Recipe – Breakfast


It’s been a harrowing week but yesterday I resolved to get my act together and bake one more time before leaving Montreal. Unfortunately, my wife and I have been steadily using up all our remaining food and staples, leaving me with precious little with which to bake. Fear not! As usual, “Quick Bread” – my trusted source of speedy bread recipes which included Mini Cinnamon and Walnut BreadIrish Bread, and Apple  

Bread – answered the call and listed this delicious recipe for Cottage Cheese Bread.

This recipe is dead simple and serves 2. All you need is:

Batch A
100g of all purpose flour, plus 1-2 tablespoons extra in a small bowl
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of baking powder

20g of cold butter, chopped up
3 tablespoons of cottage cheese
1 tablespoon of regular yogurt (though it may be interesting to see what happens if you add flavoured yogurt)
1 tablespoon of milk (2% is fine)

First off, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350 ºF.

Sift the ingredients of Batch A into a bowl. Then, add the cold butter and work it into the flour with the tips of your fingers. I didn’t work the butter in to the point that it completely disappeared into the powder. Rather, I left the powder looking a bit clumpy using a rubbed-dough method. As the seasoned bakers out there know, the less you incorporate the butter, the flakier the dough (see pages 1084-1085 of “The Professional Chef” (8th edition) for more about this technique).

Right…onwards and upwards. Mix in the cottage cheese, then mix in the yogurt, and finally mix in the milk. Kneed gently until all the ingredients are incorporated. You will be left with a moist dough. If, like me, you wanted to dry it up a bit and make it easier to handle, take your messy hands and pour in some of that flour you presciently put aside in a separate bowl.

Roll out the dough until its about 1cm thick. Chop up your dough into 6 equally-sized pieces and then put them on a baking sheet lined with a cookie sheet. If you’re feeling especially fancy, try brushing a quick egg wash over these gems. Bake for 20 minutes or until the bread is baked through and the top is golden.

These little breads are quite delicious on their own, but are also good with jam, butter, or even maple syrup. This entire procedure should only take about 30 minutes if all goes according to plan, so now there are no excuses not to make them! Get to it!

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In preparation for my move to Toronto at the end of the month, I am slowly but surely packing away my books. As I was doing so, I came across Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu” or “Remembrance of Things Past” and thought of its now famous protagonist:  the madeleine.  Madeleines are, of course, scallop shell-shaped cakes that originated in Comercy, France.  

Incredibly easy to make, these little gems are a sure-fire way to inject a simple tea/coffee break with some class.  They also make for a great (edible!) conversation piece.  Here is my take on the madeleine.  It features a hint of vanilla to play against the cake’s traditional lemon scent.

To make 12 of my madeleines you’ll need:

1 madeleine tray
80g of caster sugar
1 large egg
A tablespoon of vanilla essence
80g of unsalted butter
100g of pastry flour (premixed with baking powder)
1 pinch of salt
The rind of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tablespoon of icing sugar (for dressing)

First, pre-heat your oven to 200ºC/400 ºF. Melt your butter over low heat and then remove it from the stove to cool. Use a brush to spread the melted butter in the madeleine moulds, and then flour them.

Next, with an electric mixer/whisk, cream the egg and caster sugar. The goal is really to work in as much air so that you get a fluffy batter which will in turn become a light cake. This takes about 5 minutes.

Once that’s done, slowly sift in the pastry flour.  Do not over mix.  Gently add the remainder of the cooled, melted butter and the vanilla essence. Then, carefully mix in the lemon rind. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even add some blueberries to the batter.

Now, fill your madeleine moulds 2/3 full with the batter. Bake for 12 minutes or so, until the tops of your cakes are golden and lovely. Gently remove them from the moulds (I find chopsticks to be the tool of choice), sprinkle with icing sugar, and serve warm – that’s when they’re at their fluffiest.  To be extra hedonistic, serve the warm madeleines with vanilla ice cream, and drizzle the dish with some nice, high quality honey. Delish! 

Around 11pm the other night I just couldn’t sleep. I also noticed that we were low on breakfast goodies, so I decided to break out my trusty “Quick Bread” book and try out a new recipe. The one I chose was apple bread. Though I just happened to have some apples kicking around the fruit bowl, I have to say that this recipe would be best near apple picking time near the end of the summer/beginning of autumn. This bread is a bit denser than I  

thought, and was less sweet than expected (you may want to add an extra tablespoon of sugar) but makes for a nice breakfast

The ingredients for this bread are:

Apples
240g of chopped apple (granny smith or other sweet/tart apples), skin on
½ teaspoon of granular sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
10g of unsalted butter

Batter A
2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

Batter B
2 large egg
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
4 tablespoons of sour cream

First off, get rid of that core, and then chop up your apple into tiny 5mm cubes. Toss the cubes with lemon juice and granulated sugar to coat them. Then, heat up a frying pan at medium heat, put in your butter, and once its melted throw in 1/3 of the apples and sauté for 5-8 minutes (to soften them up).

Next, take the contents of Batter A and whisk them all together. You should get a pancake’esque batter.

After that, mix the ingredients in Batter B. Take half of Batter A and whisk into Batter B. Take the other half of Batter A and mix with the apples you did not sauté. Then mix everything together.

Still with me? Ok…. Put the Batters into a buttered and floured bread pan, then top with the apples you sautéed. Now, put the pan in a pre-heated oven at 190ºC/375 ºF for 10 minutes, and then drop the temperature down to 180 ºC/350 ºF and keep baking for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

As I mentioned before, this is a nice recipe but is heavier than your everyday bread. I’d really call it a cake, and as such would recommend eating it with some nice vanilla ice cream and drizzled with honey. Now who can say “no” to that?

 In light of the surprise success of the Irish Bread recipe I posted a week back, I’ve decided to post a cinnamon roll recipe adapted from the same book – Quick Bread – written by Fujita Chiaka (I’ve included a photo of the book below). I made this recipe this morning and these bad boys are really quite delicious. Here’s what you’ll need:  
  • 100g of flour
  • Half a teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 20g of butter chopped up into small cubes
  • 45g of cottage cheese
  • ½ an egg yoke
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • Cinnamon sugar (1 teaspoon of cinnamon mixed with 3 teaspoons of granular sugar)
  • 10-15g of walnuts finely chopped
  • 1 egg wash (1 egg mixed with a bit of milk)
  Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and add the cold butter. With the tips of your thumb, index, and middle fingers, rub the butter into the flour as though you were feeling the texture of a fabric. After a few minutes the butter should have “disappeared” into the flour. Add the cottage cheese into this powder and mix until it has an even consistency.

Next, mix the ½ egg yoke into the milk and then add it into the cottage cheese-flour mixture. You may be stuck with a pretty mucky paste, so add a bit of flour to make your mixture into something solid enough that it can be rolled out without sticking to a rolling pin.

Kneed your dough until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Then, roll up the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling film, and put it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to allow it to rest. While you wait, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once you’ve got your dough made, you’re 90% of the way there.  Unwrap your dough, roll out your dough ball into a 15cm x 20cm (6” x 8”), half-centimetre (1/5”) rectangle. Take your cinnamon sugar and rub it into the dough. If you’re like me and you enjoy your cinnamon rolls extra sweet, add some extra sugar to the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Next, take your finely-chopped walnuts and gently roll them into the dough with a rolling pin.

Roll your seasoned dough like you would sushi. Now, take a knife and cut your roll into 2.5cm/1” sections. Set the sections so that the swirly bit is facing up, liberally brush on your egg wash to give your rolls a nice brown glaze, and put them in your pre-heated oven for 18-22 minutes.

The recipe is not as sweet as the fondant-caked cinnamon rolls you get at your local patisserie/bakery, so I poured on some maple syrup. I’d also suggest some cinnamon butter to smear on the warm rolls.

Early March in Montreal is usually the time when winter packs one last wallop before releasing Quebec from its clutches. This year is no different as the province (and the Eastern part of Canada) was spanked by a storm. On those snowy weekends I like to get up a bit early and put together a nice brunch for my wife and I.  Here’s what I made this morning – a fruit and crêpe recipe.

This recipe is adapted from the crêpe recipe in The Silver Spoon – the English translation of the Italian cooking bible “Il cucchiaio d’argento” first published in 1950 and currently in its eighth edition. For my version (serves 2/4 crêpes) you’ll need:

Boozy Fruit

  • Handful of strawberries, washed, tops removed, and cut in two
  • Handful of blueberries, washed
  • A tablespoon (or two) of Grand Marnier
  • A teaspoon of sugar

Crêpe

  • ½ cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of milk plus ¼ cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (it’s cheating, I know!)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter plus some extra to cover your crêpe/non-stick pan
  • A crêpe pan or non-stick pan

Boozy Fruit
Take your (soon to be boozy) fruit and put them in a bowl with the Grand Marnier. Mix them up carefully so as not to squish those blueberries. Then, mix in the sugar and marinate for 1-2 hours. Afterwards, drain the alcoholic liquid (you could down it there and then!) and put the fruit aside to dry a bit.

Crêpe
Sift the flour into a large-ish bowl. In a second bowl, break your egg and mix it with the ½ cup of milk. Then, gradually add the milk-egg mixture to the flour and mix it up. You’re shooting to make a runny batter, so if you’re left with a pretty thick one more akin to pancake batter, add some of that ¼ cup of milk you’ve wisely set aside.

Melt the butter in a double boiler (or simply very carefully in a regular pan). Let the butter cool to room temperature and then add the liquid into the batter. That’s your batter done.

If you’re like me and slightly useless in the morning, I suggest doing of the above prep work the night before a brunch and keeping the batter refrigerated in an airtight container. It will save you a lot of time and grief. If you do this, make sure to give the refrigerated batter a whisk before your use it.

Now, heat up your crêpe pan or non-stick pan over medium heat. Once it’s nice and preheated take some butter and coat the pan. To do this, I like to cut a long thin strip of butter and use it like a crayon to coat the pan. Take some batter (with a ladle or pour it from a container) and cover the base of the pan with a thin layer. Crêpes should be nice and slim so they’re easy to roll. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip the crêpe and cook until set. That’s it. Be sure to re-butter the pan if it looks dry. Without that layer of butter it’ll be tough to flip your crêpe.

Leave one crêpe flat on the plate and roll up the other and place it on the flat one. Cover the flattened crêpe with your boozy fruit and whatever other fresh fruits strike your fancy. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, sorbet, or whatever else you can get your hands on. We like liberally spread some maple syrup over the lot, but if you feel creative you could use some of the liquid you drained from the alcohol-soaked fruit to make a boozy coulis or sauce.