Pear and Butterscotch Cobbler and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

November 11, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, sweet things | 9 Comments
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pear and butterscotch cobbler

I’ve found that a lot of people shy away from making one type of dough or another.  Some people claim, “Oh, I don’t do pie dough,” while others say, “I stay away from yeast.”  When my friends at Quirk Books asked me if I wanted to help celebrate the release of their new book, Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries by Russell van Kraayenburg, of course I jumped at the chance.  Russell writes the gorgeous blog Chasing Delicious, and that guy can bake.  His new book is full of tips and information to make a rainbow of doughs including: scone, biscuit, pie, shortcrust, sweetcrust, choux, brioche, puff, croissant, Danish and phyllo.  Whatever your personal dough demon is, you can work through it with this book.  Russell gives a master dough recipe for each type (which he explains by using easy ratios) and then several recipes using the various doughs.

For me, biscuits were my dough nemesis until a few years ago, when I worked at a bakery and had to crank out trays of breakfast pastries every morning at 6 am.  After all that practice, now I own those suckers!  I was super pleased to give Russell’s biscuit dough a try as part of Quirk’s Biscuit Week Challenge.  I spied a plum cobbler recipe in his book and couldn’t get the thought out of my head– sweet, soft fruit under a tender, cakey, slightly savory biscuit crust.  When I remembered a few Bartlett pears and a bit of homemade butterscotch sauce in the fridge, a light blub went on in my head and I was inspired to make a Pear and Butterscotch Cobbler using up my odds and ends and Russell’s biscuit dough.  He’s even put together a video to show step-by-step how to make perfect biscuits. Because the dough is dropped on the fruit here, instead of rolled and cut, a tender cobbler topping is almost guaranteed, even if you think you’re dough-challenged.

The kind folks at Quirk Books sent me a copy of Making Dough,  and now I want to send a copy to one of you!  Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before 5:00 pm EST on Tuesday, November 17 and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list.  Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you if you’re chosen.

Pear and Butterscotch Cobbler– serves 4 to 6 
inspired by (and using) a recipe in Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries by Russell van Kraayenburg

Notes: If you don’t already have butterscotch sauce on hand, you can approximate the flavors here with 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp of butter cut into little bits.  Toss with the pears and other filling ingredients.

1 1/2 pounds firm-ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 tbsp rum (optional)
1/4 c plus 2 tbsp homemade butterscotch sauce (I used this one)
1/2 recipe of Russell’s prepared biscuit dough
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1
 tbsp brown sugar

– Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat oven to 400°F.

– Peel and core the pears and cut each into large chunks.  In a medium bowl, gently toss the pear chunks with cornstarch and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.  Add the rum, if using, and butterscotch sauce and toss just to coat. (Your butterscotch sauce will work best here if it’s room temperature or barley warm.)

– Turn the fruit mixture into a 1-quart baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and keep oven on.

– Pinch off small handful-size clumps (about 2″ in diameter) of the prepared biscuit dough and scatter them on top of the filling so that the clumps touch.  Be careful as your baking dish will be hot!

– Lightly brush the biscuit clumps with melted butter (I dabbed with a pastry brush) and sprinkle with the 1 tbsp brown sugar and remaining 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

– Bake for another 20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbly.  Cool to warm or room temperature before serving.

Please note that the publisher, Quirk Books, sent me a copy of this book.

***Giveaway Winner Update: I used random.org to generate a random comment number to find the winner. Congratulations to Anne!  I’ll be in touch soon.***

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Baking Powder Biscuits

August 19, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, BWJ, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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baking powder biscuits

Marion Cunningham’s Baking Powder Biscuits were good for breakfast, and also good for dessert, all dressed up like shortcakes.  These were easy to make.  I didn’t want to do an all shortening biscuit like the recipe called for, so I swapped out half of it for butter.  I rubbed my shortening/butter and dry ingredients together the night before and stashed the mix in a container in the fridge…in the morning I just had to work in the milk.  They didn’t rise as high as I wished they would have (maybe I should have patted them out less? or maybe they really do work best with all shortening?), but they were very tender, not dense at all.  I made square biscuits instead of round, just so I didn’t have to deal with scrap and reroll.

