GIBASSIER

Those who follow my blog might be aware that I am a huge fan of Helen Fletcher. When she praises a recipe, I just know it will be awesome. Still, this one surpassed all my expectations. Gibassier is a little brioche-like delicacy from Provence, a place that enchanted me when I visited many years ago, right during lavender harvesting season. I will never forget the fields and the intense but delicate lavender aroma present everywhere. Helen’s recipe is a breeze to make  using the food processor, but she also gives detailed instructions to make it in a regular mixer.

GIBASSIER
(from Pastries Like a Pro)

Preferment (Biga):
140 g bread flour
1/2 cup warm milk (about 105°F)
Large pinch of instant yeast

Stir together in a small bowl.  Knead several times to make a smooth ball.  Let sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.

Gibassier Dough:
385 grams bread flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (85 grams)
100 grams granulated sugar or 3 1/2 ounces)
2 + 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
Orange zest from l medium navel orange
All of preferment from above
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water, divided
1/4 tsp Fiori di Sicilia (optional)
2/3 cup candied orange rind

Place the flour in the processor and pulse several times.  Cut the cold butter into pieces and arrange in a circle over the flour. Process until the butter is no longer distinguishable.

Add the sugar, yeast, salt, zest, and Fiori di Sicilia.  Pulse to incorporate. Tear the preferment into pieces and add it processor.  Process to fully incorporate.

Combine the eggs, olive oil, and half of the water. Pour over the dry ingredients and process to mix completely.  Scrape down and rearrange the dough if necessary.  The dough should be very soft.  Add water a teaspoon at a time if necessary (I did not use additional water).  Add the candied orange rind.  Pulse briefly to mix.  Do not over mix or the  rind will be too small.

Let the dough proof at room temperature for 2 hours, then deflate the dough and transfer to the fridge overnight

Shape the Gibassier.  Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Turn the dough out. Weigh your dough and do the math to find out how many grams you should use to form each little dough. You should have enough for 14 gibassiers. In my case, I used 80 grams per little ball.  Shape all the balls, cover, and refrigerate to make it easier to cut them.  Take two or three out at a time so they don’t soften too much. Take a ball and stretch it out with your fingers to make a rough torpedo shape. Turn it so the best side is up.  With the heel of your hand press the top of the dough upward from the middle. Again from the middle of the dough, with the heel of your hand press the dough downward to form a lemon shape.  Flatten the ends to match the center. It shoud be abut 2 1/2 ” high.

With a single edge razor blade, make a cut in the middle of the dough.Then one to the left. One to the right. Along the right side of the top of the dough cut in toward the center about 3/4” to 1”. Again on the other side. Last cut in the same amount on the right side. And on the left. As you pick it up to put it on the sheet pan, stretch it out to enlarge the holes.  Place 7 on a tray.

Cover them and allow them to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until puffy.

Heat the oven to 350F. While the oven is heating brush 2 or 3 of the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle heavily with sanding sugar or pearl sugar. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rung for 18 to 22 minutes until golden brown and baked through.

Serve warm or room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you’d like to make Gibassier, I urge you to stop by Helen’s site because her step-by-step photos are perfect to understand what needs to be done. Explaining just with words is a bit tricky. If you make it in the food processor, it will be easy to make just half the recipe, as the processor will handle it without issues. Everything comes together super quickly, and I like the fact that I could use butter straight from the fridge.

Some people suggest using an old credit card to do the cuts on the dough, but Helen’s idea of getting those single edged razor blades is truly spot on. I advise you to allow the final proofing to reach the 2.5 hour mark or even a little big longer as enriched doughs tend to be a bit sluggish. The puffier they get at that stage, the lighter the rolls will be. I had to cut my final proofing a bit short for half of them, and the second batch was better.


This is the type of pastry that will transport you straight to a cafe in France, sitting outside, people-watching, as you sip a little hot chocolate, coffee, or whatever suits your mood…

Helen, thank you once again not only for the inspiration but for your detailed instructions that make it all so much easier to follow.

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TEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES THREE: MAY 2020

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here.

During social isolation we have more time to devote to meal preparation, things that take hours to materialize at the table don’t need to be reserved to the weekend. But I always welcome simple things with a smile. The first one comes from Nadiya’s show Time to Eat, which I binge watched from first to last episode, enjoying every second of it. The second would be breakfast for most people, but my first meal of the day is lunch, so that’s when I’ve been enjoying it (often). Lastly, the third is a tribute to a UK ingredient that can be not only hard to find, but quite pricey for us Americans, clotted cream. I finally made it from scratch, and if you are into that sort of ingredient, I have one word for you: WOW.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

TORTILLA EGG ROLLS

TORTILLA EGG ROLLS
(adapted from Nadiya’s Time to Eat)

for one person….

1 egg
salt, pepper, spices to taste
1 tortilla (I used corn, she used flour)
olive oil
goodies to taste (I used leftover roasted butternut squash)

Crack the egg into a bowl, season with salt pepper and any spices you feel like. Whisk well.  Put a small frying pan over a medium heat, and drizzle in two teaspoons of oil.  Pour the egg  mixture into the hot oil, making sure it is hot enough to sear it quickly.

Scatter your goodies over the egg, put the tortilla on top, pressing it gently with a spatula to glue nicely to the egg mixture underneath it. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip it all gently and cook on the other side (tortilla down) for another 30 seconds.

Take the pan off the heat and put the tortilla/egg on a plate. Roll the whole thing when it is cool enough to touch, slice and….

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Corn tortillas are a little harder to roll, but I prefer them because they are lighter and in my opinion more flavorful.  I sometimes warm it up for a couple of seconds in the microwave before adding on top of the egg to make it slightly more pliable, but it’s not mandatory. Nothing wrong keeping it simple… You can add mushrooms, olives, peppers, sliced leftover meat, and make them a little bigger by using a larger flour tortilla. The method is simple and so easy to adapt to your needs, I hope you’ll give it a try.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

Orange – Yogurt – Tahini Bowl

Cut orange in segments. I used blood oranges for this version, but any juicy orange will work. Place fruit in a serving bowl.  Top with a nice dollop of yogurt, drizzle tahini all over it. A touch of maple syrup, and your favorite granola.  Close your eyes as you eat it. It is dreamy. I called it lunch many times in the recent past. Tahini and yogurt. Who could tell? I used bananas instead of oranges and also a mixture of oranges and strawberries. Everything works. Refreshing, light but satisfying because tahini packs quite a bit of energy.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

CLOTTED CREAM

Hardest part of this “recipe?” Finding non-ultra-pasteurized heavy cream. I was lucky to find ONE little container at the grocery store and jumped on it with so much enthusiasm I almost lost my mask. Once you find that, follow this super simple procedure: pour it in a baking dish so that the level is not higher than 1 inch. Place carefully inside a low oven (mine was set at 170 F and I confirmed with oven thermometer to be pretty stable).  Leave it there for 12 hours.  Come back to this view….

Let it come to room temperature, and place it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Carefully scoop out the clotted cream and transfer to a container for storage. If you like it softer, add a bit of the liquid left underneath. That liquid, by the way,  will work as milk in any type of baking, or as a nice addition to your coffee or tea.

Clotted cream is pure culinary gold, and so easy to make, essentially no hands-on work. Perfect over scones, pancakes, waffles. You will find plenty of ways to enjoy it, I’m sure. Even as a simple spread over bread or crackers. With a touch of jam if you are so inclined.

I heard that clotted cream can also be prepared in a crock pot. I intend to try that next time I score some of the appropriate heavy cream. The preparation sous-vide is also available in many sites in the internet, but I found the method a bit too convoluted and potentially messy. This was super easy and I highly recommend you give it a try.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ispahan Macarons

TWO YEAR AGO: Smokin’ Hot Meatloaf and Homemade Ketchup

THREE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas & Paleo Planet Cookbook Review

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

SIX YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

NINE YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

TEN YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken

 

THE QUASI-VEGAN QUICHE

As you know, we are members of the Omnivores Without Guilt Club, but what you probably don’t know is that I own many cookbooks on Vegan cooking. I like the concept and the challenge of preparing food that tastes great but is more limited in the ingredients used.  I had very good intentions to make a fully vegan quiche for our dinner, but ended up adding 1 egg to the filling. Oh, well. It turned out very good, and even the resident critic, who considers tofu to be penitence, loved it!

ALMOST VEGAN TOFU QUICHE
(inspired by The Minimalist Baker)

1 rectangular pie pan, 8 x 11 in

for the olive oil crust:
for the pie crust:
250g all-purpose flour (260 grams)
1/8 teaspoon salt
50g olive oil (50 grams)
125 g cold water

for the filling:
12.3 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (patted dry)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp hummus
Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
1 egg
2 medium zucchini (thinly sliced)
1 Tbs olive oil medium diced onion per 2 leeks)
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 stalk asparagus
Herbes the Provence (as much as you like)

Make the crust. Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl, then add the olive oil, stir with a fork until the flour gets coated with it, forming a crumbly ness. Slowly add cold water and knead gently just until the dough starts to comes together.  Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate one hour before using.

Roll it over plastic wrap lightly coated with flour, then use it to cover a rectangular pie pan (8 x 11 in) with removable bottom (or a 9-inch round quiche pan). Reserve in the fridge until you have the filling ready to bake. No need to blind-bake.

Make the filling. Roast slices of zucchini coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper for about 15 min in a 420F oven. Reserve. Add drained tofu to a food processor with nutritional yeast, hummus, egg, and a heaping 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper. Process until fully smooth.

Spread the zucchini slices in the bottom of the pie crust. Spread the hummus mixture, gently spreading it over it with a small offset spatula. Distribute the cherry tomatoes over the filling, then the asparagus (if they are too thick, sprinkle them with water and microwave for 60 seconds to soften ever so lightly).

Bake quiche at 375 degrees F total of 30–40 minutes or until the top appears golden brown and firm. If the crust begins to get too brown, loosely tent the edges with foil. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you remember my previous post on a pie using olive oil crust, you will notice that I blind-baked it at that time. Now I tried without this step, and was quite pleased with the result. Omitting the blind baking makes this dish even easier to bring to the table. You can roll the crust hours earlier, or even a day before and keep it in the fridge, protected with plastic wrap.

I promise you, there is no “tofu-taste” in the filling. Until I added the egg, it seemed a bit too coarse and grainy, but the egg smoothed things out and I guess made it all a bit lighter during baking. If you want to make it fully vegan, just omit the egg. One interesting idea to lighten it up but keep it vegan could  be folding into the tofu mixture some whipped aquafaba. Hummmm… something to try. Leftovers were delicious on day 2 and day 3. After that? After that they were gone.

ONE YEAR AGO: Not Quite Moqueca

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Butternut Squash with Cashew Nuts

THREE YEARS AGO: Mississippi Roast and the Open Mind

FOUR YEARS AGO: Walnut-Raisin Bran Muffins

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SIX YEARS AGO: Chestnut Flour Sourdough Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Kinpira Gobo and Japanese Home Cooking

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Walnut Sourdough

NINE YEARS AGO: Thai Chicken Curry

TEN YEARS AGO: Zen and the art of risotto

HOT CROSS BUNS

Until this year, I’ve been a Hot Cross Bun virgin, as I had never even tasted one. They did not exist in Brazil as I was growing up, but are very popular in many places of the world, United Kingdom, USA, Australia, New Zealand. They are usually served on Good Friday, to mark the end of Lent. They are marked with a cross to represent the Crucifixion of Jesus, and contain spices that were said to be used to embalm his body. Some point their origin to the year 1361 in a monastery in St Albans, England. But that is debatable. What is not debatable is how delicious they are, and how much I regret having waited so long to make them.

HOT CROSS BUNS
(very slightly modified from Global Bakes)

for the buns:
180 mL milk warmed to 110 degrees F
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used osmo-tolerant yeast)
100 grams light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons greek yogurt, at room temperature
70 grams (5 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
460 grams all-purpose flour, divided
40 g dried figs, finely minced)
100 g raisins
zest of 1 large orange

for the flour cross:
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons cold water

for the glaze:
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons sugar

Make the Buns
Whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes until yeast becomes frothy.

Add to the bowl the brown sugar, butter, yogurt, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and 125 grams (1 cup) of the flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds or stir by hand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour, the dried fruit, and the orange zest. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky and soft. If it’s too sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, mix in additional flour 1 Tablespoon at a time just until it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in the machine for about 4 minutes in low-speed, then transfer the dough to a greased bowl and allow it to ferment for 2 hours at room temperature.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.  When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Weigh the dough and divide it into 15 roughly equal pieces (my pieces were 77g each).  Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it on the bottom to seal. Arrange in prepared baking pan. Cover shaped rolls and place in the fridge overnight.

Remove the shaped buns from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Whisk the cross ingredients, adjusting consistency with water or flour so that it is thick enough to form a stable design. Spoon paste into a piping bag. Pipe a line down the center of each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Five minutes before they are done, make the glaze by boiling milk and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved and the glaze thickens slightly.

When they buns are baked, remove from the oven and immediately brush with the warm glaze. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy still warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Tanya was my source of inspiration, she actually made those for the first time also this year, and I just tagged along. I did not have many different kinds of dried fruits in our pantry, so I used just raisins and dried Mission figs. The whole batch went to the homeless meal that happened to fall exactly on Good Friday, but Phil and I decided to share one because I really had to know how they taste.

I loved it! The bread is soft, reminds me a bit of a cinnamon roll, but not as decadent.  I like the addition of baking powder to the flour paste, which I saw in Celia’s blog post of years ago. I think it makes it a bit lighter.

Making them was a very nice, trouble-free process (discreet knock on wood, don’t want to upset the baking gods, as I intend to make macarons in the near future).  I hope you give Tanya’s recipe a try, in her site you can see how to do it in a single day.

Thank you Tanya (globalbakes.com), for your constant inspiration!  Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home… and let’s bake!

ONE YEAR AGO: Avgolemono Soup, My Way

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Chocolate Twist Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard Times Three

FOUR YEARS AGO: Turkey Portobello Burger

FIVE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Ricotta Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2014

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

NINE YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

TEN YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis

OMG SPINACH PIES

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here. A video summarizing important tips can be found here

SPINACH PIES… Please, do not run away from me, I cannot take it. Times are stressful, I need your company. Hate spinach? Hate anything green? Fear not, this was quite likely THE tastiest savory recipe I tried this year. I know, it’s just April, but it’s a year that feels like a lifetime passing by. I will ask you to steam a ton of spinach and you might be a bit annoyed by that step. But once that’s done, you are basically there. Ready to enjoy one amazing side dish or fancy brunch item. Locked inside with no guests? Fancy Brunch for Two. Go with the flow…

SPINACH PIES
(slightly modified from The Washington Post)

(5 to 6 tartlet pans, about 4.5 inches in diameter)

20 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
10 ounces small-curd, low-fat cottage cheese
10 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Set a steamer basket above simmering water. Place half of the spinach in the steamer. Cover and steam until just wilted, then drain and coarsely chop. Press with paper towels to remove as much moisture from the spinach as possible, then transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining spinach.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to grease the tartlet pans, then arrange them on a baking sheet. Add the diced shallot to the spinach, along with the eggs, cottage cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pepper and nutmeg; stir to blend well. Divide evenly among the tartlet pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until browned on the edges and set in the center.

Wait 5 minutes before removing the little pies from the pans. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Credit should go for the husband who noticed the recipe in The Washington Post and sent me the link. It was part of an article on Irish cooking, published right around St Patrick’s Day.  We were so impressed by these pies, not only tasty the day I made them, but two days later, very gently warmed in a low oven. I normally don’t care for low-fat cottage cheese, but it worked perfectly in this preparation. If using low-fat goes against your principles, by all means grab the regular kind.

I used tartlet pans from Wilton that have a loose bottom, so it’s easy to push them out to serve. The original recipe mentioned you could make 6 tartlets, but using these pans I made only 5. The same type of filling could work well as a real tart, over a crust (like the olive oil crust of my recent past), but this version is as light as it is flavorful.

I hope you make these pies. It is possible that it would work well with frozen spinach, but I much prefer the brighter taste that you get once you steam it yourself and use right away.

ONE YEAR AGO: Avgolemono Soup, My Way

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Chocolate Twist Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard Times Three

FOUR YEARS AGO: Turkey Portobello Burger

FIVE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Ricotta Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2014

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

NINE YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

TEN YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis