Pistachio Cake

I love pistachios.

INGREDIENTS

Cake

140 grams roasted, shelled, and unsalted pistachios
200 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Slightly heaped 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
115 grams flour

Lemon Pistachio Glaze

1/3 cup (40 grams) roasted, shelled, and unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray loaf pan with nonstick spray or butter.

Using a food processor grind pistachios, sugar and salt together until as powdery as you can get them without it turning to paste. Cut butter into small chunks and blend with pistachio mixture. It’s going to be lumpy at first, and then balled for a minute, but keep running the machine until the mixture loosens up into a frosting-like consistency, i.e. smooth and shiny. Add eggs, one at time, blending briefly between each, scraping down sides as needed. Add milk, blend to combine. Add extracts and baking powder and blend to fully combine, scraping down workbowl. Add flour and pulse just until it disappears.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread top smooth. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes (see note up top by way of explanation/apology). Mine took 70, but it’s safest to check sooner. Look for a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake to come out clean and then, do a second check near the top. I find with loaf cakes that the undercooked batter likes to hover right below the top crust. It often takes 10 minutes extra (built into this baking time already) just for that to set for me.

Let cake cool in pan on rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around cake and transfer to cooling rack. Let cool completely.

To make glaze (optional): Bring pistachios, sugar, zest, and juice to a simmer in a small saucepan; simmer for 2 to 3 minutes then pour over cooled cake.

I worked with this recipe.

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One Bowl Brownies

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There are so many types of brownies and I’m never sure which ones I like best.  These are bittersweet and chewy–perfect for me.

INGREDIENTS

90 grams of unsweetened chocolate, chopped
115 grams of butter
270 grams of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt + sprinkle flaked salt for topping
90 grams flour

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8″x8″ brownie pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium, microwave safe bowl, combine chopped chocolate and cubed butter. In 30 second intervals, melt butter & chocolate until smooth.  Don’t overheat the chocolate. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Gently stir in flour and scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with flaked and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean. Let them cool and then cut in big or small pieces.

Tuscan Coffee Cake

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Delicious warm.  I’m sure it will just as amazing toasted.

DIRECTIONS

Starter

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon

Dough

Starter

2/3 cup lukewarm water
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons quick yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Filling

1 cup toasted walnuts, very coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup raisins, golden preferred

Glaze

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water

DIRECTIONS

To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small (about 1-quart) bowl, cover, and let rest overnight at room temperature.

To make the dough: Combine the dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to form a smooth, supple dough. It’ll be very slack; for this reason, we suggest kneading in a bread machine, or with a mixer, rather than by hand.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for about 1 hour. It may not double in bulk; that’s OK.

Gently deflate the dough, and knead the nuts and fruit into it.

Shape the dough into a flat ball, and place it in a lightly greased 9″ round cake pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise for 60 minutes, or until it fills the pan side to side and barely crests over the top.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

To glaze the coffeecake: Combine the sugar, vanilla and water, and drizzle this mixture over the top of the risen cake.

Bake the coffeecake on a lower oven rack for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it’s golden brown. Tent lightly with foil for the final 20 minutes, if it appears to be browning too quickly. The internal temperature of the finished bread should be at least 190°F.

Remove the coffeecake from the oven, and after 5 minutes, carefully turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Serve at room temperature; or pop slices into the toaster and spread with butter, for a special treat.

Store the coffeecake at room temperature, well wrapped, for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

I got the recipe here

Spring Pound Cake

When I was a kid I learned that pound cake was best toasted and slathered with butter.

INGREDIENTS

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for buttering pan
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) plus additional for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
7 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Special Equipment: a 10-inch tube pan or a 10-inch bundt pan

Put oven rack in middle position, but do not preheat oven.

Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour.

Sift together sifted flour and salt into a bowl. Repeat 3 times sifting into another bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or 6 to 8 minutes with a handheld mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour, then all of cream, then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down side of bowl, then beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes. Batter will become creamier and satiny.

Spoon batter into pan and rap pan against work surface once or twice to eliminate air bubbles. Place pan in (cold) oven and turn oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around inner and outer edges of cake, then invert rack over pan and invert cake onto rack to cool completely. I drizzled raspberries and lemon over the top.

I got the recipe here.

Mini Shortbread Jam & Meringue Tarts

photo 5One or two bites of heaven.

INGREDIENTS

Crust
1 cup softened butter
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Filling
2 cups of mixed berries
1 cup of sugar
Juice of half a lemon + zest of whole lemon

Meringue Frosting
4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS

For Jam: Place the berries if a blender or food processor until pulse until smooth. Pour into a medium, heavy pot and stir in sugar and lemon juice and zest.  Bring to a slow boil and let it cook for about 20 minutes until it starts to thicken.  Pour into jar, cover and refrigerate when cool.

Crust: Preheat oven to 350º F. Mix together butter, flour, and confectioner’s sugar. Press into mini tart molds. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Take out and fill with jam.  Cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool while making frosting.

Frosting: on Fill a saucepan with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Find a bowl that will fit on top of the pan without touching the water. Whisk the egg whites and the sugar in the bowl. Place it on top of the pan that’s over the boiling water (over medium-high heat). Whisk constantly for about 5-7 minutes, until the mixture reaches about 140°F. Immediately transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at high speed for until stiff peaks form, about five minutes depending on your mixer. Fill pastry bag and pipe. Use torch to brown edges of frosting.

Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie + Coffee

Christina Tosi came up with one of the most addictive desserts in the history of baking and I added espresso to it.

INGREDIENTS

Oat Cookie Crust
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
9tablespoons1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 1/2tablespoonspacked golden brown sugar, divided
2tablespoonssugar
1large egg
3/4cupplus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2cupall purpose flour
1/8teaspoonbaking powder
1/8teaspoonbaking soda
1/4teaspoongenerous salt

Filling
3/4cupsugar
1/2cuppacked golden brown sugar
1tablespoonnonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/4teaspoonsalt
1/2cup1 stick unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2tablespoonsheavy whipping cream
4large egg yolks
1teaspoonvanilla extract
Powdered sugarfor dusting

DIRECTIONS

Oat Cookie Crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add egg and beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.

Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. If the dough is sticking to your fingers, wet them with water and continue pressing oat mixture out evenly. Cookie layer should be about 3/8-inch thick.
Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.
Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

Filling
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, espresso powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla, and whisk until well blended.

Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325° F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight.
Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

There are a bunch of these recipes out there but I tried this one.

Olive Oil and Orange Cake

IMG_2036

I might even put some of the ricotta I just made on this.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter to grease the pan
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 cup of the sugar. Whisk in the olive oil, milk, brandy, liqueur, lemon zest, orange zest, and 1/4 cup of the orange juice. Add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. The batter will be wet.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. You will smell the cake when it is done. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool enough to handle, then flip over onto a rack to cool thoroughly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup orange juice. Turn the cake right side up. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze all over the cake. Allow the glaze to harden some before serving.

Ricotta

IMG_2032

It is so much easier than you think.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups whole milk
1 cup cream or half and half
1/3 cup lemon juice or 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Pour the milk into a pot and set it over medium heat. Let it warm gradually to 200°F. The milk will get foamy and start to steam. Don’t let it boil. 

 

Remove the milk from heat. Pour in the lemon juice or vinegar and the salt. Stir gently to combine.

 

Let the pot of milk sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. After this time, the milk should have separated into clumps of milky white curds and thin, watery, yellow-colored whey — dip your slotted spoon into the mix to check. If you still see a lot of un-separated milk, add another tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and wait a few more minutes.

 

Set a strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with cheese cloth. Scoop the big curds out of the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the strainer. Pour the remaining curds and the whey through the strainer.

 

Let the ricotta drain for 10 to 60 minutes, depending on how wet or dry you prefer your ricotta. Refrigerate what you don’t use.

Berry Jam & Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

photo

I’ve got a ton of berry jam and I’m not afraid to use it.

INGREDIENTS

Coffee Cake:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup berry jam

Topping
1/2 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.

To remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, soda, salt, sour cream, egg and almond extract; blend well. Spread batter over bottom and 2 in. up side of greased and floured 9-in. springform pan. (Batter should be 1/4 in thick on sides.)

In small bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and egg until smooth. Pour over batter in pan. Carefully spoon jam evenly over cheese filling.

In a small bowl, combine reserved crumb mixture and almonds; sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is a deep golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Serve warm or cool. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 servings.

I worked with this recipe.

Purple Berry Hand Pies

photo 3

This is what being a grown-up kid is all about.

Pastry
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Jam
2 cups of mixed berries
1 cup of sugar
Juice of half a lemon + zest of whole lemon

DIRECTIONS

For Jam: Place the berries if a blender or food processor until pulse until smooth. Pour into a medium, heavy pot and stir in sugar and lemon juice and zest.  Bring to a slow boil and let it cook for about 20 minutes until it starts to thicken.  Pour into jar, cover and refrigerate when cool.

For the pastry, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with a pastry blender until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it.  Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything it stays together.  If needed, knead briefly on a floured counter.

Roll out dough to 1/8″ thick. Use large biscuit cutter to cut out circles. You can do any shape you want, just make them big enough to fill halfway (leaving 1 inch perimeter), fold in half, and crimp.  Use some of the 2nd egg to help seal the pie.

Gently place the tarts on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart a few times with a fork so steam can escape. Refrigerate the tarts for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the tarts from the fridge and use the rest of the egg to brush on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack and glaze or frost as you like.