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Bring Back Delicious http://bringbackdelicious.com Recipes to rediscover delicious Sun, 11 Dec 2016 02:10:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 82250345 Shitty Chicken, Dumbbells, and Cheat Meals http://bringbackdelicious.com/chit-chat-and-leftovers/shitty-chicken-dumbbells-and-cheat-meals/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/chit-chat-and-leftovers/shitty-chicken-dumbbells-and-cheat-meals/#respond Sat, 10 Dec 2016 18:00:32 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=2576 I’m getting used to a new reality where I don’t have large blocks of time to focus and develop a recipe. Most of the time, I am juggling so much mentally and physically that unless Siri can do it for

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I’m getting used to a new reality where I don’t have large blocks of time to focus and develop a recipe. Most of the time, I am juggling so much mentally and physically that unless Siri can do it for me, it doesn’t get done.

Siri sits shotgun.

But as the air gets crisper and the nights come earlier, I find myself craving a little creative relief. I’ve been craving the sizzle of something hitting the frying pan, the crisp crust and airy crumb of freshly baked bread, and the sense of sore, painful accomplishment after hours and hours of mastering a recipe.

There are endless fitspo, cupcake loving, kale salad runner blogs out there that probably gather loads more page views than I could ever dream of. I appreciate what they’re doing but it’s not exactly my style. I don’t care about green smoothies or low calorie lemon bars. I want the real thing, even if it means eating chicken breast and veggies all week, lovingly known as Shitty Chicken.

Siri. Remind me to copyright Shitty Chicken.

I didn’t think that anyone wanted to hear about my chicken and veggie meal prep. Or my avocado and chicken dinner, which happened to be the same thing I ate the night before. And the night before. Since I didn’t have anything exciting to say or an awesome recipe to share, I didn’t say anything at all. The situation was hard to swallow especially because of what food52, smitten kitchen, and all the other full time food bloggers were cooking up on a regular basis. Duh, of course I can’t keep up with them.

But here’s the thing. I’m leaving out most of my life. But I don’t need to. Why can’t I mention my tough workouts, Shitty Chicken, and occasional recipe that was sooooo worth the cheat meal? So hopefully you’ll at least put up with me mentioning my unapologetically boring, healthy lunches and my abundant supply of avocados while I work on getting you the next recipe.

Here’s my promise though. I created this website to only post recipes that are mouthwateringly delicious and worth bragging about. So even if you only see a couple recipes, you better believe they’re going to be good ones.

See you soon.

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Ajarian Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread) http://bringbackdelicious.com/breads/ajarian-khachapuri-georgian-cheese-bread/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/breads/ajarian-khachapuri-georgian-cheese-bread/#respond Sat, 04 Jul 2015 05:15:14 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=2468 The fact that my Armenian friends didn’t tell me about this recipe for Ajarian Khachapuri as soon as they met me (as in, right after they said their name), is disappointing. I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant after seeing a

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Dipping Torn Off Pieces of Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

The fact that my Armenian friends didn’t tell me about this recipe for Ajarian Khachapuri as soon as they met me (as in, right after they said their name), is disappointing. I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant after seeing a couple pictures online. You really have to dig a little deeper to find good recipes for this bread. There’s a few recipes that are commonly duplicated that simply don’t work. However, I had a carton of 18 fresh eggs, I buy my flour in bulk from Costco, and I have a penchant for perfection, so I hunkered down and made round after round until we hit perfection.

Cheesy, crunchy, melty perfection.

Ingredients

Makes 2 extra-large Ajarian khachapuri (each serves 2 people) or 4 medium (personal size, roughly 9″x4″ each)

  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt
  • 10 g (1 T) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 10 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 oz muenster, shredded
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 2 fresh eggs (for 2 extra-large loaves) or 4 eggs (for 4 personal sized loaves), (old eggs have thin whites, which are more likely to drip off the bread in the oven)

Steps

Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk until mixed well.

Yeast Flour Salt Dry Ingredients For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Mixed Dry Ingredients For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

In a microwave bowl, combine the butter, water, and half and half. Microwave until it’s warm to the touch, but not hot, and the butter is melted.

If it’s too hot, let it cool or you’ll overheat the yeast and the dough won’t rise.

Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add the liquid ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix on low for 1 minute. Scrape down the flour that accumulated on the sides of the bowl and continue mixing for another minute. Repeat as needed until the dough has been mixed for 6 minutes.

After One Minute Of Mixing Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Scraping Down Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Second Scrape Down Of Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Remove the dough hook, leaving the dough in the mixing bowl. Cover the top of the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes. (The ideal temperature is 73 degrees.) The dough should double in size.

If the dough does not rise at all, stop and redo the recipe from the beginning. Make sure the yeast is fresh and you don’t overheat the liquid before adding it to the dough.

If the dough has risen but it has not doubled in size, give it a little more time until it does. Move the mixing bowl to a warmer location if it’s too cold. Keep in mind you can’t really rush this step by putting the dough in a hot location. The yeast will go through the sugars in the dough too quickly and the dough will collapse.

Pulling Dough Off Of Dough Hook For Proofing Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Resting Dough For First Proofing For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Rising Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Scrape the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Kneed for about 30 seconds, then return the dough to the mixing bowl seam-side down.

This step redistributes the yeast, which makes it less likely they’ll run out of sugars and stop fermenting. The second round of fermentation also helps develop the gluten structure in the  bread so the texture is finer and more consistent.

Removing Proofed Dough From Mixing Bowl For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Punch Down Step For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Dough Shaping Proofed Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Cover the top of the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for another 45 minutes to double in size.

Bulk Fermenting Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri in a Mixing Bowl

Meanwhile, place a large pizza stone in the oven then preheat the oven to 500 F.Pizza Stone Left In The Oven For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Pizza stones can break if you put them in an already hot oven. Actually, if you have the space, you can just leave the pizza stone in your oven all the time!

Some other recipes recommend using a baking sheet flipped upside down. However, I haven’t been able to get this to work without burning the bottom of the bread. A pizza stone is much butter at transferring heat without burning the bottom of the bread.

 

Once the dough has doubled in size again, scrape the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Kneed for a few seconds to deflate the dough, then use a bench scraper to cut the dough into 2 equal sized portions if you’re making extra-large loaves or 4 equal sized portions if you’re making personal sized loaves.

Portion Dough With Bench Scraper For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Shaping Portioned Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until the dough reaches it’s limit. It will be about 5″ if you’re making 4 loaves or 10″ wide if you’re making 2. Let the dough relax for 5 minutes, then roll it out again. This time, it should be relaxed enough to get to 7″ (4 loaves) or 14″ (2 loaves) wide.

Rolling Out Portioned Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri First Roll Out Of Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Cheese On Rolled Out Dough For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Combine mozzarella, muenster, and feta cheeses in a bowl and mix well. Split the mixture in half (2 loaves) or in quarters (4 loaves) and spread it out on each piece of dough. Leave a 1-2″ border around the edges. This will give you a crust that’s slightly cheese inside. It’s not much of an issue to have a lot of cheese rolled into the crust, but we really want to have most of the cheese in the middle of the bread so we can dip and scoop it using pieces of torn off bread.

Use a pizza peel to transfer the loaf to the pizza stone. (Use quick jerks to get the pizza peel under the loaf and to slide the loaf onto the pizza stone.)

If you don’t have a pizza peel, Amazon has you covered. If you’re in a pinch (or impatient like me), a piece of heavy paper or a manila folder works fine!

Makeshift Pizza Peel For Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri

Bake at 500 F for 9 minutes (extra-large) or 7 min (medium). The bread should be a very light golden brown.

Don’t crowd your pizza stone. A 16″ pizza stone is only big enough to cook one extra-large or 2 medium loaves a time.

Open the oven door and quickly crack the egg in the middle of each loaf of bread. As long as you’re using fresh eggs, the sides of the bread will be high enough to keep the egg from running off the sides.

Cracking Egg Over Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri With Muenster Feta And Mozzarella

Continue to bake for 5 more minutes. At this point the egg will be over easy and the bread should be a medium golden brown.

Freshly Baked Georgian Adjarian Khachapuri With Over Easy Egg

Remove the bread from the oven. If you would like to cook the egg a little further, quickly cover the bread with aluminum foil. You won’t be able to fully cook the yolk,  but you will be able to get the egg to over-medium.

Top with a pad of butter and enjoy immediately.

Adjarian Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)
 
Serves: Makes 2 extra-large (each serves 2 people) or 4 medium (personal size, roughly 9"x4" each) khachapuri
Ingredients
  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt
  • 10 g (1 T) butter
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 10 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 oz muenster, shredded
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 2 fresh eggs (for 2 extra-large loaves) or 4 eggs (for 4 personal sized loaves), (old eggs have thin whites, which are more likely to drip off the bread in the oven)
Steps
  1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk until mixed well.
  2. In a microwave bowl, combine the butter, water, and half and half. Microwave until it's warm to the touch, but not hot, and the butter is melted. (If it's too hot, let it cool or you'll overheat the yeast and the dough won't rise.)
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add the liquid ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix on low for 1 minute. Scrape down the flour that accumulated on the sides of the bowl and continue mixing for another minute. Repeat as needed until the dough has been mixed for 6 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough hook, leaving the dough in the mixing bowl. Cover the top of the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes. (The ideal temperature is 73 degrees.) The dough should double in size. (Having trouble? Check the Notes for troubleshooting tips.)
  5. Scrape the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Kneed for about 30 seconds, then return the dough to the mixing bowl seam-side down. (This step redistributes the yeast, which makes it less likely they'll run out of sugars and stop fermenting. The second round of fermentation also helps develop the gluten structure in the bread so the texture is finer and more consistent.)
  6. Cover the top of the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for another 45 minutes to double in size.
  7. Meanwhile, place a large pizza stone in the oven then preheat the oven to 500 F.
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size again, scrape the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Kneed for a few seconds to deflate the dough, then use a bench scraper to cut the dough into 2 equal sized portions if you're making extra-large loaves or 4 equal sized portions if you're making personal sized loaves.
  9. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until the dough reaches it's limit. It will be about 5" if you're making 4 loaves or 10" wide if you're making 2. Let the dough relax for 5 minutes, then roll it out again. This time, it should be relaxed enough to get to 7" (4 loaves) or 14" (2 loaves) wide.
  10. Combine mozzarella, muenster, and feta cheeses in a bowl and mix well. Split the mixture in half (2 loaves) or in quarters (4 loaves) and spread it out on each piece of dough. Leave a 1-2" border around the edges. (This will give you a crust that's slightly cheese inside. It's not much of an issue to have a lot of cheese rolled into the crust, but we really want to have most of the cheese in the middle of the bread so we can dip and scoop it using pieces of torn off bread.)
  11. Use a pizza peel to transfer the loaf to the pizza stone. (Use quick jerks to get the pizza peel under the loaf and to slide the loaf onto the pizza stone.)
  12. Bake at 500 F for 9 minutes (extra-large) or 7 min (medium). The bread should be a very light golden brown. (Don't crowd your pizza stone. A 16" pizza stone is only big enough to cook one extra-large or 2 medium loaves a time.)
  13. Open the oven door and quickly crack the egg in the middle of the loaf. As long as you're using fresh eggs, the sides of the bread will be high enough to keep the egg from running off the sides.
  14. Continue to bake for 5 more minutes. At this point the egg will be over easy and the bread should be a medium golden brown.
  15. Remove the bread from the oven. If you would like to cook the egg a little further, quickly cover the bread with aluminum foil. You won't be able to fully cook the yolk, but you will be able to get the egg to over-medium.
Notes
Dough Tips
If the dough does not rise at all, stop and redo the recipe from the beginning. Make sure the yeast is fresh and you don't overheat the liquid before adding it to the dough.

If the dough has risen but it has not doubled in size, give it a little more time until it does. Move the mixing bowl to a warmer location if it's too cold. Keep in mind you can't really rush this step by putting the dough in a hot location. The yeast will go through the sugars in the dough too quickly and the dough will collapse.

Pizza Peels and Pizza Stones
Some other recipes recommend using a baking sheet flipped upside down. However, I haven't been able to get this to work without burning the bottom of the bread. I recommend waiting until you have a pizza stone before you try this recipe. A pizza stone is much butter at transferring heat without burning the bottom of the bread.
Pizza stones can break if you put them in an already hot oven. Actually, if you have the space, you can just leave the pizza stone in your oven all the time!

If you don't have a pizza peel, Amazon has you covered. If you're in a pinch (or impatient like me), a piece of heavy paper or a manila folder works fine!

 

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Maple Glazed Rum Cake http://bringbackdelicious.com/desserts/maple-glazed-rum-cake/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/desserts/maple-glazed-rum-cake/#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2015 03:03:53 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=2340 A couple months back, a coworker brought in some mini Tortuga rum cakes to share at lunch. I had actually never heard of rum cakes, but surely anything with “rum” and “cake” was going to be amazing. Sure enough, it was. Tortuga rum

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Platter Of Maple Glazed Rum Cake

A couple months back, a coworker brought in some mini Tortuga rum cakes to share at lunch. I had actually never heard of rum cakes, but surely anything with “rum” and “cake” was going to be amazing. Sure enough, it was. Tortuga rum cake is soaked with a rum simple syrup that’s so strong, you probably don’t even want to eat it before a one on one meeting with your boss unless you want them to think you drank rum at lunch.

I added it to my recipe queue. Once I finished perfecting this Artisan Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Focaccia, it was rum cake time. Unfortunately, Tortuga didn’t seem willing to share their secret recipe for some odd reason. However, there was a lot of rum cake recipes online. Some of them were even boldly named something along the line of “Almost Tortuga” Rum Cake.

So bold. Especially since these recipes fell so, so flat. I have a handful of slightly-rum flavored pound cake recipes if any of you are interested! There are a few tricks to making rum cake as moist as Tortugas and after a lot of trial and error, I’m back here to share what it takes to make a Better Than Tortuga Rum Cake.

Oh yeah, I said it. Better Than Tortuga.

Maple Glazed Rum Cake

For the Cake
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup spiced rum, i.e. Captain Morgan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with knife, plus a couple of tablespoons for flouring the pan (see note)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
For the Rum Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum, i.e. Captain Morgan
For the Maple Rum Glaze
  • 1 and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 T real maple syrup
  • 2 T dark spiced rum, i.e. Captain Morgan
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Using some of the extra unsalted butter, lightly grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. The easiest way is to hold a thumb-sized piece of softened butter under your fingertips and pull it along each ridge of the pan.

Greasing Bundt Pan for Maple Rum Cake

Remove any residual chunks of butter so the pan is evenly coated.

Greased Bundt Pan for Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Add a couple tablespoons of flour to the pan. While holding the pan at an angle in one hand, use your other hand to lightly bump the pan and evenly distribute the flour. Make sure you flour the sides of the center tube as well. Once the whole pan is lightly floured, hold it upside down and tap the sides to get rid of any excess flour.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the eggs, egg yolks, rum, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Whisk until smooth.

If you don’t whisk the eggs until they’re smooth, you will have to mix the cake batter more in the mixer. This creates more gluten, which leads to a chewier cake instead of the light, crumbly one we’re aiming for.

Vanilla Extract Almond Extract Eggs Spiced Rum for Maple Glazed Rum CakeWhisked Vanilla Extract Almond Extract Eggs Spiced Rum for Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Measure out 2 and 1/2 cups of cake flour by spooning it into a dry measuring cup, then use the back of a knife to scrape off the excess.

To get 1 cup of packed light brown sugar, use the palm of your hand to press the sugar into the measuring cup, then scrape the top with your palm to level it off.

If your brown sugar comes in a bag, scoop the brown sugar directly in the bag while your other hand is on the outside pressing down. Level off the top by rubbing the measuring cub with the palm of your hand through the bag. Everything’s contained within the brown sugar bag, so there’s no mess!

Add 1 cup of granulated sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp Kosher salt.

Spooning Sugar for Maple Glazed Rum Cake Measuring Flour For Maple Glazed Rum Cake Packing Brown Sugar For Maple Glazed Rum Cake Measuring Baking Powder for Maple Glazed Rum Cake Measuring Kosher Salt For Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Add the dry ingredients to your mixing bowl. Connect the paddle attachment then mix on the lowest speed for 30 seconds.

Dry Ingredients In Mixing Bowl For Maple Glazed Rum CakeConsistency Of Mixed Dry Ingredients For Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Add the softened, cubed butter and continue to mix on low speed for 1 minute.

Adding Cubed Softened Butter For Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Scrape down any remaining chunks of butter off the paddle and sides of the mixer, then continue mixing for 1 more minute or until the butter is evenly distributed. The final texture should be sandy and crumbly with no butter or dry sugar visible.

Creamed Brown Sugar For Maple Glazed Rum Cake That Needs To Be Scraped Down

While the mixer is still on low speed, slowly pour in about a quarter of the whisked egg mixture. Mix for a few seconds or until it’s no longer sloshing on the bottom of the mixer. Increase to medium speed for 1 minute to fully mix it in. Stop the mixer and raise the attachment, then scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula or bowl scraper.

This step is important because unmixed butter and sugar will melt and leave uneven holes in your cake. Take your time to make sure it’s evenly mixed.

Pouring In Egg Mixture For Maple Glazed Rum CakeCreaming Brown Sugar Butter For Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Scraping Down Batter Brown Sugar Butter For Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Repeat 3 more times for the remaining liquid. After you add the last of the whisked egg mixture, mix up to 2 total minutes on medium speed to make sure it’s evenly mixed. The final consistency should be smooth and creamy without any visible lumps.

Paddling Brown Sugar Butter For Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Use the end of a spatula to evenly distribute the batter.

Pouring Batter Into Maple Glazed Rum Cake Spreading Batter Out On Maple Glazed Rum Cake Scraping Batter Off On Maple Glazed Rum Cake Batter Spread Out On Maple Glazed Rum Cake

Bake the cake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes.

Poked Whole Freshly Baked Maple Rum CakeWhile the cake is still cooking, prepare the glaze. You will need to start glazing the cake right after it comes out of the oven. Add the butter to a small sauce pot then add 1/4 cup water, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum.

If you ever need to measure out maple syrup, spray the inside of the measuring cup with pan spray before you pour in the maple syrup. The pan spray will keep the maple syrup from sticking to the sides of the measuring cup and the maple syrup will pour right out.

Measuring Maple Syrup For Maple Glazed Rum Cake Sprayed Measuring Cup For Measuring Maple Syrup

Heat on low heat to slowly melt the butter.

Melted Maple Rum Simple Syrup For Maple Rum Glazed Cake

Use the tip of a spoon or spatula to break the butter into small pieces to help the butter melt faster.

Don’t let the butter boil over or you’ll cook off too much of the alcohol rum! We want to keep as much rum flavor as we can.

Melting Maple Rum Simple Syrup For Maple Rum Glazed Cake

After ~40 minutes has passed, start checking the cake. It should be done after 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be a light golden color and the edges dark golden brown. Keep a close eye on it and take it out as soon as you think it’s ALMOST done. Chances are, is it. If you cook it too long, you’ll risk it drying out.

Kitchen supply stores often sell packs of wooden skewers for ~$1-2. These work a lot better than toothpicks.

Once the cake is finished cooking, remove it from the oven and set it on the stove top or a wire rack to start cooling. Immediately poke ~30 holes in the top of the cake, going about halfway down into the cake. This will help the glaze soak down into the middle of the cake instead of just settling at the top.

Poked Whole Freshly Baked Maple Rum Cake

Pour about a third of the glaze evenly over the cake. Make sure the glaze gets between the cake and the pan. Let the glaze soak into the cake for ~10 minutes.

Don’t think for a second you can get a nicely soaked rum cake by brushing glaze over the top. Not a chance. Sorry, tried it. It only soaked in a few millimeters. I don’t want you to waste your time trying.

Pouring Maple Rum Simple Syrup Glaze Onto Maple Rum Cake Rum Maple Simple Syrup Soaking Into Maple Rum Cake Rum Maple Simple Syrup Soaked Into Maple Rum Cake

Repeat two more times with the remaining glaze, but now focus pouring the remaining glaze near the outside and inside edges of the cake. This helps the glaze distribute evenly throughout the cake instead of just having a soggy middle!

Let the cake cool completely. To remove the cake from the Bundt pan, put the serving platter you want to use upside down on top of the Bundt pan. Slide the Bundt pan to the edge of the counter. Slip one hand underneath the Bundt pan and put the other on top of the platter. Quickly flip the Bundt pan and platter over and set it down.

Carefully start lifting the Bundt pan. If the cake is still stuck, that’s ok. Give the Bundt pan a couple of good thumps with the palm of your hand.

If that doesn’t work or the cake has been left out for a long time, the sugar may have crystallized. You have two options:

  • Soak a kitchen towel with HOT water, wring it out, then cover the top of the Bundt pan with the towel.
  • Fill a large bowl with water and submerge the Bundt pan partially in the water.

The hot towel or hot water will melt the crystallized sugar between the cake and the pan, which will release the cake. Don’t try jamming a knife down in the pan or violently slamming the cake pan. You’ll risk breaking a piece of the cake crust off.

Slice Of Fresh Maple Soaked Rum Cake

At this point, the cake is totally worth eating. But you want to take it one tiny step further. Trust me, it’s totally worth it.

Spread Of Sliced Maple Rum Cake On Vintage China

Sift 1 cup of powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl. (I say sift because it’s almost impossible to get all of the lumps out once you start adding the rest of the ingredients.) Add 1 T maple syrup, 2 T dark rum, and 1/8 tsp Kosher salt then whisk until it’s smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.

Whole Maple Glazed Rum Cake on a Platter Drizzled with Rum Glaze

Much better. Now you can dig in!

(If you happen to have some creme anglaise sitting around or have enough heavy cream and eggs to make it, I definitely suggest pairing the two together!)

Slice Of Maple Glazed Rum Cake With Creme AnglaiseTaking A Bite Out Of A Slice Of Maple Glazed Rum Cake With Creme Anglaise

 

