Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Black Forest Buns-We Knead to Bake #25

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 Although these decadent Black Forest buns would be perfect for Valentine's Day, you don't need to wait until then. Swirled with a combination of crumbled chocolate sponge cake and cherry preserves, the buns would be a warm welcome for any festive occasion.  If you have made cinnamon rolls or any other swirled filling yeast dough, the method is the same. Need to know more about making swirled rolls, Better Homes and Gardens website has step-by-step instructions on How to Make Cinnamon RollsAparna has a winner for the February edition of We Knead to Bake. Although she doesn't use Kirsch in her buns, a little bit in the cherry preserves would be an authentic touch for a classic Black Forest flavor. I used my trusty bread machine to process the dough, but if you choose the traditional method, refer to Aparna's post or the Better Homes and Gardens link above.

Black Forest Buns
Original Recipe


For the Dough:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
50 grams (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cups sugar
1 egg (room temperature), optional
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (rapid rise-bread machine yeast)
3-3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling
3/4 cup cherry or strawberry jam, preserves or compote
2-1/2 to 3 cups crumbled chocolate sponge cake, homemade or purchased

Chocolate Drizzle (optional as I didn't drizzle my buns)

For the dough, place all ingredients in the bread machine pan according to manufacturer's instructions. Process on the dough cycle. When dough cycle has completed, remove to lightly floured surface

Roll dough into an approximate 18"x 12" rectangle. Spread the cherry preserves/strawberry over the rectangle, leaving about 1/2 inch all around. Sprinkle the chocolate sponge crumbles on top of this. Roll the dough away from you (long end) cinnamon roll style. When rolling the dough, try to roll as snugly as possible. Pinch the dough closed, or dampen the edge with a little water to seal well.

Cut the rolls  into 12 1-1/2-inch wide pieces. You can place the rolls in a mold or make collars from foil or parchment paper to fit well  around each piece of dough. Otherwise, place them in a tin or (cast -iron) pan as I did, leaving room for expansion. Cover loosely and let rise about an hour or until almost double.

Bake 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Drizzle with the melted chocolate, if desired. Makes 12
Black Forest Buns

Black Forest Buns

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Clementine Ginger Cake-Black and White Wednesday #157-Clementine Still Life

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Using up a box of clementines with only two people in a household will keep you busy. Sweet, juicy and seedless, clementines make a great snack; are delicious in a spinach salad or in an orange jalapeño salsa, but that will only consume half a box or so. While doing a little research on  what to make with the rest of  the clementines, I came across a cake that required boiling the clementines whole, peel and all. Apparently, boiling softens the peel which makes them easier to puree in a food processor and also, mellows the white pith.  Having never used this technique for making a citrus cake, I was intrigued. Boiling the clementines takes about two hours, but can be done ahead of time, pureed and refrigerated up to 2 days before making the cake.
Clementine Ginger Cake
Adapted from 

5 medium clementines, about 1 pound
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely diced
For Glaze and Garnish
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Enough clementine juice to make a glaze-2-3 tablespoons
Thin slices of clementine

Place whole unpeeled clementines in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for two hours, adding more water if necessary. Carefully remove clementines from the water and cool enough to handle. Halve, remove any seeds and hard bits and puree in a food processor. Set aside or refrigerate covered up to two days before completing the cake.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with the sugar, salt and clementine puree. Add the almond flour, baking powder, crystallized ginger and almond extract. Stir until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan and bake until edges are golden brown and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 1 hour. This could take longer depending on your oven. Remove from oven to a wire cooling rack. After 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Remove cake from springform pan and cool completely. 

Mix together the powdered sugar and clementine juice. Arrange the clementines slices over the cake and brush on the glaze.
Clementine Still Life

Clementine Still Life-Black and White

The above black and white image is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #157, hosted this week by our lovely and talented admin, Cinzia. If you are an aficionado of culinary monochrome images and would like to contribute to or host this biweekly event, the simple rules and host line-up are posted here.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Wood-Fired Oven Cornbread

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“Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders.”  Harriet Beecher Stowe " Uncle Tom's Cabin" 1852

Cornbread is frequently served in my house, and I truly believe I can make it in my sleep, so many have I made. It's hard to beat a hunk of crusty cornbread served to accompany a warming soup or stew. Now, it was time to use the outdoor wood fired oven we had built a year ago. To prepare the  wood-fired oven for the cornbread, we built a fire and carefully watched the temperature as we needed 400°F, the same temperature I use in my kitchen oven. It took about 40 minutes, but times can be longer dependent on the outside temperature, the state of your wood and other variables. When the fire was ready, I oiled and preheated my cast iron frying pan just as I do in for baking in the kitchen oven. It took about 10 minutes to do this and ensures that the cornbread will be nice and crispy on the outside. One doesn't need a wood-fired oven to make cornbread, a conventional oven works fine.

Wood-Fired Oven Cornbread
My contribution to BWW #156, this edition hosted by Simona of Briciole

Serves 6-8

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 tablespoon bacon drippings or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle bacon drippings in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. While mixing the ingredients for the cornbread, put skillet in oven and heat about 10 minutes or until just short of smoking.

Whisk together the cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix together the eggs and the buttermilk and add to the dry ingredients. Mix together, then pour in the butter.

Remove the pan from the oven using oven mitts as the pan will be very hot. Pour in the cornbread batter. Bake 20-25 minutes in a conventional oven or wood-fired oven until golden brown.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 
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