Tag Archives: pastry

Lemon Peach Scones

I made these ages ago. I’m sure I would have been able to write a quirky short story to accompany this recipe. Back then. Now, however, all I can do is keep things short and sweet and just post the dang recipe.

Before I do, let me just say two things:

1) The lemons: My former CEO let me raid the lemon tree in his “Babeland” backyard. (He’s German and according to him, there are a lot of babes in the Marina.) Serious huge lemons–the size of a small child’s head actually–and, surprisingly, they were not completely dry and flavorless. On the contrary, every gigantic pulp bit was bursting with juice.

2) The peaches: Handpicked from the Haight Street Farmer’s Market. It may have been a while ago, but I STILL remember just how gorgeous they were. And also huge–again, the size of a small child’s head.

This recipe I found on Always With Butter is awesome. Super simple. I picked it because it used A LOT of lemon. I also thought it would be able to handle the addition of my farmer’s market peaches.

Giant lemon + giant peach = epic combo for scones!

Oh, the original recipe included a glaze, but I skipped it. Too sticky. These are good just on their own. Hope you like them 🙂

Lemon Peach Scones (recipe adapted from Always With Butter)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp grated lemon zest (I used like 1 tbsp!)

1 large peach, cut into bite size chunks

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 F.
  2. Sift together baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  3. Cut in butter until it forms coarse crumbs.
  4. Mix in juice and grated zest.
  5. Quickly and gently fold in the peach chunks.
  6. Form into two disks and cut each into 4 pieces.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool before serving

 

Fruit Galette for Summer


Oregon. Winter is cold and rainy. Spring? Fall? Yup, cold and rainy. But summer, oh, summer–mildly hot, dry, and sunny, they are seriously the best. All you want to do is be outside, hiking, biking and swimming. And when you’re not doing that, you’re popping u-pick berries into your mouth and eating the sweetest peaches, plums and cherries, their juices dribbling down your chin.

I haven’t gone hiking yet (but am going tomorrow), but I’ve definitely eaten my fair share of summer fruit. What with the seemingly endless supply of nectarines, peaches, blueberries and grapes at my parents’ house right now and with the whole family being home, I decided to make a summer pie. Actually, I made a galette, i.e. a free-form pie, but which sounds way more shi shi in French 😀

I ended up making two galettes, each with a different filling (blueberry-nectarine and red grape), and relied on two recipes, one for the crust and blueberry-nectarine filling (via In Erika’s Kitchen) and one for the  grape filling (via Mac and Cheese). As for changes, for the crust, instead of using only all-purpose flour, I used half whole-wheat and half all-purpose. For the grape filling, I used lime zest instead of lemon (didn’t have any lemons at home).

Oh my goodness, there are no words to describe just how delicious each galette turned out. The crust was flaky, soft and so buttery. And the fillings—both amazing. I’d have to say I preferred the grape over the nectarine. Just a personal preference thing, I think.

Make this, make this, make this. And then tell me how it all turns out!

Enjoy!

Fruit Galettes for Summer: Blueberry-Nectarine and Grape (adapted from In Erika’s Kitchen and Mac and Cheese)

Makes two 8-inch galettes

INGREDIENTS

Crust

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 1/4 c. all purpose, 1 1/4 c. whole wheat)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp raw cane sugar

2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, frozen and cut into small cubes (I grated with a cheese grater.)

1/4 cup ice water

1 large egg

2 tsp milk

sugar, for sprinkling

Blueberry-Nectarine Filling

3 cups thinly sliced nectarines

1 cup blueberries (I only had frozen at home.)

1/8 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup raw cane sugar

Grape Filling

4 cups grapes (I used red.)

1/2-3/4 cup raw cane sugar, depending on the sweetness of the grapes

the zest of 1 lemon (I used lime.)

2 tbsp cornstarch

METHOD

Crust

  1. Place the flour, salt, and 2 Tbsp sugar in the food processor and give it a spin to combine. Open the processor and sprinkle the bits of frozen butter over the flour mixture. Pulse five or six times, or until the whole thing inside looks like wet sand. (If doing by hand, combine flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Then, grate the frozen butter into the bowl and gently rub ingredients together with your fingers.)
  2. Sprinkle over about 1/4 cup of ice water and pulse again in your food processor is such that when you pinch some in your fingers it holds together. If necessary, continue adding small amounts of ice water and pulsing until it does this. (If doing by hand, form a small well in the flour-butter mixture and pour in the water. With a fork, gradually work the dry ingredients into the water. Then, with your hands, very briefly knead until a dough just begins to form.) Turn the dough out onto the counter, divide in half and shape into two disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Filling

  1. Blueberry-Nectarine: Put the prepared blueberries and nectarines in a mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the raw sugar and the cornstarch, and mix thoroughly. Let them sit in the sugar-cornstarch mixture at room temperature while the dough is chilling. This will help the fruit juice flow once you get the pie in the oven.
  2. Grape: Crush 3/4 cup of the grapes in a saucepan. Add remaining grapes, sugar, lemon zest, salt, and cornstarch to the crushed grapes. Heat fruit on stove, stirring occasionally until the juice has thickened. Allow to cool.

