cherry clafoutis

cherry clafoutis 0840

Cherry season is in full swing and we take advantage of these few short weeks be packing our refrigerator full of cherries – both red and rainier. We generally eat them plain, enjoying the sweet, firm fruit as an after-dinner or mid-day snack. However, I wanted to get a little creative to see what else I could do with these guys.

Clafoutis is something that I have been meaning to make for awhile now, not quite understanding what it was. Is it cake? Custard? What does it taste like? Where does it come from?

Well, the only way to get my answer was to finally buck-up and make the darn thing, so I did, with the help of this article from Serious Eats. And now I have my answers. The flavor is very similar to that of a dutch baby but with a thicker, richer, more custard-y center. The center should be set, so it won’t be pudding-style creamy, but it will still be soft and almost pillowy.

cherry clafoutis 0846

Cherries are traditional, but if that’s not your style you can substitute stone fruits like apricot or peach, or probably even berries would do (though they may be more prone to bursting). I left my cherries whole but did pit them as our annual cherry consumption warrants owning this helpful little gadget – which makes pitting cherries easy as pie. (Well, probably easier than pie, actually.) You can halve the cherries if you like or leave the pits in, but I find that would make eating the clafoutis much less enjoyable.

While traditionally served for dessert, I think this would fare equally as well as a breakfast or brunch dish in place of a dutch baby, pancakes, or other bready sweet. Plus it has fruit, which means it’s good for you! You can enjoy your clafoutis warm or room temperature, or cold from the fridge for a midnight snack. I recommend a gentle dusting of powdered sugar, though it will still be delicious plain, or with a healthy dollop of whipped cream – the choice is yours!

cherry clafoutis

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 9 or 10-inch clafoutis (serves 8 - 10)

Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 3/4 pound sweet cherries, pitted
  • Powdered sugar, for serving
  • Whipped cream , for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and butter a 9-inch or 10-inch cast iron or nonstick skillet. (I used this one)
  2. Scatter cherries (or other fruit) into the bottom of the buttered pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
  5. Pour batter into the pan, over the fruit, and place pan on a baking sheet (in case it overflows) and carefully place into the oven.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool slightly before serving. Serve directly from the pan or carefully transfer onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!
http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/23/cherry-clafoutis/

[ Recipe from Serious Eats ]

mom’s stromboli

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Everyone has that one dish that takes them back home. No matter where they may be at the time, one bite of this dish will immediately transport them back to a moment long gone. One bite, and they are back in the kitchen with grandma or sitting at the table with family. For me, this dish has always been my mom’s stromboli.

As shocking as it may seem to people who know me now, growing up I was a very picky eater. My childhood diet can basically consisted of ramen noodles, peanut butter, and Reese’s cups. More often than not, I complained regardless of what my poor mom put in front of me on the dinner table. However, one of the very few meals I would eat without a single complaint was my mom’s stromboli, and she would never hesitate to make it at my request.

She made many types of stromboli, but when I asked for it she knew exactly what that meant – the one stuffed with her homemade meatballs. Nevermind that it meant making a batch of fresh meatballs for her obnoxious, picky daughter, or that it meant she was stuck in the kitchen forever, only to then be tasked with not only preparing and cooking these items, but then protecting the fresh-out-of-the-oven meatballs from hungry passers by.

Of course you don’t have to make your own meatballs, and I rarely do. I never quite nailed mom’s meatball recipe, so I’ll be the first to admit that I would rather save the time and pick up an order of my favorite meatballs from one of our local Italian restaurants to chop up and use those instead. Mom’s favorite was stuffed to the brim with ham and melty provolone cheese, and she rewarded herself with one of those whenever stromboli was on the menu.

stromboli

You could, of course, fancy this up by using your favorite homemade white bread, dinner roll, or pizza dough recipe, but I use a trusty box of Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix, because that’s what mom always used. You could argue that you don’t really save any time with that, as it’s basically just pre-portioned flour and salt with a packet of dough, but old habits die hard and I’ve yet to make a dough from scratch that can replicate the Pillbsury box mix. Plus, it wouldn’t have the same nostalgic feel when I made it.

