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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie-Summer Fruit Galette

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There was no doubt in my mind what fruit I would choose to make Dorie's Summer Fruit Galette. My neighbor had given me a big basket of luscious peaches from South Carolina. Georgia may be the Peach State, but South Carolina has always had the best and biggest peaches. My visit to the local fruit stand confirmed that blueberries were still being picked in nearby Waynesboro, Georgia. A big stainless steel bin with a scoop housed these purple blue jewels and I was inspired to line each of my peach halves with these little beauties, mosaic style.

Michelle of Michelle in Colorado Springs picked a perfect summer dessert that with some do ahead prep comes together fairly easy. I made the "Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough" in the early morning, headed out to exercise class for an hour, came back and completed the galette in about two hours. I had some pineapple marmalade left over from making Pineapple Pate de Fruit so used that first to spread on the dough and with no graham crackers in the house, I crushed a few vanilla wafers to absorb the juices from the peaches. Six whole peaches were dropped into boiling water for about 25 seconds, cooled and skins removed. The peaches were cut in half and arranged cut side down on top of the jam and vanilla wafer crumbs, then lined with the blueberries. After baking for 25 minutes, the custard was poured on top, then baked for 13 minutes. The custard was a lovely afterthought by Dorie to refine some of the rustic nature of the galette.The Summer Fruit Galette is best served within a few hours-to guests, but to my family, it tasted wonderful for breakfast the next morning. A very unorthodox breakfast, but delicious, nevertheless.

To see what the creative TWD bakers have done with the Summer Fruit Galette, visit the TWD site. If you don't already own a copy of "Baking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan, you are missing one of the best cookbooks out there on baking classic desserts for family and friends. The recipe for Summer Fruit Galette can be found on Michelle's blog.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Plum Crazy-Part Two

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In Part One of Plum Crazy, I featured a wild plum jam and suggestions on using the jam in other dishes With the second batch of wild plum jam, I made an Oriental plum sauce for grilled spareribs and with the plum puree from my third batch, I made a luscious wild plum ice cream. The plums have been an exciting part of my summer cooking.

While the ribs are great as part of an appetizer buffet, they can also be served as a main dish. They are first baked to render some of the fat and to insure that they will be tender. This recipe uses spareribs which have a little more fat than baby back ribs and are less expensive, but some say are more flavorful. I remove the tough membrane that adheres to the back side of the rack of ribs. This membrane keeps the flavors from penetrating the meat. More here about how to remove the membrane. The ribs only need salt, pepper, thinly sliced onions and lemons for seasoning while baking. The intense flavor comes from basting the ribs with the Oriental plum sauce when grilling as the last step. The ribs can be baked earlier in the day, the fat drained off, covered and refrigerated until time to grill. Original recipe here


Grilled Spareribs with Oriental Plum Sauce

Ribs

6 lbs spareribs, membrane removed and cut into serving pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F.Place ribs in large baking pan deep enough to accommodate ribs Scatter lemon and onion slices over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check to see if ribs are tender, if not, bake about 10 more minutes. Drain off fat and set aside while making sauce. Ribs can be cooled, covered and refrigerated to this point.

Oriental Plum Sauce

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
!/2 cup finely minced onion
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups wild plum jam
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in medium saucepan, add onion and garlic; saute over medium-low heat until translucent. Add wild plum jam, honey, red wine vinegar, ground ginger and freshly ground pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Set aside half of the sauce for basting and half for a dipping sauce.

Preheat a gas grill on medium heat for 10 minutes. Place ribs on grill, basting with sauce. Turn frequently, basting with more sauce for 15 minutes or until ribs are browned and crisp. Heat remaining sauce and serve with the ribs.



AND NOW FOR THE WILD PLUM ICE CREAM-

I have said in many of my posts that I absolutely love ice cream, especially my own rich and creamy concoctions. There's nothing like homemade ice cream and this wild plum ice cream doesn't disappoint. Homemade ice cream is easy to make with an inexpensive ice cream maker. Crushed wild plums cooked with a little sugar and then passed through a sieve results in a plum puree which makes a colorful and tasty base for this ice cream. The ice cream is simple to make and has the creaminess of a cooked custard, although there are no eggs in the recipe.

Wild Plum Ice Cream

Ingredients
3 cups wild plums, washed
1 cup sugar
1 can condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Place plums in a saucepan, crush with a potato masher, add 1 cup sugar; cook until plums have softened and sugar has dissolved. Pass through a sieve and discard skins and pits. Chill until ready to make ice cream. Add condensed milk and whipping cream to puree. Chill until very cold. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to plastic container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves about 6.

Wild Plum Ice Cream is great with blueberry pie as seen here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie-Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

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Some desserts just aren't photogenic, even though the taste may be phenomenal. This cherry rhubarb cobbler is a case in point. I almost rolled the dough out to press in the pan as we did for the mixed berry cobbler instead of rolling the dough into balls as the recipe suggested.. With my family visiting this week, I haven't had a lot of time to think of creative substitutions, so stayed with the exact recipe except I didn't use the whole wheat flour in the topping.. As it turned out, the cobbler was wonderful. The rhubarb and cherries made a tangy sweet combination and the ground ginger added an oriental touch to the dessert. The cherry pitter in the photo above is a great little gadget to have around.

My post is short this Tuesdays with Dorie edition. Check out all the other cherry rhubarb cobblers on the TWD site. Thanks to Amanda of sprinkles on a cupcake for choosing the Cherry Rhubarb.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie-Chocolate Pudding

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I pondered all weekend about how I could embellish the chocolate pudding recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking From My Home to Yours". It seemed such a straightforward dessert, no frills, just a deep dark pudding with two different forms of chocolate, unsweetened cocoa and bittersweet chocolate. I nearly had my mind made up to use Mexican chocolate and a spice such as cinnamon and maybe, add a touch of cayenne for heat. While flipping through Dorie's cookbook for topping ideas, I stopped at the White Chocolate whipped cream. That would be a great topping for the pudding! I would use the white chocolate with coconut that I used for the Opera Cake and sprinkle toasted coconut over the whipped cream.

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." And they did! Making the pudding was no problem. I used my hand blender to mix everything as I am not a fan of putting hot liquids in my food processor and with a smaller than 9 cup container, I would have to process the pudding in batches. Making the white chocolate whipped cream using the white chocolate with coconut probably would have turned out well had I not been over zealous whipping the cream and white chocolate mixture. The whipped cream didn't hold "firm peaks, but quickly went to butter. I had no time or inclination to start over with the whipped cream, so just topped the puddings with the toasted coconut. Maybe it would have been too rich anyway. I saved the white chocolate butter-who knows, it may work with some chocolate muffins or bread.

Melissa of Melissa's Kitchen chose the Chocolate Pudding for this edition of Tuesdays with Dorie much to the delight of my husband who absolutely loves chocolate pudding. Now when I have to go out of town, I will leave him with a pot of spaghetti sauce and a batch of chocolate pudding. Head over to TWD and check out all the posts on this definitely better homemade chocolate pudding.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Plum Crazy-Part One

Print Friendly and PDF Maybe they have been there all along and I never noticed, but lately, every little farmers' market that I have visited, I see variations of wild plums that I last saw as a child walking with my mother down a country road, bucket in hand, searching for a clump of wild plum bushes. It was a ritual we had every summer-picking juicy deep red-yellow plums for the jelly she would make. Spread on hot biscuits or corn muffins, the jelly had a sweet tangy taste that went especially well with the rustic texture of the corn muffins.

There are many varieties of wild plums in the United States and Canada; some are sweet and some are tart. The wild plum exhibits many different shades of color; from crimson red, bluish purple, to bright orange and colors in between. Sizes range from cherry to golf ball size. Wild plums grow singly on a branch unlike cherries which grow in clusters Ripe ones drop readily in the hand while unripe ones have to be tugged from the branch. Some varieties of wild plums are being cultivated which probably accounts for those recently showing up in local farmers' markets.

I bought my first batch of wild plums in downtown Savannah from Polks Fresh Market. They were from South Carolina just over the Savannah River and were called "Wild Sugar Plums" The lady who worked the cash register said someone had told her that they made a tart with the plums. That must have been a labor of love as the stones in the plums are bigger than in cherries of the same size. I had planned on making jam with the plums, but didn't want to pit them first, so began looking at different methods of making jam. The jam recipe I chose has no pectin added and was quite easy to make.

Wild Plum Jam

Adapted from this recipe.

6 cups wild plums, 80 % ripe and 20% slightly unripe
4 cups sugar

Wash plums.Make a slit into each plum. This will make it easier to crush once in the pan. Place plums in a large saucepan, crush with a potato masher and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour plums into a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Place pulp in saucepan and add sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then cook until mixture is thick and registers 215° to 221° on a jelly thermometer. Instructions on preparing and sealing jars can be found here.

Here are some exciting ways I used my plum jam. I made a plum pate de fruit using a recipe from Pineapple Pate de Fruit, a recent post I also used the plum jam to fill the center of the corn muffins.


Corn Muffins

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups sugar, less if you are a "no sugar in my cornbread!" person
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 extra large egg
1/2 cup or more plum jam

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 6 large hole muffin tins with paper liners. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine milk, eggs and melted butter. On low speed, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Spoon the batter into the paper lines, filling each nearly to the top. Bake 30 minutes, until browned and crisp and tester comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes and turn out of cupcake pan onto rack to cool completely.

After the muffins have cooled, place the plum jam in a pastry bag fitted with a large tip. Push the tip into the center of the muffin and squeeze 1-2 tablespoons jam into the middle of the corn muffin. Fill remainder of muffins.

Adapted from "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" by Ina Garten

Come back later in the week for Plum Crazy-Part Two

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie-Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

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Yum, blueberries! One of my favorite berries! This beautiful, deep purple berry is of the fourteen superfoods highlighted in the book, "Superfoods", by Dr. Steven G. Pratt.According to Dr. Pratt, blueberries are everyone's favorite superfood and are high in antioxidants, substances which enhance our immune system and lower the risk of cancer and infection. How wonderful to have something that tastes great and is actually good for you. Having said that, we will forget this blueberry pie has a crust and concentrate on the delicious blueberry.


The Double-Crusted Blueberry Pie, chosen by Amy of South in Your Mouth was perfect for a Fourth of July dessert. Blueberries are very plentiful during the month of July, so is an appropriate food for celebration. We celebrated by totally wiping out this luscious pie in one sitting. Lucky, I had family visiting as I would have hated eating the whole thing myself. The pie is that good!

Before joining several baking groups, I only made pies at Thanksgiving , but had hit and miss success with the pie crusts. After using Dorie's "good for everything pie crust", my frustrations are over. The crust came together perfectly and the only thing I would do differently is to trim more off of the overlapping bottom crust than I did. I thought my crust edges were a little too thick.



The finely chopped lemon verbena added to the blueberry pie mixture enhanced the flavors of the lemon zest and juice and gave the pie some depth. The same day I bought the blueberries for the pie, I also bought some wild plums, cooked them down, passed them through a sieve ,and made a plum ice cream to go with the pie. As my photo shows, the ice cream wasn't firm enough at the time, but the taste combination was heavenly.

Check out the TWD blogroll for some fabulous photos of Dorie's Double-Crusted Blueberry Pie. The book, From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan is well worth buying.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Roasted Lemon Sorbet

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I just recently bought Gale Gand's book "Short and Sweet", a collection of quick desserts which require eight ingredients or less. After making desserts in the last few months that have ingredient lists as long as my arm, this book really piqued my interest. I needed some simple dishes because most of my time is spent setting up and photographing what I make. Ms. Gand's book was perfect as the contents were separated into 15, 30, and 45 minutes needed to prepare the dish, plus a "kid's in the kitchen section", a perfect introduction to teaching children to make unique and fun desserts.

There are many recipes in the book that I want to make, but finally settled on the Roasted Lemon Sorbet, a 30 minute recipe, but the concept of roasting citrus fruit was intriguing. I've roasted other fruits and vegetables, but never lemons, limes or oranges. Before buying your lemons for this recipe, you may want to take the cup you will use to serve with you to the grocery store and pick the size lemons that will fit in your cup. I used some espresso cups that had a larger opening and then narrowed at the base. You will only need four of the same size lemons for your serving dishes. Lemons aren't cheap these days. The Roasted Lemon Sorbet will also look great in other serving dishes. Although the lemons take 30 minutes to roast, there is additional time spent on preparing the lemons, plus freezing time, so you will need to work that into your schedule.


This is my entry into You Scream, I Scream, We all Scream for Frozen Desserts, hosted by Mike's Table. I'm happy to find someone who likes ice cream and other frozen desserts as much as I do. Great event, Mike!

Roasted Lemon Sorbet

Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients

18 lemons, scrubbed
2 cups superfine sugar, plus more to taste
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, insides scraped out with the tip of a knife

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut 14 of the lemons in half and place in a deep roasting pan. Sprinkle in the sugar and vanilla bean scrapings, and pour in water just to cover the lemons. Stir to combine. Bake, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until edges of lemons begin to caramelize. Here is where I would change the recipe a little-Try baking at 400° for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When I baked at 375°, my lemons took longer to caramelize, thus the time involved was longer than 30 minutes. When baked, let cool to room temperature.

Cut remaining 4 lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. Set juice aside. If using the lemons as serving dishes, use a sturdy teaspoon and scrape out the pulp and pith. Place cups in freezer.

Place a strainer over the bowl of a food processor and squeeze the roasted lemons into the strainer. Roughly chop 3 of the roasted lemon halves and add to the food processor. Puree until smooth. Strain the mixture into another bow. Stir in 4 cups water and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the fresh lemon juice reserved when juicing the 4 lemons for the serving dishes. Taste for sweetness and add more superfine sugar, if needed. The mixture should taste just a bit too sweet as freezing will take away some of the sweetness.

Refrigerate mixture until very cold. Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Scoop the sorbet into the lemon cups while the mixture is still soft, freeze until ready to serve. Sorbet is best the same day once frozen. Unfrozen, the mixture will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I used a plastic egg keeper that came with my refrigerator to set the sorbet filled lemon halves upright. Smaller lemons work best for this.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie-Apple Cheddar Scones

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As with many food origins, it's not perfectly clear where the term "scone" came from and whether is rhymes with "stone" or "John", but its ingredients of flour or oats, buttermilk or butter and a leavening agent are consistent. My grandmother was of Scottish ancestry and cooked her scones, called griddle scones, in an iron frying pan on top of the stone. The dough she used was our basic biscuit dough.

Scones have become very popular in coffee bars in the US and usually contain dried fruit, nuts or chocolate chips. Some are sweet and some are savory. Dorie's "Apple Cheddar Scones", chosen by Katrina of The Floured Apron, for this week's TWD are little bit of both, sweet with the addition of the dried apples and savory with the cheddar cheese, but still would be great as part of an afternoon tea served with a sweet jam. With this mouthwatering combination, it was the perfect time to use the jar of "Red Bell Pepper and Ancho Chile Jam" that I had bought recently. The combination of the spicy sweet jam and the cheddar and apples in the scones made me think of the foods of the Southwest. The jam was a bit pricey, but convenient to have on hand for this quick bread.

My granddaughters, who are visiting me for a week, weren't convinced that my scones with the spicy jam was something they would enjoy, but at least posed for a photograph pretending to eat the scones.




The recipe from "Baking From My Home to Yours" is a definite keeper. Dorie Greenspan has put together some very useful and tasty recipes in her book and I would suggest that anyone who enjoys baking and serving wonderful homey food to their families and friends buy this book. I plan to buy "Baking With Julia", another of Dorie's books and a PBS series. Check out all the TWD posts on these lovely little Apple Cheddar Scones.
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