Tags: baking, bread
Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions for 2014? Normally I wouldn’t, but I have a couple of “situations” that I should get under control STAT. Resolving to use up my current kitchen cupboard and my bathroom beauty products before buying more is something that has to happen. I do not need four eye creams or six bottles of hot sauce open at once. I don’t have the storage space for that, and the clutter on my counters is driving me bananas!
What does Lauren Groveman’s Challah have to do with this? It’s going to help jam population control (five jars open in the fridge, with four more in the cupboard…sheesh). The group made this bread in early December, but I didn’t have my act together that week. I’m glad I got it together, though, because it’s delish. I just made one loaf, which was a half-recipe, and it’s a huge beauty! A three-strand braid is so simple to do and it really looks great, but maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try my hand at five or six. Maybe. Even though I’m notoriously stingy with egg wash (I never want to use up a whole egg for it, and unless I have a bit of extra egg left over from something else, I usually pilfer a tiny bit from the eggs in the recipe), it still came out with a gorgeous crust. And the insides are perfectly soft and slightly sweet. I’m looking forward to challah French toast in a couple of days…topped with jam sauce, of course.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Note that this challah recipe uses melted butter, if that’s a concern for you (although I suspect it could be replaced with oil). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see if anyone else did a rewind this week, and see the links page from challah week at the beginning of December!
Tags: baking, dessert, fruit
This was supposed to be a Tropical Crumble with mangoes and bananas, but like I mentioned when I made jam, I have apricots and plums up the wazoo right now. So this became a Stonefruit Crumble instead, with apricots and yellow plums (look, I kept the colors similar!), and a little red plum ice cream for good measure. I tried to keep my version along the same lines as the original, flavoring the fruit with ginger and citrus, but since my fruits were small and soft, I didn’t pre-cook my filling before baking the crumble and I added a sprinkling of flour to the fruit mix to help thicken the juices.
Does anyone know if theree’s technically a difference between a crisp and a crumble?? Maybe there is, because my topping wasn’t as crunchy as I thought it would be. It had pecans, brown sugar and butter (cut back from the original recipe by a couple of tablespoons), so it wasn’t bad, but it did just kind of meld into the smooshiness of the baked fruit.
I had a quick thought of skipping these Devilish Shortcakes and this week’s TWD. Then on Sunday, after the last of our Thanksgiving pie had disappeared, my husband asked what we’d be having for dessert. Seems as though someone’s not worried about putting on extra holiday pounds!
I’d never made chocolate shortcake biscuits before (never even thought about chocolate shortcakes before), and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Fruit and chocolate combos aren’t usually too appealing to me, and anyway the berries right now look downright sad. But then I found a sudden burst of inspiration sitting on my counter– a banana! I caramelized banana slices with a little brown sugar, added a spoonful of peanut butter to my whipped cream, and grabbed a handful of salty peanuts and two baked shortcakes. Bingo!
The photo is a little…well…unappetizng, but these were good. It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate, peanuts and bananas, I guess. The shortcakes themselves weren’t very sweet, so I was glad I’d caramelized the fruit. I have a few more shortcakes in the freezer, so I’ll be looking through the TWD Blogroll for some more ideas for what to do with those.
OK, I am the first to say that my Fresh Apple Cake cake looks an awful lot like a meatloaf, but it is in fact the perfect sweet way to welcome fall and apple season! I scaled back the recipe to make a standard loaf cake, but to tell the truth, we could have easily polished off a full-sizer. It’s moist texture reminded me of banana bread (and I even swapped a third of the oil for unsweetened applesauce), but the taste here is all about apples, walnuts and vanilla. Yes– vanilla, a welcome change from the usual cinnamon! A brown sugar glaze makes an addictively sticky topping.
This is the last cake the group is baking from Southern Cakes. Not all of the cakes I’ve made from this book have been so successful, so I’m glad to go out on a high note with this one. Speaking of going out on a high note, this is also the last cake I’ll be baking with The Cake Slice group. I’ll certainly still be following the other blogs as they move on to the next book, but I think I need to ease off the baking commitments for a bit. Thanks so much, Katie, for all the hard work in keeping this group going– I’ve had such a great time!
Here’s a printable link to the recipe. Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our apple cakes this month!
