07 January 2021

Classic Pound Cake - Half-Pound Cake, Actually

Classic Pound Cake - Half-Pound Cake, Actually / www.delightfulrepast.com

Classic Pound Cake, perfect on its own, can be used in so many ways, making it the most versatile cake of all. The classic proportions of pound cake—a pound each of eggs, flour, sugar, and butter—have been altered over the years, but I wanted to make a cake that held as closely to that formula as possible, only smaller. 

I LOVE experimenting in the kitchen! So my recipe, which calls for approximately a half pound each of the primary ingredients, uses the reverse creaming method rather than the traditional creaming method I used in my Perfect Pound Cake - 3/4-Pound Cake.

Classic Pound Cake - Half-Pound Cake, Actually / www.delightfulrepast.com

Cake flour is supposed to be best for cakes, but I make all my cakes with organic unbleached all-purpose flour. And I haven't had any complaints yet! All my recipes specify a "dip-and-sweep" (scooped and leveled) measure of unsifted flour, which is the most consistent volume measure, weighing about 5 ounces. All my recipes are based on that and will not turn out right if the flour is measured some other way.

I think it's pretty much the perfect pound cake! I loved the texture as well as the flavor. Lemon pound cake is good, too, but I like the classic vanilla pound cake for trifle, which I plan on using half the cake for very soon. In the meantime, tell me about your favorite pound cake and how you like to serve it.

Classic Pound Cake - Half-Pound Cake, Actually / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Classic Pound Cake – Half-Pound Cake, Actually


(Makes one 9x4x4-inch or 9x5x3-inch loaf)

4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 2/3 dip-and-sweep cups (8.33 ounces/236 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (8.75 ounces/248 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
2 sticks (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Butter and lightly flour one 9x4x4-inch small pullman pan or 9x5x3-inch loaf tin. Putting a piece of parchment paper in the bottom, and then buttering or spraying the paper, is a good idea if you're worried about sticking.

2 In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla; set aside.

3 In bowl of electric mixer or other large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and mace; mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to “sift” the dry ingredients. Add the butter; mix on low speed to combine. Add half the egg mixture; mix on low speed to combine, then on medium speed for one minute. Add half the remaining egg mixture; mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add remaining egg mixture; mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.

4 Pour batter into prepared pan and run a knife through the batter four times to get rid of any air pockets. Bake at 350F/180C/Gas4 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325F/165C/Gas3 and continue baking for about 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a crumb or two.

Note: My favorite timers, the three I use in my kitchen every day, are: ThermoWorks TimeStick (mine is yellow!), Taylor, and ThermoWorks Christopher Kimball Signature Timer.

5 Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely. The cooled cake can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. Can be double-wrapped and frozen for a month; thaw, wrapped, at room temperature.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

24 December 2020

Cherry Almond Tea Loaf

Cherry Almond Tea Loaf / www.delightfulrepast.com


Cherry Almond Tea Loaf is a recipe I developed when I found myself with too many dried cherries on hand—a nice problem to have!—and almond flour that needed to be used before it expired.

If you've had more than enough super sweet treats this month, you'll enjoy this not-too-sweet cake with its slightly tart cherries. Be sure to use plain dried cherries rather than sugary glacé cherries.

And if you're one of those people who doesn't like dried fruits, trust me, these dried cherries plumped for a short time in a bit of hot water do not seem at all like your usual dried fruit.

I want to bake it in a 3-inch deep 7-inch round pan next time, for serving on my little clear glass pedestal cake plate. Yes, I'm still thinking "tea party" after ten months of no such thing! I hope you are doing well. See you next year!

Cherry Almond Tea Loaf / www.delightfulrepast.com


Cherry Almond Tea Loaf


(Makes 1 9x9x4-inch or 9x5x3-inch loaf cake) 

2 packed cups (10 ounces/283 grams) dried cherries
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) boiling water
1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 firmly packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) super-fine almond flour (ground almonds)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces/198 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces/198 grams) sugar 
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon almond extract


1 In a 3-cup shallow bowl, pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the dried cherries. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, then drain thoroughly, reserving the liquid. Maybe give it 15 seconds or so in the microwave at that halfway point (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't). 

2 Grease and flour, or spray with cooking spray, a 9x4x4-inch loaf pan or 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. I use a teaspoon of softened butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. 

Note: I love the square shape of the 9x4x4-inch loaf pan that I initially got for baking my gluten-free yeast breads but use (without its lid) for nearly everything that calls for a 9x5x3-inch pan. 

