Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake chosen by Natalie of Burned Bits . This was very easy to make and the dough reminded me of some cakey like cobblers I have made in the past. I was surprised by the way the top crust sunk and molded around the apples, I wasn't sure if it was supposed to do this or not . The slits I had make in the top completely disappeared. Maybe next time I'll try adding a little more flour to the dough to see if that helps. Oh well, it still tasted great. I used Golden Raisins and a mix of apples ( Granny Smith and Ida Red) .

Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake

From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For The Dough
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For The Apples
10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (I like to use Fuji, Golden Delicious and Ida Reds; my grandmother probably used dry baking apples like Cordland and Rome)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar, for dusting

To Make The Dough: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice - the dough will probably curdle, but don't worry about it. Still working on low speed, slowly but steadily add 3 1/4 cups of the flour, mixing to incorporate it and scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough is meant to be soft, but if you think it looks more like a batter than a dough at this point, add the extra 1/4 cup flour. (The dough usually needs the extra flour.) When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for up to 3 days. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.)

To Make The Apples: Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; cut the slices in half crosswise if you want. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice - even with the juice, the apples may turn brown, but that's fine - and add the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat evenly. Taste an apple and add more sugar, cinnamon, and/or lemon juice if you like.

Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a 9x12-inch baking pan (Pyrex is good) and place it on a baking shee tlined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Remove the dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll and it cracks, either let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving. Once it's a little more malleable, you've got a few choices. You can roll it on a well-floured work surface or roll it between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. You can even press or roll out pieces of the dough and patch them together in the pan - because of the baking powder in the dough, it will puff and self-heal under the oven's heat. Roll the dough out until it is just a little larger all around than your pan and about 1/4 inch thick - you don't want the dough to be too thin, because you really want to taste it. Transfer the dough to the pan. If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that's fine; if it doesn't that's fine too.

Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and, using your hands, spread them evenely across the bottom.

Roll out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples. Cut the dough so you've got a 1/4 to 1/2 inch overhang and tuck the excess into the sides of the pan, as though you were making a bed. (If you don't have that much overhang, just press what you've got against the sides of the pan.)

Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.

Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until the dough is a nice golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling up through the slits. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or to room temperature. You'll be tempted to taste it sooner, but I think the dough needs a little time to rest.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Snickery Squares -Tuesdays with Dorie

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Snickery Squares chosen by Erin of Dinner and Dessert . My dh took one bite and said now these are some Righteous Bars and I agree. I will admit that while I was making then I thought there were way to many steps involved , me being used to the mix it all together and dump it in the pan kind of cookie bars. But these are so worth it. I used the Dulce de Leche recipe from David Lebovitz's blog from his book "The Perfect Scoop"and it turned out great. We will be having some of that on some Ice Cream soon. Below Is a picture of all my Snickery Stuff waiting to be assembled

Snickery Squares

From Dorie Greenspans book Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour¼ cup sugar2 TBSP powdered sugar¼ tsp salt1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
½ cup sugar3 TBSP water1 ½ cups salted peanutsAbout 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:
7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:
Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.

To Make the Topping:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.
Cut into 16 bars.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake

This is one of my favorite Nigella recipes. Its just a simple little cake that makes me happy. It's great for dessert of course, but it also a good traveler in my lunch bag or along side my morning coffee. I love rhubarb, yogurt, vanilla and I'm also a big cornbread fan so I was very drawn to this recipe. It fuses three of my favorite flavors together with the crumbly texture of the cornmeal. So good, truly comfort food.
I live in Wisconsin so I do not have fresh rhubarb this time of year. This was made with one of my last bags of frozen Rhubarb from last year, it was still delicious, it smells wonderful while it's baking too.
When I saw the Weekend Cookbook Challenge theme was Nigella Lawson , I knew right away this is what I wanted to make. My dh gave me a yogurt maker for Christmas and I have been wanting to use my Yummy homemade yogurt in recipes, especially baking. I will talk more about my experiences so far with making yogurt in a later post. Happy Baking.
Stephanie :)
Weekend Cooking Challenge 25 is being hosted by FoodieChickie

Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake
from Nigella Lawson's
"How To Be A Domestic Goddess"

1 pound 2 ounces rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp fine cornmeal (polenta)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter (soft)
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
9-inch springform pan, buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Wash and dry the rhubarb if necessary (which I rarely find it to be) , and then trim, removing and stringy bits, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Put into glass or china bowl and cover with 1/3 cup of the sugar, while you get on with the rest of the cake. Don't let the rhubarb stand for more than half an hour or the sugar will make to much liquid seep out.
Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cornmeal together. With a fork, beat the eggs with the vanilla in a measuring cup or small bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the rest of the sugar, then gradually add the egg and vanilla mixture, beating while you do so. Then add the flour-cornmeal mixture alternately with the yogurt. They just need to be combined: don't overmix.
Finally, add the rhubarb together with its sugary, pink juices, folding in to mix, and then pour the speckled batter into the prepared pan. Put in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour or until springy to the touch. You may need to cover it with foil after about 40 minutes so that the top doesn't scorch. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for a while before unmolding.
Serves 8-10

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits - Tuesdays with Dorie

Last week I discovered a Group called Tuesdays with Dorie , and I am very excited about joining in the fun. They are baking their way through the Book "Baking from my home to yours " By Dorie Greenspan. Everyone bakes one recipe a week (the same thing) and then posts about it on Tuesday. I ordered Dorie's book the next day and as soon as it came I started baking. The first thing I made was the Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits which were chosen as this weeks recipe by Ashley of eat me, delicious .

I loved the flavor of the biscuits, I tried them first with some apricot jam and then with just a little butter and honey. I prefer the honey-butter and I have been eating them for Breakfast this way the past few days. I got 13 biscuits out of the batch using a 2 1/2 inch cutter. I think next time I will roll the dough out a little thicker and aim for 8-10 biscuits that hopefully will rise a bit higher. I will definitely make these again, would love to try them with some Ham & Yams, Yum.

So , Tuesdays with Dorie have been baking together since the first week in January , which means I have missed eight weeks/recipes. After reading every ones blogs on all of the Delicious things they have made I chose to do some "Make-up Work" and bake a few more of the recipes I had missed.

First I made the Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake from week 7 (Feb. 12) that was chosen by Jamie of Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats and then while it was in the refrigerator cooling I moved on to the Almost Fudge Gateau from week 8(Feb. 19) chosen by Nikki of Crazy Delicious .

Here is my finished Cheesecake ~~

I do not think I had ever tried Apple Cheesecake before, but after tasting this baby I know there will be more Apple Cheesecake in our future. My dh makes crockpot Apple butter every Autumn and I look forward to trying this again with the Apple butter variation.

Here is my finished Gateau ~~

WOW , this is so rich an decadent ,

I had some extra Pecans left over from my biscuits that I sprinkled on top and added some whipped cream.

Making the Cheesecake and the Gateau on the same day has put all of us around here on a sugar overload, but I just couldn't help myself :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

First Post

The world of blogging is something that I have wanted to try for sometime now but I was at a loss as to what I would talk about , how would I start ,who would want to read it, etc...
Well... After I discovered all of the wonderful Baking Blogs out there I knew THIS was my kind of blogging. I look forward to participating in all of the Current Challenges and I hope to try my hand past Challenges that most of you have participated in . All of your posts are so inspiring and I love to see all the different interpretations of the same recipe.

I can't wait to get started !