Tags: baking, cake, fruit
Ummm…hello? It’s been radio silent here on this blog for almost a month. How embarrassing, but I just haven’t been baking much lately. We went to the beach (and didn’t want to come back). Then when we did come back, I was given what I can only assume was a punishment schedule at work for having taken vacation time. But, now I’m back in the game, and with rhubarb no less!
I tried really hard to find local rhubarb to make Johanne Killeen’s Fresh Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake. I feel like it should be around these parts by now, but after striking out at three different farmers’ markets, I stopped wasting my time (and MetroCard swipes) and just got a few stalks from the grocery.
This recipe is intended to make several little baby cakes, but I just baked it off as one big mama in a cast iron skillet. It wasn’t super goopy so it wasn’t too scary to flip out of the skillet. Dark brown sugar gives this upside-down topping real character, and crème fraiche makes the cake batter extra tender. I threw a splash of vanilla into the batter, too, which maybe wasn’t totally necessary since it wasn’t called for in the recipe…and since I had vanilla ice cream with it anyway…but whatevs.
I can see this also being a tasty base recipe for stone fruit or even mango upside-down cake. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Erin’s When in Doubt…Leave it at 350. It’s also here. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread
I don’t make bread super-often. Only sometimes. I’m usually proud of myself just for having made the effort to stir together yeast and water. But when I opened the oven yesterday and pulled out Leslie Mackie’s Rustic Potato Loaf, I felt like a pretty legit bread baker. Look at that crust…it is awesome. I was in love with this bread before I even cut it open.
You can’t see any trace of them, but the bread has mashed boiled potatoes in it. I guess they help make the bread really soft inside and give it a slightly earthy flavor. I wasn’t sure if I should peel the potatoes or not…in the end I did peel them, but also tossed the peel scraps into the cooking pot just to infuse some extra flavor into the water (which is also used in the dough). The dough looked like a big blob of uncooked gnocchi but it was a quick riser, with two proofs of just 20-30 minutes. So, for a “rustic” bread, it was pretty quick from start to finish.
I’m making cream of celery soup tonight and toasting off a couple of slices of this bread, and I just can’t wait! For the bread recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Dawn’s Simply Sweet. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, breakfast
TWD’s crossing a biggie off the list this week– Esther McManus’s Croissants. This probably qualifies as the most technically complicated recipe we’ve made so far. Like puff pastry and Danish, croissants are made from a butter-laminated, or layered, dough. This means a block of butter is encased in dough and repeatedly rolled and folded to create layers that puff in the oven (and flake in your mouth!). Once you get over butter-shock, it’s really fun to make this kind of dough, and if you give someone a homemade croissant they will be seriously impressed by your talents. Cool weather helps when making the dough, and so does leaving yourself plenty of time to let it rest in between rolls and folds.
I could not resist turning half my dough into pains-au-chocolat. Dangerously good–now I remember why I don’t allow myself to buy them! Next time I make croissant dough (that’ll be awhile since I still have like fifteen p-au-c formed in the freezer), I’ll definitely prep almond-filled ones. Would have done it this time, but as usual I procrastinated and didn’t get it together to make the filling. Also, I’ll cut my croissant triangles a bit bigger. I wound up with ones that were only slightly larger than minis and I associate mini croissants with conference room party platters. Although these were much better (and flakier) than any office-croissants I’ve ever had, and here’s proof…
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Amanda’s Girl+Food=Love. There’s even a video of Esther and Julia making the tart together). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
P.S.: For something totally unrelated, enter my BOOK GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a copy of Breakfast for Dinner.
Tags: baking, cake, chocoate
This Boca Negra isn’t the first super chocolaty cake I’ve made courtesy of Lora Brody. Really though, this one is more like baked pudding than cake– it’s almost flourless, so it doesn’t really have a crumb. It’s silky smooth, dense and at room temperature just barely holds shape (seriously, I destroyed the first piece I tried to lift up). And has a good amount of booze to boot…the recipe calls for bourbon, but I used dark rum.
I made this in the food processor, rather than by hand. It took barely any effort, and even less time, to make the batter. I decided to cut back on the butter by a couple of ounces, figuring that it had enough chocolate, sugar, liquor and eggs to still be ultra luxe. Along those same lines, I skipped the white chocolate cream that goes along with this one and just used plain, unsweetened whipped cream instead. It helped cut the richness just a bit. While the recipe recommends enjoying this at room temp, we really liked it about 15 minutes out of the refrigerator, when each piece was like a slice of the most decadent fudge.
I’ll make this again as an easy answer to a special occasion. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Cathy’s A Frederick Food Garden. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread
A warm pan of this stuff– this olive oil-soaked bread– is dangerous. Craig Kominiak’s Focaccia is the type of thing I could polish off myself in one sitting.
There was some talk about KitchenAid burnout from the full batch of dough, which made three breads. In the interests of both self-restraint and my red KA, I did just a third of it. No problems with the mixing, and only one pan of focaccia to tempt me.
