Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Torte Milanese

October 6, 2015 at 11:41 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, veggies | 3 Comments
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torte milanese

This is my “take two” of Michel Richard’s Torte Milanese recipe.  I did the first take last fall, when we prepared Richard’s homemade puff recipe and did other stuff with it.  Pictures of that version were lost, unfortunately, and were never to be seen again, except perhaps by the hackers who encrypted them a few weeks later.  Hope those bastards got hungry.

The only silver lining to all that mess is that I was encouraged to make this tasty torte, which is a full meal of layered scrambled eggs, cheese, veggies and meat encased in puff pastry, again.  And I got to play around with it a little this time.  I used chard in lieu of spinach for the greens, I left out the ham layer and instead crisped up some bacon and cooked them into the scrambled eggs, which I flavored with the herbs I had on hand (thyme and basil), and I used a mix of cheddar and Swiss cheeses.  Even my roasted red pepper layer was actually a combo of red and yellow ones.  I would say that the puff stayed the same, except I used store-bought instead of homemade this time.  Its savory, salty (in a good way) and very filling.  Plus, the tall slices look great with all those layers of good stuff.

The recipe says to bake the torte at 350°, but I don’t think puff pastry bakes well that low, so I started it at 400° and turned it down at the halfway point for the rest of the bake.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD Rewind: Cheese and Tomato Galette

September 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, veggies | 12 Comments
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cheese and tomato galette

Flo Braker’s Cheese and Tomato Galette is more of a revisit than a rewind.  I first made this one with the group a couple of years ago, but I’ve also made it many times since.  I hope I’ll still see tomatoes at the Greenmarket here for a couple more weekends, so I can squeeze in one more of these this year!

The dough is the only tricky part about this galette.  It bakes up nice and crisp, but it starts out super sticky.  I roll it well-chilled and directly on the parchment I’m going to use for baking so I move it as little as possible.  After the dough is rolled into a circle, it’s then easy to just slide the parchment onto the baking sheet, top it and pleat it up. 

The recipe specifies the filling as tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and jack, but I play around with the herbs and melting cheeses depending on what’s in the fridge.  I’ve used dill, cilantro or parsley (even pesto–which is amazing!) to replace the basil, and while I do always like to use the mozzarella in here, I’ve subbed the Monterey jack with cheddar, provolone, etc.  Also, I like to season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.  If the tomatoes give off some liquid while the galette bakes, I just tip it out with a spoon at the half-way point so it won’t make the tart watery.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan, or look around…it’s out there.   Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll for other rewinds this week!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Apple Kuchen

September 22, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 16 Comments
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apple kuchen

I have to say that I wasn’t too sure about this Apple Kuchen when I started putting it together.  I did not doubt that it would be tasty…I mean, apples and custard inside a sweet crust….yeah, that’s good, obvi.  This sounded like it would be the high-rise cousin to the low-rise Alsatian Apple Tart.  It’s just that I did not get off to a very good start making it.

The crust was easy enough to make and roll out, but let me tell you that getting a soft, delicate crust pressed neatly into a tall springform pan is a pain in the you-know-what.  It was frustrating enough that the dough cracked into like a 1,000 pieces, but while I was pressing them back together into something crudely resembling a crust, the clasp on said springform decided to pop and now will not stay closed (actually, now it’s in the recycle bin).  Ugh.  I needed to go with it at that point, so I put a tight rubber band around the pan to hold it closed, dusted cookie crumbs on the bottom, piled it full of apples and chucked it in the oven to par bake.  Not my most brilliant idea, as within a few minutes, the rubber band popped in the heat and the buckle opened up again, cracking the crust.  I scrambled around and found a small pie pan that was big enough to hold the springform but tight enough to keep the buckle in the closed position.  The dough was still soft at that point and seemed to come back together when the pan was re-closed, but with all those apples in there, I really couldn’t tell what condition it was in.

After the par bake, I poured in the crème fraiche custard (confession:I replaced 1/3 of the crème fraiche amount with buttermilk to lighten the calories a bit) and scattered on some plumped raisins.  I was amazed that the custard did not immediately leak out the pan, so I hoped for the best.  I was just making a half-recipe (6″), but I left it in the oven the full time.  A knife poked into the center still didn’t come out completely clean after an hour, but I took it out away.  After it came to room temp, I popped my springform-in-pie-plate contraption it into the fridge for extra insurance that the custard would be fully set.  And then the moment of truth…

Guess what.  The crust was perfect.  There was not one spot torn or cracked and not a drop of custard had leaked out.  How this happened, I do not know.  It’s like it self-healed in the oven.  It was very handsome, actually, and delicious…chockablock full of chunky apple pieces with rummy custard seeped around them.  Now that I know to relax about the crust, next time, I’ll either mix the raisins in with the apples at the start or I’ll skip the final step of running the kuchen under the broiler with extra sugar and butter on the top…or maybe I’ll do both.  The raisins were a little too brûléed for my tastes…they started off as golden raisins, but you can see in the picture what happened to them under the broiler!

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Twice-Baked Brioche

September 15, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Posted in breakfast things, BWJ, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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twice-baked brioche

After making the dough for Nancy Silverton’s Brioche Tart with White Secret Sauce, I had enough of it leftover for a brioche loaf to tuck into the freezer.  Twice-Baked Brioche, or bostock, is just the thing to make with extra brioche, especially if it’s a little stale.  It’s the brioche equivalent of an almond croissant.  Take slices of brioche, douse them in a orange flavored syrup, smear them with almond fangipane and sprinkle them with sliced almonds.  Then pop them in the oven until toasty brown.

With a cup of strong coffee in the morning or warm, with a little scoop of ice cream for dessert, this is really good…yup, really good.  Going on the repeat list.  I may even keep a little pot of frangipane in the freezer to have on hand whenever I crave bostock.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies

September 8, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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jam-filled sandwich cookies

I may not be going back to school this week, but in solidarity with the children, I am happy to indulge in some after-school-style snacks.  Oh, wait– I don’t have children.  More Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies for me, I guess!

These little shortbread cookies are so simple, yet so tasty.  I was initially expecting them two be to separate cookies glued together with jam, but instead, two cookies are sealed together to form one, with jam hiding in (and, ehem, sometimes peeking out from) the center.  Almost like baby handpies.  I made two flavors, sour cherry and concord grape.  Despite the fact that my kitchen has basically no climate control, I didn’t really have any trouble with these in the heat. The dough came together in like five seconds and rolled out no problem between two sheets of parchment.  I chilled it before cutting and afterwards I chilled the rounds before assembly.  As I applied the jam blobs to the bottoms, the dough rounds softened just enough to not crack too much when I sealed on the tops.  It all worked out deliciously well.

jam-filled sandwich cookies

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Brioche Tart with White Secret Sauce

September 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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brioche tart with white secret sauce

Nancy Silverton’s Brioche Tart with White Secret Sauce is known as “the tart that made Julia cry.”  If you don’t know why, then you’ll just have to watch the end of this video to see.  We’ve used brioche before to make tarts, back in the BFMHTY days.  Seems unusual and maybe it’s just called a tart because of its shape, but brioche is a good base to hold up to juicy fruit.  This tart has a quick and easy crème fraiche (although I really used labneh) custard filling and is topped at serving time with a “secret sauce” and poached fruit.  I didn’t need a box of tissues to eat this myself, but it’s plenty good, thankfully, as there’s a lot to do to if you make all the components.

Formed in a ring or a cake pan, the brioche bakes up golden and fluffy, with a tall back crust.  I was a bit worried that the custard in the center wouldn’t set, but it did.  “White Secret Sauce” sounds a little dodgy to me, but really it’s innocent enough…a sabayon folded with whipped cream.  The sabayon is made with caramelized sugar and wine, but if you didn’t want to take the time to make it, the tart would be absolutely fine, and a bit less sweet, with just some fruit for garnish.  I quick-poached some ripe apricots and plums in a portion of my caramel-wine syrup, but again, if you can’t be bothered and have nice fresh fruit, just use it as-is or macerate it with a light amount of sugar.  You can also use dried fruit, in which case I do think they would be better plumped in liquid.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here and there’s a video, too). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Bubble Éclairs

August 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Posted in BCM, general pastry, groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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bubble eclairs

I love making pastries with choux paste.  The dough is so fun to make, and then when you open the oven the oven and find a tray of chubby golden puffs, well, I think it’s just delightful. These Bubble Éclairs are like cream puffs piped (I used a pastry bag and tip rather than a cookie scoop or spoon) snuggled up together in éclair form. Cute!

You can get fancy with these éclairs, or keep them simple like I did.  I just sprinkled a little Swedish pearl sugar on the tops before baking and filled them with coffee whipped cream after (flavored with the espresso syrup I still have in the fridge from BWJ’s Cardinal Slice).  I did make a couple of fancier ones with white chocolate glaze and passion fruit whipped cream, but it was such a hot, muggy day that they became a drippy mess when I tried to photo them.  Whatever, you get the idea.  I sure wouldn’t mind an éclair served profiterole-style, with ice cream and chocolate sauce…next time.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Pita Breads

August 18, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 6 Comments

pita breads

Homemade Pita Breads are something that wouldn’t normally be on my baking radar.  I admit that most pitas from the grocery store are half-stale and fall apart when I split them, but I do live within walking distance of a shop called Damascus Bakery, where I can (and do often) get great pitas that are fresh made. Those pitas in the picture are actually ones I made a couple of years ago, back when we did Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, a recipe that used the same dough as its base.

This was a pretty easy bread dough to make (and apparently, it can even be made a week ahead and kept in the fridge till you’re ready to pita).  It does use a sponge, but by now that no longer feels like an advanced technique.  The recipe gives instructions for mixing the dough fully by hand…I of course cheated and used the mixer.  You can bake the breads in the oven on a stone, as I did, or there are instructions for cooking them on a griddle on the stove-top.  In the middle of August, the latter may have been the better choice!  These puffed up really well and have a good pocket for tuna salad for lunch or a fried egg sandwich for breakfast.  They are also perfect for warm pita and hummus snack, obvi, and since they’re about half whole wheat flour, they have real flavor.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. There’s also a video of Jeffery and Naomi making the pitas with Julia.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Cherry Crumb Tart

August 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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cherry crumb tart

We’re on a roll with tasty tarts from Baking Chez Moi and this week we’re continuing to make the most out of summer fruit with a Cherry Crumb Tart.  Here, we have our old friend STD (sweet tart dough, that is) housing lots of fresh cherries that are nestled in an almond frangipane filling and topped with streusel crumbs.  Yum, right!?!   This tart sounds like it has a lot of components, but you can make your dough (and roll and pan it, too), frangipane and crumb topping all a day or two ahead of time.  Then when you’re ready to go, just par-bake your crust, pit your cherries and follow the bake-off instructions.

When I came home from vacay, I was pretty sure the summer’s cherries were a thing of the past (just like that gorgeous Montana view…boo) and I planned to pick up a punnet of blackberries to use in this tart instead.  But lo and behold, I found some sour cherries at the greenmarket and snapped them right up.  Sweet cherries would be just as good here, btw.  My streusel didn’t really keep it’s crumbly, piecey shapes in the oven but kind of melded together into a (quite sweet) crispy shell.  Not sure why, since I used cold ingredients and chilled it overnight, but it was still delicious.  I flavored it only with cardamom, no orange zest, and thought it was the perfect subtle flavoring to go with the cherries and almonds.  I liked the tart with a little whipped cream and thought it held up just fine in the fridge for a couple of days, as we cut off slices after dinner and whittled it down to nothing.

I’m wishing now that I’d taken a side view photo of a slice.  It really was full of red cherries!  For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Miniature Florentine Squares and Glazed Mini-Rounds

August 4, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Posted in BWJ, cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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miniature florentine squares and glazed mini-rounds

I make a lot of petits fours at work, but it’s not often that you’ll see something like Flo Braker’s Miniature Florentine Squares or Glazed Mini-Rounds making an appearance at my house.  I don’t usually get that old-fashioned fancy here.  If I serve up anything post-dessert, it’s typically just a healthy-sized complaint about having to do all the dishes myself.

The Florentine Squares and the Glazed Mini-Rounds are two different recipes in the book, but they are both made the very same way, just cut and decorated a little differently.  They are both ladyfinger genoise layers soaked in sweet wine syrup, sandwiched with jam (I used blackcurrant), glazed with white chocolate ganache and decorated with designs of melted dark chocolate.  I made one cake and cut and decorated some of each style.

They weren’t so hard to make (I watched the video first, and got some tips on chilling the cake before cutting to prevent too much crumbage) and they were pretty fun to decorate.  It’s so hot in my kitchen that my dark chocolate designs got a little droopy as the petits fours sat for their photo shoot.  I thought they were still charming though.  These were tasty little bite-sized treats, but they were quite sweet.  They would have been good with a strong cup of coffee.

miniature florentine squares and glazed mini-rounds

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (and here’s a video). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

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