3/29/15

Treacle Tart: Harry Potter


Anyone who has read the Harry Potter series as much as I have (and that's a lot) knows that Harry's got quite a soft spot for treacle tart. It seems like at every feast Harry is always tucking into a slice. As an American kid, this treacle business seemed very foreign to me, along with steak and kidney pies and pumpkin juice. Apparently treacle is a very popular ingredient in the UK, similar to molasses or honey. Now while it's not very common in the US, you can still make a pretty similar version of this dessert. So for my first HP recipe (and there will definitely be more), I figured I'd try Harry's favorite. I know house elves can make it way better than I ever will, but I gave it a shot!


Makes 1 Pie
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours
Bake Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
8 ounces butter, chilled and diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup golden syrup or molasses
6 tablespoons bread crumbs
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup salt
1 lemon, zest

 

Preparation

1. Make the crust; mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Combine 6 ounces of butter until the mixture has the consistency of sand, either with pastry cutters or a food processor. Slowly add the cold water, until it just comes together. Knead gently for a few seconds. Form a disk, wrap with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

2. Heat the syrup or molasses in a sauce pan over medium heat until it's warm and loosened. Stir in the rest of the butter, bread crumbs, cream, salt, and zest. Set aside.

3. When the dough has chilled, roll into an 11'' disk on parchment paper, and fit into a 9 inch tart pan. Prick the bottom with a fork and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Blind bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove weights and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden-brown.

5. Pour the filling into the pie crust, and bake for another 30 minutes, until the filling has set. Enjoy!


I'm sorry to say, I really didn't like it. I wanted to, but sorry Harry, it was just not for me.

The texture was correct, but the taste was way too sweet; almost like a cross between raisins and ginger bread. I wasn't able to find golden syrup, so I used molasses, and I think it would have a totally different experience with the syrup. But whether you like what you make or not, it's always cool to try new recipes and see what happens. I would try it again, maybe maybe with real treacle, but in the mean time I think I'm going to leave this one to the Brits. 







Happy baking!

3/28/15

Blind Baking


Like most things in baking, this is a lot less complicated than it sounds. It sounds like someone's asking you to wear a blind fold and manage to bake a cake. But essentially blind baking is how to bake pie crust without the filling.

In many tarts and pies, the fillings are delicate and can't bake as long as the crust, or some cream fillings shouldn't be near the oven at all. So the crust is baked before hand to ensure an even and complete bake. No one likes raw pie dough, and no one wants baked chocolate pudding. Sounds pretty simple, right? 

Due to the high butter/shortening content of pie dough, there's also a good bit of moisture. This can cause the crust to bubble and inflate as it bakes, without the weight of the filling pressing it down. So to counter this rise, the dough is covered with a layer of oven-safe weights. These weights can be like the porcelain nuggets I have, or even dried beans or rice. As an added bonus, they will also absorb the heat and bake the top of the crust as well.

Because the dough is covered with parchment paper or cling-wrap, and then covered with weights, you can't really see what's happening. Voila! Now you're blind. Really I'm not sure how this is different from normal baking, but whatever.

Instructions


1. Fit your dough.


Roll out your pie dough and fit it into whatever tin you are using. Trim the edges and prick with a fork. Cover and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is a good time to preheat your oven to the desire temperature (varies).


2. Cover.


When the dough is firm and chilled, cover with parchment paper or oven-safe cling wrap. 


3. Fill with beans. 


Pour in about 1 1/2  cups of beans or oven safe pie weights.


4. Bake it blind.


 This varies per recipe. Rest the tart tin in the middle of the oven, and trim the parchment paper if it's unwieldy. 


5. Bake it un-blind.


When it's ready, remove from the oven and VERY CAREFULLY lift the weights from it. Because they just came from the oven, they will be hot! Please don't for get this. Have something ready to collect them in once you remove them. Then the recipe might ask to bake the crust a little longer san filling or weights, or to pour in the filling and bake normally. Either way, just pop it into the oven and bake to a golden brown.



3/26/15

A Bookish Direction


I had so much fun in February baking things inspired by literature, and there were so many books I had to miss in a month, that I'm just gonna keep on doing it. Cause I'm the boss right?

So the blog's changed a little now. I'll be dedicating each bake to a novel, poem, or author. You can search recipes based on the baked good you're looking for, or see what I make for each book in the library.

Woo!

To be clear: I probably won't make food that looks anything like books- No Hunger Game symbols, or The Great Gatsby-cover blue, or little Jane Austen cupcakes. I'm getting on my baking high horse here, and trying to capture the soul or theme of a book within the bake. Or I like making food that is mentioned specifically, or appropriate for the period or place.

Happy baking!

3/25/15

Madeleines with Raspberry and Lemon Curd: Swann's Way

She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called "petites Madeleines," which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. 

Marcel Proust's most famous work may be one of the few to have an entire chapter inspired by a cookie, even if it is one so delicious and decadent as the Madeleine. These spongey, buttery treats are easy to whip up but they do take a while for the batter to set, which will give you time to find the specially shaped tray. I'm sure Marcel didn't consider the extra effort these need when digging into some prose, and pastries. I spruced them up a little by adding raspberries and lemon curd, from a recipe by Rachel Khoo's The Little Paris Kitchen

Makes: 12 cookies
Bake Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours - overnight

Ingredients:

For the Lemon Curd:
1 lemon, zest and juice
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks

For the Madeleines:
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 lemon, zest
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 pint raspberries
Confectioners' sugar, to decorate


Preparation

    1. Make the curd: Place the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan and heat on medium-high until the sugar and butter have melted. Take off the heat.

    2. Quickly beat the two egg yolks, and add to the butter mixture. Return to the heat while whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and releases a bubble or two. 

    3. Once the curd has thickened, remove from the heat and pass through a sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd, and allow to cool completely.

    4. Beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer or with hand mixers until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest together. 

    5. Combine together the honey, milk, and melted butter, and then add the egg mixture. Carefully fold the flour into the egg mixture. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for a few hours, or over night.

    6. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a madeleine tray or mini muffin tin. 

    7. Put a heaping spoonful of batter into each shell or cup, and pop a raspberry into the center.

    8. Bake the madeleines for 5 minutes, turn off the heat for 1 minute, then turn the oven down to 325 F and bake for another 5 minutes. (The rest and temperature decrease will give them their signature bump.)
     
    9. Pop onto a wire rack and let cool. Meanwhile, place the lemon curd in a piping bag with a slim nozzle, and squeeze a teaspoon of lemon curd into the center of each raspberry. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and enjoy! 

     Happy baking!




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