Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Alsatian Christmas Bread

December 11, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, other sweet, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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alsatian christmas bread

Alstatian Christmas Bread (aka baerewecke) is a bit of a project, but it also couldn’t be easier. It’s not a bread that needs flour or yeast, just dried fruit and nuts. Instead of rising time, it needs chopping and mascaerating time…also some shopping time to gather ingredients. This uses all sorts of yummy dried fruit- figs, apples, pears, raisins, apricots and prunes- plus walnuts and almond flour. The fruit is cut and soaked in juice until it’s very soft and makes a sticky paste when mixed with the nuts. Form the paste into logs, bake them until they hold together, and you’re done! This is one of those things that, like fruitcake, lasts a long time and probably even gets better with age. I made mine a few days before I first cut into it, and I still have the second log sitting in my chilly kitchen. I’m thinking of mailing it to my mom in Seattle, because I think she’d like it.

By itself, it’s gluten free, dairy free and vegan. You can nibble on this like a snack or energy bar, but I think it’s also great with cheese. If I make a cheese plate I always like to have some sort of jam or fruit paste on the side, and this is a perfect accompaniment.

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: Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

November 27, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, general pastry, groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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chocolate cream puffs with mascarpone filling

Yesterday was a good day for baking, but not so much for photo taking. It was basically black outside and pouring rain at 3:00. My Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling were not shown off in their best light (and let’s not even get started about my weird hand). I have to take the bad with the good, I guess. I do love making pastries with choux paste– it’s such a fun dough to make! And turning regular cream puff dough into chocolate cream puff dough is as simple as adding a little cocoa to the mix.

Dorie suggests filling these light chocolate puffs with a rose-scented mascarpone whipped cream. I saw the words “chocolate” and “mascarpone” and could only think “tiramisu” (isn’t that so predictable?) so I skipped the rose and added coffee extract to my filling instead. I made a quickie ganache glaze to dip the tops into and tacked on chocolate sprinkly bits. Delightful. As an aside, I think the tastiest and best way to stabilize whipped cream is to add in a blob of mascarpone and I actually do this often. It lasts for a few days if you want to whip extra, and if you need to frost a cake with whipped cream, this is the way to go.

I tucked half of these puffs, sans cream filling, into the freezer so I can turn them into one of my very favorite other choux desserts, ice cream profiteroles, later in the week. For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Gâteau Basque Fantasie

November 13, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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gâteau basque fantasie

I am a fan of the gâteau Basque. In fact, I’ve made a couple of rather traditional versions here before, both filled with pastry cream and jammy fruit. This Gâteau Basque Fantasie is Dorie’s fall fantasy version. It has that great cookie-like double crust (seriously, so good!), filled with a cooked down mix of apples, grapes, lots of orange and dried fruit and nuts. It reminds me of mince pie, and I like it a lot. You can act out your own fantasies and switch things up, too. I imagine pears would be great in place of the apples, and you can change the spicing to be whatever you want it to be.

gâteau basque fantasie

The pastry dough seems a little fussy to work with. It’s soft and cracks easily. But really, it’s super forgiving because all that seems to disappear in the oven. Any imperfections come out looking perfectly beautiful, even if you feel you’ve done a rather kooky patch job getting it into the pan. Don’t skip the egg wash and the pretty crosshatch pattern. Of course these are just my fantasy additions, but may I also suggest a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little glass of vin santo?

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: Basque Macarons

October 30, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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basque macarons

Why on Earth did I skip out on Basque Macarons last month? There isn’t anything precious or fiddly about this type of macaron…this is an easy recipe to throw together. At its heart, there are just four ingredients: almond flour, egg whites, sugar and salt. Okay, you have to whisk and fold in some of the egg whites, but I made and baked these at 7:00 in the morning and managed not to screw them up, so I’d call them low stress. I did add in a bit of cinnamon and a dash of almond extract for extra flavor. And I pressed a whole almond into the tops of half of them just ‘cuz. But you don’t have to do any of that if you don’t want to.

These bake up with a sweet, crisp shell and a nice, chewy inside. If feel like I say this with every cookie, but they are so good with coffee! I could even give them to my DF/GF bestie, so they win extra points with me.

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Le Cheesecake Round Trip

October 23, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, cheesecakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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le cheesecake round trip

Le Cheesecake Round Trip is a cheesecake Dorie makes in both in New York and in Paris. In fact, she’s been known to smuggle ingredients in her suitcase from one continent to another to make it. With a filling of all-American cream cheese and a Paris-ized crust of spice cookies and almond flour, it contains a bit of both worlds.

