1 Apt. 2B Baking Co.: September 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yeasted Vegan Biscuits and Some Rambling

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I have lived in New York for a pretty solid chunk of time now and I am grateful that I get to live in such an amazing place, but most days there is a part of me that misses the Pacific Northwest. A big part. It’s tough to feel so deeply connected to more than one city and the constant pull between coasts has been at the front of my mind all summer. So when I was home in Seattle a few weeks ago I made a promise to myself to just absorb and to try my darndest to bring as much of that Pacific Northwest energy back with me as I could.

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When I was packing up and getting ready to leave Seattle, I found myself squirreling away little bits of home to bring back to New York with me: a tea towel, a few mugs and bowls I made when I lived in Portland, some jars of jam made from the fruit I picked with my parents, a set of beautiful gold rimmed tea glasses, and some tablecloths that I've always loved. The faded cotton tablecloths I grabbed are remnants of the life my parents and brother lived in Iran years and years ago. They have been witness to countless meals and conversations. They have spent time with members of my family that I will never get to meet. One of them even made the trip to college with me where I hung it on my dorm room wall alongside a print of Starry Night (I know, I know) and a concert poster or two.

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There is something to be said for the comfort and safety of familiar objects because just having these tablecloths in our east coast home makes me feel a bit more connected to the life I left when I moved to New York and it makes being here just a bit better.

Biscuits for breakfast are mighty comforting too.

Oh, and one last thing, check out the side bar for an updated about me page.

Yeasted Vegan Biscuits
adapted from Steve's Honey Angel Biscuits
yield 8-10 biscuits
Steve was my jam swap partner this year and he hooked me up with four delicious jars of jam (I don't want to brag but the flavors were peach melba, white fig with grapefruit, olliaberry, and white peach) and a recipe for his favorite jam vehicles (a category of baking that I have a high appreciation for): corn muffins and angel biscuits. I tweaked his biscuit recipe a bit to accomodate what I had on hand and realized when all was said and done that they were vegan, and the most tender biscuits I'd ever had to boot. For a more traditional version, swap the almond milk and lemon juice for an equal amount of buttermilk and 2 ounces of butter and 2 ounces of shortening.

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
10.75 ounces all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3.5 ounces non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400º

1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes to give the yeast time to bloom.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Then cut the shortening in with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly but there are still small chunks of shortening visible.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir gently until combined. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead a few times. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4'' tall and and fold it in thirds.
4. Pat or roll the folded dough to a 1'' thickness and cut it into 8 rounds with a 2'' biscuit cutter. Alternately, you can use a pastry (or pizza) wheel to cut the dough into squares. Place the cut biscuits into an ungreased cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet, just barely touching. Gently gather any scraps into biscuit shapes and bake those too, don't waste a bit of this delicious dough. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until light golden and cooked through.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plum and Apple Turnovers with Thyme

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plum and apple turnover
plum and apple turnovers
At long last the summer haze is lifting from the city and it is being replaced by the cool crisp air of fall. I feel free to turn the oven on without fear of overheating the apartment and our cat has become a little bit more snuggly (one of my favorite parts of cool weather). Then, there is the market this time of year. The weeks during the transition from summer to fall when summer produce is still kickin', alongside apples, squash and other fall goodies are so incredibly bountiful that my market haul inevitably looks like a renaissance still life. These turnovers are a nice treat to bridge the seasons utilizing some of fall's finest apples cooked down with a few of summer's last plums and a bit of earthy thyme just for kicks.

Oh, and see that apple up there, lookin' fly? That's a mutsu, they are my favorite for baking and eating out of hand. What is your favorite apple variety?

Bonus Track: my all time, forever, favorite fall song. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo.

Plum and Apple Turnovers with Thyme
yield 9 turnovers
The filling for these turnovers is on the tart side. Make sure to taste it before you fill the turnovers, you may want to add a bit more sweetness depending on your taste. If the idea of herbs in your pastry totally freaks you out, just leave out the thyme. The fruit has plenty of flavor as is.

For the Filling


1 lb tart baking apples, mutsus work great
10 ounces Italian prune plums
2-3 ounces sugar
1 tablespoon water
1tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 sprig fresh thyme

For the Pastry

1 lb puff pastry (about 1/2 of the recipe linked to here or one package of store bought)
1 egg for egg wash
few tablespoons of coarse sugar for sprinkling

1. Peel, core and chop the apples into 1/2'' pieces. Pit the plums and roughly chop them.
2. In a medium saute pan, cook the apples, sugar, water, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and the sprig of thyme over medium low heat for 3 minutes. Add in the chopped plums and cook until the fruit has softened, and the juices begin to reduce, about 7 more minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool completely. When the mixture has cooled, remove the thyme sprig and vanilla bean pod.
3. Preheat oven to 400º
4. Roll the puff pastry into a roughly 15'' square. Cut the square into 9, equal squares and place the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add a generous tablespoon onto each square and brush the edges with beaten egg. Fold the pastry in half diagonally and seal the edges with a fork, making sure to seal tightly. Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut a vent in the top of each turnover and refrigerate or freeze the turnovers until firm, about 15 minutes.
5. Bake until the turnovers until they are deep golden brown, 15-20 minutes making sure to rotate the pan half way through the cooking time. Serve warm or at room temperature. These are best on the day they are made.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gingered Blackberry Cobbler and a Few Favorites

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Here are a few things I've enjoyed from around the internets this week and a bonus recipe for a sweet and spicy blackberry cobbler that I made towards the end of my Seattle trip. When life hands you blackberries and you've already made 10 jars of jam and a crisp and you don't have time to let pie dough chill, make cobbler! It is one of those multi-purpose desserts that's not too sweet, making it perfect for breakfast the next day.

- Shae's beautiful post about the terroir of Alaskan blueberries and the jam she made. If you've ever had them, you already know that Northwest blackberries have a distinct terroir of their own.
- Kimberley's lovely words about running and returning
- Some tips on bread management from the always inspiring Rachel
 - A killer circus birthday party with warm cotton candy, a striped cake, and a hot dog bar from Ashley
- I wish I had known about this cocktail from Erin when I had my bounty of blackberries. Campari has been my drink of choice all summer. I guess I'll need a new drink soon, any ideas?
This series of intimate performances from the Newport Folk Festival, in the ruins of a fort no less
Lil Bub because if you haven't, you should

Have a great weekend.

Gingered Blackberry Cobbler
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
yield, 1 10'' pan

For the Filling

32 ounces fresh blackberries, rinsed
3 1/2 ounces sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (watch out, it's spicy!)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (meyer lemon if available)
juice from 1/2 lemon

For the Topping

5 ounces all purpose flour
2 ounces oat flour (or finely ground oats or use all purpose flour)
4 tablespoons sugar plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces butter, melted
1/2 cup plain yogurt (full fat if possible)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375º

For the Filling

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, grated ginger, lemon zest and juice. Add in the blackberries and mix gently to combine. Transfer the mixture to a 9'' or 10'' pie pan and place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Slide into the oven and bake until the filling is hot and bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes.

For the Topping

1. While the berries are baking, whisk together the flour, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, yogurt and vanilla extract.
2. One minute before the berries come out of the oven, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir gently until thoroughly mixed.
3. Carefully remove the berries from the oven and increase the temperature to 425º. Divide the topping into 8 equal pieces and place them gently on top of the berries about 1/2'' apart, they should not touch. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top of the biscuits.
4. Slide the whole shebang back into the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blackberry Rhubarb Crisp

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I pick blackberries from the school yard and rhubarb from the side yard. I remember to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect myself from the blackberry brambles, but my hair keeps getting tangled up in the thorns. Later I find a picture of my teenaged self picking blackberries with my best pal, both of us wearing overalls with bandanas tied around our heads*. I cut thin stalks of rhubarb from a forgotten plant and free them from their massive leaves. They are red almost all of the way through. I turn them into summertime crisps. I mix and stir the crumb topping with my hands. I bake them in borrowed ramekins and old jelly jars and they spill all over the baking sheet in the oven. We eat them on my brother's birthday with earl grey ice cream on top, after the babies have been put to bed.

Blackberry Rhubarb Crisp
yield 8-10 individual crisps or, 1 9x13 pan 
A few notes on this recipe: If making individual crisps, you'll want heatproof dishes (ramekins, canning jars, etc) that can hold about 6 ounces. The rhubarb gives the filling a wonderful tartness, which is just about perfect with some ice cream on top. I like a fairly equal fruit to crumb topping, so this recipe makes a generous amount. If you don't want to use it all at once it can be frozen for up to 2 weeks. Don't thaw before using, just break up the crumbs and sprinkle them over your dessert before you bake it.

For the Filling

1 1/2 pounds blackberries
3/4 pounds rhubarb, chopped into 1/4''-1/2'' pieces
1 ounce flour
4 1/4 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest (meyer lemon if available)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Crumb Topping

6 ounces softened butter
4 1/2 ounces rolled oats
4 1/2 ounces whole wheat flour (or sub half all purpose)
4 1/4 ounces brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375º

1. In a large bowl, gently toss the blackberries, chopped rhubarb, flour, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract together. Set aside while you prepare the topping.
2. In a medium bowl combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add in the butter and use your hands to work it into the mixture until it holds together in medium clumps.
3. If making individual crisps, divide the filling mixture evenly between 8-10 ramekins, then top with a generous amount of crumb topping. If making 1, 9x13 crisp pour all of the fruit into the dish and evenly sprinkle the crumb over the top.
4. Place the ramekins or baking dish on top of a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any juices) and slide into the oven. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the the topping is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream on top.

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*No doubt an attempt to channel Angela Chase

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summertime in Seattle

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Seattle in the summertime just gives and gives and gives and I filled my cup with as much of its northwest magic as I could manage. I wandered through gardens and on the beach. I chased babies who were crawling (!) and teething and finding their voices. I spent a ton of time with family and friends, I ate blackberries (and figs and plums) warm from the sun until I gave myself a stomach ache and then I took them and made two types of jam and crisp and cobbler. Then I had a fancy cocktail at the newly opened Essex, ate A LOT of pastries and had the good fortune to meet the lovely Ashley Rodriguez in person and I have her to thank for my new kouign amann obsession. It was everything I wanted and more, more than I can say.

See you next week with a few summery recipes to end the season right!

p.s. All of these photos were taken with my iPhone and edited with the VSCO Cam App, my personal favorite. Many of them were posted on Instagram, sorry for the repeats if you follow me there. I just loved them too much to leave them off of the blog.