Friday, August 6, 2010
I found the recipe here and the recipe for the pistachio butter here (though I only used pistachios and no almonds). I liked using cornstarch to thicken the milk rather than eggs--more milk flavor, more pistachio flavor. And the pistachio butter was absolutely delicious. (I may have to find a use for it in another desert.) I was however, a little disappointed with the texture of the gelato (as the recipe said I would) as the pistachios were not ground fine enough (nor could they be at home) and thus the gelato was a little grainy.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
(I have some of the proportions written down elsewhere. When I find them I'll add them.)
Two nine inch circles of puff pastry. Preferably homemade. (It's kinda hard to describe how to make it, but it's relatively easy to do. Pictures can be found here, but they only have part of the process. If you have questions, ask them in the comments, and I'll fill in details.)
1 egg (plus 1 for egg wash.)
5 tbsp butter
1/2? cup ground pistachios (with the skin removed).
Scant cap-full vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
Scant tbsp 151, or other light rum. (I'm curious whether Absinthe would work better, but probably with the tarragon, it would just be redundant.)
Raspberries (Enough to make there be lots or raspberries in the filling.)
About 2 bunches fresh tarragon leaves
For the filling: In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Chop the tarragon and lemon zest and add, together with all the other ingredients, except the raspberries, and mix till well blended. Remove from the mixer and carefully stir in the raspberries, by hand, being careful they remain intact. (You want a nut filling with raspberries in it, not a nut-raspberry mixture.)
Cover and place in a freezer (or refrigerator) till hard.
Lay out one circle of puff pastry, place the filling on top, leaving edges free from filling so another layer of puff pastry can be added on top (make the edges an inch or so wide). Moisten the edges of the pastry so it will adhere to the other piece. Place the other piece of pastry over the top, sealing it well to the bottom. (Use water, and also, press down on it well.) With the tip of a knife, cut a small slit in the center and press out any air trapped inside.
Do ahead note: At this point it can be refrigerated, covered, for a day or so.
Paint on an egg wash, place a tinfoil cone in the hole on top, paint on another layer of egg. Cut a design in the top, if desired. Bake at 450F for about 20 minutes, till pastry has risen and browned slightly. Reduce heat to 400, and cook for about 25-30 more minutes, till sides are crisp and well browned. Remove from oven, sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Melt the sugar into a glossy glaze by placing Pithiviers under the broiler, or in a 500F oven, for a few minutes, checking often, and rotating, to keep from burning.
It can be eaten almost immediately, but will also keep for several hours.
Ready to cook.
Just about finished.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I made this blackberry coconut ice cream (or should it be called a sherbet?) a year ago, and decided to make it with blueberries now. The blueberries I got were really mild, so I added extra. I couldn't decide between adding lemon juice, or lime, but finally settled on lemon--though lime would probably have been good too since they go well with coconut. Again, because the berries were mild, I added extra lemon juice to add tartness. After blending I had some blueberries left over, so I added some whole ones to add texture. And, finally, I added just a little cayenne--just enough to add a little, but not enough to be real noticeable.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I know puff pastry is supposed to be hard, but it isn't. It takes maybe five more minutes to make a beautiful puff pastry than an ordinary pie crust. Take flour, add a little salt, and water till it holds together, but no more. And don't knead it at all. Measure out half as much butter as dough by weight. Knead the butter under cold water till it's soft (I believe the point of the water is to keep it cold). Roll out the dough, place the butter in the middle of the dough, wrap the butter up like a Christmas present. Roll the dough out, fold it up lengthwise into quarters, roll it out. Refrigerate for at least an hour, roll it out twice more, refrigerate, roll it out twice more, refrigerate. It is ready to roll out and use.
Last time I made turnovers Jenny Sumpter said she thought chocolate would be really good. So I put Nutella in half of these.
The other half I made rhubarb and ruffled fromage blanc. I'm not sure about the cheese selection--by roommate said fennel may help it all come together better--but other than that it was very good. I prepared the rhubarb by slicing it thin, and then letting it macerate in grapefruit juice, sugar, maple, and rosemary--like a here (though I didn't like the texture of the rhubarb before it was cooked and wouldn't recommend using it raw).
A long time ago I asked about Swiss Meringues on my other blog. I got a comment on it today (from "anonymous"), explaining how they are made. I reproduce it here.
The Gruyère Meringue is a oven-baked "Swiss Meringue"
Heat a bain-Marie at 50-55 Celsius (a tin pot plunged into a saucepan of hot water. The water must not boil)
Put 4 egg-whites in the pot. Add 250g of granulated sugar. Add a drop of lemon juice (to keep the eggs shining and white and to keep the meringue smooth)
Whip the egg-whites + sugar at medium speed then stiffly. When the meringue is cooked (snowy, shining, and sticking like melted marshmallows), take the pot out of the bain-Marie and let the swiss meringue cool down.
With a pastry bag, form balls of swiss meringue on a nonstick plate. Bake the meringue at 110-130 Celsius (Th 2-3) for 15 minutes in the case of small meringues (the larger the longer). When a hard crust has formed, stop the oven, and let the meringues cool down inside the oven. Note that the meringues must remain white, if they are turning golden, the oven is too hot.
As for the double cream, it is Chantilly made out of fresh double cream from Gruyère. The cows of Gruyère are famous for the taste of their milk since they graze the flowers covering the Alps mountain. There is no way you can find any equivalent in a supermarket. So buy some whipping cream (the real stuff, i.e. fluid cream without any additive). If you cannot find it, add 10cl of full milk into 30cl of sour cream (best to use triple cream, i.e. Mascarpone). Add some vanilla for the taste as well as a small quantity of icing sugar (50g for 30cl of cream). To get a perfect Chantilly, flush the cream through a seltzer (a spray with a special canister to make whipped cream). If you don't have the right tool, add some gelling agent to the cream (carob ideally), cool it down to a freezing temperature, then whisk it.
In Gruyère, they serve a sandwich made of two baked meringues with a thick layer of Chantilly in-between.
If I may add, this commentator is correct. I haven't had Gruyère cream, but the local milk I had in Switzerland was one of a kind--and very good.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
And here's Julia Child's Puff Pastry.
She has you use a bowl? Scandalous.
And includes butter in the dough?
Doesn't measure the butter by weight?
And includes flour in the butter?
Skipping way ahead, the filling for the turnovers. (Pictures if the intermediary steps would be almost identical to ones in the preceding two posts.)
The finished turnovers.
Analysis: Because she included butter in the flour, Julia Child's pastry was quite a bit harder to make. And I'm not sure that it tasted any better. Actually, it didn't taste as good. But that might be because of the difference in the turnovers. Apples are hard and have pointy edges, so it was hard to get them into the turnover, jelly isn't going to poke a hole in your dough, and you won't have to stretch the dough thin to get it around the obnoxiously uneven bit of jelly. But all that's just explanation for the fact that Fr. Capon's was puff pastry was much much more flaky and buttery. Julia Child's was almost doughy. Of course, that may be due to inconsistencies on my part. But given the higher quality of Fr. Capon's, at least this time, and the fact that it is much easier to make, I think I'll stick with his. His recipe did, however, make a slightly smaller portion, and I should probably double the recipe, or at least increase it by 3/2 if I'm using it for a Julia Child pastry.
The filling for the second set of turnovers, however, was very good. So a recipe follows.
4 tart baking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped.
~ 1 tsp cardamom.
Sugar and lemon juice, to taste. (Quite a bit of sugar.)
Mix all the ingredients but the lemon juice, and let the apples brown a little (to lose some of their juices so they don't make the pastry damp). Add the lemon juice. Place a little on the center of each square of puff pastry, bake at 425 for 8 minutes, turn down the heat (to about 350) and continue baking till golden. Remove from the oven, set on a rack to cool, and dust with sugar.
If I'm going to make puff pastry, why not go all out and make Danish Pastry? Danish, called "Vienna Bread" in Denmark, but Danish in Vienna, is basically puff pastry with yeast and eggs, or croissant dough, with eggs. So if I'm playing around with puff pastry, I may as well try Danish too. Since it looks so similar to puff pastry there aren't lots of pictures.
Sugar, water, yeast, salt, eggs, cardamom, and milk.
Flour and liquid.
Wrap the butter up in the dough, like a Christmas present.
Roll out, turn, fold up, repeat.
Let the dough rise over night in the fridge.
Roll out, sprinkle liberally with raisins, cinnamon and sugar.
Roll up and slice.
Ready for baking.
Conclusion: These take quite a bit of work, but the dough is really good. Not nearly so flaky as puff pastry--it's more like a bread dough--but still very light and airy. For these, I'm not entirely sure it's worth the effort--ordinary cinnamon rolls don't have much worse of a dough. But this dough would work well for more elegant pastries.
Friday, March 19, 2010
It's Spring Break, and I finally have a break from my studies. So what better way to spend my break, than making puff pastry. And I have two recipes for the stuff, one from Julia Child, the other from Fr. Capon, so why not make both and compare techniques and results? And if there's time, make Fr. Capon's Danish Pastry too. (I still haven't gotten to that last one.)
The interesting thing about the two recipes is how different they are. Fr. Capon emphasizes that you should not use a bowl--to minimize the amount of kneading, I believe--tells you to use bread flour, has you knead the butter under water, and includes no butter in the pastry layers. Mrs. Child has you use a bowl, includes butter in the pastry, and flour in the butter, does not have you knead the butter under water, and adds some cake flour to the regular flour. Oh, and Fr. Capon has you measure the butter by weight, Mrs. Child, by volume.
The basic idea for puff pastry is fairly straight forward. Make rough dough with as little water and as little kneading as possible, knead butter to make it smooth (but keep it cold as you knead it), fold up the butter into the pastry (like you're wrapping the butter up as a Christmas present), roll out the pastry with the butter in it, fold it neatly (Julia Child says in thirds, like a business letter, Fr. Capon has you fold up the ends to the middle, and the fold in in half), roll it out, repeat six times, chilling after every two. These pictures are from Fr. Capon's recipe. Julia Child's will follow early next week.
Inauspicious beginnings of the turnovers.
It's beginning to look like dough. Kinda.
Dough. 14.2 oz of it.
And 7.1 oz of butter. (Somehow it lost 0.1 oz while I was taking pictures.)
7.1 oz of butter, ready to be kneaded.
7.1 oz of butter, kneaded into a nice pliable log. (I then made it into more of a square so it would fit in the dough better.)
I forgot to take pictures of the dough just after the butter has been added. But here it is after a couple of turns.
These will be fig and raspberry turnovers.
Ready for baking.
The finished product.
I'll post on Julia Child's method later--I'm done with the dough, but I don't think I'll make turnovers till Monday. Kneading the butter under water worked marvels. It remained cool, but was very very pliable--I wouldn't have guessed there was butter wrapped inside the dough when I rolled it out the first time.