10 January 2019

Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert

Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert (Remember impossible pie?) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Magical Coconut Pie popped into my head the other day because I needed a quick and easy, but “from scratch,” dessert. I've been cooking way too much lately. Our favorite restaurants and takeaway places are going to forget who we are! 

Unlike some of my historical foods that are hundreds of years old, this one is just “retro” or “vintage” since it’s from the 1970s. Anyone who grew up, or cooked, in the 1970s might remember Impossible Pies, so called because they formed their own crust (not really) while baking. 

They were made with Bisquick, which we never had in our house because my mother never used mixes of any kind. I still don't. So several years ago when I had some extra organic coconut on my hands, I came up with my “from scratch,” organic version. 

This "pie" puffs way up while it's cooking and then shrinks down as it cools. So I like to set it on a baking sheet “just in case.” Nobody wants to clean up a burnt-on mess from the bottom of their oven less than I do!

What is your favorite quick and easy from-scratch dessert to make when you just don't have the time or energy to get too carried away? Of course, if you have more time you can make my Coconut Cream Pie.


Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert (Remember impossible pie?) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Magical Coconut Pie 

(Makes one 9.5-inch/24 cm deep-dish pie, 8 servings) 

1/2 to 3/4 cup (3.5 to 5.25 ounces/99 to 149 grams) sugar
1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 1/2 cups (20 fluid ounces/591 ml) milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract



1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Spray a 9.5-inch/24 cm glass deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Set it on a baking sheet if you’re worried about oven spills.

Note: Don’t try to use a standard 9-inch pie plate; it will not hold this amount. For that size, you can make my original 9-inch Magical Coconut Pie.

Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert (Remember impossible pie?) / www.delightfulrepast.com
I know, it looks like a Pyrex farm. I'm the Pyrex queen!

2 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure), whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. Add eggs, butter, milk and extracts; whisk until thoroughly combined (I whisked vigorously for about 30 seconds). 

3 Pour into prepared pie plate. Bake about 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and set. If it has just a bit of a jiggle, it will firm up nicely as it cools. 

4 Let cool to room temperature before cutting and serving or refrigerating. Serve with some barely sweetened whipped cream.


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

03 January 2019

Guildford Manchets - A British Historical "Receipt" (Recipe)

Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe / www.delightfulrepast.com

A few weeks ago my heart was in southwest England, and I made Devon Flats. This week it moved over to the southeast, Surrey to be precise, and I made Guildford Manchets (pronounced man-chits).

Guildford Manchets are pastry-like bread rolls that date from Medieval times in Guildford, Surrey. They are flaky, buttery rolls that make a perfect continental breakfast or fit in at the finest dinner party. 

It makes me so happy to find an old ‘receipt’ (recipe) with directions like “Make the bread dough in the usual way” and imprecise (or sometimes no) measurements and turn it into something my dear readers can easily do.


Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe / www.delightfulrepast.com


I found this one at Foods of England and couldn’t resist. I didn’t have any lard on hand and didn’t want to buy a pound of organic lard for the 1 ounce called for, so I used organic unsalted butter, which also makes the recipe vegetarian.

And, of course, bakers didn’t have instant yeast back in the Middle Ages. But I didn’t want to trouble any of my craft beer brewing friends for a bit of barm from the top of their vats, so I “made do” with store-bought yeast.

I love historical cooking, but only when it’s good! These are some seriously good rolls, and I hope you’ll try my updated version soon.


Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe / www.delightfulrepast.com


Guildford Manchets


(Makes 16)

1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces/142 grams) unsalted butter, divided
3 dip-and-sweep cups (15 ounces/425 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) salt

1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) milk and water, about the same amount of each, room temperature

Egg Wash: 1 large egg, 1 tablespoon water, pinch of salt*


* The egg wash “goes far” so there is lots left over; I just stuck it in the microwave for under a minute and had a scrambled egg snack so as not to waste that good organic egg--I hate food waste!

