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Oct 01, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Baked: 8 boozy desserts to accompany your Guide to Drinking

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Our annual Guide to Drinking graces the flip side of our September issue, and we’re talking about everything from old-school bourbon to the cider renaissance to St. Louis’ ambitious super sommeliers. But our favorite spirits and brews don’t always have to be sipped from a glass; they also make fantastic additions to our favorite desserts. Here, 8 great recipes for boozy baking with bourbon, tequila, rum and even beer.

 

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1. Niche chef-owner Gerard Craft put a Southern twist on a classic tiramisu for us a few years ago with a generous soak in bourbon.

2. Our first of two bread pudding recipes drizzles sweet, fruit-studded brioche with a sticky maple-whiskey sauce.

 

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3. Already pining for Harvest’s brioche bread pudding? Cheer up; we’ve got that sweet, boozy cake recipe right here.

4. Bourbon + bacon + brownies = brilliance

 

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5. Tart pomegranate notes mingle with lime, mint and rum in this happy mojito-inspired cupcake.

6. Fair warning: This marjolaine is not for the faint of heart. But the effort you put into this dessert – from the delicate sponge cake to the sweet rum syrup – is well worth the effort.

 

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7. Not much of a baker? Let your ice cream maker do the world with a creamy chocolate and maple-stout beer concoction.

8. Take advantage of the last few blackberries of the season (and that brand-new bottle of tequila) and make a deliciously drunk sorbet.

 

- tiramisu photo by Carmen Troesser; cupcake photo by Jonathan S. Pollack; ice cream photo by Laura Miller

By the Book: Allison Kave’s S’more Pie

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

 

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I think there is something daunting about making a pie, especially one with a fruit filling, which is why I don’t make them. I have made exactly one pie in my life. It was an apple pie, and while it was great, it took a lot of time. Honestly, I’d rather someone else do the work, and I enjoy the results.

 

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So for my second attempt at pie-making, I decided to avoid the fruit altogether (even though this is the perfect season for a fruit pie) and go the chocolate route with a S’mores Pie out of Allison Kave’s book First Prize Pies: Shoo-fly, Candy Apple & Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (and More). Kave offers a ton of interesting recipes in her book: grasshopper pie, a Nutella pie, even an avocado cream pie. But there’s nothing like the allure of a s’more: sweet, messy and a hallmark of childhood.

 

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A simple graham cracker crust, a chocolate ganache and a burnished marshmallow topping was easy enough. Kave includes an actual marshmallow fluff recipe, but thankfully she gave me an out when she noted that you could skip the whole mess and just top your pie with store-bought marshmallows. Not every recipe in the book has step-by-step photos, but this recipe did, which came in handy when I thought my ganache looked too thin.

 

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S’mores are sweet, as is this pie, but it’s a grown-up, fancy version of the original treat you loved as a kid. That’s reason enough to make it.

 

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S’more Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

Graham cracker crust (Recipe follows.)

Filling
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. high-quality milk chocolate, chopped or chips
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt

Topping
1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Make the filling: In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat until it is scalded. Pour it over the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and let it stand 1 minute. Whisk it thoroughly until combined into a glossy ganache. Whisk in the egg and salt until fully incorporated.
• Put the crust on a baking sheet. Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and bake it 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling has just set and is still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove the pie to cool completely.
• Make the topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large heatproof bowl, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over 2/3 cup water.
• In a clean, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and another 2/3 cup water. Cook the sugar mixture over medium-high heat, stirring only at the beginning to dissolve the sugar, and boil it until a candy thermometer reaches the hard-ball stage (260 degrees). When the sugar is close to reaching this stage, turn on the stand mixer with the softened gelatin (or quickly beat the gelatin in your bowl to blend).
• Once you’ve reached the right temperature, turn on the stand or hand mixer to low speed, and slowly pour the hot syrup in a steady stream into the gelatin while mixing. Try to avoid the sides of the bowl and aim for the space between the beater and the side. When all of the syrup is in, increase the speed gradually to high to avoid splashing, and continue to beat until the mixture is very thick and has tripled in volume, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the vanilla, beat 1 minute more, and then pour the topping over the pie. It will slowly spread to cover the surface or you can use a spatula to spread it.
• Allow the topping to cool at room temperature or in the fridge until it has set, about 30 minutes. If you are using a torch (the preferred method), make sure the area you are working in is clear of any plastic, paper or other flammable items, and that the surface you are working on is fireproof (steel, marble, etc.). You can put a baking sheet under the pie to protect your countertops. Light the torch and start to lightly toast the surface of the pie, going darker or lighter according to your preference (I like my marshmallow pretty scorched, but that’s me!). When the pie is perfectly bruleed, turn off the torch and allow the pie to cool 10 minutes.
• If you are torch-less, you can do this in the broiler, but keep a close eye, as it requires patience, watchfulness and speed. Preheat your broiler, put the pie on a baking sheet, and use foil or a pie shield to cover the crust edges. Broil the pie about 3 inches from the heat source, rotating the pie for even toasting, until the topping is at your desired color. It burns very easily with this method, so watch closely! It’s best to keep the oven door cracked open and watch and rotate the whole time. Remove the pie and allow it cool at least 10 minutes.
• Your pie is now ready to serve, or you can keep it in the fridge up to 1 week. To cover, spray foil or plastic wrap very lightly with oil spray to prevent it from sticking to the topping. For easier slicing, run your knife until hot water first to prevent the marshmallow from sticking to the blade.

Graham Cracker Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie crust

1½ cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
5 to 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Crumble the graham crackers into the work bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Alternatively, you can put them in a bag and whack them with a rolling pin until finely crushed. Pour the butter into the crumbs and mix (hands are best for this) until the butter is fully incorporated and the texture is that of wet sand. Firmly press the crumbs against the sides of a 9-inch pie pan, then against the bottom of the pan (the underside of a measuring cup works well for smoothing the bottom crust). Chill the crust for at least 15 minutes to help prevent it from crumbling when serving.
• Bake the crust 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove it and allow it to cool before filling.

Reprinted with permission from Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

What’s your favorite s’more making memory? Tell us about it below for a chance to win a copy of First Prize Pies. We’ll email the winner!

 

Baked: Cherry Lavender Hand Pies

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

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I used to dislike pie so much that when anyone offered me a slice, my reaction was a perfunctory “No, thanks.” However, this is increasingly difficult the more I play with fruit and dough. Case in point: When I saw fresh cherries at the supermarket, I knew exactly how I wanted to use them. Floral, fragrant lavender perfectly cuts the sweetness of dark, luscious cherries, and there’s no better package for this combination than pie.

Instead of a cumbersome traditional pie, I opted for the more portable hand pie. This also provided greater crust-to-filling ratio (Rejoice, crust lovers!), but the best part is all the leftover filling. Place it in a saucepot over medium heat let it boil and bubble until it became thick and jam-like. Then spoon it over chocolate cake, smear it on pancakes or just close your eyes and inhale that heavenly scent. These portable bites smell just as good as they taste. Enjoy and happy baking!

Cherry Lavender Hand Pies
Adapted from The Martha Stewart Handbook
Makes about 24 3-inch pies

1½ lbs. cherries, pitted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Juice of one-quarter of a lemon
½ tsp. lavender extract
A pinch plus 1½ tsp. table salt, divided
1/3 cup plus 1½ Tbsp. granulated sugar, plus more to taste, divided
½ tsp. lemon zest (optional)
3¾ cups flour
1½ cups plus ½ Tbsp. unsalted chilled butter, very cold and cubed
¾ to 1 cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

