07 November 2019

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pumpkin pie is an autumn favorite, and for everyday purposes a regular 9-inch pie is great. But when you're serving lots of people, especially if there will be multiple desserts on offer, it's time for pumpkin slab pie.

Even if you're not doing a "dessert bar," chances are if it's a special occasion or you're having lots of people over, there will be two or three different kinds of pie and most people won't choose just one. You know the drill: "I'll take just a sliver of each." And those slivers are impossible to cut, so it turns into a big old mess.

Easy solution: slab pie. Made in a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan, it can be cut neatly into squares or triangles as small as you like.

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar / www.delightfulrepast.com


The problem with most pumpkin pie recipes is that they attempt to address the issue of high temperature needed for the crust and low needed for the custard by starting high and turning it down, and the compromise doesn’t always succeed. The filling is overcooked and, well, soggy bottoms! For a pumpkin or any custard pie, I fully pre-bake the crust to avoid the soggy bottom problem.

When I'm being fancy, I cut off the edges of the pie and save those for snacks, cutting uniform "center cuts" to put on a pretty platter or tiered stand. For less formal occasions, serve directly from the pan, edges and all.


What are your favorite items for a dessert bar?

Pumpkin Slab Pie - Perfect for a Party Dessert Bar / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pumpkin Slab Pie 


(Makes one 13x9x1-inch pie, 12 to 16 servings)

The Pastry

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 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

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons ice water
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 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs 
1 15-ounce (425 grams) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk 

* I use just 1/4 cup when making it for just us.

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. With coarse grater, grate about 3/4 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, combine vinegar and ice water. 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. Line a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan with a piece of baking parchment. On lightly floured surface, roll out disk to a 16x12-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Place pastry in pan, being careful to not stretch the dough. Leave a 1/2-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. Cover loosely and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. 

5 Fit the sheet of aluminum foil in the shell and fill with ceramic pie weights (baking beans). Bake the thoroughly chilled crust for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes.

Note: I use two boxes of the ceramic pie weights (which fit nicely into a 200-gram tea tin for storage) for a 9-inch pie or this quarter-sheet slab pie.

6 Remove fully pre-baked pie shell from the oven; let cool completely before filling, at least 30 minutes or hours ahead, whatever suits your schedule.

7 Once pie shell is cool, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. 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, then the pumpkin and then the milk and cream. 

8 Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted midway between edge and center comes out clean or until it registers 185F/85C on an instant-read thermometer.

Note: After you've made pumpkin pie a few times, you can tell just by looking whether or not it's done. It will look darker and shinier and may have puffed up a bit and then fallen, and it should be fairly firm but still have a little jiggle left in the center.

9 Cool completely 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.


Note: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 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

31 October 2019

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth / www.delightfulrepast.com

Turkey Gravy is the highlight of any turkey dinner. Whether you're hosting a turkey dinner or doing a make-and-take side for dinner at someone else's house, you can be in charge of the gravy!

(I first posted this three years ago, though I've been making it for decades. If you read it then but didn't try it, please read it again and give it a go now!)

If you've never made the gravy ahead of time, you're going to thank me for this. It's the only way to go when you've got a dozen things on the menu, some of which need doing at the last minute. 

You know what I'm talking about. The classic mashed potatoes are mashed at the last minute, the dinner rolls are heated at the last minute, so many things to see to. By the time you sit down at the table, you're exhausted! 

But you can get the turkey broth and gravy done well in advance. You'll have enough broth for stuffing/dressing as well as gravy. Just freeze both until a day or two before you need them. If you make it two or three days ahead, just refrigerate it.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth / www.delightfulrepast.com
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(You can make the Cranberry Sauce two days ahead. Try it! You'll never go back to canned! Actually, some people love the canned cut into slices, so I sometimes serve both.)

Though it's made with just 2 pounds of turkey, the gravy tastes wonderful. But, if you want added flavor or want to increase the amount of gravy, when you take your turkey out of the pan on the big day, combine the pan drippings (minus the fat) and make-ahead gravy for added oomph.

About the broth: I'm a huge fan of store-bought organic free-range low-sodium chicken broth, but NOT for anything to do with a turkey dinner. You MUST make turkey broth, whether this way or with the neck, etc, on the day you roast the turkey, or both.

Do you like to make things ahead or do it all on the day? My mother always did pretty much everything on the day, but she was made of sterner stuff. I have to stretch it out!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth (this photo - the roasted drumsticks) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy


(Makes about 4 cups)

The Turkey

2 turkey drumsticks* (about 2 pounds/0.91 kg total)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dry sherry plus enough water to make 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml)


* Other parts might work, too, but I've only ever used drumsticks as they are more readily available where I shop.

The Broth


The Turkey, above, cooked
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
4 medium celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
Handful of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2 1/2 quarts (80 fluid ounces/2.36 litres) water

The Gravy


1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

4 cups (32 fluid ounces/946 ml) of The Broth

1 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Lightly oil (about 1/2 teaspoon) a heavy-duty quarter sheet pan. Pat the drumsticks dry and place them in the prepared pan. Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Roast for 60 to 70 minutes. Sixty minutes would probably be enough, but I like to get maximum brown bits in the roasting pan.

Note: If you don't see lots of brown in your pan after 70 minutes, let it go longer. This is a crucial step. Just be sure you don't let it burn.

2 Transfer the drumsticks to a 5-quart pot (I use a Le Creuset 5.5-quart round French oven); set aside for the moment.

3 Place the roasting pan on the stove and pour in the liquid a little at a time, stirring and scraping up the browned bits. When pan is completely deglazed, pour the liquid into a jar, bowl or 1-cup glass measure; refrigerate. You'll see from the photo that I ended up with about 1/4 cup of fat, which is perfect!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth (this photo - pan drippings) / www.delightfulrepast.com


4 Add vegetables and seasonings to the pot, along with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with lid slightly ajar for 4 hours, checking liquid level after second and third hours and adding more water only if needed.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth (this photo - the broth) / www.delightfulrepast.com


5 Strain the broth into a 2-quart glass measure. You will have 6 to 8 cups of broth.

6 Transfer your refrigerated pan drippings to a 2-quart saucepan and begin heating. Add flour to pan drippings and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

7 Add about 1/2 cup of the stock and whisk briskly until very smooth, then add remaining broth. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, until the gravy thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

8 Leave the gravy as is or strain into a 4-cup glass measure. Pour it into a 6-cup glass freezer container. Let cool a bit at room temperature, refrigerate until cold, then freeze until the day before you want to serve it.


9 The day before you want to use it, transfer the gravy from freezer to refrigerator. Reheat the thawed gravy, combining it with the defatted pan drippings for even more flavor.

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 October 2019

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes / www.delightfulrepast.com


First of all, let me apologize for that title. Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I'm sorry. 😔 I hate recipe names that are an ingredient list, but what else could I call it? At least I didn't include every ingredient.

But first, let's talk pasta. Mini penne is my favorite for this; you can use something else if you prefer. But I take issue with the cooking instructions on the pasta packages: "Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil." That's for one little pound of pasta, so they would have you boil 2 to 3 quarts for the half pound in this recipe. No.

Don't haul out your huge pot and waste a bunch of water and salt. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, bring 1 quart of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. That's all you need to cook 8 ounces of dried pasta. 

I hope you'll try this easy weeknight meal and let me know how you like it.

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pasta with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


(Makes 3 Servings)

2 slices (2.5 ounces/71 grams) bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1/3 packed cup (1 ounce/28 grams) sun-dried tomato halves, cut into 1/4-inch strips
3 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 pound (8 ounces/227 grams) button mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/60 ml) dry sherry
Optional: 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup or more grated parmesan or finely shredded mozzarella


1 In large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to small bowl. There will probably be about a tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan.


2 In small bowl, add the hot water to the sun-dried tomatoes, cover and let stand until needed.

3 Add a tablespoon of the olive oil to the drippings in the skillet along with the chopped onion. Cook over medium-low heat until onion is very soft, about 5 minutes (or longer, if you like). 

4 Add the mushrooms to the skillet, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. 

5 In the meantime, bring 1 quart of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Proceed with the recipe until the water is ready, then cook the pasta for the length of time specified on the package; drain well.

6 Add the bell pepper and reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes (minus any leftover soaking liquid) to the skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes.

7 Add the sherry and, if using, heavy cream (I sometimes use it, sometimes don't; this batch in the photos is without cream). Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes.

8 Stir the well-drained pasta into the sauce along with the bacon, then taste and adjust seasoning. I find that the small amount of salt I used on the mushrooms is quite enough because of the salt in the bacon and sun-dried tomatoes. Plate up and sprinkle with cheese.

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

17 October 2019

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway

With its encyclopedic coverage of every aspect of cookery, and tipping the scales at nearly 5 pounds, the 2019 edition of Joy of Cooking is indeed a weighty tome.

More than nine years in the works, Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition has been fully revised and updated by the original "Mrs Joy's" great-grandson and his wife, John Becker and Megan Scott.

Its wider pages (by about an inch and a half) and sewn binding mean the book will lie flat, a useful improvement over previous editions. Next I noticed the improved index. Just one example: 

The 1997 edition listed

Pâté
   à Choux, 919

   Chicken Liver, 725

The 2019 edition has corrected that error and made separate listings for pâte à choux and the totally unrelated pâtés and terrines.

I was pleased to see that the latest Joy, with legacy material and classics side by side with modern recipes and techniques, has retained the personality and "feel" we love. 

Of course, a volume of this scope has no room for photos, so I've included my own photos of the only recipe I've made so far, the Apple Dumplings, page 688, with the Cream Cheese Pastry Dough, page 665.

Coming November 12!

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway


The pastry came together quickly in the food processor, but you can do it by hand as well. With no water added, it's impossible to overwork. I'll be using this lovely pastry for many things, sweet and savory.

Photographed by me with permission of publisher
to show Joy's signature recipe formatting style


I think Irma, the original Mrs Joy, and Marion, her daughter, would be well pleased indeed with this edition. But I fear John Becker and Megan Scott have done themselves out of a job; this edition will not become dated and in need of revision any time soon. 

Whether you are an experienced home cook or a never-cooked-before novice, this comprehensive volume will be an education! Enter my giveaway below to possibly win a copy for yourself or for someone on your gift list.


Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition - Review and Giveaway


Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Giveaway 


Scribner will send winner a copy of Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition.

This giveaway is open to US residents* (See next paragraph, international friends!) 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person). Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday October 23. 

* If you are outside the US but would like to have this sent to someone in the US (you would have to send them a gift card separately on your own), go ahead and enter! 

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday October 24. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Saturday October 26, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

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

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 October 2019

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork Ribs

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork Ribs / www.delightfulrepast.com

I'd been thinking for months about trying barbecue pork ribs in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, but then my friend Jo mentioned cooking some in the slow cooker mode. So that's what I decided to do.

I usually do my wonderful Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs, but I didn't feel like running the oven on such a hot day; so it was the perfect time to try this. 

The "Normal" Slow Cook setting of the Instant Pot (or Low setting for most slow cookers) for 10 hours cooked them to tender perfection, and then a couple of 3- minute stints under the broiler developed the sticky, crusty finish.


Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork Ribs / www.delightfulrepast.com


Of course, barbecue ribs (slow cooker or otherwise) are like meat candy, so I don't eat a large serving or have them very often. 

Mr Delightful was really happy with these ribs, so I'm going to be making them again. All part of what I call my Streamlined Cooking! Are you a rib fan? No need to wait for grilling weather!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork Ribs / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork Ribs

I think the 6-quart Instant Pot could easily hold 6 pounds of ribs.

(Serves 3 or 4)

The Ribs

4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) pork back ribs

The Dry Rub

1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground dried chiles (I make a little mixture of my own)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne


The Barbecue Sauce

(Makes about 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup organic ketchup
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons country Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 In a small bowl, stir together all the barbecue sauce ingredients; cover and refrigerate.

2 In a small bowl, stir together all the dry rub ingredients.

Note: This is the part where I would tell you about peeling the tough membrane off the bony side of the ribs, but my friend told me she didn't bother and it made no difference with the slow cooker method, so I skipped it. However, I am accustomed to doing that and may, or may not, do it next time. 

3 Apply dry rub all over. Roll the rack of ribs up like a rug, meaty side out, and place it on its edge in the inner pot of the Instant Pot. If cooking two racks of ribs, place the largest coil in the pot--it will move itself out to the sides of the pot--then put the other coil in the center.

Note: May be made ahead to this point, refrigerated and finished the next day.

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 10 hours.

5 Move your oven rack to 6 inches below your broiler. The top position in my oven is 4 inches below the broiler, but I think I'm less likely to burn things at the slightly lower level! Turn the broiler on High. Place the ribs on a foil-lined 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan. Using about half the sauce, lightly brush the underside (bony side) of the ribs with a little sauce, and brush the meaty side of the ribs with the rest of the half. Broil for about 3 minutes (you'll have to be the judge of that!).

6 Take the pan out of the oven, and brush the top of the ribs with the remaining half of the sauce. Broil for another 3 minutes (again, you'll have to sort the timing out with your broiler).

7 Let the ribs rest for 5 minutes before cutting apart. 


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 October 2019

Autumn Apple Cake

Autumn Apple Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

Though we can eat apples year round these days, they have a special appeal in autumn. And today I felt like making the heavy-on-the-apples cake my mother always loved. 

It's a no-fuss, mix-it-all-up-in-one-bowl cake that you can get into the oven quickly. You don't even peel the apples. Good varieties to use are, in the US, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Bramley, Braeburn; in the UK, Cox's Orange Pippin and Braeburn. Tell me in the comments what the best cooking apples are in your part of the world.

Of course, I can no longer bring any produce into the house without painting it; so please indulge me once again. 😊

Autumn Apple Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com


I hope you'll give this a try with your next batch of apples and let me know how it turned out for you. Also, try Apple Pie - Autumn Classic. What sort of things do you especially enjoy in autumn?


Autumn Apple Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Autumn Apple Cake


(Makes one 7-inch cake)

1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 to 1 pound (12 to 16 ounces/340 to 454 grams/2 medium to large) apples, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 Butter well and flour a 7-inch springform or push-bottom pan. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. 

2 In 2- to 3-quart bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and mace or nutmeg. Whisk together well to "sift."

3 Scrub well--don't peel--and dice the apples into a small mixing bowl; set aside. Take out 1 cup of the apples to put on the top. 

4 Add the eggs and cooled melted butter to the flour mixture. With a large spoon, beat well until thoroughly combined. Stir the apples (except the 1 cup) into the batter.

5 Scrape the thick batter into prepared pan (see "Note"), press down and smooth the top, and press the reserved cup of diced apples into the top of the batter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, until it passes "the toothpick test" or is pulling away from the sides of the pan a bit. Do not underbake! 

Note: I forgot to use my Ateco Stainless Steel 2x3-Inches-High Round Form to turn the pan into a tube pan to prevent the center-of-the-cake baking challenges of heavy batters like this or fruitcake. I love it! It turns any pan into a tube pan. Just center it in the pan and hold it steady while you fill in the heavy batter around it.

Autumn Apple Cake (this photo - my homemade tube pan) / www.delightfulrepast.com
My homemade tube pan (or tube pan "hack," if you must!)


6 Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn cake out of pan and continue cooling on wire rack for 2 hours. Before serving, you might give it a dusting of powdered sugar. And a little whipped cream is never a bad idea.

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 September 2019

Sally Lunn Buns - Jane Austen Comfort Food

Sally Lunn Buns - Jane Austen Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com

When I'm not cooking, eating or writing about food, I like to read. There's nothing so delightful to me as a rainy day at home, with tea and buns (or scones or crumpets), a cuddly cat and a good book (preferably English). 


Sally Lunn Buns - Jane Austen Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com
I'm adding this little watercolor of my cat to the post
at the request of one of my readers. He does enjoy a 
long reading session, or the occasional film, but 
he objects strenuously to music of any kind at all!

There are good books I've only read once, but some books are meant to be enjoyed again and again. Has anyone ever read a Jane Austen novel just once? A day spent in Jane Austen's world can be a marvelous restorative.

Avid afternoon tea aficionado that I am, it was quite a shock to me years ago when I realized that afternoon tea was not part of Jane Austen’s life. But tea drinking, popular at Court since the 1660’s, had by the Regency Period long since trickled down through all strata of society. 

Jane and her family no doubt enjoyed a nice cup of tea at least twice a day, at breakfast and in the evening after dinner, and surely at other times as well. There are a number of things Jane might have had with her tea, including hot, buttered Sally Lunn buns, good with both sweet and savory toppings.



Sally Lunn Buns - Jane Austen Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com


At Sally Lunn's in Bath, when you order a bun, it is a half, either top or bottom, of a split bun, toasted, and topped with something savory, such as beef or vegetables, or something sweet, such as lemon curd or cinnamon butter.  

Those made today in Bath are very large, perhaps five or six inches across and three or more inches high. My own, which I’m sure Sally Lunn’s in Bath would scorn as an inadequate imitation, are much smaller, about three inches in diameter, more "teatime" size.

Basically a brioche, they are good with either sweet or savory accompaniments. My method is so simple--no need for great skill or strength (no kneading) and no need for any special equipment (no food processor or heavy-duty stand mixer). Give them a try and let me know what you think.

And head on over to London Calling and see what expert Janeite Tony thinks of the new television production of Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon. 


Sally Lunn Buns - Jane Austen Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Sally Lunn Buns


(Makes 18 )

4 dip-and-sweep cups (20 ounces/567 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package/0.25 ounces/7 grams) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
4 large eggs (medium, in the UK)
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk

1 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure), whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In small saucepan, melt butter; set aside to cool a bit before needed.

2 In 2.5- to 3-quart mixing bowl, with electric hand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs until fluffy and pale lemon yellow, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. By hand with a dough whisk or wooden spoon, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the melted butter and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to three days.

Note: At this point, you can divide the dough if you'd like to bake 9 buns one day and 9 another day. Store in 2 lidded glass containers. If baking all 18, you'll need 2 baking sheets and need to rotate the sheets in the oven halfway through the baking time.  

3 About 2 1/2 hours before serving time, remove dough from refrigerator. Divide the dough into 18 pieces.* Roll each into a smooth ball, place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten gently into a 2 1/2-inch disk. If your baking sheet does not have a lid, lightly butter a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap and place, buttered side down, over the buns. Let rise until very puffy and nearly doubled in volume, about 1 3/4 hours. During last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. 

* I'm pretty persnickety about making them equal, so I weigh the dough and divide by 18. It weighed 1170 grams, so divide that by 18, and you get 65 grams (about 2 1/4 ounces) per bun.

4 Uncover buns. Bake about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer buns to wire racks. Serve warm, or cool completely before storing. To serve later in the traditional manner, split the buns and toast them under the grill (broiler) or in a toaster oven. Toasting them in a regular toaster gets them a bit too dark on the uncut side if you're not careful, and it's hard to get them out of the slots!

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

19 September 2019

Fig Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Figues

Fig Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Figues / www.delightfulrepast.com

As the long hot summer seques into autumn, I'm still favoring easy but elegant recipes that will get me out of the hot kitchen as quickly as possible. Summer's cherries have been replaced in my affections by black mission figs.

Fig Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Figues / www.delightfulrepast.com


Got in a supply today and thought of making a Fig and Frangipane Galette or a Fig Upside-Down Cake, but they both seemed like too much work on a hot day, so I went with that northern French classic we love, clafoutis (pronounced cla-foo-TEE). 

Fig Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Figues / www.delightfulrepast.com


It's shocking to me the number of people who make a funny little face whenever figs are mentioned and claim to not like them, even though most of them have never tasted one. The flavor is like nothing else, sort of jammy, fruity, earthy. Though it looks "seedy," the interior is soft.

And they're such lookers! Beautiful inside and out. The velvety purple skin of the black mission fig is edible, so don't even think of peeling it. And the flesh comes in such beautiful shades of pink. The fig is actually an inverted flower, so it's no wonder it's so photogenic.

Are you a fan of figs?

Fig Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Figues / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fig Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Figues


(Makes 8 servings)

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 pound (12 ounces/340 grams) fresh figs, halved lengthwise (quartered, if large)
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon cardamom or ginger, optional
3 large eggs

1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
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 Pyrex Easy Grab 9.5-Inch Deep Dish Pie Plate, not the standard 9-inch pie plate, with the 1/2 tablespoon softened butter. In a small dish, melt the tablespoon of butter and leave to cool slightly.

2 Place the halved (or quartered, as mine were) figs cut side up in prepared dish in a single layer. Stir together 1/8 cup sugar and cardamom; sprinkle evenly over the fruit.

3 In a 1-quart glass measure, whisk together the eggs, all but 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar (save it to sprinkle on top), melted butter, brandy, vanilla extract, orange zest 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 sugar. Bake for about 45 minutes, until puffed and golden and browning around the edges and pulling away from the edges of the pan. Then it falls; that is perfectly normal.

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

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