Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Focaccia

February 5, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 12 Comments
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focaccia

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: French Apple Tart

January 22, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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French apple cake

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Pizza with Onion Confit

January 8, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 19 Comments
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pizza with onion confit

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.

pizza with onion confitpizza with onion confit

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. 

onion confit

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!

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!

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