Don’t make this dough in the morning and expect to have focaccia by dinner. It needs a solid 24 hours to rest in the fridge (after two room temp rises) for flavor and air bubbles. I was daydreaming about that pizza from a couple of weeks ago, and in the course of that downtime made a pan of caramelized onions to top my bread.
I think with focaccia, as with most things savory, the more olive oil the better. Rather than sprinkle my baking sheet with cornmeal, I lubed it up with extra oil before stretching the dough into it. Then I brushed garlic and thyme infused olive oil all over the top. At the half-way point in baking, I scattered on my caramelized onions (so they wouldn’t burn), popped the focaccia out of the pan and slipped it directly onto my pizza stone to finish baking. I had delicious oily, salty bread with an almost fried bottom crust. If I had a criticism, it would be that slashing the dough, as the recipe calls, just before baking seemed to really deflate the air bubbles and inhibit its rise. Next time, I’ll dimple the dough with my fingers instead and hopefully it will be puffy and tall.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Sharmini’s blog Wandering Through (a modified version is also here and there’s a video here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, fruit, pie
I made Leslie Mackie’s French Apple Tart back in the fall, when I had heaps of pink-skinned apples from my CSA. Good thinking, because the apples I’ve had lately haven’t been so great. If the tart looks a little familiar, maybe that’s because it’s a sister to the Normandy Apple Tart we made in TWD 1.0 about a year ago.
This tart is easy to make, but it isn’t a quick throw-together. Get prepared…you can do some of these things in advance. You need pie dough, apple compote for the filling (this one’s made in the oven) and lots of thinly sliced apples to spiral on top. It certainly is pretty, though, not to mention delicate and delicious. Your friends will think it came from a pâtisserie.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Gaye’s Laws of The Kitchen. It’s also here (and there’s even a video of Leslie and Julia making the tart together). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, pizza
My husband is going out for a business dinner tonight, and I have plans of my own. Sometimes when he’s not around for dinner I’ll meet up with friends for wine and gossip. But tonight, it’s a little alone time…just me, Steve Sullivan’s Pizza with Onion Confit and the first episode of the new season of Downton Abbey. Perfect
Here in Brooklyn I don’t have to look too hard to find good pizza, but I make it a lot at home anyway. I fiddle around with different recipes, too, so I didn’t mind trying a new one here. This dough uses a sponge starter to add flavor, but the process can be done in a day, unlike some doughs that require a day or two of fridge fermentation (like this excellent one). I cook my pizzas on a stone in a ripping-hot oven. And I (obviously) don’t care too much if they are perfectly round or not.
All the tears you shed slicing onions will be worth it when you wind up with a pan full of soft, sweet onion confit to top your pizza. I didn’t have the red wine the recipe calls to simmer the onions in, but I did have an open bottle of white, so I used that instead. I’m sure the red wine would have made the confit a beautiful shade of rich purple, but mine wound up more like traditional caramelized onions. Leftover onion confit is like gold in the fridge, and I can’t wait to use it on a turkey burger or a sandwich.
I also put a handful of spinach on top of my pizza, you know, for vegetables. And at the halfway point I crumbled on a little Point Reyes blue cheese. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Paul’s The Boy Can Bake. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast
Oh my gosh–isn’t this loaf the cutest?!? I’m not in the know with most Scandinavian baked goods, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Beatrice Ojakangas’s Finnish Pulla bread. Never heard of it, but I was pretty pleased to discover this baby when it came out of the oven. It’s a little bit buttery, a little bit sweet, a little bit eggy and scented with cardamom, one of my favorite spices. Pulla is often shaped into a glorious braided wreath, but I made half a recipe, so I did a loaf instead.
The recipe didn’t suggest making the dough ahead of time, but I wanted to take care of it on Saturday night so I could have fresh-baked bread with jam for breakfast on Sunday morning. I made the dough all the way through the shaping stage (it was a dream to work with in the cooler temps), then put my braided loaf on a parchment lined sheet tray, loosely covered it in plastic and stuck it in the fridge before I went to bed. Early Sunday morning, I took it out and left it on the counter to come to room temperature for a little over an hour before I baked it. Seemed like a good strategy.
Pulla reminds me of challah, but with cardamom and pearl sugar (which I bought at an IKEA in Jersey about a year ago and until Sunday had still never used). I’m glad to have this recipe on my radar now, and I bet leftovers will make good French toast (or will that be Finnish toast??). For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Erin’s The Daily Morsel. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, cake, holiday
What–December already?!? Seems I am refusing to belive it, because every time I went to label the stuff I made at work today, I wrote “11/” and then had to turn that second one into a goofy two. I feel not quite ready to tackle this month.
Johanne Killeen’s Gingerbread Baby Cakes should help me get into the December spirit. These cakes may be little, but they are strong, with a spicy molasses, ginger and black pepper punch. Espresso and cocoa add extra dark, bitter notes. I want to say that I loved these, because they came out so darn cute, but really, they were too intense for me…too adult for my juvenile taste buds. I don’t have baby cake molds, but I do have baby tube pans, which made a fine substitute. I have two cakes left, and I’m thinking they will be cubed for a trifle with sweet cream and stuff to temper their spicy bite.