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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tarte Fine - Tuesdays with Dorie

This is a really nice tart. One of my group quipped that it was "Apple Pizza" and yes, it is in a way, a very delicious pizza. There were very few slices left when I took the picture and that was only 10 minutes after I set the plate out.

I used Granny Smith apples and made some "Rough Puff Pastry" from a recipe in Epicurious. The Granny Smiths were a bit sour so next time I make this I will use Golden Delicious or some other type of sweeter pie apple. The puff pastry came up really well, but it's not that much easier to make than classic puff pastry - it involves grating frozen sticks of butter into the flour in the beginning instead of wrapping some dough around a block of butter, but it still takes 4 turns and lots of refrigeration. (I have discovered a "VahChef" demonstration on u-tube showing what looks like a very good method of making classic puff pastry; it will be nice to give it a try.)

The tangy apricot glaze gave the tart a good finishing touch and I provided a small bowl of cream as well, but most of the group preferred it without cream.

Leslie of Lethally Delicious picked this weeks treat and the recipe is on her blog. Great choice, Leslie! Thank you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daring Bakers - Decorated Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

In keeping with our spring theme, I have chosen some Biblical verses and sugar cookies that suit the season:

11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land...

I think this is one of the loveliest of Biblical passages, from The Song of Solomon, Chapter 2, verses 11-12. I wanted the 16th century English so I copied the passage from my Great-Grandmother's King James Bible. Grannie MacMillan was the Scottish grannie, who came from Motherwell near Glasgow. I like to picture her reading these verses so many years ago.

I ordered copper cookie cutters from - a turtle and a flower shape. (I have learned that the turtle was actually a turtledove in Hebrew, but the translators of the KJB read it as a turtle! When I was a child I always used to marvel that the spring could be so wonderful that a turtle could sing.)

Packaged royal icing powder from N.Y. Cake made an excellent outlining and flooding icing and coloring by Chefmaster proved to be the best brand. It gave a deep, dark brown for the turtle markings, without having to add too much liquid. Some of the others, like Wilton, took just too much liquid or powder before they became anywhere near dark enough.

This was altogether an enjoyable project and a good learning experience. I have plans now for Christmas and Easter decorated cookies.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

I'm all gung ho on learning to make sweet yeast breads, hence my effort with raisin buns this week. The recipe is from the "Sunmaid Raisins" website. I adapted it slightly and followed Dorie Greenspan's method in making cinnamon bread - to leave the dough out to rise once it has been formed. I can't imagine why one should put it in the fridge for the first rise, which is the instruction from the Sunmaid recipe! They certainly aren't the best looking of raisin buns but they were a wow with my "taste testers" at work. Obviously I must practice forming them into nice roll shapes.
3/8 cup of milk
6 TBS butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teasp. salt
1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 F)
1 packet yeast
1/2 egg (beat an egg lightly then measure half of beaten egg in liquid measuring cup)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (light), packed
1 TBS cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Check if raisins are nice and moist; if not, steam them for one minute and pat dry.
Lightly beat egg then measure to one half of this.
In saucepan, heat milk; stir in 4 TBS. butter, sugar and salt, stirring until butter melts; cool to lukewarm.
In large bowl, combine warm water and yeast; let sit for 3 minutes then stir until dissolved. (Does not matter if not perfectly dissolved but it must be soft.) Add milk mixture, the beaten egg half and 1 cup flour; beat on low speed for a minute or two in stand mixer with paddle attachment until smooth. Stir in remaining cup of flour to make a soft dough.
Cover; let stand in a warm place until twice the volume. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 mins. to make the dough firm enough to roll.
Grease 9-inch round pan, buttered. On floured surface, roll dough to 18x8-inch rectangle.
Melt remaining 2 TBS. butter; brush over dough.
Sprinkle dough with the brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins. Starting with longest side, roll up jelly-roll fashion. Pinch edges firmly to seal. Cut roll into 12 slices. Place cut side down in greased pan.. Cover; let rise in warm place (80 to 85 F.) until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 F. Bake for 25 minutes or until light golden.

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 TBS. butter, softened
1 tsp. milk
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine all glaze ingredients; brush glaze over rolls while they are still warm.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nectarine Upside-Downer - Tuesdays with Dorie

This is my first upside-downer. I chose nectarines for the "topping" - they came out tasting delicious on the cake but I think they must have more liquid than I thought as the base of the cake is a little too soggy. It's rather like a sponge pudding texture. When I can get cranberries I'm going to make this one with cranberries; the Dorie cookbook picture looks so enticing with them.

It's a nice recipe though and so easy to get together. I have set aside a large slice just for me.

Thank you, Sabrina, of "Superfluous" for this week's pick. The recipe is on Sabrina's blog.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses - Tuesdays with Dorie

These are delicious PB cookies; the flavor is delicate, not too peanut buttery and they are a cinch to make. I did not use any add-ins as I like cookies that are quite classic in a way, and these fit the bill.

I baked them for about 14-15 minutes and they seem to be just right - I've eaten half of the props!
Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine picked these cookies. For the recipe, check out her lovely blog.