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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Puff pastry


2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

1) Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in half of the chilled butter with a pastry blender until the butter/flour mixture resembles granola. Work quickly to keep the butter as cold as possible.

2) Dice the remaining butter and add to the butter/flour mixture in the bowl. Work in the new butter until it is the size of dried cranberries. You can flatten the pieces slightly with your fingers as you go along, creating leaves of butter coated in flour.

3) Sprinkle about half of the ice water over the butter/flour and work gently, adding more water as needed until the dough forms a rough mass. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds.

4) Divide the dough in half and press gently into 2 discs. You should still be able to see bits of butter in the dough. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can keep the dough in the fridge up to overnight if desired.

I've used the puff pastry to make this potato, sausage and egg tart.  The crust is a very flaky one that lends itself well in t his savory pie.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hummingbird Cake





















1 cup (110 grams) pecans
3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (180 ml) safflower, corn, or canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) can crushed pineapple, do not drain
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium sized bananas)


Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound box (454 grams) (about 3 2/3 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (55 grams) finely chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper.

Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop finely.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.

In another large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the finely chopped pecans.

To assemble: place one cake, top side down, onto your serving platter. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake layer, top of cake facing up, onto the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish with pecan halves. Refrigerate the cake for about one hour so the frosting has time to set.

Serves 10 - 12 large slices

Butter Pecan Cake

Butter Pecan Cake
http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Butter-Pecan-Cake-2
Prep: 40 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling Yield: 12-16 Servings

Ingredients
2-2/3 cups chopped pecans
1-1/4 cups butter, softened, divided
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
FROSTING:
1 cup butter, softened
8 to 8-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
Place pecans and 1/4 cup butter in a baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and remaining butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1-1/3 cups of toasted pecans.
Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For frosting, cream butter and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Add milk and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in remaining toasted pecans. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Potlikker Noodles with Mustard Greens or Kale

potlikker noodles with mustard greens

Just as Italians save their pasta cooking water to enrich their sauces, Southerners serve the smoky cooking liquid, a.k.a. potlikker, along with braised greens. This dish marries both traditions. Season with a light hand, as the broth will become saltier as it reduces.
4 - 6 Servings
Ingredients
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 10–12-oz. smoked ham hock or smoked turkey wing
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
8 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. hot pepper sauce (preferably Texas Pete or Frank’s)
2 tbsp. sugar
5 cups low-salt chicken broth or water
2 bunches mustard greens or kale, tough stems trimmed, chopped, and reserved, leaves chopped
3/4 lb. egg noodles
kosher salt
6 slices bacon (about 7 oz.), cut crosswise into 1/4"-wide pieces
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino

Directions
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ham hock and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in hot sauce and sugar. Add broth and reserved mustard green stems and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced to 2 cups, 1–2 hours. Set a sieve over a large bowl or measuring cup. Strain potlikker into bowl. Pick and reserve the meat from the ham hock to add to the noodles later, if desired. Discard skin, bone, and remaining solids in sieve. Set potlikker aside. DO AHEAD: Potlikker and ham can be made 2 days ahead. Chill separately until cold; cover and keep chilled.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Add shallots and reserved picked meat, if using; cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are soft, 4–5 minutes. Pour off any excess fat in pan. Increase heat to medium-high; add greens and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted. Add potlikker, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, and bring to a boil. Add noodles; toss to coat, and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer noodle mixture to serving bowls and sprinkle with Pecorino.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Neapolitan Rose Cake

So I seen this cake on I'm a Baker's site http://iambaker.net/neapolitan-rose-cake-rosette-cake#comment-68093 and thought it was so beautiful I had to make it.  Mine of course doesn't look as pretty as hers but I do intend on making it again.  I used the cake recipes from the Strawberry sheet cake, the Chocolate Mouse Cake, and the Fairy Cakes for the three flavors (you can find the recipes in the index to the right of this post.  I also used Swiss Butter Cream for the frosting. I had too much chocolate so I decided to use it...bad idea...oh well it might not be pretty but it sure tastes good! This cake is for a friends birthday tomorrow so I can't cut into it to show you all the cool layers but I will take a picture tomorrow night and then post so you can see mine.
Here it is in the fridge: