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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Channukah, Oh Channukah...

I love Channukah time...the latkes, the doughnuts...all of the oil. I've been busy in the kitchen, working through my holiday cookies: gingerbread cake, gingerbread cookies, seven layer cookies, meringue and cookie bars, chocolate chocolate cookies...I've been busy! But in the meantime, I've also been planning a big Channukah feast for Saturday. While my menu is set on doughnuts (pics next week I hope), there are so many ideas for the holiday from some of the great Jewish bakers. Here are a few delicious recipes to spice up your 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th nights of Channukah!

The great Joan Nathan...knower of all things Jewish food. This one is designed to be done with a child...
Sufganiyot
Joan Nathan, The Children's Jewish Holiday Cookbook

Ingredients
  • 1 scant tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk or warm water*
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter or pareve margarine, softened*
  • Apricot or strawberry preserves
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
*Use butter and milk if serving at a milk meal, and water and pareve margarine for a meat meal
Directions
  1. Child: Mix together the yeast, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the milk. Let sit to make sure it bubbles.
  2. Child: Sift the flour and mix it with the remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg yolks, and the yeast mixture.
  3. Adult with Child: Knead the dough until it forms a ball. Add the butter or margarine. Knead some more, until the butter is well absorbed. Cover with a towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Adult: Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch.
  5. Child: Cut out the dough into 24 rounds with a juice glass, or any object about 2 inches in diameter. Take 1/2 teaspoon of preserves and place in center of 12 rounds. Top with the other 12. Press down at edges, sealing with egg whites. Crimping with the thumb and second finger is best. Let rise for about 30 minutes.
  6. Adult: Heat 2 inches of oil to about 375°. Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil, about 5 at a time. Turn to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Child: Roll the doughnuts in sugar.


A Jewish classic, no matter the holiday from one of my favorite Jewish baketresses...
Rugelach
Dorie Greenspan


  • Ingredients
For the dough
  • 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling
  • 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but you can use walnuts or almonds)
  • 1/4 cup plump, moist dried currants
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
For the glaze
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar
Directions

To Make the Dough: 
  1. Let the cream cheese and butter rest on the counter for 10 minutes—you want them to be slightly softened but still cool.
  2. Put the flour and salt in a food processor, scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter and pulse the machine 6 to 10 times. Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds—don't work it so long that it forms a ball on the blade.
  3. Turn the dough out, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disk, wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day. (Wrapped airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 1 month.)
To Make the Filling: 
  1. Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat, or do this in a microwave oven, until it liquefies. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. (Silicone baking mats are great for rugelach.)
To Shape the Cookies: 
  1. Pull one packet of dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll easily, either leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 11- to 12-inch circle. Spoon (or brush) a thin gloss of jam over the dough, and sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar. Scatter over half of the nuts, half of the currants and half of the chopped chocolate. Cover the filling with a piece of wax paper and gently press the filling into the dough, then remove the paper and save it for the next batch.
  3. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, or triangles. (The easiest way to do this is to cut the dough into quarters, then to cut each quarter into 4 triangles.) Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each cookie becomes a little crescent. Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the cookies, and refrigerate. Repeat with the second packet of dough, and refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking. (The cookies can be covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; don't defrost before baking, just add a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.)
Getting Ready to Bake: 
  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To Glaze: 
  1. Stir the egg and water together, and brush a bit of this glaze over each rugelach. Sprinkle the cookies with the sugar.
  2. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or to room temperature.
Serving: Tea is traditional, but we drink coffee with rugelach. These are pretty and, even with their jam-and-fruit filling, not overly sweet, and they are even good with sparkling wine. 
Storing: The cookies can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.



What holiday doesn't need a coffee cake?
Ashkenazic Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Gil Marks, The World of Jewish Desserts

Ingredients
Streusel Topping:
  • 1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar, or 1/4 cup each
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, grated coconut, golden raisins, or chocolate chips, or 1 cup any combination (optional)
Batter:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated or brown sugar or 1/2 cup each
  • 4 large egg yolks, or 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
Glaze (optional):
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F if using a glass pan). Grease one 9-inch square pan,9-inch Bundt or tube pan, or 9-inch springform pan. Line with parchment or waxed paper, grease again, and dust with flour.
  2. To make the streusel: Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg if using. Cut in the butter to resemble coarse crumbs. If desired, stir in the nuts.
  3. To make the batter: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and zest if using. Stir in the flour mixture.
  4. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Carefully cover with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining streusel.
  5. Bake until the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes. Set on a rack and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap the kuchen in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  6. To make the glaze if using: Combine all the glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth and of pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake and let stand until set.
HINT:
  1. When baking and storing a cake containing acidic ingredients such as sour cream in an aluminum pan, line the bottom with parchment paper to prevent the juices from reacting with the aluminum and creating a metallic flavor.
Single-Layer Coffee Cake:
  1. Spread all the batter in a 13-by-9-inch pan, sprinkle with all of the topping, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Fruit-Filled Coffee Cake:
  1. After adding the middle layer of streusel, top with 1 cup peeled, cored, and thinkly sliced cooking apples, 1 cup peeled, pitted, and sliced peaches, or 1 cup pitted cherries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.
Cheese Coffee Cake:
  1. Combine 8 ounces softened cream chees, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread over the top of the batter, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. If desired, spread 1/2 cup melted blueberry, cherry, raspberry, or strawberry preserves or pie filling over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the streusel.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Post Thanksgiving Dessert Plump

Happy Tuesday everyone! It's been hard to write up the post-Thanksgiving blog post, seeing as how I'm still STUFFED to the gills with deliciousness. Today's post is short and sweet: just a few pics from our fabulous event. How was your Thanksgiving? Be sure to share your own photos!

Apple galette with maple whipped cream

Pumpkin mascarpone pie with mascarpone whipped cream

Caramel pecan hand pies

Not pictured: homemade vanilla bean ice cream (it was gone before I could get the camera ready!)


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Final Countdown to Thanksgiving Desserts

It's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and you probably have all of your recipes planned out, guests RSVPed, and wine displayed - or not. Maybe you've been invited to a dinner and don't know what to bring; maybe you've been busy shoveling yourself out of the deep, deep snow and haven't had a chance to determine your menu. Any way you slice it, here are a few last minute recipes for the dessert buffet. Make that final stop at the grocery store ASAP!

It has to be chocolate...
Chocolate Mascarpone Pound Cake
Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients
Cake
  • Butter, for the pan
  • Flour, for the pan
  • 1 (16-ounce) box of pound cake mix, such as Betty Crocker
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Glaze
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
For the cake: 
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pound cake mix, cocoa powder, butter, mascarpone cheese, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until smooth and thick.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the glaze: 
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder. Add the vanilla and slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons water, or a little more as needed, until the mixture is thick. Spoon the glaze over the cake and serve.

A little Mexican...
Crepes Cajeta
Mary Sue Milliken

Ingredients
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 egg, plus 2 yolks
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, plus more for garnish
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish
Directions
  1. Place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a 2-qt. saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 3 hours, adding more water as needed. Using tongs, flip can and continue to cook 2½ hours more. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate overnight. 
  2. Combine flour, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, cloves, egg, and yolks in a blender. Blend until a smooth batter forms; cover and chill 1 hour. 
  3. Heat an 8” nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, pour 2–3 tbsp. batter into skillet, tilting skillet to let batter cover bottom completely. Cook until small bubbles form on the surface of the crêpe, about 2 minutes; flip and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Spread 1 tbsp. cajeta evenly over each crepe; sprinkle with 1 tbsp. pecans. Roll crepes into logs and transfer to serving plates; sprinkle with additional pecans. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with raspberries, if you like.

A little old school...
Pumpkin Halvah
Anissa Helou

Ingredients
  • 2 lb. peeled and seeded kabocha or acorn squash, cubed
  • 3½ cups milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
Directions
  1.  Working in 2 batches, place squash and milk in a blender and puree until smooth; transfer to a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until reduced and thickened to the consistency of loose peanut butter, about 1 hour. Add both sugars, almond flour, butter, rose water, cardamom, and salt, and cook, stirring often, until smooth, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Remove pot from heat and stir in powdered milk; using a handheld blender or a food processor, puree halvah mixture until no lumps remain. Stir in ¾ cup chopped almonds and 6 tbsp. each raisins and golden raisins. Transfer halvah to a serving platter or bowl and sprinkle remaining almonds and raisins over top; drizzle with ghee and serve immediately.

Happy Thanksgiving baking!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are YOU Ready For Thanksgiving?

Happy Tuesday! Today I realized that Thanksgiving is next week. Don't get me wrong, I knew it was soon...I just didn't realize how soon. Among the millions of things that need to get done, baking is definitely one of them (and maybe near the front of the list for me). Here are 2 more recipes (did I start this last week? It feels like a million years ago!) that help bring a blah table to Ba-BAM! Be warned: these are hard work! Be sure to prepare a few staples as well!


