10.05.09

Pie crust

Posted in baking, dessert, food at 3:13 am by wingerz

applepieagain

Jen’s pretty thrilled that peach season is over. Something about getting sick of peach pie, whatever that means. Anyhow, my pie obsession continues. For the past two weeks it’s been apple. I’m still trying to figure out the filling. I’ve pre-cooked the apples to reduce soupiness but the filling is a bit too soft; hopefully next week it’ll be perfect.

I’ve been pretty happy with this crust. Previously I posted another crust recipe, but I normally don’t have shortening on hand, only butter.

Incidentally the oven got a workout today. 16 scones, a strawberry tart, 6 mini-apple pie tarts, four loaves of bread, salmon roasted in butter, and potatoes. There’s a butternut squash tart in the fridge that didn’t make it in. Glad that the weather cooled down a bit. :)

All-butter double pie crust
from ATK Family Baking

Hopefully this is right; my neighbor borrowed my cookbook.

2 1/2 cups flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sour cream
1/3 cup + 2-3 tbsp water
16 tbsp butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes and frozen for 10-15 minutes

1. Combine flour, sugar, salt in a food processor and pulse. Mix sour cream with 1/3 cup water.
2. Sprinkle the butter cubes into the flour mixture. Pulse 10 times for 1 second.
3. Pour half of the sour cream and water mixture over the flour and pulse a few times to combine. Pour the rest of the mixture in and pulse a few more times.
4. Pick up a bit of dough in between your fingers and press it together. If it doesn’t stick, sprinkle 2 tbsp of water onto the flour mixture and pulse a few times. Check the flour again; if it still doesn’t come together add a bit more water and pulse.
5. Pour dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Split into two halves and shape each into a 4″ disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
6. Roll out into 12″ disks. One goes into the bottom of a pie plate. Both should be refrigerated for about 1/2 hour after being rolled out. Be sure to keep it from sticking to the rolling surface by throwing a bit of flour underneath every so often (or rotating it 1/4 turn between every roll).

09.08.09

Peach pie

Posted in baking, dessert, food at 2:37 am by wingerz

peachpie

Sorry everyone. This one’s got too many components and requires some diagrams for construction. Some tips gleaned from the recipes that I used:

  • use 3-4 tbsp of potato starch or pulverized minute tapioca (for about 6 cups of peaches) to thicken the fruit mixture
  • freeze the lattice top strips to make it easier to work with them (this recipe uses 8 1 1/4″ strips)
  • don’t peel the peaches if you’re lazy like me
  • preheat a baking sheet and bake on the lower rack of the oven if you want a chance at a browned bottom crust

Used the all-butter pie crust from the ATK family baking book and the filling recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.

08.10.09

Fruit tart

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 12:56 am by wingerz

fruittart

I haven’t even eaten this yet, but I don’t have to. It looks amazing. Random thoughts:

* I may have let the cream cook for a few seconds too long. Hopefully it’s ok.
* Forming the tart crust is a bit easier than doing a pie, since you can patch up mistakes pretty easily.
* One small package of pie weights is not nearly enough; I’ll have to pick up a few more.
* This is a multi-step recipe with lots of downtime so plan accordingly. No part of it is particularly difficult.
* I didn’t glaze it.

Hopefully it’ll taste good too.

Fresh fruit tart
from ATK Family Baking

Pastry Cream
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Tart Pastry (Pâte Sucrée)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Fruit and Glaze
fruit , unwashed
1/2 cup red currant jelly or apple jelly

1. For the Pastry Cream: Heat half-and-half, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until sugar has begun to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
3. When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk simmering half-and-half into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to medium bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.
4. For the Tart Pastry: While pastry cream is chilling, whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.
5. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 13-inch round. (If dough is soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable, 20 to 30 minutes.) Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling over 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan. (If some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough. Set dough-lined tart pan on large plate and freeze 30 minutes (can be sealed in gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic bag and frozen up to 1 month).
6. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet, press 12-inch square of foil inside frozen tart shell and over edges and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Set baking sheet with tart shell on wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
7. To Assemble and Glaze the Tart: When tart shell is completely cool, spread cold pastry cream over bottom, using offset spatula or large spoon. (Can press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.) Arrange fruit on top of pastry cream
8. Bring jelly to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to smooth out lumps. When boiling and completely melted, apply by dabbing and flicking onto fruit with pastry brush; add 1 teaspoon water and return jelly to boil if it becomes too thick to drizzle. (Tart can be refrigerated, uncovered, up to 30 minutes.) Remove outer metal ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between bottom of crust and tart pan bottom to release, then slip tart onto cardboard round or serving platter; serve.

08.08.09

Freeform Fruit Tart

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 12:44 am by wingerz

freeformtart

The summer of peach desserts continues. I made this one twice. The first one was all-around disastrous. I had to roll out the pastry dough twice because the first time I wasn’t able to form it without breaking it. After it came out of the oven, it slipped off the cooling rack and right onto my kitchen table. It was still tasty, but I had much better luck with the second one.