• Coarsely chop the cherries and toss in a large bowl with the lavender extract, cornstarch, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Adjust the sugar to taste and set aside.
• In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar, then add the flour and the 1½ remaining teaspoon of salt and mix well. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry cutter until it is in small, pea-sized pieces.
• Pour in the buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time, using your hands to work the dough until it just comes together in a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
• Place the chilled dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it out ¼-inch thick. Use a 3-by-3-inch square cookie cutter or a sharp knife to slice 24 dough squares, rerolling as necessary (Chill the dough again if it gets too soft.).
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
• Arrange 12 dough squares about 1-inch apart on the baking sheets. Brush the edges of each square with the beaten egg.
• Place a heaping teaspoon of cherry filling in the center of the squares, then insert a small cube of the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter into the center of each scoop of filling.
• Cover each pie with the remaining dough squares and use your fingers or a fork to seal the edges. Poke a few holes in the top of each pie with a fork. Brush the tops with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
• Bake 15 minutes, until puffed and golden on top and browner at the edges. Transfer to racks and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Wheatless Wednesday: Strawberry Brioche Loaf

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

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Brioche has always seemed to be a rather highfalutin bread to me; spring strawberries, on the other hand, are a simple treat for the senses. I set out to combine the fancy French loaf and the unpretentious fruit into a snack that takes just minutes to whip up with minimal ingredients.

This is a great recipe to experiment with. Just make sure to stick to light, finely ground, gluten-free flours. Brown sugar or Sucanat (dried cane sugar) are perfect substitutes for the coconut crystals and any chopped, seasonal fruit will suffice.

Strawberry Brioche
12 slices

¼ cup olive oil, plus more for pan
1/3 cup amaranth flour
3 eggs
1½ cup sorghum flour
2 Tbsp. coconut crystals*
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1 cup sliced strawberries

• Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Lightly coat a bread pan with olive oil.
• In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, amaranth flour and eggs until well blended.
• Add the sorghum flour and baking powder and mix well, then add the coconut crystals and almond extract and mix again until well combined. Gently fold in the strawberries.
• Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 minutes.
• Slide a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the loaf onto a wire rack. Let cool, then slice and serve with jam or butter.

 *Coconut crystals are available at Golden Grocer.

 

By the Book: Faith Durand’s Blueberry Angel Food Trifle

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

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When summer hits St. Louis, we stay cool by any means necessary – and that includes avoiding the oven. Who wants to add extra degrees to an already hot kitchen? Faith Durand, executive editor of The Kitchn and author of the new cookbook, Bakeless Sweets, couldn’t agree more. The recipes in this book disavow the oven in favor of the refrigerator, the freezer, and in a few cases, the assistance of the stove. And who knew there were so many no-bake desserts to choose from? Durand divides her book into seven chapters: stirred puddings and custards; rice, tapioca and whole-grain puddings; panna cotta and other gelled puddings; mousse and blended puddings; real fruit jellies; whipped cream desserts and fluffs; and icebox cakes, pies, trifles and cookies.

With Fourth of July right around the corner and berry season in full swing, I decided to prepare Durand’s Blueberry Angel Food Trifle. To keep things patriotic, I substituted half the blueberries for juicy red strawberries (which also happen to be my Kryptonite).

 

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The homemade pudding was the best part of the trifle by far. Do not cheat and reach for the boxed stuff, as tempting as it may be. I promise the extra effort required for Durand’s Rich Vanilla Pudding is well worth it; I found myself wishing I had doubled the recipe to eat again later.

 

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Pudding novices like me can handle this recipe; Durand outlines every step clearly and concisely. Have a good whisk ready, as you will use it during almost every step. My biggest fear was tempering the slurry, but I followed the directions exactly and was rewarded with a bubbling custard that smelled “like the best vanilla ice cream ever,” according to my kid sister.

 

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After the adult-task of making the pudding is complete, kid sous chefs love to help layer the cake and sprinkle the fruit, as my sister did. After tasting the trifle, I wish the cake cubes were a little smaller (bite-sized pieces would have made for easier eating), but the larger pieces supported all the pudding and fruit well, even two days after creating it. This treat was sweet, refreshing, and most important, cold – a perfect summer dessert.

 

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Blueberry Angel Food Trifle
8 servings

About 8 cups (12- to 16-oz.) cubed angel food cake,
1 batch Rich Vanilla Pudding, well chilled (Recipe follows.)
4 cups blueberries
2/3 cup cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• Spread about one-third of the cake cubes in the bottom of a large trifle bowl (or any deep 3- to 4-quart bowl). Spread about one-third of the pudding over the cubes and top with one-quarter of the blueberries. Repeat twice, finishing with the third layer of pudding.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it holds soft peaks. Spread it over the top and garnish with the remaining blueberries. Refrigerate the trifle for at least 2 hours, or up to 24, before serving.

Rich Vanilla Pudding
8 Servings

¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
1½ cup cream
3 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• Make a cornstarch and egg yolk slurry: Put the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl and whisk out any lumps. Slowly whisk in the cream, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in the egg yolks. It is important that this mixture be as smooth as you can make it. (To be really sure, reach into the bowl and gently rub out any lumps with your fingers.).
• Warm the milk and open a vanilla bean: Warm the milk with the sugar over medium heat in a 3-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, if you are using the vanilla bean*, open and scrape it out into the pan. Whisk the mixture so the vanilla seeds are incorporated into the liquid. (It should looked speckled, like milk after an Oreo has been dunked in it repeatedly!) When the vanilla bean has been scraped out, drop the entire pod into the milk as well. Warm until bubbles form around the edge of the milk and the entire surface begins to vibrate. Remove the vanilla bean and discard it. Turn off the heat.
• Temper the slurry: Pour 1 cup of the hot milk into the bowl with the slurry. Whisk vigorously to combine. The mixture should come together smoothly, with no lumps. If you see any, add a little more liquid and whisk them out. Pour the combined mixture back into the pot slowly, counting to 10 as you do and whisking vigorously.
• Thicken the pudding: Turn the heat back on to medium. As the milk comes to a simmer, stir constantly but slowly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan evenly so that the milk doesn’t scorch or form a thick skin on the bottom of the pan. In 2 to 5 minutes, the custard will come to a boil, with large bubbles that slowly pop up to the surface. Boil, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes.
• Flavor the pudding: Turn off the heat. (If you didn’t use a vanilla bean, stir in the vanilla extract now.)
• Chill the pudding: Immediately pour the hot custard into a shallow container. Place plastic wrap or buttered wax paper directly on the surface of the pudding (if you don’t like pudding skin). Put a lid on the dish and refrigerate it. This pudding is firm enough to be eaten warm after 30 minutes or so in the refrigerator.

*To scrape a vanilla bean, lay the bean flat on a cutting board and use a small, sharp pairing knife to make a slit down its entire length. Splay it open with your fingers over the pot of warming milk, and run the tip of a spoon (or the knife, carefully) down the length of the bean to thoroughly scrape out the paste of tiny seeds inside.

Reprinted with permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang

What’s the best no-bake dessert you’ve ever made? Tell us about it in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Bakeless Sweets.

And now, congratulations to Earen, whose comment on last week’s By the Book won a copy of Extra Virgin. Earen, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

The Weekend Project: Banh Mi

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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When summer hits St. Louis, we imagine it feels like the streets of Saigon: humidity so heavy it purges every pore as you walk through what feels like the inside of a fishbowl. It makes sense then, that during these steamy months, we get a hankering the cool, refreshing flavors of Vietnamese street food. The banh mi, a classic example of the forced marriage between French colonial and Southeast Asian cuisines, is light, packed with vibrant flavors, and filling without weighing you down.

According to a “Wall Street Journal” article by Robyn Eckhardt, during French occupation, the Vietnamese called the newly introduced baguettes banh tay or “foreign cake.” These loaves, eaten only by the wealthy, were dipped into sweetened condensed milk as a treat. The name later evolved to banh mi or “foreign wheat;” today, baguettes in Vietnam contain wheat and rice flours, lightening the bread and increasing the crispiness of the crust.