Meet my latest addiction– Vanilla-Caramel Roasted Pineapple. Pineapple is delicious and sweet as-is, but cook it in rum and vanilla-infused caramel, and you may not be able to eat it any other way again. The first time I made it, I did just half a recipe, with half a pineapple. How silly! It was gone in a flash, and I had to make it again!
If you can manage to control the urge to eat every last piece with your fingers and then drink the syrup, you might like to know that it makes for a great tart, and it transforms Greek yogurt into something even tastier than my childhood favorite Breyers flavor. It’s a shame I don’t have some vanilla ice cream in the freezer right now, because I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to make an incredible, syrupy pineapple sundae. Don’t even get me started about pineapple pancakes…
The original recipe comes from Pierre Hermé…I’ve made some minor modifications to it below, basically just to make it a bit quicker/easier to cook and a bit more economical. If you don’t have banana or ginger, you could modify it further and leave them out, with no ill-effects, I’m sure. I do recommend roasting the pineapple in quarters, then cutting them into chunks later, as I imagine the smaller pieces could get mushy otherwise.
Vanilla-Caramel Roasted Pineapple
modified from a recipe by Pierre Hermé
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cored
120 gr granulated sugar
30 gr (about 1/2) mashed banana
1 vanilla pod, scraped
20 ml (4 t) rum
4 thin slices of fresh ginger
60 mL (1/4 c) cold water
-In a small heavy-bottomed pot, make a dry caramel (no water) by heating the sugar over medium heat. Wait until the caramel is deep amber. If part of the sugar is caramelized while the rest has not melted yet, turn your pot to move the hot spots under the unmelted sugar.
-Meanwhile, split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds. Add the seeds and pod to the caramel along with the ginger slices. Leave 10 seconds, then pour the cold water into the caramel to stop the cooking process (don’t worry if it seizes). Bring it to a boil and cook gently until the caramel is liquid. Remove from the heat and add the rum and mashed banana.
-Leave in the fridge for several hours or overnight to infuse. The syrup will be quite intensely flavored, but will mellow when it cooks and mingles with the pineapple juices.
-Fish out the vanilla pod (save it) and pass the syrup through a fine sieve.
-Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C) and lay your pineapple quarters in the smallest oven proof dish that will just hold it. Pour the vanilla-caramel sauce over the pineapple, toss in the saved pod, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, turning and basting the pineapple every ten minutes. It is important to check that the caramel remains liquid or else it will burn. If too thick, just add a splash of water.
-When cool, cut the quarters into slices or chunks. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container, submerged in the syrup.
Wow–super-busy week at work. If I hadn’t made this Cocoa-Nana Bread, chosen for TWD by fellow Steph of Obsessed with Baking, early last week, it just wouldn’t have happened for me. The bakery I work for was featured in a segment on national TV a few days ago, and it sent mail orders for our brownies pouring in all weekend. Terrific for business, but the owners neglected to give the kitchen the heads-up that it was airing! Saying we we’ve been in the weeds would be an understatement, and my arms are about to fall off from so much brownie mixing. Anyway, back to matters at hand…
A healthy dose of cocoa powder makes this loaf pumpernickel-dark. And bananas make it moist. It’s really much more cocoa than nana….and also more loaf cake than bread. Dorie intends it to be for breakfast, but we thought it made a fine dessert. Leftovers are a yummy trifle base, BTW.
To all my Aussie friends–happy Australia Day! I’ll be celebrating here with homemade sausage rolls, a Cooper’s Sparkling and some good tennis!
TWD started April with a Banana Cream Pie, moved on to two intense chocolate desserts and, thanks to Kim of Scrumptious Photography, we ended April with a Chocolate Cream Tart. It’s as if we’ve come full circle, really. Okay, maybe that’s pushing it, but sometimes I think it’s funny how the choices each month shake out.
Chocolate pastry cream with whipped cream on top, all in a chocolate crust– oh my word! I went halvsies with this week’s recipe, and had plenty for six individual-sized tarts. These little guys are super-chocolaty and super-good! R and I ate them in contented silence…then neither of us could move to do the dishes afterward! Some thought that all that chocolate was a bit too much, and opted for a plain tart crust instead. Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing. I was quite happy to try out Dorie’s chocolate shortbread crust recipe, and liked it a lot. I did find, though, that when making the dough, it was a little dry. I had to add a couple teaspoons of milk to get it to come together, but then it was pretty easy to work with.