Monday, November 19, 2018

Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread

There is this cake I have wanted to make, the "Black is the New Jam Cake with Sorghum Sea Foam Icing" from Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy. First it was that I had to track down sorghum, and I did, from a guy standing by the side of the road on a drive through the North Carolina mountains. It's legit, it's Appalachian, check. But then I used some of that sorghum in another recipe. The other rare ingredient is the black walnuts which are only available a certain time of year. When I saw them this year, I proudly purchased them, knowing I had sorghum at home, and I was going to make! that! cake! Except I needed a jar of jam and didn't have any in the pantry.


I went looking for alternate black walnut recipes. One day I will conquer that cake, but I didn't want to go back to the store just to make it. I also have quite a bit of canned pumpkin on hand, so I decided it would be great to find something that combined both. I ran across this Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread recipe from the Never Enough Thyme when Lana's Cooking blog. I went for it and mixed the batter while I boiled water for dinner too. Opening the black walnuts, which I'd never had, was quite an experience. They almost smell like perfume, it is really a strange experience.


The fragrance of the bread with the walnuts filled the house, and I couldn't wait to try it. We do have a slight walnut allergy in my family, and I found my throat felt a little scratchy, so I will have to give most of this away. But I did enjoy this distinct flavor of a regional nut!


Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread
(recipe from Lana, the directions are mine as per her request, but please visit her blog to see her longer post, her directions, and her photos)

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped black walnuts
1.  Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare a 9x5 (6 cup) loaf pan.
2. Stir dry ingredients together.
3. Mix in wet ingredients.
4. Stir in walnuts.
5. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean (I needed almost 75 minutes for my loaf.)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Apple and Cheddar Scones

These are slightly more involved than most scone recipes I make, due to the roasting of the apples and the shredding of the cheese, but I would like to say: WORTH IT. I've had my eye on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for several years and finally had a chance to make them on a late morning. I had two wrinkly Mutsu apples leftover from fall apple trips and used those for this recipe. Their paleness and the paleness of the white cheddar (from Canada) makes for a deceptively monochromatic scone. But the flavor is anything but.


I will point you to Deb's recipe for step-by-step photos and a different method for the recipe, and merely copy and paste the ingredients here. I made them my normal scone method which I will put below, but that is not her original instructions.

Apple and Cheddar Scones
(from Smitten Kitchen!) 

Makes 6 generous scones

2 firm tart apples
1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces or 195 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling (total of 2.2 ounces or 63 grams)
1/2 tablespoon (7 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams) plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams)unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces or 65 grams) sharp cheddar, shredded (white is recommended, I assume for aesthetics)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
2 large eggs (NOTE: only one go INTO the scones - JennyBakes)

Position a rack at the center of oven and preheat oven to 375 °F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and core apples, then cut them into one-sixteenths. (I assumed this meant chunks, not slivers.) Placed them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until they take on a little color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. They will be about half-baked. Let them cool completely. Leave oven on.

Sift or whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut chilled butter into chunks and rub into dry ingredients with fingertips. Stir in cheese and apples. Beat together ONE egg and cream, and pour over the mix, stirring the most minimum required to bring the dough together and not one bit more.

Generously flour your counter top and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Use a rolling pin to gently roll (or use your hands to pat) the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick, 6-inch circle. Cut circle into 6 wedges. Transfer them to a baking sheet that has either been buttered or lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone.

Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle them with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Notes from JennyBakes:

-Well I misread the recipe originally and had to dump out the TWO eggs plus cream I'd mixed together.
-I only baked for 20 minutes and they could have gone longer but I'm skeptical about the 30 in my oven, anyway.
-I added more than 1/2 cup cheese. I just shredded what I had on hand and used it. So they were a bit cheesy (this was not a bad thing.)
-I did not add salt to my egg wash. I was worried about getting too salty.....

Monday, November 05, 2018

Curry Cauliflower Christmas Pasty with Almonds and Apricots from Home Made Christmas by Yvette van Boven

The first time I heard about hot water crust was whilst watching The Great British Bake Off. I had great plans to try a version, although many of the recipes called for lard, I'd encountered a few with butter or shortening. I knew that the important things were to make sure the filling was not too liquidy so as not to end up with a soggy bottom.

As I was perusing this cookbook, the pasty really stood out for several reasons - it is vegetarian (so many aren't!), it had centerpiece potential, and the flavors were interesting. And it looked like it started with a hot water crust of some kind, a technique I'd never used.



Curry Cauliflower Christmas Pasty with Almonds and Apricots

Serves 6-8 people

For the filling:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced*
4 ribs celery, finely diced
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp paprika
4 heaping tbsp (70 g) tomato paste
1 head cauliflower, ground into crumbs in the food processor*
1/2 cup (100 g) red lentils
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
3/4 cup (100 g) almonds, finely chopped
3/4 cup (100 g) dried apricots, halved*
1 1/2 cups (150 g) grated aged cheese*
4 eggs, beaten
A generous bunch of fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dough:

 3 1/2 cups (450 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (200 ml) milk
7 tbsp (100 g) butter
1 egg, beaten

On the side:

1 2/3 cups (400 ml) sour cream
Some scallion rings
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: fresh garden herbs


Prepare:

Make the filling: in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil. Saute the onions and celery until soft. Add the garlic. Cook everything for a while. Add the curry powder, paprika, and tomato paste. While stirring, cook for several minutes, until it starts to smell sweet and spicy. Then, stir in the cauliflower crumbs and the lentils. Douse with the stock. Cover and let simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while reducing it into a thick paste that is no longer wet but does not burn and stick to the pan either. Remove from the heat and let cool somewhat.

Make the dough:

Grease a 9-inch (22-cm) springform pan (or a pie pan) and dust it with flour. Mix the flour and salt. Put the milk and the butter in a saucepan, and add 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150 ml) water, and heat until the butter has melted.

Add the flour in one batch and thoroughly stir everything into one ball. Remove it from the pan and quickly knead it on a floured countertop into a coherent dough. Let the dough rest for a while. Divide the dough into 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the larger part and use it to line the springform pan, allowing some overhang over the edges.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C.)

Stir the almonds, apricots, and cheese into the cauliflower filling, followed by the beaten eggs and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the filling into the dough-lined springform pan. Roll out the remaining dough and use it to cover the pasty filling.

Use an apple corer to cut three holes in the top crust. Trim the edges and roll out the trimmings. Cut Christmas decorations from the dough and stick them onto the pasty with a beaten egg. Glaze the entire top of the pasty with the remaining egg.

Bake for 1 hour. Use a skewer to check whether the filling is done: every oven is different. Sometimes it takes a little longer, sometimes it doesn't. Loosely cover the pasty with aluminum foil if the top is browning too fast.

Serve immediately while still warm, or let cool and serve cold. You can always reheat the pasty later.

Make:

You can heat up the pasty covered with aluminum foil. It will take about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F (180 C.) Serve with sour cream (seasoned with some scallion rings, salt and pepper, and some fresh garden herbs if you want.)

* Notes from JennyBakes

I only used one onion because I didn't want it to overpower. I also lightly chunked the cauliflower rather than grind it to have more texture. If you really only half the apricots but grind everything else, the only chunks you will encounter are apricots and I think that's a bit unbalanced. (Especially since if you have leftovers, the apricots get more and more savory and it starts tasting like curry grapes or something.) I wasn't sure what kind of cheese to buy (it just says aged!) so I used a nice hard cheese like Parmesan. I only had a six inch springform so I made that size and cooked for a shorter time, then put the rest of the filling into ramekins with crust toppers, and they were tasty too!

 
Home Made Christmas
by Yvette van Boven
Abrams Books
Publication Date: 16 October 2018

Recipes are divided into the type of dish, with fun menu ideas in the back. Others I've marked to try include Ginger Hot Chocolate, Squash, Feta & Sage Pull-Apart Bread, Carrot Tatin with Goat Cheese, Trifle with Salty Caramel, Cheesecake Cream & Chewy Brownies, Hazelnut Meringue Log with Frangelico Cream & Caramel. Last week I posted the Vegetable Spiral Tart.

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