Candied Lemons

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Candied Lemons

I know this is a “baking” blog, but sometimes, we have to “no bake” to get a great result ;) I came across a lemon pound cake recipe and wanted to work on the garnish a bit. I stumbled across something that I’ve never seen in stores in the Midwest, BUT there are in “citrus” areas. So, with a little research, I was able to figure out how to “candy” some lemons! It’s not super hard, but it does take a little time. . . Here’s How:

 

Indredients:

Blanching Liquid:

3 C water

1 C Ice

1 C of water

 

Wet:

2 C Sugar

2 C Water

2 Lemons (I used smaller ones and that seemed to help with “breaking” the pulp)

 

Toping:

¼ C Granulated sugar

 

Other Stuff:

Medium sized Heavy-bottomed pot

Vegetable mandolin set to the thinnest setting

Paring knife

Slotted spoon

Tongs

Bowl for ice water

Large high sided skillet

Parchment paper

Cooling rack

 

Instructions:

Start 3 Cups of water to boil. Cut the ends off of lemons to obtain a flat surface and run each lemon across mandolin set on the thinnest setting (1/8 inch).  There will be seeds that make it through. I use a paring knife to make sure that my lemon slices are as free of seeds as possible. Set up the ice water as soon as the water in the pot comes to a boil.

Blanch the slices by placing them in the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Once water achieves a boil once again, let them boil for about 30 seconds and immediately remove and put them in the ice water.  Repeat this process 2 more times. Why? Well, once you candy the lemons, the pith is trapped in the sugar syrup, but the blanching will take a bit of the bitterness away from the pith.

After the last blanch icing, start to prepare the simple syrup by placing the sugar and water in the large pan over medium heat stirring just until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat to just a simmer (Low-Medium Low).  My tell was if there was steam and “tiny bubbles” (reminds me of a song ;)) In one layer, place your lemon slices in the sugar syrup as much in a single layer as possible (some will slide on top of others, it’s okay). These will need to simmer for about 75-90 minutes until they are “transparent” in color: the pith will be not quite but almost see-through instead of opaque.  I set my timer and turn each slice over every 15 minutes during this time with tongs. Be very careful to keep an eye on the sugar syrup, if it starts to boil, it will caramelize and that turns bitter REALLY fast.

Meanwhile, set up a piece of parchment paper on a cooling rack. Once your slices are complete, remove from syrup and place in one layer on the parchment paper. Let them cool for about 30 minutes, and then sprinkle with half of the granulated sugar, and then flip and use the other half on the other side. Save your simple syrup into a jar to let cool and then refrigerate up to 2 weeks. It’s Really GREAT in tea!

Let these sit out overnight to absorb the granulated sugar and then you they should be “dry” enough to put in a container to store. They will remain pliable, and they are DELICIOUS! 

Single Layer in simple syrup

Single Layer in simple syrup

Post candying before sprinkled in sugar. 

Post candying before sprinkled in sugar. 

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UNholy. . . NY Style Bagels

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UNholy. . . NY Style Bagels

UNholy. . . NY Style Bagels!

Have you ever seen a character in a movie walking in Manhattan and they undoubtedly pass a Bagel Shop! I’ve figured out how to make these bagels at home with not a lot of work and a great deal of taste! Here’s how!

 

Ingredients:

WET:

1 ½ C warm water

2 ¼ t Fast acting/rapid-rise yeast (1 standard package)

1 t granulated sugar

 

DRY Mixture:

4 C Bread/High Protein Flour

¼ C non-diastatic malt powder

2 t table salt

2 T Honey (or 2 T granulated sugar)

 

Steaming liquid:

6-8 C water (the height of your grate may determine this . . . )

2 T non-diastatic malt powder

1 T sugar

 

Toppings:

1 Large egg white

1 T warm water

Any/none of the following:

Kosher Salt, sesame seeds, cinnamon sugar blend, steak seasoning (you laugh, but they are good!), dried onions (Only sprinkle on after “10 and turn” or they may burn.)

 

Other stuff:

Stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment

Large bowl for proofing

Cling film

Silpat-parchment paper

Non-greased baking sheet

Bench/dough scraper

Large High-sided skillet or Dutch oven

Grate for steaming (if poaching, slotted spoon)

Non-stick cooking spray

Spatula

Kitchen towel, damp

Basting brush

 

Instructions:

Before starting the mixing process, preheat oven to about 100 Deg F. In a measuring cup filled with warm water, add the yeast and sugar, whisk together and set aside for about 3 minutes while you get your dry ingredients together. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add Flour, non-diastatic powder, and salt; give a quick whisk and then add honey (or sugar, you can whisk after adding this J). Fit your bowl on the mixer and with hook attachment just turn on for about 30 sec. to combine then pour your wet mixture in and put the speed to 2 and let it work for 8 minutes for you!

Meanwhile, turn your oven off and spray your proofing bowl with non-stick spray. Once your dough is nice and elastic, form into a ball and place in the proofing bowl and turn over to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Stick in your oven to let proof for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, dampen a cloth with warm tap water and line a baking sheet with parchment paper/silpat baking mat. “Poof” Punch down the dough, roll out onto a non-floured surface into a log and start to divide. If you want to “eye-ball” it, that’s totally fine, but I measured mine to between 4 ¼ -4 ½  oz. balls.

Dough Balls

Once dough is measured out, take the ball and “pinch” it with the smooth side on the bottom, invert and place ball between the heel and palm of your hand. In a circular motion roll to create a ball that has virtually no seam. Place on your silpat/parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth while you’re working through the dough. After all dough is done, start with the first one (there’s method to the madness as the dough needs to rest slightly after the “balling” process.) of the balls and flatten slightly. Poke your finger directly in the middle and gentle break through the elasticity. With your two index fingers side by side, slowly begin to make a circle and stretch the dough. You will need to go farther than you think, but you can feel when it’s giving all that it’s got. . . Place that wring back on the silpat, repeat with the other balls and cover with damp towel. Let sit for about 20 minutes. . .

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Meanwhile, Pre-heat oven to 425 DegF, positioning one rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven and ready your steaming liquid by combining all ingredients and bring to a boil. Separate egg and add 1 T of water to the white and beat until smooth.  Gather your toppings of choice.

 Once 20 minutes have passed, you can begin the steaming process: liberally spray your grate and spatula with oil and place 3 or 4 of your bagel rings on the oiled grate. Cover and steam for 2 minutes. Re-apply oil to the spatula. After 2 minutes, remove the dough from the grate back to the baking sheet. Go ahead and Re-apply oil to your grate and spatula and place your un-steamed rings onto the grate. Cover for 2 minutes.

While your second batch is steaming (I did this a LITTLE out of order over my excitement in the demonstration. . . ) Lather the egg wash onto each steamed bagel. Then with a topping of your choice, sprinkle the tops. I always like a variety, so some remain plain, BUT for that wonderful golden finish, be sure to lather with the egg wash.

After all bagels have steamed and been topped, place the baking sheet in the oven for c. 20 minutes, rotating the pan ½ way through. “Ten and turn”. . . After 20 minutes, check for doneness. If they need to be a little richer color for your eye, put in for 2 more minutes. (mine have taken 20-24 minutes in the past). Once doneness is achieved for your taste, turn oven off for 5 minutes door closed. Then crack the door for 5 minutes. This will allow the bagels to cool slightly before removing from heat completely.

Remove baking sheet and place bagels onto a cooling rack for a minimum of 20 minutes before tearing into one!

And like that, you’re like that character in the movies with your fresh NYC bagel!

Once cooled completely, you can store in a paper bag for up to 2 days.  ENJOY! 

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Vanilla Pastry Cream

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Vanilla Pastry Cream

Have you every been watching a baking show on TV and someone says “Crème Pat”? Well, she’s not a relative but a delicious Pastry Cream. Here’s a SIMPLE one-pot way to make a delicious Crème Pâtissière! I have to thank Martha Stewart for the inspiration for this recipe!

 

Ingredients:

DRY Mixture:

½ C granulated white sugar

¼ C Corn Starch

Pinch of Kosher Salt

 

WET Mixture:

2 C whole milk, room temp

4 Large Egg Yolks, room temp

2 T butter, salted or unsalted (may need to adjust the size of your “pinch” in Dry mix

1 t pure vanilla extract

 

Other Stuff:

Heavy-Bottomed pot

Whisk

Wide 4 C Measuring Cup

Fine-mesh Sieve

Spatula

Large cooling bowl

Cling Film

 

Instructions:

Set everything out to become room temp.

Whisk together your cornstarch, sugar and pinch of salt. In your large measuring cup, combine the milk and egg yolks, whisking until eggs are well incorporated. Add Wet mixture to Dry mixture whisking the entire time as to not form clumps. Add Softened butter. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Once on a full boil, let boil for one minute to completely activate the corn starch, still whisking.

After the minute of boiling, turn the heat off and add in the vanilla (flavoring of your choice) and whisk until thoroughly combined. Switching to a spatula pour mixture through sieve into bowl to filter any potential cooked egg pieces. Cover with cling film place directly onto the mixture to keep from forming a “skin”. Let cool at room temp for 30 minutes and in the fridge for up to 2 days before use.

I always make mine a day ahead and use it in a tart shell the next morning to allow ample time for it to set up!

That’s all there is to this wonderful Crème Pâtissière! 

Vanilla Pastry cream is the base of this delicious fruit tart! 

Vanilla Pastry cream is the base of this delicious fruit tart! 

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Angel Food Cake

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Angel Food Cake

Have you ever been in a grocery store and in the bakery there are a ton of “angel food” cakes? They’re really not that hard to make and with a few tips, here’s a no fail way to succeed at making one from scratch!

Ingredients:

DRY mixture:

1/2 C Granulated Sugar

1 C Cake Flour

¼ t salt

WET mixture:

12 large egg whites, room temp

1 t cream of tartar

1 C granulated sugar

2 t pure vanilla extract

 

Other Stuff:

Hand Held/ Stand mixer with beater/whisk attachment

Fine mesh sieve

Large bowl for measuring

Large, wide bowl for mixing.