For the elegant frou frou style...
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise
Bobby Flay

Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup pure canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • Pumpkin Bread, toasted and cubed, recipe follows
  • Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe follows
  • Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce, recipe follows
  • Freshly whipped cream
Pumpkin Bread
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces (scant 1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple schnapps
Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup pure cane sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. 
  2. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined, remove the vanilla pod, and whisk in the bourbon. Strainthe custard into a clean bowl. 
  3. Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking glass baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard. 
  4. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and pour hot tap water into the roasting pan until it comes half way up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour. 
  5. Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
  6. Spoon some of the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise into a shallow bowl, top with some of the bread pudding and drizzle with the Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream. Bread pudding is best served warm.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
  8. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl. 
  9. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar, and oil at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times. 
  10. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and water and mix until just combined. Spread thebatter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely. 
  11. Once the bread is cool, slice in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven until lightly toasted, turning once, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
  12. Combine the cream, apple juice, star anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a clean, small saucepan and place back over low heat while you make the caramel. 
  13. Combine the sugar, water and, vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring, until it's a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture a little at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the apple schnapps and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. The sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat before serving.
  14. Bring the half-and-half and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a medium saucepan. 
  15. Whisk together the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until at the pale ribbon stage. Slowly whisk in the hot half-and-half, return the mixture to the pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Strain into a bowl and set over an ice bath. Stir until chilled. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


If it's pie you want...
Four and Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Melissa and Emily Elsen

Ingredients
Pie Crust
  • 1 recipe your favorite (2-crust) butter pie crust
Salted Caramel
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (recommended: Maldon sea salt flakes)
  • Apple Filling
  • 4 to 6 lemons
  • 5 to 6 medium to large apples*
  • *Cook's Note: A mixture of Crispin, Granny Smith, and Cortland is nice if you can.
Apple Filling Seasoning
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Assembly
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (flake)
  • Special equipment: Mandolin for slicing, and a pastry brush.
Directions
To make the pie crust:
  1. Prepare one 2-crust batch of your favorite all butter pie crust. Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan, and cut the top crust as a lattice, approximately 1-inch in width or as desired. Chill the rolled crust while you prepare the salted caramel and apple filling.
To make the salted caramel:
  1. Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper.
  2. Cook's Note: This process can take awhile depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it, if the caramel begins to smoke, you've burned it and you'll have to start over.
  3. Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream - the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam - be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.
  4. Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt. Set the caramel aside while you prepare the apple filling.
To make the apple filling:
  1. Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the whole apples. Cook's Note: A mandolin works great for producing very thin slices.
  2. Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Set the prepared apples aside.
  3. To make the apple filling seasoning:
  4. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and Angostura bitters. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.
To assemble the pie:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees F (depending on the hotness of your oven).
  2. Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel, and apple mixture. Begin by layering 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples, and then the caramel again. Cook's Note: Save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top once the lattice is assembled.
  3. Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.
  4. Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes (otherwise the caramel will bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 to 350 and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. You can test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife. The apples should be just soft.
  5. Let the pie cool, then slice and enjoy.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Insert New Thanksgiving Dessert Here.

Happy Hump Day! The Chrismakkah commercials are already upon us and that can only mean one thing - Thanksgiving is almost here! In a holiday full of traditions, it can be hard to sneak in a new dish or two without getting push back...but let's try it! Between the display of apple and pumpkin pies, cranberry bars and chocolate tarts, sneak in one of these delicious recipes and see how fast they're gone!

Not-so-traditional cakes...
Cranberry Streusel Cake
Nancy Olson

Ingredients
Batter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Filling and Topping
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (10 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch-round springform cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer at low speed, beat in the butter until it looks like coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sour cream and vanilla. Beat the egg mixture into the dry ingredients at medium-low speed just until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the cranberries with the lime juice, zest, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Spoon the mixture over the cake batter.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, oats and brown sugar, then stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the chilled butter until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the topping over the cranberries and bake the streusel cake for about 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely, then remove the ring and serve.

Spice Cake with Bourbon-Pecan Frosting
Grace Parisi

Ingredients
Cake
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Frosting
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk (optional)
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 cup ground toasted pecans
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; butter and dust with flour. In a bowl, mix the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt. In a cup, mix the milk with the vanilla.
  2. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until light and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture and scraping down the bowl.
  3. Scrape the batter into the pans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 35 minutes, until springy. Let cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack. Peel off the paper, turn the cakes upright and cool completely.
  4. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the butter and egg yolk at medium-high speed until creamy. Beat in the sugar at low speed. Beat in the cream, vanilla and salt, then beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes longer. Beat the bourbon and toasted pecans into the frosting.
  5. Spread 1 cup of frosting over a cake layer and top with the second layer; frost the top and sides. Let stand 1 hour; serve.

