Monday, September 24, 2018

Hutterite Schuten Pie (Cottage Cheese Pie)

This was the other pie I made from Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen by Mary-Ann Kirkby. Partly, I was intrigued by cottage cheese in a pie. But she also mentions in passing that sometimes this is served for breakfast or the tea-time meal lunche.


It definitely tastes better cool than warm, in my opinion, kind of like a custard rather than a cheesecake, which I think I was expecting. I think in previous Hutterite books they may have mentioned using raisins in this pie, and while that sounded weird, now that I've tasted it, I can actually see that working. Maybe with a little bit of rum to soak the raisins in, you could have a rum raisin schuten pie!


Schuten Pie (Cottage-Cheese Pie)

1 1/2 cups dry-curd cottage cheese*
1 cup thick cream, or 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Golden syrup
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)

Stir all the ingredients together and pour into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 F for approximately 45 minutes.

*I just put mine in a strainer for an hour or so and called it good.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Pumpkin Chestnut Flour Scones (grain-free)

I had leftover pumpkin and leftover chestnut flour, and thus these scones were born. I think I need a different flour combination because these were a bit overly moist, but better moist than crumbly, I suppose.  So this may not be final recipe but still passable!



Pumpkin Scones
(recipe adapted from Martha Stewart via Martha Bakes on PBS.org, which I made last year)

Ingredients 
 
1 cup chestnut flour
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt
1 stick (1/2 cup frozen unsalted butter, grated on large holes of a box grater; plus 1 tablespoon melted
2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together flours, coconut sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Stir in grated butter.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together cream, egg, and pumpkin; stir into flour mixture just until dough forms. Pat into a 6-inch round on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with cream. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut dough into 8 wedges, and pull 2 inches apart. If dough is too moist to do this, you may portion it into a scone pan or muffin tins.
  3. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until scones are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Zucker Pie (Sugar Pie)

I've been reading books from Canada and Alaska this year, and along the way I read a handful of books about Hutterites, a religious sect similar in belief to Mennonites and Amish, but different in the sense that they live communally.They are best known for their communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, although there are still some in the United States as well. They use a lot of traditional recipes, and after reading Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen by Mary-Ann Kirkby, I wanted to try baking a few. Most of the recipes included in that book are as originally written - enough quantities to feed the entire community. 110 eggs... 24 cups of poppy seeds... etc. Luckily the author worked with others to convert a few into a quantity appropriate for the home chef!


The first recipe I wanted to try was the Zucker (or Sugar) Pie, one that the author had a fond memory of from her childhood in the community. It reminded me a lot of the Hoosier Sugar Pie we used to make at the tearoom I worked at in Greencastle, Indiana. It would not surprise me if that pie had Amish origins. Hoosier and Zucker do kind of sound the same. The baker I worked with at the tearoom had an unusual way of making that pie - she'd sprinkle the sugar, spices, and flour into the crust and pour the cream over it, barely mixing it before baking. This recipe has you mix all the wet ingredients together and pour into the crust. And just like the Hoosier sugar pie, it is not full in the crust. I also overbaked the edges on this one (that's what I get for buying a storebought crust instead of making my own. My non-Hutterite but skilled baker grandmother would be horrified!)


The cinnamon is nice but phew, this pie is SWEET. One thing that became clear in reading the Kirkby is that most Hutterites have a flat-out sweet tooth. They even use their allowances to buy commercial sugar snacks to multiply their sweet pies and cookies. I have grown to prefer a little more balance to the sweet. But if you are a straight-sweet person, this is probably for you.

Zucker Pie (Sugar Pie)

1 cup thick cream
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon

Beat all the ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Brownie Crinkle Cookies of Internet Fame

Well here I am again, making the cookie that has permeated the internet, but probably months after I first saw them. The brownie crinkle cookies from The Boy Who Bakes have popped up on many Instagram feeds and blogs since he first posted his how-to video (available at the link above.) I finally made them to bring to share with library faculty and staff on the day before classes start - it's a super busy day full of advising, hiring, and last-minute preparation for classes.


