Monday, October 15, 2018

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats

Well, you know how it is. One recipe flops (a batter that never is a dough, long story) and you run out of non-stick spray that you need before you can bake that cake - well, you did buy that bag of pumpkin spice marshmallows.

So here's some real-life, this is all I baked this weekend, completely processed food product "baked good." Sometimes that will have to do!



Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treat
(recipe from Kraft.com)

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. butter
1 pkg (8 oz.) jet-puffed pumpkin spice mallows
5 cups puffed rice cereal
1 cup candy corn


1. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray with cooking spray.
2. Microwave butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 45 sec. or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1 1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 seconds. Add cereal; mix well.
3. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Decorate with candy corn; cool.
4. Use foil handles to lift cereal mixture from pan; cut into shapes with pumpkin shaped cookie cutters or use knife to cut into bars.



Notes from JennyBakes:

I saw many variations of this online, including several that incorporated coffee/espresso in some way in order to make pumpkin spice latte rice krispie treats. This might be tasty! I also saw some combined with marshmallow cream in the middle, others dipped in dark or white chocolate, others making pumpkin spice from plain marshmallows. You do you.

The contained that goes in the microwave needs to be larger than 4 cups, I learned through experience and a very sticky mess.

I found I needed less space than 9x13 so I put my empty nonstick spray can down in the 9x13 pan and pushed all the marshmallow mixture into the smaller space for more even, thick squares.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Lassie Tart

I read a lot of fiction, as most of you know. Recently I read Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper, about a dying fishing village in Newfoundland and the people who live there. Most of the residents are moving away for work. In one scene, the Mom from the central family sends her children, Cora and Jack, to buy something from the bakery to celebrate their last day as a family before the parents start trading off traveling "up north" for work.
"They got the only pie, dark berries and dark molasses crust, and continued on home..."
Their mother Martha approves of their selection.
"Lassie tart, she said. Good choice."
So this of course set me off on an internet research rabbit hole. There aren't many places online to find the recipe for a lassie tart, although if you just look for Newfoundland tart or Newfoundland molasses tart, a few more come up. They all agree the traditional berry (which is made into a jam before filling the tart) is the Partridge Berry, but that was not a berry I could get my hands on, not in frozen form or in jam. Several bakers who had made the tart used lingonberries, so I did that as well.



The tart has a lattice top so I was refreshing my skills by looking at tutorials for them, and encountered a "plaid" pattern with varying widths of lattice that I really liked. Unfortunately I didn't really pull it off; my tart just looks like I didn't cut my lattice evenly, not like I did so intentionally. This molasses dough is pretty soft and not as easy to work with as typical pie dough.

Ultimately I made the recipe from the Globe and Mail, and will include it in its entirety below, but should say that I used a 12 oz jar of lingonberry jam instead of making any (and that was just about right for one 8-inch tart. I can't see this recipe making enough pastry for 2 complete tarts as it says it will. In the end this is a fairly simple recipe, perfect for a place with a lot of molasses and jam on hand like Newfoundland. I wonder if this could be adapted slightly for Thanksgiving - I wouldn't use all cranberries, I don't think, but maybe half (or, you know, cranberry sauce) and maybe add some orange zest to bring out the orange pekoe tea in the crust. It's a keeper.


Murray McDonald's Lassie Tart
(from The Globe and Mail)
Servings: Two 8-inch tarts

 

Ingredients

1 cup butter
3/4 cup molasses
4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brewed orange-pekoe tea
6 cups partridgeberries, also known as lingonberries (or substitute cranberries)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup brown sugar

 

Method

To make the pastry dough, cream the butter and molasses. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. In a small bowl or cup, stir the baking soda into the hot brewed tea, then add immediately to the butter-and-molasses mixture and stir well. Add dry ingredients to the same bowl and mix until just combined. Pat the dough into a ball and flatten, wrap in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.

To make the partridgeberry jam, place the berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Set aside and let cool.
To assemble the tarts, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick and 10 inches round. Transfer to an 8-inch tart pan and trim the overhanging edges. Form a ball with the scraps, roll out the dough and cut out strips for the lattice top.

Fill tart with 1/2 inch of partridgeberry jam. Place the lattice overtop and use a fork to crimp the edges of the pastry.

Bake at 325 F for 35 minutes or until the top is dark brown.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Chocolate Pantry Cake

This cake is based on Deb-from-Smitten-Kitchen's chocolate olive oil cake, which I decided to make when I ran out of baking powder and didn't want to go to the store! We all have those days. This recipe also doesn't need butter, eggs, or chocolate that has to be melted (if you use her version with a glaze, you'll need chocolate chips at least, but since we buy the $7.50/bag stevia sweetened chocolate chips I wasn't going to use them for this! I decided it would be just fine with whipped cream.)

I didn't make this cake perfectly. I underbaked it, meaning I had a bit of a tiny lava cake situation in the middle. I didn't grease the pan high enough, so it stuck around the rim. I don't think I mixed it enough, in fear of overmixing, so one bite tasted like baking soda, whoops. It's a bit droopy in the middle. But you know what, it tastes good, the whipped cream is a nice pairing, and sometimes you just want something you can pull together quickly without special ingredients. Oh yeah, also this is a vegan recipe! It reminds me quite a bit of the flavor of the Morning Loaf recipe I've made a bunch since it originally showed up in JennyBakes, but it relies on coconut oil and espresso powder.



Chocolate Pantry Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (Deb likes olive, I used vegetable and olive half and half)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold coffee
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9" cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non stick spray (you can butter it but this will render it unvegan!)
2. Stir dry ingredients together with a whisk, knocking out any lumps in the brown sugar and cocoa powder.
3. Whisk in oil, then add in coffee and vinegar until smooth.
4.  Scrape into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
5. Go to Deb's recipe for the glaze or just serve with whipped cream or dusted with powdered sugar. (Oh yeah and if you use real whipped cream, again, that renders it unvegan.)

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.
 

Monday, August 06, 2018

Banana Chestnut Muffins

Although we are watching it behind the British (so no spoilers please), we are still devoted to reality baking shows, particularly The Great British Bake Off. Did you know that is called The Great British Baking Show in the USA? On Episode 4: Desserts from Series 3, the bakers are instructed to make a dessert without wheat flour. Brendan uses chestnut flour to make a Clementine and Chestnut Torte. My husband and I turned to each other and exclaimed, "Chestnut flour?" You see, my cupboards are full of gluten-free flour options. I've experimented with many alternative flours - tapioca, chickpea, rice, sorghum, coconut, and many nut flours including almond and peanut (hmm, actually, I have purchased the peanut flour; still need to use it!) But I had not heard of chestnut flour. He ordered me some and I've been looking for ways to use it.

Some recipes say some helpful things about chestnut flour - that it needs to be sifted, because it clumps easily. That it is best combined with other flours because it is strong in flavor. That it causes problems similar to coconut flour in the way it absorbed liquids (this was not my experience but I've only used it once so far.) That it evokes a feeling of sweetness, and you may be able to get away with less sugar. That it should be combined with other flours. The recipe I based these muffins on used a small amount of All-Purpose flour, and I used the same amount. I think especially in muffins, that amount could be replaced with tapioca flour or one of the nut flours. I used coconut sugar in place of the sugar mentioned, and only half what was called for. I added an egg based on some of the comments. I also combined the ingredients in a different way. So while I will credit and link you to the originating recipe (Banana Chestnut Cake from Always Order Dessert by Alejandra Ramos), mine is really something different from it!



Banana Chestnut Muffins

Makes 1 dozen muffins

1 cup chestnut flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (melted) or olive oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)*
2 over-ripe bananas, smashed and whisked until smooth and creamy
1/4 cup coconut milk or buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a muffin tin or silicone muffin tins.
2. Mash bananas. Stir in oil, eggs, milk, rum, vanilla extract, and coconut sugar.
3. Combine flours with spices and other dry ingredients. Mix into wet ingredients. Stir until no visible flour remains.
4. Fill muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until inside of muffins are not mushy.

*Like usual, I used banana liqueur in place of the vanilla and rum, because I have a giant bottle that would never go away.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Buttermilk Pudding Cakes with Fresh Peaches

I'm trying to get back to my Unread Shelf Project and tackle a cookbook a week. One cookbook a week, from my collection, try a handful of recipes, decide whether or not to keep it. I already know I'm keeping this one, so it was silly to test it - The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-home Flavor. Apart from being the longest cookbook title ever, this is a cookbook from the brothers who grew up in Charleston who pay tribute to southern food in a myriad of ways. I own their first one, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, and have referred to it when I needed a recipe for red velvet cake, vegetarian collard greens, and even a recipe for savory waffles with creamed mushrooms, which is on the menu for this week by complete coincidence. The Simple Fresh Southern Cookbook is thinner than their others cookbooks, but I have loved what I've tried. One recipe for field peas with roasted beets is my favorite solution for coming home from the farmers' market with random stuff (I usually add goat cheese to it.)