It’s crazy how the connections we make through food can last a lifetime. The smell of this stromboli in the oven always takes me back to mom’s too-warm kitchen, the towel she would always have draped over her shoulder while she cooked, and the inevitable burns on my fingers from trying to snag a fresh-baked meatball before mom could resign it to its bready fate.

Collage

It’s been almost two years since she’s been gone, but it feels like just yesterday we were laughing so hard that we cried, and I still reach for my phone to call her for comfort at the end of a bad day. No matter how old you are, losing a parent is the one thing that forces you to finally grow up. No matter how old I was, I was always still her “little girl,” but now I’m just me – the me that she helped to mold and shape. Today would have been her 54th birthday and even though I can’t laugh with her anymore and I won’t be able to sing her “Happy Birthday” today (not without looking like a crazy person singing to myself, at least), I can still feel close to her when I make her recipes.

Happy birthday, mom. <3

mom’s stromboli

Yield: 2 strombolis

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 1 box Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix (or 1 pound homemade dinner roll or pizza dough)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • For the filling
  • Meats/cheeses of your preference, recommended:
  • Meats: cooked meatballs tossed in sauce, sliced ham, pepperoni, salami, etc...
  • Cheeses: Melty cheeses like provolone, mozzarella, fontina, etc...
  • Optional: Fresh basil or spinach, roughly chopped
  • Additional
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Warm pizza sauce, for serving

Instructions

    Prepare your ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment and set aside.
  2. Prepare your filling ingredients, ex: slice or shred cheeses, if meatballs are too large quarter or chop them, etc. It's helpful if the fillings are close to room temperature rather than refrigerator-cold.
  3. Make the dough
  4. If using a different dough, ignore the dough ingredients list above and prepare per your own directions.
  5. If using Hot Roll Mix, combine hot roll mix and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and whisk to mix well.
  6. Add hot water and butter, and mix briefly on low to moisten the flour mixture.
  7. Add egg and continue mixing until a soft dough forms.
  8. Switch to a dough hook and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, it may be slightly tacky but should not be not wet or sticky. Add additional all-purpose flour, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too wet. *(see note below)
  9. Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and divide in half. Cover dough with a kitchen towel and let rest for five minutes before continuing
  10. Assemble the stromboli
  11. Take one half of the dough and roll out on a lightly-floured surface. Roll into a rectangle roughly 13-by-10 inches in size. It can be slightly larger or slightly smaller, you don't want the dough to be too thin or it will rip when you try to roll it, however if it is too small then it will be difficult to roll.
  12. Top rectangle with desired fillings, ex: top with meatballs, then with cheese, leaving a 1-inch border. If you want to put some sauce inside the stromboli, be sure to use a very light hand with the sauce or it will end up just bubbling out of the dough. I usually leave sauce to be served on the side (with the exception of meatballs which i lightly toss in sauce prior to putting inside the stromboli).
  13. Roll the stromboli from the long end, folding it over itself similar to how you would roll cinnamon rolls.
  14. Lightly dampen the long edge that will seal the roll with water before completing the seal and press firmly to seal. Fold the ends under the roll to seal the ends.
  15. Carefully transfer the stromboli roll to your parchment-lined baking sheet and cut slits into the top to vent.** (see note below)
  16. Repeat with second half of dough.
  17. Cover stromboli with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. (I usually leave mine on top of the preheated oven to let it rise.)
  18. Bake stromboli
  19. When stromboli has lightly poofed, brush with an egg wash. If desired, you may sprinkle herbs or parmesan cheese on top - I find this is especially helpful if I have two stromboli that I want to be able to tell apart. I will sprinkle one with a topping and leave the other without.
  20. Bake stromboli for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown on outside and inside if fully-cooked. If the stromboli browns too quickly, cover lightly with a sheet of foil and continue cooking.
  21. Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
  22. Serve with warmed sauce on the side.

Notes

* You may also knead the dough by hand if you are more patient than I am. It comes together pretty quickly, I just prefer to use the dough hook.

**To transfer my stromboli, I usually extend my arm parallel to the stromboli and gently roll it onto my arm. I then rest it on my arm until I get to the pan and gently roll it off my arm and onto the pan.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/19/moms-stromboli/

christina tosi’s cornbake

milk bar cornbake 0828

 

Since receiving Milk Bar Life as a gift, I’ve been making an effort to bake my way through some of the recipes with varying degrees of success. I was most excited for the Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies. While delicious, I have yet to get them to come out the texture that is portrayed in the book pictures, so I have not yet shared that recipe for you (though Mr. Eats is happy to keep eating the failed attempts for me). I successfully made Tosi’s gorgeous Fruity Pebble Meringues, and now I have made what Mr. Eats has deemed “the best cornbread he’s ever had.”

This recipe, like most of Tosi’s recipes, is very generous in the butter department. I followed the recipe as written, because I wanted to see how it came out. While it was delicious as-written I think that you could easily reduce the amount of butter by at least a half a stick without any issues, and I plan to make it that way going forward. If you’re too scared to make that big of a change (that’s about 1/4 of the butter called for), you can reduce it by less.

The recipe calls for a 10-inch round cake pan or a 9-inch square pan. Luckily, I own neither of those so I baked it in a 9-inch round pan with very high edges instead, which added about 8 minutes to the baking time. You will know the cornbake is done with the center is not jiggly at all and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out almost completely clean, with a few crumbs sticking to it. If the cake browns too much before it has completed baking, cover the top loosely with a sheet of foil and continue to bake until it is finished.

This cornbake is great served slightly warm, but even better the next day. You can rewarm pieces in the microwave for a few seconds, or just sneak them off of the serving dish and eat them cold while no one’s watching. Either way, a generous drizzle of honey (I’ve been a big fan of this one from Trader Joe’s as of late) is highly recommended.

milk bar life’s cornbake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 1 10-inch loaf

Ingredients

    Dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Wet ingredients
  • 8 ounces whole-fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 (14.75-ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)* unsalted butter, melted (see note below)
  • 1 cup fresh cooked sweet corn (you may use frozen, but be sure to thaw it to room temperature first)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey, plus more for serving
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees and prepare a 10-inch round baking pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until completely mixed.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and fold them in with a spatula until well combined and no more flour streaks remain.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs sticking to it.
  6. Cool in its pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert out of pan to complete cooling.
  7. Bread is best served slightly warm and drizzled with honey.

Notes

* I have a feeling that you could easily reduce the butter here by a half stick (4 Tablespoons) without any issue, however I wanted to test the recipe as-written, for science.

* Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. If your ingredients are too cold, the melted butter will solidify into regular butter and you will be very sad.

* Fresh or frozen sweet corn would work here, just make sure it is at room temperature along with the rest of your ingredients. I suspect a generous helping (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of green chiles would do well in this, too.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/16/cornbake-from-milk-bar-life/

[ Recipe from Milk Bar Life ]

liege waffles

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Liege waffles are like not like those waffles you had for breakfast over the weekend. Though they are made on the same iron as those waffles, liege waffles are unique in both flavor and texture.

Unlike your soft and fluffy breakfast waffle batter, liege waffles are made with a brioche dough that is studded with pearl sugar. The brioche dough imparts a denser texture with a buttery richness to it, while an overnight rise gives the waffles a deeper flavor with a slight tang, and the pearl sugar lends pockets of molten sweetness and the liege waffle’s trademark crunchy, caramelized exterior.

These waffles are generally made using a belgian waffle iron, however since I don’t own a belgian-style waffle maker, I had to use my regular waffle iron. The waffles came out beautifully, with the one caveat of being thinner than the traditional liege waffle. Additionally, I had to make sure to flatten the dough before placing it into the waffle iron to ensure that it baked all the way through.

Either way, your waffle iron’s “ready” alert will be useless in this case. These waffles will splatter and steam throughout their baking process as the sugars melt, caramelize, and re-melt, and re-caramelize over and over again. Your waffle iron will be a complete mess, but don’t fret. Just keep going and each waffle will be even better than the last as the melted sugars build up on the iron and impart a deeper, more caramelized flavor onto each subsequent waffle. (See my notes on how to clean up this horrible mess at the bottom of the recipe.)

Because these implore the use of a bread dough and have a crunchy exterior, these waffles yield the best flavor and texture when enjoyed warm…especially when paired with fresh sweet berries, a drizzle of nutella, and sweet whipped cream. That being said, we enjoyed them at all temperatures both with and without toppings, as breakfast, dessert, and a mid-day snack.

liege waffle 0702

liege waffle

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole mlk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups [http://amzn.to/1RfuQyc Belgian pearl sugar]

Instructions

    Make the dough:
  1. Warm milk and water together until warm to the touch (between 110 and 116F degrees)
  2. Pour milk mixture into the bottom of a large stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook.
  3. Add sugar and yeast and stir to combine.
  4. Let rest until the yeast activates, about 5 minutes. You will know the yeast is activated when it looks foamy.
  5. Whisk eggs and vanilla into the milk/yeast mixture until combined.
  6. Stir in 2 2/3 cups flour, reserving extra 1 cup of flour for later use.
  7. Turn mixer on low and stir until combined, add the salt and continue mixing until the mixture forms a dough.
  8. With the mixer on low, add the butter to the dough 1 tablespoon at a time, thoroughly kneading after each addition to ensure the butter is incorporated. Repeat this process until all of the butter has been added, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  9. After all the butter has been worked into the dough, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and knead with dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes, or until glossy.
  10. Rest the dough
  11. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  12. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  13. Once the dough has come to temperature, stir the dough to deflate it and re-cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  14. Knead in the pearl sugar
  15. Pour the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten slightly. Pour pearl sugar over the dough and knead the dough until the pearl sugar is incorporated. Try not to get mad when the sugar hops out of the dough and onto the counter. If you lose a few pearls, so be it.
  16. Make the waffles
  17. Heat your waffle iron. I don't ever grease my waffle iron, but if it's normal for you to do so, go for it. **Let me take one second to go on my soap box and ask that you please not spray your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron. Of course, you are always welcome to ignore my advice.** Moving on...
  18. Divide your dough ball into 16 pieces and roll those pieces into balls.
  19. When you're ready to cook the waffle, flatten the ball into a disk about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and place it into your waffle iron. **Note:** If you have a belgian waffle maker, you may not have to flatten it. I flattened mine since my waffle maker inherently makes thinner waffles and learned this technique while making other waffley things.
  20. Press your waffle iron closed tightly on top of the dough, then release the pressure and allow the waffle to cook as per normal waffle protocol. Ignore your waffle iron's sirens (if it is equipped with such things) and allow the waffle to cook fro 4 to 6 minutes, until it is a deep golden brown. As you get further through your waffle-making some may even end up with blackened caramelized sugar bits. I like to refer to these as flavor crystals.
  21. Once your waffle is done cooking, carefully remove the waffle (I find a plastic fork to be ideal for this task, as its plastic tines won't harm your waffle iron. Silicone-tipped tongs would also work well.) and place the waffle on a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying. Remember that the waffles are going to be covered in molten sugar and will likely make you say unkind things when the hot molten sugar comes into contact with your precious fingertips or the roof of your mouth.

Notes

* You can find belgian pearl sugar on [http://amzn.to/1RfuQyc amazon] or in the baking section of your local Sur la Table.

*I always advise against spraying your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron.

*To clean my waffle iron, I usually soak a dish towel with water, press it in the iron, and let the steam do its work. I found that in this case, it was actually easier to let the iron cool and use a wooden skewer to gently scrape off the burned-on sugar, which popped off with ease. If yours is giving you a hard time, use a warm, damp rag to gently wash off the hardened on sugar. Don't despair, remember that sugar dissolves in water. So even though it may take some time, it will get clean.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/08/liege-waffles/

[ Recipe from Smitten Kitchen ]

jeni’s spinalong – watermelon lemonade pops

watermelon popsicle 0747

I can’t believe it’s already been three months since our last Jeni’s Spinalong post. For this spinalong, we decided to go with the a “summer” theme, as it is rapidly approaching. We played it fast and loose with the base recipe, having only one requirement: that the base involve fruit of some kind.

As I was flipping through my Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams book for inspiration, I wanted something light, refreshing, and summery. One recipe in particular jumped out at me: Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet. It was like taking everything I love about summer and spinning it into a delicious dessert. What more could a girl ask for?

Shannon chose their Riesling-Pear sorbet and kicked it up several notches, turning it into grilled cantaloupe sorbet. She freaking grilled ice cream, people! That girls is a food wizard, people, I swear.

I immediately had visions of summer cookouts and pool parties, ice cold melon, refreshing lemonade, grillled things, and summer sun… I honestly couldn’t think of better recipes to welcome summer with. Since this watermelon-lemonade recipe was perfect as-is, I resisted my usual urge to tinker and made only one single slight modification: I made them portable. Because summer just screams “popsicles” doesn’t it?

watermelon popsicle 0749 2

Some popsicle-making tips:

1. Don’t fill it all the way. Remember that water expands when it freezes, so leave about 1/4 inch or so at the top of your mold.

2. A lot of people will tell you to partially freeze your popsicles before adding the sticks, this has to do with them moving around when it begins the freezing process. While probably helpful, it’s not something I bother with because I’m the type of person who will forget to add the stick and end up with popsicle-shaped sorbet ice cubes instead.

3. Try to make sure the popsicles are level when they are freezing, or you may end up with lopsided pops. Still edible, but not as pretty.

4. To help ease the release of the popsicle from its mold, wrap a damp, warm cloth around the popsicle you would like to remove. After about 30 to 40 seconds, gently start to wiggle the popsicle stick to free the popsicle from its mold. Don’t be too aggressive or you might pull the stick out and end up with… a popsicle-shaped sorbet ice cube.

5. If you aren’t sure which mold to use, I have this one and have no complaints. They’re all about the same, what it mostly comes down to is what you want the shape of your final product to be.

watermelon lemonade pops

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups watermelon puree - from 1 (3-lb) watermelon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice - from 2 to 3 medium lemons
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Puree watermelon (without the rind) and measure out 2 1/2 cups of puree. Pour puree into a a medium bowl. If you have extra puree, you could make some margaritas
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  3. Heat lemon juice, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Whisk the lemon mixture into the pureed watermelon and pour into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Close the bag and put into the ice water bath until chilled. Let chill at least 30 minutes.*
  5. Pour sorbet into your ice cream canister and spin according to manufacturer's directions until the sorbet reaches the texture of softly-whipped cream.
  6. Spoon sorbet into popsicle molds**, insert popsicle sticks, and place into the coldest part of your freezer. Freeze for 8 hours, or overnight.
  7. To release popsicles from the mold, wrap a damp, warm dish towel around the popsicle you would like to release. After about 30 seconds or so, begin to gently wiggle the popsicle until it releases from its mold. See notes below if you don't plan to enjoy your popsicles immediately.

Notes

* If you're not going to spin the sorbet immediately, dry off the bag and place it in your refrigerator until you're ready to spin your sorbet.

** This recipe filled my popsicle mold and still had about 1/4 to 1/2 cup leftover, which I froze separately just as regular sorbet.

*** If you aren't going to enjoy the popsicles right away, after releasing the popsicle from its mold immediately wrap it in plastic wrap and place into a gallon-sized freezer bag and return to the freezer. Repeat with other popsicles, wrapping individually in plastic wrap and adding them to the gallon-sized freezer bag for storage.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/01/jenis-spinalong-watermelon-lemonade-popsicles/

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

[ View Shannon’s Grilled Cantaloupe Sorbet here ]