Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pizza Rustica

I'm either a day late for serving
Pizza Rustica,
a month early.
This savory Italian pie,
Pizza Rustica,
 is served for 
the day before Ash Wednesday
or Easter Sunday.

It's fun learning new culinary traditions.

For the photo tutorial process,
head over to the Alpha Bakers.

I felt lucky just to get this made,
mistakes and all.
First off, I couldn't find the dried thyme I bought
so ran outside and picked fresh from my herb container pot,
hoping I was actually clipping thyme in the dark.

Secondly I forgot to add the pecorino cheese into the ricotta mixture
and slap dash sprinkled it over the top.
Since I don't eat meat,
ham was added to half.
No spicey meat eaters in the house.
For my side, I sauteed mushrooms,
layered artichoke hearts and fresh basil.

It took much longer to bake than the recipe 
indicated. Thank goodness for 
instant read thermometers.

It's an interesting dish with
the sweetened crust.
The mushrooms and basil really off set it.
Curious, I read many different
versions and the sweetened dough
is standard but not required.
It seems the basic mixture
of eggs, ricotta and cheeses
can be varied with almost anything.

I'm glad we made this because I never
would have attempted it on my own.
I like it.
I'll make it again without ham and
add even more mushrooms. 
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Monday, February 8, 2016

Perfect American French Toast

We love French Toast in my house.
It's one of those things I can make 
without thinking twice.
Rose's recipe for
Perfect American French Toast
is similar to my standard recipe
except for two things:
one she uses nutmeg instead of cinnamon
and two,
she stacks slices together.
I've never heard of this being done before
unless stuffed with fillings.

Bread soaking in egg mixture

Rose specifies white bread made without
eggs or dairy. I found such a loaf at 
Trader Joe's with great texture.

Her soaking mixture is rich with cream,
whole milk, nutmeg beaten together 
with eggs and vanilla.

Cooking under glass

I have a trick that I came up with while making
endless French Toast for grandchildren.
Always concerned that the eggy custard was cooked thoroughly,
I started covering the pan with a lid.
The most amazing thing happened; 
this results in enough steam that the bread interior remains
soft, the outer edges turn golden and the bread sort of puffs,
no matter what kind of bread is used.

Rose offers a variation with 
Yogurt and Raspberry Sauce.
Plain yogurt is strained resulting in a thickened
Frozen raspberries are drained and pushed through a wire mesh
after thawing.
Since mine weren't sweetened, 
I added sugar and the called for lemon juice.

This is what it should have looked like
had I been patient enough to wait.
Greek Yogurt would probably work well, too,
and then no need to drain.

Instead, it looked like this:

No matter,
it's delicious! 
And the stacked slices
make a nice thick serving.

Such a pretty presentation,
perfect for Valentine's Day.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Irish Cream Scones with Raspberry Butterscotch Lace Topping


Shall I be mother?

It is bad luck to have more than one person 
pour tea from the pot,
or so it is said.
Perhaps this is the origin of
the expression
"Shall I be mother?"
Should I pour out tea for everyone? 
Tea and scones
and a lively chat with my daughter, granddaughters 
or friends always makes me happy.

This is the recipe I have been waiting to bake
since we began sifting our way through
Rose's Baking Bible.
Being able to make a decent scone
has eluded me,
even with all the Irish, Scottish and English DNA,
until now.

The ingredients are few:
bread flour, baking powder, salt, lemon rind,
raisins (I used currents),  sugar, honey
and heavy cream stirred together.
Quick knead,  patted into an
eight inch circle
and baked for a very short time,
they popped out of the oven 
with the most wonderful aroma.

It was difficult not to tuck in right there
but Rose declared her Raspberry Butterscotch Sauce
"Is to live for!"
Catherine's  post.
So I carried on.

It's always a bit of a chore smashing
raspberries through a fine mesh sieve
and all the rest of  the finicky steps,
but oh so worth it in the end.
Really worth it!
Next time I double it 
at the very least.

The recipe says the Raspberry Butterscotch
can also be mixed into whipped cream.
I opted to make use of the 
left over Devonshire cream
in the frig.

