Stollen is one of my favorite holiday sweet breads. Wrapping one for a gift, I decided to read up a bit to describe its origins. Wiki it here for the story. And try baking some at home. It's delicious.
In the last two weeks I've made alfajores, a delicate cookie with origins in Spain and Latin Ameria. The first recipe was from the book, The Art of Peruvian Cuisine. The basics were pretty basic; a simple dough with just flour, sugar and butter. They turned out nicely, but I was told that typical alfajores usually include corn starch to give them a more sable texture. So I did some more research, leading me to Pim Techamuanvivit's site Chez Pim. This delicate cookie is very easy to prepare. It's rich, but oh so worth it. Go easy, as they are addictive!
This is my first panettone of the year. Using last year's mold, I also went a bit short on dough amount. Saving resources may have prevented brilliance but the end result was still delicious. New molds and more dough next time to see what changes.
Sometimes time is your friend. Other times, it's your annoying neighbor. And sometimes it's a lovely surprise. Reworking a formula for Danish, I diligently played with the numbers, but then short on time to get back to it, I left the dough laminated for almost a week in the fridge. Finally with a day free last Sunday, I whipped up some pastry cream, folded in some raisins, and put it in the oven. Well, it seemed the extra hours, nevermind days, couldn't stop what was baked. Delicious!
With work a full grind, baking at home is on the back burner. But I had time to try an old school levain. I played with it, using a whole grain levain and long bulk ferment of four hours. My trick is to refresh levain in the morning, get off work and start the dough just before midnight. Then I go to sleep and when the cats wake for their feeding at four in the morning, I shape the dough, let it ferment and bake. Here's the easy loaf.
Spring Fling is an annual work party the week before Memorial Day. It is something I chronicle - as well as prepare! It's a big, demanding affair in which we lay out a spread of caviar and canapés, with the final part of the evening including a storm of pizza making, as well as doughnuts. This year we hit a peak number of guests. Here's some of what we made and served.
Real men don't eatquiche? I don't even know if they're trendy anymore and I don't care. I don't think I'll ever dislike them, simple and delicious they're a comfort food and in my DNA!
Pâte brisée (makes one large tart, or about 15 small sized ones) Flour 250 g cold butter 125g, a pinch of salt one egg yolk and a bit of water if needed. Mix by hand, the flour, salt and butter till you get the butter and flour mix incorporated. Add yolk and water until the dough is roughly mixed, then proceed to knead lightly, form into a ball and flatten, chill for at least an hour.
my rule of thumb is a 1 kilo of heavy cream 8 eggs, you can reduce the amount according to how many quiche you make.
Roll dough out with a rolling pin on a lightly flour dusted counter. Fill fluted quiche or tart mold, prick with tines of a fork and chill. Blind bake shells for about fifteen minutes, covered with parchment and baking weights or beans.
Fill par-baked shells with any sort of fillings then cover with custard, bake at 375 F for approximately 25-30 minutes when custard sets and the top is golden.
Imagine you wake up and go to brew coffee on your favorite stove (the one in your own kitchen), and there's no flame. Happened to me. Turns out there is a major a leak in the building's gas line. Could be months without cooking at home. Ouch! To cheer myself up, I brought some sourdough starter to work. First order of business were pizza and bombolini tests for a upcoming event.
My buddy Domenico, a zen teacher of cucina reale Italiana, often scolds me for my periodic lapses in understanding semantic and ingredient differences. Sort of like my editor Jonathan scolds me for writing three paragraphs when three sentences and a few photos would be much easier to understand. And now I face additional headwinds from overseas. Thinking fondly of an Italian bread known as Casatiello (usually served for Easter), I waited till after the holidays to bake a batch, using what was in my kitchen. Traditional Casatiello embeds cheeses along with gabagool (capicola) and salame. My wholly unorthodox version used chorizo, salami, parmigiano reggiano, a nameless French cheese, as well as ramps. Below are photos of my bread, followed by a glowing review from Domenico's personal maestro di pizza, Antonino - straight from Sorrento. Well, not so glowing, but even in admonishing me, heart felt and funny.