25 August 2016

Fresh Peach Scones

Fresh Peach Scones / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fresh peach scones. sigh I love scones with dried fruit or even perfectly plain, if you can call that buttery goodness "plain." But it's the height of peach season right now, which means peach everything around here! 

There are versions of scones out there that have you folding and rolling the dough a few times, but then what you end up with is not a scone. It's some sort of faux-semi-laminated dough that, while fine enough, is simply not a scone. A real scone has a certain texture, and that ain't it! If you want something with a laminated dough, I have other recipes on this blog for you.

This method retains the characteristic texture of a proper scone, while allowing you to incorporate fresh fruit into the dough without turning it into a big mess. You may not need jam on these, but a little clotted cream is always wonderful!

Update 12/07/16: For how to throw an afternoon tea party and a roundup of afternoon tea recipes, see Afternoon Tea Party Tips.

Fresh Peach Scones / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fresh Peach Scones

(Makes 12 scones)

8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams cold unsalted butter, shredded, divided and frozen 
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 packed cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (1.25 ounces/33 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk (or milk with 2 teaspoons vinegar stirred in and left for 5 minutes)
1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium yellow freestone peaches 

1 Shred the cold butter, separating out 1/4 of it on the plate; pop it into the freezer. In tiny bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. 

2 In medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Work 3/4 of the frozen shredded butter into the flour mixture until all the butter is coated. Whisk together buttermilk, egg and vanilla; pour into dry mixture and gently mix until just combined. 

3 Lay a 12-inch or so square of parchment on a cutting board and sprinkle with flour. Turn the dough out onto the parchment and press or roll into a 10-inch square. Scatter reserved frozen shredded butter evenly over the dough, pressing it in lightly. Pop it into the freezer for just a few minutes while cutting the peaches. 

4 Peel or don't peel (I don't) the peaches, cut them in half, then each half into wedges, then each wedge into small bites. You need 1 1/4 cups. 

5 Bring dough out of freezer and spread peach chunks evenly over the dough, pressing them in lightly. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over the peaches. Roll into a log. Place the log with seam at bottom center of log on a lightly floured square of parchment on the cutting board. Flatten the log a bit to a 12x4-inch rectangle. Cover lightly with foil and place in the freezer until very firm but sliceable, about an hour. 

6 Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7. Slice firmly chilled dough into three 4-inch squares. Cut each 4-inch square into 4 triangles. Place on parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes, or until golden brown.

Fresh Peach Scones to Bake Now or Freeze / www.delightfulrepast.com

Note: OR cover baking sheet with foil and pop the scones into the freezer to be baked another day. I just did that, and they were great! 

Now put the kettle on and make a proper cup of tea. Enjoy the delightful repast!

Fresh Peach Scones / www.delightfulrepast.com

18 August 2016

Rishi Tea Golden Assam Review and Organic Tea Giveaway

Rishi Tea Review and Giveaway - and Tea Making Tips / www.delightfulrepast.com

As I mentioned in my Earl Grey Shortbread post, though I still at times drink black teas that are not organic, if I had my druthers, they would all be. Since I drink tea at least eight times a day, I think it's pretty important that most of it be organic tea.

Trouble is, I prefer loose leaf tea and very few places, none near me, carry organic loose leaf black teas. An online search led me to Rishi Tea, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Rishi Tea can be found at Whole Foods as well as online. If you prefer tea bags, you'll be glad to know they added tea bags to their line in 2013.

The tea I'm drinking today is Rishi Tea's full-bodied, full-flavored Golden Assam organic black tea. I steeped 3 grams of leaves per 8 ounces of water for 5 minutes and found it the perfect strength for drinking without milk. I then made it a bit stronger (4 grams/1 level tablespoon) to stand up to the addition of a little milk, which goes so well with this robust tea with its characteristic assertive malty finish. 

Tea Making Tips

I don't always put milk in my black tea, as my English grandmother did. For instance, I don't put milk in my Darjeeling. But when drinking tea from my other favorite tea region, Assam, I do. Rather than just splashing in the milk, though, I always taste the tea first to make sure it is strong enough to stand up to the addition of milk. The only thing worse than weak tea is weak tea with milk!

The mistake many people make with tea is following the old "rule" of one teaspoon per cup plus one for the pot. All black teas are not alike. Higher grades of tea generally have larger leaves, so a teaspoon of them will weigh a lot less than a teaspoon of small leaves. Of course, not everyone weighs their tea. What to do?

Rishi Tea Review and Giveaway - and Tea Making Tips / www.delightfulrepast.com

When making a new tea, I will weigh out 3 grams of tea leaves (and see what that measures) or you can just measure 2 level teaspoons or a gently rounded 1/2 tablespoon per 8 ounces of boiling water (unless a lower temperature is recommended) and steep for 5 minutes. 

Then I taste it and decide whether I should adjust the amount of tea either up or down or adjust the steeping time up or down by a minute. After a time or two, you will have it fine-tuned for that particular tea and can make it just the way you like it every time (without getting the scales out -- I'm not that obsessive!).

Rishi Tea Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Rishi Tea Giveaway

Update 08/24/16: The giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced in the comments.

Rishi Tea will send winner: a selection of 12 generous "teasers" to sample Rishi's range of teas, their porcelain Aroma Cup, a bandana and a teapot coaster.

This giveaway is open to continental US residents (Sorry, Alaskan, Hawaiian and international friends!) 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person, plus see next paragraph for way to get a bonus entry). First comment should be about what kind of teas you like. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday August 24.

Bonus entry: If you are on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you may have a bonus entry by following @RishiTea on any of those and leaving an additional comment below with your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook name. 

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday August 25. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday August 28, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline). 

Disclosure: Rishi Tea provided product for review purposes and for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!

