Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Finnish Pulla

December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 27 Comments
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Finnish pulla

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.

Finnish pulla

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Gingerbread Baby Cakes

December 4, 2012 at 12:02 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 22 Comments
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gingerbread baby cakes

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.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Best-Ever Brownies

November 20, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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Rick Katz’s brownies for Julia

It wasn’t until yesterday when I actually got cracking on Rick Katz’s Best-Ever Brownies, that I realized I’ve made this recipe before.  Back in Season 1 of TWD.  Only then they were called Rick Katz’s Brownies for Juila.  Different book, same recipe, same strange egg whipping technique.  I am cheaply recycling the photo, because I missed my light window both yesterday and today (curses to work!).

Well, there is one difference between the two recipes.  This version in Baking with Julia calls for 1/4 cup of extra flour.  I prefer it with that extra little bit of flour…I think it gives the brownies a bit more structure.  The batch I made yesterday looks the same as the one in the photo, but they are a little taller.  This time I made half a recipe and baked it in a 9″ x 5″ metal loaf pan lined with parchment for 30 minutes exactly.  Then I pulled them out of the oven to come to room temperature before I put them in the fridge to chill through.  I did the same thing the last time around, because I remembered this made the chocolate goo solidify into chew.  They were good brownies back then, and they are still good now.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Monica’s A Beautiful Mess.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

November 6, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, muffins & quick breads, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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buttermilk crumb muffins

What a weird week last week was.  Weird and scary…and not just because of wacky Halloween costumes.  We count ourselves very lucky at our house, and if you live on the East coast, I hope the same is true at yours.  Some minor disruptions and inconveniences were all that Sandy really dealt us and our neighborhood.  Still, it was nice to have something comforting to bake after just emerging from the supposed storm of the century.

Like the name says, Marion Cunningham’s Buttermilk Crumb Muffins are made with buttermilk and have a little crumb on top.  They also have some warm spices and brown sugar.  They were tasty, simple and homey.  Nothing that will knock your socks off, but we ate them all just a few minutes out of the oven.  Maybe you don’t always need your socks knocked off at breakfast anyway, right?  The original recipe makes sixteen muffins and uses all shortening as the fat.  When I said we ate them all, I should clarify (so you don’t think my husband and I are complete pigs) that I made one-quarter recipe for just four muffins, using 2 tablespoons of butter and one whole egg.  I went a little heavy on the spices and a little scant on the sugar.   

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read easier than pie (it’s also here).  And there’s even a video of Julia and Marion making these together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Bagels

October 16, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 12 Comments
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bagels

I eat my fair share of bagels.  Frankly it’s hard not to when you live in New York City and there are bagel shops all over the place (Bergen Bagels being my favorite close-to-home joint).  I’m not just a bagel-eater, I’ve actually made a lot of bagels, too, at my first restaurant job where we’d get slammed with weekend brunch crowds who all seemed to want the smoked trout with quail egg and a mini bagel….so Lauren Groveman’s recipe wasn’t totally Greek (or should I say Yiddish?) to me.

There were a couple of things I did differently than the recipe, just out of old habits.  After boiling the bagels for about a minute on each side, I removed them from the water and placed them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.  I baked them on the rack as well, because it allows the oven heat to circulate underneath the bagels. I didn’t bother brushing them with the egg white glaze before baking.  They may not have been laquer-shiny, but they still browned very nicely and the toppings held in place.  Also, in the bagel dough, I used half sugar and half barley malt syrup for the sweetener, which Groveman did on the TV show, but did a little differently in the book (which calls for only sugar).

I wasn’t super-prepared in the toppings department, so I just went with poppy seeds on some and grey salt on others.  The salt ones were my favorite. I stirred some dill and chives into cream cheese to jazz up my schmear a bit.  These were chewy and had a nice crust….with a cup of coffee, these bagels made for a perfect New York breakfast.

bagels

If you’ve never had a super-fresh, warm bagel before, you can really make great ones at home, so give it a go!  You can make the dough the night before and it’s ready to shape and cook off the next morning.  For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Heather’s Bytes (it’s also here).  And there’s even a video of Julia and Lauren making bagels together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Whole Wheat Loaves

September 18, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 14 Comments
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whole wheat loaves

Now that it’s ever so slightly cooler outside, it’s nice to spend the better part of a Sunday morning making bread.  Baking a yeast bread makes me feel productive, even if I’m really doing almost nothing at all.  Craig Kominiak’s Whole Wheat Loaves were this weekend’s TWD project.

This wheat bread has a kiss of honey and malt extract (I used the Eden Foods malt syrup).  It’s slightly sweet, soft and wholesome…not bland, dense and healthy (if you know what I mean).  It’s good for sandwiching and for toasting.  Now that I say that, it would no doubt make an awesome grilled cheese.  That’s avocado toast up top…one of my favorite toast applications…and a turkey sandwich down below.

whole wheat loaves

This is how wheat bread should be.  I’m glad that the recipe is so unintimidating…there’s no excuse for me to not make it often.  For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Michele’s Veggie Num Nums and Teresa’s The Family That Bakes Together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake

September 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 14 Comments
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nectarine upside-down chiffon cake

It’s Fridays with Dorie for me this week with  Mary Bergin’s fabulous Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake.  I made, and ate, this cake a couple of weekends ago.  Then I was so excited to go Montreal for Labor Day weekend, I didn’t post.  We came home and I still didn’t post, because I’ve been too busy looking at Montreal real estate websites and daydreaming about living there!!

