For this recipe I managed to get 23 cream puffs using a two teaspoon scoop. I think this worked in my favor as I was serving these for a crowd. I feared I would not have enough filling but I had exactly what I needed. I used dark chocolate cocoa powder for a rich flavor. My guests commented that they were as "light as air" which I took as a compliment. These were the perfect bite-size dessert. To see what others thought head over to Tuesdays with Dorie.
A crostata is an open-faced fruit tart, often with a decorative lattice top. I have not made a crostata before but I have made plenty of tarts. This crostata caught my eye in Ruth Reichl My Kitchen Year and I was glad that cranberries were this month's featured ingredient.
The tart dough is made with butter, sugar, egg, ground pecans, vanilla, flour and the zest of one lemon. It is a very tender dough and hard to work with. Ruth warns bakers that the dough will tear and she is right. Make the refrigerator and/or freezer your friend. She equally warns you about the lattice top tearing and I had lost my patience by then so I skipped a traditional lattice and just lay my strips five one way and five the other. I went for the rustic look.
The cranberry filling was easy. Fresh cranberries, juice of one orange, apricot preserves, and sugar are cooked for five minutes on the stove. Ruth is pretty loosey, goosey with her instructions but I cooked mine over medium heat for five minutes just until the sugar melted.
The results were delicious and a crowd pleaser. The crust continued to be a problem for me as it stuck to the pan. I thought it was a bit too tart but my guests all liked it, many having seconds. Ruth states that "this tart is as good on day two as day one" and she is right. We had leftovers from the refrigerator the next day and it was still delicious.
I was a Gourmet Magazine devotee. I kept my magazines for a very long time but I finally got rid of them in one of my moves. I did manage to keep a couple of issues of The Best of Gourmet. Now that we are cooking with Ruth Reichl I pulled out my Gourmet books for this challenge. I decided on these Sour Cream Bran Muffins. I think it is so hard to find a good bran muffin but I figured Gourmet was a good place to start. I loved these. The sour cream provides a nice amount of moisture, the butter keeps them from tasting like cardboard and the molasses keeps it from being overly sweet. I did not find this recipe on Ruth's website so I have listed below.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup miller's bran
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, beat in the egg, the sour cream, and the molasses, and stir in the raisins. In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, the salt, and the bran, add the mixture to the sour cream mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. (The batter will be lumpy). Spoon the batter into 12 well-buttered 1/3 cup muffin tins and bake the muffins in the middle of a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden and springy to the touch. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and let them cool. Makes 12 muffins.
One note, I bake all my muffins at 375 degrees and these came out done at that temperature in 15 minutes. I found the recipe at Epicurious.
I also managed to make pomegranate sunrise fizz (page 83 from My Kitchen Year). "Cut a pomegranate in half and squeeze it as if it were an orange. On its own, the color is extraordinary-like liquid garnets-but if you combine it with the juice of an orange, you end up with the color of a sunrise. Pour over ice and splash in a bit of soda water".
I used the whole pomegranate, a whole orange and some soda water. Mine was less sunrise since I used the whole pomegranate. It was tasty but nothing special. It was expensive juice since my pomegranate was $2.50.
I host a friendsgiving every year. This year the magic date everyone was free was November 3rd, early in the month. I made three of our baking assignments for this meal. First up are these savory cookies in the cocktail section of Dorie's Cookies. I had to omit the peanuts from this recipe as my son is allergic and I am not sure if that affected the finished product. These are sort of a cross between a cookie and a cracker, not sweet. I meant to serve them before the meal but I forgot. I served them along with all the desserts and they got eaten. People that didn't like sweet desserts enjoyed them.
Cranberry Five-Spice Cookies page 397. To see what others thought go to Tuesday with Dorie website.
Butternut squash is one of the few foods my husband does not like to eat so on his recent business trip I invited his best friend over (he eats everything) for a dinner of butternut squash soup.
The recipe calls for one pound of butternut squash, I went the easy route and bought pre-cut. It is a vegan recipe with water for the broth. I was hesitant about the flavor since I usually make soup with chicken broth but we did not miss it. The flavor comes from all the wonderful vegetables: celery, carrots, squash and onion. The richness comes from the waxy potatoes. The whole soup is blended until smooth. I served the soup with Ruth's additions of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and diced apple. This was a hit with us and deemed a make again recipe.
We love waffles, mostly for breakfast and they are only yeast-raised waffles, light and crisp. We own a VillaWare waffle maker which is considered an essential gadget in our house. My husband and I both cook and bake but we have divided duties in the kitchen, waffles come under my husband's domain. I put him in charge of this recipe and it couldn't have come at a better time. Work is particularly bad at the moment so receiving a dessert with my two favorite ingredients, waffles and ice cream, was a welcome treat. My son and husband enjoyed there's with whipped cream instead. We decided to skip the oven baking on this one and just served them as is out of the waffle maker. These may not be considered cookies but it was a welcome dessert in our house.
We love Dorie's cheesecakes and this recipe was no exception. Dubbed the Paris Cheesecake due to the addition of certain ingredients. Traditional New York cheesecake is made with a graham cracker crust, this cheesecake is made with speculoos and almond flour. Dorie also suggested using LU Cinnamon Sugar Spice cookies but I could not find these. Cookie crumbs are also mixed into the filling and the finished cheesecake is served with a salted caramel sauce.
Like Dorie's other cheesecakes; my favorite being her Light and Springy, Creamy and Great Cheesecake from her website, this won rave reviews from the family. I usually serve fruit with my cheesecakes to off set the richness but the salted caramel sauce worked well with the flavors of this cheesecake. Another winner.