21 March 2019

Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante

Instant Pot Pinto Beans - THE best way to cook dried beans / www.delightfulrepast.com

Don’t worry, my regular readers—I’m not going to be blogging constantly about Instant Pot cooking. I’m not convinced everyone “needs” one, even though I’m having fun with it. But I’ve decided there is one group of people who might need one—people who cook a lot of beans. So far I’ve just made Pinto Beans.

I’ve stuck with the one kind of bean because I wanted to experiment and find the ideal way—well, my ideal way, anyway—of cooking Instant Pot Pinto Beans. The first conclusion I came to on the subject was that presoaking is not necessary. I kept reading that you’ll have more “blown-out” beans if you pressure cook them without presoaking. 

But my experiments have shown that it’s not whether the beans have been presoaked or not, but rather it’s the length of the natural pressure release, that determines whether the beans remain whole, for the most part, or break apart. For stovetop beans, I presoak; for Slow Cooker Pinto Beans, I do not. For the Instant Pot, definitely not.

The second conclusion I came to is that the beans made in the Instant Pot taste better than the beans cooked with the same ingredients by any other method. I was amazed and have no scientific explanation for it. I can only assume that pressure cooking somehow forces more flavor into the beans. Is that true, or just my imagination? 

Cooking times can be tricky for dried beans. Whatever method you use—stovetop, slow cooker or pressure cooker—cooking times for dried beans will vary due to the age of the beans and perhaps other factors about the beans themselves. There are different cooking times for different beans.


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante - How to Cook Beans in the Instant Pot / www.delightfulrepast.com


I decided to cook my presoaked pinto beans for 10 minutes at high pressure followed by natural pressure release for 25 minutes, with the idea that if they were underdone I’d set it for another 2 minutes (it should build pressure quickly the second time) and check again.

The presoaked (for 12 hours) beans were perfectly done in 10 minutes. So 20 to 25 minutes to come up to pressure, 10 minutes to cook, 25 minutes natural pressure release—an hour or less total—instead of 7 hours in the slow cooker or 2 1/2 to 4 hours on the stovetop. And they taste better! 

But then I decided to experiment with beans that had not been presoaked. Yes, they take longer to cook—the same 20 to 25 minutes to come up to pressure, 40 minutes to cook, the same 25 minutes natural pressure release—but it’s still just an hour and a half or less.


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante - How to Cook Beans in the Instant Pot / www.delightfulrepast.com


One pound of dried pinto beans makes the equivalent of four 15-ounce/425 gram cans of cooked pinto beans and costs about the same as one can—a significant savings. You can even put the batch of beans into four pint jars or glass storage containers to freeze. Just pull one out anytime a can of beans is called for. 

Since dried beans are done so quickly in the Instant Pot, you could cook several batches of various kinds of beans all in one day, refrigerate what you need for the week and freeze the rest for future meals. Can’t wait to try pressure cooking dried garbanzo beans for hummus.

Mr Delightful is not a bean fan, but since I’m not a huge carnivore, I rely on legumes for a lot of my protein. Lovelovelove Black Bean Soup and Bean with Bacon Soup


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - THE best way to cook dried beans / www.delightfulrepast.com


Instant Pot Pinto Beans - Frijoles de Olla Instante


(Makes about 6 cups of drained beans)

2 1/2 cups (16 ounces/454 grams) dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 small (about 3 ounces) onion, peeled, optional

6 1/2 cups (56 fluid ounces/1.66 litres) water 

1 Rinse beans, watching for any debris or bad beans, and add to the inner cooking pot of the 6-quart Instant Pot or other brand pressure cooker. Add remaining ingredients. 

Note: Don't skip the olive oil; it prevents foaming that could clog up the valve. 

2 Put the lid in place and turn the steam valve to Sealing. Plug in the Instant Pot. Press the Pressure Cook key. Leave the indicator lights on High Pressure and Normal temperature, and change the cooking time to 40 minutes.

Note: It takes 20 to 25 minutes to reach working pressure. This varies with the amount and temperature of the ingredients in the pot. 

3 When the beep sounds, turn it off by pressing Cancel. Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally, then do a quick release by turning the steam valve to Venting.

4 When the float valve drops down, carefully remove the lid. If the beans are not done to your liking, put the lid back on, turn the steam valve to Sealing, and cook on High Pressure for additional minutes.

5 Remove the onion; taste and adjust seasoning.

Note: The cooked beans can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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

14 March 2019

Carrot Cake - Instant Pot (or Oven)

Carrot Cake - Instant Pot - with Cream Cheese Frosting / www.delightfulrepast.com

Carrot cake has always been a favorite of ours. And I usually make one (in the oven) from a recipe my mother and I developed together when I was a teenager and we first had carrot cake but couldn’t find a recipe for it.

Last week I told Mr Delightful I wanted to try a cake in my new Instant Pot and he requested carrot cake. So I cut down my usual Carrot Cake recipe to fit in a 7-inch round pan perfect for the Instant Pot.


Carrot Cake - Instant Pot - with Cream Cheese Frosting / www.delightfulrepast.com


We really liked it, but one might ask, Why make it in the Instant Pot when it isn’t any quicker than baking it in the oven? And if you need to feed a crowd, you need to bake the larger carrot cake or exactly two dozen Carrot Cupcakes.

But if you only need a small cake and don’t want to heat up your house by running the oven on a hot day, or you're using your oven for other things, making a cake in the Instant Pot makes sense.

Of course, you can also bake this cake in the oven at 350F/180C/Gas4. Have you made any cakes in the Instant Pot? What is your favorite cake flavor?


Carrot Cake - Instant Pot - with Cream Cheese Frosting / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Carrot Cake – Instant Pot 


(Makes one 7-inch/18 cm cake, 8 servings) 

The Cake

1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (1.25 ounces/35 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted and cooled
1/3 cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) dried currants
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
2/3 cup (5.33 fluid ounces/158 ml) organic expeller pressed canola oil*
2 large eggs, room temperature

1 packed cup (6 ounces/170 grams) peeled and shredded carrots

* I want to try this with organic extra virgin olive oil. 

The Frosting

1 3-ounce (85 grams) package cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 packed cups (6 ounces/170 grams) unsifted powdered sugar

1 After you’ve chopped and toasted the nuts and shredded the carrots, butter well and lightly flour a 2-inch deep 7-inch round cake tin. In small bowl, whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. 

2 In a small bowl, stir together the toasted and cooled nuts and dried currants with about a teaspoon of the flour mixture, making sure all the currants are separated and coated. 

3 In medium bowl, beat the sugar and oil together well, and then beat in the eggs. Stir in the flour mixture followed by the nuts and currents and then the shredded carrots. Scrape into prepared tin and cover tightly with foil. 

4 Place rack (with its handles down) in bottom of the Instant Pot cooking pot, and add 1 cup of water to the pot. Carefully set the cake, centered on its foil sling, on the rack.

5 Put the lid in place and turn the steam valve to Sealing. Plug in the Instant Pot. Press the Pressure Cook key. Leave the indicator on High Pressure and change the cooking time to 45 minutes.

Note: It took just a few minutes to reach working pressure. This varies with the amount and temperature of the ingredients in the pot. 

6 When the beep sounds, turn it off by pressing Cancel. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes,* then do a quick release by turning the steam valve to Venting.

* I set my kitchen timer (my favorite timer of all time!) so I don't get distracted.

Carrot Cake - Instant Pot (this photo, my favorite timer of all time) / www.delightfulrepast.com


7 When the float valve drops down, carefully remove the lid. With a paper towel, gently blot any moisture that collected on top of the foil. Using the foil sling, carefully lift out the cake. Remove the foil. The cake should be pulling away from the edges of the pan.

8 Carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake. Turn it out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour, before frosting.

9 In 1.5-quart mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and butter with electric hand mixer until smooth. Add vanilla extract, salt, and about a third of the powdered sugar; then beat in the remaining sugar. 


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

07 March 2019

Mini Fruit Tartlets - Tartelettes aux Fruits

Mini Fruit Tartlets - Tartelettes aux Fruits / www.delightfulrepast.com

Mini fruit tartlets are the one sweet thing I’m happy to see on the three-tiered stand at afternoon tea. You know I’m all about the sandwiches and scones at tea, but I’m not averse to a well-made mini fruit tartlet or two.

They’re the perfect little dessert to bring out to cap off any kind of “finger foods” occasion. They always get rave reviews. One group declared my little tarts “bakery quality, no, even better than bakery quality!” 


Mini Fruit Tartlets - Tartelettes aux Fruits / www.delightfulrepast.com


They’re quick and easy to assemble on the day you want to serve them if you make your pastry and pastry cream a day or two ahead. You can even bake the pastry shells ahead and store at room temperature in an airtight container. 

I can bake a double batch at one time because I have two pans, but my newest tartelette pan is vastly superior. It’s the Nordic Ware heavy cast aluminum tartelette pan which bakes very evenly and makes very sharp fluting.

If you’re a fan of individual-serving and mini foods, I know you’ll enjoy making, and eating, these little tartlets. What kind of fruits will you use?


Mini Fruit Tartlets - Tartelettes aux Fruits / www.delightfulrepast.com


Mini Fruit Tartlets – Tartelettes aux Fruits 


(Makes 12 2.5-inch/6.35 cm mini tarts)

The Pastry Cream - Crème Pâtissière

(Makes about 1 1/4 cups)

1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces/grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (white reserved for pastry)
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Pastry - Pâte Sucrée 


1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 packed cup (0.5 ounce/14 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg white (yolk used in pastry cream)


The Fruit and Glaze


About 1 1/2 cups assorted berries and sliced fruits such as kiwi
2 tablespoons jam plus 2 teaspoons water, melted and strained

1 In heavy-bottomed saucepan (I use the Le Creuset Stainless Steel 2-Quart Saucier), heat milk to just below a simmer. You'll see a skin forming and the milk wiggling under the surface.

2 In 1- to 1.5-quart mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in egg and yolk. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Use an electric hand mixer if you like.

3 Pour the mixture back into the saucepan (or saucier) and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly (slowly at first, then speeding up as the custard thickens), until the custard gets very, very thick and holds the whisk marks. Pay close attention; if you get distracted for a second, you can end up with bits of scrambled egg in your custard.

4 Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla extract. If you have any lumps of egg, place a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl, and press pastry cream through it to ensure a perfectly smooth custard. Cover surface of custard with a round of parchment paper cut to fit the bowl. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill.

5 Add flour, powdered sugar 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; 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. Flatten slightly into a 4- to 6-inch round disc, wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. 

6 Prepare a 12-well tartelette pan by brushing each well with very soft butter. On lightly floured surface or square of parchment paper, roll out the pastry to about a 10-inch/25.5 cm square; pastry should be very thin, about 1/8-inch thick. With a 3-inch/7.5 cm cutter, cut out 9 circles; reroll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut out 3 circles. Fit the pastry circles firmly into the tin, but do not stretch the dough. With a fork, poke holes all over bottom of the pastry. Place in freezer for 15 minutes while preheating the oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. 

7 Bake tart shells until light golden brown, about 12 to 13 minutes (though it might be different for your oven, your pan, etc). Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before taking pastry shells out to continue cooling on wire rack. 

8 To assemble tartelettes, whisk the pastry cream to loosen it. Fill each completely cooled pastry shell with a tablespoon or so of pastry cream. Smooth the tops. Place fruit on top. Brush with melted jam glaze. Keep refrigerated until serving time. 

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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