Monday, September 16, 2013

Espresso Profiteroles - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 41st Installment.  The recipe is Espresso Profiteroles.

This recipe was fairly easy and really delicious.  Coffee-flavored cream puffs, with cinnamon ice cream, and chocolate sauce on top - great combination!  You could do other combinations as well - I bet a raspberry ice cream would be good here.  Confession: I bought some locally-made cinnamon ice cream, instead of following the recipe in the book.  Please don't take away my Baking with Julia license ;-)  I have made ice cream before, but knew the extra time spent would push this project over the line from fun into schedule overload.

I have made cream puffs before, both large and small, so that part of the method was familiar.  I remember my mom teaching me how to make them and how different it was from a cake or cookie recipe, with the hot liquid butter and water, and then beating in the eggs.  
Ready for baking
It's very useful to have a pastry bag with a 1/2" tip as specified in the recipe - I'm not sure how else you could manage to make uniform puffs, since the dough is rather sticky and hard to manipulate.  I ended up with some peaks on them - hard to twist the pastry bag to smooth them off, so I had to smooth over with a finger after piping them onto the sheet.  It was a little tricky to put the egg wash on the batter blobs - next time, I will definitely try to put on more, since I liked the shine that it added.

 They puffed up very well in the oven, and I made sure to bake them long enough - in the past I have removed cream puffs from the oven too early, and they can be a little soggy and deflated. They are a little irregular looking, but I think uniformity would take away their personality :-)

All in all, a lot of fun and a recipe I would definitely prepare again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blueberry Muffins - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 40th Installment.  The recipe is Blueberry Muffins.
Fluffy batter in the pan
 These were yummy, and more like a fluffy cake batter muffin than a sturdy quickbread muffin.  I used Maine wild blueberries - the end of the season, but glad there were still some available!

I did have another slightly frustrating muffin pan removal experience.  Bottoms of the muffins stuck to the pan - I'm starting to conclude that if the muffins look flat like the photo on the left, I should expect trouble.  I don't know if it's the pans, or something else - I did grease with vegetable shortening, which usually works, and when I make more solid muffins, they come out of the pan fine.  The recipe said to turn them out immediately - that would have been a disaster.  I let them sit for 10 minutes, and they still didn't quite hold together.

At least they tasted delicious, and at the suggestion of the recipe, I toasted the leftovers this morning, and that was very good too.

Raspberry-Fig Crostata - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 39th Installment, part 2.  The recipe is Raspberry-Fig Crostata.

This installment had 'choose your own adventure', picking from Johnny Cake Cobbler or Raspberry-Fig Crostata.  Having already done the cobbler, I then decided to do the crostata as well, after reading about it on other people's blogs.  Wow - I am so glad I did. It is stupendous!

The crust was like a soft, nutty shortbread.  It has ground sesame seeds and almonds in it - sounded a little strange initially, but it was delicious.  It was a bit soft and needed a lot of patching - definitely important to chill it as directed. I can imagine rolling out and cutting up the crust for little shortbread cookies.   The filling had a perfect balance of tart and sweet, and wonderful texture - the figs keep their shape, and the raspberries turned into jam-like sauce. 

When I took it out of the oven, it was bubbling through the lattice crust like lava (check out the bubbles in this photo.   It was good to let it cool completely so the filling would hold together.
I would definitely like to make this one again, maybe with different combinations of fruit.  Blueberries plus something would probably be good.