Assembly

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 deg. F. Roll out one of the dough disks into a rough circle. (Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.) Transfer the dough to baking pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Arrange the nectarines in a spiral fashion in the middle of the dough, leaving about a 2-inch wide edge around. Fold the edges up over the fruit, leaving the middle part of the arranged fruit exposed. Repeat the same process with the grape filling. Note: If there is excess juice, use a slotted spoon to transfer the fruit, in order to avoid making a big, wet mess. (Oops, I forgot to do this…my wet mess turned into baked solid caramel mess. Still looked and tasted good though!)
  2. Combine the egg and milk, and then with a pastry brush, brush over each galette. Sprinkle sugar over each. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden. (I covered them with aluminum foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to avoid over-browning.)
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Cream Puffs con Crema Pastelera de Tres Tipos

Made these in two rounds.

Round 1: FLOP. The plan was to impress a friend of mine on her birthday with homemade mini profiteroles filled with lucuma pastry cream (the same fruit I used to make cheesecake). I did give them to her, though there was nothing impressive about them. They were these completely deflated, doughy disks that tasted more like pancakes than anything else.

I learned the hard way just how important timing is here. I followed the recipe (found here, courtesy of Closet Cooking) exactly, and everything was fine until I started baking. I don’t think it was the instructions. I think it was a combination of factors—my oven, room temperature, ingredients, measurements, etc., but mostly, I think it was my oven. The puffs were still too moist after the initial 7 minutes of baking, and it being my first time, I didn’t realize that if the puffs aren’t dry enough, they will collapse, which is exactly what happened. Oh, the dissapointment. And I had already told my friend that I was bringing them…

I also had problems with the pastry cream: too much lucuma puree made the cream runny. Actually, this was a problem in Round 2 as well. Will have to work on the amount for next time.

Round 2: SUCCESS! Light, fluffy and crisp puffs that were not only easy to fill, but also were delicious and cute!! And the difference this round? Bake-time. Though I did watch the clock, I actually paid more attention to the look of the puffs as they baked.

After the initial 7 minutes, they still looked moist and even had little beads of moisture on their surface. So I gave them another 3 minutes before sticking the wooden spoon in the door.

I also increased the time with the door ajar (from 5 minutes to 8).

So by the time I was to rotate the tray, the moisture beads had dissipated and seemed dry enough to turn without causing deflation and then bake again. I increased the time from 8 minutes to 10.

Following baking, I very gingerly removed the puffs from the oven, placed them gently onto the counter top and left them to cool for a few hours. And they held up beautifully until it was time to fill them.

Loved all three filling flavors. As I mentioned before, however, I still need to figure out the lucuma puree to pastry cream ratio. Since I’m using frozen puree, it might be wise to strain some of the liquid out next time. If you have access to fresh lucuma, you should definitely use that instead of the puree.

Enjoy!

Cream Puffs con Crema Pastelera de Tres Tipos / with 3 Types of Cream

adapted from Closet Cooking’s adaptation of a Pierre Herme recipe

Cream Puffs (Pate Choux)

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

1/2 stick unsalted butter (cut into 8 pieces)

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 eggs (room temperature)

Pastry Cream

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (sifted)

1 1/4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 tbsp lucuma puree, for the lucuma cream

1 oz. dark chocolate, for the chocolate cream

METHOD

Cream Puffs

  1. Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a roiling boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in all of the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
  3. Continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be soft and smooth.
  4. Pour the dough into a bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Form the dough into the desired shapes on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated 375 F (190 C) oven and bake for 7-10 minutes. (It’s very important that the puffs bake long enough, i.e. dry out enough, so they don’t collapse. I learned this the hard way on my first try.)
  7. Stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the oven door to hold it ajar and bake for another 5 minutes (I baked for 10).
  8. Rotate the baking sheet from front to back and, again with the door ajar, bake for another 8 minutes or until the eclairs are puffed and golden brown. (Again, baked for 10, rather than 8.)
  9. Let the puffs cool for a few hours.

Pastry Cream (Pastelera de Lucuma)

  1. Bring the milk and vanilla extract to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in another sauce pan.
  3. Temper the egg yolks with a few tbsp of the milk and then add the remaining milk.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil while whisking and continue to whisk for a minute.
  5. Transfer the cream to a bowl and set the bowl in an ice water bath to cool while still stirring.
  6. Once the mixture has cooled off a bit, stir in the butter.
  7. Return the bowl to the ice water bath and continue to stir until completely cooled.
  8. For the 3 kinds of cream, split the pastry cream between three small bowls.
  9. In a small ramequin, melt the chocolate (I did this in the microwave) and allow to cool slightly. Stir into the first bowl of pastry cream until combined.
  10. Into the second bowl of pastry cream, add in the pureed lucuma and stir until combined.

Assembly

  1. Put a small-sized pastry tip into your pastry bag. Then fill the bag with the plain pastry cream.
  2. use the pastry tip to poke a hole into each cream puff and squeeze to fill.
  3. Repeat the process with the chocolate and lucuma creams.
  4. Serve immediately.


Grapefruit Bars. Just for Me.

I’ve been so stressed lately, I swear I’m going to develop an ulcer (-_-“). It just seems like everyone wants a piece of me right now. Sigh.

So even though I have a million things on my plate, I still made time to bake these cute grapefruit bars.

The original recipe used Meyer Lemons and is from Alpineberry (one of my favorite blogs). I love Meyers but these sad, little grapefruits have been sitting in the fruit bowl for weeks now, crying out for help. They turned out so great in this recipe. You don’t need any special gadgets, and it takes all of 1 hour—from start to finish—to whip them up. Really.

These weren’t for anyone or for any special occasion. These are for me. (^_^)

Hope you like them.

Ruby Red Grapefruit Bars (adapted from alpineberry)

Makes one 8-inch square pan

INGREDIENTS

Crust

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/8 tsp salt

4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I bet you could get away with reducing this to 1/2 stick for a lower-fat version)

Filling

2 large eggs

1/2 – 2/3 cup extra fine sugar (my grapefruits were really ripe and sweet, so I only used 1/2 cup)

2 tbsp all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

the zest of 2 grapefruits, grated (ruby reds or yellow; I used rubies)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the crust: sift flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. (You can also do this by hand) Press mixture evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-20 minutes. Set aside crust.
  3. Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in grapefruit zest and juice until well combined.
  4. Pour filling over the baked crust (It’s okay if crust is still hot). Bake until filling is just set, about 15 – 18 minutes (I needed only 15). Cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Birthday Lemon Tart

Birthdays make this Little Baker very happy! (^_^)

Melita brought home lots and lots of lemons last week, so since her birthday was on Monday, I baked her a lemon tart.

The quirky part about this recipe is that, except for the seeds, it calls for 1 1/2 ENTIRE lemons, which makes for a uber-lemony, sweet and sour tart. I love Dorie. She’s so smart.

I know—another short and sweet post. I leave for Peru tomorrow morning and I still haven’t started packing!?!?!

Hope you enjoy the tart!

Birthday Lemon Tart (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Tartest Lemon Tart recipe found in Baking from My Home to Yours)

Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup ground almonds (or pecans, walnuts or pistachios)

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick, plus 1 tbsp (9 tbsp) very cold or frozen unsalted butter, diced

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

Filling

1 1/2 lemons, scrubbed and dried

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

INSTRUCTIONS

Dough

  1. Put the flour, ground almonds, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor, pulsing a few times to combine.
  2. Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.
  3. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
  4. To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. (I used a 9-inch springform.)Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed—press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
  5. To partially or fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (I didn’t butter the foil.) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
  7. To patch a partially or fully baked crust, if necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

Filling

  1. Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place tart pan on baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat.
  2. Slice whole lemon in half and pull out seeds from it and the half. Then cut lemons into small pieces.
  3. The filling is best made in a blender, but you can use a food processor. Put lemons and sugar in the blender or processor and pulse, blending and scraping down the sides until you have smooth mix. Add the remaining filling ingredients and pulse and blend until the filling is homogeneous. Rap bowl on counter several times to de-bubble the filling as much as possible, and pour it into your prepared, frozen partially baked crust.
  4. Very carefully–tart shell will be full–transfer baking sheet to the oven. Bake 20 minutes, then increase the oven temp to 350 degrees F and bake the tart for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. (The total time is 45 to 50 minutes). Don’t be alarmed when the filling starts to bubble up. (It might even bubble over the edge of tart–that’s okay.) When tart is properly baked, it should be set, although perhaps still shaky in center, and most of top will have formed a light sugary crust.
  5. Transfer the tart pan to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Chill, if you’d like, before serving with cream or dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Tri-flavored Dutch Almond Buttercake (Amandel Boterkoek)

Yay! We have internet at home! F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. No more stealing, no more switching/tweaking/adjusting laptop positions and unlocked wireless networks in order to get connected. Some people (esp. Dennis) might not understand how we three girls have managed to live like this for already half a year (?!?!?!)—actually, now that we have internet, I don’t know how we ever lived without it!

I had already planned on making this Dutch Almond Buttercake before coming home tonight. But now it feels almost like a celebration cake! Calorie-wise, it’s definitely one worth saving for a special occasion.

The recipe is from Almost Bourdain. It really couldn’t have been easier to put together—short list of ingredients; little to no prep, no fancy utensils required and short bake-time. I adapted the original by adding a layer of filling in the middle before baking: 1 part blackberry jam, 1 part unsweetened chocolate and 1 part plain.

I’m not really sure how to categorize this cake. It’s definitely more pastry than cake—crumbly shortbread texture, buttery and firm. It reminds me of a similar French teacake called “Gateau Breton”. However you want to categorize it, this pastry/cake is DIVINE. It’s dense, crumbly and rich in texture—like eating marzipan!! And as for flavor, it’s mildly sweet and SUPER almondy. The added filling is a great addition to the original in my opinion. The tartness from the jam blends well with the buttery crust, as does the chocolate. I imagine that the flavors will continue to blend and improve over time. The filling also provides a pretty layer of color.

Tri-flavored Dutch Almond Buttercake (Amandel Boterkoek) (adapted from Almost Bourdain)

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp almond extract

1 egg, beaten (reserve 1 tsp)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/4 cup jam (I used blackberry, but any would flavor would do)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and almond extract.
  2. Add the beaten egg, reserving 1 tsp for later.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to the bowl with the wet ingredients.
  4. Layer half the dough in a greased 9-inch springform. Then, spread the melted chocolate onto 1/3 of the tart, repeating the same process for the second-third but with jam.
  5. Using a wet spatula and your fingers, carefully layer the remaining half of the dough in the springform until the filling is completely covered.
  6. Mix the reserved 1 tsp beaten egg with 1 tsp water. Brush this over the dough, smoothing over the surface of the cake.
  7. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until the cake surface is firm to the touch.
  8. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Wishing-I-Was-At-Brunch Blueberry Scones

I never eat brunch, let alone breakfast. Yes, I am fully aware that I am setting myself up for overeating and carb-loading later on in the day. But I am just not one of those people who can stomach solids at 8 in the morning. Coffee is about all I can handle that early in the AM. Even on weekends.

So the fact that I fantasize about breakfast and brunch foods—all the time—doesn’t make much sense. Maybe it’s the idea of getting up after a long sleep-in, throwing on jeans and a hoodie and meandering over to the diner around the corner for a big stack of fluffy, syrup pancakes that gets me. Even better is when the person you love joins too. Or maybe it’s the thought of sneaking out of bed to bake and then seeing the look of surprise and joy on that special someone’s face when they see that you baked for him/her…

Scones usually do the trick, especially ones chock full of fresh berries. If only they weren’t so easy to make, and if only I didn’t have the most perfect recipe (thanks to Nicole at BakingBites)  for super quick and airy blueberry ones! Actually, I’m so grateful for this recipe because these are seriously too delicious for words.

As for preparation, this is what I have to say:

-Use good-quality butter.

-The original recipe calls for dried blueberries, but I prefer fresh or frozen. If using fresh or frozen, be sure to toss them in a little flour before mixing them in with the rest of the batter. This will somewhat prevent the batter from staining.

-Do not overmix.

These take literally 25 minutes from start to finish—so you can stay in bed all morning and still be able to bake and enjoy warm scones with your loved ones.

I wish it was brunch RIGHT NOW!

IMG_5500

(Crappy picture is better than none at all.)

Blueberry Drop Scones (adapted recipe from BakingBites)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk, plus more if needed
coarse sugar, for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, toss and coat the blueberries in a little flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  4. Add cut up butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few large bits are ok, but try not to have any pieces larger than an average pea.
  5. Stir in blueberries. Add about 2/3 of the milk and stir. Add remaining milk gradually until the mixture comes together into a slightly sticky ball.
  6. Divide dough in eight even pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake for 16-19 minutes, until scones are a light golden color. A toothpick should come out clean, but color is a reliable indicator for these.