1. Dutch Apple Pie

    April 26, 2015 by alex

    Dutch Apple Pie

    This pie is very sweet, juicy, and has a very flaky crust. It has crisp apples (depending on how thick you cut them) which contrast nicely with the cinnamon. The crust is very smooth and has a very neutral flavor which brings out the sweetness and tartness of the granny smith apples. This pie is very nicely spiced with a nice crunchy topping.

    The Filling:                         Yield: filling for one 9 inch pie

    8 apples
    4 oz granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    3/4 oz cake flour

    Directions:

    1. Peel, core, slice the apples into 1/4 inch slices. If you still need to scale out the rest add a little bit of lemon juice to the apples.
    2. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and flour into a bowl.
    3. Add the apples and mix by hand until the apples are fully covered in the mixture.
    4. Egg wash the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
    5. Place the apples in an unbaked pie shell. The apples should be formed into a tight, tall mound with no gaps.

     

    The Topping:                        Yield: 13.6 oz

    2 oz unsalted, room temperature butter
    2 oz brown sugar
    1 oz granulated sugar
    2.6 oz pastry flour
    6 oz oats
    Pinch kosher salt

    Directions:

    1. Pulse the oats in a food processor until finely chopped. They should be about 1/3-1/2 the side that they were originally.
    2. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and brown sugar to the oats in a bowl.
    3. Rub in the butter until the butter is fully incorporated into the rest of the ingredients.
    4. Sprinkle the topping onto the unbaked pie shell filled with apples.
    5. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes and then bake.
    6. Bake in a 375F-400F oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.

    *The extra dough and filling can be made into apple galletes…

    Apple Galletes


  2. Basic Pie Dough

    April 26, 2015 by alex

    Basic Pie Dough:     Yield: (3) 8 oz disks

    12 oz pastry flour
    8 oz unsalted butter
    0.25 oz salt
    1 oz granulated sugar
    4 oz ice cold water

    Directions:

    1. Cut the butter into large cubes and keep cold either in the freezer or fridge.
    2. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar together onto a clean wood, metal, or stone surface or table.
    3. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a bench scraper. The butter should be either nickel, hazelnut, or pea sized depending on the type of flake you want. (Long, short, or mealy)
    4. Gather all of the butter and flour into a volcano shape and form a small well in the center.
    5. Add a small portion of the cold water into the well.
    6. Cut the water into the flour mixture.
    7. Continue the last two steps until there is very little excess flour on the table. The dough should be dry and look like scrambled eggs. To tell if the dough is done, press some of it down with the bench scraper and see if it will come together.
    8. Place the incorporated dough on a sheet of parchment paper and crumble the paper to bring the dough together.
    9. Either scale out the desired amounts of dough and/or form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
    10. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

     

    Rolling out the dough:

    1. Lightly flour the table.
    2. Place one disk of the chilled dough on the table and press into a disk and start to roll.
    3. Roll in an ‘x’ motion. Keep the dough in a circular shape, reshaping every time you roll.
    4. Continue these steps until the dough is at least 2 inches larger than a 9 inch pie dish. The dough should be about an 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
    5. Fold the dough in half and line in up with the center of the pie dish.
    6. Unfold the dough and cut off the excess dough if it is touching the table. Make sure the the dough is completely touching the pie dish.
    7. Curl and tuck in the edges of the dough.
    8. Flute the edges of the dough by using your pointer and middle fingers on one hand and the pointer finger on your other hand to pinch and shape the dough. The fluting on the dough should be no more than an inch high.
    9. Dock the dough in the bottom of the pan with a fork. This will help release steam from the dough.
    10. Egg wash the dough and store in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

     


  3. Pistachio Cake with Lemon Cream Filling, Raspberry and Blueberry Jam, and Meringue Frosting

    August 28, 2014 by alex

    IMG_7603.JPG

    (adapted from Bon Appetit)

    The Cake:

    1 cup unsalted butter
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup pistachios
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 cup milk
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 cups plus 1/2 cup sugar
    4 large egg yolks
    6 large egg whites
    Zest of one lemon

    Directions:

    Flour and grease two 9-inch round springform cake pans.
    Pulse the flour, pistachios, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the pistachios are finely ground.
    Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
    Add the egg yolks, one at a time, until the mixture is pale yellow and increased in volume.
    Add the vanilla.
    Add the dry and wet ingredients, alternating between them.
    Make sure you end with the flour.
    Move the mixture into a large bowl.
    Clean the stand mixer and using the whisk attachment whip the egg whites until they are frothy.
    Add the 1/2 cup sugar gradually.
    Beat the meringue until it’s medium peak.
    Mix 1/3 of the meringue mixture into the rest of the batter.
    Carefully fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter.
    Evenly divide the batter between the two cake pans.
    Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
    Wait 10 minutes after the cakes are out of the oven to remove them from the pans.

