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Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

Feelin’ Salty

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Just to share my current love of salty sweet treats, here are two great cookie recipes to try. They are both from the NY Times. The first is a salted tahini chocolate chip cookie.  The tahini paste adds a subtle, almost elusive,  nuance to the cookie and for the chocolate I used a combination of bittersweet and semisweet chunks. A sprinkle of kosher salt as soon as the cookies come out of the oven adds the right finishing touch.

Find the recipe here….

 

The second is a Salty Peanut Butter Sandie. If you love peanut butter, you will love this cookie. Made with all natural, unsalted peanut butter, it is then mixed with brown sugar and crunchy salt for a deep satisfying flavor. The top is sprinkled with Maldon sea salt and turbinado sugar. Addictive, to say the least.

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Find the recipe here….

 

These are both worth trying. Enjoy!

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Happy Easter

DSC_0185Wishing everyone near and far, family and friends, a very happy Easter and Purim. Celebrate with good people and don’t forget to eat some Cake!

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Romanian Easter Bread

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How about instead we just call this swirly delicious bread? I would hate to think that this would/could only be made at Easter time. It was so fluffy and yummy. Oh, and gone in less than 24 hours. Maybe it should be called dangerous…

Elle, over at Feeding My Enthusiasms, has chosen a delightful filled bread for this month.

“The description of the recipe in The Festive Bread Book, by Kathy Cutler talks about “The delicious walnut filling” but the recipe calls for ground almonds. I suspect that you could use any ground nut you desire…walnut, almond, pecan, hazelnut…and you will get a nice filling. The full description is, ” the delicious walnut filling of this bread helps make it a Romanian classic. Serve it as a snack or with Easter dinner.” It doesn’t have any icing, so it may be a bread that is somewhat unsweetened. You can always add a sweet glaze and/or nuts once the baked bread has cooled if you prefer it a bit sweeter.”

I chose to make a poppy-seed filling for mine so I am not sure I can say it is Romanian, but it is still very much keeping with European flavors. The bread is rich with eggs, milk and butter resulting in a dough that is a pleasure to work with. Seriously though, isn’t all bread dough wonderful? The magic of bread is never-ending.

My poppy-seed filling is just something I made up but I  ended up with too much. That is okay  with me since I am planning on making another one later today in just a simple jelly roll style but I am adjusting it here for you, or double it like me. I like a lot of filling. Ah,gluttony (it’s my middle name)

Bake On!

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Romanian Easter Braid

makes one loaf

from The Festive Bread Book, by Kathy Cutler

3 1/2 – 4 cups flour, divided
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I used the zest of I orange)
2/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used 3/4 tsp kosher salt)
2 eggs

Filling: (Please see Elle’s site for the original version)

5 oz poppy seed
6 oz whole milk
2 oz honey
2 oz |(1/2 cup) granulated sugar
2 oz butter

Grind the poppy seeds in a clean coffee grinder to break them down a bit. Place into a small pan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat slightly and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool completely.

Glaze: 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk (I skipped this)

Preparation: Combine 2 cups flour , the yeast, and  zest in a mixing bowl.

Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt until butter melts; remove from heat and let cool until it reaches 90-100 degrees F.

Add milk mixture and eggs to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (I used it all). Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth – about 10 minutes (I used my stand mixer)

Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double – about 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each into a 7 x 16-inch rectangle.

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Use 1/3 of filling one each rectangle, spreading filling, but leaving a margin around edges; roll up jelly-roll style. Seal seam and ends. You will have three filled and sealed ropes. I used way too much filling on my first roll!

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Braid ropes; place on greased baking sheet.

Cover; let rise in warm place until double – about 30 minutes.

Make glaze and brush on loaf.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

(Optional: Make a sweet glaze with 1 tablespoon warm milk and enough powdered sugar to make a drizzle glaze. Drizzle cooled bread and then sprinkle with sliced almonds, for decoration, while glaze is still wet. Let dry.)

