I have little time to bake these days. I usually pack all the baking on my days off, but right now I am playing sis, auntie, tourist, chauffeur, wife and hostess all at once. It's good to have one's life disturbed once in a while, breaks up the routine and educates you on all the other worlds out there...like that of parenthood...and I don't think we're there yet. In the meantime I am enjoying having the French around and feel like spoiling them, especially in the morning to give them so long lasting warm and cozy feelings. This morning was no exception. I stayed up late and made a couple of Cream cheese Danishes, one I braided and the other one I turned into a "couronne", crown or wheel.
I took my basic Danish recipe but rolled it into two large rectangles and spread cream cheese all over the dough, sprinkle with some sugar, folded and turned one more time and voila!. It was yummy and the Frenchies loved this new breakfast treat that they had never had before. They also fell in love with Krispy Kreme...
April 28, 2006
April 24, 2006
The Brother surely did not come empty handed. His suitcase was full of goodies for me to bake with: Praline Chocolat Poulain, powdered "pralin", vanilla galore and some local alcohols... but he also remembered my favorite thing to enjoy: Kinder eggs. It seems I am not the only one in the food blogging world to enjoy these, check Beck and Posh.
Unlike her though, I was too quick digging into mine to be able to take pictures! I just can't find these around here and I regularly have a family member include them in goodie packages. In a way I am glad they are not easily accessible...it make the moment even more precious.
We went shopping for kitchen stuff with my brother today but I managed to start a Cream Cheese Danish Braid...I'll hopefully finish it before midnight!
April 23, 2006
We already went for BBQ downtown at Sticky Fingers and my niece has just discovered the power of cookies ar Great American Cookies at the mall!
I'll try to post as much as I can in the next couple of weeks but it will be difficult...we are never home!
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April 20, 2006
What is that?..you may ask... well, in 2 words: another brioche! I told you I was crazy for that stuff and crazier for any variations I can find.
I found thids
little gem while perousing my favorites french blogs and I added it to the list for my baking frenzy yesterday.
Here is the recipe, and my take on it at the end:
BUCHTEL (makes 18 small rolls)
250 ml milk + 125 ml milk
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
500 g flour
75 g sugar + 2 Tb. sugar
100 g de soft butter + 50 g melted butter
100 g almond paste
Heat 250 ml. milk to lukewarm, dissolve the yeast in it. In mixer bowl, combine flour, 75g sugar. With the dough hook, start mixing while adding the yeast/milk mixture, add egg and towards the end, incorporate the soft butter.
Let rise, covered, until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 18 small balls. Divide the almond paste into 18 small balls also, shape the brioche rolls in the palm of your hand by incaing a ball of almond paste into the dough and put in a13 by 13 baking dish, let rise one more time, covered with plastic wrap.
Bake in a 400 degree oven.
While it is baking combine the rest of the milk, butter and sugar, heat in the microwave for a minute.
When the brioches come out of the oven, brush the tops with the milk/sugar mixture and dust with powdered sugar.
It is so good!!! My variation: I add a lot of almonds so I made my own paste. I prepared the dough in the evening and let it rise in the fridge, overnight. I let it come back to room temperature for about an hour before shaping and baking. This dough is so soft and smooth, I had a hard time stopping myself from kneading it. You can knwead everything by hand, but I found my kitchen aid to be the best assistant so far!
Original recipe from omelette
April 17, 2006
Here are some of the recipes without pictures because I ran out of batteries and I am too pooped to get me to the store...sorry!
Soft, Moist and Gooey Cinnamon Buns (adapted from www.allrecipes.com)
Makes 2 dozen buns Prep Time: 15 MinutesCook Time: 20 MinutesReady in: 3 Hours 35 Minutes
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons water
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 In a bread machine pan, place the milk, beaten egg, melted butter, water, vanilla pudding mix, bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle.
2 When cycle is finished, remove the dough, and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Roll out to a large rectangle.
3 Mix together the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread over dough. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and raisins, if desired. Starting with the widest end, roll the dough into a log. Pinch to seal seams. Cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices, and place in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Place in a draft-free space, and allow to rise until doubled. 4 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
To make frosting, mix the milk, confectioners sugar, softened butter and vanilla in a small bowl. Spread over warm cinnamon rolls. Makes 24 servings
I know! Not only do you use a bread machine but on top of that vanilla pudding?! Well, the combinations work great and they make the fluffliest buns we've had. THey are big, bold and tasty. I make them just about every week!
The Panna Cottas are courtessy of Tuna Toast at www.tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com and they are now chilling in the fridge...I will probably topped these with some caramelizd pears since I have to use some up anyway. Here is the recipe:
Vanila Bean Yogurt Panna Cotta(makes 6 servings)
2 TBS water
1 1/2 teaspoons unfavored gelatin
2 cups fat free half & half
1 1/4 cups low-carb or sugar free lite vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon's Lite & Fit)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean
4 packets of Splenda
Pour the water over the gelatin to dissolve (about 12 minutes). In a large bowl mix one cup of the half & half, all of the yogurt and vanilla extract. Scrape the vanilla beans out of the pod and add them to the remaining half & half along with the Splenda and heat mixture in a small saucepan. Pour mixture over the yogurt mixture and stir to combine.
