31 August 2017

Bacon and Egg Pie - Crustless, So Naturally Gluten-Free (Dairy-Free, Too)

Bacon and Egg Pie - Crustless, So Naturally Gluten-Free (can be made dairy-free) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Breakfast bakes made with good bread are something I really enjoy, but I had a gluten-free guest coming and had to come up with one that didn't contain bread.

And she's gone dairy-free as well, so I made it with rice milk rather than my usual organic 2% milk. Like other dairy-free people I know, she tolerates butter well, so I went ahead and followed my inclination to brush the layer of potatoes with a little butter (but resisted my inclination to throw in some cheese!).

I'm inclined to throw some cheese into just about everything! This could be jazzed up any number of ways; but we were going to be having a spicy main dish, vegetables and big salad for lunch, so I made this stone plain and offered salsa and shredded cheese on the side.

Since this was breakfast, we had fruit and gluten-free scones along with the pie, as well as copious amounts of English breakfast tea. For lunch or dinner, I'd have salad on the side and a glass of wine, such as Castello di Amorosa Gioia, a perfect summer sipper.

Bacon and Egg Pie - Crustless, So Naturally Gluten-Free (can be made dairy-free) / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Bacon and Egg Pie


(Makes one 9-inch pie)

2 to 3 (about 14 ounces/397 grams total) Yukon Gold potatoes, microwaved/baked and cooled, then peeled or not
8 ounces (227 grams) bacon, sliced crosswise 1/4 to 1/2 inch, cooked crisp
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter, melted, or bacon grease
7 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or dairy-free milk
1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Options: cheese; diced green chiles; sautéed onions, red bell peppers and/or mushrooms; leftover cooked vegetables. But not too much or you'll need a deep-dish pie plate, which I don't have.


1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Cut the potatoes in quarters lengthwise; slice about 1/4 inch thick. Line bottom of pie plate with the potatoes, squeezing in little bits to make a solid potato layer. Brush the potatoes with melted butter* and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Top with the bacon and any optional ingredients.

* If using leftover bacon grease instead of butter, you might want to skip the salt on the potato layer.

2 In 2-quart bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure because the spout makes pouring easier), whisk together eggs, milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and seasonings. Put the pie plate with potatoes and bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven. Pour the egg mixture over potatoes and bacon.

3 Bake about 25 minutes, or until eggs are set in the center. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

24 August 2017

Financiers and Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes

Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com

Financiers (fee-nahn-see-AY) are probably familiar to afternoon tea aficionados since they are frequently seen on the three-tiered stand at posh hotel teas. Visitandines (vee-zeet-ahn-DEEN) are a bit more obscure; I only learned about them recently when I was perusing the new-to-me blog As Strong As Soup.

It seems visitandines are named after the order of nuns in France who came up with the cakes in the seventeenth century. It is said egg yolks were used in their painting and the teacakes were a way to use up the leftover egg whites. Various shaped molds have been used for them, including barquettes.

Then in the nineteenth century a baker near the financial district of Paris began making the cakes in the shape of gold bars and calling them financiers in honor of his wealthy financier customers. Since I have no rectangular (gold bar-shaped) or barquette (boat-shaped) molds, I used my mince pies/jam tarts tin.

Of all the many sources of recipes and information I've read on the subject, most are in agreement that almond flour (or ground almonds) and beurre noisette, brown butter, are the signature ingredients of both of these classic French teacakes. Dorie Greenspan was the only source whose visitandines recipe did not include almonds and was baked as one cake and sliced.

As my regular readers might guess, I'm going to go with the individual teacakes that look so cute on a three-tiered stand for afternoon tea! I formulated the recipe to make just enough batter for 12 teacakes using 2 tablespoons of batter each.

You might also want to check out my Madeleines, another classic French teacake.

Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes


(Makes about 1 1/2 cups batter*)

6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 firmly packed cup (3 ounces/85 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 firmly packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) almond flour
1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites (about 90 grams)
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, optional
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional

* The number of teacakes it makes depends on the size. If your pan holds the #40 scoop I used (or a 1/8 cup measure), it will make precisely 12.

1 In small saucepan,* melt butter over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring or swirling frequently, until butter gets foamy and bubbly and just starts to turn tan. It just takes a few minutes, so you cannot take your eyes off it; it goes from browned to burned in a flash! Remove from heat; set aside at room temperature. No need to strain it. It should be still warm, but not hot, when you add it to the batter at the end.

* Use a saucepan with a light colored interior, like my little All-Clad stainless steel 1-quart saucepan, so you can judge the color of the butter as it browns.

Financiers and Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes - made with beurre noisette, brown butter / www.delightfulrepast.com


2 In 1.5-quart mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together powdered sugar, almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt. There is no need to sift any of the ingredients; the vigorous whisking will do the "sifting" for you.

3 In small bowl, whisk egg whites with a fork just until frothy, about 30 to 60 seconds. (Don't panic if you got a drop of yolk in your whites; you are not beating them.) Whisk the egg whites into the flour mixture, just to combine; do not over-mix. The batter will be very thick at this point. Add zest, if using, extract(s) and brown butter. Whisk lightly, just until combined. Cover and refrigerate batter for 2 to 3 hours.

Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com


4 Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Lightly spray pan with cooking spray (or brush with melted butter and chill to firm before filling). Set pan in a rimmed baking sheet. My mince pies pan fits perfectly inside a 13x9x1-inch quarter-sheet pan. Scoop batter into pan. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, or until cakes are golden with nicely browned edges and spring back when touched lightly. Baking time will depend on the size of the teacakes.

5 Turn out the teacakes onto a pristine kitchen towel. You will likely need to give the pan a couple of sharp raps to loosen the stubborn ones. Place them on wire rack to cool. I love them best when they are still warm and crusty on the outside, but they are also good later when the crispy edges have softened.

17 August 2017

Homemade Handmade Pasta - A Tutorial

Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com

Homemade Pasta is something I hadn't made in years - it just sort of slipped off my radar. But over the weekend I got in the mood to make something fun. There are all sorts of "formulas" for making it, but I remembered the one I'd settled on years ago: 1 large egg, 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt for about 4 ounces of pasta.

Even if you're just cooking for one or two, you might want to stir up more than that while you're at it. You can refrigerate the kneaded dough for a few days or freeze it for a few months. Of course, you can mix and knead the dough in a food processor or stand mixer, but my arms can really use the exercise these days!

I never made homemade pasta frequently enough or in such huge quantities that I felt the need for a pasta machine. And I'm not crazy about cleaning a pasta machine! So, handmade it is. All you really need is a bowl, fork, rolling pin, bench scraper, knife or pizza wheel and a cutting board.

The same dough is perfect for any shape. The photo below shows it in the form of wide egg noodles in chicken soup. Mr Delightful doesn't like long pasta, so I made just a little batch of fettuccine for myself (shown in the final photo).

I should also mention that you don't need to track down any special flour. Some cooks swear by semolina or Italian 00 flour, but I used my usual organic unbleached all-purpose flour and did not find it lacking in any way. Eventually I'd like to get out all my gluten-free flours and starches and come up with a version for my GF friends.


How to Make Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines and just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Homemade Handmade Pasta


(Makes about 8 ounces)

2 large eggs
1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt


* Plus more, perhaps about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, for kneading and rolling


Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines and just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com


1 In 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl, with a dinner fork, stir together flour and salt. Add eggs, break the yolks and slowly incorporate the eggs into the flour to form a sticky, not too stiff dough.


Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com


2 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (keep the bowl handy, you'll need it again) and knead the dough until it is satiny and very stretchy, about 10 minutes. Use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking horribly to your hands and surface. And this step is where the bench scraper comes in handy. The finished product should be tacky but not sticky.


Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com


3 Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Cover the dough with the inverted mixing bowl, and let it rest for an hour before rolling it out. (I love my big Weck jars for flour.)


4 Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll it (I prefer a maple French rolling pin) into about a 12x6-inch rectangle and stretch and fold it in half. Repeat 3 times. Then roll it out to roughly a 15-inch square about 1/32 inch thick, so thin you can sort of see through it. I could see the pattern of my quartz countertop through it.


Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com


5 You will be lifting and turning the dough throughout the rolling process so that it does not get stuck to the counter. By the time you have your thin square rolled out, the dough will be extremely thin but quite sturdy. Let it rest, uncovered, about 20 minutes, just to dry a bit without getting crusty.


6 To cut shorter shapes, use a plastic pizza wheel and a straight edge (my straight edge is half of an aluminum yardstick, cut years ago for cake decorating purposes). I cut this batch, for chicken noodle soup, into 1/3-inch wide strips, then into 1 1/2-inch lengths.


Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com


To cut long noodles, fold or roll the sheet of dough into a loose spiral, place it on a cutting board and cut crosswise into strips with a sharp knife.


Homemade Handmade Pasta - No machines, just 3 simple ingredients / www.delightfulrepast.com


7 Let the cut pasta rest, uncovered, for 20 to 60 minutes before cooking.


8 Cooking times vary but are very short, so watch closely and test frequently. I cooked the short noodles in hot, not boiling, soup and they were done in 2 minutes. Cooking time could be even shorter in boiling water. The long noodles took a minute or so longer, having dried out for a longer period of time. 

By the way: Some posts contain links to my affiliate account at Amazon. If you start your shopping through one of my links and purchase something from Amazon, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop at Amazon!

10 August 2017

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes

7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, sherbet, sorbet and vegan frozen desserts are favorites on the dessert menu when it's too hot to bake. Here are seven of my recipes to help you beat the heat.

Strawberry Ice Cream is my all-time favorite. I've even served it at afternoon teas in the garden - in teacups, of course.



7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com


Lime Sherbet is so refreshing on a hot day and makes the perfect dessert at a summer barbecue.


7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com


Peach Ice Cream - with or without the blueberry sauce - is something I can't get enough of during peach season.


7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com


Vegan Chocolate Ice "Cream" is a recipe I developed for vegans but have only ever served to non-vegans - and they all thought it was regular ice cream!



7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com


Strawberry Frozen Yogurt is right up there with strawberry ice cream on my favorites list.



7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes - Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com


Coffee Chocolate Gelato was the first recipe I developed for my self-refrigerating compressor ice cream maker. But you can make it in any kind of ice cream maker.



7 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Recipes / Beat the heat with a frozen treat / www.delightfulrepast.com


Meyer Lemon Frozen Yogurt is Mr Delightful's favorite, and it is pretty wonderful, if I do say so myself.
 

See my Recipes index page for more.

03 August 2017

Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting - made in a half-sheet pan, feeds a crowd and freezes beautifully! / www.delightfulrepast.com

Banana Sheet Cake is the perfect cake to make for a picnic, potluck or any kind of feed-a-crowd occasion. Especially during summer, when you really want to get out of the kitchen as soon as possible.

In hot weather, bananas can go from just right to rotten overnight. So when you need to use up those perfectly freckled, overripe bananas, this recipe will get you in and out of the kitchen quickly.

No messing about with layers. No need to get out the piping bag. Just bake it in a half-sheet pan and serve it right from the pan. Of course you can cut it into three or four equal pieces and make a fancy layered creation, but not this time.

Bake it in the pan. Frost it in the pan. Carry your pan to a picnic or potluck. Serve it from the pan. No muss, no fuss. It's summer, people, and I'm keeping it easy but real.

Don't try to make this in a smaller pan, like a 15x10 jelly roll or a 17x11; it would surely overflow and make a total wreck of your oven. Believe me, I'm not in the mood for that!

If you don't have a couple of good half-sheet pans (and quarter-sheet pans), it's time to get some. They are true kitchen workhorses, and I'd hate to be without them. A half-sheet pan with a plastic lid makes taking it on the road super easy.

If you're not a banana fan, you might want to try my Meyer Lemon Sheet Cake or Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake.

For afternoon tea, cut the cake into 1.25- to 1.5-inch squares to stand in for petits fours.

If you like nuts, finely diced walnuts or pecans (toasted, of course) can either be added to the cake batter or sprinkled on top of the frosting. What do you think - nuts or no nuts?


Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting - made in a half-sheet pan, feeds a crowd and freezes beautifully! / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Banana Sheet Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting


(Makes one 18x13x1-inch half-sheet, 32 servings)

The Cake

2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (about 1.5 pounds/680 grams, unpeeled bananas) mashed very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
Milk to make 1 1/3 cup (10.67 fluid ounces/315 ml), room temperature
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces/170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces/198 grams) sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The Frosting

3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 ounces (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 packed cups (12 ounces/340 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Up to 2 tablespoons milk, as needed for spreadable consistency


1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease, butter or spray an 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Note: If you want to remove it from the pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, overhanging a bit on the ends, and spray the paper as well.

2 In medium bowl, mash bananas and 1 tablespoon lemon juice with large fork or potato masher.

3 In measuring cup, put vinegar or lemon juice, add milk to make 1 1/3 cups; stir gently and let stand for 5 minutes.

4 In large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and mashed bananas. Add dry ingredients and soured milk alternately to wet ingredients, and stir just until combined. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top.

5 Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for an hour in pan on wire rack before frosting. Get out the butter and cream cheese to be softening during that hour.

Note: If you are removing it from the pan, let it cool in pan on wire rack for ten minutes before turning it out onto wire rack and removing the parchment.

6 In bowl of stand mixer or a 2.5-quart bowl and hand mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar, in three batches, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and enough milk to make the frosting a good spreading consistency. We're not piping this frosting, so the consistency isn't so crucial; it just needs to be easily spreadable. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting.

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