Monday, August 08, 2016

The Baking Bible: (Supposed to Be Gooseberry) Peach and Blackberry Crisp

This week's project is supposed to be a really yummy looking gooseberry crisp, however by the time I finally made it to the local farmer's market the gooseberry season was already over. So I made this crisp with the fruit I had on my counter: peaches and blackberries.

This is a fairly straightforward crisp recipe; I think the big deal here was Rose's treatment of the gooseberries to keep them from becoming too soupy. She does suggest alternate fruit fillings from some of the other pie recipes in the book so I took the suggestion to prepare the peaches as I did for the peach galette. This just meant macerating the sliced fruit for a while, then concentrating the juices to a thick syrup and adding back to the fruit. Once I placed the peaches in the dish I dotted the top with big Chester blackberries and added tiny bits of candied ginger (as I did in this Peach and Blackberry Pandowdy).

The crisp topping is a yummy mix of oats, flour muscovado sugar, and butter. There are instructions to make the topping in a food processor or a stand mixer, but I just used my hands. It didn't take long until the mixture had come together in clumpy crumbs. Next time, I will double the topping. I love crisp topping and there just wasn't enough.

The crisp baked up beautifully, and the blackberries stayed whole and juicy. We ate this one pretty fast as it makes a good dessert, breakfast, and snack. I can't wait to make it again.




Monday, July 18, 2016

The Baking Bible: Cream Cheese Butter Cake

This is a fantastic cake. It is my favorite kind of cake: tender and light in texture with a dense crumb. Rose says it is similar to a pound cake, with butter and sour cream, with the addition of cream cheese. It works so well in Rose's pie crust that she thought it might be good in a cake. Bingo!

The frosting is actually the Pierre Herme lemon curd: where instead of cooking the butter with the lemon and eggs, the butter is left cold and emulsified into the mix afterwards. It results in a very creamy and thick lemon curd which Rose uses as a frosting. It is also delicious in a tart or on toast, by the way.

The recipe is supposed to use only a portion of the lemon cream to frost, but I used it all. Then I decided it overpowered the cake which makes me sad, because I could eat this cake plain all day long. And probably will, sometime in the future!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Baking Bible: Perfect (Savory) Cream Puffs

Technically these, as the name implies, are supposed to be served with a savory filling. There's even a recipe for what I bet is a lovely "faux gras" made with chicken livers and whatnot. However I am not a fan of liver and I told Mark if he wanted to make the faux gras he was welcome to, and that it would be probably the best chicken liver pate he's ever had. He agreed, took a look at the recipe, and decided it was too much work. Ah well. So no savory cream puffs for us.

We did make the traditional sweet cream puff with vanilla ice cream and homemade hot fudge (the Chocolate Snowball Hot Fudge Sauce from Rose's Heavenly Bakes). Then we invited some friends over and we had a lovely snack in the backyard.

The only pâte à choux pastry I've made are gougeres which are cream puffs with cheese and they were simple and delicious. So I knew these would be fairly simple to make, too. There's a lot of slow cooling down that has to be done so there is a time factor, but otherwise making choux is pretty quick and simple. I made mine a bit bigger since we needed them to be able to hold about a tablespoon of ice cream each.

These were the most light and crisp choux pastry I have ever tasted and I am thrilled they were made by me! Everybody was very taken with them as well, and it was wonderful to catch up with some old friends.