Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cherry Raspberry Crumble Bars

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring..... For starters, it poured today in Jerusalem, thank G-d and I was able to wear my brand new rain boots! As for the snoring part... this morning I joined a group of girls on a trip to the airport to greet a plane full of new immigrants from North America. It was exciting and nostalgic- I was greeted in the same terminal by family and friends just two years ago when I immigrated here. Anyway, I had to be up at 4:45 to get to buses at 5:30. I only crashed for a nap at about one thirty-ish. So the song is pretty appropriate... but in a good way. Anyway.... last night, I made these Cherry Raspberry Crumble Bars from the Art and Soul of Baking. Simple jam crumble bars have been on my crave list and I'm glad I finally have a good and easily adapted recipe now at my disposal. The recipe calls for dried sour cherries, a new found favorite of mine. I love them for just snacking (I think they're the new Craisin!) and have been seeing them called for in recipes lately, especially in Mushet's book. Normally, such a product would be rare here, but I found them being sold in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem and while they cost A-LOT, they are worth buying, at least a little at a time. While I used the raspberry and cherry combination, anything goes here so feel free to substitute any flavor jam and any fruit, or omit the fruit. Go wild. These bars were also pretty easy to make and disappeared really quickly. They were homey, simple and yummy and they smelled so intensely fruity and yummy. I was nervous that girls would be freaked out by dried sour cherries, sometimes these things are too sophisticated for them, but they seemed to enjoy the combination as much as I did.

Cherry Raspberry Crumble Bars
from The Art and Soul of Baking

1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks butter or margarine
1 jar good quality raspberry jam
1 cup dried sour cherries

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a 9x13 inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk thoroughly.
Add the margarine or butter and using a mixer of your hands, mix/knead the mixture thoroughly until all the dry ingredients are moistened and crumbles are formed.
Pour half of the crumbles into the pan,
and press evenly into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool to warm.
Meanwhile, place the jam and cherries in a bowl,
and mix to combine.
Here is the baked crust.

Spread the filling over the cool-ish crust.
Top evenly with the remaining oat crumble mixture.
Bake for an additional 35 minutes, or until the filling bubbles through. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Semolina Filone

This bread catches my eye every single I flip through Glezer's Artisan Breads. The classic combination of semolina and sesame is one that I had yet to achieve in my kitchen but with the semolina flour and sesame in hand, it was about time. The bread required a poolish to be made the night before baking. I let it ferment way longer than the recommended time (due to the fact that I was not feeling well at all and the cleaning staff of our residence was both having a field day and causing a great ruckus in our room. Did I mention I wasnt feeling well that day? Yea.). Anyway. When the poolish was nice and bubbly and yeasty smelling, I assembled the dough by adding the poolish to some semolina flour, all purpose flour, additional yeast, salt, etc. The resulting mixture was so goopy that I had to disregard Glezer's caution not to add flour to achieve a kneadable consistency. I kneaded it until a soft dough was formed and set it aside to rise, giving it only two of the three required folds. I let it finished its rising undisturbed and then shaped it into a log/torpedo-ish shape. Wary of deflating the precious air bubbles, I didnt attempt to obey her detailed instructions and make it a traditional filone. I spritzed the top with some water so the sesame seeds could adhere and gave the loaf one long slash down the middle. I baked the loaf on a preheated stone. Because steaming doesnt work in my toaster oven, I baked without it. The loaf did have great oven spring, a result of sufficient preheating. The interior of the loaf was a lovely, creamy yellow with a beautiful, open crumb. The flavor of toasted sesame was just delicious. When the roomie was sick, I toasted her some slices of this loaf and she thoroughly enjoyed it. By all counts, this bread was di-vine.

Semolina Filone
adapted from Maggie Glezer's Artisan Breads Across America

1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water

1 2/3 cups semolina flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp water
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
Sesame seeds

The night before baking, make the poolish. Dissolve the yeast into 1 cup of water. Set aside for five to ten minutes.
Place the flours in a bowl and mix. Measure 1/4 of the yeasted water and pour over the flour.
Stir to make a gloppy batter.
Set aside to ferment overnight.
The next day, in a large bowl, place the flours and water.
Mix to make a firm autolyse.
Add the remaining yeast to the poolish and stir.
Pour the poolish over the autolysed dough and using a bench scraper to help, need the dough to form a cohesive mass. Add the salt at this point and knead to distribute. You may need to add a few tablespoons to adjust the consistency.
Turn out onto a barely floured surface and knead until tacky and soft, but not gloppy. Set aside to rise for three hours, giving the dough three folds, first after twenty, then forty, then sixty minutes. Let rise undisturbed for the remaining time. Preheat the oven with a baking stone to 400.
Spritz the dough with water and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds. Bake for 45-55 minutes until golden brown and delicious. Cool on wire rack. The only thing this was missing....was a shmear of cream cheese. Mmmm.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hamelman's Whole Wheat Bread

It's been a while since I've posted, I know. I think I've just been a bit lazy. Also, it's been Chanuka and things have been going on around here. We had parties and some trips and COLORWAR!! and also some much needed vacation. I also got to spend some quality time with my kids in Alon Shvut. Now that Chanuka is out, the girls and I are on a long stretch of school and learning. Yesterday, I took the opportunity to to make some bread because it has been too long and I truly miss it. I'm even considering bringing my sourdough starter back to life. But that's for another time. Having bought a bag of whole wheat flour (I think it was intended for whole wheat bagels), and not used it, I decided to make a simple whole wheat loaf of some sort. My first thought was to turn to Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, but I didnt really want a bread that would take two to three days to make. So I turned to one of my Bread favorites, Hamelman's Bread and chose to make a whole wheat loaf made with Pate Fermentee. The night before, I made a simple starter of flour, water and yeast. By the next morning, the starter had tripled in volume. Completing the dough was easy- mixing in some more flour, water, yeast, salt and honey. Because I didnt use a mixer, the pate fermentee, didnt completely incorporate, but it didnt take away from the final product at all. The dough fermented for two hours, with a fold in between. After shaping, the loaves proofed for another two hours. I preheated my stone (long time no use!) while they were proofing. I slashed my loaves with a sharp but regular kitchen knife. I learned from this that I like a smooth blade better than a serrated knife because it doesnt drag the dough and deform the bread. My chef's knife made lovely slashes that opened up beautifully in the oven. These loaves also had great oven spring (my roommate was in awe!). As soon as they were a little cool, I sliced them open to expose an even crumb. The loaf was so moist and flavorful, delicious enough to eat on its own. I was nervous that it would turn out too salty but it was really perfect. The crust was divine, as one of my girls later noted. Enjoyed the next day, they were still winners. Stay tuned for more adventures in bread. Armed with two bags of semolina flour and sesame seeds, anything can happen!

Whole Wheat Bread
from Hamelman's Bread

Pate Fermentee:
8 ounces all purpose flour or bread flour
5.2 ounces water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 lb whole wheat flour
8 ounces all purpose flour or bread flour
1 lb .6 ounces water
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp yeast
1 ounce honey
Pate Fermentee
For the pate fermentee, place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the water and stir to make a rough dough.Knead it until it becomes a uniform mass. Cover and set aside at room temperature overnight.It should look all bubbly and have tripled in volume by the next morning.The next day when you're ready to bake, place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl,and whisk to combine.Pour the water and stir to make a shaggy dough.
Tear the pate fermentee into pieces and scatter over the top of the flour mixture.
Knead until a smooth, uniform dough is formed. Set aside to rise for two hours, giving the dough a fold once after the first hour.
Portion the dough into two,
round them and dust with flour. Set aside to proof for two hours. Towards the end of proofing, preheat your oven to 450, remembering to place the stone in it.
Slash the loaves as decoratively as you please and bake for about forty minutes or until a thermometer registers 190-200.
Remove from the oven and cool completely. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crumble Coffee Cake

