Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Cheesecake, Alsace Style

February 13, 2018 at 9:16 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, cheesecakes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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cheesecake, alsace style

A Cheesecake, Alsace Style is something very different from the thick and hefty cream cheese cheesecake that New York is famous for. This Alsatian cheesecake is made much lighter with fromage blanc (or a Greek yogurt and heavy cream combo if you can’t find it). It’s the type of cheesecake that soufflés up in the oven and then falls as it cools. If a dessert can be beautiful and schlumpy at the same time, this is it. The base is a tall galette dough crust, and the fluffy filling is dotted with rum-soaked raisins. I used to be a raisin-hater but I appreciate them now, especially when they get a rum bath! Other dried fruits could be used, of course. And the cheesecake is nice served with fruit, too. I spooned some candied kumquat slices and syrup over the top to dress up my slices.

cheesecake, alsace style

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 BCM: Crunchy Granola

January 23, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, breakfast things, cereals, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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crunchy granola

Granola and yogurt with half a banana is my go-to weekday breakfast. I used to make a big batch of my own cereal every couple of weeks, but then I got lazy and started buying it again. New York City, and Brooklyn in particular, is big in the small-batch granola scene (Surprised? I bet not.), and I have dutifully tried every little cutely packaged and expensive hipster brand I can find at local gourmet shops. Some are great, and some not so much, but homemade is even more delicious– and definitely cheaper– than the best brand I know of.

This Crunchy Granola reminds me of how fresh and easy to make homemade granola is. One of the best parts of going DIY is that you can customize your mix and put in all the bits and pieces you like the most (no thanks, goji berries). I like almonds and pecans, dried cherries, seeds and coconut in big chips. I like extra salt and a little less sweet stuff. I like it well-toasted and a combo of clumps and loose bits. One little trick that I usually do with my homemade granola is to toss the coconut on the tray (I use a metal sheet tray) at the very end, turn the oven off and let the tray cool down along with the oven…extra crunchiness without burned coconut. Oh, and never add the dried fruit until the granola’s out of the oven and cooled. I’ve screwed that one up before and it doesn’t taste good. This batch was just perfect though and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s brekkie.

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 BCM: Real Hot Chocolate

January 9, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, drinks, groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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real hot chocolate

The East Coast is definitely going through some Real Hot Chocolate weather right now. The bomb cyclone and the polar vortex can only be counteracted with the giant mug. Sometimes hot chocolate can seem like ganache or straight-up melted chocolate. This one is definitely a drink, not an ice cream topping or a churro dip. If you have some milk and some chocolate on hand, you’re in business (ok, sugar, water and salt, too). After heating these ingredients, the hot chocolate gets zapped in the blender, which makes it nice and frothy. I never have marshmallows at home but I do usually have a can of whipped cream (a top-secret weakness), and a squirt of that is pretty darn good on top. Also good with hot chocolate– little donuts. Pro tip.

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 BCM: Classic Linzer Cookies

December 12, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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classic linzer cookies

I’d pretty much slack off on making Christmas cookies if it weren’t for TWD. I’m glad for the nudge, though, because it’s fun, and when they’re roll-out cookies like these Classic Linzers, a good excuse to bust out my special cutters. The main recipe for these Linzer cookies is actually a cocoa and spice one. I’ll try that sometime, but here I decided to skip the cocoa powder and most of the spicing and go with Dorie’s classic Bonne Idée alternative instead. This recipe is an almond-based one, although hazelnuts are also traditional for Linzer cookies and I bet can be successfully subbed. The dough is made in the food processor…I love this…so easy.

I dipped into my fridge jam collection to fill these…some with lingonberry, some with cherry and others with huckleberry. Linzers can be sandwiched with many things, including ganache if you fancy chocolate inside, but a snowstorm of powdered sugar on top is always a must.

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 BCM: Brown Sugar Tart

November 28, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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brown sugar tart

Thanksgiving was a bit of a whirlwind, in between getting ready for a very busy dinner service at my restaurant job and pulling off my own dinner at home. I knew I had to find a place on my menu for this week’s TWD recipe if I wanted to get that done, too. Luckily, a Brown Sugar Tart sounded like a pretty appropriate Thanksgiving dessert. My father, who finds pumpkin pie to be the only acceptable sweet on turkey day, would disagree, but he wasn’t visiting this year. Time to break with tradition!

I did pay attention to the reviews from the folks who made this tart on the first posting of the month. “Too sweet” was pretty much unanimous, so I tried to find little ways to adjust that a bit. The tart filling is just simple custard of heavy cream, eggs, sea salt and light brown sugar, with some optional espresso powder and bits of smokey bacon. I used a combo of light and dark brown sugar for extra flavor and added a little more salt and espresso powder than the recipe called for, until I thought it tasted just right. The bacon was skipped altogether. I thought this would probably be best served in small portions, and made little individual tartlets instead of a larger one.

Once upon a time, we made an espresso-caramel syrup called couleur for a Baking with Julia cake. This is something that I like to keep a bottle or jar of on hand now because it’s really bitter-sweet intense and tasty, and it lasts forever. I thought it might be just the thing to temper the sweetness of the tart filling a bit, especially since Dorie recommends adding instant espresso to the filling anyway (and also serving the finished tart with coffee ice cream). I used that couleur syrup to glaze my finished tartlets and served them with some unsweetened cream and maple toasted pecans and sunflower seeds. I have to say, and I know that I have a huge sweet tooth, I really liked this recipe. I followed some good advice from Diane and served it well-chilled. I even broke out the fancy silver!

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 BCM: Desert Roses

November 14, 2017 at 12:04 am | Posted in BCM, candy, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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desert roses

“Desert Roses” is an exotic sounding name for the easiest candy you will ever make, using the most plain and simple thing you can think of– cornflakes cereal. That’s right, I present you with cornflakes, bound together into tasty, crunchy little globs with butter and chocolate. Stirring in some shredded coconut, dried fruit and almonds makes them a bit more interesting, and is encouraged.

If these look familiar, it’s because they’re sister sweets to the Chocolate-Cornflake Haystacks we made from Dorie’s Cookies back in May. The Haystacks had similar add-ins (coconut, dried fruit and nuts), but they also had egg and were baked, making them a little chewy. These Roses never see the oven (non-bakers, take note!), though, and are all crunch once they harden up. Now that I’ve sampled both, I prefer the Desert Roses. In fact, I can’t think of a better use for a box of cornflakes.

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 BCM: Moka Dupont

October 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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moka dupont

I have a one-track mind when it comes to sweets and I had been pushing to make this Moka Dupont for months. Finally, the time is now! It’s an icebox cake– creamy chocolate frosting and store-bought cookies dunked in espresso– that melds together after a long rest in the fridge. Apparently it’s very popular in France, where it’s made with Thé Brun cookies (which I happily got to use myself because I asked a friend to bring me a packet back from a trip– my souvenir from Cannes!). Over here, Petit Beurre cookies make a good stand-in. The chocolate buttercream frosting is made with butter, sugar, egg and plenty of melted dark chocolate. This is not a light dessert, but I am not one to complain about something being too rich, so I enjoyed every bite.

You can assemble a big square or rectangular cake, or plate up individual ones like I did. I had some extra cookies and frosting, so I made each babycake four cookies high instead of three. After a night in the refrigerator, I had a lot of fun decorating these with chocolate curls (I used a vegetable peeler) and some wacky decor called “bronze crunch” that I picked up at Waitrose on my last trip to London. Yes, my cabinets are filled with food souvenirs from foreign lands…I know yours are,too.

moka dupont

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 BCM: Simplest Plum Tart

September 26, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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simplest plum tart

The Simplest Plum Tart was a recipe that I wanted to try but was skeptical of at the same time. It’s really just a sweet tart shell and plums. Ok, there are also some cake or cookie crumbs to soak up juice and some cinnamon sugar to add sweetness and bring out a bit of said juice. But there’s no real binder here and the plums are no more than halved and pitted (well, washed, too, of course). I thought it might be a little blah, but if you love plums, there is something quite satisfying about biting into a fat, juicy baked plum half. Dorie suggests serving this with crème anglaise, and maybe after throwing together the simplest tart ever, I should put in at least a little effort to make some custard, but I thought store-bought vanilla ice cream was just as good. Let’s not start to complicate things.

I think this would look so pretty baked in a long rectangular tart pan…I do have one, but like most of my good ideas, I didn’t think of it until after the fact. If I make it again, I’ll use that. I’ll also smear the crust with some almond frangipane. I almost always have some in the freezer, so really it’s just as simple as cake or cookie crumbs.

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

TWD BCM Rewind: Profiteroles, Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce, Benoit Style

August 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Posted in BCM, general pastry, groups, other sweet, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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profiteroles, ice cream and hot chocolate sauce, Benoit style

This major sweet tooth has a hard time picking out an absolute favorite dessert, but ice cream profiteroles are definitely on the shortlist. In fact, I get a little angry if I go to a French bistro-style restaurant and they aren’t on the menu! Choux is fun to make at home though, so I’m happy to take care of my profiterole cravings myself every once in a while. These Profiteroles, Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce have an extra twist…the choux puffs are actually filled with pastry cream. Cream puffs and profiteroles in one– a twofer! That’s more than I need, really, but I’d never say no. I had choux piped out in the freezer, I made the chocolate sauce ahead of time and I used shop-bought ice cream, so making a little pastry cream was no big deal. This was a great dessert, of course, and I’m glad I got a chance to make it.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see what other folks caught up on this week!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Double-Corn Tea Cake

August 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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double-corn tea cake

Double-Corn Tea Cake is a simple summer loaf cake that’s easy to put together and is great with fruit. This recipe is made with both corn kernels and corn flour (not to be confused with cornstarch), which is much more fine than cornmeal. I don’t know that I’ve ever noticed corn flour at the grocery store, but I found it from one of the millers at the Union Square Greenmarket. I’ll have to look for some more ways to use up the bag.

I suppose you could serve this cake like cornbread, although it’s a bit sweeter and more buttery than what I’m used to. I liked it with roasted strawberry sauce and whipped cream and I’ll probably try it toasted with cherry jam, too.

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

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