Tags: blueberry, child, julia, muffin
Well, now you all know why I have neglected this blog so horribly. A month ago we welcomed Squeaker into our family and that has kind of taken over our lives. Until the birth I was working extra hard so that people at work wouldn’t suffer too much while I was gone, and since Squeaker sleeps best while being held, there hasn’t been a lot of baking or much of anything that requires two hands going on. For anyone who is curious as to why her nickname is Squeaker, it’s because when she starts crying, it starts out as a bunch of squeaks, but don’t worry, when she gets going, it’s a full blown scream .
As I have not had time to bake recently, I am posting a few older recipes that I made a while ago that I have been horribly bad about posting. Today we will indulge in Julia Child’s Blueberry Muffins. This recipe comes to us from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking with Julia which is based on Julia Child’s cooking show. I picked up this book, along with a few others, while we were in America this summer. As we were in America, I really wanted to take advantage of the fresh berries that we can’t get in Israel. I decided on blueberry muffins, because they are awesome all the time, and I have missed them so much. So here we are.
They were quite delicious, as I recall, I didn’t manage to actually store them as they were quickly eaten up by everyone in the house (there were a lot of people around). Definitely worth making again, the next time I can get fresh blueberries. Oh Costco – how wonderful you are!
Recipe (From Baking with Julia):
1 3/4 cup cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. salt
1 pint fresh blueberries
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream (or milk with a little vinegar)
1 stick unsalted margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift the cake flour, baking soda, cream of tarter and salt together. Toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir the milk and sour cream together. In a mixer, beat the margarine until white and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture no longer feels grainy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat until the mixture is fluffy.
Sift half the dry ingredients into the margarine/sugar/egg mixture. Add half of the milk/sour cream mixture and delicately fold the ingredients together, stopping when just barely combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle the blueberries over the mixture and mix until just barely incorporated.
Fill each muffin cup at least 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops (which will be flat) are golden and spring back when lightly pressed. Allow the muffins to cool for 10-15 minutes on a rack before serving.
Tags: fruit pie, peach, pie
Hello everyone, we are back from America, back into the swing of things, and Rocker Dude just went back to work this week! I know I should be happy that he has vacation, and teachers do work really hard, but still, when I have to be out of the house by 7:15 and he is still in bed, I can’t help but be a teensy weensy bit jealous. But it’s all over now. The Little Rocker went back to school today too, so I no longer have a junior assistant at work . It is the end of summer.
But before we say goodbye, there are definitely some memories to share (and if we could only get around to printing all those pictures that we took, we could see them too). While we were in the states, we spent a lot of time with family (duh!) and assorted cousins on both sides.
We also had some adventures. I am not going to talk about the flight adventures, but suffice it to say, Rocker Dude was not impressed with Air Europa.
On a brighter note, we went peach and corn picking with some cousins. The Little Rocker was not so impressed with the peaches I have to say, even though there were trees with branches low enough for her to reach. But the other cousins were more than happy to make up for it and we picked a giant box full of peaches and nectarines.
But when I offered corn picking the Little Rocker jumped at the chance and we went into the “corn forest”.
We also went to see the Statue of Liberty. The Little Rocker has been dying to see it ever since she saw the WonderPets episode where the WonderPets had to save a pigeon who was falling off the Statue’s nose.
As the Statue is currently undergoing renovations, we couldn’t actually go up, but it did not stop the Little Rocker from trying to find the pigeon that needed help. What she really enjoyed was the ferry ride though.
Because we had so many peaches, my mom asked me to please do something with them, so for Shabbat I made a peach pie that I had found on Smitten Kitchen’s site. The recipe was simple enough and all her stuff is delicious. While my family is not particularly picky about desserts and they care more about taste than anything else (which makes sense I guess), I figured that a lattice pie would not go unappreciated. Another thing that did not go unappreciated was a certain cinnamony treat that I had to make multiple times and was in demand every morning for breakfast.
Unfortunately, my mother still does not have a pie plate. This is the second time that I have wanted to make a pie at their house and they have not had a pie plate – even a disposable one! So this time I just made do with a disposable cake pan.
The pie was enjoyed all around, even Rocker Dude liked it!
Recipe (From Smitten Kitchen):
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces
1 tablespoons (15 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks (225 grams, 8 ounces, or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup water, very cold
About 3 1/2 pounds peaches (approximately 6 large, 7 medium or 8 small)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from about half a regular lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar (use 1/3 cup for a sweeter pie)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few gratings of fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
1 tablespoon soy milk
1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar
Make your pie dough: Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large. Using a pastry blender, two forks or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. (You can also do this in a food processor.) Gently stir in the ice water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.
Filling: Halve and pit the peaches, then into about 1/3-inch thick slices. You’ll want 6 cups; it’s okay if you go a little over. Add to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small dish, stir together sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch until evenly mixed. Add to peaches and toss to evenly coat.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Flour your counter, unwrap your first dough (if the two pieces look uneven, go for the smaller one) and put it in the middle and flour that too. Roll it out until you have a 12- to 13-inch circle. Then transfer pie dough to a standard pie dish. Trim the overhang to one inch.
Scoop filling into bottom pie dough, including any accumulated juices. Roll out your top pie dough using the same procedure, until it is 12 to 13 inches in diameter. If you’d like to make a regular lidded pie, use it as is, cutting some decorative vents in the pie lid before baking. To make a lattice-top pie, cut the pie dough into strips anywhere from 1/2 to 1-inch wide with a pastry wheel, pizza wheel or knife. Arrange every other strip across your pie filling in one direction, spacing the strips evenly. Fold back every other strip gently on itself and add the longest remaining strip in the other direction. Fold the strips back down, repeat with the other strips until a full lattice-top is formed. Trim the lattice’s overhang to the diameter of the pie dish’s rim. Gently fold the rim of the bottom crust over the lattice strips and crimp decoratively.
Brush pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar.Bake for about 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is set and beginning to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake pie for another 30 to 40 minutes, until filling is bubbling all over and the crust is a nice golden brown. If the pie lid browns too quickly at any point in the baking process, you can cover it with foil for the remaining baking time to prevent further browning.
Cool pie for three hours at room temperature before serving – keep in mind that the pie filling does not fully thicken until it is fully cool. Pie can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge; from the fridge, it will be even thicker.
Tags: apricot, cherry, galette, nectarine, peaches, pie, plum, stone fruit, tart
The name for this dessert comes straight from Rocker Dude. I’m not 100 percent sure why he picked his specific name, but it is what it is. A Mississipi Galette is a simple stone fruit galette that makes the most of the summer abundance of fresh stone fruit, and I love stone fruit.
I was inspired by a post written by Tartelette, but when I started to make the tart I didn’t have time to check her blog, so I just made up the filling as I went along.
We had a bit of a busy day on Friday, with the Little Rocker’s graduation party from preschool. They moved it up so that we could go as we will be flying in a week and a half to the US to visit the family and they didn’t want us to miss the party. (The theme was health, so there was a long of singing and things having to do with vegetables.)
Then we had a party for friends of ours who essentially got married, but without the ceremony and the name change. We had a lot of fun! Since this is a food blog I will mention the food – it was spectacular. A smorgasbord of ribs, dim sum, fish and chips, and focaccia. The n a main course of two types of chicken and steak and assorted salads and veggies. But of course for me, the best part was the dessert. They had mini tarts with fresh blueberries and raspberries! Do you know how hard it is to get fresh berries here? Berries do not do well in a summer of 95 degree heat. It was sooo good, the taste of the raspberries was heavenly.
And due to us getting home only three hours before Shabbat, I planned in advance and made the dough in the morning (yay for advanced planning and being organized!) so that it could chill while we were gone. All I needed to get done was the cutting of all the fruit and rolling of the dough. I wanted the opportunity to mix all kinds of stone fruits, instead of making one single filling, but there weren’t any cherries or apricots left , their seasons have ended. So I took the plums, peaches and nectarines I had lying around and diced them all up. The filling came together in about 5 minutes. Then I just had to roll out the dough, dump the filling in the middle and fold the ends over.
The end result was a great tart with the a bit of tartness from the plums and sweetness from the nectarines and peaches. The galette really let the flavors of the fruit come through. Rocker Dude loved it and even ventured the opinion that I should make it to compete in the Middlesex County Fair this summer. Yes that’s right, going to NJ again in a few days! So if you don’t hear from me for a while (because I am so good at posting on time ) it’s because we are on vacation! So make this tart while I am gone and enjoy it! (And yes Abba, when I come I will make it for you too.)
1 recipe Sweet Tart Dough, prepared until chill step
4 cups of diced stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, or plums)
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar as needed (if the fruit is very sweet you might not need as much sugar)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg white
sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix filling ingredients together. Let sit while you roll out the dough. Roll out the dough to a circle about a 1/4 inch thick. Place dough circle on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Dump the filling into the middle, mounding it a bit in the center. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, leaving a bit of the filling showing through. Brush the top of the galette with egg white and sprinkle with some sugar.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool and enjoy!
Tags: almond, apricot, fresh apricot, tart
Who doesn’t love stone fruit? I mean aren’t they just the perfect fruits? Sweet and juicy (and apparently cherries lower your blood sugar – who knew?) and always delicious. Stone fruit season started about a month ago, and due to a particularly cool and wet winter, there is a bumper crop of stone fruit this year. Apricots in particular have a short season, so I decided to take advantage of it while I could. Two years ago I made apricot crostadas, last year I was being good and not baking too much, and this year I decided to make a simple, delicious apricot tart. Well, in this case, tartlets. I was in the mood, so why not?
I looked around on the internet and there are not that many recipes involving apricots, probably because of their short growing season. So I decided to take some artistic license and make up a recipe, based on another one. Now there will be one more apricot recipe out there.
I was inspired by this recipe from pastry studio (she has a lot of great recipes, and tips for the less experienced baker so make sure to check out her site), but decided to make proper tartlets in my mini tart pans as opposed to a galette. And I went with my tried and true Sweet Tart Dough that always comes out so delicious and flaky.
When I mixed up the filling I decided that it looked a little dry so to add a bit of flavor I added some almond extract (don’t tell Rocker Dude! I only mentioned it after he had tried a bite ) and it really made the tart something special. The filling is still simple enough that the flavor of the apricots really shines through. Even the Little rocker enjoyed the tart, though that might have been because she was watching The Backyardigans Samurai Pie episode and they kept talking about pies.
This recipe would also work well as a tart, if you prefer family style serving.
Recipe (makes 7 4-inch tartlets or one 9 inch tart):
8 apricots, stoned and sliced into eighths
1/4 cup sugar (a bit more if the apricots are particularly tart – baking the apricots makes the tartness come out)
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Prepare the tart dough until the refrigeration stage. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then mix all the filling ingredients together. Let it sit while you roll out the tart dough. Lay the tart dough in the tart pan(s) and place apricot slices in concentric circles to make a decorative filling.
Bake the tartlets for 25 minutes or so, until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling gently, a full-size tart will take longer, probably about 40 minutes or so. Let cool. Enjoy!
Tags: apple pie, baked apple, baked apple pie, dessert, granny smith apples
Who loves apple pie but always feels guilty for wanting more than two pieces? Definitely me. Anyone else out there? Well for all you people, here is the perfect recipe. It’s also really quick so you have no excuses. And after you’ve eaten the cinnamon buns from the previous post, you may be ready for these.
The idea came from a picture that E. pinned me? pinterested me? what’s the verb for using Pinterest? She found it on Pinterest and sent it to me. You can check it out here. We are talking apple pies with no bottom crust! Just baked apple! What an ingenious idea. You still get that pie crust flavor from the top crust and you don’t have to worry about a soggy bottom crust because it is an apple – if it is not soggy then you are in trouble.
We decided to use Granny Smith apples for the base and then fill them with apple pie filling made from Jonathan apples. This was the perfect treat for movie night, put into the oven right before the movie started and ready 30 minutes later.
Conveniently I had a small amount of pie crust left over from a previous pie-making session (recipe here), and it was the perfect amount to cover these apples.
While waiting for E. and A. to make it over, I prepared my all-purpose pie filling (something else that needs to be posted) which is basically sliced apples, a tad of cinnamon and sugar and a bit of lemon juice. You can also add other spices such as cardamom or nutmeg or allspice if you want.
When E. came over, I quickly cored the Granny Smith apples that she brought and left a small border of apple under the skin. Then I stuffed them with the apple pie filling. I rolled out the dough and cut it into thin strips to make a lattice. Bear in mind that this whole process took about 8-10 minutes. After latticing the top – into the oven they went! And 35 minutes later – fresh baked apple pie! It’s like the best of both worlds – baked apple and apple pie. This is the perfect TV watching snack for the winter.
Also, something I noted while eating the apple – Mission Impossible 3 has almost nothing to do with the other Mission Impossibles and the story line is so not Mission Impossible. Sorry to throw that in here, just something I noticed.
Tags: cinnamon, rolls
Okay, so remember way back when, when I said that I was going to try and bake low-sugar and cut calories and all that? So public service announcement – this is not healthy. Not by any stretch of anyone’s imagination is this low sugar or low fat or low anything. But if you are going to make cinnamon buns once a year – make these – then send the extras with your husband to share with his friends in the army and don’t eat more than one!
I have been dying to make cinnamon buns for ages, but it seemed like way too much effort and it’s very time consuming and I was worried about who was going to eat it all. Purim comes along and all my problems are solved. I had time to bake (sort of) and a ladies brunch to bring it to so that it did not stay in the house. Rocker Dude was very upset that I chose a time to bake these when he was leaving to the army so I made sure to make him some to bring with him. (I am not going to mention that after I told him to take the less pretty pan with him, he proceeded to take the nice looking ones, but it’s okay. It’s totally fine. )
I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for these buns because it is legend across the blogosphere, and according to her, not too hard to make. You don’t even need to use a mixer!
I made the dough on Tuesday night and let it rise in the fridge over night. Then on Wednesday night I rolled out the dough and shaped the rolls. Ree was right – these rolls are a cinch to make which is very dangerous knowledge because now I might just make them more often…
The smell of these buns baking in the oven is amazing, even to my poor stuffed nose. I held out and did not eat a single bun until Thursday morning, when I had one of the end pieces that I had baked separately. One word – Sa-weet! (Like that double meaning there? Sweet awesome and sweet tasty? Eh?)
For all you dieters out there, these cinnamon buns are totally worth being your treat of the week (if you are luck y enough to build a weekly treat into your diet) and to my family who keep complaining that I never make anything for them, when I come visit – these will be on the list.
Recipe (from the Pioneer Woman):
1 quart Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
Plenty Of Melted Butter
2 cups Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
1 bag Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
1/8 teaspoon Salt
For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.
To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.
Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.
Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)
Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.
Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor. They only get better with time.
Tags: apple, applesauce, nuts, tart, torte
Here we are, in the dead of winter, at probably the coldest day of the season so far (50 degrees F during the day), and it is time for an apple dessert. Apples are at their best in the fall and winter and they deserve their day in the spotlight.
This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours and is absolutely delightful. It combines the elegance of a tart with the double crust of a pie. So basically you have a double crusted apple tart=a torte.
This torte is filled with applesauce. I made it once with store bought apple sauce (oh the horror!) and added some vanilla and nutmeg and no one noticed that it wasn’t homemade. This time I decided to go all the way and make the torte as it deserved to be made, with homemade applesauce and nuts. Yes that is right Rocker Dude – ground almonds in the filling. Rocker Dude has a a fear or maybe just a distaste of eating anything involving nuts, but I figured that because we would be having other people at the meal I could add in the nuts and I wouldn’t get too many vocal complaints .
I made this dessert during my usual Friday cooking rush, but made sure at least to spread out the prep so I had my crust ready and chilled in the morning, made the applesauce and chilled that so by 2 pm I was ready to assemble and bake the torte.
After everyone had eaten the dessert (which would probably be great with some vanilla ice cream) I got certain looks from a certain person about the nuts in the filling. The comment made was that when you take a bite of the torte, you expect a soft filling and suddenly there is some crunch from the nuts. I actually liked the texture it added to the torte, but a promise was extracted from me to not make it with nuts again. So I probably won’t, at least for a while .
Recipe (From Baking: From my Home to Yours):
1 double recipe Sweet Tart Dough
2 lbs. (about 5 medium) tart or tart-sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. apple cider, apple juice or water
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds (apparently optional)
pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt
Divide prepared tart dough into two parts. Refrigerate one half and press the other half over the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch tart pan. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press is lightly against the surface of the dough. Refrigerate for at least two hours. (Or freeze if you are in a hurry).
When the second half of the dough is chilled, roll it into a circle that is between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into a 10-inch circle and then using a shot glass as a guide, cut a hole in the center of the dough to act as a steam vent. Slide the dough onto a cookie sheet a refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fill the foil over the crust with beans or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. You don’t want it to get too brown because you will be baking it again. Cool to room temperature.
Put the apples, brown sugar, cider and nutmeg in a medium saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. You want the mixture to stay at a medium bubble. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes until the apples are so soft that you can almost mash them with the back of a spoon. Remove the cover and boil for five minutes more. Add the almonds, if you are using them, and the rest of the spices. Pour the filling into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool. The filling can be made up to two days in advance.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Fill the cooled crust with the applesauce filling. Lightly moisten the edges of the crust and lay the chilled top crust on top of the filling. Press the edges of the crust to seal. Run a rolling pin over the top to trim off the excess dough.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 350 degrees F. and cover the tart loosely with a foil tent. Continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and cool.
Tags: apple sauce, chanuka, hannukah, latkes, quince sauce
This time I am going to be organized. I am going to post the holiday recipe
before the holiday before the holiday is over, so that all you people can actually use it .
Recently I found myself with some quinces in my fridge. They were sending “Eat Me” messages and I really didn’t want them to go to waste. On top of that, I have been feeling rather lazy lately and all I want to do when I get home from work is – nothing. Yup, that’s right people, nothing. I just went through a crazy busy time at work while I covered for the two department heads (congrats to both – one on a baby girl and the other on getting married!) and after working anywhere between 10 and 15 hours a day – all I want to do is, yes you guessed it, nothing.
Working against this force of laziness is Rocker Dude. Well, not exactly against it so much as diverting it to laziness of another sort. He keeps loading up episodes of our favorite tv shows on the computer for me to watch. We are trying to catch up on Chuck and keeping updated with The Big Bang Theory. And best of all, now that Shabbat ends early enough to actually do something afterwards, we have been watching movies again Saturday night. The other week, Rocker Dude sat me down and told me that it was time for me to watch Captain America. As our house is full of comic books, and Rocker Dude’s goal in life is to one day own all comic-related movies, it was obvious that when Captain America came out in the summer, he would be the first in line to see it. Well he wasn’t the first, but he made sure to see it shortly after it came out. I feel less strongly about seeing movies in theaters (it’s kind of a waste of money) so I waited until we had a copy of it before I saw it. Rocker Dude downloaded a copy (oh no he didn’t!) and has been waiting for a while to be able to watch it with me. Apparently now was the time.
I decided to not waste time (for once) and take advantage of the time that we would spend watching the movie. I took the two quinces that were getting old and lonely in the fruit bin and the red pear that was not quite sweet enough to be appetizing.
Quinces are notoriously hard to deal with – they are really hard – like a pain in the neck to cut and peel – and you can’t eat them without cooking them first. But, due to the fact that these quinces were a bit old, they had softened and I could peel them and cut them off the core pretty easily.
I cut the quinces up into chunks and threw them into a saucepan (I know, boiling on the fire is not technically baking, but it ends up as a dessert so it counts.) I peeled and cut up the pear and threw that in the pot. Added some water and boiled the fruit.
Then I sat down to watch Captain America.
About halfway through the movie (around the part where the Red Skull is revealing his plan to destroy the world) I remembered that the fruit was simmering on the fire. Whoops.
I quickly took it off the fire, drained out some of the extra liquid and mashed everything up. I guess if I was less lazy I could have thrown it all in the food processor and gotten a much smoother sauce, but again, lazy.
I added some cinnamon and some agave syrup (keep the glucose levels down). Then I let the sauce cool until after the movie was over.
Captain America saved the day but was frozen in a glacier and my fruit sauce was awesome.
So for all you people who are planning on having plain old boring apple sauce with their latkes this year during Chanukah – we at the Casa de la Smoj will be indulging in a different condiment this year. (If I have time to make more, I already ate the first batch. What? It was really small!)
Recipe (from what was left in my refrigerator):
fruit from the apple/pear family (apples (not red delicious), pears of different sorts, asian pears, quinces, etc.)
water for boiling
agave syrup or honey or brown sugar
Peel and cut all the fruit into big chunks. Put them into a saucepan with enough water to come halfway up the pile of fruit. Boil for a while until everything is soft. Drain some of the water (leave a bit so that you have an easier time mixing). Mash the fruit and add the agave syrup/brown sugar/honey. Start with a little bit and taste the mixture to make sure that it is not too sweet. Then add the nutmeg, and/or allspice and/or cardamom. It’s probably a good idea to add some salt too, so that the flavor really pops.
Let it cool and then eat with your favorite latkes!
P.S. I made version 2.0 with quinces, pears, Jonathan apples and Yellow Delicious apples this week. Added some cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. After cooking the fruit I blended it all with an immersion blender to make a smooth sauce – yum!
Tags: apple, cranberry, pie, sukkot, thankgiving
I know it is a bit late, but I promised you all Apple-Cranberry Pie. So here it is. I had intended to make it for Sukkot, but transporting a pie on the bus to be eaten a few days later is just not a good idea. So I made it for Shabbat last week and it was delish.
The reason it has taken me so long to make this pie is because we have been busy over Sukkot and just now are getting back to normal. Also, now that the holidays are over, people have come back from their travels overseas and we can see them again.
We spent most of the holiday in Jerusalem at Rocker Dude’s parents because they have a big sukkah and holidays are about family right? (Yes, yes, and food).
Being based in Jerusalem does have it’s advantages, though most of the attractions are outside the city. We spent Shabbat of Sukkot in Beit Shemesh at our friends’ parents and had a great time there. Thanks so much W.’s! The Little Rocker especially loved the little fish pond outside the house and had so much fun deciding which fish belonged to which families. (Because every family has a father, mother and one baby right?) Then on Monday we went to the Monkey Park in Ben Shemen. I’m not sure who was more excited to go – Rocker Dude or the Little Rocker. Rocker Dude has always had a thing for monkeys and somehow he managed to pass it on to the Little Rocker. We obviously made sure to bring Momo, her constant simian companion, so that he could meet his cousins. There was a section at the end where 30-40 squirrel monkeys were running loose all around the people walking through and the Little Rocker made sure to lift up Momo so that he could meet all those little monkeys. She was most excited when she saw a baby squirrel monkey riding piggy back on the mommy monkey – now she knows I’m not crazy when I want to carry her piggy back.
We spent the last day of Sukkot, actually Simchat Torah, at our friends in Ginot Shomron and had a wonderful time. The Little Rocker made sure to get her fair share of treats (though I have to admit that I hid most of them afterward when she wasn’t looking – saving them for prizes and things). There was even a small horse ranch outside the town and we took the Little Rocker to go and feed the horsies. She had a lot of fun, even if she fell down on a rock on the way and scraped her nose. And then we came back home – finally. It ain’t easy to be away for a week and living out of suitcases, but somehow we managed it.
We were invited out to friend’s for both Friday night and Shabbat lunch last week. Now that the Little Rocker is older and Shabbat comes in earlier, we can take her out at night and pretend that we have a life too . I was asked by H. to bring a dessert. Immediately I thought – “Apple-Cranberry Pie! This is my chance!” Now cranberries are usually a problem to find here in Israel as they are a cold weather fruit – something that doesn’t exist here (the weather I mean). When I looked at the recipe though, one of the comments made was that the filling had a lot of liquid and the author was worried that the crust would get soggy. So I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to use dried cranberries – problem solved!
Instead of using the pie crust that came with the recipe , I used Dorie’s Good For Almost Anything pie crust recipe. I have used it before and we have an understanding. I will make a good filling for it and it will behave and stay light and flaky. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.
The hardest part for me is always making the crust. I love making pies and tarts but when I think about making the crust, all of a sudden I start getting lazy and I put off making whatever I was going to make. That’s the point when I rethink my plan of making a pie and start looking for one-step recipes that don’t require chilling. In my dream mansion (which will have a hover golf-cart so that we can get around all the land without messing up the gardens) I will have a huge freezer where I can make tons of pie dough and have it frozen in single-use size packages. Then I never have to feel lazy again. But until that magical future (hey – it could happen!) I just have to deal with what I have – i.e. a small freezer and no time. So last week, in order to prevent the Friday afternoon laziness, I made the crust dough on Thursday night. Go me! Advanced preparation – woo hoo! And then when I woke up on Friday morning, I had a crust that was ready to be rolled out and used.
I knew that H. and Y., well especially Y., like fruity desserts, so this pie would be perfect. The hardest part was waiting for the filling to cool before I could put it in the pie shell. I solved that problem by watching three episodes of Pan-Am. It is not such a bad show – kind of Mad Men-esque in that it takes place in the sixties and the characters do and say things that would get them sued today, but otherwise it is a lighter show. They don’t deal with some of the heavy things that Mad Men deals with. Of course, that may be because the show is only about 6 episodes in. Rocker Dude thinks that I only like fake shows, meaning shows that don’t make you think. But I ask you, does How I Met Your Mother really make you think? And besides, we watch Castle together and that makes you think, sort of. The point is, that by the time the three episodes were over, it was time to pick up the Little Rocker from nursery (her first day back after vacation) and when we came home, she helped me fill the pie and cover it with the top layer of dough. What a helper!
The pie baked really nicely and the crust came out nice and flaky and flavorful, even if I did use margarine instead of butter. Such is Jewish life.
Thanksgiving is coming up and I encourage everyone to try this pie for their Thanksgiving meal. It has the quintessential fall flavors of apple and cranberry and tastes delicious!
This recipe comes from Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures who took it from Cook’s Illustrated.
2 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple or orange juice
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 1/2 pounds sweet apples (6-7 medium), peeled, cored & cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1 double crust pie dough (recipe here)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar in the raw
To make the cranberry filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries have plumped and absorbed almost all the liquid, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the water, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
To make the apple filling: In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and cornstarch. Add the apples and toss to coat thoroughly. Microwave the apple mixture on high power for 8-10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes with a rubber spatula, until the liquid is thick and glossy and the apples have started to turn translucent around the edges. Let the apple filling cool to room temperature. You can microwave the apples for less time if you want more of a bite to your filling. (Note: both fillings can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated.)
While the fillings are cooling, preheat oven to 425 F. Place a rack in the lowest position and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Roll one disk of dough into a 12-inch round on a floured surface. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough. Spread the cooled cranberry filling in the bottom of the dough-lined pie plate. Place the cooled apple filling on top of the cranberry layer, mounding it slightly in the center. Roll out the second disk of dough to a 12-inch round on a floured surface. Transfer it to the top of the pie plate. Use kitchen shears to cut through both layers of pie dough, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the outer rim of the pie plate. Use your fingers to create a fluted edge or use the tines of a fork to seal the dough. Brush the top and edges of the pie with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the sugar in the raw. Use a sharp paring knife to cut slits in the top crust.
Bake the pie on the preheated baking sheet until the top is light golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and continue to bake until the crust is deep golden brown, about 25-30 minutes longer. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
Tags: honey cake, rosh hashana
It is that time of year again. Rosh Hashana Yom Kippur and Sukkot – the fall holiday trilogy. We start with two days (except for this year when it was three) of honey cakes, pomegranates and apples in honey, spend one day fasting to make up for the intense food consumption (it totally does not make up for it – ask my scale) and then spend a week eating more honey related things, squashes and other fall favorites outside in our decorated mini-houses. Can you see the imbalance here? Too much food, hmm? Maybe we should throw in another fast day at the end or something. But then, we wouldn’t be real Jews if we didn’t eat our own weight in food during a holiday.
So in the spirit of the honey-drenched holiday, here is a honey cake recipe. I try new recipes every year looking for a moist, but not overly sweet version of the holiday favorite. Unfortunately Rocker Dude is not a fan of the honey cake and therefore will not help in taste testing. So no pre-gaming. We bake the cake for the actual holiday and hope for the best.
Last year I made a honey cake that was loaded with liquid – juice and booze. It was delicious but a bit too sweet. So I searched the interweb and found another recipe that was purported to be lighter (due to whipped egg whites) and not too sweet. It was game time.
This cake is really easy to make – whip the egg whites first and then mix all the ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold egg whites into the other ingredients and bake. Even my mom would consider making this cake (my mom is a long-time champion of the one-bowl baking experience).
And the verdict: delicioso! (I have been watching waaaay too much Dora the Explorer.) Three days after baking, the cake was moist and light and not sticky. Two days after that it was just as good. There is still another week an a half before honey cake season ends for the year (it’s a very short season) – make this cake!
Honey Cake (from Allrecipes.com):
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1 cup hot water
Mix coffee in hot water, and then cool.
Whip egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar until creamy. Add the oil and then the honey, beating after each addition. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Sift and then measure 3 cups of flour. Combine with salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add these dry ingredients alternately with the coffee to the honey mixture, stirring only until blended. Do not overmix.
Fold egg whites into the batter in three additions. Pour into 2 greased 8 inch square pans, or one bundt pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean.