During a short visit to NH last weekend, Ethan was excited to bring his very own Bible to church with him. On Good Friday, we took him to the local Christian book store and let him pick it out. He chose a black KJV with gold pages, giant text and those tabs that help you to navigate through each book.
It turned out to be a very special day for us. We stayed afterward for lunch and enjoyed quite an array of goodies. One such delight was tiramisu. I have always loved the idea of coffee in dessert, but never liked the cheese aspect of it.
After some research I decided to use vanilla pudding in place of the mascarpone cheese. I also wanted to make the ladyfingers from scratch. And it just so happened to be the recipe that the bakers from TWD were doing this week. Bonus!
The recipe can be found on page 41 of the Baking with Julia cookbook. The group is making Madeleine’s with the genoise batter. I can’t wait to see how they all come out. Check them out here.
My attempt using this batter was not all together successful. They didn’t rise as they should have, but hey, they still absorbed the coffee!
My guess is that I didn’t beat the egg mixture enough or maybe I over folded the batter. To get the recipe for Madeleines, check out Katie and Amy Thisdell of Counter Dog .
Once the ladyfingers were out of the oven and cooling on a wire rack, I started on the other elements of the tiramisu.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
1 package of vanilla pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 Tbs. confectioners sugar
cocoa powder for dusting
The pudding is whisked with the milk and set aside. Using a handmixer whip the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into the pudding.
Using an 8×8 square dish, lay five ladyfingers on bottom (however they will fit). Drizzle coffee over top. Layer 1/3 pudding mixture on top. Place five more ladyfingers, drizzle with coffee and repeat until there are three layers. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and chill overnight.
It was delicious. Ethan loved it. Thomas loved it. I’m sure Marcy would have. I know I did.
Taking the month of December off from Tuesday’s with Dorie was a necessity. Now I’m back in the swing of things with this beautiful French Apple Tart. For the recipe, check out this week’s host, Gaye of Laws of the Kitchen.
Start with the dough for the tart shell. I went with a combination of the dough on page 31 of Baking with Julia and my own recipe.
The key to any dough is to chill it. That lets it rest a bit because you know, being mixed and formed is stressful for dough.
This was my first tart. I don’t have a tart pan. I used my trusty old pyrex pie plate. You’ve got to blind bake it first. I used rice for the weight on top of parchment paper.
Bake the filling or the compote as the french say: apples, sugar, flour and a dash of cinnamon on a jelly-roll pan until tender or “mashable” according to Leslie Mackie in this video of the tart being assembled. Fluffy bread crumbs are added to soak up any excess moisture from the apples.
This is mashed and added to the cooled tart shell. It’s ok if it’s a bit chunky. That adds “interest”.
The beauty of this tart is the mosaic of apples added on top of the filling.
Look at the glistening sugar! Oh yeah.
It’s baked and then taste tested.
This was fun to make, although I prefer a plain old apple pie for my apple cravings.
I hate to admit it, but I was a bit apprehensive about making popovers for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie. Now that I have baked them it seems ridiculous to have been worried at all. It was the easiest recipe I’ve done from the book, Baking with Julia, to date.
Page 213 tells of just five ingredients. All that was needed were measuring cups and spoons, a blender and a muffin pan.
Here is my very first batch of popovers:
I decided to put the oven down a bit for the next batch, for both of the temps.
I lathered mine with maple syrup. It tasted similar to a waffle.
Thomas had his with eggs :)
I will definitely be making these again very soon.
Head over to Paula’s and Amy’s blogs for the actual recipe. Also check out what the rest of the group thought of these little babies, here.
Last night I was able to watch a couple of Baking with Julia shows on PBS that I had on my DVR. I love that there is a book to go along with the show. So, if you are looking for a great cookbook then you should buy it, Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.
This week the TWD group was tasked with baking a Berry Galette (pg. 377). I chose to use apples instead of berries this time around and it turned out better than I could have imagined. I added cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. The galette was gone in a matter of minutes.
Since the dough for the galette (pg. 371) was for two 8 inch galettes, I went ahead and tried the Cheese and Tomato Galette (pg. 429). That also turned out good but unfortunately, it wasn’t as enjoyable after it had cooled.
The galette dough incorporated cornmeal which I thought added a lot great texture. The recipe called for sour cream, which I am not a fan of. I opted for buttermilk instead.
So, with the Cheese and Tomato Galette, I didn’t have any cheese on hand besides Ethan’s cheese sticks…I didn’t want to go to the store again! I feel like I am there everyday…Does anyone else feel this way?! It worked out just fine though.
I would definately make the apple galette again using the galette dough. A keeper!
I have a really great pie crust recipe that I use for sweet and savory pies. It’s from my high school culinary teacher, Mrs. Carlisle. It’s a shortening crust. It is mentioned in the book on page 31, that an all shortening crust has little flavor, but I disagree. I went ahead and made the dough on page 31 calling for both butter and shortening. It seemed a bit too tough for my taste, since I am so used to the flakiness of an all shortening crust.
The filling was very good. I used the rest of the frozen blueberries from our pyo blueberry trip about a month back, when I made this little gem. I had never baked with nectarines prior to this. They were a very pleasant addition to the blueberries. The lemon zest adds so much freshness to the filling. I love lemon. I actually dabbed a bit of the juice onto my wrists and neck…Yeah, I love it that much :)
I put the pie in the fridge because I like blueberry pie filling best when it’s chilled.
I’m actually thinking of having a slice for breakfast…that’d be ok, right? There is fruit involved. :0)
It was last minute that I decided to bake along with the group this week, and needless to say semolina flour isn’t a main staple in this household or the neighborhood grocery store for that matter. I decided to substitute whole wheat flour for the semolina flour. I know it’s a completely different flavor but it’s still a deliciously warm and flavorful loaf.
I don’t own a mixer so this was done by hand. I have been told that it is the better way to knead dough anyway, so that you can feel when the dough is ready.
I have always been a bit leary about recipes using yeast. When I first starting baking, I would scan through recipes that I thought I’d like to try and if I saw that it required yeast, it would immediately be discounted. Since that time I have made a few things requiring yeast, like babka (I will have to share that recipe one day) and of course pizza dough. I made Martha Stewart’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread once, but everyone thought it tasted too “yeasty”.
This time around, I wanted to make a loaf that we could all enjoy a nice turkey and cheese or tuna salad on. Ooh, maybe turn it into garlic bread for the leftover lasagna from last night. Maybe even french toast for breakfast tomorrow morning. I could go on forever but instead I will let you feast your eyes upon the bread making process through pictures.
I have always been a big coffee drinker. Since the age of thirteen, I have had at least two cups of coffee a day (minus those months of pregnancy 8 years ago) and biscotti is the perfect accompaniment to that steamy cup of joe. It’s crunchy and sweet; dipping it into your coffee gives you that grown up version of milk and cookies. It just so happens that the coffee of choice in our household is…yup, you guessed it…hazelnut. We freshly grind the beans before each pot. It’s no wonder that I wanted to try this recipe for Hazelnut Biscotti (page 315) from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking with Julia.
Biscotti are twice baked cookies or biscuits that originated in Prato, Italy. They were twice baked and therefore dry, so they could be stored for longer periods of time. In Italy and parts of Spain, they are more commonly served with wine as an after dinner dessert.
Hazelnuts are full of protein and rich in unsaturated fat, thiamine and vitamin B6. About 75% of all the cultivated hazelnuts come from Turkey. They also come from Italy and Greece and in America, they are produced in the states of Oregon and Washington.
I was chosen as a host for this week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie, so I have the honor of displaying the recipe on my blog. Please check out the Tuesday’s with Dorie blog for other member’s versions of biscotti. Especially if you are not a fan of hazelnut, there will surely be something for everyone. Some tips that I found to be helpful were: Use a stainless steel pot for boiling the nuts, so as not to stain other metals and wet your hands when shaping the logs. Make sure not to over toast the nuts or you will end up with a burnt flavor.
I strictly followed the recipe and was rewarded with a delightfully crunchy and flavorful cookie.
Hazelnut Biscotti from Baking with Julia (contributing baker- Alice Medrich)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons baking soda
2/3 cup unblanched (raw) hazelnuts
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico, or brandy
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
Preparing the Nuts– To skin the hazelnuts, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the baking soda and the nuts, and boil for 3-5 minutes, until the water turns black. To test if the skins have loosened sufficiently, drop a nut into a bowl of cold water and rub lightly against the skin- if the skin just slides off, the nuts are ready to go. Turn the nuts into a colander and run cold water over them. Slip off the skins, toss the nuts onto a towel, pat dry, and transfer to a jelly-roll pan.
Place the pan in the oven and toast the nuts, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until evenly browned. The best way to test for total toastiness is to bite into a nut- it should be brown to the center. Remove the nuts from the oven and cool. Lower the oven temperature to 300F.
When the nuts are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them and set them aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and reserve until needed.
Making the Dough– Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk just to blend. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, liqueur, vanilla and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and stir with a wooden spoon to mix. Add the nuts and continue to mix, just until well incorporated. (Since the dough is stiff, sticky, and hard to stir, you might find it easier just to reach in and mix it with your hands.)
Flour your hands and lift half of the dough onto one side of the parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat and squeeze the dough into a chubby log 12 to 13 inches long. Don’t worry about being neat or smoothing the dough- it will even out as much as it needs to in the oven. Repeat with the other half of the dough, leaving about 3 inches between the logs.
First Baking– Bake the logs for exactly 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. At this point, the logs can remain on the pan overnight, if that’s more convenient for you.
Second Baking– Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 inch thick slices, cutting straight across or diagonally. (You can make the biscotti thinner or thicker, as you wish, and adjust the baking time accordingly.) Lay the biscotti on their sides on a cooling rack- you may need to use a second rack- the place the cooling rack in the 300F oven, directly on an oven rack. (Baking the biscotti like this allows the oven’s heat to circulate around the cookies, so there’s no need to turn them over.) The cookies may need to bake for as long as 15 minutes, but it’s a good idea to start checking them after about 10 minutes. When the biscotti are golden brown, dry and crisp, remove the cooling racks from the oven. Let the cookies cool to room temperature before packing them for storage.
Storing– The cookies will keep in an airtight container for about a month.
For years, I have been perusing food blogs for recipes, cooking tips and techniques. I have come across the symbol (TWD) on many occasions. It stands for Tuesday’s with Dorie. Dorie Greenspan is the author of 10 cookbooks and has won numerous awards. Tuesday’s with Dorie is an online baking club that originally baked it’s way through her book, Baking from My Home to Yours. They are now onto another one of her cookbooks, Baking with Julia. I have always admired Julia Child. She would roll with the punches and she always had a smile on her face.
I love the idea of baking the same recipe as hundreds of others and seeing how they all pan out. Each month, two recipes are nominated and chosen. The rules are simple; you have to own the book, conquer at least one of the recipes per month and have a blog of which to post your quest.
My first recipe from this extraordinary book is the French Strawberry Cake. It is a genoise cake, which is like the French version of sponge cake. I must admit, my first attempt at genoise was not very successful. The cake did not rise properly. The leavening for this cake is in the form of whipped eggs. The recipe calls for whipping the eggs until they are airy, pale and tripled in volume, taking 4-5 minutes. I whipped and I whipped and I whipped, for 20 minutes! I’m not sure if my eggs weren’t quite warm enough or if I just had faulty eggs but it still tasted divine.
We went strawberry picking last weekend and got just under 4 lbs of strawberries.
As I said, the cake didn’t rise properly…I think it should have been double the height.
But the strawberries were delicious. After thinly slicing, they were mascerated with sugar and then mashed to use for the filling of the cake.
The final result was beautiful and tasted very fresh. Believe it or not, this was the first time that I had made whipped cream from scratch. It was sooo good.