Monthly Archives: June 2010

Lime Tart with Meringue

My piping skills are rudimentary, but they’ll stay rudimentary if I don’t practice. I’ve seen tarts with meringue done this way, so here’s my stab at it.

Lime tart with meringue

Lime tart with meringue


The crust is Julia’s pâte sablée, as usual, and the curd is the one I usually do except this one uses lime juice instead of lemon. Strangely enough, three egg whites is about twice as much as you need for meringue done this way.

One day I’ll have a proper piping bag and proper piping tips and decent piping skills, and the meringue will look better. And one day I’ll have a blowtorch to cook the meringue with, and the meringue will look even cooler, like this.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Strawberry Tart in a Chocolate Crust with Caramel

Nellie’s bread pudding didn’t last long. I’ve think I’ve figured out, though, that the bottom was soggy because the water in the bain marie needed to be boiling. I don’t know that, but I’m guessing. I think it was soggy because it wasn’t done, and I think it wasn’t done because the water insulated it from the heat.

This morning I said on Facebook that I was going to bake a pie today and immediately got suggestions. The first one was strawberry rhubarb, but either rhubarb is an insult to good strawberries or strawberries are an insult to good rhubarb, depending on who’s replying. Dr. Science is not enthusiastic about strawberry rhubarb pie, so that took care of that. I’d default to lemon meringue, but someone said “something with chocolate and caramel” and suddenly I thought “strawberry tart in a chocolate crust with caramel.”

Strawberry tart in a chocolate crust with caramel

Strawberry tart in a chocolate crust with caramel

Normally I would want to organize the fruit, but for some reason I pictured this with the strawberries cut up and just tossed in at random, so that’s what I did. I sort of winged the crust; I kind of made the almond oil crust but with an ounce of Dutch-process cocoa added in.

The real excitement was the caramel, though. I’ve never made caramel, and it’s one of those things you’re supposed to be afraid of. I figure it’s really something that you can do if you’re careful and pay attention—like the hollandaise sauce. I followed the caramel recipe on Simply Recipes. My sugar took several minutes to start melting. I tried stirring with a whisk, but the sugar clumped inside the whisk, so I abandoned that and switched to a wooden spoon, which worked fine. The sugar never came to the boil, but it all melted and turned a dark amber and smelled right, so I added the butter even without reaching a boil. The butter melted in pretty quickly. I added the cream slowly and in small amounts, and it really does bubble up; you really do need a big saucepan for this. Now I have a disgusting pan to clean, but the caramel is good, so it might be worth it.

The tart is pretty good, but it has a tendency to fall apart. I think this would work better as individual tartlets in maybe 2-inch deep shells

Leave a comment

Filed under tart

Nellie’s Bread Pudding

While we were waiting for the roly poly to bake, my aunt went through her dessert recipes and pulled out some that she thought I’d like to make. One is this bread pudding that her mother’s cousin Nellie used to make. Nellie was short and slim, but she was no shrinking violet. She never married, but a family friend got her a job in the Department of the Navy, where she worked during World War I. Apparently she was also quite the baker; I’ve been making her white fruitcake every year for several years, and it’s wonderful.

This is another of those recipes that aren’t very detailed because you’re supposed to know what you’re doing. I feel like I have a pretty good grip on most of what I have to do here, but I’m guessing at some of it.

Nellie's Bread Pudding

Nellie's Bread Pudding

Nellie’s Bread Pudding
¾ c bread crumbs
2 C. scalded milk
3 squares choc
2 eggs
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
¼ c cold milk
¾ c sugar

Soak bread crumbs in scalded milk. Add melted choc., beaten eggs, vanilla, milk & sugar. Mix well. Pour in buttered baking dish. Set in pan of hot water. Bake in moderate oven about one hour or until done like custards.

Traditionally, bread pudding is a way of using up stale bread by mixing it with staples in your fridge and pantry. These days, you see recipes that call for cream or half-and-half and all sorts of exotic ingredients. There’s nothing exotic in Nellie’s bread pudding, though, and that’s one of its charms for me.

Nellie didn’t have a food processor, obviously, and mine doesn’t chop worth a hoot (I should get a new blade), so for all intents and purposes, I don’t have one either. I’m not sure how you get bread crumbs without processing stale bread in a food processor. Isn’t that sad? Anyway, I have that Italian bread from the test batch sitting in the freezer, and this is a good way to use up some of that. I trimmed off the crusts and broke it up into the smallest pieces I could, which I hope is good enough.

I’m pretty sure “three squares of chocolate” means three 1-ounce squares of unsweetened baking chocolate.

The bread is soaking in the hot milk; these are the rest of the ingredients.

The bread is soaking in the hot milk; these are the rest of the ingredients.

I’m guessing about the baking dish, but I count about 4 cups of ingredients, so I’m using a ramekin that holds that much. Everything else looks pretty straightforward.

I preheated the oven to 350℉, which is moderate. The terms slow, moderate, and fast refer to how long you can hold our hand in the hot oven; for example, if you have to pull your hand away fast, that’s a fast oven. You can google “moderate oven” (or whatever term you need defined), and there are lots of sites with charts that convert the terms to temperatures.

I brought the milk to the scald (bubbles form around the edge of the saucepan and steam rises from the milk) and dumped in the bread. While that was soaking, I chopped the chocolate and melted it in the microwave. While that was going on, I beat together the other ingredients in a bowl. Then I stirred the melted chocolate into the milk and bread and added the rest of the ingredients and stirred it all until the mixture looked pretty homogeneous. I sprayed the ramekin with baking spray and turned the pudding mixture into the ramekin.

Bread pudding ready to go in the oven

Bread pudding ready to go in the oven

Nellie wants this cooked in a bain marie. I used a roasting pan. I put the filled ramekin in the roasting pan, then I poured in hot water. Possibly I should’ve brought the water to the boil first; I’ll have to check on that. I used 1 quart of water, which I hope is right.

Bread pudding in a bain marie in a moderate oven

Bread pudding in a bain marie in a moderate oven

After an hour, the pudding was done. It looks like hot water in the bain marie was good enough.

Nellie's Bread Pudding

Nellie's Bread Pudding

I wondered if I should unmold it, and possibly I should’ve because it was a little soggy on the bottom.

Small servings of chocolate bread pudding

Small servings of chocolate bread pudding

It’s delicious, though!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Loaf

Yesterday I made Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread, but I shaped it in a boule instead of baking it in a loaf pan as the recipe instructs. Well, as of 8 am, this is what was left of that loaf:

What's left of yesterday's loaf after 12 hours

What's left of yesterday's loaf after 12 hours

And that’s about the amount of bread I had to eat from that loaf, too, so I guess somebody liked it. That means I need to bake a loaf of sandwich bread, so why not do Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough again but with a seed blend and in a loaf pan? Once again, I’m letting the machine do the work. Here are the seeds:

Seed assortment

Seed assortment

That’s a tablespoon each of poppy, sesame, flax, quinoa, and amaranth, clockwise from the center. One problem with these machines is that the pans tend to leak. We do everything right, too. Anyway, instead of putting in the liquid ingredients first and then the dry ingredients, I have to put in the dry first and then the wet.

Bread pan full of ingredients

Bread pan full of ingredients

That doesn’t affect how the dough turns out, obviously:

Dough at the end of the dough cycle

Dough at the end of the dough cycle

This dough was pretty tacky; the recipe gives a range for the flour (5¼ to 6½ oz), and I used 6 oz, but maybe 6½ oz would be better, and I’ll try that next time. I popped this right in a loaf pan sprayed with olive oil spray (because the fat in this recipe is olive oil):

Dough in the loaf pan

Dough in the loaf pan

And in half an hour, it was pretty clear I needed to get the oven preheated:

Time to preheat the oven

Time to preheat the oven

By the time the oven was preheated (20 minutes later), the dough had really risen:

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

After baking for 25 minutes, the internal temperature was 200℉. I think it should’ve risen more, but the dough was pretty wet. I definitely need to use more flour next time.

Sandwich loaf

Sandwich loaf

The crumb view

The crumb view

Hmmm, smoked turkey and havarti with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise . . .

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread

This sourdough bread is sort of cheating because it has commercial (instant) yeast in addition to the sourdough starter. However, it took less than 3 hours start to finish, unlike the 6 to 8 hours it typically takes to produce a loaf of bread just with the starter.

Dad suggested spaghetti, bread, and salad for dinner. By the time I realized I needed to make bread, it was lunchtime, so off I went to my favorite recipe source, King Arthur. Clay’s Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread looked easy to do, and I especially liked being able to toss everything in the bread machine and let the machine mix, knead, and proof the dough for me. You’re supposed to bake it in a regular loaf pan, but that didn’t seem like a shape that goes with dinner, somehow, so I just made a boule and proofed and baked it in a 24-cm springform pan.

Clay's multi-grain sourdough bread

Clay's multi-grain sourdough bread

The recipe calls for a seed mixture, and I had plenty of seeds but not the patience to pick some out and make up a mixture, so I just tossed in sunflower seeds. I got the dough in the springform pan for the final rise and asked Dad, “If I made bread with sunflower seeds in it, would you eat it?” “Only if there was nothing else,” he said. Oops. When he found out that’s what I was making, he said he’d eat it and pick the seeds out if he had to. As it turns out, 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds isn’t much, and he liked the bread.

Clay's multi-grain sourdough: the crumb view

Clay's multi-grain sourdough: the crumb view

Actually, we all liked the bread, and it looks like I’ll have to make another loaf tomorrow.

This really would make very nice sandwich bread. The crumb is very light and soft. It’s delicious. For the next loaf, I’ll try a mixture of seeds and I’ll bake it in a loaf pan.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

I was thinking of making this sourdough chocolate cake for Dad’s birthday, but my cousin has developed an allergy to dairy, and this is full of dairy. However, we’re out of pie, so here’s my opportunity. “Fed” sourdough starter means you feed the starter 8 hours or so before you get started on the cake, and you start the cake about 3 hours before you’re ready to bake, so this requires some planning. The recipe calls for 8½ ounces of sourdough starter, so you need to feed it plenty; I fed mine 4 ounces each of flour and water.

I couldn’t find the camera when I was starting to work on the cake, but the Baking Banter blog entry for this has great photos (and much better than mine would be).

Sourdough chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

Sourdough chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

I didn’t use the mocha frosting, I used cream cheese frosting, which was quick and easy and tasty. Actually, the whole thing is tasty. The cake is very rich and moist but not heavy.

Most of a slice

Most of a slice

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dad doesn’t want anybody to do nice things for him. I have no idea why. But he was getting some kind of birthday dessert today, whether he liked it or not.

We all went out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner for Father’s Day and Dad’s birthday, so this afternoon I made that peach and apricot tart again, and everybody liked it, even Dad!

Peach and apricot birthday tart

Peach and apricot birthday tart

This is Julia’s pâte sablée (not the crust with all the exotic ingredients) with some very nice peaches and apricots (and garnished with pistachios and honey) from Wegman’s. Wegman’s is probably the best supermarket in the universe, and we need one in the Boston area. When we get back, I’m going to write to them and beg them to come to Boston. I also scored a small jar of lavender honey and a package of Zweigle’s red hots and white hots.

A slice of the peach and apricot tart

A slice of the peach and apricot tart

My cousin and his wife were amazingly accommodating when I wanted to bake, and I appreciate their willingness to act as enablers.

Happy 85th birthday, Dad!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized