Tart Crust

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Tart Crust

Have you ever been walking through a pastry shop and for sale is this gorgeous tart with ridges up the side that looks not quite like your average pie? It’s a delicate flaky crust that’s not that hard to make! Here’s how you make this wonderful Pâte Sucrée pastry shell!

 

Ingredients:

DRY:

10 oz (c. 2 cups not leveled/not heaping) All Purpose Flour

1 oz (c. 1/4 cup) Confectioner's sugar

8 oz Butter (2 sticks-- cold and cubed)

WET:

1 large egg yolk

2 T COLD water 

 

Other Stuff:

11 inch removable bottom tart pan

rolling pin

large bowl

cling film

baking beans/rice

 

In a Large bowl, sift and whisk together the flour and confectioner’s sugar

Rub butter into the dry mixture with fingers until the mixture looks like wet sand.

Beat the egg yolk and water together until all “lumps” of yolk are broken, then make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add wet mixture. Incorporate quickly just until it sticks together.

Flatten dough into a disk or a ball, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.  

If dough has chilled longer than than 45 minutes, it will need to sit at room temp for about 3-4 minutes before rolling. Liberally dust a surface with flour and dust your rolling pin as much as possible. Remove disk from fridge and then "wake up the dough.” For the traditional tart, it needs to remain 1/8-1/4 inch thick then rolling back on the pin lift the dough and place over the 11" tart pan then pressing into the form.  Chill for at least  10 minutes in the refrigerator.

During this final chill is when I like to preheat my oven to 375Deg F.

Just before baking, place a two pieces of cling film in the bottom and into the corners edges of the tart shell as much as possible. Make sure to gather all of the cling film to the center over the baking beans (as to not tough any metal) and "blind" bake for 20 minutes, remove your film filled with beads and bake to brown the bottom (about 5 more minutes).

Let cool 15 minutes in pan on a wire wrack before removing. Let cool completely before filling with beautiful pastry cream or whipped cream and fruit. 

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Brown Sugar Buttercream

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Brown Sugar Buttercream

We’ve all known about brown sugar for a while, but have you ever considered applying it to a buttercream before? This is like adding a spice cake to your buttercream repertoire! This is a ratio sort of recipe. I’ve multiplied this by 2 or three depending on need. For a batch of 36 cake pops, this amount goes will with a 9-inch cake!  For Pineapple Up-side-down macarons, you'll only need about half this much. . . Here’s HOW:

Ingredients:

1/2C (1 stick) of butter (salted is what I prefer), room temp

¼ C of dark or light brown sugar, packed, sifted

1 t vanilla extract

* ½ t ground cinnamon

2 C confectioner’s sugar, sifted

* 1-2 T milk

*optional

Other stuff:

Handheld mixer with beaters or stand mixer with paddle attachment

Sifter

Instructions:

Bring your butter to room temperature; it needs to be soft enough to hold an indent when pressed. Break up the butter with the beaters/paddle just a bit so that it’s no longer a stick and then in the bowl. Sift the brown sugar discarding any that may have clumped up. Blend in the brown sugar for 3-4 minutes so that some of the sugar crystals have the opportunity to dissolve in the liquid from the butter. It will remain a little “grainy,” but the flavor, is AMAZING!

Here's a piped version of this buttercream in a French Macaron

Here's a piped version of this buttercream in a French Macaron

After you’ve blended the butter and brown sugar, it’s time to add the vanilla and cinnamon. If you have an allergy to cinnamon, you can totally leave it out. I like to mix these in for a minute or so and then wipe down my beater and my bowl. Now, in the bowl, sift in the confectioner’s sugar. Beat slowly at first until incorporated and then turn the speed up until fully combined and the butter cream is fluffy and smooth (about 2 minutes). Depending on how you’re to apply this buttercream (or eat it out of the bowl), you won’t need any milk! When I use it in macarons or cake pops, I don’t use any milk, because I like it to be a bit more stiff; however, once using it to fill a naked cake, I needed it to be a more “spreadable” consistency, so 1 T milk/stick of butter is what I ended up adding. . . 

That’s all you need for a simple brown sugar American Buttercream! 

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Pineapple Fruit CURD!

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Pineapple Fruit CURD!

Pineapple Fruit Curd

When one hears the word “curd,” it’s a little like “curds and whey” that little Miss Muffet was eating. . . There are two types of curds: Those derived from a dairy’s separation and a “fruit curd” that’s made with a citrus fruit’s juice, eggs, sugar, and butter (SUPER Simple!). Here’s how I make a simple pineapple curd that will keep you satisfied for days!

