Tags: baking, dessert
I’ve been on a chocolate tear here for the last few weeks. I guess though that caramel is really the dominate flavor in Charlotte Akoto’s Cocoa Nests with Caramel Mousse. And I guess I should actually call the “mousse” that I made “cream” since I totally dumbed down her mousse recipe and just made a caramel whipped cream.
The nests are decoratively piped cocoa meringues, dried to a crisp in a low oven. I wanted to skip the gelatin and egg yolk bombe-based mousse in the recipe, so I just made a dry caramel (on the dark side) with a bit of sugar, poured in some cream and let it come up to a boil. Then I chilled the mix for several hours before I whipped it like regular cream. This is something I’ve made at the restaurant before, and it’s pretty freakin’ tasty. It’s sweet though, and I knew the meringue nests would be, too, so instead of making the nut praline garnish, I just scattered some chopped toasted hazelnuts over the finished dessert. This was a fun project and reminiscent of a pavlova.
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast
I don’t have much more to say about Beatrice Ojakangas’s Danish recipe, since I’ve covered most of it once or twice before. It’s damn good, no matter what form it takes, even the simplest Danish Slice.
I had half a batch of dough left in the freezer from the spandauer pockets I made a couple of weeks ago, and rolled it into a long rectangular that I folded up and around a duo of almond frangipane and pureed prune paste. I brushed the top of my formed Danish with egg wash and sprinkled on some granulated almond bits before baking it. After it had cooled a bit, I made a quick coffee glaze and spooned it over. This is just.so.good. And a piece left over for dessert the next day is nice heated slightly with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream. I think the Danish would be proud.
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast
I’ve made Beatrice Ojakangas’s Danish recipe here once before, when we formed it into an impressive braid. Her dough uses a “quick” method, employing the food processor to break down the butter into chunks in the flour, rather than folding a butter block into a dough. The rough dough does need to rest in the fridge overnight, but after that, all of the lamination work is done quickly and at once, without any waiting in between the turns and folds. Pretty easy, all things considered, and crisp and flaky, too.
There are a variety of little shapes you can form Danish dough into, but I only did the “spandauer,” mostly because it has the coolest name. It’s just a square folded up around a filling like a baby in a papoose. I didn’t feel like trying to hard on those fillings. I thought for all of two seconds about making a pastry cream, before remembering I had some ricotta cheese in the fridge. I drained it for a couple of hours before stirring in a bit of sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk. I topped that off with some rhubarb jam. After the Danishes were out of the oven they got a good squiggling of glaze. These were quite delicious, and would have no doubt been amazing with coffee for breakfast, but we actually had them for dessert. Good anytime of day– that’s what I’m sayin’!
Back when we did that braid, I also tried out my shaping skills on the pinwheel. That one was filled with cream cheese and blueberry jam and sprinkled with pearl sugar. And glazed, too, of course.
Tags: baking, tarts
Sometimes there just isn’t any good fruit around to make a pie. Where I live right now, I can get some really old apples or some really green rhubarb at the farmers’ market. We’re in the in-between season. That’s when jam tarts come in handy, like the Jammer Galette. This is a full-size version of Dorie’s Jammer cookies–a short and sandy sablé crust, topped with jam and covered in a sweet streusel. I’m often taking a large version of something and scaling it down to a smaller size, but the little Jammer really does scale up well.
We’ve used Dorie’s sweet tart and galette doughs in the past, and I have a piece of each in the freezer. I was tempted to cheat and swap one of them here, but I stayed true and made the sablé. I had some homemade rhubarb jam from last summer in the fridge and I used it up here to make room for this year’s coming preserves stash. This galette is pretty easy to make…the crust and and streusel can be taken care of in advance, and of course you can buy a nice jam for this. It’s slim and bakes up crisp and delicate, and, naturally, it’s fabulous with vanilla ice cream.