Removable bottom 10" flute pan 

Vinegar or lemon juice for cleaning bowl

“safety bowl” for separating eggs

 

Instructions:

Separate eggs and make sure they are to room temperature before beginning your other prep. Preheat oven to 350 Deg F with one wrack positioned directly in the center of the oven. 

In a bowl, measure out the cake flour and sift with ½ C sugar and salt thrice. I like to use my other large mixing bowl to alternate finishing so that the wide bowl is empty. After the final time, whisk just to be sure they are well combined.  Set this Dry mixture aside.

In your stand mixer put all of the egg whites in and beat for about 30 seconds to break them up. Add in your cream of tartar and beat for about 2-3 minutes until you can see whisk streaks in the mixture (soft peaks). Then gradually add the 1 C of granulated sugar about a tablespoon at a time to ensure that the sugar dissolves between each addition. Once all of the sugar is in, beat until you have stiff peaks (about another 2-3 minutes).  Check just to be sure that the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a bit between your fingers. If not yet dissolved, whisk for a little while longer.

Transfer the meringue to the wide bowl and in three additions, fold in the dry ingredient mixture. “Down the middle and around the outside” between each addition of the dry ingredients. Be sure to turn bowl as you go and go all the way under once or twice to ensure no dry pockets are left unincorporated.

Transfer to UNGREASED fluted pan in “dollops.” Then with an offset spatula or butter knife, zig zag through the batter to decrease air pockets.

Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes (mine took 38). Do not open oven for first 30 minutes.

The cake is done when a toothpick inserted at the halfway point between the flute and the rim comes out clean. Invert the cake on the feet of the pan or with a bottle in the center of the fluteto cool for 1 ½ -2 hours.

Unmold by running a butter knife or a flat skinny spatula along the edges and flute. Pop out the flute and then run the knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan to remove.

The cake will keep about 2-3 days (if it lasts that long) at room temp in airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap. Though it can stand alone, served with whipped cream and freshly macerated fruit, it’s amazing!

Enjoy this Heavenly Angel Food Cake! 

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Cake Pops!

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Cake Pops!

Have you ever been walking through a coffee shop and see “Cake Pops” in the display case? Follow this recipe, and I’ll show you how to make these DELICIOUS cake pops at home! These are a super great treat for a birthday party for kids! They aren’t very big and don’t require a LOT of cleanup either. . .

 

Ingredients:

1  9-inch vanilla cake layer ( I use Martha Stewart’s Vanilla cake

c. 1 ½ C of my Brown Sugar Buttercream (1 stick butter's worth) 

6- 8 oz. semi-sweet candy coating chocolate, melted

½-1 t. vegetable shortening

 

Other Stuff:

Popsicle sticks (I use 6 in.)

Heated pot for melting candy, I have This one

Large bowl

1 T kitchenspoon

Ungreased cookie sheet

Silpat or parchment

Oasis Foam

Tape

Wrapping Paper

 

Instructions:

Line an ungreased baking sheet with parchment/silpat.

The order of operations is malleable for sure, BUT if you’re baking the cake the day of this project, be sure that it has time to cool completely before using.  You will have to have part of the chocolate melted to help put the pops together, so I start with chopping and melting about ½ of my chocolate. Meanwhile, you can make the Brown Sugar Buttercream (only about 10 minutes) and break up the cake. Once the cake is broken in to crumbs, you can start to incorporate the buttercream a little at a time. It’s important not to add it all at once, as you may not need it ALL depending on your cake.

Once your cake is incorporated and you have a dough that holds together with what appears as “layers” when some is broken off, you’re ready to form the cake balls. I use a large kitchen spoon (c. 1-1 1/2 T) to break off a bit of the dough; then between cupped palms of my hands, I roll each ball out into as smooth a ball as possible. Take one of the popsicle sticks, dip in the melted chocolate, and put into the bake ball. Place this stick side up on your parchment lined baking sheet. I can get 7 rows of 5 on my sheet. Place your pan into the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.

While you’re chilling the dough balls, you can work on chopping the rest of the chocolate and thinning it with shortening; you want it to be runny as to help form a smooth layer on the cake balls. Also, you can now prepare your oasis by taping 3 standard blocks together and then wrapping like a present. I had to pre “puncture” my holes just because of the tape. . .

Once your dough is chilled, you can begin dipping the pops! Tip the reservoir and submerge a pop far enough for the melted chocolate to cover all of the dough (my benchmark is if it’s touching the chocolate just around the stick). THEN, pinch the stick with two fingers almost in the chocolate reservoir, with your other hand on the farthest end of the stick from the reservoir, spin back and forth as to get the excess chocolate off of the ball. Invert the stick with the ball up and stick it in your wrapped foam. Let these stand at room temp for about 5 minutes after the last one is finished and then refrigerate for about 30 minutes before a final storage of lying them flat in an airtight container.

IF you want to decorate with a different flavor/color of chocolate with swirls or flowers, they will need to chill again before that time. You will have some that crack. I found that the shortening does help with this response of the temperature change . . .

And in just a couple hours, you have delicious cake pops better than the coffee shop version! Enjoy! 

 

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