Friday, July 31, 2009

Chocolate Tuile

Tuile Batter

- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
- Dash of vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites, slightly whisked
- 1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add vanilla extract.
  3. Mix flour and cocoa powder together, then add in thirds to butter mixture.
  4. Add egg whites last.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 7-8 minutes; remove, mold around object of choice.
  6. Store at room temp. in airtight container.
I found that the tuile batter actually made an excellent cake as well; the egg whites, though only slightly whisked, gave a very fluffy and light texture. Almost like a genoise; much easier prep too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Make your own creme fraiche

Creme fraiche is like the ultra-luxurious version of sour cream, and also much more utilitarian. Unlike sour cream, it can be baked or cooked without separating, as well as whipped. However, it's also more expensive. The vermont farms? brand at Whole Foods is about $5 for a little 8 oz tub.

Here's how to make your own.

DIY Creme Fraiche

- 1 glass jar with lid
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 cup cultured sour cream (I used Daisy sour cream)

  1. Combine ingredients into glass jar. Shake until well mixed.
  2. Close the lid, and let sit out in a warm environment for 24 hours, stirring every 6-8 hours. Don't worry, the cultures in the sour cream will protect the really nasty critters from getting in; besides, the cream and sour cream are likely to be pasteurized.
  3. After 24 hours, the creme fraiche should be have thickened. Refrigerate another 24 hours to finish the thickening.
  4. Creme fraiche is ready to use! Lasts about 2 additional weeks in the refrigerator.
I found this link to be helpful (note: they use buttermilk instead).

Alternatively, you could put sour cream in a cheesecloth (or 3 wet paper towels) to drain off the excess liquid, or possibly even just Greek yogurt instead. However, the aforementioned method should give you the richest creme fraiche.

Candied Ginger and Ginger Ale

Candied Ginger

- peeled, sliced ginger
- water
- sugar

  1. Simmer ginger and ~2-4 cups water in bowl. Drain liquid, but save the ginger water for ginger ale.
  2. Add ~2 cups sugar to ginger slices, pinch of salt, and 2-4 more cups of water.
  3. Boil for half an hour, turn off heat, and let sit overnight.
  4. Dry ginger slices on a rack, while again saving ginger water for ginger ale.
  5. Toss ginger slices in sugar.
  6. Refrigerate until use.
  7. Remove and let dry for a few hours before using.
  8. After sufficiently dry, roll in granulated sugar to get a thin coating.

Ginger Ale

- ~ 4 cups ginger water from making candied ginger
- honey to taste
- 5 limes
- club soda

  1. Mix ginger water, honey, and juice from 5 limes.
  2. Before serving, combine with club soda.
  3. Serve in shot glasses with wedge of lime for garnish.
  4. Or serve as a "Presbyterian" mixed drink, with 1:1 of ginger ale:alcohol of choice (scotch/bourbon/whiskey). Although I think a truly authentic Presbyterian is blended scotch-whiskey, coke, and ginger ale.
  5. I used about 2:1 of ginger ale : Calvados apple brandy.
  6. Add in seltzer water about 1/2 an hour before serving.

1 oz. shot glasses filled with "The Presbyterian" and a lime wedge.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dorie Greenspan's Blueberry Streusel Cake

I changed the recipe slightly- less sugar, more blueberries; added the blueberries last, on top, instead of folding them into the batter. I've folded the berries directly into the batter on prior versions, but found that they always sank to the bottom.

I also ended up using a bit more flour for my streusel, because the butter started to melt in between my warm paws.

Streusel Topping

- 3/4 stick butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup AP flour (or more, as needed)

  1. Mix together streusel topping with fingers, add over blueberries.
Cake part

- 1.5 pints blueberries, washed, dried
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- (optional) lemon/orange zest
- 3/4 stick butter
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream or buttermilk or milk

  1. Cream sugar and butter together. In separate container, mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt).
  2. Add zest to sugar/butter mixture. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract.
  3. Alternating, add 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/2 yogurt/sour cream/buttermilk/milk, then 1/3 flour, then 1/2, then final 1/3.
  4. Pour into cake pan.
  5. Sprinkle blueberries over top of batter.
  6. Cover with streusel topping.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Herb and Cheddar Savory Scones

I think my savory scones turned out better than my sweet ones; they also look better in the smaller 1.5" diameter hors d'oeuvres size.

Herb & Cheddar Scones

- 1.5 cups AP Flour
- 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
- 2-3 tsp salt
- 2-3 tsp pepper
- 1/2 stick butter
- 5 oz. shredded cheddar
- 1/8 cup minced parsley
- 1/8 cup minced basil
- 1/8 cup minced chives
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk (in lieu of heavy cream)

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper.
  2. Cut butter into small pieces, mix into flour with hands into resembling a coarse meal.
  3. Next add cheddar, parsley, and basil.
  4. Add in condensed milk, about 1/3 cup, or as much as is needed for the dough to come together. Don't want the dough to be too sticky and wet.
  5. While minimizing handling of the dough, stamp out 1.5" diameter rounds. The dough should make 15 such rounds.
  6. Brush top of each scone with milk wash.
  7. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper.
  8. Top with a small apple slice or wrap with bacon for that extra savory touch.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes.
  10. Enjoy fresh, or the day after.

Scones about to go into the oven; they have just been brushed with a milk wash, and topped with an apple slice.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fake clotted cream

Clotted cream, the quintessential accompaniment for scones, can be faked with an easier process.

Fake clotted cream

- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Beat together ingredients, refrigerate before spreading on scones.

Or for a slightly more authentic touch, heat 2 cups of heavy cream in a double boiler until the volume has been reduced by half, or until it develops the consistency of butter with a golden crust. Let sit a few hours, then refrigerate overnight before use.

Blueberry Girl Bait

Actually, it's known officially as Blueberry Boy Bait, but I've chosen to modify my title due to the different sex of the chef (moi). In 1954, a 15-year-old girl won second prize in the junior division of a Pillsbury baking contest with a moist and tender blueberry cake that was named after the effect it had on teenage boys--one bite and they were hooked. The BGB (or BBB) straddles the line between a Blueberry Buckle (streusel topping) and a Blueberry Muffin. The BG/BB is especially moist and tender due to the two sticks of butter, hehe.


- 2 sticks butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups + 1 tsp flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 - 1.5 cups blueberries

B(G/B)B Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup cinnamon
- 1/2 cup blueberries

  1. Cream the butter and two sugars together.
  2. Add in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt. Add in 1/2 of the flour mixture into the butter/sugar/eggs.
  4. Add in half of the cup of milk.
  5. Add in remaining flour mixture, remaining milk.
  6. Fold in blueberries.
  7. Bake ~ 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  8. Remove from oven, add in 1/2 cup of blueberries on top (cake should be slightly set since it's half-baked and blueberries won't sink as much) and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  9. Finish baking until toothpick comes out clean, or about 40-50 minutes total.
  10. Let cool 20 minutes in pan.
  11. Enjoy!