01 April 2021

Persimmon Oat Cookies

Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com


Persimmon Oat Cookies hit the menu in springtime because I had the foresight in autumn to puree and freeze my surplus of ripe Hachiya persimmons. I can't resist buying some every week while they're in season and end up freezing a nice little stockpile of half-pint jars to bring out whenever I like.

Oatmeal cookies are just about my favorite because I love the chewy texture and the fact that they're a bit more nutritious than most. The persimmons are just an added bonus in both flavor and nutrition. A cookie you really can have for breakfast!


Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com
Of course, I couldn't put up a painting of a jar of puree,
so here's one I did of the fruit when it was in season.

I packed up a dozen of them and trotted them down to a neighbor as a little thank-you. You see, there was an incident just the day before. I opened my door to see if a package had been delivered and a neighbor cat tried to sneak in. I did my usual maneuver where I partially close the door behind me and go out and pet the cat.

Of course, you know what happened next. The door slammed shut behind me, and there I was, home alone, locked out, no mask, no keys, no phone. It would be anywhere from 2 1/2 to 4 hours before my husband would be coming home. I'll skip all the amusing details and just say that the guy three doors down really looked after me, brought me a chair, etc. 

Sitting on the door mat for 2 1/2 hours would not have been too comfy. Still, I was glad it wasn't 4 hours. Good thing the neighbor cat who started all the ruckus stuck around to keep me company the whole time!

Another persimmon recipe: Steamed Persimmon Pudding - Instant Pot or Not.

Persimmon Oat Cookies  / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Persimmon Oat Cookies


(Makes 3 1/2 dozen)

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 cups (10.5 ounces/300 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) chopped pecans
3/4 packed cup (3.75 ounces/106 grams) raisins
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cool room temperature
1 1/4 cup (8.75 ounces/248 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
2 large eggs (medium in UK)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (6.625 ounces/188 grams) persimmon puree

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In small bowl, stir a tablespoon of flour mixture into the raisins, separating the clumps. Stir the floured raisins, along with the oats and nuts, into the flour mixture.

2 In large bowl with electric hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Use a wooden spoon if you need to; mixture must be smooth and well creamed. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then the persimmon puree. Stir in the flour-oat mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to a few days. (Very cold dough will need to sit at room temperature for a bit to become more scoopable.)

3 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Drop #40 scoops* (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. With a glass (I use a 2 1/4-inch diameter flat-bottomed 1/3-cup from my stainless steel measuring cup sets), press each scoop into a 2 1/4-inch round. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, or until brown around the edges but still a little soft in the center.

Note: My favorite kitchen timer of all time!

4 Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container. I use these Pyrex 11-cup rectangular storage dishes with lids as cookie jars, among other

things. One holds half a batch of these cookies.
 
* If you don't have one of these #40 scoops, you need to get one now! How do people make cookies without it!

To freeze dough: Drop scoops of dough on foil-lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly, as directed above. Freeze, then wrap.

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

18 March 2021

Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method

Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method - An Afternoon Tea Essential / www.delightfulrepast.com

As I pointed out in my
Clotted Cream Tutorial, clotted cream, which doesn't sound that appealing to the uninitiated, is the delectable accompaniment to scones that elevates that simple bake to an Occasion. And, of course, it has other delicious applications.

While I couldn't be happier with my Clotted Cream - Oven Method, I have friends whose oven either does not have that low of a temperature setting or does not hold a very steady temperature or will time out before 12 hours is up. I even have friends in studio apartments without an oven. So I wanted to come up with a good and easy stovetop method.

As with the oven method, this does not require your standing at the stove for hours on end. Once you get it going, you can pretty much just go about your business. This must not be stirred or jostled, so it benefits from benign neglect once you have your just-barely-a-simmer temperature established.

Do you love clotted cream as much as I do?


Clotted Cream - Stovetop Method - An Afternoon Tea Essential / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Clotted Cream – Stovetop Method


(Makes about 1 cup)

1 pint (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) heavy whipping cream


1 Fill base of double boiler with water to about 1.5 inches (in mine, that means 1 quart). Bring to barely a simmer. Place double boiler insert over the water. It must not touch the simmering water.

Tip: If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl over a large saucepan.

2 Pour 2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) of heavy whipping cream into top of double boiler. The cream should not be more than 1 inch deep. Leave the lid off. Check by ear every once in a while to make sure the water is barely simmering. If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should register somewhere in the 185F/85C to 200F/94C range.

3 Gently heat the cream at barely a simmer, uncovered, never stirring, for 3 hours. Being careful to not slosh the cream around, remove the top pan from the base and set it on a wire rack to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Then cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

4 Lift up a "corner" of the chilled clotted cream and pour off the liquid* underneath into a 1-cup glass measure; use it in your next batch of scones, pancakes, or whatever you happen to be making. Scoop up layer of clotted cream into jar or serving dish. Keeps for several days, covered and refrigerated. Or you can freeze it

* When you pour off that liquid, you don't have to get every last drop out. Usually the underside of the clotted cream layer is quite wet and might actually drip as you spoon it into a container. The contents of the container can seem quite wet, but it all melds together in the refrigerator.

Note: These cute little 4-ounce freezer-safe canning/storage jars with plastic caps are perfect for clotted cream. One recipe makes two jars. 

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

04 March 2021

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com


Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert is a little something I invented one day when I wanted to eat a dessert but didn't want to go to the trouble of making one. You know what I'm talking about?

I mean I was soooo tired that the easiest of my easiest desserts sounded like waaaayyyy too much trouble. So I thought about the ingredients I had on hand and came up with this. The batter is simply my Yorkshire Pudding batter (minus the savory elements).

For those of you who may not know, toad-in-the-hole is a traditional British dish of sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter. And now I've turned it into a dessert.

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com


Precise times are included in the instructions because, just as a souffle is best served immediately, this dessert is at its best when served fresh out of the oven. Tastes fine later, but you'll want everyone at the table to see it before it, like a souffle, falls.

I make it in a Pyrex dish, so it's especially important to rest the batter for at least the full hour. The rest gives it a better rise, and it also ensures you won't be cracking your glass baking dish by pouring cold batter into a hot dish.

Hope you'll give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Toad-in-the-Hole Apple Dessert


(Serves 4 to 6)

The Batter

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) water
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

The Apples

3 large baking apples (I used Pink Lady apples weighing about 6.5 ounces each)*
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

* If your apples are smaller, use four; the idea is to have apple quarters making a pretty solid layer.

1 An hour and a half before serving time, make batter. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon (to "sift"). Whisk in eggs and water; when smooth, whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Cover and let stand for an hour. Generously butter (using about a tablespoon) the bottom of an 8x8x2-inch baking dish.

An hour and a quarter before serving time, preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7 for 15 minutes while proceeding with recipe. Peel, quarter, and cut away the cores of 3 large cooking apples and arrange them in the buttered baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle it over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes. Melt the butter; set aside 1 tablespoon of it to cool. Remove apples from the oven. Quickly heat the 2 tablespoons of melted butter in the microwave and pour it over the apples.

Whisk the cooled tablespoon of melted butter into the batter. Pour the batter over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350F/180C/Gas4 and continue baking for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately. The ideal accompaniment is Custard Sauce, but vanilla ice cream or whipped cream will do in a pinch.

Tip:  Do not open the oven door to take a peek for at least the first 30 minutes. 

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

18 February 2021

Chocolate Tapioca Pudding - Made with Cocoa

Chocolate Tapioca Pudding - Made with Cocoa / www.delightfulrepast.com


Thought of making a cake this week in celebration of the 11th blogiversary of Delightful Repast, but Mr Delightful requested tapioca pudding, vanilla or chocolate, so I decided to make chocolate since I had already posted my Vanilla Tapioca Pudding.

Tapioca pudding was one of the delicious treats my grandmother made for all her grandchildren. My cousin Denise reminded me several years ago about Ma (that's what we all called her) having mixed results with her tapioca. One time it would be heavenly, and the next time gluey. I thought it odd that Ma would have had difficulty with something so simple, but then I figured it out.

Reading. My grandmother (like her daughters and granddaughters who followed) was addicted to reading. Growing up in a very large family in the Lake District (northwest England), her favorite task was making all the beds. Not because she especially liked making beds, but that chore gave her the opportunity to be alone upstairs and get a lot of reading done. Can't do much harm there, but ... stuff happens when you're cooking and you can't put your book down.

