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.
Well, actually they made donuts, but I decided to make blueberry donuts because Rocker Dude loves blueberries and blueberry flavored things.
I have to admit that I almost forgot to make this month’s recipe, or to be more precise, I forgot that the month was almost over and that I had to get my act together. I saw lollcakes post her donuts and that reminded me to get my tuchus in gear. I knew that I was not going to have enough time to make the yeast donuts even though I really wanted to, so I looked up the buttermilk donut recipe and had Rocker Dude buy all the ingredients.
After having my dinner stolen by the Little Rocker (she decided that mine was more interesting than hers, though I think that grilled cheese is better than falafel – but I’m no judge), I got to work. The dough was really easy to put together, though I had to add a bit more flour to compensate for the addition of the blueberry pie filling.
I was wary of deep-frying, 24 years of “Do not fry – oil is bad for you” being ingrained in y head by my mother is not easy to overcome. But maybe a vestige of my teenage rebelliousness came through and I decided not to bake these donuts but to venture into the world of deep-frying. I filled up a pot with lots of canola oil (also going against years of being taught to only use olive oil), stuck in the thermometer and waited for it to heat up. Of course while I was cutting out the donuts, the oil got too hot and then I had to let it cool down a bit, but eventually we got it to the right temperature. I did have some trouble keeping it at that temperature, but all the donuts cooked really nicely, without tasting greasy (from the oil being too cold) or being undercooked on the inside (from the oil being too hot). I was also a bit worried about the amount of flour that I was using to keep the donuts from sticking to the counter, but it all fell off once I put the donut in the oil.
The Little Rocker loved the munchkins that I made as well (donut-holes for anyone who doesn’t know Dunkin’ Donuts). She was already in pjs but she wanted to see what I was doing. There was no way that I was going to let her near hot oil, so I gave her a munchkin instead. Then she came back and had another one. And another one. And then I told her that she could have more tomorrow and time for bed.
We finally had Star Trek Night again last night after it being canceled for various social activities, and the donuts were the perfect snack. We have now seen 12 episodes of Enterprise, only 720-something episodes left to go until we finish all the Star Trek series. Our kids might be married before we finish.
I am glad that I took the first step into the world of deep-frying, though I definitely won’t make it a habit, it’s such a waste of oil. But now, I can make sufganiyot for Hannuka! And Rocker Dude does so love his sufganiyot (though I still have horrible flashbacks from a sufganiyot contest in seminary where 5 18-year-old girls attempted to make sufganiyot ***shudder***)
I may not have time to make the yeast recipe for donuts this month, but they will definitely be tried in the future!
Blog-checking lines: The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts:
Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
Cooking time – 12 minutes
Yield: About 15 doughnuts & 15 doughnut holes, depending on size
Sour Cream ¼ cup / 60 ml / 60 gm / 2 oz
All Purpose Flour 3 ¼ cup / 780 ml / 455 gm / 16 oz + extra for dusting surface (if making blueberry donuts, add about another 1/2 cup)
White Granulated Sugar ¾ cup / 180 ml / 170 gm / 6 oz
Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Baking Powder 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Kosher Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz (If using table salt, only use ½ teaspoon)
Nutmeg, grated 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / .3 oz
Active Dry Yeast 1 1/8 teaspoon / 5.6 ml / 3.5 gm / .125 oz
Buttermilk ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon / 210 ml / 225 gm / 7 ¾ oz
Egg, Large 1
Egg Yolk, Large 2
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon / 15 ml
Blueberry Pie Filling 1/2 cup
Powdered (Icing) Sugar ¼ cup / 120 ml / 65 gm / 2.3 oz (Used for decorating and is optional)
In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the sour cream until just warm.
Heat the oil to 375°F/190°C.
Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.
Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Add the blueberry pie filling. Mix until it is completely incorporated. The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.
Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.
Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side. Cooking times may vary, but with my oil at 375 °F/190°C, I found they only took about 20 to 30 seconds per side.
Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.
Shavuoth is, according to Rocker Dude, the Holiday of Death. It is the holiday in which Jews celebrate receiving thew Bible. For a number of reasons, there is a tradition to eat dairy. Rocker Dude is lactose intolerant, hence, holiday of death. I love cooking dairy, especially because it happens so rarely. I am not well equipped to cook and bake dairy, as everything needs to get cooked in a toaster oven. In Israel, the holiday is only one day (as opposed to two days outside of Israel). This means that there are only two meals to cook everything I want to make. And as we like to be with our friends over the holiday, we are eating out at J and M’s for lunch, so that leaves me with one meal.
So here I am trying to make blintz souffle (the ultimate of Jewish dairy foods), quiches, and of course, the most important part – cheesecake! (I am also making a fish dish with no dairy so that Rocker Dude won’t suffer too much – thank God for Lactaid!) Last year I made three kinds of cheesecake: blueberry, chocolate and tiramisu. I have to make the blueberry one because it is Rocker Dude’s favorite. For that he is willing to take as many lactaid pills as are necessary. It is the easiest recipe in the world, and tastes so good. Everyone should try it.
It is supposed to have a graham cracker crust, but I can’t get graham crackers here, so I use tea biscuits instead. Because my food processor is meat, I set Rocker Dude to crushing tea biscuits. It’s for his benefit after all.
Then you mix the filling. It literally requires mixing the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. No food processor, no whipping, no nothing. I also substitute 5% white cheese instead of regular cream cheese, and it actually works really well. I have to say that the quality of the dairy goods in Israel is amazingly high. All types of cheeses are available, most of which I had never heard of in America, or required going to a specialty store to get.
Back to the cake. Mix all ingredients and pour over the crust – how easy? And when it is cold, spread on some blueberry pie filling. There you have a delicious and easy cheesecake.
I know that I haven’t been blogging as much as I should, work has been absolutely insane, my inbox is full of red flags. The craziness should last until May 31st, and then I will be able to get back to my blogging. I know I missed another Tuesday’s With Dorie recipe, but I have cooking and baking for the holiday, so I hope it’s a good enough excuse. Hopefully next week.
180g tea biscuits crushed (for a 9 inch cake) or a prepared graham cracker crust
50g butter or margarine, melted
750g 5% white cheese, or cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cups blueberry pie filling
Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.
Mix melted butter with tea biscuit crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake the crust for about ten minutes while you prepare the filling.
Mix all the filling ingredients together (except the pie filling) until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for 40 minutes, preferably in a water bath, but I don’t have space in the toaster oven for one and they still come out perfectly. Let cool and then spread pie filling over the top of the cake. Refrigerate until serving.