After the Vietnamese diaspora, banh mi fillings now hail from all parts of the world. Baguettes are filled with roast chicken, grilled pork, crisp pork skin, meatballs, even tinned sardines in tomato sauce. Here in St. Louis, restaurants stuff their banh mi with shredded pork, “specialty ham” and vegetarian and vegan options topped with crushed peanuts. It’s like the ubiquitous day-after-Thanksgiving leftover sandwich – anything goes.

In addition to making your own pâté and roast pork, try your hand at making your own baguette. The dough for this French country-style loaf is simple and only requires three ingredients. The goal is to use as little flour as possible so that the yeast can create a light, airy loaf and to let the bread rise three times. All three rises can be completed in one day, or take your time and let the first or second rise take place overnight in the refrigerator.

 

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A traditional banh mi is quite simple: smear both sides of a split, warm baguette with aioli or chicken liver pâté, stuff it with headcheese or cold cuts, then finish with a bright, crisp assortment of cilantro, do chua (pickled carrots), hot pepper slices, cucumbers and more.

This month, build a banh mi buffet and then beckon neighbors and friends for a weekend celebration without straining your budget. Spread the work over a weekend and enjoy on Sunday night with plenty of leftovers to carry you through a few hot St. Louis summer days.

The Gameplan
Day 1: Make the Pâté de Campagne. Roast the Char Siu Pork. Start the French bread.
Day 2: Bake the French bread. Prepare the do chua and the spicy aioli. Unmold the pate. Assemble the banh mi.

The Shopping List*
4 lbs. pork shoulder
8 oz. chicken or pork livers
8 oz. bacon
½ cup yellow onion
¾ cup flat Italian parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
5 large eggs
3 Tbsp. brandy or high-alcohol fruit liquor
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. bay leaf powder
2 Tbsp. cloves
2 Tbsp. mace
2 Tbsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. allspice
5 Tbsp. white pepper
3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. shallot or red onion, minced
2 Tbsp. Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine** or other rice wine
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. Chinese five-spice
2 packages (5½ tsp.) active dry yeast
6 to 7 cups bread flour
3 to 4 carrots
1 large daikon
1 1/3 cups Datu Puti Premium cane vinegar** or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. whole coriander
1 bunch cilantro
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 lime
2 Tbsp. Sriracha

*This list assumes you have garlic, dried thyme, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, canola or vegetable oil, honey and sugar at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase these items, too.
** Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine and Datu Puti premium cane vinegar are available at Seafood City Supermarket in University City.

 

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Pâté de Campagne
Adapted from a recipe from The Splendid Table and Julia Child’s The Way to Cook
Makes 1 4-lb. terrine

2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Tbsp. bay leaf powder
2 Tbsp. cloves
2 Tbsp. mace
2 Tbsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
5 Tbsp. white pepper
8 oz. chicken or pork livers, cleaned and cut into chunks
¾ cup chopped flat Italian parsley
½ cup chopped yellow onion
½ cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. brandy or high-alcohol fruit liquor (We used The Big O Ginger liqueur.)
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
8 oz. bacon

Special equipment: meat grinder attachments for stand mixer

Day 1: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
• Spread the pork shoulder pieces evenly on a baking sheet. Freeze 20 to 30 minutes.
• Meanwhile, pulse the bay leaf powder, cloves, mace, nutmeg, paprika, dried thyme, allspice, cinnamon and white pepper in a coffee grinder or spice mill until well ground. Reserve 1½ teaspoon of spice mixture; store remaining mixture in an airtight container for another use.
• Affix the meat grinder attachment to the stand mixer. Carefully feed the chilled pork through the machine using a large die into a very large mixing bowl.
• Add the reserved spice mixture, the chicken livers, parsley, yellow onion, heavy cream, eggs, salt, brandy, garlic, flour, fresh thyme and black pepper to the meat and mix well with your hands or a large wooden spoon.
• Process the mixture through the sausage grinder again, using a small die. Fry a small patty in a saute pan until cooked through and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.

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• Place a bay leaf in the center of a loaf pan, then line the loaf plan completely with bacon. Fill the loaf pan with the meat mixture and press it down firmly. Fold the bacon ends over the ground meat and cover the pan tightly with foil.
• Place the pâté in a larger roasting pan and fill it with water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.
• Bake the pâté 50 minutes, until the interior temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove the foil and continue baking another 5 to 10 minutes, until the temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and take the pâté out of the water bath. The pâté will continue cooking as it rests and will reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
• Place the pate in another roasting pan or baking dish with a lip (It will leak juices as it cools.). Place a second loaf pan on top and weigh it down with 2 or 3 canned goods and let rest. Once the pâté is cooled, refrigerate overnight to set completely.
Day 2: Gently run a knife around the pate to remove it from the pan and turn it out on a cutting board. Slice and use for banh mi. Pâté will keep, wrapped and refrigerated, at least 1 week.

 

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Char Siu Roast Pork
Adapted from Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese Kitchen
4 to 6 servings

3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. minced shallot or red onion
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. Shaohsing rice cooking wine
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. Chinese five-spice
2 lbs. pork shoulder roast

Day 1: Whisk together the hoisin, soy sauce, shallot, honey, oil, rice wine, garlic, fish sauce and five-spice until well blended. Pour all ingredients into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Place the meat in the marinade, seal the bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
• Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before roasting and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
• Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. Reserve the marinade for basting. Roast the pork shoulder 30 to 45 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with the marinade, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Let the pork rest on a cutting board at least 10 minutes. Slice and use for banh mi. Roast will keep, wrapped in plastic wrap, refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.

 

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French Bread
Makes 4 baguettes

2 packages (5½ tsp.) active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups bread flour, divided, plus more for kneading
1½ Tbsp. kosher salt

Day 1: Proof the yeast by pouring 2½ cups warm water in a large mixing bowl and stirring in the yeast and up to ½ cup flour. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture begins to bubble and smells yeasty.
• Stir in 1 cup of flour at a time, mixing in each with a long wooden spoon or bread whisk. The longer the dough is mixed, the better developed the strands of gluten will be, resulting in a higher, lighter loaf. When almost all the flour has been added, mix in the salt until the well incorporated and tacky.

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• Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 5 to 10 minutes, until it is evenly incorporated and feels soft and elastic. Place the dough into a large, clean mixing bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
• Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise 1½ hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and flip it over to keep it evenly moist. Cover again with oiled plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to rise again.
Day 2: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Turn the dough out on a floured surface. Using a very sharp knife, slice the dough into 4 equally weighted pieces.
• Place a pizza stone or upside-down baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

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• Using floured hands, gently shape a piece of dough into a 1-inch thick rounded rectangle about the size of a standard business envelope.
• Fold the side of the rectangle closest to you up as if folding a letter into thirds, pressing the dough together to push out any air bubbles. Gently roll the dough back and forth with your hands, securing the shape. The dough will start to lengthen.
• Fold the top third of the dough into the bottom third, pressing the dough together to push out any air bubbles. Gently roll the dough into a long tube until the desired baguette length is reached. Tuck the ends under to shape them, if necessary.

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• Place the baguette on a baguette rising pan or a clean, floured kitchen towel. Repeat the folding method with the remaining pieces of dough, leaving 2 to 3 inches between each loaf on the towel. When all the baguettes are formed, pull the extra fabric between each loaf straight up, creating a small barrier between each loaf and creating a small trough where each loaf can rise. Use a very sharp knife to slice 3 to 4 slits in the top of each loaf to release any air. Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap and let rise 20 minutes.
• Fill an oven-safe dish with 10 to 12 ice cubes and place on the bottom of the hot oven. This will provide the steam that will create a crisp crust for the baguettes.
• Place the baguette rising pan in the oven. If using the towel method, flip a baking sheet over, and line the bottom with parchment paper and dust with flour. Using floured hands, gently move the baguettes onto the parchment paper. Then slide the paper onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the baguettes sound hollow when tapped and are a light brown. Use for banh mi. Baguettes wrapped in plastic wrap will keep 3 to 5 days.

 

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Do Chua (Quick Pickled Carrots and Daikon)
Makes 1 quart

3 to 4 carrots, julienned lengthwise
½ to 2/3 of a large daikon, julienned lengthwise
1 1/3 cups Datu Puti Premium cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. whole coriander seeds
1 bunch cilantro

Day 2: Mix the carrots and daikon in a bowl, then pack into a quart container with a tight-fitting lid.
• Place the remaining ingredients in a heavy-bottomed 6- to 8-quart pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until fragrant.
• Strain the brine through a fine mesh sieve into a large pitcher or other pourable container. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, filling the container. Discard any remaining pickling liquid. Cover the container and refrigerate. The pickles are ready to use as soon as they are cool. Use for banh mi, or keep refrigerated several months.

Spicy Aioli
Makes 1 pint

3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup canola or vegetable oil

Day 2: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the egg yolks, Sriracha, mustard, salt and lime juice until combined. With the machine running, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture until the aioli is emulsified, using as little or as much oil as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Use for banh mi. Aioli will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 week.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Baked: Naughty Vicar Shortbread

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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The London Tea Room makes a signature black currant-vanilla tea called The Naughty Vicar, which has light floral notes and a lovely aroma. When I made small cups for my visiting family, I had no idea the monsters I’d create. They now consume this tea several times a day, and I’m frequently asked to buy it by the pound. I have no idea how they run through it so quickly.

I wanted to do something different with the tea to take advantage of its unique, popular flavor. The London Team Room occasionally uses it in a shortbread, but it hasn’t been in the rotation recently, so I decided to make my own. I ground the leaves and tossed them directly into the shortbread. It’s an easy recipe, and it produces the butteriest, melt-in-your-mouth texture. If you like Danish butter cookies, you will love these. They’re ideal with – you guessed it – a cup of tea or coffee. They’re also addictive, so beware! Enjoy and happy baking.

Naughty Vicar Shortbread
Makes about 20 cookies

2 heaped Tbsp. loose-leaf Naughty Vicar tea
½ cup powdered sugar
1½ sticks (6 oz.) room temperature butter
2 egg yolks
2 scant cups flour

• In the bowl of a food processor, add the tea and powdered sugar and pulse until the tea is finely ground.
• Add the tea and sugar to a large mixing bowl with the butter and egg yolks and combine with a spatula. Add the flour and mix until incorporated and a dough forms. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour until well chilled.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Remove the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface about ½-inch thick. Use a small cookie cutter to punch out the cookies and place on a baking sheet. Roll the dough again and continue cutting cookies until all the dough is used.
• Bake 15 minutes, until golden around the edges and a little golden on top. Let cool completely before eating.

 

Baked: Black Forest Trifle

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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Despite its German roots, Black Forest cake is one of the most popular cakes in India. I grew up with it, despite not having much affinity for pairing cherries and chocolate. But when my fiance and I recently traveled to India on his first trip there, I was excited for him to try it. It’s available at nearly every bakery in India, and we tried it in many different cities during our travels. Of course, he loved it.

In a traditional Black Forest cake, several super soft, spongy chocolate layers sandwich whipped cream and chopped cherries, and it’s always coated in chocolate shavings. I wanted to make my own variation, and since I was running out of time for a dinner party, I quickly assembled these cakes in cups, trifle-style. These are simple, but the combination is divine if you like fruit and chocolate combos. I had several friends go for seconds, which every home cook knows is the best compliment. Enjoy and happy baking!

Black Forest Trifle
Adapted from a recipe on Novice Housewife
10 to 12 servings

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1 to 1¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
¾ cup cake flour, sifted
3 cups heavy cream
1½ cups powdered sugar
3 cups fresh dark cherries, pitted
¼ cup Kirsch, brandy or rum
Shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles, to garnish

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie or cake pan.
• In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate with ½ cup water, stirring with a rubber spatula until it achieves a pudding-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and ½ cup granulated sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gently fold in the cake flour, and then fold in the chocolate mixture until there are no streaks.
• Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. (Avoid opening the oven door too often during backing, as the cake can sink). Loosen and invert the cake onto a rack and let cool completely.
• Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream and powdered sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
• In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cherries, ½ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup water together and let simmer about 5 minutes, until the cherries are soft and the sugar dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the Kirsch, brandy or rum. Add more sugar or alcohol to taste. Let cool completely.
• To assemble: Cut the cake into small, bite-sized pieces. Place a few pieces of cake into the bottom of a clear glass or mason jars. Spoon some cherry compote on top, letting the juices soak into the cake. Add a layer of whipped cream, then repeat the layers, finishing with chocolate sprinkles or shaved chocolate.

Baked: Oat Flour Cookies

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

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Today, I’m sharing a recent discovery: oat flour. It’s essentially finely ground oats that can be partially swapped with all-purpose flour in some recipes. While I haven’t tried grinding it myself yet, I did experiment with a small bag from King Arthur Flour. The result is a denser texture, similar to whole-wheat flour, although I found I much prefer oats.

These cookies are thick with a chewy middle and slight crisp edge. For a salty-sweet crunch, I added some chopped pretzels and chopped milk chocolate to the first batch and sprinkled the tops with sea salt. The second time, I opted for honey-roasted peanuts and swapped half the butter for peanut butter. I couldn’t decide which one was better, but my friends all voted for pretzel version. Make whatever kind you which, using whatever you have in your pantry. It’s a great, healthier alternative to regular chocolate chip cookies. Enjoy and happy baking!

Oat Flour Cookies
Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe
Makes a dozen cookies

¾ cup oat flour (or finely ground oats)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 stick (½ cup) butter
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pretzels
½ cup chopped milk chocolate
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
• In a small bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer about 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
• Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet until well incorporated. Then stir in the chopped pretzels and chocolate.
• Drop large tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets and sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Just Five: No-Bake Granola Bars

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

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The phrase “no-bake” is right up there with “low-fat” and “fruit juice-sweetened” on my list of things I am not interested in cooking or eating. So imagine my surprise when I started playing with this recipe from Minimalist Baker; now, my new Sunday tradition is making – not baking –  granola bars for the week.

Making homemade granola is incredibly satisfying. It’s simple, versatile and healthy; I know exactly what’s in it, unlike prepackaged store granola. I started baking granola about a year ago, and the recipe for this pistachio-studded version quickly became my go-to. But while that recipe is absolutely delicious, it’s rather high in fat.

However using sweet pureed dates and natural peanut butter as binders in these no-bake bars cuts the fat down considerably. Add chocolate chips, chopped dried fruit, banana chips or other nuts and seeds if you like. I’ve never made it the same way twice, which sometimes infuriates my family. But you can be sure they beg for more every Sunday!

No-Bake Granola Bars
Adapted from a Minimalist Baker recipe
8 Servings

10 to 12 (8 oz.) dried dates, pitted
1½ cups rolled oats*
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, chopped
1/3 cup chunky natural peanut butter
¼ cup honey (Agave syrup, maple syrup or sorghum will also work)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil or other neutral oil
Pinch of kosher salt

• Add the dates to the bowl of a food processor and until they reach a sticky, paste-like consistency. Scoop the date puree into a large bowl with the oats and almonds.
• In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the peanut butter and honey until melted and viscous. Stir in the coconut oil and salt. Pour the melted peanut butter over the oat mixture and combine with a wooden spoon or your hands, chopping and stirring until the mixture is well-incorporated.
• Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with plastic wrap. Scrape the granola mixture into the dish and press it evenly in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 20 minutes.
• Transfer the chilled granola to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice them into 8 2-by-4-inch bars. Granola bars will keep in an airtight container up to 1 week.

*Optional: Bake the oats in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes for a toasted flavor.

 

 

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