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Here are the links for thBBBuddy Badge April 15e other Babes:

BakeMy Day  –  Karen
Blog from OUR Kitchen –  Elizabeth
Bread Experience –  Cathy
Girlichef –  Heather
Life’s a Feast –  Jaime
Lucullian Delights –  Ilva
My Diverse Kitchen – Aparna
My Kitchen in Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie van Lien – Lien

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The infamous Viennese Sachertorte is taking center stage today. This is a very traditional cake that has been made famous by the argument of who originated the recipe. This is between the Sacher hotel and the Demel Bakery, and it has even gone before the courts to decide, with intense legal battles ensuing between 1954 and 1963. In the end, the Sacher hotel won the rights to call it’s cake the “original” sachertorte  and gave the Demel the rights to decorate its tortes with a triangular seal that reads Eduard-Sacher-Torte.

In the end, it is a chocolate sponge cake brushed with apricot glaze and covered in a chocolate glaze. Perfect after a night of music at the Vienna opera house. Better yet, at your house after a delicious meal with friends.

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This months Baker’s challenge is hosted by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. Korena is a crazy good baker, so I insist that you must visit her blog and show her lots of praise. She deserves it.

It has to be 15 years since I made a sachertorte, so this was a treat to bake. It really is a pretty dessert. Please visit Korena’s page to see her recipe for a 9 inch torte. Since I have don’t have a need for such a large cake, I made a 6 inch version, which will easily serve 6 people.

Overall, it is a pretty simple cake to bake if you break it down. You will need 2 bowls to make the cake; one to whip the egg whites, another for the eggs/butter/flour portion. I whipped my whites, then transferred them to a clean bowl while I then mixed up the remaining batter. The apricot glaze is just strained jam. The boiled chocolate glaze is traditional, but does require a candy thermometer. I am going to say that if you don’t have a candy thermometer that you could just use a chocolate ganache poured over it with the same results. It’s all about working recipes around what you have. So my friends, Bake On!

SACHERTORTE

Chocolate sponge:

3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup (2.2 oz) all-purpose flour
1/4  cup (1 oz) almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz (3/4 stick ) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Apricot Filling/glaze:

2/3 cup apricot preserves (I actually used low sugar spread and I  eyeballed the amount)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon rum

strong>Boiled chocolate icing:

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (30 g)  cocoa powder
1/3 cup (80 ml) water

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease and flour (I prefer to use cocoa powder) a 6 inch springform pan.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until firm peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the butter and the remaining sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then gently fold in the beaten egg whites until no white streaks are left. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, level off the top and bake for 30-35 minutes or until tested with a clean toothpick. Let cool for 10 minutes then loosen the ring and let cool completely.

Invert the cake onto a cake board or plate (the bottom is now the top). Slice the cake horizontally in two.

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make the filling/glaze

Put the preserves and the water in a bowl and heat until warm. Give it a good stir, mix in the rum, then strain to get out any big fruit bits.

Place the bottom layer of cake (on the cake board) onto a wire cooling rack  set over a piece of wax paper.This is to catch the drips; if you skip this step you will have a mess on your hands! Brush the top of the layer with some of the warm jam. Let it set up for 5 minutes before placing the top on. Remember, your top layer started out as the bottom of the cake. Brush the entire outside of the cake with the remaining jam mixture. Let this set while you make the chocolate icing.

October 27, 2014

make the boiled chocolate icing

Place the sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder and water into a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir until blended and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the sauce registers 220 F on a candy thermometer.

Pour the hot sauce (be careful!) into a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and glossy. Stirring makes it thick and smooth.

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Pour the chocolate icing over the top of the cake and spread with a spatula to cover the cake completely. Work as quickly as possible as to get the smoothest surface. Let stand until the icing is set (about 20 minutes) Lift the cake with two flat spatulas onto a serving plate. ..

NOW… if you want to get fancy (and who doesn’t?) you can melt a little chocolate and pipe it over the top to write out “sachertorte” or some pretty designs. Feel free to thin the chocolate out a little with a pinch of coconut oil or shortening. I used semisweet chocolate for my writing so it would show up better against the dark chocolate glaze. It really looks just a pretty without it so don’t stress yourself out if you are afraid of piping on your now beautiful cake.

Serve with a large dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!!!

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Alpine Easter Bread

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If you haven’t already guessed, I  love baking bread, and Easter has a large assortment of traditional breads to choose from. Please make sure to check back next week when the Daring Baker’s have a beautiful German Easter bread recipe for everyone. I had this bread already in mind before I knew about next weeks challenge so I figured the more the merrier and am posting this before Easter so it gives you a chance to make one this weekend.

Like all holiday breads, this one contains eggs. Eggs symbolized new life so it is only fitting for Easter (and Christmas and Rosh Hashanah). This one is baked in a round loaf, to symbolize the sun. The light lemony fragrance of this dough  is so inviting. You can make one large, and very impressive, 10-inch loaf or two smaller ones, which is what I did. They are equally impressive, just smaller. We are a small family so it’s better to keep and small loaf for ourselves and share a loaf with friends. Why don’t you bake some today and share with your friends? Bake On!

 

Alpine Easter Bread

makes one large 10-inch round loaf or two small 6-inch round loavesDSC_1153

1/2 cup (4 oz/150 ml) whole milk
1/2 Cup (4 oz) unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 Cup (4 oz/150 ml) warm water (105-115f) or room temp water- it will just take longer to rise
4 Cups(17 ounces), or more, unbleached AP flour
2/3 Cup granulated sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest (lemon)
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp lemon extract

For the Glaze

1 Cup (4 oz / 120 g) powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon melted butter
3 Tablespoons Amaretto (or milk)

In a small saucepan combine the milk and butter and heat until the butter has melted. Let it cool to about 105 F.

In a large bowl  combine the warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast. Whisk to dissolve the yeast and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until it is foamy.

Why is this necessary? Active dry yeast needs to proof in water before use. If you use instant dry yeast it can get added with all of the other ingredients.

Add 2 cups of the flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt ,the milk/butter mixture, eggs and extract (or vanilla seeds). Beat for a few minutes until creamy. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time on low-speed (or by hand!) until a nice soft dough is formed. Add additional flour if needed. Here in Calgary it is quite dry so I tend to require less flour.  It should still be slightly tacky. Knead for 10 minutes.

Place the dough into a greased container, turn to coat the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, at least 2 hours (yes, 2 hours). Alternately you can let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour then place the container in the refrigerator overnight. This will help develop the flavor. The next day let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and shape it into a smooth round loaf. Place it into a greased 10-inch springform pan or a 4-inch deep 10-inch cake pan or two 6-inch round springform pans.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 F.

While the bread is baking prepare the glaze. Simply stir the melted butter, powdered sugar, and liqueur  together until it is smooth with no visible lumps. Set aside.

Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes if using a 10-inch pan, or 35-45 minutes if using a smaller pan. It should be a deep golden brown. Let the bread stand for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Place on a wire rack over a piece of parchment or wax paper (to catch the drips). Drizzle the warm loaf(s) with all of  the glaze, letting it run down the sides. Stud the outer edge with whole almonds, if desired. Let cool completely. Enjoy!!

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Recipe Source: Baking Bread Old and New traditions by Beth Hensperger

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Can you believe it? I’m hosting this months Baker’s Challenge!! For my turn as hostess extraordinaire, I have chosen the gorgeous Neapolitan pastry, sfogliatelle. You might recognize them as the clam shaped pastry with hundreds of layers. They are filled with a  semolina-ricotta mixture that has added candied orange peel and a touch of cinnamon, served hot out of the oven (though I have eaten my fair share of room temperature ones).Here is a very interesting article on the history of this beloved pastry.

Growing up in Long Island, New York, it is virtually impossible to get away from Italian food.I think the natural progression for many Italian immigrants was to go from Italy, to Ellis Island, to Brooklyn, and then to Long Island.  For me though, my real love of Italian food, (and cooking in general) came later when I lived in Manhattan with my then boyfriend. We lived together for 10 years and the large family feasts at his parents Long Island home were memorable. We would arrive around noon and continue until late in the night with everyone pitching in with the cooking at one point or another. I really learned that the meal was as much about gathering together as it was about eating. Luckily for me, I am still extremely close with him and his family. He now even owns an Italian wine store in Brooklyn to go with the great food.  I now follow this tradition with my husband  by having our friends over as much as possible to enjoy their wit as well as food.
I wanted to choose something that would be a challenge; not only to you but for me as well. And I was right on point. I won’t lie to you, the first two times I made these it was a disaster. The third time was the charm and now they almost seem easy to make. The sfogliatelle ricci can be made over a period of days, if this makes it easier for you. I tend to like to make things in stages myself but you could also make this over the course of a long day. Keep in mind that you must chill the dough at various points before baking.
There are two main Italian versions of sfogliatelle. The first is sfogliatelle ricci (or Napoletane) and this is the crispy multilayered version. The second is sfogliatelle frolle, a tender almost cakey version covered in a soft pie crust like shell.
The American version goes by the name “lobster tail” and is a larger shell filled with a creme diplomat (pastry cream mixed with whipped cream) after it is baked. The dough is the same as Ricci but a dollop of pate a choux pastry is placed in the center of the shell before baking. This puffs up the core of the shell so that you can pipe in the creamy filling afterword. In one word, divine!

I am providing recipes for homemade ricotta cheese (so easy and so delicious), candied orange peel, sfogliatelle ricci and frolle dough. You must make the homemade cheese or the candied peel and at least one version of the sfogliatelle. Please experiment with filling flavors. I think chocolate ricotta with finely chopped pears would be lovely…The filling provided for the American Lobster Tail is a diplomat cream but I personally love marscapone mixed whipped cream. Again, amaze and inspire me. While I believe that the ricci version can only be made using a pasta roller, I hope that many out there prove me wrong!

Have Fun and Bake On!

Recipe Source:
The pastry dough recipe is from Great Italian Desserts by Nick Malgieri. Unfortunately this book is out of print but you can still find used copies online or if your lucky, your local library. The Ricotta Cheese recipe is from Luscious Creamy Desserts by Lori Longbotham. The method for making the lobster tails is from the Cake Boss You Tube video. The Pastry cream recipe is from Martha Stewart (but feel free to use any pastry cream recipe)

Dairy Free Ricotta Cheese: http://low-cholesterol.food.com/recipe/ricotta-cheese-substitute-vegan-gluten-free-447217

http://cassidyscraveablecreations.com/2012/09/ricotta-cheese-dairy-soy-nut-free.html

Equipment needed

Pasta machine to roll out the dough (this is for the Ricce and Lobster Tail)
Stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachments or hand-held mixer. You can make the dough in a bowl with a wooden spoon. If you choose to make the French Cream for the lobster tail you can whip the heavy cream by hand with a whisk
food processor (optional)
Whisk
rolling-pin
Grater for lemon and orange zest
Large pot to make the cheese
large glass or ceramic bowl
large strainer/colander
cheesecloth (I have used paper coffee liners as well)
medium saucepan for semolina
small bowl for butter/shortening mixture
Saucepan for pastry cream
Bowl for Pastry cream
Pastry Brush
Plastic wrap/cling film
parchment paper
baking sheets
cutting board
1/2 inch round pastry tip
Cooling rack

Fresh Ricotta Cheese (makes 2 cups)DSC_3361
8 Cups (1/2 gallon/64 oz/2 litre/4 pints) Whole Milk (or goats milk)
1 Cup (8 oz/250 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Line a large colander or strainer with 2 layers of cheesecloth that has been lightly dampened over a large glass; set aside.

