This summer has been intense. We hunkered down in our basement through some blistering heat waves, and I’ve been powering through a tough school and work schedule.
Last week, however, was my birthday, so John, Motu and I got out of the city for the weekend. We spent a couple days at a house on the Shenandoah River. Canoeing, swimming and grilling was just what my body and spirit needed to get me through my last month of school.
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to cooler nights and not being scared to turn on the oven. Until then, I’m going to eat my fill of juicy Virginia peaches and fry things instead of bake them!
I made these pies twice in one week because I gave too many of the first batch away and needed more for myself. I really enjoyed the jalapeño jelly in the filling and cayenne pepper in the coating, but feel free to leave them out if you’re trying to please children or aren’t a fan of spicy-sweet combos.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and put in freezer until ready to use
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 large peaches (firm-ripe is best), peeled, pitted and diced into small cubes
1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons jalapeno jelly
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
peanut or canola oil, for frying
Put flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the milk and lemon juice and pulse until dough starts to come together. Don’t over mix.
Turn dough out onto work surface and gather it into a rectangle and flatten slightly. Wrap the dough in plastic and refridgerate until cold, about 2 hours (or up to 3 days).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut 12 4-inch circles out of the dough. If necessary, gather scraps and re-roll. Place dough circles on prepared baking sheet and refridgerate while you make the filling.
Prepare a ice bath by filling a bowl half-way with ice and water and placing a smaller bowl on the ice water.
In a saucepan, combine peaches with 1/3 cup of sugar, the lemon juice, and salt. Cook over medium heat until peaches have softened and released their juices.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water and add the slurry to the peaches. Continue cooking until thickened. Add hot pepper jelly, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and pinch of cayenne. Remove from heat and stir to blend. Transfer mixture to ice bath bowl and stir occasionally until cool.
Assemble the pies by brushing the edge of each dough round with water and place a tablespoon of filling in the center. Fold the pies up like a taco and pinch the edges to seal. Place on baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours before frying.
To fry the pies, combine the 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne in a shallow bowl and reserve. Fill a 10-inch cast iron skillet with 1/2 inch of oil. Heat oil to 365°F and fry pies in small batches until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Be careful the bottoms don’t burn. Remove pies to a paper-towel-lines baking sheet and let then drain until cool enough to handle. Dredge in the cinnamon sugar. Pick one up and eat it.
I have that jittery anxious feeling in my stomach today. I used to get it the night before summer camp or exciting school field trips. I have it today because I’m starting my last 1o weeks of classes in a few hours.
I think this quarter is going to be the quarter when I learn the most. I’m taking three classes: Advanced Patisserie and Display Cakes; Chocolates, Confections and Showpieces; and Food Styling. Although I’m going to miss the bag of bread I used to bring home every week, I’m looking forward to using more of my creativity and artistic skills to make beautiful, delicious things.
Ok, I’m writing too much! I have to pack up my knife kit and get on the Metro. But before I do, let me say something about these shortcakes. They are so, so good. The biscuits are made with heavy cream so they’re soft and rich. The buckwheat gives them a nutty, earthy flavor that the sweet, juicy strawberries balance perfectly. And don’t you dare skip the whipped cream.
1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
2-3 pints strawberries, washed, dried, hulled, and sliced
Sugar to taste
1 1/4 cup heavy cream (although since I didn’t eat the whole batch at once, I just whipped cream as I needed it)
Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour cream into it. Use a rubber spatula to push the dry ingredients into the cream, with a folding motion, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will look shaggy.
Gather the dough into a ball and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead once or twice just until loose pieces of dough come together. Pat dough into a 6×6 inch square. Trim edges with a sharp knife and a firm downward motion (this helps the biscuits rise more). Cut into 9 smaller squares.
Place them 1 inch apart on baking sheet and brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake biscuits until they are golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack.
While biscuits are baking, whip cream in a chilled bowl (sweeten slightly if desired with granulated or powdered sugar) and reserve in refrigerator. If it separates a little, just whisk gently before serving.
Sweeten sliced berries if desired.
To assemble, slice each shortcake in half and place bottom half on a plate. Spoon a generous amount of berries making sure everyone gets some juice. Plop some whipped cream on top of berries and place top half of biscuit on the cream. This dessert is so beautiful and fresh tasting! You will love it.
Ever since my kitchen started overflowing with bread items, I knew I wanted to make some bread pudding. Bread pudding is not something I have always liked. I remember my dad loved it, but I always thought it sounded weird and probably tasted gross. Kids are so dumb sometimes because how could bread, milk, sugar and eggs taste bad? Maybe it was the raisins that turned me off.
Now that I am older and more mature, I also know that bourbon makes things taste good. So good in fact, that I talked to my clean plate after making this. That’s a funny thing about blogging. I have to take pictures early in the day to get good light, so I often end up making a fancy plate of dessert for a photo and then eating it for lunch. If it was just what I was craving, then Motu and my spoon will hear about it.
This recipe came from my textbook. It’s similar to many other bread pudding recipes on the internet but I’m really into weighing my ingredients these days. Especially cubes of bread. I don’t see how 6 cups of cubed bread could be an accurate measurement at all. I have a small Weight Watcher’s kitchen scale and I love it. I use it when I am watching my portion sizes of cake and now more often to measure ingredients. If you want to make this without using weights, I would suggest using this one from Simply Recipes. Actually, I just compared the two recipes and I think they are almost exactly the same.
4 oz Raisins
2 oz Bourbon
1 oz Unsalted butter, melted
12 oz Day old white bread
1 cup Heavy cream
3 cups Milk
10 oz Granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
Bourbon Sauce as needed (see recipe below)
Combine raisins and bourbon in a small saucepan and heat just to a simmer. Cover and set aside.
Use some of the melted butter to coat a 9×13 casserole dish (or two smaller dishes so you can take one to your neighbor). Reserve the remaining butter.
Cut the bread into 1 x 1 in cubes and place in a large bowl. Pour the cream and milk over the bread and let it sit until soft.
Beat the eggs and sugar in a separate bowl until smooth and thick. Add the vanilla, the remaining melted butter, and raisins and bourbon.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread and toss gently to combine. Pour into the buttered dish and bake at 350 until browned and almost set, about 45-60 minutes. It should still be slightly jiggly in the center.
Serve warm with whipped cream and bourbon sauce. Or eat it cold straight out of the dish. Both ways are delicious.
4 oz Unsalted butter
8 oz Granulated sugar
3 oz Bourbon
Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Stir together the egg and sugar and add to the melted butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. It will foam and bubble up so watch out.
Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon. Strain if necessary. (My sauce had bits of burnt sugar and cooked eggs in it, so I recommend straining it.)
Happy 2011! John thinks this is a stupid year. He says 2010 was exciting because it was the start of a new decade, and 2012 is exciting because it is an election year, and 2011 is just lame. I think 2011 is awesome because 11 is my favorite number. And since 11 is such a great number and it is the start of a sparkling new year, I am going to make some lists. Like resolutions, but not.
5 things I need more of in my life this year:
Blogging! My goal is once a week.
Friends in DC. John and I always feel like it is creepy and weird to ask someone for their phone number.
Vegan and gluten-free baking. It is time to expand my baking skills into new territory.
Exercise and fruits and veggies. Cliché but true.
Adventures. I would love to explore this new area we are living in. There is the Chesapeake Bay, Blue Ridge Mountains, all sorts of stuff!
5 things I need less of:
Naps. Some of you may laugh or roll your eyes, but I found myself taking way too many naps last year instead of being productive. Instead of napping, I can blog, or exercise (see list 1).
Parking and traffic tickets. These are such an infuriating waste of money.
Meat. I feel so much better about my food choices when they contain less meat and I got out of that habit last year.
Excuses. No more!
Although these pinwheels are in violation of List #2 (they are meaty), they are so delicious and would have been perfect for a New Year’s Eve party if I had gotten them up in time.
I have to give a shout out to my best friend for these, because her mom made them when we were growing up. I was always excited to see a plate of them on her counter and they wouldn’t last long once I had shown up.
Roll the biscuit dough out to a 10×20 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
Thinly spread the sausage out onto the dough leaving a clean 1 inch border on the long side away from you. To do this, I grab a hunk of sausage and flatten it between my hands, then I lay it on the dough and push it around until it is thin and touching the other hunks of sausage.
Roll it up into a log and pinch the seam. I cut the log in half and put one half in the fridge while I worked with the other half.
Slice the log into 1/4 inch slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.