Guess Who Came to Dinners?

We just had a weekend guest, and sadly, put her on a plane to return to her home last night. This woman prefers to eat healthy, in moderation and occasionally diet. Boy did she come to the wrong place!

We started with some rugelach. I made apple/cinnamon, chocolate and hand pies
chocolate/blackberry. They are very similar except the for filling.  I added an apple tart, (I got to use my new spiralizer so am happy.) Fran and I had some fruit dumplings from Apple Hill (much like my hand pies but bigger, so I added blueberry, apply and blackberry hand pie/filled rough puff pastry dumplings. For dinner we had my homemade pizza margherita: sweet/salty sauce, home made dough (ala pizza 2 Independent Pizza in Seattle), basil and fresh mozzarella, baked 6 minutes at 600 degrees in my gas grill. I added some garlic bread knots to accompany.  It was so good, I made second one for Sunday night.  Unfortunately, we at all the garlic bread knots, so I made some chocolate mousse with pink whipped cream topping. Oh, we also had a salad.

mousse

RUGELACH

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature (2 T cream cheese = 28g. 3/4 Cup = 12 T, ¾ C = 4oz.)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flourrugelach1

FILLING CINNAMON RAISIN

  • 1/2 cup brown sugarrugelach2
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or currants
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • water for brushing dough

DARK CHOCOLATE:

  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp unsweetened cocoa power
  • ¼ Tsp cinnamon (optional)

TOPPING

  • granulated sugar or coarse white sparkling sugar
  • milk or cream

METHOD

  1. To make the dough using a mixer: Beat together the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and salt until smooth. Add the flour, mixing to make a stiff dough.
  2. Divide the dough into three equal portions. Press each gently into a disk. Make the disks as round as possible, smoothing their edges; this will allow you to roll the disks into a perfectly round circle, making the resulting rugelach more attractive.  (Note how :perfect this dough circle is.) Wrap the disks in plastic, and chill the dough for about 1 hour, until it’s firm but not rock hard. Or chill longer (up to overnight), then warm for about 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature, until the dough softens enough to roll out without cracking.
  3. To make the CINNAMON RAISIN FILLING: process the sugar, walnuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon in a food processor or blender until finely chopped and well combined (but not pasty). Don’t have a food processor? Simply stir together the filling ingredients; your filling will be chunky rather than smooth.
  4. To make the CHOCOLATE FILLING: Whisk together 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder; add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired. Sprinkle atop rolled-out dough. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) mini chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate.
  5. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on a generously floured surface. Roll it into a 10″ circle and brush it lightly with water. For a flavorful touch, brush the rolled-out rugelach dough with a thin layer of boiled cider, warmed apple or 

    currant jelly, or puréed fruit preserves, instead of water.

  6. Use your fingers to spread about 1/3 of the filling onto the round, going all the way to the edges and gently patting the filling to help anchor it to the dough.
  7. Using a pizza cutter, baker’s bench knife, or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal wedges. Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end. Place the rolls point-side down on a baking sheet; lining the baking sheet with parchment will help with cleanup. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough.
  8. Brush the rugelach with milk or cream; and sprinkle with granulated or coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Refrigerate the rugelach while the oven is preheating.
  10. Bake the rugelach for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool right on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  11. Store leftover rugelach in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

APPLE TART

TART SHELLS

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 60 g icing sugar (Splenda?)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg (50g)

APPLE FILLING

  • 3 apples (sliced thin or spiralized with skins on)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon

METHOD

  1. Mix butter with sugar
  2. Add salt then vanilla
  3. Add egg
  4. Stir in flour.
    1. Mix by hand until incorporated
    2. Add 3-5 Tbl water to make dough sticky
  5. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min
  6. Butter tartlet pans
    1. Roll dough to about ⅛” thick
    2. Lay over tart mold and press into all crevices
    3. Roll top to cut off excess
  7. Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
  8. Add pastry weights to each pan
  9. Bake in preheated oven 350o F (175o C) for 17 min
    1. Remove pastry weights with 5 min left in the bake
    2. Remove pastry shells from pans and let cool on wire rack
  10. Fill cooled tart shell with sliced apples. I put them in a spiral shape but any way will do
  11. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the apples.
  12. Cover exposed edges of tart with aluminum foil to prevent over browning.
  13. Back at 375 F for 20-30 min. When apples have reduced and mixture is bubbling.
  14. Remove from over and cool on a wire rack.

