, but if you know you’d like your rhubarb sweeter, add up to a couple of extra tablespoons of sugar to the fruit mixture.
for the crumb topping
3/4 cup, plus 1 1/2 tbsp (115 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (100 g) coarsely chopped or slivered almonds
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 1/3 tbsp (75 g) unsalted butter, room temp
for the fruit mixture
about 1/2 lb (250 g) rhubarb, cut into 1″ lengths
about 1/2 lb (250 g) raspberries, fresh or frozen
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla sugar
-Start by making the crumb topping. Combine all dry ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl, and use your fingers to mix it all together with the butter. I like a combination of some clumps and some sandy crumbs. Put the topping in the fridge or freezer while you preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
-For the filling, toss the rhubarb pieces, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla sugar directly in the bottom of a greased ceramic or glass baking pan, 8-10″ in diameter (22-24 cm).
-Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over the fruit mixture. Bake until topping turns golden and juices are bubbling, about 35-40 minutes, turning at the halfway point. If you notice that your topping is browning too quickly, turn the heat down to 350°F for the remainder of the baking time.
-Let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before serving.
Please note that the publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, sent me a copy of this book.
Tags: fruit, ice cream
Gale Gand’s Pylloccine Ice Cream Sandwiches are the cutest things to come out of my kitchen in a long time– retro and adorbs!
I had no idea what “phylloccine” meant, and went along pronouncing it incorrectly in my head all week, until about five minutes ago, when I finally read the recipe intro and found the explanation was right there all along. “Phylloccine” equals “phyllo fettuccine,” which just equals phyllo dough rolled up and cut into long strips. The strips get scrunched into sandwich-able rounds and buttered and sugared and baked. While the recipe calls for a mix of summer berries with this, I just had strawberries and simply diced them and tossed them with simple syup. It also calls for whipped cream, but I skipped it entirely…the ice cream was plenty, I think. Gotta trim calories where I can.
These were really great and easy to make. I loved the crispy, sugary phyllo. Apart from baklava, I seem to forget how good phyllo is in sweet applications. Unlike a regular ice cream sandwich, these are too delicate and crumbly to pick up and eat with your hands (not to mention all those loose fruit bits), so definitely grab forks.
Tags: baking, savory, snacks
Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Savory Wheat Crackers were a nice little snack to munch on with a chilled glass of wine this past (very fine) weekend. I’ve made crackers before…here, for instance. Also, in the restaurants I’ve worked in, pastry always had to make the crackers to go with the cheese plates. Rolling cracker dough out with a pasta machine (or a sheeter like we had at my first job) is my pro tip from those days. It gets them super thin, although you have to use a fair amount of flour to not shred the dough in the roller. I took these to the second thinnest setting in my machine and then topped my crisps with nigella seeds, ground coriander and fleur de sel.
This whole wheat cracker dough is super basic….no leavening necessary. It comes together with a whiz in the food processor, although my dough was a little sticky, so I added some supplemental AP flour to make it behave. The recipe makes a lot of dough…even the half recipe I made yielded tray after tray of crackers! They have to be rolled, cut and baked in batches. It was like a Nabisco factory in my kitchen on Sunday. Actually, I forgot to cut two of the trays before I put them in the oven– I just broke those into big shards after they were cool. Real Nabisco would so fire me. You need a ripping hot oven for these and will likely have to tack on a few minutes to the stated baking time. My crackers took 6-7 minutes to bake through, rather than the three minutes in the recipe. One minute too many, though, and the crackers will be charcoal (and yes, I did torch a tray myself)!
I made a little spread out of famer’s cheese and flowering chives to snack on with these crackers. I have lots more to eat up, so I’ll have to think up some other ideas. For the cracker recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, dessert, fruit
Charlotte Akoto’s recipe for Tropical Napoleons is in a section of the book called “Grand Pastries,” which seems to mean plated desserts. I have to say that a lot of them look kinda dated to me, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still taste great. This dessert, with layers of coconut and sesame meringue, fruit and rum whipped cream is really light, but so satisfying. I wouldn’t turn down Eaton mess or a pavlova, so I knew I would like this one, too.
Despite its “grand” status, this recipe isn’t really that involved. Whipped cream and sliced fruit are easy enough to prep. If you don’t have a good selection of tropical fruit (I wish I could buy passion fruit in Brooklyn from any corner fruit guy like I could when we lived in Sydney), just go with straight-up berries. Even the meringue is a simple one to make, and a quick stencil cut from a yogurt lid makes perfect meringue disks. I baked my meringues on a Silpat and they took almost twice as long as the recipe said to get fully crisp. If anything gives you trouble, it will be getting those meringues off your sheet pan after they’re baked– they’re meant to be really thin, which also makes them really brittle. I only broke one before discovering that if I ran an offset spatula carefully around its outer edge before kind of pressing the spatula down into the Silpat and scooting it underneath the meringue, it would come off in one piece. The meringues are sweet, so I cut back a bit on the sugar in the cream.
Tags: appetizers, savory
I’ve been trying to lay off the sweets a bit lately. No more dessert every night, I’ll mostly keep that to weekends. This is because I can tell my trainer would like it if I dropped a few pounds. The things I do for this guy….I even got up early to run a 5K on Sunday! He’s right of course, and he has made me strong, so at least that running was a piece of cake (unlike the cake I’m not eating).
I do miss baking stuff more than once a week, though, so it’s nice to have a little savory project to put together. To tell the truth, these Scallop and Pesto Purses, courtesy of Gale Gand, were more of a quick assembly task than a real baking project. Take a nice, fat sea scallop and a schmear of pesto, bundle it up in a phyllo dough wrapper and pop it in the oven. These purses are intended to be elegant appetizers, but I will probably never have a dinner party sophisticated enough to serve them (pigs in a blanket, anyone?). After I snapped this photo, I put a few of them together on each plate with a bit of salad, and we had them as dinner…with the rosé, obvi. They were really tasty and the scallops cooked nicely inside (which I was worried about since I couldn’t really tell what was going on in there). The juices from the scallop did make the bottom of the purses soft, but we were knife and forking it, so it wasn’t a big deal.
I pounded together a little bit of parsley pesto for these in my new mortar and pestle. It was my first time making pesto this way– normally I use the food processor– and it was so good, I made more a few nights later for pasta.
Tags: bread, breakfast
I didn’t really know much about Potato Lefse before Beatrice Ojakangas’s TWD recipe of the week. I quizzed my half-Norwegian friend, and she told me that they are kind of like crêpes and that there’s also a non-potato variety. She said she’s never made them herself, but buys premade ones and reheats them. Ha–looks like I’m one up on you now, Karen! That was mean…I should invite her over for leftovers and see what she thinks.
Making the lefse dough was easy. It basically starts with super-smooth mashed potatoes that you air dry in the fridge overnight. Then the next day, you knead flour into the mash and divide the dough into pieces. Shaping and cooking the dough is where it gets tricky. There are a whole host of special tools that hard-core lefse enthusiasts use– a grooved rolling pin and a cloth-covered round board to roll the dough, a big, flat round griddle to cook the lefse on and a long, flat wooden stick to lift and flip them. Darn, I don’t have any of that stuff. I poked around the cabinets to see what I could use instead. This is what I came up with: my regular rolling pin and my Silpat to roll the dough, and a flat cast iron crêpe pan and stick that I have. It would have been easier to cook these with another person, so one could roll the lefse dough balls while the other cooked them off. By myself, it was kind of a process, but I got better as I moved along. My crêpe pan is only 11″ wide, as opposed to 16″ for a lefse pan, so I divided my dough into 16 balls instead of 12. With plenty of flour, I was able to get them rolled nice and thin on the Silpat. I didn’t even need that stick to lift them off…I was just kind of able to flip and peel them onto my hand, tortilla-style. They cooked up perfectly and got nice speckles on the crêpe pan, and the stick came in handy for flipping them.
Apparently, much like a crêpe, you can wrap lefse around lots of fillings (even hot dogs–gotta try that!), but we went the sweet route for breakfast, with butter and cinnamon sugar on some an lingonberry jam on others. They do taste slightly potatoey, but it’s a pleasant earthiness that was surprisingly nice with the sweet fillings. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. As Sandra pointed out there’s a video of Beatrice making lefse alongside Martha Stewart. Beatrice uses slightly different measurements than she does in the book, but it’s a great watch for the process of making, shaping and cooking the dough. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!