Tags: baking, choux, dessert
Normally when I think beignet, I just think donut…well, French donut, I guess. Something made with a donut-like dough. Usually involving yeast. It turns out there’s another type of beignet that I wasn’t really aware of…one made with fried pâte à choux dough, and Norman Love’s Chocolate-Cinnamon Beignets are an example. These ones have cocoa and cinnamon flavoring the choux dough and a filling of caramelized banana pastry cream. Yeah, there are a a bunch of things to make, but mmmmm.
Assembling these beignets is a lot like forming dumplings or ravioli. The choux dough is wrapped and chilled, before being rolled, cut and filled. And then folded, crimped, frozen and fried. I’ve never rolled out choux dough before, so this was a fun exercise. I could have cut the dough into circles like in the recipe (and made half-moons), but I cut it into squares instead (and made triangles) so I wouldn’t have any scraps to waste or otherwise deal with. Different geometry, but it all tastes the same.
These are best served à la minute, right when they’re fried crisp and the filling is warm. The recipe calls for serving the beignets with a sweet walnut and cream sauce, which I’m sure is delicious, but I had some chocolate-tahini sauce I made the other week and I used that instead. I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some sliced bananas, just because.
Tags: baking, bread, savory
This Persian Naan flatbread from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid uses the very same dough as the Oasis Naan we did almost four years (what the –??) ago. So I’ve kinda done this one before, but it’s been a while. The dough is actually as simple as it gets– water, flour, yeast and salt. One proof, then shape and bake. The book instructions call for making it by hand…last time I used the food processor…this time I used the KitchenAid…do what you like and rest assured that it will all be good.
The dough bakes up nice and puffy and chewy. It didn’t brown so well on top, so I brushed a little melted butter on at the halfway point and gave the naan an extra couple of minutes in the oven to get a bit of golden spotting. This was a nice bread to have with our Sunday morning fried eggs and avocado. It kind of reminds me of the grocery store Turkish pide bread that I fell in love with when we lived in Oz, but can’t get here.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. There’s also a video of Alford, Duguid and Julia making the bread together, and the authors wrote this article that gives more naan tips. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread
Joe Ortiz’s Pain de Campagne is my first home sourdough bread experiment. A whole wheat starter (called “the chef”) is refreshed over a period of several days, hopefully collecting wild yeast from the air in the meantime. There’s a warning in the recipe intro that you might get a flat loaf– no guarantees in the world of wild yeast. I could see the change in my starter over the week and I definitely noticed it’s sour smell increasing, so I had some hope for it, at least.
After almost four days, the final dough is ready to be mixed and later shaped. My bread definitely rose and had a nice shape but it’s quite dense inside. I didn’t really get any large air holes in the crumb and I see that I need to work on my slashing skills. Still makes good, flavorful toast though, with a nice crust, and it won’t go to waste.
Tags: baking, cake
Green cakes! Icky or intriguing? They may be the color of Frankenstein, but don’t worry. It’s nothing weird…Japanese matcha tea powder gives these financiers a greenish tinge. I’m used to the slightly grassy taste of matcha tea and I’ve made cake and frostings with it before. I think it’s a nice flavor addition to a traditional almond financier. Thinking back to those Tiger Cakes I liked so much a few months ago, I followed Dorie’s Bonne Idee suggestion and turned about half of my batter into matcha tigers with a generous sprinkling of some Dutch dark chocolate vermicelli. These are really good just warm, I think, and I like the way the edge bits get a little crispy.
Tags: baking, cake
Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake is the second bright and easy citrus cake we’ve made recently…the Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake was a hit in my house back in January. This cake is a super-cinch to make and the batter is flavored with orange zest and juice. I made half a recipe in a 6-inch pan. After it’s baked, it’s doused in a simple syrup of OJ and sugar. You can use as much of the syrup as you want….go for broke if you like a wetter texture.
You can take that one step further and poach cross-cut orange slices in the syrup. Then you can decorate the top of the cake with a mosaic of beautiful orange pinwheels. I would have done that, but knew I’d be putting half the cake into the freezer, so I just tossed some segments in the syrup and decorated each slice with a few of them instead. The slices I froze were later spooned over with some candied kumquat slices–so tasty!!