Monday, July 27, 2015

Blueberry Pie - minus elderberries

                                                       Grab a fork ---  It's sooooooo yummy!!
Believe me, I had intended to make The ElderBlueberry Pie. I even found and ordered freeze-dried elderberries because no fresh ones seemed to be found here in Texas, at least not at present. I had read that red elderberries are not edible and, when picking, one must choose dark berries not red.  So, I opened one of my bags of berries to make the pie:

........and instantly decided the pie would be Blueberry sans Elderberry. I have five bags unopened.

Instead,  I thought I would use the exercise to practice baking a berry pie since I never have -

And, I had splurged on Rose's new baking ensemble -  Mmmm
Only King Arthur's Pastry Flour Would do ---
And so the crust began -

Will I ever learn if Rose's small peas are the size of Le Sueur's?
I loooove this stretchy implement! 
And the pretty white Rose's plate - [need a lot more practice with that crust! I don't do it often enough so it still scares me].
The blueberries were organic and huge. I added some lemon zest as in Rose's early recipe.

In keeping with the tradition of old weavers of Persian rugs that since only the Almighty makes perfection there would always be a flaw in the weaving - if you look verrrrry closely, you just might see it here - [not the bow]  Lol!
And, a really fun thing happened just now as I am sitting in the kitchen at work at the table typing up this blog at 4 o'clock. Suddenly my phone rang and I saw it was my husband. I answered, and listened as he said he wanted to tell me right away that he had just eaten a slice of the blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream. The pie, of course, has settled and blended for a day. He waxed enthusiastic that it was now the best pie he had ever eaten, and enhanced by the vanilla ice cream. He said he just had to call and tell me! Wow! Not only a big blue berry, but a big blue ribbon!


Monday, July 20, 2015


- Kourambiethes -

This Greek version of many traditional recipes of a similar cookie uses chilled clarified butter to lighten it and toasted almonds for its crunch. The preparation of the cookie, itself, offered no problems for me since it is so simple to make in three short stages.
Troublesome for me, however, was not knowing initially the exact amount of clarified butter to use. I learned that 390 grams of clarified butter from the 454 gram of butter was the right amount, but found I was short; so I clarified another ~stick and a half to obtain the 390 grams. Rose indicates one loses in water about 25% of the amount being clarified when using AA butter like the Land o' Lakes I used. 


"The  cookies just turned out to be beautiful to behold and delicious to savor", our friends were kind enough to say as they took some home to the family.

Baking the Kourambiethes:
A very simple mis en place  ~~  Butter for clarifying, powdered sugar, lightly toasted almonds, all-purpose flour, baking powder, egg yolks, vanilla and a tad of brandy.

Not quite enough clarified butter for the necessary 390g so I clarfiied another stick and a half to get the necessary 37g,

The chilled discs popped right out of the silicone vessel 

And into the mixing bowl to be mixed with powdered sugar 

Chilled butter cubes beaten with powdered sugar for ten minutes - egg yolks, brandy and vanilla added for one minute and then add almonds beating for a few seconds. 

Flour added with baking powder for about 20 seconds.  Cover and chill for ~20 minutues to firm.
Make cookies as dough balls... mine were 31 grams. Press down slightly til about half inch tall.

I made the balls 31 grams and flattened them by laying a ruler across and pressing down so they were about half-inch high. Baking was fine at 8 minutes and then turned for 8 minutes.
Place the cookies on their baking sheet on a rack. Place another rack in parchment sheet. Transfer each cookie with a small spatula to the empty rack. Sift powdered sugar over the tops of all the cookies. After a minute or so, sprinkle another layer over top.  I took the parchment with the extra powdered sugar and set onto a baking sheet. The Kourambiethes like to have a good coating of the sugar on their bottoms. I also found that a think sprinkling over the top before serving helped to keep a buttery top from peeking through.
A happy Kourambiethe! I know because he said so when I ate him  ;  )


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Molasses Crumb Cakelets

The Molasses Crumb Cakelets

These enchanting cakelets were on the agenda for the Alpha Bakers' week of July 13. I decided to bake them earlier although not as part of the group, so I did not photograph all the measuring
and mis en place. The recipe is very simple and straight-forward.

I obtained a 48-cavity Wilton mini-muffin tin at Bed, Bath and Beyond since I thought it would be nice to have on hand for such events as this. I already have silicone pans for muffins, financiers, and Madeleines, etc.

I prepped the pan with Bakers Joy, but next time I will not because the coating is extra strong on the pan and the cakelets became moist because of my excessive spray, I think.

The molasses, see jar above, became questionable when I saw ''Grandma's Original' on the shelf in the grocery, but no 'light' as Rose suggested. There were other brands, such as Brer Rabbit, but I decided to just use the regular strength Grandmas's and hoped it was not too strong.

The recipe is very simple to execute, lightly mix the basic flour, oil, and salt. separate 80 g. for top crumbles. 
Make batter with molasses that is really good and hard to resist slurping!

As you can see above, I used an 18g scoop that filled the cavities too high. Rose calls for 3/4-full cavity, but as you can see I filled higher. For a more full shape, this was fine, but I think it caused a moisture problem and cakelets were not done enough to suit me. I took them out at 9 minutes and neglected to take their temperature.  Error. Rose's shape was shorter, more compact, nicer.  Mine also were somewhat sticky and gummy inside. The outsides were moist with oil. 

I have an idea that the light molasses would have been the answer to a more perfect cakelet since it may have not lent itself to the density. Filling the cavity lower, and/or baking a minute longer, plus taking temp. necessary. I would like to make these again.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Fourth of July Cheesecake

The Fourth of July Cheesecake plus my Starburst

This latest adventure for me began a week or so ago when it occurred to me it would be fun to bake Rose's Fourth of July Cheesecake as a present for a friend named Jolee, whose birthday is on the Fourth of Jolee.

As some of you know, I have been a Rose's Baker in the past but have had to drop away much to my sadness due to conflicts. At the end of the baking of this quite lavish cake, however, I sent best wishes to most of my friends after Jolee's birthday wishes, of course. Marie, being the insightful person she is, asked if I was having wistful thoughts and of course I was, and so she has been kind enough to reinstate me among the Alpha Bakers, much to my delight. I hope that is acceptable to you all. I will try to do several bakings a month.

For the present cake, I used the inexpensive McCormick coloring in the amount called for:
and was rewarded with a bright scarlet 10 x 2 layer.

I won't go into detail of the mixing of the various ingredients, but you can see I used the silicone pan protection in a water bath to bake the cheesecake.
Here it is in the oven ...
...and finished

Assembled, with blueberries set aside for serving, the cake is cut

...and sliced with blueberry sauce served on the side - Peggy's best -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

And Star sang Happy Birthday to Jolee.