Archive for July, 2014

Peach Pancakes

July 31, 2014

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Just felt like a pancake kind of morning!

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Don’t you think?

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Peach Pancakes (adapted from Serious Eats)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tbsp. butter, melted, plus extra for buttering pan
2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 peaches, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
agave or honey, for serving

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking powder and sugar.  In the same bowl, add beaten eggs, milk, and butter.  Stir carefully to fully incorporate.  Fold in peaches.

Heat pan to medium high heat.  Melt about 1-2 tbsp. butter in pan.  Make pancakes by spooning 1/4 cup measured batter into the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles form around the edge of the pancakes.  Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until it’s browned.  Serve with a drizzle of agave or honey.

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Orange Raspberry Buns

July 22, 2014

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In the past three weeks, this is what I learned: the heart wants what it wants when it comes to breakfast.  I was planning a summer brunch, and of course cinnamon buns came to mind.  I mean, why wouldn’t they?  So classic.  So traditional.  So delicious every time.  But something about that kept making me think that it was way too fall-like in this warm weather.  I needed to summerize them!

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And so I did.  Raspberries!  Orange zest!  No fall spices to speak of.  No cinnamon or nutmeg or cardamom.  And, of course, after I made these, it was exactly these things that I missed, and I was so bummed.  Sad that I missed out on what I actually wanted.

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I’m so aware of my whining that, it’s unbelievable.  I mean look at these!  They were incredible right out of the oven.  And the fruit made them so bright and fresh tasting.  Schmeared with a little orange scented cream cheese frosting and these were over-the-top!

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So, make these!  Make season appropriate buns for breakfast! Or go with the classic and satisfy your conventional breakfast needs.  I would understand either way.

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Orange Raspberry Buns (recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

My one tip for this dough is to use instant yeast.  Instant.  Not the non-instant.  Use instant.  I guess my one tip for this dough is to follow instructions.  Alas, I did not…and I was not met with an instantaneous rise with my dough.

Dough:
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
3/4 cup buttermilk
Zest of 1 orange, divided
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon oil for bowl

Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup frozen cranberries, crushed into little pieces in the food processor (or with a ziplock bag and a rolling pin)
Orange zest leftover from above

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
Zest and juice of one orange

For the dough: In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk and 3/4 of the orange zest together (saving the rest for the filling).  Mix the yeast with an additional 1 tsp. of sugar and about 1/4 cup warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of the flour along with the salt and stir.  Add the yeast mixture once it’s bubbly and stir until it is evenly mixed.  Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and let the dough hook knead the mixture on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and moist, but not overly sticky. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.  If you don’t use instant yeast, like I did, it will take a much, much longer time to rise.  I lost count how many hours it took.  So use the instant.  You will be a much happier person.

To make the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, a heavier ceramic or glass dish is ideal here, or two dishes of equal measurement.  Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide (the side nearest to you) and 12 or so inches long.  This is a rough measurement.  No big deal if it’s a bit thicker or thinner.  Also, don’t worry if it’s not a perfect rectangle.  Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar. Scatter the ground frozen raspberries over it, then the remaining orange zest.

Roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get 12. Arrange the buns evenly spread out in your baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 16 hours.

The next morning, bake the buns: Take your buns out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden, approximately 30 minutes.

Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly, about 15-20 minutes. Make the icing by whisking together all of the ingredients. Spread a little on each bun.  Serve immediately.

Mini Strawberry Cream Pies

July 3, 2014

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My first memory of a strawberry is not of picking them at a farm when I was younger.  It is not even of a finding the super fresh, super tiny, super tasty ones at a farmers market.  Nope.  My first memory of a strawberry is of one in a pie.  Don’t judge!  I don’t know why I never thought that fruit was real when I was young.  But this time, I don’t think I would have it any other way.  Because that pie is still the best pie I have ever had, which makes my warped view of berries worth it.

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Do you remember way back when department stores had those elaborate food departments?  They had candy everywhere, and hand-crafted chocolates, and gourmet artisanal foods.  It was magical, this place, that was, by far (and not surprisingly), my favorite section of any department store.  We had to walk through there to get to all of the other boring departments.  But I would stall and stop, and my mom would let me, because this food department would entice everyone.

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The only time we really got to linger, though, was when we were picking up a strawberry cream pie.  It was a graham cracker pie crust, filled with fresh, sliced strawberries enrobed in this gooey, thick strawberry flavored jam, all topped with mountains of sweetened whipped cream.  This pie usually meant company, but my parents would get it once a summer, just because, because they were just so smart!

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Those food departments don’t exist anymore, which is so, so sad.  In fact, that department store doesn’t even exist anymore.  Ever since, still, once a year, we would attempt to recreate the pie.  It was quite easy to put together, but that magnificent effect of picking it up in that magical place was obviously gone.  With these mini pies, I finally decided that we no longer need to try to recreate, but just think of it as something new.  But man, these pies sure do taste familiar!

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Mini Strawberry Cream Pies

When we first started making this pie at home, we found a strawberry flavored pie filling that was very, well, gelatinous.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was delicious.  And tasted pretty much exactly like the pie we bought, but we liked to think that the actual pie was a bit more natural.  In these pies, instead of thickening with a jam or filling, I instead used leftover graham cracker crumbs from the crust.

For Filling:

1 quart strawberries, rinsed and quartered

2-3 tbsp. sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)

juice from 1/2 lemon

Mix together strawberries, sugar and lemon juice until well-incorporated.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

For Crust:

9 full graham crackers

4 tsp. sugar

6 tbsp. butter, melted

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, or in a ziplock bag with rolling pin, crush graham crackers until they are fine crumbs.  Mix in sugar, salt, and butter.  Spray two mini-muffin tins with non-stick spray.  Place one tablespoon of crust mixture into each muffin cup.  Set aside the remaining crumbs.  Using the back of the tablespoon measure, press the crumbs to form a crust.  Bake for 7-8 minutes until the crusts are golden brown.  Let cool completely.

Take filling out of refrigerator and drain, reserving the liquid.  Mix in the reserved graham crack crumbs into the filling.  Fill each crust with a spoonful of filling.  Top with whipped cream topping.

For Whipped Cream Topping:

1 cup heavy cream

reserved juices from strawberry filling

2 tbsp. sugar

Whip together cream, sugar and reserved juices.  Spoon whipped topping on top of each pie.  Eat immediately.