Life is pretty uneventful. Not much is happening around here. Time is flying, though and winter is finally in full swing. Ohh and Chanuka is coming! That's exciting. That and the discovery of dried sour cherries in the shuk.... Otherwise, not much to write home about. Sadly, that's sort of been reflected in my baking. I need fresh new ideas, a new twist on things. I'm lacking baking inspiration. Maybe with two new bags of Semolina flour, I'll get back to bread baking... Until new inspiration hits... I'll just tell you about this coffeecake I made. When I walked into my room Saturday night, I was hit with a request for baked goods. Since the night was young, I made a pan of Peanut Butter Smoothies and upon special request, coffeecake. The coffeecake recipe was taken from KAF. Easy enough to make, this made a large pan full of crumbly goodness. Yum! The cake was a tiny drop blander than the crumble, I think next time I will up the salt a bit as well as the extract factors. Since this made on special request, after the girls gave some money to charity, they locked my door and armed with forks, dug in to the cake as soon as I set it down in front of them. And boy did they dig to their hearts' content. And then they were nauseous :) Anyway, when I walked into my room the next day after school, the remaining half of the cake had completely disappeared, leaving behind just a parchment lined pan and some crumbs. Success! I made this cake in a 9x13 pan and there was a wonderfully thick layer of crumble on top. Totally the best part! As far as being a blank canvas, this cake is. Feel free to add lemon zest or extract, chocolate chips or anything else you fancy. Enjoy as a breakfast treat on a lazy morning or just as an afternoon snack.

Crumble Coffee Cake
KAF Baking Companion

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp almond extract

8 tbsp margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, place the margarine and sugar.
Cream until combined.
Add the egg,
and mix.
Add the sour cream and vanilla. Blend.
Add all of the dry ingredients.
Stir to make a cohesive batter. Pour into the pan. Spread evenly. Set aside while you make the crumble.
For the crumble, place the flour, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.
Add the melted margarine,
and stir with your fingers to make a rough crumble. Dont over mix or your crumble wont have the proper consistency.
Sprinkle evenly over the batter. Loads of crumble!
Bake for 30-35 minutes until it looks like this. Yummo!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dark Chocolate Tart

This past weekend was spent by my sister and brother-in-law in Neve Daniel, a settlement about fifteen minutes south of Jerusalem. I like to go there every few weeks, to get away, relax, enjoy good food and good sleep, away from noise and chaos, and spend time with my darling niece O. My sister was having two students over for Friday night dinner and she asked me to make dessert for the weekend. Obviously happy to oblige, I set about to do research. Generally, I like to start the research process on Wednesday so that lists are made up and ingredients bought by Thursday. Having bought loads of chocolate to bake with, I knew it would be a chocolate dessert. I settled on this Dark Chocolate Tart from Luscious Chocolate Desserts. Now, I know that I've made a chocolate chocolate tart before, but this recipe is different! For one thing, this filling is baked, not whipped and therefore doesnt soften! The tart is really easy to make, requiring only half hour of baking between the crust and the filling. After cooling the finished tart, I initially thought the filling too soft and chilled it in advance, taking it out only before we started eating. Eating it this way prompted my sister to call this a confection and not a dessert. It was like eating a very rich and decadent truffle, she said. So I left it out overnight and when we had it the next day with the softened filling, she declared it much better. And I agreed- it was a lot better this way. So I'm warning you now-- don't chill this tart! It's at its best and most chocolate-y at room temperature! It also highlights the contrast between the crunchy crust and smooth, soft filling.

Dark Chocolate Tart
adapted from Luscious Chocolate Desserts

1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold margarine, cut into pieces

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tbsp margarine
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Have a ten inch fluted tart pan ready.

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl,
and whisk to combine.
Add the margarine,
and using your fingers, rub the pieces together until all the flour is moistened and you have a crumbly mixture.
Pat the dough into the tart pan. Prick with a fork and place on a baking sheet.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
While the crust is cooling, make the filling. Place the chocolate and margarine in a pot. Melt over low heat until completely melted.
Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Blend until smooth.
Pour into the shell and bake for 12 minutes. Cool on rack. It will firm up a bit as it cools. Dust liberally with cocoa powder, if desired.