09 April 2020

Sheet Pan Home Fries - New West KnifeWorks Review and Giveaway

Sheet Pan Home Fries - No Muss No Fuss - soooo much easier, you'll never make them in a skillet again / www.delightfulrepast.com


We all need comfort food, like my Sheet Pan Home Fries, now. And I thought giving away a really good knife would be a real perkative in the midst of all this this. But first ...


The Sheet Pan Home Fries


While there's nothing difficult about making home fries, it's more trouble (and mess) than it needs to be when you're in the middle of making other things as well. Too much checking and turning, and I always end up using too much oil to keep them from sticking. 

It took me a long time, but I finally wised up and haven't looked back since. I thought, why not just throw them on a sheet pan and put them in the oven? I didn't want to get fussy about that either. I know a lot of people roast vegetables in the oven and do a lot of turning, and I didn't want to be bothered with turning.

So I lined a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking problems, tossed my potato chunks with a few simple ingredients (you can season them however you like) and just a modest amount of oil, popped it in the oven and just let it go. Fabulous! All part of my streamlined cooking strategy to save time.

It also saves time on cleaning because there are no grease splatters on the stove to clean up. No skillet with stuck-on bits to soak and scrub. And, even more important for those of us who really care about making every simple dish as good as it can possibly be, the potatoes are perfectly cooked, evenly cooked.

And if what you're looking for is Roasted Potatoes for Sunday Lunch, just hit that link and make a batch of the most perfect Roasties. Are you a home fries person or a hash browns person? If the latter, you must try my Pomme Rosti.


Sheet Pan Home Fries - New West KnifeWorks Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

The New West KnifeWorks Knife


I grew up with a mother who was a world-class cook with the worst --THE WORST--knives in the world, so I was determined that when I grew up I would have good knives. And I gradually acquired very good knives. But a couple of years ago I discovered the truly remarkable knives made by New West KnifeWorks (NWKW).

The NWKW knives are as beautiful as they are useful and a joy to work with. Call me shallow, but the first thing I noticed about the Ironwood 5-Inch Chopper was that it is the most gorgeous knife I've ever seen. That desert ironwood handle is beautiful. It is a richly textured, incredibly dense hardwood that with minimal care will last forever, making this an heirloom.

The handle is ergonomic, the blade is razor-sharp, and together they make a well-balanced knife that is just big enough to be my go-to "chef" knife for most of my cutting board work. For the tasks that require a bigger blade, I can pull out a chef knife; but this should take care of about 90 percent of my slicing and chopping. It cuts through tough potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower like butter. Chopping chocolate and nuts is effortless.

Go to the section below the recipe for details on this very generous giveaway. If you don’t happen to need a knife, you know someone who does; and this knife would make a great and generous gift.


Sheet Pan Home Fries - No Muss No Fuss - soooo much easier, you'll never make them in a skillet again / www.delightfulrepast.com

Sheet Pan Home Fries


(Serves 4 or 5, can be easily doubled*)

2 to 2.2 pounds (32 to 35.27 ounces/0.9 to 1 kilogram) russet potatoes
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon thyme


* To serve a crowd, double ingredients and bake on 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan.

1 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan with baking parchment paper.

2 Peel potatoes and cut into roughly 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes. In 1.5- to 2-quart bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, marjoram and thyme. Spread in a single layer on parchment-lined quarter sheet pan.

3 Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tender and golden brown.

New West KnifeWorks Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com


New West KnifeWorks Knife Giveaway


This giveaway is open to readers in the US* who are 18 years of age or older. To enter, leave a comment below (one entry per person). Tell me the first thing you'd make with the knife. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday April 22.

* If you are outside the US but would like to have this sent to someone you know 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 April 23. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday April 26, a new winner will be selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline). 

Disclosure: New West KnifeWorks provided a knife for review purposes and one 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

26 March 2020

Spiced Crab Apples

Spiced Crab Apples - A Versatile Condiment, Pickle or Garnish / www.delightfulrepast.com

Spiced crab apples and spiced peaches, as well as pickled eggs and pickled onions, were things I grew up with. I never really thought about their origin, but given my mother's origins, I'm wondering if these foods are British. 

I had childhood friends whose mothers were from various parts of the world, but I never encountered any of these foods on their tables. Suppose I could Google it, but maybe one of you can tell me.

Crab apples are, I'm told, called such because of their size and not their cultivar. Crab apples are 2 inches or less in diameter, and the ones I used for this recipe, an organic heirloom variety, were way less than 2 inches in diameter.

Spiced Crab Apples - A Versatile Condiment, Pickle or Garnish / www.delightfulrepast.com


If you do canning, I'm sure you could do that with spiced crab apples. But my mother was not into canning for long-term shelf storage, so she made this kind which you can store in the refrigerator for up to a month. She served them with things like pork roast and turkey. 

This seems like a lot of bother for something so small as to be more of a garnish than a side dish! But the spiced crab apples are rather adorable and quite fun to serve for a special occasion. They also work well on a cheese board or charcuterie platter.

But plan ahead. They're ready in a week, but even better at 2 or 3 weeks, and they keep for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. I just made 1 quart, but you can easily double or triple the recipe.

Spiced Crab Apples - A Versatile Condiment, Pickle or Garnish / www.delightfulrepast.com
If you like it, please remember to Pin it and share it!

Spiced Crab Apples


(Makes 1 quart)

1 3/4 cup (12.25 ounces/347 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
7/8 cup (7 fluid ounces/207 ml) apple cider vinegar
7/8 cup (7 fluid ounces/207 ml) water

1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) tiny crab apples


1 Have ready a wide mouth 1-quart canning jar. In a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan, whisk together the sugar and spices. Whisk in the vinegar and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Take off heat for 5 minutes.

2 In the meantime, wash the apples well, leaving the stems intact but removing the fuzzy blossom ends. Pierce the blossom end twice with a skewer or very sturdy toothpick. 

3 Add the apples to the slightly cooled liquid. Bring up to a gentle simmer and simmer the apples for about 15 minutes. Don't let the mixture boil or you might end up with skins falling off the apples and the apples getting overcooked. 


4 Carefully remove the apples from the liquid and put them in a wide mouth 1-quart canning jar. Pour the pickling liquid into the jar. The apples should be completely immersed. If some are floating above the liquid, you can weight them down with something. I have a bunch of 2.6-inch porcelain ramekins and use one of those. These 2.6-inch porcelain dipping sauce dishes would probably also work well. Put on the lid.

5 Let cool for an hour, and then refrigerate for at least a week or up to 4 weeks.

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

12 March 2020

Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not)

Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chicken and Dumplings is a real comfort food classic! And if you’d like to make it on the stovetop rather than in the Instant Pot, go to my original Chicken and Dumplings post. 

Also, go to that post if you’d like to read about the great dumpling controversy—you know, fluffy versus flat, dropped versus rolled. As you can see, I make fluffy dumplings. 

And fluffy they are. Never stodgy (unpleasantly solid and heavy). Sometimes I use a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the milk, and sometimes not. Either way, they come out light, fluffy and delicious. 

Thing is, the Instant Pot is narrower in diameter than my Dutch oven, so there’s really only room for half the dumplings. If you’re serving it all at once (dinner for at least 6), you could transfer the finished stew to a wider pan that will hold all the dumplings. 


Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com


I’ve often used bone-in chicken breasts and thighs rather than cutting up a whole chicken, but for this Instant Pot version I went with a whole chicken and did not cut it up. 

You see, I’m still on my Streamlined Cooking kick and not cutting up the chicken and not browning the pieces was a huge timesaver. The chicken comes out fall-apart tender and easy to remove from the bones. 