This recipe is in a section in the book called “Everyday Delights” but I think it’s pretty fancy.  It’s not just a standard-issue tinned fruit upside-down cake.  Underneath the glistening fresh nectarines is a light chiffon cake bisected by a layer of crispy almond streusel. It’s a bit of work to pull off, but I thought it was worth every bite.  And really, the streusel could be skipped to save a step…it would be just as good, I think.

I had good success with this chiffon.  I was a little worried when I saw the batter almost totally filled my springform, and it did mushroom up in the oven.  But nothing overflowed, thank goodness.  If you are worried, I’d suggest taking out a couple scoops and making them into cupcakes or something.  It was kinda hard to tell if the cake was done, and I think I left it in the oven a few extra miinutes.  When making chiffons, the cake pans are often ungreased so the batter can really climb up the sides.  I’ve learned to (gingerly!) run a thin knife around the edges of the pans about five to ten minutes after the cakes have come out of the oven.  This helps the cakes to not tear away from the sides as they start to cool, which I think can cause them to sink a bit.

nectarine upside-down chiffon cake

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Marlise’s The Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan’s The Little French Bakery.  There’s also a video of Julia and Mary baking this together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Popovers

August 21, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 22 Comments
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popovers

My first couple of years at Wellesley, there was a restaurant in “the Vill” called Popovers.  Popovers served, you guessed it, popovers…giant, bowl-sized popovers that could be ordered on their own with butter and jam or used as a vessel for one of a zillion different (mostly mayo-based) salads.  This place was clearly an old-school institution and I thought the concept was so entertaining, that when I returned from my junior year abroad, I was kind of confused and heartbroken to see it had closed.  (I have heard that there’s something similar here in NYC, but I haven’t been.)

That place is what sprang to mind when it was announced we’d be baking the late, great Marion Cunningham’s popovers this week.  There’s something fun and kind of magical about popovers–how does such a runny, crepe-like batter explode and mushroom like that in the oven?  And because they are hollow inside, eating them is kind of like eating air.  They do take a while to crisp and dry out, and there’s no peeking in the oven (unless you have a working oven light), so if you are an impatient type, these may test you a bit.  But that’s the only hard part….the batter is sooo easy to make…a 15 second blender blitz and it’s done.  I happen to have a popover tin that was gifted to me, but you certainly don’t need one.  A muffin tin works, and Marion even used custard cups in the BWJ episode.

We had ours for breakfast…some with honey, some with jam.  I heard a savory twist with cheese and herbs is tasty, too.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Paula’s Vintage Kitchen Notes and Amy’s Bake With Amy.  A short version is also here.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Crunchy Summer Fruit Galette

August 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Posted in groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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crunchy summer fruit galette

This week it’s Thursday with Dorie.  Oops, someone didn’t pay attention…my bad.  Anyway, here is Flo Braker’s Crunchy Berry Galette, made instead with peaches and red currants from my CSA.  A galette is a freeform pie.  I make little individual ones everyday at the shop where I work, but we call them crostatas, cuz we’re Italian like that.

This galette has an unusal dough…it’s not a flaky pie pastry.  It gets it’s crunch from cornmeal and softness from sour cream.  The dough is seriously sticky, but I rolled and formed it directly on the parchment I used for baking, so I didn’t really have issues with it.  I added a tiny spoon of cornstarch to the filling just to tighten it up a bit.  I still had a little leaky juice, but no major explosion.  This was small, perfect for two with ice cream.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read  Lisa’s Tomato Thymes in the Kitchen and Garden and Andrea’s The Kitchen Lioness.  It’s also here.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Blueberry-Nectarine Pie

July 31, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 17 Comments
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blueberry-nectarine pie

Yeah, I know that just a couple of weeks ago I declared crisp to be the new pie.  And now here I am with an old school pie.  A big pie, too…not my normal half-sizer, but a full nine-inch pie.  A pie that I can eat while I watch the Olympics– ha!  Leslie Mackie’s Blueberry-Nectarine Pie is actually a favorite recipe.  I’ve made this pie several times in summers past and it’s always great.  I really love nectarines, even more than peaches, I think.

There are a couple of wacky instructions in the recipe that I don’t go by.  First, it says to assemble the pie in a one-inch tall nine-inch cake pan.  That’s weird…why not use a pie pan?  I do.  Then it says to cool the pie for 30 minutes before cutting.  Trust me, it needs to cool much longer than that if you don’t want your filling to pour out when you slice it.  I always try to bake my pies in the morning, so that by dinner time, they are well-set.

By the way, I spent last week on the West Coast, mainly visiting my family in Seattle.  I had my mother take me to Mackie’s Macrina Bakery in SODO one afternoon.  I didn’t see this pie there, but the breads are amazing.

blueberry-nectarine pie

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read  Hilary’s Manchego’s Kitchen and Liz’s That Skinny Chick Can Bake.  It’s also here.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

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