Pour into 6, 4 ounce ramekins and refrigirate until set (overnight is best).
To unmold, set each ramekin in a shallow bowl of warm water for a few seconds, place plate over the ramekin and flip over.
Top with any fruit compote or preserves you like.
I divided the recipe in half and pour them into nice whiskey glasses so they could served without the unmolding process.
Hers is a Weight Watchers recipe so you know it's good for you too!
April 16, 2006
In that spirit I have benn making quite a few breakfast treats that they can enjoy while visiting that would be a nice change from croissants and tartines.
So my sunday prep. work was : make and bake cinnamon buns, cinnamon and walnuts buns, make and refrigerate dough for brioche, and make and refrigerate dough for danishes.
I talked to my niece on the phone this afternoon and she already told me she wanted to help me make my brownies and madeleines when she is here. The child helped me with a pan of madeleines at the tender age of 3... she loves food...yeah!!!
Recipes and pictures will have to wait until tomorrow though...
April 9, 2006
My grandmother loved cooking with apples, in sweet and savory dishes. Her specialty or signature dessert was this apple pie made with a shortbread crust and covered with a homemade apple compote. Nothing fancy, nothing grand looking, but it tasted so good. I wanted to make something this afternoon that remimded of her. Around Easter I always get sentimental and miss everybody back home. Easter is big in our family, first because of the religious aspect, but also because of the connection we make each year around the dinner table, hunting our eggs and devoring our chocolate.
I found this recipe on www.fredkitchen.canalblog.com under the "pour le gouter" section (as soon as I find out how to do a hot link, you won't have to deal with all this...anybody care to help?) . Instead of making it with pears like she did, I chose Granny Smith apples, and it worked just fine. It was delicious warm with a scoop of creme fraiche but I just had another slice cold and it still just as good, a little easier to cut if anything.
You might want to call it Deep Dish Apple Tatin, flufflier, cramier but just as good in caramel and butter.
Gateau Tatin aux pommes
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
150 g creme fraiche or sour cream
tsp. baking powder
With the cup of sugar, make a cramel: put in a pot on stove with a little water and let cook until golden brown. Pour the caramel into a 9 inch cake pan and reserve.
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a nice pattern in the bottom of the pan, reserve.
In bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add the flour and baking powder, then the sour cream.
Pour over the apples and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clear.
April 7, 2006
...trial size wedding cake for when your friends come for dinner!
T & D came last weekend and since I'll be making their cake, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do a test run.
Guess what recipe I chose for the cake...? Yes! the Jam filled butter cake recipe posted a few days ago. Their cake is going to be 4 tiers, very simple. The decorations mimic the pattern on their enveloppes and ties their whole theme together: early afternoon wedding, casual with some flair, because after the reception everybody kicks their shoes off for a Cinco de Mayo party at the beach.
Back to the cake, the bottom layer and the 3rd one are going to be vanilla with a strawberry and Grand Marnier filling, the 2nd and top tiers are going to be chocolate cake with almond Amaretto filling. For the chocolate tiers I took the same recipe but reduced the amount of flour and added cocoa powder and melted chocolate. The buttercream was a very simple French Buttercream, not too sweet but good in vanilla. My only complaint, there are a lot of crumbs left on my spatula when I go spread the buttercream, and a long chill is necessary after your crumb coating.
They loved it and agreed that the layers needed more booze....it's going to be a fun reception!
I love finding a recipe that can work in many different ways, whether it is a cake or a brioche or a danish dough. Same goes with a bread recipe. The other night I took the dough for my sourdough baguette and made focaccia.
I've got Cinnamon Buns proofing and I'd better go check on them...will be back for that post tommorrow.
April 5, 2006
I have never had a bad experience with any of the recipes in Bo Friberg's book, The Professional Pastry Chef , and I have used his book quite a lot at the restaurant when I got started and I wanted to impress the bosses or the patrons. I like the fact that he gives the recipes scaled for large and small productions and that he always provides the history of the food in question.
Here is what he says about brioche:
"This light and French specialty, so rich in buter and eggs, is said to have gotten its name from the French word "brier", which means to pound. I assume this related to the dough's lengthy kneading process, which long ago, before electric mixers, simply meant pounding the dough until it reaches the desired consistnecy.
The most typical shape for brioche is a round fluted base with slightly slopping sides and a round knot on top. (...) Brioche dough is very versatile and is used frequently for encasing other foods: it can be wrapped around a wheel of cheese, it is used for : Beef en croute", and in the Russian classsic: Kulebiaka (Coulibiac in French) where the dough is filled with layers of salmon, rice, eggs and herbs. Individual baked brioche are sometimes hollowed out and filled with savory stews or fruit and cream for dessert."
...and to think I decided for the plain old traditional way...makes me want to mix another batch for sunday's dinner...Beef en croute anyone?
For 18 individual Brioches:
For the Sponge: mix together 1 oz. fresh compressed yeast (or 0.5 dry), 1/2 cup warm milk, 2 Tb. honey and 4 oz. bread flour. cover and let rise until doubled.
For the dough:
add to the sponge 2 tsp. of salt, 2oz. granulated sugar, 4 eggs. Mix in 1/2 pound cake flour and 4 to 8 oz. cake flour. Start by adding 4, and if the dough is too sticky continue to add up to 8. Incorporate 4 oz. very soft butter
The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl and have a shiny appearance. Cover and refrigerate 5 to 6 hours, or until doubled. If you want to use it earlier, let rise at room temp. Punch the dough down and shape into individual molds. Bake at 375 degrees until hollow when tapped, about 20 minutes.
April 4, 2006
I have always been a brioche lover. I owe my love of anything sweet to my grandmother but no one in my family is a bread baker. I am the only one who really enjoys spending hours mixing and kneading dough, filling danishes and parisiennes and making brioches. I love it warm from the oven on a sunday morning, toasted with some Nutella as an afternoon snack. What I also enjoys about it is the versatility of the dough. While I was working at the restaurant, the chefs would have me bake it into loaves or cut into rounds to use with their foie gras or rillettes.
Sunday morning I got my usual treat of brioche and strawberry jam, but our guests also enjoyed it as crostinis for an appetizer while grilling some steaks. I will post the recipe tomorrow, adapted from Bo Friberg's The Professional Pastry Chef, and promise to have figured out by then how to do a hot link so I don't have to link a whole url!!!. ..you get pics though..
April 2, 2006
For the cake, I was looking for a recipe close to that of a Gateau de Savoie, but without the fuss of separating the eggs and beating the whites to a foam. ...I get lazy like that sometimes. This cake fits the bill perfectly. It is buttery and smooth, yet not too rich and takes notime to put together. The addition of homemade strawberry jam does not hurt either. Next time, I think I will use the Lemon preserve in there, with some whipped cream added in between the layers.
It came out so nice that I have decided to use it for 2 of the tiers of the wedding cake I am making for B.'s buddy next month. On a simpler note, this cake is so good with a cup of tea as an afternoon snack...
Here is the recipe:
Plain & Simple Jam-Filled Butter Cake , adapted from Flo Braker
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces ( 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup jam of choice, such as apricot, plum or strawberry
1/4 cup powdered sugar
INSTRUCTIONS: Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Adjust rack to lower third of oven; preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan; insert a round of parchment or waxed paper in bottom of pan.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.
Using an electric mixer, preferably with paddle attachment, beat the butter in a large bowl at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy.
Maintaining the same speed, add the sugar in a steady stream. When all the sugar is added, stop the machine and scrape the mixture clinging to the sides of the bowl into the center of the bowl. Continue to cream at the same speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and fluffy in appearance. Add the extracts in the final moments of beating the butter and sugar.
With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each one thoroughly into the mixture before adding the next. When the mixture appears fluffy, reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the milk in two additions. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally, and mix until smooth after each addition. Spoon the batter evenly into the pan.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully release the springform and remove the metal ring from around the cake. Cool completely before removing the cake from the metal form.
Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake layer in half horizontally. Set the bottom cake layer on a serving plate and spread the jam over the cut surface. Place the top portion of the cake cut-side down on the jam-covered layer.
Assorted Danishes, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/3 cup milk
1 egg yolk
6 Tbsp. cold butter, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing
1. In a bowl stir yeast into warm water to soften. In a second mixing bowl beat the 1/4 cup butter, sugar, and salt until creamy. Add 1/2 cup of the flour, the cardamom, and milk. Add the egg and egg yolk. Add softened yeast; beat until well combined. Stir in remaining flour and the raisins until smooth and dough comes together. Cover bowl; let rise in a warm place until double (about 2 hours). Refrigerate dough 6 hours. (Or omit 2-hour rising time and refrigerate dough 12 to 24 hours.)
2. Grease a baking sheet; set aside. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface.
3. Roll dough into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Place half the butter slices evenly on dough; lightly press butter into dough. Fold dough crosswise into thirds. Rotate dough a quarter turn to the right. Repeat rolling and folding using remaining butter slices. Roll again to 15x10-inch rectangle; fold crosswise into thirds. Give dough a quarter turn to the right.
4. Roll folded dough into a 12x9-inch rectangle. Cut dough into twelve 3-inch squares. Fold corners of square into center, pressing lightly to seal. Place each on prepared baking sheet. Using the rounded side of a floured tablespoon, press firmly to make an indentation in the center of each dough square. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (45 to 55 minutes). (You may see the butter slices soften and begin to melt out of rolls.) Press indentation again, if necessary. Fill with desired filling
5. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan. Brush with melted butter; cool on wire racks. Meanwhile, prepare Powdered Sugar Icing. . Drizzle each with icing. Makes 12 Danish.
Filling ideas: 4 oz. cream cheese, softed and mixed with 1 whole egg and some vanilla, plus 1/4 cup sugar, some jam or any preserve.
Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches drizzling consistency.