Tuesday, December 29, 2015

White Christmas Victoria Sponge Cake

This was supposed to be Rose's 
White Christmas Peppermint Cake
Marie made and you can see
how it is meant to be.
When she mentioned this cake
could easily be adapted to other flavors
I wondered if finally I could
duplicate my wedding cake.
Happy to say this is even better.

The cake batter Rose has us make
is a butter cake dream.
Honestly, it is the most beautiful,
fluffy batter imaginable.
Super simple to mix up, too.
Egg whites, sugar, cake flour, baking powder,
milk, salt, butter and extracts.

The frosting is divine.
Buttercream from a white chocolate custard base
transforms into a fluffy frosting.
I used Lindt Classic White Chocolate bars.

Here's where I veered off course.
The wedding cake was almond with raspberry filling
and white buttercream frosting.
I forgot to buy raspberry jam but had a new jar 
of strawberry.

I started remembering all those Great British Bake Off Victoria Sponges
and visions of Mary Berry began to swirl 'round my head.

I looked up her recipe and it's the same sort of basic ingredients,
minus the extracts  and butter ( hence "sponge")
but with choice of jams,
and powdered sugar showered over instead of frosting.

Adjusting the almond extract for the peppermint 
and spreading warmed jam
between the layers before frosting 
substituted easily.

We really love this cake
and I can see this next year made at
in it's peppermint form decorated with
marching soldiers among the candy cane crunch.
They've been in storage since my
children were little.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cranberry Walnut Christmas Bread

Cranberry Walnut Christmas Bread.
This may well be the recipe 
that put me over the edge.
And it has nothing to do with the recipe.
Although I was fooled
thinking it would be a lovely, simple tea bread,
like banana, zucchini, etc.
It is not a typical tea bread.
It is a full fledged 
yeast bread.   
And a very nice one at that.
One that calls for biga
slumbering away in the frig for three full days.
Fine by me.
I forget a lot of things these days
so being instructed to purposely 
ignore ingredients was a reprieve
in the midst of holiday must do lists.
I could swear this recipe called for candied orange rind.

It's always a good sign to pull the bowl
out of the refrigerator and find bubbles.

Snipped biga in cranberry water

As the name suggests, there are cranberries in this bread,
dried not fresh, plumped in hot water.
The strained water is used to flavor and tint the dough.
Mixed together with the usual cast of bread characters:
regular and whole wheat flour, yeast, salt 
and the main characters, cranberries and walnuts,
it turned into a dense dough.

After a few warm risings,
it quickly transformed into a lovely mound.
The magic of yeast, like Drosselmeyer
waving his cape and the Nutcracker comes to life.

It is a fun dough to press and fold and slash into shape.

The aroma started to fill the cold, wintery house
with cozy warmth.

This bread surprised me.
I didn't think I would like it.
It is delicious.
I still have no idea what recipe I read
that made me think it called for 
candied orange rind and zest
to soak with the cranberries.
Which makes me wonder if
I've taken to having baking hallucinations?
Sounds good though.

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Monday, December 14, 2015

Renee Fleming Golden Chiffon Cake

The Renee Fleming Golden Chiffon Cake
is a light, refreshing dessert
in the middle of gloomy weather.

It was incredibly easy to make,
probably one of the easiest of
Rose's sponge type cakes.
The egg whites folded in
so easily.

Finished late last night,
Ms Fleming was wrapped for the night,
and with an early morning wake up call,
sliced for breakfast!

The lemon curd was stirred up
while the cake was baking
and then mixed into the whipped cream today.
I only had 3/4's of a cup of heavy cream
but it suited me fine.
I love lemon curd and honestly
could have even gone down to 1/2 cup cream ratio.

The dried lemon zest was a bit off
I heated up the oven, placed it inside
on a plate and turned it off.
It dried out while I tackled the
mountain of dishes.

Can't tell by this picture but it
dipped down as the recipe indicated.

Perfect for cradling lemon curd heaven.
More visible in this one.

This cake is 
definitely on the Bake Again list.

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Posh Pie

See the camera reflection?

This is Rose's ultimate chocolate pie creation,
aptly named Posh Pie.

It's a high maintenance pie,
that's for sure.
can fill you in on all the details.

This is the only picture I took which was from
making the chocolate cookie dough for the chocolate
cookie pie crust.
It's not that this pie was particularly difficult,
it was just many different components
and a lot of chilling times.

My new deep dish pie pan
arrived today after
making this yesterday!

So I used a ten and half inch pie plate
and had enough leftover filling
to make two small parfaits layered with
Speculoos cookies and whipped cream.
There aren't any pictures of those either.

With Rose's chocolate lacquer whipped cream

Was this pie worth the time and effort?
For a special occasion, yes.
Light and airy in texture,
not too sweet.
Definitely a pie for chocolate lovers 
and truly a show stopper.
I did follow 
tip to cool the filling in an ice bath
and Jen's
observation about the crust sticking
to the pan.  
I used a wooden espresso tamper to
barely tap it in.

It holds up really well overnight in Tupperware
even after being sliced

I am wondering what crushed candy canes
would be like over the top or peppermint
flavored whipped cream for the holidays?

It is spectacular! 
The peppermint whipped cream 
and crushed candy canes
really hit the mark with the chocolate.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Traditional Challah

has to be one of the most
beautiful of all braided breads,
when made properly.

My challah resembled
the giant fish
Julia Child tackled.

Image result for julia child images with giant fish

It just kept growing!
 All the while, a challah
song kept coming to mind
but it wasn't as cute 
as this little sweet 

First up making the sponge;
the most fun step in Rose's bread recipes.
Flour, water, honey and eggs whisked together
and then blanketed with flour, yeast and salt.

Time to add the rest of the ingredients:
eggs, oil, honey and vinegar.
Mixed with the dough hook until
 nice and smooth and definitely tacky.

A few steamy warm risings in between 
a quick knead, the proverbial 
business letter fold, dividing the dough
and braiding.

It baked up to the required internal
and voila!
Giant challah.

What to do with this massive loaf?
First, toast and tea.

And then a French Toast Casserole. 
It's been on my bucket list forever.
I used this recipe, 
subbing the Trader Joe's dried fruit blend
with golden raisins, cherries and blueberries,
plus one added teaspoon of orange oil.
The aroma bubbling out of the oven
was amazing.

A slight drizzle of  maple syrup
and it was delicious.
The challah texture stands up
perfectly during baking.

I had fun reading about the 
significance of challah
in the Jewish faith.
Very glad this lovely bread
is shared with the rest of the world.
Now I'm off to surprise
my brother with most
of this casserole.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Monday, November 30, 2015

Butter Spritz-less Cookies

This week's bake is Rose's wonderful
Butter Spritz Cookies.
I took the simple way out and didn't "spritz" 
the cookies, 
gently rolling them into balls then
pressing with a fork to flatten.
I swear I have a cookie press around here
but I couldn't find it which explains
cookie presses popping up in front of me
on store shelves the past few weeks.
I didn't heed the cosmic hint to buy one.

But it did make me wonder how 
many home bakers miss out on
Spritz cookies because they
don't own and never would
use a cookie press?
I know my mom,
cookie baker extraordinaire,
wouldn't but she would have
loved these cookies.

They were super simple to make,
especially since Trader Joe's had
blanched toasted almonds.
I sort of did a hybrid version of
Rose's instructions between
the food processor and mixer method.
My mini Cuisinart was the perfect size
for blitzing the sugar and almonds together.
I finished the recipe in the mixer;
flour, cornstarch, pinch of salt,  Irish butter, egg, 
vanilla and almond extracts.