I can tell I don't have my gram to cup conversion quite right because I think the batter is supposed to be thinner than mine was. Pictures he and others have posted make them a lot flatter and spread out. Next time I'll start by not adding the extra 2 tbsp of flour. Truth be told I could measure in a scale but find it easier to try to just convert to cups. I know this makes me a bad baker, perhaps, but convenience is going to win out. I also noticed a distinct difference between pan 1 and pan 2, since I left the batter in the bowl instead of scooping it onto 2 baking sheets (because I only have 1 flat cookie sheet!) - even though the recipe specifically tells you to do it immediately, I ignored it. So my first batch are shiny and pictured as you see above while my second batch are more knobbly, closer to the double chocolate oatmeal cookies I loved in childhood than how these are supposed to look. Still, they are tasty and I will bring them to work.


I will post the recipe directly from The Boy Who Bakes blog, but all recipe development and instructions belong to him. I will not provide my conversions as they are not quite there. Hopefully I can try this again and see if a few tweaks get it closer to his pictures.

Brownie Crinkle Cookies
Makes 10

200g dark chocolate (around 65-70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
125g unsalted butter, diced
150g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
130g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder (dutch processed)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (plus flaked sea salt for sprinkling)

Temperature and timing is very important with this recipe so before you start get all the ingredients weighed out, two baking trays lined with parchment paper and the oven preheated to 180C (160C fan) 350F.

Place the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan and gently simmering water. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside for the moment. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric hand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugars for exactly 5 minutes. Once the eggs have been mixing for exactly 5 minutes pour in the chocolate mixture and mix for a minute or so to combine. Meanwhile mix together the dry ingredients, sieving the cocoa powder if it has lots of lumps. Add the dry ingredients and mix very briefly just until combined. Use your spatula to give one last mix, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined. Use a ice cream scoop to form the cookies. The batter will be a little on the wet side, so invert the cookie scoop just above the baking tray to avoid spills. Make sure to leave plenty of space between each cookie as they will spread. Sprinkle each cookie with a little flaked sea salt before placing into the oven and baking for 12 minutes. The cookies will come out of the oven with that wonderful crinkled look and slightly domed. They will collapse a little as they cool but this helps form that perfect fudgy centre. The cookies will be very soft so allow them to cool on the baking trays for at least 20-30 minutes before removing from the tray to cool completely.

These cookies will keep for 4-5 days but will be best within the first 3 days.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Burnt Sugar Cake with Maple Icing

In July, I talked a bit about a book, The Late Bloomers' Club by Louise Miller, that had a baking storyline and a few cake recipes. I already tried the old-fashioned 1-2-3-4 Cake, but couldn't get a recipe that had a bigger plot point out of my head. I posted the progress to Instagram and ended up chatting with the author, who is herself a baker. It is with her permission that I reproduce this recipe in full. (I also did receive a copy of the book from the publisher, but I had read her first novel and even gave it as a gift.)



I was happy to stare down my longtime nemesis, caramelizing sugar, in the syrup stage of this recipe. It worked the first time! The burnt sugar syrup lends a beautiful color to the cake, and a very distinct flavor that works well with the maple.


If you like stories about relationships and towns like Stars Hollow, you should definitely check out Louise Miller's books. The Late Bloomers' Club is more about the town and the relationship between two sisters, while The City Baker's Guide to Country Living is more focused on romance. Both are great reads and both have a lot of baking in them. The author, a pastry chef, can be followed in Instagram.

Burnt Sugar Cake with Maple Icing


For the syrup:


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water

For the cake:


3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
9 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract*
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup burnt sugar syrup

For the icing:


1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp heavy cream

To make the syrup


A quick note: Never walk away from sugar syrup and never touch it. Caramelizing sugar is an extremely hot process. Please use caution.

Place the sugar evenly in a pan and turn the burner on high (a cast-iron skillet is great for this). Let the sugar melt. You don't want to stir the sugar - it will form sugar crystals and clump up - but you can gently move the pan to swirl it. The sugar will dissolve, then start to turn light brown. While the sugar is cooking, boil the water. When the sugar has turned to a golden amber color and is smoking a bit, take it off the heat. Very carefully drizzle in the boiling water. It will sputter when you do this - make sure you are wearing long sleeves. Return the pan to the heat once all the water has been added, and stir until combined. Set aside to cool.