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 BWJ: Buttermilk Scones

March 4, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, BWJ, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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buttermilk scones

In order for me to get most breakfast pastries on the table for anything even resembling acceptable breakfast time, I usually have to get started the night before.  While I’m still in my jammies, I’m a disorganized mess.  I generally can’t handle measuring, mixing, baking and cleaning all before I’ve had my Chemex of coffee…so for something like scones, I get the dough made the night before and just set the pieces on a sheet tray in the fridge overnight to bake in the morning.  Always works great.  For some reason, though, I decided last minute to make Marion Cunningham’s Buttermilk Scones on Saturday morning instead of Sunday, and thankfully they came together really easily the morning of.  By the time the oven was preheated, I had the dough made and cut and the dishes (only a few) washed.  I actually used my KitchenAid to mix the scones, since I got used to doing them that way at the shop I worked for up until October.  I just kept a close eye on the size of the butter bits, and then skipped the extra hand-kneading Marion gave hers at the end.  These scones were delicate, just sweet enough, great with jam and easy to make.  This recipe’s definitely going to be made again.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here).  And there’s even a video of Julia and Marion making these together (there’s an interesting option shown using a rolled dough technique…I may try that next time).  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Basic Buttermilk Biscuits

October 11, 2011 at 12:20 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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basic biscuits

…or something like that.  I had intended to make Buttermilk Biscuits.  I had followed the recipe…it said it was “basic.”  I had been having such good luck with scones recently that I thought biscuits would come out of the oven.  I’m pretty sure that, while what came out was delicious, it was technically not a biscuit. It was something more bready, with a bottom that had essentially fried in its own butter on the baking sheet.  More English muffiny maybe.  Whatever happened, this little breakfast roll was great with homemade jam…both apricot and concord grape.  I’ll have to try again for proper biscuits though.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Cooking for Comfort, as it was Jennifer’s pick this week. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cream Scones

July 12, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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cream scones

It’s steamy hot out…hot and gross…but these Cream Scones were sooo worth turning the oven on for.  Butter and cream…they are a combo to be reckoned with.  I don’t know how two things that are so rich can make something that is so light, crumbly and almost melt-in-your-mouth, but there you have it.  I’ll be making these again when it’s cooler out and I can stand a proper cuppa to go along with them.

After many attempts at scones and biscuits that wound up looking annoyingly like pancakes (sad!), I think that with my last few batches, I’ve finally gotten it down.  I already told you all this stuff with the last one, but….now I grate my cold butter, and then pop it into the freezer while I assemble my dry ingredients.  Then I just give a quick, fingertippy toss of the butter and dry stuff.  I find that this way, I don’t have to do as much rubbing and working to get the two incorporated.  Also, I pat the scones out a little fatter than Dorie says to ensure a tall rise (which I don’t think the angle on this photo shows, but I assure you, they were nice and high).  Of course I get one or two fewer scones per batch, but that’s fine by me.

I skipped the currants here (I didn’t have any), but they aren’t really necessary anyway…especially when there’s jam.  Also not strictly necessary (but crazy delicious!), one of my favorite things about British-style tea service is the thick cream you spread on along with jam.  I found some of that Luxury Clotted Cream in a local shop, and shelled out for it in anticipation of these guys.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Cafe Lynnylu, as it was Patricia’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones

May 24, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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oatmeal nutmeg scones

I think I have finally found my scone mojo.  Maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon, but these Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones are the second batch to come out just as I’d hoped (now I need to revisit the Apple Cheddar ones to see if I can get something with a bit more height).  My two scone “secrets” (although I wouldn’t be surprised if these aren’t secrets at all, but just things I took forever to catch on to!)…first, I grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients.  I find that this way, I don’t have to do as much rubbing and working to get the two incorporated…just toss the butter around a bit with my fingertips.  Second, I pat the scones out a little fatter than I used to.  Tricky, right?  Of course I don’t get as many per batch, but that’s fine by me.

Yes, these scones have oatmeal in them, but they have a load of butter as well, so I’d be lying to you if I said they were a healthy breakfast.  I did try to up the whole-graininess a bit by swapping 2/3 cup of the AP flour for whole wheat pastry flour.  They are really hearty and good…only as sweet as they need to be and no more, which I appreciate in the morning…espeically when I’m slathering jam all over them anyway.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Life with a Whisk, as it was Patricia’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

May 17, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 14 Comments
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maple-cornmeal drop biscuits

The weekend before last, my husband and I managed to briefly (or should I say too briefly) escape Brooklyn to meet up with my parents in Santa Fe.  Lots of sun during the day, lots of stars out at night (wow–I forget how breathtaking a sky full of stars is), lots of enchiladas and tamales.  On Saturday, I insisted that we go to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market to pick up some edible souvenirs.  In my suitcase, I brought back chile powder, honey and a bag of blue cornmeal.  Thankfully no glass broke and no bags burst…I would have had quite a mess!

That blue cornmeal is what gives the funky color to my Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits.  These were easy to make for breakfast…even half asleep, like I was.  No rolling or cutting required, although I do think using an ice cream scoop to portion the sticky dough makes things easier than messy spoons.  And you can make bigger, rounder biscuits that way, too!  They are slightly sweet and have that nice little gritty corn crunch, especially on their crispy tops.  They were delish with strawberry jam (mine was NYC-made), and I’m sure would have been just as tasty with yellow cornmeal as with blue.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read A Little Something….Sweet!, as it was Lindsay’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Toasted Almond Scones

February 22, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 22 Comments

toasted almond scones

A warm scone and a hot cup of coffee (and a giant bowl of fruit salad!) sounds great to me on a chilly morning.  Good call on the Toasted Almond Scones, Mike!  These scones, with their trifecta of almond flavor (ground, chopped and extract), sounded so appealing to me that instead of making my usual half-batch, I went nuts and did a whole thing.  Freezer food is oh-so conveinent.

I haven’t had the best luck getting my scones and biscuits to rise mightily (in fact, some could be mistaken for pancakes), so I patted these out a little bigger and fatter than Dorie suggests.  As a result, I didn’t get the full twelve the recipe yields, but I did get my most successful batch of scones to date!  Flaky and tall.  These are sooo much better than the coffee shop variety.  They are barely sweet, and we ate ours with blueberry jam.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Living Out West.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Sweet Cream Biscuits

April 20, 2010 at 1:01 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 25 Comments

sweet cream biscuits

If I’ve learned anything from this week’s TWD, it’s that I make lousy biscuits.  Well, let me clear that up…these Sweet Cream Biscuits (chosen by Melissa of Love At First Bite for TWD) tasted good, especially topped with some homemade strawberry-vanilla bean smoosh, but they were not the high, flaky biscuits of my dreams.  Overworking must have been the culprit, although after seven years of baking professionally, I like to think that I know when to stop. 

But I won’t let you get me down, biscuits.  No, no…I will master you yet.  You just wait and see.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Love At First Bite.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Sweet Potato Biscuits

October 20, 2009 at 10:22 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 34 Comments

sweet potato bisciuts

Two TWD brekkie posts in a row— it’s a good month!  This week we’re cooking up Dorie’s Sweet Potato Biscuits, thanks to Erin of Prudence Pennywise

These biscuits have a bit of brown sugar in them, but I wouldn’t really call them sweet (although maybe that’s because I didn’t use the canned sweet potatoes in syrup that the recipe calls for…I used a unsweetened organic mashed purée instead).  They’re just as tasty with turkey bacon and eggs as they are slathered with maple butter.  Trust me on the bacon and egg thing…this little sandwich was one of the tastiest breakfasts I’ve made in awhile…if you are a fellow HP addict, don’t forget to bring the bottle to the table!  

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Prudence Pennywise.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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