Bakegoods

Leek+Potato+ Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin

Leek-potato-goat-cheese-Tarte-tatin~Yes,-more-please!
What is a Tarte tatin anyway?.. Basically its an upside down pie. Why would you want to make an upside down pie?..In a word, caramelization. It’s not only the easiest pie-tart you will make, it’s also one of the tastiest. Leeks, green onions, and potatoes are in season. Inspired by the classic of classics Vichyssoise soup, I gave my little spin using the same ingredients I transformed them in to a leek and potato tarte tine that it tastes equally delicious warm or at room temperature.

I used a mix of whole wheat and white flour, to give the crust a nutty flavor and added some thyme, to flavor the crust. Super easy to prepare. The flavors of the leeks, and potatoes shine together,the leeks mellow out the onion flavor and became buttery complementing the potatoes. the little addition of honey adds a little sweet note, fresh cracked pepper , salt and butter is all this tart needs.
Top it all off with the king of fresh cheeses: goat cheese and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

I made it for dinner with a great green salad and orange slices on the side… The next day we had leftovers for breakfast with a sunny side up egg on the side… Choose your weapon, this is a killer recipe..enjoy!

Leek-Tarte-tatin_ingredients

Leek+Potato+ Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin

Makes 1- 10” round tarte tine

3-4 Leeks upon diameter and length.
4- 6 Small red potatoes or yellow wax potatoes thinly sliced.
1 tablespoon honey
1 glug extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
Salt + Pepper to taste

1 dough recipe follow  below

Garnish with:

Liberally amounts of Goat Cheese (until you yodel-adle-eedle-idle-odle!)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh Thyme
Adjust Salt and Pepper

Preparation Method:

How to wash your Leeks, a leeky matter…

Leek-Tarte-tartin_how-to-wash-them

Leeks are bulbs like onions, the part we are eating is the bulb that is under the soil and believe it on not, this is the cleanest. The part of the plant that sprouts out of the soil that’s were the trouble is. That’s where all the sand sneaks in and there is nothing worse than when you are eating a leek, than to crunch those little particles of sand. Until I understood the anatomy of this vegetable, I couldn’t make sense of how to clean it.
Infinite inner layers, like an onion in a tube form is where the sand goes. Depending on how are you cut them there are different washing methods.
In this case, I removed almost all the green leafy part. As my friend Arin said, “Don’t get greedy!’ The greener parts look pretty but they tend to be more fibrous. Leave those parts to make vegetable stock. Slice in 1”-2” rounds removing the tops.(see picture below)
The parts that are closer to the leafy greens are the ones that needed the most care and to wash the rest are fine. I just submerge the greenest slices and press a little under the running water. I slice them and place them in paper towels that absorb the extra water. Once this procedure is out of your way the fun part begins. Preparing the dough!

For the Dough:

Makes 1- 10″ round  crust

¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
2-3 thyme sprigs
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick = 4 oz unsalted butter, cold and cut into small squares.
4 to 6 tablespoons iced water

How to make the crust:

Measure all your ingredients, and place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place bowl in the freezer. Meantime cut your cold butter, and iced water ready to measure. Remove the bowl of dry ingredients from freezer and add the butter. Add the thyme. With a pastry Blender incorporate the butter and flour until the mixture resembles to a coarse meal, and the butter pieces are small like the size of a pea. Slowly add the cold water and carefully with your hands form a dough that just holds together. Do not over work the dough. Once that the dough barely holds together cut a piece of plastic wrap and place your dough. Wrap it and shape it into a disk.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or 15-20 minutes on the freezer. If you plan ahead you can make the dough the night before.

Leek-Tarte-tartin_making-the-dough

Assembling the tart:

1. In a 9-10” skillet with rounded edges, melt 4 tablespoons of butter, add a glug of extra virgin olive oil, drizzle the honey, sprinkle the sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
2. Place an even and tight layer of leeks, and top this with a layer of the thinly slices of potato.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Leek,-potatoe-goatcheese-Assambling-tarte-tartin
3. Once your dough is chilled, roll it out into a 10” circle 1/4” inch thick.

Leek,-potatoe-goatcheese-roll-the-dough
4. Cover the inside of the skillet with the dough, and tuck the edges.(see picture)
5. With a small pairing knife make 4 incisions. Bake at 425F/ 220C for about 25-30 minutes on the first 1/3 of the oven rack. until the top is golden brown.

Leek-tarte-tartin_how-to-place-the-dough
6. Remove from the oven, and cool the tarte tine for about 10-15 minutes.
7. With the help of a round plater, cover the skillet and wrap it with a kitchen towel. Flip.
Flip it with conviction, As Julia Childs said! (you can try to make the voice, some times this works best…)

Leek-Tarte-tatin_how-to-flip!

Leek-potato-goat-cheese-Tarte-tatin_Yes,-more-please!

Leek-potato-goat-cheese-Tarte-tatin_slice,-ready-to-eat

The leeks should be perfectly cooked, but not mushy, they hold their shape, they have this beautiful yellowish green color, the butter has done it’s magic. It should glisten…
Sprinkle some kosher salt, pepper, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, and fresh thyme.

Enjoy!

Leek-potato-goat-cheese-Tarte-tatin_slice-Yes,-more-please!

 

 

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Irish Stout Soda Bread

Irish Stout Soda Bread_ingredients

I think I have a new bread love; Irish Soda Bread, the traditional kind. I remember trying some version of sweet Irish Bread with raisins and caraway seeds but honestly it was not remarkable at all.

So I did my research and gave myself some time to bake a couple of loaves. I experimented with different types of flour, combining them and using different ratios, like buckwheat flour, rye, whole wheat, oatmeal and regular all-purpose flour. Some of the recipes I used called for egg, and butter others called for oil an buttermilk, some sugar and toppings, like currants, rains caraway seeds…Oh my! There are many varieties.
What I learned by making all these recipes and by reading the origin of the bread is that less is more.

The loaves kept becoming denser and denser as I played with the egg- butter and butter milk ratios and were not great in flavor. So I decided to start eliminating ingredients and get a bit closer to the more traditional 4 ingredient loaves. The last loaf I made using whole wheat flour, oatmeal flour and Guinness beer was spot on, supremo! This is the recipe I’m sharing with you today.

This bread is one of the easiest and quickest breads you can make. No need of proofing time, no kneading and the result is a tender crumbly bread that resembles a light biscuit. The bread bakes in about 40-45 minutes, so in less than an hour you have freshly made bread! How’s that? What is not to like about this bread, after knowing all this good attributes?!

I will recommend this bread to be a side for soup, great for breakfast with some butter and jam. And of course it goes well with some cheese and beer. I made a compound butter with garlic and scallion that goes perfect if you are just having a simple beer snack or accompaniment for a more robust dinner.

Enjoy!

Irish-Stout-Soda-Bread-Yes,-more-please!_rustic-bread

Irish Stout Soda Bread

Makes 1 – 8″ round loaf

1- ½ cups whole wheat flour (I used unbleached white whole wheat flour King Arthur’s)
1-½ cups oatmeal flour (I used Bob’s red mill)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk or ¾ cup milk +1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
¾ cup dark stout Guinness

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven at 375 F/ 190 C and place the oven rack in the first third of the oven.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, make a well in the center.
3. In the center of the well, add the butter milk and the stout.
4. With a wooden spatula, combine all the ingredients until you have a rough dough.
5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. No kneading required.
6. Bake on a pizza stone a cast iron pan or a baking sheet; place the ball in the center and with a sharp knife make a cross in the center

Irish-Stout-Soda-Bread_mixing-the-doughIrish-Stout-Sode-Bread_shaping

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Checking for doneness: the bottom of the bread looks golden brown heavy crusted and it should sounds hollow when tapping the bread. Place on a cooling rack. wait at least 25 minutes to cut. Enjoy!

Irish-Stout-Soda-Bread_-Yes,-more-please!_rustic-bread

Compound Scallion, garlic and Parsley Butter:

1 stick of butter (room temperature)
3  scallions including the green parts chopped
1 tablespoon of parsley chopped
1  garlic cloves grated
1-2 good pinches of sea salt

Preparation:

1. In a food processor combine all the ingredients and pulse 4-5 times until well combined, and the butter looks a little green.
2. cut a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and make a butter cylinder, tighten the edges by twisting them opposite ways.
3. Refrigerate until it holds its shape or live it room temperature to use as creamy bread spread.

Irish-stout-Soda-Bread_Compound-butterIrish-Stout-Sode-Bread_slice-and-compound-scallion-and-garlic-butter_Yes,-more-please!Irish-Stout-Sode-Bread_slice-and-compound-scallion-and-garlic-butter02_Yes,-more-please!

Enjoy!

 

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Betsy’s Scottish Potato Scones

Scottish-Potatoe-Scones_ingredients~Yes,-more-please!

Scottish Potato Scones, or Potato Tatties are simply delicious clouds of light and fluffy potatoes baked in a griddle. They are especially popular in Scotland and the Isle of Man as a breakfast staple.

Ian introduced me to this simply delicious Scottish scones. The recipe has been in his family for a long time. His grandma passed the recipe onto his mother and his mother used to make them when he was a little child. Ian remembers dearly how Betsy used to make this Potato Scones for him and his siblings. Eating them with butter and strawberry jam was a delicious treat!

Based on this childhood memory we were determined to find the recipe and make them…Of course with no luck on our side, we could not find any trace of recipe, so we had to start by scratch. I think I made about 11 batches of these puppies before Ian said” that’s it”, these are the ones, these taste like the ones she used to make!…Hurray!!! I was thrilled that based on a memory of flavor, taste and texture we were able to found the recipe. We felt so happy, that  from now on we will embrace this as our Christmas breakfast.

There are many, many ways to make a Scottish Potato Scone, believe me, we tried every single ratio of potato-flour-butter. Until  Ian said: this it it! they taste just like the one’s Betsy made! (Im sure they are not as good as the ones she made, moms have their special touch, but I will keep practicing!) In this recipe case, they are a little thinner than the average ones, they have soft and light consistency, its like a pillowy thicker potato-flour tortilla, not salty, nor sweet, which makes it the ideal breakfast scone.

To make them as a whole breakfast, we decided to serve them with Ian’s fantastic creamy eggs and smoked salmon. We put a  little twist on one of our favorite breakfast recipes from Gordon Ramsey, he makes this similar creamy eggs and serve them on a toasted croissant topped with smoked salmon. what’s not to like right?… well, wait until you try this scones, I think it is a great and dainty pairing.

What we wanted to achieve with this recipe is to recreate a hearted memory. We both come from small families and sometimes is hard to get together; people are far away, work can distract.  And when it comes this time of the year, there’s always the need to create our own memories and make things that remind us that no matter what, the people we love will always be with us in memory and heart.

Every Christmas we try to make something special to remember Ian’s mother, Betsy, who left us on a Christmas Eve. She absolutely adored Christmas time, she used to find us thrifty quirky funny  presents that will make us laugh or need the un-needable! she also loved decorating and cooking for the family.  Since then, we have been making a special dish, decoration and playing music to commemorate her. We love and miss you Betsy!

This year this is our tribute to her, and we proudly wanted to share the recipe with you.
Merry Christmas!, Happy Holidays!

May this season be filled with love and great memories.
Ian and Mariana

Betsy's-Scottish-Potatoe-Scones_with-strawberry-Jam-~Yes,-more-please!

Betsy’s Scottish Potato Scones

Makes about 16 triangles, serves 4 or 2 Celtic creatures

2 medium size potato (Equivalent to 2 cups when mashed) like Maris Piper, King Edward or Yellow potato.
1 cup all purpose flour + more to dust and roll
4 oz good irish butter I used Kerrygold, or Organic Valley
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 healthy kosher salt pinches

Method:

1. Steam the potato, skin it, cut in cubes and with the help of a strainer or a ricer puree the potato into a medium size bowl.
2. Add Butter and mix with your hand until incorporated
3. Add Salt and Flour and mix with a wooden spatula until you feel you need to use your hands in order to get all the flour incorporated to the dough.

Scottish-Potato-Scones_Step-by-step~-Yes,-more-please!

Scottish-Potatoe-Scones_the-dough~Yes,-more-please!
4. In a lightly flour dusted surface, softly Knead the Dough in folded movements for about 2 minutes. Shape it into a ball and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece about 6” diameter and 1/8-1/4 inch thick disk. With a pizza or ravioli cutter, gently cut the disk into four pieces.

Scottish-Potato-Scones_kneading-the-dough~Yes,-more-please!
4. Warm a cast Iron Griddle using medium-low heat. Oil a paper towel and lightly grease the griddle. Place the 4 triangle Scones and cook them about 3-4 minutes per side. The way to know when to flip them is when they start forming air pockets, watch your heat, they cook better in medium low, some cast iron pans can hold a lot of heat so you might have to adjust for a lower setting during the cooking. Is kind of like Pancakes, The first batch is not so good, and after that everything cooks beautifully!
5. Serve warm.

Scottish-Potato-Scones_on-the-gridle

“Betsy’s scones where soft , light and pillowed, with a bit of chewy like a  flour tortilla”

That’s how Ian describe them.

Scottish-Potato-Scones_texture~Yes,-more-please!

Ian’s Creamy Eggs:

Serves 2

When it comes to eggs it really does makes the difference to use the best quality you can.
Organic free range , thats what we use, Smith & Smith farms, Boggy Creek Farm if you are in Austin this are ones of the best!

4 large Eggs
1-2 Tablespoons butter
A splash ah-roo of heavy cream.
Salt and fresh cracker pepper to taste.

These eggs are really easy to make, but they require all your attention, its all about stirring slowly at all times until they start to curdle. Be sure to start the eggs at last. Once you have your table set up, the scones made, plates warm, smoked salmon in the table, chives ready, coffee on the table. Yes it is this crucial you have everything ready, so you can enjoy the eggs as creamy and warm as possible, since they change their consistency as you eat them. The consistency of these eggs is like a creamy custard with small curdles of egg, soft and tender, they just melt in your mouth. Salt and pepper is added at last to prevent though egg whites.

So, -ready-; set …GO!

Method:

In a small-medium non-stick pot, over a low heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter very gently.
Add the 4 eggs and whisk gently until well incorporated.
With a wood or rubber spatula, start stirring the eggs in circles, at all times.( As if you where gently whisking)
Until they start to curdle, add the second tablespoon of butter keep stirring, remove from heat and add a small splash of the heavy cream ( keep stirring) place them back into the heat, for about 6-8 seconds, and transfer them into a warm ramekin or ceramic dish. Serve immediately Add salt and pepper to taste.

Scottish-Potato-Scones_creamy-eggs~Yes,-more-please!

Serve: Over 2 or 3 scones, a couple of tablespoons of egg and top it with the smoked salmon and chives. Enjoy!

Betsy's-Scottish-Potato-Scones_plating-~-Yes-more,-please

Betsy's_Scottish-Potatoe-Scones_withIan's-Creamy-eggs-~Yes,-more-please!

Betsy's_Scottish-Potatoe-Scones_Creamy-Eggs,-smoked-salmon-and-strawberry-Jam~Yes,-more-please!

Betsy's_Scottish-Potatoe-Scones_with-strawberry-Jam~Yes,-more-please!

Merry Christmas!!!

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Whole Wheat Ginger Men Cookies

Whole-Wheat-Ginger-Men_forrest~-Yes,-more-please!

Here comes Santa! When you bake cookies expect anyone to come around them: kids, gnomes, reindeer, elves, gremlins, dogs, cats, ants, aunts grandpa’s, grandmas, fuzzy teenagers, obnoxious neighbors, you name it! Everybody loves cookies…And since its Christmas lets share some cookie love!
Here is my recipe for Ginger Men. Why whole wheat? I love the nutty flavor that this flour gives to the ginger cookie. Not a fan of whole wheat?… You can substitute white flour but you might have to adjust and add ½ to 1 cup more flour.

I love to make these cookies because the house smells so good and kicks up your Christmas Spirit.
I owe you the photo steps, Ian has had an overload of work and for me, it its a bit hard to shoot with floury hands, so I made some drawings to illustrate a couple of steps. If you have any questions please send me a comment I will guide you.
I’m certain that these cookies are so easy to prepare you’ll have no trouble at all!
Enjoy!Whole-Wheat-Ginger-Men-mousthacehe-2

Whole Wheat Ginger Men Cookies

Makes 2-3 dozen depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

4 cups whole wheat flour ( I used King Arthur 100% organic whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup Butter
¾ cup organic blackstrap molasses
¾ cup brown sugar

Spices:
2 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

3 large eggs

Preparation Method:

1. In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
2. In a medium-sized pot, over medium heat, melt butter, molasses, brown sugar and all the spices until well combined. Set aside and let the mixture cool down.
3. Once this mixture has cooled down whisk in the eggs one at a time.
4. Add the flour mixture one cup at a time and incorporate with a spatula in folding movements until well combined do not over mix.
5. Divide the dough in two and place each half of the dough into a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten as much as you can and shape into a rectangle, and then place a second piece of parchment paper on top. Follow the next steps before chilling.

Now, in my opinion, the best technique to use is from Martha Stewart. No doubt, she is the queen of cookies right? What is this technique about?,basically you roll the dough before chilling, about 1/4”inch between two pieces of parchment paper. It helps using two wood dowels along the sides to ensure an even thickness of the dough slab.

This technique is great, because not only will speed up the process of chilling the dough to about 1 hour, it also leaves you with 2 or 3 cookie dough slabs ready to cut. I love this simple trick, because it saves you the step of having to deal with rolling a cold hard dough. Once you roll the dough in between the parchment papers, just transfer this sandwich into a cookie sheet.These simple step make it so much easy to transport back and forth from the refrigerator or the freezer to chill the dough.

After 1 hour, Remove from fridge and peel the top parchment paper and start pressing your cookie shapes. Remove the negative dough space. This will leave you with a tray ready to bake, no need to deal with misshaped cookies or trying to transfer them as you cut. Its so easy! check this lil drawings it might help…

Roll-out-_cookie_technique_Steps

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 7-10 minutes. Bigger cookies might need 10-12.
Remove cookies from the oven and let them cool on the sheet for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Something to consider: When choosing a cookie cutter try to avoid intricate shapes or in the case of this Ginger man use a Ginger man with an evenly shaped figure so the cookies bake more evenly.

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoon meringue powder or dry egg whites.

Mix the powdered sugar and meringue powder together.Add the lemon juice to this mixture and whisk well until slightly pasty. At this point you can divide the icing and add a little food coloring. I like to use natural colorings like this kind.

If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar, if it’s too thick add a drop of lemon juice.
Use a piping Bag, or squeeze bottles to decorate.

Whole-Wheat-Ginger-Men_in-box-forrest-and-men

~ Have fun! ~

Music pairing: Santa Claus is coming to town-Ella Fitzgerald

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Corn Flour Cookies

Gluten-free-Corn-Flour-Cookies_Yes,-more-please!_2

These cookies are originally from Sinaloa, Mexico and traditionally made in Sonora and Chihuahua. They are called “Coricos” or “Pinturitas” and they are made with corn flour ( a.k.a. MASECA), dry corn flour, lard or vegetable shortening, sugar or turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. They are traditionally baked in brick-wood ovens that is the traditional recipe.

I got inspired and changed the recipe a bit. I used butter or coconut oil, a conventional oven and some aromatics and citrus to enhance the flavor of the cookie.

I suspect that by now you will be asking yourself what is MASECA? And why MASECA?
Maseca is a brand that uses a play of words: Masa(dough) and Seca (dry) .After all it is a dry corn flour commonly used to make corn tortillas. Now, before I answer the why,
I do have a request from you: please, do not judge these cookies by the fact they are made with the same flour you make corn tortillas. I know it sounds a bit odd but believe me you have to try this recipe. They are the most simple and utterly delicious cookies. In fact, I could say Coricos are one of my favorites cookies.
They are crumbly with a nutty flavor from the toasted dry corn flour and not overly sweet. It’s this simplicity of flavor that allows you to add any aromatic spice like cinnamon, vanilla, orange blossom water, orange zest, lemon, zest, or cardamom.

The dough is so simple and playable, it is great to make with kids, plus you do not have to wait for a resting time or chilling the dough. You can have these delicious gluten-free cookies in less than 30 minutes!!!.
This dough also works well if you roll it out it and make cut outs for decorated cookies. Although their more traditional shape looks like a ring you can make them any size and shape you like. These Corico cookies are usually eaten plain, but I like to dust them with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon for a simple tea or coffee treat, although recently I experimented with some glazes and I have to say I’m in trouble now. The glaze makes them ridiculously good and you’ll see what I mean…

Making cookies makes me happy. So many recipes…so little time! I’m especially fond to this recipe because it’s simplicity and with glaze or no glaze they taste so good to me either way…

I hope you like them and I would love to hear your feed back, and new discoveries. Enjoy!

Corn-Flour-cookies_AvobeCorn-Flour-Cookies_texture-insideCorn-flour-cookies_Beautiful-and-delish!

Corn Flour Cookies

Makes 2 dozen – 2.5” rings cookies

2 cups masa harina MASECA
½ cup butter (1 stick, 4oz, 125 gr) softened-room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional, but highly recommended)
¼ cup up to ½ cup of water, milk or orange juice.

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, cream the butter with a wooden spoon or using a hand mixer at low speed.
2. Add sugar and mix until a bit fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, cinnamon and orange blossom water. Mix until a bit fluffy and well combined.
3. Add ½ of the corn flour, mix until combined, add the water little at the time and the rest of the corn flour until a soft dough, that resembles like play-dough.
4. Form a small ball If it does not holds together or cracks on the edges when press, add a teaspoon of water a the time until the dough holds together, is not sticky and do not crack on the edges.
5. Now the fun begins! Take a little round ball and roll it into a cylinder then shape into a ring. Press the two ends slightly to close the circle. (no need egg wash or water to seal)
6. You can make any shape or size, coins, balls, thumbprints, or roll the dough and make cookie cut outs. You name it. Have fun!
7. As you go, place the rings on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
8. Preheat the oven at 350 bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly brown. Remove from oven wait for 3 minutes and then transfer them to cool on a rack.
9. Glaze or sprinke with powdered sugar when they are cool.

Corn-flour-Cookies_ingredientsCorn-Flour-Cookies_mixing-the-dough

Corn-flour-cookies_ready-to-bake!22

Glaze:

½ cup powder sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or orange juice or milk.
The zest 1 lime, orange or lemon. Or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Whisk all this ingredients until glossy with no lumps. Proceed to glaze. Dry them on a rack.

Enjoy!

Corn-Flour-cookies_glaze-away!!

Corn-flour-Cookies_glazezd-up!Corn-Flour-cookies_glaze-drizzle

~Powdered sugar ~

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G o t    m i l k ?

Corn-flour-cookies_got-milk-2

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Thanksgiving Crostatas Pecan Apple & Pumpkin-Yam

Thanksgiving-Crostata_ingredients

I wish you could have smelled my kitchen the day I baked these crostatas, it was intoxicating!…
A cloud of buttery pecan, apple, cinnamon and allspice in the air.
Crostata, my absolutely favorite pastry. Let me tell you why…

During my sweet tooth life I’ve tried many pies: the open pies, the double crust, the lattice, you name it. I always felt there was too much sugary filling compared to the amount of crust. The pie ratio in most of the cases does not work for me.

The day I tried my first crostata I was madly in love. It was an apple crostata, in the town of apples Julian in California. It had the perfect ratio between crust and filling and the crust was golden brown , flaky and crumbly, tender, and buttery. The sensible single layer filling had a bubbly, slightly crusty caramelized top. Inside it was juicy and fruity, and I was lost. Yet, I felt illuminated, just like the Greeks when they discovered “the golden ratio”. I prefer to call it Crostata like the Italians, over Gallette like the French, and of course the less romantic name free form pie….any way you name it, it’s always so simply and utterly delicious.

What I call“The Crostata Golden Ratio” is that perfect amount of crust and filling, allowing you to savor the buttery flaky crust and the sensible layer of fruit topped with some sugar allowing the crust to stay crispy and flaky in every bite. The fruit acts like the butter; slightly sweet and a bit tart. Suddenly, all your tastebuds are  awake; sweet, tart, creamy, crusty , buttery flaky…even days after its made, you can warm it in a toaster oven and it feels like you just baked it.

Now, if we talk about appearance, I love crostata with its rustic and honest look. It’s not decorated and definitely you can apply some decor, however I think the beauty comes from its baked right ingredients, the simple look is what makes it so attractive to eat and to prepare, no fuss, it is what it is.

I serve these crostatas with a cinnamon whipped cream and a honey-balsamic vinegar reduction, I love the tangy-sweet note that the reduction brings to the crostata, a caramel sauce will go great too….

Thanksgiving Crostatas will make a fabulous and sweet end to your dinner.
~ Happy Thanksgiving ~ from Ian and Mariana.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_Pecan,-apple-and-Pumpkin-Yam

Thanksgiving Crostatas: Pecan, Apple & Pumpkin-Yam

Makes 3 – 7 ” x 11″rectangular Crostatas. Serves 24 to 18 slices.

For the Crust:

3-3/4 cups of unbleached-all purpose flour
3 sticks of butter
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 pinch salt
3/4-1 cup Ice cold water

1 egg + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
1 cup of turbinado sugar to top the edges of the crust.

Directions:

Measure all your ingredients. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place the bowl in the freezer. Meantime cut your cold butter, and iced water ready to measure. Remove the bowl of dry ingredients from freezer and add the butter. With a pastry blender incorporate the butter and flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, and the butter pieces are small like the size of a pea. Slowly add the cold water and carefully, with your hands, form a dough that just holds together. Be careful not to over work the dough. 
Once that the dough holds together. Shape it into a rectangle about 9”x6” and then divide that rectangle into 3 pieces (see picture below) Wrap each rectangle with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour; you can rush it by placing into freezer for 20-25 minutes.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_The-crustThanksgiving-Crostatas_dividing-the-crust

~ R o l l i n g ~

On a clean work surface, dusted with flour, unwrap the dough let sit for a couple of minutes and then roll the dough into a 13”x 9” rectangle and about 1/8″and 1/4″thin.
Rolling little by little, rotating the rectangular, for even thickness (see picture below).

Thanksgiving-Crostata_rolling-the-crust.. roll it!Thanksgiving-Crostata_rolling-the-crust_one-sheet

~  F i l l i n g s  ~

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_fillings

 

Pumpkin- Yam Crostata

Thanksgiving-Crostata_Pumpkin-yam-slice

Filling:

1 cup hefty pumpkin purée.
1 egg
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
pinch of salt
2-3 small Yams or sweet potatoes.
3 Tablespoon butter cut into little squares to top the yams.
½ cup turbinado sugar
extra cinnamon for dusting

Directions:

In a bowl, mix the pumpkin pure, egg, heavy cream, sugar and spices and salt until well combined.
Yams: steamed, peel and slice into ½ “ slices. Set aside room temperature. Preheat Oven at 400. In a 1/4 sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the 9″x13″ crust spread the layer of pumpkin mixture leaving a 1.5” inch margin around the rectangle to be folded. arrange the slices of yam and sprinkle with the little squares of butter, turbinado sugar, and dust with some cinnamon. Fold the sides and fold the corners into a triangle, (see picture below) Egg wash and sprinkle the turbinado sugar all around the crust and a little over the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Until golden brown.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_Pumpkin-YamThanksgiving-Crostatas-Pumpkin-Yam

 

 

Apple Crostata

Thanksgiving-Crostata_apple-slice

Filling:

2 granny smith apples peeled and sliced.
1 Honey suckle or pink lady peeled and sliced.
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (taste your apples! if they are two sweet you might need less sugar, if they are to sour, you need to add a bit more!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated.
the zest of half a lemon about ½ teaspoon.
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Smidge of salt

Directions:

In a sauté pan melt the butter, add the sliced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, salt. Saute until the apples are slightly tender and the liquids reduce. Remove from stove and cool down filling before use. Preheat Oven at 400. In a 1/4 sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the 9″x13″ crust spread the saute apples in an evenly layer  leaving a 1.5” inch margin around the rectangle to be folded. Fold the sides and fold the corners into a triangle, (see picture below) Egg wash and sprinkle the turbinado sugar all around the crust and a little over the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Until golden brown.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_apple-assambling-crostataThanksgiving-Crostatas-Apple

 

 

Pecan Crostata

Thanksgiving-Crostata_Pecan-slice

Filling:

1 cup pecans halves roasted
½ cup fine chopped pecans
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:

In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, chopped pecans, egg, vanilla and one tablespoon of sugar.
Toast the pecans and quick sauté them using a little butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, set aside and let them cool before using. Preheat Oven at 400. In a 1/4 sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the 9″x13″ crust and spread the cream cheese filling leaving a 1.5” inch margin around the rectangle to be folded. Top with the sautéed pecans. Fold the sides and fold the corners into a triangle, (see picture below) Egg wash and sprinkle the turbinado sugar all around the crust and a little over the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Until golden brown.

Thanksgiving-Crostatas_pecan-assambling-the-crostataThanksgiving-Crostata-Pecan

~ T o p p i n g s ~

Thanksgiving_Crostatas_Toppings

Cinnamon Whipped cream:

½ cup heavy whipping cream
dash of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powder sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a clean chilled metal bowl, whisk all ingredients until it forms soft peaks.
Keep refrigerated until serving.

Honey-Balsamic reduction:

½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

In a small sauce pan combine honey and balsamic bring it to a slow simmer, check for desired consistency by running your finger on the back of the spoon. Serve warm.

Thanksgiving-Crostata_Balsamic-Honey

~ D r i z z l e ~

Thanksgiving-Crostata_beauty-close-up_vertical_01

Happy Thanksgiving…ENJOY!!!

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Fennel-Shallot-Bacon & Edam Quiche

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche~Yes,-more-please!Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_slice-elevation

The open tart, filled with a mixture of beaten eggs, cream, cheese and pieces of bacon or any vegetable combination you can imagine, has been around since the 16th century. Despite the fact that it is a classic French dish, the word and the origins of this delicious open tart comes from Germany; from the region of West Central German dialects spoken in the French Lorraine region. The French word Quiche comes from the borrowed word “Küeche” which means cake in German.

Originally Quiche was made from bread dough but nowadays short crust or puff pastry is the best option. And that is what I’m interested in, the crust.
Short-crust is so easy to make and so much better than your frozen options that it’s almost not fair to consider the purchase of that rolled refrigerated crust from the store. For a fraction of cost and a little time you can have an amazing buttery, flaky, and grateful crust. Little handling the dough and 4 ingredients, this crust once is baked you just can feel grateful and crust proud.

The ratios given in this recipe, come from the most basic short crust principles. Four ingredients:  flour, butter, iced water and salt. You can play with almost any type of flour, in this case I used ½ whole wheat, ½ all-purpose flour. The whole wheat flour brings a very pleasant nutty flavor to the crust and of course fiber…not that it’s of major concern but lets say its better for you than the pure white flour and that’s a plus. You can substitute the butter coconut oil.

For this Quiche, I combined fennel, shallots and bacon. The fennel gives a slightly liquorice and pleasant back taste, shallots accentuate the bacon and, well, what can I say about the bacon? Everybody knows it is a cosmic ingredient. And honestly you don’t need much. A little bacon goes along way.

For me, Fennel-Shallot-Bacon & Edam Quiche works for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Why not? It fits every meal of the day. Serve warm with a salad, or tomato soup. It taste great at room temperature and out from the refrigerator it still tastes good. Quiche will cure any gray skies, stormy weather blues, or a crummy day. Enjoy!

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_fresh-ingredients

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon & Edam Quiche

Makes 1 round 10″ by 2″ deep Quiche

Toppings:

1 medium size fennel bulb and some of the tops and steams.
1 large shallot
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 thick slices of smoked bacon

Egg mixture:

1 cup Edam cheese shredded
5 Large eggs room temperature
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup milk
salt pepper

For the Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour + a little more for rolling.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-2 pinches of sea salt
2 sticks of butter= 1 cup, cold and cut into small squares. (Coconut oil can be used instead of butter, make sure you make little dollops and freeze them before making the crust)
1/4-2/3 cup Iced cold water.

1- 10″ ceramic-oven safe dish or a pay pan

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_crust-ingredients

Directions:

Measure all your ingredients. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place the bowl in the freezer. Meantime cut your cold butter, and iced water ready to measure. Remove the bowl of dry ingredients from freezer and add the butter. With a pastry blender incorporate the butter and flour until the mixture resembles to a coarse meal, and the butter pieces are small like the size of a pea. Slowly add the cold water and carefully, with your hands, form a dough that just holds together. Be careful not to over work the dough this will give you a flakier crust. 
Once that the dough coarsely holds together, wrap your dough in plastic wrap and shape it into a disk. 
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; you can rush it by placing into freezer for 20-25 minutes.

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_making-the-crust

Preheat Oven at 400.
In clean work surface, dusted with flour unwrap the dough let sit for a couple of minutes and roll it into a 18-20” round and about 1/4” thick. Once is rolled place it into a Quiche pan and start pushing down the inside edges to make sure the pastry dough takes the shape of the dish.
Let the edges of the pastry up to extend beyond the dish edge. Prick the crust a few times all around and blind bake in the oven for about 16-20 minutes at 400 F/  200 C.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes.

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_rolling-the-crust

Prepare your toppings:

Render the bacon pieces until crunchy, save 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

Finely cut your fennel I include some of the green tops and stems, shallots, garlic and shred your cheese.

In a Saute pan add the 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and a glug of olive oil, sauté the fennel, shallots,and garlic. Let it come to room temperature.

Mix, the eggs, heavy cream and milk, some salt and pepper.

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_chop-fennel

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_mise-en-place

 

Start assembling your Quiche:

Spread half of the cheese on the bottom of the crust, add bacon crisps,
spread the sautéed fennel and shallots. Then add the egg mixture, top with the rest of the shredded Edam cheese, top with some freshly cracked pepper.

Place into the 350F/ 180C oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top looks golden brown and slightly giggles in the center.

Let it cool on a rack for about 15 minutes until totally set.
Serve warm with a green salad, or tomato soup. Enjoy!

Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_assamblingFennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche~yes_more_-please-slice!Fennel-Shallot-Bacon-&-Edam-Quiche_slice

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Ricotta Cake & Honey-Lemon-Thyme Glaze

Ricotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze~Yes-more-please!

It is cakes like this that make me happy…really simple cakes with a light crumb and buttery flavor. It’s so basic and cozy that hits you straight in your heart.
The flavors in this buttery Ricotta cake stand alone and the honey and lemon make a good balance of sweetness;  the thyme adds a little herbal note and enhance the lemon zest in the batter. This cake is pure comfort and simplicity.

Honey Lemon and Thyme it ‘s one of my favorite glazes for this type of cakes, there are many other good glaze flavor combinations that I will recommend like Honey and rosemary, lavender, orange, camomile you name it, or just dust it with a little confectioners sugar. It’s a cloud of buttery and light cheesy crumble goodness.

You can make this cake in the morning for a nice breakfast or brunch. Or it can be part of your bake-goods repertoire for Thanksgiving….why not? Give it a try.

This Ricotta Cake & Honey-Lemon-Thyme glaze is great with a cup of tea in a rainy afternoon, or a glass of milk for the little ones.
You can add some fresh fruit or whipped cream on the side to complement this cake… enjoy!

Ricotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze_honey-lemon-thyme-glazeRicotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze_Ricotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze_texture-and-glaze

Ricotta Cake & Honey-Lemon-Thyme Glaze

Serves 12-14

2 cups All purpose flour
2 tablespoons Baking Powder
1 pinch of salt
½ pound ricotta cheese (strain some of the liquid with a cheese cloth or fine sieve)
2 cups sugar
4 Large eggs
1 cup whole milk – room temperature.
8 oz / butter melted
1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the Glaze:

¼ cup Honey
the juice of half a lemon
3-4 thyme sprigs and a little more for garnish.

In a small pot, gently warm the honey lemon juice and thyme once that the honey  resembles a light syrup. Remove from heat and let it cool down. ( do not let the honey boil or to form small bubbles around the pot)

Directions:

Preheat Oven at 350 F /
1. Grease a 10” x 3” round aluminum cake pan (use a light color pan for best results).
2. In a medium size bowl, sift the flour, salt and baking powder.
3. In a large bowl mix sugar, ricotta, eggs, and melted butter mix well.
4. Start alternating flour and milk in 3 additions. Until well incorporated, do not over mix.

Ricotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze_mixing-steps

5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean or with a few little crumbs.
6. Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes and unmold.
7. Place the cake on a plater and poke the top of the cake with a fork or skewer.
8. Once the cake is cool, with a pastry brush, apply the honey- lemon-thyme glaze .
9. Garnish with a few more sprigs of thyme on the side and sprinkle some leaves on top.

Ricotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze_poking-and-glazing

Ricotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze_slice-missing!

Ricotta-Cake-with-honey-lemon-thyme-glaze_slice

 Ricotta Cake & Honey-Lemon-Thyme Glaze

Enjoy!

 

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