Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Baking Bible: Sour Cherry (supposed to be blueberry) Buckle

I like the idea of this buckle. It is essentially pie filling with a thin sour cream cake top. It reminds me of the Lemon Pudding Cake a little bit, probably just because of the thin cake top. Although this cake top has much more flavor and better texture than that one.

Technically the recipe calls for fresh blueberries--a lot of fresh blueberries--and there just aren't many of those around these parts right now. But I did have a full bag of sour cherries in the freezer so I decided to use them. Since the cherries were frozen, I decided to defrost the fruit and then, following the measurements and directions for the sour cherry pie, cooked it on the stove with the sugar and cornstarch until thick. Then I poured the filling into my 8x8 baking dish and made the cake topper.

The cake topper is a simple sour cream butter cake, which is my favorite kind of cake even when in a thin little layer on top of fruit. Especially when on top of fruit! The batter is plopped onto the fruit in a doughnut-shaped circle and then the whole thing goes into the oven to bake.

Rose gives a temperature of the baked cake, which I decided to ignore but I am warning you not to. My cake was nicely browned on top and looked perfectly done, but the middle was oozy underneath.I didn't really mind, but it's not the prettiest.

a bit oozy

We all loved it. I thought we could call it cakepie, because that's sort of what it is but the name didn't stick. Ah well.

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Baking Bible: Crumpets

I cannot hear the word "crumpet" without thinking of Crumpet the Elf , which is no help when making crumpets from scratch. My only experience with crumpets is when, sometime in my teens, my dad brought home a package of crumpets he had found at the store. My sister and I asked him if they were out of Thomas' English Muffins. Which we decided we preferred.

However the batter for this yeasted bread which is cooked on a griddle is really simple, and as published just makes six so it seems like an easy thing to try out. And double or triple, if you end up liking them. I think I like them, but I would like to make them again before I decide for sure. I had no idea crumpets weren't meant to be split open like an english muffin and that the holes formed while griddling are supposed to go all the way through. So, my crumpets didn't come out as well as I thought. Plus, my batter only yielded 5 crumpets and we ate three of them right away which were good. But the last crumpet which I ate that afternoon, had much more interesting flavor. So, I'd like to try again. But cooking them on the griddle was fun.


wherefore art thou, oh sixth crumpet?

insides. that you're not supposed to see.

with butter and strawberry jam

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Baking Bible: Rugelach

These are as simple as they are delicious and I think we'll be making these again and again. Eliot dubbed these "piecookies" which is fairly apt. They are a bit like pastry with a yummy fruit/nut/jam filling. However, don't let pastry fool you; these really are much simpler and less stressful to make than pastry.

I checked back on the Beta Baker's site as I remember test baking these and I'm really glad I did. I talked about how easy these were to make, which I needed to hear because in the 3+ years since then I've forgotten they were easy and I was having pastry anxiety. Also, I had baked one batch on the suggested foil-lined cookie sheet and another on parchment and the parchment cookies were a dream to release from the pan, while the foil cookies never wanted to say goodbye to the foil. So I went ahead and crossed off the word "foil" in the published recipe and wrote in "parchment" so that I would never forget. Also, I had test baked the standard golden raisin-walnut-apricot lekvar version which was absolutely delicious, and I said it tasted like apple pie, strangely enough. I do remember, 3+ years later, how yummy that filling was, but decided this time to branch out and try the chocolate-almond-raspberry version.

Luckily, these are the kind of cookies that you could stretch out over 3 days if your toddler needs you to. I was able to get them made in two days, but it was nice to know I could wait another day to bake the formed cookies if necessary.

The dough is a lovely cream cheese and butter pastry, equal parts. And happily, there is no need to worry about butter flakes or over incorporating the fat because you go ahead and cream the fats before mixing in the flour. So no worries, peeps.

After a rest, the dough is divided and rolled into circles. The filling then gets laid out: jam, then sugar, then fruits (or chocolate) and nuts. The standard version uses cinnamon and brown sugar which I went ahead and prepared but at the last minute I noticed a note saying if you are using one of the variations to just use white sugar. So now I have a nice jar half full of cinnamon and sugar waiting for toast or granola or cookies or...something.

The amount of sugar recommended was way more than I thought necessary. The jam and chocolate should be sweet enough, right? I sprinkled some sugar, but maybe 1/4 of what I was supposed to use. It turned out just fine.

I lightly toasted the sliced almonds I found in my pantry, and found mini chocolate chips back there too. Hooray!

After adding the jam, nuts, and mini chips, the dough is cut into 12 slices, like a pizza. Each triangle is rolled up like a little croissant, brushed with milk and sprinkled with sugar. The standard filling gets cinnamon and sugar, but I assumed these variations were to get just a sprinkling of sugar. I opted for turbinado just for funsies. Thirty minutes in the refrigerator and the rugelach were ready to bake.

I think I could have left them in a bit longer as they aren't as toasty brown as they could have been, and I think some of the pastry on the inside is a bit underdone. However we are gobbling these up like it's 1999 so evidently even a bit underbaked rugelach are a big hit.