Heeding Marie's warning to watch the baking time
closely, they came out perfectly.
This cookie is the quintessential
biscuit for a
The Baking Bible
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!
Rose's Pumpkin Pecan Pie
is literally two pies in one
and already garnering rave reviews.
I wasn't sure about the step of cooking
the pumpkin mixture first but
it's brilliant.
It takes the pumpkin and spices to a deeper depth
of flavor while reducing moisture
from the canned pumpkin.
I like it so much I'm making a plain pumpkin pie
today by this method.
I was too tired to go across town and buy a
deep dish pie pan at William Sonoma
so used a springform pan instead.
It worked but the dough did slip
down, as Rose warned.

My son, 
who doesn't care for pecan pie,
wanted to know what the caramel layer was.
"Pecan pie."
"But this is so freaking good and I don't like pecan pie."

Ah, the miracle of muscavado sugar and Lyle's Golden Syrup!
I don't do Black Friday sales 
but for a deep dish pie pan, I'll be off and elbowing
my way through the crowds.
This is a repeat recipe.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hazelnut Praline Cookies

Rose's Hazelnut Praline Cookies
are the perfect accompaniment for a cup of coffee.
If you drink coffee.
I didn't for twenty seven years until my
mother in law asked if I would like a cup.

And darn if that wasn't the best
cup of coffee.

See that little creamer?
That was her's.
I loved when they brought cream with the coffee
or maple syrup with pancakes in these little jugs
at road side diners years ago.

So the gist of these cookies are this;
find raw hazelnuts, boil them in baking soda water,
strain, pop them in a plastic box with a lid and shake the
dickens out of them.
Rub off any stubborn bits of remaining skin,
and put them in the oven to roast.
Mix up a caramel syrup 
(add a little Golden Syrup just because
it's so good)
and try 
not to set off smoke alarms.

Pour over toasted hazelnuts and let cool, 
then pulverize in a food processor.

Next is simple flour, sugar, egg, vanilla, 
baking soda, butter and salt (a bit of dark
Muscavado because I forgot to cream the butter
with eggs and sugar)
mixed together into a soft dough
with the hazelnut praline blended in.
Roll into balls, bake,
and have yourself a nice little sit down.

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sugar Rose Brioche

I should have never watched 
The Great British Bake Off
Sunday night.
No good can come from being inspired 
to bring out flour and yeast late at night.

Be that as it may,
I lost track of how many eggs I added to
the starter sponge, 
if I added eggs to the starter sponge,
and exactly when did I add them?
So I added a few more
and hoped for the best.

Here is the mystery eggy dough after 
mixing in the butter.

Poured into a bowl for the first warm proofing
it comes out looking even nicer.

Off for cool rising in the frig to set the butter,
then deflate 
the beautiful dough before 
another warm rise.
Next comes the business letter fold
we have come to know.

Back into the frig for six more hours.

Always a good sign when the zip lock
plastic bag is puffy from the dough proofing

An egg wash is blitzed with a pinch of salt
and strained through a fine mesh.
Learned a trick of using two forks together
to whisk small amounts.
They act like a flat whisk.

Dough is rolled out into a very large circle,
washed with the egg then sprinkled with
cinnamon and sugar.
I really wanted to add Muscavado sugar 
as well.
Time for the rolling, cutting and twisting
Lucky my camera died.
It wasn't pretty.

Off for the final warm rise,
popped into the oven for a short twenty minute bake and
then tented for a full hour.
I did wash the top with egg and sugared
the heck out of it.
The house started to waft lovely aromas which is quite 
nice early in the morning.

Cautioned the bottom might burn if the sugared sides 
faced down, I popped a metal cake cooling rack on top
of the pizza stone for a slight cushion.
It worked because I am certain
mine was not correctly braided.
As swear words swirled around the kitchen
I wondered how in the world those 
British Bake Off contestants
manage to bake with a camera
in their face in the midst of mishaps.

The flavor of this bread is incredible.
The texture light and fluffy.
No wonder people mistake it
for cake.
This is truly a spectacular recipe.
Well done, Rose!
Once again you have proved
that it doesn't take flawless
baking skills to turn out
superb bread.
Rose Levy Beranbaun