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Hello from CA (and I mean Carboholics Anonymous, not the state)! I must admit, this Russian mom fell off the wagon again with a crazy week-long baking spree. Why? Because she finally nailed the perfect pie crust recipe. I know, disastrous  right?!   

Apple_Pie_WM-6

To top that, it’s rhubarb season in CA (the state). So, I think you can guess what I’ve been up to! There is a rhubarb pie bubbling in the oven right now… ohm… my 3rd this week. 

The rhubarb pie recipe (my new favorite, can’t you tell!?) is to follow in a later post (once my hands stop shaking from all that sugar, and I take some photos). Here is everything on how to make the flaky pie dough I’m so much in love with!

 

Flaky Pie Dough

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

This doesn’t just make a fabulous crust; it also is very easy to remember. The flour to butter to water ratio is 3 to 2 to 1. Add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt for each 100 grams of flour and you got yourself The Perfect Dough! This recipe yields two 9 inch pie shells.

00:32
00:07
00:25

cal Calories 158kcal

fat Total Fat 10g

High sat-fat Saturated Fat 6g

chol Cholesterol 27mg

sodium Sodium 199mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 14g

Serving size 32g Calories from fat 90kcal Fiber 1g Protein 2g Sugar 0g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g butter
  • 100 mg water

Directions

  1. Measure water, dissolve salt in it, and place it in the fridge
  2. Cut butter into pea-sized cubes and place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  3. To make the dough combine cold butter and flour and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Slowly add cold water and pulse again for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but not completely smooth. There still will be butter chunks. If needed, finish kneading with your hands until the dough forms into a ball (try to handle the dough as little as possible).
  5. Separate the dough into disks, 1-inch thick. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Roll disks on floured surface one at a time to 1/8 inch thick. Carefully line the baking dish with the dough, overlapping about ½ inch (the dough will shrink during baking)
  7. For recipes that call for uncooked shell, refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. For baked shells, preheat oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Line the shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I use dry beans). For partially baked shells, bake for about 20 minutes, remove weights. Carefully poke with a fork the dough if it bubbled during the baking. Bake for another couple more minutes. For a fully baked shell, bake for about 25 minutes till light brown. Remove the weights, poke the dough, and bake for another 5 minutes till the dough is golden brown.
  9. Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Tips

  • The dough could be made a day in advance and refrigerated. Cooked shells will keep for up to a week in the fridge, or for up to two weeks in the freezer.

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I love bread, I cannot lie. Our neighbors seem to enjoy it too. For months now I have been successfully trading bread for smiles, car washes, window cleaning, wine, and mmmmm my favorite nopales salad. Here is the loaf that has been really popular lately.

It’s a modification of my favorite Tartine recipe.  The natural leaven makes it taste amazing even several days after it was baked.  Try this bread fresh while still warm – and you are in danger of eating the whole loaf in one sitting.

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RYE BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200 g leaven
  • 800 g water (75⁰ F/ 25⁰ C)
  • 270 g whole-rye flour
  • 830 g unbleached bread flour
  • 20 g salt

Yields 2 loafs

DIRECTIONS:

Day 1: make leaven – combine 200 g water, 1 tbs of sourdough starter and 200 g unbleached all-purpose flour.  Mix well, loosely cover the top of the container with a plastic wrap, and let ferment overnight.  Discard the rest of the starter.

Day 2: Test the leaven: it’s ready if a tsp of it dropped in the water floats.

Once the leaven passes the floating test, combine all ingredients but salt and mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic and let rest for 25-30 minutes.

Save leftover leaven – it’s now your starter.

After the first rest, add the salt, and mix it well into the dough.  Let rest for about 3 hours, turning the dough upside down with wet hands twice during the first two hours.

After about 3 hours, when the dough has increased in size, dump it onto a floured surface and separate into two equal parts.

Working with one half at a time: with a bread scraper fold the dough edges in to form a ball.  Let rest, seams down, on a floured surface for about 25-30 minutes, covered by plastic or a floured towel.

Next, working with one half at a time, place it face down on a floured surface.  Carefully fold the edges with your hands slightly pressing them into the remaining dough: starting by carefully stretching the bottom edge and folding it to meet the opposite end; repeating with left, right, and finishing with the top edge. Form a loaf.  Place a loaf in a proofing basket, lightly sprinkled with rice flour, lined with a floured tile, face down, seam up.

Put the baskets in plastic bags and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

To bake: place an iron pot with the lid in the oven and preheat the oven to 500⁰ F/ 260⁰ C.  Dump the loaf into the preheated pot, seam side down. Cover with the lid, and bake the bread in it for 20 minutes at 475 ⁰ F/ 245 ⁰ C.

After 20 minutes remove the lid and let bake for 25 more minutes.

Let chill on a wire rack or eat while it’s hot.

If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy:

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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.

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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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I don’t know about you, but I’m in constant search for reasons (or… rather excuses) to eat carbs.  The husband provided a solid justification today when he emailed this article about San Francisco. My favorite line:  “walking uphill, both ways, all the time, always”. So, clearly, just because we are living here, we are covered as far as the workouts go, so this cake should be absolutely guilt-free!  Come visit our beautiful city, and you can make this cake for yourself!

The recipe was inspired by a few jars of last-year’s raspberry jam and one of my favorite Russian bloggers, Natasha.  She is the master of biskvit (the Russian version of sponge cake).

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RASPBERRY TORTE

INGREDIENTS:

Cake:

  • 8 eggs, whites and yolks divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar

Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 4 tbs raspberry liqueur (such as Chambord)

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz /225 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1-4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 pckg raspberry-flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350⁰ F/175⁰C.

Line two 8.5-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Spray it with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl mix together sugar and egg yolks, after the sugar has dissolved, whisk in the flour.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites till soft peaks start forming.  Using a spatula gently mix in the egg yolk mixture in the egg whites.

Divide the dough between the baking pans and bake for 18 minutes or until they turn golden.

Remove from the oven.  Place the cakes on a wire rack and gently peel off the parchment paper.

Let the cake cool at the room temperature.

Cook the gelatin.  Dissolve the contents of the package in boiling water and let cool at the room temperature.  Do not use the amount of water recommended by the package, you need a firmer substance than what’s suggested.

Make the frosting by mixing all its ingredients

Make the syrup by mixing the liqueur and jam together

Once the cakes are cool, place one of them on the cake tray.  Brush with half of the syrup.  Apply half of the frosting, and repeat the layers. Place fresh raspberries on top of the cake making a tight circle and refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes.

After the frosting is chilled, apply the gelatin one layer at a time.  Spoon a thin layer of jelly over the top of the cake, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.  After the first layer of jelly is set, repeat with more layers until jelly is used.

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My dearest friend Alma and I went to the movies today to watch teenagers killing each other; enjoyed it tremendously and had some sodas and popcorn.  That soda (the ultra-enormous size “small” cherry coke) was the first chemical drink I’ve had in weeks.  The guilt level was so high – morally it almost felt like a hara-kiri sword going through my stomach.  The taste was so good –physically it almost felt like heaven… add Katniss Evergreen shooting everyone left and right – true paradise!

To prepare for this deliberately wrong (on so many levels) outing, I made a pretty healthy lunch.  This recipe is adopted from my bread bible, Tartine.  As a person, who grew up on semolina cereals, I was quite impressed – the loaf didn’t taste anything like those childhood breakfasts I’m trying to forget.  It was perfect for my avocado/sprout/goat cheese/sundried tomato sandwich!

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SEMOLINA BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200 g leaven
  • 750 g + 50 g water (room temperature)
  • 700 g semolina flour
  • 300 g all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 75 g fennel seeds
  • 75 g sesame seeds
  • 20 g salt
  • 200 g mixed seeds (poppy, fennel, and sesame) for coating

Yields: 2 loafs

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare leaven a night before by mixing 1 tbs of mature starter with 200 g oof water and 200 g of all-purpose flour.  Leave at room temperature loosely covered.

Test the leaven for readiness by dropping a spoonful in a glass of luke-warm water.  If the leaven is floating, it’s ready to be used.  If it drops, you need to give the leaven some more fermentation time.

Pour 750 g of water into a large mixing bowl.  Add the leaven, and mix it so it almost dissolves.

Add the flours and mix well till incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20-45 minutes.

In the meantime toast and process the fennel and sesame seeds in a spice grinder.

After the initial rest, add salt, remaining 50 g of water, and ground seeds to the dough.  Mix well.

Follow the instructions of the basic country dough recipe, starting with “Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 3-4 hrs.”   Divide the dough into two when first placing it on a floured surface.  Instead of sesame seeds, use the multi-seed mixture used in this recipe.

When baking two loafs, after the first loaf is finished, reheat the Dutch oven for another 10 minutes at 500⁰ F /260⁰ C before placing the second loaf into it.

Enjoy!

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Attention!  A reward is offered to anyone who can convince my son that there’s more to food than pasta! 

While we are waiting for that miracle to happen, my family is being stuffed with carbs almost every other day.  Jem likes them hot, plane, with lots of butter.  We try to add some color to our plates.

Here is an excellent make-ahead recipe – crunchy and cheesy outside and juicy inside, very well complimented by a serving of gemelli. Calorie heaven!

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CHEESY CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup bread crumbs*
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6  boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

DIRECTIONS:

Mix together bread crumbs, cheeses, and pepper.  Dip chicken pieces in melted butter, then in cheese mixture.  At this point I like to freeze extras for future use (wrap each bundle in plastic, and place in freezer bags).

SERVING DAY INSTRUCTIONS:

Thaw completely.

Preheat the oven to 350⁰ F (175⁰ C).

Place chicken in large, shallow baking dish

Bake uncovered for 1 hr, until chicken is crispy.

Yields 6 servings.

Serve over your favorite pasta with your favorite tomato sauce!

* Unless you can find real bread crumbs without additives, or you are making your own, try Japanese bread crumbs “Panco”, the ingredients are much less scary looking than generic grocery store horrors, and they do provide an extra crunch

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