I was prepared to have to remove a lot of fat from the broth, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of fat, so I just went with it. That was another timesaver.

I hope you’ll try it soon and let me know how you like it. And, tell me, which dumpling team are you on, fluffy or flat?


Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot


(Serves 6 to 8)

The Chicken Stew

1 whole organic free-range chicken (3.5 to 5 pounds/1.6 to 2.25 kg), giblets removed
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 medium (about 12 ounces/340 grams) yellow onion, quartered and sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups thinly diagonally sliced carrots (about 12 ounces/340 grams)
3 stalks (about 4 ounces/113 grams) celery, thinly diagonally sliced (1/2 cup)

2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) water
1/4 cup flour shaken with 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


The Dumplings


(Makes 18)

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon non-GMO baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk (1 tablespoon of which can be apple cider vinegar)

1 In 6-quart Instant Pot inner cooking pot, place the chicken (mine was an even 4 pounds); sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, marjoram and poultry seasoning. Top with onions, carrots and celery; pour in the water.

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 25 minutes.

Note: It took about 25 minutes to come up to pressure and begin the cooking time.

3 When the "It's done" beep sounds and the indicator says "Off," 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. Transfer the chicken to a large plate or bowl and let cool for about 20 minutes. When it's cool enough to handle, use 2 forks to remove the skin and take the meat off the bones. Cut it into bite-size (about 1-inch) pieces.

5 Shake together flour and water until mixture is as smooth as possible; then pour it through a strainer into the stew. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding the additional 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, if needed; press Saute and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to thicken. Stir in the chicken.

Note: You can stop right here if you want to and finish the dish tomorrow or the next day. See the Note at the end before proceeding.

6 While stew returns to a simmer, make dumplings. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Drizzle melted butter over flour mixture, stirring with large fork. Stir in milk. Let stand for 5 minutes before scooping onto stew.

7 Stir in the parsley (and a cup of frozen peas, if you like). Spray a #40 scoop (about 1.5 tablespoons) or round measuring tablespoon with cooking spray. Drop level scoops or rounded tablespoons of dough onto simmering stew. Cover and simmer dumplings for 20 minutes, then test one to see if toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If not, cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Note:  Only half the dumplings will fit in the Instant Pot. If you want to cook all the dumplings, you will need to transfer the stew to a wider pot, such as a 5.5-quart Dutch oven. And, if you are not an experienced dumpling maker, you will likely find it easier to do that anyway because cooking the dumplings is a bit tricky in the Instant Pot. You have to go back and forth between Saute and Slow Cook to keep the stew at a simmer. I did it one time, just to see if and how it could be done, and it worked. But I'll do the dumplings on the stovetop next 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

27 February 2020

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

A Cornish Split - or Devonshire Split - was the original star of the famous "cream teas": of Cornwall and Devon. Though you'll more often find a cream tea with scones, the split is a classic as well.


Cornish or Devonshire Splits - A British West Country "Cream Tea" Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


No one appreciates a good scone more than I, but this week I was in the mood for a lovely yeast bun for my cream tea, so here they are! Not a crusty bun, it is neither egg-washed nor well-browned. In fact, a tea towel is spread over them as they cool so as to keep them soft.


Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com
Of course, I had to make a batch of Strawberry Jam and a batch of Clotted Cream 
to fill the splits. But I could spare two berries to "model" for me for this little
watercolor sketch. 


Unlike scones, which are served alongside the accompanying clotted cream and jam (or lemon curd), Splits are served, well, split, and filled with the cream and jam and given a dusting of icing sugar (powdered sugar).

These were so delicious with a pot of Rishi Tea organic loose leaf Earl Grey. Have you ever had Cornish or Devonshire Splits?