3 In 2-quart glass measure or mixing bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Whisking the daylights out of the dry ingredients takes the place of sifting. 

4 In 2.5- to 3-quart bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding in just a spoonful of the flour mixture if needed to keep the mixture from curdling. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

5 Dump the flour mixture on top of the creamed mixture, then put the thoroughly drained cherries on top of the flour, and kind of dust the cherries with the flour. Then stir gently just until mixed. This keeps the cherries from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.

6 Stir in 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) of the reserved liquid. 

7 Scrape into prepared loaf pan and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325F/165C/Gas3 and continue baking for about 50 to 60 minutes. 

8 Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack. Continue cooling for an hour.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

10 December 2020

Pear Frangipane Tart - Tarte a la Frangipane aux Poires

Pear Frangipane Tart - Tarte a la Frangipane aux Poires / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pear Frangipane Tart is the perfect "something different" autumn and winter dessert. Of course, I would have made it easier on myself if I'd just sliced the pear halves instead of deciding to get cute and do pear quarters, which gets a bit fiddly.

Some people poach the pears first, but it's not necessary and I actually prefer the tart made with raw pears. And regular readers know I love to use wine, sherry, brandy, rum, and liqueurs in my cooking and baking, but not in this. The delicate flavor of the pears is easily overwhelmed. 

Pear Frangipane Tart - Tarte a la Frangipane aux Poires (this image my original watercolor painting) / www.delightfulrepast.com
I have fun posing the produce for my watercolor sketching
while I wait for it to reach the perfect stage of ripeness.

And if you're tempted to splash in more than the 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract, please resist. It's a very powerful flavoring, and just the tiniest bit is needed to enhance the flavor of the almond filling. The crisp buttery pastry is the third delicate flavor in this delightfully subtle tart.

I like pairing this with a nice cup of Darjeeling, a tea with subtleties of its own! How about you?   


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Pear Frangipane Tart

(Makes one 9-inch/23cm tart, 8 servings) 

The Pastry - Pâte Sucrée (a sweet shortcrust pastry) 

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cup (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 packed cup (0.5 ounce/14 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk (reserve white for filling)
1 tablespoon water, milk or cream 

The Filling - Frangipane

1/2 cup (4ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
1 firmly packed cup (4 ounces/113 grams) super-fine almond flour (ground almonds)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt 

The Pears 

2 medium (7 ounces/198 grams each) firm-ripe pears (Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice)
1/4 cup apricot preserves, heated and strained


1 Add flour, powdered sugar and salt to work bowl of food processor; turn on for about 3 or 4 seconds to combine. Add chunks of butter; pulse to a crumb texture. Add egg yolk and liquid; pulse until the dough starts clumping together. This is to be a crisp, more cookie-like crust, rather than a flaky pastry; so there's not quite the concern about over-processing. Flatten slightly into a 4- to 6-inch round disc, wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. 

2 Lightly butter a 9-inch/23cm tart tin (1-inch deep) and set it on a baking sheet. On lightly floured 12-inch square of baking parchment paper or aluminum foil, roll out the pastry to a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to tart tin, pressing dough (but not stretching it) to fit the tin. Save the parchment or foil; you're not done with it. With scissors or knife, trim the overhanging pastry to 1/2 inch all around. Fold it in and press it to the sides to form a thicker side crust. Trim the edges* by rolling the rolling pin over the top. Press the pastry into the flutes so that it rises a bit above the edge (in case of shrinkage). Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

3 Cover chilled pastry with the reserved piece of parchment or foil, clean side up, pressing it to fit well (the parchment works best if you was it up then smooth it out). Spread 2 cups of ceramic pie weights (that's two packages of Mrs. Anderson's ceramic pie weights), also called ceramic baking beans in the UK, over the parchment or foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove parchment or foil and weights; continue baking for 10 minutes, until lightly browned to a pale golden. Let stand to cool a bit.

4 While pastry is cooling, make the filling. In 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Take off heat, and stir in the sugar, then the ground almonds, eggs, almond extract and salt until well combined. 

5 Peel, half, and core the pears. Slice each half in half again vertically and then horizontally into 1/4-inch slices 1/8-inch (3 mm) slices; keep together. Pour frangipane filling into cooled pastry. Lift each quarter and place evenly in the filled tart shell and flatten and fan the quarters slightly.  

6 Bake (with tart tin on baking sheet) for about 35 to 45 minutes (Love my TimeStick timer). Transfer to wire rack to cool.