11 August 2016

Savory Summer Tart with Easy No-Roll Tart Crust

Savory Summer Tart with Easy No-Roll Tart Crust / www.delightfulrepast.com

Savory Summer Tart is the perfect dish for a summer picnic. It tastes great at any temperature. And the heavy lifting can be done a day ahead, so you can just relax on the day of your picnic.

Slice and roast the vegetables on a half-sheet pan, cool to room temperature, cover with lid or foil and refrigerate till the next day, if you like. Whip up the easy pastry, press it (yes, I said "press it") into the pan and pop it into the freezer until you're ready to assemble the tart and bake it.

If you've been not making tarts because you don't like to roll out pastry (as described here for the sweet version in Lemon Tart), you'll love this pastry. It's exactly the same dough I roll out, but you can just press it in the pan and it will come out exactly the same as if you'd rolled it.

(You might also want to try my no-roll pie crust used in my Blackberry Cobbler.)

What's a picnic without wine, right? I've been trying to find the perfect summer picnic wine, and I think I have. Besides having the right flavor and weight, this refreshing rosé called Gioia, has a screw cap; and if that's not handy on a picnic, I don't know what is!

Call me old-fashioned, but I love a nice wicker picnic hamper, a tablecloth and real dishes and glasses for a picnic. My wicker hamper holds all the accoutrements, while the food stays at a safe temperature in an insulated cooler. Put a larger picnic blanket on the ground before putting down the tablecloth. And a few cushions might not go amiss either!

Savory Summer Tart with Easy No-Roll Tart Crust / www.delightfulrepast.com

Savory Summer Tart 

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

The Vegetables

2 smallish to medium (2- to 2.5-inch diameter) tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium bell pepper, cut vertically into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

The Pastry - Pâte Brisée (a savory shortcrust pastry) 

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the filling)
1 tablespoon water, milk or cream 

The Filling 

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheese* or crumbled fresh goat cheese
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 

* I like to use a mixture, including a couple tablespoons of Parmesan. 

1 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. Line a half-sheet pan or other large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Spread prepared vegetables on parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, marjoram and red pepper flakes. Turn vegetables to coat with oil, placing tomatoes skin side down. Roast for 20 minutes. Let stand at room temperature to cool completely. 

Tip: Can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated. 

2 Add flour 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 cream; 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. 

3 Lightly butter a 9-inch/23cm tart tin (1-inch deep) and set it on a baking sheet. Take 2/3 of the dough and press it evenly around the sides of the tin. Put the remaining 1/3 of the dough in the bottom and press it with your hand into an even layer. Using a straight-sided, round stainless steel measuring cup coated with a little flour, press it against bottom and sides to compact and smooth out the dough. Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

4 Cover chilled pastry with a piece of foil, pressing it to fit well. 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 foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights; continue baking for 10 minutes, until lightly browned to a pale golden. Cool completely on wire rack.

5 While pastry is cooling, make the filling. In small bowl (I use a 2-cup glass measure), whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well combined. Let stand until pastry is ready. 

6 Turn oven temperature down to 350F/180C/Gas4. Arrange roasted and cooled vegetables in prebaked and cooled pastry shell. Cover with shredded cheese. Pour in filling. Bake (with tart tin on baking sheet) for about 30 to 35 minutes, until filling is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from tin and cutting. Allow to cool for about an hour to serve at room temperature.

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

04 August 2016

Homemade Cake Mix - Chocolate Butter Cake

Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix / www.delightfulrepast.com

Here's my Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix for my one-bowl chocolate butter cake. Especially during hot summer weather, it's wonderful to have the time-consuming measuring or weighing part of cake-making done ahead so that first thing in the morning you can quickly mix the cake and get it baked before it gets too hot. If you're not a chocolate fan, here's my Homemade Vanilla Cake Mix.

I have a lifelong thing (genetic, I think) for canning jars, and the quart jars are just the perfect size for this (and look so cute lined up in the cupboard!). I'm no expert on shelf life, but I pulled a number out of the air and plan to use my homemade cake mixes within three months, though I doubt they'd go "off" in six months or longer. 

Update 01/25/17: I just baked up a mix I made 6 months ago and it was perfect!

This makes a nice host(ess) gift when you've been invited to dinner and want to take something that the host(ess) can use later. You can do something fancier with the recipe card than I did here: just card stock cut into a 3-by-5 index card and kitchen string to tie it round the neck of the canning jar. 

Do you bake in the hot summer weather? My mother baked cakes in the middle of the night! But I'm not a night person, so I've been doing my baking at 5:30 in the morning. (I wonder who first said, "Nothing good happens after midnight.") 

Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix / www.delightfulrepast.com

The cake makes 2 layers, but sometimes I like to freeze one layer for another occasion.

Homemade Cake Mix - Chocolate Butter Cake 

(Makes two 8-inch layers or 24 cupcakes) 

The Cake Mix 

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces/298 grams) sugar
1/2 packed cup (1.5 ounces/42 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder*
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt 

The Cake Batter 

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces/170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) heated water or brewed coffee*, slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

* I buy organic and Fair Trade Certified coffee, cocoa and chocolate products.

1 Into a quart canning jar for each cake mix, measure flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk it with a fork; put on a lid. Store in cupboard for up to 3 months. 

2 On baking day, bring the butter and eggs to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease well and lightly flour two 8-inch layer pans

Note: I've also made this in a 13x9x2-inch pan and baked it for 35 minutes.

3 In large mixing bowl (I use a Cuisinart stand mixer), beat the softened butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add cake mix to butter; mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add eggs, liquid and vanilla extract; mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. With mixer on medium-high speed, beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and beat on medium-high for another 30 seconds. 

4 Pour into prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes. 

5 Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks for at least an hour, until completely cool, before frosting.