Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Mixed Berry Cobbler

serving of cobbler

[recipe here]

I was really excited to make this cobbler (chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life), mostly because it seemed pretty easy to do, and I have been pressed for time lately (wedding is now a month away!). Because of the many warnings on the TWD blog about the crust being flavorless, I decided to use turbinado sugar instead of regular sugar and also added a bit of cinnamon.

fully baked cobbler

Side note, I am loving Supreme Spices! Found them via Cupcake Project.

cinnamon supreme spice

The cobbler came together pretty quickly and easily, not too fussy. I ended up using a 7.5" round casserole instead of the called-for 9" deep dish pie pan, but I used the same amount of fruit, so there was a higher berry-to-crust ratio.

crust dough

mixed berries

(I'm not really sure what the point was of cutting slits in the top, because mine all fused together, but the hole in the middle was pretty useful.)

before baking

In all, I thought the end result was very tasty! I think the berries I used were maybe a bit too sour (I used frozen raspberries and blueberries), so next time I would add in a bit extra sugar in the filling (or serve with ice cream... I just never have it in the apartment!).

cobbler and serving of cobbler in ramekin

A. really liked it as it was, and even had it for breakfast the next morning, though it was starting to get a bit gooey :)

finished cobbler again

As for the smoking oven last week, apparently I needed to clean out my oven. Learned that the hard way after another bout with the smoke alarm. DUH.

Also... sorry to A.'s coworkers, but the last few TWD's have been of the "eat it the day it's made" variety. Some Apple Cheddar Scones might be coming your way soon!

As always, check out the TWD blogroll for more baking experiences! You can find Dorie's recipe online here, and also in her wonderful book, Baking: from my home to yours.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Peppermint Cream Puff Ring

cream puff ring

[dorie's recipe here]
[ricotta rum filling recipe here]

It's been a week since I actually made this, since I did it right after Caroline's chosen recipe was announced on the TWD blog. So, I've had a chance to calm down a little bit and stop being furious at my smoke detector, which apparently doesn't like when I turn my oven above 400°F. I was pretty pissed at having to fan the ceiling for 40 minutes with a cardboard box... but I need to keep telling myself that it was not the fault of the recipe, but rather the combination of my stupid oven, the lack of an exhaust fan in my apartment, and the overly sensitive smoke detector. Not... bitter... at all.

Anyway, I was pretty excited to give this a try, having never attempted choux pastry before. It was good timing, since the Food Network had just played Alton Brown's choux pastry episode a little while before, so I felt as prepared as I could be.

preparing the pastry

Everything seemed to be going according to plan, and the dough came out nice and smooth and shiny. I piped it in a circle and piped a few cream puffs with the leftover dough.

piped dough in a circle

At this point, my smoke detector manifested its hate for me and my oven. I had no way to check for doneness, since I could not leave my fanning post for more than 5 seconds, so I just baked it for the specified time and then pulled it out of the oven to cool.

cream puffs cooling

Looked a little overdone to me, especially the smaller puffs, but at least the smoke detector and I were much happier after this point. I'm not sure what exactly I did wrong with the drying part, but the inside of the ring was pretty wet and I had to scrape out a lot of it after it cooled.

cross section of ring

For the filling, Dorie's recipe called for a peppermint-infused whipped cream filling. I wanted to try out some different flavors, so I went with a ricotta filling flavored with rum. It was very tasty, but I didn't get a chance to strain the ricotta since I sorta made up the recipe on the spot, so it was more watery than I would have liked. I think an overnight strain would help out the texture a lot.

Ricotta Rum Filling

280g Ricotta cheese, strained (preferably overnight)
80g confectioner's sugar (or to taste)
1oz of dark rum, or 1 tsp. rum flavoring
~1/2 pint heavy cream

Beat the ricotta together with the confectioner's sugar. Add in the rum and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture until combined.
--end of recipe--

finished pastry

Dorie's recipe also called for a chocolate glaze topping, which I was planning to do but totally forgot about until after we dove in. It was pretty late at night at that point, and we probably didn't need the chocolate calories anyway... so maybe next time, if I can figure out how to disable my smoke alarm :-p

Check out a similar recipe of Dorie's here, and as always, don't forget to check out all of the other blogs on the TWD blogroll!

another view of finished dessert


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lookin' Good...


DMBLGIT May 2008

My blog looks good! :) I came in second place in the May 2008 round of DMBLGIT. All of the results from this round are here, hosted by Habeas Brûlée. Next month's round is hosted by Tartlette, check it out!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: La Palette's Strawberry Tart

strawberry tart

[recipe here]

Crusts have always seemed to me one of the most elusive and difficult type of baking to attempt. Trying to balance textures to create the perfect crust just seems a lot more intimidating than mixing up a batch of brownies. So, when I found out that this week's recipe was a strawberry tart, chosen by Marie of A Year at Oak Cottage, I will freely admit that I thought of sitting it out. It's been a crazy week at work, and I also had promised that I would make desserts for my brother's 30th birthday party. But then, this package arrived in the mail:

food processor

That's right! A shiny new food processor, a wedding gift from my two aunts and cousins. It was the perfect opportunity to give it a try, so there was no way I could pass it up. It worked like a dream!

whole strawberries

No baking process photos this time, it was pretty late at night so I just took a few strawberry photos for inspiration :) As Dorie said in her comment on the TWD blog, this is supposed to be a "rustic" dessert, so I just cut pieces of the crust, slapped on some Sarabeth's mixed berry and popped on some strawberries.

quartered strawberries

A. and I both thought it had a great flavor, but we did miss the pastry cream of a berry tart (I actually thought of making that, but it is the recipe on the next page of the book, so I thought I'd wait till that one got picked!) I thought the crust tasted a lot like shortbread. Actually, I liked it too much and just started eating it by itself :( I had to throw it out before more of it ended in my stomach. I hate throwing things out, but I had a wedding dress fitting to prepare for!

strawberry tart piece

You can get Dorie's recipe on Serious Eats, or buy the book! And don't forget to check out the rest of the TWD blogs for their writeups!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: French Chocolate Brownies

French Chocolate Brownies

I was very excited this week because the TWD recipe, chosen by Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook, called for raisins flamed in rum. I figured that there would be some huge fireball in my kitchen, curling and rising and almost singeing the ceiling. As it turns out, the flame was tiny and blue and you couldn't see it unless you were looking straight down into the pan. Still kinda cool, but not nearly as dramatic as I'd imagined ;)

rum and raisins

Anyway, the rest of the recipe was pretty straightforward. I thought the cinnamon was a nice addition and gave the chocolate a little something to play against. Even with just eggs to give it a rise, the result was definitely cakier than A. and I would have liked (see this post for A.'s favorite brownie texture... basically goo). It had a delicious flavor and tender texture, but you definitely need to be sitting by a glass of water while eating it — or, as Dorie suggests, eat it with a scoop of ice cream :) Even better!

cutting the brownies

As for the raisins, I normally don't like 'em in desserts at ALL, but I think they were a welcome addition here. The soaking and flaming in rum gave them moistness and flavor. I think next time I would try using fresh raspberries instead, though, as some of the other TWD'ers suggested.

French Chocolate Brownies

makes 16 brownies
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup (50 g) raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (205 g) sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside. (I used buttered parchment paper as a sling instead of foil, and it worked great.)

1. Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon.

2. Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

3. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them — it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

chopped chocolate

4. Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate and butter mixture, mixing only until it is incorporated — you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds — the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated, and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

batter spread in pan

5. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (Mine were done at 50 minutes, and I probably could have gone even less, because of my dark pan.) Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature (A. had a hard time waiting for them to cool... they smelled great!)

brownies in pan

6. Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil (parchment) edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. These are great with a little something on top or alongside — good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
--end of recipe--

stack of brownies

Please visit the TWD blogroll to see how everyone else fared! I'm super busy this week so I probably won't get around to looking at everyone's blogs until later in the week, but I'm excited to see all of the brownie action!

As a side note, I am now using a spankin' new domain name: scrumptiousphotography.com! All bookmarks and feed subscriptions to the old link will still work. Got to love seamless transitions :)