We actually make a crispy little spice cookie at work, and there is always scrap, so I just took some of that home to bake and grind into crumbs for this. A portion of the crumbs gets reserved to mix into the filling, giving it little freckle-speckles. I always whiz my cheesecake fillings together in the food processor. It’s easy, fast and lump-free. I made a half-sized cheesecake in a six-inch pan, but I only used a quarter of the filling (one block of cream cheese). So mine was a low-rider, but still very rich and satisfying. Dorie says that during baking the top of the cheesecake will brown and may even crack. Mine didn’t do either of these things, but I think that’s because it had so much less filling that it didn’t need enough time in the to get brown before I declared it c’est fini.

While a drizzle of salted caramel on top of Le Cheesecake is very good indeed, so is fruit sauce or jam or chocolate sauce. Cheesecake lasts a few days, so you can play around with options.

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: Bettelman

October 9, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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bettelman

As much as I don’t want to acknowledge it, the summer fruits are out and the apples are in. I might as well get used to it and least bake some interesting apple treats. I’d never heard of a Bettleman before, but it’s an Alsatian bread pudding made to use up stale brioche. The bread gets soaked in warm milk and egg yolks and then the mix gets a hit of spice and rum, along with apples and raisins. The egg whites are whipped separately and added at the end, so the pudding soufflés a bit in the oven. It’s lighter than the bread pudding I’m used to, and I liked it very much.

I happened to have a couple of brioche rolls in the freezer, and they were just enough to make two individual ramekins. I served my bettleman with some ice cream and a drizzle of apple caramel sauce.

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: Hazelnut, Ginger and Olive Oil Cake

August 28, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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hazelnut, ginger and olive oil cake

This Hazelnut, Ginger and Olive Oil Cake is an easy little loaf cake to whip up by hand, but as you can tell from the name, it has a lot going on flavor-wise (and there isn’t even mention of the cornmeal and butter that are in the mix, too). This is a recipe that I’ve breezed past many times in the book without really noticing it. Turns out, it’s the perfect cake to go with summer fruit. Here, I had it with nectarines (my very favorite!) and blueberries, last night, with red plums and the final bit tonight went with leftover wine-poached cherries. I made my own hazelnut flour for this by grinding whole nuts in the food processor, along with the regular flour and cornmeal to keep them from turning into a paste, and I used a nice, flavorful olive oil. It’s a rich and moist cake that feels special. I’ll make it again for sure…I even noted on the recipe page, “very good!”

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: Cold Chocolate Crémeux, Wine-Poached Cherries and Lots of Crumbs

August 14, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, jams & preserves, other sweet, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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cold chocolate crémeux, wine-poached cherries and lots of crumbs

If Cold Chocolate Crémeux, Wine-Poached Cherries and Lots of Crumbs sounds pretty cheffy, that’s because it’s inspired by a dessert Dorie had a bistro in Paris. A crémeux is essentially a custard that’s thickened with gelatin. It’s not hard to make and sets up dense and rich, especially when it also has a lot of good dark chocolate blended in! The crumbs are cocoa-flavored streusel bits, and wine-poached cherries are just what they sound like…I used an Aussie shiraz in my poaching liquid. Serve this dessert in a cute little bowl…you’ll have a combination of textures and sweetness levels.

Like most desserts with multiple components, it helps when you can get some of them out of the way ahead of time. The cherries can be poached well in advance and kept jarred in the fridge. The cocoa crumbs, too, but I’d keep them in the freezer for longer-term storage. Any extra cherries and crumbs you may find yourself with will be good toppings for an ice cream sundae later…just sayin’.

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 Fruit Tart

July 10, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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classic fruit tart

This Classic Fruit Tart is the type you’ll encounter in just about every French bakery case. A sweet shell, filled with pastry cream and topped with lots of berries, they are always eye-catching and so tempting. But they are really so easy to make at home, and very often, much tastier. Made at home, you can control when you assemble it, so the shell stays crisp and the berries fresh and vibrant. You can even play around with the flavors. I took the regular vanilla pastry cream and added a bit of almond extract to it, too, because I like that flavor with berries. I made mini tarts just so I can fill them as we want them, since there are only two of us. I couldn’t fit that many different fruits on top of my mini tartlets…space was a little restricted. I went with teensy tristar strawberries and some pink champagne currents. Then I filled in the gaps with some white chocolate Valrhona crunchy pearls. Maybe tomorrow’s pair will have raspberries in place of the strawberries, or maybe even rhubarb compote. Options, options.

classic fruit tart

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: Black-and-White Baked Alaska

June 26, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, ice creams & frozen, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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black-and-awhite baked alaska

What do I have to say about Baked Alaska? Cake & ice cream & meringue…really, do I need to say more? I think not, but I will say just enough to tell you that the cake here is a flourless chocolate souffléd brownie-type thing, and while the ice cream could have been any kind, I chose coffee. Those two flavors are a match that can only be made better with swirls of sticky meringue. I made individual-sized Alaskas, rather than a large one, so I was a little concerned about browning the meringue in the oven. I thought they might be too delicate for that, so I used my blowtorch instead…which is more fun anyway…maybe next time I’ll try setting it on fire.

black-and-awhite baked alaska

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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