Daring Baker’s Challenge – Coffee Cake – Lime Cream with Coconut and Pizza

Daring Baker’s Challenge – Coffee Cake – Lime Cream with Coconut and Pizza

Lime Cream and Toasted Coconut Coffee Cake

Pizza Coffee Cake

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.

Dough ingredients

Ingredients:

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

Ingredients
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

Directions:

Prepare the dough:

Dry Ingredients

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.

Butter milk water warmed

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.

Mixing in flour

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.

Dough hook

Switch to the dough hook or using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.

Ready to knead

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.

Split the dough

For the pizza version I added 2 tablespoons of Italian spice to the dough as I finished up the kneading.

Pizza version dough

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

Pizza version

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.

Pizza version rolled out

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.

With Pizza sauce

Add the pizza sauce in a thin layer with a pastry brush.

Filled

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)

Rolling

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.

Pizza version ready to bake

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:

Lime Cream filled

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 .

Ready to bake

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.

Whole Pizza

German Pancakes (Dutch Baby) with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

German Pancakes (Dutch Baby) with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

German Pancake (Dutch Baby) with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

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:

Ingredients for fresh blueberry sauce

Ingredients:

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

Blueberries in the pan

Wash the berries and place in a medium saucepan.

Blueberry Sauce

Add the remaining ingredients.

Blueberry Sauce

Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer to thicken while you make the pancake.

Ingredients for Pancake

Ingredients:

4 eggs
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.

Butter and Pan go in the oven

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.

Butter melted

Remove the skillet from the oven.  With skillet still warm, pour in the batter to the skillet and then immediately place the skillet in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

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.

Lemon Basil Olive Oil Muffins – taste great and relatively healthy

Lemon Olive Oil Basil Muffins

So far I’ve been dismal in my attempts to be more healthy but today I made progress and it wasn’t even painful.   Don’t worry, I’m not up to tofu yet and my “no carb left behind” lifestyle will surely take time to reform but I’m making baby steps.  These muffins are really good and an improvement over my usual; by my standards these are positively healthy with eggs for protein, olive oil not butter, not too much sugar (which you could replace with Splenda) and whole wheat flour.  Of course, nobody can expect miracles overnight so I stuck with real sugar and a “white whole wheat” from King Arthur Flour.  According to the package it is “100% of the wheat germ and bran” with a “lighter color and milder flavor” which seemed like a good thing for a lemon theme.  They are not “cakey” but more dense, like the texture of a corn muffin but without the corn flavor.  They are sweet enough to eat for breakfast, but not so sweet you couldn’t serve with a meal, especially if you leave off the glaze.

Ingredients

The ingredients are:

  • 4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar (or Splenda)
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

1.  Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

Use zester - bigger strips

Use microplane for finer zest

Juice

2.  Zest and juice the lemons.  Use the zester for one lemon and the microplane for three.  Reserve the juice and zest (fine) of one lemon for the glaze.

Sugar and lemon zest (strips and fine)

3.  In the mixing bowl add the sugar and lemon zest and add the olive oil mixing on high speed.

Sugar, lemon zest and eggs

4.  Add the eggs one at a time.

5.  Add 1/2 the flour mixture, then half the lemon juice mixing on low speed.  Then add the remaining flour mixture and juice.

Batter

6.  Add the basil and mix well.  Of course you could leave this out, but it is surprisingly good, just enough to taste but not overpowering.  You may have to scrape some lemon zest off the beaters, I find it best to use a spatula to do a final mix to make sure everything is well-distributed.

Muffins ready to bake

7.  Place the batter in the muffin tins.  I used mini-muffins and muffin top pans because I like the crispy outside.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Mini's baked

Muffin tops baked

Cool

 

Glaze

 

To make the glaze, in a small bowl add lemon juice to the powdered sugar until it forms a fairly thin glaze.  Either use a pastry brush or dip the tops of the muffins into the bowl to coat the tops of each muffin.

 

Glazed

 

Let them sit uncovered for about 1/2 hour and the glaze will soak in and form a thin crust.

 

Served

 

 

Strawberry Peach Bread and Strawberry Lavender Jam

Strawberry Peach Bread and Strawberry Lavender Jam

ImageI know it’s been a long time, I’ve moved to a new job in Dallas so I’ve been mostly without my kitchen (or any kitchen at all for a while) and suffering some serious withdrawal symptoms.  I really miss my big kitchen and all my cooking supplies that just don’t fit in my apartment here.  I’m going back and forth though, so I do get to visit my stuff!
There is one big advantage to being in Dallas, they have a wonderful Farmer’s Market that goes for several blocks.  During my first visit, I of course went crazy and bought way too much.  I found a spice vendor and since I didn’t have any here, I just had to get one of each of my favorites, including some really fragrant lavender, cinnamon and vanilla beans.  Then a flat of strawberries and some great peaches, some vegetables . . .
First I made chocolate dipped strawberries, then strawberry lavender jam, then with just a few strawberries and peaches left, I made a bunch of mini-loaves of quick bread.  I took a basic recipe and exchanged the sugar for just a little maple syrup to keep it from being too sweet because I topped it with some almonds, brown sugar and some of the strawberry jam swirled in.
Strawberry Lavender Jam
1 lb. strawberries
1/3 cup lemon or lime juice
1 lb. sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender
1 teaspoon butter
Mash the strawberries with a potato masher if you like chunky or with a hand mixer or blender if you like smooth, add the juice, sugar and lavender and cook in a large pot over medium to high heat stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 220 degrees and the jam starts to thicken.   The butter should keep it from foaming too much, but if too much forms skim it off with a spoon.  To test, place a plate in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.  Spoon a couple drops of the cooking jam onto the cold plate and see if it sets up.  If so, it is ready to use, freeze or can, if not keep cooking sometimes it takes a while.
Strawberry Peach Bread
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup diced peaches
1 cup diced strawberries
¼ cup maple syrup
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
½ cup strawberry lavender jam
½ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup brown sugar
Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and fruit.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Pour into one large or three mini-loaf pans.  Pour the jam on top, swirling it gently with a knife, then sprinkle on the nuts and brown sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
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