Archive for the ‘tuesdays with dorie’ Category

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TWD – Not so Peppermint Cream Puff Ring

June 18, 2008

This week’s recipe comes from Caroline of A Consuming Passion.  I’ve been wanting to try to make pate a choux since I saw it on Good Eats ages ago, now I have the chance.  I do not, however, enjoy peppermint.  No.  That’s an understatement… I loathe peppermint.  The smell, the taste, the feel.  All terrible.  I get nauseated when I eat it.  Maybe I’m allergic…

At any rate, I knew a Peppermint Ring was out, but, luckily, the mint was only in the filling and Dorie gave some alternatives.  Being a citrus lover I knew I would go with a Lemon Cream filling.  Now this filling could only come after three (in my opinion) failures at the dough.

Now, it came together fine.  I boiled it until it was a ball.  I mixed my eggs in one by one.  I squeezed it into a ring and (on the first attempt) into eclairs and rolls.  I baked them for a total of 45 minutes.  Each time they came out browned and firm and puffed up.

Eclairs

And everytime… after leaving them in the kitchen to cool… I came back to a deflated ring.  It looked a bit like a large donut that someone sat on.  So, I tried a second time.  Same result.  I looked up Alton Brown’s recipe on footnetwork.com.  He had a suggestion of puncturing the choux after it came out of the oven to let the steam escape and stop the dough from going soggy.

Eureka! I thought.  This the problem!  If I puncture the dough when I take it out, all will be well and my ring will be lovely.  So, into round three I went.  I did everything I was supposed to.  I turned the oven down after 15 minutes.  I even baked it an extra 5 minutes to be sure it was done.  As soon as it came out, I took a paring knife and punctured the ring in several places.  The crust was so nice and firm!  But, alas, when I returned from letting it cool…

Pate A Choux pancake

Voila! A Pate A Choux Pancake! That’s right, flat again.

I don’t know what the issue is but I’m thoroughly frustrated.  I never got to the lemon cream.  What’s the point of making it, if your pastry won’t be able to hold the weight?

I’ll give it a day or two, and maybe I’ll have another go.

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TWD – La Palette’s Strawberry Tart

June 18, 2008

Strawberry Tart

La Palette’s Strawberry Tart on page 374 was this week’s challenge.  And it was, simply, divine.  I think by it’s pure simplicity, it became extraordinary.  It starts with a sweet tart dough, then a layer of jam (I used raspberry) and then some cut up strawberries.  That’s it!  Simple, fast, delicious.  I served mine with a little Ready Whip and everyone was in heaven!

Strawberry Tart close up

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TWD – French Chocolate Brownies

June 18, 2008

French Chocolate Brownies

I have to say, I was not thrilled with these brownies.  For starters, I don’t like raisins.  I know, I know, I could have left them out, but, originally, I was planning to send these into work with the hubby.  I even left out the cinnamon (that I love) because his boss is allergic.  But I didn’t get them made until Friday, and after I tried one, I didn’t want to send them in.  The actual brownie wasn’t *terrible* but the raisins were disgusting and the overall texture was a little mealy.  I think I may not have cooked them long enough.

Try them for yourself and see what you think! You can find the recipe at Di’s Kitchen Notebook, who had the honor of picking this recipe!

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TWD – Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

May 27, 2008

Lone Sticky Bun

These are killer buns! So sticky… so gooey… so nutty… so soft… so… mmm

The dough, naturally, is the most time consuming part! But breads always are with the waiting for rises and all. It is a bonus, in my opinion, that you can get 2 batches from the one brioche recipe. That way you can get twice the goodness for half the work. Always good.

So naturally, I had to make both batches. Yes. i could have made rolls or bread or some other scrumptious thing from Dorie’s book. But, frankly, once you have one of these sticky buns? You’d do the same thing 😉

Sticky buns

I did change it a tiny bit with second batch in that I put “nut topping” in with the cinnamon sugar mixture inside the rolls. I love pecans and all kinds of nuts, really, so I figured, hey! The more the merrier! I liked the added crunchiness it added. Rather than just a crunch from the top and a soft in the middle, you got crunch all the way through. Yummy!

One note! When you are needing the dough for 10 minutes? Pay attention to the mixer! Mine tried to make a break for it. Had enough of me and tried to leap off the counter to freedom! Luckily the butter knife jumped first to alert me and I was able to foil Grimace’s escape. (yes… i’ve named my mixer… it’s a purple KitchenAid and Grimace is my favorite… so shoot me) But watch yours. It may be craftier than mine and I can’t imagine it would survive the “jump” very well…

sticky bun closeup

Pecan Sticky Buns

Golden Brioche Loaves
make dough one day ahead then shape and bake the next. Makes enough to make two batches of buns.

