Posted on

Sage Popovers

popovers

Let this recipe be your secret weapon for any last-minute needs. These popovers are crisp and puffy, and since they’re hollow inside they lend themselves to all kinds of savory jams and spreads. They can be made entirely of ingredients you’re likely to have on hand, and the batter can be prepared ahead and refrigerated. Happy Thanksgiving!

 Sage Popovers

2 cups (500 ml) milk

2 bay leaves

4 eggs

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick/90 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 cups (315 g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage, plus 10 whole leaves

 

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the milk and bay leaves until small bubbles appear around the edges. Off the heat, let stand for 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Refrigerate the milk until cool.

 

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400ºF (200ºC). Place two 6-well popover pans in the oven for 5 minutes.

 

In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, butter, flour, salt, pepper and chopped sage. Blend on high speed until the batter is smooth.

 

Remove the pans from the oven and spray 10 wells with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each about three-fourths full with batter and top with a sage leaf.

 

Return the pans to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 325ºF (165ºC) and continue baking until the popovers are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the pans from the oven and, using the tip of a small knife, pierce the top of each popover to allow the steam to escape. Remove from the pans and serve warm. Makes 10 popovers.

Posted on

Puff Pastry

puff pastry

Puff pastry forms the foundation of as many sweet and savory treats as you can dream up, so it’s perfect to have on hand during the holidays for easy desserts and hors d’oeuvres. The much-loved dough bakes up into hundreds of delicate layers of buttery pastry, which can serve as a base for a tart, a wrapper for a turnover, or the layers of a napoleon, to name a few.

 

Puff pastry is made by repeatedly rolling and folding a block of butter into a tender dough until the butter is divided into scores of layers within the mass. This technique is known as laminating; when the dough is baked, the water in the butter turns to steam, causing the layers to rise and create a light, flaky pastry.

 

Here, we show two ways to make puff pastry at home. The classic version will give you the most layers, but it’s time-consuming to make. The quick version requires fewer turns and results in fewer layers, but the results are still delicate and delicious.

 

Classic Puff Pastry

For the puff dough:

3 cups (15 oz./470 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) cake flour

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) pieces

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) ice water, or as needed

 

For the butter package:

1 lb. (500 g.) unsalted butter

2 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour

 

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) of the all-purpose flour and the salt. Pour in the ice water and mix on low speed until a smooth batter forms. Scatter the butter pieces over the surface. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the remaining all-purpose flour and cake flour, 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.

 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 15-20 seconds to make sure it is smooth and not sticky. Flatten the dough, shape into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to overnight.

 

To make the butter package, using a rolling pin or the heel of your hand, beat or knead the butter on a work surface to flatten and warm it until it is cool and pliable, about 60°F (16°C). Sprinkle the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to press the flour into the butter. Shape the butter into a 6-inch (15-cm.) square about 3/4 inch (2 cm.) thick. If the butter has become too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable (60°F/16°C).

 

To laminate the dough, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch (30-cm.) square. Place the butter at a diagonal in the center of the dough. Fold over the corners of the dough to meet in the center, covering the butter completely. Pat with your hands to form an 8-inch (20-cm.) square, then turn the square over so the seams are underneath. Roll out into a rectangle 24 inches (60 cm.) long by about 8 inches (20 cm.) wide, with a short side facing you. Fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. This is the first turn. Rotate the dough a quarter turn clockwise so that a fold is on your left.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Repeat to make 5 more turns, rolling, folding and chilling the dough each time, for a total of 6 turns. Each time you start, make sure you have a fold on your left. After the final turn, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight before shaping. Makes about 2 lb. (1 kg.) dough.

 

*NOTE: Many recipes call for 1 lb. (500 g.) of dough, or half of this recipe. Puff pastry is easily stored for later use; just cut the finished dough into quarters, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, place in a zippered plastic bag, and freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Weekend Project: Puff Pastry

 

Quick Puff Pastry

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) cake flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 lb. (250 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) pieces

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) ice water

 

BY HAND: In a bowl, stir together the flours and the salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the surface and toss and stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until it is absorbed. With your hands, pat the mixture into a loose ball.

 

BY FOOD PROCESSOR: Combine the flours and the salt and process briefly to mix. Scatter the butter over the flour and pulse about 10 times until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. Pour in the water and pulse 2 or 3 times until the dough starts to gather together, but before it forms a ball.

 

BY STAND MIXER: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flours and salt. Scatter the butter over the flour and mix on low speed until the butter is coated with flour. Pour in the water and mix just until the water is absorbed and the butter is still in large pieces.

 

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, dust the top lightly with flour, and pat into a rectangle 3/4-inch (2-cm.) thick. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 12 inches (30 cm.) long, about 7 inches (18 cm.) wide, and 1/2 inch (12 mm.) thick.

 

With a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough a quarter turn clockwise (so a seam is on your left) and repeat the process, rolling the dough into a 12-by-7-inch (30-by-18-cm.) rectangle and folding into thirds. Repeat the process a third time.

 

If at any time the dough begins to warm up and the butter begins to soften, place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes. After the third and final turn, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight before shaping.

 

For longer storage, cut the puff into quarters, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, place in an airtight plastic bag, and freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Posted on

Chewy Chocolate Meringues

meringues

Crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, these gems not only are a cinch to make but also are completely addictive—you won’t be able to stop at one (or two or three). The cocoa nibs add a nice crunch and nutty flavor, but if you can’t find them, don’t worry; they can be left out.

 

Chewy Chocolate Meringues

 

1 cup egg whites (about 7)

2 cups sugar

5 Tbs. natural cocoa powder

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

4 oz. cocoa nibs

 

Space 2 racks evenly in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 

In a clean, dry, heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat.

 

Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg mixture on high speed until stiff and glossy. Sift the cocoa powder over the meringue. Sprinkle with the chocolate and cocoa nibs, then fold together gently with a rubber spatula until combined.

 

Drop the meringue by heaping tablespoons, spaced slightly apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9 minutes. Rotate the pans and bake until the cookies are fluffy, full of cracks and spring back when touched, about 9 minutes more. Carefully pick up the parchment sheets and transfer the cookies, still on the parchment, to wire racks to cool. Makes about 2 dozen meringues.

 

Posted on

Grand Marnier

marnier

A venerable French dessert, this dramatic souffle is always a showstopper. Rubbing a little sugar into the orange zest brings out its oils and enhances the deep citrus flavor of the finished souffle. Serve it at the end of a special dinner for an elegant finale.

Grand Marnier Souffle

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) whole milk

1 1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

5 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 tsp. grated orange zest

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) Grand Marnier

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

 

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C) for individual souffles or 375°F (190°C) for a large souffle. Butter four 1-cup (8-fl. oz./250-ml.) ramekins or a 1-qt. (1-l.) souffle dish and dust the bottom and sides with sugar.

In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, stir together the flour and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Slowly pour in the hot milk while whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1-2 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale in color and thick. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the yolks while whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over low heat, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. In a small bowl, using the back of a spoon, mash the orange zest with a pinch of the sugar, then whisk into the egg yolk mixture along with the Grand Marnier.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.

Using a rubber spatula, fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites in the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Then, gently fold in the remaining whites just until no white streaks remain. Spoon into the prepared dish(es). Run your thumb around the rim of the dish(es) to form a shallow groove along the edge.

Bake until set and puffed, and the center still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, 8-10 minutes for the individual souffles, 25-30 minutes for the large souffle. Serve at once. Serves 4.

Posted on

Dark and Sticky Gingerbread

gingerbread

This dark, spicy and ultramoist cake is never more delicious than it is during the holidays. Its warm flavors are perfect for a wintry day — and even better when paired with a frothy pint of Guinness.

Dark and Sticky Gingerbread

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) brewed espresso or very strong coffee

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup (11 oz./345 g.) molasses

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) canola oil

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbs. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of ground white pepper

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Heaping 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) chopped crystallized ginger

Whipped cream for serving

 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23-cm.) springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Put the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a bowl, whisk together the espresso, brown sugar, molasses, oil, eggs and fresh ginger. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Add the wet ingredients along with the crystallized ginger, and stir to combine. The batter will be quite loose.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the pan sides and slide the gingerbread onto a serving plate. Serve warm with heaps of whipped cream. Makes one 9-inch (23-cm.) gingerbread.

Baker’s Note: Make the gingerbread into a dessert fit for company by serving slices topped with poached pears and cream whipped with a big pinch of ground ginger.

Posted on

Cookie of the day:Lime Curd Bars with Coconut Crust

bars

Limes have a distinctive sweetness that tempers their tartness — a flavor that holds up well in desserts and cocktails. Use a reamer to extract as much juice as possible; a rasp grater is essential for obtaining lime zest without any bitter pith, as their rind is very thin.

Lime Curd Bars with Coconut Crust

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

Grated zest of 1 lime, plus extra for garnish

1/2 cup shredded dried coconut

1/4 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 Tbs. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking powder

4 large eggs

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, overhanging the edges by 1 inch. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour, half of the lime zest, coconut and half of the salt and mix until the dough just holds together. Press into the pan and prick with a fork. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

In the mixer, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and remaining lime zest and salt. Slowly beat in the eggs and lime juice. Pour into the crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours. Cut into 24 bars and dust with confectioners’ sugar and lime zest. Makes 2 dozen bars.

Posted on

Tiramisu

tiramisu

This Italian classic is made up of delicate ladyfingers soaked in espresso and rum, layered with mascarpone custard and dusted with rich cocoa. Individual portions make a beautiful presentation; to make them, layer the soaked ladyfingers and custard in cups or bowls, cutting the ladyfingers as needed to fit the cups.

Depending on the size of the cups, you may not need as many ladyfingers as this recipe calls for.

Tiramisu

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) freshly brewed espresso

1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) dark rum

For the filling:

1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g.) mascarpone cheese

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

45 ladyfingers or savoiardi

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) water to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the espresso, and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the rum. Pour the espresso mixture into a wide, shallow bowl and set aside.

To make the filling, select a heatproof bowl that fits snugly in the rim of a saucepan. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm.) into the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. In the bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale yellow and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Place the bowl over (not touching) the simmering water in the pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the yolk mixture on medium speed until thick and tripled in volume, about 6 minutes. Remove the bowl from over the heat and set the yolk mixture aside to cool completely, stirring often as it cools.

In another bowl, beat the cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

Add the mascarpone and vanilla to the cooled yolk mixture. Beat with the mixer on medium speed just until smooth and well blended. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream just until combined.

Working in batches, immerse 15 ladyfingers in the espresso mixture, then arrange the ladyfingers in a single layer in the bottom of a 9-inch (23-cm.) square cake pan. Using the rubber spatula, evenly spread one-third of the filling over the ladyfingers. Soak another 15 ladyfingers in the espresso mixture, and place them over the filling and evenly spread with half of the remaining filling.

Soak the remaining ladyfingers, place them in the pan, and top with the remaining filling, again spreading evenly. Gently tap the pan against the counter to settle the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Run a small knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the sides. Dust the top with cocoa powder and serve. Serves 8-10.

Posted on

Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

gingersnap

Lemon chiffon pie is a timeless dessert, filled with rich, tangy pudding lightened by whipped cream. Give this classic a wintry twist with a spicy gingersnap crust. A sealable plastic bag and a rolling pin make short work of crushing the cookies into crumbs.

Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

1 1/4 cups (4 oz./125 g.) gingersnap cookie crumbs

5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) plus 3 Tbs. granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) unflavored powdered gelatin

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) fresh lemon juice, strained

1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.) heavy cream

1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Pat the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm.) pie pan or dish. Bake until the crust is firm, 5-7 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, orange zest and egg yolks; the mixture will be lumpy. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the gelatin melts and the mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Set the saucepan in an ice bath until the mixture is cool to the touch.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until thick, soft peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour into the prepared crust, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the pie until chilled and firm, 3-4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

Posted on

Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes

warm

What better way to say “I love you” this week than with chocolate? Plunge a spoon into one of these warm, gooey cakes, and you’ll find chocolate bliss. They are incredibly versatile, too. Dress these up with scoops of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, or top with sliced poached pears or blood orange segments and a dollop of crème fraîche.

Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes

8 oz. (250 g.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

4 large egg yolks

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

2 Tbs. unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted

3 large egg whites

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter six 3/4-cup (6-fl. oz./180-ml.) ramekins and dust with cocoa. Set the ramekins on a small baking sheet.

Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over (not touching) barely simmering water, and melt, whisking until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
Remove from over the water and stir in the vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat together the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and the cocoa on medium-high speed until thick. Add the chocolate mixture to the yolk mixture and beat until blended. The mixture will be very thick.

In a bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until very foamy and thick. Sprinkle in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and increase the speed to high. Continue beating until firm, glossy peaks form. Spoon half of the beaten whites onto the chocolate mixture and stir in just until blended. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Spoon into the prepared ramekins.

Bake the cakes until they are puffed and the tops are cracked, about 13 minutes. The inside of the cracks will look very wet. Remove from the oven and serve. Or, run a small knife around the inside of each ramekin and invert the cakes onto plates. Serves 6.

Posted on

Orange Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding

marmalade

When you first read this recipe, you may have doubts: it seems like a lot of bread in way too much liquid. But what emerges after baking is a puffy, golden pudding that melts in your mouth. This comforting dessert is gilded with a thin layer of tangy orange marmalade.

 

Orange Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding

1 loaf (1 lb./500 g.) challah or brioche, ends trimmed and cut into 12 slices

3 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 large eggs

5 large egg yolks

1 3/4 cups (14 fl. oz./430 ml.) whole milk

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) heavy cream

1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g.) sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup (5 oz./155 g.) orange marmalade

Whipped cream for serving

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325°F (165°C). Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm.) baking dish.

Spread the challah slices thickly and evenly with the butter. Cut the slices in half crosswise. Lay the slices in the dish so that they overlap slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over the bread. Let stand for about 30 minutes so that the bread soaks up the custard (occasionally press down on the bread for extra absorption).

Bake the pudding for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, gently warm the marmalade in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove the pudding from the oven and carefully spread the marmalade over the top.

Return to the oven and bake until the top is crisp, brown, and sticky, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving big scoops of the pudding garnished with lightly whipped cream.