So when I flipped through the cookbook this time, I found myself drawn to the Buttermilk Pudding Cakes. They looked simple, quick, and versatile. The cookbook has a long list of simple accompaniments and more complicated dressings like peaches in bourbon, but I just sliced up fresh peaches and called it good. And it was! I struggle a bit with pudding cakes, always hard to know where the line is between "pudding" and "raw batter." (Jenny's note: I already know what I did wrong as I create this post! My oven temperature was wrong. DOH.)



Buttermilk Pudding Cakes with Sugared Raspberries
Serves 8

Buttermilk pudding cakes:

3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (3 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole or lowfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Raspberries:

8 ounces (2 cups) fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
Whipped cream (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 425 F with a rack positioned in the top third of the oven.
2 Sift the flour with the baking powder in a large bowl. In a second large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until creamy and yellow, and then whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, sugar and butter (the mixture will look curdy and broken; that is fine). Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and whisk until the batter is combined and smooth.
3 Divide the batter among 8 standard-size (3-ounce) nonstick muffin-pan cups, filling them two-thirds full. Bake for 9 minutes. Check the cakes by inserting a knife tip between the rim of the cake and the muffin cup and pulling gently to expose the side of the cake. If the side of the cake appears evenly browned, the cakes will hold together when inverted and are ready. If not, bake for another minute and check again.
4 While the cakes bake, place the raspberries in a medium bowl. Shower them with the sugar, and then use your hand to gently toss them in the sugar until they have a light dusting on them. (If the berries are overripe and bursting, or wet because you washed them, the sugar will dissolve on them. This is fine -- they'll still taste great!)
5 When the cakes are done, invert them onto individual small plates and divide the berries among them, mounding them on top and around the cakes, and top with a dollop of whipped cream, if using.


Monday, July 23, 2018

1-2-3-4 Cake

The Late Bloomers' Club is the most recent novel by pastry chef Louise Miller. It is the story of two sisters with a tense history, and other characters in a small Vermont town. One character leaves some recipes behind, and one sister's boyfriend Max decides to make cakes from them. The most traditional recipes, like the 1-2-3-4 Cake, only consist of a list of ingredients, without instructions.



"That's all I need," says Max. Because, of course, he has training. Back in May, I told a similar story about the recipes my grandmother gave me. "Back then," she said, "everyone knew what to do." And really, the name of the cake tells you almost everything you need to know - 1 cup of butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs. Plus a few other little things. Hmm, or maybe 1 cup is for the milk? Now I'm confused. Sometimes old fashioned tricks only work if you learned it the right way!


I took the ingredients listed in the Miller novel, and assumed certain things about the technique. I made a simple chocolate buttercream to go with the cake, although in the novel, the characters eat it with jam in between the layers. I just didn't have enough jam at home, and didn't want a trip to the store just for jam! (I'd already switched recipes to make this weekend due to the absence of another ingredient.)


1-2-3-4 Cake
(Ingredient list from Louise Miller, instructions by me!)

4 eggs, separated*
1 cup milk
3 cups cake flour (sift and then measure)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsweetened butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment.
2. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, then eggs, beating after each addition.
3. Mix flour with baking powder and salt.
4. Alternate between adding flour mixture and milk, adding flour mixture first. Only mix well enough to incorporate ingredients.
5. Divide into cake tins, smooth batter to edges, and bake 28-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes and turn out of pans to cool completely before icing with frosting of choice.

*Well, I ignored separating the eggs. That may have lightened the cake a bit, but I just added each one separately and beat the heck out of the batter after. It wasn't bad, although butter cakes always taste a wee bit dry to me.

 


Monday, July 16, 2018

Cherry Thyme Upside Down Cake

For some reason, a bit out of season, I've encountered so many good looking cherries at the store! It made me nostalgia for the northwest, where we were on vacation just a month ago. I grew up with two trees of cherries at my childhood home - the golden cherries with pink blush (known as "Rainier" cherries in many places) and the darker red cherries that most people think of. The birds loved them; what we picked we just ate and didn't really bake with, so I didn't have a lot in my repertoire for cherries.

I have a few recipes marked to try, but this one stood out. I recalled an episode of some baking reality show where all the bakers had to make an upside down cake of any variety, as long as it contained fruit. I liked the sound of cherries and thyme, and thought it would be gorgeous with the variety of colors of cherries.


Cherry Thyme Upside Down Cake(recipe found on MyRecipes.com)


Ingredients

TOPPING

  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz.) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 cup fresh Rainier cherries, pitted and halved (about 6 oz.)
  • Thyme sprigs
CAKE
  • 1 1/3 cups (about 5 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • Whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the Topping: Place butter in a 9-inch round baking pan, and place in preheated oven until butter is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Tilt pan to coat sides with butter. Stir brown sugar into melted butter in bottom of pan until smooth, spreading it evenly on bottom of pan. Decoratively arrange cherries, cut-side down, and thyme sprigs on brown sugar mixture.

Step 2
Prepare the Cake: Whisk together flour, thyme leaves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Step 3
Beat together brown sugar and butter in bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg and vanilla, beating until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture and sour cream; beat on low until just moistened. Stir ingredients by hand until fully incorporated.

Step 4
Dollop cake mixture over fruit, and spread evenly to sides of pan. Bake in preheated oven until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a large cake plate. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with more thyme leaves, and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


I paid attention to the instructions and barely mixed the batter, so the crumb was very tender. The cherries end up the texture of grapes, maybe, or peaches, not so much the cherries in the end, but the flavor is intense.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Review of Brown Bear Baking in Eastsound, WA (Orcas Island)

During our recent vacation, we spent a few days on Orcas Island. It is the largest island in the San Juan Islands, and has been on my travel wishlist for years. We had beautiful weather, went whale watching, and explored the tiny strip of shops that seems to sustain the majority of the residents and tourists. One of the places we went to several days in a row is Brown Bear Baking.



First I should warn you that at least the week we were there, it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Sad! But worth the wait for Wednesday. Pay attention to those days though. And honestly half the businesses on the island seem to randomly close on Tuesday; future tourists beware.

The bakery was packed full of people with more people in line. From what the people working there said, this was the first week where they felt summer tourist traffic, and normally the pace is a bit slower and you might more easily find a place to sit. Our first day there, we ate in our rental car.  The bakery itself is in a busy central place, and the second day we went there the bunny running for mayor was also in the courtyard, with free face painting, and it was a weekday!




The bakery provides coffee, espresso, pastries, including some savory pastries, tea cakes, scones, granola, breads, and offers sandwiches for lunch (we did not try these but one person was busily doing prep for what looked like a busy lunch period!) The case was stocked and constantly depleting and being refilled.


What I loved about the bakery, besides the deliciousness, is the way everyone seemed to work together. One of the owners, who I think is Lee Hilands Horswill, seemed to be efficiently running a very busy team, but also did just as much to fill in where needed. He was a leader working just as hard as everyone else, and I think this contributes enormously to their success. In our short time there I saw him restocking the case and helping a younger worker take the dirty dishes to the back.

I do think they may need to either rethink the flow of people through the place or rethink offering espresso! There is a clog in the machine near the espresso machine, on the opposite end of the counter from where you order. There are at least two other places within a block radius that offer espresso. I say order pastries at Brown Bear and go to Kathryn Taylor Chocolates or Darvill's Bookstore for a coffee drink, and get out of there faster. But espresso is new at Brown Bear Baking, so maybe it will sort out.

I found this article about the partners who own and run the bakery, and their journey to Orcas Island, and a flap over the flag. Since we were there during pride month, it seems appropriate to share!

Brown Bear Baking
29 N Beach Rd #1966, Eastsound, WA 98245

Not a paid advertisement. I just like trying new bakeries and thought their pastries were delicious.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

As I was making my round-up of ABRAMS Dinner Party posts, I realized I never put this banana bread in the blog. I made it back in October from Dinner Plan: Simple Weeknight Recipes and Strategies for Every Schedule by Kathy Brennan. That entire cookbook gives ideas for meals that can be made ahead of time or saved for people who can't be at a specific meal. Banana bread fits both bills, aside from being a good use of too many bananas past the normal eating stage (I don't mind an overripe banana, but I've been told I am weird.)



Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 packed cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3 overripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork
3/4 cup dark or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F with a rack in the middle position. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, then line with parchment paper, if you like, and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, then set the flour mixture aside. Ina a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and sour cream and whisk together. Stir in the mashed bananas. Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula, adding one-third at a time, until just combined. Avoid overmixing the batter.

In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with the1 tbsp flour (this will help keep the chips from possibly sinking to the bottom of the loaf pan, bu the step isn't necessary), then fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf, 45-50 minutes. Let cool before unmolding if you like, and slicing.

*Cookbook authors claim you can substitute almond flour for the whole wheat, but I'm not sure it will have the same texture. I probably used all-purpose for both amounts. 

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.  

Monday, June 18, 2018

Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I keep talking about the Alaska from Scratch cookbook, and this cookie recipe also comes from it. You see, I followed the author/blogger for years, but I was even more excited it came out this year because I am going to Alaska for the first time later this summer! Cooking and baking these recipes has felt like a connection to a place I just know I am going to love.


I made these Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies during the week we had in May in upstate South Carolina where it was hot, humid, and rainy ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY. The students in my Storytelling class were tired of having to trudge around in downpours and I wanted to bake them a treat for working so hard in class. It can feel very vulnerable to share your personal stories, after all.

These were everything I hoped they would be - soft, sweet, and the "imitation" maple extract I had to order from Amazon (maple is just not a popular flavor in the south) wasn't fake tasting, and actually also contained maple syrup. The addition of pecans was perfect, and I actually think you could leave out the chocolate chips for a nice fall cookie... but if you can add chocolate, I don't see why you wouldn't.

I think you should buy the cookbook, so I won't post the recipe here. I did notice that Maya posted a similar recipe in her blog from a visit to her sister.

If anyone has recommendations for ingredients or food products I can buy in Alaska that are hard to find elsewhere, I'd love to know about them.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Apply to Join the ABRAMS Dinner Party plus 2017-18 Roundup

If you coveted my experience of spending a year experimenting with the cookbooks from ABRAMS Books, it is time to apply for the next season! The application is due July 20th, and more information can be found on the application page.

You may be wondering what a year on the ABRAMS Dinner Party is like. I felt like it reinvigorated my baking and cooking by giving me new recipes to try out and a community to share it with. I was exposed to cookbooks I don't think I would have come across otherwise, and chefs I didn't know about. Who would have thought I'd start salivating over Action Bronson's "Egg Noodles with Feta and Paprika?" (dang, that sounds good again) or that the "Traditional Pinto Beans" from The Austin Cookbook would become the most requested recipe in our household? Or that I'd take to making "Morning Loaf" from Simple Fare when I felt like bringing in a snack for my co-workers? Or that the "Gooey Chocolate Chip Bars" from What's Gaby Cooking would be one of my most popular Instagram posts all year?

I thought it would be fun to do a cookbook and recipe roundup from JennyBakes, so you can get a sense of the variety of this past season, and maybe see a dish or two you might have missed. For some of the cookbooks, I played more with regular food and didn't think it fit for JennyBakes, so there will definitely be cookbooks on this list that have not been on this blog!

Fall 2017

Acid Trip by Michael Harlan Turkell
JennyBakes: Balsamic Zabaglione with Peaches | Instagram

F*ck, That's Delicious by Action Bronson
JennyBakes: Chocolate Chip Cookies and Salted Honey | Instagram

Slow Cook Modern by Lianna Krissoff
JennyBakes: Apfel Quark Kuchen / Apple Quark Cake | Instagram 

The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan
Instagram: Dark Chocolate Banana Bread and a Chickpea, Tomato and Spinach Stew over Lemony Quinoa

Simple Fare: Fall/Winter by Karen Mordechai
JennyBakes: Morning Loaf | Instagram

Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone
JennyBakes: Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | Instagram

Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy by Damaris Phillips
Instagram: Benedictine and Tempeh Bacon Sandwiches, Spicy Buffalo Deviled Eggs, and the Carrot Cake Bars
 
The Artful Baker by Cenk Sonmezsoy
JennyBakes: Double Chocolate Bundt Cake | Instagram

Paladares by Anya von Bremzen
Instagram: Katia's Ginger Cookies

Healthyish by Lindsay Maitland Hunt
Instagram: Broccoli Pea Soup, Apple Slice Snacks, Kale Caesar with Curried Cauliflower, multiple smoothies, and Beans with Baked Eggs

One Knife, One Pot, One Dish by Stephane Raynaud
JennyBakes: Pineapple with Hazelnuts and Vanilla | Instagram

Spring 2018

Tom Fitzmorris's New Orleans Food by Tom Fitzmorris
JennyBakes: Chocolate and Cafe au Lait Mousse | Instagram | Instagram

The New Farm by Brent Preston
Reading Envy: Book review | Goodreads | Instagram
 
Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson
Reading Envy Podcast Episode 117

First We Eat by Eve Kosmas Flores
JennyBakes: Rhubarb Tarragon Ice Cream | Instagram

The Austin Cookbook by Paula Forbes
JennyBakes: Enchiladas and beans | Instagram

Katie Lee's Easy Breezy Eats by Katie Lee
Instagram: Spinach Salad with Pickled Strawberries & Poppy Seed Dressing and Rolled Goat Cheese & Dill Omelet.

The Cook's Atelier by Marjorie Taylor
JennyBakes: Wild Ramp Souffle | Instagram

What's Gaby Cooking by Gaby Dalkin
JennyBakes: Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares | Instagram

The Foreign Cinema Cookbook by John Clark
JennyBakes: Tahitian Vanilla Pavlova with Strawberry Coulis and Rose-Scented Rhubarb | Instagram
 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Strawberry Shortcake Scones

We are heading to Alaska this summer and I'm still checking in and trying out new recipes from The Alaska from Scratch Cookbook by Maya Wilson. When it was finally strawberry season, and I had berries that were in their last days, I remembered seeing a strawberry scone recipe in there, and decided to make them.


This isn't the recipe to use if you're trying to use up a bunch of berries; it only calls for 12. But somehow those are well utilized and the flavor is balanced with a sweet glaze.

(I'm copying the recipe from her blog rather than her cookbook, but I think everyone should buy her cookbook. Not a paid advertisement.)

Strawberry Shortcake Scones
(from Alaska from Scratch, based on a scone recipe from Smitten Kitchen; we're all friends here)

Yields: 12 scones (or, as JennyBakes says: 8 in a scone pan)

For scones:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
12 strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cup half and half or cream

For glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup half and half or cream
1/2 tsp vanilla.


Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until mixture resembles crumbs.

Toss in strawberries and coat lightly with the flour mixture. Add half and half and fold together gently until the mixture just begins to come together and form a soft dough (more cream can be added if needed). Do not knead or over mix the dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat into a 1-inch thick rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into 6 squares, then cut the squares on the diagonal to form 12 triangles. Place scones on prepared baking sheet and bake 16-18 minutes, or until scones are cooked through and golden.

Place a sheet of parchment on a work surface, then place a cooling rack over top of parchment. Remove scones from pan to cooling rack. Cool about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, vanilla, and half and half until smooth. Glaze too thick? Add more cream by the tablespoon. Too thin? Add more powdered sugar by the 1/4 cup until the desired consistency is achieved.

Taking each scone by the bottom, dip them top side down directly into the glaze until top is covered. Return scones to cooling rack and allow glaze to drip down the sides and off the rack onto parchment. Glaze will firm up when scones are completely cool.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Easy Rhubarb Breakfast Cake

I was hunting for a recipe to use up some rhubarb. It's like the cereal bowl issue, I always find myself buying more rhubarb to have enough for the next recipe, and I always have leftovers. I didn't have enough to make the roasted rhubarb for this scone recipe I found on a Canadian Mennonite baking blog, but I did realize from that one that rhubarb is an easy one to chop up and freeze for later. (Perhaps next time I'll do that instead of "pouring more cereal into the bowl.")

So I went with this recipe that only called for 2 cups of rhubarb, which was precisely what I had. I do like breakfast/snacking cakes, and this one came together quickly and baked before I was starving on a Sunday morning. The color of my final cake is more golden brown than the blogger's original, but I did have to make a few changes to the recipe: I used milk instead of half-n-half, and once I started measuring things realized I only had 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour! So I used up the gluten-free flour mixture that I bought for my sister's visit, and filled in the gaps with spelt flour. I loved the texture of the cake, and the lovely flavor. I would have liked it even better with some hazelnuts or pecans. And my rhubarb doesn't look as pretty and pink after baking as the original blogger's - so even if you can't see rhubarb in there, it is! And it's delicious!


Easy Rhubarb Breakfast Cake
(from The View from Great Island blog)

Ingredients 

1/2 cup (116 grams) half and half
1 tsp lemon juice
1 stick (1/2 cup, 113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (214 grams) granulated sugar plus 2 tsp for sprinkling
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (256 grams) all purpose flour, saving out 1 Tbsp to toss with rhubarb
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

Instructions

Set oven to 350F Lightly butter a 9x9 square baking pan. I like to line the pan with parchment paper with overhanging ends so I can easily lift out the cooled cake for cutting. That's optional.

Stir the lemon juice into the half and half and set aside.

Cream the soft butter and sugar in a stand mixer, or with electric beaters, until fluffy and pale yellow.

Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Take 1 Tbsp of the flour to the rhubarb and toss well.

Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and blend in. Add all of the half and half, and blend in.

Finally add the rest of the flour and blend just until combined, don't over mix. Fold in the rhubarb. Note: the batter is on the thick side.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top evenly with a little sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is turning golden and a toothpick in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.)

Let the cake cool slightly before cutting.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Tahitian Vanilla Pavlova with Strawberry Coulis and Rose-Scented Rhubarb

As we planned the annual book club pick party for my in-person book club, I started thinking about which dessert I would make. When I RSVP'd, our fearless leader emailed me back:
So, what extraordinary thing are you bringing on Monday?  Please make another Pavlova!  My bday is this Friday and I would love to have a piece on Monday!!
How could I ignore a birthday request? I had marked a recipe in The Foreign Cinema Cookbook: Recipes and Stories Under the Stars by Gayle Pirie and John Clark for a pavlova that used spring fruits, so once I checked that she was okay with rhubarb, I knew I'd make this recipe.
 
The recipe in the cookbook ends up making 6 individual-sized pavlovas, but I wanted to make one giant one, not being able to predict how many people would be there, but knowing it would be more than six. So I found a recipe with what looked like a scaled up recipe with the same ratios, just to make sure it would work, with one stabilizing ingredient (I'll link to it; the recipe that I'm including is from the cookbook itself.) I used the fruit methods from the cookbook recipe exactly, except I didn't have time to go find rosewater and left that out. I think this is how cookbooks are used, though, where you start with the recipe and adapt to make it work for your available ingredients and who you are making it for.



Tahitian Vanilla Pavlova with Strawberry Coulis and Rose-Scented Rhubarb
from The Foreign Cinema Cookbook 

Serves 6

Meringue
2 large egg whites
6 tbsp (75 g) sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1 Tahitian vanilla bean

Strawberry Coulis
1 pound (455 g) strawberries (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt

Rhubarb
2 cups (400 g) sugar
1 tsp rosewater
pinch of kosher salt
3 medium stalks rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch (6 mm) dice

Whipped cream, for serving

To make the meringue: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200 F (90 C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to reach about one-third of the way up and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so that the water is just barely simmering.

In a medium heatproof bowl large enough to rest on the edge of the pan of simmering water without touching the water, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Slit open the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the bowl. Drop in the pod as well.

Set the bowl over the pot and gently whisk the egg white mixture until the sugar completely dissolves and the mixture is hot (a thermometer should read 150 F/ 66 C). The liquid will look clear with a little bit of foam on top.

Remove the bowl from the pan and transfer the egg white mixture to a clean bowl. Discard the vanilla pod. Beat the mixture with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed until it doubles in volume and stiff peaks form, 7-8 minutes. You should see no unincorporated liquid in the bottom of the bowl.

Use a 3/4 cup (60-ml) measure to dollop the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet in 6 mounds with 2 inches (5 cm) all around them. Use the back of a spoon to make a well in the center of each.

Bake until the meringues are dry on the outside and soft in the center, about 90 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

To make the coulis: Hull and roughly chop the strawberries and put them in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice, salt, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the strawberries are soft and the liquid is syrupy, about 10 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then transfer the strawberries and syrup to a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth. Strain the berries through a fine-mesh strainer (discard the solids) and let cool completely.

To prepare the rhubarb: Line a plate with paper towels. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, rosewater, salt, and 4 cups (960 ml) water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the rhubarb and return to a simmer until it is just barely tender, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard the liquid. Scatter the rhubarb onto the lined plate to cool.

Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the strawberry coulis into 6 shallow individual serving bowls and set a meringue on top of each. Center a heaping spoonful of rhubarb over each of the meringues, letting it cascade over the sides. Dollop each pavlova with whipped cream and serve immediately.

Make ahead: Although this dessert has several components, all can be made in advance and assembled to order. Refrigerate the strawberry coulis and rhubarb in separate airtight containers up to 1 day ahead. Store the baked meringue in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Notes from JennyBakes: I substituted this classic pavlova recipe, which has a lovely marshmallow texture on the inside if prepared correctly. I made the whipped cream, rhubarb, and coulis the night before, then made the pavlova the morning of book club, allowing it to cool in the oven while I was at work. This worked okay but it did get quite a bit wider and flatter than it started, so I may not have beat the whites long enough! It still tasted good, still soft inside, and heck, it made it easier to share.

This cookbook is brand new, and came out last week on May 15, 2018. Since I wasn't familiar with the restaurant, I started out expecting recipes that matched with movies somehow. But apparently this is a well-loved San Francisco restaurant that has been around since 1999. Woe is me, for I live too far from the west coast. You can read more about the restaurant at its website.

Until I had a reason to make the pavlova, I had my eye on a bunch of recipes that I am likely still to try (including some delicious sounding drink recipes based on homemade ingredients) - Potted Smoked Trout, Tomato Salad with Harissa Vinaigrette, Farro and Grilled Kale, Buttermilk Spoon Bread with Shiitakes/Corn/Scallions, Wild Greens Soft Polenta, Ginger Cake with Cardamom Creme Chantilly, and Champagne Omelet from the brunch section.


This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party. 


Monday, May 14, 2018

Rhubarb Tarragon Ice Cream

When I first perused First We Eat, one of the cookbooks sent to me as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party, I was enamored by its northwestern focus, as a former resident of the northwest. I also loved the seasonal sections, and had my eye on some of the rhubarb recipes in particular. When rhubarb proved hard to find, I dug my heels in until I could find some. One (new, I presume) worker at a local organic store told me that rhubarb season is August, but anyone who knows looks for it between April and June. Finally the produce guy at Publix, wearing a light pink shirt, said he had a big box in the back, and stopped what he was doing to package some up just for me, including washing and chopping it. This is not a paid advertisement for Publix, but seriously, does any grocery store even come close to their service level?

I marked several rhubarb recipes, but the one that moved to the forefront is this recipe for rhubarb-tarragon ice cream. I couldn't imagine the flavor combination. It took almost a week longer to make all the parts and to allow time for everything to chill properly, but I did it!


Rhubarb Tarragon Ice Cream
from First We Eat

1/2 cup (120 ml) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup (13 g) coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
3 large rhubarb stalks (about 1 pound/455 g), cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 star anise
2 egg yolks
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

In a very small saucepan, stir together the condensed milk and tarragon. Heat over low heat until hot but not boiling, stirring every minute. Remove from the heat and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Strain the infused condensed milk into a bowl, discarding the tarragon.

In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, star anise, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring every 5 minutes, until the rhubarb has become pulpy and partially disintegrated, 20-025 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. You can double the syrup recipe, and serve half alongside of the ice cream for garnish. The syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the rhubarb syrup until the mixture lightens in color, 3-5 minutes.

Bring water in the bottom of a double boiler to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together the infused condensed milk and the egg yolk mixture. Whisk until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on medium-high speed until it holds soft peaks. Cover and refrigerate.

Fold the whipped cream into the chilled egg yolk mixture, then pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's directions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze. Best if eaten within 6 months.

Makes about 1 1/2 pints.

Notes from JennyBakes:

I did make the double recipe of the syrup, as you can see in the photo. What a pretty pink color! I also have been adding some to sparkling water for a fizzy spring drink, since I didn't end up using all that much when serving the ice cream.

If I know anything, it's that you have to really chill everything, so I did overnight for all of it.

First We Eat: Good Food for Simple Gatherings from my Pacific Northwest Kitchen, is by Evan Kosmas Flores, and came out March 20, 2018.

I also made the Fennel-Pistachio Pesto Lasagna, since it also had the tarragon and I had enough for both recipes. If you can't picture this flavor combination, well neither could I. It was amazing. Fresh and tasting of spring, and if I had not known what was in it I'm not certain I could have identified the flavors individually but they really did work nicely together. I'll post a picture of that at the end of this post.

I have my eye on the Brown Butter Sprouted Grain cake that is made here with a rhubarb buttercream, but probably has endless flavor possibilities. I even went as far as purchasing the sprouted grain flour but have not made it yet. I also plan to make the Chai and Poppy Challah (but it seemed better for the fall), the Homemade Chai Latte, and perhaps I'll bring the recipe for Foraged Fir Tip Herbal Tea with me to Alaska.

Fennel Pistachio-Pesto Lasagna

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.