Maple Glazed Rum Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • (Cake) 4 large eggs
  • (Cake) 3 large egg yolks
  • (Cake) ½ cup spiced rum, i.e. Captain Morgan
  • (Cake) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • (Cake) 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • (Cake) 2½ cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with knife, plus a couple of tablespoons for flouring the pan (see note)
  • (Cake) 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • (Cake) 1 cup granulated sugar
  • (Cake) 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • (Cake) ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • (Cake) 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • (Syrup) ½ cup unsalted butter
  • (Syrup) ¼ cup water
  • (Syrup) ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • (Syrup) ⅓ cup real maple syrup
  • (Syrup) ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum, i.e. Captain Morgan
  • (Glaze) 1 and ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • (Glaze) 1 T real maple syrup
  • (Glaze) 2 T dark spiced rum, i.e. Captain Morgan
  • (Glaze) ⅛ tsp Kosher salt
Steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Using some of the extra unsalted butter, lightly grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. The easiest way is to hold a thumb-sized piece of softened butter under your fingertips and pull it along each ridge of the pan.
  2. Remove any residual chunks of butter so the pan is evenly coated.
  3. Add a couple tablespoons of flour to the pan. While holding the pan at an angle in one hand, use your other hand to lightly bump the pan and evenly distribute the flour. Make sure you flour the sides of the center tube as well. Once the whole pan is lightly floured, hold it upside down and tap the sides to get rid of any excess flour.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, add the eggs, egg yolks, rum, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Whisk until smooth. (If you don't whisk the eggs until they're smooth, you will have to mix the cake batter more in the mixer. This creates more gluten, which leads to a chewier cake instead of the light, crumbly one we're aiming for.)
  5. Measure out 2 and ½ cups of cake flour by spooning it into a dry measuring cup, then use the back of a knife to scrape off the excess.
  6. To get 1 cup of packed light brown sugar, use the palm of your hand to press the sugar into the measuring cup, then scrape the top with your palm to level it off. (If your brown sugar comes in a bag, scoop the brown sugar directly in the bag while your other hand is on the outside pressing down. Level off the top by rubbing the measuring cub with the palm of your hand through the bag. Everything's contained within the brown sugar bag, so there's no mess!)
  7. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, and ½ tsp Kosher salt.
  8. Add the dry ingredients to your mixing bowl. Connect the paddle attachment then mix on the lowest speed for 30 seconds.
  9. Add the softened, cubed butter and continue to mix on low speed for 1 minute.
  10. Scrape down any remaining chunks of butter off the paddle and sides of the mixer, then continue mixing for 1 more minute or until the butter is evenly distributed. The final texture should be sandy and crumbly with no butter or dry sugar visible.
  11. While the mixer is still on low speed, slowly pour in about a quarter of the whisked egg mixture. Mix for a few seconds or until it's no longer sloshing on the bottom of the mixer. Increase to medium speed for 1 minute to fully mix it in. Stop the mixer and raise the attachment, then scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula or bowl scraper. (This step is important because unmixed butter and sugar will melt and leave uneven holes in your cake. Take your time to make sure it's evenly mixed.)
  12. Repeat 3 more times for the remaining liquid. After you add the last of the whisked egg mixture, mix up to 2 total minutes on medium speed to make sure it's evenly mixed. The final consistency should be smooth and creamy without any visible lumps.
  13. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Use the end of a spatula to evenly distribute the batter.
  14. Bake the cake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes.
  15. While the cake is still cooking, prepare the glaze. You will need to start glazing the cake right after it comes out of the oven. Add the butter to a small sauce pot then add ¼ cup water, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, ⅓ cup maple syrup, and ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum.
  16. If you ever need to measure out maple syrup, spray the inside of the measuring cup with pan spray before you pour in the maple syrup. The pan spray will keep the maple syrup from sticking to the sides of the measuring cup and the maple syrup will pour right out.
  17. Heat on low heat to slowly melt the butter.
  18. Use the tip of a spoon or spatula to break the butter into small pieces to help the butter melt faster. (Don't let the butter boil over or you'll cook off too much of the alcohol rum! We want to keep as much rum flavor as we can.)
  19. After ~40 minutes has passed, start checking the cake. It should be done after 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be a light golden color and the edges dark golden brown. (Keep a close eye on it and take it out as soon as you think it's ALMOST done. Chances are, is it. If you cook it too long, you'll risk it drying out.)
  20. Once the cake is finished cooking, remove it from the oven and set it on the stove top or a wire rack to start cooling. Immediately poke ~30 holes in the top of the cake, going about halfway down into the cake. This will help the glaze soak down into the middle of the cake instead of just settling at the top.
  21. Pour about a third of the glaze evenly over the cake. Make sure the glaze gets between the cake and the pan. Let the glaze soak into the cake for ~10 minutes. (Don't think for a second you can get a nicely soaked rum cake by brushing glaze over the top. Not a chance. Sorry, tried it. It only soaked in a few millimeters. I don't want you to waste your time trying.)
  22. Repeat two more times with the remaining glaze, but now focus pouring the remaining glaze near the outside and inside edges of the cake. This helps the glaze distribute evenly throughout the cake instead of just having a soggy middle!
  23. Let the cake cool completely. To remove the cake from the Bundt pan, put the serving platter you want to use upside down on top of the Bundt pan. Slide the Bundt pan to the edge of the counter. Slip one hand underneath the Bundt pan and put the other on top of the platter. Quickly flip the Bundt pan and platter over and set it down.
  24. Carefully start lifting the Bundt pan. If the cake is still stuck, that's ok. Give the Bundt pan a couple of good thumps with the palm of your hand.
  25. If that doesn't work or the cake has been left out for a long time, the sugar may have crystallized. You have two options: (a) Soak a kitchen towel with HOT water, wring it out, then cover the top of the Bundt pan with the towel. (b) Fill a large bowl with water and submerge the Bundt pan partially in the water.
  26. The hot towel or hot water will melt the crystallized sugar between the cake and the pan, which will release the cake. Don't try jamming a knife down in the pan or violently slamming the cake pan. You'll risk breaking a piece of the cake crust off.
  27. At this point, the cake is totally worth eating. But you want to take it one tiny step further. Trust me, it's totally worth it.
  28. Sift 1 cup of powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl. (I say sift because it's almost impossible to get all of the lumps out once you start adding the rest of the ingredients.) Add 1 T maple syrup, 2 T dark rum, and ⅛ tsp Kosher salt then whisk until it's smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.
  29. Much better. Now you can dig in!
Notes
(If you happen to have some creme anglaise sitting around or have enough heavy cream and eggs to make it, I definitely suggest pairing the two together!)

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Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia http://bringbackdelicious.com/breads/roasted-garlic-and-rosemary-focaccia/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/breads/roasted-garlic-and-rosemary-focaccia/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 18:39:37 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=2183 There are two types of focaccia in the world. The first type is typically used for sandwiches. It’s usually the kind that’s so thick and dry you can barely scoff it down. The other is the type that you get

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Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

There are two types of focaccia in the world. The first type is typically used for sandwiches. It’s usually the kind that’s so thick and dry you can barely scoff it down.

The other is the type that you get at your favorite Italian restaurant. It’s cut up in nice sized rectangles and served with a generous helping of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You know, the stuff dreams are made of?

Yeah I like the second type a lot better too.

Focaccia can make or break a meal for me. When my husband and I go out to eat at an Italian restaurant, we like to start with an appetizer and some wine. We start the meal slow and savor it instead of rushing to the main course. Ideally, it’s a few hour ordeal. (Ideally it’s a zero calorie ordeal too, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers!)

Anyhow, if I end up with focaccia that tastes like a piece of kitchen sponge, I have to wonder how much attention the restaurant pays to the rest of their dishes. Not to mention eating kitchen sponge bread kills the mood!

Recently, I got a 2 pound bag of active dried yeast I got on a whim at Costco (as you do…), so I’ve been trying to find ways to use it. I ended up looking into what it would take to make a drool-worthy focaccia at home instead of at our favorite paycheck-eating Italian restaurants.

Just like with most things, there are a lot of quick and easy focaccia recipes out there. But don’t be fooled! I haven’t found one that was legitimately delicious. Sure, you can make due. You can sponge up a little more olive oil and balsamic for every bite to make up for the fact it’s dry and probably a little mediocre. But to me, it’s not really worth it. There were a 5 things I learned to making a delicious focaccia.

5 Tips for Delicious Focaccia

Handle the dough lightly

I’d tell you to handle your focaccia like a little baby bird, but that sounds silly. How about like you handle your brand new iPhone before you put the case on it? Now we’re talking.

Focaccia is meant to be a tender, wet dough. Over mixing or over handling the dough will develop too much gluten, which means the focaccia won’t rise or spread out as much. In the end, you have a dense, chewy bread that sucks the life moisture out of your mouth. As long as you follow the mixing time and speed in the recipe, you’ll be off to a good start.

Now, whenever you cut or transfer the dough, only handle it as much as you have to. When it comes time to split the dough in half, err on the side of cutting it in half “mostly” equally instead of fussing with it. Let the dough fall slightly off center in the pan if it happens to land that way. Your dough will thank you.

Olive oil, olive oil, and more olive oil

You may be tempted to cut back on the amount of olive oil you pour into the bottom of the pan, but don’t give in! A generous layer of olive oil gives the focaccia a nice golden crust. If you use too little, you’ll risk burning the bottom of the focaccia before the top gets golden brown. There’s nothing worse than burning something at the very last step of a long recipe. Unfortunately, yes, I am speaking from experience.

For an added boost, we used a garlic and rosemary infused olive oil. This gave us a chance to squeeze in extra flavor on the bottom half of the focaccia. That’s called a flavor sandwich!

Use good quality ingredients

A recipe using dried rosemary, mediocre olive oil or an olive oil blend, or even dried garlic powder won’t stand a chance against a recipe with fresh and good quality ingredients. Dry ingredients or olive oil blends simply don’t pack enough punch into this recipe. So don’t short yourself. Just wait until you have everything on hand to make it right.

The quality of your flour is really important for obvious reasons. If your flour smells a bit “off”, you’re never going to be able to fix it by throwing more rosemary on top. A lot of artisan bread makers prefer to use high quality flour that’s produced in small batches or organic farms. If you choose to use a different flour, look for one with a similar protein content to standard bread flour, or you have to adjust the amount of water you use.

Give it time

It’s also important not to rush and shorten the amount of time you let the dough rest in between steps. While your dough is sitting innocently on the counter, the yeast are hard at work chowing down on sugars in the flour and burping out carbon dioxide gas. This gas is trapped in the web of gluten you created in the mixer. The longer the dough rests, the more the dough can rise and aerate. This creates the light and fluffy texture that we’re looking for. If you rush it, the texture will be tough, chewy, and dense.

However, at the same time the yeast are chowing down, the gluten network in the dough is relaxing. When the gluten relaxes, it can’t hold as much air in the dough. So, don’t let the dough rest too long because it could collapse under its own weight.

At the same time the yeast is producing gas, it’s also producing ethanol, glutamate, and a balance of acetic and lactic acids. These help give bread its characteristic aroma and slight hints of umami and sour flavors.

If you think about it, short of dipping the bread in even MORE balsamic and olive oil, taking your time to let the yeast ferment is really your only way of flavoring the middle of the focaccia. If you rush and try to make focaccia really quickly, you’ll be stuck with a flat flavor instead of the well rounded flavor of a properly fermented bread.

If an emergency comes up and you have to take a break mid-recipe, cover the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap then put the dough in the refrigerator. The cold temperatures will slow down fermentation. When you’re ready to start again, take the dough out, let it come to room temperature, then let it rise again as you would normally. However, yeast produce more acetic acid at lower temperatures. Too much acetic acid can give the focaccia a harsh and vinegary flavor, so keep the refrigeration time down to the bare minimum.

Keep an eye on the temperature

Yeast can ferment between 33 and 105 F, however, this focaccia is best made when the temperature in your kitchen is around 72-75 F. This is basically the sweet spot for making yeast-based artisan breads at home.

If the kitchen is too cold:

  • your dough won’t rise as much
  • the yeast won’t exhaust enough oxygen to get to the stage where they produce ethanol
  • the yeast will produce too much acetic acid, resulting in a harsh and vinegary taste

If the kitchen is too warm:

  • your dough will rise too fast and you’ll risk the dough collapsing (just like what happens if you let the dough sit too long at room temperature)
  • the yeast will exhaust their food supply a lot faster, which makes the timings less flexible

If you can, set your heater or air conditioning to make sure your kitchen is at the right temperature. Otherwise, find a cool area of the kitchen on a hot day or a warm area on a cold day.

Now without further ado, let’s get to the juicy details.

Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 1/16 tsp + 1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water + 11 oz water
  • 1 T + 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality, plus more for roasting garlic and garnishing
  • 3 oz + 15.5 oz bread flour
  • 1 T Kosher salt
  • 2 large heads of garlic
  • 4 T fresh rosemary, chopped

Steps

We start the focaccia by making a sponge. A sponge is a type of “pre-ferment” which is a way to jump start the fermentation process and basically “age” the bread. An aged bread has better flavor and texture.

1. To prepare the sponge, heat 1/2 cup water in a small microwaveable mixing bowl for 20 seconds or until warm, but not hot to the touch. Sprinkle 1/16 tsp of yeast and wait for 5 minutes for the yeast to absorb water and settle down from the surface of the water.

This step is called blooming the yeast. The mixture should appear milky. If it still appears grainy, you should consider trying a new package of yeast because the yeast may not be active anymore.

2. Add 3 oz bread flour and stir until fully mixed.
3. Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Tear off another long piece of plastic wrap, form a rope, and stretch to wrap around the rim of the bowl and tie off. The yeast will release enough gas to unseal the plastic wrap, so this extra step helps seal the bowl.

Creating a tight seal is important because it controls the amount of oxygen available for the yeast to use up. This controls the fermentation process overnight.

4. Leave the sponge at room temperature until the sponge has doubled in size and air bubbles are visible, at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.

Sponge for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary FocacciaSponge for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

5. Add 11 oz water and 1 T extra virgin olive oil to a clean KitchenAid mixing bowl. Gently scrape the sponge out and add to the KitchenAid mixing bowl.

Mixing Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
6. Sprinkle the remaining 1 and 3/4 tsp active dry yeast into the water in the mixing bowl, then add 15.5 oz bread flour.

Mixing Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
7. Using the dough hook attachment, mix for 6 minutes on low speed. At the 5 minute mark, if there is still flour around the edge of the bowl, stop the mixer, scrape the flour down, and continue mixing for 1 more minute. The dough should stick to the sides of the bowl. It should not pull away and form a ball.

If your dough has formed a ball, you’re mixed it too long. At this point, consider re-doing the previous steps. If you don’t, the dough could be too dense and chewy. If you don’t want to redo these steps or you’re in a pinch, add an extra 30 minutes to the next resting period to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.

Scraping Down Dough in Mixing Bowl for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
8. Brush a large mixing bowl with extra virgin olive oil. The bowl should be big enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size.
9. Gently scrape the dough into the greased mixing bowl. Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap then tie around the edge of the bowl with a plastic wrap rope.

Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia in KitchenAidDough in Mixing Bowl for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia with Plastic Wrap
10. Leave the mixing bowl out at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 and 1/2 hours. This is called the Bulk Fermentation step.

Dough in Mixing Bowl for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia with Plastic WrapFermented Dough in Mixing Bowl for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
11. Lightly dust a clean counter top with bread flour, then gently scrape the dough out onto the counter top using a bench scraper.
12. Fold the top edge of the dough down to the middle. Repeat with the right edge, bottom edge, and left edge.

This is the Turning step, which helps develop gluten structure. A well developed gluten structure prevents the dough from collapsing. It also helps redistribute the gas that has collected in the dough, resulting in a more even texture.

Turning Focaccia Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary FocacciaTurning Focaccia Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

13. Carefully move the dough back to the bowl, folded side down, then cover again with plastic wrap.

Turned Focaccia Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

14. Leave the mixing bowl at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size again, about 1 hour. At this point, the dough should have enough structure to not collapse when you disturb it (though I don’t recommend disturbing it just to check!)

Proofed Focaccia Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

15. While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the top 1/4 off of both heads of garlic. Pull off 3-4 cloves, remove the skin, and crush the cloves with the side of your knife.

16. In a medium sized microwaveable bowl, add the garlic cloves, a little more than 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, and 1 T chopped fresh rosemary. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove, cover to keep warm, and set aside to infuse.

Rosemary And Garlic Infused Olive Oil For Roasted Garlic And Rosemary Focaccia

17. Place the garlic heads cut sides up in a large square of aluminum foil, then drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. Seal the aluminum foil, then bake for 30 minutes or until the garlic cloves are soft and light golden brown.

Cut Garlic Heads for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary FocacciaRoasted Garlic in Aluminum Foil for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

18. Open the aluminum foil pouch and let the garlic cool enough to handle. Squeeze the head of garlic from the bottom up. The garlic cloves should out very easily. Chop roughly then set aside.

Squeezing Roasted Garlic Cloves for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

19. Strain the infused olive oil and pour 1/4 cup olive oil into each foccacia pan. Tilt the pan to distribute the olive oil evenly over the bottom.
20. Using the rounded end of a plastic bench scraper, cut the dough in half. Gently scoop and place half of the dough into the middle of each cake pan.
21. Spray two pieces of plastic wrap with pan spray and lightly cover the surface of the dough.

The pan spray prevents the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough.

22. Leave the dough at room temperature for 30 minutes. During this time, the dough should relax, spread out more in the pan, and rise slightly more.
23. Remove the plastic wrap and lightly brush the surface of the dough with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary and roasted garlic cloves over the top, then use your fingertips to push the garlic and rosemary into the dough making deep indentations. Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt. This step accomplishes two things: punching excess gas out of the dough and flavoring it at the same time.

Don’t be afraid of being too forceful making indentations. This allows the gluten strands to relax, which makes the dough tender. It also redistributes the yeast. If you didn’t redistribute the yeast, they will run out of resources to continue fermentation and collapse before you ever finish baking it.

A collapsed dough has a wrinkled top. If this happens, kneed the dough until it regains its shape, and let it rise again. If the dough collapses during baking, you’re out of luck because the gluten strands have basically broken beyond repair.

The rule of thumb for how much salt to use seems to be twice what you’d expect. You have to make up for the fact the middle and bottom of the dough aren’t seasoned.

Proofing Focaccia Dough for Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

24. Leave the dough out at room temperature for 30 minutes or until the dough has risen up and over the garlic cloves. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F.

This may seem too hot, but a high temperature is crucial to developing a rich golden crust. A high temperature like this is common for artisan breads like focaccia.

25. Bake on the center rack of the oven until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

If you want the foccacia to rise even more during the baking process, add steam for the first 15 minutes. You can do this by occasionally quickly tossing a couple ice cubes on the bottom of the oven or by leaving an oven-proof container of hot steaming water on the bottom rack. Keep the oven door closed as much as possible so the oven temperature doesn’t drop.

Freshly Baked Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

26. Remove the focaccia from the oven. Use an offset spatula to move the focaccia to a wire rack. Brush the top of the focaccia again with extra virgin olive oil, then let the focaccia cool to room temperature.

Freshly Baked Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

27. Once you’re ready to serve, cut the focaccia into wedges. Otherwise, keep the loaf intact. Serve with a small dipping plate of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil sprinkled with Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Artisan Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
 
Serves: 2 10" loaves
Ingredients
  • 1/16 tsp + 1¾ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup water + 11 oz water
  • 1 T + ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality, plus more for roasting garlic and garnishing
  • 3 oz + 15.5 oz bread flour
  • 1 T Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning to taste
  • 2 large heads of garlic
  • 4 T fresh rosemary, chopped
Steps
  1. We start the focaccia by making a sponge. A sponge is a type of "pre-ferment" which is a way to jump start the fermentation process and basically "age" the bread. An aged bread has better flavor and texture. To prepare the sponge, heat ½ cup water in a small microwaveable mixing bowl for 20 seconds or until warm, but not hot to the touch. Sprinkle 1/16 tsp of yeast and wait for 5 minutes for the yeast to absorb water and settle down from the surface of the water. This step is called blooming the yeast. The mixture should appear milky. If it still appears grainy, you should consider trying a new package of yeast because the yeast may not be active anymore.
  2. Add 3 oz bread flour and stir until fully mixed.
  3. Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Tear off another long piece of plastic wrap, form a rope, and stretch to wrap around the rim of the bowl and tie off. The yeast will release enough gas to unseal the plastic wrap, so this extra step helps seal the bowl. Creating a tight seal is important because it controls the amount of oxygen available for the yeast to use up. This will control the fermentation process overnight.
  4. Leave the sponge at room temperature until the sponge has doubled in size and air bubbles are visible, at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
  5. Add 11 oz water and 1 T extra virgin olive oil to a clean KitchenAid mixing bowl. Gently scrape the sponge out and add to the KitchenAid mixing bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1 and ¾ tsp active dry yeast into the water in the mixing bowl, then add 15.5 oz bread flour.
  7. Using the dough hook attachment, mix for 6 minutes on low speed. At the 5 minute mark, if there is still flour around the edge of the bowl, stop the mixer, scrape the flour down, and continue mixing for 1 more minute. The dough should stick to the sides of the bowl. It should not pull away and form a ball. If your dough has formed a ball, you're mixed it too long. At this point, consider re-doing the previous steps. If you don't, the dough could be too dense and chewy. If you don't want to redo these steps or you're in a pinch, add an extra 30 minutes to the next resting period to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
  8. Brush a large mixing bowl with extra virgin olive oil. The bowl should be big enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size.
  9. Gently scrape the dough into the greased mixing bowl. Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap then tie around the edge of the bowl with a plastic wrap rope.
  10. Leave the mixing bowl out at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 and ½ hours. This is called the Bulk Fermentation step.
  11. Lightly dust a clean counter top with bread flour, then gently scrape the dough out onto the counter top using a bench scraper.
  12. Fold the top edge of the dough down to the middle. Repeat with the right edge, bottom edge, and left edge. This is the Turning step, which helps develop gluten structure. A well developed gluten structure prevents the dough from collapsing. It also helps redistribute the gas that has collected in the dough, resulting in a more even texture.
  13. Carefully move the dough back to the bowl, folded side down, then cover again with plastic wrap.
  14. Leave the mixing bowl at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size again, about 1 hour. At this point, the dough should have enough structure to not collapse when you disturb it (though I don't recommend disturbing it just to check!)
  15. While you're waiting for the dough to rise, preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the top ¼ off of both heads of garlic. Pull off 3-4 cloves, remove the skin, and crush the cloves with the side of your knife.
  16. In a medium sized microwaveable bowl, add the garlic cloves, a little more than ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, and 1 T chopped fresh rosemary. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove, cover to keep warm, and set aside to infuse.
  17. Place the garlic heads cut sides up in a large square of aluminum foil, then drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. Seal the aluminum foil, then bake for 30 minutes or until the garlic cloves are soft and light golden brown.
  18. Open the aluminum foil pouch and let the garlic cool enough to handle. Squeeze the head of garlic from the bottom up. The garlic cloves should out very easily. Chop roughly then set aside.
  19. Strain the infused olive oil and pour ¼ cup olive oil into each focaccia pan. Tilt the pan to distribute the olive oil evenly over the bottom.
  20. Using the rounded end of a plastic bench scraper, cut the dough in half. Gently scoop and place half of the dough into the middle of each cake pan.
  21. Spray two pieces of plastic wrap with pan spray and lightly cover the surface of the dough. The pan spray prevents the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough.
  22. Leave the dough at room temperature for 30 minutes. During this time, the dough should relax, spread out more in the pan, and rise slightly more.
  23. Remove the plastic wrap and lightly brush the surface of the dough with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary and roasted garlic cloves over the top, then use your fingertips to push the garlic and rosemary into the dough making deep indentations. Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt. This step accomplishes two things: punching excess gas out of the dough and flavoring it at the same time. (Don't be afraid of being too forceful making indentations. This allows the gluten strands to relax, which makes the dough tender. It also redistributes the yeast. If you didn't redistribute the yeast, they will run out of resources to continue fermentation and collapse before you ever finish baking it.) (The rule of thumb for how much salt to use seems to be twice what you'd expect. You have to make up for the fact the middle and bottom of the dough aren't seasoned.)
  24. Leave the dough out at room temperature for 30 minutes or until the dough has risen up and over the garlic cloves. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F. (This may seem too hot, but a high temperature is crucial to developing a rich golden crust. A high temperature like this is common for artisan breads like focaccia.)
  25. Bake on the center rack of the oven until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. (If you want the focaccia to rise even more during the baking process, add steam for the first 15 minutes. You can do this by occasionally quickly tossing a couple ice cubes on the bottom of the oven or by leaving an oven-proof container of hot steaming water on the bottom rack. Keep the oven door closed as much as possible so the oven temperature doesn't drop.)
  26. Remove the focaccia from the oven. Use an offset spatula to move the focaccia to a wire rack. Brush the top of the focaccia again with extra virgin olive oil, then let the focaccia cool to room temperature.
  27. Once you're ready to serve, cut the focaccia into wedges. Otherwise, keep the loaf intact until then. Serve with a small dipping plate of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil sprinkled with Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Notes
A collapsed dough has a wrinkled top. If this happens, kneed the dough until it regains its shape, and let it rise again.
If the dough collapses during baking, you're out of luck because the gluten strands have basically broken beyond repair.
 Adapted from LA Times

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Mini Lemon Tarts with Fresh Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream http://bringbackdelicious.com/desserts/mini-lemon-tarts-with-fresh-vanilla-bean-whipped-cream/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/desserts/mini-lemon-tarts-with-fresh-vanilla-bean-whipped-cream/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 19:08:09 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=2144 The past few weeks have been busy! There were late night meals in Atlanta on our way to a wedding in the Caribbean, some amazing fresh seafood dishes in St. Lucia (and some not so amazing ones), and unfortunately, a small case of the stomach plague. Whomp,

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Platter-of-Mini-Lemon-Tarts-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream

The past few weeks have been busy! There were late night meals in Atlanta on our way to a wedding in the Caribbean, some amazing fresh seafood dishes in St. Lucia (and some not so amazing ones), and unfortunately, a small case of the stomach plague. Whomp, whomp.

Eventually, we all got back on our feet and back to our normal routine, which now includes daycare for the little one. Not long after we started daycare, they had Teacher Appreciation Week. On Day 1, we were supposed to bring a flower picked from our yard. The teachers (because at this age, babies aren’t very helpful) put all of the flowers together into bouquets. On Day 1, I forgot a flower. Boy did I feel like a tool.

Zesting-Lemons-for-Mini-Lemon-Tarts-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream Cooking-Lemon-Curd-for-Mini-Lemon-Tarts-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream

Day 2 was “Bring Something Sweet”. Well, I hoped to make it up to them by bringing something special. Well good news. I happened to have pre-cut tart dough left over from when I made these Chocolate Tarts. I also have a lemon tree with so many lemons that whenever I pick one, I get hit in the face with two more.

Fruit punched.

Well, it sounds like lemon tart time to me.

The next step was to find the perfect lemon tart filling. I have a fallback recipe from when I worked in a pastry kitchen. However, I wanted to give some other recipes a fighting chance. I set out to find a silky smooth, slightly tart, but not overly sweet lemon tart recipe. Ultimately, I settled on one from Cooks Illustrated.

In a nutshell, the perfect balance of tart yet sweet was 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice to 1 cup of sugar along with 1/4 cup of freshly grated lemon zest. The silky smooth texture comes from a high proportion of lemon yolks, properly cooking the lemon curd over low heat with continuous stirring, and adding a healthy pad of butter at the end. What I didn’t expect was the use of heavy cream, but I found that it was a perfect addition to the lemon curd to lighten it up to a more palatable texture and well rounded flavor.

Lemon-Curd-for-Mini-Lemon-Tarts-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream Strained-Lemon-Curd-for-Mini-Lemon-Tarts-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream

I knew my tart dough was a keeper for being slightly crumbly but still capable of holding up a heavy filling like ganache. But when I peeked in the oven, I definitely didn’t expect to see a sheet tray full of lemon tarts collapsed under the heat, moisture, and weight of the lemon curd.

(You know that mom that shows up at daycare to drop her kid off? She’s well-dressed and ready for the day AND surprises everyone with a whole platter full of freshly baked pastries she made THAT morning? Well that went flying out the window.)

In the past when I made lemon tarts, I cooked the lemon curd in just the tart shell. However, the tart shells I used back then were pre-made and obviously built to survive earthquakes. So, lessons learned. Even if your tart shells are already cooked, you definitely want to cook the lemon curd in the tart shell while the tart shell is still in the tart shell mold.

In the end, I managed to salvage 4 measly lemon tarts and 1 sheepish apology. The rest got sadly scraped into a container then globs of it were portioned out onto dessert plates later that night. Once we sat down to eat it with a healthy happy helping of freshly made vanilla bean whipped cream, it didn’t seem so much of a lost cause.

Row-of-Mini-Lemon-Tarts-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream Platter-of-Mini-Lemon-Tarts-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream Mini-Lemon-Tart-with-Fresh-Whipped-Cream
(Psst! Get the tart dough (pâte sucrée) recipe on the mini Chocolate Raspberry Tart recipe page.)

 

Mini Lemon Tarts with Fresh Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
 
Author:
Serves: 15 3" mini tarts
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 7 oz sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly grated lemon zest
  • ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 T + 1 cup COLD heavy cream (keep in the refrigerator until you're ready)
  • 1 T powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 15 circles of pâte sucrée dough, cut to fit 3" tart shell molds
Steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Place tart shells on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together until combined.
  4. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.
  5. Prepare an ice bath using a bowl large enough to fit the sauce pan with room to spare.
  6. Using a spatula, cook the lemon curd over medium low heat while constantly slowly stirring until it reaches a temperature of 170 degrees. At this point it should be the consistency of a thin pudding. (If you use a whisk, you'll add too much air, which will expand during the cooking process and cause the lemon tart to overflow.)
  7. Immediately transfer the sauce pan to the ice bath. Add the cold butter and 3 T of whipped cream and stir until the butter is completely mixed in and the lemon curd has stopped steaming.
  8. Press the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer to strain out the lemon zest. (You may think you'd like the texture, but you won't. Trust me!)
  9. Transfer to a piping bag with a (roughly) dime sized opening and pipe the lemon curd into the tart shells until almost level to the top. (The lemon curd will only rise a little bit.)
  10. Bake the tarts until the middle of the tart shell jiggles slightly like jello instead of like a liquid, about 12 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and set the sheet pan on a wire rack away from the stove to cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator. Cover the lemon tarts with plastic wrap if you're storing for more than a few hours.
  12. To make the whipped cream, whip 1 cup of cold whipped cream on medium high speed to stiff peak. (Once the whipped cream has roughly doubled in size and is light and fluffy, you can start checking the peak. Remove the whisk attachment from your mixer, dip it in the whipped cream, then hold the whisk upright. If the whipped cream peak softly folds over, you've reached soft peak. If the whipped cream peak stays up right, you've reached stiff peak. It should be smooth and you shouldn't be able to see any air pockets. If it's rough and jagged, you've whipped it too much. Add ~1/4 cup more heavy cream and slowly mix until it's evenly mixed and it reaches stiff peak again.)
  13. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla then slowly mix until combined. Whisk on medium speed until the powdered sugar and vanilla are evenly mixed and no lumps remain.
  14. Remove the lemon tarts from the tart mold and serve with a generous portion of whipped whipped cream.
Notes
The piped whipped cream will hold up on these mini tarts for several hours or more, especially if you store the tarts in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

BBD Recommends

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Dried Cherry and Apricot Mostarda http://bringbackdelicious.com/appetizer/dried-cherry-and-apricot-mostarda/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/appetizer/dried-cherry-and-apricot-mostarda/#respond Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:41:54 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=1923 Mostarda is one of two secret ingredients in Tortelli di Zucca. (Do you know what the other is?) You don’t have to make tortellinis by hand to appreciate it though. In fact, this is a great recipe to make for your next

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Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Mostarda is one of two secret ingredients in Tortelli di Zucca. (Do you know what the other is?) You don’t have to make tortellinis by hand to appreciate it though. In fact, this is a great recipe to make for your next pot luck party because it’s easy to make, it looks like you put in a lot of effort but you didn’t, and it’s a refreshing change from yet another person bag of pita chips and hummus. All you need is some dry peppered salami and a hard sharp cheese such as Fontina, Asiago, or even Parmigiano Reggiano to go along with it.

This recipe is very different from the mostarda I found in Italian markets and on Amazon, but that’s ok. Those were almost like a clear jelly with large chunks or even whole pieces of fruit. I wanted it to have a lot of flavor and I was skeptical that a jelly could deliver that much punch. I also wanted it to be versatile so I could use as a spread that looked appetizing and as an ingredient in Tortelli di Zucca.

Jar of Mostarda

So instead of buying a $10-11 jar of mostarda, I set out to make my own. Primarily as an excuse to “have” to go buy a baguette, salami, and cheese to go with it. I mean, with so much left over, it would be a shame not to, right?

Cherry-and-Apricot-Mostarda Cherry-and-Apricot-Mostarda

I started with this recipe from Food and Wine and tweaked it to make it slightly spreadable but still nicely textured. I wasn’t able to find dried cherries, so I ended up using a jar of sour cherry preserve, which is a Persian condiment. My grocery store actually had a large selection of sour cherry preserves (also called (Moraba Albaloo) because they also serve a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern customers. Some brands had whole cherries and others had more of a rough puree. I chose this brand because the cherries were whole, which meant it would be easier to strain them and rinse off the syrup. (Mostarda is already sweet enough.)

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

If you’re not able to find dried cherries (or even apricots), don’t worry. One thing I noticed was how many variations of mostarda there is. Some regions make it with green apples (Mostarda Cremonese) and others with big pieces of mixed fruit (Mostarda Mantovana). So if you can’t find dried cherries, you can try another variation. The world is your oyster.

Here are some suggestions for dried fruit combinations (keeping the ginger and all of the other ingredients the same).

  • apricot + orange (juice and zest), served with Brie
  • apricot + currants/raisins + lemon juice + splash of Madeira, served with goat cheese
  • apricot + apple + pine nuts + rosemary, served with Camembert or goat cheese
  • cherry + fig + orange zest + splash Cognac or Grand Marnier + Bordeaux or Merlot instead of Pinot Grigio, served with Brie, Manchego, Gorgonzola, or goat cheese

Oh man. So many choices and so little time!

I’m tempted to try the last one on the list with Manchego or Iberico. Manchego and Iberico are two of my go-to’s for wine and cheese night. They’re firm sheep cheeses with a subtle bite, so they work well with a sweet mostarda.

Spanish cheeses like Manchego and Iberico are popular so even places like Trader Joe’s have a great brand in stock.

So go crazy. Mix it up or go the same way I did. Just promise me you’ll turn it into a wine and cheese night. (You wouldn’t want it to go bad, would you?)

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Dried Cherry and Apricot Mostarda
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ pound dried apricots, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped (see Notes)
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 and ½ tsp candied ginger, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 T white wine vinegar
  • 3 T water
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 T unsalted butter
Steps
  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat the apricots, cherries, shallot, ginger, white wine, white wine vinegar, water, and sugar over high heat until it begins to boil.
  2. Cover, reduce to low heat, and cook until the mixture has absorbed all of the remaining liquid, about 20 minutes.
  3. Increase to medium heat, add the dry mustard, Dijon mustard, and unsalted butter, then simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. It should be thick, slightly jam-like, and slightly chunky, with no excess liquid at the bottom of the pan.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Notes
*If you can't find dried cherries, you may have luck finding a cherry preserve with whole cherries. Strain, rinse, and measure out a heaping quarter cup (to account for their rehydrated larger size).

Mostarda can be served cold or at room temperature. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.

We Recommend

*This was a lot cheaper at a local Mediterranean and Middle Eastern store (~$3). If you have one nearby, I recommend trying to find it there.

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Tortelli di Zucca (Butternut Squash Tortellini with Brown Butter Sage Sauce) http://bringbackdelicious.com/pasta/butternut-squash-tortellini-with-brown-butter-sage-sauce-tortellini-di-zucca-con-salvia-e-burro/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/pasta/butternut-squash-tortellini-with-brown-butter-sage-sauce-tortellini-di-zucca-con-salvia-e-burro/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 21:31:53 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=1918 After working on this recipe for about three weeks, I can safely say two things: I wish I had figured out this recipe years ago I’m glad my Italian market isn’t any closer or I’d need a treadmill desk at

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Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

After working on this recipe for about three weeks, I can safely say two things:

  • I wish I had figured out this recipe years ago
  • I’m glad my Italian market isn’t any closer or I’d need a treadmill desk at work

Years and years ago, I ordered a dish at a nice Italian restaurant called Tortellini di Zucca. It was a homemade tortellini made with fresh pasta dough and a butternut squash filling. It was served with a nutty brown butter sauce and crispy sage leaves that dissolved in your mouth. It was out of this world. It also sounded really familiar.

It turns out, we covered this dish in culinary school. Often times, you work on several recipes at once so you may not get to try all of the finished dishes every day. Ravioli or Tortellini di Zucca was one of them. What I remember most about the dish are the ingredients. There were two additions I never heard. Even after knowing what they were, I still never would have expected them to be in there: mostarda and amaretti cookies.

Amaretti cookies are small crunchy macaroons with a strong punch of almond flavor. There are small ones, medium ones, soft ones, and crunchy ones. Size doesn’t really matter since we’re throwing them in a food processor, but I’d recommend going for Amaretti Cookie Snaps by Lazzaroni.

Mostarda is like a mustard flavored fruit chutney. It’s can be made with various fruits (grapes, apples, pears, cherries) and includes mustard powder and an acidic ingredient like vinegar or orange juice. It’s sweet, tart, and salty all at the same time, and in fact it’s really versitile. You can eat it on a baguette with a slice of salami and a hard cheese such as Fontina or Gruyere, even Manchego or Iberico. You can serve it as a condiment alongside stewed or boiled dinners, baked ham, or even steak.

Great! So, where do I get this stuff? First stop: Amazon. Of course they sold it, but $11 for mostarda and $7 for a bag of cookies seemed a little steep. I wanted to do a little searching on my own, so off I went looking for Italian markets around me. Everyone loves desserts, especially Italians, so lucky for us, amaretti cookies were a little easier to find. Mostarda? Not so much.

But then I found the Italian market: the Monte Carlo Deli. On the left as you walk in, there’s huge display case of small Italian cookies and desserts, then a case of cheeses, salamis, sausages, and fresh meat. Up above, they have shelves of freshly made bread stacked up, too fresh and sold too fast to even bother to wrap. The aisle on the right is pretty much stocked with cookies, pasta, wine, and more wine. I found my mecca.

Whenever my dog gets excited, she rolls around on her back. I was very close to doing the same thing, especially after I saw they had mostarda and not just one or two types of amaretti cookies, they had a whole section of amaretti cookies.

Unfortunately after all that searching, Amazon turned out to be about the same price for mostarda ($11 online versus $10 in the store). Amaretti cookies were a lot cheaper in the store though at ~$4. You can make your own mostarda, and in fact, I did that as well. You can expect to pay the same price in ingredients in the end, but at least you get a lot more.

You can definitely go down the rabbit hole with this pasta recipe. You started making pasta and you need mostarda. You can’t find mostarda so you decide to make it yourself. One of the ingredients is candied ginger. You can’t find candied ginger so you decide to make it yourself. See where I’m going with this?  If you have the time and patience to travel down the rabbit hole with me, I definitely recommend making mostarda yourself. Especially if you also happen to also buy a baguette, salami, and cheese at the Italian market. It just so happens they all go together.

By the way, is it even possible to leave an Italian market, or for that matter, even Trader Joes, without bread, salami, and cheese?

So you have the option to Amazon Prime everything to your house, or you can set out to find your Italian market mecca, bring home a boatload of treats, and make a little picnic on your patio.

Or both.

 

Tortelli di Zucca (Butternut Squash Tortellini with Brown Butter Sage Sauce)

Tortellini di Zucca con salvia e burro

Ingredients

  • 1 lb butternut squash, cooked (requires ~1 and 1/2 lbs whole uncooked squash)
  • 3.5 oz mostarda (Amazon, Italian market, or try this Saveur recipe)
  • 1.7 oz amaretti cookies (soft cookies if you are making this in a HUGE rush, otherwise, hard cookie snaps are fine)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, lightly packed, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • ~20 large sage leaves, fresh
  • 5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz semolina flour (I get mine at Trader Joes)
  • 4 egg yolks from large eggs
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt

This recipe makes a lot more filling than you will need, but I recommend making this much and freezing the rest because the filling is the most time consuming to make.

The Filling

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash in half then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Cut into ~2″ cubes and place skin-side down on a sheet tray. (I was using small squash so I cut them lengthwise into quarters, then halved them. I cut the narrow half into 3-4 cubes in a row, then the bottom half twice into four cubes.) This way, all of the cubes were consistent sizes.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Spray a baking sheet with pan spray. Bake SKIN-SIDE DOWN for ~55 minutes or until fully cooked and tender. If you don’t put them skin-side down, they WILL stick. You’ve been warned.

(Meanwhile, you can skip to the pasta dough steps below and start on that.)

Once the butternut squash is done cooking, use a pairing knife to peel off the skin.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Use a food processor to blend the butternut squash, mostarda, amaretti cookies, and 1/2 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano until smooth. (Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to do this in multiple batches.)

Now’s your chance to sample the filling. You should be able to taste a hint of mostarda and the bitter almond flavor from the amaretti cookies. The pasta dough and brown butter won’t hide much, so if it tastes too strong in any flavor, add more of the other ingredients to correct it.

If you’re making this recipe in a HUGE rush, you want to use soft amaretti cookies. Otherwise, the cookies won’t have time to absorb moisture and the filling will be gritty. However, if you’re making this in the order described, hard amaretti cookies (i.e. cookie snaps) will be fine.

Lazzaroni Amaretti Cookie Snaps For Butternut Squash Ravioli With Brown Butter Sage Sauce Tortellini Di Zucca

Press the mixture through a fine strainer to remove small chunks and pulp. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface to keep it from drying out, then refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the tortellinis.

The Pasta

Whisk together the all purpose flour, semolina flour, and Kosher salt, then pour it out into a mound on a large, clean work surface. Make a large well in the center of the flour mound big enough to fit all of the egg yolks. Whisk together the egg yolks then pour it into the center of the mound.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Use a fork to whisk together the egg yolks, slowly drawing in extra flour until it reaches a smooth, toothpaste-like consistency.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Using a plastic flexible bench scraper, slowly draw in flour, press the flour into the dough, fold, rotate, then repeat until the dough is workable by hand.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Continue kneading the dough and drawing in flour until the dough is firm and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.

You may have a small amount of flour left over or you may need to add more depending on how humid your kitchen is. This recipe had a small amount of flour left over in a low humidity climate.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

30 minutes is enough time for the gluten to relax and the semolina flour to hydrate. If you go longer than 1 day, the dough will discolor and get brown.

Cut the dough into quarters, remove one quarter, and rewrap the remaining to keep it from drying out. Cover your work surface with a very light dusting of all purpose flour. Gently pat the quarter piece of dough into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to roughly 1/4″ thick.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Fold the dough twice like a letter, dusting off all excess flour as you go.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Rotate the dough 90 degrees.

If you’re using a rolling pin, roll it out until ~1/8″ thick, then skip to the next step. If you’re using a pasta roller, roll it out until it’s thin enough to fit through the largest setting (i.e. the 1 setting) on your pasta roller.

The purpose of these first steps are to square out the ends of the dough. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a long narrow strip of pasta dough by the time you’ve rolled it all out.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Roll it through this setting once. Keep the dough straight so you can keep a wide rectangular shape.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Change the pasta roller to the next smallest setting, and pass the dough through again. If the dough gets sticky, lay the dough out and dust lightly with flour. Repeat until the dough is ~1/8″ thick. On my pasta roller, this was the 7 setting, with 1 being the thickest and 9 the thinnest.

I found I had to stop and dust halfway or the dough started sticking to the pasta roller.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaAt this point, you want to stop, cut out, and test a couple of tortellinis. If the dough is chewy after cooking for 6 minutes, then it’s too thick. If the dough is soft but the filling tastes watery, then the dough is too thin and water seeped in. If it’s too thin, fold up the dough and re-roll it.

Cut the sheet of dough in half and lay it on a lightly floured surface. Dust the other half with flour, fold, and cover with plastic wrap. (I found that if I tried to work with the whole sheet at once, the pasta dough stuck to the counter top by the time I got to shaping the tortellinis on the end of the pasta sheet.)

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Get a small bowl of water and set nearby. Use a circle cutter with a 3″ diameter to cut out circles, leaving minimal to no space between cuts. Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Scoop some of the butternut squash mixture into a piping bag and pipe a nickel-sized mound in the middle of each circle.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Working on only a few at a time, dip your finger into the bowl of water and run your finger half-way around the edge of the circle. (If you wet the whole edge, it will be too sticky to work with.)

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

On the counter top, fold the circle in half and gently press out any air, working from the center out. If you have any air pockets, the tortellini could explode. Gently pick the tortellini up then press the edges together with your fingers.

If the edges don’t stick together, dab a little water on the dough. If the dough sticks to your fingers, dust your fingers and the dough with a little flour.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Bring the two ends together and press together to seal. Set the tortellini aside on a plate or parchment paper-lined sheet pan.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Repeat for the remaining pasta dough. If you’re ready to cook the tortellini now, continue to the next step. Otherwise, place the plate or sheet pan into the freezer until frozen, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 weeks.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

The Dish

Heat a large pot of boiling water. Season the boiling water with 1 T of table salt or 1 T plus 1 tsp Kosher salt per gallon of water. Cook the tortellini in the salted boiling water for 6 minutes if they’re room temperature or refrigerated, or 7 minutes if they were frozen. Stir them occasionally so they cook evenly and they don’t stick together.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca
Meanwhile, put large flat dinner plates on a rack in the oven and heat the oven to the lowest setting, usually around 170 – 200 F.

While you’re waiting for the tortellini to cook, heat the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan until it’s melted, but not browned. Add the sage leaves and continue to cook until the butter is golden brown and smells nutty.Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the sage leaves with a slotted spoon or tongs and place them on a paper towel to dry. Pour the butter out into a separate container and cover to keep it hot. (If you keep the butter in the saute pan, it will overcook and burn.) Keep the saute pan on the stove with the heat off.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca-Finished
After 6 minutes of cooking, the tortellini should be done. Remove one tortellini, run it under cool water, then check the texture of the pasta. They should have some texture (al dente) but they shouldn’t be chewy.

Use a spider, small strainer, or slotted spoon to scoop out the remaining tortellinis. Shake off the excess water then add them to the saute pan. Add the browned butter and heat on high heat while continuously tossing the tortellini until they’re evenly coated and the butter is hot.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca-Finished
Remove the dinner plates from the oven and sprinkle freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano directly on the plate. Portion out the tortellini and browned butter on top of the Parmigiano Reggiano. Add a few fried sage leaves and additional Parmigiano Reggiano to taste.

Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-ZuccaButternut-Squash-Ravioli-with-Brown-Butter-Sage-Sauce-Tortellini-di-Zucca

 

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter Sage Sauce (Tortellini di Zucca con salvia e burro)
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb butternut squash, cooked (requires ~1 and ½ lbs whole uncooked squash)
  • 3.5 oz mostarda (Amazon, Italian market, or DIY Saveur recipe, link above)
  • 2.7 oz amaretti cookies (soft if you are making this in a huge rush, otherwise, hard is fine)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, lightly packed, plus more for garnish
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • ~20 large sage leaves, fresh
  • 5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz semolina flour (I get mine from Trader Joes)
  • 4 egg yolks from large eggs
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
Steps
  1. THE FILLING - Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash in half then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  2. Cut into ~2" cubes and place skin-side down on a sheet tray. (I was using small squash so I cut them lengthwise into quarters, then halved them. I cut the narrow half into 3-4 cubes in a row, then the bottom half twice into four cubes.) This way, all of the cubes were consistent sizes.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with pan spray. Bake SKIN-SIDE DOWN for ~55 minutes or until fully cooked and tender. If you don't put them skin-side down, they WILL stick. You've been warned.
  4. (Meanwhile, you can skip to the pasta dough steps below and start on that.)
  5. Once the butternut squash is done cooking, use a pairing knife to peel off the skin.
  6. Use a food processor to blend the butternut squash, mostarda, amaretti cookies, and ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano until smooth. (Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to do this in multiple batches.)
  7. Now's your chance to sample the filling. You should be able to taste a hint of mostarda and the bitter almond flavor from the amaretti cookies. The pasta dough and brown butter won't hide much, so if it tastes too strong in any flavor, add more of the other ingredients to correct it.
  8. Press the mixture through a fine strainer to remove small chunks and pulp. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface to keep it from drying out, then refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the tortellinis.
  9. THE PASTA - Whisk together the all purpose flour, semolina flour, and Kosher salt, then pour it out into a mound on a large, clean work surface. Make a large well in the center of the flour mound big enough to fit all of the egg yolks. Whisk together the egg yolks then pour it into the center of the mound.
  10. Use a fork to whisk together the egg yolks, slowly drawing in extra flour until it reaches a smooth, toothpaste-like consistency.
  11. Using a plastic flexible bench scraper, slowly draw in flour, press the flour into the dough, fold, rotate, then repeat until the dough is workable by hand.
  12. Continue kneading the dough and drawing in flour until the dough is firm and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. You may have a small amount of flour left over or you may need to add more depending on how humid your kitchen is. This recipe had a small amount of flour left over in a low humidity climate
  13. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. 30 minutes is enough time for the gluten to relax and the semolina flour to hydrate. If you go longer than 1 day, the dough will discolor and get brown.
  14. Cut the dough into quarters, remove one quarter, and rewrap the remaining to keep it from drying out. Cover your work surface with a very light dusting of all purpose flour. Gently pat the quarter piece of dough into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to roughly ¼" thick.
  15. Fold the dough twice like a letter, dusting off all excess flour as you go.
  16. Rotate the dough 90 degrees.
  17. Roll it out until it's thin enough to fit through the largest setting (i.e. the 1 setting) on a pasta roller. (The purpose of these first steps are to square out the ends of the dough. Otherwise, you'll end up with a long narrow strip of pasta dough by the time you've rolled it all out.)
  18. Roll it through this setting once. Keep the dough straight so you can keep a wide rectangular shape.
  19. Change the pasta roller to the next smallest setting, and pass the dough through again. If the dough gets sticky, lay the dough out and dust lightly with flour. Repeat until the dough is ~1/8" thick. On my pasta roller, this was the 7 setting, with 1 being the thickest and 9 the thinnest. (I found I had to stop and dust halfway or the dough started sticking to the pasta roller.)
  20. At this point, you want to cut out and test cook a couple of tortellinis. If the dough is chewy after cooking for 6 minutes, then it's too thick. If the dough is soft but the filling tastes watery, then the dough is too thin and water seeped in. If it's too thin, fold up the dough and re-roll it.
  21. Cut the sheet of dough in half and lay it on a lightly floured surface. Dust the other half with flour, fold, and cover with plastic wrap. (I found that if I tried to work with the whole sheet at once, the pasta dough stuck to the counter top by the time I got to shaping the tortellinis on the end of the pasta sheet.)
  22. Get a small bowl of water and set nearby. Use a circle cutter with a 3" diameter to cut out circles, leaving minimal to no space between cuts.
  23. Scoop some of the butternut squash mixture into a piping bag and pipe a nickel-sized mound in the middle of each circle.
  24. Working on only a few at a time, dip your finger into the bowl of water and run your finger half-way around the edge of the circle. (If you wet the whole edge, it will be too sticky to work with.)
  25. On the counter top, fold the circle in half and gently press out any air, working from the center out. If you have any air pockets, the tortellini could explode. Gently pick the tortellini up then press the edges together with your fingers. If the edges don't stick together, dab a little water on the dough. If the dough sticks to your fingers, dust your fingers and the dough with a little flour.
  26. Bring the two ends together and press together to seal. Set the tortellini aside on a plate or parchment paper-lined sheet pan.
  27. Repeat for the remaining pasta dough. If you're ready to cook the tortellini now, continue to the next step. Otherwise, place the plate or sheet pan into the freezer until frozen, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 weeks.
  28. Heat a large pot of boiling water. Season the boiling water with 1 T of table salt or 1 T plus 1 tsp Kosher salt per gallon of water. Cook the tortellini in the salted boiling water for 6 minutes if they're room temperature or refrigerated, or 7 minutes if they were frozen. Stir them occasionally so they cook evenly and they don't stick together.
  29. Meanwhile, put large flat dinner plates on a rack in the oven and heat the oven to the lowest setting, usually around 170 - 200 F.
  30. While you're waiting for the tortellini to cook, heat the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan until it's melted, but not browned. Add the sage leaves and continue to cook until the butter is golden brown and smells nutty.
  31. Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the sage leaves with a slotted spoon or tongs and place them on a paper towel to dry. Pour the butter out into a separate container and cover to keep it hot. (If you keep the butter in the saute pan, it will overcook and burn.) Keep the saute pan on the stove with the heat off.
  32. After 6 minutes of cooking, the tortellini should be done. Remove one tortellini, run it under cool water, then check the texture of the pasta. They should have some texture (al dente) but they shouldn't be chewy.
  33. Use a spider, small strainer, or slotted spoon to scoop out the remaining tortellinis. Shake off the excess water then add them to the saute pan. Add the browned butter and heat on high heat while continuously tossing the tortellini until they're evenly coated and the butter is hot.
  34. Remove the dinner plates from the oven and sprinkle freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano directly on the plate. Portion out the tortellini and browned butter on top of the Parmigiano Reggiano. Add a few fried sage leaves and additional Parmigiano Reggiano to taste.
Notes
If you're making this recipe in a HUGE rush, you want to use soft amaretti cookies. Otherwise, the cookies won't have time to absorb moisture and the filling will be gritty. However, if you're making this in the order described, hard amaretti cookies (i.e. cookie snaps) will be fine.

 We Recommend

The post Tortelli di Zucca (Butternut Squash Tortellini with Brown Butter Sage Sauce) appeared first on Bring Back Delicious.

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Double Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Swiss Buttercream http://bringbackdelicious.com/desserts/double-vanilla-bean-cupcakes-with-swiss-buttercream/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/desserts/double-vanilla-bean-cupcakes-with-swiss-buttercream/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:34:27 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=1770 Two weeks ago, my friend had her bridal shower. (D’aww, she’s all grown up!) It turns out one of her favorite flavors of cupcakes is vanilla. So, I saw this as a great opportunity to help make her bridal shower special. I

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Platter Of Vanilla Cupcakes With Gold Gum Paste Flowers Vanilla Swiss ButtercreamVanilla Cupcakes With Vanilla Beans On Platter

Two weeks ago, my friend had her bridal shower. (D’aww, she’s all grown up!) It turns out one of her favorite flavors of cupcakes is vanilla. So, I saw this as a great opportunity to help make her bridal shower special. I also saw it as an opportunity to buy a questionable number of whole vanilla beans on Amazon and make Pinterest-worthy cupcakes.

Isn’t that the goal in life, to have Pinterest-worth desserts? To make these vanilla bean cupcakes really special, I obviously have to make gum paste flowers too. So, I’ll just order vanilla beans, get some gum paste from Michael’s, and I’ll be done in a few days tops.

Hah!

Let’s start with the cupcake debacle.

Vanilla Cupcakes Dry Ingredients And Vanilla Bean Vanilla Cupcakes Batter Whipped Eggs Vanilla Cupcakes Batter Whipped Eggs Oil And Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes Batter Vanilla Cupcakes Batter In Muffin Liners

I wanted a soft and moist vanilla bean cupcake. Now, I saw scary things in the comments of many popular recipes about how the cupcakes were too soft and crumbly to hold up buttercream. What is this, a piece of architecture? Buttercream isn’t exactly heavy people, but nevertheless, I don’t want them falling apart.

I also noticed a lot of comments about how dry they were. We definitely want MOIST cupcakes, so how do we do that? Fat. Lots of fat. If you want a low calorie moist cupcake, don’t eat it. You get fat by using whole eggs or egg yolks and by adding vegetable or canola oil. If you see a recipe with just egg whites, run away. Run far away.

I started with a recipe found in the depths of the internet that used egg yolks. One person suggested it would be great as a cupcake, but really it was intended as an all purpose light yellow cake. And it was just that, an all purpose light yellow cake. (In unrelated news, I found this great all purpose light yellow cake recipe if you ever want one!) I paired it with an easy vanilla American buttercream to see how well the combination worked. Meh. It was passable.

So, I did what I always do with imperfect but edible leftovers, I brought it to work and let my coworkers fight over them. (Seriously, they’re like starving college students.)

Vanilla Cupcakes Swiss Buttercream Eggs Separated Vanilla Cupcakes Swiss Buttercream Whipped Whites Soft Peak Vanilla Cupcakes Swiss Buttercream Whipped Whites Soft Peak On Whisk Vanilla Cupcakes Whipping Meringue Stiff Peak Vanilla Cupcakes Vanilla Swiss Buttercream Stiff Peak Vanilla Cupcakes Whipping Vanilla Swiss Buttercream Stiff Peak

American Buttercream has butter and powdered sugar. It pretty much tasted like it sounds. It certainly wasn’t anything special and it was too sweet. I looked onward and forward to a Swiss Buttercream. Well, it sounds better at least, but is it?

Round two: a vanilla bean cupcake recipe with whole eggs (moisture!) and canola oil (moisture!), paired with a lighter Swiss Buttercream that isn’t overpoweringly sweet.

This recipe also has cake flour instead of all purpose flour. Cake flour has less gluten so the cupcake will be light and crumbly instead of chewy like bread. It’s also packed with leaveners. Baking powder and baking soda are chemical leaveners and water evaporation in the whole eggs acts as a natural leavener. This means they will double in size and have an airy texture. Sounds like a winning combination, right?

Right. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Onto the Swiss Buttercream. It may seem a bit intimidating, but I invite you to get out of your comfort zone because it’s truly worth the little extra effort. People described it as light and airy, which means it won’t overpower the effervescent vanilla bean flavor. American buttercream would really be too sweet here. This recipe makes enough to give each cupcake a hefty portion of beautifully piped frosting on each cupcake with some left over to lick a little bit off the spoon. And a little off of the KitchenAid paddle. And a little out of the mixing bowl. Don’t judge. I work out so I can eat cake, goddammit.

Vanilla Cupcakes Rolling Out Gum Paste Vanilla Cupcakes Tools For Cutting Gum Paste Flowers Vanilla Cupcakes Shaping Gum Paste Flowers Vanilla Cupcakes Gum Paste Flowers Indent Flowers Vanilla Cupcakes Tools For Shaped Gum Paste Flowers Vanilla Cupcakes Gold Dust On Gum Paste Flowers

Vanilla Cupcakes With Gold Gum Paste Flowers With Vanilla Swiss Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes With Gold Gum Paste Flowers Vanilla Swiss Buttercream Bite Of Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Vanilla Swiss Buttercream

Double Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Swiss Buttercream
 
Serves: 16 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
  • 1¼ cups cake flour
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp table salt (dissolves better)
  • 1 and ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 large egg whites, fresh and cold
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, cut into one inch cubes, room temperature (important!)
  • ½ tsp white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 vanilla beans, scraped
Steps
  1. Cut the unsalted butter into cubes. Set aside to warm it to room temperature. (Do not microwave!)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin wrappers then spray the inside with pan spray.
  3. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Sifting reduces clumps and makes a finer crumb texture.
  4. Combine the whole milk and white vinegar. Set it aside and let it curdle into buttermilk.
  5. Using the whisk attachment, mix 2 whole eggs on medium speed for 1 minute.
  6. Add ¾ cup granulated sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula to make sure it’s evenly mixed.
  7. Add 1 scraped vanilla bean and canola oil and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl again.
  8. Add roughly half of the dry ingredients and use a spatula or bench scraper to gently fold it in. Once the dry ingredients are mostly mixed in, add roughly half of the milk. Repeat for the remaining dry ingredients then the remaining milk.
  9. If you use a KitchenAid to mix it, you risk overworking the dough and creating a tough cupcake. Don’t worry, folding it by hand is quick and easy!
  10. Pour or pipe the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling them halfway. If you fill them more, they will overflow. I recommend portioning out the cupcakes using a large pastry bag. Use your left hand to close the bag tip in between muffin tins to prevent drips.
  11. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 F or until the middle is set. The tops will still be bubbling, but don't worry, after 12 minutes they’ll be set but still moist which is what we want. They'll continue cooking even after you take it out of the oven. After 12 minutes, take them out and let them cool until they reach room temperature.
  12. While the cupcakes are cooking, start the Swiss Buttercream by whipping 5 cold egg whites on LOW speed.
  13. Meanwhile, sprinkle ¾ cup sugar evenly over ¼ cup (hot) water in a small saucepan. By evenly distributing the sugar, you'll reduce the risk of clumps. Adding the water first helps start dissolving the sugar instead of having the sugar stick to the bottom.
  14. Heat the sugar over medium heat and monitor the temperature with a digital thermometer. When it starts to get close to 200 F, add ¼ cup sugar. Bring the mixer up to high and whip the egg whites until it reaches soft peak. (If you remove the whisk and hold it up, the egg whites will form a peak that slumps over.)
  15. Once the egg whites are at a soft peak, stop the mixer to prevent it from overmixing. Bring the sugar to 240 F, then start the mixer again on LOW speed. Drizzle the sugar down the sides of the mixing bowl into the egg whites, then bring the mixer back up to medium high speed and whisk until the bottom of the mixing bowl is room temperature.
  16. Reduce to low speed and add ROOM TEMPERATURE softened butter one piece at a time, waiting at least 5 seconds in between pieces. You want to give the mixer time to work the butter in or you'll risk curdling it.
  17. Bring the mixer to medium speed and continue to whisk for 15 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. the buttercream should hold a stiff peak and be smooth and glossy at this point. This may take less or more time depending on your mixer and your kitchen temperature.
  18. Switch the whisk to a paddle attachment and beat the buttercream for a few more minutes at medium speed. This removes the air that we introduced while we were emulsifying the butter, which results in a more stable, pipeable buttercream.
  19. Add the remaining scraped vanilla bean and mix for another 15 seconds.
  20. Pipe the Swiss Buttercream onto the cupcakes and serve same-day. (I used a Size 808 round pastry tip.)
  21. Store the cupcakes at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap. Store the buttercream at room temperature in a pastry bag with the air removed. The cupcakes are really moist if you serve them the same day. We noticed a significant difference even after 1 day. You've been warned! The buttercream can be stored at room temperature for a week. Paddle for a few minutes to smooth it out before use.
Notes
If the buttercream curdles (looks like cottage cheese) at any point, don't worry! Wet a kitchen towel with steaming hot tap water, ring it out, and hold it under the bottom of the mixing bowl while it's mixing. This warms the butter up which makes it easier to incorporate into the buttercream. You don't want to do this when it's not mixing because you could melt the butter, which would cause the buttercream to break.

If your buttercream looks oily and doesn't stick to the sides of the mixing bowl, the buttercream may be too warm. Continue mixing for a few more minutes to let it cool down. If your kitchen is really warm, hold a kitchen towel that was soaked in iced water under the mixing bowl while it's still mixing to cool it back down.

We Recommend

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Irish Soda Bread http://bringbackdelicious.com/breakfast/irish-soda-bread/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/breakfast/irish-soda-bread/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:10:31 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=1704 My search for an Irish Soda Bread recipe worth sharing started over a week ago. When I picture Irish Soda Bread, my mouth starts to go dry and I frantically start looking for a glass of milk to chug. You see,

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Irish Soda Bread Loaf

My search for an Irish Soda Bread recipe worth sharing started over a week ago. When I picture Irish Soda Bread, my mouth starts to go dry and I frantically start looking for a glass of milk to chug. You see, when I think of Irish Soda Bread, I think of a dry but nicely crumbly bread that I can only advise eating if you slather it with butter and fry it until it until it turns golden brown. Otherwise, you’ll be looking for a glass of milk too.

Last week, that changed when I tried a sample of so called Irish Soda Bread at Fresh & Easy. I grabbed a drive by sample as I blew through the produce section on my way to pick up something in another aisle. It was soft, slightly chewy, and slightly sweet. It had a nice golden sweet crust sprinkled with coarse decorative sugar. It was GOOD.

Irish Soda Bread Wet Ingredients Irish Soda Bread Raw Sugar And Carraway Irish Soda Bread Dry Ingredients

I took a detour on my way out and went through the produce section again to get another sample. (Don’t judge!) This was Irish Soda Bread?! No way. Of all places to find something like this, it’s at a local grab and go mini grocery store? I guess I was the one judging here!

So I grabbed a loaf and took it home to “just have a little”.

By the next morning, it was gone. Carb loading much? I ate enough carbs to run a marathon. So what did I do? I went to work, sat on my butt all day, and looked for a way to one-up Fresh & Easy.

I started with the traditional Irish Soda Bread recipes that only called for a few ingredients. Traditionally, this is how they were made. Well, they were also eaten as a way to sop up your soup, so that’s not a good sign if I want moist.

I did learn something valuable here though. Though they did use buttermilk, it’s not like OUR buttermilk. The buttermilk sold in the US is a lower fat content than what is available elsewhere. Instead of using buttermilk, I substituted whole milk and “made” buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar. You could also use other acids like lemon juice, but I didn’t want to add that flavor. Believe it or not, but you’ll never know there’s vinegar in here after you cook it.

I also substituted 3/4 c of the total amount of milk with plain yogurt. This thickened the milk to a buttermilk consistency and gave it an extra tang to finally reach buttermilk status.

Irish Soda Bread Dough In Mixing Bowl Irish Soda Bread Dough Irish Soda Bread Dough With Raw Sugar

I used carraway seeds to give it that unique soda bread flavor, but (ah! don’t shoot!) I didn’t add currants or raisins. The traditional recipes don’t use them because they’re sweet, so I gave that approach a try. I think the recipe was sweet enough without adding dried fruit, but if you want to add some, I’d suggest using currants.

Currants are a lot smaller than raisins so they would work well with the crumbly nature of this soda bread. Regular plump raisins are too big though. I’d suggest taking the extra minute to chop the raisins down to roughly a quarter of their original size, then toss them in the dry ingredients to separate the pieces.

The coarse sugar on top was an absolute must. It gave it a nice, thick discernible crust that couldn’t be attained with regular granulated sugar.

The best way to eat it was actually what I snapped a picture of. A couple little slices of good quality SALTED butter like Plugra. Eaten while standing at the kitchen counter. (Hey we said no judging!)

Take that, Fresh & Easy.

Irish Soda Bread Loaf Irish Soda Bread Slices With Butter Irish Soda Bread With Coffee

Irish Soda Bread
 
Author:
Serves: 1 large loaf
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 T caraway seeds
  • 1 cup currants (or raisins)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 oz unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 T whole milk
  • 1 T raw sugar
Steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf or cake pan with pan spray. (This loaf will spread, so don't use a large pan or you'll get a thin loaf.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, caraway seeds, and (optional) currants.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the whole milk and vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes then add the yogurt and egg.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a bench scraper to lightly fold the ingredients together just until it's mixed. This is a wet dough so it will be very sticky and relaxed. We don't want to add any more gluten than we have to, so stop folding as soon as everything is mixed together.
  6. Add the melted butter and fold the dough until you no longer see streaks of oily areas.
  7. Gently scrape the dough into the prepared pan. Brush the top with 1 T of milk then sprinkle generously with raw sugar.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester comes out with only a trace amount of moist crumb.
  9. Remove and let cool until room temperature, then turn out from the pan. Use a serrated knife to cut slices or wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. It's best eaten the day of, so go crazy!

Irish Soda Bread Slices With Butter

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Carrot Ginger Soup with Mexican Crema and Seared Scallops http://bringbackdelicious.com/soups-and-stews/carrot-ginger-soup-with-mexican-crema-and-seared-scallops/ http://bringbackdelicious.com/soups-and-stews/carrot-ginger-soup-with-mexican-crema-and-seared-scallops/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:46:27 +0000 http://bringbackdelicious.com/?p=1391 Every Wednesday, we get “the flyers”. It’s a stack of 8-10 grocery store weekly ads showing what’s on sale for the coming week. To be honest, up until recently, I couldn’t be bothered. I’m not really a planner. I’m prefer

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Bowl Of Carrot Ginger Soup With Mexican Crema And Seared Sea Scallops With White Wine

Every Wednesday, we get “the flyers”. It’s a stack of 8-10 grocery store weekly ads showing what’s on sale for the coming week. To be honest, up until recently, I couldn’t be bothered.

I’m not really a planner. I’m prefer to stay in my comfort zone and eat pretty much the same thing every week plus one or two meals where I go all out. The thought of creating a meal plan consisting of 7 days of different lunches and dinners gives me hives. As such, the thought of trying to mix up our consistently healthy menu for the sake of saving a couple dollars by buying the deli meat that’s on sale wasn’t appealing.

Pounded Lemongrass For Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 4 Orange Peel For Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 3 Peeled Fresh Ginger For Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 5

I’d rather have the same thing for lunch every day, a couple different things to throw in salads for dinners, rinse, and repeat the whole week. I prefer it because it means I have the extra time, money, and patience to make something truly exceptional a couple times a week.

I’d be lying if I didn’t look at free food at work and make decisions on whether I eat it based on how long I’d need to run or bike to burn it off. Unless its cheesy sweet bread or potato balls from Portos, it’s not worth it. (And yes, I have looked up calorie estimates. No, you definitely don’t want to know.)

So when I do make something different, I want it to be well worth it. It’s the same reason why I don’t just post a regular ol’ recipe just for the sake of it. Besides, I want it to be worth it for you too!

Cooking Aromatics For Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 6 Simmering Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 8 Straining Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 9 Cooking Ingredients For Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 7

This brings me to the fact that good ingredients are flipping expensive! I’m no longer frolicking around a commercial kitchen stocked with huge boxes of high quality chocolate, quarts of vanilla bean paste, fruit purees in any flavor you can imagine, and big bags of matcha (because, why not?).

I recently bought a jar of vanilla beans. Two vanilla beans. Come on! I feel like I’m on an elementary school allowance. And I doubt it’ll get better if I do my chores like I’m supposed to.

Begrudgingly, I started looking through these flyers in the hopes of reducing the cost of these splurge meals. Paired with my dog-eared Flavor Bible, I started going through them to see what meals I could come up with. I picked the best flavor combinations I could find based on how easily and cheap I could get the other ingredients that would go along with it.

Tea smoked duck? I could do a banging good job. I’d love to show you. But unfortunately, I’m going to have to wait until this website makes the big bucks. Until then, it’s me and my flyers.

Maybe you’re in the same boat too?

Scallop Muscle Close Up For Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 10 Seasoned Sea Scallops For Carrot Ginger Soup With Seared Sea Scallops 12

This week, carrots were on sale for 25 cents a pound. Unreal. They were practically giving them away! Carrots led me to consider the idea of pairing ginger, cilantro, and lemongrass together. All these ingredients go really well with seafood such as scallops or white fish.

Immediately, I thought of carrot ginger soup, but smoothed out a bit with some Mexican crema. You can find this in the dairy section or in the deli if you live in an area with a big Hispanic population. Mexican crema gives it a smoother consistency and tones down the bite from the ginger. If you can’t find it, use heavy cream.

Now I’ll admit this dish didn’t go perfectly according to plan. Lemongrass was absent from my regular go to cheap grocery store. However, I was able to find it lemongrass sticks for about $3 at Whole Foods in the packaged herb section. Yeah yeah, give me a hard time buying an ingredient that wasn’t on sale.

Or herbs in plastic containers. (That’s probably worse.)

Psst! We’re trying out a new look. What do you prefer? Printable recipe sections or spaced out instructions with pictures for each step? 

Carrot Ginger Soup with Mexican Crema and Seared Scallops
 
Author:
Serves: 4 meal-sized servings
Ingredients
  • ~1 and ½ T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (psst! Have you heard of our onion cutting trick?)
  • 1.5 oz fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 dried Ancho chilies, broken into pieces
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 lbs carrots, trimmed and sliced into ¼" rounds
  • 2 8" lemongrass stalks, bashed
  • 2 strips orange zest (~1" by 2-3")
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup Mexican crema
  • 1 and ½ lbs fresh sea scallops
Steps
  1. In a large saute pan, cook the onion and ginger over medium low heat for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the chilies and curry powder and mix in well.
  4. Add the carrots, lemongrass stalks, and orange zest. Reduce to low heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. While the carrots are cooking, shake the can of coconut milk to mix it, then pour it into a large sauce pot that's big enough to hold all ingredients combined. Add the chicken stock and heat over low heat until hot.
  6. After the carrots have cooked for 10 minutes, move everything in the saute pan to the sauce pot. Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. You should be able to easily pierce the carrots with a fork after 15 minutes of cooking. If not, continue to cook them until they are.
  8. Remove the lemongrass and orange zest. Blend the mixture until super smooth. This could take a couple minutes. Your patience will be rewarded with silky, smooth soup. 🙂
  9. Add the Mexican crema and continue to blend for another 15 seconds.
  10. Pass the soup through a fine mesh strainer into another large sauce pot to remove any fine chili pepper pieces and ginger fibers (not good eats). You may have to press the soup through the strainer with a bench scraper or spatula. This process took me a couple minutes. Discard any remaining pulp that didn't go through the strainer.
  11. Return the soup to the stove and keep on low heat while you finish the scallops.
  12. Inspect your scallops for a slightly opaque white strip on the side. This is a muscle that's used to keep the scallop shell closed and it toughens when it's cooked. Remove this strip. (I found this strip on about half of my scallops.)
  13. Dry the scallops with a paper towel or cloth and season well with salt and black pepper.
  14. In a large saute pan, heat 1 T vegetable oil over high heat until the oil is smoking. In batches, cook the scallops spaced well apart for 90 seconds. Flip and cook for another 90 seconds. Remove them and set them aside. (Don't crowd the pan or they won't sear as well, which means they'll get stuck to the pan, won't brown, and may even get overcooked in your attempt to brown them.)
  15. Serve the soup hot with a drizzle of Mexican crema, cilantro pluche (little leaves or top), and a mound of seared scallops in the middle.
Notes
Bonus points if you can find cilantro microgreens at your local market. That would really elevate this dish to another level! Unfortunately, the only thing I could find were micro sprouts and edible flowers...Now I'm kicking myself because they would have looked awesome! I guess it's time to grow my own.

Bowl Of Carrot Ginger Soup With Mexican Crema And Seared Sea Scallops

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