Monday, May 26, 2008

TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

This weeks selection was made by Madam Chow of Madam Chow's Kitchen; she choose Pecan Honey Sticky Buns. I was looking forward to making this over the Memorial day weekend.



While this recipe was time-consuming with all the rest and rise times it seemed pretty simple to me. I made the full batch of the Golden Brioche bread, but decided to make half of the sticky buns. I had trouble incorporating the butter. I still had big lumps even the next day. I am not sure what went wrong, but there was not enought glaze and that bread part did not taste pleasant at all. I will try this recipe again using the glaze, but I am not sure about the Brioche. Maybe I will try it again, but it seemed like a lot of work for it not to turn out.



Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns

For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)


For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).

To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best as you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.


To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.

Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven. The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

What You'll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):
2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

TWD: Pie Re-Mix

Well I didn't have a madeline pan and although I got "permission" from the hubs to buy one. I decided to forgo and make something that had already been made. At first I was going to make the Black and White cake - it looked very elegant and I needed something for a going-away party for someone here at work. Then wouldn't you know Life happened and I just didn't have the time to make something "new" that I had never made before. So I figured that I would remake the Florida Pie, this time using Key Lime Juices (alot of the other bakers say that it is the only way to go...so I wanted to see the difference) I had already bought the key lime juice because I knew that I would one day soon want to make the pie again. I just didn't realize it would be the very next week. When I started to gather the ingredients I couldn't find the bottle of key lime juice. Now my husband, bless his heart, is a very helpful guy around the house; but where-as I put things away where they make sense (to my mind) he tends just to pick up and put things away wherever there is space. I have had to call him at work to find something -- the good thing is he usually knows just where he put it. But this time around we tore apart the kitchen and pantry and could not find the juice. So I ended up running out to the store and grabbing some regular limes as I could not find the Key Lime. While I was at the store, I figured I would also remake the Peanut Butter Torte.
This time around the only different thing I did with the Floriday Pie was put it into an extra large pie crust and sprinkled toasted coconut on top of the baked Meriange.


With the Peanut Butter Pie this time I kept out the chips and nuts out of the peanut butter mixture. I made chocolate whipped cream and put that on top of the PB mix and then sprinkled the nuts and chips on top of that. I also kept it in the freezer and thawed for just a short while serving it as a kind of ice cream type treat. I got even better reviews and was told this was just as good as the one we ususally purchase from the restaurant for $20+ dollars.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Florida Pie



By far this has been the easiest recipe from TWD. My husband bought me the mini, pre-made graham cracker crust to make this week's recipe. The only problems I had was that I could not get the cream/coconut mixture to reduce at med-low heat so I had to crank it up to med-high. And I still haven't quite mastered the kitchen-aid for making meringue. I need to learn to stay by the machine. When I turned it off it looked fine, but when I tried to spread it, the consistency was of the baked meringue....and by the time I broiled it -- it was slightly overdone. (But no one has notice and I took some to my sisters and to work.) Love this recipe.




INGREDIENTS:

1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat. Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

To Finish the Pie with Meringue:Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

TWD: Peanut Butter Torte


edited: We just dug into this at work and it got rave reviews. I still think I prefer the creamy texture of the storebought pie - I would do this again, but leave out the chunky bits in the middle. I have two mini-spring form pans at home and I think I will do the ganache for them. This is definalty something that I would do for a pot-luck...it holds up well and looks great.

Elizabeth from Ugg Smell Food chose Peanut Butter Torte.

I loved this recipe. Even though I messed up at a couple point none of the steps were extremely hard, I just need to pay more attention. When I was whipping the cream I was supposed to stop when it got to medium-firm peaks, but accidently beat it until it was the texture of Cool Whip. Also when I was beating the cream cheese/peanut butter mixture it kind-of got a curdled look to it, but I was extremely relieved when I added the milk and it smoothed out. I chose to make one pie and had enough left for two mini springform pans. I took the pie to work today and I will report back what my work-mates said. It is going to be a tough review because we tend to buy a peanut butter pie from a local restaurant for birthdays that everyone raves about.....we shall see.

Peanut Butter Torte: 1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)2 teaspoons sugar½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)¼ teaspoon ground cinnamonPinch of freshly grated nutmeg½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooledSmall pinch of salt2 ½ c. heavy cream1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)2 tablespoons whole milk4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.
Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.
Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.