This is a challenge I could really appreciate! Freshly baked croissants, using Julia Child’s recipe. What could be better? Although I love them I’ve never attempted these before and I have to admit it takes a while, mostly just waiting for them to rise though so the actual work wasn’t bad. Of course, I had to make them sweeter so I filled some with Nutella, chocolate, almonds and blueberries and topped some of the others with honey caramel (recipe here) and almonds.
The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
Sarah provided a beautiful set of instructions which I followed for the dough Croissant Instructions. Added to that recipe, I filled some with Nutella, chocolate, honey caramel, almonds and blueberries.
Some things just seem too good to give up even when you get older. Maraschino cherries are one of those things. Every kid loves them, they make a soda turn into a Shirley Temple and you just can’t have ice cream sundaes without one. This recipe has been around forever I’m sure, but is still a great way to keep the taste around. Because of the recent cupcakes, I had a large jug of cherry juice left so I made a giant batch of jelly (I multiplied the recipe by 4 since I had four cups of juice).
1 cup of maraschino cherry juice
1/2 cup of sugar
3 TBS liquid pectin
Mix the sugar and juice and bring to a full roiling boil and let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the pectin and boil for another minute. Pour into jars and sterilize, or if you intend to use it right away, pour into a clean container and refrigerate.
I’m sad to say this dish was just not very photogenic. It has great flavor and was a big hit with family and friends but I just couldn’t get a good picture so I had put off posting it. However, it was very tasty and I’ve been requested to put it up so here it is!
Printable Recipe for Potato Leek Tart
1 pkg frozen puff pastry
4 slices of bacon chopped finely (optional)
2 large well washed and finely sliced leeks
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb peeled medium diced potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces finely grated Gruyère cheese
Place both sheets of pastry on a jelly roll pan pinching together the sheets in the middle to make one single layers and bake at 400 degrees for approx 5 minutes – it will not be fully done. Remove from the oven and set aside, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Boil the potatoes in a large pot for 15-20 minutes, they should be firm but mostly cooked.
In a large skillet or dutch oven, fry the bacon pieces until crisp.
Add the sliced leeks and cook until wilted.
Add the garlic and pepper and sauté for 1 minute
Add the cream 1/4 cup at a time while stirring constantly and allow most of it to absorb before adding another 1/4 cup.
Add the potatoes and mix well.
Add 1/2 of the cheese
Pour onto the partially baked tart shell and spread evenly.
Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the filling is browned and bubbling.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Italian four cheese blend (or mozzarella) cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup crisp bacon bits (real bacon please!)
- In a food processor, add the flour and butter, pulsing 5-6 times until the mixture is crumbly.
- Gradually add water, pulsing until the dough forms a ball.
- Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until it can be rolled easily.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Place the pastry in the pan and trim the edge.
- Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned.
While the pastry is baking, thinly slice the tomatoes and place on paper towels, salt them and cover with another layer of paper towel. This will prevent the dough from getting soggy.
Sprinkle 2 cups cheese into the crust; top with basil and garlic slices.
Arrange the tomato slices in a circular pattern around the edge of the tart leaving three for the middle.
Drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the tomatoes in the center.
- Sprinkle the bacon bits around the tart.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until the cheese melts.
The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. Since the recipe conveniently makes enough for two coffee cakes, I made a sweet (lime cream and toasted coconut) and savory (pizza of course) version. Thanks to Ria and Jamie for a great challenge, the dough was great and I can definitely see lots of possibilities for the fillings.
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each about 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl (had I thought ahead, I would have put this in my mixer’s bowl and saved some clean up) combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a microwave save bowl, combine the milk, water and butter and heat for about 1 minute until warm and the butter is just melted.
With an electric mixer on low-speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
Switch to the dough hook or using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.
Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes (less if you give it a good mixing with the dough hook) until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
For the pizza version I added 2 tablespoons of Italian spice to the dough as I finished up the kneading.
Place the dough in a lightly greased (I used olive oil for the pizza version and vegetable spray for the sweet) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
Prepare your filling:
Lime and Coconut
1 cup lime cream (I used 2 and it was way too much.) You could also use lemon or lime curd.
1 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 Roma tomatoes sliced thinly
6 mini or 1 regular bell pepper sliced thinly
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low-speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
Assemble the Coffee Cakes:
Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.
Add the pizza sauce in a thin layer with a pastry brush.
Add tomatoes, peppers and cheeses. I didn’t use meringue on the pizza version (which contributed to me using way too much on the lime cream version)
Now, roll up the dough jelly roll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. I opted to not make this one a roll and just left it log shaped.
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep. After the second rising, baste with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan.
For the Lime Cream with Toasted Coconut:
Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Spread the lime cream filling evenly over the meringue and sprinkle with toasted coconut .
Here’s where I really messed up. I used way too much filling and all the meringue, forgetting that I had twice enough because I didn’t use any on the pizza version. You are supposed to bring the ends of the log around and seal together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal. I ended up with a very bloated, lime and meringue covered blop which only got more bloated as it rose a second time. Surprisingly, once it was baked it looked a lot better and tasted great so I guess it wasn’t so bad.
Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
I’m trying to plan my Easter menu so I decided to test out making a Dutch Baby. Normally I would make it with apples but since I had a big box of fresh blueberries to use I decided to go with them. The recipe is quite simple and looks puffy and great when it comes out of the oven. Like a souffle though, you have to serve it fast as it deflates pretty quickly. They are not fluffy like a regular pancake, more custardy once they deflate.
Start by making the blueberry sauce:
1 lb (about 4 cups) fresh blueberries (frozen or canned works too – if you use canned in syrup, don’t add sugar)
1/2 cup sugar (I like them to stay a little tart so if you want sweet add 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon butter
grated zest from one lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
Wash the berries and place in a medium saucepan.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer to thicken while you make the pancake.
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 th teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup of butter
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.
Place the 1/4 cup butter in 10″ cast iron skillet (or ovenproof skillet or two 9 inch cake pans if you don’t have a suitable skillet) and put in the oven to melt the butter and heat the skillet.
In a blender, pulse the eggs until blended. Add the cream and blend again until well mixed.
Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixed.
Remove from the oven once the top edges are brown. Remove from skillet on to a large plate.
Slice and plate with a generous amount of blueberry sauce.