1 Take the butter out of the refrigerator. In a tiny bowl, melt 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of the butter; let cool slightly. Put the remaining butter in a small bowl and let stand at room temperature until needed. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour the melted butter, milk and water into it, stirring to form dough. It might look like you need more liquid, but knead lightly with one hand, right in the bowl, to bring the dough together.

2 Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. Use only as much flour as you need to keep dough from sticking to the counter (I measure out 1/8 cup in advance to work from so that I'm sure to not add too much) . The dough will feel sticky, but it won't actually stick. Place flattened ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure so I can quickly see when it has doubled) and cover loosely with lightly oiled lid or plastic wrap (no need to oil lid or plastic wrap if container is large enough that the doubled dough won't reach it). Let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Note: Rising time will vary with the temperature. We keep a rather cool house, which makes for a slower rise.

Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe (this photo of the dough after first rise and the creamed butter)  / www.delightfulrepast.com


3 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cream the room temperature butter. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface. Press and roll it out to a 16x8-inch/40x20 cm rectangle about 1/2 inch/1 cm thick. 


4 With short edge facing you, spread the butter over two-thirds of the rectangle. Fold the unbuttered third over the middle third, and then fold the remaining third over that. Pinch the edges to seal. Roll the dough again to the same size rectangle and fold. Repeat two more times.

5 Roll out the dough a final time into an 11-inch square. Cut the square of dough into 16 equal pieces. To shape the buns, take a square of dough and turn its corners under into the center, pressing down to seal, and form a round, flat bun. Place buns on a greased or parchment-lined 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

6 Preheat oven to 400F/200C/Gas6. When buns have risen and are ready to go into the oven, whisk together the egg wash and brush it on the tops of the rolls. Bake them for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note: They keep well stored tightly covered at room temperature for a few days. Reheat loosely wrapped in foil for about 8 or 10 minutes in preheated 350F/180C/Gas4 oven.

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

27 December 2018

Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges

Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com

I was craving cranberries and got the idea of combining them with apples in a clafoutis (pronounced cla-foo-TEE). Though some say it’s not a true clafoutis unless it’s made with cherries. Well, this isn’t cherry season, so … 

I suppose, technically speaking, my concoction is really a flaugnarde (pronounced flo-nyard). But Julia Child, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, just called all the variations clafoutis; and that is good enough for me.

If you’ve not had clafoutis, you might be surprised by the texture. Not a cake, not a custard, perhaps something in between? The simple French dessert is basically a thin crepe batter poured over fruit and baked in the oven.


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com


It’s such an easy dessert, but let me tell you, it could have been a disaster! You can use any shape dish you like, but I wanted to make it round (because, like Jacques Pepin, I think clafoutis should be cut in wedges) and narrowed it down to two dishes: a vintage Le Creuset enameled cast iron and a Pyrex.

I went with the latter, for no particular reason.

You can use one of two methods: Put the fruit and all the batter into the buttered dish before it goes into the oven or lightly bake a thin layer of the batter before adding the fruit and the rest of the batter.

I went with the latter because it’s supposed to make for tidier slicing and serving.

It wasn’t until I pulled the dish out of the oven with its lightly baked thin layer that the light bulb went on. You can’t add cold fruit and cold liquid to a hot glass dish! So I grabbed the Le Creuset and transferred that layer into it. Whew! That could have been a disaster!

It might have worked. Since the fruit and batter were actually room temperature rather than cold, perhaps the thermal shock wouldn’t have been quite shocking enough to break the glass, but I didn’t want to risk it. Anyway … 

The clafoutis was delicious, but I just had to make another one to see if that extra step of baking a thin layer of batter was really worth the trouble. And I used the Pyrex dish, for variety.

The verdict? No, that extra step is not worth the trouble. The second clafoutis, with all the batter going in at once, seemed to form its own little “self-crusting” layer. 


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis


(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces/170 grams) cranberries, washed and dried
1 cup (about 4 ounces/113 grams) diced, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith or other good baking apples, peeled or unpeeled 
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) milk
Garnish: powdered sugar

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Butter a 2-inch/5 cm deep 8-inch/20 cm round baking dish* with the 1/2 tablespoon softened butter. In a small dish, melt the tablespoon of butter and leave to cool slightly.

* I just learned this item is no longer made by Pyrex and can only be found on the vintage market. I think what would be even better, ideal, for this dish is the Pyrex Easy Grab 9.5-Inch Deep Dish Pie Plate, and I plan to order one.

2 Spread cranberries and apple cubes in prepared dish in a single layer. Stir together 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the fruit, holding back 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on the top.


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com
This photo shows why I decided to hold back a tablespoon of cinnamon-sugar to sprinkle on the top before baking. See how crackly and pretty it is. Also, for this one, I cut the apples into smaller 1/3-inch dice. Either way, 1/2-inch or 1/3-inch, is good.

3 In a 1-quart glass measure, whisk together the eggs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter, brandy, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk in the flour and then the milk, adding it gradually at first, to make a smooth batter. If it’s not as smooth as it should be, you can hit it with an immersion blender. Don’t drag out your blender for this one; a whisk will get the job done.

4 Pour the batter over the fruit. Sprinkle on the reserved tablespoon of cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffed and golden and browning around the edges and pulling away from the edges of the pan.

5 Let stand 10 to 20 minutes before serving warm. Add a dusting of powdered sugar, if you like, 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 

20 December 2018

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew - made in the Instant Pot set on the slow cooker function / www.delightfulrepast.com

Slow Cooker Beef Stew was the first thing I wanted to make in my new Instant Pot. Yes, folks, I finally broke down and bought one. I didn’t have room for one more countertop appliance, but I needed to replace my slow cooker’s cooking pot. Here’s the story.

I love my slow cooker, the Cuisinart 6-quart multicooker slow cooker, but I damaged the nonstick surface of the cooking pot and so was going to have to order a replacement. Since I was interested in trying a pressure cooker, I thought I’d try the combination slow cooker pressure cooker Instant Pot with its uncoated stainless steel cooking pot.


Slow Cooker Beef Stew - made in the Instant Pot set on the slow cooker function / www.delightfulrepast.com
This photo shows how I protect the wall and undercabinet lighting from grease spatters with a dish towel when sauteeing in a countertop appliance. Or I can set it on something on top of the stove and turn the range hood on.


This time I used packaged grass-fed stew meat, but I really prefer to buy a piece of chuck (about 2.75 pounds) and trim it and cut it up myself into larger pieces. 

I’ve written my recipe instructions for the cook who is new, as I am, to using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker. If they are not clear, do tell me so that I can clarify them. Anyone using a regular slow cooker (or the stovetop) can easily make adjustments. 

Then I’ll try out the Instant Pot in its main function as a pressure cooker. I’m brand new to pressure cookers, probably because my mother and grandmothers didn’t use them, so it’s going to be an adventure. Have you jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet? I think I might be the last person on the planet to get one!


Slow Cooker Beef Stew - made in the Instant Pot set on the slow cooker function / www.delightfulrepast.com



Slow Cooker Beef Stew


(Serves 4 to 6)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/4 pounds (1.02 kg) lean beef chuck, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) drinkable dry red wine or water
1/2 large onion, chopped (6 ounces/170 grams—about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces/680 grams) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium carrots (12 ounces/340 grams), peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch slices
3 stalks celery (6 ounces/170 grams), sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) chicken broth or water
4 to 5 tablespoons (half a 6-ounce can) tomato paste
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
Slurry of 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup water
Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley and/or 1 cup of frozen peas

1 Brown the beef in two or three batches. (I do three because I’m really into thorough browning.) Plug in the Instant Pot. Select the Saute program. Press the Saute key again to go from Normal temperature to More. When the word Hot appears on the display, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the stainless steel cooking pot of the Instant Pot. 

2 Dry the beef cubes a batch at a time with paper towels, add to hot oil and brown very well in single layer, sprinkling with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Transfer browned beef to a bowl. Repeat. (And repeat again if you’re doing three batches.)

3 Deglaze the cooking pot with 1/2 cup wine or water. Press the Cancel key. Add the beef back to the Instant Pot, along with all remaining ingredients except the slurry and garnish. 

4 Put on the optional Instant Pot glass lid, or use the pressure cooking lid with the steam release handle turned to Venting. Select the Slow Cook program. Within 10 seconds, press Slow Cook to set temperature to Normal. Within 10 seconds, press “+ or –“ to set time to 6 hours.

Note: Instant Pot users have reported all kinds of timing differences in the slow cooker function, so you’ll just have to see about this!

5 After 6 hours (if your stew is done), shake together flour and water until mixture is smooth. Stir the smooth slurry into the stew, taste and adjust seasoning; press Saute and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to thicken. Remove bay leaf, and sprinkle on parsley or stir in frozen peas. 

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

13 December 2018

Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie)

Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) - made with luscious clotted cream / www.delightfulrepast.com

I should be a judge or something on the Great British Baking Show—British baking has been my schtick all my life. And here I go with a biscuit (cookie) from Southern England. This isn’t a family recipe. My only connection to Devon is that 13 of my ancestors on my father’s side came over on the Mayflower from Plymouth. 

I’ve had biscuits/cookies made with clotted cream and butter before, but they were from Cornwall. I only learned about this traditional all-clotted cream Devon version when I read a post about Devon Flats on the charming food blog As Strong As Soup.

The recipe was in print as early as 1935 and most are very similar and call for the dough to be cut into 7 or 8 cm/3-inch rounds. I wanted them a bit smaller for afternoon tea and used a 5 cm/2-inch round cutter. The clotted cream can be store-bought (difficult to find in the US, though) or mail-ordered (clotted cream on Amazon), or you can make my authentic Homemade Clotted Cream, which I did the day before I made the Devon Flats.


Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) / www.delightfulrepast.com

You might think this plain little biscuit would taste no different from a regular sugar cookie made with butter. But if you’re a clotted cream aficionado, you know that clotted cream and butter taste quite different. I resisted my natural inclination to add vanilla extract or citrus zest or spice, knowing I'd be rewarded with the pure clotted cream flavor. 

Most Devon Flats recipes call for self-raising flour (called self-rising in the US), but I always use plain flour (called all-purpose in the US) and so have added baking powder and salt to the recipe. Since British self-raising flour is not the same as American self-rising flour, it makes much more sense for me to make my recipes with plain/all-purpose.


Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) - made with my authentic homemade clotted cream / www.delightfulrepast.com


The recipes I looked at measured the clotted cream “or thick double cream” in “ml” rather than grams, so I’m assuming those bakers were using a much more liquid product than I. I used clotted cream, which is quite solid, so needed to add more liquid. The recipes called for rolling out the dough anywhere from Phil’s “thinly” to 1/4 inch, 1/3 inch, 1/2 inch and even an absurd 1 inch.

I rolled this batch to 1/4 inch but next time will do 1/8 inch, which is what I imagine Phil’s “thinly” to be. And that will mean more biscuits! And, since my clotted cream is not the least bit pourable, I will change up the mixing a bit, creaming together the clotted cream and sugar, then mixing in the egg followed by the flour mixture. 



Devon Flats - Classic British Biscuit (Cookie) - made with luscious clotted cream / www.delightfulrepast.com



Devon Flats 


(Makes about 3 dozen 2-inch/5 cm cookies/biscuits)

1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) clotted cream

1 large egg, lightly beaten

A little milk, if needed (I used 4 tablespoons, one at a time, of the thin cream left over from making clotted cream)



1 In medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to “sift” the ingredients. Whisk in the sugar.

Note: I plan to change this up a bit next time as mentioned above: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cream the sugar and clotted cream together. Mix in the egg. Then mix in the flour.

2 With wooden spoon or with hand mixer on low speed, mix in the clotted cream and egg to form a soft, but not wet, dough. If the dough is too stiff, add some milk a little at a time to soften the dough.

3 Cover the dough and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so. Chilling the dough will make it easier to handle. 

4 Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick and cut out the biscuits using a 2- to 3-inch (5 to 8 cm) round cutter.

Note: As mentioned above, I plan to roll the dough about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick next time. 

5 Place on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until the biscuits are coloring on top and browning slightly around the edges. Cool the biscuits completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Jean
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