Pour the whole milk, heavy cream and salt into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. reduce the heat, add the fresh lemon juice and stir/whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will curdle, which is exactly what it is supposed to do. DSC_3363

Pour this into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let it drain for about 1 hour or until it comes to room temperature. At this point you can scrape the ricotta from the cheesecloth into a container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The liquid in the bowl is the liquid whey, a very nutritional and tasty leftover byproduct from making cheese. It is excellent to use instead of water when baking bread, or adding it to soup stock. I love the stuff and never discard it. Here is an excellent article on the wonders of whey!

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Semolina-Ricotta Filling
This type is used for both the Ricci and the Frolle versions

5 minutes to make plus about 2 hours to chill

1 Cup (8 oz/250 ml) milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 Cup fine semolina or cream of wheat (I have tried both and personally like the semolina version)
1 1/2 Cups whole milk ricotta, preferably fresh (see above)
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or the seeds of one pod and 1 tsp extract)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup candied orange peel (commercial or home-made)
zest of 1 lemon

Combine the milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and slowly add the semolina (or cream of wheat), whisking quickly as to avoid any lumps. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Spread the mixture onto a lined baking sheet, about 1/2 inch, to cool. When cool, break into pieces and place into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a food processor), and add the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until very smooth and creamy. Stir in the candied orange peel and lemon zest. (Maybe even some mini chocolate chips? Or pistachios??mmmm…I can’t wait to see what you come up with)
Scrape into a container, place plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until needed (up to 2 days)

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Sfogliatelle Ricci
You will need a large/long workspace for this. I used my dining room table for this though I am sure someone will be more creative with limited space!
4 minutes to make the dough
10 minutes to condition the dough in the pasta roller
2 hours chilling
35 minutes to roll the dough
2 hours additional chilling

Dough
3 Cups (12 3/4 oz/ 334 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (6.2 oz/ 175 g) warm water (about 100F)

4 oz lard (I used Crisco butter flavored shortening)
4 oz (1 stick/1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir in the water, or use your standing mixer with the paddle attachment for this.. The dough will be very dry. If you feel absolutely compelled, add an extra teaspoon of water but it is supposed to be very dry. Turn this out onto a clean work surface and knead the dough together, bringing in all the dry bits. At this point get your pasta roller out and ready. Roll out the dough to about 1/3 inch and pass through your pasta machine at the widest setting. I find it much easier to cut my dough in half and work 1/2 at a time for this step. Fold the dough in half after each pass also change the direction of the dough occasionally. After about 15 passes the dough should be very smooth. Knead the dough back into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate and rest the dough for at 2 hours ,or overnight.

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Beat the lard/shortening and butter together in your mixing bowl until very fluffy. Make sure it is thoroughly combined. Place into a bowl and set on the workspace in easy reaching distance.

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Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time (cover the other pieces with a towel or plastic wrap), lightly flour a piece pass it through the pasta roller set at the widest setting. Try to get the dough as even as possible, your goal is an even rectangle strip, about 4 inches in width. If needed, fold it over on itself a few times until you get an even strip. Once even, Pass the dough through every setting, ending with the highest (mine is 7)
You should end up with a long 4 inch wide strip. Repeat with the other 3 remaining pieces of dough.DSC_3278

*For my own ease of use I made my own rolling pin contraption like you can see on many instructional videos. I turned 2 bowls upside down and placed them on my table where I was planning to work. I then took a rolling pin (w/handles, not french) and taped the handles to the bowls. Every time that a piece of dough is finished and ready I lightly floured the dough and rolled it up onto the rolling pin. When all 4 pieces of dough dough were finished it made it much easier to pull out a section at a time to stretch the dough. If you are clumsy like me you might like to try this too!

Place one piece of a strip on you clean work surface and paint (or smear) it liberally with the lard/butter mixture. I did about a 8 inch section at a time. Gently pull the sides of the dough and stretch it, starting from the middle and going out, until it is about 8 or 9 inches in width. Begin from the short end and start rolling the dough into a very tight roll. When you start to reach the end of your stretched section, stop and liberally grease up another section, stretching and rolling until all the dough is finished. When one strip of dough is finished, overlap the end of one to the beginning of the other; continue to pull, stretch and roll up.

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Spread the lard/butter mixture over the entire finished log and starting in the middle gently run the hands down the length to extend the length another inch or so. This will release any air pockets and tighten the roll. Your finished roll should be approximately 10 or 11 inches.DSC_3288
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. The dough may freezefrozen, for up to 3 months, at this time. Defrost it in the refrigerators overnight before using.

Preheat your oven to 400 F
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a cutting board. Slice off about an inch from each end so that they are straight and even. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices.
Put the semolina-ricotta mixture into a pastry bag with a 3/4 inch opening (A disposable pastry bag or even a ziploc bag with the corner cut off is fine).

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Take one slice of dough and place it on your workplace. With the heel of your hand, push out from the center in one direction. Rotate the dough and do this in all four directions. This forms the dough and opens up the layers. New York summer 20135

Pick up the piece and insert your thumbs on the inside with your forefingers on the outside, and gently stretch the center to make it more into the shape of a cone. You don’t want the layers to actually separate.DSC_3321 Holding the cone in one hand, squeeze some of the filling into the cavity so it is full. Lightly push the opening closed. You do not have to seal the opening as the filling is too thick to ooze out during baking.

Place onto the prepared baking sheet and very lightly brush the outside of each completed pastry with the lard/butter mixture. Bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. These are best served warm with a sprinkling of confectioners sugar on the day they are made. To reheat them, just place them in a 350F oven for about 5-10 minutes.

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Sfogliatelle Frolle (Makes 12 pastries)
This is a tender pastries, made with dough similar to pie crust |(and much easier to make). Some of my friends preferred these to the crispy sfogliatelle.

DoughDSC_3449
2 1/3 Cups all purpose flour
1/3 Cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold
2 large eggs, beaten

Filling
See sfogliatelle ricci (I used dried apricots in this version)

Egg Wash
1 Large egg yolk
1 large egg
pinch salt

By hand: combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Remove the butter from the fridge and pound in a few times with a rolling pin to make it pliable. Add it the flour and start rubbing it into the flour mixture with your fingertips, working from the bottom of the bowl upwards. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t get warm from your hands. This only takes a minute or two to complete. Add the eggs and stir into the dough with a fork until it starts to hold together. Empty it out onto your workspace and knead a few times. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill until firm. The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance.

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Prepare the filling and chill it. Whisk to egg yolk, egg and salt together for the egg wash.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 5 inch rectangle . Place a hefty tablespoon amount of filling on the lower half of the dough and pull the top half over this. Use your hands to press down around the filling and seal the edges together (like making ravioli). Use a 3 inch round cookie cutter (or glass) and cut away any excess dough.

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Place the formed frolle on a prepared baking sheet and chill for 2 hours
Preheat your oven to 375F
Brush the frolle with the egg wash and bake approximately 20 minutes, just until the frolle is baked through. Cool briefly on a rack.

and finally….

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American Lobster Tails

You need to prepare (and roll) a batch of the Sfogliatelle Ricci dough. Refridgerate until firm.

Pastry Cream

DSC_33815 minutes to make and 2 hours to chill

2 Cups (16 oz) whole milk
1/2 cup granulate sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1/8 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup corn starch
2 Tablespoons butter
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until it has been incorporated. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard vanilla bean. Remove from the heat and add the butter, whisking constantly until the butter melts completely and is thoroughly blended into the mixture. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Prepare the pate a choux:

Pate a Choux (this a HALF batch )
3/8 cup (87ml) water (this is half of a 3/4 cup)
3 Tbsp. (42g) unsalted butter
1/8 Tsp. Salt
2 teaspoons Sugar
1/2 cup (63g.) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs

Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. When it comes to a boil, remove from heat and add the flour, stirring to combine completely.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan (this will happen very quickly).
Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.
Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes.
It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the egg. Now, I happen to use my KitchenAide standing mixer for this, but it’s just as easy to do this by hand (I’m just lazy).

Spoon into a disposable pastry bag. You do not a tip for this, you can just cut a 1/2 opening across the bottom when you are ready to fill your lobster tail pastry.

Watch this little video….

Take your prepared sfogliatelle Ricci dough out of the fridge and cut it into 1 inch thick slices. Press down on all four sides just like you were making sfogliatelle ricci (you are, just making a bigger version). Pipe in the pate a choux paste until it is about three quarters fulls. Gently close the opening (there is no need to seal it shut) and place it on your prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of your Ricci dough is finished (You should get about 11 or 12 pastries). Lighlty brush the outside of the lobster tail with the lard/butter mixture and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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To make the diplomat cream you will need:
1 batch pastry cream
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

I like a 2:1 ratio of pastry cream to whipped cream but you might like a 1:1 ratio. I would whip 1 cup of heavy cream and start by only adding half of it to the pastry cream. Do you like the texture? Maybe you want it a little lighter… Either way, when you decide what you like.DSC_3384
Fold the whipped cream into the cold pastry cream. Transfer it into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and insert it into the wide end of a lobster tail. Squeeze in as much filling as you can get into it (the more the better!). These should be eaten the day they are filled (this won’t be a problem, trust me). Hope you enjoy!!

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Tres Leches

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Since I had baked this earlier in the month, I have no excuse for not posting this on the 27th, other than I just forgot! What a dingbat I can be. The host for the September bakers challenge  is Inma from la Galletika, and she chose Pastel de Tres Leches, a cake that is very popular in Central and South America ( and here!) . My friend Heidi and her husband love this cake, with her version being only a single layer which I think makes it much easier for all of the liquid to get soaked up since you can leave it in the pan. Her husband enjoyed this two layer version as well. I hope you do too… Bake On!

Pastel de Tres Leches

vanilla sponge cake
5 large eggs (separated)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) (5 oz) (140gm) all-purpose  flour (sifted)

For three milks syrup
1 can (14 oz) (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) (340 gm) evaporated milk ( I used coconut milk)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (about 35% fat) or 1 cup of half & half or 1 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick (I deleted this)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rum (or other flavoring) (I used Amaretto)

Topping and filling
2 cups (500 ml) of whipping cream (about 30% fat)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
Canned or fresh fruit (to fill and decorate the cake) (I used fresh nectarines)

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Directions For the Sponge Cake:
Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Prepare a square 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites on medium speed, 3 – 5 minutes.When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches. and whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Set aside.DSC_3403

In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg yolks become pale colored, creamy and puffy. Stir in vanilla.
Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites, gently fold until just combined trying not to lose any volume from the mixture.
Fold in the flour little by little in the form of rain (OMG, isn’t that lovely!). Mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).
Pour the batter into the prepared 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) square cake pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan.Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean
Let it cool completely.
Split the cake in half, flip the top of the cake and place it on a base. Poke using a fork holes all over the cake to better absorb the three milk soaking liquid.

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Three milks syrup
1.In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove it and let it cool.
2.Once it is cool, add the rum or any other flavoring you are using
3.Gradually brush all the milk soaking liquid into all sides of the cake (including the cut surfaces) until all absorbed. Best to rest the cake in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process.
Topping
1.Whip the cream, when soft peaks form add the sugar little by little, continue whipping until stiff peaks form about 2 mins.

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Decoration
1.Layer some whipped cream on the bottom layer and cover with canned or fresh fruit and decorate the top layer with whipped cream and the fresh or canned fruit.

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