Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cookie Strudel

This lovely little "cookie" strudel filled the house
with the most amazing aroma,
causing my granddaughters and daughter in law
to ask
What ARE you making?

With minimal ingredients this recipe gives a lot
in return for very little effort.

Flour, salt, butter and sour cream are mixed together
and left overnight to chill.

Rolled out paper thin, smeared with apricot jam,
pecans and dried currents, they are baked in
log shapes.
My first log was a bit sticky because I was conservative
with the flour.

The second log was easier to roll with more flour.
Half way through baking, the logs are brushed with
milk then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Once again the hardest part is waiting SIX hours for these
lovelies to cool.  I didn't make an hour,
for the sake of picture taking, or some such excuse.

This really is a delightful pseudo~ strudel.

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Monday, October 19, 2015

White Chocolate Club Med Bread

There simply was no way to anticipate the flavor of
White Chocolate Club Med Bread.
It is delicious!
Rose says to let it cool for two hours
but I was impatient with curiosity
and sliced off the end
at the hour mark.
It was barely warm
which let the exquisite 
lighter than air texture and flavor

First plain and then with
strawberry jam, both were
nice but I prefer
it plain.
It is the delicate ballerina
white tutu of breads.

My daughter suggested it would make wonderful
bread pudding and I happily agreed.

It was hard to tear up  four slices of this lovely bread

It was worth it

With Black Arkansas caramelized apples

At first, I found it a bit peculiar
that Club Med gave
departing guests their own loaf as a gift,
never having heard of such a thing.
Lucky guests!

 Rose went above and beyond
to recreate it.
And this dough is not the easiest to work with.
It is sticky, fiddly and I guessed at the double fold over dough step.
By the end I had no hopes for it at all.
Whenever I reach the 
Oh bloody hell stage
 plopping it in the pan for final proofing,
it's always such a shock to
open the oven door to a beautiful
loaf of bread.

This yeast alchemy never ceases to amaze me.

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Fudgy Pudgy Brownie Tart

I wasn't looking forward 
to making this ultra chocolate tart.
I am dark chocolate-ed out,
which is odd since it's my favorite.

                                                         And then I found out this is                                                          National Chocolate Week
in the UK.
Not day but week!
So it seemed very appropriate indeed
to bake this today
if I can't be frolicking around London.

First up was making chocolate pate sucree
which is basically a very nice soft
chocolate cookie dough and 
lining a two piece tart pan.

While that was off for a chill in the frig,
the Fudgy Pudgy ingredients
were assembled.
White chocolate, dark chocolate, cocoa powder
butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt
toasted pecans, flour.

Butter, chocolates and cocoa powder
in a double boiler over hot water.
I call this step
Chocolate Zen Stirring

Tipped into the mixing bowl with 
sugar and eggs and then the dry ingredients
stirred in with the final addition of the pecans.

Poured into the unbaked tart shell
it was ready to bake.

Since the tart pan was a ten inch instead of nine,
I tested the temperature at the minimum bake time,
but it wasn't done.
Smelled lovely!

This last step was perhaps over the top,
as in covering the thermometer holes
in an otherwise perfect crust surface
with milk chocolate caramel ganache,
languishing in the freezer.

This brownie tart is delicious
and would be perfect 
topped with coffee ice cream,
salty caramel gelato or
Steve's Bourbon Vanilla ice cream. 
Off to the store and
then to share this meltingly
fudgy brownie wrapped in a tart.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Feather Banana Bread

Rose calls Feather Banana Bread the 
lightest texture of all her breads.
Working with the dense, sticky dough, I would 
not have thought it possible!
But stay the course and
once again the alchemy of
flour, water, yeast, honey,
dried milk and banana
transform into the softest dough,
very reminiscent of the lovely Golden Panettone.

A month ago I had an over abundance of frozen ripe bananas,
went on a clearing out spree and only saved three.
Those three were spoken for in 
So I tried something new before going on a grocery
store hunt.

See the yellow bananas with the darkened
one beside it?  They were all of the same bunch.
I popped one into a paper bag, turned the oven
on low, left it warming for an hour, turned the oven off
and left the banana overnight.
This is what I found this morning.
Perfectly softened and overly ripened.

Flour mixture to blanket the sponge

I truly enjoy stirring and whisking by hand.
Something so calming and meditative.

Never tire of the sponge breaking through the 
blanket of flour

Time to add the banana and tiny bit of butter
and on to the dough hook

The lump of very tacky and sticky dough
lightened up into puffy dough

First business fold before the warm rise

After the rise

Made it over the top
of the ten inch pan

Such a beautiful color,
even sans top crust

The bottom crust was fine.

This bread is just amazing.
The texture and lightness is like nothing
I have ever tasted before.
No one can believe it!
Once again, Rose makes me
look like a baking genius.
Taste always wins over perfection.
There is a definite difference between day 
one and day two
but there is this:

Can't take credit;
my daughter thought of it.
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Banana Split Chiffon Cake

The humidity weather report
is not something that I normally seek out
but since the Alpha Bakers are making a chiffon cake,
I certainly did today.
Why you might wonder?
Humidity does not generally bode well 
for chiffon and angel food cakes.
A thunderstorm rolled into the valley last night
which we have not seen for quite a long while.
Humidity held at 36% 
Onward with baking!

First on the agenda was searching
through the freezer for errant overly over-ripe
bananas that have been languishing for months.
I found three and it made exactly the requisite cup.

Rose calls for bananas, egg yolks, oils,
lemon juice and vanilla to be blitzed
in the food processor.
Everything fit tidily into the mini Cuisinart.
I'm always so happy when I get by
with my little work horse.

Flour and sugar are mixed with
the banana puree 
and then stiffly beaten egg whites
folded into the mixture.

You know that moment when
you realize you've made a colossal error
and a few swear words echo around the kitchen?

I realized too late the cream of tarter was to be
beaten with the egg whites, not added to the dry ingredients.

Nothing to do but carry on.
It didn't seem to cause any harm. 

The cake stayed put upside down in the pan
whilst cooling.
Always a hold your breath moment with this step.
I had a plan though.  If it fell out
it was going to be turned into a triffle.

I thought the top was prettier
with the golden crust
but flipped it over.

Drizzled with chocolate ganache sauce,
soft caramel sauce, whipping cream and nuts,
it's quite a fancy dessert for a deliciously flavored banana chiffon cake.
I also like it plain.
The light banana flavor is refreshingly simple.

Rose Levy Beranbaum