Recipe – Desert

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:

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?

Recently there has been an influx of beautiful Chilean fruit at my local supermarket, reminding me that despite today’s -30°C temperature, spring and summer are on their way. Inspired by the prospect of Zephyr’s return, I decided to post a recipe for one of my favourite “tarte” (I find that “pie” doesn’t really reflect what I make). I’ve put together this recipe from two excellent books. I got the pâte  
brisée recipe from Guy Disdier’s Les Desserts: Les secrets de leur réussite (Editions S.A.E.P; 1990); and the fruit and creme recipes from Jacqueline Gerard’s La Cuisine (Larousse; 1974). Generally, people use a pâte sable in this recipe, but I find the light pâte brisée in this recipe does a great job.

Here’s what you’ll need:

700g mix of fruit that includes strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier
½ tablespoon of sugar

Pâte Brisée
250g of all purpose flour
5g of salt
20g of sugar
125g of butter (cold and chopped up)
1 egg white
50ml of water

1/3 litre of milk (warm)
2 eggs
75g of sugar
50g of flour
25g of butter
2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

First off, clean your fruit, remove the tops of your strawberries and cut the remaining portion in half, and then put all your fruit in a shallow bowl. Pour over the Grand Marnier and sugar, and gently mix so that you cover the mixture, thus allowing the alcohol and sugar marinate into the fruit for 1-2 hours. Afterwards, drain the fruit and allow them to dry well. If you put wet fruit on your pie you’ll get a gooey, watery sauce that looks…well…gooey, and unsightly.

The alcoholic mix that drains off the fruit is delightful and is a great post-baking reward.

You want to do this early ‘cause it has to cool before you put it in the pie crust. Mix the eggs with the sugar and flour, put it in a casserole and then gradually mix in the warm milk with a whisk. Put your casserole on low heat, thicken the mixture and continue to mix until the creme thickens. It’s ok if it looks a bit dry. Now, remove the creme from the heat and mix in the butter and Grand Marnier. Allow it to cool (mixing it from time to time helps this) to room temperature.

Next, make your pâte brisée. Mix and sift the flour, salt and sugar onto a clean work surface, making a little mound. Make a “crater” into the mound of powder and put in the chopped up butter. With your thumbs, middle and index fingers work the butter into the flour. Don’t squeeze the butter too hard. You are aiming to make a sandy looking mixture.

Once the butter has been incorporated make a mound from your mixture (again) and then hollow it out (again) making a “well”. Take your egg white and water, mix them together in a bowl, and then pour the mixture into the centre of the “well”. Use your well as a bowl, and use a fork to gradually incorporate the outer powdery wall into the liquid. This should be a familiar technique to those who make pasta. When you’re fork is no longer a useful tool to incorporate the ingredients, gently kneed the dough only enough to properly incorporate your dough – the less you kneed, the lighter your crust will be.

By the time you’ve incorporated all the ingredients you’ll be left with a dough that is easy to roll out. If your dough is too powdery add a bit of water, bearing in mind that too much water will (in my experience) shrink the dough more than usual once you cook it.

When you’ve made your dough, let it rest for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your over to 240°C/470°F. Prepare a 28cm pie tray with a removable base and break out the rolling pin and flour a work surface. Take out your rested dough and roll it out on the floured surface, turning it once or twice as you do so to make sure it doesn’t stick. Once you have a circle a bit bigger than the pie tray. Put your crust in the pan, prick holes in the bottom of the dough and make sure it’s snug against the edges. Allow the extra crust to overflow from the edges. Your pie will shrink once you cook it. Cut it after you’ve cooked it to ensure you have nice even, tall edges. Put the pan in the over and bake blind for 10-15 minutes (until golden).

You’re in the home stretch. Your pan should have finished cooking by now. Remove the cooking blinds (of course) and put in your cooled creme. Then, place your fruit on top, sprinkle with icing sugar, and serve.

 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.

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