 

Ingredients:

4 Grade A Large egg yolks

½ C granulated sugar

*½ C (scant) canned pineapple juice, shaken  

4T UNSALTED butter, cubed and room temp

*1/8 t salt, if using fresh juice, but taste before you put this in. . .

 

*I’ve used canned juice, and it works beautifully.  If you would like to use fresh juice, puree cubed pineapple slices in a blender and, through cheesecloth, strain the pulp from the juice. . .

 

Other things you’ll need:

Heavy bottomed pot

Heat safe bowl, ideally with larger diameter than the heavy bottomed pot

Whisk OR hand held mixer with beaters

Wooden/Silicone heat-safe spatula

Fine mesh strainer

 

Instructions:

In the bottom of your heavy bottomed pot, bring about an inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Make sure that this water will not touch your heatproof bowl once it’s been placed over top. At this point, I like to cube my UNSALTED butter so that it comes to room temp easily while the curd is cooking.

In your heatproof stainless steel/glass bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth paste forms. (If you’re using a handheld mixer, you can use it to beat this together) A little at a time, whisk in the pineapple juice to form the liquid mixture.

 

Place this bowl over the simmering water and whisk or beat with handheld for about 6-7 minutes on low speed. At this point, you can switch to a spoon and just stir. You want to be sure to keep the mixture moving as to not cook bits of the eggs. Stir for about 3 more minutes. The mixture is cooked when the paste formed coats the back of your spoon, and with a finger run through the middle, it stays separated. IF you have an instant read thermometer, you want to make sure that the liquid has reached at least 160degF to prevent any food-borne illness.

 

After your liquid has cooked for about 10 minutes total (may take longer if it’s a really humid day) and reached the consistency of a thick yogurt, pull it from the heat and incorporate the UNSALTED butter a little at a time making sure to melt each cube before the next is put in. (I generally never use unsalted butter, but for this application, it’s a MUST! Especially, if you’re using the canned pineapple.) After all of the butter has melted into the mixture, you can now run the fruit curd through a fine mesh strainer to catch any little bits of eggs that may have cooked. Once in the cooling bowl, cover with cling film that touches the curd; this will prevent a “skin” from developing. Chill for about 2 hours in the refrigerator before using. The liquid will firm up the cooler that it gets.

Our Pineapple curd is directly under the cherries in these DELICIOUS macarons! 

Our Pineapple curd is directly under the cherries in these DELICIOUS macarons! 

 

That’s all you need for a delicious treat of Pineapple curd! 

***Below is a demonstration of a Lemon curd. . . the process is the same, but the ingredients are a bit different. . . Check it out! ***

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Chocolate Whoopie Pies!

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Chocolate Whoopie Pies!

This is our strawberry filling version! 

This is our strawberry filling version! 

Chocolate (Strawberry) Whoopie Pies!

 You’ve heard of the song, “Makin’ Whoopie”? Well, I’m gonna share how to make some delicious Chocolate Whoopie pies with a filling that can be modified to your taste buds (or seasonal flavors)!! I must thank Martha Stewart for the base of this recipe; however, as with anything, we’ve put our Will Bake 4 Food twist on it ;).

Ingredients:

Wet:

1 C (2 sticks) butter, room temp (I almost always use salted, and it didn’t seem to matter in this case)

2 C granulated sugar (I know this is technically a “dry” ingredient)

2 C buttermilk, shaken, room temp

2 Grade A Large Eggs

2 t pure vanilla extract

Dry:

3 ½ C All-Purpose Flour

1 t salt

1 ½ C baking cocoa. (I like to use ½ C of Hershey’s Special Dark; because of the need for the puff reaction between the cocoa and baking soda, we can’t replace the entire cocoa mixture with the Dutch processed cocoa.)

1 T baking soda

1 t baking powder

Filling:

¾ C granulated sugar

1/3 C water

1 T light corn syrup

3 large egg whites

1 T granulated sugar

½ t vanilla extract

1 t of an extract of your choice (this is DELICIOUS with a strawberry extract).

 

Other things you’ll need:

Handheld, with beater attachment or Stand mixer with both beater and whisk

Large bowl

2 baking sheets

Parchment paper or silpats

Small (1-2 oz) ice cream or cookie scoop

Heavy bottomed sauce pot

Candy thermometer

Piping bag and favorite tip for frosting

 

Instructions:

Let all of your wet ingredients come up to room temp; depending on your house temp, this could take 20-60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400degF and place wracks in middle and lower third.

Prepare your dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. Set this mixture aside.

Line two standard baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick mat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment OR with a hand mixer with the beaters, break up your butter a bit until smooth. Add the sugar and cream with the butter until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Lightly beat the vanilla in the eggs and add to the butter mixture.

Next, I add the dry mixture and buttermilk by starting with 1/3 of the dry, then ½ of the buttermilk, repeat and end with the final 1/3 of the dry mixture. This dough is THICK (cocoa absorbs a LOT of moisture!)

With an ice cream or cookie scoop that’s about 1 oz. size, drop mounds no less than 2 inches apart onto your prepared cookies sheets. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. I like to finish one pan, put it in the oven on the top of my two shelves (middle of the oven); set the timer for 5 minutes; prepare the second pan and after that 5 minutes is over, move the pan in the oven to the bottom shelf and add the cold pan to top shelf. You’ve created a cookie factory! This rotation helps the cookies to cook evenly and spaces out the timing to allow for this rotation for all your batter. Also, you will never forget which pan was in first! If it’s on the bottom, it’s done when the timer beeps! Because the batter is so dark, it’s hard to tell when they’re “done.” You can insert a tester/toothpick in the center of a couple of the mounds, and if it comes out clean, you’re good to go. You might have to add a minute to the pans, but it’s not hard to keep track. When putting the pan onto the bottom shelf, always set time to 5 minutes and rotate, they’ll be great! Once baked, remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.

The shells on the right have been piped, and the left have been scooped. . . they BOTH work, but end up a bit "fluffier" with the scoop. 

The shells on the right have been piped, and the left have been scooped. . . they BOTH work, but end up a bit "fluffier" with the scoop. 

***Depending on your size needs, you can make these as big or small as you’d like, but you’ll have to adjust your bake time accordingly. We tried piping the batter, and though they were nearly as good, they stayed a little denser across the board when piped. If you’re going for a smaller cookie size, piping is WAY easier to get consistent size/shape. ***

After the last pan is on its last 5 minutes of the rotation, you can start to begin the frosting! This recipe of frosting makes a little too much, but I just made some meringue cookies with the remaining frosting (what I didn’t eat. . . ).

For the frosting:

Separate your eggs, don’t throw away the yolks! Make a fruit curd out of them! Place the sugar, water and corn syrup into a medium-sized, heavy bottomed pot. On medium heat, let the sugar start to dissolve, swirling occasionally. When the liquid is clear, you can increase the heat slightly and slip in your candy thermometer. When your thermometer reaches about 200-205 DegF, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, start to whisk your egg whites until soft peaks form (I almost ALWAYS use a pinch of cream of tartar, but it’s not required here). Add the reserved tablespoon of sugar and whisk until your start to get stiff peaks. The timing here should work out perfectly, but if you’re not to temp with the sugar mixture, just turn off your mixer once your eggs are at nearly stiff peaks.

When your sugar mixture reaches “Soft Ball” stage or 240 degF, pull it off the heat, and with your mixer on “stir,” slowly drizzle the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the whites. Once it’s all in, increase your speed to Medium-High and let beat for about 7 minutes or until the bowl is cool to the touch.

Congratulations, you’ve now succeeded in the basic technique for an Italian Meringue! Here’s the “seasonal” part! After you get the meringue frosting to the bowl’s being cool, you can add a ½ teaspoon of vanilla and then 1 teaspoon of whatever flavor you’d like. Peppermint is great; I used strawberry, so that it was a bit like a “chocolate covered strawberry”! It’s possible to color the meringue, BUT you can’t use a gel coloring (ask me how I know!) as any oil will deflate the meringue; you’d have to stick with a powder coloring. An extract with color, will give the glossy white frosting a slight hue of the extract put into it.

Once your frosting is complete, scoop the mixture into a piping bag prepared with your favorite tip. Flip ½ of the shells over and pipe onto the flat sides and then cover with the other half of the shells.  OR you can scoop the frosting in between two shells (about 2 T per sandwich)!

Either way? You’ve succeeded at “Makin’ Whoopie”!! ;) Check out Track 7 below!! 

 

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Classic Sourdough English Muffins

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Classic Sourdough English Muffins

Classic Sourdough English Muffins

You’ve likely said, “I’d like an egg McMuffin.” OR have been walking into the store and have seen in bold “Nooks and Crannies!” Both of these require a classic English Muffin. Many recipes use Active Yeast and are a little quicker than the one that we’ve developed, but the flavor in ours is WORTH the wait, WE promise! Here’s how to make our Classic Sourdough English Muffins.