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits


(Makes 18 buns)

The Buns

3 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (18.75 ounces/532 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package/0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) water

1 large egg (medium in UK), lightly beaten

The Filling

Strawberry Jam 
Clotted Cream

1 In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In small saucepan, heat together butter, milk and water until butter is melted and mixture is very warm, but not more than 130F/54C (a great little thermometer). Line two baking sheets with parchment. I use one half sheet pan and one quarter sheet pan for this recipe. Lightly oil a 2-quart bowl for proofing the dough. I use a 2-quart glass measure, which makes it very easy to tell when the dough has doubled. 

2 With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, stir warm liquid and beaten egg into flour mixture until blended. The dough will be very sticky.

3 Measure out 1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) of unbleached all-purpose flour to work from while kneading the dough. This will keep you from the common problem of adding too much flour and ruining your dough. Lightly flour the countertop and scrape the dough onto it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and knead for 10 minutes, adding just a bit of flour as needed. You will likely need anywhere from 1/4 cup to slightly less than 1/2 cup.

4 Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure), cover with lid or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour or so.

5 Deflate the risen dough by pressing your fist into the middle of it. Turn the dough out onto the counter, no need for flour. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces. I'm pretty particular about my buns and rolls being identical, so I weigh the dough (in this case, my dough was 2 pounds 7 ounces/1106 grams) on my food scale, divide the grams by 18 (in this case, coming out to be about 61 grams per bun), then I weigh each little hunk of dough as I go. Roll the piece of dough between your palms until smooth, then do this to shape it into a nice round bun. Cup your hand over it like a "cage" and move your hand rapidly in an outward motion.



6 Place the buns on the parchment-lined baking sheets and cover with lids or plastic wrap. I don't like using plastic wrap, so I have rimmed baking sheets that come with lids! Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes or so. During the last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic (this photo, buns rising on lidded baking sheet) / www.delightfulrepast.com


7 I bake one sheet at a time. Bake for about 15 minutes (you know your oven), until buns are just golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to wire cooling rack and cover with a tea towel. Cool completely.


8 When ready to serve, slice the buns diagonally from about a third of the way down in the front to about two-thirds of the way down in the back, but do not slice all the way through. Put in a spoonful of strawberry jam (about 2 level teaspoons works for me) and spread it over both the top and bottom. Then put in a spoonful of clotted cream (about the same amount). Arrange the filled splits on a serving platter or tray, and dust with a little icing 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

13 February 2020

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com

Gateau Nantais (pronounced GAT-toe nahn-tay, sort of) is a traditional cake of Nantes, a city on the delta of the Loire in western France. The city is famous for its fleur de sel and its salted butter, so its inhabitants might be outraged that I have made the famous cake with unsalted butter, but organic unsalted butter is the only kind of butter I ever use.

If you make this recipe with salted butter, reduce the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon. Most versions of the recipe call for a good deal more rum than I've used, though I think I've used a drop more of it than did Phil, from whose blog, As Strong As Soup, I first heard of the cake some years ago. So I'll leave the amount of rum up to you.


French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com


With mostly almond flour and just a tiny amount of wheat flour, the cake is so close to gluten-free I thought I'd just use a gluten-free flour blend and make it a cake I can serve to my GF friends. But you can just use regular all-purpose flour as well. It's lovely and delicious with toasted sliced almonds on top, but I went traditional with this one.

Of course, you can eat it right away, but this cake is even better the next day. So do make it the day before you plan to serve it. And, if you like, please Pin it and share it. This was a lovely cake to celebrate my 10th blogiversary!



French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com
  

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais


(Makes one 7-inch round cake)

The Cake

1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking Flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (medium in UK)
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
1 1/4 cups (4.5 ounces/128 grams) almond flour*
1 to 2 tablespoons (0.5 to 1 fluid ounce/15 to 30 ml) dark rum

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

* I use Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour From Blanched Whole Almonds

The Syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons (0.64 ounce/18 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (1.5 fluid ounces/ml) water
1 tablespoon dark rum

The Glaze

3/4 packed cup (3 ounces/85 grams) powdered sugar
1/16 teaspoon (a pinch) salt
2 teaspoons dark rum

2 teaspoons water, a bit more if needed

The Optional Garnish

1/4 cup (1.125 ounces/32 grams) sliced almonds, toasted



1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Generously butter a 7-inch/18 cm round cake tin or removable-bottom pan. Put a round of baking parchment paper in the bottom and butter it as well. 


2 In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a 2-cup glass measure or small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

3 In a stand mixer, or using an electric hand mixer and large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl, then add the almond flour, beating on medium speed just until incorporated, about 1 minute.

4 Add the eggs, about a third at a time, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition. On medium-high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, gradually mix in the flour just until incorporated. With silicone spatula, stir in the rum and almond extract and scrape the bowl. 

5 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown. 

6 During the last 20 minutes of baking, make the syrup. In 1-quart saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then boil for 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in the rum. Then simmer for 2 minutes.

7 When the cake is done, cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack, bottom side up. Immediately peel away the baking parchment paper and brush the top and sides of the cake with the rum syrup. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Transfer to serving platter.


8 Make the glaze in a 1.5-quart mixing bowl. Vigorously whisk the powdered sugar and salt and smoosh out the big lumps, then whisk in the dark rum. Gradually whisk in enough water to make a rather thick (not too runny), smooth glaze. Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake, then spread it out toward the edges, letting a bit drip down the sides. An offset spatula (OXO Good Grips calls theirs a bent icing knife) is handy for the task. 

9 Optional: Sprinkle top with toasted sliced almonds. Let stand at room temperature for at least an hour. Cover with a cake dome and store at room temperature. Will keep for a few days, I suppose; but I don't know because I put half the cake in the freezer.

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

30 January 2020

An Announcement

An Announcement - Nothing to Do with Pears / www.delightfulrepast.com
This post has absolutely nothing to do with pears, but I had to put up a picture of something. And pears made more sense than some of the stuff I paint, like autumn leaves, pine trees, trees in general, cats, birds and elephants! 

Each year as February 15 approaches, I consider the future of my blog. And never more so than this year when February 15 will mark the Tenth Blogiversary of Delightful Repast.

When I started blogging, I never dreamed I would be posting every week for 10 years. I know lots of bloggers post multiple times a week, but once a week was a real stretch for me.

I love developing recipes and writing them out in great detail so that my readers at every skill level can have success with them. I enjoy sharing my love of tea (the beverage and the ritual) and wine. And I slip in the occasional travel post.

One of my favorite types of posts is when I do a giveaway of a product or book or piece of kitchen equipment I use and love. 

The best part of blogging for me is something that many bloggers miss out on--engagement with my readers. I read and respond to every comment and, if the commenter has a blog, I visit the blog and leave a comment there. 

I really don't want to give all that up. So I've decided to post less frequently rather than stop posting altogether. I hope that will suit my readers as well as give me a bit more time for all the other aspects of my life.

Don't ask me how long it takes to produce one of my posts and do all the other things associated with blogging. I've never actually done the math on that because I didn't want to know!

Rather than posting every Thursday as I have all these years without a break, I am going to post every other Thursday. So don't look for a new post next week, but come by anyway and read an old post--there are more than 500 of them!

I'll be back on February 13 (10th blogiversary week), and I hope you'll join me! If you haven't subscribed, please do so and you'll automatically get an email notice when a new post is published. 

And just to get some food into this food blog post for you, here is what I'm making for dinner today: Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast with Gravy.

Jean 

23 January 2020

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar / www.delightfulrepast.com

Swedish Cinnamon Buns came to my attention through Ron at Lost in a Pot, where you'll find lots of Swedish recipes. Then I read dozens of recipes for the buns. Then, of course, I went all Frank Sinatra and "did it my way!" 

My recipe uses my by-hand make-ahead method, whereas Ron mixes his kanelbullar dough in an Ankarsrum Assistent Original (that's not a typo, it's Swedish), a completely different type of mixer I first heard of a few years ago when writing a magazine article. 

