Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Custardy Apple Squares

October 11, 2016 at 12:25 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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custardy apple squares

This Custardy Apple Square recipe is one I’ve actually made a few times now…maybe three or four.  It was the first recipe I tried out when I got Baking Chez Moi and it’s so simple and tasty that it went right on the “make again” list.  Apple slices tossed in a quick batter that’s whisked by hand get layered in a baking dish.  It goes into the oven kind of a hodgepodge but comes out a stack of beautifully soft apples with a bit of vanilla (and rum, in my case) custard holding them together.  A mandolin makes quick work out of neat, thin apple slices (and of course adds a thrilling element of danger to baking prep–watch your fingers!).  This also reminds me quite a bit of something called Bolzano Apple Cake that I posted about many years ago.  It’s great with whipped cream, but just fine on it’s own.

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

P.S.: Thanks so much for all the kind comments on my last Baking With Julia post! xoxo

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Apple Tarte Flambé

September 13, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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apple tarte flambé

I guess it’s about to be fall here, although the outside temperature isn’t quite on board with that yet.  Maybe I’ll hurry things along by baking up an apple dessert, like this Apple Tarte Flambé.  Everyone says that tarte flambé can be thought of as Alsatian pizza, so I’ll repeat it.  Usually it’s savory, with onions and bacon (like the Alsatian Onion Tart we made a while back), so this one’s a twist, with a sweet creamy topping and see-through slices of mandolined apple on top of a thin yeasted base.

It’s key to roll the dough on this really thin.  It shouldn’t really have much of an outer crust at all.  Pricking the dough all over the place also helps keeps it from poofing up in the oven.  I used a red apple, and would do so again, if only because the paper-thin slices bake up with such pretty frilly pink edges.  Once this tarte is out of the oven, it’s time to slice and eat it straight away, when it’s crispiest and most delicious.

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: Philadelphia Blueberry-Corn Tart

August 23, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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philadelphia blueberry-corn tart

As soon as I saw the picture in the book that accompanies the recipe for Dorie’s Philadelphia Blueberry-Corn Tart, I knew it would make adorable little tartlets.  When I’m baking for just the two of us, I often like things that can be assembled “to order.”  This tart, with its whipped cream-cream cheese filling and and dark purple blueberry and sweet corn topping, sounded like maybe it wouldn’t take well to four days in the fridge as we whittled down a large version.

Once you have your tart shell(s) made and baked, you can power off the oven because the filling is no-bake and comes together quickly.  Even the jam only takes a few minutes on the stovetop.  I left the fresh rosemary out of the jam, and rather than using lemon zest and juice, I used a splash of OJ.  Also, some of the reports from the last posting date noted that the jam was a little loose, so I put in a touch of cornstarch to make sure it wouldn’t run too much.  This is not have the feel of a full-on hefty cheesecake…in fact, the filling is light and delicate and has the right amount of tang for the sweet crust and fruity (corny!) topping.  Perfect for exactly this time of the year.

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: Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

June 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, puddings & custards, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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rice pudding

Rice pudding isn’t something I make so often. Dorie’s Arborio Rice Pudding from BFMHTY back in ’08 was probably the last time I did (I think the base of this recipe was pretty much the same).  I do love it though.  Here, I played on the tropical hibiscus flavors by subbing out some of the whole milk for coconut milk.  The hibiscus syrup and strawberries were nice compliments to the creamy pudding, and I would think other fruit sauces and berries would be equally tasty.

This is possibly my shortest post ever.  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: Pear-Cranberry Roll-Up Tart

November 24, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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pear-cranberry roll-up tart

I’ve had my Thanksgiving dessert plotted out for weeks now (predictably, it will be a pumpkin pie), but if I didn’t, I think that this Pear-Cranberry Roll-Up Tart would be making another appearance on Thursday.  Yes, a “roll-up tart”…intriguing, right?  I’ve never made a roll-up tart before.  I imagined forming it would be like making a strudel with pie dough, but actually it was more like rolling up a burrito.

The filling here is made from seasonally appropriate pears– I used Bosc– and cranberries.  I think baked pear desserts are pretty awesome, and the orange and ginger flavorings in this filling really compliment the pears (and the cranberries, too).

The fruit is rolled inside the very same galette dough we used for our Apple Pielettes last month.  I’m big on this dough.  It couldn’t be easier to  handle and it bakes up really flaky (the sanding sugar on top here is a nice sparkly, crispy touch).  Also, it slices cleanly, so you get a good presentation instead of a crumbly mess.  I’ll certainly be trying it out on a regular pie at some point.

pear-cranberry roll-up tart

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

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Apple Pielettes

October 27, 2015 at 7:00 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 21 Comments
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apple pielettes

Sometimes I just don’t want to share a dessert.  When I want my very own cake, I have a cupcake.  When I want a pie all to myself–let’s not talk about the time I ate an entire Mrs. Smith’s for dinner–  these Apple Pielettes, made in a muffin tin, will fit the bill nicely.

This recipe uses Dorie’s galette dough.  I don’t think we’ve made it before, but it was easy to do in the food processor and easy to work with. Remembering the kuchen from a few weeks ago, I was mentally prepared to be annoyed fitting the dough into cavities of the muffin tin, but this was actually no problem at all (although you’ll probably find that you need to cut your dough circles slightly larger than the recipe states if you really want to fill the tins).  The dough baked flaky and crisp…I’d use it for big-girl pies, too.

The filling is nice, with apple, of course, (which I didn’t bother to peel) and flavors from dried apricots, raisins and a bit of orange marmalade.  If you are an all-American apple pie purist, I’m sure you could fiddle with the insides to get just what you want.  After all, it’s your very own pie.

apple pielettes

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

Concord Grape and Peanut Butter Crumble

October 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, sweet things | 5 Comments
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concord grape and peanut butter crumble

Concord grapes are one of the highlights of fall in the Northeast.  Every autumn, I’m sure to make a pie and a batch of jam from them.  Thinking about what else I could do with the purple-blue beauties, a crumble seemed like the next logical experiment.  A peanut butter crumble, of course.

I prepped the fruit for the crumble in much the same way I do when I make the pie.  It sounds a bit tedious to seed the grapes one-by-one, but it’s only about a quart of grapes, so it doesn’t take too long.  It’s one of those zone-out prep tasks that’s really worth the step.  After a stint in the oven, the fruit bakes up jammy and deeply purple and the crumble topping tastes like peanut butter cookies.  This one’s definitely added to the annual list.

Concord Grape and Peanut Butter Crumble- serves 4-6

Steph’s Notes:  You can mess around with this crumble topping a bit if you want or need to.  For instance, you can sub AP flour for the whole wheat or chunky PB for smooth. And if you don’t have peanut butter powder, just leave it out.

for the crumble topping
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbsp rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick)
1 tbsp peanut butter powder
2 tbsp coarsely chopped peanuts
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt (bigger pinch if your peanuts are unsalted)
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter (I used a “natural” one)

3 tbsp (1.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted

for the fruit mixture

4 cups stemmed concord grapes (about 1 1/4 pounds), rinsed well and patted dry
1/4 cup+ 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 T cornstarch
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice

-Start by making the crumb topping.  Combine all dry ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl, then stir in the peanut butter and the melted butter.  It will resemble a soft peanut butter cookie dough, but after chilling briefly, you’ll be able to break it into clumps.  Put the topping in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare the fruit filling.

-For the filling, slice grapes in half and remove the seeds.  As you work, put the seeded grapes (and their skins, which tend to easily slip off–don’t worry about it) into a large sieve set over a medium bowl.  Drain off grape liquid, saving 2 tablespoons.

-Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt in another medium bowl to blend.  Mix in drained grapes, reserved juice and squeeze of lemon juice.

-Put the fruit mixture in the bottom of a greased ceramic or glass baking pan, approximately 8-9″ in diameter.

-Sprinkle the chilled topping evenly over the fruit mixture, breaking it up into clumps and crumbles.  Bake until topping turns golden and juices are bubbling, about 35-40 minutes, turning at the halfway point.

-Let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Apple Kuchen

September 22, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 16 Comments
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apple kuchen

I have to say that I wasn’t too sure about this Apple Kuchen when I started putting it together.  I did not doubt that it would be tasty…I mean, apples and custard inside a sweet crust….yeah, that’s good, obvi.  This sounded like it would be the high-rise cousin to the low-rise Alsatian Apple Tart.  It’s just that I did not get off to a very good start making it.

The crust was easy enough to make and roll out, but let me tell you that getting a soft, delicate crust pressed neatly into a tall springform pan is a pain in the you-know-what.  It was frustrating enough that the dough cracked into like a 1,000 pieces, but while I was pressing them back together into something crudely resembling a crust, the clasp on said springform decided to pop and now will not stay closed (actually, now it’s in the recycle bin).  Ugh.  I needed to go with it at that point, so I put a tight rubber band around the pan to hold it closed, dusted cookie crumbs on the bottom, piled it full of apples and chucked it in the oven to par bake.  Not my most brilliant idea, as within a few minutes, the rubber band popped in the heat and the buckle opened up again, cracking the crust.  I scrambled around and found a small pie pan that was big enough to hold the springform but tight enough to keep the buckle in the closed position.  The dough was still soft at that point and seemed to come back together when the pan was re-closed, but with all those apples in there, I really couldn’t tell what condition it was in.

After the par bake, I poured in the crème fraiche custard (confession:I replaced 1/3 of the crème fraiche amount with buttermilk to lighten the calories a bit) and scattered on some plumped raisins.  I was amazed that the custard did not immediately leak out the pan, so I hoped for the best.  I was just making a half-recipe (6″), but I left it in the oven the full time.  A knife poked into the center still didn’t come out completely clean after an hour, but I took it out away.  After it came to room temp, I popped my springform-in-pie-plate contraption it into the fridge for extra insurance that the custard would be fully set.  And then the moment of truth…

Guess what.  The crust was perfect.  There was not one spot torn or cracked and not a drop of custard had leaked out.  How this happened, I do not know.  It’s like it self-healed in the oven.  It was very handsome, actually, and delicious…chockablock full of chunky apple pieces with rummy custard seeped around them.  Now that I know to relax about the crust, next time, I’ll either mix the raisins in with the apples at the start or I’ll skip the final step of running the kuchen under the broiler with extra sugar and butter on the top…or maybe I’ll do both.  The raisins were a little too brûléed for my tastes…they started off as golden raisins, but you can see in the picture what happened to them under the broiler!

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: Cherry Crumb Tart

August 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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cherry crumb tart

We’re on a roll with tasty tarts from Baking Chez Moi and this week we’re continuing to make the most out of summer fruit with a Cherry Crumb Tart.  Here, we have our old friend STD (sweet tart dough, that is) housing lots of fresh cherries that are nestled in an almond frangipane filling and topped with streusel crumbs.  Yum, right!?!   This tart sounds like it has a lot of components, but you can make your dough (and roll and pan it, too), frangipane and crumb topping all a day or two ahead of time.  Then when you’re ready to go, just par-bake your crust, pit your cherries and follow the bake-off instructions.

When I came home from vacay, I was pretty sure the summer’s cherries were a thing of the past (just like that gorgeous Montana view…boo) and I planned to pick up a punnet of blackberries to use in this tart instead.  But lo and behold, I found some sour cherries at the greenmarket and snapped them right up.  Sweet cherries would be just as good here, btw.  My streusel didn’t really keep it’s crumbly, piecey shapes in the oven but kind of melded together into a (quite sweet) crispy shell.  Not sure why, since I used cold ingredients and chilled it overnight, but it was still delicious.  I flavored it only with cardamom, no orange zest, and thought it was the perfect subtle flavoring to go with the cherries and almonds.  I liked the tart with a little whipped cream and thought it held up just fine in the fridge for a couple of days, as we cut off slices after dinner and whittled it down to nothing.

I’m wishing now that I’d taken a side view photo of a slice.  It really was full of red cherries!  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: Apricot-Raspberry Tart

July 14, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 30 Comments
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apricot-raspberry tart

A full-on fruit tart is never one of my go-to desserts.  I don’t know why, since I’m big on the combo of fruit and crust…I can certainly get behind a good slice of pie or a big scoop of crisp.  But I just don’t really think of fruit tarts.  It takes the peer pressure of organized group baking to get me to make one, like this Apricot-Raspberry Tart, and remember how spectacular they can be.

This tart is really all about the apricots.  Luckily, they’re in season now where I live, and at the farmers’ market I found baskets of the tiniest blushing apricots.  Even though I made a small tart using a half batch of sweet dough, I was able to stuff it full of the little guys.  At the bottom of the tart shell. a layer of cake or brioche crumbs (or even ladyfingers) acts as a sponge to absorb any juices from the baked fruit.  At the restaurant where I work, cakes for specials orders are usually baked off as sheets that are then punched out and assembled in ring molds.  That means there’s always some cake off-cut or trim in the walk-in that’s up for grabs.  I took home an square of hazelnut cake last week with this this tart in mind.  My apricots and raspberries held shape pretty well and didn’t release too much juice, but I liked the added flavor that the hazelnut cake crumbs gave.  Having used it, I garnished my tart with some candied hazelnuts instead of the pistachios Dorie suggests.

apricot-raspberry tart

Really, this tart was so pretty I hesitated to cut it!  It’s a fine treat to celebrate Bastille Day today.  Even though it may be best eaten up the day of baking, we had a couple of slices left over and I don’t think they suffered too much from a night in the fridge.  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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