SPRINKLED MERINGUES

This is a fun recipe to make with kids. So simple! The idea was in a very nice cookbook, called Sweetapolita, which I very highly recommend for those who have been bitten by the Baking Bug. I haven’t asked for permission to share her recipe and method to make meringues (she has a few little tricks up her sleeve), but you can definitely use any meringue recipe out there. The secret is to bake them slow and low, and allow them to dry for a while inside the closed, turned off oven. I used a closed star tip to pipe mine, but you can go with a regular piping tip, or even just use a spoon.

For a classic meringue recipe using the French method click here.

After they are done, you melt some white chocolate, and add your favorite type of sprinkles into a small bowl. Dip the bottoms of the meringues in chocolate, then coat with sprinkles.  It is a bit tricky to get the amount just right, but no matter what you do, they will be a ton of fun to make and eat.

You can customize the color of your sprinkles too, of course. Maybe your favorite team is playing in the World Cup? Or your kid’s team will have a nice baseball match and you are the one in charge of loading them with sugar after?

Any kid will love these!

ONE YEAR AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Three

TWO YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard Simple White Loaf

THREE YEARS AGO: Maureen’s Fabulously Fudgy Brownies

FOUR YEARS AGO: Wheat Berry Caraway Bread

FIVE YEARS AGO: Mexican Focaccia 

SIX YEARS AGOSunny Kamut Salad with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pane de Casa & Crostini

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Down-home Dig-in Chili

NINE YEARS AGO:  Cinnamon Rolls

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MANGO-LIME MACARONS

Brazil meets France, big time. If I was talking soccer, that would be pretty unsettling, but since I mean macarons, it’s all good! Macarons shells are considered overly sweet by many people, so a filling that balances that is my favorite option. Do not skimp on the lime zest, it is absolutely mandatory in this recipe.  I put my air-brush to work, but in case you do not have one, a simple drizzle of white chocolate will do just fine.

MANGO-LIME MACARONS
(shells from this post, filling inspired by Joanne’s blog)

for the shells:
198 g powdered sugar
113 g almond meal
113 g egg whites at room temperature
a pinch of cream of tartar
100 g granulated sugar
Orange Gel color from AmeriColor
2 drops vanilla extract

for the filling:
230 g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup mango puree
zest of one lime or a bit more (taste and decide)

to decorate: white chocolate, melted, white and tinted with lime green (optional)

Line 2 or 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered sugar and almond meal   in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 15 seconds. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are impeccably clean. Starting on medium speed, whip the whites with the cream of tartar until they look like light foam. The whites should not appear liquid. The foam will be light and should not have any structure.

Slowly rain in the granulated sugar, trying to aim the stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Turn the speed up to medium-high. Continue to whip the meringue until it is soft and shiny. It should look like marshmallow creme. Add the gel color and the vanilla. Staying at medium-high speed, whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Check the peak. It should be firm. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.

Fold in the almond meal mixture in three increments. Paint the mixture halfway up the side of the bowl, using the flat side of a spatula. Scrape the mixture down to the center of the bowl. Repeat two or three times, then check to see if the mixture slides slowly down the side of the bowl. Put the mixture in a piping bag fitted with one of the tips listed above. Pipe on the prepared baking sheets.

Slam each sheet hard four to six times on the counter. Then fist bump each end of the sheet’s underside twice. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. Ina dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes.

While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 300 F. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide, then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. The macarons should release without sticking. Check one or two. If they stick, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Decorate shells before filling using an air-brush and stencils, or if you prefer to decorate with a drizzle, do it after pairing and filling the macarons.

For the mango white chocolate ganache, place the chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When bubbles start to form along the sides, remove from the heat and pour over the white chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute before stirring to combine. Whisk in the butter until completely melted. Stir in the mango puree and the lime zest until combined. Refrigerate overnight, or until set.

Remove from the fridge and whip until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Pipe onto half of the macaron shells and then sandwich with a second shell. Allow to chill overnight so that macarons will mature and have a perfect consistency.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am quite smitten with my air-brush thingie… It takes just a little bit of getting used to, the main thing is to make sure you keep the spray 6 inches away or farther from the target. Otherwise the ink blotches and you don’t get the real nice effect of air-brushing.  Obviously, this means it can be a bit messy, but the dyes wash out very easily. I just place a parchment paper under the shell I’m painting.  There is one super cool gadget to help with stenciling cookies, though. I will be featuring it on my next installment of In My Kitchen, in a few days.  Don’t miss it.

The filling for these macs was very tasty. The lime zest brightens it up, and counteracts the sweetness of the white chocolate ganache.

I suppose I must add a new category to my blog. Macarons.
Since I cannot fight my obsession, I shall embrace it.

ONE YEAR AGO: Honey-Glazed Sriracha Meatballs

TWO YEARS AGO: Slow-cooker Braised Lamb Shanks

THREE YEARS AGO: How about some coffee with your steak?

FOUR YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Spiral Kick

FIVE YEARS AGO: Carrot Flan with Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette

SIX YEARS AGO: Granola Bars

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Awesome Broccolini

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  A Twist on Pesto

NINE YEARS AGO: Ciabatta: Judging a bread by its holes

FUJISAN BREAD

One day a handsome croissant was minding his own business when he spotted this gorgeous brioche in a French boulangerie. It was love at first sight. Marriage was a natural move, and being a very adventurous couple, they chose Japan for their honeymoon. Their first baby was named Fujisan Bread. Little Fujisan turned out as a real showstopper. Layers and layers of buttery sweetness, perfect mixture of Mr. Croissant and Ms. Brioche. Depending on how you shape it, it will indeed remind you of Mount Fuji…

FUJISAN BREAD
(from BakeStreet)

400 g strong/bread flour
100 g cake flour
220-250 g water (you will use 220 to begin with, hold the rest)
75 g sugar
50 g tangzhong (recipe below)
1 egg
20 g milk powder
30 g condensed milk
40 g unsalted butter at room temperature
5 g dry yeast
7 g salt
250 g cold unsalted butter (to laminate)

for tangzhong (water roux):
9 g plain flour
44 g water

DAY ONE:
Make tangzhong. In a small saucepan pour the water together with the flour, place on low heat and stir with the help of a whisk. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and pour into an airtight container. Cover and let cool completely. Once the tangzhong is completely cold, make the dough. Tangzhong is a Japanese method of adding cooked flour to bread dough. It provides a creamy texture and allows the bread to stay fresh longer.

Set aside a tablespoon of water to dissolve the yeast. In the bowl of the stand sift both types of flour, along with 220 g of water, egg , milk powder, prepared (cold) tangzhong, condensed milk, sugar and salt. Knead with the dough hook at low-speed until the dough is well-developed, about 15 minutes.

Add half of the butter and knead again until completely integrated. Add the remaining butter and the yeast dissolved in the tablespoon of water, and again knead until fully incorporated.  At this point, if you think the dough can absorb more water, add a bit more up to a maximum of 30g. My dough was good without it. The dough should feel very soft but slightly sticky to the touch.

Remove the dough from the bowl, make a ball and place it in an airtight container, previously greased, until it grows by one-third of the volume, about 2 hours.  Retard it in the fridge overnight.

DAY TWO:
Make the butter sheet.
Prepare a sheet of parchment and draw a square of 9 inches in the center. Flip the parchment around so that the drawing is at the bottom. Place the butter cut in flat pieces in the center of the square as shown in the composite photo. Add a sheet of parchment on top, and beat the butter with a rolling-pin. Your goal is to stretch it a little, but don’t worry yet about filling the space of the square. As the butter stretches a bit, fold the parchment sheets together using the dimensions of the square you drew. Now roll the butter with the rolling-pin until it covers that exact area, as uniformly in thickness as possible.  Freeze if while you roll the dough out.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it over a lightly floured surface to a rectangle of 18 by a little over 9 inches (you want to enclose the dough in it, so make it a bit wider than 9 inches. Remove the butter from the freezer. If it is too hard, wait a few minutes until it is a bit flexible (if you roll it around the edge of your table, it should not break, but bend nicely).

Place the butter in the center of the dough, so that the width of the butter and the width of the dough is about the same, with just a bit of dough hanging at the edge. Fold the ends of the dough on the butter, bringing them to meet in the center (you should have about 4.5 inches on each side of the butter block. Pinch the dough to enclose the butter, in the center and all around the upper and lower edges. Roll the dough again to 18 by a little over 9 inches.  Fold in thirds, like an envelope, with the long edge facing you. This is the first fold. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. Roll the dough again to 18 by 9 inches. Use flour on the surface, but not too much. Move the dough around to make sure it does not stick.

Do two more folds exactly the same way, refrigerating after each one.  After the third and last fold, refrigerate the dough for 30 to 40 minutes, then roll out to a rectangle of 14 by 8 inches. Use a pizza roller to cut the edges so that you expose the lamination, and correct any problems with the dimensions.

To make the smaller rolls, cut strips that are about 1.2 inches thick, then use two strips to make a braid. As you form the braid, keep the laminated part facing always up (see the photo).  Roll the braid keeping the ends underneath, and place inside any baking container that will fit them snuggly. I used 4 inch springform pans lined with parchment.

To make the loaves, roll the dough tightly, jelly-roll style, then cut slices. Add them to any container that will seem a bit tight to hold them. This will force the dough to expand up during baking, giving the bread its characteristic look.

Let the shaped breads proof for 3 hours at room temperature, then bake in 400 F oven for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 F, and bake for 20 more minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the baking pans, and cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Laminated dough can be a bit scary to tackle, but as long as you pay attention to a few details, all should go reasonably smoothly. First, keep in mind the dimensions. I find it helpful to keep a big wooden ruler laying right on the surface I’m working on, so that even before I take precise measurements, I can judge if I am almost there. Second, make sure to lock the butter inside the dough by checking that every single bit of the two layers of dough are properly sealed. Third, do not rush any part of the process. Allow the dough to cool down after each folding cycle, that is what ultimately will give you the nice layers you are hoping for. Melted butter will work against you. And speaking of butter, I highly recommend the trick of rolling it inside the folded package of parchment. Make the fold tight, and you will end up with a perfect square of butter, with uniform thickness. You can make a rectangle if it fits your method of lamination better. 

You can shape the dough in many ways, I tried two different methods. In the first, the braided dough is rolled and lodged inside a round baking dish. When you form the braid, make sure the laminated side of the dough is kept exposed. Obviously, as you roll it in a coiled structure, some of it will be hidden, but try to allow some bits out there on the surface of the shaped bread.

The Mount-Fuji-shape was my favorite, by far. Since the lamination is fully exposed, the dough explodes up in a very impressive way. Such a pleasure to see it in the oven. Yeah, I was kneeling in front of it for a while, which left the pups quite amused.

This amount of dough made enough for four breads. It could be fun to bake the full amount in a single, large round pan, perhaps shaped in four separate regions, each exploding up according to their mood…  So many possibilities!

As far as taste, this is really a very rich croissant-type bread, the high sugar content (given by the condensed milk and sugar) makes it reach a golden brown tone quite quickly. Be prepared to reduce the temperature of the oven and/or protect the surface with a bit of foil, if needed.

The crumb is moist and flavorful enough for Fujisan to be enjoyed without any adornments, but a nice smear of your favorite jam could be a winning combination.

This bread is a perfect project for a weekend. I think that the final proofing (of the shaped loaves) could conceivably be retarded in the fridge overnight, so that you could have Fujisan for a special breakfast or brunch. I have not tried that, but it’s definitely worth experimenting with.

ONE YEAR AGO: Air-Fried Tomatoes with Hazelnut Pesto and Halloumi Cheese

TWO YEARS AGO: Red Velvet Layered Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Lemon-Lavender Bars

FOUR YEARS AGO: Quinoa Fried Rice

FIVE YEARS AGO: Carrot Flan with Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette

SIX YEARS AGO: The Secret Recipe Club: Granola Bars

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Awesome Broccolini

NINE YEARS AGO:  A Twist on Pesto

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Ciabatta: Judging a bread by its holes

 

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THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS NINE!!!!

I can hardly believe it. For nine years I’ve been sharing recipes, stories, dog tales, kitchen mishaps, happy and not so happy news in my virtual spot. The thrill of writing it is still with me, in many ways more intense now than ever. The overall atmosphere of my blog might be changing a little because my cooking interests have changed.  I used to be a certified cake-o-phobe, but now I get more excited about concocting a genoise than making an exotic risotto. Go figure. To celebrate my 9th year of food blogging, I wanted to bake a special cake that would push the boundaries of my comfort zone a little. Thanks to help and advice from my friend Jennifer, Patissiere Extraordinaire, I share with you a French classic: Gateau Royal. Chocolate lovers, this is your dream come true in cake form.

GATEAU ROYAL
(based on Il etait une fois la patisserie and Rock the Bretzel)

for the chocolate genoise:
(makes a 9 x 13 cake, you will use only part of it)
70 g butter, melted, warm
90 g cake flour
45 g cocoa powder
6 eggs
200 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste

for the pate praline:
125 g hazelnuts
125 g almonds
160 g sugar
5 mL water

for the filling:
40 g milk chocolate
160 g pate praline
80 g Gavottes cookies (or rice Krispies)

for the mousse:
115 g egg yolks (about 6)
100 g syrup (35 mL water + 70 g sugar)
200 g chocolate
400 g heavy cream

for the pouring ganache:
227g chocolate (at least 60% cocoa)
170g heavy cream
28g light corn syrup

Make the genoise. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Sift the flour with the salt and cocoa powder. In a heatproof bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, heat the eggs and sugar until warm to the touch, and the sugar feels dissolved if you test it with your finger. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.

Beat on high-speed until the egg mixture has cooled, and tripled in volume. It will fall like a ribbon from the beater, and form a distinct pattern on the surface when it drops. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour-cocoa mixture in three increments, mixing gently by folding.  Remove about half a cup of batter and mix with the hot butter. Pour that back into the cake batter and mix gently. 

Pour on the prepared pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Do not be aggressive, the batter is delicate and the air you beat into it is all that will lift the cake. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before inverting and moving on with the recipe.

Make the pate noisette. Start by placing water and sugar in a skillet or a large saucepan. Heat up to 240 F.  Add the hazelnuts and almonds. Gradually, they will be covered with a white film, that looks like sand.  Cook until the sugar re-dissolves and caramelizes, stirring gently often.  Pour the mixture on a sheet of parchment paper and let cool completely. If you have a Vitamix, use it to process the praline, in about 5 minutes you should have a very nice, flowing paste.  Reserve. You will not use the full amount for the cake. 

Cut the sheet of cake to form an 8-inch circle. Freeze the trimmings for other uses. Center it inside a 9-inch cake pan with removable bottom and tall sides. To make removal easier, place a sheet of acetate film all around the inside of the pan.

Make the praline filling: melt the milk chocolate and allow it to cool slightly. Add to 160g of pate praline, mix well. Crush the required amount of Gavottes or rice crispies and add to the mixture. Immediately spread it over the cake, bringing it to the edges in a layer as uniform as possible. Work fast because the mixture will get harder to spread as it cools.  Reserve.

Make the chocolate mousse. Place the cream in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid and place it in a cool place for at least 30 minutes. Beat until firm. Transfer to a bowl and keep in the fridge. Wash the Kitchen Aid bowl, you will use it to whip the egg yolks. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Reserve. Heat the sugar with the water in a saucepan. When the mixture reaches 230 F, start whipping the yolks in the mixer.   When the mixture reaches 240 ° C, pour it on the yolks while continuing to whip. Continue to beat until completely cool. The mixture should be clear and form a ribbon. Delicately stir in the melted chocolate. Your mousse is now ready.

Spread the mousse all over the cake, making sure it completely covers the space between the cake and the wall of the pan. Add all the mousse to the top of the cake, forming a thick smooth layer that will almost reach the top of the pan. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Prepare the icing. Cut the chocolate in small pieces, pour the almost boiling cream on top, wait a couple of minutes and gently mix. Add the corn syrup. Cool until it is around body temperature, and working very fast, in a single movement, pour it over the still frozen cake. Once the icing sets, decorate with white chocolate drizzle, or in any other way you envision.  Keep in the fridge until serving time. Slice using a knife moist with warm water, cleaning it after each cut.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Traditionally, the Gateau Royal is made with a base of almond sponge, similar to the Joconde used in the Opera Cake. Jennifer likes it better with a genoise, because the cake needs to be fully frozen after assembling, and the genoise performs better upon freezing-defrosting. She speaks, I listen. Chocolate genoise it was. My other departure from tradition happened in the final step, the icing. A real Royale shines (literally) with the coating of a mirror glaze. I had a few issues and resorted to plan  B, a more humble pouring ganache. The mirror glaze adventure shall be re-visited in the future. And I promise you won’t have to wait for the Bewitching to turn ten.

I will not lie to you. Making this cake will be a labor of love. One of the components, the crunchy topping for the genoise, requires making pate noisette. The photo above shows the overall process. The nuts are coated with the syrup and you must cook them until it all caramelizes and forms a nice shiny coating on the nuts. It takes a little time, and constant attention. Once you get to that stage, a powerful mixer like a Vitamix is the method of choice to liquefy it, so that the result will be a luscious, thick and smooth cream. Once the pate noisette is ready, it will be combined with special French cookies called Gavottes, which will probably require a virtual trip to the Store That Sells It All, aka amazon.com. Adaptations in the US often call for rice krispies. Their job is only to provide texture. Since it’s not every day that a food blog turns nine years old, I went the extra mile and used the real deal. When folks at the department tasted the cake, the ALL wanted to know what was the crunchy filling. It is that good, my friends. Leftover pate noisette is the stuff Nirvana is made of. I put it to good use in some macarons, remember?

Assembling this cake is a ton of fun. It needs to freeze for several hours before the icing is poured on top, so in case you make it, keep that in mind. Definitely better to spread the process. You can bake the cake on day one, make the praline and the mousse on day two, and coat it on day three. Easy peasy. The resulting cake has everything a choco-holic loves: intense chocolate flavor in each layer, perfect contrast of texture thanks to the praline, and that Nutella-aura that turns us all into happy kids. Cannot imagine a better cake to celebrate a special occasion.

A little slice of chocolate heaven!

So here I am, inviting you to follow me as I start my 10th year of food blogging. Expect a lot more baking, by the way. I want to learn different skills, from tempering chocolate to working with choux pastry, from sugar work to entremets. Petit fours? Yeah, I want to tackle them too…

If you’ve been with Bewitching Kitchen for a while, or happened to stumble on my site today for the first time, thanks for being here! 

Special thanks to Jennifer, who virtually held my hand during the preparation of the cake,
calming me down in some particularly thrilling moments
(wink, wink).

Celebrate, grab a pin!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns eight!

TWO YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Seven!

THREE YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen Turns Six!

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Five!

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Four!

SIX YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Three! 

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  The Bewitching Kitchen turns Two!

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Bewitching Birthday!

NINE YEARS AGO: Welcome to my blog!

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AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

Instead of posting a new recipe today, I am sharing with you my five best breads. According to my taste, that is, not the most popular in the blog. I thought it would be a fun thing to do, as with almost nine years of blogging under my belt, there’s a lot to choose from.  So here we go…

MY TOP FIVE BREADS

#1 BLACK OLIVE SOURDOUGH BREAD

May 2012
(full link here)

 

#2 THE TABATIERE

November 2017
(full link here)

 

#3 LA COURONNE BORDELAISE

January 2018
(full link here)

 

#4 BRAZILIAN PAO DE QUEIJO

October 2009
(full link here)

 

#5 CROISSANTS

April 2012
(full link here)

 

I hope you enjoyed this selection…

Stay tuned for more in the near future, as I go through other types of “favorites.”

A special thank you for Gary, Patissièr Extraordinaire, for suggesting this type of post. 

ONE YEAR AGO: Parsnip, Coconut, and Lemongrass Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2016

THREE YEARS AGO: Paleo Moussaka

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013

SIX YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

THE DAISY: A BREAD WITH BRIOCHE ALTER EGO

This bread is made with a very simple dough. No wild yeast, no extensive cycles of kneading, just your trusty commercial yeast, a few minutes in the Kitchen Aid, and a nice sleep in the fridge. It’s all about the shaping, that results in a flower-shaped bread. Think daisy. But both times I’ve baked it, the oven-spring was so spectacular that I thought I had made a brioche instead.

THE DAISY BREAD
(adapted from Craftsy online class by Ciril Hitz)

430 g bread flour
50 g spelt flour
320 g water
2.5 g instant yeast
10 g salt

Mix all the ingredients on low-speed in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start at low-speed for a couple of minutes, increase to medium-speed and mix for 6 minutes more.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Place the bowl in the fridge overnight, but after two hours, punch the dough down, and cover again.

Next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove a small portion of about 35 g of dough and roll as a ball.  Shape the rest of the dough as a large ball.

Use a wooden dowel to press down the sections of a daisy flower. Add the small ball to the center.  Sprinkle a nice coating of flour, and let the dough proof for 60 to 90 minutes.

Bake at 470 F  in an oven with initial steam for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is another nice shaping I learned taking the online class offered by Craftsy with Ciril Hitz (link under the recipe title, in case you missed it). I still have one more bread from that class to tackle, but that one is a bit more involved. The Daisy shaping is simple and fun. However, his bread was happy to be a flower, had no hidden intentions of imitating a brioche. He told me that perhaps a longer proofing after shaping would take care of that. I haven’t re-visited the issue. There are so many breads out there waiting for me…. But if you try it, keep that in mind.

I love Ciril’s class, he has a very serene personality, which goes well with bread baking. Come to think of it, it’s a bit of a stretch to apply serene to my own self, but that might explain why you don’t see me making videos of what happens as I bake. If you are over the fence about getting Craftsy classes, give them a try.  I think they are fantastic. Just make sure you read the reviews about each one. Also, they often have specials with huge discounts. I wait for those before  indulging.

The crumb is on the tight side, as expected for a lower hydration dough. It is a delicate balance to achieve when you want to focus on shaping. Higher hydration bread gives you a lighter texture, but it will be tricky to make them hold the shape.  I think both kinds of bread have their spot in the kitchen. And, between you and me, a tighter crumb is perfect to grab the last bit of a lusciously flowing egg yolk…

ONE YEAR AGO: Pork Tenderloin, Braciole Style

TWO YEARS AGO: Raspberry Buckle

THREE YEARS AGO: Seafood Gratin for a Special Dinner

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-Vide: Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Loin

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

EIGHT YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin

 

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SMOKED SALMON FAIT MAISON

I love this French expression that makes “home-made” sound a lot more special…  In Paris, they often print it in restaurant menus to indicate that some item – say,  their country paté – is “fait maison.”  In other words, unique. Special. Cannot get anywhere else. And that’s pretty much how I feel about smoked salmon made in our very own electric smoker. If you like the stuff available at the grocery store, you will flip for this. It is so much better, it doesn’t even seem like the same food item. I go as far as saying that buying an electric smoker is worth it just for smoking salmon. And steelhead trout.

SMOKED SALMON WITH BUTTERMILK DRESSING
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)

1 salmon fillet (about 4 pounds)
½ cup seafood dry rub
1 lemon, sliced
½ cup buttermilk dressing

for dry rub (makes more than you need):
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon  paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

for buttermilk dressing:
½ cup buttermilk
1/4 cup full-fat yogurt
Juice of half lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

Make the dry rub:  In a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds, black peppercorns and cloves for 1 to 2 minutes.  Let the mixture cool slightly, then process it thoroughly in a spice grinder and transfer it to a small bowl. Add the paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly.  Keep leftovers in a dark, dry place.

Soak 2 cups of wood chips in water for 15 to 30 minutes.  Heat the smoker to 200F.

Pat the salmon dry and let it come to room temperature.  Coat the salmon thoroughly in the dry rub and place it skin-side down on the grates. Scatter the lemon slices over the flesh. Smoke for about 1 hour, or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork.  While the salmon smokes, prepare the buttermilk dressing.

Whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, and dill. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

Serve the salmon with the buttermilk on the side, or drizzled all over. It’s your call…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Since we acquired the smoker back in December last year, we’ve made this recipe (with or without the buttermilk dressing) countless times.  We simply do not get tired of it. Often we will smoke two pieces, one we remove after 1 hour, and enjoy for dinner. The second piece we allow to smoke for one additional hour or even a little longer. That will be perfect to have over crackers with a bit of sour cream or cream cheese and capers. Or to make salmon rillettes. Or a smoked salmon quiche. Certain dogs love it too…

What makes the smoked salmon ‘fait maison’ so amazing is the texture. Simply cannot beat the texture. It melts in the mouth, and the smoky flavor is just perfect. Subtle. Delicious.

If you do not have a smoker, the closest approximation to this would be a method used by Jacques Pepin, in which you place the salmon on the dish it will be served and stick it in a very low-oven, 200F. You can check it out here. I would then make the same dry rub, but use smoked paprika instead.


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