I baked a half batch (12) one day, and a half batch the next, using a different shaping method, which I think makes a prettier bun for me. But I'll tell you how to do it both ways in the recipe directions. (Sorry I didn't take photos of the prettier buns.) 

My research indicates that even some "real" Swedish people making "real" Kanelbullar make a big roll and cut it into slices just like American cinnamon rolls. So I think what makes them Swedish is the use of cardamom in the dough. I don't know. And Ron says Kanelbullar never have icing, which makes me very happy!

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar / www.delightfulrepast.com


As you might expect, I skip the traditional sprinkling of pearl sugar as I don't like to eat it and I think the buns are prettier without it. But those who do use the pearl sugar differ in when they put it on the buns; some after the egg wash before baking; others after a brushing of sugar syrup after baking. You decide.

The "authentic" Swedish Kanelbullar experience probably includes a cup of coffee or a glass of milk, but my inauthentic experience includes tea. What will you have with your Kanelbullar?

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar / www.delightfulrepast.com

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar


(Makes 24)

The Cardamom Dough

3 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (16.25 ounces/461 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk, microwaved 1 to 2 minutes in 2-cup glass measure until hot but not boiling
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces/grams) unsalted butter, cut into about 6 slices and added to heated milk

1 large egg, room temperature

The Cinnamon Filling

1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

The Egg Wash

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon water


1 Start the dough the day before. In large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, cardamom and salt. In 2-cup glass measure, microwave milk until hot but not boiling, about 2 minutes in my microwave; stir in pieces of butter to melt. Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the reserved flour to form a soft dough.

2 Leave the dough in the bowl. Using the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, flour one hand and sprinkle some of the flour over the dough. Lightly squish the dough around in the bowl with one hand (not really kneading!), adding a little of the reserved flour at a time. If baking all 24 buns, proceed with Step 3a. If baking 12 one day and 12 the next, see Step 3b. 

3a Gently shape the dough into a smooth ball (it will be sticky). Place in lightly oiled bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure); lightly oil surface. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. 

3b Divide the dough into two equal (about 16 ounces/454 grams) pieces and shape each into a smooth ball (they will be sticky). Place each in a lightly oiled 4-cup lidded Pyrex bowl; lightly oil surface. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or lid. Refrigerate overnight.

4 Next day, make the filling (full or half batch) by creaming together filling ingredients; let cold dough (full or half batch) stand at room temperature for an hour or so to warm up a bit before shaping. Punch down the dough by pressing down in center and folding in edges; cover and let relax in bowl for 20 minutes. Line 1 or 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar / www.delightfulrepast.com

5a Full batch: Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, and roll out to 18x12-inch (46x30 cm) rectangle. Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over one long half of the dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Fold the plain half over the half with the filling to make an 18x6-inch (46x15 cm) rectangle.

5b Half batch: Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, and roll out to 9x12-inch (23x30 cm) rectangle. Spread a half batch of the cinnamon filling evenly over one short half of the dough, leaving ½-inch border. Fold the plain half over the half with the filling to make a 9x6-inch (23x15 cm) rectangle.

6 Using a straight edge and sharp knife or plastic pizza wheel, cut the filled dough into 24 (or 12, if half batch) 6x3/4-inch (15x2 cm) strips. Twist and tie the buns (or make a simple spiral), and place them on the lined baking sheet(s), spaced so as to not touch once they rise. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour or so.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar / www.delightfulrepast.com


How to Twist and Tie the Buns: Holding onto one end of a strip, twist it several times, coil the twisted strip around your index finger twice, and tuck the end down through the opening in the center. OR just make a simple spiral of the twisted strip and tuck the end under the bun. That's what I did for my second batch, and I think it makes a prettier bun!

