Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baked Apples

This recipe was requested by my grandma. She really wanted to learn how to make Apple Dumplings so I went ahead and made them one weekend. It was pretty easy and super delicious. Try them, you won't be sorry.

Apple Dumplings
Yields 4

For the Dough:
1/2# All Purpose Flour
1/3# Butter, cubed, chilled
3 oz Water, cold
Pinch of Salt

For the Filling:
1/2c Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/8 # Butter, cubed
2 ea Apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters

For the Syrup:
1c Brown Sugar
1 c Butter
2 Tbsp Cinnamon

1. Mix the flour and salt with the cubed butter until the butter is broken down into pea sized globs.
2. Add the chilled water until the dough just comes together. Form into a disc shape and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 4 hours.
3. In a saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Reserve.
4. Grease a 8x8 baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to an 1/8" square. Cut into 4 even pieces.

6. Place 2 apple slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar on each portion. Top with a square of butter.

7. Fold the dough up and around the apples. pinch all of the seams together. Place in the baking dish. Repeat for all of the dough.

8. Pour the syrup from step 3 into the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.
9. Allow the dumplings to rest for at least 10 minutes before trying to serve these little purses.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pear Eight Ways

This was probably one of the most difficult class projects I have ever had to do. We were paired up and told that we had to create a dessert with the main ingredient being poached pears.

Of all the fruit. Pears. Seriously. Ugh. I am not a pastry person, why couldn't I get a nice fruit like cherries, or berries.

We had a week to create the recipes, complete a costing, and compose a drawing of what our finished desseert would look like.

A week, it sound like a ample amount of time. Not at The CIA. Everyday here is the fastest day of my life, and with a job, there is absolutely no down time. So a week here is like three days elsewhere.

Chris and I figured it out, finally. We were to make a Cinnamon Panna Cotta with a Poached Pear Disc inside, Vanilla Creme Anglaise, a Port Wine Pear Sauce and a Petit Tuille Cookie.

We had one full day of prep plus two hours on the second day to create this dish that summed up all we had learned in class.

On day one, we made the vanilla sauce, poached the pears, assembled the panna cotta, and created a spiced shortbread as the stand for the dessert.

On day two the pear port wine sauce was finished and the tuille cookies made. Then came plate up.

Everyone served their creation at three thirty on the dot. And the dishes were tasted by everyone, includung Chef Englinski. Then came the critique.

Everyone was able to contribute to this discussion. My dessert was second to last and man, was my stomach turning.

Everyone loved it. The only critique was some vanilla bean in the sauce (who would waste a vanilla bean on 2oz of sauce) and to push the dessrt back an inch on the plate.

Overall -- Great success! 

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Four Ingredients...Endless Opportunities

Fathom this for a moment: with only four ingredients, three of which you have sitting in your cupboard, you can create at least 300 different items. Then take those items and add in two to three more ingredients that are also just occupying space in you fridge, and voilia! 65845645 flavor combinations each resulting in some so unique and amazing there will be no way you can turn it down. Lets talk bread.

Challah Bread

Monday, November 7, 2011

Temperature is Everything

Ever wonder why chocolate bars have such a nice snap? Why they are glossy and creamy? Why the chocolate decorations at a bakery are so much better than the chocolate decorations you make with melted down Hershey Kisses? It's all in the tempering.

Death By Chocolate
Tempering is a process in which the chocolated is melted, heated, cooled and the warmed to achieve all of the wonderful qualities we have come to know and love about a good quality chocolate confection.
On a molecular level, cocoa butter has six different formations, and we are after one formation in general. the one that will give us the perfect snap, sheen and color.

Every type of chocolate is differnet, therefore they need to be cooled to different temperatures before working with them.

White Chocolate: Heat up to 110 degrees; Cool down to 78 degrees; Bring Back to 82 degrees
Milk Chocolate: Heat up to 115 degrees; Cool to 80 degrees; Bring back to 86 degrees
Dark Chocolate: Heat up to 120 degrees; Cool to 82 degrees; Bring back to 90 degrees

So, lets break it down, step by step.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bread Should Never be Alone

Its Sunday, and what a better way to spend the day than with my wonderful boyfriend. This Sunday we went and had a lovely brunch, went to the farmers market and went shopping.

When I woke up this morning, he had a grand plan to surprise me with a trip to small place in Rhinebeck for brunch. I love brunch, so anything involving a lazy Sunday and hash browns, sign me up! We ended up at Bread Alone. On the outside, it looks like a run of the mill coffee shop, but on the inside it opens up into a coffee shop and a restaurant. We waited behind the locals for our table, sampling in house baked sourdough bread. We were seated a cute little table right by the kitchen's pass, so we could watch all of the excitement.