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Archive for the ‘Pastry’ Category

Pistachio macarons

Posted by Jeanne on February 4, 2012

I may have mentioned before that our neighbor Julie is gluten-free.  She was in Italy and France in late summer 2011, and became addicted to/obsessed with macarons in Paris.  I didn’t help the obsession any by giving Julie a macaron cookbook for Christmas this year, so one day in mid-January we decided to have a macaron making afternoon!

 

Making pistachio flour (grinding shelled pistachios in the food processor and then sifting).

Piped and ready to go into the oven.

Baked and ready to be filled!

The finished products.

And now we get to enjoy the fruits of our labors!  Macaron toast!

It was really fun to make them, and really nice to have an extra set of hands (or two) while making macarons.

Today it is supposed to snow quite a bit in Omaha – snowmageddon jokes abound.  It would be a great day to make more macarons if I only had some almond flour laying around.

Happy Saturday!

Posted in Baking, Desserts, Pastry | 1 Comment »

Tastespotting at random – mulberry trifle

Posted by Jeanne on February 6, 2011

This week’s inspiration comes from Daily NibblesStrawberry Almond Cream Tart.  Now – it is not strawberry season here, or any berry season, by a long shot.  But I had some frozen mulberries I bought from the co-op in July or August in the freezer, and decided to use those.  Because I wasn’t using fresh fruit, I essentially made a mulberry curd over a plain custard.

I also intended these to be bars but… the custard didn’t set up all the way (which is shocking given the amount of cornstarch I used – I thought it was going to set up like a rock).  So I made a trifle.  Regardless, tasty.  And it reminded me that eventually spring will return.

Mulberry Almond Cream Trifle

Crust

1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed

0.25 C almonds, chopped very finely or ground into meal

Almonds & graham crackers, pulverized.

2 TB sugar

2 TB water

4 TB butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a small cake pan (a 2-quart Pyrex dish would be perfect – I doubled the recipe for this pan) with butter, oil, or cooking spray.  Mix all ingredients together and press evenly into the pan.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

Almond Cream Layer

1 C milk

1 C heavy cream

0.33 C sugar

3 TB cornstarch

1 tsp almond extract

2 eggs

Combine milk, cream, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat.  Allow to come to a simmer, stirring often to prevent cornstarch from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add a tablespoon or two of the milk mixture to the eggs, stirring constantly.  You may have to do this a couple of times.

When eggs have been warmed (so they will not scramble when added to milk), place the saucepan over medium heat and add the egg mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Continue whisking over the heat until thickened, about two to three minutes.  Do not boil.  Remove pan from heat and stir in almond extract.  Pour into a bowl and cool completely, covered in plastic wrap pressed onto the top of the custard.

Mulberry Layer

3 C frozen mulberries, thawed

0.33 C sugar

1.5 TB cornstarch

Salt

1 TB lemon juice

3 large eggs

1 TB butter

Place berries in a blender, and process until smooth. Press berry mixture through a sieve over a medium bowl.

Reserve 1 cup puree; discard seeds. Reserve any remaining puree for another use in the refrigerator.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium, heavy saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Stir in reserved puree, lemon juice, and eggs. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute or until thick, still whisking constantly. Remove from heat; add butter, stirring gently until butter melts. Cool completely.

Unedited photo – the purple color is so unbelievably cool.

Assembly

Crumble crust.  Place a third of the crust in the bottom of a large bowl. Top with a third of the custard and a third of the mulberry curd. Repeat.

Repeat again. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Let sit for at least six hours, or overnight.

Enjoy.  The mulberry flavor was subtle but delicious – I can’t wait until we can get fresh berries again!

Posted in Baking, Pastry, Tastespotting at Random | Leave a Comment »

Pumpkin gingerbread trifle

Posted by Jeanne on December 7, 2010

Holy dessert batman.

I saw Evil Shenanigans‘ (best blog name ever, btw) Gingerbread, Pumpkin, and Sticky Toffee Trifle on FoodGawker and had to try it.

Note:  This has to be made WELL in advance – don’t try to make this the same day you want to eat it unless you have a very open morning and don’t plan to eat it until very late at night.

Cake

For the chocolate gingerbread:
1 C lightly packed light brown sugar
1 C butter, at room temperature
0.5 C pumpkin puree
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
0.5 C molasses
0.5 C golden syrup
1 TB fresh grated ginger
2.25 C all-purpose flour
0.25 C Dutch-processed cocoa powder
0.5 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp cloves
1 C hot water

This is the mise just for the cake.  None of the recipes are particularly complicated, but be ready to be in the kitchen for awhile.

Heat the oven to 350F and spray a 11″ x 17″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl cream together them sugar, butter, and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. 

Half molasses, half golden syrup.  A sweet, sticky mess – I wish I had been able to get a picture of the two combining.  It was beautiful. 

Add the molasses, golden syrup, vanilla, and fresh ginger and whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and spices.  Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the hot water and starting and ending with the flour.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and the edges are starting to come away from the sides of the pan.  Cool completely in the pan then cut into 1″ cubes.

Custard

1 C milk (I used 1%)
1 C heavy cream
0.5 C pumpkin puree
0.5 C  sugar
3 egg yolks
2 TB cornstarch

0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 TB dark rum
1 TB butter

While the cake cools, prepare the custard.  In a medium pot whisk together the milk, cream, pumpkin, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture just comes to the boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, butter, and rum.  Pour the custard through a fine strainer into a bowl and press cling film directly on the surface of the custard.  Chill for at least one hour.

Custard.  Chillaxing.

Toffee

For the sticky toffee sauce:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup, or corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cream

In a 2-quart sauce pan over medium heat combine the brown sugar, butter, and golden syrup.  Cook until it comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.  Carefully add the vanilla and cook for one minute more.  Remove the pot from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream.  Cool the sauce until it is just warm.

Whipped cream

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl combine the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Whip until the mixture forms firm peaks. 

Assembly

Clockwise from left:  toffee sauce, bowl with first layer of cake, whipped cream, and custard.  Also, half the dishes in my house.

In a very large bowl, or in smaller individual bowls, add a layer of cake, drizzle over a third of the toffee sauce, and spread over half the pumpkin custard and a third of the whipped cream.  Make another layer the same way (this will use up the last of the custard).  The final layer will have just cake, tofee sauce, and whipped cream. 

Chill the assembled trifle for at least four hours, or overnight.

And then there was eating!  Actually then it rested in the fridge overnight on Sunday and we ate it on Monday evening.

It was RIDICULOUSLY good.  My pumpkin custard wasn’t as bright as the original, and I think the toffee was a bit thin because it all soaked into the cake.  But have I mentioned that it was ridiculously good?

Posted in Baking, Desserts, Pastry | 2 Comments »

Georgie porgie, pudding and pie… filling?

Posted by Jeanne on October 26, 2010

Can I talk about the weather, briefly?  (I suppose this is my blog and I can talk about whatever I want to, really.  So there and you are not the boss of me, etc.)

It was raining, and it’s getting cold for real, and I would like to hibernate today.  I would really, really like to curl up in several large down comforters or sleeping bags or something with the tiny dog and many pieces of trashy fiction and/or books about food and nap off and on all day long.

Alas, I have a job and a catering company and a blog and on I will press.  But man, does hibernation sound good sometimes.

(Thus concludes the bizarre interlude which was not really about the weather at all.)

So I told you about my problem buying excessive amounts of fruit.  And you saw the ridiculous number of apples.

Utterly ridiculous.  We ended up canning pie filling!  It was so easy and it’s really delicious.

Canned apple pie filling, inspired by this recipe.

Ingredients:

3 C white sugar

1 C cornstarch

1 TB ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp salt

10 C water

6 TB lemon juice, plus a bit additional

6 lbs. apples

Start your canning kettle and prepare six quart-sized jars along with their lids and rings for canning.  I wash the jars and bands in the dishwasher, and wash the lids with hot soapy water and then rinse well.

In a large soup pot, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add salt and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Peel, core, and slice apples. While you’re working, keep the already cored or peeled apples in a water bath into which you have squeezed the juice of one lemon (to keep them from browning).

Pack the sliced apples into hot canning jars, leaving approximately half an inch of headspace.

Fill jars with the hot syrup.  Gently remove air bubbles with a plastic knife.  Wipe the edges of the jars clean, put lids on and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Don’t start the timer until the jars are all in the water and the water has returned to a boil.  Et voila!  You have pie filling.

We should have taken more pictures but the whole thing went really quickly and it was a very all-hands-on-deck sort of evening.  We made two batches and one of the jars didn’t seal, so we gave it a try the next night in a cobbler.

Which I also didn’t photograph but which Curt and the neighbors said was very good.  Good thing because we have 11 more jars waiting to be used.

      Posted in Baking, Garden/Seasonal, Pastry | 1 Comment »

      An apple a day

      Posted by Jeanne on October 12, 2010

      I am having another one of those weeks.   Those weeks when the blank WordPress “edit post” screen makes me rue the day I started this blog.  Because, you see, I must write something.  But I am not A Writer and so the words sometimes do not come.

      Alas.  I’ll try anyway.

      We got a ton of apples!  Not actually a ton.  25 pounds of apples though…

      I love this kind of “I’ll get you my pretty – with my poisoned apple!” shot Curt took.

      Have I mentioned that I have a fruit problem?  In that I must buy fruit in large quantities?  This is what 25 lbs. of Golden Delicious and 5 lbs. of Fuji apples look like.  On our dining room table.

      One of the things I wanted to do was experiment with a dessert pie that isn’t too terribly sweet.  I hate how much sugary, syrupy stuff is in most fruit pies, so I experimented.

      Also Jenny claims she doesn’t like crust, and that she only likes apple crumble pie.  One of the core truths to giving away large quantities of food to willing people on an ongoing basis is that it helps if you listen to their preferences.

      So I came up with this:

      I used cinnamon and garam masala to spice it, just to give it a slightly savory bent.  The crust was unsweetened, and then I topped it with a salted brown sugar and oatmeal topping.  It was pretty darn good, and those apples were phenomenal.

      And Jenny even said it was delicious and Jenny is awfully nonplussed about food.  (Thanks for the mention in your blog, Lainey!)

      Posted in Baking, Garden/Seasonal, Pastry | 1 Comment »

      Weight watchers week seven and fridge Friday the ninth

      Posted by Jeanne on October 8, 2010

      WW was not good.  I’ve not really been watching what I eat, and I twisted my ankle at the Emerging Terrain dinner (serving tables outdoors on a rough surface = not good).  My ankle is still Not Right so I haven’t been working out either.

      Maybe I can bike this weekend?  Hm.

      I was up 1.2 again and now I am only down half a pound from seven weeks ago, which I suppose is better than potentially up several pounds but still.

      Want to see what’s in my fridge?

      Lots of stuff.  Of particular interest:

      Goose fat!  I’m going to turn it into pie crust.  Maybe THAT is why I am not losing any weight…

      Also, to the left: leftover Tuscan baked chicken and beans, which was really, really good and which made phenomenal leftovers too.

      Also, spicy mixed pickle – Curt is obsessed.

      Happy Friday!  There will be pie soon.  Oh yes, there will be.

      Posted in Baking, Fridge Friday, Pastry, Weight Watchers | Leave a Comment »

      My grandmother’s not a pastry chef

      Posted by Jeanne on July 1, 2010

      “…and she can still make a pie.”

      I love dessert challenges on Top Chef.  LOVE.  It’s so hilarious to see accomplished professional chefs sputtering about how they just don’t do pastry!  Pastry is impossible and horrible and no one can do it without years and years and years of practice!

      Being a restaurant’s pastry chef is very, very different from being its chef chef, and I’m sure it’s intimidating.  Especially when you’re looking at the creations of Johnny Iuzzini, who is a James Beard-award winning pastry chef at Jean Georges.  Intimidating barely begins to cover it.

      But for the love of dude.  IT’S JUST PIE.  I make pie. 

      Out of pumpkins even!

      Or a galette.

      Or even a savory tart.

      Seriously.  Even you can make pie! 

      Start with this dough, or the dough in the book Ratio.  Make a filling.  Try it. 

      If you don’t like it all that much, you still just made a pie and then you can make more.  It’s your pie and you can change it however you’d like! 

      Now I want pie…

      Posted in Baking, Pastry | Leave a Comment »

      Strawberry and apricot galette

      Posted by Jeanne on June 14, 2010

      Gallettes are great – like free form pie.  It doesn’t have to be pretty and fluted and Martha-worthy.

      Thank god.  Because every piece of dough I touch lately turns out like an amoeba.

      Strawberry and apricot galette

      0.5 batch pie crust

      3 C mixed fruit – I had about 1.5 C each cut strawberries and apricots

      Juice of 0.5 lemon

      2 TB cornstarch

      2 TB sugar

      Preheat oven to 375F.

      Toss fruit, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar together in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Roll out your pastry crust to a rough circle (um, perhaps an amoeba?).

      Place the rolled out crust onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.

      Dump fruit into the center of the rolled-out pastry.  Fold up the edges and overlap them.

      Brush with some butter if you like, or don’t if you’re lazy like me.

      Bake at 375F for 35 to 45 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and the crust is nicely browned.

      Yum.  I forsee many more of these in our summer.

      Posted in Baking, Desserts, Pastry | 1 Comment »

      Christmas cookies

      Posted by Jeanne on January 3, 2010

      Curt is a really excellent baker, and every year we make an enormous amount of Christmas cookies to give away.  I use the phrase “we” liberally here, because I did not do a damn thing this year, although I have in previous years.

      I am a huge cookie slacker.

      The list, with links to recipes:

      Five-spice gingersnaps (We have done the incredibly impressive red-and-white-ornament frosting in the past.  Not so much this year – just some white circles and stars.)

      Fig swirls (also apricot swirls, using the same recipe but substituting dried apricots for the figs, lemon for the orange, and ginger for the cinnamon.)

      Cutting the dough and baking.

      Chocolate hazelnut cookies

      Cinnamon palmiers (these are Curt’s favorite cookies of all time, and have made an appearance the past four years.  I have never helped with these, as they are incredibly complicated and take far more patience than I possess.)

      Peppermint marshmallows (Ok, this is a recipe for coconut marshmallows.  We added peppermint extract instead of the coconut, and dusted them with a combination of crushed peppermint candies and powdered sugar.)

      Grasshopper squares (these are insanely good.  Very, very rich.)

      Fennel butter cookies (we used fennel seeds saved from the garden to make these)

      All the cookies together, pre-plating:

      And the final plates:

      Clockwise from the left – grasshopper squares, five-spice gingersnaps, chocolate hazelnut cookies, cinnamon palmiers, fig and apricot swirls, peppermint marshmallows, and fennel cookies in the center.

      Lots and lots and lots of final plates.

      Posted in Baking, Desserts, Pastry | 1 Comment »