So I imagine on those gluey pudding days, the plot was thickening and so was the tapioca!

Now I'm not touting tapioca pudding as a health food, but I would like to point out for those of you who are watching out for such things that it is grain-free and gluten-free and can easily be made dairy-free. 

Also, since we live in an increasingly carb-wary culture, I should add that, though pure starch, tapioca is a natural source of resistant starch, the good starch that is resistant to digestion and feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut and can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. All of which I am no expert on, but this is simply by way of letting you know there is information out there.

Anyway ... tapioca pudding, chocolate or vanilla, is classic comfort food. And don't we all need a little comfort right now! Are you a tapioca pudding fan?


Chocolate Tapioca Pudding - Made with Cocoa / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Chocolate Tapioca Pudding


(Makes a little over 5 cups, 8 to 10 servings)

1/2 cup (3.25 ounces/92 grams) small pearl tapioca (not instant tapioca)
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) very warm water
1/2 to 3/4 cup* (3.5 ounces/99 grams to 5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (0.75 ounces/21 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups (26 fluid ounces/769 ml) organic milk
3 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: Whipped cream

* We use the lower amount of sugar and think that's perfect, but you might like a bit more.

1 In heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, soak small pearl tapioca in very warm water for 30 minutes. In small bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt. 

2 Stir the cocoa mixture and the milk into the soaked tapioca. Cook over medium* heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently (and then constantly as it gets thicker) for 12 to 15 minutes.

* And I do mean medium. No matter how heavy your saucepan, if you try to hurry it along by cranking up the heat you'll scorch it. Then as you stir, the scorched patch will come off in shreds and be all mixed in with the pudding. Not good. (You may ask, Hmm ... wonder how she knows that? I'll tell you--the same way I know that stuff happens when you're cooking and you can't put your book down!)

3 In 1-quart bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually stir about a cup of the hot mixture into the lightly beaten eggs, then pour back into the saucepan. The eggs will thin out the pudding. Cook, stirring, over low heat (do not boil) until the pudding thickens, several minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla extract.

4 Pour into 1.5-quart bowl; cover with lid. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, give it a stir, then place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. 

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

04 February 2021

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial (this photo, first rise in 2-quart Pyrex measure) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Sourdough bread is something I made once or twice a week for years, then got out of the habit of for about a year (yes, the same year, the pandemic year, masses of other people were taking it up for the first time!). 

Then I decided to make another starter and get back into it. This time I was going to simplify it even more than I already had and experiment with not feeding the starter other than when the starter was nearly gone and needed replenishing.

So I started my starter, as always with a view to wasting as little flour as possible in the discards that are part of the process of building a starter. Since I only plan to bake one loaf at a time, I only need to keep enough starter to make a loaf with a little left to replenish. 

So I decided to keep about 3/4 cup (6.75 ounces/192 grams) of the stirred-down starter in a pint canning jar and placed it in the refrigerator for the next baking day.

I use grams and a digital scale myself, but I've given the directions in ounces as well for those with analog scales and in cups and tablespoons for those who measure. 

The measures are not exact equivalents to the weights, so don't mix methods. For those interested in such things, this is a 100% hydration starter, meaning it has equal weights of flour (I use organic) and water.

And the idea (which I won't be able to report on for several months) is to be able to leave the starter, once it has matured for three months, in the refrigerator for two months or more without any attention and then take it out, stir it up, and use it as is (unfed) to make a loaf. Simplified! 

Starting the Sourdough Starter


When starting a sourdough starter, the starter can pass one or both of the typical "tests" (doubling and floating) to determine whether the starter is ready to use but still not be ready to use, leading to a failed loaf, so I decided to give it 23 days to develop. It will continue to "mature" for 3 months. 

By making up your mind at the outset to let your starter develop over that time instead of getting in a hurry to bake a loaf, you won't risk wasting an entire batch of dough on a loaf that fails because the starter was not really ready despite indications to the contrary.

Using just minimal quantities of flour for the 23 days means the discarding will only amount to about two cups of flour. And not feeding the starter after that, simply adding more flour and water when replenishing the starter, means no discarding ever. Here's the simple plan, given in measures as well as ounces and grams:

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial (this photo, starter in pint canning jar) / www.delightfulrepast.com



Days 1 to 21 - In glass or ceramic 1-pint container, stir 2 level tablespoons unbleached flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons water (or 0.5 ounce/14 grams of each) until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a slightly ajar lid. Each day, stir vigorously and then discard all but 1 tablespoon (or 0.5 ounce/14 grams) of the starter and add 2 tablespoons unbleached flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons water (or 0.5 ounce/14 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or slightly ajar lid and let stand at room temperature.

Day 22 - Stir vigorously and then discard all but 2 tablespoons (or 1 ounce/28 grams) of the starter and add 1/4 cup unbleached flour and 3 tablespoons water (or 1 ounce/28 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely. 

Day 23 - Stir vigorously and then discard all but 1/4 cup (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams) of the starter add 1/2 cup unbleached flour and 1/3 cup water (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely. 

Day 24 - Use 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) for a loaf. Replenish the remaining 1/4 cup (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams) of the starter with 1/2 cup unbleached flour and 1/3 cup water (or 2.25 ounces/64 grams of each); stir vigorously until smooth. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for 1 to 4 hours (as soon as some bubbles are forming, then put it in the refrigerator until next week.

If you've had difficulty in the past with a young starter not performing well and don't want to chance it, you can use a small amount of instant yeast (1/2 teaspoon)—in your dough only, never in your starter—until your starter has matured.

Now let's bake a loaf! You can use the same recipe to make a round boule, but I most often make a sandwich loaf. For a round boule, follow the shaping directions for Sourdough Artisan Bread.

Sourdough Simplified - A Tutorial (this photo, sandwich loaf rising) / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Sourdough Sandwich Loaf


(Makes one large loaf)

1/2 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) stirred-down 100% hydration starter
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/12.5 ounces/355 grams) room temperature water
1 3/4 teaspoons (0.35 ounce/10 grams) salt
4 dip-and-sweep cups (20 ounces/567 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (I use organic)

1 Stir down the starter and weigh or measure it into 2-quart glass measure. With a dough whisk or a large dinner knife, stir in water, then salt and flour. The dough will be fairly stiff, but still sticky. With one hand, knead the dough right in the bowl, just enough to incorporate all the flour, maybe about 10 to 20 times in all. Cover loosely with lid or lightly oiled plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature about 24 hours. At any point that the dough has doubled, it's good to go. It all depends on variables like your starter and the temperature of your kitchen. 

Maintaining Starter: Unless you're baking bread every day or two, keep the starter in the refrigerator and feed only when you don't have enough starter left to make another loaf. I keep about 3/4 cup (6.75 ounces/192 grams) of starter in a pint canning jar. Though I won't be feeding the starter, after taking out 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces/128 grams) for the loaf, I need to replenish the starter in the jar and so feed it with 2.25 ounces (64 grams) each flour and water, stir it vigorously and let stand at room temperature for about 1 to 4 hours (you should see some bubbles, but not too many), then refrigerate until the next bake.

2 Grease bread pan. I use a 9x4x4-inch (1.5-pound) pullman pan. It's about the same capacity as a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan

3 Using no more than 1/8 cup altogether, sprinkle countertop with some flour. Gently scrape the dough onto the floured countertop. Sprinkle with flour. Press gently into a roughly 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Using a bench scraper, fold one third of the rectangle toward the center, then fold the other end to the center, like a letter. With the bench scraper, place folded dough in the pan, pressing it into the corners. Brush on a little water. Cover it loosely with an oiled or cooking-sprayed piece of plastic wrap. 

4 Let rise until doubled. If using 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, it should rise an inch or two above the rim of the pan. If using the 9x4x4-inch pullman pan, the dough should rise to below or just even with the top of pan. This can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. The dough needs to rise until the dough doesn't quickly spring back when poked with a floured finger or knuckle.

Tip: Check on the dough's progress regularly. After making it a few times, you'll have a better idea of how long it will take. And that will change as the weather changes. I keep my house rather cool in winter, so sourdough bread takes much longer to rise now than it does in summer.

5 Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. Just before baking, brush the loaf with a little water. If you add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to 2 tablespoons water and brush the loaf with it, it will aid in browning.

6 Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400F/205C/Gas6 and continue baking for about 30 minutes or until crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf registers 210F/99C on instant-read thermometer.

7 Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before slicing.

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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