Banana Bread

banana bread

via Banana Bread

November 3, 2019 at 9:32 pm Leave a comment

Wild Plum Jam

jam

Jam making isn’t hard, but to keep the jars shelf-stable, you’ll need to process them in a hot-water bath. There’s lots on the web about canning and jar sterilization, so please be sure to do your research before you dive in.

6 cups plums, chopped and pitted
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (3-ounce) package fruit pectin

Cook the plums and water in a large pot over medium heat until it comes to a boil
stir in the sugar and bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil
add pectin and lemon juice and return to full boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly
turn off the heat

Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head room at the top
wipe the rims and threads of the jars clean and seal with lids and bands (be sure not to over tighten the bands)
lower the sealed jars into the boiling-water bath
process the filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes
remove jars, tighten the bands a little bit (be careful, they are hot)
now listen for the distinctive and satisfying pop the lids make when the vacuum forms in the jars

Label with flavor and date before you store in your pantry

August 26, 2019 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Artisan Boule

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The original recipe comes from an episode of Martha Stewart Bakes on PBS. I have changed a few things, so I’ve included a link to the original post just in case you’re interested in checking it out. I recommend a stand mixer for bread baking, but doing it by hand is fine, just takes a bit more effort. This style bread loves a steam oven, to create one at home, use 2 cups of ice cubes tossed into a preheated cast-iron skillet before baking.

Poolish (French), Biga (Italian), Sponge (English)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup AP flour

Stir together yeast, water, and flour
cover with plastic wrap, or use a bowl with a tight-fitting lid, and let stand at room temperature 8 to 12 hours

Dough – large loaf
1 teaspoon yeast
1 2/3 cups warm water
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Dough – small loaf
1/2 teaspoon yeast
3/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rye flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Pour the poolish into mixer bowl
fit mixer with a dough hook
add flours and water
mix on medium speed until well combined
add salt
allow the dough to knead for 8-10 minutes

Move the dough to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours

When dough is doubled in bulk, move to a lightly floured surface
pat dough into a 12×10 inch rectangle, approximately
fold into thirds, then in half
flip so seams are facing down
gently shape into a ball

Return to an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 hour

Preheat oven to 450°F
place cast-iron skillet in oven to preheat along with a pizza stone (I recommend a stone for bread baking, but baking on a cookie sheet should give you great results)

After the second rise, on a floured surface, repeat the folding process
gather the corners and pinch together, and shape into a tight ball
transfer dough, seam-side down, to a piece of parchment paper
adjust shape as needed
loosely cover with a dish towel
let rise for a third time, about 45 minutes

Lightly dust surface of bread with flour
with a very sharp knife or razor, score surface in a decorative pattern
carefully slide parchment onto baking sheet, then into the oven, or straight to the pizza stone

Carefully add ice to heated skillet
bake for 45 to 50 minutes
when bottom is solid when tapped and you get a hollow sound, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving
(I know it isn’t very scientific, but it works. You can always use an instant-read thermometer; bread is fully cooked when it reaches approximate 200°F.)

July 30, 2019 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

Asian-style Baked Egg Custard Buns – A small batch

bun 1

More dim sum favorites. I was skeptical when I read a small-batch custard recipe that was made in a microwave. But to my surprise, it worked perfectly the first time. If you are wary, then by all means, the custard can be done on the stove top.

Dough
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Combine flour, sugar, yeast, warm water, and melted butter
mix to combined, the dough will be a shaggy mess at this point

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface
knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes
allow dough to rise in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 hour or until doubled

bun 2

Custard filling
1 whole egg
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Whisk egg and sugar together
mix in flour and cornstarch
add milk, salt, and vanilla extract
whisk well to remove the lumps

Cover bowl with plastic wrap
heat in a microwave oven on high for 3 minutes total
whisk well after every minute
cover and cool before use

Makes 1 cup of pastry cream

Preheat the oven to 400℉

Punch down dough and knead briefly, about 5 minutes
roll the dough into a log
divide the dough into 4 portions
flatten and shape each portion into circles
spoon about a 1/4 cup of prepared custard filling into the middle of the flattened dough
gathering the edges together and gently twist to seal
place the bun, sealed-side down onto baking sheet
brush buns with egg wash

bun 3

Immediately after putting baking sheet in the oven, reduce the heat to 350℉ for 20-25 minutes, or until buns are golden brown

These freeze and defrost beautifully. Once fully cooled, wrap in plastic and store in the freezer.

July 24, 2019 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Texas Toast – A small batch

toast

If I had known that Texas Toast was garlic bread made with thick-cut mushy white bread, I would have made it a long time ago.

2 slices thick-cut white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
pinch of salt (but only if you use unsalted butter)
pinch of cayenne (to taste)
pinch of dry oregano

If you prefer your toast cheesy (I don’t) you can sprinkle Parmesan cheese on one, or both side, before toasting

Melt butter with garlic and spices in the microwave for 30 seconds
brush one side of the bread slices liberally
brown in a hot skillet
once toasted, flip and coat the second side

Serve hot

May 6, 2019 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

Spaetzle – A small batch

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1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup milk or water (approx.)
2 eggs
pinch of salt and pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth

Form the dumplings using a spaetzle maker, or a sieve/colander with large holes. I use a slotted spoon, pushing the dough through the holes with another spoon or rubber scraper.

Cook in boiling water for about 1 minute after the spaetzle begin to float.

Drain well
serve hot, tossed with butter, and a little salt

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April 22, 2019 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment

Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Crunch – A small batch

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This sweet treat which is taking the internet by storm this Passover season, is a riff on Christmas Crack but with matzoh, obviously. And per the interwebz can easily be altered for the Kosher or vegan cooks among us.

3 sheets unsalted matzohs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
big pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toppings, which are optional (chopped nuts, sprinkles, sesame seeds, coconut, drizzled white chocolate)

Line a rimmed 11×17 baking sheet with foil

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

Place the matzoh in the lined baking pan, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces

In a 3-4 quart saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together
cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil
boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh
working quickly, spread the caramel with a heatproof spatula

Put the pan in the oven
bake for 15 minutes
keep an eye on it and do not let the caramel brown or burn

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips
let stand for a few minutes, then spread the melted chips with an offset spatula

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Then sprinkle the melted chocolate with the preferred topping

Let cool completely, the break into pieces, storing in an airtight container until ready to serve.

April 8, 2019 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

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