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar / www.delightfulrepast.com


7 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. In small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the risen rolls with the egg wash just before baking. As soon as you put the pan in the oven, reduce heat to 400F/205C/Gas6. Bake for about 15 minutes, until deep golden brown.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns - Kanelbullar / www.delightfulrepast.com


PS I absolutely love my Nordic Ware Commercial Half Sheet Pan and Nordic Ware Half Sheet Cover. That perfectly fitting cover comes in handy for so many things, including covering rising buns without using plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.

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

16 January 2020

Perfect Pizza Dough - No Machine, No Kneading, No Fuss

Perfect Pizza Dough - No Machine, No Kneading, No Fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com

This is THE pizza dough, the pizza dough I've been making for many years. Needs no special equipment or skill. You don't need a heavy-duty stand mixer or a food processor or to know how to knead yeast dough. 

I have a heavy-duty stand mixer and a food processor, and I have been kneading yeast dough since I was a young girl; so why do I make my pizza dough this way? Because it's better this way. Better texture, better flavor.

This isn't exactly the technique of any of the famous bakers, but it's how I do it and it always gets raves. So I hope you'll give it a try. There's no fussiness about temperatures, or hydration percentages or folding techniques that leave you wondering why you didn't just make a kneaded dough in the first place.

Just stir it up in a big bowl, divide the dough into three portions, put each into a covered bowl, put the bowls in the refrigerator and let time do its magic on the dough. If you want to make a larger or thicker crust, divide the dough in half instead of thirds.

If you want to make one now and two at a later date, after the dough has been in the fridge for three days, wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap or put it in a freezer bag* and pop them in the freezer.


Perfect Pizza Dough - No Machine, No Kneading, No Fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com


*If you have these freezer-safe 4-cup Pyrex round dishes with lids, you can skip the plastic.

The day before you want to use a piece of dough, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw and do its slow-rise thing. Then proceed the same as for the dough that was simply refrigerated.

I haven't frozen any dough in ages because we love pizza and will happily eat one three times in one week. And if you're cooking for more than one or two people, you'll want to make two or three pizzas on the same evening. 

See my original Make Real Pizza at Home - Part Three post for my precision timeline for making and getting two pizzas (you can easily extend it to three) made and served in a timely fashion.

And you'll find sauce, topping and baking details at The Best Homemade Pizza post. Are you a pizza fan? 


Perfect Pizza Dough - No Machine, No Kneading, No Fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com
Don't forget to Pin it and share it!

No Knead Pizza Dough


(Makes three 12-ounce crusts for three 12-inch pizzas)

4 dip-and-sweep cups (20 ounces/567 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon (12.5 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) salt
1 teaspoon (0.125 ounces/3.5 grams) instant yeast
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 3/4 cups (14 fluid ounces/414 ml) water, room temperature

1 In large bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast. With dough whisk or wooden spoon, stir in the oil and water until thoroughly combined. Stir for a minute. Stir in remaining flour a half cup at a time. The finished dough will be elastic and sticky.

2 Oil three 1-quart lidded bowls and their lids; set aside. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Cut the dough into 3 equal (12-ounce) pieces; I weigh them, of course, on digital kitchen scale. Sprinkle flour over the dough. With floured hands, gently round each piece into a ball.

3 Dip each dough ball into one of the oiled bowls, rolling the dough in the oil, flatten it a bit, and then put the lid on. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for three days. You can use it anytime from two to seven days after making it, but I like to give it three days to develop and build flavor. Be warned: At some point, the lids will likely pop loose because of the fermentation process, so be sure to weight down the lids so that a skin won't form on the top of the dough.

Note: You can also freeze the portions of dough, well wrapped in plastic or in the glass storage containers for up to a month. Move the frozen dough from freezer to refrigerator to thaw the day before you want to use it.

Tip: I use the Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Pizza Pan just like a pizza stone, preheated in the oven. You'll find my directions in the two posts linked to above the recipe.

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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