Monday, May 23, 2011

Individual Rhubarb Raspberry Galettes





These days I can't seem to walk by a pile of rhubarb at the market without tossing some rosy stalks into my basket. Maybe it's because I have a faint memory of an out of control rhubarb plant in the side yard of my childhood home, maybe because it has a short growing season, or maybe it's because I think it is just so damn tasty. These rustic little galettes were a perfect way to use up some of my stash and the addition of tart raspberries really makes the rhubarb shine. The original recipe calls for a traditional pate brise, but since I knew I was going to have to roll out eight, individual galettes I went ahead and used my favorite cream cheese dough because it's a bit more forgiving and easier to work with. I also added a bit of lemon zest and ginger because the flavors worked together so well in the rhubarb curd from a few weeks ago. Next I think I'll whip up some rhubarb syrup to make rhubarb sangria or champagne cocktails for my birthday this weekend!

Cream Cheese Pie Dough
adapted from Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts 
makes 8 galettes

2T cold water
2t cold cider vinegar
3c flour
2t sugar
pinch salt
1c cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8oz cold cream cheese, cut into cubes

1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt.
2. Add the butter and cream cheese, then pulse until there are lima bean sized lumps of cream cheese and butter.
3. Mix the water and vinegar together, then add to the butter flour mixture in a slow, steady stream while pulsing. Pulse until the mixture just begins to hold together. If your dough seems really dry, add a teaspoon or two more water.
4. Turn the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap, then use the wrap to gather the dough into a ball. Seal it up and press firmly into a disk. Refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling.

Rhubarb Raspberry Filling

1 1/2lbs rhubarb, cut into 1/4'' pieces
8oz raspberries
1/4c cornstarch
2c granulated sugar
zest of one lemon (optional)
1/2t grated fresh ginger (optional)
demerara or turbinado sugar for sprinkling

To assemble

1. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll each dough ball into a 7'' round, 1/8'' thick. Transfer the rounds to two large, lined sheet pans, a few inches apart. Store in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
2. In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, raspberries, cornstarch, granulated sugar, lemon and ginger. Prepare an egg wash by beating an egg in a bowl with a tablespoon of water.
3. Remove the pastry from the fridge and divide the dough evenly between the 8 disks, leaving a 1'' border around the edges. Fold the edges of the rhubarb filling and gently brush the wash between the folds to seal. Chill the formed tarts until they are firm, 30-40min.
4. While the tarts are chilling, preheat your oven to 400. When the tarts are nice and cold, remove them from the fridge, gently brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
5. Bake until the crusts are golden, about 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and bake until the juices bubble and ooze and the pastry is a deep golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Snack Cake

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Hi all! Sorry for the absence around these parts, but I was off in Seattle visiting friends and family and soaking up some of that famous Northwest sunshine. No seriously, it was sunny for two whole days, in a row. So, while I get myself back up to east coast speed I offer you this easy-peasy recipe for a great little snack. This fluffy, chocolaty cake is not too sweet so it's great for breakfast or an afternoon snack for the kiddos in your life. It also does not use any dairy, eggs, or refined sugar so on the dessert scale it is actually pretty virtuous. If you want to fancy it up a bit, serve it with some coconut milk ice cream and fresh strawberries which are coming in to season all over the US right now.

Chocolate Snack Cake

1 3/4c flour
2t baking powder
1t baking soda
1/2t kosher salt
2c soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
3/4c cocoa powder
1/2c canola oil or olive oil
1 1/2 c maple syrup
1/2t distilled white vinegar
1t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9'' square baking pan with greased parchment paper

1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
2. In a medium saucepan, warm the soy milk until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, whisk in the cocoa powder then remove the mixture from the heat.
3. Combine the oil, maple syrup, vinegar and vanilla in a separate bowl. I usually do this in the measuring cup to save dishes.
4. Add the soy mixture to the oil mixture then pour it all into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 min or until a toothpick stuck into the cake comes out clean.

To serve, cut into big squares and dust with confectioner's sugar (or not, if you are avoiding refined sugar). Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and keep at room temp.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dutch Pancake




If you ask me a, a dutch pancake is a real breakfast show stopper. It's dead easy to make, you probably already have all of the ingredients and it contains enough butter to make it undeniably delicious. All you have to do is put together a simple eggy batter, toss it into a hot cast iron skillet, slip it into the oven and wait. Then twenty minutes later you pull out a golden souffle that has risen to curl over the sides of the pan making it a perfect vessel for a knob of butter and a sprinkling of sugar or a pile of fresh fruit if that's your style. Maybe you could make one for your mom this weekend and serve it to her on a fancy tray? Maybe someone could make one for my mom in Seattle, I'm looking at you brother. Go ahead and make her some bacon on the side too, it's mother's day.

Dutch Pancake

1/2 c flour
1/2 c milk
1T sugar
pinch salt
3 eggs
4T butter

To Serve

Melted Butter
Confectioner's Sugar
Fresh Lemon Juice
AND/OR Fruit Preserves or Maple Syrup

Preheat your oven to 425 and get out a 10'' cast iron skillet.

1. In a blender, or with an immersion blender, mix the flour, sugar, salt milk and eggs.
2. Melt the butter in the cast iron and then pour the batter mixture in.
3. Bake for 20-25 min until the pancake is puffy and golden. It will fall shortly after you remove it from the oven, that's okay!
4. Remove from the pan onto a platter and dress it up with a little more butter and a sprinkling of powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BAKED Sweet and Salty Brownies



I made these brownies a few weeks for a group of dudes headed to the woods for a Bucks Party (a bachelor party, for all you non Aussies). In contrast to the mini wedding cake I made for the other half of the lovely couple these brownies were dark, rich, and their only delicate quality was the perfect amount of saltiness that ran through the caramel. From what I hear, they were a very worthy accompaniment to a whole roast pig, lots of beer, and an impressive assortment of Scotch and Bourbon. Don't worry, I took them out of that pretty pink Pyrex before sending them on their way.

Sweet and Salty Brownies
adapted from BAKED: Explorations

For the Caramel

1c sugar
2T light corn syrup
1/2c heavy cream
1t fleur de sel
1/2c sour cream

1. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, 1/4c water and stir together carefully. Cook this mixture over high heat until an instant read thermometer reads 350F OR until the mixture is dark amber in color (6-8min). Be careful guys, I almost burnt my caramel because my candy thermometer is a POS and I wasn't paying close enough attention.
2. Remove from heat and slowly add the cream, then the salt, then the sour cream. Set aside to cool.

Note: This recipe makes more than enough caramel for the brownie assembly. Use the extra to serve with the brownies or to make awesome brownie ice-cream sundaes.

For the Brownies

1 1/4c flour
2T unsweetened cocoa powder
1t fleur de sel
11oz dark chocolate, chopped (I used valrhona)
1c unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2c sugar
1/2c packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temp
2t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350, line a 9x13 baking dish with buttered parchment or aluminum foil

1. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder
2. Put the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler set over simmering water and stir occasionally until chocolate and butter are melted. Take the bowl from the heat, add both sugars and whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. Add three eggs to the mixture and whisk until just combined, add the remaining eggs and vanilla.
3. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and fold to combine, do not overbeat or your brownies will be cakey instead of fudgy.

To finish
1 1/2t fleur de sel
1t coarse sugar (demerara and turbinado sugar would work great for this)

To assemble

Pour half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Drizzle about 1/2c of the caramel over top while being careful to make sure the caramel doesn't come into contact with the edge of the pan. Gently spread the caramel into an even layer. Finish by topping the caramel layer with big dollops of the remaining brownie batter and gently smooth the top.

Bake the brownies for 30min, rotating the pan halfway through. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Directly after removing the brownies from the oven, sprinkle with the fleur de sel and coarse sugar.

Cool completely before cutting and serving.