Archive for ‘Baking’

July 18, 2011

Sweet Bites | Sour Cream Cherry Pound Cake

This is the last of them.  I think.  Well, there are still some in the freezer.  But there were twenty pounds of them (just my portion).  And this cake – maybe – is my favorite way to eat them.  The cherries, that is.  But I do love them pickled, too.

I made this last night after Cherub went to bed.  It was my way of unwinding after kind of a tough day.  I find satisfaction – if not a bit of peace – in the measuring, pouring, mixing, folding, testing, cooling, wrapping that it takes to make this cake.  Or any cake, really.  It takes only a few minutes to measure things out, then an hour in the oven to home-baked goodness.  The crumb is dense, the cherries jammy, the crust golden and crisp.  It’s a classic pound cake.

I originally came across this recipe somewhere in the depths of the interwebs, but halved it to fit in one 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 loaf pan and subbed fresh cherries for (gasp!) jarred maraschinos.  A bit more fiddling and I had cake.

Sour Cream Cherry Pound Cake, makes one 9.25 x 5.25 loaf

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

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June 13, 2011

Backyard Foraging | Juneberry Muffins

It is a great pleasure to identify edible plants, trees and flowers to include in my culinary endeavors.  Most recently I rang my neighbor’s doorbell to ask if he wouldn’t mind if I picked a few bowls of berries from his Juneberry tree (a.k.a., saskatoon, shadbush, sugar plum, service berry, et al) in return for some baked goods and perhaps a cocktail, some jam and maybe some ice cream, or a cobbler.  The possibilities are endless.  He didn’t say no.

This recipe is not for a sugary sweet cupcake that masquerades as a muffin.  No, these are delicate-crumbed cakes – almost savory –  plump with jammy berries and a whisper of almond, echoing the notes of the berries’ seeds.

Old Fashioned Juneberry Muffins, makes 10, adapted from James Beard

2 c. sifted flour (I used unbleached all purpose)

1/2 c sugar

1 T baking powder

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March 16, 2011

Irish Cooking | Pint Glass Bread

I am woefully unskilled as a bread baker.  I’ve just not managed a beautiful, yeasty bread that is photo-worthy.

I love the Irish for giving me an alternative that is so easy, Cherub does most of the measuring.  All you need is a pint glass, a bowl and a sheet pan.  Really.

Pint Glass Bread, makes one loaf, Inspired by The Country Cooking of Ireland

1 pint glass of all purpose flour

1 pint glass of whole wheat flour (mine was stone ground from Flying J Farm)

Salt to cover the bottom of a pint glass

Soda to cover the bottom of a pint glass

Butter to cover the bottom of a pint glass

Buttermilk to fill 3/4 of a pint glass

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl combine well the  flours, salt and soda.  Add in the butter and rub between your fingers to create small pebbles.  Add buttermilk and mix with your hands until it becomes a soft ball of dough.  Pat out into a large round two inches thick.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom.

Serve with copious amounts of homemade Snowville Creamery butter while it’s still warm.

Playlist included Falling Slowly by The Swell Season.

Little dough-coated hands proudly display their work.

 

January 26, 2011

Potluck Party | Crab Pot Pie with Pimento Cheese Biscuits

I was so excited to be invited to a cool little supper club started by a friend here in Columbus.   The ingeniously-themed meet up was entitled Showcase of the Crusted Arts.  Meaning bring something with a crust on it somewhere.  The smart and gracious hosts cooked up a beautiful whole striped bass in a salt crust.  Other clever folks brought goat cheese pizza, clementine pie, Hot Pockets, pork pie, spanakopita, all sorts of deliciousness.

I wanted to make something that would travel fairly well and have something substantial and savory, if perhaps a bit non-traditional, as a crust.  Enter a pot pie of sorts with crab and shrimp, topped with Georgia-inspired pimento cheese biscuits.  Kosher it ain’t, but it was good.

Greensboro Pie, serves plenty folks

For the Pie:

1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 T butter (made some quickly with all the Snowville cream I had)

3/4 c white wine

3/4 c vermouth

1 1/2 c homemade fish stock or chicken stock

3/4 c heavy cream (Yup, Snowville)

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January 6, 2011

Birthday Cake with a Twist | Chocolate and Cardamom

I have fond memories of Demeter baking (and filling with chocolate whipped cream) my favorite cake every year for my birthday.  Come to think of it, it is universally the favorite cake of everyone in my family, including Zeus and my sis.  I’ve made it for years: sponge cake filled to capacity with luscious chocolate whipped cream and then rolled.

This year for Rhea‘s birthday (Happy Birthday!), I decided to bake her that same cake, but with a little tweak, as I’ve been reading one of my Christmas gifts, the terrific The Flavor Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit.

One of pairings that got me all worked up (alright, I know, I’m a nerd, but you knew this) was chocolate and cardamom.  I’ve always loved cardamom, particularly in my Grandmother’s Yule Kage.  And I’ve been wondering how to tweak my favorite cake just for fun.  So today, I decided to include cardamom.  I added ground cardamom to the cake and steeped crushed whole cardamom in the scalded cream before I cooled and whipped it with cocoa and sugar.  As a garnish, I made a blood orange coulis.  In the end, it was Jaffa Cake-esque, with a cardamom kick.

Cardamom Scented Roulade with Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Coulis, originally inspired by a recipe in the 1969 Betty Crocker

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Combine:

4 egg whites

1/2 c sugar

Beat egg whites to soft mounds, add sugar gradually until stiff peaks are formed.  Set aside.

Combine:

4 egg yolks

1/4 c sugar

2 T water

1 t vanilla

Beat until thick and lemon-colored. (This takes about four or five minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed.)

Whisk together:

2/3 c flour

1 t baking powder

1 t ground cardamom

1/2 t salt

Fold egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture.  Sprinkle dry ingredients over mixture 1/2 at a time.  Fold gently until each addition dissapears.  Spread into 15×10 jelly roll pan, that is greased, covered with parchment or wax paper, then greased and floured again.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Turn onto tea towel that has been sprinkled with confectioners sugar.  Remove paper and roll (along the 10 inch side).  Cool.

For the Filling:

In a small pan add 1 1/2 c plus 2 T heavy cream and five whole green cardamom pods that have been crushed.  Heat over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you’d like your spiced cream.  Remove from the heat and cool completely.  Strain cardamom from the cream into a large mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Whip together:

Cardamom cream

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c cocoa

1/8 t salt

1/2 t vanilla

Whip until cream holds its shape a bit for a filling.

To assemble, spread over cooled cake and re-roll.

For a garnish, use supremed blood orange slices and/or reduce the juice from two blood oranges over medium low heat adding sugar to taste.

Playlist included Happy Birthday, playfully covered by the Ting Tings.

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