This tart looks pretty impressive and doesn’t require a tart tin. I made mine with peaches (unpeeled) and blackberries.

Freeform Fruit Tart
from Cook’s Illustrated

Dough
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 – 6 tablespoons water (ice cold)

Fruit Filling
1 pound peaches , nectarines, apricots, or plums
1 cup berries (about 1/2 dry pint)
3-5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar for sprinkling

1. Note: The amount of water that the dough will require depends on the ambient humidity; in a dry environment, it may need more water, in a humid environment, less. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or tightly wrapped in two sheets of plastic wrap and frozen for up to one week. If at any point the dough becomes soft, sticky, and dificult to work with during rolling, chill it until it becomes workable.
2. For the dough: In food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine, about three 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour, then pulse until texture resembles coarse bread crumbs and butter pieces about the size of small peas remain, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over mixture and process 1 second; repeat until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with fingers. Empty dough onto work surface; dough will be crumbly (if dough has large dry areas, sprinkle additional 2 teaspoons water over dry areas and incorporate by gently fluffing entire amount of dough with fingers). Using bench scraper, gather dough into rough mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide (mound should be perpendicular to edge of counter). Beginning from farthest end, use heel of a hand to smear about one sixth of dough against work surface away from you. Repeat until all dough has been worked. Using bench scraper, gather dough again and repeat. Dough should now be cohesive. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold and firm but malleable, about 1 hour.
3. For the filling: During last 30 minutes of chilling, prepare fruit. Halve and pit stone fruit and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Gently wash and dry berries. Combine fruit in medium bowl (you should have about 3 cups); set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
4. To assemble and bake: (If dough has chilled longer than 1 hour and is cold and hard, let stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding.) On large sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll dough to 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed. (If dough sticks to parchment, gently loosen and lift sticky area with bench scraper and dust parchment with additional flour.) Slide parchment and dough onto baking sheet and refrigerate until cool and firm yet pliant, 15 to 30 minutes (if refrigerated longer and dough is hard and brittle, let stand at room temperature until pliant).
5. Sprinkle fruit with sugar and toss gently to combine. Remove baking sheet with dough from refrigerator. Mound fruit in center of dough, leaving 2 1/2-inch border around edge. Carefully grasp one edge of dough and fold up outer 2 inches over fruit, leaving 1/2-inch area of dough just inside of fold free of fruit. Repeat around circumference of tart, overlapping dough every 2 to 3 inches; gently pinch pleated dough to secure, but do not press dough into fruit. Working quickly, brush dough with water and sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool tart on baking sheet on wire rack 10 minutes. Using offset or wide metal spatula, loosen tart from parchment and carefully slide tart off parchment onto wire rack; cool until warm, about 30 minutes, or to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cut into wedges and serve.

08.03.09

Peach-blueberry crisp

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 2:17 am by wingerz

peachcrisp

My exploration of peach-based desserts continues. This one’s really easy and tasty. As with most of my desserts, I cut the amount of sugar. I also added some blackberries to the mix because they’re so good right now.

I’ve made this one twice. I brought the second one to our friends’ barbecue, where it was called a pie (despite not having a bottom crust) and a cobbler (despite not having a biscuit-y topping). Anyway, the entire thing was consumed and complimented, which is the important part.

I’m pretty excited because my 9″ tart tin should be arriving this week!

Peach-Blueberry Crisp
from Cook’s Illustrated

6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3/4 cups pecans or whole almonds, chopped coarse (or chopped fine if mixing topping by hand)

5 cups peaches , (peaches have been peeled, pitted, and cut into half-inch wedges), about 5 medium peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries , rinsed
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

1. For the Topping: Place flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture moves from dry sand-like appearance with large lumps of butter to a coarse cornmeal texture, about three 4-second bursts. Add nuts and pulse until mixture resembles crumbly sand, about five 1-second bursts. Do not overprocess or mixture will take on a smooth, cookie-dough-like texture. (To mix by hand, allow butter pieces to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; toss to coat. Pinch butter chunks and dry mixture between fingertips until mixture looks like crumbly wet sand. Add nuts and toss to distribute evenly. Do not overmix.) Refrigerate mixture while preparing fruit, at least 15 minutes.
2. Toss peaches, blueberries, tapioca, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in medium bowl.
3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8-inch square (2 quart) baking pan or 9-inch round deep dish pie plate. Distribute chilled topping evenly over fruit; bake for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees; bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

07.13.09

Scones

Posted in baking, food, home cooking at 1:53 am by wingerz

scones

Apparently these are quite good, according to two of my favorite food critics. I haven’t had one yet, but I will in a second. These were surprisingly easy (with the help of a good food processor), so I’ll definitely be making them again. I substituted some dried cherries from Trader Joe’s in place of the currants. We’ve got some fresh apricot jam and strawberry jam to spread over them. I love summer.

Cream Scones
from ATK Family Baking

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup currants
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl or workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Press the dough into a 9″ cake pan, then flip it out of the pan back onto the work surface. Divide the dough into 8 wedges. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet. (Baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.)
6. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »