This is my first experience with the ‘Bread of the Month‘ (BOM) group on Facebook. Based on this experience, it will not be my last. This pumpkin gingerbread was so easy and good! And festive!
- 3 C sugar (that’s right)
- 1 C canola oil
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 C water
- 15 oz. canned pumpkin puree
- 2 t ginger
- 1 t allspice
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t ground cloves
- 3 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)
- combine oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Add water, stir in water, then pumpkin, then spices.
- Combine flour, baking soda, powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until they are mixed through.
- Pour into greased (spray oiled) loaf pan + muffin tin, sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired, and bake until a cooked all the way through – about 50 min. for muffins, 70 minutes for the loaf.
I used the four fall fruits that I had around the kitchen and were on the verge of expiration. The tart apples nicely countered the sweetness of the figs and plums. I think i could have used just 1 t lemon juice.
- 3 tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 5 Italian plums, pitted and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 6 black figs, quartered
- 1 Bosc pear (leftover from my pear tart experiment), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1 1/2 T cornstarch
- 3/4 t vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 t lemon juice
- 1 C rolled oats
- 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 C sugar
- 4 T butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- pinch of cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425F and mix together cut fruits, 1/2 C sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch in a baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine all the dry topping ingredients, then use your fingers to blend in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Bake for 20-30 min (depending on your oven – mine took closer to 30), or until fruit is bubbling and topping turning golden brown.
Or should i call it, ‘Pain in the Tush Pear Tart’?
This was without a doubt the most involved recipe i have ever made – thank you ‘New Basics’ cookbook. As part of my continuing quest to actually use the cookbooks we own, I spent hours in the kitchen yesterday.
I decided it would be a festive fall thing to do/ make and a good way to use up the uneaten pears i bought at the market last week. What I got was just desserts! sorry.
Pear Sauce Tart
- 2/3 C all purpose flour
- 1/3 C ground walnuts (or hazelnuts)
- 1/2 t salt
- 4 T butter (chilled and chopped up)
- 1/4 t lemon juice
- 1 T cold water
- 1 T sugar
- 6 Bosc pears, slightly under-ripe, peeled, cored, and quartered
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 C sugar
- 2 T Poire Williams (pear liqueur – i substituted butterscotch schnapps)
Pears + Topping:
- 1 slice fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 C champagne (i used white wine)
- 1 1/2 C water
- 1/4 C lemon juice
- 1 C sugar
- 1/3 C applesauce
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 ripe but firm Bosc Pears
- 1 T white vinegar
- 2 T Poire Williams (or butterscotch schnapps =)
- Prepare the pastry shell: Combine flour, walnuts, and salt in a food processor and process for 15-20 sec. Add butter and lemon and process for 15 addt’l sec. Gradually add cold water through feeder tube, 1/2 t at a time – ONLY ADDING ENOUGH FOR THE DOUGH TO COME TOGETHER. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 min.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Butter a 9″ tart pan. After the dough is chilled, roll it out into an ~11″ circle on a lightly floured counter. Transfer to the buttered pan
and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork, cover with aluminum foil (shiny side down) and bake for 15 min. Remove foil and bake addt’l 8-10 min. or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare the sauce (start while pastry is chillin): Combine half the pear quarters and 1 T lemon juice in the food processor and process for ~30 sec. Transfer the mixture to a heavy saucepan and then repeat with remaining pears.
- Stir the sugar and Poire Williams into the pot and cook over low heart until the mixture begins to turn color ~30 min. Then increase to medium low heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until it becomes the consistency of applesauce. Set it aside to cool.
- To make the topping, first prepare the poaching liquid: Cut the ginger into 1/8″ julienne strips and combine with champagne, water, lemon juice, sugar, applesauce, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Peel the pears, reserving the peel, and cut them in half longways. Core them as neatly as possible with a knife or melon baller. Place them in a large bowl and water to cover. Add the vinegar to prevent discoloring.
- Combine the peeled pears, remaining 1/2 C water, remaining 1/2 C sugar, and Poire Williams in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and set the liquid aside. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to the poaching liquid, add pear peel liquid, bring to a boil, simmer for 8 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool in the liquid.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a shallow dish. Bring poaching liquid to a boil and reduce to 1 1/2 C (about 15 minutes).
- Pour reduced poaching liquid over pears and refrigerate till completely cooled – about 4 hours.
- Assemble the tart: Spread sauce into the prepared pie crust. Slice cooled pear halves crosswise into half moons and arrange to cover the whole surface.
- Preheat the broiler on high with a rack at the top shelf.
- Cover the edge of the crust with aluminum foil (really – do this) and place the tart under the broiler until the pears turn golden brown – about 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature with a dusting of powdered sugar. I thought it was even better cold the next day.
Joe made some of his delicious thai peanut chicken for dinner. he picked up the chicken at a really cool butcher shop we found while biking the other day. The Mayflower Poultry Company’s meat is antibiotic and hormone free, and they have organic and free range meat in addition. After watching the movie Food Inc. a couple weeks ago, we have decided not to support large, national meat companies like Perdue and Tyson that represent the majority of meat in grocery stores today.
For dessert he made pineapple that we bought earlier that day at Haymarket for ¢75.
- 1 whole pineapple
- 1/2 C coconut flakes
- 1/3 C dark brown sugar
- Trim the pineapple by snapping off the top, cutting off the bottom, quartering it, cutting off the core, cutting each quarter away from the roughage, and then dividing each quarter into 1/2″ slices.
- Set oven to broil with a rack on the second from top shelf.
- Sprinkle pineapple with brown sugar (it may take a little patting to get it to stick) and then coconut flakes.
- Broil for 4 minutes, or until the pineapple begins to soften and the brown sugar is gooey.
This was refreshing to drink on a hot, humid, August afternoon. I am a BIG fan of bubble tea. I usually have to shell out about $5.00 on a ‘small’ to get my fix. I have always wanted to learn to make my own…
My mother in law happened to have small tapioca pearls on hand, so i gave it a try. I ended up making enough for all 5 of us. First i tried shaking the milk and tea with ice, then i tried a blended version. I have had both in Asian cafe’s before, but usually like the frozen/ blended version better. The key to success i learned while making it is to use MORE SUGAR. The black tea was a really nice pick-me-up in the afternoon. If you are using large tapioca pearls, make sure you buy big straws to eat them with!
- 7 bags of black tea
- skim milk
- small bottle sugar syrup (like the kind used in coffee drinks – i used raspberry)
- 1 C tapioca pearls (traditionally the large kind, though small works too)
- Make the tea (1 bag per 6 oz water), add 1 C sugar syrup while the tea is still hot, and refrigerate.
- bring 4 C water to boil, and add tapioca pearls. boil for 25 minutes, remove from heat, and let sit for 25 more minutes.
- When the tapioca is finished, rinse and drain (or strain small pearls) with cool water. Put about 2 T in each glass.
- combine 1 C tea with 1 C milk and some ice cubes in a blender, and mix until frothy and frosty.
- Stir a couple teaspoons of tea into the glass with tapioca pearls to loosen them up, then pour in blended tea. Serve with a straw.
BBA #11 | Celebration Bread
I finally got around to making this celebration bread (I baked challenge #15 last weekend)! I would not feel like I had conquered the Bread Baker’s Apprentice if i never baked this bread. In part, I blame Joe for my procrastination. He did not like the Artos (Greek Celebration Bread) I had made way back when for challenge #2, and has been trying to convince me to skip it entirely. Now that i have baked it, it has turned into one of his favorites!
More than half the loaf is gone. I personally thought it was about 10 x better than the Artos. Either my baking skills have drastically improved, or using the lemon extract, or both made a big difference. The extract smelled amazing. The bread had a lot of flavor and was just the right amount of sweet, between the 3 T of sugar and dried cranberries. I think this will make great french toast (or regular toast) in the morning and it will definitely make an appearance at Thanksgiving! Thank you Peter Reinhart!
As a side note: I had to go out during the day, so after shaping the loaf, I kept it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. I took it out when i got home and let it warm up/ proof on the counter for 90 minutes (partly while preheating the oven).
More photos coming soon on FLICKR!
Today was Joe’s and my two year anniversary, and I wanted to mimic our wedding cake as a gift to Joe. I found this recipe on Gourmet.com that sounded just right. Of course, i had to improvise a little bit, as usual. It took nearly all day to make. I wanted to make sure that i did things right and gave the cake sufficient time to cool before decorating.
The cake was way too heavy. This is the second cake i have ever made in my life (the first being my father’s birthday cake back in April). I guess i should have known that pound cake was heavy. The texture of the pound cake was all wrong for this otherwise light and fruity flavored cake. If you couldn’t tell, this was nothing like my wedding cake.
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 C low-fat buttermilk
- 2 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 2 C cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 C sugar
- Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of parchment or wax paper. Grease paper and dust pans with flour.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour and salt in another bowl.
- Beat together butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour and egg mixtures alternately in 3 batches, ending with egg mixture and mixing until just incorporated.
- Divide batter among pans, filling each one to 1 inch from top. Put 12-inch pan on upper rack and other pans on lower rack 20 minutes. Gently turn pans around and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out of each with a few crumbs adhering, 10 to 20 minutes more, depending on cake size. Transfer each one as done to a rack to cool.
- Cool layers slightly (12-inch layer for 20 minutes), then invert onto racks. Peel off paper, turn cakes right side up, and cool completely.
- Put each layer cut side up on a plate. Brush tops generously with syrup. Stir jam until smooth, then spread about 1/3 cup on one layer. Invert another layer (on plate) onto jam. Spread about 1 cups frosting on top of layer. Scatter a layer of blackberries over to cover frosting. (If berries are 1 inch or larger, first halve them lengthwise.) Slide the third 12-inch layer, syrup side up, onto berries (discard cardboard) and press down gently. Spread about 1/3 cup jam on layer and invert last 12-inch layer (on cardboard) onto jam, discard cardboard.
- Spoon 1 1/2 cups frosting onto top of 12-inch tier and cover cake with a thin coating.
- 1/2 C lemon juice
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/4 C water
- stir sugar into lemon juice until fully dissolved and add water.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 (8-ounce) packages neufchatel cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 box confectioners’ sugar
- mix cream cheese on medium speed in an electric mixer until soft.
- add butter and sugar (slowly) and mix on low speed until fully combined.
- keep refrigerated, pull it out of the fridge about 10 min. before applying to the cake to soften.
I have been baking so much with the BBA challenge lately, that i have ceased all other baking. I completely forgot that i have not made my Chocolate pretzels since starting this blog. We finished up our corn muffins pretty quickly, and today, i had a hankering for these. By the time i finished writing this post, i have had more than my fair share of these cookies. I’ll run them off tomorrow!
- 1 1/2 t instant espresso powder
- 3 T boiling water
- 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 t sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 C unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 packets Sugar in the Raw, for sprinkling
1. Stir espresso powder into the boiling water until dissolved; set aside. Meanwhile, put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until creamy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Reduce speed to medium-low. Mix in egg, cocoa and dissolved espresso. Gradually add flour, and mix until a smooth dough forms. Turn out onto a piece of wax paper; pat into a square. Wrap dough, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
2. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll into balls. Shape balls into 9 or 12-inch-long ropes. I just rolled them out on the wax paper that they the dough was refrigerated in to save on clean up. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Space evenly on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Brush cookies with egg wash; sprinkle with sugar in the raw. Bake cookies until dry, about 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week (but they won’t be around that long).