2 packets active dry yeast (4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch while milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

Put the yeast, water, and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can to keep you from being covered in flour! Turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (you can peek), then remove the towel, increase mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two. At this point you will have a dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce speed to low and add the butter in 2 Tablespoon size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have dough that is very soft, almost like a batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40-60 minutes. Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the covered dough in the refrigerator overnight.

If making Brioche loaves: Butter and flour 2 8.5 X 4.5 inch loaf pans. Pull dough from the fridge and divide into two equal pieces. Cut each piece of dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3.5 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until dough fills pans.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until loaves are well risen and deeply golden, about 30-35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto cooling racks. Cool at least one hour.

For the Glaze
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup pecans

For the Filling
1/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP packed light brown sugar
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
3 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche, chilled and ready to shape

Generously butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan(a Pyrex is perfect for this).

To Make the Glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To Make the Filling: Mix together the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the Buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1 inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can.
With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the rolls if they’re very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch-thick buns. Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching each other.

Getting Ready to Bake: When the buns have almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden: the glaze will be bubbling way merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.
The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or butter foil. Be careful-the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Source: Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

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TWD – Florida Pie

May 24, 2008

Coconut Key Lime Pie slice

Wow, but this pie was yummy!  I’m not normally a coconut fan, but, once again, Dorie’s made a believer out of me.  My coconut cream was nice and thick and had a chewy-ness that I really enjoyed.  Everything came together very well. 

My crust on the other hand… well… It came out very pretty… and held together well… but… here is where I should mention that I was a little preoccupied and sleep deprived when I was starting this recipe.  Ya see, my addled brain combined 2 lines of the recipe. 

Where it asks for 3 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt? yeah.  I got the 3 tablespoons and the salt part.  And I even remember thinking “wow, that’s a lot of salt for one pie crust” but I scooped away anyhow.

Of course, my brain soon slapped my conciousness silly and made me reread the recipe, at which point, I go “Oh, %^$&” and begin scooping salt back out of the mixture.  Now common sense would say I should scrap the mix and start over or better yet follow Dorie’s advice and get a store bought crust. 

But no, I don’t have anymore crumbs and I don’t want to travel the great distance of a half a mile to go to the local Kroger.  No no.  I’ll just save this one.  Well, suffice it to say that even though I managed to get, what looked like, most of the salt out, it was still a bit like eating a fantastic pie on top of a salt lick.

So, my advice is be awake when reading recipes and if you’re like me, scrape off the crust before eating your pie 😉

Florida Pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust, fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar

For the Crust:

1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons of sugar

Pinch of salt

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Butter a 9-inch pie pan. Center a rack in the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the pie pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the pan. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Place the pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the filling.

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the remaining juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

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To Finish the Pie with Meringue:

Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.

Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you’ve got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

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TWD Delayed

May 14, 2008

TWD Florida Pie is slightly delayed.  I was planning to make it last night, but ended up going to the emergency room with my hubby’s grandmother.  Should be up today or tomorrow!

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Peanut Butter Torte

May 6, 2008

Peanut Butter Torte

Well, I have to admit, I was going to cheat on this week’s TWD, because I made this torte for a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago and never got around to posting about it,

Birthday Torte(put it in a Coach box, he was so confused)

but since Derby was this weekend (poor 8 Bells) I decided to make it again to take to a party.

This torte is fantastic! I worship the ground peanut butter walks on, so adding chocolate and whipped cream was just extra. Normally I don’t like hard bits of stuff in my desserts, but the chocolate chips and peanut bits really work. I think that is because there are enough of them that you get a fair amount in each bite. Rather than a nice creamy bite with bits o’ stuff in it.

It came together (both times) very easily. The only time required is the after-assembly chill to set up. This could be skipped, though, as long as you don’t mind it having more of a pudding consistency than a cheesecake.

Torte crustWhipped creamAdding chips and nutsWith whipped creamFinished torteblurry slice o\' torte

This torte is destined to become a staple in my dessert baking. Not only is it peanut butter, and chocolate, and easy, but it is also egg free which mean my dear fellow baker (Beth) who is horribly allergic can eat this! Yay!

As with most of Dorie’s recipes she explains everything wonderfully so that they are difficult to mess up, so go on, dive in, (ignore all the fat grams) and make one for yourself!

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)

24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Small pinch of salt

2 ½ c. heavy cream

1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)

2 tablespoons whole milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.