Saturday, May 31, 2008

Earl Grey Madeleines


Last week's recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie were the Traditional Madeleines, but the next recipe in the book is Earl Grey Madeleines.
I love Earl Grey tea and not the artificial stuff but the higher quality loose tea leaves. I normally steep it for three minutes and add a splash of milk, how English :-)

So I made Dorie's recipe to see if they would be a nice match with my tea. For me they didn't disappoint, my trusty taster liked the traditional ones better, but she's not to crazy about the tea either. I really liked the subtle flavor of the tea coming through, I will definitely make these again!!

Earl Grey Madeleines (from Baking: From My House To Yours):

Ingredients:
5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs,
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
powder sugar for dusting

Preparation:
Melt the butter and add the tea leaves. Stir to combine and allow the tea to infuse into the butter for 15 minutes. Strain the tea leaves from the butter using a strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Mix together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and zest until thickened (2-3 mins). Add the honey and vanilla extract and whisk for another minute.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture very gently with a spatula. Gently mix in the strained butter (mine had hardened so I softened it a bit in the microwave). Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400. Butter and flour a madeleine pan. Distribute the batter equally between the 12 molds.

Bake for 9 minutes and check. Bake until the tops are firm to the touch, up to 14 minutes. Remove from the molds by tapping the pan.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns


This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Madam Chow of Madam Chow's Kitchen. When I read the recipe and saw that it uses the same brioche dough as we made for the Brioche Raisin Snails I was thrilled and scared at the same time, the dough is fabulous, but if you don't have a Kitchen Aid but just a cheap hand mixer it's quite a challenge.
I decided to make the dough this time by hand because I think my mixer wouldn't survive another round with the brioche dough.
The dough came together by hand a lot easier than I expected, I had to use some elbow grease but I would do it again this way. You need only half of the brioche recipe, I used the other half for more Brioche Raisin Snails because my brother keeps asking me to bake some more.

I made seven buns, the rest I froze for a later date. We all thought that these buns were nice but way too sweet for our taste. When I make the remaining ones I won't use the pecan honey glaze but drizzle over the glaze that goes on the raisin snails.
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns

For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)

For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan 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 the sugars and cinnamon together 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 a 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 you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glace recipe accordingly).
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) 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 one another.
Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
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 away 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 silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Brioche Dough:
What You'll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):
2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 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

What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: 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 into 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-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly 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 the 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 a dough that is very soft, almost like 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 (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the 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 uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook picked next week's recipe: French Chocolate Brownies.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

WSM Smoke Day IV

Today is WSM Smoke Day IV, it's an event, hosted by the virtual weber bullet, where over 400 Weber Smokey Mountain owners worldwide make real barbecue.
I lit my coals at noon, when the WSM was at the right temperature I put in 6 racks of ribs. Two hours before the ribs were done I added some brats and BBQ beans.
After five hours the ribs were done, I used a new sauce I made from the Jack Daniels Barbecue book. It was ok for me, the others liked it a lot. For me it lacked depth so I'll have to make a batch of my regular sauce before the next barbecue.
I served rosemary garlic potato wedges on the side.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TWD: Traditional Madeleines

Another Tuesday, another Tuesdays with Dorie, this weeks recipe, Traditional Madeleines, was picked by Tara of Smells Like Home.

When I got Baking, this was one of the recipes I put high on my list, but since I didn't have a Madeleine tin I never got to it. So when Tara picked it for this week I had an excuse to get the tin for these classics little cakes.

I made the batter a day in advance and let it rest in the fridge. When I baked them I got a nice hump on all of them, I also buttered and floured the tin well and had no problem with the Madeleines sticking to the tin.
The verdict on these cakes? I love them, they are moist and lemony. Now that I have the tin I will try some of the others in the book too, the Earl Grey Madeleine just moved up a couple of spots on my "to bake" list.
Ingredients:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt ½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preparation:
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)

GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.

Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners' sugar.

makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies

serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.

storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they'll keep for up to 2 months.

Next week's recipe are the Pecan Honey Sticky Buns, choosen by Madam Chow's Kitchen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

TWD: Florida Pie

Florida Pie was this weeks recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie and was picked by Dianne of Dianne's Dishes, thanks for picking one of my favorite American desserts!

I've been to Florida quite a few times, the first time was about 25 years ago and that was when I first ate Key lime Pie. Whenever I see it on the menu I have to try it and I made it a few times here at home too. I never did the meringue on top though, so that was the new thing for me. I left the coconut out because I couldn't find any sweetened coconut flakes here in the village and didn't feel like driving 10 miles for just the one ingredient.

The pie was very easy to make, I used digestive biscuits instead of graham crackers which aren't for sale in this part of the world but taste almost the same as a base for the pie.
Dorie uses more crumbs for the base than my old recipe but it was way better, so this one is a keeper. The filling is pretty straight forward too.
For the meringue I made sure there was absolutely no fat in the bowl, on the wisk etc. and it came together great, nice and fluffy. I used my blowtorch to get the top nice and brown.

The pie was served as dessert for a barbecue I held yesterday, it's 77 F here for two weeks already, and the people who ate it really liked it, most of them never had Key Lime Pie before.
I loved it and this recipe will replace my old one. When I run into the right coconut flakes for this recipe I'll give it a try with the coconut cream layer.

Ingredients:
1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), 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, seperated
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

Preparation:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of 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, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl 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 reaming 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.

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, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, 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.

Next weeks recipe is Traditional Madelines (page 166-168) chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home. To see what the other bakers did this week have a look at the blogroll at TWD.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

TWD: Peanut Butter Torte

This weeks recipe, peanut butter torte, was picked by Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food. Here in the Netherlands we really like peanut butter, we don't put jelly on it, but just put it on a slice of bread with some butter. The major brand is Calve which is made less than 20 km from my home, they have been making peanut butter for almost 125 years now. This is the stuff I grew up on! So instead of buying a jar of Jif at the import section of the supermarket I used my favorite local brand, which tastes better also of course ;-)

I didn't have enough oreo crumbs to get up the full 2 inch, but the result was that you get a nice layering if you see it from the side.

It was my niece's 12th birthday last week so I made this torte to go with the coffee. Everybody liked it, but we all thought that it was very rich, which makes a lot of sense if you look at the ingredients.

(I cut a slice of torte for the picture when the chocolate ganache wasn't fully set, that's why it isn't picture perfect, sorry!)

Ingredients:
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

Preparation:
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. Scrape 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 mousse 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.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Frozen Strawberry Margarita


So you are back from a great trip through Mexico and it's starting to look like summer, what do you make to make you stay in the garden a little more pleasurable than it already is?
A frozen strawberry margarita!

Ingredients:
1 shotglass Tequilla Silver
1/2 shotglass Cointreau
1 shotglass Rose's Lime Cordial/Juice
1 shotglass lime juice
9-10 frozen strawberries
enough ice to fill your margarita glass three quarters
sugar to coat the rim of the glass

Preparation:
Put your sugar on a plate, moisten the rim of your glass with lime and put the rim in the sugar.
In a blender or food processor blend the remaining ingredients until a you get a thick slush.
Pour into your glass and serve.