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Archive for the ‘Pastries’ Category

 

This report has been brought to you from a special place where we had no internet, only 2 and a half TV channels, intermediate phone service, and issues with water pressure… Yet, the 3 weeks we spent there are beating all the awesomeness charts!  In June I gulped a can of courage pills, loaded my 4 and 2 year-olds on an airplane, waved bye bye to the husband, and took the kids on a 30-something hour trip to my homeland!

So, here are some shots and recipes from our visit to Russia, where my children were running in my grandmother’s garden, in the house where my mother was born, where I spent so many happy days, and where you don’t need special photo props to give recipes a hint of old country.

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Plum Pie Filling

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

I used the flaky dough from the previous post and filled it up with fresh plums to make this delicious pie. We served it cold with ice cream and I barely had a minute to take a few shots before it disappeared!

02:00
00:30
01:30

Low cal Calories 47kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

Low chol Cholesterol 12mg

Low sodium Sodium 41mg

Low carbs Total Carbohydrate 10g

Serving size 81g Calories from fat 5kcal Fiber 1g Protein 1g Sugar 7g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • Filling
  • 2 ½ pounds plums, washed, pitted and quartered
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough as directed in the Flaky Pie Dough recipe up to step 5. Roll the refrigerated disks on a floured service one at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Fill the pie dish with the first disk and refrigerate (without cutting the edges). Roll the second disk, place it on a floured baking pan, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Make the filling: wash, pit, and quarter the plums. Mix them up with the remaining ingredients. Fill the pie with the plums and refrigerate while working with the second disk.
  3. Cut the disk into at least 15 ½-inch-wide strips using a fluted pastry cutter or a sharp knife.
  4. Lay 8 strips across pie. Lay lattice pattern on top of the pie. Press together the edges of the pie with a fork and trip the crusts to a 1-inch overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190° C).
  6. Make egg wash: beat up the egg with water.
  7. Brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake pie on middle rack, with a foil-lined baking sheet on bottom rack to catch juices for about 1 ½ hours. The mixture inside should be bubbling in center when the pie is done. Loosely tent with foil after 1 hour if the edges start browning too soon. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool for 2 hours before serving.

Tips

  • Keep the dough refrigerated between the recipe steps to get the flakiest crust

 

 

Russia-10

My son met my babushka, godmother, and two aunts. All these ladies were introduced to him as babas. One evening I asked him, “Who do you love?”

“Mommy, daddy, Pea, baba… [silence] … baba …. Baba…. Baba… baba…. Baba…. “

 

 

 

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“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes,” I thought today, looking at the scale.  The quote, of course, is from my favorite “Anne Of Green Gables”.  The feelings are genuinely mine. I am certain, my love for desserts and baking has absolutely nothing to do with them…

So, today, purely to prove I’m not in denial, we are trying something new, and hope you will jump on board! I suggest we make a parade of skinny desserts.  If you want to participate – the rules are very simple:

  • Make a dessert under 200 calories per serving;
  • Post the recipe and photos in your blog with a link to this entry;
  • Leave a comment here, letting me know you are in.

Next week on Thursday, I will show off your photos with respective links in one blog post.

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And for now, I hope you enjoy my skinny creation.

Cinnamon-Fudge-Walnut Brownies

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

This fudge reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate because of its cinnamon flavor; and the nuts and melted chocolate chunks make it irresistible

01:00
00:15
00:45

cal Calories 170kcal

fat Total Fat 8g

sat fat Saturated Fat 4g

chol Cholesterol 26mg

sodium Sodium 76mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 25g

Serving size 46g Calories from fat 72kcal Fiber 2g Protein 3g Sugar 18g
20 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 5 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F (175⁰C). Coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread walnuts over ungreased rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes.
  4. Place milk and ½ cup of chocolate in a small sauce pan. Cook on low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts (about 3 minutes). Set aside. Lightly beat the eggs. Stir in eggs and melted butter with the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate. Mix in the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  5. Bake at 350⁰F (175⁰C) for about 27 minutes or until a wooden toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out with moist crumbs attached to it. Cool on in a pan on a wire rack.

 

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Why did this Russian mom, whose only thoughts about baseball are that the outfits could be a bit sexier and that Tim Lincecum is kind of cute…, why did this mom goto watch the World Series? Well, because her lovely neighbor Amie was bringing an apple pie.  Amie’s pie is to die for, and it has an ability to make any game a hundred times more exciting! Since I first tried one of her masterpieces, I was hooked!

My friend Kusum just brought beautiful red gold sea salt from Hawaii , and the idea of this slightly salted dessert was born.  Well, it wasn’t all that original – just google “salted apple pie” but I’m still very proud of the outcome!

So, our family drove to an apple orchard, picked some apples, and made this.

/Adopted from Martha Stewart Living and Cooking Channel

Print this recipe

SALTED APPLE PIE

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pea-size pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water

FILLING

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • juice from 4 lemons
  • 6 medium to large sour apples
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

TOPPING

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • raw sugar to sprinkle
  • sea salt flakes to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS:

Make the crust. Place 3/4 of the butter in the freezer for about 30 min, and keep the rest in the fridge. In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add refrigerated butter, pulse about 10 times.  Add frozen butter, pulse again till the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some blueberry-size crumbs.

Add ice water, and immediately pulse until water is incorporated, about 10 more times. lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap, separate the dough in halves, and place each half on the plastic wraps.  Bring the edges of wraps together to gather dough.  Press into disks. Roll each disk (still in plastic) into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Refrigerate for at least 45 min.

Make the filling. In a medium sauce pan mix sugar and water and heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil.  Continue cooking until the mixture turns golden brown.  Remove it from heat immediately and add cream, whisk the final mixture on low heat , sprinkle the sea salt, and let cool while preparing the apples.

Core, peel and cut apples using a mandoline.  Sprinkle with juice, sugar, and spices, and toss well. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Assemble the pie. Roll each piece of the dough into a disk that can fit a 9-inch pie-pan.  Line the pan with the first disk.  Lay 1/3 of the apple mixture on the bottom and pour a layer of 1/3 of prepared caramel.  Repeat the layering two more times.

Cover the pie with the second disk, cutting it through for the air to escape any way you like, or cut the second disk into strips and make a lattice top like mine, pinch the edges together.

Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and salt flakes.

Bake. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F/190°C.  Reduce the heat to 350°F/175°C and bake for another 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream.

 

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Ah, vacation… We had the best time ever hanging out with the family, riding bikes, enjoying the mountains.  However, I found myself missing the kitchen.  In fact I started having a serious baking withdrawal… Naturally, since we got back, I made 5 sourdough loafs of bread, 2 chocolate cakes, chocolate chip cookies, pitas, and naan… all in less than a week.

The old chocolate cake has been such a huge success, I decided to try a Russian version found in the winter’s Fine Cooking issue.  The potato adds a bit of moisture and keeps the dough fresh for up to 4 days!    Enjoy!

Print this recipe

SWEET RUSSIAN CHOCOLATE BRAID

INGREDIENTS:

Dough

  • 1 ½ cups plus 3 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 very small potato, peeled, boiled until tender, and forced through a sieve (to yield ¼ cup)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbs cold unsalted butter

Filling

  • 1 cup Pastry Cream (recipe below)
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten

DIRECTIONS:

Make the dough. In a small bowl, mix 3 tbs of flour and yeast and water.  Let sit for about 10 minutes till foamy.  In a stand mixer combine the remaining ingredients, add the yeast mixture and mix until the dough is smooth for about 8 minutes.  It will be very sticky.  Dump the dough on a floured surface and knead with your hands for a couple minutes adding a little bit of flour to make it firmer. Transfer the dough in a large container, seal with plastic wrap, and rise for about 3 hours.

Make ahead.  Instead of letting the dough rise, you can place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Pull it out of the fridge and let it stand for 3-4 hours in room temperature before proceeding to the next step.

Make pastry cream (see recipe below) right after the you mix the dough to give it enough time for cooling down.

Shape the braid. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment.  Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle about 13×16 inches and about 1/8 inch thick.  Apply the chilled pastry cream over the dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Roll it into a 16-inch cylinder.  Transfer to the baking sheet.  Cut the cylinder in half lengthwise and arrange both halves parallel to one another with a cut side facing up.  Wrap them around each other starting in the middle, pinching the edges of the braid together. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for another 35-45 minutes.

Bake. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F/175⁰C.  Position the rack in the center of the oven. Brush the beaten egg over the braid. Bake until golden brown for about 40 minutes.  Let cool on a rack for 1 hour before slicing.

As you see on the picture below, we couldn’t wait, so the chocolate is still melting under the knife!Yummm!

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PASTRY CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large egg yolks

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk vanilla, sugar, flour, salt, and egg yolks. Warm up milk just until a skin forms.  Add milk to the mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Transfer back to heat and cook until the mixture is thick and glue (for about 5 minutes) constantly steering it with a wooden spoon.  Place a plastic wrap on top of the cream and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

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I don’t know about you, but my family managed to OD on cherries this year.  At least I thought so a week ago…  or an hour ago… before I opened the fridge and found these scarlet beauties looking at me from the shelf… Nah, it’s simply impossible to have too many of them! 

 

Recipe adopted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

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CHERRY COBBLER

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 cups pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400°F/205°C.

Make topping. In a medium bowl stir together flour, 2 tbs sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbles.  Set aside.

Make filling. In a saucepan combine cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, and cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat until cherries release juices, stirring occasionally.  The mixture is ready when it thickens and is bubbly.  Keep it hot.

Assemble cobbler. whisk together egg and milk.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.  Pour cherry filling into a 2 quart square baking dish.  Immediately drop topping with a spoon into six mounds on top of filling.

Bake  for 20-25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.  Let cool in pan for about 1 hour before serving.

(I bought a cherry pitter this summer, and I am absolutely in love with it.  Hence so many cherry recipes.)

 

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I bought a new toy last week – a cherry stone remover.  Since then everybody in our block had a chance to get tired of everything cherry, my family cannot look at cherries any more, though I feel  like I haven’t even started yet.  That thing is SO cool! You can load it with about 30 cherries at once and pit them in seconds! Here is one of the recipes that came out of all that.

Print this recipe

CHERRY GALETTE

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 16 tablespoons cold (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  •  1/2 cup ice water

Filling:

  • 4 cups pitted cherries
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbs sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp brown sugar

Yields: 2 galettes

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the dough. In the food processor combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter.  Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add water and pulse to get a crumbly dough.  Transfer the dough into two plastic wraps and form into ¾ inch thick disks.  Wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400⁰F /200⁰C.

Prepare the filling.  Sprinkle cherries with the lemon zest and ¼ cup of sugar.  Mix to incorporate. In a separate bowl mix corn starch and 2 tbs sugar.

Assemble the galettes.    Roll each disk to a circle, 12 inches/ 30 cm in diameter.  Sprinkle the middle with the starch and sugar mixture, leaving about 2 inches/ 5 cm from the edges.  Brush that space around the edges with buttermilk.  Place the filling on the sprinkled area and fold the dough around it.  You can fold it any way you want – from clumsy to neat – it will look gorgeous in the end any way. Pinch the folded edges, so that the filling doesn’t leak out while baking.

Brush the dough of the galettes with remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400⁰F /200⁰C until golden brown. Let cool for about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

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