27 December 2012

Gluten-Free Pancakes and Equipment Review - All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Griddle

Gluten-Free Pancakes - Can't Tell the Difference! / www.delightfulrepast.com

Though just a small percentage of people have celiac disease, a lot of people are sensitive to gluten or simply choose to forego gluten for any number of reasons. Since several people in my circle fall into that last category, I've developed a number of gluten-free recipes over the last few years. Gluten-free pancakes had just worked their way to the top of my to-do list when All-Clad sent me their All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Inch Square Griddle for review.

I was thrilled! I've always preferred a square griddle, but have been making-do with a round one for the past few years. You can only make three pancakes at a time on a round griddle, but you can make four at a time on a square one. Most of my All-Clad pans are the plain, uncoated stainless steel; but I prefer nonstick in a griddle. This one, along with their new B3 Hard Anodized collection, is sold exclusively at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It is very similar to the All-Clad LTD Griddle

This is the heaviest nonstick griddle I've ever had, and that makes a huge difference. I've never gotten such even browning with any of the griddles I've tried! And the PFOA-free nonstick coating is very effective and will, I'm sure, hold up for many years to come. 

The enclosed information sheet said the use of nonstick cooking spray is not recommended as it may reduce the performance of the nonstick surface. I never use the spray on a griddle anyway - I like to brush on just the thinnest film of butter right before ladling on the pancake batter.

My recipe can be made with regular milk (I use 2%) and the buttermilk powder as written below; or with 1 cup regular milk and 1/2 cup buttermilk, sour cream or plain yogurt; or with regular milk alone. I keep buttermilk powder in the fridge at all times so I don't have to buy a quart of buttermilk when I only need 1/2 cup.

Of course, you can use 1 1/2 cups of regular unbleached flour (leave out the xanthan gum) or 1 1/2 cups of your favorite gluten-free blend in the recipe. I use all sorts of combinations, depending on what qualities I want for a particular recipe or, in some cases, what gluten-free flours and starches I happen to have on hand. I do not recommend garbanzo bean flour for many things (don't ask!). Tell me about your gluten-free pancake successes and failures.

Update 06/29/17: Just posted my Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce.

Gluten-Free Pancakes

(Makes fourteen 5-inch round pancakes)

2/3 packed cup quinoa flour
1/2 packed cup brown rice flour
1/3 packed cup potato starch or gluten-free cornstarch
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 If you want to serve everyone at the same time, preheat oven to 200 degrees (actually, I now have a warming drawer) and, as each batch is cooked, place the pancakes slightly overlapping on an ovenproof platter, cover loosely with foil and keep in the oven.

2 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart Pyrex glass measure), whisk together flours, starch, flaxseed meal, xanthan gum, buttermilk powder, sugar, baking powder and salt.

3 In small bowl (I use a 4-cup Pyrex glass measure), whisk together eggs, 1 1/4 cups milk and melted butter. Pour into dry mixture and whisk gently until just combined, adding as much of the reserved 1/4 cup of milk as needed for proper consistency. Let batter stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before using.

OR just make a well in the center of your thoroughly whisked dry ingredients and pour your individual wet ingredients into it; whisk them together in the well and work out from there, combining wet and dry; do not overmix.

4 During last 5 minutes of batter resting, heat griddle over medium heat. Preheating the griddle properly is the key to good pancakes; it takes about 5 minutes, not a minute less. Don't try to speed it up by turning the heat on high, especially if you're using a nonstick griddle.

Note: Unlike with other pans, never preheat a nonstick pan empty or over high heat. Rub a little oil or butter (I use about 1/2 teaspoon) onto the cold pan—don’t use cooking spray—and heat over low to moderate heat.

5 Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, ladle batter onto hot griddle (preheated for 5 minutes over medium heat, drops of water should dance and disappear quickly). Cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Don't rush it (like I often do!); wait for the bubbles to appear and break.

Serve with butter and real maple syrup that has been warmed. Or with fruit and/or fruit syrup.

Note: Check out my Recipes index page for more gluten-free recipes.