It makes me happy that I can 
finally make a decent scone
with an amazing topping.
It is better than any tea room
scone I have ever had.

Such a surprise.
I never thought this day would come.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lemon Almond Cheesecake

Rose's Lemon Almond Cheesecake

Take a whole lot of frozen lemon shells
just waiting for a recipe like this,
a package of store bought lovely soft lady finger cookies,
loads of sour cream and cream cheese,
blanched almonds, turbinado sugar,
about a dozen egg yolks
and this is the result:
an absolutely scrumptious lemon cheesecake
with extra flavor from lemon juice, lemon oil, lemon zest,
vanilla and almond extract (which I doubled).

Zesting frozen lemon rind is so much easier

It was a fairly easy recipe
just interrupted by lengthy chill times.
Oh and that whole wrapping the spring form pan
with foil and submerging in a hot water bath. 
I found the longest roll possible of extra strength foil
which encased the entire pan.

Huzzah!  No water hazard.

Another thing I did was blitz the extra
lady fingers in the mini Cuisinart
and sprinkle over the base of whole ones.

Stirring up a small dose of lemon curd for a
shallow topping was a great touch.

With a dollop of Devonshire Cream,
even better

Forgot to heat the pan before removing the 
sides and smooth with a warm knife.
Too impatient! 

Everyone who has had a slice
loves it! 

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


It's always fun to find a new treat
so when Hanaa from 
invited me to bake along
I was excited about
this recipe for Rondo's.

They were easy to mix up, 
first the almond filling
which is refrigerated,
and then the pastry dough,
which also is refrigerated.
Rolled out, filled, sealed and baked
in rings, the kitchen was filled
with a lovely aroma.

I used dark Muscavdo sugar and some
of the sugar didn't entirely melt
but it just added to the charm.
I also did not brush with the egg wash 
and adorn with almonds.
I had unexpected visitors
in the form of grandchildren

Baked in a four inch English muffin ring.

You can image the chaos.  
They loved them so much 
I was asked if the could take 
them all home!
That says everything, yes?!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Trellis French Roasted Garlic Soup

Soup's on!
The Melting Potters have set sail with
The Trellis French Roasted Garlic Soup 
The Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia.
This is an incredibly easy tres chic soup to make.

First garlic is oven roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper.
On the advise of my daughter,
I doubled the amount.
We like garlic in this family.
Meanwhile cream is set over heat to
slowly reduce for an hour and half.
I used part half and half with 
whole milk.
It's plenty rich and creamy.

Vegetables prepped.

Leeks, celery and onions softened in butter.
The garlic cloves are then added in.
This is cooked together for a bit
and the aroma really starts to kick up a notch.
Meanwhile, cubed potatoes are tipped into
stock and brought to the boil.
The vegetables are added and cooked
together with the potatoes.
At this point I got out my immersion blender
and blitzed everything together right in the pan
instead of pulsing in a food processor. 

Blitzed again with the addition of the reduced milk,
 and seasonings adjusted.
Rose instructs to strain the soup but
we like texture so I left it rustic.
It is still very silky.

What fun to cook from Rose's book
that has been sitting on my shelf forever!
I've never roasted garlic before or used leeks
so already I've learned something new.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Monday, January 11, 2016

King Cake

A long time ago,
I ordered a King Cake
expressed shipped from New Orleans.
Even with over night shipping,
it was a bit worse for wear 
but still good.
My husband was a Fed Ex manager
back then and nearly free shipping was one of the perks.

I can't remember why I thought 
this was a good idea or even where
I got the idea, 
never having been to New Orleans.

My kids were quite young then
but it made an impression.
My now grown up son asked if I would make
a King Cake.
He recently visited New Orleans on business.
So I gave it a go

My assistant took over the all important
task of frosting and shaking the sprinkles.
It was a fun dough to work with
and smelled heavenly with the addition
of lemon oil and fresh nutmeg.
The KA version was filled with sweetened cream cheese.
See what happens 
after baking along with fellow
Bread Bakers for a few months?
Enough confidence 
to tackle another yeasty bake.