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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Bake, With Yogurt

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today's menu: no bake desserts using Greek yogurt. Let's be honest - in this heatwave, it just might be too hot to turn on the oven. But fear not rumbly tummies, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth with a multitude of recipes. Try these.

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Pops
Jen Yee

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and minced
  • 3⁄4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and minced
  • 4 oz. plain 2 percent Greek yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup honey, preferably orange blossom
Directions
  1. Bring strawberries, juice, salt, and rhubarb to a simmer in a 4-qt. saucepan; cook until fruit begins to break down, 3–4 minutes. 
  2. Let cool and, using a slotted spoon, transfer 1⁄2cup fruit to a bowl. Transfer remaining fruit mixture to a blender; add yogurt and honey and purée until smooth. 
  3. Stir in reserved fruit; divide mixture between individual ice-pop molds. 
  4. Freeze 1 hour, then insert a popsicle stick into each mold; freeze until pops are solid, about 3 hours more. To release ice pops from molds, briefly run the bottom of the molds under warm water.

FroYo Bites
Natalie Monson

Ingredients
For pink:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberries
For purple:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup blackberries or blueberries
Directions
  1. Blend ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
  2. Using a piping bag or small spoon, scoop yogurt into a mold or ice cube tray. Freeze until ready to eat. Makes 10-12 'cubes' of each flavor

No-Bake Berry-Yogurt Cake with Sugar Cone Crust
Bon Appetit

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar cone crumbs (from about 8 cones, ground in a food processor)
  • 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup raspberry jam
  • 11/2 tsp. plain powdered gelatin
Directions
  1. Combine ground sugar cones and melted butter in a 9-inch pie dish until well combined. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of dish. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
  2. Whisk yogurt and jam in a medium bowl. Place 1 1/2 tsp. water in a small microwavable cup; sprinkle gelatin over. Let sit for 5 minutes, then microwave just to warm water enough for gelatin to melt, about 15 seconds; stir to blend. Whisk gelatin into yogurt mixture. Pour filling into chilled crust.
  3. Cover and chill until filling is set, at least 8 hours or overnight.


Happy "non-baking" baking!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cakes to Bake in SUMMER!

Happy Monday everyone! I've been thinking about cake A LOT lately (let's blame it on pregnancy, but really it's just a typical Monday for me) so instead of giving you the usual multi-layer delicious layer cake options, here are a few different kinds of cakes to bring to the next cookout.

S'mores Cheesecake with Summer Berries
Rick Rodgers

Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (made from 9 whole crackers finely ground in processor; 1 packet)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
  • 9 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt or Ghirardelli), chopped
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs
Topping:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large marshmallows, cut into quarters with wet kitchen scissors
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1-pint container fresh raspberries
  • 1 1-pint container fresh blueberries
Directions
For crust:
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Mix crumbs and sugar in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until mixture is evenly moistened. Press onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake until set, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven; cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
For filling:
  1. Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until smooth. Remove from over water and cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
  2. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt in processor and blend until smooth. With motor running, add whipping cream through feed tube and process just until blended. With motor running, add melted chocolate, then add eggs 1 at a time, blending and scraping down sides after each addition until mixture is smooth. Pour batter over crust in pan.
  3. Bake cake until outer edge is slightly puffed and cake is barely set in center (center will look shiny and move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 55 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Run small sharp knife around cake to loosen. Chill uncovered until cold, 8 hours or overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
For topping:
  1. Whisk sugar, egg whites, 3 tablespoons water, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to blend in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens and is hot to touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water and stir in marshmallows (keep water simmering in saucepan). Let stand until marshmallows soften, about 3 minutes. Set bowl with mixture over simmering water; using hand held electric mixer, beat until stiff shiny peaks form, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  2. Scrape topping onto cheesecake. Using offset metal spatula, spread topping to edges of cake, swirling decoratively. Let stand until set, about 15 minutes.
  3. Using kitchen torch, lightly brown topping in spots. (Or preheat broiler; place cake at least 4 inches from heat source and broil just until topping is lightly browned in spots, watching closely to avoid burning, about 2 minutes.) Chill cake until cold. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and keep chilled. Remove pan sides. Place cake on platter.
  4. Mix raspberries and blueberries in medium bowl. Cut cake into wedges. Serve berry mixture alongside.


Summer-Fruit Shortcake with Mascarpone
Bon Appetit, August 1999

Ingredients
For cake:
  • 2/3 cup chilled buttermilk
  • 1 large chilled egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For filling:
  • 5 medium plums, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large peaches, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2-pint basket raspberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 8-ounce container chilled mascarpone cheese, or one 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional powdered sugar
Directions
Make cake:
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract in medium bowl to blend; transfer 1 tablespoon mixture to small bowl and reserve for glaze. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl; add butter. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 3 minutes. Add buttermilk mixture and blend just until soft moist dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, gather dough into ball and knead gently for 6 turns. Transfer dough to ungreased baking sheet. Shape dough into 8-inch round. Brush top with reserved 1 tablespoon buttermilk mixture. Bake cake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cake to rack and cool completely.
Make filling:
  1. Toss plums, peaches, raspberries and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, beat mascarpone, whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl until firm peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Cut off top 1/3 of cake. Using small knife and leaving 1/2-inch border at edge, cut out enough of cake bottom to form 1/2-inch-deep indentation. Spread half of mascarpone cream in indentation. Using slotted spoon, remove fruit from bowl; mound onto cream. Reserve fruit juices in bowl. Spread remaining mascarpone cream over fruit. Cover with top of cake. Refrigerate cake and reserved juices separately, at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.
  4. Let cake stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges. Drizzle with reserved fruit juices and serve.


Espresso and Mascarpone Icebox Cake
Gourmet, August 2004

Ingredients
  • 3 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 9 oz) at room temperature
  • 1 (9-oz) box chocolate wafers such as Nabisco Famous
  • 1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder*
  • Special equipment: a 9 1/2- to 10-inch springform pan (about 26 cm)
Directions
  1. Beat 2 cups cream with 6 tablespoons sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds soft peaks, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add mascarpone and mix until combined.
  2. Spread 1 1/4 cups mascarpone mixture evenly in bottom of springform pan and cover with 14 wafers, slightly overlapping if necessary. Spread with another 1 1/4 cups mascarpone mixture, followed by 14 more wafers arranged in the same manner. Spread remaining mascarpone mixture on top. Smooth top with a metal offset spatula, then cover pan with foil and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer from freezer to refrigerator and chill, covered, until a sharp knife inserted into center cuts through softened wafers easily, about 8 hours.
  3. Pulse remaining chocolate wafers in a food processor until finely ground.
  4. Beat remaining cup cream with espresso powder and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar using electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and side of pan and frost cake all over with espresso cream. Sprinkle edge of top lightly with wafer crumbs. Serve cold.
*Available at most supermarkets and The Baker's Catalogue (800-827-6836).

Notes: Cake, without espresso cream, can be chilled up to 2 days. Cake can be frosted with espresso cream 4 hours ahead and chilled, loosely covered with foil.


Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bring Vacation Home

Hello Tuesday! The tri-state area is stuck in a heat wave (UGH) so I think it's more than a little appropriate that we all close our eyes, turn up the Bob Marley (a staple in all restaurants on my Caribbean vacation), blow a fan in our hair (act like it's a little breeze - humor me), and pretend we're all in the Caribbean. Now while we do that, let's take a look at a few recipes that bring Caribbean flavors into your home kitchen.

Tropical Rainbow
Laura Fyfe

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons blue curaçao
  • 1/2 cup (250 g) chopped mango
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) chopped strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
Directions
  1. Place the sugar and 1 cup (250 ml) water in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Let simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  2. Place the blueberries in a food processor and add the blue curaçao and one-third of the sugar syrup (about 5 tablespoons). Blitz until completely smooth, then pour into the bottom of four popsicle molds and place in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, clean the food processor bowl and add the mango with the tequila and another one-third of the syrup. Blitz until completely smooth.
  4. When the blueberry base is frozen solid, remove the molds from the freezer and pour over the mango mixture. Return the molds to the freezer and freeze for another 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Finally, blitz together the strawberries, rum, and remaining syrup. Pour the strawberry mixture over the mango layer once it has frozen solid.
  6. Freeze for another 1 1/2 hours, or until completely solid.


Kesio
Aruba tourism website

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed Milk
  • 1 can of evaporated Milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Directions
Notes:This is Aruba's version of what is known in the US as 'flan' and in Europe as 'creme caramel'.
Kesio is also the papiamento spelling for 'quesillo' in Spanish.

  1. On top of a double boiler, but directly over a low flame, place: 3 Tbs. Sugar
  2. Melt slowly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar becomes a caramel syrup. Remove from fire and cool.
  3. Slightly beat: 4 eggs, pinch of salt. Add gradually: 4 Tbs. Sugar. Beat well until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Slowly stir in: 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 can of evaporated milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla.
  5. Strain the mixture into the double boiler containing the caramelized sugar. Place over gently simmering water for about forty minutes, or until a silver knife inserted in the center comes out free of custard. Remove from the fire, and cool immediately in the double boiler. 
  6. At serving time unmold the kesio on to a shallow platter. If some of the caramel clings to the pan, heat gently until it melts. Cool slightly and pour over the unmolded kesio.


Coconut Rum Cake
Maggie Ruggiero

Ingredients
For cake:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs plus 3 large yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup well-stirred sweetened cream of coconut such as Coco López
For coconut slivers:
  • 1 medium coconut
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
For icing:
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons well-stirred sweetened cream of coconut
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • Equipment: a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep); an adjustable-blade slicer
Directions
Make cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Lightly butter parchment, then flour pan.
  2. Whisk together flour (1 1/4 cups), baking powder, and salt.
  3. Whisk together whole eggs and yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in flour mixture until combined, then whisk in butter until just combined. Pour into cake pan and rap pan on counter to expel air bubbles.
  4. Bake until golden brown and cake starts to pull away from side of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Invert cake onto rack (discard parchment) and cool 10 minutes more. Generously brush top and side of warm cake with cream of coconut, allowing it to soak in before brushing on more. Cool completely.
Make coconut slivers as cake cools:
  1. Pierce softest eye of coconut with a small screwdriver, then drain and discard liquid. Bake coconut in a shallow baking pan 15 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Break shell with a hammer, then pry flesh from shell with screwdriver.
  2. Thinly shave enough coconut with slicer to measure 2 cups and toss with confectioners sugar, then spread in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Bake until just dry but not golden (some tips may color), 5 to 10 minutes. (Shave and bake remaining coconut with more confectioners sugar to serve on the side, or freeze for another use.) Cool coconut completely. (It will crisp as it cools.)
Make icing:
  1. Beat together cream cheese, cream of coconut, rum, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons cream with an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in confectioners sugar. Icing should be smooth and slightly runny; stir in remaining tablespoon cream if necessary.
  2. Smooth icing over top of cooled cake, allowing some to drip over side, then top with coconut slivers.
Notes: 
  • Cake can be baked 1 day ahead and soaked with cream of coconut, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. 
  • Cake can be iced 2 hours ahead. 
  • Coconut slivers can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

James Isn't the Only One Who Likes Peaches

Happy Wednesday! Peaches are really quite delicious this time of year and if you've been spending a lot of time just tossing them in a fruit salad, it's good to know there's a million other ways to use them as well. But here are 3...

For my dad's palate...
Peach-Tarragon Shortcake
Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

Ingredients
Peaches:
  • 4 large ripe peaches
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 1/4–1/2 cup sugar
Shortcake and assembly:
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • Whipped cream (for serving)
Directions
Peaches: 
  1. Using the tip of a paring knife, score an X in the bottom of each peach. Cook in a large pot of boiling water just until skins begin to peel back where cut, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool. Peel; cut over a medium bowl into 1/4"-thick wedges, collecting juices.
  2. Add tarragon and sugar to peaches and toss to combine. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until peaches release their juices and sugar is dissolved, about 1 hour.
Shortcake and assembly:
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Heat butter and tarragon in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted; set aside.
  2. Whisk cake flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup all-purpose flour, and 2 teaspoons sugar in a large bowl. Drizzle chilled cream over and mix gently until dough holds together.
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a shaggy ball, being careful not to overwork. Place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and form into an 8"-diameter disk, about 1/2" thick. Brush with some reserved melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake until shortcake edges are golden brown, 12–15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Bake until golden brown all over, 8–10 minutes longer.
  5. Brush shortcake with remaining melted butter. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Cut shortcake into 8 wedges, spoon peaches and their juices over, and top with whipped cream.

Sans rolling pin, if you please...
The Easiest Peach-Raspberry Pie with Press-In Crust
Rhoda Boone

Ingredients
For the crust and crumb topping:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe yellow peaches (about 3–4 medium)
  • 2 pints raspberries (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Special Equipment:
  • 9" pie pan (not deep dish)
Directions
Make the crust and crumb topping:
  1. Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, and 1 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl. Drizzle in butter. Stir just to combine but do not fully incorporate. Texture should be crumbly with some large clumps.
  2. Transfer 1 1/4 cups (loosely packed) crust mixture to a medium bowl; add cinnamon and remaining 3 Tbsp. sugar. Knead with fingertips until well-combined but still crumbly with a few pea-sized pieces remaining. Freeze until ready to use.
  3. Add vinegar and 2 Tbsp. cold water to remaining crust mixture. Stir to form a dough, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the texture is smooth. Transfer to pie pan and press into bottom and up sides with a flat-bottomed measuring cup. Crimp edge with a floured fork, if desired, and freeze while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling and bake the pie:
  1. Position 1 rack in bottom third and 1 rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack to preheat.
  2. Slice peaches into 1/4-inch-thick wedges, then transfer to a large bowl. Add raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt and toss well to combine. Fill pie crust with fruit mixture, then sprinkle with crumb topping.
  3. Place pie on preheated sheet and bake until crust begins to turn golden, 20–25 minutes. Rotate sheet, move to center rack, and reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue to bake pie until crust is golden brown and thickened juices are bubbling, 35-45 minutes more; cover crust with foil or a pie shield if it begins to darken too much before juices are bubbling. Cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours to allow juices to set before slicing.
Do Ahead: Pie dough and crumb topping can be made and frozen for up to 3 months; thaw before using.
Cooks' Note: This recipe can also be used to make 12 mini pies. Double the pie crust and crumb topping recipe, but make a single recipe of the filling. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Divide pie dough evenly among cups and press into bottom and up sides. Divide filling evenly among cups and top with crumb topping. Freeze any leftover crumb topping for later use. 
Set rack in center of oven, then preheat to 425°F. Bake mini pies until crusts begin to turn golden, 20–25 minutes. Rotate muffin tin and reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue baking until crusts are golden brown and thickened juices are bubbling, 20–25 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack, then use a knife to gently loosen and remove pies.



Classic...
Perfect Peach Pie
Sam Sifton

Ingredients
Pie Dough:
  • 2 ½ cups or 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons or 169 grams unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Yolk of 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup water, from 3/4 cup ice water
  • White of 1 egg, beaten
  • Pinch granulated sugar
Filling:
  • 6 or 7 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced, approximately 5 cups
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup or 30 grams all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
Directions
  1. Make the pie dough. Using your fingertips or the pulse function of a food processor, blend together the flour, butter and salt until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. There should be pebbles of butter throughout the mixture.
  2. Add egg yolk and vinegar to 1/4 cup ice water, and stir to combine. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of this mixture over the dough, and gently stir or pulse to combine. Gather a golf-ball-size bit of dough, and squeeze to combine. If it does not hold together, add a little more of the liquid, and stir or pulse, then check again. Repeat as necessary.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gather together into a rough ball. Divide the ball in half with a knife or a pastry scraper, then divide each portion in half again, and again, to create 8 portions. Using the heel of your hand, flatten each portion of dough once or twice to expand the pebbles of butter, then gather the dough together again in one ball. Divide this ball in half.
  4. Flatten each ball into a 5- or 6-inch disc, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425. Make the pie filling: Combine sliced peaches, lemon juice, sugar and flour in a large bowl, and gently mix to combine. Set aside.
  6. Take the larger of the pastry discs out of the refrigerator, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Add the peaches. Sprinkle them with the ground nutmeg.
  7. Roll out second disc of pastry. Place on top of filling. Wet edges of the bottom pastry disc with some cold water. Trim pastry, pinch bottom and top edges together and cut a few slits to allow steam to escape from the pie. Brush the egg white on the top, particularly around the edges, and sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar.
  8. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375. Cook until peaches bubble and pastry is golden, approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Baking Pie - Cold

Happy Wednesday! It's been awhile since our last chat...but being on vacation can get a girl distracted! While I'm enjoying a relaxing vacation along the ocean, our rental house is something of a sauna. I can appreciate no central air if there's a nice breeze between windows and doors - but something about this hotbox is getting lost in translation. So while I survive on iced drinks and popsicles, I can't help but dream about delicious cold desserts (One track mind. Shocker.); cold pies in particular. The less baking, the better. So in honor of my little hot house, here are a few recipes to cool you down as well.

Inspired by a recent New York Times article...
Chocolate Cream Pie
Nicole Spiridakis, Flourless

Ingredients
Hazelnut-Cocoa Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Filling:
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
Crust:
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Have a 9-inch pie pan ready. To make the crust: Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the nuts are lightly browned and release a nutty fragrance, about 15 minutes. Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and set aside to cool. When nuts are completely cooled, use your hands to rub off as many of the skins as you can. Don't worry if you can't remove all of the skin; a little bit is OK.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the hazelnuts, sugar, and cocoa powder until fine. Place in a bowl and add the melted butter, stirring to combine. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Bake the crust until slightly crisp, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Filling: 
  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks until well combined, then add the milk in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking, then decrease the heat and simmer, whisking, for 1 minute more (the filling will be thick).
  2. Force the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in the chocolate, butter, and vanilla. Cover the surface of the filling with a buttered round of waxed paper and cool completely, about 2 hours.
Spoon the filling into the crust. Chill the pie, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for at least 6 hours. Top with a thick layer of whipped cream.

Use a serrated knife to cut the pie into slices and use a cake server to gently place the slices on plates to serve. Note that the crust will be a little crumbly, so go easy.



Frozen...sounds good.
Frozen Maple Mousse Pie with Chocolate-Maple Sauce
Florence Fabricant

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups fine chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix crumbs with 1/4 cup maple sugar, the salt and the butter. Press into bottom and sides of a 10-inch pie plate. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Bake chilled crust 10 minutes, cool to room temperature, then place in freezer.
  2. Beat egg whites until frothy. Place all but a tablespoon of remaining maple sugar in a saucepan, add 1/4 cup water, bring to a boil and cook until mixture is 237 degrees on a candy thermometer. Continue beating egg whites until softly peaked. Then, beating all the while, drizzle in all the maple sugar mixture and beat until egg whites are firm and glossy. Beat in 4 tablespoons maple syrup. Refrigerate.
  3. Whip cream until stiff. Fold into egg white mixture. Refrigerate separately until cookie crust is cold. Spoon mousse in prepared cookie crust, smooth top and freeze 4 hours. When frozen, cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
  4. Melt chocolate on low heat. Whisk in remaining maple syrup and vanilla. Place in a container, cover and refrigerate.
  5. Do not thaw pie for serving. Dust top with remaining tablespoon maple sugar and serve. Spoon some chocolate sauce over each portion.

Since I'm in Cape Cod, let's go for the obvious...
Boston Cream Pie
Saveur

Ingredients
Cake:
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 1 1⁄2 cups flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2⁄3 cup buttermilk
Filling and Glaze:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup cornstarch
  • 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 6 eggs yolks
  • 1 1⁄2 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. 60-percent bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Directions
  1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9″ round cake pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, until smooth. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; beat until just combined. Pour into pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack; let cool completely.
  2. Make the filling: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla seeds in a 4-qt. saucepan; add yolks, and whisk until smooth. Stir in milk, and place pan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add butter one cube at a time, whisking until smooth; stir in vanilla extract. Transfer pudding to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; chill until firmed, at least 2 hours.
  3. Make the glaze and assemble cake: Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over high heat; pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Slowly stir chocolate and cream until smooth and shiny; set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, split cake horizontally into two layers so that the top layer is slightly smaller than the bottom. Spread chilled pudding over cut side of bottom layer and cover with top layer; pour chocolate glaze evenly over cake, letting it drip down the side of the cake. Refrigerate cake until glaze is set, at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Happy baking! (Stay cool)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Not Your Grandma's Cookies

Or maybe they are? Happy Tuesday everyone! Today happens to be my birthday and my amazing husband bought me my favorite kind of cake - cookie cake. I just love the combination of a giant soft cookie smothered in sweet frosting! So in honor of cookies everywhere, I give you a few unusual recipes over which you can salivate.

Oatella Cookies
Dagmara Kokonas

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • One 13-ounce jar Nutella
  • 2 cups rolled oats
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the shortening with both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl. Add the Nutella and beat until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then beat in the oats.
  2. Scoop 1-tablespoon mounds of dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the cookies are just set; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Immediately transfer the cookies from the pan to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
MAKE AHEAD The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


Korova Cookies
Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (5 1/2 ounces; 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (120 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
Directions
  1. Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together and keep close at hand. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. (Alternatively, you can do this and all subsequent steps by hand, working with a sturdy rubber spatula.) Add both sugars, the salt, and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated—the dough will look crumbly, and that's just right. For the best texture, you want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and squeeze it so that it sticks together in large clumps. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it in half, and working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter. (Cookie-dough logs have a way of ending up with hollow centers, so as you're shaping each log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, just to make certain you haven't got an air channel.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill them for at least 2 hours. (Wrapped airtight, the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)
  3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them close at hand.
  4. Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick. (Don't be upset if the rounds break; just squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the cookie.) Place the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) spread space between them.
  5. Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time, and bake each sheet for 12 minutes. The cookies will not look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies stand until they are only just warm or until they reach room temperature—it's your call. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.
Notes: Dough can be made ahead & chilled or frozen. If frozen, the dough needn't be defrosted before baking—just slice the logs & bake 1 min longer. Packed airtight, baked cookies will keep at room temp for up to 3 days; they can be frozen up to 1 month.



Blackberry Walnut Cookies
Paul Grimes

Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped
  • About 1/2 cup seedless blackberry or raspberry jam
  • Garnish: confectioners sugar for dusting
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  2. Blend together butter, sugars, vanilla, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl with a fork. Stir in flour and nuts (dough will be sticky).
  3. Form level tablespoons of dough into balls (total of 40) and arrange 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased large baking sheets. Flatten balls to 1/3 inch thick using bottom of a glass dipped in flour. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  4. Spoon 1 teaspoon jam onto flat sides of 20 cookies, then sandwich with remaining cookies.
Notes:
  • Unfilled cookies can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Cookies can be filled with jam up to 8 hours ahead.

Happy baking!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Father's Day Fare

Happy Thursday! If your weather today is gray, it's the perfect time to start planning/baking for Father's Day. I've got a few recipes that will impress dads of all kinds, but most importantly, made by you.

When you don't want to turn on the oven...
No-Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake with Strawberries
Kamran Siddiqi

Ingredients
Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (7 ounces)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
Filling
  • 7 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam mixed with 1 teaspoon hot water
  • Quartered strawberries, for garnish
Directions
  1. MAKE THE CRUST In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs over the 
bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate on high power in 10-second intervals until just melted. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese with the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste and orange and lemon zests until smooth. Gradually beat in the white chocolate. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.
  4. Wipe out the bowl of the stand mixer and add the cream to it. Attach the whisk and beat the cream at high speed until firm peaks form. Stir one-third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain. Spread the cheesecake filling over the chilled crust in an even layer. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 
3 hours or overnight.
  5. Unmold the cheesecake. Top with the strawberry jam and garnish with quartered strawberries. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.
MAKE AHEAD: The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Top with the jam and strawberries before serving.


When Dad loves ice cream...
Blues-Busting Blueberry Ice Cream
Holly Herrick

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 3 cups whole cream
Directions
  1. Puree the blueberries with the sugar and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk in the cream until thoroughly combined. 
  3. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Serve in separate bowls garnished with a few fresh blueberries and a sprig of mint.
Note: This can also be frozen in a container in the freezer and stirred every 15 minutes.


When he's an adventurous cake-eater...
Cherry-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Lori Longbotham

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups whole pitted fresh Bing cherries or other dark sweet cherries (about 21 ounces whole unpitted cherries)
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground medium grind)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Directions
  1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Combine 1/4 cup butter with brown sugar and vinegar in 10- to 11-inch ovenproof skillet with 2-inch-high sides. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to high; add cherries and bring to boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter in large bowl. Add sugar; beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk in 2 additions each, beating just until blended and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until whites are stiff but not dry. Using rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of whites into batter to lighten slightly. Fold in remaining whites in 3 additions (batter will be thick). Spoon batter over cherries in skillet, then spread evenly with offset spatula to cover cherries.
  3. Bake cake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool in skillet on rack 5 minutes. Run spatula around edges of cake to loosen. Place large serving platter upside down atop skillet. Using pot holders or oven mitts, firmly hold platter and skillet together and invert. Leave skillet atop cake 5 minutes. Remove skillet. If necessary, rearrange any cherries that may have become dislodged. Let cake cool at least 45 minutes. Cut cake into wedges and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Happy baking!