19 December 2012

Caramel Cake - Book Review and Giveaway - Basic to Brilliant, Y'all

When the ever-charming Virginia Willis sent me her Basic to Brilliant, Y'all for review, I couldn't decide which recipe to make first. Of course, the Mini Country Ham Cheddar Biscuits caught my Southern-on-my-father's-side eye. And the Southern Salad Macedoine. And lots of wonderful seafood dishes. Then I came to page 252 and my Southern grandmother's cake jumped out at me! 

The version in Basic to Brilliant, Y'all is the one Virginia's grandmother made. It's a three-layer cake, but since my grandmother made hers with just two layers, I used only two. It's always nice to have a layer in the freezer for a rainy day, isn't it!

Never much of a candy fan, I've never bought a candy thermometer for my well-equipped kitchen. But my trusty Splash-Proof Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer works beautifully for this; no need for a thermometer that clips to the pan, but you will need a thermometer.

Besides wonderful recipes, each with an optional "brilliant" touch to add to the "basic" recipe, you will find lots of stories about the author's Southern childhood and her time in France. 

The drool-worthy pictures by photographer Helene Dujardin next to Virginia's delectable recipes make this book hard to read without getting hungry!

Dede's Burnt Caramel Cake

(Makes three 9-inch layers)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pans
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature, well beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Burnt Caramel Icing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with waxed or parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper. Sit together the flour and the baking powder.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture [and the wet mixture] to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients in three portions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean and the cakes start pulling away from the sides of the pans, about 25 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Invert onto the rack to cool completely.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard cake round. Spread with the still-warm frosting. Repeat with remaining layers, placing the final layer bottom side up. Working quickly, use a small off-set spatula to spread the icing gently around the cake. Let stand for 2 hours to allow the icing to set before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Burnt Caramel Icing

(Makes about 2 cups)

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed to loosen
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

In a heavy cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the sugar over medium-high heat. Stir until dissolved, then do not stir again; simply shake the pan occasionally until the mixture reaches the caramel stage, 320 to 335 degrees, on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups sugar, the butter, and the cream. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

When the sugar reaches the caramel stage, immediately pour it into the cream mixture and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 232 to 240 degrees. Remove from the heat; add the vanilla and salt and stir to combine. Place on a rack and set aside until just cool enough to touch, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until creamy, 5 to 7 minutes. Place the bowl of icing in a bowl of warm water to keep it loose and fluid while frosting the cake. If it starts to set too firmly, you may need to add warm heavy cream to loosen it.

Recipe reprinted by permission from Basic to Brilliant, Y'all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress them Up for Company, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. Photo credit: Helene Dujardin © 2011. For more information visit www.virginiawillis.com.

That's the "basic;" you'll have to buy the book to get the "brilliant"!

Basic to Brilliant, Y'all Giveaway

One winner will receive a copy of Basic to Brilliant, Y'all from Ten Speed Press. All residents of the continental United States (apologies to my international readers) who enter before 11:59 pm Eastern time Wednesday December 26 will be put into a random drawing. Two additional ways to enter below - three chances to win! Winner will be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday December 27. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by 11:59 am Eastern time Sunday December 30, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Buy It Now Basic to Brilliant, Y'all is available online at Amazon. 

To enter the contest, please:
  • post a comment below (and please include your email address in the body of your comment); also, it would be gracious to post a comment on the author's blog.
Two additional ways to enter (for a total of 3 chances):
  • follow @VirginiaWillis on Twitter and post a comment below that you have done so.
  • follow @delightfulrepas on Twitter, tweet about the contest by copying and pasting the following: Entered to win a copy of Basic to Brilliant, Y’all @delightfulrepas http://delightfulrepast.blogspot.com #cookbook #giveaway - (AND post a comment below that you have done so.)
Disclosure: The book for this giveaway is being provided by Ten Speed Press. I was given a copy of Basic to Brilliant, Y'all for review, and all opinions shared are my own.

13 December 2012

Roasted Tomato Soup - Made with Canned Tomatoes

Winter is the perfect time for rustic casseroles, robust stews and satisfying soups. Though I love the hearty soups made from the fresh, local ingredients available at this time of year, there are days when what I really want is a bowl of tomato soup. End of summer, early fall, I make my roasted tomato soup from garden tomatoes. But now the choice is out-of-season "fresh" tomatoes or canned tomatoes.

No contest! I'll choose quality canned tomatoes every time. If you don't have home-canned tomatoes on hand, be sure to buy a brand that is organic, non-GMO and BPA-free. Roasting the tomatoes and vegetables gives this soup a deeper flavor. If you find yourself in the mood for tomato soup, don't wait for summer. And, for goodness sake, do NOT resort to canned soup (especially one that contains high fructose corn syrup)!

I've found that really good canned tomatoes (I always use Muir Glen organic) make better soup than the less-than-stellar fresh tomatoes available. If I couldn't get Muir Glen's fire-roasted tomatoes, I would get the canned whole tomatoes and roast them along with the other vegetables as directed below.

This is a recipe I developed years ago, and I love it when made just as written. But, you know how it is. You're in the mood to make something and you don't have all the ingredients. By the time you go to the store, you're either out of the mood or out of time. That's the beauty of soup--you can leave things out, add things in, it's all good. This time I was out of celery, so I just added 1/8 teaspoon of celery seed, something I always have on hand. 

Of course, you can eat it right away, but it tastes even better the next day. So make it a day ahead if you can. What is your favorite soup?

Roasted Tomato Soup - Made with Canned Tomatoes / www.delightfulrepast.com

If you like it, please Pin it and share it!

Roasted Tomato Soup

(Serves 6)

1 medium or 1/2 large red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
1 medium stalk celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 small onion, cut into 2 pieces
1 small shallot
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On foil-lined half-sheet pan, spread out bell pepper, celery, onion and shallot. Drizzle oil over vegetables; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until browned and tender about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. (If using regular canned whole tomatoes, drain and reserve juice; cut tomatoes in half; and arrange cut side up on baking sheet along with the other vegetables.) Cool slightly, about 45 minutes, before putting in the blender.)

2 Put tomatoes and roasted vegetables and any accumulated juices in blender. Press the liquefy button and process until smooth; strain through sieve set over 2-quart glass measure (adding some of the broth, if needed to make the soup easier to strain). Cover and keep refrigerated (up to 1 day ahead) until ready to finish soup.

3 In 3-quart saucepan, heat soup to a simmer, adding sugar, marjoram, crushed red pepper, broth and cream. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle soup into 6 warm shallow bowls. Top each with a dollop of sour cream, and garnish with homemade croutons. 

Optional: The best way to add garlic to this soup is in the form of homemade croutons, easily made in a skillet with 2 cups of 3/4-inch cubes of sourdough bread, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, a little salt and 1 clove fresh garlic, halved. Cook the garlic for a few minutes, then discard. Toss the bread cubes in the garlic-infused oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.


06 December 2012

How to Make Perfect Pie Crust - A Flaky All-Butter Pastry

Pie crust is the thing I get the most questions about. I'm here today to take the mystery out of homemade pie crust. Once you "get it," you'll never use store-bought pastry again. Today's tutorial utilizes a food processor, but I'll give the strictly by hand version next time.

I make different amounts of pastry, depending on what I'm making. But if you're new at making pie crust, I'd suggest you stick to making the same recipe in the same amount every time, until you've mastered it. The recipe below calls for 2 1/2 packed cups (12.5 ounces) of unbleached all-purpose flour and makes enough pastry for one 9-inch double crust pie or two 9-inch pie shells.

It's also important to use the exact same ingredients every time until you've mastered it. The same brand of flour, butter, etc. I use organic unbleached all-purpose flour and organic unsalted butter. A lot of excellent pie makers use lard or shortening in their pastry, but I always use butter (except for those occasions when I've been called upon to make a pie at someone else's house and used whatever they had on hand--including a wine bottle for a rolling pin!).

I've still not tried the recipe that calls for vodka in place of some of the water. It might work, it's just that I've never had the problem that the method is supposed to solve, so ... And then there are recipes that call for an egg or sour cream, milk or buttermilk. You might want to try them all eventually. But, as I said, it's best to master one before branching out.

I always use glass pie plates, the classic 9-inch Pyrex pie plate to be precise, for which you need to roll the pastry out to 13 inches for the bottom crust and 11 inches for the top. The easiest way to roll it out is between two 12-inch squares of parchment paper. Always roll from the center to the outer edge, doing quarter-turns to make it round. There are three different types of rolling pins: the kind with handles and ball bearings, the straight (or baker's) pin, the tapered (or French) pin. I have one of each, all wooden, and can't quite decide on a favorite. There is a fourth kind--handles but no ball bearings--and I'm looking forward to trying one of those soon. (Tried it--fabulous--read about it on Pie Crust By Hand tutorial.)

Pastry for One 9-Inch Double-Crust Pie or Two Pie Shells (food processor* method)

2 1/2 packed cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks (8 ounces/226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 15 minutes
2 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
Ice water to make 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) liquid

1 With metal blade in place, add flour, salt and baking powder to work bowl of food processor. Turn on for three seconds to combine. Add half the frozen butter and pulse for six 1-second pulses or until the frozen butter is the size of large peas. Add remaining butter and pulse for three 1-second pulses.

2 In cup, combine lemon juice or cider vinegar and ice water. Pour 1/2 cup of liquid over all of flour mixture and pulse for three 1-second pulses. If needed, add a tablespoon at a time, over all of flour mixture, doing a 1-second pulse after each tablespoon, or just until dough forms large clumps; do not over-process. (The amount of water you will need depends on your climate and the moisture content of your flour.)

3 Turn dough out, dividing onto two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten each slightly into a 4-inch round disk; wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you're making two pie shells, make the disks the same size; if you're making a double-crust pie, make one disk a little larger for the bottom crust.

4 Place a disk of dough on a lightly floured 12-inch square of parchment paper; save the piece of plastic wrap as you'll be using it again. Lightly flour the top of the dough and top with second 12-inch square of parchment paper. Roll the dough into a roughly 12x9-inch rectangle. If it is too crumbly, sprinkle it lightly with a teaspoon or two of water. Using a bench scraper or just the paper, fold the dough into thirds like a letter (it won't look neat), then fold it into thirds the opposite way, to form a rough square. Wrap it well with the reserved piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes or up to three days. Repeat with second disk of dough. If you've chilled dough for just 30 minutes or so, you can roll it out without waiting. You'll need to let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before rolling.

Note: You can even freeze the dough at this point, wrapped well, for up to a month. To defrost dough, move it from freezer to refrigerator for one day before using it. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.

5 When making a two-crust pie, save the plastic wrap again (yes, again - I'm pretty fanatical about using as little of the magic stuff as possible) and roll out the bottom crust between two 12-inch squares of parchment, rolling from center to edge a few times and rotating by quarter-turns to attain round shape. (And you don't really need to worry all that much about getting it perfectly round as you'll be trimming off the excess anyway and can make it round then.) It should be 13 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Remove the top paper and transfer dough to pie plate, paper side up; remove paper, cover with reserved plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll out top crust (again, save the plastic wrap) and place it on a rimless baking sheet; cover with reserved plastic wrap and refrigerate. Make pie filling. Then assemble pie and bake as directed.

6 When making a single-crust pie, roll out and transfer to dough to pie plate, pressing dough (but not stretching it) to fit pie plate with a half- to one-inch overhang (trim with knife or scissors), crimp edge, cover with  reserved piece of plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake. If blind-baking crust (baking the empty pie shell), preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put a pie tin inside the pastry-lined pie plate and bake for 25 minutes. If partially baked crust is needed, remove pie tin and proceed with recipe. If fully baked crust is needed, remove pie tin and continue baking another 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.

* I've had my Cuisinart DLC-10E since I was a girl, so as you might imagine, it was discontinued long ago. Check out the Cuisinart 11-Cup Food Processor I have now; the other one is still going strong in a friend's kitchen!