We’re embarking on a journey back to my favorite adventure from my winter break from work. I’ve always wanted to tackle homemade croissants from start to finish entirely by hand and I did just that. I’m going to warn you – it’s quite a laborious task, but I think it was SO worth the efforts for the end prize (and my husband’s family did too – though they didn’t have to do the rolling!) Bon Appetit!
Recipe after the break…This recipe is from a 2000 issue of Gourmet Magazine… Continue reading
I’ve been saving this one for ya… After a trip to New Orleans at the beginning of February, I knew I had to wait until today – Fat Tuesday – to share this recipe inspired by the deliciousness beyond coasted in powdered sugar from Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans’s legendary bakery. Bon Appetit!
Cafe Du Monde Inspired Beignets
makes about six dozen
1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115F)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
6-7 cups bread flour
vegetable oil for frying
sifted powdered sugar Continue reading
I’ve been whipping up a storm of apple recipes after a little, ok, a lot of apple picking out near Bristow, Virginia last weekend. What have I been making you ask??
Well, I started with apple pie, then moved on to tarte tatin and Sunday I made ten jars of caramel apple bourbon butter. When making the pie, my husband remarked that the aroma of cooking apples is one of his favorite culinary scents, so I kept right on going. Below is the recipe for my cornmeal pie crust – a crunchy, autumnal take on pate brisee. I love it when the weather turns and think it pairs beautifully with apples. Try it for your next pie or as I did, use it as the crust on the tarte tatin!
Cornmeal Pate Brisee
makes enough for one double crust pie
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water or cold apple cider
For Make-it Monday, instead of storming a Parisian prison, storm into that kitchen and get cooking! Thursday’s the day the French stormed the Bastille prison in 1789, an open act of rebellion against the monarchy that is considered a turning point of the French Revolution.
After the Revolution, “while their former bosses were fleeing the country or losing their heads to the guillotine, chefs of the royal court found themselves out on the rue without so much as a roux to whisk,” said Carl Hanson.
Lucky for them, a promising new institution had begun popping up in Paris during the second half of the 18th century. This new-fangled thing was known as the restaurant. The first restaurants had opened in the 1760s and originally catered to those of fragile health. In fact, the word “restaurant” refers not to resting or ranting but to the “restorative” broths that were intended to return delicate Parisians and weary travelers to good health.
With the arrival of revolution, however, the restaurant became a venue for displaced chefs to practice their craft in a clean setting that, significantly, was open to all comers, not just royalty. For once, it did not require a noble pedigree to dine like a king, only sufficient funds to pay the check. And with that, the art of fine dining was born!
So, in celebration today, we made homemade croissants (the recipe is after the jump). This one if not for the faint of heart, but the results are well worth the effort! Bon appetit!
Classic French Croissants
adapted from Epicurious
1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated to warm (105°F–110°F)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 3/4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) really cold unsalted butter
I love this tart for a Fourth of July picnic… It’s just perfect (go figure, it’s from Martha)! Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!
For the crust:
5 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup ice water
For the creme fraiche filling:
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces creme fraiche
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
For the tart:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup apricot jam, for glazing blueberries
1/2 cup raspberry jam, for glazing raspberries
2 tablespoons water
2 pints red raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1 pint blueberries, picked over
My mother is known for her danish puff pastry. She makes it for holidays and every breakfast potluck we attended as children. I love it, though I thought I’d make it even more delicious with the addition of a layer of almond filling in the middle and delicious it is! Here’s the recipe…
Almond Danish Puff Pastry
for the base:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, very cold, cut into 1″ pieces
2 tbsp water
for the filling:
1 1/2 cups almonds, toasted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp almond extract
for the topping:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
3 eggs Continue reading
5. – The Chicago Tribune Thin Pastry Sheets have a Thick History “Whether you’re searching for exotic appetizers or just a lighter alternative to standard dessert crusts, take a leaf from the Turks and use phyllo (FEE-low). Layered into stacks, this tissue-thin dough adds a bit of zest to commonplace fruit pies and a hearty crunch to vegetable, meat and cheese snacks.”
4. – The Boston Globe Planning Hassel-Free Meals has Gotten a Little Easier “Neighborhood supermarkets are vying for these customers by offering foods that are partially prepared – already cut up or marinated or mashed – so you can go home and do some quick assembly. In fact, food industry watchers consider supermarkets to be the stiffest competition facing fast-food restaurants. More and more aisle space is devoted to prepared and semi-prepared foods to make meal planning and cooking simpler. Bags of washed and torn lettuces, shredded cabbage, fruit chunks, celery sticks, rotisserie chickens, mashed potatoes, marinated meats, ready-to-grill chicken or vegetables threaded on skewers, and foil-wrapped garlic bread proliferate.”
3. – The LA Times Gourmet Magazine: Once the Epitome of Good Living “For 68 years, Gourmet magazine upheld at least one end of the foodie vision. For decades, its vision virtually defined sophisticated cuisine for Americans. Back then, Gourmet was the only game in town. In its early days, the magazine had a genteel, clubby feel, suggesting that its readers had probably traveled in Europe, something very few Americans did before cheap airfares appeared in the 1960s.”
2. – The NY Times Lobster Roll with that Anorak “Her goal, she said, is to save Maine’s most iconic industry by ending its dependence on Canadian processors and, under her Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine label, to mass market Maine lobster the way Perdue does chicken.”
1. – The Washington Post The Measure of Old Bay Seasoning “What would you do if you suddenly found yourself without a can of Old Bay? There are people out there who worry about this.”
photo from The LA Times