Ingredients:

Wet:

1 C of fed/proofed Sourdough Starter

1 C whole milk (fat content doesn’t matter)

1 C Buttermilk, shaken before poured (fat content doesn’t matter)

2 T honey

*4 T ghee or melted butter (for either, liquid form and cooled)

DRY:

Up to 6 C All-Purpose flour (we tested Bread Flour and the results made NO different in texture and taste for this recipe)

2 t kosher salt

1 t baking soda

¼ C corn meal or semolina flour

 

Other Stuff you’ll need:

11-13 Quart Bowl

Wooden Spoon (I use a “Spirtle”)

3-4 inch rim glass or cookie cutter that size

rolling pin

2 cookie sheet

2 clean kitchen towels

hot plate OR Iron Skillet

Cover to fit skillet

Canola oil

Meat thermometer (something with a probe; a candy thermometer won’t work here)

Wire rack for cooling

 Instructions:

Night before:

Turn on the oven to warm 100degF when you start to assemble.

In a LARGE bowl (11-13 quart), put in all of the honey, ghee and starter and a about ½ C of the whole milk. Stir enough to break up the starter so that the mixture is fluid. Add the rest of the milk and buttermilk.

Incorporate 4 C of the flour by sprinkling 2 Cups over the mixture and stiring; then repeat (your arm will get a work out by the end) You just want for all of the flour to be wet and combined. The mixture will look a bit shaggy and have some stickiness to it. . .

Turn the oven OFF and leave the light on. Cover your bowl with a plastic wrap, leaving a little hole for air and a towel. Making sure that the oven is no warmer than 100 deg (I have a “hot” oven), place your covered dough in the oven. You’re done for 11-16 hours. . . 

Next Morning:

Sprinkle cornmeal onto two cookie sheets. Remove the dough bowl and repeat the oven 100degF warming method (you’re basically making a “proofing” space).

Dough will have developed and proofed about double in size. Deflate the mass in the bowl and sprinkle the salt and baking soda over top. With your wooden spoon, start to fold the dough over on itself and sprinkle about ½ cup of flour over top and mix until incorporated just to make it not as tacky.

Just out of "dough bowl"

Just out of "dough bowl"

after the kneading process

after the kneading process

Dust a surface with a GENEROUS amount of flour (nearly a cup) and pour the dough out on the floured board. This is where you get the “workout!” Knead the dough for about 5 minutes by “fold, push, rotate method,” incorporating flour until you get a smooth ball. You’ll need to add a total of about 1 ½ cups of flour to the mass (more or less depending on feel and accuracy in the measuring of the wet ingredients the night before). I like to make sure that the dough doesn’t “rip” when my palm pushes into it. It should come together in about 5 minutes. Turn oven off, but leave the light on.

Once you have a smooth elastic ball of dough, take your rolling pin and roll the dough out until it’s about ½ inch thick. This seems a weird step for dough, I know. . . Take your glass or cookie cutter and cut out your shapes as closely together as possible. Place the rounds of dough onto your prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE SCRAPS?!?!? The dough is still tacky enough that you can “re-knead” and roll the scraps and get more muffins. Waste not, want not! I usually get about 26-30 rounds using my 3 inch cutter.

 Sprinkle a bit more corn meal on top of each round and cover the pan with a clean towel and stick these in the oven (heat turned off, light on) to rest/rise for about an hour.

Here’s a variation that you may want/have to take. . . If you don’t have a skillet and cover (griddle instead), take the muffins out of the oven after 30 minutes of this proof and turn your oven to 350DegF to preheat. You’ll see why in a sec. . .

ENGLISH MUFFINS AREN’T BAKED IN THE OVEN, per se . . .

Get your skillet hot on medium low heat (if you have a griddle with a temp setting, about 350degF), and coat the pan with about 1T of canola oil. We tried several different kinds of oil, but I always got “smoke” at this temp with olive oil or butter. . . Uncovering only a few of your rounds, gingerly lift and then place into your hot pan being careful not to let them touch as the sides will remain tacky until cooked. Cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then turn over gingerly and repeat with covering and cooking for 4-5 more minutes. THE REASON for the covering is to keep the steam in! Probe the largest dough round on an outside of the pan and see if it has reached between 190-200degF. If so, you’re DONE!

 If you don’t have this opportunity for covering (or both sides are brown, but you don’t have the appropriate temp), place your muffins on a baking sheet and stick them in the preheated oven for about 7-10 minutes; this should achieve heating to the desired inside temperature.

Once your muffins are to the right temp and perfectly brown, remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.

IMPORTANT! Do not take a knife to cut the English muffins. The proper way to “cut” is taking a fork and probing the side in and out, all the way around.

IMG_5456.JPG

These will store in an airtight container for about 4 days! You could also freeze them. There are a LOT, so if you’re not feeding an army, it may be overwhelming to eat them all; although, they are so good that you want to!

 

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