Ginger-Squash Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
Jean Anderson

Ingredients
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup finely shredded peeled butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (about 4 ounces), divided
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat squash, brown sugar, butter, egg, ginger, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl to blend. Fold in flour mixture and 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Transfer to pan, spreading to edges (layer will be thin). Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool.
  2. Bring cream just to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla; whisk until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, about 20 minutes. Spread over cake (layer will be thin). Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup nuts over.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cut into 16 squares and serve.


Not cake, not pie, just out-of-the-box...

Pumpkin Turnovers
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina SozaMuy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor
Ingredients
Fresh Pumpkin Filling
  • 4 to 5 pound pumpkin (orange or striped)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 16 ounces piloncillo or 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
Empanada Dough
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Glaze
  • Canned evaporated milk or egg white
  • Cinnamon-sugar mixture (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar)
Directions
Make pumpkin filling:
  1. Rinse off the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap. Using a serrated knife cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the pumpkin seeds. Scrape out the stringy layer (pulp) with a spoon. Discard seeds and pulp. Cut pumpkin into 3- to 4-inch slices leaving the skin on.
  2. In a steamer or large pot, steam the pumpkin in the 2 cups of water, making sure to keep the lid on tight, for 20 to 40 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender. The pumpkin is ready when your fork slides easily into the flesh.
  3. Let the pumpkin cool. Once cooled, scoop the pumpkin flesh off the skins and into a mixing bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the steamed pumpkin with a potato masher and strain the liquid into a bowl. Reserve the liquid and set pumpkin puree aside.
  4. In the same large pot, put the reserved liquid from the pumpkin (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup) and add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Bring liquid to a boil and then remove from the heat. Replace lid and let steep for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove cinnamon and cloves and add pumpkin puree to the liquid. Add the piloncillo and over medium-low heat let it melt into the pumpkin puree, stirring occasionally so it will not burn or stick to the pot. The pumpkin puree will turn a dark color with the piloncillo making it sweeter.
  6. Once the piloncillo has melted, lower the heat to low and let simmer uncovered until all the water evaporates. Remove from heat and allow pumpkin puree to cool down before refrigerating, about 15 minutes.
  7. To help puree set, place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight. If some liquid separates, remove it with a spoon before using so the filling is not watery.
  8. You can make the empanada dough after your filling has chilled.
Make empanada dough: 
  1. Mix the first 3 dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening. It is best to use your hands. Add the eggs, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Continue to work in with your hands until you have a soft dough. Split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Assemble and bake empanadas:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Take out half the dough and split it into 12 equal balls of dough.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough balls into small round circles. Place a small dollop of pumpkin filling on one half of each of the dough circles. Wet the bottom edge of the circles with water to help seal the two halves. Fold over the dough to cover filling and seal off the edges with a fork by pressing down along the edges. This also makes for a pretty pattern when baked. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  4. Brush each empanada with some canned evaporated milk or egg whites, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Puncture the top of each empanada with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking.
  5. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray, place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes on middle rack in the oven. If after 15 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet to the top rack and continue to bake for the last 5 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Enjoy the empanadas warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate baked empanadas for a few days. Reheat in a toaster oven or bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving baking!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pie in the Face

Happy Wednesday everyone! One of my favorite parts of fall is the idea of making dozens and dozens of pies! I love the endless possibility of fruits now available; unique fall-friendly combos to explore. Here are a few pie recipes that need to be in your repertoire.

Black-Bottom Peanut Pie
Marcus Samuelsson

Ingredients
Crust
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • One 11-ounce box vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans—split lengthwise, seeds scraped
Filling
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 teaspoons molasses
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
Directions
  1. MAKE THE CRUST Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderately low heat and cook, swirling, until browned, 9 minutes; let cool. Process the cookies, sugar and vanilla seeds in a food processor until finely ground. Add the browned butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened; transfer to a 10-inch glass or ceramic pie plate and press the crumbs over the bottom and up the side to form the crust. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned and set; let cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 375°.
  2. MAKE THE FILLING Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth; pour into the cooled crust and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, corn syrup, butter, molasses, salt and eggs, then stir in the peanuts. Pour the filling over the chocolate. Transfer the pie to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and bake the pie for 50 minutes longer, until the filling is almost set. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, 4 hours.


Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie
Sarah Patterson Scott

Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Filling:
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Scotch
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Whipped cream:
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Scotch
Directions
For crust:
  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, process until very coarse meal forms. Add 3 tablespoons ice water; using on/off turns, process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if too dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill 1 hour.
  2. Roll out dough to 12-to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold edges under and crimp decoratively. Chill dough until firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line crust with sheet of foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil with beans. Bake until just beginning to turn golden brown, piercing with fork if bubbles form, about 15 minutes longer. Cool completely.
For filling:
  1. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, butter, and salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil until deep brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add Scotch, then cream (mixture will bubble vigorously) and whisk until smooth. Return to medium heat and stir until most caramel bits dissolve. Strain butterscotch mixture into small bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  2. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and pumpkin in large bowl. Whisk in eggs, then spices. Add reserved butterscotch mixture; whisk to blend. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk before using.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour filling into crust. Bake until just set, about 50 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store at room temperature.
For whipped cream:
  1. Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, and Scotch in medium bowl until peaks form. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk if necessary before serving.
  2. Cut pie into wedges. Serve with dollop of whipped cream.


Spiced Kabocha Squash Pie with Pumpkin-Seed Crumble
Rhoda Boone


Ingredients
For the pie crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and frozen for 15 minutes
  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces and refrigerated for 15 minutes
For the filling:
  • One 2 1/2-pound kabocha squash
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 large egg yolks plus 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the crumble topping:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup shelled, roughly chopped, and toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Special equipment:
  • 9-inch pie pan
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with 1 rack on the bottom rung and 1 rack in the center of oven. Place 1 rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack to preheat.
Make the pie dough:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and shortening and pulse until coarse, pea-sized crumbs form, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons ice water and process until the dough just holds together, about 30 seconds. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers: If it is very crumbly, add pulse in more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time (2 tablespoons maximum). Do not over process.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and push together into a rough ball. Knead a few times to combine, then flatten into a disc with smooth edges (no cracks), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
Roast the squash:
  1. Meanwhile, cut the squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the squash, cut-side down, on a rimmed baking sheet and add a splash of water to the pan. Bake in center of oven until the squash flesh is easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Reduce the oven to 375°F.
Roll out the dough:
  1. Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin then unfurl it into the 9-inch pie pan. Lightly press it into the pan. Leave 1 inch of dough hanging over the edge, trimming any excess dough. Tuck the dough under itself, then crimp the edge as desired. Chill at least 30 minutes.
Make the crumble topping:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder to combine. Add the butter and massage with your fingertips until the mixture becomes clumpy and moist. Add the pumpkin seeds and mix until incorporated. Chill at least 30 minutes.
Fill the pie and bake:
  1. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out enough flesh to measure 2 1/4 cups and place in a blender. (Discard the skins and reserve extra squash flesh for another use.) Add cream, sugar, molasses, eggs, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the blender. Puree until filling is smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell (do not overfill) and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the top with the crumble mixture. Place on preheated rimmed baking sheet on bottom rung of oven. After 30 minutes, rotate baking sheet and move to center rung of oven. Bake until the filling is set and the crumble topping is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more. (Cover the crust edge with foil or a pie shield if it starts to brown too much.) Transfer pie to a wire rack and cool completely, about 3 hours. Pie will keep up to 2 days, loosely covered with foil, at room temperature.
Do ahead: The pie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and chilled, or frozen for up to 3 months; thaw before using. The filling can be made up to 1 day ahead; bring to room temperature before baking. The crumble topping can be made up to 3 days in advance and chilled, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Happy baking!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cake: Two Ways

Happy Thursday! I've been busy updating my website and my facebook page with pictures of birthday cakes and other delightful goodies! Have you checked them out yet? Holiday ordering season is coming up - which always brings discounts - so stay tuned! In the meantime, here is my tip of the day. While making a four layer deliciously rich chocolate cake, I chose to do a Nutella mousse filling and a mocha buttercream, leaving me with an excess of frostings! My tip for today is to take the frostings you've made and make another batch of cupcakes! To fill a cupcake, use a large round pastry tip to carefully dig out the center of the cupcake. Use a piping bag with a slightly smaller tip to gently fill the cupcakes. Be careful not to push to hard - the cupcake will explode! Top with the buttercream and you've got a fresh batch of baked goods ready to share!

As a cake...

...or as a cupcake!