Monday, December 28, 2015

Vanilla Hazelnut Cheesecake- Rewind

I don't normally like cheesecake but I did like this one.  I don't even normally crave hazelnuts in my desserts, but this one won me over.   Amidst the holiday sweet craze, this could have been lost, but it wasn't.  And cottage cheese in a cheesecake, not a deterrent.

The advantage of doing this one as a rewind, I was able to heed the advice of a fellow Baking with Julia blogger: I did not attempt the flip.  This cake was intended to be made in a round cake pan and upon cooling, flipped out and then re-flipped onto a serving pan.   I have a history with flipping and decided to go with a spring form pan and a regular graham cracker crust (with butter).   I did forget to wrap the pan in foil so the crust was a little water logged; this still did not ruin this cake.

I also did not cook/ burn the caramel for the hazelnut paste quite enough so the coloring of the cake is unremarkable.  But the taste is there.

As for another rewind recipe, I have my eyes on the Brie in Brioche recipe in the coming weeks but, I may need to save some calories for that one.

Rhiannon in the line-up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Parmesan Puffs…. and Hazelnut Loaves and Raspberry Swirls

Yet another catch up post.   I have been baking all along, but the posting dates have not been corresponding to my baking dates.   I have no life changing excuse like a move or a new job or newborn baby, just regular life with all its irregularities and oddities.  It resembles this set of recipes.  When put all together they seem a bit odd and mismatched and overwhelming.  But individually they were all quite delicious and not too taxing.

From most recent to the not so recent:

Parmesan Puffs: an exercise in deep frying (deep frying puff pastry nonetheless).  Yum.

Hazelnut baby loaves: obviously not a baby loaf, but one big one, delicately flavored.

Raspberry Swirls: genoise rolled and layered, my only successful genoise yet.  (It doesn't hurt that it is dipped in chocolate.)

Rhiannon: my faithful taster.

Please check others' posts at the blogroll: Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Brioche x 2

It took brioche to bring me back (after the chaotic summer that was just starting during my last post).

I swear there is nothing better for me to make, bake, eat and eat again, than brioche.

I think its the texture.  And the chewiness.  And the slight sweetness.

For the first brioche recipe, the brioche served as the base of a custard tart, topped with a sabayon and poached plums.

For the second, the brioche was twice baked, to use up those stale leftovers of brioche laying around (as if).  The stale bread is dunked in orange vanilla syrup and topped with an almond cream.  Brioche plus almond cream might just be better than brioche itself.

For the rest of the book, I will try to keep up and make up what I have missed from the Baking with Julia cooking group.  But there are no guarantees without brioche.

Rhiannon eating her favorite: honey toast.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

White Chocolate Patty Cake & Fruit Focaccia

Whew.  I am back.  A whole month away feels like a long time to be gone from the Baking with Julia group.   I didn't go anywhere by the way,  just swept away by the end of the school year and the start of a chaotic but awesome summer.

For rewind week, last week I chose to make the fruit focaccia after reading rave reviews from my fellow bloggers and despite my prior focaccia failures.  (For some vegetarian reasons the savory puffs didn't sound as appealing.)  This was a challenge in planning for me.  I originally set up the dough to rise in the fridge so that the final rise would occur at 10pm for a bake at 1am.  So, I just let it rise longer in the fridge (until 6am) so I could bake at the more reasonable hour of 9am.  This turned out just delicious and chewy and slightly fermented (likely due to its overlong rise).

For this week it was back to cakes with a White Chocolate Patty Cake.  Watching the video helped subdue any anxiety I was having with baking another cake.  This cake is intended to be flat (after rising, then cooling).  Phew.  I can handle a cake like that.  This was a surprisingly satisfying cake.  It had a dense crumb from the white chocolate and tasted more like a pound cake.  And how can one go wrong with fresh raspberry sauce?

My taste tester.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cardinal Slice

This was an intimidating recipe: genoise/ sponge batter piped with meringue, sandwiched with whipped cream flavored with an espresso coleur.  The latter two ingredients were not so intimidating but the former two made me nervous.  I have yet to make a successful genoise or sponge cake batter (maybe it knows I don't like eating it) and well, meringues, I haven't had too much experience with.

I started successfully with the whipped cream and the coleur (a caramelized sugar with added espresso).   I thought the coleur was burnt and almost tossed it, but when mixed with the whipped cream, the next day, all I could taste was espresso.  Perfect.

The meringue also turned out just fine and was simple to make. (I have recipe for Eton Mes that I have been wanting to try and now I think I will.)  I may have piped the meringue  a bit thin but it was suitable.   Then  came the sponge batter which was initiated with the leftover meringue batter.  I followed the directions as well as I could, timing the mixing and everything, but I believe I whipped it too much.  It piped out well but seemed a bit airy and when baked just collapsed on itself.  (The ladyfingers I made after that suffered a worse fate- flat as flat.)

Assembling was quite fun: layering the cakes and the whipped cream.    Even if mine turned out with half the height of the one shown in the recipe book, it still looked somewhat grand.  Accompanied with a raspberry filled caramel basket, it looked delicious.  And it tasted delicious too.

Unfortunately not delicious enough to make again.  I will look for it when and if I find myself in Austria and will savor it, knowing how hard it is to make and master.

This blog participates in Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ka'kat and Matzos

Things do not always turn out as expected.   Or as planned.   A common truth, played out perfectly by the last two recipes for Tuesdays with Dorie.