    The Lemon Curd Filling:

    1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    3/4 stick unsalted butter, cubed
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 tablespoons powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Directions:

    Place 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water.
    Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the gelatin softens.
    Add some water to a medium sauce and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
    Whisk the lemon juice, eggs, and sugar in a medium bowl and place it over the simmering water.
    Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens.
    Do not let the mixture boil.
    Take the bowl off the heat.
    Whisking constantly, add the cold butter to the lemon mixture.
    Add the soften gelatin and whisk until combined.
    Place plastic wrap over the lemon curd.
    Make sure to place it directly on the surface of the curd so that a film doesn’t form.
    Chill for 4 hours.
    Whip the heavy cream until it reaches the soft peak state.
    Add the powder sugar and vanilla to the heavy cream while it whips.
    Continue to whip until it reaches medium peak.
    Mix the curd to loosen it.
    Fold the heavy cream into the curd.
    Refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

    The Meringue Frosting:

    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 large egg whites
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup mixed berry jam

    Directions:

    Mix 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and salt in a small saucepan.
    Bring the mixture to a boil.
    Only stir the mixture until its dissolved.
    Heat until it reaches 240F.
    Meanwhile start mixing the egg whites until frothy.
    Add the cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons sugar.
    While the mixer is running, add the hot syrup.
    Continue to beat the egg whites until they are pale and tripled in volume.
    Add the vanilla for another minute.
    Use the frosting immediately.

    Assembly: 

    Spread the mixed berry jam over the bottom layer of cake.
    Make sure to leave a 1 inch border.
    Add the lemon cream to the same layer.
    Pipe a ring of the meringue frosting in the 1 inch border.
    Add the top layer.
    Frost the rest of the cake.
    Enjoy!


  4. Peach and Raspberry Pie

    July 10, 2014 by alex

    20140710-101639-36999873.jpg

     

    (adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild)

    The Crust:

    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    1/3 cup + 1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter
    3 tablespoon ice water
    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    Directions:

    Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in the food processor
    Add the cold butter
    Pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal and there are small pea-sized pieces of butter
    Add the apple cider vinegar and the ice water the food processor
    Pulse until combined
    Tip: you don’t need to use all of the ice water and just add a little bit at a time until the dough starts to form
    Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes
    Roll the dough out into a 12 inch round
    Place the dough into a pie dish
    Trim the edges and crinkle the crust
    Tip: to crinkle the crust just pinch the crust-dough together
    Place the pie dish in the fridge until the filling is done

    The Filling:

    4 peaches
    1 bag frozen raspberries
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    Zest of a lemon
    Juice of 1/2 lemon

    Directions:

    Combine all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl
    Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes
    Pour the mixture into the pie crust
    Make sure the rack is in the bottom third of the oven
    Bake the pie for 45 minutes in a 400F oven until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling


  5. Peach and Apricot Cake

    June 26, 2014 by alex

    20140626-081914-29954818.jpg

    (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

    The Cake:

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
    1 large egg
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Milk

    Directions:

    Sift the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl
    Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients
    Cut the butter into the flour mixture like you’re making a pie crust
    The mixture should resemble cornmeal
    Beat the one egg into a measuring cup
    Add the milk into the same measuring cup until the amount of the mixture equals  1/2 cup
    Add the milk and egg mixture to the flour mixture until a stiff dough is formed
    Pour and pat the dough into a greased 9 inch, round springform pan.

    The Topping:

    3-4 peaches
    5 apricots
    1 cup dark brown sugar
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Zest of a lemon
    Juice of 1/2 a lemon
    3 tablespoons melted butter

    Directions:

    Peel and slice the peaches and apricots into a medium bowl
    Add the lemon zest, juice, and vanilla to the fruit mixture
    Let it sit for at least 15 minutes
    In a small bowl mix the dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter together
    Arrange the fruit slices on the cake
    Add the topping to dough and bake in a 425F oven for about 25 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.


  6. Testing . . . Lemon Bars

    June 12, 2014 by alex

    lemon-bars

    I used the same lemon bar recipe for these lemon bar but I substituted 1/2 cup granulated sugar for 1/2 dark brown sugar. It gave the bars a molasses-like flavor. Hope you enjoy!

    For the second batch of lemon bars, I put 1/2 a lemon’s zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. In the filling, I added 1/2 a extra lemon’s zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. I also beat the four eggs until they were light and pale yellow. This increases the volume of the filling. The filling ended up being very light and meringue-like. For the glaze, I added some lemon zest. I hope you enjoy!

    20140625-091707-33427442.jpg


  7. Testing . . . Caramels

    April 9, 2014 by alex

    The winner last week was chocolate caramels with sea salt. I tried one batch of the chocolate caramels with sea salt and my results weren’t too pretty; a thin layer of butter on top of the batch and a slightly grainy texture. That was most likely due to the sugar not fully dissolving. I decided to go back to the drawing board and looked for new recipes and tips on making the perfect caramels. My dad introduced me to David Lebovitz’s baking blog. This man has traveled the world and perfected his craft. He had a recipe and tips for “making the perfect caramels”. The recipe was completely different to the prior one so I decided to try it. I’ve made caramel sauces before and making caramels is a little bit more complicated. You need to make sure that you don’t overstir the sugar so that it won’t crystallize. The temperature that the burner is at is crucial to making caramels. Don’t turn the knob up just because you think it will take less time; you’re actually burning the sugar and overcooking it. I made two batches today. I added some ginger to the first batch and cooked the caramel to 260F. The second batch is just the basic recipe without any additions cooked to 255F. The second batch came out just the way I like it, on the lighter side. The recipe will be posted soon. Enjoy and let me know what you think. These are pretty hard caramels and I’ll be trying some softer caramels with chocolate soon. I used a Polder candy thermometer while cooking.

    Check out this video of the bubbling caramel.

    (adapted from davidlebovitz.com)

    The Caramel:

    3/4 cup heavy cream
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 light corn syrup
    1 cup sugar
    (1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, for the first batch)

    Directions:

    Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and then spray the foil with canola oil spray.
    Bring two tablespoons of butter, heavy cream, and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan.
    When it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and put a plate onto of the pot to keep the mixture warm.
    In a medium sauce pan, preferably one with a heavy bottom, combine the sugar and corn syrup.
    Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan.
    Turn the heat to medium-low and stir the mixture until it’s smooth.
    Once the sugar is dissolved, stop mixing.
    Don’t overmix the sugar because then it will crystallize.
    Cook the caramel until it reaches 310F.
    Take the caramel off the heat and stir in the heavy cream mixture.
    Put it back on the heat and cook the caramel until it reaches 260F.
    Take the caramel off the heat and stir in the last two tablespoons of butter.
    Pour the caramel mixture into the pan lined with aluminum foil.
    Wait about ten minutes until you can sprinkle the top of the caramel with salt.
    Let the caramel cool and then peal away the foil.
    Slicing the caramel is the hard part.
    Heat your knife over a burner and then cut the caramel into the shapes that you want.


  8. Maple Cookies

    March 27, 2014 by alex

    20140327-064730.jpg

    The Cookies:
    3/4 cups light brown sugar (I used Muscovado sugar)
    2 stick butter, softened
    1/2 cup maple sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 egg yolk
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Directions:

    Cream butter and sugar together
    Add the egg yolk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt
    Sift in the flour
    Mix until incorporated
    Wrap and refrigerate overnight
    Roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch
    Cut out your cookies
    Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
    Bake for about 10 minutes in a 350F oven just until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown


  9. Testing … Sugar Cookies

    March 10, 2014 by alex

    I’m not crazy about sugar cookies, but I wanted to make them because they’re a staple dessert, one of the basics. Yesterday, I made a batch of Martha Stewart’s sugar cookies. I printed out the recipe about seven years ago and had never tried it. I wanted to give these cookies a try. I followed the instructions as is, except that the recipe wanted the cookies to be rolled out to an 1/8 of an inch and instead, I formed the dough into a log and decided to cut the dough into generous 1/2-inch cookies. Who doesn’t like slightly thick cookies? The dough looked great. It formed really well and I under-mixed it a little bit just to make sure they wouldn’t get too firm. The recipes says to bake them in a 325F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. I thought that that was too low of a temperature and too long of a time span, but I decided to follow the directions anyway. They seemed to take too long to get golden brown. I ended up putting them in for about 19 minutes, which is a long time for my oven. I’ve learned that my oven bakes a little bit quicker than the recipe calls for, but the cookies still seemed like they were never going to turn golden brown. They were ok when they came out of the oven and were still hot, but a couple hours later they were hard as a rock. Today, I was determined to make up for yesterday’s failure. I made two types of sugar cookies; one that I found online that was made with Greek yogurt, and a recipe for ‘sugar drop cookies’, which is out of The Joy of Cooking. The first recipe mixed very well and looked great. The dough rolled very well and looked great. The batter tasted a little bit weird with Greek yogurt, but I decided to forge ahead. They looked nice when baked. I tried one and it tasted a little bit like a Portuguese sweet roll! I wasn’t very excited by them, but my dad tried them and was very happy (which was a good sign because he can be picky!). I added an orange glaze after they cooled. I love to add citrus to desserts and these cookies needed some added sugar.

    I think the second batch of cookies was a lot more successful. You can’t go wrong with The Joy of Cooking. Once again, the batter looked great and actually tasted great too. I decided to add some fresh and ground ginger into the cookies for my dad (he’s a ginger fanatic!). They baked for a longer period of time than the recipe called for because I used a cookie scoop instead of forming the dough into balls. The cookies look good and taste much better than yesterday’s batch. Note: when looking for a sugar cookie recipe, pay attention to the amount of butter, eggs, and flour. Different recipes have different ratios of these ingredients and in return lead to different cookie textures. Other factors include the amount of mixing, temperature of the ingredients, and of course every oven is different.

    Also today, I made an Italian almond tart or sbrisolona, it’s sort of a cross between a biscotti and a shortbread cookie. I had to make this for my Italian class and this seemed like a pretty good recipe. The tart is very easy to make and probably goes very well with a cup of tea or coffee. I hope you enjoy! Please let me know what you think.

    The Greek Yogurt Cookies:

    1 cup butter
    2 cups sugar
    16 ounces Greek yogurt
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    Directions:

    Cream butter and sugar together
    Add the eggs and vanilla
    Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda
    Mix until incorporated
    Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.

    The Sbrisolona:

    3/4 cup slivered, toasted almonds
    1 large egg yolk
    Zest of an orange
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    7 tablespoons cold, cubed butter
    1/3 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

    Directions:

    Butter a 9-inch springform pan
    Mix the egg yolk and orange zest in a bowl
    Mix the flour, salt, and cornmeal in a separate bowl
    Add in the butter to the flour mixture
    Work it in with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse meal
    Stir in the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and almonds
    Fold in the egg mixture
    Don’t overmix it
    Loosely press the dough into the pan
    Bake in a 350F oven for about 40 minutes until the tart in golden brown on the top
    Let cool and unmold

    The ‘Sugar Drop Cookies’:

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    2/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
    1 cup sugar
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Directions:

    Mix the vegetable oil and sugar together
    Add eggs and vanilla
    Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    Add the ground and fresh ginger
    Mix until incorporated
    Scoop the dough using a cookie scoop
    Roll the cookies in ginger sugar
    Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1-inch apart
    Bake for about 10 minutes in a 375F oven until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown

    The Butter Cookies:

    2 sticks butter, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 egg yolks
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Directions:

    Cream the butter and sugar together
    Add the eggs yolks and vanilla
    Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon
    Mix until incorporated
    Roll the dough into a log and refrigerate for at least two hours
    Cut 1/4-inch cookies and place them on a parchment-lined cookies sheet
    Bake in a 350F oven for about 12 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.


  10. Scallion and Parmesan Corn Bread

    January 21, 2014 by alex

    Thank you to everyone who voted last week. The winner is the Scallion and Parmesan Corn Bread. The recipe is from Bake by Edward Gee, which is an amazing cookbook that has recipes from all over the world. I haven’t made a lot of savory desserts and I look forward to more experimenting. This was a lot of fun to make. I hope you like it.

    The Corn Bread:

    1 cup corn meal
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 bunch scallions
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 3/4 cups milk
    2 eggs
    4 teaspoons butter

    Directions:

    Sift the dry ingredients together.
    Stir in 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese.
    In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.
    Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture.
    Chop the scallions and add them to the mixture.
    Stir until combined.
    Pour into a 9 inch greased and floured pan.
    Sprinkle the top of the bread with the remaining cheese.
    Bake in a 375F oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.