7 Optional: In small saucepan over low heat, melt the apricot jam and strain it into a small bowl. With a pastry brush, apply a thin coating of jam to just the pears. 

8 Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove from tin. Serve at room temperature. Dust with sifted powdered sugar just before serving.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

26 November 2020

Eggplant Parmesan - Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmesan - Aubergine Parmigiana - Melanzane alla Parmigiana / www.delightfulrepast.com


Eggplant Parmesan (Aubergine Parmigiana) is something I most often make in the same way I make Chicken Parmesan, which is wonderful, but once in a while I'm in the mood for a sort of lasagne-like, casserole-style version. As you might expect, I've streamlined it!

For this style, I skip the breading. I don't even dredge the eggplant slices in flour. And, of course, I skip the laborious salting and draining and blotting dry that is supposed to remove the bitterness because I've never had a bitter eggplant in my entire life. And I skip the frying because it makes such a mess and does nothing for the texture of this dish. 

Eggplant Parmesan - Aubergine Parmigiana - Melanzane alla Parmigiana (this image my original watercolor) / www.delightfulrepast.com
You know I can't resist painting the groceries!

If I had to pick one "must" it would be: Slice the eggplant (aubergine) 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick, the perfect thickness to give the proper texture. Also, cut lengthwise slices rather than rounds to give structure to the dish. That, along with going easy on the sauce, will make tidy layers that will slice into neat squares rather than spoonable blobs. 

Meant to be served warm, not hot—some people even serve it cold—it must rest for 25 or 30 minutes before slicing and serving, which also contributes to its holding its shape rather than collapsing on the plate.

I hope you'll try it soon and let me know how you liked it and if my directions need any clarification.

Eggplant Parmesan - Aubergine Parmigiana - Melanzane alla Parmigiana / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Eggplant Parmesan - Aubergine Parmigiana


(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

The Sauce

(Makes about 3 cups, more than you need)

1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

The Eggplant

2 pounds eggplant
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

The Cheese

1/2 pound (8 ounces/227 grams) thinly sliced or shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup medium grated (2 ounces/57 grams) parmesan


1 In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (visibly bubbling), loosely covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, to reduce and thicken. Pour it into a 4-cup glass measure to cool while proceeding with recipe and to see how much sauce you have. If you have more than 2 1/4 cups, save the extra for another use; if you have less, add water to make 2 1/4 cups or just use a little less sauce in each layer. The dish isn't supposed to be too saucy.

2 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Spread 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each parchment. Wash, but do not peel, the eggplants. Peel back the calyx (the green tops) of the eggplants, cut off just the minimum at the top and a bit off the bottom so that they can stand, and slice the standing eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Or you can square off the sides just a bit and make the slices with the eggplants on their sides, if that's easier. 

3 Place on baking sheets in single layer, but crowding a bit is fine. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Check them. Rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. Bake until the slices are quite dried, perhaps browned, but not burnt, checking in a few minutes. The slices will not need turning and baking on the other side unless you've cut them thicker.

4 Reduce heat to 375F/190C/Gas5. Lightly oil or butter, or spray with cooking spray, an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Assemble: Spread 1/4 cup of sauce in the dish. Then make 4 layers of a fourth of the eggplant, 1/2 cup sauce, about a fourth of the mozzarella, about a fourth of the parmesan. Bake for abut 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 25 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

12 November 2020

Pumpkin Pie - Tips for a Crisper Crust

Pumpkin Pie - Tips for a Crisper Crust - another solution to the soggy bottom problem / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pumpkin Pie is a year-round favorite of mine that tastes especially good at this time of year. But you're probably thinking, Oh my, not another pumpkin pie recipe—boring! More than a recipe, this post is about something that just might solve a problem for you as it did for me. 

Many pumpkin pies have problems, including the "soggy bottom" problem. I know a well-spiced pumpkin pie tastes pretty good even with a soggy bottom. I've conquered the problem in the past by prebaking the pie shell. But some days I just don't feel like prebaking and cooling a crust before filling and baking the pie. How about you?

Pyrex glass pie plates have been my go-to pie pans for decades and will, I'm sure, continue to be most of the time. But I was on a quest to see if there was a way to make a pumpkin pie with a nice crisp crust without prebaking the pie shell as I did here in my Pumpkin Pie - Gluten-Free or Regular Crust - No Soggy Bottoms post.

The only way I could think of was to bake the pie on a thoroughly preheated pizza stone/steel. And you can't set a cold Pyrex pie plate on a hot pizza stone/steel without risking disaster, so I started checking out all the possibilities and eventually decided to try Fat Daddio's 18-gauge anodized aluminum pie pans.

Pumpkin Pie - Tips for a Crisper Crust - another solution to the soggy bottom problem / www.delightfulrepast.com


I have quite a collection Fat Daddio's anodized aluminum cake and loose-bottomed cheesecake pans and love them. So when I decided it was high time I took another look at metal pie pans, they were on my list. (BTW, this post is not sponsored; I'm just telling you what's new in my kitchen this month.)

But I almost ordered the wrong size because of Fat Daddio's weird way of measuring pie pans. Unlike every other company on the planet, they don't call a pan with a 9-inch top interior diameter a 9-inch pie pan! No, they have to confuse us all by including the flat rim in the measurement, which makes it a 10-inch pie pan to their way of thinking.

Anyway ... had I ordered their 9-inch, I would have gotten an 8-inch pie pan, which would be totally useless to me because I've developed all my recipes for a standard 1.5-inch depth 9-inch top interior diameter pan. So I just wanted to warn you about that. But on to the results of my rigorous research and testing: It worked!

So even if you're happy with another recipe (such as, Perfect Pumpkin Pie - Without Canned Milk), if you're interested in a crispier crust, you'll find the method in the recipe directions below. I imagine it'll work fine with any pastry or pumpkin filling recipe.

Do let me know in the comments what type of pie plate you prefer and what methods you use to avoid soggy bottoms!

Pumpkin Pie - Tips for a Crisper Crust (without prebaking) / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Pumpkin Pie


(Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 servings)


The Pastry 


1 1/3 dip-and-sweep cups (6.67 ounces/189 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces/142 grams) unsalted butter, well chilled

2 tablespoons beaten egg from 1 large egg (reserve the rest)
2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Additional ice water, a teaspoon at a time, if needed

The Filling


2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon non-GMO cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce (425 grams) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree

1 12-ounce (355 ml) can evaporated milk

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. With coarse grater, grate about 3/4 of the stick of butter into flour bowl. Cut the remaining butter into 1/2-inch cubes. With fingers, quickly work the grated butter into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the cubed butter and work it into the crumbs, leaving some pieces the size of small peas.

2 In small bowl, beat together the 2 tablespoons of beaten egg, ice water, and apple cider vinegar. Sprinkle over flour mixture while stirring with large fork. Add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time, if needed.

3 Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten slightly into a 5-inch round disk with smooth edges; double wrap; refrigerate for one hour or up to four days. May be frozen for up to a month; defrost, wrapped, in the refrigerator.

4 If dough is thoroughly chilled, let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling; if it has been refrigerated for just one hour, it will likely be ready to roll. Very lightly butter a 9-inch aluminum pie pan; I usually just run the butter wrapper over it. On lightly floured surface, roll out disk to a 13-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Place pastry in pie plate, being careful to not stretch the dough. Leave a 1-inch overhang of dough. Crimp the edge. (Sometimes you need to chill the pastry a bit before crimping.) Flute the edge higher than usual to contain the filling. Using the reserved beaten egg, brush a light even coat of egg wash over the bottom and sides, but not the crimped edge, of the pastry. Save leftover beaten egg to add to the filling. Cover loosely and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5 Meanwhile, in medium bowl (using a 2-quart glass measure makes it easy to pour the filling into the crust), whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Whisk in the eggs and any leftover beaten egg from the pastry, then the pumpkin, and then the evaporated milk. Let the filling stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or so while you preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8 after moving an oven rack to the lowest position.

Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan

6a If you have a metal pie pan and a pizza stone/steel (a Lodge cast iron pizza pan fills that role for me), put it on the lowest rack and start preheating the oven as soon as you put the pie shell in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Just before baking, fill the chilled pie shell. Carefully place it on the hot pizza stonePut on a pie crust shield to prevent the edge of the crust from over-browning (or have one standing by in case you see it start overbrowning). Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F/180C/Gas4. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted midway between edge and center comes out clean or until it registers 185F/85C on an instant-read thermometer.  

6b If not using a pizza stone/steel, just before baking, set the thoroughly chilled egg-washed pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch butter drips) and pour in the filling. Put on a pie crust shield to prevent the edge of the crust from over-browning (or have one standing by in case you see it start overbrowning). Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F/180C/Gas4. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted midway between edge and center comes out clean or until it registers 185F/85C on an instant-read thermometer.

7 Cool on wire rack for 2 hours, then lay a square of wax paper over the top and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve with softly whipped cream. I sweetened and flavored 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 4 teaspoons of real maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

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