Ka'kat, this months recipe was a much anticipated recipe.  A street food, similar to the american soft pretzel?  What could be better?

And last months, Matzos, a somewhat dreaded recipe.  Dry unleavened bread… I'll pass.

As unpredicted, the matzos were crispy and thin and delicious.  My kiddos ate them up and asked for more.  They were only made more delicious with some cream cheese spread.

The Ka'kat turned out overdone and underwhelming.  The kiddos ate them, sure, but the leftovers sat untouched for days.

It is true, I think I may have just baked the Ka'Kat too long, and they may need another fair shake.  Maybe then, they will match Matzos level of anticipation.

Rhiannon, making Matzos

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sweet Ricotta Pie

This recipe calls for a dough (pasta frolla) we have used in the past but with a savory dish, Pizza Rustica.  I remember loving the crust and the sweetness of it matched to the salty innards of the pizza.  This time it was to be used with a simple, sweet ricotta filling.

The filling traditionally is flavored with anisette (a licorice liquor).  Since I do not have anisette, I used one of the alternatives mentioned in the recipe book, almond extract.  Because I was using extract instead of liquor, I reasoned erroneously that I should use a bit less than the recipe called for.  The almond flavoring was there but not enough for a true almond flavor to come through on each bite.  And the crust was decent but did not stand out as it did previously probably due to its match with a sweet filling.

Overall the dessert was a nice Easter brunch addition, and I would try it again but with another flavor (and I would certainly use the whole amount of flavoring).

Be sure to check out other feet ricotta pie experiences at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pebble bread

My not-so-flat, flat bread. 

I kind of liked it not-so-flat.  It reminded me of pizza dough: chewy and light, a little tangy from the long rise.  And since it was flat bread I could eat it all by itself without any guilt.   But I did serve it with some optional dips: an olive spread (delicious) and a tofu tahini spread (not so delicious).

And, wow, did this recipe make a lot.  I halved the recipe and wound up making eight rounds of dough. (It should have been four.)  This leads me to believe that maybe I did not halve the water in the beginning and accidentally made a full recipe anyway.

Overall, it's a fairly simple recipe that I may make again in the future when I feel like having pizza dough but no pizza.  Check out other bakers' takes at Tuesdays with Dorie.  

And Rhiannon….

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Not Your Usual Lemon Meringue Pie

Definitely unusual but unusually good.  The unusual part being the "crust".  It is constructed here with a few sheets of phyllo dough baked with butter and sugar to create crispy triangle pie slices.  The good part being the lemon curd, of course.  (There is a little one in my house that has eaten lemon curd toast for 7 days straight now.)

The proportions were a bit off in this recipe.  The lemon curd made an ample amount which is obviously not a problem and the meringue was overwhelming (I even halved it!). The phyllo amounts seemed about right.

And due to my continued lack of a blow torch, I used the broiler method (to brown the meringue) and skipped the two tiered option of this dessert.  

Be sure to check out fellow bloggers at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Rhiannon making flower soup.  Yes, it is spring here. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Creme Brûléed Chocolate Bundt Cake

This recipe sounded amazing: chocolate chiffon cake, liqueur soaked raspberries and a creme brûlée topping.  And it did turn out quite amazing.   The cake turned out moist and chocolaty despite it sinking a bit while cooling. The raspberries were soaked with a thick blackberry vodka (but they probably could have used the liqueur).  And the creme brûlée sauce was just fantastic made with rich egg yolks and cream and vanilla beans for that true, strong vanilla flavor.  I am currently trying to figure out how else I can use that sauce; what other recipes need that extra love?

I borrowed a blow torch (and a bundt pan and the liqueur- thanks Sorrel!) for this one but was bit low on butane so it was only partially properly creme bruleed.  It did not seem to add too much to the overall flavor and was not missed on those parts that escaped the blow torch.

I would make this one again, if I only liked cake.

Please check out my fellow bloggers creations this week. 

And here's Rhiannon…

Monday, February 2, 2015

Salsa Quitza

Oh, sometimes things do not turn out they way I expect they will.

So excited about this one.  It sounded so promising.  I even watched the video.

Easy pizza with a twist.  Great for Super Bowl Sunday.

But then came the translation from bread machine to normal bread making.  My translation was incorrect.  My read was wrong.

(Kind of like throwing an interception on the goal line.)

Oh well.  And there are no pictures to confirm this confusion.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Some questions I have lingering for my fellow bloggers (in case I ever attempt it again):  Should we let this one rise twice like normal bread or just once like the recipe states?  Is it supposed to be quite doughy/ bread-y rather than chewy/ crusty?

And Rhiannon...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Eastern European Rye

I am currently reading Cooked by Michael Pollan, and I just started the chapter titled "Air", in which he goes into great detail about baking and the use of "air" in creating cooked food for ourselves.  Although I have more than half of the chapter yet to read, I find it fascinating.  So when I realized this coincided with the Easter European Rye recipe (in the Baking with Julia baking group), I became quite excited to use some "air" to make this delicious bread.

Luckily for me,  it did turn out delicious.  It appears to be a pretty forgiving bread as I left it to rise much longer than required for all of its rises.  In addition to this, it was quite workable.  I decided to hand knead it and give my mixer a break and was surprised at the ease of this process.  (Maybe this had something to do with the shortening used in the mix.)

I am now looking forward to some Reubens either tonight or later this week.  And of course, breakfast toast will be amazing.