To make the cake


In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar, and light brown sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. In a separate small bowl, mix together the sour cream and 1/2 cup of burnt sugar syrup. You will have extra syrup. Save it - it's delicious in coffee!***

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter, sugar, and eggs, mixing just until the flour is incorporated, then add 1/3 of the sour cream/ burnt sugar mixture. Repeat until you have a uniform cake batter, taking care not to overmix. Scoop the batter into a well-greased 10-12 cup Bundt pan.

Bake at 350 F until the top springs back when you press it and a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour.**

Let cool completely before unmolding and icing.****

To make the icing


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, salt, and confectioners sugar. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup. Add the heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time, until the icing is a nice, spreadable consistency.

Place the cake on a platter. Using an offset spatula, spread the icing over the top of the cake. 

Jenny's notes:


*-I had maple extract in my pantry so I used 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp maple.
** - Knowing my Bundt pan, which is a garage sale find of the old metal variety, bakes hot, I checked at 45 minutes and it was done. Know your oven, know your pan, check early so you don't overbake.
*** - It's true! I added it to my cold brew coffee.
**** - Again, knowing my pan and how cooling sugar crystals can merge a cake with pan, I let it cool for 10 minutes and then turned it out to cool completely.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Chestnut Flour Brownies (grain-free, gluten-free)

Two weeks ago, I told the story of why I'm experimenting with chestnut flour, so I won't replicate that information here. But that went well enough to keep going, and I had this brownie recipe as a must-try. This is absolutely hands down the best alternative brownie recipe I have made. Great flavor, great texture, nothing sacrificed, and in fact the flavor of the chestnut flour may even be an improvement. I can't get over how good these are.
 
Chestnut Brownies
(This recipe comes from the gluten-free baking cookbook Alternative Baker, as seen on Chocolate and Marrow)
 
Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz (230 g) bittersweet chocolate (60–70% cacao mass), chopped (about 11⁄2 cups)
  • 1⁄2 cup (50 g) chestnut flour
  • 2 tbsp (15 g) tapioca flour
  • 
3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3⁄4 cup (150 g) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper cut to fit widthwise, leaving an overhang on each side. This will make the brownies easy to remove from the pan.
  2. Place the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over the lowest possible heat.* Add the chocolate and let melt together, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from scorching. Continue cooking until the mixture is pleasantly warm, but not super hot, to the touch. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Sift the chestnut and tapioca flours into a small bowl and set aside (chestnut flour tends to clump, so don’t skip this step).
  3. Meanwhile, place the eggs, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is very light and fluffy, 5 minutes.** Turn the mixer to low and stir in the vanilla until just combined, then the warm chocolate-butter mixture. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a flexible silicone spatula to give the batter a final stir by hand, scraping the bottom of the bowl and making sure all the flour is incorporated.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake the brownies until the top is puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 24–30 minutes, taking care not to overbake. Let the brownies cool completely, then use the parchment handles to lift them out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a sharp chef ’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between each cut to slice the brownies into 16 squares.
  5. The brownies keep well, airtight at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or refrigerated for up to 5 days.
*I did this in the microwave at 50% power because I'm not going to risk burning good chocolate!
**Don't skip this time, at last 5 minutes.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Creamed Mushrooms on Low-Carb, Grain-Free Savory Waffles

Back in 2009, I tried for a time to keep up with a separate cooking blog. It was called Jenny Also Cooks, because JennyCooks was taken. I got a request to try making a savory version of my low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free crisp waffles, and I had this memory of creamed mushrooms on waffles. I originally posted it over on my cooking blog, two recipes from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook - Creamed Mushrooms and Cornmeal Waffles. You can follow that link to make the creamed mushrooms, and I will focus my posting on the savory version of the low-carb waffle, which worked great!


Grain-Free Savory Waffles
(original sweet version here)

Ingredients
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened) or buttermilk
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, tapioca starch, and baking powder. Whisk or stir to combine well.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined.
  4. Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter at a time and use waffle maker as directed.