Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Strip Tartlets

Music-Modest Mouse- The Moon and Antartica

What an amazing album! I have to admit I have never listened to Modest Mouse very much in the past but nowadays I've been listening to them non-stop! I really enjoy the bassist in the group I think his pretty awesome and his bass lines show much musical finesse. The songwriting is spectacular as well. Though to me they are a very angry and pessimistic  band despite their very optimistic single. Good News For People Who Love Bad News is also a great album from this band as it also includes the legendary Dirty Dozen Brass Band but I am slowly growing more and more onto this album.

Baking-Strip Tartlets with Fresh Fruit(Raspberries, Blue Berries, Peaches)

Delicious? or DELICIOUS!
Well all in all this is a pastry that maximizes your deliciousness to work ratio. It requires very very little work and tastes like ambrosia! and I would know because I have tasted ambrosia! But really it requires almost no work.

The idea behind this pastry is to bake your puff pastry in long big strips and then scoop out the puff pastry middle so you have a little boat shaped puff pastry. Then fill it with Vanilla Pastry Cream and top it off with some fresh fruit!

well first thing is first. You gotta have the puff pastry. Puff Pastry is really annoying to make so I decided to buy my puff pastry from Wegmans. I was checking out the different Puff Pastry brands and it seems to me that the Wegmans brand is best because they don't use anything other than flour, butter, etc. whereas the pepperidge farm has lots of ingredients in it that i can't pronounce and I don't like that. You can make your own (I've done that if you want the recipe then its in older posts)


Driving through the eggwash!

After we thawed out our puff pastry we laid it out and cut it in three even strips lengthwise. Then one of those three strips is to be cut into four smaller even strips. These small strips are then lined on the edges of the other two larger puff pastry strips as shown in the picture!

Brush it with some egg wash (a mixture that is half egg half whole milk). Then its just baking the puff pastry at 375 until it is golden brown (approx 20 minutes). The baking time and oven temperature might depend on what puff pastry you buy or what recipe your using.

Puffed Puff pastry

Scooped Puff Pastry

While the Puff pastry is baking its time to prepare the vanilla pastry cream! This is definitely the hardest part of the recipe (which isn't very hard at all).

You will need:
16 fl. oz of milk
3.5 oz of sugar
a pinch of salt
1.25 oz of cornstarch
6 oz of eggs
1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract
1 oz of butter

1.combine 14 fl oz of milk and 2 oz of sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over med. heat
2. While that saucepan is heating up combine cornstarch with remaining milk and whisk until dissolved and then whisk in remaining sugar and eggs.
3. Then temper the egg mixture by adding about 1/3 of the simmering milk into the bowel while whisking constantly and then returning the mixture to the hot milk in teh saucepan. This is to prevent the eggs from cooking! That would be awful!
4.Continue to whisk very very vigorously until the pastry cream leaves a trail behind the whisk.
5. Remove from heat whisk in vanilla extract and butter and then cool in an ice bath.


vigorous whisking!

After the Pastry Cream is done and cooling in the ice bath your puff pastry sheets should be out and cooled. Now just scoop out the middle of strips so that it looks like a little boat of puff pastry. Then spoon or pipe your pastry cream evenly in the little puff pastry boats in even amounts and then top it off with whatever fruits you like! We used peaches blueberries and raspberries but I am sure almost any other fruits would be fine.

Undesirable slacking! Get back to peeling peaches!


Strip Tarlets!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

We're back with TWO types of scones!

We're still here! We deeply apologize for being MIA for so long. School got very busy since the last post (wow was it really in December???), and though we did continue to cook and eat, we did not take photos and document the processes. But we're back with a new recipe that you're sure to enjoy.

Music - Genuine Negro Jig by the Carolina Chocolate Drops
This band is from North Carolina, and we just saw them perform at the Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg. They are a whole lot of fun - with multiple banjos, fiddles, guitars, bone-playing and beat-boxing - oh and a kick-ass female singer who somehow makes bluegrass and Alicia Keys fit together perfectly! This group makes lovely music.

Baking - Dried Cherry and Chocolate Chip Scones
Ham and Cheddar Scones

Though one type is savory and the other is sweet, both of these scones start from the same base recipe for cream scones. The difference lies simply in what you add to the dough, plus a bit of milk-brushing and sugar-sprinkling just before baking. So pick whichever flavor sounds better to you and go for it. Or make them both like we did - they won't last long.

A wall of cheddar cheese, soon to be cubed

First, you combine the dry ingredients - 510 grams of bread flour, 119 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of baking powder. If you're doing both types of scones, do this twice in two separate bowls. Then you add the distinctive ingredients: 1 cup of chocolate chips and 3/4 cup dried cherries OR ham and cheddar cheese (not both).

The ham and cheddar tumbling into their ingredients

Dried cherries and chocolate chips

Once they're nice and mixed together, add 14.5 fl oz of heavy cream and mix the dough until combined.

We opted to mix the dough with our hands; it seemed easier that way.

Then divide each dough into two blobs and flatten them into circular slabs that are about 9 inches in diameter. Place them on parchment paper and freeze them thoroughly. This unfortunately takes a long time, so no instant gratification here.

Dough awaiting the freezer

The next day, or a few hours later, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cut the slabs into wedges. This is tough to do because they're frozen solid, but you want to bake them frozen in order for them to keep their shape, so roll up your sleeves and put your back into it!

Line baking sheets with parchment paper (we used the same paper that the dough froze in) and lay the scones out. Give them a little wiggle room, because they do spread a bit. For the cherry chocolate scones, brush the tops with milk and then sprinkle the scones with sugar. The recipe called for coarse sugar, but normal sugar works just fine.

The scones bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown, and they are simply delicious when the come out.
The cherry chocolate chip scones were lighter, while the ham and cheddar scones were more creamy.
We argued for a while about which was better, but it's really not a problem because they are both extremely tasty. 4 dozen scones barely lasted 24 hours in the house!