Sweet and Salty Pizza Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons (4 large leaves) fresh basil, coarsely chopped

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over a medium heat until hot.
  2. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring and mashing tomatoes with potato masher until crushed.
  4. Stir in basil.
  5. Place in small bowl; cool to room temperature This sauce may be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated or up to 2 months ahead and frozen.
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Japanese Cream Pans

If you have previously read my blog you know I tend to create a title that is a little sarcastic, punny (not puny as in “small”, but punny and in “with puns”) and snarky. This time, I admit my ignorance. For fear of insulting a people and culture I of which I have little knowledge, I simply titled this one as Japanese Cream Pans.Final Cream Pans

Another more snarky point: I tried one of these pastries courtesy of my son’s mother in law’s cousin, or my cousin-in-law once removed. (I made that up. I find it annoying to have to describe a full family tree to delineate the connection of two people related via someone’s marriage.)

Anyway, these pastries are light, soft and delicious. I found a recipe online and followed it with two exceptions and one caution Rolled formed doughlearned after making them. See below.

You can make the tangzhong and cream filling as much as 3 days in advance. Both will stay in the refrigerator that long if covered. Tangzhong is a water roux used to lighten the texture and provides the more tender crumb these pastries require.

Flattened dough

INGREDIENTS

Cream Pan Dough:

  • 2 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. tangzhong
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. milk

Tangzhong:

Cream Filled unfolded dough

  • 1/3 c. bread flour
  • 1 c. water

Japanese custard cream:

  • 1 3/4 c. milk
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 5 T. flour
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract, or seeds scraped out of 1 vanilla bean pod)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 2-3 T. waterCream Filled Folded dough

METHOD

  1. Make the tangzhong. In a small saucepan, gently heat the bread flour + water, while slowly whisking.  When the mixture thickens, and swirl lines appear – remove from heat and cool.  You will only end up using half of this mixture – store the other half in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 3 days.
  2. Make the cream pan dough.  Add the tangzhong, butter, sugar, salt, and egg beaten with the milk to a mixer bowl.  On top of those ingredients, add the bread flour.  Make a depression in the center of the bread flour, and add the yeast.  Turn the mixer fitted with adough hook to low until a basic dough is formed. The increase speed to medium to knead for 8 minutes, then allow the dough to rise (covered) for 1 hour in a warm place.  Punch down, and allow to rise another 30 minutes.) While the dough is rising, make the custard cream.
  3. HERE IS ONE OF THE CHANGES: I use the Martha Stewart method of making cream patisserie. Put all the ingredients into a large sauce pan and heat with constant stirring until the mixture begins to set (looks like loose scrambled eggs), strain the mixture and add the vanilla. Much easier that tempering the eggs etc.
  4. The original recipe follows here:
    1. Scald the milk and butter in a large pyrex measuring cup by microwaving for 2-3 minutes.
    2. Beat the egg yolk with a whisk, and add the flour, cornstarch, salt, and sugar. Whisk together to form a thick paste.
    3. Add about 1/3 of the warm milk mixture to the paste, and whisk constantly. (This step tempers the egg, and loosens up the paste so that you can add the remaining warm milk.)  Add the second 1/3 of the warm milk, and whisk until combined.  Then add the last 1/3 of the warm milk, and whisk until combined.
    4. Strain the egg mixture into a saucepan. (This will catch any lumps, and any bits of egg that may have “scrambled”.)
    5. Add the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract, or scraped vanilla bean guts), then slowly heat the saucepan over medium low heat (whisking constantly). When the mixture thickens so that swirl lines appear, remove from heat and continue whisking another 30 seconds.
  5. Refrigerate the custard cream until cold and thick in a covered container for several hours.
  6. Dust a work surface liberally with flour. Divide the dough into 16 pieces.  Using a cookie scoop, portion out 16 balls of chilled custard cream.  (I usually set the custard portions on top a sheet of Reynold’s non-stick foil.)
  7. I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH BAKING THE CREAM. Skip this and inject the cream after the pastry has cooled. Be gentle with the dough, don’t over deflate. This will keep it lighter and less bread-like.
  8. The original instructions follow here.
    1. Flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand and place in a small custard cup. Use a small spoon to put a portion of chilled custard into the depression.
    2. Pinch the edges upwards to seal and place seam side down on a silicone lined cookie sheet.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 30-60 minutes. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, and bake at 335 degrees for 15 minutes. Use a dilute egg wash. I increased the water from 1 Tablespoon to 3.
  10. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly.
  11. Inject cooled creampat. You should feel the pastry become heavy. That is enough filling.
  12. Refrigerate to store.